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25 March 2014

Everything Seasoning


Are you a fan of "everything" bagels?  If so, try making this classic bagel seasoning yourself.  It's definitely a blend that's enjoying a bit of a moment in the spotlight, and is easy to whip up and keep on hand.

Everything Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp poppy seed
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seed
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  1. Mix all ingredients together, store in an airtight container.
To use:  sprinkle on...well...everything!

Mmm...tasty!

21 March 2014

All Aboard

The train has left the station.

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Which train?  The tourney train, of course.  Games are in full swing and, boy, is it turning out to be a wild ride...and it's only the first round!  Admit it, you're either watching or following scores.  It's okay, we all do it.

18 March 2014

What in the World is Neufchatel?


You've seen it in the dairy case, right next to the cream cheese - Neufchatel cheese.  But, what exactly is it?  It's not cream cheese even though it looks similar.

Neufchatel is a fresh cheese that's lighter and moister than cream cheese with about one-third less fat.  Because of it's higher water content, it's best not to sub Neufchatel for cream cheese in baked dishes, but if you're looking to lighten up your morning bagel or a creamy dip, it's a good choice.

Oh, and the correct pronunciation?  Say:  NEW-sha-tell.

Mmm...tasty!

*Source:  EveryDay with Rachael Ray Magazine, March 2014

12 March 2014

Thunder Up

Oh, yes, it's basketball season.  And, you know what that means?  In just a few short days, millions of us will spend hours attempting to pick the perfect billion dollar bracket, productivity in offices throughout the country will drop significantly, and we will all, for a few days anyway, live and breathe college basketball - even if "our" team isn't in the game.

It's madness for a reason, my friends.  And, yes, I will be participating.

Until the madness commences though, how about a cake homage to my home state's NBA team to tide you over?

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The design was loosely based on one of Kevin Durant's past birthday cakes - though obviously the birthday girl who received this cake prefers Westbrook...  Thunder Up!

11 March 2014

Gas or Electric Oven - Temperature Adjustments?


When it comes to baking temperature, does it matter if your oven is gas or electric?  Do you need to make any adjustments to the temperature depending on oven style?

Assuming your oven is performing properly, you shouldn't need to worry about making any adjustments to the baking temperature given in the recipe, no matter if you are using an electric oven or a gas oven.

Exception - if you are using a convection oven (the style that has a built-in fan to circulate hot air), then you'll generally want to set it 25 degrees lower than the recommended temperature for a standard gas or electric oven.  Doing so will help you achieve similar results in your recipe.

Mmm...tasty!

07 March 2014

King Cake Knots

King Cake?  Isn't king cake typically for Mardi Gras?

Yes, you would be correct.  I meant to post this recipe before Fat Tuesday, but failed to do so because, well, life happens.  We can look at it as being super early for next year's Mardi Gras.  Right?  Or, if you nix the sprinkles or use different colors, you can call them cinnamon sugar knots and use them for any occasion.  See, it all works out just fine.

06 March 2014

The Question Every Baker Asks at Least Once

"Do I not own enough sheet pans?"

I found myself asking this question last weekend, while I was working on another round of logo cookies - this time for BPA (Business Professionals of America).  The order was only for 15 dozen, so I'm sure you are wondering why I would be fretting over sheet pan space when I easily make 30 + dozen sugar cookies at Christmas.  The easy answer?  I only decorate 5 to 6 dozen at a time at Christmas.

I bet you're wondering just how many sheet pans I do own, well, let's see - I utilized every single one I have for this project, so let's do the math...

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There was the giant (i.e. full size) 18" x 26" pan that usually covers the stove top, 10 half sheet pans, 6 quarter sheet pans, and the one random, not even sure where it came from, sheet pan that doesn't match any of the rest and isn't a standard size.  Total - 18 sheet pans.  You would think that would be sufficient, but then again, it does give me a reason to buy additional ones.  And, who doesn't love new bake ware?!

04 March 2014

Sprouting Garlic


The head of garlic in your spice cabinet is starting to sprout, can you still use it?

Yes, but use it up soon.  The green sprout is sign that the garlic is getting old, which equals rubbery cloves and deteriorating flavor.

What about the sprout?  While the sprout is safe to eat, it can be better, so remove it prior to using the garlic in salsas or dressings.  You can use in sauteed or roasted dishes, the heat will mellow the bitterness.

Always remember to store fresh garlic in a cool, dark, dry place - never in the fridge.

Mmm...tasty!