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January 2010 Baker's Stash

Photo Credit Ryan Szulc, from The New Best of
A shot of baking in action from BB Test Kitchens.

Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,

 Happy New Year and welcome to 2010 and a brand new season of baking.

In this issue, I’ve given you some heartwarming cooking to go with the baking. As the warmth of the holidays leaves and all we are left with the chill factor of a brisk day in January, I thought we could all use some hearth-style cooking. Inasmuch as I love baking, I am up for a hot soup, and some great chicken and beef casseroles. Add a rustic bread or two, and I’m ready for more baking.

As for the baking in this issue, it’s a range of comforting things that are all M.I.A. What is MIA? Not missing-in-action recipes but Make It Again recipes. It’s an expression coined by Louise, one of my testers. She dubbed the most winning recipes of mine MIA. Funny, often times I can’t find a recipe in my own files and for me, that is another MIA sort of recipe.
Specifically, what recipes get an MIA seal of approval? To me, such recipes should be easy, ingredients are at hand (no special trips out, on a cold, winter night), the flavors are outstanding, the texture is remarkable and no one can stop raving and asking, ‘when are you making that again”. Hence, MIA. Anything less than a memorable recipe, in a sea of superb recipes, really doesn’t merit your time, energy and muffins.
I also would like to share a little story. It’s about abundance. Given the economy, I think you will find it cheering. It falls into ‘one never knows’ about anything.

A few years ago, I met a fellow single mother at one of my son’s baseball teams. She was plucky and down to earth and had two sons. Like me, she was self-employed. I will tell you what she did in a sentence of two. One day she told me, that single or not, wealthy or not, she was taking her two boys for a vacation to
Florida and Disney World. How could she afford to go? She was taking them by bus (from Montreal!) and they had saved up cash to do this. She intended (and did so) to load up on food to eat all the way down to save on restaurant meals. They had a great trip and I was ever amazed at her courage and resolve, and how she did what she wanted to do – but in her style and by her means. Anyway, I asked what she did and she told me she made cotton tote bags for stores and promotional purposes. I thought cookbooks were hard work. I wondered how one could make a living making cotton tote bags. That was 6 years ago. Who could have foreseen that tote bags would be the new thing. Tote bags, like graphic tee-shirts, are the hottest trend. They are fashionable, fun, and politically correct, being oh-so-green. I see this tote-bag lady in my gym from time to time. She flies to Florida now, and all over the world, getting price quotes for her tote bags (some of which have made it to Bloomingdales and Barnes and Noble, among other fine clients). She bought her boys each a condominium and found love with a man that was at first her employee and now her husband. I still remember thinking she was brave to live her life on her terms. And now I also think she was wiser and more visionary than I knew. Abundance is everywhere ….potentially.

And on that note, I wish you all the best for the year ahead, happy baking, and an abundance of all the things you want to put in your tote bag of life.

Marcy Goldman
Author, Baker
Est. 1997
 Best Ever Sticky Chicky
Sticky chicky or chicken or whatever you want to call it, this luscious chicken recipe has as many variations as there are chickens. Given my druthers, I would make this with bone-out but skin-on, chicken breasts. It is as good with chicken parts (drumsticks lovers take heart) and that is how we tested our quintessential ‘sticky chicky’ in the BB Test Kitchen. If you can, marinate this overnight. But if not – it is still stupendous: sticky, sweet, garlicky, tangy……great. Serve with a green salad a fluffy, coriander and cilantro infused basmati rice.
Braised Short Ribs Pot Roast FREE!!!
Onion soup powder, wine, and ketchup? Yup, it makes for an easy to assemble main dish of tender, deeply flavorful shorts rib or a nice, tender, sliceable pot roast. If you prefer stew, use 3 pounds of lean stewing meat to replace the short ribs. Adding potatoes to the meat during the last hour of roasting makes this an all-in-one meal. You can also try this in your crock pot.
Italian Market Restaurant Soup with Chorizo !!FREE!!
This is my best soups. Of course, I always think and consequently declare that but this one is outstanding. The larger chunks of vegetables make it different than usual homemade vegetable soups as do the hunks of chorizo (cooked) sausage which give the soup a bit more body. Serve this rustic soup in crockery bowls, with hunks of garlic croutons on top, with an Asiago gratin.

Golden Popover Chicken 
A recipe I am legend for – in unofficial circles. This is an easy dish with a dramatic and unique presentation that is wonderfully inviting. Browned chicken pieces line a casserole and then a special, savory popover batter is poured over. The batter puffs up and the result is golden hunks of chicken, nested in a crispy, tender golden popover crust. Serve the optional mushroom sauce on the side with a green salad. This recipe launched my food career when it won a main dish contest years ago, when I was but a teen. Although I became a pastry chef and baker (and not officially a cook or cuisiniere), I took that first (and only) blue ribbon as a sign of culinary calling. This recipe, regardless of the trends of the day, still makes anyone at my table spontaneously go 'wow'.

 Thai Hot and Sour Soup 
A magnificent version of this amazing soup. No need to go out or order out. Just find great big bowls that you can shlurp from.
Asiago and Cheddar Walnut Bread (or Rolls)
This savory bread (or buns) is rustic, satisfying and very different. The buttery nuttiness of the pecans goes well with the buttery, nippy taste of the Asiago. Use Wisconsin Asiago for this. A sponge made the night before, is the foundation of this great recipe.
Apple Cider Biscotti
I love spice, love apples, and am long smitten with the rustic, heart-healthy goodness of oats. Put it all together in a luscious biscotti to nibble on and the love affair begins. In Prairie ‘n pioneer days, dried apples were something to rely on in winter baking. In this biscotti, the dried apple is another apple-y dimension. Dried apples are available wherever you find dried fruits such as apricots and cranberries. Plump them first to make them softer and get the full flavor out of them. I sometimes glaze these with an confectioners’ sugar glaze that uses apple cider or apple brandy (Calvabec or Calvados) as the liquid (versus water or milk)

Fudge Toffee Scones 
Chocolate and butter marry up in a quick little tea pastry, aka not-your-average scone. These are brownies in taste, but pastry in texture. Small hunks of semi-sweet chocolate bars spruce up the deal.  Delectable, decadent, delicious! Chopped up Heath Bars or Skor Bars are like buried treasure in these desserty-scones. Knead the dough gently or leave the batter soft and scoop and plop to create tender drop scones. Deposit a square of milk chocolate on each scone as it comes out of the oven if you like for an oozing finale

Double Bran Muffins 
Two types of bran: wheat bran and oat bran, plus some golden, crunchy wheatgerm make these the healthiest muffins around. They are gorgeous, dark, moist, incredibly flavorful 'healthy' muffins, that keep for a week or so, and freeze like a dream. The secret is to let the batter rest in the fridge so it will stiffen a bit and the bran will moisten thoroughly. You should see some nice tops on these. These don't use bran cereal - they use real bran. All the ingredients - buttermilk, honey, touch of spice, touch of orange zest creates a bran muffin symphony. You can also change the dried fruits around.
 Double Oatmeal Chewy Oatmeal Cookies 
Shame on you if you tell anyone in the family these have flax seed and wheat germ in them! These are: fantastic. Something about the flax seed (ground) and wheat germ makes these especially golden and crunchy crisp. The dried cranberries add flair but of course, raisins or chocolate chips is another way to go. But for goodness sakes, if you go around telling everyone they are healthy, don’t blame me if your kids balk. What I like about these cookies is that you get heart-healthy oatmeal and more, making each cookie a thing of substance, as well as a wonderful cookie-jar cookie in its own right.
Nothing beats the taste of bakery style cheese Danish but this quicker cake is pretty satisfying and half the effort. It is not a dough but a yeasted cake, topped with sweetened cream cheese Danish filling. This elegant, slice-able Danish is for pros and beginners both and is satisfying to the last crumb.

Gianduja & Dulce de Leche Squares
!! FREE!!! 
How can something to instant and quick be so darned good? Easy, when you start with dulce de leche, Nutella, some graham crackers and inventiveness.
Another decadent Baker in a Hurry treat. Gianduja is another term for chocolate-hazelnut heaven. Adding dulce or a caramel spin makes this dessert irresistible
Apricot Crumb Cake 
A moist pound cake with an almond studded crumb topping. Great with apricots 0r you can do half cranberries and half apricots.
Ever wonder what you fan do with sponge toffee? It looks so good but eats so sticky! It is, however, perfect for some funky baking. Buttermilk makes a good stand in for sour cream if you’ve a mind to use it. For some reason, post holidays, there is always sponge toffee on sale in stores around here.

Sponge Toffee Streusel Sour Cream Coffeecake 
Another sponge toffee creation.Sponge toffee crunched up into a streusel is the crowning glory on this wonderful coffeecake. Ever wonder what you fan do with sponge toffee? It looks so good but eats too sticky! It is, however, perfect for some funky baking. Buttermilk makes a good stand in for sour cream if you’ve a mind to use it. This caves in a bit after baking (because of the cream cheese topping) but is a golden delight.

Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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