March 2016 A Note from Marcy


Welcome to March and an ode to Buttermilk Irish Soda Bread as well as Purim treats and more, like the world's best


Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,


Welcome to the March  issue of BB which comes to you a day late, courtesy of Leap Year - ah, the gift of extra time, however artificial.

As you know, since I only mentioned it about twelve times in 4 months, I recently moved from a house I lived in for over 30 years to a new area and totally new living space. My old house hosted family and friends and it was where both my parents (alas, now both gone) dropped by and filled it with their loving energy. I was a new wife in that house, then a new mother of one baby boy which turned to three sons, then a single mother, an entrepreneur and author and website host. I taught baking classes in that house, and celebrated thirty Purims (and Hanukkahs, Passovers and Thanksgivings) and the four seasons, as they danced by my kitchen window and inspired me to write my cookbook, The Baker's Four Seasons. I weathered Montreal's infamous 1998 Ice Storm in that house, keeping my brood somehow safe and warm. And it was there where I had countless cups of coffee and pots of tea with friends; as well as Purim hamantashen roll-a-thons. The rooms were filled with tears and laughter and the evidence of three rambunctious boys (broken door handles, broken windows, punched out walls) who grew into young men in that house. Plus, my original BB kitchen was a workhorse; my pride and joy was a 60 inch Garland commercial range. I was loathe to leave it (and in the end, 1-800-Got-Junk had to lug it off and it was donated to a church).

So when it came time to sell my home (it was way beyond time), my mood and nerves went south – big time. For a person who has made anxiety a high art form, I reached a new peak. But one of the strongest feelings I had was that I wouldn't able to endure the grief of leaving my home - that I would wake up in a new place and pine beyond consolation. But I did endure. Post tumult of the move. (And let me just note that I moved very quickly; my house sold in 30 days, one day for each year I lived there. I packed in record time, found a new place at the last minute and then, in four short hours, I was out.) Uprooted and stunned, somehow I began to thaw out. Quicker than I expected, I found joy in the new nest and a few days ago, installed a new baking table and delighted in seeing the kitchen glide into a new era of Betterbaking.com (and me).


Betterbaking.com's New Test Kitchen




Truth is, the new nest is even more me than my old abode. There are parks, ponds, gazebos all around and a new library the size and prestige of Lincoln Center. I am also closer to tango and found a yoga class I actually attended more than once. In finding this new nest, I found both new and old me, the latter being some of the parts I like best about myself. I am, to quote a Jane Austen character, ‘returned’ to myself  and with renewed energy.

So what does this mean to you, my gentle, baking readers?  In short, what it means is – a new website is indeed on the way; I’ll be taking more recipe photos and like-it-or-not  (I am camera shy; selfies for me, are an evil born to torture me) videos of my baking and cooking recipes and hope they will inspire you and come more to life when you see some of the recipes being demonstrated on Youtube.  I’ll keep the old site for all of us to access so no worries if you want to log in there until, as my new house is to me, the new site is as familiar to you as the old/current site is.

You should know that my Facebook page is and the other one will be deleted. I really would consider checking my out on Facebook; I often give away new and free recipes. My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/marcy.goldman. If you’ve gone to my Betterbaking.com page at Facebook please be aware that will be deleted soon.

In the end, or five months in, what I’ve come to see is change is good. It is also inevitable and dreaded (for some of us) but also, at times, good or eventually good. Some people change as easily as snowflakes randomly floating down to earth, weaving their way through the air in a happy, relaxed fashion. I am more of an arcade pinball, lurching and jolting on every bend and imagined obstacle until I fall in a heap, exhausted by fighting the inevitable.

This time, the impact of change’s has seen my passion for baking re-blossom along with my interest in wholesome food. To me, cupcakes and kale are not enemies but part of a balance sheet of good, inventive, creative food and that elusive thing called balance. Hence this month’s recipe for Black Bean Sweet Potato Burgers. I could have done quinoa alone, or sweet potato or black bean burgers but I thought: why not make as stupendous all-in-one burger that uses all these nutritious things! With the healthy comes medium health such as (over 8000 downloads) Classic Soda Bread, and then more decadent Chocolate Bar Hamantashen, Chocolate Pumpkin Bark, and a Levain Bakery styled Chocolate Chunk Cookie. For lunch-on-the-go, I am featuring the Asian Chicken Salad. Here’s a photo of how I make it to eat at home and on-the-run. With good food packed to go, I’m never at the mercy of the food court or drive-thru.

Don't forget the hamantashen! Bakery Style Hamantashen Dough and any filling you like (or check the BB Recipe Archives)



On some other notes, for those of you in Montreal, don’t forget the upcoming Health Food show,
http://expomangersante.com/en/. It’s always great fun, there are free samples (cashew cheesecakes, kombucha and gluten free snacks for acres and acres). I am reviewing some amazing products by www.Ecoeco.com, all natural, essential-oil based body treatment products. The more I learn about cosmetics, the more natural I want to be.



How could I forget! After years of trying to read a steamy, mercury thermometer while make jams and marmalade, I invested in a ThermoWorks Thermopen. What a revelation. This nifty gadget is really art and science combined. The Thermapen Mk4 comes in a range of colours; it has a clear digital read out (and a sensory backlight) and efficiently determines the temperature for meat, bread doughs, jams and caramel making. It comes pre-installed with a battery that lasts for 3000 hours and is the Rolls Royce of temperature gauges. www.Thermoworks.com.

With that, I wish you a happy Leap Year, happy March,  St. Pat’s and Purim as well as happy  mellow days in-between – those days and moments unsung by any red stickers on the calendar or IPhone reminders. These are the impromptu, unmarked holidays of your own spirit wherein a good mood, appreciation for all that is good in the day, the moment or your own life, is the best holiday of all.

Warm wishes and happy baking,

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

Recipe Collection for March 2016


Hard to imagine anything this good could be so easy and wholesome. Meaty, crunchy, satisfying and vegetarian.


Bailey's Irish Cream Apple Crisp FREE
Sublime apples and a Irish warmth in every spoonful.

Cheddar Irish Soda Bread
The best of Irish soda bread enlivened with sharp orange cheddar. A few slabs of smoked turkey and you have a feast.

Buttermilk Irish Soda Bread Over 8000 Downloads FREE
Nothing beats a classic.

Guinness Corned Beef
Rarely does something savory capture me as much as this succulent hunk of beef. Great hot or cold - don't wait for St. Pat's to brew this up.

Chocolate Bar Hamantashen FREE
I love inventing new hamantashen fillings. This is just a neat way to use chunks of milk chocolate if you get tired of apricot, mango, prune, lemon, cherry cheesecake, blueberry (all in the BB Archives) hamantashen fillings.

Special K Mandelbrot/Biscotti
A great cookie to nibble on or fill shallot manot baskets with.

Pumpkin Chocolate Bark and White Chocolate Cherry Bark More shallot manot fillers

Belgian Milk Chocolate Chip Scones
These are chocolate-kissed, buttery little scones that disappear like the melting morsels they are. These are only as good as the milk chocolate you use. Milk chocolate oozes into each buttery crevice of these scones making them the scone version of warm Tollhouse cookies.
       
(Almost Levain's) Chocolate Chunk Cookies
A New York friend once Fed Ex'ed some famous Levain Bakery cookies to me and later on, I also had the pleasure to interview one of Levain’s owners. Both experiences made me determined to create my own version of legendary Levain-styled chocolate chip cookies.


Carrot Millet Muffins
Carrot Millet MuffinsThese totally rock. I don't know what I like better about these muffins: their taste, their crumb or their hue or their healthy appeal. They're replete with a mix of healthy grains, fresh carrots and some other treats making them tasty, satisfying and noble.


Ramen Chicken Salad
One of my favorite salads, I now make it in big  batches so salad to go is at the ready.




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.