I just love my new recipe book by Shaina Olmanson: Desserts in jars – 50 sweet treats that shine. Although it is Shaina Olmanson’s first published book, she is a well-known food blogger. Her blog Food for my Family is full of recipes and cooking tips for the busy moms like herself, because Shaina has four kids and a husband to satisfy with her cooking. I was intrigued by her cooking, blogging, family life and in the meanwhile also publishing a book. So I decided to give Shaina a call and find out how she juggles it all and how her book came about.
Desserts in jars is boasting with delicious and charming looking desserts served in jars. Some of the desserts are baked right in the jar, while others use the jar as a way to present the dish. Desserts in jars has been trending in the USA for some time now. Shaina explains why: “Desserts in jars are cute and work very well for gift giving or as party favours. They are easy to take to potlucks or picnics. No hazard of spilling, tilting and teetering. And you can use them over and over again. You can even use them as a votive.”
Shaina’s favourite desserts in jars are the Peach Raspberry Verrines (p 98) and the Sweet Corn Panna Cotta (p 87). The First because it’s fresh and light, not too sweet and summery. The second because it’s a homage to her hometown. “Dessert should be rich, and savoured and enjoyed. It should be all or nothing, so no low-fat dessert.”
Food for my Family
Shaina has been involved in cooking from an early age on when she was sitting on the counter in her grandmother’s kitchen, helping to bake cookies. When Shaina moved out of her parents house she started cooking herself. However, she noticed that all of her friends didn’t and were intimidated by cooking. They just popped things into the microwave or had heated food. This was an incentive for her to start journaling her recipes.
Shaina says that good cooking starts with good ingredients, produce, and cooking from scratch. She likes to use seasonal products, and gets a lot of her produce from the farmers market. Her inspiration comes from traveling around, the seasons, and by trying to make recipes her own. Her grandmother used to make this plum cake with Italian plums, but Shaina made it her own by altering it to ginger on baguette rounds. [continue reading after photo]
According to Shaina, the key of success in cooking for your family is to involve your kids in the whole process. She takes her kids shopping, involves them in gardening, and makes the cooking a family affair. “When they are involved they take ownership of the food, and they are more likely to eat and taste things. Talk to your kids about food, and get them excited about it”.
Desserts in Jars, 50 sweet treats that shine, Shaina Olmanson, The Harvard Common Press, June 2012, ISBN 9781558327986