The wonderful and amazing Grandma is in town!!! I will be back on Monday with many stories and pictures! Come back and see me on Monday!
Thanks for reading Bakers Love.
Today Over at A News Cafe I share my recipe for Pavlova. I love this simple dessert that is a perfect showcase for summer fruits. My boys call anything made with meringue 'puffy-puffy treats'. Not sure where they got that name, but it certainly fits.
Stop over at A News Cafe and make a Pavlova, I am sure this puffy puffy treat will become a favorite!
When Patrick Swayze announced that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2008 my heart sank. You see my father died of the same horrendous disease. I knew the path that lied ahead for him and his beautiful wife. I thought about how difficult a road that they were about to face, but listening to Patrick, like listening to my dad, I just knew HE would be the one who would beat this disease. My dad made it about 7 1/2 months. Patrick made it about 20 months, in a way, a lifetime. Considering the death nail that a diagnosis of this particular cancer is. I cried for Patrick when I watched his interview with Barbara Walters, knowing that as hard as he was trying, as strong as he was, he was not going to sit down with her for another interview. You could see it in his eyes, the fear of ones life reaching its end. I hate cancer. I can't fathom anyone who would like it, other than the pharmaceutical companies which is another story all together. I have watched friends succumb, parents loose beloved children, couples devastated, and loved ones loose their battle of cancer. It affects us all eventually, if you have not been hit by the dreaded BIG C, count your blessings.
So, back to Mr. Swayze and his work. I loved him in a lot of movies, but probably not the ones most people expect. I know this is Un-American to admit, but I never quite 'got' the Dirty Dancing thing that most girls growing up in the 1980's did. I was also not that keen on Ghost, not sure why, perhaps all the crying. Anyway, I did love Patrick in quite a few films. My favorite has to be The Outsiders . The Outsiders was an important film to me in that it was adapted from one of my favorite books from my early teens. S.E. Hinton's books, Tex, Rumble Fish, and That was Then this is Now were my Harry Potter books in Junior High. Patrick's older protective brother Darell was part of the heart of The Outsiders. Another favorite movie from early in his career was Red Dawn. Red Dawn was one of those 1980's movies that today almost seems campy. I love that Harry Dean Statton is the wise dad, and where old cowboy star Ben Johnson takes a stand. But I think that my all time favorite Patrick Swayze film is really a tie. I love City of Joy, it is one of those movies where his character is grand, but different than all of the other tough guy roles that made him famous. The other movie in my tie is To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar. I am not sure why this movie was not more popular, was it because Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the desert came out the same year and viewers had their fill of drag queens? I am not sure, but Patrick's portrayal of Vida had so much soul and respect, you could sense his need to give her dignity. And as Patrick Swayzes life came to a close, he continued to work and to love. All the while determined to find a cure for what eventually brought him to the end. Although I did not know Patrick, or any members of his family, we are all now part of a group who understand each other, those touched by cancer.
Harry Blackstone Jr., Juliet Prowse, Michael Landon,Henry Mancini, Richard Crenna, Fred Gwynne, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespe, and Frank Zappa are just a few of the celebrities who have battled pancreatic cancer.
I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a gigantic bounty of apples right off the tree. Early estimates were that I had about 100 apples, that is a lot for a little kitchen. I made pie filling and froze it for later, apple sauce for a month, and apple muffins. I decided to try something new and consulted the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. In Martha's book there was an interesting recipe for an apple cake with goat cheese frosting. I made a little more apple sauce for this cake and was positive this was going to become a new fall favorite. The first thing I noticed about this cake was, while it was baking, there was a lack of fabulous aroma wafting throughout my house. I was doubly concerned because I had increased the amounts of ginger, cinnamon, and all spice since I was shooting for a real spicy cake. When the cake was finished and cooling I took a little nibble. Bland! Yes BLAND! I assumed the frosting would help, it was good but I think my cream cheese frosting would have been better. I decided to add some walnuts, which helped a little. I know I had a flavor in my mind that I craved, I am not sure why this cake was such a disappointment to me since it looked like everything I wanted in a fall spicy cake. Please feel free to share your favorite apple cake recipe with me, I am in hot pursuit for one with all of these apples!
Sunday mornings are a true treasure. I love waking up before the kids and sitting in the big leather chair with a piping hot cup of Peet's coffee. I breeze over our local paper, sadly it takes about 15 minutes to read, and then I linger over the New York Times. Well, I WISH I could linger, truth is I maybe get through the opinion section when I hear the stirring of kids. Once everyone rises I usually make a big breakfast, most of the time getting pancakes on the griddle. Today I needed to use some of our new bounty, about 100 apples picked off a tree in McCloud. I decided we needed a Dutch Baby, also called a German Pancake. Really a I don't know about you, but I have a difficult time putting anything into the oven called 'baby', just does not sound right. So, I kept the old fashioned name. Easy to make, quick to bake, and presents quite a show.
I found a great recipe over here.
Pizza on Friday always sounds so good and easy. I would love to pick up the phone at about 5:30 and call up a local pizza joint and in 45 minutes or less, have dinner on the table. Too bad I live in an area that is surprisingly lacking in a great pizza place, so we just make our own. Cheaper in the long run of course, and sometimes it is a sneaky way to clean out the fridge of leftovers. I make enough pizza dough for two pies, either using both that night of freezing one for later. Sometimes the kids get to make the pizza for us, which leads to some rather interesting um....'choices'. I decided to play it easy with this pie, my favorite, just cheese and a sprinkling of fresh cut basil.
SUPER DUPER EASY PIZZA CRUST
This recipe makes enough for 2 large-ish pizzas.
2 Tablespoons Yeast
2 Cups milk-warmed
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cups unbleached flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 Tablespoons flax meal
1 Tablespoon salt (sea or kosher)
Combine all ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using dough hook, mix on low to combine all ingredients. Increase speed and knead dough until it starts to pull away from the mixing bowl, about 3-4 minutes.
Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and set aside. Allow to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Then roll out your pizzas!
The mornings have started to cool down to about 65, so in my mind I think it is fall. You can see how easily my mind can be duped into this way of thinking. My kids are back in school, sweaters are in all of the stores, and of course the litmus test of early falls arrival; Costco has Christmas decorations up.
Aaah. Yes, fall has indeed arrived in my mind. Sadly, the afternoons here are still in the 100's despite my desire to pull out my favorite gray sweater.
I have been fascinated by what I would call inappropriate uses of bacon for awhile. I wrote about Bacon ice cream and a fried bacon appetizer last year, and I just seem to find more interesting bacon-thingys. Recently I was also introduced to bacon coffee by a friend who also shares an odd curiosity of things we can make with bacon. One popular odd use of bacon comes from the Portland doughnut shop Voodoo doughnut . They have an interesting treat on their menu. A maple bacon doughnut. Thanks to that doughnut I was intrigued enough to get my own baking wheels spinning. I have been talking about making a maple bacon cupcake for a few months now, never really following through for really obvious reasons to me. One, sounds like a maple bacon cupcake could be pretty gross. Two, the cupcake could be GREAT and then what? I doubt a sweet and savory combination would be popular at the next band bake sale. Lastly, do I really want to go down the road of sweets with bacon? Well, curiosity got the best of me today. I fried up a few pieces of the best apple-wood smoked bacon and got to the task of baking a few cupcakes. I used a simple batter and added cooled diced bacon just before baking. My goal for the bacon cupcakes was to make sure the cupcake did not have that greasy bacon aftertaste or texture. As my cupcakes were baking I made some maple frosting with egg yolks, syrup, and butter. What more do you need really?
My guinea pig for the maple bacon cupcake was Westley. He has anticipated the arrival of this potential gem since I mentioned making it. His well seasoned opinion was that he loved the mapley-bacony flavor, but wished there were more bacon in the cupcake. I liked the cupcake, but have to disagree with the big guy regarding the amount of bacon in the cake. Then again, his opinion is that, "there is NO SUCH THING as too much bacon!" Duly noted.
What takes this cupcake to great heights is the frosting. Not super sweet but bursting with maple flavor. Perfect. After frosting the cupcake sprinkle with bacon and a little sea salt. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
If you too are curious, I say knock yourself out and give a maple bacon cupcake a whirl.
3 egg yolks
1 cup good maple syrup
2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
Place egg yolks in the bowl of a mixer. Beat for about 5 minutes or until the yolks are a light yellow and have thickened. Bring the maple syrup to a boil, reaching 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, which takes about 15 minutes. With the mixer on medium-high slowly add the maple syrup in a stream. Continue mixing until the bottom of your mixer cools, about 5 minutes. Add softened butter. Mix until combined. Start frosting your cupcakes!
So I picked Dexter up from his dance on Friday night. Sure I arrived about 30 minutes before the time to pick him up. I used the excuse of not wanting to wait in a long pick up line. But we all know the truth is I could not wait to hear about his night. I think I was a little more nervous than he was about reaching this milestone in his life. When Dexter walked out of the gymnasium he was dripping in sweat, looking like a bald Meatloaf in the 'Bat out of Hell' video. He plops in my car, exhausted, and admits he is a little sick from all the crap snacks he purchased with the five dollars I sent him with. Dex tosses his head back and then lets out a giant sigh. I ask him if he is tired and he tells me he is just exhausted. Our talk went a little something like this. Mom: "did you have fun?"
Dexter: "Yeah, I danced A LOT, I had 2 sodas and 1 1/2 Butterfinger bars and something else.."
Mom: "What else could you possibly have Dex?"
Dexter: " Um.....I think I did something wrong."
Mom: Taking a DEEP breath and wondering what fire she is going to have to put out on Monday
morning. " What did you do wrong Dex?"
Dexter: Giant sigh..."I think I have a girlfriend now."
Yup, my little Tony Manero left his first dance feeling pretty great.