Recipes

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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.
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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.
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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....

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Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread
I love wheat. I love chewy cookies, moist cake and bread with great big air bubbles in it. And let's not forget flaky pastry, decadent squares and booze soaked trifle. With the exception of carob loaf, I don't think I've met a baked good I didn't like. And I'm fortunate. The only side effect I get from indulging in wheat is bigger sides. A friend isn't so lucky. He has Celiac Disease, so gluten-loaded food can be painful. While he's happy with his main courses, he misses baking. So I thought I'd help him out. But finding good recipes isn't that simple. More than once I've politely choked down chalky gluten-free brownies and struggled to produce enough saliva to swallow dry-as-dust gluten-free breads. So, I experimented with Wendy Turnbull's approach to gluten-free baking. Having spent 30 plus years with Celiac Disease, she's figured out a way to deliver light, moist baking without the gluten. The key? Her special GEMS flour. You can't buy it in stores. You make it yourself from a blend of various flours, each selected for what it brings to the dish -- versatility, lightness, texture, tenderness and moisture. Yes, it takes a trip to the health food store. But I figure, if you're on a gluten-free diet, you're likely going there anyway for your pre-baked gluten bread fix. And this is a less expensive, more versatile option. Turnbull even provides a formula that allows you to turn your favourite wheat-based recipes into gluten-free ones. Although I was initially intimidated, there was no need. Here's what I found:
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Peach and Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

If you drop an upside-down cake on its head does it revert to plain old cake? Sadly, no. It just becomes yet another item to file under "Kitchen Disasters." The only advice I can give you, other than not to drop the final dish, is to...

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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
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Double-Double Chocolate Cake
I'm still on a bit of a high. Last week, Monica Bhide came for lunch. With her family. On her birthday. Which just happened to be her son's 11th birthday as well. While I was thrilled she was coming and touched she would choose to spend her birthday with me, I was a bit nervous and funneled my fears into the menu, the dessert in particular. My fallback birthday cake is an unremarkable recipe brought to celebratory heights via copious quantities of booze painted onto its surface and a whole pint of whipped cream crammed between the layers. Not the sort of thing for children. In addition to kid-friendly, I wanted something decadent, something chocolate and something Canadian for my American visitors. The prefect solution sat on page 179 in The Harrow Fair Cookbook. Double-Double Chocolate Cake.
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...

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Frozen Lemon Pavlova
This recipe proves two things. One: Candied flowers can last. Two: Size matters. As to the first point, I sugared these violets in April. The last of the batch I created for a Canadian Gardening article, they remained perfect, crisp and crystallized in their tiny plastic container. For 3 months. Take that dratted summer humidity! As to the second point?  When I made this a sublime dish a few years ago, my tiny kitchen quickly turned the situation ridiculous. Meringues cooled in the dining room while dirty dishes circled in a holding pattern over the living room coffee table. With no counter space left I whipped the cream crouching on the floor as my hand mixer splattered dairy product on the walls. Upon presenting the dessert, I'm told I punctuated the birthday greetings with "Never Again" instead of heartfelt exclamation marks. "Happy Birthday, Dad Never Again  Hope you like the dessert Never Again May all your birthday wishes come true Never Again." But this is what Mom wanted for her birthday dessert. Since I can refuse her nothing, this is what I made
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Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Oven-dried tomatoes - TheMessyBaker.com Brain, meet Fingers. Fingers, meet Brain. I hope you two become best of friends. Pronto. Because if you don't start working together really soon, I will be forced to give up this blog and move to a remote region of the world where there is no Internet access and only tinned soup for supper. What did I do this time? Despite finding the recipe in the index, reading the instructions and looking at the photo, my fingers typed "oven-roasted" tomatoes when Grow Great Grub clearly gives readers the low down on "oven-dried" tomatoes. I'm tempted to quietly correct this error and distract you with ice cream. But having asked you to vote and promising to post the results, I think you'd notice. Especially since the one recipe whose title I botched turned out to be the winner. So, for those of you who were looking forward to oven-roasted tomatoes, here's a refresher on how to roast vegetables. For the tomato version, I'd add chopped fresh basil, some crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. When done, top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. And for those who intuitively knew what I meant, here is the recipe for oven-dried tomatoes. They're different, but just as good. And last longer.

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