Sunday, March 31, 2013

Matzo Granola to Get You Through Passover

When you're keeping kosher for Passover, most of us hit a point during the holiday when we just think, "No!" "No, I can not eat one more piece of matzo! I miss bread, and pasta, and cereal, and granola!"

Matzo is a Passover staple and a sad, tasteless substitute for bread when you're avoiding all things leavened to observe the holiday. Over the course of Passover, I'll eat matzo with peanut butter, matzo with jam, matzo with peanut butter AND jam... Sometimes I'll make matzo brei and scramble broken pieces of matzo with eggs... Sometimes I make matzo pizza by slathering it with tomato sauce and cheese and then microwaving it until the cheese melts.

Five days into Passover, with half a box of matzo left, I don't even want to look at it! So, I crushed up five of my remaining pieces of matzo and mixed them up into this sweet and delicious Coconut Mango Matzo Granola!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vegan Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Muffins... Say That 5 Times Fast

As spring sort of almost approaches Boston, my baking is jumping the gun. I'm ready for spring! Fresh berries and lemon remind me of spring, and the Blue and Maize color scheme of these Vegan Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Muffins plays a double role in supporting my Michigan Wolverines this March Madness!

Although I moved back up north so I would have four season — and I really do like and appreciate all four seasons — I'm over this winter. We've had enough snow, I've ruined and thrown out enough pairs of winter-worn boots, and I'm eager to pull my cute spring dresses out of the depths of my very shallow closet. Let's hear it for spring!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Mint Leprechaun — Mint Cheesecake Cupcakes

A Limerick:

There once was a Young Idealistic Baker
Who was a fantastic cupcake maker
She'd whip up some treats
And once baked with beets
This girl was a true diet breaker

It's not a St. Patty's Day theme per say, but I wanted to very quickly try my hand at some Irish Limerick making this morning before wandering around Boston with my visiting friends and showing them my city.

Before we head out, I couldn't resist sharing the cupcakes we're snacking on this week. I'm calling these Mint Cheesecake Cupcakes the Minty Leprechauns.

Happy St. Patty's Weekend!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grapefruit Cake for Breakfast

I will tell anyone who will listen that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I’ll eat eggs or cereal all day long, but the concept of breakfast cake baffles me just a bit. Cake for breakfast? Yes, please. But does it count as breakfast food? 

During the most recent Boston white-out (snow storm that closed down my office for all of one day), I baked what can only be described as a breakfast cake… Or a tea cake… Or an everyday cake. I’m fuzzy on the qualifications of each.

This Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake says breakfast to me because it incorporates a very healthy breakfast-friendly fruit, uses olive oil as the only fat, and uses whole-wheat flour. Delicious AND healthy-ish!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

On Blogging

Before I started blogging, I started obsessively following food blogs. I would discover a blog I liked and read every post in reverse order for hours. Then I’d bookmark where I was (archive page 32 or something absurd like that) and return to it after taking a quick dinner break. Whenever I liked something about a specific post, I’d research the blogger in full and read all about him/her until I was satisfied that I had a good sense of the person behind the blog. If at the end of this rigorous vetting process I was impressed, I’d add the blog to my short list of subscriptions. 

The list is longer now — I’ve cut back my vetting process a bit for timing reasons. Namely, I don’t have enough of it. A few interesting recipes, nice photos and decent prose will earn you a spot. 

In recent months, I’ve spent my focus on recipes. I obsessively find and bookmark recipes to try out and make note of where they came from so that I can credit the source at a later date if and when I test it out. When I find a recipe I like, I catalogue it and keep looking for other recipes. I’ll bookmark like this for hours, filling up my Evernote App so that I can refer to recipes on my way home from work. Pick out a recipe on the train, jot down the ingredients I’ll need to buy, and start baking as soon as I get home. This works best in theory, just so you know. 

In recent weeks, I’ve remembered something important about blogging and why I got into this in the first place. It’s not just about sharing great recipes, baking tips and beautiful food photography. Food blogging ultimately is about the blogger. It is about an individual daring to share what he or she loves and has slaved over for however many hours or days with the world, inviting criticism, praise, or crickets if no one is reading. It’s about a labor of love. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Let them Eat Cake: The Final Installment

Did you ever think that a person in possession of an assortment of fresh baked and beautifully frosted cupcakes could feel saddened by it?

Until today, neither did I.

This morning marked the final installment of my Baking Basics class at Cambridge Culinary School and the topic of the day was Cake. I’m currently feeling excited that I learned something new and that I have plenty of delicious goods to show for it, but also a bit melancholy that the series ended. I quite liked having a standing Saturday morning baking date with a professional chef instructor, a culinary student and a dishwasher so I never had to worry too much about clean up. (As a class, we went through TONS of dishes!)

We selected from a collection of cake recipes and had free range to pair with any frosting recipe or variation… I challenged myself to whip up an Italian Meringue Buttercream that I flavored with citrus zest to top my White Wine Cupcakes brushed with Triple Sec. Sound good? Sound a little familiar?

Sangria Cupcakes Two Ya’ll…

(Don’t know exactly where that came from, but my inner Paula Deen is beaming right now!)