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.

08 Mar
Recipe: Zucchini Fritters with Dill Tzatziki
It's not unusual for me to get excited over a cookbook. But every once in a while one resonates with me on so many levels that I just want to curl up on the couch, cradle it in my arms and stroke its pages. And The Kitchen Garden Cookbook is my latest crush. It's as if they made it just for me and my garden-loving, sun-deprived soul. The premise is simple. Develope seasonal recipes around the bounty you grow in your vegetable patch (and I swear, this year I'm planting one since my sister won't be setting up another wedding marquis that usurps the entire side yard). While the photos are enticing, and each recipes has handy quick tips on when to pick and how to eat, store, preserve or freeze, I  just love the way they think -- like a gardener. The recipes are organized by seasonal bounty, not by courses.
04 Mar
Procrastination Equation and Junk Food

I am a world class procrastinator. My pantry is bursting with odd ingredients I keep meaning to try but know will expire before I open them. There are two shelves of cookbooks in my office waiting to be read, and I once let my filing go unattended for eight straight months. As for this post? I've had a rough draft sitting on my computer for over a month.

To get to the source of my dilly-dallying, I have read quite a few books on procrastination. You might be shocked to hear that I've finished them all. But I assure you, reading them was just putting off another less palatable task, like filing tax returns or researching ways to code recipes for Google. Several books and hundreds of pages later I had a few theories but was still putting the pro in procrastination. I just had a better understanding of how I was making life harder. What did I learn? Well, some experts say I'm a perfectionist. If I can't do it right I won't do it at all. Have they seen my ricotta gnocchi? Next theory...
02 Mar
Wordless Wednesday – Canary? Eaten.

At first glance you'll think this post (again, deliberately not wordless to please the Google gods) is not food related. But you're wrong. First of all, this is the orange tabby who inspired the header image. Because of him, I now cover butter with plastic...

28 Feb
Recipe: Ginger and Coconut Chicken
Ginger Coconut Chicken I'm not sure whether I should hug Bal Arneson or smack her with a cookbook. Her No Butter Chicken from Everyday Indian is my husband's favourite chicken dish. He loves it so much that while he was holed up in the living room recovering from knee surgery, with nothing but 4 walls, 21 surgical staples and 2 cats for company, he must have requested it for dinner at least once, if not twice -- a week.
24 Feb
Recipe: Surreal Chocolate Wontons
This is Bob Blumer, aka the Surreal Gourmet. I had the pleasure of meeting him and tasting his fun food at The Drake in Toronto recently. If he looks a bit blurry it's because he moves too quickly for my camera. He thinks quickly too. As he sat and chatted with the group, Blumer created cocktail ideas on the spot based on a recipe one of the guests pulled at random from his newest book, Glutton for Pleasure. Despite his tendency towards avocado-shaped guitars, sponge cake fries and meat cupcakes, Blumer is surpringly down to earth. He hates wasting ingredients and is a strong supporter of Second Harvest. He believes anyone can cook, and because of what he readily admits is "a short attention span", designs dishes to be on the table in the time it takes to listen to an album. He's also modest. With five cookbooks and a Foodnetwork show, Blumer claims his only advantage over Anthony Bourdain, (is it just me or could Blumer be cast as a younger Bourdain?) is that his surreal adventures are so crazy he needs only 1/10 the talent. To showcase his unique approach to food, Blumer made three dishes. The first was Chicken Popsicles, which are incredibly addictive but somewhat recalcitrant. One bite in and mine hurled itself to the floor. I decided not to apply the 5-second rule given I was in public. At home? I'd have dived to the ground and finished it off before standing up again.
23 Feb
Wordless Wednesday – Learning Curve

To prevent the duplicate content issue, I'm writing words. Today's question: What major photography gaff did I make in this photo? I have one specific issue in mind (and this time the photo name has NOTHING to do with the answer) but I'm sure you'll come up...

21 Feb
Recipe: Moroccan Roast Chicken
Yesterday was Family Day here in Ontario when everyone gets the day off to hang out with their loved ones. With yet another forecast snow storm threatening to turn what should be a laid back provincial holiday into a muscle-abusing Shovel Day, I decided to have family time Sunday night instead. Being the ever-considerate charm that I am, I chose a dish that would please everyone. My father likes Moroccan food, my mother enjoys any meal she doesn't have to cook, Andrew's all about the meat and I wanted something I could shove in the oven while I dashed to the gym. As luck would have it, a copy of Weeknight Fresh + Fast: Simple, Healthy Meals for Every Night of the Week by Kristine Kidd arrived just last week. I've never used a Williams-Sonoma cookbook before and wasn't sure if we'd agree on the definition of "fresh + fast." After all, when I go to one of their stores the kid in me wants three of everything and the adult in me wonders where I would store a bulky castle-shaped bundt cakes and even bulkier  $400 cake decorating machine. But the book delivers a wide range of practical recipes using items from any well-stocked grocery store. Sure, Kid Charmian whines about the tofu, but Adult Charmian points out that only 3 recipes in the entire book use this ingredient and if there are any more complaints there'll be no Castle Cake for dessert.
17 Feb
Recipe: Potato and Cauliflower Curry (Aloo Gobi)
If you look at my recipes index it's hard to believe I used to do a lot of health writing. While I was supposed to be promoting a healthy lifestyle in others, opposing stats and studies nearly made me sick. One day I'd file an article declaring 7 cups of black coffee a day would ward off Type 2 diabetes, and wouldn't you know it? The next morning a press release landed in my inbox railing against the evils of caffeine. Does cinnamon really help you lose weight or is it just rat poison with a nice smell? The contradictions were endless. Black coffee, green tea, white vegetables. Everyone had a theory and it was making me crazy. Being somewhat gun shy, I hesitated to review Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease, by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD with Debora Yost. I wasn't sure I wanted to get back to the kind of thinking that vilified or canonized a particular ingredient. But being a Gemini, and just as contradictory as the studies I dreaded, the first thing I did was look up cocoa so I could write a long persuasive post justifying all the dessert recipes I create (and gobble). I wanted to convince you that, despite the whipped cream and butter, chocolate mousse wasn't just delicious, is was downright healthy. After all, according to studies, flavanol-loaded cocoa will:
16 Feb
Wordless Wednesday: Old Spice

I know this is supposed to be Wordless Wednesday, but Google is viewing my text-free posts as duplicate content, which is a bad thing for a blogger. So I'm turning this into a game. The photo is wordless, but do you know what spice is...

14 Feb
Recipe: Chocolate Basil Muffins

Since I'm an unapologetic chocolate addict and flower fanatic, you'd think I'd be blogging about Valentine's Day with all the love in my heart and passion in my fingertips. But it's one of those "special" days I ignore in part because it's so contrived. It doesn't help that the media, supermarkets and florists start pushing Valentine's the minute your New Years champagne goes flat. By the time February 14th finally rolls around I wonder if you want or need another heart shaped anything.

So, I was going to let today slip by with nary a mention, without so much as a hint of red or a sliver of pink. No hearts, no cupids, no love poems. But my sister is wiser than I am. Although she knows my stance, she gently pointed out that not everyone shares my view and offered me her heart-shaped silicone baking cups for the occasion. Oh, she knows my weak spot. Baking. I took the hint -- and the cups.

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