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Bewildered by Bacon

I used to eat it.  In fact, I liked it quite a bit.  It had to be cooked extra crispy - not burnt - but extra crispy so that it would crunch each time my teeth bit into the extra salty bits.  At some point it touched the sweetness of maple syrup when they both mingled on a plate years ago, and then I took my bacon with a touch a sweetness.  However, as time went on, I lost my taste for bacon.  And bacon was really the only pork item I ever really liked, so I now stay away from all pork products.  The texture, the smell, the taste... there is really nothing about this particular food item that I find appealing.

Shocking - I know.  Perhaps I am an anomoly.  A one of a kind.  People love this cut of meat - there is truly an obsession around bacon, and I just for the life of me cannot understand it.  I fully understand the allure of all things pork - I mean I do not think that there is any other animal that can offer so many different kinds of cuts.  However recently, there has been a disturbingly high amount of buzz around what can be "done" with bacon, and I know for a fact that I am not the only one who finds this buzz bizarre (Steevy...)

Take, for example, chocolate.  Pure, rich, and smooth.  OK, so someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea to throw in some bacon.  Add a little smokey flavor, a little crunch, and I am all for the sweet/savory thing.  But it has not stopped there.

Next came the cupcake.  There is an obsession with cupcakes, and with it comes the growing need to improve on an already great thing.  So why not add bacon?  Well, because it just sounds wrong.  OK - no, I have not tried it and I have no intention of trying it.  I have already had one open heart surgery and have no plans for another. Bacon, butter, oil, sugar, more butter, flour, more sugar, chocolate, more bacon.  No, there is just something truly wrong with this concept.

Bacon_cupcake 

(photo from Mr. Baconpants http://www.mrbaconpants.com/about/)

If sweet is not your thing, I came across a heart stopping (literally) artery clogging dish called "Bacon Explosion".  Essentially it is bacon and sausage all rolled up (or "weaved together - and here I thought weaving was only for baskets and hair) and rubbed down with your favorite BBQ sauce (make sure that you use your favorite, because it could very well be your last meal).  And then it is bake in the oven or cooked on a BBQ.  Not sure why it is baked.  At this point, the whole thing should just be deep fried...

http://www.bbqaddicts.com/blog/recipes/bacon-explosion/

If people love bacon so much, why can't you just eat it as is?  The taste is complex enough that it does not need to be "weaved" into a sausage roll up.  Yes, a good BLT is something to write home about, but why add all this extra stuff with it?  My husband loves the stuff, he loves pork, and I often hear the phrase "Bacon makes it better..." but I really do not buy it.    

But don't be upset with me - think about it - it only means that there is just that much more bacon for the rest of you.


Vegan for Three Weeks

It really did not seem that bad when @wired2theworld brought it up… I mean vegan and gluten free for 21 days – 3 wks based off of the Quantum Wellness Diet.  Why would I do this?  Why not.  Oh, and I should tell you there is also no sugar, alcohol, or caffeine allowed either.  I have taken vacations for three weeks, so it was kind of like a little 3-week vacation from my normal routine.  Except that it was not a real getaway to some place warm and tropical with a white sand beach and crystal blue waters.  I thought that it would be easy as my daily routine normally consists of almond or soy milk in my coffee which is  decaf.  Normally, I do not eat a lot of sugar, but instead surrender to my sweet tooth with agave nectar swirled on top of plain yogurt, oatmeal, or flax cereal and pieces of extra dark chocolate late at night.  YUM, I am sure that you are now jumping up and down at the thought of flax cereal, but it is good, really (or at least that is what I keep telling myself).

You see, I enjoy eating well.  I like the process of purchasing my ingredients and coming up with an entire creation from start to finish.  So when I really thought about the 3 weeks of vegan/gluten free/no alcohol I had a few questions for myself… What would I do with my vanilla flavored protein powder?  There is milk in there.  Oh, and I do like to have an occasional glass of red wine.  I suppose that I would have to just stare longingly at the bottles as the dark ruby red color shined back at me and whispered into my ear just how good it was for my heart and that perhaps, just perhaps, I was actually doing my body a disservice by not sipping a glass of Duoro, Baltos, or Cabernet every other night with Hector.  Then there are those moments, when you get home from work and you just want to grab whatever is most convenient.  Often, that tends to be a piece of bread or a cracker or something.  It is about relearning what to grab and thinking about the choices that are really and truly what I want.

But 3 weeks?  I could do 3 weeks.  So here I am rounding out week number 2 and it really has not been that hard.  Perhaps the hardest part is explaining to friends (when they invited us over for brunch) the situation…

Them: So do you want to come over for brunch?

Me: Sure, can we bring anything? [CODE FOR ME TRYING TO GET AROUND THE SITUATION]

Them: How about some wine? [DAMN! I AM STUCK NOW…]

Me: OK, but I am doing this vegan thing for a few weeks just so you know…

Them: OK, will you eat eggs?

Me: Ummm, no, but Hector loves eggs! But I will be fine.

Them: No problem, we have tons of friends who are vegan!

So for the past two weeks my meals have consisted of (not all in one sitting mind you) oatmeal, fruit, flax seeds, several goes at gluten free bread, veggies in every which way, soups, beans, tofu, nuts, and I would be remiss if I left out dark chocolate...

Suddenly the situation is no longer a problem.  So I guess what I am doing is really like a mini vacation.  When I am traveling, I do not eat the same way that I do when I am at home, and truth be told, I rather enjoy it.  What do I miss?  A few ounces of grated parmesan on top of grilled vegetables and an occasional glass of wine.  A piece of rye bread under the broiler with melted jarlesberg and dried chili peppers on top.  However, I do think that it is always a good idea to break from routine and try something different from time to time, and this is exactly what I am doing.  I do not think that I will stay in this zone forever.  There is my wedding to think about, and I know that nothing will keep me from that cake that has eggs, sugar, flour, etc.  And a champagne toast will be in order.  So events will occur and I will partake.  However, what has occurred is a different level of awareness regarding the food that I eat.  Thank you Kristina!


Flying Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies-choc

I have never meet anyone who has not liked chocolate chip cookies.  I have met many people whose opinion differs as to what kind of chocolate chip cookie they like - chewy, crispy, full of chips, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, etc.  But never, ever, have I met anyone who has not liked them.  With this post, I am sure that they will make themselves known, but until they do, I will hold tight to my convictions.

I have tried many, many different kinds of chocolate chip cookie recipes in my 30+ years, and have found some that I like more than others.  Perhaps the best kind are those that are made with someone else, whether it be a good friend, or the help of little hands...

Little-hands

I recently started baking with more non-traditional ingredients and incorporating these into my cookies, cakes, and confections.  Whether it be agave nectar for sugar, whole wheat flour for white flour, or even coconut oil for butter, I wanted to see what I could do to "bake better" for myself.  Sure, I am positive that many people would disagree, and tell me that it is a waste of time, money, and energy to stray away from butter and eggs and good old flour.  But I actually enjoy the chemistry that goes into finding out why the ingredients react - or fail to react - based on what goes into the mix.  I also tell myself that I am doing something good for myself, and whether this is the case or not, that is my story, and I am sticking to it so there!

It actually all started with a chocolate chip cookie you know... A coconut chocolate chip cookie that led me down the path to baking without eggs, and trying out alternative recipes.  I then stumbled on the Baby Cakes NYC Cookbook and made several batches of those cupcakes, which are perfect little snacks (I make mini unfrosted ones, keep them in the freezer, and defrost a few when I need something sweet).  For full disclosure, following my Baby Cakes post, I was contacted by a publicist for the new cookbook "The Flying Apron", which is a vegan and gluten free bakery out in Seattle.  I received a copy of the book, and looked through it nightly for several weeks until today, when I opened it up and finally decided to make the chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I had the ingredients all collected, so I really had no excuse to not give it a go.

Following recipes to the 1/8 of a teaspoon in gluten free / vegan baking is critical, and I tend to not be the best at that.  I like to add a little here and a little there, and make things up as I go.  However, if I plan to post things on a blog, and expect people to follow a recipe, that will not really work.  So, when I opened up the Flying Apron's Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book I already started to see substitutes for ingredients listed in my mind... coconut oil instead of the recommended canola oil.  Agave nectar instead of the recommended organic cane sugar, almond milk instead of the recommended rice milk etc.  So there was really only one solution - I have both recipes below for you... you can do either one, or you can make them both!  I made the one in purple, and the cookie is not the crispy one that you might find with heaps of butter, but the result is a cookie, a substantial cookie, with a small hint of the coconut and crispy edges, with a soft middle.  Enjoy, from the bottom of my heart...

Flying Apron Chocolate Chip Cookies (with adaptations...)

2 3/4 cups brown rice flour

1 1/2 cups + 1tbsp garbanzo bean flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp sea salt

1 c canola oil [1/2 c canola oil+1/2 c coconut oil]

1 c organic whole cane sugar [2/3 c agave nectar]

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c rice milk [1 c almond milk]

1 c vegan chocolate chips [1 1/2 c vegan chocolate chips]

optional: 1/4 c chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  The a standing bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment add the oil(s), sugar (agave nectar), and vanilla and combine until well mixed.  With the speed on low, add the flour mixture and the milk (almond or rice) and mix until well combined - this will take about 2 minutes.  Add in the chocolate and nuts if you are using them.  Scoop out the dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart...

Cookies-ram

and bake for about 14-16 minutes until the top is golden brown. (I like to under bake my cookies, so I bake them for 14 minutes).


Recession - of the Daring Kind

I never expected it to happen.  I can honestly say that I never saw it coming.  For years I have been so careful with the numbers, and I have reviewed every single step.  I still cannot believe that it happened to me.  It started with the walls.  They held the smallest cracks that grew deeper until they could not support the roof.  Piece by piece they started to fall. Now really, how could this have happened?  I might spend a bit more than I should on certain things, and I do like name brand items, but as I reviewed the history, the steps, the process, and I everything I did along the way to get to this point, I could not figure out the hows and the whys.  I would have to start over - from the beginning, and build it all over again, from scratch.

Bad-house

And that is exactly what I did.  Upon starting all over again, I learned that I should NOT attempt a recipe while recovering from the flu and in the midst of pneumonia - because that is exactly what I did.  And I neglected to count and measure accurately and that is when it happened... the recession affected Gingerbread Land.  Sad, so very sad.  So after I paid the price of screwing up, really screwing up and admitting defeat, I started all over again.  From the beginning, and I yielded a much more promising recipe.

House

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I chose to follow Y of Lemonpi, and here goes (note: follow the recipe EXACTLY!)

Y's Recipe:
Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas 
http://astore.amazon.com/thedarkit-20/detail/0816634963

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface (the dough will be tough at first).  Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, etc.  You can do a search on line for houses, and place the paper up against the house and cut around the edges.  I then placed each piece of the house on a cookie sheet and baked.  It will be easiest if you use a spatula to place the pieces on a cookie sheet so that when you pick the pieces up they do not rip.

Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe the icing on the pieces if you want to make windows, a door, siding, etc, and allow to dry before assembling (otherwise it will run down the house!) If you aren't using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.  If you want to add decorations, use slightly dried (but still wet) icing as this will allow the decoration (candy) to better stick to the house.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year!


Mint Milano Cookies

It was time again for the Daring Baker's Challenge from the Daring Kitchen.  I messed up last month.  I posted my lemon-frangipane tart a few weeks too early.  I am trying to play by the rule now, and so here it is, officially posted, on 27 July 2009.  The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Milanos
And there I was...choosing between one of my favorite cookies (milanos - as in Pepperidge Farm) and a cookie that had marshmallow.  Since marshmallow is something that makes its way into my kitchen quite often, I stayed with the milano recipe.  I based it off of the recipe given to us, but added mint extract since I am a HUGE fan of mint and chocolate together.  The combination just works for me - and works quite well.  I also wanted to try a different shape for the cookies, so I piped them into squares and used square cookie cutters when they were hot and just coming out of the oven.  For some of the cookies, I went a bit over the top.  I layered the chocolate in between two cookies.  I then covered the cookies in chocolate and layered them in between two other cookies - kind of like a double-stuffed milano.  The result:  absolute minty-decadence!  True love at first bite.

Recipe adapted from Gail Gand - the FoodNetwork site
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies (or more...)

• 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
• 6 lg egg whites
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 tsp peppermint extract

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla extract.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread. (You can also use a plastic food storage/sandwich bag and cut the corner off so that you squeeze the batter out of the corner.)  The batter is quite thin, almost like cake batter.  IT WILL SPREAD!  If you want to shape the cookies into shapes like squares, do so once they come out of the oven with a cookie cutter.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add peppermint extract and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.
11. If you want to make a double stuffed cookie, complete as above, then emerge the cookie into the chocolate, let cool, and place in between two other cookies.  I think the double-stuffed are the best - yes, they are entirely TOO decadent, but if you are going to eat these butter-laden cookies, why the hell not!


Two for Tuesday - it's back!

 I started a new job several weeks ago - and that is why I have been remiss in my Two for Tuesday posts.  I try to write them at least 2 times a month, and I have been late - very late this time around.  I like to write about people who I think pair up well.  They might have things in common (like they are both from the same part of the world) or they write about similar topics.  All in all, I pick two fabulous people and showcase their very best for all to see.  This time I chose two Americans living life abroad - they are both fantastic women living in places I have either lived (France) or traveled to (Morocco).  And let me tell you - I would very quickly live in both places again. 

Marrakesh

I will start with Maryam, as in My Marrakash, as she happens to be the very first person whose blog I EVER followed, so needless to say, she holds a very special place in my heart.  If you ever find yourself wandering through the endless mazes of the souks in Marrakesh, bargaining with the shopkeepers over a pairs of babouches or the perfect size pouffe, the person in the know is Maryam.  I had the privilege of discussing the finer points of Moroccan bargaining with her and fair prices last summer on my 3-wk holiday to Spain and Morocco.  Her site, while focused on a fabulous family living in Marrakesh, also delves into food, friends, travel, and rights.  Human rights around the world.  From Rwanda to India, Maryam captures it all with both words and images.

Eiffel-Tower

Next stop...France.  I have spent a considerable of time in France, speak the language, and would love to someday have a home there.  Perhaps when many people think of France, the Eiffel Tower comes to their mind, or images of a lovely couple walking hand in hand down the Seine.  While this is all very real and very much France, it by no means encompasses ALL of France.  Several years ago I had the unique opportunity to drive through a great deal of France:  mountains, towns, lakes, countryside, ocean.  No, it might not be a large country if you are looking at the actual size, but will all the diverse beauty that rests inside this country - it might as well be three time the size of Texas.  And so her comes Jamie, as in Life's a Feast.  Well, in France it most certainly is and every bit of it is better than the last.  Jamie, like Maryam, is an ex-pat finding her way in a wonderful country, a new home away from home.  She is also raising her family in France (she was in Italy for a while too!), and no, not in Paris, but in Nantes.  Nantes is south-west of Paris and close to the Atlantic Coast.  OK, back to Jamie!  Between her fabulous recipes, her Life photos that will bring you back to a simpler time, and stories of her life as she navigates between moving, raising her children, living in Nantes, and her travel tales, you will be encouraged to take time out from your own life and step into hers.

Both Jamie and Maryam have similar stories - traveling around the world with their families to fabulous places, blogging about it, and letting us all see bits and pieces of their lives.


Two for Tuesday

It is time again, the two for Tuesday, that time when I like to pair up two bloggers who, in my opinion, complement each other.  Now there is almost an overload of social media out there, but with all of the information, I still think that people, no matter who you are, welcome the additional attention directed towards their sites (I would anyway...).

So here goes.  Gesine and Julia.  A cook and a baker both of whom have (or are about to have) a book.  They are also both involved in the film industry.

Gesine left her life under the Hollywood lights to head off to the Green Mountain State to pursue a career as a baker.  She is probably best known for her Macaroons, her fantastic sense of humor, and her Owl icon that appears all over the place - even on the gorgeous birthday cake that she made for herself this past March.  Orange owls that decorated a sky-blue fondant covered a dark chocolate cake.  Want to see how cool the cake looked?  Well check it out for yourself!  Gesine recently closed the doors of her Montpelier bakery to open a bakery down in Austin, TX, and between road trips North and South of the Mason-Dixon line, and she managed to write a book:  Confessions of a Closet Master Baker.  Not only is the name catchy (and again, one of those things that I wish I came up with myself) but you see actually see a preview of the book.  Yes, you heard me correctly, you can SEE IT, right here, right now.  The book comes out this fall, but you can pre-order it from Amazon.  And while you are waiting to eat up all of the pages that I am sure are filled with fabulous bits and pieces of Gesine's life as a pastry chef, you can check out her recipes that she has posted on her blog.

Speaking of films and books, by now you have probably heard of Julie and Julia.  No?  Really?  Are you KIDDING ME???  Well, not that I will do this any justice at all, but there is Julie Powell, who cooks.  In fact, she channeled all thing Julia Child related and cooked, I mean why not?  Why not wake up on a Wednesday morning and cook up Brandade de Morue: A Multi-use Extra, Trout Meuniere, Duchess Potatoes, Duck Pate Baked in its own skin, Rhode Island Johnny Cakes (one of my favorites by the way!) or Gateau Paris-Brest?  Why not try it all?  Well, that is exactly what Julie did, and she wrote a book about it.  She wrote and wrote, and in fact, the book became quite noticed.  So noticed in fact that it is now a movie.  That being said, before you decide to spend your week's savings on heading to the big screen to see the film, buy the book.  Sit down, and read.  Open your mind, and see what Julie did, read about how she spent all those days, weeks, months.  Then, only then go and see the movie.

So there they are.  My two.  My two for Tuesday for this week on this day.  16 June 2009.


Two for Tuesday

It all began with a brownie recipe gone wrong.  Seven Spoons made a brownie recipe for a party and accidentally doubled the amount of butter.  She sent out a twitter message and suddenly, Lemonpi, Sevenspoons, and I were all a twitter about the brownies and their decadent goodness with the additional butter in the recipe.  Seven Spoons was concerned that the recipe might be ruined, however she soon realized that the brownies had entirely too much goodness.  Very quickly, Lemonpi and I were invited over for a brownie party.  Now as tempting as that sounds, Seven Spoons is in Canada, Lemonpi is in Australia, and I am in America.  However, I would have no problem packing my bags for a brownie party and headed out the door to EITHER ONE of those fab destinations!

So after this lengthy twitter conversation, I decided that I needed to pair up Seven Spoons with Lemonpi for this week's Two for Tuesday!

Seven Spoons...A beautiful 7-spoon icon in the upper right corner of her blog set off by a white background make's Tara's blog clean, neat, and sophisticated.  She is not new to the blogging world.  In fact, her posts date back to 2005, and one of her first posts is a Fig, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese salad.  She also has Irish Soda Bread Pudding with Raisin Jam, and a delectable post on chocolate cake.  If this is not enough for you, check out her Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars!  Her instructions are clear to follow and each recipe is preceded by a fabulous anecdotal story.

Lemonpi...her photos are pieces of art.  The composition, the balance, the colors, and, of course, the food that is at the center of the photos.  Her most recent post is that of a "Frozen liquid poppyseed sable, yuzu curd, vanilla ice-cream, elderflower jelly, meringue".  It is on all accounts incredible.  If you delve deeper into her blog posts, you will stumble across "White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Blondies", a Christmas Yule Log, and "Jill Dupleix's Boil and Bake Fruit Cake".  You should also know that Lemonpi is a member of the Daring Baker's Challenge.  Watch for her entries each month.  I guarantee she will take each recipe to a level higher than you imagined!

Check out their blogs, and looks for them on Twitter! Usernames:  Sevenspoons & Lemonpi!



Two for Tuesday

More and more I love Twitter.  I really do.  Finding a group of like minded people with whom you can share ideas, thoughts, and brainstorm about all things related to food and cooking rocks.  I have found a whole new world (not to quote a Disney Song or anything) but seriously, it is great!  So it makes it pretty fun to focus on a few fab bloggers every few weeks on Tuesdays.  This week it is Jennifer Perillo and Zoe Francais - both avid in the Twittersphere!  So let's get to it!

I am pairing Jennie up with Zoe... for some reason, these two work together for me.  They are coming up with new recipes almost hourly, and manage to balance this with a full family life.

Jennifer...I want to hang out in Jennie's kitchen.  I think that her butter would spread beautifully on top of a stack of her buttermilk pancakes.  I might end the meal with some cinnamon rolls, and then wait around checking out her herbs and help her decide what meal we should all have next.  While sorting out that major decision, I would insist on drinking down a pitcher of her sangria.  In fact, I might even ask for a pitcher all for myself and place a straw in pitcher.  You should also go into Jennie's kitchen, although, I must warn you, you might have some problems getting yourself out!  It is so refreshing to see someone show how to properly cook plantains (one of my favorite things ever!)  She also writes for the Cuisinart Stand Mixer Blog.  Recipes fill the pages.  Is there anything Jennifer doesn't cover in her many blogs???

Zoe...You have got to check out the images on her site - you will really want to pick up your phone and think about dialing Zoe.  I mean she might be able to ship her cakes and pastries to you, it can never hurt to ask, right???? Gorgeous and divine is how they look.  She went as far as to bake TWO birthday cake for her son's birthday this year.  Zoe also has a cook book on baking artisan bread in five minutes... seriously?  I mean I have baked artisan bread, but it took a few days!  If you live in Minnesota, check out one of Zoe's classes - you can learn some of her fabulous baking secrets.  Zoe's most recent post is Coffee Ice Cream with Rosemary Shortbread... is it summer yet? Well, for this recipe it really does not matter what time of year it is because it just looks so fabulous, you would probably be willing to eat it in the dead of winter in the middle of a blizzard!

So do not waste anymore time... Go and visit Zoe and Jennifer (after clicking through this site of course!).


Two for Tuesday

Yes, it is that day...Tuesday.  One  day closer to Friday, which means the weekend is that much closer.  Several weeks ago I started pairing up bloggers on Tuesday and writing about them in a few paragraphs.  These tends to be bloggers I follow, ones I admire, and hold to a high standard.  They also have something in common with each other.  So for this week I chose two people who are not new, not unfamiliar, and not unknown.

Eric Ripert reminds me of a few GOs with whom I worked when I was at Club Med for several years.  He is known around the world for his cooking and his restaurant Le Bernardin.  His piercing blue eyes, his smooth French accent, and his boyish smile are all infectious - in a good way.  However Eric has so much more than that.  His blog offers delectable recipes, images, and video as life as it should be - celebrated in the moment.  And one of those people with whom he lives in the moment is Michael Ruhlman.  Michael has worked with some of the greatest chefs in the world and is great in his own right: a graduate of Duke and an author of numerous books including one with Thomas Keller and another with Eric Ripert, Michael Ruhlman is nothing less than genius.  He is also a frequent judge on the Iron Chef (which I would really like to judge one day as long as the secret ingrediant is not pork...) He recently came out with Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, which has a spot on my night stand and I pour into page after page on a nightly basis.  It will reteach you how to cook and break down the principles of just about everything.

These two just work together, and they have. 

Images