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April 07, 2008

Epilogue: black bean brownies with some MINOR adjustments

...if you have not read the first part of black bean brownies with some MINOR adjustments, please go do so first...I'll wait...

When last we saw Lisa, she and the 6 year-old C had tried the brownies and she said, "C likes them, and I know R & S will eat them."

I asked her to post another update after everyone had a chance to try them out at dinner. Final results after the jump...

Continue reading "Epilogue: black bean brownies with some MINOR adjustments" »

April 03, 2008

"black bean brownies with some MINOR adjustments"

My favorite mailing list has been having a hot and heavy discussion about the Amazing Black Bean brownie recipe that Heidi posted a couple of weeks ago. The thread culminated in one woman, the ever-brave Lisa Whipple, deciding that she was just going to make them and see how they turned out. The brownies are in the oven now just finished and her opinion is at the bottom of this post, but I had to share her email missive with you.

Continue reading ""black bean brownies with some MINOR adjustments"" »

February 02, 2008

Martha Stewart's next Big Idea

I have just been over at Martha Stewart's site telling her what I think her next big project should be. The list is varied, including a lifestyle magazine for pet owners, which would have "pet crafts" (My cat won't hold still while I decoupage her.), Martha stores (Seriously, doesn't she have them?), and a merchandise line targeting a younger demographic (rolls eyes - isn't everything already?).

My choice? A magazine for people with food allergies. At the moment, this is running even with the pets. I'll make you a deal. You vote for the food allergies magazine and I'll draw you a pattern for the ring-bearer pillow for your dog, if that's really what you want at your wedding.

Martha wants your opinion. too. Stop by The Martha Blog and check out the list of contenders for the next Big Idea.

October 31, 2007

Fall into Cooking with free recipes from new cookbooks

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Amazon has had a wee bit of a tweak here and there - mostly flyout menus that behave more like you might expect software to act - but there are also some new featured sections. My personal favorite is, of course, food related: Fall into Cooking

At first, it looks like a lot of shiny new cookbooks, and it is, but scroll down a screen, past those cookbook titles, however tempting they may be, for just a moment. (I promise, you can go back later.) On the left sidebar, see where it says...

Continue reading "Fall into Cooking with free recipes from new cookbooks" »

August 15, 2007

A Year in Bread in midsummer

berries like grapes

It's too hot to bake!

Well, almost too hot to bake. This month at A Year in Bread we are focusing on quick breads, with Kevin's scrumptious Cheese Bread starting us out. My post is going up tomorrow, but there is a subtle hint here somewhere about the recipe. If I could just remember where I put it.

Continue reading "A Year in Bread in midsummer" »

April 27, 2007

revisiting Gastroblogia

In honor of International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, albeit a bit belatedly, I extend this bit of linky love to Miz D. of Belly-Timber who reminded me of this marvelously funny bit of writing: Mighty Cheese Warriors: An Historical Perspective

For anyone who was around during the Pete Wells cheese sandwich absurdity, here's a chance to revisit one of the sweetest pieces of writing to come out of that affair. Newcomers might want to read Kalyn's backgrounder (the link in this paragraph) before going on to Mighty Cheese Warriors.

I'd also like to welcome Miz D. back, she's been MIA for a bit while relocating and resettling and I've missed her and Chopper Dave's antics. She's one of my favorite pixel-stained technopeasant wretches.

March 19, 2007

A brief mash note to food blogs (in general and specific)

chocolate coated raspberry marshmallows

I just want to say that I love the Web in general, and food blogs in particular. They are a valuable, and marvelously fun, addition to the stacks of books and magazines that already clutter my life. While I'd like to say they are a great free source of recipes and such, I am not so sure. I am constantly going to someone's site and deciding to buy something. Like my new ice cream machine (thanks to David Lebovitz for the recommendation), which is wonderful and all, but not so free!

Naysayers, (you know who you are) who swear blogs are all dren run by people writing about their cheese sandwiches lunch and soooo not relevant to the serious media, listen up! There is a reason why food blogs occupy a favored spot in the hearts and minds of a vast readership. Let me tell you a story about why...

I have made marshmallows on a number of occasions including those lovely chocolate coated raspberry marshmallows right up there. What I have not made is chocolate marshmallows and, while that may seem simple, there is actually rather complex chemistry at work between the very few ingredients in marshmallows.

Boil the sugar syrup to a phase other than soft-ball and you get something different - although not necessarily bad, I want to experiment with making marshmallow fluff by boiling the sugar a bit less. Too much fruit puree seems to destabilize the sticky mass just enough that mine stayed a little too soft; too soft to roast on a fire, and that's no good! Worse, the merest hint of oil and the mixture can become totally undone, refusing to whip into a billow of wonderfulness and settling into an sullen, glutinous mass in the mixer bowl.

Fortunately for me, I know McAuliflower, just down the road at Brownie Points, is a bit of a mad scientist (and she's got the coolest toys!) and has done all sorts of marshmallow experimentation. Better yet, I know several things about McAuliflower's recipes:

  • They are actually tested (I've yet to have one of hers fail) and she is open to corrections and enhancements when she finds a better way.
  • If there is a technical reason for something, she explains it.
  • There are likely to be variations for things she is really into - she has a category for marshmallows!

Knowing that marshmallows are one of those things she is seriously into, I knew this was a great source for what I needed. At her site, it took me two clicks to find this great post on chocolate marshmallows and am no off to make some of my own, secure in the knowledge that it will work and with a solid explanation for why I want to add the chocolate at the end of whipping them. (read it and see for yourself) I'm going to do it with a mixer, rather than by hand, as it seems McAuliflower did, but I know why she did it her way and how to make it work my way.

The entire process of finding the right post took me about 45 seconds. (Last time I needed a recipe for something semi-obscure and went to the cookbooks, I was still there twenty minutes later.)

It's damned hard to provide this sort of 'perfect for me right now' resource without a large pool of talented and passionate people who are free to write about what they love.

And at the moment I love Brownie Points. Thanks, McAuliflower!

December 28, 2006

Excellent series about Noka chocolate at Dallas Food

While catching up on my reading, I scanned the list of nominees for best post in the Food Blog Awards at Well Fed and came across one that I found both very well written and fascinating. As an added bonus, it was at Dallas Food, a blog I hadn't come across before.

First a bit of back story.

Noka Chocolate is a two year old Texas chocolatier with lots of stylish trappings and unbelievably expensive chocolate. Seriously. Second most expensive in the world. Ranging from a smidge over $300us to a bit under $2100us. Yep, you read that right: almost $2100 a pound! That is a pretty impressive price for any company to command for chocolate, let alone an two year old upstart in a strip mall in Plano, Texas.

But they do have pictures of the chocolate attending the Emmys and being named the  #1 luxury chocolate in the world by a British TV show (or would that be telly?) and a corporate philosophy.

NOKA Chocolatier, Katrina Merrem, has as her life-passion, the goal of returning chocolate to its pure, luxurious state by creating the finest single-origin dark chocolate truffles and chocolates, made from the rarest cacao sourced from exclusive plantations around the world.

It is with this vision that NOKA Chocolate was founded. And it is this very vision that guides NOKA Chocolate in handcrafting the most exquisite chocolates to ever grace the palate.

I am totally there with most exquisite chocolates to ever grace the palate part of this. If the best chocolate in the world costs 2000 a pound, and it is actually the best, then I'd have to buy a little bit...once. (Of course, I would then have to donate a LOT of money to the local food bank to assuage my guilt.) So it's nice that Dallas Food published this series, in which they asked a simple question: Is Noka chocolate worth the price? You know, just in case I ever win the lottery.

The answer comes in the form of a ten part series. It does an excellent job of analyzing the factors that might make the chocolate worth the exorbitant prices and coming to a conclusion that, while not necessarily surprising, is rather hard to dispute. (and comments are disabled, so no disputing is taking place) There's research and interviews and taste testing and everything! (ok, so the muckraking geek part of me was very amused)

It's well worth the read and points to one of the things that is best about independent publishing here on the tubes of the Internets: I doubt that any mainstream outlet would have cared enough to do this piece until the company got big enough to matter and, by then, the company might have mattered enough that the question never got asked.

December 03, 2006


I always like watching people stretch their comfort zone in the kitchen, so I had to share this. Picture one of those "make candy/pastry/gingerbread house" competitions except that, instead of 2-3 person teams with a few hours, you let the teams take as long as they needed and use as many people as they wanted. Then, just to keep it interesting, and since it's Gingerbread houses and such, ask architectural firms to do the design and building.

Ah, the possibilities!

Well, the Toronto Star did just that and they are auctioning off the results. If you happen to live in Toronto, maybe you'll get a chance to see them. For the rest of us, Gingerbread Cities has galleries of the creations.

It's been absolutely forever since I made a gingerbread house. At this point, I'd have to build something a bit less Victorianish and a lot more designer.

July 05, 2006

New blogger in the 'hood

When you live in a place like evenTinierTown, you get used to being the only person around doing a particular thing. After all, if there are only 200 people in town, there are only going to be a few folk who bake bread, for example, or have blogs. Very few.

So you might imagine my delight at discovering a new food blog that is, if not in evenTinierTown, just upriver a bit. In a town that's close enough that she might even have heard of evenTinierTown. Now to get to her quickly and swear her to's not like the identity of the place is secret, it's more Voldemort (Where-That-Will-Not-Be-Named) than CIA (If I tell you, I have to kill you).

Experimentation Of Taste is chrispy's space to explore what to do with the bounty from her CSA. So far, she's explored chard and kale (neither of which I've seen in my CSA box, are we on different growing seasons?) Plus, she seems to have a turtle. Pretty cool.

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