Saturday, November 30, 2013

The days are just packed!


the view from here on a sunny fall day
My bad for having not written in so long. It's not like there hasn't been anything to write about. Seriously, there has been way too much! Since I last sat down to write, we have been on TV (thanks Alie and Georgia!), had a baby (We love you Carla and Dan and baby Elli), Got married, not once (Congratulations to Jill and Luke!) but TWICE (Bri and Ryan, we are so happy for you!). We also had two production companies talk to us about reality shows, both were prefaced with, "we've always wanted to do a show in Alaska!" One was an extreme cakes show with Sharon creating elaborate fondant cakes and Niko delivering them by dog sled (only Sharon doesn't do fondant and Niko doesn't dog sled) and the other was going to be about plus size sisters making big fun in the 49th state, (right, except we are not exactly plus size and we are not exactly sisters, so yeah, but no).


no matter what is going on, there is always something good on the rack!

Sharon and I both went to Paris, though sadly not together, and to top it off, Morgan and I met our heroes while going MAD in Copenhagen (check out the videos of some of the presentations we saw, so amazing! I still hope to write a post all about it). While all that was going on the bakery hummed it's busy, happy tune as we enjoyed one of the busiest retail summers we have ever had. It seems like we had our share of broken refrigerators and other curve balls, but all in all their were fewer tears, and for THAT we are ever grateful. And as we head into the dark of this winter season, we are also thankful for the smiles across the counter that warm us and we know the love from our customers will light our way through these coming days of darkness.


Happy Thanksgiving!
XO

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blast from the past: circa1993








Here I am, pulling some of the first batches of white trash rolls out of the oven way back in 1993. As you can see, I have swallowed what looks to be a watermelon. That sweet melon turned 20 along with the bakery this year! My how time flies....






Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Winter...it's a wrap!




Our friends Rachael and Ben at Alaska Stems are bringing in the first blooms from their tulips, the cranes have arrived. So have the birders...the surest sign of spring is not just the snowy white swans frolicking on the shores of the almost thawed Beluga Lake, it is the out of town visitors sporting big cameras!



It's also the time to use the last of the salmon from the freezer. Our cured salmon 3 ways is the perfect showcase of the different ways you can use fish you might not want to eat otherwise.
Gravlax with caraway sour cream and fresh dill, Smoked with nori and honey cayenne caviar and Pickled with ginger, cucumber and wasabi. This was the appetizer we served for this year's Ski Dinner, a benefit we do for the high school ski team. 
We also have new paintings up by Barbara Wyatt. She has a new gallery online at bwyattworks.wordpress.com her work is so beautiful and inspiring!


It makes the dining room really feel like spring is here!

Another bright spot in this crazy season was a visit from the lovely Alie and Georgia from The Cooking Channel and their awesome film crew. With our regular bakery days in full swing it made for some intense moments with so many people in the kitchen, but they made it so fun! 


The show will be airing in July...we'll keep you posted!




Saturday, February 2, 2013

What comes around, goes around...Why we love our egg farmers, part 2

video

One of our egg farmers sent me this sweet clip of her girls. we have been enjoying the fruits of their labor...and as you can see they have also been enjoying ours. Thanks, Deb!


























Friday, February 1, 2013

F is for February


Pear Gorgonzola and Walnut Borekas cooling in the window on an unusually sunny afternoon
The first month of 2013 was a bit sloppy and slippery, at least if you were trying to get around outside. We kept things warm and cozy inside, though! We enjoyed our busiest January ever even with all the bad weather and sketchy road conditions. Thanks to everyone who has helped us keep it all together and to the rest of you who keep coming back for more!

Hilary has her Challah braid DOWN!
Just a reminder...(this means YOU, Marvin) the challah isn't usually ready until noon or one. We aren't making very much, so it's good to reserve early. (Tom K. perhaps a standing order to make sure you get yours?)  
time to make more soup?
The soups have been flying off the stove on these chilly to the bone days. Latest favorite is a Coconut Chicken with Lime. Warms you from the inside out! 
fresh ricotta cheese! 
We are making our own ricotta for the dinner menu...we put it on the squash salad and use it in eggplant lasagne. I just love it like this, warm from the towel and spread on fresh sourdough bread. So incredibly good!

Kim Chee...the beginning!
Sous Chef Morgan got the book 'The Art of Fermentation' for Christmas and her first batch of Kim Chee will be ready soon...Look for it on the dinner specials menu this month! 

We are putting together a special menu for Valentine's Day! 
Call to make your reservations 235-2280

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy New Year!

 Welcome 2013!


"It's important to begin a search on a full stomach."

Henry Bromel
Northern Exposure, The Big Kiss, 1991



Cookies, Cookies, Cookies...Cater!
It was a crazy holiday season here at the bakery! Lots of cookies, cakes and breads flying out the door amidst the snow and the rain and the WIND! Christmas eve eve alone brought 2 feet of snow, which unfortunately was washed away by New Years eve. We did our best to be here through all of that, but mailmen we are not and we ended up closing dinner a couple of nights due to bad roads and part of the crew being stuck in their driveways. Those folks that were able to get to work did a fine job loading the cases. What a warm wonderful sight to be greeted with on a dark and cold snowy day! 


Everyone is dug out, Dinners are back on our regular schedule. 
(Wed thru Sat 6-9pm)


Now that the holidays are over, it's all about the FRESH! (or as fresh as we can find it in the middle of winter in Alaska!)
Spring rolls, our most popular catering item, have jumped onto the dinner specials list just in time to lighten things up...perhaps a nice noodle bowl or a squash salad to go with. A good way to keep your resolutions and not feel like your missing out. 
Speaking of missing out, it's true the season for these is over, but I just had to share!


Sharon's Yule Logs were just beautiful!


Welcoming adventure is what life is all about up here, and one of our crew is enabling just that. Evening server Stevie is assisting her boyfriend Lonnie Dupre as he makes his 3rd attempt at soloing Denali. He is hoping to fly to the mountain today, weather shamans permitting. You can help by supporting their kickstarter campaign to help bring awareness of the effects of climate change on the arctic. Cold Love indeed...Good Luck, Lonnie!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Holiday Train has left the station!

view from the baking table- Thanks Hilary!

These candy colored sunrises are the best part of winter mornings...besides being in a warm, happy bakery! 
The holidays are bearing down on us like a loud freight train, but, never fear, we are ready to climb aboard! We'll be packing lots of holiday cookies in our bags and eating hearty and delicious soup and sandwiches along the way...I think we'll also bring along a couple of these:



The first Yule Log rolled of the line last week where it was sliced and scarfed during the evening dinner service. Want one of your very own? Give us a call! (907)235-2280.
We are open throughout the holiday season, closing only Christmas Day. Dinners will be Thursday through Saturday that week, too. Come down and celebrate with us!
Another exciting note: 
Brianna Bryngelson's paintings are up and brightening our world...you must come and see them for yourself...they are the perfect tonic for the winter blues!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The art of gratitude


Counting your blessings is a talent. It's not something that comes naturally to us as humans. We are hardwired to anticipate the next danger, our ears pricked, hairs raised, waiting to slay the dragon. We let down our guard and that's when the bad things happen. It is an important part of our nature, this vigilance, but it must not be all consuming. It is equally important to be able to pull back and live the present, not the one as monitored by social media or the news, but the moment as we experience it in real time, in real life. I have a trick I've recently learned for when I get overwhelmed by all the noise from outside and my own inability to affect a positive change over things beyond my control: I stop and try to think how life would be without all the gadgets that make my knowledge of these affairs possible. And how without them I would be attending to the matters at hand. At my hand. Worrying about those people I can help, feeding people I can see. This Thanksgiving for me will be spent being grateful for the love and support of my family, the unwavering loyalty from my friends and the bounty that which the earth has bestowed upon us. Tomorrow, I will get back to slaying dragons, er, sandwiches. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Specials!


Time to order some tasty additions to your
Thanksgiving Dinner!

Breads & Rolls:
Pesto Garlic Ciabatta
Lavender Honey Wheat
$5 loaves
   Ciabatta
Sourdough Baguettes
Multigrain
White Trash
Potato

$5.00 loaves/$6 dozen rolls
  Jewelled Challah
$7 dozen rolls


Extras:
Croutons: $6/pound
Cranberry-orange relish:
$8/pint

Pies:$15 
  • Apple
  • Apple Cranberry
  • Sweet Potato Pecan
  • Pumpkin....$12

Cheesecakes:
        Pumpkin or Cranberry Swirl

              8” $25…10” $35

Wishing Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! 
We have much to be thankful for, especially all of YOU!

Love from all of us here at Two Sisters Bakery


Please Note: For best selection, place orders by 6 pm Tuesday, November 20th
(907)235-2280

Field Trip: Grrls Meat Camp 2012

Maya and her pig?
This fall I had an amazing opportunity to attend a camp on butchery with all women. It may seem strange, as we're a bakery and all, but now that we are serving dinners it has become very important to source our proteins responsibly. The fish is easy here, relatively speaking. But the meat is another story. And once you get that meat, how do you cut it to extract maximum in both flavor and value? Who knew this could even be an issue?! After a year and a half of running the dinner service, I know it is indeed a concern and one I needed to learn more about. So, meat camp it was. Best of all, my daughter Maya elected to join me. She flew in from college and we met in Chicago, a perfect mother-daughter get a way, don't you think? 
Which is how we get to the photo of her holding a pigs head... 
Enter Grrls Meat Camp: A celebration of women and the tradition of putting food by. Over the 3 days together we learned the importance of caring for our animals while they are alive and especially how to care for them after the slaughter. The best part of this process for me was the intent with which we all worked. Every person there was focused on the tasks at hand, and with dispatching a 250 lb pig, there are many, many tasks. But before we got to the camp and the pig, we met in downtown Chicago at Kari Underly's meat studio 'Range'. Kari was one of the hosts of the weekend, her book, The Art of Beef Cutting is the new bible of meat cutters everywhere. Kari is truly an icon for a new generation of women in the field of butchery. 

Kari and Ruth

We were also led by the energetic and eloquent Kate Hill, who's Kitchen at Camont  in Gascony has lured many to the altar of fine cured meats. Kate is the fairy godmother of the group, having hosted the first meat camp at her cooking school in France. 

Kate and Cathy
I was excited to meet Cathy Barrow, better known as Mrs. Wheelbarrow who's entertaining and informative blog has helped to inspire a whole revolution in home preservation. She is currently working on her new book, which I expect will become the new bible for preservationists everywhere! 

Maya with Elaine 
The soul of the group was Elaine Tin Nyo an artist from NYC who works with food and people and their ever changing relationship. She truly brought out the avant garde in our weekend!



Erika Checks out the smoker
At the camp on Friday, we reconvened with gals like Erika Nakamura of the duo Lindy and Grundy Meats in LA. Their 'face bacon' had Andrew Zimmern swooning...one taste and we were right there with him! 


Friday night we carried the pig into the walk-in...we were quite sure this place had never seen anything like this before!

strong grrls
Erika, Andrea Diebler (the talented butcher of City Provisions), Melody Nye (pig whisperer at Melo Farms) and Kate Yelvington, (roaming farmer girl currently working at Cure Organic Farms), all pull out the muscle to get this old girl bedded down for the night. 



We toasted to a beautiful sunset and tucked into a wonderfully prepared 'Camont' Cassoulet from Kate.
Then it was early to bed, the next day was a big one!


An 18 month old Duroc lady pig awaited us. Luckily the weather turned cold and crisp, we were able to work outside, the deck almost acting like a stage. A stage for educating, sharing and creating as we all lent our enthusiasm for learning how to make the most of such a precious resource, respecting the life of the pig and the traditions that brought us there in the first place.



Erika led the initial separation process, giving solid info colored with many anecdotes from her work.


Maya jumped right in, I never thought it could be emotional watching my girl saw through a piece of meat. 


Kari was a thorough and patient teacher, encouraging everyone to join in!


I became mistress of the grinder. The white fat on top is from the jowls which Kate used to make pate. It was amazing.



Molly Kearns cuts a piece of rind for the cassoulet, our dinner on friday, Thanks to the talented Kate Hill! 



A beautiful table greeted us every night!


Melody's delicious chickens were the center piece of dinner Saturday. 
Which was good, because the rest of the weekend was truly was all about the pork and the beef!


For breakfast, Erika shared one of her specialties: Face Bacon.
Should be called crack bacon. So Good.


All that lovely ground pork was processed on Sunday. We made 7 different kinds of sausage! 



Here is Dani from Butcher and Larder showing she has got this down!


We sampled them all before dinner sunday...delicious fun!




Hurricane Sandy reared her ugly head and took away 4 of our group early, (Maya included, boo!), as they needed to get home before the storm closed down the airports. So sausage day Sunday was particularly intense with fewer hands. We all dove in and had a grand time pairing flavors and sharing the details of this process. I learned so much! 
It was an incredible weekend, the best part being the women, and as you can tell from the roster above it was a strong group! We were joined as well by Kathy Skutecky, who acted as our personal pastry chef (Thanks for the treats, Kathy!) and writes her Stresscake posts with humor and heart. The knowledgeable Rachel Narins of the duo Chicks with Knives in Santa Monica, Rachel Miller the creative sous chef at Bondir in Cambridge, Ally Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Wheelbarrows's girl friday and an accomplished cook in her own right. And last but not least, the delightful Lily Baker who signed on last minute and gave her all to the weekend! 
We were chronicled by Jennifer Marx, photographer to the meat stars. Nina Barrett did a radio piece for WBEZ in Chicago, which garnered such vitriolic comments, I hesitated to share it here. In the end, I decided it was an interesting study in human nature. It is an important conversation to have: should we eat meat? Vegetarianism isn't for everyone, If we do eat meat, shouldn't it be raised responsibly and prepared well? It is a full on movement who's time has come. To know that these women are leading the way is something we should all be grateful for. I can't wait until Meat Camp 2014 in LA!
Interested in Grrls Meat Camp? Join their Facebook page
Thanks to everyone at the camp for such a wonderful weekend, The folks at Camp Duncan were great. Gratitude goes out as well to molly's mom who provided much of the bedding for us out of towners and to Kari's partner Ruth for caring so well for the whole group. 
And to the bakery folks, I really appreciate the opportunity to get away for things like this. I'd love to bring you all with me...Now THAT would be a 'Meat Up'!




Thursday, September 27, 2012

'Chili' to the bone

View from the baking table wednesday, 9/26/12
The winds have been blowing mightily all month bringing with them torrential rains and flooding all over the peninsula. Seward, Talkeetna and the Kenai River Basin have all been declared emergency areas. Homer has been somewhat spared the high water, but we have had our share of the wind and rain. It's made it a little difficult to enjoy what we love most about fall, the colors and the crisp air have been replaced with gray days and not being able to get to your car without being drenched. Definitely makes us a little jealous of our friends who have closed up shop for the season and flown south. The Homer Spit, while a thriving, bustling place in the summer, all but shuts down in the winter. One of our favorite places to enjoy the spit on those long days is Finn's Pizza. Finn's makes one of the best neapolitan style wood fired pizza's in the state and perhaps even the west coast. Honestly, if you are lucky enough to be sitting in their solarium on a lovely summer evening you might say it was the best pizza in the world! The lovely, hardworking family that owns Finn's lives near the bakery in the summer in a yurt close to the beach. In the winter they head for jobs in the lower 48. Lucky for us they had a little of their fine Nyman Ranch chorizo left over...we were happy to take it off their hands. Yesterday, I used it to spice up a hearty sausage chili.




With the smokey flavors of the chorizo and richly spiced with cumin and coriander, this chili is the perfect antidote to the winds of September. We'll be serving it today (while it lasts!).
You can find the recipe for this soup and other bakery delights over at the recipe blog.


If that doesn't do it, perhaps a german chocolate cupcake will!

photo courtesy of NOAA
This a photo of the latest storm via the National Weather Service...looks like one of our cinnamon rolls!





Monday, September 3, 2012

Laboring on Labor Day




Being in the restaurant business almost my whole life I've always thought of Labor Day as an ironical joke. Quite a few of the people who really labor for a living are rarely off that day. In fact, for us, it's one of the busiest days of the year. Once again we are reminded that to be in this business is to be working when everyone else is playing.

Thankfully we have an awesome group of people who crank right through it all with smiles on their faces.





We are so grateful to our crew who make it all look so easy...and delicious!