A quick shot from the phone archive
No falling sprinkles today but one good cupcake leads to another. My sister said cupcakes aren’t her favorite as the frosting is disproportionate to the amount of cake involved but many people are crazy for cupcakes. I have seen a line around the corner on Bleecker Street at the Magnolia Bakery, many times.
A couple of weeks ago on a Monday, I went to a friend’s house and these chocolate cupcakes were the dessert. Here is the recipe for Chocolate Heaven with Chocolate Buttercream.
I’m on a team for the Biggest Loser at work and we weigh in every Monday morning. Good thing I had the rest of the week to try to make up for the indulgence.
I looked through the cookbook where J got the recipe from and everything sounded enticing. Old fashioned baking with plenty of real ingredients. From Savannah Georgia, the Back in the Day Bakery is the name of the cookbook. J had heard the owners, Cheryl and Griffith Day, featured on the radio show Splendid Table. Their specialty? Vintage Desserts!
Once again inspired by Christopher Boffoli and his tiny food worlds.
I had taken the cupcakes and fruit into school on the student teacher’s last day. The little HO train people were in my desk.
I thought “food scape” and some students photographed the little people shoveling in the icing. But I thought it might look like a food museum and there were falling sprinkles to be mindful of so
the little hand-painted mom picked up her baby out of the stroller and held it close. Maybe she is waiting for transportation.
So I got home from my weekend in Ohio, Sunday night with no chance to photograph the neighborhood for the weekly photo challenge as it was dark outside. Changing the clocks didn’t help me with enough light by the time I pulled in the driveway
-but in my inbox I found a message from my son Matthew who lives in Zagreb, Croatia (9 years already!)
The subject of his email: Guest blog The dilemma of what to post? SOLVED!
—————————————————————————————————————————–Dear Ma, Yesterday I spent the evening with the Kaplowitz family. My dear friend Joe Kaplowitz is pretty much the only American I know over here and he invited me over for an American-style chocolate cake. Not only is he a brilliant jazz musician but he is quite an accomplished baker to boot! His beautiful wife Lela is a marvelous singer and they recently came out with a big-band album of original compositions called With Every Breath that you can hear (and buy!) here After enjoying a generously-sized hunk of cake chased by a glass of milk, Joe, Lela, their daughter Lucija and I played a cut-throat game of Name That Tune. Lucija is also a budding musician, so as you might imagine the competition was pretty stiff. Then we headed to the parlor for a concert. Joe and Lucija, who plays the violin, teamed up for a set of traditional Croatian melodies played over some soulful blues piano. Perhaps I was witnessing the concept for the next album being born. Joe’s cake was so tasty that I plan to go back over tomorrow for another sliver. In keeping with the spirit of the blog, will get the recipe tomorrow and send it to you! Love, Matthew p.s. Here is the recipe, just in from Zagreb this morning
I emailed my friend Rob to see if he had any updates for National Pie Day this year. He is the only pie judge I know. Official, that is.
Just a year ago he was guest blogger with the National Pie Day post. When I went to retrieve the post and his photos with Willard Scott and Keegan Gerhard, I remembered how a fellow blogger helped me out that day. No visible pictures had posted when I published the guest blog, just blue boxes with question marks. I saw them on my computer but no one else could see them on theirs!
Thanks to the expertise of Chicago John from the Bartolini Kitchens Blog we were able to see Rob’s photos last year.
And although I knew it was National Pie Day today, you see what I came up with this year?
The idea of pie. The possibility of pie. Contemplating the making of pie.
What’s available in the larder?
A lone can of pumpkin?
A few apples for school lunch?
Tons of citrus, some grapes. There are raisins in the fridge but raisin pie has zero appeal to me.
So here’s my offering, Rob.
A pretty pie plate in the afternoon sun and the mere suggestion of a pie to be created. Great for the calorie count, if one were so inclined.
After school let out, I drove down to Homestead from Carrick. Judith and Daniel extended a warm welcome and we caught up. I hadn’t been there in awhile but was so glad I went.
I had my Christmas list and wanted to support my Independent Kitchen Store.
First, I ordered the 4 cheese pasta bake with a side of sautéed spinach at the Tin Front Cafe. where I sat at the old Chioda’s bar. The restaurant is vegetarian. A lovely Spring mix salad with balsamic dressing and asiago cheese shavings, a slice of crusty bread.
Yum. I heard about the up and coming new restaurants coming to the avenue in Homestead. Judith showed me the special honor in the Pittsburgh Magazine. Her son, Daniel Valentine, was recognized for his work to rebuild and revitalize Homestead and was chosen as a winner in the Forty Under Forty awards.
“Winners were chosen based on their passion, commitment, visibility, diversity and overall impact on the region.”
You might remember I blogged a visit to both places when Laura visited Pittsburgh.
Supporting independents! Scroll down and see the specials on USA Pans- Bakeware manufactured in Ambridge PA!
Buy three (any shape) and get a free jelly roll pan. (I love jelly roll.) Everyone needs a new cookie sheet!
I can’t say what I bought as that would be a spoiler. You can call Judith 1-800-862-6639 and she’ll ship out in time for the holidays.
All- Clad is manufactured in Canonsburg PA, just down the road from Pittsburgh.
Judith has a Holiday Special on an All-Clad 3 quart lidded saute pan for just 99$! WOW! I love cooking with my All-Clad pans.
This is the store where I bought my Nespresso machine before the display was so high speed.
I hear George Clooney is advertising them on TV in France, oui?
Check out the elegant and classy Museum of Modern Art flower vase. Understated and stunning.
Love the quirky clocks! A 3 cup steamed pudding mold. The Twoolies and the Riviera Bags are one of a kind gifts.
Shop YOUR Independent Store today. Now to gift wrap everything………………..
Field trip today with high school students, exploring Slippery Rock Univeresity. The weather was almost like early Spring if you can believe it.
At lunch the kids were thrilled with the fare in the Boozel Dining Hall. Especially the desserts. Jim the baker was gracious and allowed me to photograph him and his cupcakes but I was shooting into the window light so he allowed me to take another. His coworker said he is already famous. He told me he comes from England, or at least his forbears did. It was crowded and loud and we had to catch the bus back to school. I wish I had gotten more info, how he became a baker and how long he has worked at the university. Thanks Jim!
What a great day the students had, touring and visiting the library and a dorm room and trying out the climbing rock wall and pool, eating in the dining hall.
First photo taken with the iPhone.
And the middle portrait shot with Canon 5D with a 24-70mm L lens, available light,no flash ISO 400 f /4 shutter 100
Final cupcakes photo with the Canon 5D as well. When you compare the first and third cupcakes you know you need your camera at all times.
Some of the family is eating gluten-free. You might have seen the crumbled cake top from the other day (which was delicious)
And the family is trying to reduce intake of refined sugar. I wanted to bake something they could eat if they wanted to do so.
My mother used to make this with regular sugar when I was growing up. I just switched to the coconut palm for the body of the cheesecake pie and used a bit of maple syrup for the sour cream topping. I used FULL FAT cream cheese and sour cream. Some free-range organic eggs
I made this for Saturday night after Thanksgiving
This is a crustless pie. Not too sweet. It looks like it has a brown crust but it is just the butter browning the edge and the color of the coconut palm sugar. It’s an iPhone photo today.
Here is the recipe.
Butter a glass pie plate. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. I baked this one at 350 and the electric oven where I was staying is hotter and faster than mine at him and I think it was too hot for it. I think that is why it had more cracks than usual.
Mix well 2 -8 oz. packages of cream cheese (room temp) with 3/4 c coconut palm sugar
Add 3 eggs. Beat well. Add 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract. Mix.
Pour into the buttered pie plate. Bake for 45 minutes.
Take out of oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes, it will deflate and a crater will form for the topping, forming a “crust” without crumbs.
Spread on a topping mixture of 1 c sour cream, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
Bake for 5 more minutes.
Cool. Serve with sour cherries or fresh blueberries or strawberries or eat plain. Put it in the fridge when cool.
It’s an iPhone photo story and the bowl of peelings didn’t come out. This was last Thursday.
Recipe for a summer afternoon.
Generous neighbors with an apple tree laden with fruit- a couple of boxes waiting to be filled. (We filled one.)
A friend to help pick, peel, core and slice.
The crust was butter, flour and salt, a few tablespoons of ice water- mixed up in the food processor, rolled out.
Four open face pie/tarts and one quart of applesauce that looks almost green to me.
We took one of the pies down to the owners of the apple tree and were they ever surprised. I brought one out to Ohio for the family. Along with the applesauce.
Small apples, tart and sweet, firm flesh and delicious. A sprinkle of lemon, dots of butter and light on the cinnamon. A bit raggedy looking but tasty.
It’s hard to keep this friend anonymous since her name is on the cake. In chocolate letters!
Ellen is a blog follower and I hope she doesn’t mind….
Colleagues, family and friends gathered together to honor Ellen today. Effusive praise and accolades aren’t what Ellen would wish for but let me just say – there are thousands of students who have benefitted from having been taught by her in her classroom.
I didn’t see the smiley face on the cake until I looked at the photos.
Jean-Marc Chatellier baked this and decorated it so beautifully. It tasted delicious, too.
(You remember the colorful macarons?)
Enjoy your retirement Ellen. You deserve every happiness! A job well done.
(I am posting this with our dear friend Rob in mind . You might remember he guest blogged for National Pie Day when he was a pie judge)
Okay, I posted the donut for National Donut Day and then yesterday’s baked goods upgrade of the elegant French macarons.
Today it is the fresh baked pies. Fresh Baked Pies from Annie Oakley’s Kitchen that is!
Meet Annie the owner of Annie Oakley’s Kitchen and her sister-in-law Christa, who is a pie apprentice. They were sporting company shirts and aprons and selling delicious looking pies at the South Side Farmer’s Market on Carson Street.
I loved that they had a box of forks so you could dig right in after purchase.
And Mom, Bryna, is the ceramicist who created the pie/cake stands for the display. She also makes ceramic pie plates for sale.
What a fun booth they had set up in the Farmer’s Market on Carson Street. They are at the Whitehall Farmer’s Market on Mondays.
I sampled the apple butter which she sells on ETSY for just $4 a jar.
Not just motorcycles in Millvale. Took these assorted macarons to the graduation party as a hostess gift.
They’re so colorful. And they melt in your mouth delicious.
Jean-Marc was featured on the blog before. We are so fortunate to have a true French bakery right in Millvale.
Here ‘s what Jean-Marc says about the macarons on his website
“Macarons, or French Macaroons, are GLUTEN FREE meringue-like almond cookies
filled with a buttercream or white chocolate ganache that is infused with natural flavors.
Extremely popular in Paris, Macarons are now available for Pittsburghers who long to
revisit their memories of travel abroad, or for those who want to try them for the first time.”
Two friends from work (JS) and (MK) alerted me it is National Donut Day. Or is it Doughnut?
It is the 75th one so where have I been all these years?
I usually get that kind of info from Foodimentary blog and he is saying it is National Doughnut WEEKEND!
The Weekly Challenge came in this afternoon that you must take the photo TODAY so I shot a few photos of the Highland Park fountain in the rain on the way home from school and the lawn ball in the garden with water drops for today’s post of TODAY
and then my friend Steve came home with a chocolate donut he had gotten for FREE at the Giant Eagle. Can you believe it ?
And he offered it to me.
So of course I took that donut and unwrapped the wrinkled bakery tissue from the sticky frosting (humidity is high high high today) and put it out on the front porch ledge and started to shoot away. I did take a bite out of it for photographic purposes. Honestly, they don’t make donuts like they used to back when I was a kid………… The peeling paint on the stone ledge adds a lot to the photo in my opinion.
(If I were to eat a doughnut it would be without chocolate frosting)
You want to shoot a photograph with some life in it!
I learned in a workshop, photography can be exasperating. And one thing I know-
Sometimes you are an observer and sometimes you are a participant.
You can’t capture the sound of bells ringing in the sanctuary and bell tower simultaneously, a Gregorian chant, the trumpet, everyone holding a candle in the darkness and as the lights are turned up in the dark city church, late Saturday night, you long to capture the spirit, the glow .
You can’t whip out a camera and show the three out of four grandchildren racked out in the pew, or the smell of candle wax or incense or the feel of freshly blessed sprinklings. A good place to think. Mechanical limitations. The intrusion of the moment.
You are’t on assignment from a newspaper, illustrating the occasion. The grandparents have to head back home for work early Monday so we drove downtown for the Easter Vigil. It’s an early dinner at noon. Then we’ll load the cars and drive back east and south.
The thoughts of Easters growing up, the new suits, shoes and hats. Remembering those you love and who loved you the best and have gone on before. i said to my friend, “vacation flies by’ and she said
“just like life.”
I think of unconditional love. Thanks Matthew. Missed you.
Pasticceria Rocco. 243 Bleecker Street. When Mary and I had our hot cross buns and cappuccino, this nice young man gave me a detailed tour of the pastries in all the glass cases. He knew I was from out of town. When we returned the next evening he was there and I asked if I might take his photo. He reached for the loaves (Egg Bread and Panettone) and was an enthusiastic subject. Friday, the devout are fasting and not considering eating the delicious breads until Sunday but you should have seen the Egg Cookies being wrapped up in white boxes and tied with string, flying out of the place! The Struffoli looked enticing, too.
Tuesday afternoon I met a friend for dinner. We used to teach in the same school but are in different schools across the city now. It was good to catch up. When we walked into the restaurant,La Tavola Italiana, I could not believe what I saw in front of me! A St. Joseph Feast spread from the day before. Later Carmela came out to speak with us about how we were enjoying our dinners and she was taking photos with her iPad to send to her family. She uses the iPad to keep the restaurant calendar for parties and other aspects of her business.
I asked if she made the St. Joseph Cavazunes filled with the chick peas and she said, “NO, they are Calabrese.” She is Sicilian and she makes Zeppoles.
I said that I’d photographed all the bread and would send her the photos but would she like to pose with all her handiwork and she did! I didn’t notice she put the iPad down onto the cloth in front until I saw it on the computer. She was gracious to allow me to photograph her. NEXT year we have to go to actual feast! It sounded like a terrific party.
And speaking of party? Click to hear Chicago John’s Italian Song Selection
My friend Amy ( mother of Mikey) brought in the leftover cupcakes her friend Jackie made for Mikey’s first birthday. Here they are on the counter at school for everyone to share
You may remember I mentioned my being surrounded by friends and family eating different ways. Here is one, highlighted. My son and daughter-in-law have gone Paleo since January 1st. Meat and plants, no grain is the basic plan. A radical change. They are taking it pretty seriously and I don’t believe it’s a diet I could adhere to totally. But when I arrived Friday night the dinner was diced and sautéed rutabaga, shrimps on a skewer that were delicious,salad, and a cauliflower, broccoli, carrot medley (my name for it, not what it is really called) This cake was the dessert pictured below.
Mark never really baked anything I can ever remember. But he was proud of this carrot cake. After dinner he went out to the garage (where it is cool) and brought in in on a cakestand with a dome! I asked him how he made it since the diet doesn’t have any wheat flour or refined sugar. I mean, it looked like a carrot cake. He said he’d soaked 5 grated carrots in maple syrup and then drained the liquid off. He used coconut flour, an item I don’t have in my pantry. There were some dates in it. And if I heard him correctly, TEN eggs. The icing was whole fat cream cheese and grated ginger.
Whoa, no worries… I just searched found a link with the recipe for the Paleo/Primal Carrot Cake which sounds just like the ingredients he listed. I’m at Laura and James’ tonight so can’t check Mark and Erika’s cookbook and it is too late to call or text to ask.
It was sweet but not too sweet. Incredibly moist. Satisfying. It reminded me of eating a baked good in Europe that was unfamiliar yet delicious. The ginger flavor was more pronounced on the second day which was okay by me but if you don’t like the pungent zing of fresh ginger you might want the vanilla in the frosting. I have no plans to go Paleo but enjoyed perusing their new cookbooks and finding Italian Pot Roast that sounded great for winter . I see they’re enjoying cooking and planning meals together, shopping for new ingredients. Real converts! Tonight for dinner there was spaghetti sauce on zucchini that had been cut on the mandolin and was used instead of pasta. They are feeling good and looking good and pleased with their change of eating habits.
In 1977 and my parents lived in Philadelphia and I lived there for a year with Mark when he was one, I remember there was a restaurant that specialized in a rich carrot cake if you want to compare recipes. What I remember about that carrot cake was how you didn’t want to eat a whole piece. It was too much.
My mom used to bake an occasional sourdough carrot cake in a Danish green enameled lasagna type pan and I found a recipe for that online.
I would feel comfortable serving the Paleo/Primal carrot cake to dinner guests. Thinking about carrot cakes. Diets. Nutrition. Ingredients. Eating together with family is the best, no matter what is on the plate!
Dinner at Lala’s and James’ home. Building with Lego. I’m “grandmaing” the three youngest grandkids this weekend as the eldest is at a swimmeet in Cincinnati. With her parents, of course.
So we watched Laura and James’ wedding video they received this week and Jack and Michael were ring bearers and Anna and Maura flower girls so they liked seeing themselves but then Jack(4) goes in the kitchen at seven and says, ” Could someone please start making dinner!” We were caught up in reliving the November wedding. Laura baked some homemade pizza and I had taken a spinach pie. For dessert I’d made the Farm Journal Blue Ribbon Banana Cake with buttermilk and real butter instead of the shortening the recipe calls for.
We piled into the van and I drove home and barely a block away and all three kids fell asleep! When we got home I carried each one in, made a stop with them and then took off their shoes and put them in their beds. I’d sat in the van for a moment when we got into the garage and thought to myself, okay, now what will I do with all of them asleep. Michael really came in on his own power once I got him guided a bit. And Murphy was so excited to accompany the family for the evening.
I didn’t have a plan of what to blog tonight and thought WordPress would have posted the Weekly Photo Challenge by this time but they didn’t and I was “on duty” with the kids so hadn’t thought about what to put up.
GUEST BLOGGER Rob Bard, Pie Judge
(-and good friend! Our eldest sons went to school together when stationed at Ft. Knox, Kentucky in 1986 -87)
Here is what Rob says:
Marlene was in Virginia. Her sisters- Linda, Theresa and Georgeann were in Pittsburgh. I dropped by with the camera to document the occasion and made a slideshow of the beginning to end effort. I think there were fifteen long metal pans waiting for dough. They were rolling and filling and letting the dough rise to bake. Southwestern PA is known for perpetuating nut roll tradition. Not to be confused with nut horns or nut crescents.