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coconut cream pie

For the past six weeks Connor has been working at Mark Tarbell’s The Tavern. He is the dishwasher and although they feed him dinner, he has not gotten the one item he sees that he really wants… the coconut cream pie.

So of course, I made it for him. That’s what moms do.

thumbs up

He gave it a thumbs up.

I have plenty of photos to accompany the crust making part of the recipe. But my dad was here while I was making the filling. He can be very distracting, so no photos of that part, sorry.

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April 15, 2014   No Comments

on a dare

Yesterday morning I opened my computer and did what I do each morning. I checked my email, I made sure my blog post posted correctly and then I went on Facebook. The first thing I saw on FB was a post from my high school and FB friend, Cynthia.

fbpost

Did you see that? A dare was issued to me on social media. I had to try this recipe now! I was dared! So yes, I made it. And yes, it’s pretty great. Although there were some serious omissions on the original recipe…

… such as the importance of placing the bottom round of dough onto parchment paper or a baking sheet before adding the filling. Let me tell you, it is impossible to move the dough with the filling on it from the counter to a baking sheet! But no worries, I suffered through that error and I’ve rewritten the recipe to reflect such an important detail.

sunflower spinach pie

I also amped up the filling to my liking and added other little details that were obviously done on the original recipe but not mentioned in the instructions, such as using an egg wash and placing seeds on the center section.

baked

All in all, a great recipe that just need a bit more explaining and details. And it really is easier than it looks to make. It would be perfect for Easter! Trust me, you can do it!

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April 10, 2014   2 Comments

The Burma Cookbook

rich semolina cake

On Tuesday night at Les Gourmettes Cooking School, we had two very charming gentlemen teach a class on Burmese cooking. Robert Carmack and Morrison Polkinghorne also happen to be the authors of The Burma Cookbook – Recipes from the Land of a Million Pagodas.

the burma cookbook

The class was not only informative and delicious but really fun – thanks to Robert and Morrison and their exceptionally outgoing and fun personalities.

For dessert they made one of the most popular of all Burmese desserts, a semolina cake.  Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta, breakfast cereals, puddings and couscous.

The book is beautiful, the guys were great and the cake was sublime.

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February 20, 2014   No Comments

pancake muffins

lemon pancake muffins2

I have a loyal follower who has commented here a couple of times, but most often she emails me with comments and kind words.

The day after Christmas, Sharon, emailed me the photo below and said,

“A friend sent this; have you tried muffin pancakes?”

pancake muffins

Pancakes in muffin tins, no I haven’t tried that, but it looks and sounds kind of like Dutch Baby Pancakes, also known as German Pancakes, and what we’ve always called a Magic Pancake Basket.

magic pancake

My first intuition was to use my magic pancake batter, then instead of pouring the batter into a cast iron skillet, use the muffin tins and see if it would turn out the same. But since the photo Sharon shared indicated that regular pancake batter was used, I decided to go that route.

I used a classic lemon pancake batter I found in The Joy of Cooking, only adapting slightly, substituting yogurt for sour cream.

After about 9 of the 15 minutes of baking time, I could see that the pancakes were not going to puff up and create a crater in the center, as the photo showed. I pulled them out and used a spoon to press down on the muffin and make a crater of my own in the center. I then returned them to oven to finish baking and that worked just fine. They were cute little pancake muffin baskets and they tasted great! Next time, I’ll use my Magic Pancake batter though. I’m sharing both recipes with you today.

Thanks for the inspiration, Sharon. Even if it did take me over 6 weeks to get to.

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February 19, 2014   3 Comments

“The Rebel Within” Knockoff

There is so much I have to tell you about this recipe that I hardly know where to begin. So, how about at the beginning?

pot pantry cards

Almost exactly one year ago, on January 30, 2013, I wrote about how Marissa and I had gone into a kitchen store in San Francisco and found wonderful watercolor postcards of famous dishes from various San Francisco restaurants. We framed the postcards and they now hang in Marissa’s kitchen. One dish in particular caught our fancy. It is a breakfast muffin from Craftsman & Wolves.

firm yolk

The next day, 1/31/13, I tried to recreate “The Rebel Within” at home. Although the end product was tasty, it was not at all what I was looking for… there was no runny egg yolk in the middle of a baked muffin.

within

Fast-forward almost a year to January, 22, 2014, when I wrote about how Marissa and I finally went to Craftsman & Wolves and tasted “The Rebel Within” for ourselves and about my renewed passion to try to recreate it at home.

Just as I had done back in January 2013, I went online to research what I could about how it would be possible to bake a whole egg in a muffin and get it to be “soft-boiled” with a runny yolk.

3 eggs

Via

First, I stumbling upon this website and read up on “egg cookery” – I then found out that two wonderful women had “cracked the code” to The Rebel Within. They went through dozens of eggs and baked more muffins than I would have ever had the patience to bake… and they did it!

hot or cold

Via

Tuesday morning, I used their method.  The result?

not perfect

Although my “Rebel Within” was not as beautiful, or as perfect, or as tall and well-shaped as the muffins at Craftsman & Wolves or as the muffins the brilliant women at Follow Me Foodie baked, it tasted exactly like the muffin Marissa and I enjoyed at Craftsman & Wolves!  And the yolk – it was perfectly runny!

runny

If you would like to make this masterpiece at home, I’ve posted the recipe here, the majority of which is copy/pasted from the Follow Me Foodie post, with just bits and pieces of my own additions and omissions.

I still strongly suggest you go to the Follow Me Foodie recipe post and read from top to bottom about their trials and tests and all of their tips and suggestions. It’s truly amazing and a really good read, even if you do not plan to bake the muffins. There’s a whole boatload of interesting information, dedication, perseverance and patience to be seen there!

If you don’t have the time to read it all, allow me to let you in on a few of the notes that I found to be more important:

2 eggs cracked

The recipe makes six muffins. Even so, I suggest you start with 12 eggs, as I did, when you’re making the Extra-Soft Boiled Eggs. Of the 12 eggs I started with, seven turned out perfectly.

5 bad eggs

Another two would haven been “usable” but were less than perfect … and the remaining three … completely unusable.

cracked eggs

It is imperative that you “warm” the eggs before dropping them in the boiling water. Use hot tap water to do so. I actually brought the eggs to room temperature first, and then let them sit in the hot tap water for the amount of time it took the water that the eggs would be cooked in to come to a boil. Even so, two of the eggs cracked almost immediately as they were placed in the boiling water. I took those out and discarded them straight off the bat. They were two of the “completely unusable” eggs mentioned above.

breakfast sausage

Via

The Follow Me Foodie women used bacon for their recipe, I used breakfast sausage, just as they do at the C&W. As much as I love bacon, I’d suggest going with sausage for this.

Be certain to boil the eggs for EXACTLY 4 minutes and 30 seconds. If you want to achieve that runny yolk, this is the most important part of the recipe.

popover pan

The Follow Me Foodie women suggest that you either use a popover pan or a large muffin tin. I have 2 popover pans, so of course, I used a popover pan. I can’t begin to imagine how it would work in a muffin tin. It wouldn’t be tall enough.

If you don’t own a popover pan, buy one or borrow one! If you live anywhere near me, you can borrow mine.

lift off

Once the muffins were done baking and had cooled, I found it easiest to remove them by placing a baking sheet on top and flipping it over, then gently lifting the popover pan off. Because of how much they overflowed, I feared that the tops would rip off if I tried to “lift” them out of the molds individually. This is the method that worked for me.

1 good 1 bad

Finally, when peeling the extra-soft boiled eggs, take care to gently crack all over. While peeling the last couple eggs, my mind was wandering and I failed to do so. The egg on the left is what happened as a result of not cracking all over. The egg on the right is an example of how to do it correctly.

Oh, and to those of you who so generously and selflessly volunteered to be taste-testers … I’ll have to soft-boil and bake up another batch. Those first six muffins are long gone my friends!

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February 6, 2014   6 Comments

the baby shower recipes

cropped

Many of the guests at Tram’s Baby Shower had expressed interest in the recipes for the brunch food I served.  In fact, Tram commented that yesterday’s post was a “Cliffhanger” since so many of her friends were hoping for the recipes and I said that the recipes would be coming tomorrow.

That actually made me laugh. A Cliffhanger? Me?

No, I just have so much to share about the shower that I have to break it up into a week’s worth of posts. So, today I shall give you all the recipes!

It sounds more daunting than it actually is because all but one of the recipes have already been posted here on the blog. See, no Cliffhanger to be had. Most of them, I made exactly as previously written and a couple of the others – have a few tweaks. Let’s get to it!

ultimate granola bar

First up, The Granola Bar.

I made a double batch of my Glinda’s Wickedly Delicious Granola. It is my take on a recipe from my friend and colleague, Gwen Ashley Walters.

wickedly delicious granola

To accompany the granola, there were bowls of fresh blackberries, blueberries, strawberries,plus lemon curd, low-fat vanilla yogurt and, my favorite store-bought yogurt of all time, Greek Gods brand Honey yogurt.

greek gods

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January 14, 2014   3 Comments

the ultimate cupakes

As I’ve told you many times before, I am NOT a baker.

I don’t like to bake.
I don’t have the patience to bake.
I am not skilled at baking.

Toffee Crunch Mini Cupcakes

That being said – I baked these cupcakes… and they are The BOMB!

choc and toffee

Seriously! I gave Connor one to sample and his eyes rolled back in his head with delight! He made me promise him that I would make them for his birthday in May. That is a promise I intend to keep!

choc and toffee

The recipe came from HERE.

If every recipe on bakersroyale.com is as scrumptious as these cupcakes, and if YOU love to bake, you should be going to this site everyday from here on out!

mini cupcakes

All I did was change them from standard cupcakes to mini cupcakes. Otherwise, I followed the recipe almost as written and they were perfection! So much so, that I could eat the caramel frosting, with a huge spoon, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

OK, maybe not! The frosting alone has a pound of butter – but to be fair, there was quite a bit of frosting left over, even after all the cupcakes were made.

To prevent me from using a spoon to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I put it in the trash and then dumped the nasty contents of my Roomba on top of it!

I can’t have that sort of temptation around here!

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December 19, 2013   2 Comments

winter shortcake

sweet potato cranberry shortcakes

The final Thanksgiving leftovers recipe of the season is a dessert, using up the last of your mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and whipped cream. It’s a wintertime take on strawberry shortcake.

If your sweet potatoes weren’t mashed, mash them before making these biscuits.

powdered buttermilk

Oh, and did you know that you can buy powdered buttermilk? I’m not certain if I’ve mentioned this product before, but it sure is handy to have when you have all the ingredients for a recipe … except buttermilk. And isn’t that the point of using up leftovers – being able to use what you have and not having to make a special trip to the grocery store? It’s simple to use. Just as with powdered regular milk, you just mix with water.

butter bits

One last note – One of the secrets to light and flaky biscuits is to not overwork the dough. When handled with a light touch you should be able to see specks of the fat, whether that is butter, as in this recipe, or vegetable shortening or lard. Less is better when it comes to biscuits.

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December 2, 2013   1 Comment

Pecan Pie for Karen

In the comments of the “help me, help you” post, Karen asked for “Pecan Pecan Pecan stuff!”  There are pecans in some of my Thanksgiving recipes.

My favorite Thanksgiving recipe with pecans is my stuffing. Man, I really love that stuffing recipe!

But I double checked and realized I did not have a recipe up for pecan pie. I haven’t made a pecan pie in years… it’s just so rich … and our family really loves pumpkin pie, so I figure, why bother?

But Karen asked, and I shall deliver!

And not just with any old pecan pie, but a pecan pie with chocolate … and with bourbon … and Cinnamon Whipped Cream … BOOM!

pecan pie 2

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November 22, 2013   5 Comments

Pinterest Peekaboo Cake

peekaboo cake

Last November, I found and pinned this adorable dessert recipe on Pinterest. Like so many things I pin, I didn’t get around to making, as planned, last holiday season.

But, also like so many wonderful things I find on Pinterest, it was there when I wanted it (that is the joy and wonder of Pinterest!) and I got around to not only making it this year, but also sharing it with others at the cooking class I taught last night at Les Gourmettes Cooking School.

I’ve rewritten the recipe to be a little more clear and detailed.

pumpkin cutters

When I first tested the recipe, I used two different size pumpkin cookie cutters. A 3×3-inch cutter that made the most of the pumpkin bread cutouts. And a smaller 2×2-inch cutter.

big vs small

I was surprised to find that the cutouts from smaller cutter looked nicer when the cake was sliced.

batter on bottom

This is a photo of the second cake I made, once I’d figured out the tricks and tweaks. All other photos are of cake number one.

I found that covering the bottom of the loaf pan with a thin layer of the pound cake batter, then arranging the pumpkin bread cutouts on top, created a cleaner and more defined pumpkin look.  This is something that could not be done with the larger cutter, because the cake would be too tall and not covered with enough pound cake batter down the center, on the top.

There is a bonus TIP at the bottom of the post. Just in time for all of your Holiday Baking. You are gonna LOVE it!

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November 21, 2013   1 Comment