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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03 Mar
Chocolate Chip Mousse
Easy Chocolate Chip Mousse - TheMessyBaker.com Late on Sunday afternoon I did the unthinkable. I made chocolate mousse without high-end chocolate. Company was coming.  The oven was occupied with Apple Roasted Chicken. And I had very little time to devote to dessert. So, I opened the baking cupboard and grabbed the first thing I saw -- a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. What can you do with chocolate chips, a stove top and half an hour kitchen time? Make mousse. And dang, if it didn't turn out more than a little okay.
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01 Mar
Sparkling Ginger Daisy

Sometimes things fall together so smoothly you just know it's meant to be. Months ago, Diva on a Diet told me about Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur. Alas, it is unavailable in Ontario. So when I went to the Roger Smith Food Writer's conference in New...

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25 Feb
When recipes fail

Dull winter days. Steaming hot bowls of soup. A hunk of cheese and a slice of bread makes it a meal. Wouldn't you just love the recipe for this delicious, nutritious, palate-pleasing cold weather solution? Well, I'm not giving it to you. Not because I'm mean or...

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24 Feb
Dried Apple Breakfast Bars
Winter in Ontario. It either comes in cloudy grey lined with depressing slush or dazzling blue edged with blinding white snow. But there's a new colour this season. Red.Very fitting for a Canadian-grown fruit. These Red Prince apples are a new variety grown just a couple hours away from me -- in ski country no less. Here the Jonathan meets the Golden Delicious. And this is truly a prince of an apple. You can bake with it, cook with it or just eat it as is. Me? I decided to try something I'd never done before. I dried mine. Pretty, aren't they? The resulting dried apples are at once sweet and tart. A bit like a dried cranberry. Only without the added sugar. The brilliant red skin even makes them look a bit like cranberries. But the tiny blocks shown above are just plain old apples, slowly dried in the oven. They're so tasty I had to stop myself for gobbling them by the handful.
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22 Feb
Leaky Pipes

Technically, our leak wasn't as bad as this photo. Emotionally? I felt like I was the Dutch kid asked to stick his finger in the dike. One false move and lives would be lost, houses swept away and my name would forever be synonymous with...

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19 Feb
Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

EJSGHPK2KBS4 Huh? What is that gobbledy-gook in the previous line? If you thought this was going to be about oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, be patient. Apparently, this cryptic code is the high-tech way one "claims" their blog on Technorati. For some reason it refuses to recognize...

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18 Feb
Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts
I fall easily into a vegetable rut. If it weren't for this blog I'd happily get my daily quota of greens from string beans, broccoli and mesclun mix salad. I once ate Basil and Walnut Green Beans every night for a week.  When I stopped I swear, the stock for California walnuts plummeted. But I have promised you a vegetable dish a week in 2010. That's 52 distinct recipes. Since I can't come up with that many variations with only three base ingredients, I am branching into scary territory. Swiss chard. And I'm pleased to report it's not all that scary. I feared it would be slimy or bitter or boring. It was none of these. As luck would have it, a copy of Everday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast by the good people at Martha Stewart Living arrived just in time for me to fulfill my vegetable obligations. Make fun of Martha all you want, but when she decides to do something, she does it well. This book is no exception. No chi-chi recipes for wedding cakes, truffles or finicky hors d'oeuvres that will take the better part of a week to make. Just simple recipes, fresh ingredients and delicious results. Even the photography is clean and simple -- but beautiful. This dish was one of four Winter Vegetable dishes offered on a single page. While all looked enticing, I tackled Swiss chard because I can't say no to the combination of garlic, balsamic vinegar and nuts. Each winter vegetable recipe required six ingredients (or fewer) and nothing more exotic than pine nuts. And it's within an everyday budget. You won't be forced to visit six specialty shops and the bank for a second mortgage. Best of all,  I had the chard plated and ready for the camera in about 15 minutes.
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16 Feb
Savory Cheese Cookies
You will see no pancakes here today. No stacks of blueberry buttermilk griddle cakes dripping with maple syrup. No golden latkes dotted with sour cream or slathered in apple sauce. Not so much as a waffle. Crepes? Forget it. Instead, I'm offering you little disks of fat in the form of  savory cheese cookies. The biscuits above were made by -- I kid you not -- Elizabeth Baird. Herself. Yes, the food editor for Canadian Living, author of more books than I have digits and all-round culinary guru baked these. Let me be clear. This not a case where I baked a batch using her recipe. These very cookies emerged from her oven, mixed by her hands.
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12 Feb
Last Chance to order Blog Aid

I interrupt this regularly scheduled vegetable post to inform you that today is the last day to order Blog Aid: Recipes for Haiti. The cut off is noon MST, which is 2:00 EST and a half hour later in Newfoundland. Despite how it looks, we're not giving...

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11 Feb
How to Butcher or Debone Chicken
See those pretty crystals? They're salt. Yes, we need this essential element to live, but the average Canadian consumes three times the daily recommended dose. Spend a few minutes Googling "high-sodium diet" and you'll likely consider tossing your fleur de sel out the window. Fortunately, this isn't necessary. I was talking with Dawn Thomas, the voice of Rouxbe Online Cooking School.  She says their site doesn't label recipes low-sodium (or low-fat for that matter) and doesn't plan to. Why not? It's unnecessary. Once you learn proper cooking techniques you control these factors. So over the next few weeks I'll be devoting the occasional post to simple ways to reduce the salt in your diet. And as a special bonus, you'll find you're saving money. We'll start with deboning chicken. An easy place to start shaving that salt lick from your diet is at the butcher counter with plain old fresh chicken. If you learn to debone chicken yourself, you'll avoid sodium-laced seasoned meats and have plenty of bones for homemade stock -- low-sodium, tasty, rich stock. Deboning chicken stars with a sharp knife. I buy bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. As soon as I get home, I debone them and freeze the bones for stock. Now, I know a lot of you are thinking this is time consuming. Initially, I thought so too, but I got out my timer. Deboning a whole chicken breast (that's left and right side, so two pieces) took me exactly 4 minutes 8 seconds. And I don't even have a proper boning knife. Cubing the chicken breast took and additional 1 minute 15 seconds each breast. In just over 6 minutes I had enough boneless, skinless chicken cubes for two mains. Money saved? At least 10% of the cost of the boneless version. I went to my butcher (Valeriote's Market on Yorkshire for those who wonder where I get gigantic, local chicken), and he kindly indulged me in a true comparison. He weighed a 3.3 pound whole skin-on, bone-in chicken breast and calculated the price. It cost $11.55. He then skinned, deboned and weighed the same chicken breast again. This time the cost was $12.82.  By buying bone-in chicken, I saved 10% on my meat bill AND had bones for stock. Plus, I had the option of keeping the skin on, which is essential for some recipes like Roasted Lemon and Cilantro Chicken, which I often make it with chicken breasts alone. Want to save more? Buy a whole chicken and butcher it yourself. Seriously. It's not that hard. With a bit of practice "Easy as deboning a chicken" will become part of your lingo. To help you on your deboning journey, once again, I turn to the good people at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. They've kindly provided videos that will reduce the intimidation factor.

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