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.

Maple trees in Ontario, tapped for making maple syrup
15 Mar
Maple Syrup – The Ultimate Slow Food
[caption id="attachment_7278" align="alignnone" width="500"]Maple trees in Ontario, tapped for making maple syrup Jo Marie's maple tress tapped for sap.[/caption] When I was nine, we moved to a house with two huge maple trees in the side yard. Years before, someone had tapped the trees and left the spiles in the trunk. Intrigued by the metal protruding from the bark, I asked my mother what they were for. When she explained, I blithely suggested we make our own maple syrup. Without even pretending to consider my request, Mom said no. At the time I thought my mother — the woman who baked bread, made pastry and even created hand-dipped chocolates for Easter — was being incredibly unreasonable. She wasn't. I now understand why.
milehigh
05 Mar
Recipe: Perfect Elephant Ears (Palmiers)
Elephant Ear - TheMessyBaker These are elephant ears. Or palm ears. Or palmiers. Or French hearts, or butterflies or glasses. No matter what you call them, these sugar-laced puff pastry treats are one of my all time favourites. Like most things worthwhile, they are a labour of love. And I love my father. So I made a batch to welcome him home after a month abroad on a volunteer mission. But as Murphy would have it, my website went haywire* during the process. I tried to restore the site between rounds of rolling, chilling, slicing and baking. The results? A salvaged blog and a pan of burnt elephant ears. Another senseless waste of pastry.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
29 Feb
A lighter approach to olive oil ice cream
This isn't the best ice cream photo in the world, but it was perhaps the best ice cream experience I've had in a long, long time. And to think, I was prepared to dislike it. Despite my recent revelations regarding misguided food biases, I still haven't fully learned to open my mind when I open my mouth to taste. And for the past few years I've carried a grudge against olive oil ice cream — the one time "it dish" of the culinary world. Recipe variations clogged the internet. Food writers crafted sonnets about it. Trend spotters trampolined the dish at the top of their Hot Lists. For a while olive oil ice cream was the salted caramel/chocolate bacon/sweet potato fries of frozen desserts. It was embraced by everyone but me. I had tried it at the celebrity restaurant that started the whole craze, and within 10 seconds regretted my $7/bowl purchase. While the initial flavour was pleasing, it left my mouth coated with oil and the lingering aftertaste was of ... well... olive oil. So, as Pimenton's paella class wound down and Chef José Arato delivered bowls of homemade vanilla ice cream drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, I figured I'd take a spoonful and politely claim to be too full to finish. If I'd been alone, I'd have licked the bowl.
paella
26 Feb
Recipe: Paella
Making and enjoying paella - TheMessyBaker.com One of these days I'll learn how to take notes, shoot pictures and eat, all at once. This sort of multi-tasking would have come in very handy last week when I attended a paella class at Pimenton in Toronto. Greeted by a table full of tapas, fellow bloggers chopping vegetables and a warm and welcoming Chef José Arato, my anxiety over arriving late due to the rush hour drive melted. It took at couple of Tortilla & Chorizo Tarts to calm me down, but they did the trick. Until the class, most of my knowledge about paella came from Posh Nosh, a British cooking show spoof. Unlike the TV version, Chef José's paella was cooked on the stove top — not in the ancestral Aga — and uses bomba rice, not Italian arborio. Who knew you can't trust the BBC for cooking advice?
clotted-cream
21 Feb
Homemade Clotted Cream

Shrove Tuesday doesn't have to include pancakes. Today is really about gorging on rich foods before the 40-day fast of Lent. Pancakes just happen to be cooked in grease, filled with eggs and topped with more decadence.  It's okay to think beyond the griddle. Any...

preserved-lemons-almost-done
17 Feb
Recipe: Preserved Lemons
Making preserved lemons - TheMessyBaker.com It's time to strike another item off my Culinary Bucket List. In an uncharacteristic display of patience, I tackled preserved lemons. They require endurance, not because they are hard to make, but because they take 4 weeks to cure. In the meantime, to scratch my immediate-gratification itch, I started a Tumblr — a place to stuff all those little items I can't clutter up the blog with. It'll be a home for stray thoughts, non-food shots (which don't necessarily translate to cats), and food shots that aren't good enough for Foodgawker but tell a story I want to share. I'm still figuring it out, but if you care to pop by I have added a link to the far right of the menu bar. Go on. Click it. I dare you. Anyway, I started researching preserved lemons
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
13 Feb
6 Chocolate Recipes and $100 off Rouxbe
Despite my passion for chocolate, I have never been a huge Valentine's Day fan. I try to ignore it, not because I am cynical about love, but because I believe affection, gifts and surprises should be dictated by the heart, not the calendar. Or at least that's my normal stance. But Rouxbe Online Cooking School is having a limited-time-only Valentine's Day special and I think it's worth promoting. Why? Because: a) Life's too short to eat bad chocolate. Rouxbe has a fabulous section on chocolate, including how to read a label. Watch the trial video in the Rouxbe widget at the bottom of the post before you buy your sweetheart chocolate. I guarantee you and the recipient will be happy with the results. b) Unlike my gym membership, I actually visit Rouxbe's on a regular basis. I use it to refresh my memory, learn new skills and further my culinary education — which may be in part why I'm not at the gym as often as I should. c) I want to plug some of my old content using the Valentine's Day Chocolate theme as an excuse.
The fine print: I'm a Rouxbe affiliate. As such, I can offer you specials like the $100 off a Rouxbe Online Cooking School one-year membership or e-card. And hugs. Here's how it works. You sign up for the membership. They give you unlimited access to their site for a year. I give you a hug.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
06 Feb
Smoked Sugar and What Stratford Chefs School Taught Me About Myself
This is how much of a sugar addict I am. I drove an hour on a dark, cold, rainy January night just so I could sample smoked sugar. What's smoked sugar you ask? It's sugar. That's been smoked.* As eager as I am to try new sweets, I am equally entrenched in my culinary dislikes. Without hesitating, I will tell you I don't like custard, I don't like caviar and I don't like chives. And it's not just things that start with the letter c, either. Foie gras, beets, parsnips, liver, and truffles (the fungus, not the chocolate) don't make it into my kitchen. But I was so eager to taste smoked sugar —the final dish of a full-course meal — I was willing to throw myself into the unknown.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
23 Jan
Recipe: Spicy Spinach Soup
Email. Some days I love it. Some days I hate it. And I was hating it something fierce  recently when my computer insisted it had to "rebuild" my inbox and in doing so resent random emails from March 2010. This elicited confused responses from the unintended victims recipients. I spent the weekend  cautiously checking email and wondering when the next "What's going on?" email would arrive. In an effort to keep the Universe in check, a stray email landed in my inbox the same week.
Different-pans-500
16 Jan
How to adjust pan size in baking

What's happening to me? The minute I went to photograph this dessert I thought, "Rats! I should have made the cobbler in a cast iron frying pan. It would have looked so much more rustic." Great. It's not enough that I'm criticized for being a food...

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