Kitchen Disasters

savory biscotti

09 Oct 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,
Read More
golden beet soup-1

13 Sep Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup

Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup - The Messy Baker There's a great moment in the pilot episode of Firefly. Against a backdrop of falling bombs, exploding grenades and rounds of gun fire, Bendis, a very young and very terrified solider fears he's going to die. His superior, played by the ever-so dishy Nathan Fillion, responds with bravado. "We can't die, Bendis," he says. "You know why? Because we are so very pretty. We're just too pretty for God to let us die." If only life were like television.   Spilled Soup - A glimpse at how The Messy Baker got her name Serves me right for getting all fancy pants with soup. Turns out nothing, not even my Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup is too pretty to be spared. Either that, or I should watch where I'm stepping during a back porch photo shoot. Anyway, the other day the garden patch advanced. How do you respond when an armload of golden beets, more yellow tomatoes than one can eat without incurring cankers and a purple carrot force their way into your kitchen, stare you straight in the eye and double dog dare you to do something about it?
Read More
Explosion

16 Aug It’s Raining Butter

Butter Explosion - The Messy Baker strikes again I have melted butter in the microwave for years without incident. Well, okay there was the fire incident, but I never made that mistake again. Today, just as my new baking column at Recipes.ca launched, I had a series of baking disasters. The one pictured above was #3, so that should be the end of mishaps - for today at least. The first was a muffin recipe I'm creating for The Messy Baker that somehow derailed. Instead of light batter I found myself mixing something akin to melted silly putty. The next batch mixed according to plan but when I pulled the tin from the oven, its edge clipped the rack and all 12, beautifully risen muffins tumbled into the oven or onto the floor. "Rats!" I said. Or something like that. Even mangled, the muffins tasted good, so I moved onto the popovers. The butter I'd melted earlier in the morning had solidified again, so I popped the pyrex into the microwave for 15 seconds. Twelve seconds later, I heard a POP and discovered the mess pictured above. I said "Rats!" again. Only louder, and perhaps with a few variations thrown in. So, exactly what happened? Science.
Read More
IMG_1727

04 Jun The Good, The Bad and the Improvised

[caption id="attachment_7624" align="alignnone" width="415" caption="Beet shoots one week in!"][/caption] This shouldn't be happening. There are few worms in this soil, the ground has grown nothing but grass for 40 years, and the great big maple nearby calls dibs on all the nutrients. In spite of this, the beet are beginning to sprout. A week into the Family Garden Project (or The Family Plot as one friend called it), we are seeing results. These little green leaves poking through the earth are not weeds. The line is too straight. No, these non-weeds are the makings of beets. And even though I hate beets, I am thrilled to see progress in my mother's quadrant. [caption id="attachment_7625" align="alignleft" width="264" caption="Beans are beginning to sprout!"][/caption] Over in my younger sister's quarter? The beans have green shoots popping up through the earth. Maybe it's the marigolds? Maybe it's the rain? Maybe it's just what happens when you stick some seeds in the ground and move out of Mother Nature's way? No matter the reason, these tiny green shoots give me hope. Because things did not go so well in my kitchen on Saturday.
Read More
Brunch with Julie Van Rosendaal - The Messy Baker

30 Sep Brunch with Julie Van Rosendaal and friends

Brunch with Julie Van Rosendaal - The Messy Baker If you told me that I'd end my brunch at Julie Van Rosendaal's by stomping across her breakfast bench in my dress boots and spraying her windows with canola oil, I'd have dismissed your prediction as crazy. Sane or not, you'd have been right. My table manners are usually more refined, but we were trying to kill some wasps. Julie assured me that if you spray them with cooking oil, they'll immediately drop to the ground where you can finish them off. So, with Julie wielding a tea towel and me armed with a can of canola, we defended her home against winged intruders. Only my aim isn't that good and more ended up on Julie's lovely windows than on the wasps. The next time I visit, I'll bring a hostess gift of  Windex.
Read More
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent

15 Oct Food Processors – Too Much of a Good Thing?

I've been sitting on this post for a few days, not sure what to say. I had planned a feature-by-handy-feature appliance review, but feel I should issue a PSA instead.  You see, I broke down and bought a food processor a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I find myself embroiled in a fervent love-hate relationship. The love goes out to the machine which shreds carrots without endangering my knuckles, chops vegetables faster than I can peel them and even makes my beloved pate sucree pastry less messy. The hate? That's all for me. Not because I spent $200 on an item I once shunned (in my defense, it was a $400 machine on sale) but because of what it's doing to me. It's the $112 ice cream maker all over again, only without a frosty treat at the end. I'm so determined to prove my purchase was worth the money  and the dedicated counter space my brand new 97-pound stainless steel chopping wonder requires that I'm overusing it. Sometimes with disastrous results.
Read More
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent

19 Aug Broken

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:
Read More