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CookShelf App Review by TheMessyBaker.com
CookShelf App: A review and a Giveaway

I'm often asked to recommend cookbooks as gifts for someone's mother-in-law, sister, aunt, neighbour, co-worker, friend visiting from far off foreign lands. I feel a bit like I've been asked to select a paint colour for their living room without seeing the house let alone...

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Leftover Pastry Dough – The Roly-Poly

Being born at the height of The Depression, my mother never wasted food. When there wasn't enough leftover pastry dough to top a chicken pot pie, she made a roly-poly.  She made them so often and with such authority, I assumed the roly-poly was the natural...

Margarita Chicken - TheMessyBaker.com
The Margarita Chicken Compromise

Andrew and I are mature, level-headed adults. We can easily discuss our budget, the laundry schedule, and who goes where at Easter. We listen to each other, see the other person's point of view and devise workable action plans. We use terms like "action plan,"...

Smashed Potatoes turn leftover baked potatoes into something special. Ugly, but special. - TheMessyBaker.com
Easy Leftover Smashed Potatoes

I seriously miscalculated the potato requirement for last night's dinner. Maybe I was distracted by the dishwasher that kept telling me the intake/drain needed my attention. Maybe I got a little pre-occupied trying to remember where I had hidden Andrew's birthday present. Either way, I...

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Rum Vanilla Extract and Butter Rum Shortbread

The vanilla extract on the left is full of seeds and has a whole pod in the bottle. The vanilla beans on the right are fresh, fragrant and supple enough to knot. Both products are Really Horrible. Seriously. They're from Really Horrible Enterprises located in Ottawa, ON. I...

How much salt do you need? - The Messy Baker
How to reduce salt and not feel deprived

[caption id="attachment_11629" align="alignnone" width="620"] Clockwise from top: Black salt, French grey salt, Himalayan pink salt, Persian blue salt[/caption] When I was a kid there were three kinds of salt in my little world: Rock, kosher and table. That was it. The only specialty salt was Morton's....

Ballantine helps me organize the bookcase - The Messy Baker
How to Organize Your Bookshelf

I am capricious. One day I'll view a certain cookbook as General Cooking and file it away as such. Then after using it for a while, I realize I'm drawn only to its dessert section and stick it in with the baking books. Only it's...

Solidified ghee - The Messy Baker
Homemade ghee

This is jar of freshly stained homemade ghee - pronounced GEE. It's clarified butter pushed to the edge. Done right,  it will reward you with golden brown, nutty goodness. Done wrong? Both you and the butter will end up weeping into the compostable waste bin....

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Buttermilk Scones | 2 Make-Ahead Options
Buttermilk scones with two make-ahead options - TheMessyBaker.com My shoulder's ache, my fingertips have callouses, and the daylight hurts my eyes. But The Messy Baker is written, filed electronically and a 292-page, double-spaced paper copy is beating up all the Christmas cards as it pushes its way to HarperCollins in Toronto. I have promised myself I will not obsessively check the tracking number until Wednesday —the earliest realistic delivery date. Wednesday noon? All bets are off. In the process of the Last Big Push, I broke a personal record or two. Not only did I write more words than the not-so-great NaNoWriMo novel of 2009, all were coherent (relatively) and spelled correctly (or at least recognizably). In addition, I am now officially the household champion of The Most Consecutive Days Spent Unwashed & in Pajamas — Without a Raging Fever or Knee Surgery Category. Until now, that title was held by my husband during the panic-infused finishing stretch of his recent book. I used to take comfort in my leaf green house robe. Now it reeks of hysteria and is stained with writer's tears. A Messy Robe for a Messy Baker. Everything is unfolding as it should.
savory biscotti
Damn You, Biscotti! Die! DIE!
Savory Biscotti - The Messy Baker Three tries. It took me three kicks at the proverbial can (or pan, in this case), several hours and a couple of meltdowns to figured out how to make savory biscotti that A) didn't taste like stuffing and B) didn't fall apart like a cheap particle-board desk the second you breathed near it. When the aimed-for results emerged from the oven, I should have been elated. I should have danced the Biscotti Boogie, high-fived the cat and plastered photos on Instagram. But all I could see was an impossibly messy kitchen and four gigantic pans of unservable baked goods. As I stood at the counter feeling sorry for myself, Andrew walked in, nibbled a lump of should-be biscotti and said,

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