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March 2012 A Note From Marcy

 

Maple Walnut 'n Brown Sugar Scones Light, sweet and in season - Pure maple, pure heaven.
Photo Ryan Szluc, Toronto, Canada

 

Dear Bakers and Friends,

 

In this issue of BB - Free Maple Scones, Cherry Cheesecake Hamantashen, Meyer Lemon Scones, Bailey's Irish Soda Bread, American Style Pizza Dough, and even Healthy Quinoa Muffins? The baker is on a tear......

Welcome to the March Issue of BB. I have dueling holidays of St. Pat’s and Purim to contend with – both representing my two favourite food groups: hamantashen and Irish Soda Bread. To settle the battle, there’s a coffee company that roasts the world’s best coffee, http://www.49thparallelroasters.com/. This coffee is simply the most amazing coffee I have ever experienced (and I have tested acres of great coffee). 49th Parallel coffee is exceptionally velvety and smooth – and oddly, no matter how you prepare it, it always comes out perfectly. I had a cup in a restaurant a few weeks ago and I literally sat up in my chair – shocked by the gorgeous taste of this brown gold. I just had to find out where it came from. It hails from the B.C. based, 49th Parallel Roasters buy their coffee direct from growers and bring it home to Canada to roast. They have blends and single estate, various roasts and the world’s best espresso (along with some amazing coffee merch). In an era of great coffee, I urge you to give this one a try – it’s not coffee – it’s a show-stopper in a mug.

Wish I had you all with me in New York last month when I attended (along with 300 other foodies) a most wonderful Cookbook Conference. In addition to seeing War Horse, the play, at Lincoln Center, I attended three days of an amazing cookbook conference wherein a ton of your favourite authors met up (with publishers, agents and various savvy Internet people) to discuss the state of publishing, cookbooks, EBooks and more. There were totally incredible panel discussions on everything to do with food, recipes and publishing.

The buzz words seem to be curate and monetize. Curate refers to (it seemed to me) as in recipe sites that have tons of recipes and/or Apps that slice and dice but the gist is about websites that have recipes by the trunkful and excel at presenting them in ways or formats that result in the most traffic. Or something like that. Monetize is a new verb and refers to putting value on content. Given that most recipes online are free, authors and publishers are in a quandary. What are we doing, why and what for? That's a very good question. To put it delicately, there were many insightful and spirited debates going on.

The publishers who presented also advised authors (yes, like me) to develop brands, platforms and torque up our personnas and write with more heart and personality. More personality? I will have to give this some thought. We were also told to Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, blog and flog books and products. It all makes so much sense. But it’s all so far away from what it’s all about. After 15 years online (this May is my anniversary with BB), I can't say I know what's it's all about or how to be successful in the ways Internet gurus measure success. I can only attest that after all this time, I still get energized thinking of something special I can dream up and share with you.
To me, when someone is successful with one of my recipes and makes the people and world around them a bit more mellow for even a short time, that is social networking of the highest order. There is no, to paraphrase Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, an APP for that.

If I Tweeted as much as conventional wisdom advised I would have no time to create Cherry Cheesecake Hamantashen or Meyer Lemon Scones.  But I regularly play hooky from social networking just so I can bake and write. Actually, I play hooky from Social Networking when I go to my Wednesday writing group and see real people read wonderful writing (usually about their real lives) out loud. I also so appreciate my fellow writers for listening to all my works even though there's not one thing I've read to the group that doesn't incluce a recipe or mention of food in some way. No matter what I write, the themes seem to end up in the kltchen. Speaking of which, next week I've reserved a friend or two and we will be baking hamantashen in utter harmony in my kitchen. I love group baking, the conversation and coffee. I could fill the time with 101 other things I need to do but this one is my oasis. I hope you create one for yourself, whether you are baking hamantashen or soda breads or pies.

I know all these real interactions are unwise, perhaps even rogue, but it’s so much more fun. (Your emails are the next best thing)

The Cherry Cheesecake Hamantashen by the way are excellent – not quite pastry, not cookie and not Danish but something spectacularly in-between. Next time I make them I would use my own sour cherry filling and also try a batch with just the cheesecake filling and then once baked, top them with strawberry halves and glaze with apricot.

As for the Meyer Lemon Scones – these are sinful; clouds of lemony wonder. I always heard about Meyer lemons but never met one in person. Finally, my local supermarket brought some in which is about the nicest thing one could do in the middle of a Montreal February. Meyer lemons are a cross between lemons and mandarins and smell like the Garden of Eden (before the fall). At any rate, even without the Meyer component, these are totally inspiring sour-cream scones that float away on their own. The Meyer Lemon glaze just makes them crazy good.

I could extoll this month's recipes but as my writing teacher keeps telling me: show, don't tell.

So I encourage you to get crackin', get baking and enjoy.

Warm wishes from my floury kitchen to yours,

Marcy Goldman
Author, Master Baker
www.BetterBaking.com
Est. 1997



Old Fashioned Irish Oatmeal

Free: Butternut Squash Soup
Cherry Cheesecake Hamantashen
Bakery Style Hamantashen Dough
Free!! Traditional Orange Scented Oil Hamantashen Dough 
Mango Apricot Hamantaschen Filling
My Special Chocolate Peanut Butter Hamantashen Filling
Chocolate Hamantashen Dough
Italian Sausage and Peppers Rustica

 





 


Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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