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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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12 Jan
Healthy Seed Bread

One of the items on my culinary bucket list was granary bread. I wanted to create my own version of a seed-loaded hearth bread I used to get from a local bakery. Their bread was dense without being heavy -- something you could sink your...

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06 Jan
How to make perfect cake

  If you read my 2012 Culinary Bucket List, you'll see I have a lot of baking to do. In case a from-scratch cake is on your list, I thought I'd start the new year off with some baking tips I learned from Camilla V. Saulsbury,...

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04 Jan
My 2012 Culinary Bucket List
Canadian Winter It's January. Has been for a few days. I know I'm a bit late with this but, oh well, here goes anyway... Every year I swear to myself I will post more often. I will get better at my photos. I'll be a better blogger. These vague goals slip through my fingers like typos on a smartphone. Last year I promised, "I’m not going to let Life derail me again." Hmmmm. That one's still on the table. Instead of chastising myself for the missteps, I've decided to look back at some of the things I've learned since starting this blog.
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23 Dec
Last-Minute Christmas Gifts
It's almost noon on the day before Christmas Eve and I'm not finished my shopping. Not by a long shot. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess  I'm not the only one who needs the born-of-fear adrenaline to face the holiday crowds. Or maybe you're too disorganized busy to get it done during calm, shopper-sparce early November -- like some people I know and resent. So, for those who need some last-minute gift ideas for the cooks in your life, here are my suggestions. You can purchase them from the tranquility of your home, glass of spiked eggnog in one hand and a computer mouse in the other.
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15 Dec
Recipe: Gluten-Free Macaroons
As a food writer, I've dabbled in the gluten-free world. I've bought guar gum and xantham, various rice flours, teff, sorghum and nutmeals. They're taking up a lot of room in my spiffy new pantry along with the gluten-loaded all-purpose, whole wheat, cake & pastry, bread and unbleached flours. Since everyone in my house can eat wheat, I find I rarely use the gluten-free variations. As a result, I am quickly coming to the conclusion that unless you regularly feed someone who is gluten-intolerant, gluten-free baking that requires a mix of flour alternatives might not be the best route. So how do you feed guests who are unable to eat wheat without stocking up on specialty items? Dinner is easy. Roasted meat and simple side dishes like baked potatoes and steamed vegetables or a salad topped with homemade dressing. You can even serve gravy if you thicken it with corn starch. Asian cuisine is another delicious and easy solution. A stir fry or curry will satisfy everyone. Steam up a pot of rice instead of hot naan bread and you're golden. But desserts? Oh desserts. This is where the gluten-hits the fan.
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08 Dec
Recipe: Salted Orange Toffee Crisps
Last year, due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't do any Christmas baking. Not so much as a single shortbread came out of my kitchen. But this year? I'm making up for the loss. The rumballs are rolled, the eggnog is chilling and now it's time for some serious sugar. Luckily, Anna Olson recently released a new book devoted entirely to baking -- Back to Baking: 200 Timeless Recipes to Bake, Share and Enjoy -- so should I suffer from Bakers Block, I will have a muse to help me. Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with the muse Anna after one of her demonstrations. I promised to try to stump her with your toughest baking questions but Anna's been studying. I'm not sure if I was more impressed with the accuracy of her answers or her her ability to zero in on possible solutions without a lot of background information. I'd have been demanding to know about the humidity, altitude and the position of Mercury. Here are the questions you asked and Anna's answers. Immediately following, we'll have a cookie break.  I'm sharing a recipe to one of Anna's amazing cookies -- one she let me sample even though they were just for display. They've got orange, toffee and salt all in an icebox cookie. Life is complete.

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