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.

23 Aug
Peach and Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

If you drop an upside-down cake on its head does it revert to plain old cake? Sadly, no. It just becomes yet another item to file under "Kitchen Disasters." The only advice I can give you, other than not to drop the final dish, is to...

20 Aug
Peach and Arugula Salad
Here, in all her glory, is Green Leaf Platter in what turned out to be her final performance. Less than 24 hours before her untimely demise, GLP was working the salad like nobody's business. A true artist to the end, she presented like no one was watching. As promised, here is the recipe for the peach and arugula salad demonstrated a couple of days ago on CTV's News at Noon. You can watch the video
19 Aug
In place of my scheduled peach post, I'm paying tribute to three fallen friends who gave their structural integrity in the name of food. Yesterday, as I carried a box laden with cake, bowls, wooden cutting boards and knives to the car, senseless tragedy struck. One small misstep on the back porch and ever-watchful Gravity moved swiftly to demonstrate her unforgiving power. Tomorrow and Friday I'll post peach recipes. Today, let's observe a moment of silence for:
18 Aug
How to pick, peel and use peaches
3  Peach Recipes - The Messy Baker I'm on Kitchener CTV's News at Noon talking about peaches. While they're generously allotting me 5 minutes, the entire news hour isn't enough time to tell you how much I love peaches. And just how much do I love peaches? Last year, I bought an upright freezer to accommodate my lust for Blazing Stars. To keep Andrew happy, I allow the odd batch of homemade Italian meatballs and bag of oven-dried tomatoes to take up precious freezer space, but peaches are the real reason a honking big white box sits in our basement sucking up energy at a horrific rate. Last year I looked at buying and storing peaches. But based on emails and discussions, a few unanswered questions.
17 Aug
Double-Double Chocolate Cake
I'm still on a bit of a high. Last week, Monica Bhide came for lunch. With her family. On her birthday. Which just happened to be her son's 11th birthday as well. While I was thrilled she was coming and touched she would choose to spend her birthday with me, I was a bit nervous and funneled my fears into the menu, the dessert in particular. My fallback birthday cake is an unremarkable recipe brought to celebratory heights via copious quantities of booze painted onto its surface and a whole pint of whipped cream crammed between the layers. Not the sort of thing for children. In addition to kid-friendly, I wanted something decadent, something chocolate and something Canadian for my American visitors. The prefect solution sat on page 179 in The Harrow Fair Cookbook. Double-Double Chocolate Cake.
Raw Sweet Potato Salad - The Messy Baker
09 Aug
Raw Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet potatoes are confusing. People call them yams, but they're not. Even though you're far more likely to encounter a sweet potato than a yam here in North America, I think we embrace the term "yam" because it's more fun to say. Weighing in at...

05 Aug
3 Preserves Cookbooks to Help You Eat Local Year Round
Right now people across the continent are being smothered by gigantic zucchinis, held hostage by an army of tomatoes or at the mercy of killer cucumbers. Today, it's a Battle of Abundance, but come November? I'll be flooded with emails from readers begging me to tell them where they can find a secret stash of  local fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, life in a cold climate is a feast or famine cliche. If you want to avoid imported produce, the only solution lies is preserving the local harvest. Now. Before you rush off to read someone else's post about 30-second chocolate chip cookies, let me vouch that today's preserves tend to be more flavourful than the sickly sweet jams or ultra salty pickles your Great Aunt Mavis foist upon you in childhood. Hate the idea of boiling water in the August heat? Freezing, drying, infusions and even curing are options that will preserve food without so much as a Mason jar. Yes, local peaches in March and pick-your-own strawberries in February can be a reality. It just requires an up front investment in time. Not sure where to start? Here are three books to get you started.
03 Aug
Frozen Lemon Pavlova
This recipe proves two things. One: Candied flowers can last. Two: Size matters. As to the first point, I sugared these violets in April. The last of the batch I created for a Canadian Gardening article, they remained perfect, crisp and crystallized in their tiny plastic container. For 3 months. Take that dratted summer humidity! As to the second point?  When I made this a sublime dish a few years ago, my tiny kitchen quickly turned the situation ridiculous. Meringues cooled in the dining room while dirty dishes circled in a holding pattern over the living room coffee table. With no counter space left I whipped the cream crouching on the floor as my hand mixer splattered dairy product on the walls. Upon presenting the dessert, I'm told I punctuated the birthday greetings with "Never Again" instead of heartfelt exclamation marks. "Happy Birthday, Dad Never Again  Hope you like the dessert Never Again May all your birthday wishes come true Never Again." But this is what Mom wanted for her birthday dessert. Since I can refuse her nothing, this is what I made
30 Jul
Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Oven-dried tomatoes - Brain, meet Fingers. Fingers, meet Brain. I hope you two become best of friends. Pronto. Because if you don't start working together really soon, I will be forced to give up this blog and move to a remote region of the world where there is no Internet access and only tinned soup for supper. What did I do this time? Despite finding the recipe in the index, reading the instructions and looking at the photo, my fingers typed "oven-roasted" tomatoes when Grow Great Grub clearly gives readers the low down on "oven-dried" tomatoes. I'm tempted to quietly correct this error and distract you with ice cream. But having asked you to vote and promising to post the results, I think you'd notice. Especially since the one recipe whose title I botched turned out to be the winner. So, for those of you who were looking forward to oven-roasted tomatoes, here's a refresher on how to roast vegetables. For the tomato version, I'd add chopped fresh basil, some crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. When done, top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. And for those who intuitively knew what I meant, here is the recipe for oven-dried tomatoes. They're different, but just as good. And last longer.
28 Jul
Grow Great Grub Winner
We have a winner for Gayla Trail's Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces. Once again the random number generator selected a last-minute entry -- Chrystal, who ducked in under the wire with her vote for Roasted Zucchini Dip. Congratulations, Chrystal. I'll email you shortly so I can get your copy to you. As for the recipe you want me to make this Friday? Bit of a nail biter this time. Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Roasted Zucchini Dip battled for supremacy right to the end. Sorry Cold Cucumber Soup and Tangy Red Pepper Ketchup. People wanted things hot. But which recipe won?

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