Not exactly as planned

January 28th, 2010

What I thought I’d do today: get up, get dresssed, go to shul, go to work, blah blah blah.
What really happened: I got up, got dressed, and as I was leaving the house I saw it was snowing. Here’s where it all went downhill.
I went to shul, though the drive took twice as long as it usually does. It was slippery, but not crazy. I left shul, got on the Merritt Parkway to go to work and traffic was moving along at about 2 miles/hour. The parkway was a unique combination of parking lot and skating rink. Between Den Road and Long Ridge Road I was rear-ended (I’m fine) and between Long Ridge Road and High Ridge Road I almost spun out trying to drive up a hill. At that point I decided to give up and I got off the Merritt at High Ridge. Snow was still falling and even fancy AWD cars were having trouble. I parked myself at Starbucks and worked there for a couple of hours, until my laptop battery died. By that time traffic had thinned out and the city had started to plow and salt the roads, so I was able to drive home ok. Whew.

I made a crustless pumpkin pie to console myself. It’s delicious. I think if I wanted to serve something like this to company, I’d bake it in custard cups rather than a pie plate, since without the crust it doesn’t cut up “pretty” but for just myself and the husband it’s perfectly fine.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Grease a 9-inch pie dish or some number of custard cups/ramekins. In a large bowl, beat two eggs with a whisk. Whisk in pumpkin, then add the sugar, salt, and spices. Slowly whisk in sweetened condensed milk. Pour mixture in to prepared pie dish.

Baking: I baked this in my countertop convection oven at 300F for 40 minutes. If you’re going to do this in a regular oven, try 325F and see how it goes. It will probably take 40-50 minutes.

Tarte Tatin

January 15th, 2010

My brain just exploded in excitement.

I need to make this Tarte Tatin this weekend.

so here’s what happened

January 15th, 2010

I had a batch of rye bread dough rising at the same time as the sourdough and I decided to bake the rye off first. For some reason, the rye bread took over 15 minutes longer than it should have, but it looked fine so I didn’t think much of it. Since I was feeling lazy, I decided to bake the sourdough in a lecreuset instead of on the baking stone. I preheated the pot for 30 minutes, then plopped the dough in and let it bake for 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark I removed the lid to let the bread crisp up a bit more, expecting to see the usual golden lovely loaf inside. Imagine my dismay when what was there instead was a dense golden puddle.
Miss Clavel, something is not right.
I put my little oven thermometer on the rack and let it sit for 10 minutes in the oven. The oven was set for 450F but lo and behold, the thermometer wasn’t budging above 335 or so.
I tried to salvage the sourdough and managed to cut off a couple of slivers before calling it quits. I don’t think I’ve ever had to through out a loaf of bread before.
I started looking at new ranges but the whole thing is so overwhelming, as is the cost of getting someone out to look at it and possibly repair it. For now, it seems that the problem might have gone away. I’ve baked a couple of times since then and the oven appears to be back at it’s usual only-25-degrees-off, which is fine when I can count on that.

Since then, I haven’t re-fed my sourdough and that’s something I clearly need to remedy. Must try again!

Sourdough starter is forgiving (I hope)

December 29th, 2009

Sourdough starter is surprisingly resilient to neglect. Kind of like Orangeparade! I can’t remember the last time I fed my starter. I can say with certainty that I haven’t fed it since June. I may not have touched the sourdough since before Passover. Crazy! I know.

It was with some trepidation that I decided to attempt to revive my starter. When I took off the cover there was about 3/4 inch of black liquid on top, but that’s perfectly normal for starter that’s been sitting around for awhile. It didn’t have a pink or orange tint or any of the “off” smells you’re supposed to watch out for. I poured off the liquid, scraped the top in to the trash, and put about a cup of clean-looking old starter in a glass bowl. I added 4 oz of water and 4 oz of KA AP flour, mixed well and let it sit for a few hours on the counter. Lo and behold, it bubbled (a little). I stirred the bowl & tossed half of the starter mixture, then fed it again with 4 oz of water and 4 oz of flour and let it sit for a few more hours. That time it bubbled even more, so I considered the experiment a success.

I took out 9 oz of starter to make some sourdough bread (dough is rising in the fridge, will report back later) and fed the remaining starter with 4 & 4, mixed & popped in the fridge. Fingers crossed.

September 24

September 24th, 2009

Today is my mom’s birthday.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love my Mom. My mom is the best mom in the whole wide world and I told her that, frequently. She was amazing, talented, generous, and just fun to be around. Mom and I loved to travel together, especially to Paris. We had a lovely week in Paris together earlier this spring, just walking around, talking and eating.

My mom died August 16, thirteen months after finding out she had pancreatic cancer. The past few weeks and months have been indescribably difficult.

Happy birthday, Mommy. I miss you tons.

if you could only lick the pictures

July 27th, 2009

I’ve put up some more pictures from our lovely and delicious stay at the Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport, ME. You can find them here.


June 29th, 2009

Yesterday I was back in my garden for the first time in about three weeks. The second set of radishes are almost ready and the few stragglers from the first bunch were overgrown and flowering. I transplanted the tomatoes just before I left and they were tall, but gaingly. Now they’re thick, healthy and some are flowering. The cucumbers I planted from seed have a couple of leaves and hopefully they’ll do better than the poor plants I grew from seed. Those wilted away a day after I transplanted them outside. Sad. In a last minute fit of zucchini desire, I bought a set of 6 plants from a local nursery. They’re all doing really well and I found some little squash at the end of a couple of blossoms. Sadly, they’re yellow squash, not green zucchini as advertised. Fail. 🙁

Where I’ve been…

June 20th, 2009

It’s been a busy month since May 19. We took a delicious trip to Maine over Memorial weekend (details to come), there was a Relay for Life comedy show, another bake sale for Relay at work, and then Relay itself! It’s hard to believe it was two weeks ago. It was a really amazing experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Relay For Life Fairfield CT 2009

That’s me and Kate working hard with our team’s fundraiser, the bead-o-meter. You buy a piece of colorful lanyard and then for every lap you walk, you pick up a bead. I walked 16 miles and I have 64 shiny beads on my string. If you’d like to see more pictures, they’re up on flickr.

I’ve spent the past two weeks in Michigan with my parents and I’ll be here a little while longer. I’ll try to use some of this time to catch up here!

Back in to the groove

May 19th, 2009

I did a lot of baking last week. It had been several weeks since I’d done any substantial baking because of a) Passover and b) oh, I went to Paris for a week with my Mom. Il a été une semaine merveilleuse. (I apologize if that’s incorrect, my French is, shall we say, pas bon.) Last Thursday we had a bake sale at work to raise money for Relay for Life and I’m not one to miss out on a good bake sale.


I decided to make some old favorites, cream cheese brownies and lemon bars, as well as try a couple of new recipes: Sour Cream Coffeecake and a second adaptation, Lemon Mini Bundt Cakes.

Lemon Mini Bundt Cakes

Lemon Mini Bundt cakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
dash of vanilla extract

Cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, stirring after each addition. Add in the lemon extract and vanilla, stir for 15 seconds more.

Preheat the oven to 350.

My mini bundt pan makes 12 mini bundts. This recipe will make 24 mini bundts. If you have 2 mini bundt pans you can do this in one shot, else, you’ll have to wash the pan in the middle like I did.
Grease and flour (I like to use flour baking spray) a mini bundt pan. Fill the bundts halfway. You should use half the batter for one pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, the cakes should be springy when done. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Lemon Glaze
1/4 C powdered sugar
1Tbsp milk (any kind will do)
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Whisk ingredients together until there are no lumps. Drizzle over cooled cakes and let the glaze set for at least 5 minutes before moving.

The White Stuff

May 18th, 2009

This is what happens when you buy powdered sugar at Costco.

Powdered Sugar