Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TWD - Gingerbread Baby Cakes

Holy black pepper! These cakes are like crack! Have you ever had crack? Well I haven't, but I understand it's really addicting, so I believe these cakes should be called crack cakes. That is how good they are.

I love crack...cakes!

Crack cakes have a cute little wrapper.

I've seen too many recipes, had too many desserts that fall short of the punch. When you say you are a lemon tart, please, please taste like lemon and have a little kick. If you are going to claim to have some ginger in you, then I better feel like I'm on Gilligan's Island!

These little lovelies, they do the trick. There's powdered ginger, fresh ginger and (wait for it) black pepper!

I am going to be putting black pepper in a few more sweet dishes from now on.

You all would be proud of me too, I only changed up the recipe a smidge and that was on the recommendation of the many other TWD'ers. There was much chatter about the molasses being overwhelming and this recipe called for 2 cups. That is a lot. So I subbed half the molasses with corn syrup and I believe that was the right call, it allowed the other flavors to come through nicely.

Oh and the texture of these genius bombs are somewhat like a brownie...isn't that crazy?

A ginger brownie.

It's a little christmas miracle.

Crack cakes also come in snowflake shapes.

Karen's Kichen Stories is this week's host. She has some nice pictures. Staging and all, I have my cooling rack that appears in 99.9% of my pictures. It's a nice rack though.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TWD - Best Ever Brownies

That's the actual title of the brownies. Now, I haven't eaten one yet, so I reserve judgement until the end of this post when I've finally consumed one. But what I can tell you right now is that these are the most hippest brownies, ever.

How are they so hip you ask? Well just check these babies out! They are chevron patterned and anyone in the hippest squares know that chevron is every where (you really notice this if you have to visit a Target and that means it must be hip.)

Too hip
Now how did I make this hippness? I took a tour around my pantry and found a few items that screamed "put me in your brownies now!" Said items were coconut cream and Speculoos. Double take, what's Speculoos? Trader Joe's, my friend, introduced me to this peanut butter looking stuff that is made out of ground cookies. It's crazy! And crazy good. Instead of peanut butter, it's cookie butter. I love butter.

I subbed out 1/4 of the butter in the recipe for coconut cream and then mixed 4ish tablespoons of the Speculoos in with about 4 tablespoons of some more coconut cream, melted it, spooned it on top and then swizzled with a knife. Tada, chevron!

It really smells good. Really, super, really.

Here's the recipe in all it's original best-everness hosted by A Beautiful Mess.

Just had a piece, I think I need to test the rest of the pan before I can make my judgement. I don't take these things lightly (neither does my scale).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TWD - Buttermilk Crumb Muffins

Radio silence. I know, that's what I've been broadcasting these last few weeks. I just didn't have anything to say. Without a TWD to write about, I just couldn't write.

A friend of mine yesterday told me that men's minds are like waffles and women's are like spaghetti. (I think it's a book.) Now, I don't usually prescribe to these types of metaphors, but spaghetti did seem to fit. I think it's something about how everything I think or feel gets involved in everything I do. So I've been kind of empty thus I had nothing to write about.

It is was it is.

Ok, no more.

So I have to say these muffins give me hope. I plan on them being my supper followed by a chaser of tomato juice. I need to have a balanced meal, right?

Muffins for dinner, emptiness, this is sounding a little Lifetime. Ah geez and I did watch a sappy movie with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant on Lifetime yesterday. This really isn't good.

Well I just pulled them out of the oven, hope gone. They have little sink holes in them. Is that another metaphor?

Maybe those holes are supposed to be filled with cream cheese?

Now I can't see the sink holes.

I think I'll order some delivery instead, how about spaghetti?

Easier Than Pie used the exact same pan as I did and no sink holes. Geez, it is a metaphor. Well the recipe is listed on their site, maybe make the muffins yourself and see what it says about your life.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

TWD - Bagels

Have you ever done distracted baking? Not the baking that you do to distract you from your woes, but baked or cooked while distracted because you had to. Maybe it was because you couldn't or shouldn't go out to eat again and should use that box of spinach that you picked up at the large wholesale bonanza store. Or baked because you have been neglecting your promise to the TWD group and you can't ask your sister to bake again because that would be wrong and you should save those favors for important things like kidneys or get out of jail cards.

Well I have been baking distracted. My poor, poor bagels. I barely read the recipe, couldn't have the patience to let them rise and my punches were weak.

These bagels didn't get the love that they should've and to top it all I also tweaked the recipe. So not much brain power went into my tweaking either. I switched out the sugar for malt and honey and added pumpkin spice instead of the black pepper. It sounds good, but I didn't really pay attention if those changes would suffice.

They didn't.

I know, just follow the recipe and you wouldn't have to worry about sad bagels.

sad, sad bagel

There's this song called "Sad Robot". This might describe my bagels. Sad, sad bagels.

But on an unrelated note, I am now the proud owner of green jeans. And not just green, but skinny, green jeans. Look out world, here comes Misses Green Jeans and her bagel top!

Where's the holes?

I'm sorry bagels, you got more love at Heather's Bytes I think.

So why am I distracted, it's a little thing called life. Sometimes it's just distracting for no good reason.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TWD - Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Loaf

How do you bake bread in a hotel room with only a microwave and mini fridge? I can poach salmon in my coffee maker. Or make a nice grilled cheese with my iron. And it seems if I had thought to bring my rice cooker I could have made some outstanding meals!

I did try, I purchased a toaster/convection oven thinking that I could do a lot of things with it and I could have if I hadn't chickened out and thought that I would get in trouble with the hotel. And I think I would have. It's not safe to bake in your hotel room, do you hear me, not safe at all even if it's for the goodness of the blog. So next best thing...call my sister and ask if she would bake it for me and send me pictures and tell me her thoughts.

"Sister would you please take many hours out of your already busy life and make some bread for me so I can tell the world about it? Please, I know you will love the recipe! And you are a master bread maker and please?"

Thanks sister :)

Well her verdict, the recipe took two days! And it didn't taste that good! And she didn't mind because she's a good sister.

Thanks sister :)

Yes, it was a long recipe and with all the great sounding ingredients, it just wasn't a home run for her or her husband. She couldn't taste the pumpkin, only the cranberries and raisins. She said it smelled great while baking, but just didn't cut the mustard even when it was generously slathered with butter. (Don't know why she used mustard in the recipe.)

Well shucks. My sister is a master break maker so I know it wasn't her. I was sure this recipe would be a winner, now I feel sorta bad for asking her to work on it. Well only sorta, she is my big sister and I'm sure there is something that she did to me when I was young that this is pay back for ;)

Thanks sister :)

It's cute though.

Now you readers scamper on over to This Bountiful Backyard and Heather's Bytes to find out the true meaning of Christmas - wait I mean the recipe to this bread.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Magic and microwave brittle

Well I have something very awesome to share...I have a theme song! A song that was made for little ol' me. How, you ask? Well, I made him brittle and he made me a song. (That sounds romantic, but it wasn't. My husband has made a song for me though, that I won't share because it's mine and mine alone.)

So this theme song is pretty cool. He read my blog and ate my brittle and put it all into a little instrumental.

Hit it Paul!

Nice, huh? I thought so. Thanks Paul, you are too cool.

Now on to fancy pants stew. I don't really have a recipe for that. It's more of a story about my mom. My mom makes brittle for every Christmas and she makes it in the microwave. I know some of you have heard of this and I'll share a recipe below. But the really cool thing is my mom made this when microwaves weren't in every home and if they were you mostly just reheated your coffee or something. Another cool thing about my mom is she's Vietnamese (my dad's Kansas) and she still made brittle even though she didn't have that growing up. She learned how to make it because, I suspect, one day at work someone was talking about making some candy in the microwave and she remembered it, then she came home and did it. And it was amazing, it was the best tasting brittle I'd ever had. She didn't use thermometers, she didn't know anything about hard crack stage or microwave wattages...she had heard someone describe the process and she maybe had a piece. An that was it. This is her magic.

Another example of her magic is when we'd go into a restaurant and we'd all have a nice meal. Someone would comment about the stew and how good it was and the next day my mom would whip out this bowl and it would be the same stew. She'd had figured out what was exactly in that stew just from a few tastes. Even when the name gave no indication what was in it, it could have been called fancy pants stew or something. But somehow she knew. That is magic.

I don't have that kind of magic. But I do have her and she showed me how to make brittle. That's pretty good.

Microwave Peanut Brittle
Adapted from my mom

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ cups raw Spanish peanuts with skins
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Spray a metal cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Combine sugar, corn syrup and peanuts in a 2 quart glass bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir and continue microwaving on high 3 minutes more, then stir in butter and vanilla and microwave for 2 more minutes.
  2. Finally stir in baking soda and salt until just mixed. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread thin with a large spatula or metal spoon (sprayed with non-stick spray). Cool completely then break into pieces and serve.

Be very careful, melted sugar is hotter than the surface of the sun. It will burn. This I know.

So microwaves vary and you might need to adjust times to better fit your microwave. You are trying to reach hard crack stage. Here's a nice site describing how to test for that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TWD - Whole Wheat Loaves

Turns out I'm kind of lazy and that I get overwhelmed easily. Luckily I've made this bread before so my laziness and being easily overwhelmed doesn't really affect this week's post. Oh ya, I have memory problems too. I think it was one of the first recipes I made out of the book sometime last year, but I only think that because when I went to take a gander at the recipe, someone (probably me) had wrote "good" next to the title.

So now I'm going to go look for some pictures and try to see if I have any other thoughts or memories that pop up so I can say something else about this loaf of bread.

Found one!

Boy they do look good!

According to the date on the picture, I made these bad boys on January 8, 2012. That's clearly not last year but I do still think they where some of the first recipes I had made. In the same picture folder are some brioche loaves. I do remember those because they were a pain in the ass to make! Later the brioche became bread pudding and that was some dang good bread pudding.

Those are some fancy, granny rolls.

So going on the "good" statement I'm going to recommend you try these out. I don't write "good" on just anything (I don't think anyway, hard to tell since I really can't remember). The recipe calls for malt extract and I'm pretty sure I used a one-to-one exchange of molasses instead, because until yesterday I've never owned malt. And once again, "good" means the molasses must have worked out.

Veggie num num and The Family That Bakes Together can provide a much better synopsis of this bread. I think aroma was mentioned and some other niceties that probably make this recipe actually sound more appealing than just "good".

See? Good.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

TWD - Sugar Plum Chiffon Cake

Sugar plums are dancing in my head. They are kind of like the dancing hippos in Fantasia. Round with little tutus. The plums don't have faces (makes it easier to eat) and they just twirl and twirl. There might be something wrong with me.

Moving on...

Sugar plums are dancing in your head now.

So the cake for this TWD installment was supposed to be a Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake with a streusel layer made up of almonds, oats and brown sugar. I strayed a bit. I did what I promised and followed the recipe exactly for the last TWD, so now I have given myself carte blanche. I had been baking with peaches/nectarines a lot lately and were a bit tired of them. And then I started having the sugar plum dreams and what could I do? Sugar plum cake! I just traded out the brown sugar and nectarines for white sugar and some large black plums. I left out the struesel layer because it didn't sound like it fit. Others posted that they weren't very enamored with it either.

Dollops of happiness.

I've also been making mascarpone and added a little dollop of mascarpone icing to each slice. It's good. I ate it for breakfast. Not the whole thing, just a slice. But if I were actually in my dream...I'd eat the whole thing and follow it up with some bacon. Why not, I'm getting exercise chasing the sugar plums so I can make another cake. It all works out. Oh ya, in my dreams my skinny jeans fit too. Stupid person for inventing skinny jeans.

I think I just saw a plum roll by on a bicycle outside my window.

I think my jeans are too tight...and they aren't even skinny.

I hope this week's host's jeans are tight too. I don't think they properly enjoyed the cake if they aren't.

The Little French Bakery http://littlefrenchbakery.com/nectarine-upside-down-chiffon-cake/

The Double Trouble Kitchen http://thedoubletroublekitchen.com/2012/09/04/twd-nectarine-upside-down-chiffon-cake/

Here's a picture of a cake I did the other day. Since my last post didn't have any pictures, I thought I would up the picture quota.

Vanilla buttermilk cake with caramelized peaches and mascarpone icing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Banana Squash Bread with Mascarpone Icing and Salted Walnuts

I forgot to take pictures. Yes, it's the ultimate no-no for blogging about food. I'm sorry, I was in a rush, it was late and then they were gone. Whisked away to my husband's office. But if I could just describe them for you, just maybe you'll get the picture.


"They were brown, little squares of soft bread flecked with spices generally reserved for the fall. Allspice, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. Freshly ground to make that ubiquitous pumpkin pie spice. A beautiful, yellow squash (from a co-worker) finely grated and mixed with slightly over-ripped bananas made the heart of this bread. It was carelessly topped with a homemade mascarpone cheese blended with a bit of sugar and vanilla. Then on top of it all, just to make it more than you should even tempt, where broken bits of walnuts toasted in butter and then salted."

Can you see it? Can you taste it?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I gave you 94, it'll have to do.

Even though no picture, I still feel I should share the recipe. Maybe when you make them, you can take a picture and send it to me?

Banana Squash Bread with Mascarpone Icing

26 muffins, adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard.

  • 3½ cups sifted flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup rum
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • large yellow squash, grated (bananas and squash together equal 15 oz)
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, butter toasted and chopped (optional)*

1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess. Or line 36 muffin tins with wrappers.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees for loan pans).

3. Sift all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, rum. Finally mix in the banana, squash and nuts (if using).

5. Bake the muffins 15 - 18 mins or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Bake the loaf pans 1 hour or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrap
ped, at room temperature. Takes well to being frozen, too.

*For 1 cup of nuts, I used about 2 tbl of butter and a generous pinch of salt. I was going for the saltiness of peanuts out of a can. Just heat the butter and nuts over medium heat, tossing frequently for about 5 minutes. Just before pouring out of the pan toss in a few pinches of salt. Let cool before placing on top of bread.

Mascarpone Icing

I made mascarpone (store bought can be used also) and the recipe can be found here: http://www.darcyeden.com/posts/2012/3/4/homemade-mascarpone.html?lastPage=true&postSubmitted=true

  • 8 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 - 2 tbl heavy cream or half and half

Mix mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add 1 tbl at a time of the cream or half and half until you have a spreadable consistency.

Spread on cooled bread and top with nuts.

*This is a very forgiving recipe, use more sugar if you want it sweeter or less if you want it tangier.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TWD - Popovers

Well...what to say...popovers, ya. Oh, I did as I promised and followed the recipe. Well, I did not change the ingredients. I did change up the preparation just a smidge. Nothing too crazy, but I forgot to pull out my eggs before I started and they are supposed to be room temp. So I heated the milk and eggs together, but in my defense I had read that that helps them pop and oh did mine pop! I was pretty excited about them. I hadn't made popovers before, so I was 50/50 on the achievement of success. But success I achieved!

pop goes the popover

So when I pulled those beauties out of the oven and proceeded to crack one open, I looked inside and thought what happened? Where did the guts go? Well no guts, no glory. I was not enthralled with these. Apparently they are supposed to be slightly hollow, but where's the flavor? I ask you, please, tell me where is the flavor?

Maybe you could give this recipe a shot and tell me if yours have flavor?

Vintage Kitchen Notes http://www.vintagekitchennotes.blogspot.com/2012/08/popovers-twd.html

Bake with Amy http://bakewithamy.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/tuesdays-with-dorie-popovers/

Sorry for the short post, I'm sleepy.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Favorite Cookie

Nope, not chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin. It's not sugar cookies or snickerdoodles. It's a palmier. Yes, the palmier. Not easily found in the stores or bakeries or anywhere really, but it's the one.

Before when I was asked  the question if I was on a deserted island what would be the one food I wanted...I would state supreme pizza. It has a variety of toppings that I can choose to eat or not eat so that I don't get tired of the same food and I get a better balance of nutrition. If I'm ever at the pizza joint, I never, ever order a supreme. I don't like them, on a deserted island it's practical though.

Oh how I love thee.

But oh the palmier, it makes me want to throw practicality out the window! I know I wouldn't last as long on that deserted island, but it sure would be pleasant week.

Have you ever had one? No? Then quickly, quickly make these recipes below. If you have had one then quickly, quickly make these recipes below and have another.

We could share these together on a deserted island and I promise when we run out I won't eat you....maybe.

You, me, deserted island...be there in 10.

Fast and Easy Puff Pastry Dough
(It really is fast and easy, no need to use store bought...really!)
slightly adapted from http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/fast-and-easy-puff-pastry-recipe

  • 2 cups  All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pats
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (honey yogurt works very well also)
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter, working it in to make a coarse/crumbly mixture. Leave most of the butter in large, pea-sized pieces.
Stir in the yogurt; the dough won't be cohesive. Turn it out onto a floured work surface, and bring it together with a few quick kneads and pat the dough into a rough log, and roll it into an 8" x 10" rectangle.
Dust both sides of the dough with flour, and starting with a shorter end, fold it in three like a business letter.
Flip the dough over, give it a 90° turn on your work surface, and roll it into an 8" x 10" rectangle. Fold it in three again. Then chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before using. 
Freeze dough for prolonged storage, up to 2 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Fast and Easy Puff Pastry
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and make sure your rack is in the center of the oven.

Mix the salt and sugar. Pour half the sugar mixture onto a work surface and spread out slightly larger than your dough. Place the chilled dough on top of the sugar. Roll out the dough to about an 8 x 10 rectangle then pour the rest of the sugar mixture on top. Spread the sugar out until it covers the dough. Roll the dough out until it is about a 13 x 18 rectangle. Your goal is to press the sugar into the dough. Trim the edges so that you have a clean rectangle. Finally take the two shorter edges and roll in towards each other until they meet in the center. If you look at the end you should see the shape of the palmier. Next, with a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into 3/4 inch slices and lay them down on their cut side on parchment (or silpat) lined baking sheets. Place one pan in the fridge.

Bake the other pan of palmiers for 11 minutes and then turn each palmier over and continue baking for another 5 minutes (at this time pull the other pan out of the fridge). At the end of the second baking they should be golden brown. Immediately remove the palmiers from the pan onto a baking rack and let cool. Bake the second pan just like the first.

For step-by-step photos, check out Joy the Baker's photos. She does a dazzling job of showing you how to roll the palmiers!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Band Wagons and Kale

There was this bandwagon I saw the other day, it drove right past. Then a few days later I saw it again. And just the other day...one more time...right by. What bandwagon you ask? Well the kale chip bandwagon of course. Don't tell me you didn't see it zoom by? Maybe you jumped on. Maybe you were like kale chips, who are we kidding? It's kale, there's only one vegetable that can be properly called a chip. Even if you are in England, chips are still made of potatoes.

But you know when this bandwagon took another turn down pass my driveway, I jumped on. What the heck, I was at the farmer's market and needed to buy something so they would let me come back and I grabbed the kale. Never had it before, but the pressure of the surrounding healthy folks made me do it.

So there I had on my counter. Kale. Didn't know what it tasted like. I needed to do something good with it because it was kind of pricey...and then honk, honk. "What's that I hear?"

Bandwagon, "Kale chips, they are delicious and nutritious and you'll never want another potato chip again!"

Me, "Well I'm pretty sure that's not true, but what the heck, I've got kale and I'm hungry."

Well my little ride on the bandwagon was pretty good, it was salty and crispy and well, tasty. I guess some bandwagons are worth the ride even if they do cost more than a bag of chips.

crunch, crunch, crunch

Kale Chips

Adapted from every single kale chip recipe online

1 bunch of kale, washed

1 - 2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Removed the stems of the kale with scissors and cut the leaves into bit size pieces. Tos kale with olive oil and salt in a bowl then spread kale on a baking tray, try to give each piece it's space. You may need to use two baking pans.

Bake kale for 15 - 20 mins or until the kale just turns slightly brown and is crispy. Remove from oven and wait a minute or two and enjoy.

Will stay crispy for a day or two if you haven't eaten them all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

TWD - Riesling Poached Apricot Marzipan Tartlets

Ok, I promise, pinky promise that the next TWD recipe I will follow to a T! I swear it! What is the next one...popovers...sure I can do that, I can make a recipe and not tinker with it or completely change it up so that it's not even recognizable. Sure.

Now let me explain. I didn't do the galette because last TWD I did a galette (mini galettes). I send my baked goods to work with my husband and there are about 50 or so employees and I just want to make it easy for each or as many as possible to enjoy a bite. I know it's easy to cut up a pie or a galette, but come on who cuts it up equally so that you can have 50 pieces. Ok, that doesn't make sense, but you see what I'm getting at, right?

And since I did mini galettes last week I needed to do something different this week. So I went back to pie/tart shape. I think this is technically a tart dough, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

But maybe you are asking why did I do tartlettes this week, when I could have done them last week and did mini galettes this week and followed closer to the recipe, huh? The answer: I dunno. Moving on.

As for using apricots and marzipan and not mixed berries, well I did not realize but berry season is long gone  here at the base of the rockies. So dried apricots and marzipan from the cupboard made sense. Plus I had a wee bit of riesling that needed to be used up. So toss some sugar, cardamom pods, crushed vanilla beans and the riesling in the pot with the apricots and tada!

Vintage year

Now this week I did use the dough recipe. My recipe from last week is the foolproof pie dough from Cook's Illustrated. I LOVE IT! It's so freakin tasty and easy to throw together, it's supper, dupper flaky and is just great to eat, but kind of hard to work with. This week's recipe is super easy to work with, the cornmeal is fun and it's nice and sturdy and it tastes good too. I think I shall add it to my repertoire.

To see this magical recipe, go here and here and then here. (That last one was just for fun.)

Even though this wasn't a 2 am genius moment, I think I'll still call Martha and tell her about these.

Adorable, right?

And they are really the cutest things ever, well almost.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TWD - Honey Nectarine Galettes

This time I'm going to actually talk about the recipe. No shoe mysteries or what mischief I might have gotten into last Tuesday with the authorities. None of that! This is all recipe.

Now I do reserve the right to talk about any recipe, so we will be discussing biscotti, bibimbap and galettes.

So I don't think I conveyed how much I loved the biscotti recipe or rather the idea of it in my biscotti post. I, of course, didn't follow the recipe. Instead I used ginger and black sesame seeds and I felt this opened up a whole new world of possibilities! I made walnut and brown butter biscotti, almond and candied ginger biscotti, banana bread biscotti and wrote down recipes for ginger molasses biscotti and many others I can't even remember now. I was crazy over biscotti. I had even started the planning for sales at the holidays. I was going to be rich. Still might, but probably not over the biscotti. I loved it. But the love quickly faded. I now love bibimbap.

What? How? What the what? I transitioned from complete lovedom of a crunchy, better dunkin' than a donut cookie to a Koren rice dish. Well I'm fickle. (BTW that's the name of my brittle that I sell during the holidays, I'll tell you all about it sometime.)

So fun to say and even more fun to eat.
Bibimbap is the mac 'n cheese of the Korean world (I mean comfort food-wise, not the nutritional equivalent). And it only took one bite for me to fall in love with the idea. Not so much the actual dish that I took a bite of but nonetheless this is how I work. It's so easy, just cook up some rice, saute some spinach and a few other veggies that please you and add some fermented chili sauce and an egg. It's awesomely delicious and I would like to think healthy. I implore you to try it, either at some Korean joint or in your kitchen. If you want to be really adventurous, pick up some quail eggs at the Asian store too. You will be going to the Asian store because that's the only place you'll get fermented chili paste (Gochujang - you really want some now don't you). And while your there, pick up some of these little gelatin things for desert. They're Vietnamese, but come on think multi-cultural!

Ok, now galettes. I woke up at 2 in the morning (my standard idea time) and thought about how instead of a pie, that I should make little tiny galettes with honey and tarragon and nectarines and dried blueberries. I completely went 180 with this recipe. Well more like 140, I don't know. I don't do math.

Now, before we go further...let's take a look at the actual recipe and what these lovely folks did:

Here's "That Skinny Chick Can Bake", Liz's pie and the recipe. And our other host, "Manchego's Kitchen, I Just Cook Here", Hilary's pie and the recipe.

I didn't use the pie crust recipe, I didn't use fresh blueberries, I didn't use sugar and I didn't make a pie. BUT I did use the nectarines so it counts.

iPad for scale only, I don't generally serve food on it or use it as a table...much.

And if every one of my 2 am ideas ends up like this...then Mensa you missed out on this genius! Tarragon and honey and dried blueberries and nectarines and topped with a little lemon glaze are brilliant. BRILLANT! Even if I can't spell brilliant, these mini galettes are.

Update 8/1/2012 - So I send my weekly baked goods (including TWD goods) to my husbands office. Let's face it, I can't keep that many things at home while being at home most of the day. Even if I wasn't home, I would be driving around trying to get home so that I could eat those said things. So off they go, out the door to willing or not so willing folks. Well I guess they are willing because I just received flowers from his office saying Thank You! That is awesome. Thank you for making my day :)

Thanks :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TWD - Semolina Bread

A day late, a dollar short....

At least I baked the bread on Tuesday. That's something. Truthfully, I had time last night to blog about it. I had my pictures, but I was in no mood to write. And if I did, it would not have been a pretty post for you, for me or for my husband. Enough said.

But today is a new day. Didn't start out particularly awesome. Two out of the four household members managed to create some epic messes that needed special odor eliminating cleaners. Once again, enough said.

So right now we will push the reset button. Click. And here we go.

So tasty, Father Time you are a genius.

Semonlina bread, that's some nice stuff. I have a tendency to shy away from anything that takes so long to proof/rise/cure/ferment because...well I'm impatient. But as I push forward in this culinary adventure I have learned that time makes for some dang tasty stuff. This semolina bread is a nice example. I also made my own yogurt the other day (I guess it'll always be my own. I could just say I made yogurt). Once again, time rewards.

Pickles! I forgot about the pickles. They were quick pickles, but you do have to wait 24 hours before eating them. So maybe I've made it over the hump (haha today is hump day) and now have the patience of a sloth. That doesn't sound so good. Well they are cute.

Quick! Pickles!

Here are this week's host. I haven't had a chance to read both, but I will! So you go over and take a look and I'll go over and take a look and then we can compare notes.

Keep it Luce and The Way to My Family's Heart

Oh, I do have one comment. The bread is salty, but if you dip it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar you'll think you've just eaten at a twelve star restaurant. If you plan on eating it sans dip, then only use half the amount of salt. It's probably better for you anyway.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TWD - Ginger Black Sesame Biscotti

Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone
I hear you call my name
And it feels like home....

So I've just accomplished two things with that little bit of lyric. One: you are now singing Madonna and two: I've just described what my shoes went through earlier.

So let's all sing together for a bit...

When you call my name it's like a little prayer
I'm down on my knees, I wanna take you there
In the midnight hour I can feel your power
Just like a prayer you know I'll take you there

I hear your voice, it's like an angel sighing
I have no choice, I hear your voice
Feels like flying
I close my eyes, oh God I think I'm falling
Out of the sky, I close my eyes

Awesome, we sounded great. Let's do this again...soon.

Now the shoes. I lost two hours today and my shoes. No, Not like that. There was no secret sauce or ripple tipple involved, I was actually making fondant with my niece (hi Jamie!)...I guess when you enter fondant land anything is bound to happen. So remember that and go cautiously into the sugar. I swear that when I started making fondant I had on shoes and it was like 5 o'clock. Then when we were done I looked down and my shoes where gone and two hours had slipped by. I started looking around, calling for the shoes. Everyone was looking for them, the tiniest of people looked under the couch and the tallest of us asking the tiny ones to look under the couch again.

So life is a mystery, because I don't know how I lost my shoes. Everyone stands alone, because shoe loss only affects the loser and when the shoes hear their name being called they know they have a home.

Ginger and Black Sesame Seed Biscotti

Oh ya, I made some biscotti too. It was easy and did not enter into the Madonna equation except that maybe it's a mystery because it's a biscotti made with ginger and black sesame. Ingredients solely used because I was in an Asian store and thought, I, of course would find some great ingredients for an Italian cookie. Life is a mystery.

Later I stopped by a non Asian store and picked up pecans and cinnamon chips to make some more biscotti.  Not as much a mystery, but ingredients that are more in Vogue ;)


Check out these non pun'rs and their biscotti beauties: Hosts this week -  Jodi of Homemade and Wholesome and Katrina of Baking and Boys.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TWD - French Strawberry Cupcake

I made a cupcake. A boozy cupcake. I hope it makes people giggly when they eat one (especially since I sent them to work with my husband). Drunk and giggly at 8:00 am. I believe every day should start giggly, maybe not drunk, but at least giggly.

European Strawberry Cupcake

This, which looks like your grandma's strawberry shortcake in the south, is in reality a French Strawberry Cake and I feel that I upped the Frenchiness by macerating the strawberries in wine. Well it was a riesling, so maybe I should change it to German Strawberry Cake. But wait genoise is Italian...ok European Strawberry Cake.

No more. Cupcake. Last one.

I think everyone should visit the two hosts for this recipe so they have some vague idea what I'm referring to. Then come back and re-read my second paragraph. It'll be much better.

Host A: http://sophiasbaking.blogspot.com/2012/06/twd-french-strawberry-cake.html

Host 2: http://thinklovesleepdine.blogspot.com/2012/06/twd-french-strawberry-cake.html

They have reprinted the recipe (with permission) although you should get the book. It's by Dorie Greenspan for the love of cookies! My dog smells like cookies right now. That is nice. And no I didn't rub cookies all over her. But that's a thought. Schnauzer Cookies. Now those would be German!

Boy, you would think I had a few of these cupcakes already...

Check out my moose and squirrel sugar cookies. They make me giggly, prairie dogs make me giggly too.

Moose and Squirrel

No more. Giggly. Stop it.

Ok...one more, this cupcake was amazing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TWD - Oasis Naan

So we moved. Twice. In two weeks. I don't recommend it.

As I previously mentioned in a post long ago (my last post actually, which felt like a long time ago) we were moving to Colorado. Well here we are in Colorado. We did have to move twice, sort of. We moved to temporary housing for two weeks while I found a lovely place to live. And lovely place I did find. Much to my amazement. Thanks awesome landlord for picking us. Us with the sad puppy eyes.

We gave away over half of our belongings to my family and some to friends, packed up the rest in two much smaller than they look shipping containers and wished for the best.

These are the images they use for how to not pack:
Don't use bamboo sticks and cardboard to wedge everything in.

Don't stack really heavy stuff on top of flimsy totes.

Surprisingly nothing broke. Maybe these are the images they use for how to pack.  I doubt it.

Well we are mostly unpacked and mostly settled in. We've been to Ikea, ate the meatballs and now have a partially assembled house. I personally put together 4 Ikea items and broke one. Luckily it was a very inexpensive table that we were able to hide the error. 

I like Ikea. A lot. I plan on going back and buying everyone's gifts there. So what if you have to assemble a bookcase you didn't even want. It's a gift, you have to take it and like it.

Now on to Naan.


I am supper jazzed about our new kitchen. It's spacious and has good lighting and has working appliances! Oh and it's got a Bosch dishwasher, once you go Bosch you'll never go back. 

Making the naan in the kitchen was a dream. I'm really looking forward to all the Baking with Julia recipes. And I don't know if it was the kitchen or that this was a great recipe, but so far I believe it has been my favorite. We loved it. LOVED IT. The texture was perfect, tasted exceptional and was easy to make.

It turned out a little fluffier than the naan I've had in restaurants, but I can't consider that a negative at all. I plan on making this often and hopefully for my next dinner party. Oh yes, we will be having dinner parties at our new digs. Nice fancy cocktails, delicious aperitifs and  delectable digestifs - oh and I guess some food too.

You should come, it'll be fun.

But until I send out the invites, go here and here for the recipe and make yourself some naan. It'll help you prepare.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hungarian Shortbread and a little freaking out

Moving to Colorado in less than 3 weeks!

Found out officially yesterday!

Have to find housing...

Have to pack...

Have to move...

Have to do sooo many things!!!!!!!

Get to look for a job in my new career...CAKE DECORATING!!!!!!

This is worth the freaking out.

Here's some Hungarian Shortbread with caramel apple jam and carrot cake jam.

I didn't make the jams, my niece did.

I took these pictures with my phone, I'm sorry.

Here's some other folks Hungarian Shortbread and the recipe.

Did I seriously just grate my dough?

Thank you and you may freak out with me.

Good night.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD - Lemon Loaf Cake

I've never met a pound cake that I didn't love, until I met this one. I tried to love it, I really did. And I know it's not technically a pound cake, but I don't think anyone now and days makes a real pound cake. But these types of cakes are generally referred to as pound cakes. I think it's even referenced in the recipe as having a similar texture as a pound cake.

But it was not meant to be, I just didn't love it. I'm not sure I even liked it. And before you ask, no, I didn't follow the recipe. So some of the love lost could be my fault. I used Meyer lemon zest instead of regular lemons and I used full fat yogurt instead of the heavy cream. (I made these changes because those were the ingredients I had in the house and forgot it was baking Tuesday.) But come on folks those aren't heartbreaking substitutions. IF anything it should have made it more lovable. MORE LOVABLE.

It was a lemon cake for pete's sake, I should have loved it. I'm so sad now.

Plastic wrapped sadness.

But as it sits on my counter wrapped in plastic wrap, I ponder why was I not in love with this? Well take a look at the original recipe posted here and here and then I'll give you my list of reasons.
  1. It was dry, I baked it 10 minutes less than the recipe called for and it was still dry.
  2. Not enough salt, salt provides contrast and this was lacking the contrast.
  3. Not lemony enough, I had added zest from 5 Meyer lemons and still no go. It needed the juice to really give it some lemon flavor. The juice probably would've helped the dryness too.
  4. I think my tastes have changed, this might have been something I would have enjoyed in the past, but I think my taste buds (Phil and Gladys) have grown and enjoy more complex flavors. I think they bought the Emeril slogan and like to kick it up a notch.  
Oh well, love at first bite is not on the calendar for this Tuesday. Maybe the next....

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TWD - Pizza Rustica and cheese

I'm king of the world! I can fly! I'm too cool for school!

I made cheese :)

Cheese making in action! It's very thrilling watching things drain.

This is how I felt today, I felt like the most awesome person because I made ricotta cheese. Now for those of you pro cheese makers, yes, ricotta is the newbie of cheese making. But I did it! I curdled my milk and made cheese! When you say cheese it makes you smile, when you eat cheese it makes you smile and when you make cheese it makes you smile.

I made cheese :)

I'm pretty exited, even more excited about the cheese than the Pizza Rustica really. Although it was good and a nice recipe to make (it did cost a small fortune though). Containing ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella and prosciutto for the love of money.

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon the idea of making ricotta, it certainly wasn't suggested in the recipe by Julia or Dori. I must have come across it in my blog reading, so for those of you reading this blog go ahead and do it, make some cheese.

Now let me point you to the recipe I used by our man, David Lebovitz:  http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/homemade_ricotta_cheese/

He keeps it simple and it came out great. I did use a thermometer and checked the temperature of the milk as it was boiling. I had read somewhere that 165 degrees was good enough, but for his recipe it seemed like 180 degrees was the magic number.

I have come across another recipe that I'll try next time, it's for a lemon and basil version. Which sounds spectacular! I also read that buttermilk can be used as the curdling agent, but it does lend a different flavor to the process.

Here's a nice explanation of the different curdling agents and the effects they have: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/02/how-to-make-fresh-ricotta-fast-easy-homemade-cheese-the-food-lab.html

Now on to the recipe.

It's a nice a pie.

Pizza Rustica, as many of you realize by now is not your "traditional" pizza. Which according to wiki has been around since 997 AD. So where did the recipe get calling this pie a pizza? Well all I could find was that it might be Sicilian and it might need to be made for Easter. And the recipe says in Italy it's served as an appetizer. I will need to travel to Italy to solve this mystery.

I invite you all to join me.

First make this recipe, view-able here and here and then meet me at the airport.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD - Irish Sodie Bread

Alright it's actually soda bread, Irish Soda Bread. But since I'm from the south, we sometimes refer to fizzy drinks as sodie....so this is sodie bread. To be perfectly honest, I actually call fizzy drinks pop. Which confuses everyone around here because they more often refer to fizzy drinks as coke.

Waiter: "What would you like to drink?"

Southerner: "You know, I'll take some coke. What do you have?"

Waiter: "We've got Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Mt. Dew and RC Cola."

Southerner: "I'll take sweet tea instead."

You know, I wonder how this bread would taste with a little sodie in it? Maybe a nice grape Fanta... 3/22/2012 CORRECTION - Do Not, I repeat do not make this with grape Fanta. That would be gross and I do not want to be responsible for grossness.

For this recipe I kept it old school, really old school. I stuck to the Irish roots of this staple and changed nothing. I even considered making my own sour milk*. But then I forgot what day it was and didn't make this until today, Tuesday. The Tuesday that we are supposed to post this bread. I had to use store bought buttermilk powder instead of authentico** soured milk. I did remember in my vast researching of this recipe (I do this with all recipes, I have to know everything about it and then I promptly forget) there was a story of an Irish gal making her daily soda bread and how she was late in making her bread because she forgot to sour the milk and had to send a carrier pigeon to the milk farmer and see if he had any soured milk to spare. The milk farmer kindly replied and told her that he did, but if she'd been a smart lassie she could have just added a little vinegar to her fresh milk and voila buttermilk!

If you have made it this far into the post you will realize that that story might have been a false hood and that I didn't really have anything exceptional to write. The lassie part, not the sodie part. The sodie part is true; very, very true.

Thank you and happy sodie bread!

Our hosts for this week are: http://myculinarymission.blogspot.com/2012/03/twd-irish-soda-bread.html and http://chocolatemoosey.blogspot.com/

* the difference between buttermilk and sour milk:  http://www.ehow.com/facts_5818094_difference-between-buttermilk-sour-milk.html

And I wasn't going to really churn my own butter and make buttermilk. I was just kidding. But if you are interested in making butter and buttermilk, check this out:  http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Butter-and-Buttermilk/

**authentico is a word I just made up. Please use it. 3/22/2012 UPDATE - I just found out that I did not make this word up. I am sad now.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My oh Meyer Lemon Tart

My oh my, this tart was nice. With Meyer lemons needing to be used in my ice box, this was an of course! I've done a few lemon tart/pies, but still hadn't really settled on a lemon filling that I would call my "go to".

I'm not sure this one is either, but it certainly fits the bill on this rainy day. Spring is springing around and the clocks are doing there thing, so it's time for us to think bright, shiny thoughts and I think sampling this pie might do it.

I suggest you do it too.

The pie consists of a lemon pudding from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. I didn't make any alterations at all so I'm just going to link to the original. They have a nice step by step of the processes. (Although sometimes I just want to get to the recipe.)


Just a note about this recipe, the directions say to cook the lemon mixture until it reaches 180 degrees, I could never get over 160 degrees, but the pudding was coating my whisk and eggs are safe at 145 degrees. So I was happy with that.

The crust comes from a fig tart over at the Nourished Kitchen. I was looking for something a little different and this seem to work, you'll have to scroll down to the bottom to find the crust recipe. This recipe called for the crust to be cooked for 35 minutes, but at 15, my edges were brown and the bottom was firm.


If you decide to make the fig and yogurt tart, save me a piece.


3/15/2012 UPDATE! I submitted this recipe (with appropriate credits) to instructables.com and it became one of the editors pick's!!!!  http://www.instructables.com/tag/type-id/category-food/