June 2009 Baker's Stash
June 2009 Baker's Stash
(Don’t forget, a new 3-month sign subscription period starts today. To sign on for three months access to all the recipes, go to the To Subscribe page)
Dear Bakers and Friends,
When I recently sent out a note asking for testing volunteers I expected a couple of emails. Instead, there was an onslaught! I could not have imagined the outpouring of home bakers offering their generous and qualified help. Thank you all so much! I am beyond amazed.
We tried to answer everyone and in the end, it was a first come, first serve policy because clearly, there are a ton of competent, friendly, most-able bakers in the land. We have a team of testers and simply added a few more hired guns. But please know if you are still keen to test that people do come and go, depending on their schedules. So as time goes on, we will just go through the list, adding new people as opportunity comes up. To my testers already in the baking stable and those new ones who dove into some new recipes, thanks very much. Your meticulous efforts and fine palates are evidenced in the new recipes for this month. (We all agreed – the Fresh Blueberry Buns are knock-outs)
This is also a new sign on period for those who would like to subscribe to all the recipes in the Recipe Archives another three months (June through August 31st). On August 31st, there is a 6 month sign on period.
And good news! My new cookbooks are also available for pre-order on www.Amazon.com
(although the books will also be in retail bookstores such as Barnes and Noble this Fall). It’s very exciting for me to be testing, baking, writing and editing and then look and see the books themselves so real, online and ready for order. The cover of the cookbooks might change but the books themselves (I've seen the raw pages and poured over details) look fabulous and fresh. New photographs and tons of new recipes are part of that but so is my exceptional publisher, www.Whitecapbooks.com
On another note, it's no secret that these are tough times. Most of us are all affected in various ways. However, my entire career, which itself is a work in progress, began in another tough time - the recession of the 80’s. So I am very familiar with a feeling of uncertainty and transitions, although anyone in a creative field or freelancer feels it anyway, at any time. True, we follow our dreams and earn by our craft, training and passions but things like certainly, health and dental plans are not generally in the mix. Morever, through the years, the economy’s dips, or Atkins and other diets, nutrition and food trends and fads, the Internet, global unrest, have all had an impact on the work I do. This said, it was striking that a recent article in the New York Times talked about people in the arts always having it ‘hard’ and now, it’s even harder (people tend to spend less on theater, music, films, art) when the economy is struggling. The response of many in the arts world (from ages 20-80) is to get by as best they can and do the art they never had time to do before. We tend to work on things that ‘sell’ or promises a pay check versus what we love. Creative sorts have figured – if no one is buying, one might as well do what one loves (those rainy day projects) and keep afloat as best we can. I think it takes huge courage to do that but it is probably the only response one can have. I know for myself, had I not experienced setbacks constantly in my early work life, I might very well have chosen something uninspiring for the price of stability. Difficulty is what makes me grow and move – as much as I balk. Like anyone else (or many others), I miss stability – I can’t fib about that. But clearly – we have to respond to the destinies that make our way to our doors. Whether we are starting out and full of energy or at mid life, and are a bit less perky, we must reinvent ourselves. It is not easy. Every book of mine you see – even this website – are all products of my dreams, hopes and faith. They were all born in times of ‘running on empty’ – times I was in ‘the valley’ not on the mountain top. But when things changed for the better, at various junctures on the journey, I had manuscripts or proposals in hand, ready to go. And look at the friends I've made on the way.
They say if you want to get somewhere, think of the destination. Don’t look at the route just in front of you. Instead fix your gaze to where you want to end up. Envision the outcome. Some days, we can do this a bit easier than on others. But wherever you are in the spectrum, be assured, as I assure myself, we are in good company. We will prevail. In the meanwhile, a pound of flour, some yeast and a fraction of your time will converge to offer you a baking oasis. Do the things you can affect - versus the things you cannot control. It breeds an energy that breeds a better mood that breeds possibility. And tomorrow morning, we may have to do it all over again…..until we get there.
Speaking of inspiration, hope you get out to see Up, the new Pixar film with Ed Asner, as well as Every Little Step She Takes, a documentary on the revival of A Chorus Line. And if you want to feel better, no matter where you are, rent the DVD Conversations With God. I have not read the books (by Neale Patrick Walsch) the film was based on but the movie will have you rethinking what is possible -no matter where you stand.
This month are some very special recipes along with a free one that is just in time for early spring, Buried Treasure Raspberry Cheesecake Muffins . Grab them now because they're only here this month.
I almost forgot - as for the Cheesecake on a Stick recipe which is the cover shot, I always said, when I start making such silly things, it might be time to rethink my food writing days. It was a joke I made for years until about a month ago, I felt I had to actually really invent such a recipe. I saw recipes on the Internet and nothing was quite right so I created something from the ground up. It's no longer a joke. These are sensational - like a Dove Bar, gone cheesecake (and I had to develop the perfect cheesecake that freezes smooth, is instantly ready to eat and doesn't crumb or sludge up), this is a winner and just in time for Father's Day or the start of summer when you have a few months to work it off.
Next month, all going well, this wonderful site will be wonderfully new, clean, and polished. Fingers crossed!
Wishing you happy baking and sweet times,
June 2009 Recipes
I love granola bars of all sorts but they cost a fortune when you purchase them and unless they are super healthy, they can contain all sorts of very un-granola (aka unhealthy elements such as preservatives, and undue fat and sugar). But that crisp chewiness they have! Love that texture for it is so satisfying in a bar such as this. Homemade granola bars never seem quite the same – except for these. I figured out the how-to’s; these have all the stuff you love along with the texture you crave. Easy to do, a fraction of the cost, a lot less sugar and fat, and you can play around with the ingredients as you like. Just the thing to tote to the gym, the beach, or as the name suggests, on a trail north, on a summer’s day hike.
This recipe can also be made into cheesecake ‘pops’ or truffle sized cheesecake sweets as well as these dramatic wedges of cheesecake-on-a-stick. This extra creamy cheesecake with its chewy, buttery-sweet graham crust gets the cold shoulder in the freeze. Add popsickle sticks and some finishing touches and you have the Dove Bar equivalent of cheesecake. This is just the recipe for a party or when you need to impress (I serve the mini cheesecake pops for reality of life such as your waistline). You could make a dulce or chocolate or marble cheesecake as your base and vary the chocolate coatings and finishing touches.
Not only is this recipe easy, it lasts in the freezer many months – for a decadent treat whenever you need it.
White Pizza with Artichoke Hearts, Ricotta and Roasted Garlic
Another take on a light, beautiful white pizza. This one features an easy, classic pizza dough, topped with herbs, ricotta cheese, garlic, the best virgin olive oil you can find, and some nested artichoke hearts. A glorious dish in green and white – very primavera. A nice variation would be to smear some mashed roasted garlic on the crust under and over the cheese layer.
Honey Oatmeal and Sunflower Seed Bread
I am really partial to the rustic taste of oatmeal in a bread, with but a wee touch of honey for sweetness and just that wholesome appeal of honey and oats together. This is dynamite toasting bread but great for sandwiches, as soon as you let it cool, and if you can wait for it to cool! (As one of my testers said, 'this if you can wait instruction is the only bad part of this recipe'). Use rolled oats aka old-fashioned oatmeal but if you cannot find them, quick cooking (the Quaker sort) oatmeal. The sunflower seeds coat this bread but you can also add a handful to the dough itself.
Fresh Blueberry Cinnamon Buns
I really am partial to the rustic taste of oatmeal in a bread, with but a wee touch of honey for sweetness and just that wholesome appeal of honey and oats together. This is dynamite toasting bread but great for sandwiches, as soon as you let it cool, and if you can wait for it to cool! (As one of my testers said, 'this if you can wait instruction is the only bad part of this recipe'). Use rolled oats aka old-fashioned oatmeal but if you cannot find them, quick cooking (the Quaker sort) oatmeal. The sunflower seeds coat this bread but you can also add a handful to the dough itself.
Is there a better dish in the world? Well, maybe chicken and biscuits or Chicken Kiev or my Buffalo Girl Chicken or Coq au Vin. Granted there are many amazing chicken dishes but this one is beyond sumptuous. Like Pasta Puttenesca, there are a few ways to make this famed Indian chicken dish. It differs depending on the chef and restaurant and certainly at home, it is another dish altogether. I have created my version as flavorful as possible with some shortcuts. Serve it with homemade (or make a pit stop at the local Indian restaurant) nan, and a huge crock of freshly made basmati rice. This dish starts with tandoori chicken, best marinated a day ahead, grilled and then tossed into the famed Butter Chicken Sauce. But if you are in a hurry (or simply impatient) you can do this in one day. Just do a quick marinade, grill or bake the chicken in the oven and add into the Butter Chicken Sauce and simmer until you are ready to serve it