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.

Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
08 Sep
Educational Books for Cooks
Here in Ontario, school began yesterday. Despite having graduated from university last millennium, to this day fall still brings anxiety dreams where I race from room to room trying to find my class, or arrive on campus only to learn I forgot to register, or worse -- I'm enrolled in nothing but advanced math, for which I lack all prerequisites. Even when I'm fully awake, the September nags at me to crack the books. And since my focus is now on food writing, the books I turn to are usually culinary. While the following recommendations contain recipes, and lots of them, their primary focus is on education. Their aim is not to provide you with recipes to follow, but to give you culinary knowledge so you can create delicious meals on your own. While these books have a similar purpose, they come from opposite ends of the spectrum. One is beautiful, serene and informative. It makes me want to move to the country and raise chickens that lay blue eggs. The other is crammed with more information than my brain can hold, but funny as hell. Being a Gemini, I like them both, and for very different reasons.
Chocolate-Pear-tart
07 Sep
Recipe: Pear and Chocolate Tart

When you do nothing to your pear tree but leave it be, you can expect trouble. And trouble came to my friend in the form of dozens and dozens and dozens of bug-free, blemishless, picture perfect pears. Her punishment? Driving some over to me. That'll...

Rolled pastry
03 Sep
Recipe: Pate Sucree

This is -- or rather was -- Aunt Hilda's pastry board. It's now mine and I'm hoping her tenacity and good baking karma will transfer to me through this well-loved board. Not only was Aunt Hilda a fabulous cook, she never stopped learning. After years...

Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
01 Sep
Honey Roasted Pears Recipe
I'm telling you up front, this cookbook scared me when it arrived. I haven't the patience to make confit, wouldn't touch foie gras if you paid me and can't even begin to tell you where to get quail eggs. Venison, bison and Cornish hens have never been, and likely will never be, on my grocery list. And quite frankly, I'm a bit afraid of pickled eggplant. But despite all this, Simply In Season: 12 Months of Wine Country Cooking by Tony de Luca is just the kind of cookbook I need. Yesterday, while Stick Figure Charmian was falling off a treadmill, Real Life Charmian was looking for ways to break out of her comfort zone. And the path to culinary inspiration was sitting right on my shelf.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
31 Aug
Draw A Dream

[caption id="attachment_3757" align="alignnone" width="648"] Jody Mace draws my dream in which I fall off the treadmill.[/caption] This is me, in all my stick-figure glory. You can tell because a) the caption says so, and b) it ends in disaster. Before you write to inquire how I...

Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
30 Aug
Pink Angels – A Devilishly Sweet Square Recipe
Pink Angels, a devilishly sweet square - The Messy Baker Pink. I hate it. It's yet another carry over from my childhood. Every time I wore any shade of fuschia, magenta or bubble-gum some well-meaning adult would put a hand to my forehead and ask me if I was feeling all right. Classmates? They'd just tell me to get a tan. If you grew up with encouragement like this, you too would  learn to loathe pink in all its rosy glory. But when it comes to food? I'm a little more accepting. I figure pink's okay if it goes in me, not on me. These Pink Angels (also known as Pink Sin or Pink Ladies*) are a classic Canadian goodie most often found at church functions. Exceptionally sweet, these squares have no nutritional value, will corrode your tooth enamel before you've swallowed, and can send your blood sugar through the roof. However, if you like your sweets sweet, you'll find them so tasty you'll be willing to risk it all -- even the red food colouring.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
26 Aug
Stone Fruit Galette
Stone Fruit Galette getting ready for the oven by The Messy Baker. This recipe is enough to make me eat my words. I don't like marzipan, I find Emeril Lagasse's TV persona annoying (his toothpaste commercials were the final straw for me) and I avoid pre-packaged items on principle. And yet, this recipe, which  became a favourite within two bites, calls for almond paste, boxed puff pastry and is adapted from the Bam Master himself. Like I said, I'm eating my words. And more galette than is good for me.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
25 Aug
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dressing

A local Indian restaurant makes an addictive appetizer -- bite-sized vegetables dipped in a spicy chickpea batter, deep fried and served with a cilantro dipping sauce. Whenever Andrew and I dine there, I pluck all the cauliflower florets from the plate and eat them myself....

Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
25 Aug
Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread
I love wheat. I love chewy cookies, moist cake and bread with great big air bubbles in it. And let's not forget flaky pastry, decadent squares and booze soaked trifle. With the exception of carob loaf, I don't think I've met a baked good I didn't like. And I'm fortunate. The only side effect I get from indulging in wheat is bigger sides. A friend isn't so lucky. He has Celiac Disease, so gluten-loaded food can be painful. While he's happy with his main courses, he misses baking. So I thought I'd help him out. But finding good recipes isn't that simple. More than once I've politely choked down chalky gluten-free brownies and struggled to produce enough saliva to swallow dry-as-dust gluten-free breads. So, I experimented with Wendy Turnbull's approach to gluten-free baking. Having spent 30 plus years with Celiac Disease, she's figured out a way to deliver light, moist baking without the gluten. The key? Her special GEMS flour. You can't buy it in stores. You make it yourself from a blend of various flours, each selected for what it brings to the dish -- versatility, lightness, texture, tenderness and moisture. Yes, it takes a trip to the health food store. But I figure, if you're on a gluten-free diet, you're likely going there anyway for your pre-baked gluten bread fix. And this is a less expensive, more versatile option. Turnbull even provides a formula that allows you to turn your favourite wheat-based recipes into gluten-free ones. Although I was initially intimidated, there was no need. Here's what I found:
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
24 Aug
Blog Aid: Recipes for Haiti Gets Gourmand World Cookbook Nomination

Yesterday I got an email from Julie Van Rosendaal. The collective cookbook Blog Aid: Recipe for Haiti has been nominated for a Gourmand World Cookbook Award in the category of charity cookbooks. The awards will be announced in Paris this coming spring. Ooooohhhh la la. A...

Subscribe to my newsletter.

It’s easy. It’s free. It’s informative.

 

Receive weekly tips, recipes and advanced notice of upcoming events.

Yes, please!