Joy the Baker

What to do with an expensive tomato

August 31, 2010

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Have you ever treated yourself to an expensive tomato?

Have you ever treated yourself to a single heirloom tomato?  In season.  Ripe.  Striped with color.  Fleshy.  Juicy.  Sweet.  (I sorta sounds like I’m talking about butts… my apologies).

In any case… have you ever paid nearly $4 for a single tomato?

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I have.

When really good tomatoes are thaaaat expensive, you choose carefully.  You don’t care if you’re blocking the skinny yoga girl who is fluttering about behind you trying to get at the same tomato display.  Excuse me, skinny yoga girl…. I’m going to take my time with this one.  You should go eat a steak anyway.

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What do you do with your ‘spensive tomato once you’ve requested that it be packed in it’s own separate bag, once you’ve placed it in the empty passenger seat next to you, once you’ve coddled it all the way home?

You put bacon on it.  It is the only option.

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175 Comments

No-Bake Peanut Butter Tart

August 29, 2010

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How’s your will power?

Mine seriously sucks.

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No joke.

Here I am in a house with a a box of Oreo cookies in the pantry, Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles in the freezer…. and a giant slice of this No-Bake Peanut Butter Tart in the fridge.

I probably shouldn’t tell you that I’m thinking of cooking up some bacon and accidentally dropping it on top of the peanut butter tart.

Good heavens.  Send help.

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155 Comments

Brunch Date

August 27, 2010

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You know that feeling….

When you’re on a brunch date, you arrive at a restaurant, and the hostess tells you that the wait is going to be 20 minutes…

And you think aloud to your date…’ok, great… let’s take a quick stroll around the block’… and you two take a quick stroll around the block.

It’s sunny and it’s Sunday and everything seems lovely…

Until you get back from your 18 minute stroll and check in with the hostess to find out that your wait time has increased in your absence… to like… an hour!!!

And your heart sinks.  And you want coffee.  And you really want some eggs.  And your kinda want to kick the hostess in the knee cap.

But you’re with a date.  You’re with a brunch date…. so you just sit with it.  You just sit with the wait time.  And you don’t complain.  And you try not to think about coffee.  And you try not to glare at the patrons already enjoying their eggs… those jerks.  And you just wait.  And wait.  And wait.

And then your brunch date finds the random rogue hair that sometimes grows out of your chin.  You call it your old lady hair.  And you’re usually really good about plucking your one old lady hair… but you misplaced your tweezers and your old lady hair got out of control… And you’ve waited so long for breakfast that your date has taken to intently staring at your face and has spotted your old lady hair…

And now you have to have a really awkward conversation about your old lady hair and all you want to do is dig a whole in the ground and crawl into it… And you curse that stupid hostess (who probably isn’t that stupid) for making you wait for your eggs so long that your old lady hair has been spotted.

DANGIT!

And you keep your hand on your chin for the rest of the date.

You know that feeling?  Yea… me too.

Let’s avoid that this weekend.  Make brunch for someone.

And keep your rogue old lady chin hair in check.  For your health.  For your dating health.

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182 Comments

Raspberry and Goat’s Milk Yogurt Popsicles

August 24, 2010

Raspberry Goat's Milk Yogurt Popsicles

I like pink food.

Raspberry Goat's Milk Yogurt Popsicles

There.  I said it.

Raspberry Goat's Milk Yogurt Popsicles

Also.  I’d like to know if Kraft needs a pink popsicle model.  Cause… dang.  I’d really like to get in on some popsicle model dollars.  Actually.  Truth be told.  I’d probably work for free popsicles.  Let’s make this happen .

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96 Comments

Red Plum and Browned Butter Skillet Cobbler

August 23, 2010

Red Plum and Browned Butter Cobbler

Well, don’t I just feel like an ungrateful brat.

I’ve got a skillet full of beautiful red plums.  I’ve got gorgeous, nutty browned butter.  I’ve got flour and sugar.

I’ve married everything and made just the most lovely skillet cobbler on the block.

And all I can think about?  The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls.

I dream about those cinnamon rolls.  I keep her cookbook within arms reach just because of that cinnamon roll recipe.

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The only problem?  The only thing I can’t seem to negotiate?

The recipe makes seven pans of cinnamon rolls.  Seven!

I can’t get my mind around that….

You and I both know that I’d gladly devour all seven pans.  I have no ranch of cowboys to feed.  This seems dangerous.

So for now…  I’ll stick the the Ree’s cobbler recipe and wait for the day… patiently wait for the day when I’m called by the good Lord to make those rolls.  I hope it’s soon.  Dang.

Red Plum and Browned Butter Cobbler

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135 Comments

Vegan Peach Berry Crumbles

August 19, 2010

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I’m not allowed to be vegan because:

I sometimes carry a pound of butter around in my purse.

I stir fry my tofu in bacon fat.

I seriously consider grating cheese on my pillow before I go to bed at night.

(ok… not really.  that’s just weird.)

I think heavy cream should be awarded its own national holiday.  I’d like that day off work too… sweet, thanks.

If a stranger handed me an egg.  I’d eat it.  I would.

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114 Comments

Shrimp and Grits

August 17, 2010

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Dear Future Husband,

I don’t know you yet.  That’s totally fine.  I write you letters sometimes. How creepy is that?  Don’t answer that…. rhetorical question.

Look at this bowl of shrimp and grits.  Your mouth is probably watering.  That’s normal.

Here’s what I’d like to do, Future Husband.  I’d like to make you a giant bowl of shrimp and grits.  I’d like for you to come home from work, sit in front of the television and watch ESPN… I’m assuming you like that sort of thing.  I’ll be in standing in the kitchen eating the other half of the shrimp and grits directly from the pan while reading Martha Stewart magazine.  I like that sort of thing.  A lot.

Wait… is it weird that we wouldn’t share this meal at a table together?  No… right?  You understand that I sometimes like to share a meal with Martha Stewart magazine.  I understand that dinner with ESPN is equally important.

I’ll even bring you a beer if you call out for one.  I hope we have corny beer cozies from the 80′s in our house.  I hope we’re cool like that.

Here’s to future marital teamwork.  High five.

Love,

Joy (the baker and grits maker)

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249 Comments

Chewy Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 16, 2010

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When I move to a new living space, everything is unfamiliar.  Duh.

I walk into the closet instead of the bathroom.  I reach for the dishwasher when I should be checking on the cookies in the oven.  I stub my toes on the coffee table… a lot.  The sound of the mailman dropping letters in the box is startling.

Soon enough… all of these new home quirks will settle and disappear.

I thought the best way to counteract the newness was to fill my new home with the smell of something entirely familiar:  chocolate chip cookies.

It worked.  I only stubbed my toe on the coffee table twice instead of thrice.

Ps…. Maybe this entire post was just an excuse to work the word ‘thrice’ onto my blog. Hmmm…  think on that.

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187 Comments

How to Make Soft Pretzels

August 10, 2010

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Dear Wednesday,

I’m feelin’ the stress.  I have a zit on my face I’m trying to pass off as a Cindy Crawford mole.  I’m packing up my apartment again.  Who stole all my spoons?  All I’ve eaten is two burritos and a jar of pickles in the past three days.  I’d like for someone to hold my hand and take me out to dinner.  I think I might be whining.  That’s not attractive.

Ok.

Wednesday, I just need one thing from you.  Carbs.  I’m not messing around, Wednesday.  I want bread products and beer and candy bars… that’s all I want from you.  Oh!  Wait… doughnuts too please.  And string cheese.

Be a pal, Wednesday.  Just this once.

Rad,

Joy

Jill and I… we bake together.  It’s called Bake Out.  Duh.  This time around we practice our carb intake by making pretzels.  Have you ever made pretzels?  There’s yeasting and rolling.  There’s boiling and brushing and baking.

You might want to get in on this action.

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175 Comments

Pantry Check!

August 9, 2010

Clean Your Plate Pancakes

Wait… the title of this post almost looks like Panty Check… doesn’t it?  Awkward.

I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to be honest with me.

If you turned over your little container of baking powder and read the expiration date, might it say “Best If Used By January 2005″?

It’s ok.  You can tell me.  I have no judgements.

I ask because I found such a container in my pantry just yesterday.  2005!?  Geeeez.

Aaahh… aged baking powder.  As lovely as a fine wine… right?  Wrong.  Nope.  Silly.  No way.

Fresh baking powder and fresh baking soda is pretty essential to baking.  All that magical lift needs to be fresh.  It’s no joke.  Expired leavening ingredients can ruin your baked goods and leaving you scratching your head in wonder.

Clean Your Plate Pancakes

Because I found such ancient baking powder in my pantry I thought now might be a good time to boss you around.

Wait… how does that work out?

Let’s go through our pantries and freshen things up!  Mostly because I said so…. and it’s a good idea.

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105 Comments

No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bites

August 6, 2010

No Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bites

I made you brown balls today.

Yea… I feel bad.

Yea… you totally deserve better.

The summer is alive with color and gorgeous produce and I bring you brown balls?  I’ve got some nerve.

In other news:

I’m looking for a place to live by the beach… turns out that it’s exhausting.

I’m currently eating popcorn for at least two meals a day.

I’m house sitting a dog that begs and farts.

Lastly, I spent a majority of this evening using two Sharpie markers, 18 pieces of white paper and a camera.  It’s an art project to ask a boy out… because texting just seems too hard and awkward.  Riiiight.  Dang, I’m weird.

No Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bites

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68 Comments

Peanut Butter Meets Chocolate

August 4, 2010

Peanut Butter Blondies with Milk Chocolate Frosting

I went to a meeting yesterday…

I went to one of those fancy LA-type meetings.  Think:  television executives, fancy open office, exposed brick walls, Apple computers, too cool for school/ultra hip staff… and me in last year’s twelve dollar Target sandals.  Um…..

It was intimidating.  I sat up straight and hid my shoes.

Know what we talked about?  Chocolate and Peanut Butter.  Seriously…. it really broke the ice.

And then one of the executives said I looked like a flight attendant.  That’s a compliment, right?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Peanut butter and chocolate.  The great equalizers.

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159 Comments

How to Make Brown Sugar

August 2, 2010

How to Make Brown Sugar

Now wait just a second.

Why did no one tell me how dang easy it is to make my own brown sugar?

I sorta blew my own mind this morning.  It turns out that granulated sugar and molasses when combined with a bowl and fork (or mixer, if you’re feelin’ fancy) produces the freshest and fluffiest brown sugar.  Man… that’s satisfying.

And!  Bonus!  You can make the brown sugar as dark and flavorful as you like by controlling the amount of molasses.

This is just too good… and I’m just dorky enough to freak out at this kind of thing.

How to Make Brown Sugar

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273 Comments

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