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.

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.
25 Jun
Berry-Lime Cornmeal Shortcakes
By now, you've likely heard a lot about Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables written by Cheryl Sternman Rule and photographed by Paulette Phlipot.  You've likely seen some of its in-your-face photographs, read excerpts of the light-hearted writing, and possibly tried one of the delicious yet accessible recipes. If not, you've at least heard it's organized by colour, so the fruits and vegetables appear according to the rainbow, not course. But what you might not have heard is the story behind the book itself. Yes, Ripe is an unusual book, but not because of the obvious. Yes, the writing is crisp. Yes the photographs make you see food in a new way. Its sum is greater than the whole because of the unusual collaborative relationship between author and photographer. Look at the book's spine. It says "Rule & Phlipot." When I interviewed Cheryl, she explained how Ripe  came into being. And what happened before the writing and photography even began made all the difference to the outcome.
Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb with Yogurt
22 Jun
Strawberry-Rhubarb En Papillote
[caption id="attachment_7789" align="alignnone" width="500"]The strawberry-rhubarb en papillote is in the bag, heading for the oven -- The Messy Baker En Papillote (French for "in parchment") makes for tender rhubarb in no time.[/caption] As if Friday isn't reason enough to celebrate. Today is the first anniversary of Lynn Ogryzlo's The Ontario Table, and I'm one of her virtual guests. I'm pretty chuffed to be asked to take part. Not only do I enjoy a party, I like hanging out with Lynn, even if it is online. First of all, she spells my  name right. Granted, with a surname like Ogryzlo, you're probably sensitive to such things, but it still earns her bonus points. Secondly, she loves my  doughnuts, and last but certainly not least, she takes one of the most sensible approaches to eating local I've ever seen. Instead of giving you the stink eye if everything on your shopping list doesn't comply with the 100-mile diet, she simply issues a $10 challenge. The concept is easy. Each week, spend $10 of your grocery money on local food. That's it. Small (locally grown) potatoes, right?
Pie Man
18 Jun
Father’s Day Pie
[caption id="attachment_7762" align="alignnone" width="500"] Andrew The Pie Man Thomson.[/caption]   How great is my dad? He's so wonderful his son-in-law donned oven mitts and let his wife boss him about for 3 hours so there would be homemade pie for dessert on Father's Day. How great is my husband? He's so wonderful he donned oven mitts and let his wife boss him about for 3 hours so his father-in-law could have homemade dessert for Father's Day.
09 Jun
Half an Hour Later in Newfoundland…

[caption id="attachment_7703" align="alignleft" width="263"] Recommendations of where to go in St. John's, written on my boarding pass by Porter check-in. I feel welcome already.[/caption] When you read the post title, did you hear the authoritative voice of a CBC announcer in your head? If you're Canadian, you probably...

Salt-Cured Arctic Char
07 Jun
Sustainable Seafood | Citrus-Cured Arctic Char
[caption id="attachment_7660" align="alignnone" width="500"] Fried Lingcod Po-Boy[/caption] I hate being "that person." You know, the one who goes out to dinner with a group of friends and holds up everyone's order because she asked the server where the tilapia came from. To ensure no one starved, I stopped asking. By default, I stopped ordering fish. Whether they occur at a restaurant or the seafood counter, moments like these are problematic for many people. While the red / yellow / green seafood rating system is easy to understand, the answers aren't as straightforward as the colour-coding. Is tuna a good choice? Turning to my SeaChoice app, the answer is.... That depends.
04 Jun
The Good, The Bad and the Improvised
[caption id="attachment_7624" align="alignnone" width="415" caption="Beet shoots one week in!"][/caption] This shouldn't be happening. There are few worms in this soil, the ground has grown nothing but grass for 40 years, and the great big maple nearby calls dibs on all the nutrients. In spite of this, the beet are beginning to sprout. A week into the Family Garden Project (or The Family Plot as one friend called it), we are seeing results. These little green leaves poking through the earth are not weeds. The line is too straight. No, these non-weeds are the makings of beets. And even though I hate beets, I am thrilled to see progress in my mother's quadrant. [caption id="attachment_7625" align="alignleft" width="264" caption="Beans are beginning to sprout!"][/caption] Over in my younger sister's quarter? The beans have green shoots popping up through the earth. Maybe it's the marigolds? Maybe it's the rain? Maybe it's just what happens when you stick some seeds in the ground and move out of Mother Nature's way? No matter the reason, these tiny green shoots give me hope. Because things did not go so well in my kitchen on Saturday.

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