Tag Archives: Baking

Summer Berry Tart

It you go to any farmers market you will know by the bright reds and the deep blues that Summer berries are ripe and in season!  This sinfully delicious and light Mascarpone tart is an homage to the beautiful berries that mark the beginning of Summer! Continue reading


Best Cupcakes in the ‘ham

Dream Cakes

Let me tell you about my friends at dream cakes.  Well, I do not actually know the owners of dream cakes but I will call them friends because the fill mine and my children’s bellies with some amazing confectionary delights!  Dream Cakes is one of the thousands of cup cake shops that have popped up all over the country in the past few years.  It is excellent in every way.  Beautifully soft and moist cake with layers of flavor within and on top.  They have a massive selection both with standards and new flavors every day.  We have not found a cup cake yet that has not been amazing at dream cakes.  They have also utilized the food truck concept and are bringing their beautiful Homewood shop all over Birmingham.  So if you are in the mood for an amazing little lump of baked heaven head over the dream cakes in the Edgewood section of Homewood.

BTW if you are lucky they will have my personal favorite the Maple Bacon Cup Cake, yes it is exactly what you are thinking, trust me it puts you in a happy coma.

The Best Breakfast Cups…Ever.

One of the things I love about our family is that we decided a few years ago that breakfast and dinner were going to be priority family times.  We eat a full breakfast every morning together before we take the kids to school and go to work, usually consisting of bacon, eggs, bread, coffee and a fruit of some sort.  During the week, this is our standard, but when we get to the weekend I like to change it up a little.  Using the same ingredients with just a few tweaks I came up with the Best Breakfast Cups!  These Best Breakfast Cups are both hearty, with thick smoked bacon, and light with the fluffy omelet-like egg filling.  You are going to love these super tasty Best Breakfast Cups! Continue reading

The Great Bread Making Experiment: Day 22 or; The Fruits of My Labor

If I am being honest, I am not entirely sure I ever thought I would actually make a real loaf of bread from scratch the Tartine way.  Well on Wednesday afternoon after 3 weeks of trial and error with a from scratch culture, leaven, proofing and finally baking, I  Made Bread!!!  Not only did it look beautiful, it tasted amazing!  We have already eaten 1 1/2 of the two loaves.  While I feel like this is a major accomplishment in my bread making journey I understand it as crossing the starting line not the finish line.  So keep looking for weekly bread making updates as I experiment with the great breads from Tartine and a new book I bought; The Bread Bakers Apprentice.

The Great Bread Making Experiment; Day 13: or Days Away From Bread Making Bliss

When the Great Bread Making Experiment last left you, our hero “the starter” was literally teetering between this world and starter afterlife (the garbage disposal).  When all of a sudden (3 days of coddling), from the icy cold grip death (my sink) our valiant hero (a lumpy gelatinous pile of fermenting flour and water) arose (that is literally true, it did rise) a valiant and hearty starter!!!  I am proud to announce that if the consistent pattern of rising and falling, that has developed in recent days, continues I am planning on making bread, my first Tartine bread, by next Tuesday!!!  So make sure to stay tuned, same bread time same bread site for the exciting conclusion (it is not really the conclusion because if it works I will be making a lot more of the good stuff)  of…. Super Starter!!!

I Remember the Streets of Damascus…

Well, in my impatience waiting on the starter, which by the way is working well (post to come), I wanted to use my new Kitchen Aid mixer and bakers stone.  So I decided to make some Pita bread!  I have never made pita but love, love, love this wonderfully simple bread!  I fell in love with pita about 10 years ago when I spent a month studying in Jordan and Syria.  This was an incredibly euphoric time for me; first time out of the country, falling in love with my wife and traveling the world, all the while pita bread and kalamata olives provided the culinary soundtrack for the mix of life changing events.  I remember walking the streets of the ancient city of Damascus completely famished from the long day of travel from Amman and smelling the now all familiar aroma of fresh baking Pita. Continue reading

The Great Bread Making Experiment: Day 7; On Life, Death and the Desire for Certainty

So, it has been a couple of days since I have given any updates on the starter. Well, I have been a little dumbfounded by the activity of my culture.  If you have been following this blog, which by the way a ton of people have (thanks!), you will know of my great excitement and early success in growing my yeast culture into a bona fide starter.  Well we have had a set back of sorts.  After that first feeding and subsequent post “It’s Alive!!!” I felt as though I was well on my way to bread making nirvana, I was wrong. Continue reading

The Great Bread Making Experiment: Day 4; or What Goes Up Must Come Down

So today I awoke and what to my wandering eyes did appear but …a ring around the bowl!  You might wonder why this is a good or significant event in my life.  Well it means that my little microbial pets, the yeast, are now feeding on the warm water and bread flour that I am giving them.  You see every morning I am removing 80% of my wonderfully growing starter.  Let me pause.  This is depressing, you see every day I have to literally throw away 4/5 of my newly grown friend/pet.  Again,this is depressing.  There is a reason.  Every morning my post cup of coffee act of savagery is not committed out of rage or some lustful vengeance.  No!  It is done out of love.  My pubescent starter is in quite the growing phase and needs room to stretch its ever expanding girth.  So every morning I just give it a little lypo and viola!  It gets to grow again and I become a tiny bit more it’s master.  So when I walked in and saw that it had risen and fallen it was just the sign I was looking for that we are on the right track in both training and growth.  It’s a beautiful moment when the little ones begin to do things on their own. sniff sniff.  More to Come!!!

The Great Bread Making Experiment: Day 3; or It’s Aaallliiiivvve!!!!

Alright, so I promise that is the last Frankenstein’s Monster reference I will make, well unless something goes horribly wrong and it is truly warranted.  I did not post yesterday because, in all honesty, there was nothing to post.  Day 2 of making starter might be the most uneventful day of bread making ever.  I desperately wanted something to happen, I checked the starter several times almost willing bubbles to form.  Alas, I saw nothing.  So, this morning I woke up with a headache. It is not a fun New Year’s headache.  It is more of a ” I have 3 and 5 year old children and the combination of massive Thunderstorms, Fireworks and extreme fear of loud noises” sort of headache.  So needless to say with the of lack of action yesterday, and the strong drink of parenthood last night, I was not hopeful for any of those magic bubbles in my starter today.  But….Eureka!!!  IT IS ALIVE!!!!  So today I begin the training and feeding of my new little pet.  This will continue for a few days, I will post updates, until it is trained.  Then, the making of the BREAD!!!

The Great Bread Making Experiment: Day 1; or the Best Intentions of Dr. Frankenstein


Nothing about cooking scares me.  Well, almost nothing…  I love to experiment, construct, deconstruct and frolic through the enormous culinary play ground that is cooking.  I might not be perfect on the first go around but I am usually having a great time creating exciting and memorable food for my family and friends.  It is all fun and games until I stray a little too far from my happy places and end up in the land of baking, specifically; bread baking.  Now do not get me wrong, I like to bake and I can make some pretty good stuff, but baking bread, I mean good, deep golden, crusty, spongy artisan bread, has always scared me to death!  I think a real part of the fear is the science and the preciseness behind the art of real baking.  I am not a math person, and to be honest I am not a patient person, the two together are a deadly combination when it comes to making bread.  So either as a sadistic act of public humiliation or a beautifully crafted act of vulnerability and exploration, I have decided to embark on a very public journey into the heart of bread baking and am inviting you to come along on the journey. Continue reading

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