Blog Post List

This blog post list contains the most recent blog posts from The Messy Baker in reverse chronological order. You can also browse by recipe category or use the search function.

Golden Berries - My newest addiction.
04 Feb
Denial
Golden Berries These are not anemic raisins. Their botanic name is  Physalis peruviana, but you can find them in health food stores under many different  names  — golden berries, Inca berries, cape gooseberries, or ground cherries to list a few. No matter what the manufacturer calls them, these harmless-looking berries should come with a flashing, neon warning label that hollers phrases like, "Approach with caution!" and "May cause addiction!" But they don't. Instead the packaging touts them as an antioxidant-rich "Superfood." You'll see them advertised as "Non-GMO," "Low GI," and "High Fibre." The contents might even be "Certified Organic." As if all those capital letters mean anything. Nowhere, not even in the fine print, will you be warned of their Addicting Nature. But I know the truth.
Curly-Kale-1
28 Jan
Pampered
Curly Kale - The Messy Baker If I come back as a vegetable I want to be kale. Ruffly, versatile, pretty kale. Not only would I be my favourite colour (green), I'd finally have unstoppable curls — something I can't achieve even with hot rollers and a perm. But I'd be more than just another pretty edible. Unlike with cream puffs or macarons, my feminine exterior wouldn't wrap a soft, untoned middle. Quite the opposite. Instead, my frilly greens would stem from a strong backbone  that delivered the nutritional goods. And people would love me for it. They'd write blog posts in my honour. They'd hail me as a wonder. But best of all, they'd give me the royal treatment. Not all vegetables meet a pampered end. Carrots get stripped and shredded to pieces. Potatoes have their eyes gouged out before being mashed to a pulp, and we won't discuss what happens to poor old butternut squash. But kale? I kid you not, it gets slathered in oil and given a rub down. Yeah. I'd definitely come back as kale.

Massaged Kale: Basic Techniques

I learned about massaging kale from my cousin just the other week. At first I thought she was joking. In my family, you learn pretty quickly not to take odd-sounding advice at face value. One moment of misplaced trust can take years to live down. But it turns out this is a real thing. In fact, there are two full pages dedicated to kale massage in Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves by Nava Atlas, (© 2012, Sterling).  The following excerpt is from her book and published here with permission:
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
24 Jan
Site Under Construction

Don't peek just yet. The bread's still rising, the ice cream hasn't set and I'm still trying to find a spot for all my baking pans....

Black-forest-trifle-P-1
21 Jan
Improvisation
Black Forest Chocolate Bundt Cake Recipe - The Messy Baker I think I've created a new, never-heard-of-before dessert. Bundt Trifle. Not because I'm trying to be different or start the next food craze, but because my imagination plays tricks on me. I had wanted to make a trifle in one of those clear, straight-sided dishes that shows off all the layers. I knew my mother had one. I just knew it — as in Bet-Real-Money-on-It knew it. I could see it clearly in my head. I could even tell you where it was stored. So I phoned my mother and made arrangements to pop over and pick up the bowl. When I arrived, my mother handed me the cut-glass bowl with sloped sides she uses every year for the Christmas trifle. "Thanks, Mom. But I want your other trifle bowl." There was no other trifle bowl.
Sweet-Potato-Apple-Ginger-Soup-P-1
16 Jan
Another Breakfast Soup
Sweet Potato Apple Ginger Soup - The Messy Baker Soup for breakfast is working. Sort of. But after a couple of weeks of savory Asian Chicken and Quinoa Soup, and a gentle Lentil & Lemon Soup, I'm wanting to start my day with something sweet. While I crave a raspberry danish or waffles dripping in maple syrup, I am saving these desserts-in-disguise for special occasions (and no, getting out of bed in the morning is not a special occasion, even for this late-rishing Night Hawk). So I poked about a bit and found a soup that's sweet, healthy, and very warming. Sweet Potato, Apple and Ginger Soup. They had me at ginger. Add a side of multi-grain toast and a grating of sharp cheddar, and I'm one happy eater. The soup recipe comes from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W.W. Norton & Company, @2011). If you think apples are boring, this book will make you think again. The Braised Brisket with Apples and Hard Cider was a hit with my carnivore husband and my in-laws enjoyed a brunch including the apple-laced Dutch Baby (a German pancake that thinks it's a popover). My favourite part of the book is the 30 pages dedicated to 59 different varieties of apple. At last, I have an in-depth look at the apples I often read about but can't always get at my local Farmers' Market. But it's not all Mutsu, Granny Smith and Gala. Ever heard of Black Oxford, Ashmead's Kernel or Jazz? They're new to me. I'm now aching to bite into a Hidden Rose to taste what Traverso describes as a "red-fleshed novelty." The fleeting Pink Pearl ("when it's gone, it's gone") sounds deliciously whimsical, and who can resist anything called Westfield Seek-No-Further? Not me. If you're feeling stifled by the same-old, same-old grocery store apples, don't be.
Close-Onion-Bhaji-and-chaat-masala-1
11 Jan
Pushing Boundaries
Onion Bhaji with Chaat Masala Recipe - The Messy Baker I did it. Despite containing three ingredients I've never used before, I made onion bhaji. And I pronounce them to be good. Make that "very good."  Andrew, who inspired the selection, claimed they were "delicious" and "as good as the restaurant's." So, with a flourish of my typing fingers,  I am proudly striking the first item off my 2013 Culinary Bucket List. Onion Bhaji recipe. Done. And done well. But I can't take all the credit. Monica Bhide suggested I look at her recipe for Onion Rings with Chaat Masala. I did. But I hesitated at the list of ingredients. I didn't know what chaat masala was. I had never heard of carom, and thought fenugreek was like fennel. Thanks to this recipe I got schooled. And it was far less painful than writing lines.
Asian-Chicken-Soup-WB-1
03 Jan
Soup for Breakfast
Breakfast Soup Recipe - Asian-Inspired Quinoa and Chicken Soup - The Messy Baker I struggle with breakfast at the best of times. Winter only makes it worse. It's cold. It's dark. One look out the window and any sensible person would dive back into bed until spring -- or at least 10 AM -- not head to the kitchen and prepare food. I think the issue lies in my genes. I am a Night Owl. My natural rhythm seems about 2 hours behind the rest of the world. I simply am not hungry when I first wake up. Having talked to several other people who also describe themselves as "not a morning person," I know I am not alone. Unlike the Early Birds, who leap from bed starving, our sluggish morning metabolism shuns food. After I've been stumbling about for an hour or so, and the caffeine has pried my lids open, I am ready to munch, but on something sweet. Like cinnamon apple muffins or sour-cream-topped waffles dripping with maple syrup. I slurp hot popovers, crumpets or English muffins drooling butter. But I don't. Experience tells me the surfeit of carbs will come back to haunt me. But in the dead of winter, where does this leave me? It's too cold for my summertime fallback -- berries, yogurt and granola. I'm not big on eggs. Gag at the texture of oatmeal and would not feel the least bit cheated if I never saw, let alone ate, another sausage. After much thought, I have decided to embrace soup. For breakfast.
Sap drips into a bucket
02 Jan
2013 Culinary Bucket List
My 2013 Culinary Bucket List - The Messy Baker Last year, instead of posting resolutions, I created a Culinary Bucket List. This guilt-free, inspiration-filled list was meant to push my boundaries while putting a few delicious dishes on my table. Then I got a book deal and swapped a deadline for the list. Despite my egregious miscalculations in time management, I'm claiming a triumph on profiteroles (in the book), palmiers, clotted cream, and preserved lemons. The popovers? Well, they worked for me, but unless you own a popover pan, the so-called alternatives produce such a baked-on mess I can't in good conscience pass them on. (If you really want a popover recipe, let me know and I'll post a recipe and tips.) With the manuscript filed and edits yet to arrive, I am tempting fate and posting this year's Culinary Bucket List. Except for a couple of carry-over items, these dishes are uncharted territory for me and just begging to be explored. Can I get them done? With any luck, I'll manage 12 items in as many months. If not? There's always next year.
Merry-Catmas
24 Dec
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The baking is done. The gifts are wrapped and the cat has gotten into the holiday spirit. I'm off to drink eggnog and visit with family and friends for the next few days. Until then, wishing you all a very safe, happy and love-filled holiday season.  ...

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20 Dec
In Praise of Small Books
We all love a bargain. A bit fat cookbook stuffed with 1000+ recipes for $10. But if you're like me, these are the ones that never get used. Too big for the cookbook holder they rarely make it into the kitchen. And when I'm searching for dinner ideas, they offer too many choices and too few pictures. These days, I find myself turning to little books. Approachable books. Books that sit quietly in your lap without cutting off your circulation. Books you can read cover to cover without trouble. Books that delve deep into a topic and leave you wanting just a little bit more... Here are some little books that deserve big attention:

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