.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Triple-Lemon Layer Cake


Triple-Lemon Layer Cake, Fine Cooking 63 , pp. 66-67

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lemon-Rosemary Shortbread

Lemon-Rosemary Shortbread, One Girl Cookies

Monday, April 09, 2012

Strawberry Layer Cake

Strawberry Layer Cake -  Recipe courtesy of Sweetapolita.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Exactly Two Confetti Cupcakes

Exactly Two Confetti Cupcakes -  Recipe courtesy of Chocolate & Carrots.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Super Bowl 2012

Beer Run Cupcakes
(Chocolate Stout with Chocolate-Covered Pretzels)
Recipe courtesy of The Butch Bakery Cookbook

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes -  Recipe courtesy of Dessert for Two, whose blog I enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Each issue of Runner's World magazine includes a recipe from a famous cook or chef who also is a runner. This one comes from Mark Bittman. He promises that these are "the lightest, fluffiest, easiest whole grain muffins -- EVER." That's true; they are light and they are fluffy and they are easy. But they could use a tad more salt and a lot more spice. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and several grates of nutmeg and wish I'd used more of each. Still, they're very nice muffins and even if they aren't "healthy", they are at least "healthy-ish".

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Lemon Pudding Cakes

Lemon Pudding Cakes, Fine Cooking #70

Friday, September 30, 2011


Sunday, September 25, 2011


Friday, July 29, 2011

salmon en papillote

Sunday Family Dinner on summer vacation + me on a (temporary) baking ban = precious little blogging.

Tonight's dinner was wonderful. Very very flavorful, V v quick, V v little clean-up. I have no rights to it, but you're lucky because Ms. Greenspan herself has posted the recipe.

salmon en papillote, around my french table by Dorie Greenspan

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Big Tomato Sandwich

One of my faithful readers is tired of staring at my last photo, French Macarons, and who could blame him? Sorry buddy, I know you've seen this one too but it's all I've got right now.

This sandwich makes me think of my sister-in-law. It's a rite of summer, when big juicy farm tomatoes are at their peak.

Recipe from "Local Flavors" by Deborah Madison, I bought the book solely based on the stunning photograph of this sandwich that's in it.

1 large (1-pound) loaf ciabatta
Herb vinaigrette, below
2 or more big ripe, juicy tomatoes
1 large yellow or red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and quartered
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, goat, or other favorite cheese, sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Slice the top third off the loaf of bread and set it aside. Pull out the inside. (You can use it to make bread crumbs.)
Paint the inside of the bread with some of the dressing, then make layers of sliced tomatoes, pepper, and cheese. Bathe each layer with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.
Add the top, press down, then cut into quarters or sixths. This packs well if wrapped tightly.

The Herb Vinaigrette
¼ cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons aged red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Finely chop the herbs with the garlic, then add the olive oil. Add the vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt and season with pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

French Macarons

America has fallen in love with French macarons. Shouldn't we go to Paris and stand in line at Ladurée as we are meant to? But no. They are everywhere. Every bakery has to have them. Every magazine has to have an article about them. And god knows, if you have a food blog, you have to blog them. Resistance is futile. I swear I tried.

So, French macarons with mocha fudge filling.

I'd like to say that I've had my fun and I'm done. I'm not. I could pretend it's because I have an expensive bag of Bob's Red Mill almond flour to use up. But in truth, it's because my first attempt didn't rise high enough and I didn't pipe my circles very circularly. I want to make some fun flavor-color matches. Like cherry-pink. Nutella-brown. Pistachio-green. And lemon-yellow!! How could I *not* make lemon-yellow macarons??

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cupcakes for Allison

Qualifying for the US Olympic Trials is a BFD. Allison of Team Rogue Elite, did it by running the BMO Vancouver Marathon in 2:44 (6:18 pace). She gets cupcakes.

Monday, May 09, 2011


Instead of Sunday Family Dinner, yesterday we had Sunday Family Brunch and it was wonderful.

Eric scrambled eggs, I cooked bacon, we toasted some whole wheat english muffins, and had gorgeous little dishes of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Monica took a beautiful photo of the petits pains au chocolate and posted the recipe. Here's a recipe for a take-off on Orange Julius. It sounds silly, but almost everyone loves

Orange Fluff
1 six ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1- 2 tsp vanilla
ice to fill the blender

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Ducks

Friday, April 01, 2011

Classic Pound Cake

Classic Pound Cake, Fine Cooking #110

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quarter Century!

Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, pp. 20-22

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream

Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, pp.34-36

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes (More From Magnolia: Recipes From The World-Famous Bakery and Magnolia's Home Kitchen ) with Cream Cheese Frosting, The Whimsical Bakehouse

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Lemon-Glazed Banana Scones

A scone (or two) with coffee in bed on a cold wet morning.

Lemon-Glazed Banana Scones, Fine Cooking #109

Sunday, January 30, 2011


A production. Nothing was terribly difficult (uh, maybe a tiny bit, but not terribly), although it was quite time consuming. Several people who'd already made it recommended doing it over two days, and I'm glad I did. On the first day I marinated the chicken, braised it, pulled it off the bone, and made the sauce. On the second day, I warmed the saucy chicken and assembled the b'stilla. I liked it and everyone else seemed to as well.

Chicken B'stilla, Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan

Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce

Hopefully the idea of "caramel" in a savory dish doesn't scare you because this sauce is lick-your-plate delicious.

A sidebar next to the recipe suggests dressing up these perfectly seared scallops with thin strips of candied orange zest. I did candy the zest, but ended up putting it on steamed green beans with macadamia nuts. An ideal side dish accompaniment, really.

Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce, Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Before anybody gets excited, let me say straight away that I have no intention of selling my baked goods. That said, my friend and I play a game called "Sellable?"

To be Sellable, the first test is that it needs to taste delicious. That's pretty obvious. It also has to be attractive. And it must be something I can reproduce with consistent results.

Once we determine that something is Sellable, we work backwards from how much we think people would pay for it to decide whether it's cost effective to make, and if it is, how many would go into a package, and that sort of thing.

Monica and I recently made some darling fish cookies. So darling that I made another batch, nicknamed them Your Aquarium and gave them to my friend. The thing is they're tiny (read: "tedius") and I'd never be able to reproduce them with consistent results. Therefore, Not Sellable. Which isn't a problem when your sole motivation is to bake lovely treats for people you're fond of. They don't have to be Sellable. "Sellable?" is a game.

Which brings me back to the Chewy Sugar Cookies, from Cooks Illustrated November December 2010. Totally Sellable. But won't be sold. Then again, I have been known to barter...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gérard's Mustard Tart

Dorie Greenspan commented on my blog about a year ago, and I was beside myself with excitement because she truly is one of the cooks, bakers, and authors I most admire.

It was raining on Saturday when my copy of her latest book arrived, so the mail carrier delivered it straight to my front door. I immediately put everything else on hold and sat down to pore over it. The photography is exquisite, and her personality shines through her stories about both the recipes and also living part-time in Paris. Her philosophy is perfectly summarized by a friend of mine, an amazing athlete and a Registered Dietitian who said, "There is nothing finer than small portions of wonderfully prepared food!"

Gérard's Mustard Tart, Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan
(Bon Appétit published a PDF of the recipe; click here.)

Thursday, January 06, 2011


Smells so good in here!

Craig Ponsford's Ciabatta
recipe adapted by and courtesy of breadbasketcase

Friday, December 24, 2010

Rustic Olive Rolls

From start to finish, it was a remarkable meal. These Rustic Olive Rolls are similar to one of the three breads that were served. Smeared with a bit of pâté, they remind me of a most pleasurable evening.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Incredibly easy, incredibly gorgeous and incredibly delicious. This should be your go-to when you need a show-stopper of a dessert but you don't know how to bake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
(adapted from Real Simple Magazine)

baking soda
3/4 cup hazelnuts
30 plain chocolate wafer cookies
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
big fat flaky salt (fleur de sel or similar, definitely not table salt or kosher salt)

Bring a medium-large saucepan of water to boil. Add a couple tablespoons of baking soda. It will come to a furious sputtering boil. Add the hazelnuts. The water will turn a horrendously ugly color as the baking soda and hazelnut skins chemically react. After a few minutes (3? 4?), drain them and use a towel to rub off the skins. They don't have to be perfect, but do the best you can because the skins tend to be bitter. And unsightly.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a sheet pan and bake them for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be toasty smelling and beginning to color, but not overly.

In a food processor, grind about 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Add the cookies and butter. Pulse until moist and crumbly. Press into a 14x4 rectangular tart pan. If you've ever made a graham cracker crust, pretend you're doing that.

Put the tart pan on the sheet pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. You want it to be starting to dry out and looking sort of "set". Cool it on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, heat the cream until simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate. Let it cool for a few minutes until it just barely starts to thicken, then pour it into the cooled crust. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Chop the rest of the nuts, about 1/4 cup. Sprinkle them over the tart. Refrigerate till you're ready to serve it. Sprinkle on some flaky salt and cut into narrow slices.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

the divine Miss M

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Monica,
Happy Birthday to you!

Small Chocolate Amaretto Cake

6T. unsalted butter
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
3 eggs, separated
1/8 tsp salt

2 T. unsalted butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 T. Amaretto

French Chocolate Glaze
6 oz semisweet chocolate
3 T. cream
1.5 T. butter

Cut parchment to fit 6" pan. Spray pan with nonstick spray and lay parchment on bottom. Preheat oven to 350 and set a teapot of water to boil.

Melt butter and chocolate. Let stand for a minute. Add sugar and flour. Mix in one egg yolk at a time.

Beat egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Place cakepan into a larger pan and add hot water to the depth of about 1". Bake for approx. 1 hour. Remove pan from water, cool for 15 min. Invert onto wire rack, peel off parchment, cool completely.

Spread buttercream all over. Freeze for 15 min.

Be patient. Melt chocolate together with cream. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in butter until melted. Cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.

Put cake on wire rack. Pour chocolate glaze over and allow to drip over sides. Spread with a spatula ONCE, then leave it alone. Leave it be for at least an hour.

Wish her a Happy Birthday, because she is most wonderful.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Two 2-lb. loaves of Country White Sourdough and two 1-lb. loaves of Rosemary Olive Oil Sourdough, Breads from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Black & Whites

While other people might just hear the melody, I also hear the lyrics when I listen to music. A song that shuffled up recently is "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant. Which might be apropos because my insomnia, which never quite goes away, is back with a vengeance.

I also seem to notice things when I'm running that other people don't. A skinny little dead snake. A blooming century plant. The Lunar Eclipse.

Now you have the back story behind my middle of the dark decision to bake Black & Whites. Apparently they are also called "half moons", though I've never heard them called that.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ginger Streusel Peach Pie

Every time I've made a pie, I've said "No more pies!" They've frustrated me too much. So what do you think I did yesterday? I baked another pie.

It's not the masochist in me. It's that I don't like not being good at something that I want to be able to do well. So I get frustrated, but I keep plugging away at it. Practice, practice, practice, right?

Texas peach season is in full swing. You can't go anywhere without passing several roadside sellers. When TracyK and Jean raved about this pie on the CTC message board, I knew I was doomed to make it.

Whoa, is it rich! The custard-to-peach ratio is higher than I expected, which makes me wonder if my Texas peaches were too small. They're definitely not the size of Georgia or South Carolina peaches, and even though I did use a pound, maybe my pound was more pit and less flesh?

The pie is delicious -- I had a slice just now with coffee -- and I'm super happy that I made it. I definitely didn't cry, and I don't think I cursed. Well, maybe once. I'd forgotten to shield the crust and flew around the kitchen to find it and put it on. That was minor, though, and definitely didn't frustrate me, just a minor little expletive. Dare I say I can bake a pie without getting frustrated? Eh, I hate to go there yet.

Ginger Streusel Sour Cream Peach Pie
, recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour