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.

Peach and Ginger Fruit Leather - The Messy Baker
09 Aug
What to Do with Less-Than-Perfect Peaches – Fruit Leather

[caption id="attachment_8131" align="alignnone" width="500"] You don't need a dehydrator to make fruit roll-ups, but if you're looking for an excuse to buy one, these will seal the deal.[/caption] What do you do when you have less-than-perfect peaches squatting on your counter, threatening to dissolve into a...

coloured eggs-1
07 Aug
Eggs From Jude’s Back Yard
[caption id="attachment_8094" align="alignnone" width="500"] A dozen reasons why raising your own eggs is worthwhile.[/caption] Do not adjust your screen. These eggs really are light blue. And ivory. And beige. And speckley brown. And yes, that big one in the middle is pointy at both ends. My cousin Jude and her husband brought eggs from their backyard coop when they came to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday this past weekend. Mom got a party with cake and presents. I got fresh, home-raised, free-range eggs. I think I came out the winner. For the first time in my adult life I saw, touched and ate eggs raised by someone I know, delivered by chickens with names. The blue ones are courtesy of Banana, Big Bird and Roadie,  arucana hens. Jasmine and Ginger, the Buff Opringtons,  supplied the dark brown eggs and this one, with its inky brown spots...
garlic harvest-1
30 Jul
How to Grow Your Own Garlic
A friend has a theory that my family is part vampire. We are unnaturally pale and live a very, very long time. I am about to disprove this theory. I don't shrink at the sight of garlic. In fact, I grow it. This is garlic straight from my garden. It's shaggy and covered in dirt. Not at all like the pristine white bulbs you find in the supermarket.  It hasn't been trimmed or cleaned yet. I wanted you to see what it looked like straight from the earth. I started growing garlic a few years ago because the only option at the supermarket was spongy, bitter bulbs from 10,000+ kms away. I haven't looked back. And as with most things, I keep learning as I go.
Corn with Chili Lime and Cilantro Butter-1-2
26 Jul
Corn with Cilantro-Lime-Chili Butter
Cilantro, Lime, Chili Butter turns plain corn-on-the-cob into something special - This week's Gastropost challenge was to "recreate or revisit a food experience that will refresh sunny memories of summers past." With strawberries and peaches already covered, my mind went to corn — a food that leaves me conflicted. In season, corn-on-the-cob means both the height of summer and its dreaded end. The following essay was published in the Globe and Mail a few years ago. I think it's time to pull it out, pluck the corn silk from between its paragraphs and see how it goes. The recipe follows. We never had any exotic toppings when I was a kid. It was just plain butter and salt. And plenty of it.
Indian Green Beans
23 Jul
Indian Green Beans
Handful of green beans - I don't know if there are the Fortex pole beans or the Maxibel French filet beans. I suspect they are a mix. I can't tell because the vines are so thick the leaves obscure the labels. Plus, I was too busy picking beans to bother looking. Regardless of their official name, these are the first crop of beans from my section of  The Family Plot. Back in May, I planted them with one recipe in mind. Today I got to make it. A few months ago, Monica Bhide made me a variation of her Green Beans Subzi, a spicy vegetable dish with lots of flavour and crunch. She strayed from the version in her cookbook Modern Spice, and added coconut chips for extra crunch because she knows I like texture.  Since that meal, I have searched for coconut chips and come up empty handed. Unable to locate this ingredient, I substituted extra large coconut flakes. They aren't exactly the same, but I'm not about to complain.
Peach tomato salad with bocconcini -
19 Jul
Peach, Tomato Salad with Bocconcini
  Peach tomato salad with bocconcini - When a spring frost destroyed much of the tender fruit crops in Ontario, I was afraid I wouldn't see a local peach this year, let alone one that delivered a true peachy taste. Fortunately, I was wrong. While the size of the crop may not be large, the peaches are beginning to roll in, and they are sweet, flavourful and juicy. After the intense heat of the past few weeks, I couldn't bring myself to turn on the oven. Too impatient for ice cream (and with a cracked filling that made me temporarily sensitive to hot and cold food), I decided to make something very simple with my first batch of peaches. Something that would also let me experiment with the new basils I have in the garden. Alongside the opal, leaf, and Thai basils, I planted lime basil and -- get this -- lavender basil. While the lime basil had a bright, citrusy taste, the lavender version was surprisingly mild and had a floral scent that screamed out for peaches. So I obliged.
three galettes
17 Jul
Galettes and The Messy Baker
Hold my hand. I'm very nervous. Today is a big day. A. Very. Big. Day. First of all, it's my sister's 2nd wedding anniversary. (Happy anniversary, Allison and Dale.) That's not rattling me, although I do shudder when I recall putting her wedding cake together during a heat wave.  Secondly, I'm on CTV's News at Noon today, talking about galettes. Sure, I worry about forgetting a key ingredient or tripping on my way to the car. But that's not making me antsy, either. Being a guest there is always fun. No. I'm wringing my hands and flapping about like a puffin in a wind storm because I'm about to make It real. Once I announce It there will be no turning back. I can't unring that bell. What exactly is It? I landed a book deal. With HarperCollins Canada. There. I said it. So now, I guess it must be true.
Stuffed zucchini blossoms
10 Jul
Baked Zucchini Flowers with Ricotta
Zucchini Flowers - This is a zucchini flower from The Family Plot. While we raised plenty of eyebrows planting the garden, we weren't sure we could raise so much as a baby carrot. Much to everyone's surprise, the beans are clawing their way up the poles, the radishes are duking it out for territory, and the tomatoes stagger under the weight of their green fruit. Meanwhile, the zucchini plants bloom quietly in a corner, hoping no one will notice until it's too late. Sorry, Zucchini. We're onto you. I've been itching to try zucchini flowers for years but haven't had access to the main ingredient -- ephemeral zucchini blossoms. Every summer, I feel a bit jealous as a I read the culinary triumph of others with their battered and deep fried blossoms, or their stuffed-and-pan-fried flowers. I nearly choke when food writers get "bored" with this precious ingredient and skip the cooking altogether, opting to sprinkle julienned blossoms into salads and soups as if they were nothing more than a common herb.
blueberry corn salas1
05 Jul
Pecan Milanesas with Corn and Blueberry Salsa
Corn and Blueberry Salsa to atop Pecan Milanesas — Blueberries and corn? Really? Yes. In salsa? Oh my, yes. Make that a big, fat blueberry yes. The photographer in me loves the colour contrast. The eater in me loves the crunchy texture and sweet-sour flavours. Add lime and cilantro to the mix? Oh, I'm there. I'm so very, very there. In retrospect, I wonder why the combination surprised me. After all, cornmeal and blueberries are a natural match, so corn itself isn't a stretch. My surprise merely proves what I have long suspected — I'm missing a lot of culinary opportunities thanks to my near total ignorance of Latin cuisine. But all that's changing thanks to Sandra Gutierrez, author of The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America & the American South (University of Northern Carolina Press, 2011). What exactly is New Southern-Latino Cuisine? It's easier to tell you what it's not.
27 Jun
Paulette Phlipot – Made You Look
Paulette Phlipot Cover shot for Ripe - TheMessyBaker.comFingers, don't fail me now. I'm trying desperately to spell Paulette Phlipot's last name right. It shouldn't be that hard. After all, there are no accents requiring complex keystroke combinations. However, decades of typing have engrained certain patterns in my brain. My fingers struggle to put an "l" immediately after an "h," especially when they know an "i" is coming up fast. My fingers want to buy a vowel. Sorry fingers. Slow down and spell it right. As I mentioned in my previous post, Paulette Phlipot is the photographer behind the bold images found in Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables (beautifully written by my colleague and friend Cheryl Sternman Rule). Her last name is misspelled and mispronounced as much as my first name. To help pronounce Phlipot, Paulette shared a clever mnemonic. As a child she was a gymnast. "I flip, oh!" For those who own the book, her photos make you want to "flip-o" through the pages. Now that we have that issue cleared up, let's talk about the photography.

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