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The HemingWAY

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Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time fantasizing about all kinds of lives I don’t lead. In today’s over-exposed world (of which I am a full participant), it’s easy to look at other people’s lives (at least the version of it they reveal) and covet, covet, covet. And lately, I have been coveting the life of a writer.

I’ve come to realize it’s mostly because in order for a writer to have something to write about, they must live without boundaries. I know there are plenty exceptions to this rule, but perhaps I should clarify that the writers whose lives I’ve been coveting are living (or did live) extraordinary lives.  Ok, ok. I’ll be honest here, I’m mostly talking about Ernest Hemingway.

I recently finished The Paris Wife and have since been gobbling up every drop of Hemingway I can find.

The man was fearless.  And while I’m sure he had a fear of failure, he never let it stop him.  It’s so hard to not let that fear overcome you.

So, on the brink of my entrance into law school, let it be known that most days I want to run away to Paris and drink in cafes and write fearlessly.

 

Longing for Paris

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“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

Dawn

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“I’ve always liked the time before dawn because there’s no one around to remind me who I’m supposed to be, so it’s easier to remember who I am.”

Things and things

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Hi. Hello. Hi.

Thought I’d drop a quick note and mini update on my vida.  Not much has changed, really. I’ve been working a second job at a restaurant that has been a blessing and a curse. A fun and money making job but I’ve been overscheduled the past few weeks leaving me little to no time for baking. Or sanity, for that matter.

Bowl of chai for sanity.

Bowl of chai for sanity.

I did manage to squeeze in a visit to my favorite sister and nieces.

And made some muffins for them as well. Muffin and milky coffee. How Sunday mornings should start:

It’s finally that time of year again where I get to watch baby geese waddle by my office window.  They are still figuring out their legs and learning their own strengths. Much like the rest of us, I suppose:

We’ve also been enjoying the company of our surrogate dog, Lucy. She has brought much joy to the household through cuddles, early morning walks, and late night escapades.  We’ve vamped up our deck a bit with flowers and crops and lately, it’s felt mostly like heaven.

Angel rays

I have this upcoming weekend off (first in two months!)… Hopefully I can get my act together and tell you more on life and baking.

Have a happy week!

 

Thinking Cake

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Have you ever gotten news that takes your world and turns it on its head. The kind that takes all of the direction you thought you had and puts in reverse. Take a left where you thought you were taking a right. Go backwards instead of forwards. Maybe it feels like your world is crashing down? All the things you thought you had figured out are now completely unfigured.

This happened to me recently. I seriously didn’t know what to do. How to process anything. I cried a little. And my thought process went something like “What? No. No no no. What? NO! What? Wait. WHAT? NO. But, I thought. Oh jeez. What?”

The only things that made sense to me were having pizza for dinner and baking a cake.

This cake is incredibly simple. There are only a few ingredients. It requires just the right amount of thought to distract you from the tornado that is your life and help you create some order. Think things through. Distract yourself with a cake. Accomplish something. Something that makes sense. Something that you can eat. Eat your thoughts. Do it.

I wish I could tell you a happy ending. That everything will be ok. It will be. You know that. But in the meantime, I’m still trying to figure out if these are just road blocks, construction signs, a little traffic that I have to sit through? Or maybe it’s a dead end. Time to find a new route.

In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight. And keep baking things that make sense.

This recipe can be found here. With one exception, I used frozen raspberries.

Pancetta & Cheddar Scones

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A quick message on being kind. And pancetta cheddar scones.

Please be kind to friends. Be kind to your family. Be kind to strangers. Be kind to yourself.

Be kind.

 

Have your friend for dinner. Make them scones. Tell them you love them.

Prove it by knowing you should pair that leftover pancetta in the fridge with some cheddar and whip up something delicious.

Don’t be a Negative Nancy. Be a Positive Patty.  Don’t be a Judgmental Judy. Be non-judgmental. Maybe still be Judy if you want. This is just some truth on a Thursday

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

2 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream  (plus more for brushing the tops of the scones)

1/4 pound sharp cheddar, cut into small cubes

6 slices pancetta (or bacon)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Fry your pancetta in a saute pan and let it rest on a paper towel.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Work in the butter cubes with your hands until you get coarse meal.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream and eggs.

Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients with a fork until almost fully combined.  Use your hands or a knife to break up the pancetta into smal (about 1/2 inch) pieces.  Mix with cheese and add to the dough. Work with your hands to fully incorporate. The dough will be shaggy.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press into a disk about 2 inches thick.  Slice the scones however you like and refridgerate for 10 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 400. 

Transfer the scones to a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with cream. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Scones are best right out of the oven, but will last in a sealed container up to 3 days.

“Easy as” Apple Pie

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I have been thinking about this post for a while now. Mostly because I made my first apple pie and the phrase “easy as pie” has baffled me ever since.

I like to think that the person who coined that phrase was one of those wonderfully hospitable southern ladies.  She may have also coined the terms “fixin’ supper” and “mad as a wet hen.” And when you ask her if she likes something that she thinks is atrocious, she will respond with “it’s lovely.”

I have some questions for this woman. One, have you every made a pie? I’m not saying it’s over-the-top complicated or difficult. But if I were to coin a phrase about something being easy in the baking realm, I might have chosen cookies.  My next question to her would be, have you ever made cookies?

Maybe she mean to say “easy as pie fillin’.” Because that part is pretty darn easy.

But what I don’t think she meant was “easy as pie crust.” Y’all. I want each of you to make a pie crust. You can do it! I know you can. But I’m not going to lie to you and say it was so easy.  It’s just a delicate process that requires patience and maybe a glass of bourbon.

That step right above, though. That was fun. piling apples inside of the pie crust you just mastered… I’m not sure I can name anything more rewarding.

Also, including a heart cut out can really seal the deal on why making a pie may not be easy, but is totally worth it. That, and eating it.  And because I am a rockstar, I forgot to take a picture after it baked.  It was delicious. I was even proud of the flakiness of my pie crust which I’ve been told can be elusive. So sometime in the near future, I implore you to try something you’ve never tried because you thought it’d be too hard.  And maybe that is something like making a pie. You can do anything good, I promise! (although it may do you well to arm yourself with bourbon.)

For the crust:

2.5 C flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 sticks cold butter, cubed (maybe even throw it in the freezer for a couple minutes after cubed)

1/4 C vegetable shortening, chilled

1/3C + 1 tbs ice water (I filled a large bowl with ice water and dip into it as needed)

1 whisked egg yolk

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar and mix well.  Then work the butter and shortening into the flour and mix with fingers until butter is pea sized chunks.  If the butter starts to get shiny, that means it’s getting too warm so throw it in the fridge for a minute or two before continuing. 

 Drizzle the 1/3 cup ice water into the mix and mix until just combined.

Turn dough onto floured surface and press dough together into 2 thick disks.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate for 30 minutes.

For the filling:

6 apples of your choice (fuji or gala are usually recommended. I used fuji)

1 tbs lemon juice

1/4 C light brown sugar

1/2 C sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbs butter

2 tbs cornstarch

Peel, core, and slice your apples into 1/4”-1/2” thick slices. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. (Told you that was easy).

Preheat oven to 425.

When you’re crust is nice and refridgerated, take it out and dust with flour.  Use a rolling pin to roll each into about 1/4” thick disk that will fully cover a 9” pie pan. Now, carefully fold the pie crust in half, and then in quarters so you can easily move the crust to the pan.

Repeat the rolling with the second crust. This one will be the top. What to do with the top crust is up to you. Maybe you just want to cut some slits, or maybe you want to use a small circle cutout or maybe a heart! Go wild.

Fill your pie with the apples, and repeat the folding steps to move your second pie crust on top. (I thought i’d be a hero and just lift the second one on top. It completely fell apart. Trust me on the folding method).

Use your fingers or a fork to press the crusts together on the edges. Brush with the egg yolk and bake for 45-55 minutes at 425. You may want to place a pan under your pie in the oven to catch any juices. Also, you should see juices bubbling up inside your pie. If you don’t, it’s not done yet! If you do. Take it out and resist burning your whole mouth. Let it cool a bit and then serve.

ENJOY!