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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

BYOB - Bake Your Own Bread (February '12) Roundup

Well.  Even with the extra day, February FLEW by!  I can hardly believe it's already time to share another overflowing bread basket of everything YOU baked over the past 28 days.  You'll probably notice that the format I'm bringing you today is a bit different from last month.  You see, I have a few requests for a linky-style gathering of bread.  And I happen to like the linky-style gathering of things, so I decided to give it a try.  I added all of the entries you sent over myself this month, just so you could see how it would look.  I will still keep the three separate categories, but now all of the entries are arranged in neat little boxes.  I also like neat little boxes.

So, starting in March (that's tomorrow), I will now post the monthly BYOB post at the beginning of the month instead of the end.  Everything else will basically stay the same.  When you bake a loaf of bread made with yeast, without yeast, or something made with bread or about bread, simply add the same link back to the BYOB page and then stop by and link up your bread.  This way you won't have to wait til the end of the month to send over your links (and potentially forget).

Basically, find the right category, and enter your blog name and the name of your bread/post separated by a dash (-).  See below for an example.  I'd love to hear your feedback about this way of gathering all of the monthly BYOB posts.

But for now, please enjoy this awesome array of bread and breadie-things baked up in February!
Yeast Breads

1. The Recipe Code - Orange Bread

2. Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Basic White Bread

3. Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor - Potato Rolls

4. Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Buttermilk Rye Sandwich Rolls

5. girlichef - Brötchen

6. Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Overnight French Buns

7. Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Biscotti Picanti

8. Sage Cuisine - Oatmeal Bread

9. Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor - Airy Italian Loaf

10. Kitchen Flavours - Oatmeal Honey Bread

11. So What are You Making for Dinner? - No Knead Bread

12. Delectable Musings - Light Rye Bread, Kid-Sized

13. Delectable Musings - Soft Pretzels

14. Delectable Musings - Slider Buns

15. Something Sweet: Winnies Blog - Flower Shaped Sweet Challah

16. Something Sweet: Winnies Blog - Fish Shaped Challah

17. My Discovery of Bread - Biscotti Picanti

18. My Discovery of Bread - Pear Bread

19. My Discovery of Bread - Chocolate, Cranberries and Walnut Norwich Sourdough

20. My Discovery of Bread - Olive Oil Bread

21. Culinary Adventures with Camilla - Bajan Salt Bread

22. Culinary Adventures with Camilla - Nan-i-Afghani (Afghani Bread)

23. Bread Experience - Classic Sourdough in a La Cloche

This linky list is now closed.


Breads w/out Yeast

1. Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Corn Tortillas

2. girlichef - Blue Corn Tortillas

3. Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Roti Jala

4. girlichef - Whole Wheat Honey & Goat Cheese Biscuits

5. Delectable Musings - Sundried Tomato & Cheese Cornbread

6. Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor - Cheddar, Chive & Jalapeno Biscuits

This linky list is now closed.

(made w/ bread, crackers/breadsticks, "bread baking"-type posts)

1. girlichef - Matschbrötchen

2. girlichef - Pan Pizza

3. Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor - Flax Seed & Cracked Pepper Crackers

4. girlichef - Flax Seed & Cracked Pepper Crackers

5. Bread Experience - Bloomin Onion Bread

This linky list is now closed.

Such an amazing groups of breadie posts this month!  Thanks to everybody who participated.  Remember, starting next month, I will be posting a linky post at the beginning of the month for you to add your bread posts to at ANY TIME throughout the entire month.  I will make sure to put a link to the post each month on my sidebar and on the BYOB main page.  I look forward to see what beautiful bread creations you come up with next month!

Delicacy by David Foenkinos {book tour}

Author: David Foenkinos
Publisher: Harper Perennial
soft cover: 256 pages
"foodie" elements:  nope

random excerpt:  "You looked like you were really concentrating."
"Yes, I was reading an article...on mozzarella trafficking."
This send Natalie into gales of laughter, the kind you can have when you're tired.  She couldn't stop.  Markus understood how it could be funny and began to laugh as well.  Inanity got a hold of them.  All he'd done was answer without a second thought.  p. 160

summary/synopsis (from TLC website):  Reminiscent of novels by Nick Hornby, Muriel Barbery, and Jonathan Tropper, internationally acclaimed novelist David Foenkinos delivers a heartfelt and deftly comedic tale of new love brightening the dark aftermath of loss—and of wounded hearts finding refuge in the strangest of places. After her husband’s unexpected death, Natalie has erected a fortress around her emotions—and Markus, clumsy and unassuming, will never be her knight in shining armor. Yet slowly but surely, an offbeat romance begins between these two mismatched, complex souls, and contrary to everything Natalie knows of affection, her perfect suitor may turn out to be love’s most unlikely candidate—the fool, not the hero, who is finally able to reach her heart.

my thoughts/review:  Honestly?  This started out a bit shaky for me.  Foenkinos' style seemed random.  Odd footnotes that I didn't understand.  Obscure facts nestled almost intrusively between quick chapters.  I knew they were supposed to fit in an odd, quirky way...I just wasn't grasping the concept.

But, in a strange and unexpecting way, the story and characters grabbed a hold of me.  I was hopeful of the love between Natalie and Francois.  And subsequently devastated when her happy life was ripped out from under her in the time it takes for a cat-nap.  Literally.  Natalie's period of mourning - and her delicacy showing through was very believable.  I was rooting for the unexpected union that formed between her and Markus (whom I found endearing).

In the end, I even found myself "getting" some of those obscure references and enjoying how they connected to the story at hand.  Although there were still a few random footnotes to add to the whimsy.  All in all, I wound up thoroughly enjoying this book.  I almost wished that the beautiful with possibilities...was just the beginning.

about the author (from TLC website):  David Foenkinos is a French novelist and screenwriter. His novels have been translated into twenty-five languages and garnered ten awards around the world. Delicacy, which was first published in France, garnered nominations for all five major French literary prizes and has sold one million copies. Delicacy is now a film starring Audrey Tautou of Amelie and will be released in the United States in March 2012. David lives in Paris.

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cholula Cap Decorating Contest WINNERS!

You may remember me announcing a contest back in December being put on by Cholula Hot Sauce.  Basically, I was helping them put out the call for creativity and holiday spirit using your Cholula bottles.  You know the ones.   The kind with the awesome wooden caps?  The winners were to receive: (grand prize) Sur La Table Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 9-piece cookware set valued at $279.96 and the (runners-up) $25 Sur La Table Gift Cards.  A few days ago, Cholula asked me if I could pick the winners.  
Well...of course!  For some reason there weren't a whole lot of entries (timing...holidays!?), but all of the ones that were created were absolutely fun and fantastic!  And the great thing about having a small number of entries...for those who played along, at that EVERYBODY who created a cap will get a prize!  There is one grand prize winner and four runners-up (originally there were 12 runner-up prizes up for grabs).  So.  Without further ado, let me announce these talented winners and their creations!

Like I said, all of the entries were awesome, but overall, my absolute favorite was this cap submitted by Faith.  It looks to be intricately painted with a night-sky Christmas Eve theme.  Look at the detail...the fabulous!  Congrats Faith, you've won the Sur La Table Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 9-piece cookware set!
Grand Prize Winner of Cholula Cap Decorating Contest
And the four runners-up with a fun pom-pom Santa (Sandy), a message for the season (Nichole), some smoochable mistletoe (Diane), and some holiday ornaments I'd love to hang on my tree (Jessica) will all receive a $25 Sur La Table Gift Card.  
Runners-Up in the Cholula Cap Decorating Contest
Congrats to everybody...and thanks for your thoughtful entries.  You will be receiving an email from the lovely people at Cholula Hot Sauce to confirm your win and arrange for the delivery of your prizes.

Thanks to Cholula for making me a partner in this event.  You can check them out on Facebook, their website, twitter...or at a store near you!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Baklava ...inspired by My Big Fat Greek Wedding {Food 'n Flix}

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of those fun flicks I like to sit down with every couple of years.  It has a forbidden love story line.  It makes me laugh.  It has a relatable lead actress.  Plenty of eye candy (hellooooo John Corbett, Louis Mandylor, and Joey Fatone!).  And if you actually stop to think about it...lots of awesome food references, scenes, and moments.  So, when my friend Deb from Kahakai Kitchen chose it as our Food 'n Flix film this month (she's hosting at her place)...I was psyched!

The only hard part?  Actually narrowing down what I wanted to head into the kitchen to make.  I almost went with the Greek family-owned restaurant idea and made a version of the Greek Breakfast Skillet I order EVERY SINGLE TIME we go to a local Greek family-owned restaurant.  Or perhaps I'd just go order and photograph the environment.

And then I thought maybe I'd put a lamb on a spit in the front yard.  Or perhaps serve flaky, rich Spanikopita.  With an Ouzo chaser, of course.  Maybe something vegetarian for Ian.  Or perhaps a bundt cake circling a flower pot.  Hmmm...the possibilities!  In the end, I decided to go with something that I haven't had or made in years.  Really.  Years!  And it's inspired by one of my absolute favorite, most hilarious scenes of the film.
Let me set the scene.  Toula wakes up on her wedding morning to hear the clang and clatter of a gaggle of her female family members getting ready for the day in the kitchen.  She calmly smiles and makes her way downstairs.  She walks into the kitchen oblivious to the screaming red welt under her lip.  Chaos ensues with her running back up the stairs with a train of clammoring cousins on her tail.  So.  Mosquito bite or zit?  Windex or cover-up?  And in the midst of the madness...girls in mustache bleach, curlers, and bathrobes searching for hear:  "Hello ladies...fresh Baklava!" from the doorway to Toula's room.  As they all turn around to look, Nicky (Toula's brother) is standing there snapping a Polaroid.  I know I didn't do it justice.  But it's a great scene.

If you pay close attention, you'll even notice Toula holding a sweet, flaky diamond of Baklava in her hand while she starts getting ready a few moments later.  So, what can I say other than what I say everytime I see a golden pan of this goodness?


by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Keywords: bake boil dessert vegetarian nuts sugar bars Greek
Ingredients (~30 pieces)
    • 2 c. sugar
    • 2 Tbs. honey
    • juice of ½ lemon
    • strip of lemon peel
    • 2-3 small cinnamon sticks
    all the rest
    • 2 c. nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios - mix of a couple or all)
    • 2 Tbs. sugar
    • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 22 sheets phyllo pastry
    • 6 oz. butter, melted until slightly golden and nutty-smelling
    • palmful of whole cloves, optional
    Put all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to a simmer for 5 or 6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
    making the baklava
    Preheat oven to 350° F.

    Finely chop and crush the nuts, leaving some with good texture. Mix them with the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

    Have your phyllo sheets ready, covered by a damp dish cloth or paper towel to keep them from drying out. Brush a baking dish (~8½ x 12") with some butter.

    Lay one sheet of phyllo dough over the bottom and brush with butter. If it doesn't fit exactly, you can either trim your sheets or just allow them to curl up at the edges like I do. cover with another sheet of phyllo and brush wtih butter. Continue like this until you have a stack of 10 sheets brushed wtih butter.

    Spread half the nut mixture over the phyllo and pat down. Cover with 2 sheets of phyllo, buttering each. Scatter the remaining nuts evenly over these sheets and press down again.
    Continue with remaining ten sheets of phyllo, buttering each in the same manner, including the top sheet.
    Use a small sharp knife to cut diamonds on the diagonal of ~2½" x2½". Cut all the way through the layers, as this will make it simpler to lift out the pieces when serving. Flick a little cold water over the top to prevent the layers from curling up. Stud the center of each diamond with a clove, if using.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just golden on top. Slowly pour half of the syrup all over the baklava. Once it is all absorbed, pour the remaining syrup on also. Let cool totally before serving.

    Will keep, covered and either at room temperature or in the fridge for at least a week.

    slightly adapted from Food From Many Greek Kitchens
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    This is my Food 'n Flix post for My Big Fat Greek Wedding hosted by Deb @ Kahakai Kitchen.
    I am also sharing this post with:
    IHCC theme: Fight Scurvy - Eat Citrus!
    IHCC Tessa Kiros Button crazy sweet tuesday sweet treats thursday SweetToothFriday sweets for a saturday