Free Banana Raspberry Muffins No reason banana baking has to be blah and beige. Add some colour, add some life.
Dear Bakers and Friends,
Welcome to the June Issue of 2011!
I am so glad to be back with you because I’ve spent many quite a few weeks pitching books to folks who remind me that publishing is in a dire place, that I cannot pitch a cooking book when I am in fact, a baker (never mind my tango book), and that I need to do more social networking. I am also staring at the newest cover of Bon Appétit Magazine featuring not a food shot but Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s a great shot but it reminds me just how food (and our world) keeps changing. Although that said, as I went up an escalator the other day (where I do some of my best thinking) I concluded bread hasn’t really changed. Yeasts are better and rises are slower (and we need to knead less) . But aside from that, bread is wonderfully static. (ok – and we now use lots of neat rustic flours).
Social networking, I get - but not in the blog/Facebook/Twitter sort of way but more in the person-to-person eclectic sort of way. With social networking in mind, I went to Toronto for the Hay House I Can Do It convention and met Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Greg Braden and some 3000 other like-minded people who were heard to say as they wandered around: “Do you think that was a sign? It’s a whole crowd of people who believe in signs and in all matters concerning one’s spirit, soul and other weird, magical stuff. I take the parts that work for me (forgiveness, meditation, etc.). Call it what you will or dismiss it as new age bunk, it’s also what me whole, balanced and of good faith.
More socializing? I was one of the millions recorded Oprah’s personal email and have faithfully emailed her every other day, wishing her well, sending her Rumi poems and a recipe for my best ever Chamomile Latte. I voted (and my nomination was published) for the best ever McGill graduate (my alma mater): composer Burt Bacharach; I volunteered to be a dance in a cancer awareness YouTube video (imagine me dancing on the stairs of the research clinic in a lab coat). That was really fun until they announced the final filming was to be on the 8th floor roof top of the building. I said: roof top. No fence, no net – dancing on a roof top.
Still social - I mentored a few people (pastry chefs who are also writers) and did a few recipes for Anya’s Garden, for Anya McCoy, using her edible fragrances in some recipes. They are free in this month’s issue. I made a bid to run a student cafe this fall and also informed Starbucks Canada they need someone to overhaul their baked goods. I volunteered.
I was honoured to be chosen as Costco’s
‘chef centerfold’ of their new cookbook. Did you know Costco puts out a gorgeous print cookbook every year and it goes out FREE to 2 million people? I made incredible recipes using their croissants, chocolate chunk cookies and apple muffins. It should be out in the Fall and if you want one of these 2 million free cookbooks, register at www.Costco.com
And I’ve baked – and cooked....because as I await publishers to say yes or no on my cooking
book I’ve started testing the cooking book anyway. The recipes are outstanding (and a small crew of volunteer testers are all cooking and seem to be enjoying the fare). The book (for now) is called When Bakers Cook.
I really wanted to call it: The All the Recipes You Want and Need, in One Place So You No Longer Have to Cherry-Pick Recipes Off the Internet and Created and Tested B Someone You Know and Trust Cookbook. I
realize that’s not too catchy a title (and a tad long). If you can think of something edgy that a publisher’s sales force can imagine themselves hawking to Amazon, Chapters and Barnes and Noble let me know.
Seriously, I often debate telling you the back story to my life as a cookbook author since so much of ‘our’ relationship depends on appearances and a presumption of glamour and consistent success. Oh. How. I. Wish. But I love what I do and am grateful to do it. Still I must tell you, whatever it looks like on the outside, it can be a oh-so-humbling experience of being told ‘no’ in a thousand different, self-esteem debilitating ways by agents, publishers and industry gurus. Lest you ever think I become prideful, let me assure you, publishing – heck life – is quite humbling.
Indeed, if not for tester friends, friends, and my dear readers, I would wonder sometimes. If not for the sight of Banana Raspberry Muffins coming out of the oven, fragrant as a dream or realizing, that the printer fellow I had lunch with was a) telling me I might be able to create a nicely bound book for very little and b) he was having a lentil soup worth recreating....I would wonder more often about my own choices in life and work. But it’s the sort of footprint I feel compelled to leave.
Despite myself, I am a foodie. I hate to say it but I am. Recipe creation and food writing is a sharing that is one big hug from me to you - because recipes are that just that. They are emissaries of my own spirit and soul and something I can share, in print and online, with you - the people, my peeps – who are ‘home’ to me. It is your amazing words and notes that I remember when I am away too gone with strangers and nay-sayers who insist narrowing my dreams and world into finite views of ‘what sells’ and telling me who and what I am and limiting what I can hope for. Maybe they do know what sells. But sometimes I doubt they know what matters.
And on that spunky note, I send you good wishes for a lovely June, Father’s Day, Convocations, BBQ’s, June nuptials and more (and don’t forget to check out my sometimes updated blog, www.BetterBakingBlog.com
FREE!!! Banana Raspberry Muffins
No more bland banana muffins. Raspberries add colour and flavour and this muffin is only as cheery as it is tasty. Try the Rhubarb Banana variation too.
FREE!!! A business meeting at a delightful outdoor cafe is the inspiration for this soup. My lunch appointment person had this soup (I went with tuna panini). Just from the aroma of the steaming soup in its crockery bowl, I knew I had to recreate it.
Root Beer or Cola Ribs with Sticky Mop SauceJust in time for grill season and Father’s Day. This recipe is outstanding with either long, beef ribs or baby back ribs. You can oven roast these (using the liquid smoke in the ‘mop/glaze' or omit it, if you are grill finishing the ribs). Slow cooking makes these tender. After testing many approaches to perfect ribs (marinating, boiling, microwaving, brining, dry rub, broiling, baking - you name it!), I found the best approach and easiest preparation.
Olive Oil Semolina Cake with Cardamom and Vanilla
Think of this as baklava but done in the 21st
century version. A simple olive oil and yogurt cake is soaked in delectable honey cardamom orange syrup. Cut in diamonds; serve with lemonade or Persian tea.
Red Velvet Cheesecake
I love the idea of red velvet cheesecake but my concept is not for a chocolate cheesecake batter, doused with vinegar and red food colouring. That was the Google Version of Red Velvet. No. I went the distance; mind is red velvet batter, cheesecake and more red velvet and my red velvet batter also not only looks luscious but tastes like real chocolate.
Free Scented Recipes!
Mocha Fudge Brownies with Coffee Oil Concentrate AND Pumpkin Spice Biscotti With Essential Oil of Cassis and Vanilla Absolute
Anya’s McCoy is an online friend in scent. Recently, she creatively and industriously called upon some chefs who are similarly fragrance fans and had them whip up some recipes using her fine edible extracts of cassis, vanilla, coffee and orange. Here are two of my inspirations.http://AnyasGarden.com