Friday, May 29, 2015

South Meets North in Hell's Kitchen

Hell's Kitchen is home to Donna Bell's Bake Shop with its Southern style baking. For Mother's Day I received the new cook book Donna Bell's Bake Shop: Recipes and Stories of Family, Friends and Food.  The recipes, each with a photo, will bring on a bad case of sugar craving and an itching to get into the kitchen. (Or a sudden desire to visit New York City.)

The bake shop was started and is owned by friends Pauley Perrette, Darren Greenblatt, and Matthew Sandusky. The store name honors Pauley's mother Donna. "Cooking and baking down South were a part of every day and every experience," Pauley writes.

Essays by the three friends are interspersed between the recipes. We learn about Pauley's family, her career, and the friends she made along the way.

Darren Greenblatt grew up in Philadelphia and was designing jewelry when he meet Pauley in New York City. "I felt like I had found my long lost sister," he writes. Meeting Donna he helped her in her kitchen and became obsessed with Southern cooking. Matthew Sandusky came from Pittsburgh and meet Pauley in LA where she was breaking into acting. Each of the friends sacrificed something to make the bake shop become a reality. It is a labor of love.

Pauley Perrette is one of the most recognized and beloved media figures in America. She plays Abby Sciuto in the television show NCIS. I first watched NCIS when my dad was in the hospital during his last months and I was staying across state to be with Dad. At the end of the day my brother and I would go back to Dad's house and chill out watching NCIS reruns. After dad's passing I returned home and introduced my husband to the show.

Recipes include biscuits, muffins and scones, quick breads, bread pudding, bar cookies, cookies and cakes. Some that I can't wait to try include:

  • Hummingbird Bread Pudding with Cream Cheese Glaze made with crushed pineapple and coconut
  • Champagne Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting, yes it uses champagne
  • Cranberry White Chocolate Rise Krispies Treats; this is not your kiddie's cookie
  • Strawberry Scones with Lemon Glaze, yum!
The book from Simon and Schuster can be found in hard cover at your local bookstore or online shop.