Updated 6-10-2012


Look at any recipe. Scan the list of ingredients. Study the method. Nowhere will you find the word "confidence."

Yet confidence is the essential quality that we bring to the kitchen, whether we’re cooking or baking, kneading or braising. It's the ability to trust our taste buds, our nose, our hands.

The trouble is, confidence isn’t always sitting there on the shelf waiting to be opened and measured. Confidence comes with experience, experimentation, repetition -- and from websites like this one.

Come on in -- it’ll be fun!

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Inside, I’ll show you how there’s more to rhubarb than you might imagine. For starters, rhubarb custard pie may be one of nature’s more perfect foods, but rhubarb also has a savory side. (Shrimp and rhubarb are a culinary marriage made in heaven.) My latest cookbook, "Rhubarb Renaissance," looks at this tart plant from appetizers through dessert. It’s rhubarb taken down the road less traveled by -- and that, well, you know what they say about making a difference.

Bread remains my first love, and led to my building a wood-fired brick oven about 10 years ago. My first cookbook, “Baking with the St. Paul Bread Club: Recipes, Tips and Stories” collects some of the best recipes from the best home bakers around.

I've been baking and cooking from the time my mom entrusted me with a wooden spoon, looking for a willing laborer to execute the "stirring constantly..." directions as the butterscotch pudding thickened on the stove. Growing up on a farm back in the 1960s, there always was a reason to baking cookies, cakes, pies and bars. 

Things didn’t always turn out the first time I tried them, but repetition bolstered my confidence, and confidence led me to corners of cookbooks and kitchen cupboards that still beckon today. Even better, confidence has no expiration date.

So come inside. Let’s make something delicious!