Let Them Eat Cake!

This is Grace, my goddaughter and niece, our little dreamer girl who's been stealing hearts since day one. I don't know anyone who loves sugar more than Grace. If the amount of sugar consumed had a direct effect on the sweetness of the soul, Grace is proof in the pudding. She is one of the most loving, gracious people I know, big or small.

This week, Graced turned ten, and to celebrate the occasion, my mom made her famous chocolate cake, icing it in careless peeks and swirls as a band of little people (my best friends' kiddos) circled her kitchen in mischievous play. Watching mom carry the cake to Grace's spot at the head of the table, I remembered all the birthdays mom loved on me with that cake, and just how special it felt to sit in front of her layers crowned with glowing candle glory, and know the taste of what was to come -- love, in hefty chocolate portions. So despite my decade-long efforts to interest Grace in all things green and good-for-you, on her birthday, I wanted nothing more than to watch her enjoying her cake, and study the sweet mouths of the  little ones around the table (including Greta) when they got a taste of it too.

After all the years I've spent working with kids and nutrition, how do I feel about sweets for kids? Fill their bellies with wholesome foods each and every day. And on the most special of occasions ~ let them eat cake!

Happy Birthday, Gracie baby.



signed copies of The Newlywed Cookbook {+ free shipping for 4 days!}

I've waited too long to tell you about my darling cousin Allison Jagtiani, creator and founder of Goji Gourmet, a lovely line of all-natural, mostly organic cookies and sweets. She's a dynamite entrepreneur, and one smart cookie, so when she introduced me to Grace Kang, the creator of Pink Olive, an absolutely charming brick-and-mortor and now online boutique in New York City, I was thrilled. Even more thrilling was to find out the Pink Olive already carried The Newlywed Cookbook in Grace's Picks, her list of favorite new things. 

Pink Olive is absolutely loaded with whimsical goodies for happiness and home, and as of Monday, she'll be carrying signed copies of my books for anyone who needs that extra special touch for a sweet newlywed or bride-to-be. Pre-order now {order here!} through Tuesday, February 28, and enjoy 10% off and free shipping on orders over $50. There are plenty of sweet little whimsies to add to your order for any of your beloveds. 

Stay tuned for news about our event together in April! 

Thank you, Grace! 



Charleston Wine & Food Festival

I've told you all that I'm a southern girl at heart, right? And, if you have my new book, you might have noticed the shrimp-and-grits-spirit sprinkled throughout. It started long ago around Grandma Copeland's table in southern Missou-rah, which us Northerner's considered the south. There, I ate enough hot biscuits and sausage gravy, butter beans and cherry cobbler to make me an honorary G.R.I.T.S (Girls Raised in the South). But I got southern bug the first time I attended an oyster roast in Charleston about five years ago. I've been thinking about it ever since, so I'm headed back next weekend for a southern cooking fix and a good, long, overdue visit with one of my best girlfriends, Anjee, who recently made Charleston her home.

For anyone who grew up with even a little southern bone in their body, Charleston is a one sweet tea away from Heaven. Which is why I'm tickled pink (seriously) to be spending next weekend at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, signing books alongside Nathalie Dupree, the queen bee of Charleston cooking herself. 

Here's where you'll find me: 

Author Book Signing
Saturday, March 3, 1 to 2 PM
Sunday, March 4, 1 to 2 PM 
buy tickets here! 

Come on down, ya'll! I'd absolutely love to see you there. 



A Valentine's Resolution + Menu

{photo by Sara Remington}

"In the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give." 
John Lennon {a famous misquote} 

Last year, between raising a baby, renovating a house and preparing to launch a book, I felt like we hardly saw our friends. As is my busy nature, I usually launch into the new year, skipping resolutions and racing right toward the next big project. This year though, I made just one resolution—to make more time to spend with the people we love. And as soon as I said it, something started happening. Our pals Kirsten, Dario and their girls spent the whole first weekend of the year with us. My friend Erin moved to our neighborhood, and Carrie had a whole free weekend to come spend with us upstate. Jocelyn came from Philly for a Sunday and I got to rock her new baby boy. Two of my oldest girlfriends planned a trip from LA and I got not just one but three meals out with them this very week! I started taking weekends completely off {novel idea} to just hike and play and soak up every minute with sweet Greta and András. And, András and I moved Greta to a little jewel box nursery here at home, which means there’s more time for each other while she sleeps, too.

Right smack in the middle of this resolution, came the idea to host a virtual valentine’s party for the launch of my book. Which, of course, brought it’s own set of craziness and coordinating details. But with them, came this other amazing feeling of being a part of all these new and old friendships, of actually spending more time with the people I care about, of peering into their lives and learning from them.

I got a peek into Katie and Joe’s sweet marriage, three girls and 18-years deep, on Mom's Kitchen Handbook and shared my Two-for-Two Cheese Soufflé with them. I spent the day making Better Than Boxed Chocolate Cake with Nancie McDermott and felt in very good company that I’m still working on my wedding thank you notes! And I finally got to meet her sweet {"the sweetest man"} hubby, too!  I fell completely in love again with my own beloved, and charming almost-newlyweds Laken and Tyler over Grilled Lamb Chops and Melted Polenta at Farmhouse. I reconnected with my friend Tim Vidra, whose Etsy shop Behind The Screen Door supplied a few props for my book, and finally met his fiancé Mary, for whom he prepared a killer rendition of my Skillet Steak with Thyme Butter on his blog E.A.T.  I learned that sometimes you have to pick up and drive across country for love like Carolyn, from Spoonful of Cake, and bake your man a batch of Rise & Shine Muffins to help him get settled. 

I came to breakfast in my PJ’s with Tara, Topher and tiny Abigail for a stack of Multigrain Pancakes with Chocolate Shavings at Crumbs on My Keyboard and was reminded that though we can live life forever newlyweds, “It’s a real privilege, in fact, to graduate on to a love deeper from the sweet spot where you start.” And, since I never tire of chocolate pancakes, I enjoyed them again with Katie Hamm at Healthy and Happy Hour, who is getting married in October! Congrats Katie! I ate Seared Halibut with Coriander and Carrots with Luisa and James {at LucidFood}, my newest newlywed friends who live just a skip, hop and jump away from us in Brooklyn. I learned a clever new way to serve my Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding from Martha at CherrySpoon and enjoyed a chocolate hiatus with Maia at Dessertolicious, who made her hubby my Olive Oil Cake with Tangerine Marmalade. Sure, there were a lot of dishes {thank goodness for the grateful husbands!} but it was worth it for that full-heart-and-home feeling that’s surrounding us today.

Which brings me back to resolutions. I’m taking a moment to make another, a Valentine’s Day resolution which is this: To bring the spirit of loving and giving to another, be it my beloved, my babe or my bestest of friends, into everyday moments. To dote over another with a good meal. It need not be fancy or fussy, or even as ambitious as Just A Little Organic’s Suppa Club fete {they baked my Dowry Dinner Rolls, AND my Better-than-boxed Chocolate Cake on the same day!}. It can simply be a plate of Roasted Beets with Ricotta and Pistachios, a lunch for my love, like Elspeth from Diary of a Locavore made for hers this week. Or a perfect stack of 1000-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies  as cookie-queen Dorie Greenspan and the lovely Aida Mollenkamp both shared with their beloveds this week. In Aida's words, when we “strive to punctuate our lives with gatherings that involve lovingly-prepared, handcrafted food” there are rewards. Those rewards come in the form of friendship, feasting, and often, love.  

That, my friends, is the best part of Valentine’s Day, and the lingering {I hope} message of The Newlywed Cookbook.

With this meal, I thee love.



{gift guide} a few ideas for valentine's

          {photo by sara remington}

serve her breakfast in bed {dutch babies, the newlywed cookbook} ~  promise to keep her juice glass always half full {anthropologie}
melt her heart with this bashful lamb {abc carpet kids} ~ then go in for the kill with The Cheesemongers Kitchen, {chronicle books} and a wheel of stinky bliss {saxelby cheesemongers}
put your crush for him in print {luxe paperie} ~ and give him his fave on the rocks {vital, etsy}
serve her dinner with bronze {anthrolopologie} ~ then give her some gold {ariel gordon jewelry}
send her flowers that last {etsy} ~ spoon feed him pudding from pretty bowls {west elm}

this valentine's day, don't spend every dime, but do spend every minute with the one you adore.



{you're invited} The Newlywed Cookbook Valentine's Tour, and a Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

{photos by sara remington}

It's Thursday, which means there's still plenty of time to go out and buy loads and loads of bittersweet chocolate before the weekend. That's a very good thing, first, because it's February, the month of Valentine's! And second, it's the start of the official Valentine's launch party for my new book, The Newlywed Cookbook. And where there is a Valentine's party, there will be chocolate. 

Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I dream myself in an airy Soho loft, where I'd invite you all to come for slender slivers of my Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Smoked Sea Salt and a glass of pink champagne. We'd celebrate in high style, we would. But as I write from our snug new york city studio {we are newlyweds, after all}, it's hard to imagine more than two or three of you here at once. Still, our hearts are big and full of the love and joy that always precedes a feast among friends, so, feast we will!

For the next thirteen days, many talented writers, some old friends and many new ones, will be cooking from The Newlywed Cookbook,  sharing their story of food and love along with one of my recipes for you on their blogs! We, whether married two years or twelve years or not-yet-married-at-all, are toasting to the spirit of newlyweds ~ to the the joy and curiosity and abundant love that is at the heart of this book.

The menu, if I do say so myself, is quite delightful, and includes all the major valentines food groups. On it you'll find....
Rise and Shine Muffins ~ Oatmeal Yogurt Pancakes with Blackberry Crush ~ Ricotta Silver Dollar Pancakes ~ Multigrain Pancakes with Chocolate Shavings ~ Roasted Beets with Ricotta and Pistachios ~ Two-For-Two Cheese Souffle ~ Halibut with Coriander and Carrots  Grilled Lamb Chops with Melted Polenta Cast Iron Skillet Steak ~ Dowry Dinner Rolls Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding ~ 1000-Layer Chocolate CookiesOlive Oil Cake with Tangerine Marmalade
We invite you to come taste these recipes and hear the stories of these talented writers and friends here...
Dorie Greenspan ~ Diary of a Locavore ~  Aida Mollenkamp ~   Just A Little Organic E.A.T. ~ Mom's Kitchen Handbook ~ Spoonful of Cake ~ Nancie McDermott ~ Farmhouse ~ Lucid Food  ~ Crumbs On My Keyboard ~ Dessert-o-Licious ~ Dallas Food Nerd ~ The June Cleaver Blog ~ Cherryspoon ~ Healthy And Happy Hour
To show our love for our readers and hopefully inspire some loving feasts in your home, each of us will be giving away a copy of The Newlywed Cookbook to one lucky reader. Kindly leave me (and them) a comment and tell us your story of food and love for your chance to win.

Meanwhile, while I regret that I can't cook you my Bittersweet Chocolate Tart myself, I'm so happy to share the recipe with you. I promise that your skill-set in the pastry department is of no matter; this is one simple, sensational valentine's treat you and your love won't regret embarking upon. 

Come, bring your beloveds, bring your friends as we toast to love. May your hearts and tables be filled!

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Smoked Sea Salt
Despite its handsome finish, this tart couldn’t be easier. The crust gets its tenderness from sugar and melted butter, pressed in instead of rolled for ease. It is completely simple, and sinfully elegant. The flavor comes from the chocolate and the cream, so splurge on the highest quality of both you can find.  Your loved ones are worth it.

Serves 12
1/2 cup/115 g unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 cup/115 g all-purpose/plain flour

1/2 cup/120 ml heavy cream
1/2 cup/120 ml whole milk
2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
7 oz/200 g high-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped {1 heaping cup}
1 large egg, beaten
Smoked sea salt {optional}

Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180°C/gas 4.
Make the crust: Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and stir until it feels like damp sand. Press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of an 8-in/20-cm square or 9-in/ 23-cm round tart pan/flan tin with a removable bottom {which makes it much easier to remove the tart in one piece. If you don’t have a tart pan/flan tin, you can make this tart in a springform pan; press the dough evenly across the bottom and only about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 in/3 to 4 cm up the side of the pan}. Use wax/greaseproof paper or buttered fingers to even out and press the dough tightly into the corners. Prick the crust all over with a fork and chill in the fridge until ready to bake, about 30 minutes.

Set the pan on a baking sheet/tray and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Make the filling: While the crust bakes, bring the cream, milk, sugar, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for about 2 minutes, without stirring. Starting in the middle of the pan, whisk together until the chocolate is evenly melted and the mixture a smooth and a shiny dark brown.

Whisk the beaten egg into the chocolate filling and pour the filling directly into the hot crust. Decrease the oven to 300˚ F/150˚C/gas 2 and return the tart to the oven. Bake until the filling is set, but still a little wiggly in the center, about 12 to 15 minutes (temperatures vary from oven to oven, so the visual clue is more important than time}. Set your timer for 12 minutes. If it looks mostly set at that point, test it by opening the oven door a crack and carefully jiggle the tart pan/flan tin with the edge of your oven mitt. Only the center third should wobble. If it wobbles all the way to the edge, close the door quickly and continue baking about 2 to 3 minutes more.

Remove and cool the tart completely on a rack at room temperature. Just before the tart cools and sets completely, sprinkle a few large flakes of smoked salt on the surface, or leave plain.

Remove the tart from the pan sides and carefully transfer to a platter before serving. Let it cool just until it slices easily. It melts in your mouth when served slightly warm, with a dollop of crème fraiche, if you wish, for extra decadence. Or cool completely, and serve by itself. 

P.S. The deep, smoky flavor of smoked sea salt is a fine complement to the rich chocolate, but this tart is just as elegant with big flakes of white sea salt, or if you’re a chocolate purist, no salt at all. 
My photo
New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.