My Haul at the Farmers Market

Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Haul at the Farmers Market

Today, the last day of May 2008, I went to my local farmers market and went crazy. Everything was so beautiful that I couldn't help myself. Hopefully, I'll be able to bake some of these yummies this week...or just eat everything raw. Either way: sweetness.
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Cherry Sheet Cake (Everyday Food)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cherry Sheet Cake
Cherry Sheet Cake from Everyday Food (Martha Stewart's empire)

Cherry Sheet Cake
This is a very easy and versatile recipe. I'm sure I could substitute other fruit such as blueberries and raspberries...oh the possibilities!

Cherry Sheet Cake Cherry Sheet Cake
I used frozen Dark Sweet Cherries (pitted) from Trader Joe's (thawed and drained).

(On a side note, have you tried the Chili Spiced Mango slices from Trader Joe's? Dried unsulfured mangos with salt, cayenne pepper and other spices. Delicious. I'm so addicted.)

This is a super-duper easy recipe to make. In fact, I made it while half-asleep and it worked out! :)

Cherry Sheet Cake
A simple sprinkling of powdered sugar is just enough for this moist cake
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The Fat Lady Sings...on my opera cake

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You are supposed to see a post of a Spring-inspired Opera Cake for Daring Bakers challenge today. However, after three failures in three days, I gave up last night (and ran out of eggs). (And, yes, I can hear my mother saying I should have started earlier...but I don't know where a whole month went!)

First, made my own blanched almond meal in the food processor. I don't think I processed it enough and somehow the layers came out completely thin. Like flour tortilla thin. Mr. Trashcan, here we come.

Second, I picked up some Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour/Meal and this batch was strangely sticky and too flat as well. (Yes, I carefully folded in the egg whites)

Third, last night I tried again and used a smaller pan so I can get some lift. I planned to finish it tonight. After I finished the buttercream (using a swiss meringue recipe from Martha) and syrup, I started to assemble the baby. But the parchment paper I used to store the cake (top and bottom) ended up getting stuck to the cake...and pulled the whole thing apart.

I give up. I feel defeated and completely exhausted (stayed up too late last night). All I have to show for all these efforts is a sink full of dishes, enough egg shell compost to fill, well, a compost bin, and Mr. Trashcan is stuffed to the gills.

I bought strawberries at the Farmer's Market this weekend for this recipe. At least I'll end with a happy photo! (I'll try this recipe again after going shopping for more ingredients - need lots more eggs!) Be sure to check out the other Daring Bakers who didn't have a total collapse of baking and completed the challenge!

Strawberries from the Farmer's Market
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Pecan Honey Sticky Buns - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pecan Honey Stickey Buns
Pecan Sticky Buns (page 51) of Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours book.
(By the way, holy smokes! This is a bargain book on Amazon right now! Only $12.99!!!)

Pecan Honey Stickey Buns
Today's Tuesdays with Dorie selection is from Madam Chow!

This recipe uses 1/2 a brioche dough. Because a batch uses three sticks of butter...Brioche is simply a butter-delivery device! The butter took forever to mix in and I felt my dough wasn't as smooth or satiny as it should be. I've never used the dough hook before on the KitchenAid and was lucky to find it!

This recipe was a labor. Not necessarily a labor of love, but a labor. It was my fault because I didn't start earlier in the weekend...I was up til close to midnight with the dough, and then up at 4:00 am so I can shape the dough and let it rise before baking. Bad timing on my part...

Pecan Honey Stickey Buns Pecan Honey Stickey Buns
Pecan Honey Stickey Buns Pecan Honey Stickey Buns

Pecan Honey Stickey Buns
About to go into the oven...

Pecan Honey Stickey Buns
...fresh from the oven

Pecan Honey Stickey Buns Pecan Honey Stickey Buns
As soon as it comes out, invert onto a plate.

Be sure to check out the other creations of the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers!!
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Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Martha Stewart's Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

No time to write much - the Ugly Betty season finale is tonight! :)

I'm using my new Martha Stewart Cookie book again...and made these Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. Luckily, there are at least 5 recipes that contain ginger in this book.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Containing molasses, dark brown sugar, fresh and ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg...this dough is refrigerated before rolling into balls. Also, it doesn't contain any eggs!

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Fresh from the oven...let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to trays. They deflate a bit, but are super yummy.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
I didn't have 7 ounces of semi-sweet chunks, so I used an equal amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
These were a hit at the library! They were gone pretty quickly!
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Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Traditional Madeleines from Dorie Greenspan

FYI... I used the absolutely lovely Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean PASTE in the madeleines for the Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Some people wanted to know where you can get it...

If you are in Los Angeles, Surfas carries it for $8.76 (Culver City's greatest kitchen supply store) as well as Hipcooks (they have excellent cooking classes)

Online...I've found it here.

From the Nielsen-Massey website, you can search for stores near you - I would call ahead because not everyone carries the paste (although many stores carry their very popular and tasty extracts). They say a lot of their products are carried by Williams-Sonoma (online $11.00) and Sur la Table (didn't see it online)

Amazon $10.95

King Arthur $12.95

Traditional Madeleines from Dorie Greenspan
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Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Bundt Cake
Lemon Bundt Cake
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen (the cool guys and gals behind Cook's Illustrated)

Lemon Bundt Cake
This cake's texture is half-pound cake and half-regular cake. Very light and delicious.

Lemon Bundt Cake
Straight from the oven...I ended up cutting off a little of the edge crust because it was a bit hard.

Lemon Bundt Cake Lemon Bundt Cake
10 minutes after removal from the oven, you spread 1/2 the glaze mixture over the cake. This allows the warm cake to absorb some of the glaze, but not letting the whole thing melt away. The second 1/2 of the glaze is added an hour later.

Thanks Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen! You rock!
You can get it the recipe by registering with ATK (free).
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Traditional Madeleines - Tuesdays with Dorie

Monday, May 19, 2008

Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan

Thanks to Smells Like Home, this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection is Traditional Madeleines on pages 166-168 of Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours.

I've made them before, but it is always nice to revisit a recipe. Next time, I want to try her Earl Grey madeleines.

Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan

Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan
You can see little flecks of vanilla bean! (if you look very, very closely...)

Traditional Madelines by Dorie Greenspan Traditional Madelines by Dorie Greenspan
I love Dorie Greenspan's technique of rubbing zest with sugar til moist. The sugar smells heavenly. (I included the second photo of my unmanicured fingers to show off my new camera. If you enlarge it, you can get a fingerprint image...the new macro lens is completely amazing!!)

Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan
Seriously in love with Nielsen-Massey's Vanilla Bean PASTE. No, not just extract, but paste. It is filled with little vanilla bean goodness. Drizzle this over ice cream and you could literally die.

Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan
I learned this technique from Cook's Illustrated: Make a slurry of flour and melted butter, and brush it onto a pan. I don't know it is their technique, but one of the thousand recipes I've tried says to freeze the pan after butter/flouring.

Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan
Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan
I didn't get my lovely hump that I'm constantly looking for...but I did get a little training-bra type hump.

Traditional Madelines from Dorie Greenspan

P.S. Although not baking related, I went to Disneyland this weekend (one of the hottest and most crowded days of the year!) and had a great time. We hit all the mountains...Splash, Space, Big Thunder and the Matterhorn. Anyway, I recently got the coolest pedometer through my work's wellness program. I've had a zillion other pedometers, but this one uploads data to your computer, graphs out your steps, and I'm sure does your calculus homework or something. It is a Virgin Healthmiles pedometer...although I doubt Richard Branson uses one. On Saturday, I had over 9,000 steps and went to use the facilities....and the automatic flusher (industrial strength at Disneyland!) startled me, I turned and in a Tinkerbell moment, the pedometer was sailing down the toilet. Darn it.
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Happy Anniversary Blog (aka Leaving Baby in the Car)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Orange Blueberry Muffins

Today is the first anniversary of my blog!

And I'm not going to say it started out bad....just WAY crazy.

First, I decided to bake the first two recipes I made last year: Banana Bread and Blueberry Muffins.

Banana Citrus Bread Banana Citrus Bread
This time, I used one of the variations in Baking Illustrated's Banana Bread recipe by adding cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest. (pg. 24)

Banana Citrus Bread
Orange-Spice Banana Bread

Blueberry muffins #1 last year were a disaster (confusing baking soda for baking powder...) and then attempt #2 ended up meeting Mr. Trashcan, but things finally came together.

Today, I tried Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours Orange Berry Muffins (include orange zest, orange juice) (pg. 3)

Orange Blueberry Muffins
Lotsa blueberries
(Still a bit clueless on the new camera...need to take some lessons or class)

Banana Citrus Bread

After taking the photos, I was running late for work so I grabbed my stuff and tossed it into the car. Today, I had a lot of books to return to the library, my laptop, and my sad lunch (homemade frozen bean burrito, orange (sans zest) and a leftover spotted banana).

Once I got to work...I had to make two trips.

Orange Blueberry Muffins

(Yes, you know where this story is going...)

I got into work and started answering reference questions...and didn't make the second trip. Did I mention that it was 100 degrees today in Los Angeles? I went out to my car 5 hours later, and the poor guys looked like someone mistook them for a tomato and put them in a hothouse. Covered in condensation and burning hot. I touched them and they were just. plain. gross.

The only good news is that my car now smells of orange zest and bananas. Who needs those little pine tree air fresheners?

Well...Happy First Anniversary Blog! This all started with a desire to break from the cake mix box and use a bit of technology. I've had a great time and want to thank all my readers, especially my friends! I love getting comments that you are baked something, or just to say hi.

I can't believe how much I've learned (I can actually explain to people the difference between cake flour and all-purpose flour, the difference between french, italian and swiss meringues (swiss the best!)... and how much I have left to learn and conquer! (i.e. pies, tarts and pastries). My list of "need to make" recipes just keep growing! Thanks for coming along for the journey!

Orange Blueberry Muffins
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Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

National Chocolate Chip Day

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day! Although probably created by Nestle...it was fun to celebrate nonetheless. And thanks to Jessica for the heads up on this day...and all other food related days (did you know December 5th is Sacher Torte Day? I'm going to celebrate that next year!)

National Chocolate Chip Day National Chocolate Chip Day
I just used the recipe for White Chip Chocolate Cookies on the back of the darn Nestle package of white chocolate chips!

National Chocolate Chip Day
I added 1/2 cup of chopped crystallized ginger to the Nestle Toll House recipe and deleted the nuts. I should have added some ground ginger to the mix too, but forgot.

Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!

P.S. Okay, did you watch Top Chef last night? Ugh! I'm a huge fan and feel so let down this season. I'm spending all my time wishing more and more so-called chefs are eliminated, rather than rooting for a favorite. They should have dropped all three of the annoying, disrespectful, talk-backing, I-really-need-to-take-my-Ritalin idiots last night (box lunch episode). Sigh...at least hot Sam was on the show.
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