October 2011 A Note from Marcy & The Baker's Stash
It's the Great Pumpkin Bread, Cinnamon Pecan Pumpkin Bread
Happy October !
Have you had as beautiful and mellow a September as Montreal has had? We’ve enjoyed big, long, lazy warm days of extra Indian summer. I haven’t even minded the Canadian geese flying home overhead since this time their leaving didn’t coincide with frost and chill. Some people get blue when summer ends; I am just the opposite. I feel a sigh of relief and a mood of unabashed potential steals over me. Ah, Fall….anything is possible. Which is a good thing since my Baker’s Four Seasons Cookbook is looking for a new home. There were publishing delays and so, without treating you to the intricacies of publishing in the new millennium, let me just say, the book is waylaid but still a promise.
As I am between books, this means I am, to quote Oscar Hammerstein, both as normal as blueberry pie but in a conventional dither, this means I am pursuing books and features, as well as anything remotely related to baking or life. I’ve pitched at bakery bistro concept at the local BMW dealership (frankly, they asked …..but yes why would a car dealership want to sell scones and café latte? It’s a brand new world out there), investigating baking DVD’s, and talking to printers and publishers. Some call it ‘between books’ and a fertile planting time; others call it ummm….exciting. Yes, that’s what it is – creative and exciting.
Also exciting was an interview I did for Will Write For Food, a fabulous and slick blog from Dianne Jacobs.I can't say I enjoy how I come across (what I thought was to-the-point emerges as snarky). The gist is: why do I charge for recipes. The point (by evidenced by the lusty comments the interview prompted) is because....but more than 'because' I 'charge' to protect my copyright and life's work and keep my cookbooks somewhat sacred and intact. The discussion that ensued is lively however and it revealed to me how complex things have become since I went online. Thre are multi-layers of writers, bloggers, authors, chefs, etc. who are all in the writing and cooking (music, photography, film, art, etc.) film. It's a unique era of hobby bloggers, professional culinary folks and everything in-between. There's wonderful and less wonderful offerings but the democracy of the web, and the power of the people to choose (or the hype/battle of sheer talent, luck, or slick social networking) to choose.
Since these are quieter times, I also have seen fit to redo my office. I ordered a jaunty little desk from http://www.homedecorators.com/ . I always had a huge, Craigslist old-school oak desk or Ikea something-or-other (which never lasts/sorry IKEA) and finally I decided, it’s time to go light and pristine. I found a gorgeous dainty little number (like Audrey Hepburn in a desk) on this Home Decorator site – a white, mid-century modern pedestal desk that is feminine and airy and says: Welcome to your new era of writing and baking (that's my offiical story). Alas, HD doesn’t deliver to Canada and so a New Jersey friend agreed to accept the desk and reship via UPS. So far, so good. After the shipment orbited the Western Hemisphere for seven long weeks (wherein I got to know UPS intimately, the three boxes of desk arrived at my home (separately of course and over a period of three agonizing days) where my (one-remaining-at-home) son unpacked it immediately. The entrails of the boxes now sprawl in an upchuck of white laminate bits and pieces and a zillion wood anchors – all through my office, hallway and stairwell. Said son is very well intentioned and very talented with fix it things but he is also, as sons tend to be, very busy with work and school and composing film score music. He promised to assemble the desk at some point within this lifetime but meanwhile, this BB missive is coming to you from my IPhone.
I was noticing, btw, as I go through and edit recipes on the site, that in 1997, I called for dry yeast. Just so you know, I use instant yeast (which is a dry yeast of course) and advise you do too. Instant yeast is also known as fast rising or bread machine yeast. It is so much more resilient and reliable (active dry yeast has far more dead yeast sales – yuck and why bother?). Instant yeast doesn’t need sugar to munch on (so forget the pinch of sugar advice) and it can go in the water part of a recipe or the flour. I put it in with the liquids – even with bread machine baking (which I only use for dough making). Just saying.
The BB Recipe Archives are still alive and well and you can sign on anytime. Please remember if you want 2 recipes – just sign on for a month – it is far better value. You can access all 2500 recipes for the same price as purchasing two recipes. The main thing about the Recipe Archives is that it is a resource for you – a place to turn to for reliable recipes or reliable help. These are not collected recipes – these are all out of my test kitchen. There are also so many recipes for Fall, or Yom Kippur, Canadian Thanksgiving and fall bake sales but there is no editorial staff to help me fish through and bring them to your attention so I hope you suss out what you need. It’s all there. I am even working on a gluten-free thing here and there and you can also check out my by-line at Baker’s Journal, where I am now a proud contributor. This is a notice about my baking classes but you will see some great features, for both trade or home bakers coming up soon. http://www.bakersjournal.com/content/view/3277/
Check out www.PeppermillImports.com. If you make one investment in the kitchen that isn’t a mixer, make it an Atlas pepper mill.
I’ve tested just about every quality pepper mill on the planet – and nothing beats these mills. Please tell William at Peppermill Imports I sent you (and go for the larger mill in brass). And thank you to www.Saffron.com who is gifting the BB Test Kitchens with pure vanilla samples for those attending my baking classes. My first baking class went very well btw - with a lovely guest in from California and October 12th, the Scones and Pies class is about full and ready to roll.
Non baking life includes great tango and a new tango partner who is both an IT guy and a chef and has his own spice box (bequeathed by his restauranteur mom), movies such as Sara's Key, MoneyBall (yes, go see but go well-rested), the DVD (saw it three times) Happy Thank You More Please (written and directed by How I Met Your Mother Josh Radnor) and Our Idiot Brother (which was a surprise and yes, go see). Next up is Into the Woods locally (Stephen Sondheim) and the daily delights of the amazing music site, www.GrooveShark.com.
(If you find errors editorially or links that refute you, please let us know. Next book deal, I am springing for a spell check on this website back end. Be still our hearts)
With warm wishes, for happy baking,
Author, Master Baker
www.BetterBaking.com, Est. 1997
Recipe Selection October 2011
Free Cinnamon Pecan Pumpkin Bread
Free BetterBaking.com Blue Ribbon Parker House Rolls
Because it's Thanksgiving (in Canada) and it's soup and bread time and because nothing beats PHR.
Free Honey Cake Bread Pudding
Honey cake or spice cake, it's all good when you take hefty hunks of the leftovers and make a bread pudding for bread-the-fast or anything else. You realize of course that warm bread pudding is dessert and cold, cut-in-squares bread pudding becomes a Starbucks sort of square?
Free Pub Style Burgers & Beer Cheddar Sauce
I love bistro food and beer in cooking - it's the Irish in me or the Irish wanna-be.This recipe beats all for making hamburgers into an occasion. Works well with vege-burgers too.
Free Pancetta Pizza Bread
A thousand folds (or thereabouts) of thin pizza dough bakes up into a rustic square pizza chocka-full of bubbling, hot garlic, cheese and zesty pancetta. Ridiculously easy, weekend food.
Free Plum Raspberry Jam
This is just a stunning jam. Bet you didn't know I am a super duper preserver. Most bakers are. If not, this is just the recipe to start you on your way.