Joy the Baker

Joy the Baker in Seattle

January 30, 2009

Seattle

I’m in Seattle this weekend.

I’m sticking to a strict schedule of walking around in the cold, eating warm spinach Piroshkies, and enjoying friends, cocktails and Seattle times.

Here’s what my life looks like right now.

Seattle

Super seats on a wall just outside Pike Place Market.

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36 Comments

How to Make Palmiers

January 28, 2009

Palmiers

I’ve now typed about seven different introductions to this post, only to completely delete them all.

I’m trying my best to avoid words like unemployment, recession, war and ceasefire.  Ugh…  the world seems to be in the thick of it right now, and here we are just trying to work it out for ourselves everyday.

I don’t have epic solutions to offer you, but I do have a band-aid:  lots of love and loads of sugar.

How will that do you?

Let’s make Palmiers.  Let’s make Elephant Ears.  And you know what?  Let’s use store bought puff pastry, because we’re going to need these cookies toute suite!

Palmiers

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94 Comments

Giant Paprika Cheddar Drop Biscuits

January 26, 2009

Cheddar Paprika Biscuits

Here are a few Monday confessions I feel compelled to get off my chest:

I’ve given up working out for the new year.  I don’t wanna do.  I’m liable to throw a tantrum about it.

I just bought a vacuum, and I’m too embarrassed to tell you how long I went without one.

I’m secretly seriously competitive. Did you hear? Did you vote?

I don’t use parchment paper when I’m supposed to.  At all. I don’t have any good reason for not using it, just a serious mental block.

I don’t like to buy myself fancy kitchen equipment.  I’d rather buy shoes.  Crazy, right?

I made these Giant Paprika Cheddar Biscuits last week around ten in the morning.  By two in the afternoon I had worked my way through a cool four of them.

Again… I’ve given up working out for the new year, which I obviously must feel bad about because here I am mentioning it again.  Unfortunately I don’t feel bad enough to lace up my running shoes…   sigh… moving on!

Cheddar Paprika Biscuits

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55 Comments

Thank You! I Could Just Kiss You!

January 23, 2009

more doughnuts please

Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

I could just kiss you… or eat this doughnut.

You did it!   Your votes landed me a nomination as Best New Blog for the 2009 Bloggies.

I  can’t even begin to tell you how exciting this is for me.  I’ll try.

I started this blog one year ago this month.  I’m a girl who loves to bake, take pictures and tell stories.  It turns out there’s a way to put all of those loves in one place.  I’ve put so much love and energy into this space, so much of myself, that it almost didn’t matter if anyone came to read it.  But here you are, everyday.  Geez!  I just love you for it!

Thanks for being here.  Thanks for responding to what I do.  Thanks for loving pancakes and baked apples as much as I do.  Thanks for the nomination.  Really.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

If you’re feeling frisky enough to go cast your Bloggie votes, don’t forget the other awesome blogs in other categories.  I love Smitten Kitchen for Best Food Blog, and The Superficial is totally a guilty pleasure for Best Gossip Blog.

Me?  I’m towards the end of the line in the Best New Blog category.

Vote?  Vote!

I was also nominated for Best Food Blog Writing by the Well Fed Network.  It looks like Deb at Smitten Kitchen is going to run away with that win… and I think that’s the way the world should be.  Fact.

Please accept my crazy, honest, giddy and sincere thanks.

41 Comments

Winter Fancy Food Show

January 22, 2009

Fancy Food 2009

Can I talk to you about the Fancy Food Show?  Can I be completely honest?

In some ways, the Fancy Food Show is a battle between people who want free stuff and vendors who aren’t all that eager to give away free stuff.  It’s a bizarre and sometimes troubling experiencing.  Take these macarons, for example.  Exactly everyone wanted one, and exactly no one got one.  It’s the Fancy Food Show, not the Free Food Show.  I get it.  Don’t get me wrong, I did manage to walk away with my fair share of goodies, but it’s not the free for all you might think it is.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’m too shy.  Maybe I need to work on my schmoozing skills.  Maybe it was the layers and layers of people clamoring about.  I dunno, but the Fancy Food Show made for a memorable, bizarre and overwhelming weekend.

Here are some of the run of the mill details.

Fancy Food 2009

The Winter Fancy Food Show is in its 34th year.  This year’s winter festivities were held over three monstrous days at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Fancy Food 2009

More than 1,500 exhibitors from 35 countries packed the convention center.  Everyone had a badge.  There were plenty of dudes in suits acting like they had national security on their minds.

Fancy Food 2009

Many producers from different countries banded together in specific areas, creating a sort of united front, if you will.  Leave it to the Italians to set up a giant flat screen television playing some sort of heated football match.  That combined with the wine and cheese made the Italian section one of the hot places to be.  Oh Italy.   read more…

38 Comments

Lemon Souffle Pudding

January 21, 2009

Lemon Souffle Pudding

I’m going to need a day to digest the Fancy Food Show.

In the meantime, I thought I’d present you with this Lemon Souffle Pudding.

I often think of myself as a mash up of the time I’ve spent in the world so far. In essence I feel like a messy concoction of parents, siblings, friends from kindergarten, mean girls from high school, various low paying jobs, and different cities. I am all of those things. Whether or not I acknowledge it every day, I am who I am as a direct result of all of many people, many places and many experiences. So far it feels like a pretty sweet gig.

I got to thinking about the sum of my life’s parts yesterday on a plane from Oakland back to Los Angeles. Plane rides, no matter how short, force me to quickly assess my life situation.

My quick flash assessment went a little something like this in my brain:

Lindsey, Michelle and Beth were the best girlfriends I could have had in elementary school. I’m glad I became best friends with the smart girls.

I kinda feel bad about treating my prom date the way I did. Maybe I should Facebook him.

I’m really glad I got to see my parents renew their vows. That brought a lot of good to my world.

Simon. I’m so glad Simon and I stumbled upon each other.

If this plane crashes… God, please don’t let this plane crash… I’d feel like I’ve had a pretty good run. Thanks. Seriously.

If this plane crashes… God please don’t let this plane crash… I wonder if the lady sitting next to me would hold my hand … but only if the plane were crashing… otherwise, I don’t really need to hold her hand.

Should I order ginger ale or cranberry juice when they come around for drink orders?

Jill gave me the most gorgeous lemons and they’re waiting for me at home.

Lara made the most amazing lemon pudding the other night. I want more.

Oh God… the plane is taking off! I hope we’re nowhere near a flock of geese. Seriously. I don’t think I like river landings.

Lemon Souffle Pudding

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73 Comments

Joy the Baker Meets Fancy Food

January 20, 2009

fancy food

I’ve been at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco all weekend.  We have some things we should discuss: flavored sugars, Barefoot Contessa and just how seriously some people take their bottled water.

More later.

21 Comments

Any Way Coffee Cake

January 16, 2009

Chocolate Walnut Coffee Cake

Remember a few days ago when we were talking about husband hugs?

Here’s the deal with me and husband hugs: I’m more than willing to wait for them.  Sure, I can come with a serious case of the ‘wants’, but I’m usually able to talk myself into a bit of patience.

Your comments to my last post about hugs and husbands totally touched my heart.  They helped me realize why husband hugs are so great, because they come from a place of deep love and comfort.  That doesn’t just happen overnight.  That’s the serious stuff-  the stuff that comes with time, patience, understanding, commitment, love… you know, all the good stuff.  I say all of this to say:  I’m content.  Not to worry.  I’m more than willing to chillax on the husband hug front until it’s right and proper.

I’m flexible.  I’m sweet.  I’m happy:  just like this coffee cake.

Chocolate Walnut Coffee Cake

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51 Comments

The Perfect Caesar Salad

January 14, 2009

IMG_1744

Sometimes what I need from the world manifests itself in the strangest ways.

Truth be told, I think I might need a hug. I know… that phrase has tinges of lame and needy all over it. I could easily go find a hug, that’s not the issue. I’m looking for a very specific hug.

I need to kind of hug that I imagine comes from the husband I don’t yet have. The kind of hug that you can completely relax into. The kind of hug where you are exactly who you are without any self conscious discomfort. The kind of hug that I imagine comes with familiar husband neck smells, synchronized breathing, and maybe a whisper in the ear. The kind of hug that softens everything in the world- that’s the kind of hug I need.

Since I don’t exactly have that soul changing hug at my everyday disposal, I decided to take to get in my kitchen and make myself exactly what my soul wanted to eat. Ironically enough, my soul didn’t wax on about chocolate, or pudding or fresh doughnuts. All my insides wanted was a big, fresh, home-crafted Caesar Salad.

Funny how that works.

IMG_1770

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66 Comments

Honey-Lime Curd with Creme Fraiche

January 12, 2009

Honey Lime Curd

This list of things that I’ve stolen in my life is pretty small.

There was that piece of candy that I stole from Fedco when I was 7. My Dad caught me chomping on it in the back seat of the car and I got the big morality talk. Lesson: never steal anything too chewy.

There were the Girl Scout cookies I stole from my big sister’s room when she was out on a secret date. I was the natural suspect. I got a good talking to for that one. When I pulled the same cookie thievery the next week, well…. my parents made sure I learned my lesson that time.

Then there were all the times I would sneak into my Mom’s secret chocolate stashes. My Mom’s hiding places were no match for my ability to find a stool and wiggle my way around cabinets looking for sweets.

Thinking back on it, my thievery always involved something delicious that I wanted to put in my tummy. I was pathetically predictable in that sense.

I was once again tempted by the thievery gods this weekend while walking around my neighborhood. There’s citrus EVERYWHERE. Just about every other yard has a blooming orange or lemon tree just begging to be plucked. Isn’t sneaking into someones yard to yank their produce considered theft? I thought back to all of the stern reprimands and spankings I got from stealing yummies as a kid and thought better of sneaking into my neighbor’s yard.

Instead, I forked over some cash at the farmer’s market and felt just fine about making this Honey- Lime Curd.

Does this sort of concession mean my bad girl days are long gone? Sigh….

Honey Lime Curd

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30 Comments

Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake

January 9, 2009

Lemon Soaked Lemon Cake

Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake.

For this cake, simple loaf pans just don’t measure up. After one slice of the perfect, absolutely perfect cake, it became clear that when I next bake this cake (tomorrow morning), I’ll need to devise some sort of pillow shaped cake pan.

This cake is going to be my new pillow. Forget goose feathers, cotton fluff, memory foam… I want, I need, I’m not sure how I’m going to live without a Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake Pillow.

For serious.

Lemon Soaked Lemon Cake

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113 Comments

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins

January 7, 2009

Oatmeal Blueberry

I’ve had my Impatient Pants on for the last week. Actually, they prefer to be called Impatient Slacks. They take themselves pretty seriously.

See, I have plans for 2009.

I put on my Impatient Pants and wrote every single one of those well crafted plans down.

Some of those plans are pure Joy the Baker silliness. Take, for example, task number thirty two: learn a new Michael Jackson dance move. This is not to be outdone by task number thirty seven: make a friendship bracelet for all of my friends.

Those are plans that my Impatient Pants can get behind… they do like to have a good time.

When it’s time to get down to business my Impatient Pants can work a number on my brain. Task number one is to grow Joy the Baker into a confetti spouting, money making, baking extravaganza, which directly leads into task number three: move up to the bay area to be closer to people that I adore (the orange on the right… don’t get it twisted) . Incidentally, task number two? Eat more brownies… obviously.

Brownies aside, I’m totally impatient these days. I can barely stand myself! These big tasks aren’t just going to happen overnight though. It’s a journey, right?

Oatmeal Blueberry

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189 Comments

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

January 5, 2009

Rice Pudding

Something happened last night-

It involved me, my space heater, a few comforters, season one of Pushing Daisies, a spoon, and an entire container of chilled rice pudding.

I realized two things last night. One: while Pushing Daisies is beautiful and charming, it’s almost too sweet. It is still, however, an effective way to wish away three hours of a Sunday evening. Two: Yes, my stomach does have the capacity to hold about 8 cups of rice pudding. How awesome is that!?

I ate the whole thing. Fact. Every last creamy, soft, raisin studded, vanilla bite. And the truth? I’d do it all again tonight if I could… and I can… but I won’t. Does that make sense?

This Rice Pudding might be best shared with your family. It’s Super Comfort.  If comfort became a super hero and came to save the day, it would come in the form of this rice pudding.

If you do have to eat the entire thing by yourself, under your covers on a cold night, well…that’s not such a hard cross to bear, is it?

Rice Pudding

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68 Comments

9 Rules To Bake By in 2009

January 2, 2009

IMG_4546

Say “Hey Neighbor!” with homemade.  Nothing says “Hey!  I like who you are.  I’m glad we’re in the world together” like homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Nothing  helps makes the world a better place like letting people know they’re appreciated.  See how that works?  Spread the good.

Whole Wheat, if not little by little then lot by lot.  Sure, whole wheat flour has been all the rage for years now, but it hasn’t really touched my heart.  This year, approach whole wheat little by little.  Your belly might just welcome a whole wheat triple chocolate cake, emphasis on the triple chocolate.

Vegan time?  A few less sticks of butter and eggs and milk might just do a body good.  Those Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies I made with Jill treated me right.  There should be more vegan baking in our futures.

Play.  Commit to playing in your kitchen.  Visit to one of those fancy food shops and buy yourself a treat.  Maybe something that you never played with in the kitchen before.  Get it home and get crackin’.  There’s something fundamentally awesome about playing with new ingredients in the kitchen.  It’s like getting that new color of Play-Doh for Christmas, and just about losing your mind.

Give.  The best part of baking, aside from eating a brownie fresh from the oven, is being able to share your treats with others.  You might even consider contacting a shelter that might be able to take your goods.  That’s thinkin’.

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32 Comments

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