Monday, August 30, 2010


My one problem with baking is that it is so disappointing when you've taken so long to follow all the steps in a recipe, you are anxiously waiting to sample your goodies, and the end result ends in a ... Ehhh. Just so so.
You don't want that!!!
You want deliciousness, you want applause at the table, you want mmmmmmm.
I'll tell you, there is ALOT of crap recipes out there. There is also a whole lotta crap cookbooks too. (Seems that now anyone and everyone wants their 5 minutes of print fame.)
Me? I leave the baking to the experts... The French. YES, the French! You've heard me right. The baguettes and croissants fresh from a French boulangerie can bring me to tears. And don't get me started about a pain au chocolat. I love bread... I'm not afraid to admit that, (or the tears.)
So back to crappy recipes .  I would say this one, which called for baking for 30 minutes at 450* resulted in a more pretzel like bagel. Had I not peeked in the oven 15 minutes in, it would have resulted in major tears from honeypie and charcoal lumps for brunch . I would be sure that none of my friends "bubbe's" would in anyway be associated with these.
I think I will stick with some of my true and reliable books like "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart, "Nancy Silverton's breads from the La Brea bakery" by Nancy Silverton and the really great "Baking" by James Peterson, which is brilliant.
And just in case you were curious...
There are squagels (a square bagel.  visited 'cosi' ever? ), flagels (a flat bagel) and "Bagel" is actually a Yeshivish term for sleeping 12 hours straight... e.g. "i slept a bagel last night!". A term used to refer to the fact that the bagel dough has to rest for at least 12 hours between mixing and baking... And can tell you I surely did not do that.

For now... Here's some pictures of our first bagel adventure.

After giving birth to honeypie, I'll never be able to sleep a "bagel" ever again... Heh heh.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let's get picklin'....

A friend of mine recently gave me a jar of the most delicious pickles ever called "Wickles".  Seriously, WOW!!!  Wickedly delicious!  (here)  and I thought it would be great to make our own ... (since each jar kind of costs $12).  I think we ate the jar in one sitting.
This is a great book for starting pickling and I'd like to add that pickling is SUPER EASY.  
This book, "The Joy of Pickling" by Linda Ziedrich, (here) has  250 recipes to pickle just about anything.  What I like best is that the book includes recipes from many different places, from Asia, to Europe and the America's.  Nothing like a good spicy kimchi to get that blood circulating!  Imagine pickled beets, lemons, cantaloupe, radishes or daikon... mmmm.
We pickled these gherkins last week but today we are undertaking some sweet pickled beets with red wine and also some moroccan-style preserved lemons.  I'll share how that goes later.

There are many recipes for pickles but this is a quick and super easy one for a first time pickler and all the recipe calls for is...

Really quick dill pickles (from the joy of pickling by Linda Ziedrich)

4 pounds of 4" pickling cucumbers
24 whole black peppercorns
1 garlic head cloves separarated, peeled and chopped
6 small dried hot peppers 
6 dill heads with sprigs (or 6 tsp of dry dill seeds)
2 and 3/4 cups of apple cider vinegar
3 cups of water
1/4 cup of pickling salt.

(I'd like to add that this amount of cucumbers fit nicely in 5- single quart jars and because of that, I had to double the vinegar, salt and water bringing it to 1/2 a cup of pickling salt, 6 cups of water and 5 1/2 cups of the cider vinegar in total).

1. half and quarter the cucumbers length wise 

2. Divide the pickles, the garlic, peppercorns, dill seeds and hot peppers 
and place inside your jars
(I addded a 1/4 tsp of turmeric to each jar just to add a bit of color and an extra hot pepper for more kick and I also added a grape leaf to each jar for a firmer type pickle.  
You can find jarred grape leaves at your international section of the supermarket... normally a greek ingredient) 

3. Bring to a boil the salt, vinegar and water, stirring to dissolve the salt.  
(I added 1/2 of a cup of sugar to the mixture to give it a bit of sweetness since I sliced the hot peppers in half to give it more wicked kick but Linda does not call for that.)
4. Pour the liquid equally inside each of the jars, leaving a half inch head space and close each jar with the 2 piece caps. 
5.In a boiling water bath, process the jars for 15 minutes (about 185* F) 

Resist temptation and store the pickles for at least a month 
in a cold, dry place before eating them.  
And after opening the jar, store in the rest in the refrigerator... if there are any left!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Good to the grain by Kim Boyce

I have a great new book on my shelf by Kim Boyce called "Good to the Grain", and we made our first batch of whole grain, pear and buckwheat pancakes from it this morning.

The recipe focuses on using buckwheat flour, in combination with organic pastry flour and though it calls for milk, I used soy milk instead.
Buckwheat flour is nutty in taste, high in protein, vitamin B, iron and potassium and did you know that though it is used as a grain, it is really an herb??? Hmmm.
Instead of the honey butter sauce that the recipe called for, ( which i made but did not like) i used a pear and lime syrup type of compote we made and canned a while back. The ginger and lime in the sauce made it really delicious on the pancakes.

(I did use the honey butter sauce to make caramel apples for honeypie instead, by boiling the sauce to soft ball stage @ 240* and adding a bit more honey).

The batter has grated pears inside, and it has to be kept lumpy, by hand folding it with spatula.

The true verdict of the recipe's taste was determined by honeypie, who is a true pancake connoisseur. She loved them!

The book is amazing and teaches you how to bake a nice array of goodies, using different whole grain flours like kamut, spelt, quinoa, amaranth and teff flour.
Every recipe is enticing and easy to make.

here are the caramel apples!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, August 27, 2010

Veggie-ing out...

Hi there!  it's been a while...
Health reasons has me venturing into veggie-vegan land... 
and though it's not a place i have not visited before, i must say i will miss my friend chorizo and his pal manchego. (sigh)
For now...
It's almost the end of summer and the beginning of a homeschooling journey for honeypie and I, with some veggie adventures along the way.
Do not worry ...cake is coming!  Just in the form of vegan or gluten-free from time to time.  I am excited to experiment and look forward to a good challenge.  
(I did find a good recipe for vegan bacon which i am curious about.)
Here's a glimpse at some books i've been reading and some veggie goodness that has been visiting our plates.
More to come... ^-^

(surprisingly delicious...and even tastes almost like the real thing!)

Sweet potato, watercress and spinach stew in a peanut sauce with roasted peanuts.

Roasted acorn squash stuffed with quinoa, shitake mushrooms, spinach and pine nuts.

Fresh heirloom tomatoes

cold sesame buckwheat noodles with heirloom cherry tomatoes

and for my sushi addiction?
Cajun spiced, roasted sweet potato rolls.

with a chili-mayo dipping sauce

Who knew swiss chard was from the beet family?  not me.
Here's my first attempt with pine nuts, shallots and raisins.

Daddy is not a huge fan of string beans but he ate these happily.
blanched with a walnut, miso, soy and sake sauce.

and though this photo stinks... here's a delicious way to make tabouli with quinoa instead.  It has tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon juice, olive oil, mint, parsley and salt and pepper.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


They say a girl's first love is her father, this is both beautiful and honestly true.
and though I didn't have a father to think about and look up to like that,
(my step father came into our lives later on in life and a good man he is at that...)
I have to say that i wished...
for scrape your knees and make it alright
for cuddling during a stormy night
for daddy days of drawing or gardening outside

We can't choose our past...
but we can choose our future 

I hope that when real love comes calling for honeypie... that she chooses someone true, honest, faithful, strong, funny, caring, kind and dependable like daddy.  
"you did good mama!", honeypie says. 
"I know!!!" i say back.  :)
(he did too though)...hah

Daddy day is everyday and on those days you might catch honeypie and daddy
making the longest drawing in the world (like Ramona and Beezus!)

Daddy drawing some backyardigan love for honeypie 

Honeypie drawing her love for Uniqua and Tyrone

 and for daddy

with daddy its always fun to do some mayhem makin'

and when that yearly time comes for daddy to blow some candles...
mama can indulge him in  some yumminess ...
Like red velvet cake!
In the shape of Eddie... (from the heavy metal band iron maiden)
daddy's secret old time love!

here i am sculpting "eddie's" gory skinless face on cake out of fondant ! yikes!!

coming along...

buttercream frosting for hair and gel icing painted on his skin finishes the whole thing!

happy birthday daddy!!

just a little bit gory... just a little bit!
heh heh...


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