Original

Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Recipe: Plum, Chocolate & Frangipane Pie
Had the pears held up I would likely be writing about broccoli or Swiss chard. Health food fans lament; pie lovers rejoice. On Saturday, with guests arriving and the clock ticking loudly in my ears, I tossed my dessert plans into the garbage along with the perfect-on-the-outside, punky-on-the-inside pears. Unable to rest upon the laurels of a well-tested dessert, the pressure was on. With little on hand but plums and leftover ingredients from my recent stone-fruit baking exploits, I tossed components together like Dr. Frankenstein creating a new life from. All that was missing were lightning flashes and ominous organ chords. The crust was the leftover pate sucree dough (which froze beautifully). I sprinkled in a layer of chocolate borrowed from the Pear Chocolate Tart,  slathered on butterless frangipane lifted from the recent Peach, Apricot & Plum Galette and topped it all with a generous coating of sliced plums. Using the only egg left in the fridge I whisked in some cream for a custard to hold it all together.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Recipe: Plum Frangipane Tart
Plum Frangipane Tart by The Messy Baker Little Jack Horner's got nothing on me. What's he got? A corner, a thumb and a nursery rhyme no one understands. Me? I've got fresh plums and frangipane. That's right. You heard me. Frangipane. I know. It sounds like a resort cocktail, but it's really just fancy food talk for a filling made with ground almonds. And plums and almonds go together like boozy fruit-based cocktails and tiny paper umbrellas --  or sneaky little boys and pies -- so this was combination seemed obvious. I had pastry left over from the annual Thanksgiving Concord Grape Pie -- enough to make a 6-inch tart. So, I got creative with the plums. Compared to the in-your-face-I'm-a-GRAPE pie, this one is subtle. But subtle's good. Good enough to stick your thumb in.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Recipe: Roasted Squash and Pear Soup
I missed the last of the season's peaches on Saturday by THIS much. You can't see it but I'm holding my thumb and index finger about 4 inches apart. The universal translation for this gesture is one hour of time for each inch of empty air. I got to the Farmers' Market just after 10:00 AM and the grower told me the last few baskets of peaches went "first thing." Since the only 6 o'clock I'm acquainted with arrives at supper hour, I decided my plans for the peaches were just not meant to be. So I grabbed some pears and plums and shuffled home to fill the peach void with something equally luscious but so different I wouldn't feel cheated. As I walked in the kitchen and slammed the door, the large butternut squash on the counter rolled over like a surrendering puppy. The answer was  soup.
Spicy Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers - The Messy Baker
Recipe: Spicy Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
  Spicy Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers - TheMessyBaker.com I admit it. I'm lazy and messy. Thee mere thought of  forcing gobs of unruly stuffing into tall, wobbly-bottomed peppers is an open invitation to Murphy. But, I got smart, knocked the suckers on their side and stuffed them full without so much as an "oops." Anyone who's grappled with a towering stuffed pepper will thank me for this culinary cheat. There's no embarrassing spillage in the kitchen. And at the table? Hungry eaters can dig in without drafting a plan of attack that involves advanced physics and an extra limb. Nope. Just grab your knife and fork and dig in. As a bonus, the shallow version cooks faster. Everybody wins. Except Murphy. With fall in full swing and a bounty of big, sweet, inexpensive peppers at hand, I'm sharing my stuffed pepper tips with Kyle Christie (no relation). Tune in to Kitchener's CTV News at Noon if you can. There'll be not-so-deadly nightshades, oh-so sharp implements and the ever-present danger of spillage. And that's before I even reach the studio.
Chocolate-Pear-tart
Recipe: Pear and Chocolate Tart

When you do nothing to your pear tree but leave it be, you can expect trouble. And trouble came to my friend in the form of dozens and dozens and dozens of bug-free, blemishless, picture perfect pears. Her punishment? Driving some over to me. That'll...

Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Pink Angels – A Devilishly Sweet Square Recipe
Pink Angels, a devilishly sweet square - The Messy Baker Pink. I hate it. It's yet another carry over from my childhood. Every time I wore any shade of fuschia, magenta or bubble-gum some well-meaning adult would put a hand to my forehead and ask me if I was feeling all right. Classmates? They'd just tell me to get a tan. If you grew up with encouragement like this, you too would  learn to loathe pink in all its rosy glory. But when it comes to food? I'm a little more accepting. I figure pink's okay if it goes in me, not on me. These Pink Angels (also known as Pink Sin or Pink Ladies*) are a classic Canadian goodie most often found at church functions. Exceptionally sweet, these squares have no nutritional value, will corrode your tooth enamel before you've swallowed, and can send your blood sugar through the roof. However, if you like your sweets sweet, you'll find them so tasty you'll be willing to risk it all -- even the red food colouring.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Stone Fruit Galette
Stone Fruit Galette getting ready for the oven by The Messy Baker. This recipe is enough to make me eat my words. I don't like marzipan, I find Emeril Lagasse's TV persona annoying (his toothpaste commercials were the final straw for me) and I avoid pre-packaged items on principle. And yet, this recipe, which  became a favourite within two bites, calls for almond paste, boxed puff pastry and is adapted from the Bam Master himself. Like I said, I'm eating my words. And more galette than is good for me.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dressing

A local Indian restaurant makes an addictive appetizer -- bite-sized vegetables dipped in a spicy chickpea batter, deep fried and served with a cilantro dipping sauce. Whenever Andrew and I dine there, I pluck all the cauliflower florets from the plate and eat them myself....

Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Peach and Arugula Salad
Here, in all her glory, is Green Leaf Platter in what turned out to be her final performance. Less than 24 hours before her untimely demise, GLP was working the salad like nobody's business. A true artist to the end, she presented like no one was watching. As promised, here is the recipe for the peach and arugula salad demonstrated a couple of days ago on CTV's News at Noon. You can watch the video
Raw Sweet Potato Salad - The Messy Baker
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...

Subscribe to my newsletter.

It’s easy. It’s free. It’s informative.

 

Receive weekly tips, recipes and advanced notice of upcoming events.

Yes, please!