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.

Cookingisfun
18 Oct
What is Cooking?
I had planned on ignoring the whole New York Times article with its provocative title "Cooking Isn't Creative, and It Isn't Easy."  Alex Halberstadt's article profiles Christopher Kimball and gives a behind-the-scene look at Cook's Illustrated. I was ignoring it. I had my La-La-La-I-Can't-Hear-You fingers stuffed firmly in my ears, and was avoiding the Food feed on Google News. Then Camilla Saulsbury posted about it on her Facebook page. I pulled my fingers out of my ears long enough to type a smart alec comment. But the damage was done. With my newly freed fingers, I clicked the link. I skimmed the article. I hit the roof. I found myself shouting at the monitor. "They don't call it the Culinary ARTS for nothing!" And "Shortbread. How hard can it be?!" Momentarily, I'd calm down to reassure the cat I wasn't choking to death, and then Halberstadt would quote Kimball again, and I'd be all, "Bowties are for pasta!" Yeah, I can get petty. I'm not proud of it, but there you are.
savory biscotti
09 Oct
Damn You, Biscotti! Die! DIE!
Savory Biscotti - The Messy Baker Three tries. It took me three kicks at the proverbial can (or pan, in this case), several hours and a couple of meltdowns to figured out how to make savory biscotti that A) didn't taste like stuffing and B) didn't fall apart like a cheap particle-board desk the second you breathed near it. When the aimed-for results emerged from the oven, I should have been elated. I should have danced the Biscotti Boogie, high-fived the cat and plastered photos on Instagram. But all I could see was an impossibly messy kitchen and four gigantic pans of unservable baked goods. As I stood at the counter feeling sorry for myself, Andrew walked in, nibbled a lump of should-be biscotti and said,
wedding-rings.gif
05 Oct
Ten Years and Counting

At my parent's 50th anniversary party, they shared the secret to their long and happy marriage:  Never wallpaper together. I think those were simpler times. We don't have a strip of wallpaper in the entire house, but require an elaborate and potentially expensive system to maintain...

CCPlaceholder
30 Sep
Flying Blind

I'm flying blind here. And I'm being about as literal as you can get. Due to technical reasons far beyond my comprehension, when I write a blog post the text is invisible. You can read this because it somehow rights itself once posted to the...

Tomatoes-topview
20 Sep
Preserving tomatoes regardless of quantity
How to preserve tomatoes regardless of quantity – TheMessyBaker.com Clearly, my tomatoes aren't getting enough love. When my back was turned, they  produced and produced and produced — to the point they toppled over and smothered the Swiss chard. Lying on the ground, they continued the fight. Not only did they produce more fruit, they romped all over the basil and trampled what was going to be fennel. Injuries to either party be damned. See the red tomato in the middle? It split its side in an effort to work its way to my kitchen door. In my defense the zucchini was rather distracting — all 302 pounds of it. Plus I am a bit busy working on my book. When I finally ventured out to the jungle garden, I was met by eager orange, red and yellow tomatoes. They practically leapt into my arms. The poor watermelon just lay there and whimpered. Shush now. All in good time. All in good time. How to perserve tomatoes regardless of quantity – TheMessyBaker.com
preserves-1
17 Sep
Spirited Fruit (and Sangria)
Spirited fruit preserves - TheMessyBaker.com I am not to be trusted. I head to the Farmers' Market with a clearly written list and rock solid resolve. And what do I return with? Way more items than intended and a feeling of panic. Where will I store all these plums? When will I have time to make pear jam? Should I freeze, can or hide the peaches? Of course, things fall apart when I toss tomatoes designated for preserving into a salad or gobble a handful of blueberries because they are too perfect for anything else but in-the-moment indulgence. You cannot imagine my relief -- your maybe you can-- when I stumbled up  a couple of preserving methods that are as flexible on quantity as I am about my shopping list. The methods are outlined in the ever-so-handy Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Robert Rose ©2012).
golden beet soup-1
13 Sep
Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup
Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup - The Messy Baker There's a great moment in the pilot episode of Firefly. Against a backdrop of falling bombs, exploding grenades and rounds of gun fire, Bendis, a very young and very terrified solider fears he's going to die. His superior, played by the ever-so dishy Nathan Fillion, responds with bravado. "We can't die, Bendis," he says. "You know why? Because we are so very pretty. We're just too pretty for God to let us die." If only life were like television.   Spilled Soup - A glimpse at how The Messy Baker got her name Serves me right for getting all fancy pants with soup. Turns out nothing, not even my Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup is too pretty to be spared. Either that, or I should watch where I'm stepping during a back porch photo shoot. Anyway, the other day the garden patch advanced. How do you respond when an armload of golden beets, more yellow tomatoes than one can eat without incurring cankers and a purple carrot force their way into your kitchen, stare you straight in the eye and double dog dare you to do something about it?
Strawberry Almost Ice Cream-1
08 Sep
Instant Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Instant Strawberry Frozen Yogurt - TheMessyBaker.com This frozen yogurt has four ingredients. Four healthy ingredients. Yet it tastes like something you'd treat yourself to after a hard afternoon of gardening. Or in my case, after a hard night's sleep. I had it for breakfast the other day instead of my usual smoothie. And I don't feel guilty in the least. I'm sure my neighbours wondered why I was sitting on the patio eating ice cream first thing in the morning. But I wasn't. Really. I was eating Instant Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. Even the cat was envious. (He's a big yogurt fan.) The recipe comes courtesy of Camilla Saulsbury, creator of the decadent Chocolate Basil Muffin and the take-a-breathalizer-before-you-drive Butter Rum Pound Cake. Based on her two previous books, I thought she was all about the sweets. Turns out she's all about moderation. She's extremely active and stays fit by practising the classic 80/20 ratio to her eating. Don't get too excited. The 80% applies to  healthy food. Fortunately, with Saulsbury this can be quite delicious.
Baked Caprese Salad-1
03 Sep
Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?
Baked Caprese Salad Stacks – TheMessyBaker.com When you write about food for a living it's easy to forget that it's not always just about ingredients or recipes. Creating a new twist on the chocolate chip cookie isn't as important as baking a batch with a friend. Bland chicken needs nothing more than a spicy conversation. And if your butternut squash soup doesn't rank on Google's first page, if you slurp it with loved ones, you're still a hit. Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?: A year of Italian menus with 250 recipes that celebrate family by Lisa Caponigri is a delicious reminder that sharing a meal is more important than the meal itself.  While Caponigri's menus are balanced and reasonably healthy, it's not about nutrition, clean eating or sustainable food choices. Her multi-generational approach encourages all family members -- even children -- to be involved in preparing dinner, but it's not a how-to-cook book. It's not about pushing culinary boundaries. It's about family -- and friends -  coming together over food. "Sunday dinner is a ritual, a tradition, a bonding experience," Caponigri says. And that's something you can't buy at the deli counter.
Tempura Zucchini Sharp-1-2
27 Aug
Tempura Zucchini
The zucchinis just keep coming. So I pulled out the big guns and fried the suckers in hot oil. None of this namby-pamby healthy oven-baked stuff. I went deep fried all the way. And I think I just might have scared them off. To shake things up a bit, I used a tempura batter and a spicy dipping sauce. I got the batter ratio from Michael Ruhlman's Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Scribner ©2009). While tempura is far from everyday in my world,  it is an effective way to use up the zucchini that arrives in relentless waves like zombies. It is also messy. Not only did I get batter all over the stove and counter, my shoes and hair somehow got into the act. By the time I'd used up all the batter, I looked like I'd lost a paintball match.

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