Recipes

Preserved Lemons
Moroccan Lemon Chicken with Preserved Lemons
Some days you just have to take a deep breath and say, "Well, it tasted great!" The day I broken open my stash of  preserved lemons was one of those days. With bright yellow lemons and deep green mint, I thought I could turn out a dish as pretty as the photo in the book that inspired me. I was wrong.
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Recipe: Butter and Maple Blondies
According to my mother, I have loved butter ever since I was old enough to sneak a one-pound brick of it out of the grocery bag, quietly peel back the foil, lick off a good inch, rewrap the evidence and slip it back in the bag. I think I was about 4. Today, I consume fat far more responsibly and the cat is the one who sneaks licks of butter.
Although I use this dairy product prudently, my love of butter remains. I cannot imagine Christmas without rich, buttery shortbread. What would boiled lobster be without its melted sidekick? Just another bottom feeder. And popcorn? Don't even think the word "butter-flavoured topping." So, when Stirling Creamery hosted an evening at Ruby Watchco to showcase their new butter collection, I just couldn't say no. Ruby Watchco in Toronto Before this butter-infused evening I thought there were two kinds of butter -- salted and unsalted. And I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
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Recipe: Perfect Elephant Ears (Palmiers)
Elephant Ear - TheMessyBaker These are elephant ears. Or palm ears. Or palmiers. Or French hearts, or butterflies or glasses. No matter what you call them, these sugar-laced puff pastry treats are one of my all time favourites. Like most things worthwhile, they are a labour of love. And I love my father. So I made a batch to welcome him home after a month abroad on a volunteer mission. But as Murphy would have it, my website went haywire* during the process. I tried to restore the site between rounds of rolling, chilling, slicing and baking. The results? A salvaged blog and a pan of burnt elephant ears. Another senseless waste of pastry.
paella
Recipe: Paella
Making and enjoying paella - TheMessyBaker.com One of these days I'll learn how to take notes, shoot pictures and eat, all at once. This sort of multi-tasking would have come in very handy last week when I attended a paella class at Pimenton in Toronto. Greeted by a table full of tapas, fellow bloggers chopping vegetables and a warm and welcoming Chef José Arato, my anxiety over arriving late due to the rush hour drive melted. It took at couple of Tortilla & Chorizo Tarts to calm me down, but they did the trick. Until the class, most of my knowledge about paella came from Posh Nosh, a British cooking show spoof. Unlike the TV version, Chef José's paella was cooked on the stove top — not in the ancestral Aga — and uses bomba rice, not Italian arborio. Who knew you can't trust the BBC for cooking advice?
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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Recipe: Preserved Lemons
Making preserved lemons - TheMessyBaker.com It's time to strike another item off my Culinary Bucket List. In an uncharacteristic display of patience, I tackled preserved lemons. They require endurance, not because they are hard to make, but because they take 4 weeks to cure. In the meantime, to scratch my immediate-gratification itch, I started a Tumblr — a place to stuff all those little items I can't clutter up the blog with. It'll be a home for stray thoughts, non-food shots (which don't necessarily translate to cats), and food shots that aren't good enough for Foodgawker but tell a story I want to share. I'm still figuring it out, but if you care to pop by I have added a link to the far right of the menu bar. Go on. Click it. I dare you. Anyway, I started researching preserved lemons
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Recipe: Spicy Spinach Soup
Email. Some days I love it. Some days I hate it. And I was hating it something fierce  recently when my computer insisted it had to "rebuild" my inbox and in doing so resent random emails from March 2010. This elicited confused responses from the unintended victims recipients. I spent the weekend  cautiously checking email and wondering when the next "What's going on?" email would arrive. In an effort to keep the Universe in check, a stray email landed in my inbox the same week.
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Healthy Seed Bread

One of the items on my culinary bucket list was granary bread. I wanted to create my own version of a seed-loaded hearth bread I used to get from a local bakery. Their bread was dense without being heavy -- something you could sink your...

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Recipe: Gluten-Free Macaroons
As a food writer, I've dabbled in the gluten-free world. I've bought guar gum and xantham, various rice flours, teff, sorghum and nutmeals. They're taking up a lot of room in my spiffy new pantry along with the gluten-loaded all-purpose, whole wheat, cake & pastry, bread and unbleached flours. Since everyone in my house can eat wheat, I find I rarely use the gluten-free variations. As a result, I am quickly coming to the conclusion that unless you regularly feed someone who is gluten-intolerant, gluten-free baking that requires a mix of flour alternatives might not be the best route. So how do you feed guests who are unable to eat wheat without stocking up on specialty items? Dinner is easy. Roasted meat and simple side dishes like baked potatoes and steamed vegetables or a salad topped with homemade dressing. You can even serve gravy if you thicken it with corn starch. Asian cuisine is another delicious and easy solution. A stir fry or curry will satisfy everyone. Steam up a pot of rice instead of hot naan bread and you're golden. But desserts? Oh desserts. This is where the gluten-hits the fan.
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Recipe: Salted Orange Toffee Crisps
Last year, due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't do any Christmas baking. Not so much as a single shortbread came out of my kitchen. But this year? I'm making up for the loss. The rumballs are rolled, the eggnog is chilling and now it's time for some serious sugar. Luckily, Anna Olson recently released a new book devoted entirely to baking -- Back to Baking: 200 Timeless Recipes to Bake, Share and Enjoy -- so should I suffer from Bakers Block, I will have a muse to help me. Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with the muse Anna after one of her demonstrations. I promised to try to stump her with your toughest baking questions but Anna's been studying. I'm not sure if I was more impressed with the accuracy of her answers or her her ability to zero in on possible solutions without a lot of background information. I'd have been demanding to know about the humidity, altitude and the position of Mercury. Here are the questions you asked and Anna's answers. Immediately following, we'll have a cookie break.  I'm sharing a recipe to one of Anna's amazing cookies -- one she let me sample even though they were just for display. They've got orange, toffee and salt all in an icebox cookie. Life is complete.

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