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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08 Nov
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair — On stage and off
[caption id="attachment_4247" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Being introduced on stage at The Royal. Note the pristine fingers."][/caption] I left the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair yesterday with a cooking demonstration under my apron, a new friend and a Batman bandage on my right middle finger. Two out of three ain't bad. My cooking demonstration was a team effort. In the background, Andrew operated the point-and-shoot while Heather Travis, Director of Public Relations for the Beef Information Centre, dished trivia and handed out recipes. [caption id="attachment_4249" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Heather Travis keeps things lively while I sear beef."][/caption] Meanwhile, I desperately tried to judge the heat of the pans by listening to sizzling steaks against the cacophony of  PA messages and a cattle auction not 30 feet away. Given the circumstances, things went really well. My proof?
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07 Nov
Teat Tweets at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

This is ContrastAmanada. She's an 8-year old Holstein who isn't afraid to milk herself and has her own Twitter feed. I struggle with social media, but with the help of University of Waterloo's Critical Media Lab, a herd of bovines from Buttermine Farms in Brant,...

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04 Nov
Recipe and Giveaway: Chipotle Shortbreads
Move over Julia Child and Paula Dean. I'm the Butter Queen today. Now that the jack-o'-lanterns have been extinguished and the last of the waxy mini-chocolate bars have been gobbled, we can safely move onto thoughts of holiday baking. While I'm not ready to rummage in the basement for stockings and mistletoe, I am more than ready to plot the goodies I'll be baking in my recently renovated kitchen. And as I do, visions of shortbreads dance in my head. Those who know me will vouch that I'm a huge shortbread fan, making variations that run from a classic 4-ingredient cookie to a savory Pecan Cheesie. So when I was offered the chance to post a butter giveaway, I couldn't say no. "Butter give away?" you ask in a mixture of awe and joy. Yes, butter give away. Who says dreams don't come true?
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29 Oct
What to do with leftover pastry dough
  Mini Apple Pie - Using up leftover pastry - The Messy Baker I just can't bear to throw out leftover pastry scraps. As a child, when my mother made pie, she salvaged every shred of dough and produced a treat I found more tantalizing than the star dessert itself -- the Rolly-Polly. She gathered the leftover dough, rolled it into a long strip, slathered butter down the middle, sprinkling it with cinnamon, brown sugar and -- if we were very lucky -- chopped walnuts. She then rolled the pastry strip into a log, bent it into a circle and pinched the ends together, forming an uneven, edible wreath. Inevitably, the over-handled dough cracked, but while it baked, the buttery brown sugar oozed out and caramelized into crunchy burnt nirvana. As soon as it was cool enough to handle, she cut the Rolly-Polly into bite-sized portions, which we gobbled boldly in the face of our fast approaching dinner. Last week, with fresh apples from the market watching my every move, I forewent the Rolly-Polly. But I didn't waste the scrippets of pate sucree cut from the rim of my Pear, Chocolate & Frangipane Pie. I gently patted the dough into a large ramekin. In went half an apple, chopped and tossed in cinnamon and brown sugar. I folded the edges over the top, which didn't quite meet, and baked it along with the pie. Voila! Apple Something. Served with a drizzle of creme fraiche, it was a lovely, unpretentious treat I ate as I cleaned the kitchen. A reward for all my hard work.
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25 Oct
I’m Cooking Beef at the Royal

Don't say I didn't warn you. You are amongst the first to know. In fact, I haven't even had time to tell my parents yet, so no complaining about the short notice. My news? On Sunday, November 7th at 1 pm, I'm hitting The Entertaining at...

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20 Oct
Recipe: Plum and Orange Sorbet
The pears went bad so I called on the plums. The plums started to go so I... reached for the ice cream maker. I could have made preserves, but I had too few plums to make jam worthwhile. The fruit would have slipped from iffy to unusable by the time I had found the jars, sterilized them, heated the water bath, located the labels...  No, I needed a quick fix. Plus, I'm still in the any-excuse-to-use-my-brand-spanking-new-food-processor stage. The result of my plum panic is a palate cleansing sorbet -- the kind you get in fancy restaurants between courses. You won't want to sit down to a big bowl of this -- unless you've got a lot of chocolate sauce on hand. It's fresh, intense and if you don't rasp away too much of the orange pith, very smooth. It's ideal for a hot summer day. Of course, I created it just as the autumn winds whip in.
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18 Oct
Recipe: Plum, Chocolate & Frangipane Pie
Had the pears held up I would likely be writing about broccoli or Swiss chard. Health food fans lament; pie lovers rejoice. On Saturday, with guests arriving and the clock ticking loudly in my ears, I tossed my dessert plans into the garbage along with the perfect-on-the-outside, punky-on-the-inside pears. Unable to rest upon the laurels of a well-tested dessert, the pressure was on. With little on hand but plums and leftover ingredients from my recent stone-fruit baking exploits, I tossed components together like Dr. Frankenstein creating a new life from. All that was missing were lightning flashes and ominous organ chords. The crust was the leftover pate sucree dough (which froze beautifully). I sprinkled in a layer of chocolate borrowed from the Pear Chocolate Tart,  slathered on butterless frangipane lifted from the recent Peach, Apricot & Plum Galette and topped it all with a generous coating of sliced plums. Using the only egg left in the fridge I whisked in some cream for a custard to hold it all together.
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15 Oct
Food Processors – Too Much of a Good Thing?
I've been sitting on this post for a few days, not sure what to say. I had planned a feature-by-handy-feature appliance review, but feel I should issue a PSA instead.  You see, I broke down and bought a food processor a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I find myself embroiled in a fervent love-hate relationship. The love goes out to the machine which shreds carrots without endangering my knuckles, chops vegetables faster than I can peel them and even makes my beloved pate sucree pastry less messy. The hate? That's all for me. Not because I spent $200 on an item I once shunned (in my defense, it was a $400 machine on sale) but because of what it's doing to me. It's the $112 ice cream maker all over again, only without a frosty treat at the end. I'm so determined to prove my purchase was worth the money  and the dedicated counter space my brand new 97-pound stainless steel chopping wonder requires that I'm overusing it. Sometimes with disastrous results.
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13 Oct
Recipe: Caramelized Apple Pancake Syrup
Don't get me wrong, I like pancakes. But sometimes the expression "Flat as a pancake," describes my enthusiasm for this dish. Unadorned, they're pallid, uneven, and large-pored. This describes my skin without make-up. It's not something you should be serving guests before noon. Oh, sure I can drizzle them with maple syrup, but sometimes you need to shake things up a bit. It's apple season and since I put apples in the pancakes, why not put apples on the pancakes as well. The results?  A pan of goopy, butterscotchy fruit that cooked in the time it takes to make a supporting batch of flap jacks. So decadent and sweet, it's enough to make the maple syrup sulk.
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12 Oct
Recipe: Plum Frangipane Tart
Plum Frangipane Tart by The Messy Baker Little Jack Horner's got nothing on me. What's he got? A corner, a thumb and a nursery rhyme no one understands. Me? I've got fresh plums and frangipane. That's right. You heard me. Frangipane. I know. It sounds like a resort cocktail, but it's really just fancy food talk for a filling made with ground almonds. And plums and almonds go together like boozy fruit-based cocktails and tiny paper umbrellas --  or sneaky little boys and pies -- so this was combination seemed obvious. I had pastry left over from the annual Thanksgiving Concord Grape Pie -- enough to make a 6-inch tart. So, I got creative with the plums. Compared to the in-your-face-I'm-a-GRAPE pie, this one is subtle. But subtle's good. Good enough to stick your thumb in.

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