Saturday, June 29, 2013


Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie!

So, when your CSA gives you tons and tons of strawberries, and you have 4 pounds of so-so blueberries, what do you do? Make a pie with neither of those things! FAR TOO LOGICAL.

To be fair, I wanted to use them, but I sort of decided to bake spontaneously last Sunday morning because I couldn't sleep, and commenced baking at 4am. Which, on a side note: baking on very little sleep very early in the morning isn't perhaps the wisest idea. But it's still better than mountain biking while in the same state (which I sort of also did). But anyway...

I decided to make a Crack Pie (I knew that rolling out a crust would be utterly beyond me that early) and the Crack Pie had a cookie crust which was within my realm of cognitive function (mostly) for that time of the day. So then the stupid oven chose to run hot for the first round (baking the cookie crust), and then cool for the actual pie, and I was just too damned tired to notice. Thankfully, the recipe forgave me mostly - the filling was a trifle under-cooked, which is miraculous given that I also kept forgetting how long I'd had the damned thing in the oven, so I'm lucky I didn't burn the house down. Enjoy the photo below with the arbitrary and random chicken.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Desperately seeking savarin

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes! 

Okay, after a really, really, long week, far too much of which was spent destroying my retinas by staring at a computer for work I am posting an interim lazy-ass blog that will just have to do for now. Sorry. At some point in the relatively near future, I will update this post with the amusing, creative, anecdotal tale of the creation of my savarin (seen below). I've even written it out on paper (I swear). Until then, stare at the photo below, and use your imagination as to how it came to be. Go wild! There were pirates! And velociraptors! And possibly even nuclear weaponry involved. Well, perhaps not, but there was definitely booze...
Tatty-bye for now.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

So here's my second challenge for the daring bakers: hidden veggies. Needless to say, I was delighted when the challenge was revealed as it appealed to me on a number of levels (my not-insubstantial mischievous side in particular). It also didn't hurt that I love vegetables to the extent that I am actually *mocked* for my veggie consumption. Well, mock me will you? Revenge shall be mine, this I swear.

The first recipe my mind drifted to was one I occasionally prepare for breakfast: apple lentil carrot muffins. Then I thought further: 1) lentils are not veggies, they're legumes and I was feeling semi-technical/anal retentive about that, and 2) feeding people a dessert with carrots would mean going FAR too easy on my tormentors. Besides, carrots were kind of a gimme in baked goods. Oh no, this was going to require some creativity, because I WAS GOING TO MAKE PEOPLE EAT BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER, AND MAKE THEM LIKE IT, DAMN IT! A quick survey of the literature left me with a paltry couple of recipes (broccoli brownies or cupcakes) that weren't particularly inspiring (or daring). What to do?

I decided to take a basic muffin recipe (kinda hung up on muffins for this one; what can I say? I like muffins, okay?  Oh, and as a total side note: for the sake of honesty, the first attempt I made was with an overly healthy recipe that included things like flax and wheat germ, stuff that I like to eat, and while the danged things tasted fine, they just weren't muffin-y enough to pass muster).

So skip ahead (back?), to the basic muffin recipe wherein I adapted the liquid ingredients to a puree of broccoli and pumpkin, or pureed cauliflower and pumpkin (pumpkin because there was no way in heck I was using oil or butter in my muffins. I have my limits, people). Plus, I figured if there was any kind of offish aroma, I'd chalk it up to pumpkin-funk. Muahahahaha!

Not particularly horrifying: cauliflower puree
Vaguely horrifying: broccoli puree

(Side bar: I love my immersible stick blender which prior to this I had not had opportunity to use. Oh, the possibilities I can see...)

Okay, anyway, so while the cauliflower goo was nicely disguise-able, I recognized that the clever people I worked with might suspect something was up if the muffins were you know, green (and having just missed St. Paddy's day, no less...) What to do....well, cauliflower could proceed as planned: cauliflower pumpkin currant muffins. Broccoli was just going to have to go chocolate (as in broccoli pumpkin chocolate chocolate chip muffins). Brown covers up everything, right?

Oh, yeah, that's even worse. Reminiscent of "The Exorcist," no?
Or maybe Slimer from "Ghostbusters"? Omnomnom.
Snot muffins?

 After mixing, and thanks to the amazing powers of cocoa powder, there was no green weirdness left visible. (The cauliflower batch was a pleasant pumkin-y color, of course). I tossed them in the oven, 400F for 20 loooong minutes. Would they bake properly? Would they smell like a cruciferous nightmare? I could barely stand the suspense. Lo and behold, much to my happiness (and surprise, as I am quite often the pessimist), beautiful muffins with no disturbing farty aroma to give away their dirty little secret:

Cauliflower currant on the left, broccoli chocolate chocolate-chip on the right
(as if the background wasn't an unsubtle hint).

Okay, why does the broccoli chocolate one remind me of  Jack Skellington???
A pretty muffin snowflake, OF DOOM. Oh yeah, peeps weren't going to know what hit them!!!
Jack Skellington muffin still smirking on the plate.
Once you've seen it, you can't unsee it.

So, rather long story short: everyone that ate them loved them, raved about how moist (if a bit dense) they were, and not a soul guessed the secret ingredients.
When I revealed the magical veggie contents (post consumption, and after making them guess repeatedly, of course), this is a generalized version of the conversation which followed (also after my victim taste-tester stared at the muffins for a few incredulous moments hunting for broccoli bits):

Them: Are you kidding me? Broccoli? I *hate* broccoli.
Me: Yep. Broccoli.
Them: *In* the muffins?
Me: Yep. Or cauliflower.
Them: Okay, that I can imagine, but broccoli?  I don't see any broccoli.
Me: Oh, it's in there.
Them: Hunh. Well. I think you should definitely make more, and bring them in, you know so we can try them again, in the name of science.
Me: No problem.

So, who's laughing now, BROCCOLI EATERS? Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge!

Post mortem - today's post title is borrowed from a song by my favorite band which has unfortunately chosen to split apart. Though this thrills me not, I understand people have to do what they have to do.
So long and goodnight, darlings. Your memory will carry on!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cracker fail

Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie was our February 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to use our creativity in making our own Crisp Flatbreads and Crackers!

Okay, here's my first daring baker's challenge: onion-poppyseed crackers. You will notice only the plate on the bottom right contains a cracker-like material. To put it nicely, the first two attempts were more along the lines of, well, savory rolled cookies. The experience went something like this:

01-Feb-13 (Day of challenge start): oh boy, what will it be! It's CRACKERS AND CRISPBREADS! NEAT! I've never made anything like this before!
22-Feb-13: Oh no! The challenge! I've been wasting my time baking triple layer chocolate cakes! Crap! Must make time for this THIS WEEKEND, NO EXCUSES!
24-Feb-13, 5:00PM: LET THE BAKING BEGIN (needed to have my coffee people, please).
Nice simple recipe, no problems whipping it up. Hmm. It says to roll it out as thin as strudel. Hunh. I wonder how thin that could possibly be...

Batch 1: The lovely shaped "crackers". That are like cookies, only MUCH bendy-ier.

Damn. I'll roll the next ones thinner.

Batch 2: At least they're quadrilateral in shape. That's cracker-like, right?

&^#@$^%$@#. How the hell thin do these things need to be???
Come hell or high-water, the next batch WERE GOING TO BE CRISPY, DAMMIT.

Batch 3: Rolled ridiculously thin, and then cooked in an uncut sheet of dough directly on my super-hot pizza stone until brown, then broken into random shapes. Broken, because they were finally crunchy. CRACKERS AT LAST. And those suckers are *STILL* crispy.
Tasty too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Birthday cake apocalypse

If you're going to bake a cake from scratch, you might as well go big. Behold, the chocolate stout cake (weighing in at a mere 8 lbs 8.5 oz). Happy birthday, Mom.

Thanks for the recipes, King Arthur Flour
Chocolate stout cake
Super simple chocolate frosting

Start the year out right

Much belated New Year's bacon to you all.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh boy, finally committed and joined the Daring Bakers. I can't wait for my first challenge!