Hands on

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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How to Grow Your Own Garlic
A friend has a theory that my family is part vampire. We are unnaturally pale and live a very, very long time. I am about to disprove this theory. I don't shrink at the sight of garlic. In fact, I grow it. This is garlic straight from my garden. It's shaggy and covered in dirt. Not at all like the pristine white bulbs you find in the supermarket.  It hasn't been trimmed or cleaned yet. I wanted you to see what it looked like straight from the earth. I started growing garlic a few years ago because the only option at the supermarket was spongy, bitter bulbs from 10,000+ kms away. I haven't looked back. And as with most things, I keep learning as I go.
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My Mother’s Hands | Lemon Curd Recipe
My Mother - TheMessyBaker.com These hands turn 80 this summer. These hands have picked strawberries, made jam, kneaded bread, rolled pastry. They have decorated birthday cakes, anniversary cakes and wedding cakes. They have changed diapers, washed clothes, sewn dresses, mended seams, darned socks, stitched buttons, ironed pleats. They have tied shoelaces, braided hair and wrapped presents. They have stroked sweaty hair from fevered foreheads, wiped away tears, plucked thorns from fingers, applied bandages, massaged aching muscles and held the hands of the dying. Despite arthritis, they carry on.
clotted-cream
Homemade Clotted Cream

Shrove Tuesday doesn't have to include pancakes. Today is really about gorging on rich foods before the 40-day fast of Lent. Pancakes just happen to be cooked in grease, filled with eggs and topped with more decadence.  It's okay to think beyond the griddle. Any...

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How to adjust pan size in baking

What's happening to me? The minute I went to photograph this dessert I thought, "Rats! I should have made the cobbler in a cast iron frying pan. It would have looked so much more rustic." Great. It's not enough that I'm criticized for being a food...

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How to make perfect cake

  If you read my 2012 Culinary Bucket List, you'll see I have a lot of baking to do. In case a from-scratch cake is on your list, I thought I'd start the new year off with some baking tips I learned from Camilla V. Saulsbury,...

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