03/13/2012 03:06 EDT | Updated 05/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Emily Richards finds self-publishing latest cookbook more than a challenge

Writing a cookbook is in itself a challenge, but Emily Richards has found that self-publishing her latest book online has been a mountain to climb and a very tall one at that.

On the other hand, she is justifiably proud of early success in this relatively uncharted territory with the release of “Get In The Kitchen and Cook! Recipes for Family and Friends” (Blurb Inc., $35.95, paperback).

Richards holds a BA in food and nutrition from the University of Western Ontario and lives with her husband and three children in Guelph, Ont.

She became known for her television appearances on "Canadian Living Cooks," a daily television series which aired on Food Network Canada with former food editor Elizabeth Baird and Daphna Rabinovitch from the magazine’s test kitchen. She has written several cookbooks and works across Canada as a cooking teacher.

She had put together a manuscript for another cookbook and hoped to have it published in the usual way.

“I had about 250 new recipes to include in the manuscript only to discover that publishers were not producing these kinds of cookbooks any longer,” she says. “Their reason is they only want single-subject books like '200 Panini Recipes' or '300 Cupcake Recipes.'”

The other stumbling block she found is that with the popularity of television food shows, publishers want authors to piggy-back their appearances on such productions with any cookbooks they write.

“I do a lot of online cooking videos now and I am finding more people are downloading those to their iPads or smartphones.”

She says because of all the pressure of working on the new book and “a lot of late-night work after the kids are in bed I don't think I would self-publish again.”

And it isn't worth mortgaging the family home either, she adds with a chuckle.

The book, with its original recipes created by Richards and photographs by her and her husband James, covers everything from appetizers to desserts.

Here from her repertoire (Italian is definitely a specialty) is a recipe for Pizza Panini. If you have a panini press that’s great, but you can use a skillet as well.

Pizza Panini

50 ml (1/4 cup) pizza or pasta sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) sun-dried tomato pesto

2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried oregano leaves

8 slices olive bread (each 1 cm/1/2 inch thick)

4 slices smoked mozzarella or provolone

90 g (3 oz) thinly sliced prosciutto

1 small red pepper, thinly sliced

8 fresh basil leaves (optional)

15 ml (1 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, stir together pizza sauce with pesto and oregano. Spread over bread slices.

Top 4 of the bread slices with a slice of cheese, then place prosciutto on top and sprinkle with red pepper. Top each with 2 basil leaves, if using, and then place remaining slices of bread on top of each sandwich.

Brush outside of bread with olive oil and place in panini press or non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook for about 6 minutes, turning once, or until both sides are golden crisp.

Makes 4 servings.



To learn more about Richards, visit or follow her on Twitter (at)ERiscooking.