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Favorite Books for 2017

December 15, 2017

Favorite Books for 2017 |

I don’t read nearly as often as I feel like I should or as often as I want to. I make an effort to set aside time during the week, but most of my reading time still ends up being when I’m traveling, on a plane or between exploring new destinations. 

There are so many books I want to read. The list is endless. I’m usually reading a couple different titles at the same time. 

This year I have encountered some excellent books so I thought I’d share this as a bit of a gift guide in case you have food and drink lovers in your life who also love reading. 

I have four that inspired me and really stood out over the past several months. 

There is still time to order these books online or hop in your favorite local book retailer to see if they have a copy. No affiliate links here, but one book was sent to me as a review copy as noted. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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Cranberry Upside Down Cake

December 14, 2017
Cranberry Upside Down Cake from Farm to Table Desserts | Get the recipe at

I welcome the tartness and I shy away from adding too much sugar. 

That’s my relationship with cranberries. 

I love cranberry. It easily ranks in the top 5 for my favorite holiday flavors. Or I guess I should say foods, with it being an actual fruit and all. 

It’s why this cranberry upside down cake immediately got my attention.

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Apple Scrap Cider Vinegar from Modern Cider

December 11, 2017
Apple Scrap Cider Vinegar from Modern Cider by Emma Christensen | Recipe at

Lately, I find myself being associated more with beer, given my new book. But truth be told, I love cider, too!

I’ve done a bit of cider writing this year and I’m intrigued not only by the varieties cider but by the varieties of cider apples. There are so many types I’m just beginning to learn about them along with the type of flavors they bring to the finished product. 

So I drink cider, but I have yet to attempt making cider on my own. 

When that time comes, though, good news. I have the perfect resource.

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Orange Jam from The Joys of Jewish Preserving

December 6, 2017
Orange Jam from the cookbook, The Joys of Jewish Preserving, by Emily Paster | Recipe at

Citrus is such a highlight in the winter. I look forward it every year. The oranges, lemons, and mandarins – there are so many varieties to choose from around here. 

The season is just getting started and navels have started popping up at the farm stand. 

As soon as I spotted that the local, in-season oranges had arrived, I knew exactly what I was going to make. 

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Food on Tap from a Food Truck

December 5, 2017
Food on Tap from a Food Truck | A recap of the Food on Tap event at Pita Kabob in Visalia, CA

We’d been living in the Central Valley for weeks before we finally stepped into the beer garden. How had we not known this place was here? Succulents, rustic reclaimed wood and antique farm pieces for plant holders, and outdoor seating.

Then, the beer list. The beer list!

Faction, Fieldwork, and so many others. Breweries we used to spend our time at in the Bay and travel to around the state. 

Not to sound too dramatic, but this feeling fell over me as if to say – wow, we might fit in here after all. Walking into Pita Kabob‘s downtown gastropub that day was the most settling experience I’d had since we’d moved from the Bay to the Valley. 

Not just great food and a killer craft beer list, but people who appreciated great food and killer craft beer. I find it important to surround myself with both. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. 

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Food on Tap Cookbook! The Day Is Here!

October 10, 2017

Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer by Lori Rice

It is finally here!

Food on Tap:  Cooking with Craft Beer publishes today!

I’m so grateful to everyone who helped make this book possible and to those who have been so excited to share about it. Notes from Instagram stories and other social outlets have been flowing my way over the past couple weeks and it’s like a big virtual hug. 

I’m not sure how other cookbook authors feel, but I find it a bit awkward to promote my own book. I share bits and pieces on social, but I’m never quite sure what to write about it here on the blog. 

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Crab Cakes Benedict with Buttermilk Herb Sauce

April 18, 2017

This twist on one of my favorite brunch meals pairs Crab Cakes Benedict with the crisp 2013 Oak Knoll Chardonnay sent to me this month from Cultivar Wine.

Crab Cakes Benedict with Buttermilk Herb Sauce Recipe | Fake Food Free (sponsored post)


We were at least a year into our time living in the Bay Area before I discovered Crab Cakes Benedict. To be honest, I’d probably only started eating regular Eggs Benedict not long before that.

The crab cake version, though? Well, it blew the old standby away. In all honesty, I can’t say that I was a super huge fan of the original anyway. The Canadian bacon on the English muffin didn’t do much for me, nor did the sauce. 

But Crab Cakes Benedict is a whole different story.

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Miso Ramen

January 12, 2017
Miso Ramen Base Recipe from the Cookbook Simply Ramen | Fake Food Free


“You’re going to make ramen?” she said. The expression on her face made it impossible to hide her surprise. 

“I’m going to try,” I said with a laugh, both at her genuine surprise and at the idea that I might actually be successful. 

I was looking for kelp granules in a local Asian grocery and this kind woman stocking the shelves was trying to help me locate them. We never found them, but I left the market feeling the confidence that often results from a challenge.

Yes, I would make ramen.

I did make ramen.

I might even go back at some point and tell her about it. 

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German Sweet Christmas Bread

January 6, 2017
German Christmas Bread, Christbrot Recipe | Fake Food Free


It’s a rare for me to find one holiday recipe that I make over and over every year. I’m not against tradition, it’s just that there are so many candies, cakes, and cookies topping my favorites list that if I made each one, I’d have enough to last us right up until the next holiday season.

So I have to pick and choose. 

That has started to change a little bit, though, as we’ve traveled abroad over Christmas and I’ve discovered traditional foods of other countries. It began with Danish Butter Cookies after visiting Copenhagen. I’ve made them a whopping two years in a row and I don’t see them dropping off the list anytime soon. 

Since we’ve visited Austria and Germany at Christmas I’ve found a few favorites from there as well. Actually, my love of stollen started way back when I worked in a bakery and we used to make a modified version at the holidays. I’ve been searching for a good recipe ever since, but I end up running out of time to give it a try before the holiday hits. 

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Date and Bacon Tarts with Mascarpone and Hazelnuts + Savory Fig, Rosemary and Parmesan Cornmeal Cookies

December 22, 2016

These sweet and savory holiday party snacks pair well with the 2013 Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon I received from Cultivar Wine

Holiday Appetizer Recipes | Date and Bacon Tarts with Mascarpone and Hazelnuts + Savory Fig, Rosemary and Parmesan Cornmeal Cookies | Fake Food Free #freeproductreview

Tis the season for snacks and appetizers. At least that is what I’ve been telling myself as I’ve snacked my way through breakfast, lunch, and dinner the past week. I try to rotate a carrot or celery stick in every now and then, but who am I kidding. 

At this point, it’s best to cast dietary caution to the wind and enjoy some holiday food. And drink a little wine. 

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