Baking

snappy popcorn

We’re moving. Did I mention that? Our house sold in July, we closed in late August. Four days later, we closed on the condo. (Building photo above, common room below.) We rented the house back for 60 days to give us time to redecorate the condo. It’s one month and one week later. Somehow, with the help of our amazing contractors, we selected everything for the condo in record time. We picked out materials from floors to tile to cabinets to appliances. We picked paint colors and faucets and drains. It’s deconstructed now. (photo above) We’ve got furniture on order. We recovered some of our current furniture. I found lighting and closet hooks and rugs, medicine chests and a bicycle hanger. I went to seven stone yards before […]

a meditation on biscuits

I’ve been messing around with buttermilk biscuits. As with so many good things that come from the kitchen, these musings started with butter. For those of you who have The Book, I detail a method for making butter. It’s a ridiculously easy thing, particularly with a stand mixer. I’ve written about making butter here, my friend Carol wrote about it, and I even did a podcast once.  I wrote a recipe for this month’s AllRecipes Magazine, too. Making butter led, ultimately, to making biscuits. I realize there is a world of biscuit-making talk from the likes of Nathalie Dupree & Cynthia Graubert, Virginia Willis,  and Sheri Castle. I love these women with all my heart and hope they know how much I respect them. Yet, here I go. Me. A Yankee-born, Washington DC-living, […]

fruity nutty honey nougat

Google what to do with egg whites, dried fruit and nuts, and you get nougat. What they don’t tell you is what an unholy mess it makes. Still, it’s worth it. Nougat is a sweet, chewy delicacy I first encountered in Italy, but have seen in France and Spain, and I’ve received gifts of nougat from friends after visits to Northern African countries, Turkey, Iran and Israel. Every country has their own version of this honey sweetened marshmallowy treat stuffed with nuts, always, and fruit, sometimes. Since the holidays ended, I’ve been working through the half bags of this and that, the frozen bits and bobs, all the little leftover whatevers from my holiday cooking and baking. There were macademias and pistachios, dried cranberries and cherries, almonds, pecans, walnuts. […]

berry cobbler

I can’t stop eating warm berry desserts.  I know I should post a main dish, or a preserving recipe, but all I seem to do is make the simplest dinners of steamed corn, sliced tomatoes and zucchini pancakes  and then I luxuriate in dessert because – well – BERRIES. I just love berries. Let’s talk about blackberry cobbler. Swap one berry for another or stir them all together and make jams and cobblers and pie with the sure to be delicious combination. You people in the Northwest U.S. have the BEST assortment of berry names. Ollaliberries and huckleberries and marionberries (as a DC resident, this one cracks me up.) I came home last weekend with two raspberry half-pints, half a flat of blackberries, two containers of blueberries and […]

lemon meringue pie

My mother told a pie story frequently. She was a young bride. She decided to make a lemon meringue pie. With her Sunbeam mixer on high, she whipped egg whites in the milky glass bowl. A pinch of cream of tartar and showers of sugar. She piled the meringue in the center of the pie and popped it in the oven. It emerged beautiful with bronzed tips on tall peaks. She set the pie on a rack to cool. When she returned to the kitchen, the meringue had shrunk to the size of a hockey puck, and the same distinctive consistency. She whipped more whites and baked it again. Again, it shrank to nothing. The third time, she began to understand. Make sure the meringue touches the […]

The Bake Off: Canelé, Caramel Tart, Chocolate Raspberry Star and a Giveaway

It’s been icy, snowy, cold and not at all hospitable. I baked all weekend, because nothing says happy like the smell of baked goods in the oven. I wobbled through my first experience with canelé. I made a sensational and surprisingly simple caramel chocolate tart. And then I baked for Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. Two days of baking. Thousands of calories. Highs and lows. It was a dramatic three days in the kitchen. I’ve long been a canelé fan but once I tasted an official canelé in their Bordeaux birthplace, I was a goner.  [I thank Kate Hill for this education, in addition to all my porky-knowledge.]   This little sweet packs a punch. It’s got everything I’ve ever wanted in a pastry.There’s that crackly crunchy caramel crust, rich […]