Sep 16, 2014
I tried my hand at making margherita pizza while still in California, in anticipation of our move to Naples. Now that we're here in Italy (and have been for almost a month) and I've had at least a dozen margherita pizzas at different establishments, my version pales in comparison. But no one complained back then. Who does when it's pizza?
Mar 7, 2013
This lovely cake is from the new book, Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home. I have a couple of the earlier Hummingbird books but never felt compelled to make something out of them as much as I do from this one. And not just one 'something' but a few... the doughtnut cupcakes and cookies and cream cake come to mind. If you're like me and are a visual person and fan of beautiful photography this book won't disappoint -- there's a photo of the finished product for every single recipe. While my roulade doesn't quite look like theirs (with the perfect swirl in the middle), I'm fairly certain this is not the last time I make this cake.
If you're not caked out yet, head over to A Subtle Revelry and take a peek at easy checkerboard cake I made for Victoria's Creative Cakes series.
Oct 17, 2012
The 2nd Tuesdays with Dorie assignment this month was bagels. At first I was intimidated by the recipe but I forged ahead and don't regret it.
The recipe states dividing the dough in two after the overnight rest in the fridge and shaping them just prior to baking. I decided to halve the dough before the fridge, shaping one batch into bagels and placing them on a sheet pan, leaving the other batch in the bowl. Both went into the fridge.
The following morning I made the ready-to-go bagels and to my horror -- they were pretty tough and relatively flat (as in I couldn't slice them into two pieces). Still edible though. We ate 1-1/2 and would've considered playing ring toss with the remaining bagels. With those results I thought I had ruined the recipe.
A few days later I baked the second batch. It had been in the fridge a total of 3 days (1 more day than recommended in the book) so I didn't hold out much hope. But lo and behold, after having a bit of practice shaping the bagels and knowing the steps, this batch turned out much better than the first. They were fluffier and not as tough. I could actually split the bagels in two to spread on some cream cheese. I sprinkled poppy seeds on one bagel and left the others plain -- the way I like it.
My technique could use some improvement (especially shaping... the directions weren't the clearest), but I was happy with these and will definitely come back to the recipe. Adding bagels to the list of items I've baked for the first time this year ;D
- The first batch set the fire alarm off in my house. Second time around I turned the oven down to 475 instead of 500 and opened as many doors as possible. Seemed to do the trick... no screeching alarm to scare the neighbors and my dog.
- I boiled the bagels a minute on each side.
Oct 14, 2012
We lost a much beloved pet a few days ago. I spent extra time in the kitchen that day... baking, sorrowful. I took his death the hardest, even more than my kids I think.
My husband, after years of astute observation, says I clean when I'm mad, and bake when I'm sad. It's true. Silly as it may sound, baking offers some measure of comfort, at least for me anyway.
Recipe for homemade jelly doughnuts on my good friend Denise's blog; hers look perfectly made, which is what drew me in to try the recipe in the first place. That and the fact that I already had everything, thus avoiding a trip to the store in my pjs, tear-streaked face and unbrushed hair to complete the look.
Below, a few of the Santa Cruz boardwalk where I hung out with my dear friend Alisa, who was visiting from Hawaii. Though it's been a year and a half since I moved away, we picked up where we left off -- us shooting, "talking story," eating butter mochi, marveling on how much our kids have grown. Good times. The weather was gorgeous to boot, couldn't have asked for better really.
What I'm reading/browsing through.
Very food-centric, eh? The top book, The Alchemyst, is the first in a series that I was introduced to rather randomly. On long drives I listen to the audio CD but at home I enjoy curling up with the book. I loved the Harry Potter books and this reminds me of the time I spent engrossed in that series.
Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites. The conversational tone and witty voice make this a fun read.
Food Photography & Lighting: A Commercial Photographer's Guide to Creating Irresistible Images by Teri Campbell. Really enjoying this book as the author has provided lighting set-ups and diagrams for shoots described in each chapter. Great for visual learners like me.
Extraordinary Cakes by Karen Krasne. I got this purely based on the stellar reviews, and someday when I'm crazy enough, I will spend several days attempting to make one of the gorgeous, one-of-a-kind cakes in the book.
Kinfolk Volume 5. Always a pleasure to receive Kinfolk in the mail. It's one to be savored for sure.
What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies. She's one of my favorite food bloggers/photographers. I couldn't wait for my copy to arrive and it didn't disappoint. Made the beef and guinness pie already (excellent) and have bookmarked the pumpkin ravioli and coffee hazelnut frangelico cake.
Bake & Decorate by Fiona Cairns (she made Kate and William's wedding cake). Only $2.41 on Amazon; strangely enough, the bargain price is $12.00.
Lastly. My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Jen Burgess Thompson. I've not been able to stop thinking about her. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer a little over a year ago, she lost her hard-fought battle yesterday. She leaves behind two young sons. I can't imagine. I didn't know her but she was part of a huge and immensely supportive photography community so in a sense, I did know her, and am deeply touched and inspired by her. Rest in peace, Jen.
See you tomorrow for Baked Sunday Mornings.
Oct 2, 2012
I'm on a roll. Consecutive posts for two different baking groups deserves a pat on the back... or a chocolate chip cookie. The first recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie in October is this Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaf from Baking with Julia. Considering my not so stellar record with recipes lately, I made certain to read and reread the recipe as it turned out to be a two-day affair with a couple of rising periods. Knowing this wasn't a quick bread, I saved the weekend to bake, crossing fingers, toes, and eyes that I'd have something to post on Tuesday.
To be honest, this was one recipe I wasn't particularly inspired by. I'm not experienced working with yeast so I had reservations and fears from past failures reminded me to really attention to times and such. I didn't have the exact loaf pans specified in the book but I got close, using two mini pans that had similar dimensions... I believe they were an inch longer and 3/4in less in width than the sizes mentioned. The remaining dough went in a 9x5 pan -- probably too large for what was left. Another modification, rather minor... used dried cranberries instead of fresh.
Fortunately, the dough had no problems rising or resting in the fridge overnight. However, on the second rise (with the dough separated in the pans the next day), I likely miscalculated the amount to put in each pan because the dough didn't rise above the rims or even completely fill in the spaces; hence slightly flatter loaves and no real "muffin" tops (hehe)... or, according to the book, beautiful crowns.
Overall I'm fine with the results. It's not my favorite bread nor do I see myself revisiting the recipe; I found the taste of pumpkin lacking and rather disappointing. But it's not bad and I plan on having a warmed slice with my coffee in the morning.
Aug 22, 2012
I did the unthinkable and committed to something somewhat long-term: Tuesdays with Dorie. We are baking through the entire Baking with Julia cookbook by Dorie Greenspan. I'm a little late joining the party (they started in February) but there's still a while to go, with about 15 recipes out of nearly 200 done so far by the group.
I couldn't have joined at a better time. We baked popovers (contributed by the late Marion Cunningham) and they were easier than the box mix of red velvet whoopie pies I made yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised by their billowy tops and hollow interiors, the steam escaping as I pulled them from the oven. I enjoyed a couple of warm popovers with butter and Peach-Apricot preserves; next time I think I'll add cheese (Gruyere perhaps?) and herbs.