diary

Aug 13 2014

waffle-itis

I have a case of The Waffles. Of the apple variety.

This is evidenced by craving a quick bread that chimes in with the breezy season–the culinary one–of sturdy richness. It’s coming. Apples peek into the scene. As the days progress in September, casseroles, roasting pans, and bread-raising bowls are pulled from the back shelves in kitchen-forward motions. The more strapping fruits–apples and pears, to be exact–take over from the delicate berries of summer.

Substantial. Apple-rich. Spice-scented.

These are the three qualities I want in a waffle at this moment, and so it all happened–right in my mixing bowl, in an un-dramatic, orderly way. Flour (two kinds), leavening, spices, sugar–combined. Buttermilk, oil, vanilla, eggs–whisked. Pour the second over the first, add shredded apples, mix, spoon onto the griddle, and slip right into almost-autumn.

Pass the softened salt butter, please. And I’ll have an extra dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

recipe from the baking kitchen apple waffles
Jul 29 2014

a tasty clutter

True confession: Among the prepackaged goods, ultimate boredom comes wrapped up in cellophane bags of bland, generic fruit, nut, and seed mixes.

The answer to this dilemma? You chose the ingredients, mix, and store the largess for snacking. The mélange that’s a current favorite of mine brings together unsweetened wide-flake coconut with pieces of unsweetened dried mango, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, and goji berries. It’s just a matter of select-and-combine, and it’s all set for immediate enjoyment.

This recipe is a fun assortment of some of my favorite things, but feel free to go right ahead and customize, customize, customize…

recipe from the baking kitchen fruit, nut, and seed jumble

sweet and savory baking notes

delicious bites of baking information

Aug 29 -

My apricot-lemon scones featured on baking style diary (and so well-loved and well-baked) are a sweet-and-fruity-tart way to entice at breakfast or coffee break. I love them warm and plain. Or with sweet butter and maybe a swipe of apricot preserves.

Aug 28 -

The second recipe in my TREATS baking series for the FOOD section of the Washington POST, No-bake Fruit Bars, was published yesterday. The bars are fruit-and-nut-rich, and a delightful way to bypass the packaged for the homemade–easily! TREATS launched with my recipe for Blueberry Cake Squares; you can access the recipe here. The recipe for No-bake Fruit Bars is available here, and the story appears here.

Aug 27 -

No-bake Fruit Bars, the second recipe in the recent launch of my new baking series for the FOOD section of the Washington POST, called TREATS, appears today when I will be participating in the POST chat, Free Range on Food, at 12:00 noon EST. The chat lasts for one hour and is an opportunity for all cooks to ask me baking questions in real time. You can access the chat on-line here, and visitors may post questions on the site early. The hour goes by fast, so you are well-advised to get your queries in early! (TREATS launched with my recipe for Blueberry Cake Squares; the recipe is available here.)

i have a baking question

ask Lisa a baking-related question

Q:

From your books, can you offer a list of recipes for two ingredients–apples and pumpkin?

A:

Both the windfall of cooking apples and spice-friendly pumpkin does indeed create luscious baked goods. Generally, you can look forward to moist treats, full of flavor (some subtle, others a bit bolder) and, occasionally, pleasantly spiced.

From Baking by Flavor: Caramel Upside-Down Apple Tart (page 233, and following pages), Spiced Apple Waffles (page 473), Pumpkin-Almond Keeping Cake (page 112, and following page), Pumpkin Ginger Cake (page 378, and following page), Gingery Pumpkin Muffins with Ginger-Sugar Sprinkle (page 398, and following page). From ChocolateChocolate: Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Applesauce Scones (page 257). From Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes: Apple Cake, Maple Butter Glaze (page 55, and following page), Pumpkin Cake, with Chips (page 360), Gingered Pumpkin Squares for the Breadbasket (page 462).

Q:

In your latest cookbook, Baking Style, how did you style the baked goods to appear so natural and appealing, yet so “perfect” looking?

A:

While developing the look of the images (in addition to the selection of background materials and the massive amount of tableware–all from my own collection), it was important to me, as both author and baker/stylist of Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes, to reveal the core expression of my baking in a visual way. It was my great fortune to have a marvelously sensitive photographer, Ben Fink, chosen for this project–his camera lens acted as an extension of his art, and a very supportive editor (Pamela Chirls) and publisher (Natalie Chapman) at John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hand-in-hand with Ben’s ability to somehow capture the essence of my work in baking, I developed a way to arrange and present the variety of sweets and savories to show off their natural goodness. Jagged edges, crumbs, and broken pieces appear visually against architecturally-correct borders, perfect scalloped exteriors and lacy edges, and very clean cuts. Most times, I simply let the baked good “control” the way it needed to be placed and, occasionally, a wayward bit of something let loose and I just let it be.

about the author

Lisa Yockelson is a baking journalist and three-time award-winning author of Baking by Flavor, ChocolateChocolate, and Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes. Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes received the 2012 IACP cookbook award for the best baking book in New York City on April 2, 2012.


book report

read about noteworthy cookbooks

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera, by Delores Custer (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010), $75.00

Delores Custer, a food stylist, built a career on fine-tuning the look of food for television and publication, culminating in an instructional volume titled Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera.

In our visual culture, the audience for Food Styling is not only for professionals whose job it is to cook, bake, or otherwise fashion food-based items to be photographed. Any individual who needs to capture a pleasing food-related image should consider using this book as a reference for composing camera-ready food.

Taking a trip through the contents of Food Styling reveals the author’s range, with chapters devoted to all of the preliminaries (“The Medium is Everything,” and “Prepping the Assignment”), then moves on to cover aspects from advance preparation and working with a photographer to assembling the equipment necessary to actualize the job. All of this is a prelude to the meatiest section of the volume titled “Working with the Food: Overcoming Challenges”: This is a comprehensive view of styling in a range of categories, including food for breakfast, sandwiches, dairy products, main course proteins, sauces, and garnishes. The concluding chapters in this section concern “baked goods” and they are valuable reading for visitors of baking style diary.

In the baked goods sections (“Cakes: the pleasures and pitfalls,” Cookies: aiming for consistencies,” and “Chocolate: the problem child for the food stylist” among them), you will learn viable solutions for preparing beautiful bar cookies; creating just the right look for drop cookies; baking and presenting a flawless pie; ways to bake, assemble, and stage layer cakes; and how to form the best-looking dollop of whipped cream. One of the most intriguing sections is the information regarding the baking, styling, and presentation of chocolate chip cookies (page 266, and following pages). On those pages, we learn how certain ingredients, baking techniques, and background materials contribute to a different end result.

Food Styling is a resource book that is destined to become the industry standard of its genre.

Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out, by Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2014), $16.95

In the personal lifestyle arena of material (the plethora of books, magazine articles, newspaper columns, and such) that works inwardly to arrive at outward manifestations of goodness, Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out is a gentle, thoughtful, and inspirational (without the lecture!) guide for ladies to retrieve their collective “glow.”
I’m in.
Eat Pretty, in three major sections and 208 tidy pages, sets out a big grocery cart of ingredients (and some recipes) that, while outfitting your refrigerator and pantry, might help to “…spark a major change in the way you look and feel.” In Part 2, “Four Seasons to Eat Pretty,” Hart reveals the (edible) elements to turn to for becoming a “beautiful eater.” Even if you pick and choose among the food suggestions, you will have successfully rethought adding (or subtracting) certain components from your meal plan. According to the author, coconut oil is a “metabolism booster,” popcorn an “antioxidant-rich snack,” arugula “a spicy sexy green,” and cherries an “inflammation defender.” In Part 3, “Beauty Beyond Your Plate,” the author explores proper digestion, the dynamics of stress, “food combining,” balance, and exercise. A list of “intentions” for each of the four seasons assists with a bits of advice which help to set goals.
The overall tone of this book is at once caring and instructional and, like all guidebooks, should be used according to one’s own well-being needs (personal health concerns should be addressed by a medical professional). A kind of beauty nutrition advice, not a dictum for a strict overall per se, is the feeling you’ll get from this volume.
Bottom line: Prepare to dine well and thrive.