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.

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?
Easy Roasted Lemon Potatoes - The Messy Baker
27 Jul
Easy Roasted Lemon Potatoes

I have decided to strike the following phrase from my vocabulary: How hard can it be? It gets me into trouble. For example: Hey, honey, I need a new stove. Why don't we just knock down a wall and add an eat-in kitchen while we're at it....

24 Jul
Lemon Pie Ice Cream
Looks can be deceiving. Plain old vanilla ice cream? No. Guess again. It's actually lemon. With some orange thrown in. I based this ice cream on my father's favourite lemon meringue pie recipe, which calls for condensed milk. With a bowl of oranges threatening to dissolve into a green powdery heap before my eyes, I salvaged the best looking one and added it to the mix. The results? An exceptionally creamy Philadelphia style ice cream with a light citrus flavour. No eggs. No firing up the stovetop. Just a few minutes with the microplane -- important factors in this relentless summer heat.
22 Jul
Grow Great Grub – and a giveaway
Before a certain family member thinks this is a guilt trip, let me state for the record it isn't. I'm simply stating facts. Fact: My grandiose plans for a communal family garden got kiboshed in early spring when my sister announced her engagement. With a great big honkin' white marquis, a dozen tables and a hundred chairs scheduled to sprawl across the planting area mid-July, we had to rethink vegetable patch. Fact: Weddings trump gardens. Fact: I'm okay with that. Really. Why? Because in an attempt to find out how to maximize the small space left uneaten by the tent, I discovered I can grow blueberries. And I love blueberries. Thanks to Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail,
19 Jul
Cake Fit for a Garden Wedding
To quote Eddie Izzard, "Cake or Death? That's a pretty easy question. Anyone can answer that." Well, far be it from me to argue with Mr. Izzard, but there was a point late last week where I would have accused him of posing a trick question. The minute my sister Allison announced her wedding back in February, Mom and I volunteered to make the wedding cake. When Allison said she didn't want icing flowers, impossibly smooth royal icing or fancy piping, I thought we were getting off easy. A bit of ribbon, an armload of  flowers from the garden, and voila! Wedding cake. To avoid decorating the cake at the last minute and provide my sister with the "fairy-like not wedding-y" look she wanted,  I decided to candy the flowers. How hard could that be? After all, the pansies I candied in April only took a morning and are still going strong. But April wasn't humid. And all my July attempts resulted in a soggy, sticky mess. And I'm not just talking about the flowers.

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