Tracking the other BBBabes

The others have already baked this month’s recipe: Champagne Baba. But I am a laggard, trailing behind, catching glimpses of their footprints in the newly fallen snow.

I’m happy to report that I have now mixed the dough. Stay tuned for the full report. (My sister will be thrilled at the details; things have not gone particularly smoothly. :lalala: )

BBB Dec 2017
Beth Hensberger’s Champagne Baba

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ December 2017 bread.


edit 19 December 2017: Our not-Champagne babas are DELICIOUS! Please read more here: Better Late Than Never Not-champagne Babas (BBB December 2017)

Reparations after Bread Wars

Mock Monsieursummary: effects of weather changes on bread made with wild yeast; bread wars; counter-intuitive behaviour; rescuing failures and turning them into major successes; Mock Monsieurs; Avocado Toast; Winning;

“If you have a lemon make a lemonade” – Dale Carnegie, after Elbert Hubbard“Ultimately there is no such thing as failure. There are lessons learned in different ways.” – Twyla Tharp

We were so thrilled to finally have fabulous wild yeast bread from OUR kitchen this summmer. We were so proud of ourselves. It was as if we had invented it. We even contemplated not bothering to replace the jar of “expired” (but oddly still viable) commercial yeast that was languishing in the fridge.

We don’ need no stinkin’ active dry yeast! -me, OUR kitchen, sometime in early October

So it has been quite disheartening over the last month or so to be making flat loaf after flat loaf.

You can imagine the tears of frustration when I pulled the bread out of the oven on that lovely sunny morning in November. The bread that was supposed to be showcasing stew for dinner that night….

Tartine Bread (continue reading )

A Night to Remember

summary: Chateauneuf du Pape Clos des Papes 1990; almost like new after all these years; Picanha; Sauce d’Auvergne; crazed black cat;

We used to splash out and go to a fancy restaurant for our anniversary. But every time, no matter how great it was, we would always end up thinking that we could have had something easily as good at home.

So now, we splash out at the grocery and wine stores. Well, actually, we splashed out at the wine store almost 30 years ago in:

Clos des Papes 1990
Chateauneuf du Pape Clos des Papes 1990

We had been married three years when the grapes for this wine were being harvested. How can that be?! How can we be so old? (continue reading )

Pasta with Orange, Ham and Gremolata

summary: delicious pasta from Jamie Schler’s cookbook “Orange Appeal”; in praise of Ilva’s photography; minor substitutions; adding Gremolata and Swiss chard;

Too bad they didn’t ask Ilva to take the photos…. -TPH, looking at the images in another cookbook

The day after we had mussels with orange and fennel, T was leafing through Jamie’s book and after gazing at Ilva’s beautiful photograph on page 101, announced that he was going to make the orange sauce for pasta.

Orange Appeal, Page 100

I was thrilled. As I was dancing around the kitchen, he said, “I’m really liking cooking with oranges.” Ha. Lucky me! Because I’m really liking eating the fabulous results.

And look! This is how things appeared a short time later.

Orange Appeal Pasta

You can see why I was dancing!

(continue reading )

And we have cake!

prune pits summary: annual vinarterta making; disaster averted once again; reading labels; using timers (click on image to see photos taken on previous Cake Days)

They had fruit but we have cake….

Ha! At last the phrase has been righted. Dad would be so pleased!

spread the filling We made vinarterta yesterday. Or, perhaps you prefer to use our non-Icelandic family’s traditional name of “vina tarta”. Or is that “vine terta”? Or is it “vinaterta”??

But. What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet;

Well, some of it would smell as sweet anyway.

It’s that stinking almond extract. I thought maybe it was because of fact that we were using commercial almond extract. Perhaps it was an ester. But no. The label says “pure almond extract”.

For a second, I toyed with the idea of learning how to make our own almond extract but quickly threw that idea out the window. I have no clue how to extract oil from an almond and suspect that it would take weeks to do….

We made two versions of the cake. One has ground almonds instead of almond extract and the second one is laced with the vile liquid.

Sure, it’s a little late to be making the cake – it has to age – but we think we’re okay because it’s still November. (continue reading )