I was lucky enough to photograph the lovely Renee Kolhman - Star Pheonix's very own food writer and she happens to have a very cool blog called "sweet sugar bean."
Funny enough we met years ago following each other on instagram and by chance ended up meeting randomly in person when she worked at a local Cafe in Saskatoon. We've stayed in touch ever since.
She has a cookbook on the horizon filled with her very favorites… and I am soooo excited to share a little question and answer period ...as well as a delicious cookie recipe!
Images by A Photogenic Life
1. What gives you the most inspiration when entering the kitchen?
I’m inspired by so many things in the kitchen. Cookbooks, favourite blogs and magazines. A spice or specialty ingredient I picked up at the grocery store. When there is beautiful fruit in the summer, that’s a huge inspiration to me.
2.What made you decide you wanted to publish a cook book?
I was approached by the publisher (TouchWood Editions) in February and they told me if I ever wanted to write a cookbook I should contact them. And so I did! The timing is perfect for me to write the book I have plenty of recipes and stories I want to share. I think when you are an artist, be it in music, visual, literary or culinary arts you want your work to be seen, heard, read, appreciated and enjoyed by the public. For so many years I worked so hard in professional kitchens, never in a million years thinking that something like this would happen to me. So in a way, this book is my reward for long days, hard work and doing what I’ve always loved. The cookbook is essentially how I turned my passion for food into my life’s work. It will also be a great legacy for my family. I’ve included some of my favourite recipes that belong to my mom. I can’t wait for her to hold it in her hands.
3. Are you the type that has dessert for breakfast?
Yes, I am the type to have dessert for breakfast. In fact, the first chapter of my book is dedicated to it!
4. If you had to cook one things for the queen to try, what would it be?
I think the Queen would love some of my brown butter brownies.
5. What is the hardest and easiest things to work with in terms of ingredients?
Hardest ingredient to work with...Caramel can be tricky. You have to watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. Easiest ingredient...butter. It’s the base for everything delicious.
6. What is your go-to dessert when you need to make something delicious for guests?
My goto dessert would be a fruit crisp. It works beautifully with any seasonal fruit you have on hand, be it fresh or frozen. Topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, it’s pretty dreamy. Simple, straightforward and easy to throw together at the last minute, if you master one dessert, it should be a crisp. Besides, leftovers make a great breakfast.
7. What is your favorite kitchen tool?
My favorite kitchen tool would be the offset spatula. It’s great for spreading cake batters, icing cakes and squares, and lifting brownies out of the pan. Anytime you need a tool for getting in the corners, the offset spatula is it.
8. What lesson can you give for anyone learning to bake?
Just go ahead and try and don’t be afraid to mess up. Read the recipe from start to finish, and gather your ingredients before you start baking. And practice! I was always intimidated by making pie dough, so I just got better at it by baking lots of pies. And really, what’s the worst thing that could happen. It’s pie!
Chocolate Chipotle Ice Box Cookies
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup rye flour (or all purpose flour)
1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp pure vanilla
Demerara or other coarse sugar for rolling
In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cane sugar until fluffy and light. About 3 minutes. Add the egg white and vanilla. Scrape bowl and beat another minute. Add the dry ingredients and on slow speed mix just until combined. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Shape into disc and divide into two logs each about 8 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle coarse sugar on counter and roll logs in sugar until evenly coated. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hour or overnight. When ready to bake, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment and preheat oven to 350 *F. Slice each log into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange on cookie sheets and bake for 9 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.