Craftsy Complete Guide to Baking Bread

I’m a bread baker, going back to the days when my mom first taught me to make her Croatian Easter Bread, and in more recent years focusing on breads in Zachary Golper’s fine Bien Cuit cookbook and Magnus Nilsson’s Nordic Baking Book. So in late 2021 when my husband said, “hey this class is massively on sale through Great Courses“, my first thought frankly was, “pffft, I already know how to make bread”. But ultimately I couldn’t resist a $30 online course, and purchased it. And I was glad I did, proving yet again there’s always something you can learn. (Photo credit above: Click here to read my review of this course.


Lemon Chicken Tagine

This lovely dish is based on one from a cooking class I took recently in Marrakech, Morocco with Urban Adventures. For the class we shopped in the medina for supplies, including getting our chickens fresh from the butcher, then went to a charming riad where we enjoyed mint tea, cooked, and chatted with fellow travelers. Incredibly easy to make at home and great for a dinner party, since it can be cooking away while you’re relaxing with your guests, hopefully with a glass of sweet mint tea at hand.

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Eating Across Morocco [and Spain] (2023)

Morocco had been on our list for awhile, and became a reality once we knew our Ronda-based bird guide and friend Álvaro Peral / Wild Andalucía offered a “Grand Morocco Birding Tour”. So in late February 2023, off we went, bookending the tour with visits to Spain – Madrid on the front end, and Sevilla, Ronda, and Toledo on the back end.

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MasterClass: Dominique Ansel Teaches French Pastry Fundamentals

I’ve been intrigued by the thought of French pastries since I was studying French at a local community college; my friend Bill in the class had taken culinary courses in Lyon, and he used to bring a lovely fruit tart each week to class. We would all ooh and ahh over it and he’d just say, “Ha, filling is easy, I’m working on crust, how is it?”. Well, it was always superb. But that was the impression of French pastry that stuck with me, that you won’t necessarily get it right on the first try, or even the second (or in the case of croissants, third, fourth, fifth…). (Photo credit above: Click here to read my review of DA’s course.

Eating Across Portugal (2022)

After over two years of trying to get to Portugal (with the trip planned four times…and cancelled), we finally made it there! Instead of cycling and birding, the original plan, we decided to be “regular tourists” – as much as we ever are – and get to some places missed on a prior trip. This meant going south to the Algarve, staying in Sagres (near Cabo de São Vicente, the farthest southwest point of Europe); the capital of Lisbon, including day trips to Évora in the Alentejo to the east, the beach towns of Cascais and Estoril to the west, and Sintra to the northwest; the university town of Coimbra; and Porto in the north.

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MasterClass: Roy Choi Teaches Intuitive Cooking

Once again I was derailed from taking a MasterClass by Madhur Jaffrey when a class by Roy Choi became available. I first heard about Roy Choi when he appeared on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” in Koreatown, Los Angeles. (Great episode for food, history, culture … highly recommend.) Choi’s Kogi food trucks figured in the episode, and the next time I was in LA, hubby and I with my mom in tow zeroed in on one of the trucks in Santa Monica for some Korean short rib bbq tacos. (Photo credit above: Click here to read my review of RC’s course.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

I make this marmalade once a year or so, depending on whether a friend returns from a Christmas visit with family in southern California with bags of lemons to give away. This is a recipe I had scribbled in a notebook that I’ve used forever, with a few tweaks. Sometimes I leave it just as lemon, other times I add some thin-skinned oranges; depends on how much fruit I have handy.

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Neapolitan New Year’s Eve

As 2021 drew to a close, I was happy to participate in a zoom class with Alfredo Cafasso Vitale (Instagram: @cookingwithalcavi, Email:, from Naples, preparing a Neapolitan New Year’s Eve menu. I have done a couple of classes with Alfredo after seeing him listed in Rick Steves’ Guides Marketplace. For this New Year’s Eve, we made a lovely Insalata di Rinforzo, a colorful salad with cauliflower, anchovies (stay with me…), olives, raisins, pine nuts, peppers, and pickled vegetables; and Pizza di Scarole, a stuffed pizza with escarole, capers, olives, pine nuts, and raisins.

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