As many of you know I love to cook, especially bake. It’s a skill I learned very young and I’m always looking to expand my culinary knowledge. So when Kathy Wakile announced she would be publishing some of her recipes for the magnificent bite sized treats she’s always showcasing on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, I made a note on my mental wish list. I mean, I have had this woman’s cannolis at more than one event and they literally are to die for!
The book, Indulge (St. Martin’s Press) recently released and the Wakiles, yes Richie is by his wife’s side every step of the way, are on a book tour. On September 11th they held a book signing event at Books and Greetings in Northvale, NJ. Kathy answered questions from fans and foodies, along with one nervous newlywed who claims she can’t cook beyond Easy Mac. Kathy assured her that there are recipes for cooks at every level in Indulge (which she wrote with Miriam Harris).
Broken into recipes by season, so that we can use the freshest and most abundant ingredients, Indulge is a treat in itself with vibrant photos of food and family. In the audience was Kathy’s own niece, who had driven over an hour to surprise her aunt who she fondly remembers with the 80’s big hair and a “lip phone”. As Kathy said to me, cooking for others is the fastest way to “make people happy.” I believe the beautifully bound Indulge will help bakers of all abilities make many people happy…but don’t go looking for the cannoli recipe…as sweet as Kathy is, she’s still smart about her business. Read on to find out what else she told me…
TBB: How many recipes are in the book?
KW: There are over 75 recipes in the book. I didn’t count them, but I know there’s over 75.
TBB: Which one is your absolute favorite and why?
KW: You know, that’s like asking me which on of my kids is my favorite (laughs). I’m only kidding! I think the lemon tiramisu or the lemon cheescake are really my favorites taste wise, just because I love lemon, but there’s a really sentimentel one, and it’s called Figs In a Basket. It has a lot of sentimental significance to me.
KW: …because the day after Rich and I got engaged my mother and father invited his family over for dinner. At that point our families didn’t know eachother really well and my parents spoke with an accent and his parents spoke with a different accent. After the dinner was over we all went out to the deck and my father presented my in-laws this big basket of figs and their eyes just lit up like “these people are just like us.” There was this mediterranean commonality. It meant so much. It was the best harvest we’ve ever had with the figs. After that (my father) planted (figs) in their yard too. It was just a really nice day.
TBB: How long did the process of writing Indulge take?
KW: Over a year, a long long year. It took a lot of time.
TBB: You have such a passion for baking, any cooking shows in the works?
KW: You never know, you never know! I am working on some things right now so we’ll see what happens!
TBB: What recipe should beginning bakers try first?
KW: I think the apple crumble is just the perfect thing for a beginner to do and if you don’t like apples and you want to substitute it with peach that will work too.
TBB: Have you been watching the new season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey?
KW: Yeah, I’ve been watching.
TBB: What are your feelings on the new cast members?
KW: I haven’t gotten a chance to get to know Amber (Marchese) too well, I only filmed with her a little bit but Nicole (Napolitano) and Teresa (Aprea) I got to know and I like them, they’re a lot of fun. I honestly think it’s hard when you’re invested in a previous cast and their families. It’s hard being the new kid on the block, being the new kid at school, and I feel for them because I was the new kid at school too but I think they’re a lot of fun.
TBB: I have to ask, has your other famous cookbook writing cousin congratulated you yet?
KW: No, no comment.
***Stay tuned to TBB as we will be testing one of Kathy’s recipes!…Ok probably more than one!