Suzi's Blog

Bubbles and Bites on Valentine’s Day at Cooking by the Book


We invite you to come into our kitchen and share in creating a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.

At our Bubbles and Bites class everyone will enjoy a fully hands-on culinary experience, as couples work together to create their evening meal.

At this very romantic dinner guests will also enjoy the experience of tasting several different champagnes and sparkling wines paired with each dish.

Our inspiration for our Valentine’s Day dinner is James Peterson’s ultimate french cook book, Glorious French Food. ¬†

Our event will by on February 14th from 6:30PM to 9:00PM

The romantic menus includes:

  • Chicken Liver Pate Mousse
  • Roast Duck Breast on Red Cabbage Salad with Pistachios in a Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Individual Goat Cheese Souffl√©
  • Steamed Mussels in a Cream, Saffron & Mint Sauce
  • Simplest Chocolate Mousse


The cost for the event is $125/person and includes all beverages. To make a reservation for this event please go to:



Setting the Table: A Lovely Centerpiece for Your Holiday Table

People often bring things to a holiday party. For post-Thanksgiving party, Cynthia Beckman brought the centerpiece. It would be an vast understatement to say Cynthia is a decorating genius. It help, of course, that she simply loves making anything she is around beautiful.

Cynthia’s centerpiece concept here is elegant, rich, and simply. First, get some plastic wrap. Yes, plastic wrap. The evergreen branches you lie down can scratch a surface or leave residue that will drive you nuts. So, here’s the centerpiece plan:

  • Line the center strip of the table with plastic wrap
  • Top the plastic wrap with overlapping evergreen branches, ideally freshly cut and fragrant
  • Dot the branches with fruit for color contrast: apples, oranges, pomegranates, pears, …
  • Add pine cones, of course
  • If you wish, add some candles but be careful of placement and fire concerns with those branches

It all works. And, it’s portable. This dining room array for our Olive house went home the next day to New York City where it sits on a side buffet. Yes, we need to refresh the branches now and then but this easy yet stunning decoration will carry us through the holidays.