Monday, May 25, 2009

New Baking Books (Greenspan, Gisslen)

I am currently in L.A. and will be here until May 31st. Thankfully I brought my laptop because I don't know what I would do with my spare time in the evenings without it. Surprisingly, the stores close earlier than expected. Even Wal-Mart here isn't 24 hours like I'm used to closer to home. Today I took advantage of the Border's Books 40% off coupon (Memorial Day Weekend special) and bought 2 new baking books:

1) Baking: From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan

2) Professional Baking, Wayne Gisslen (Le Cordon Bleu)

I have been clinging on to my copy of Dorie's book borrowed from the library, so now I can happily return it since I have one of my very own. I read rave reviews about Gisslen's book and personally, it seems high-level enough to be challenging and truly informative for the advanced baker yet it has a smooth, flowing style that lends itself to home baking as well. Cookbooks are such a weakness of mine. They are the one thing I spend too much money on despite being overall quite a frugal person. Other books that caught my eye today were:

-The Modern Baker, Nick Malgeiri

-The Bread Baker's Apprentice, Peter Reinhart

-The Baker's Companion, King Arthur Flour

Thank goodness for the library because otherwise I'd be broke from buying cookbooks. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009



I know this is not baking related, but I had to write about my pasta making endeavour. When I saw a hand-crank pasta maker on sale a few weeks ago for $20.00 I couldn't resist.


I had never previously had any interest in making pasta (or even eating pasta) but for the price, I figured that even if I failed miserably it could be a Play-Doh shaping toy for Zach. Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for Zach who now doesn't get to play with it), my pasta making attempt was a total success! I used a dough and spinach/ricotta filling recipe from Cooks Illustrated and made my first but definitely not my last batch of tortellini.



I feel so accomplished. How many people can say they make their own pasta!? Before you know it, I'll be hanging pasta from the backs of my dining room chairs - lol.

The whole thing only took me about 1 hour to complete.



These little gems will go perfectly with a fresh tomato basil sauce (with my own homegrown basil).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Apricot Braid

I have been loving Taste of Home (TOH) lately. It all started when a friend bought me a TOH magazine featuring slow cooker meals and casseroles. I have never been interested in cooking meals, always preferring to either eat take-out or pre-made food (or just skip straight to dessert!) However, TOH's recipes were so easy, quick and yummy that now my interest has been sparked and I am doing a lot more cooking. If you get a chance, check out their website or magazines. Most of the recipes from their magazines/publications can be found there with the added bonus of recipe ratings.

The recipe for the Apricot Braid is here. I brought it in to work and I have never seen a pastry disappear so quickly! Next time I think I will add a cream cheese layer under the apricot layer - similar to a danish filling.