Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wedding Cake Bliss

Wedding season has begun in earnest! Every weekend from now til August is full of cakes of the wedded variety. I've been talking brides down out of the trees, so to speak, all spring(they call me the 'bride whisperer...), so now we are having to prove we are up to the task! Yesterday was a particularly crazy day with two cakes on the books. I baked them on thursday, filled and crumb coated on friday and then finished the icing and construction on Saturday. This was cake #2, delivered to Lands End Resort with the help of daughter Maya. On the way in we tried to count how many wedding cakes she has helped me deliver over the years. From the time she could walk she would help carry my tools or the flowers, always wanting to place one or two herself. Now she can all but set it up without me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Where were you on good friday, 1989?

I remember it as a slow horrific realization...when the news came that a tanker had run aground, the damage was considerably downplayed. As the days went by and the devastation became apparent, people began scrambling around trying to figure out how to makes sense of it, how to make a living for that summer, how to help in the most productive way possible. None of us could have predicted the overall effects this accident would have. Whole towns have been ripped apart, not to mention marriages and families. A way of life was changed forever. Many went to work for Exxon to try to clean it off the beaches, they were paid crazy high wages and promised many things. My husband was one of them...he worked in some of the most heavily soiled areas. It was all for show, he felt, wiping off rocks with oil absorbent rags only to have the waves wash more crude up onto the beach on the next tide. They all knew then that mother nature would have to take her time to deal with it. After 20 years, those beaches still have a thick layer of crude, just a shovelfull of gravel below the surface. When they brought the suit against Exxon, I knew that they would argue that they had spent all this money in the clean-up and weren't to be held accountable for the longterm effects. The court fight has kept the rollercoaster ride going by giving false hopes to so many who believed that even with all they had lost, eventually justice would prevail. The Supreme court ruling Wednesday has made it clear, there is no justice the world of big oil, just record profits and big CEO payouts. (The big honcho in charge at the time of the spill just recieved a $4oo million dollar severence package when he left the company). It adds an extra twist to the knife that we, here in Alaska, are paying almost $5 a gallon for gas and that's if you live on the road system!
UPDATE 7/01: John was interviewed by our local radio station about the rulings, to listen go HERE

Wednesday is my Monday

I should have taken a picture for was spectacular! I haven't made a mess like this in a very long time. It was one of those moments that having an open kitchen is less fun, it makes bursting into tears and running from the room out of the question, one must simply clean up the mess and start over. 'Don't cry over spilt milk' is one of my favorite mottos, only today, it was don't cry over spilt cheesecake. Not just one, but TWO uncooked cheesecakes went out of my hands as they were going into the oven, all over the oven and the floor, the clean-up was gnarly, and don't even mention the 6# of cream cheese and all the other ingredients (one was Baileys, the other lemon) that had to be thrown away. Ugh! there were more mishaps as the day progressed, funny how it can snowball like that. My bread came out very well, though, and I'm hoping that I got it out of my system before the weekend comes! I have two wedding cakes to deliver on Saturday...and they need to be spot on!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Solstice...a bittersweet affair!

The sun was long gone when I left the bakery at 11pm the other night, but driving to my little home on the bluff 7 miles to the west revealed what I love so much about living on this side of town, especially as the the longest day approaches. the sun doesn't go down until after midnight! Sadly, because now the days will slowly get shorter it carries with it a little foreboding of what is to come.
This season also signals the time for John to leave for Bristol Bay to fish for red sounds like the run is early, and if it continues, could break records. That would be good.
The 'red run' at the Bakery is just beginning in's been hit or miss since our big Memorial Weekend, but we are in it to win it now! What was it you wanted? A skinny 1/2 decaf 1/2 regular soy cappucino with half a shot of hazlenut and half a shot of sugar free vanilla? No Problem!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Snap! Crackle, and POP!

Tonight as I was cleaning my baking table I kept hearing a crackling noise behind me...there have been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood and my senses are on high alert when I'm finishing my day at such a late hour...anyway, I kept looking behind me and finally I realized it was the ciabatta I had just pulled out of the brick oven, snapping and popping away like all good, fresh out of the oven bread should!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

my garden is in!

Garden Update August 20th...peaking out!

Garden update July 20th...coming along!

It's a balmy 65 dgrees...John and I had lunch on the porch! I decided to forgo the big garden this year, too many distractons, and with the many successful farmers in our neighborhood, I'm better off baking bread and trade it for broccoli and lettuce from them! I have a little potato patch in my friend sydney's enclosure, but that and my container garden, well that's it! Sharon has been diligent in the bakery gardens...they look better than ever.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A new bun in the oven!

Kate just let us in on her little secret...She's 11 weeks into baking off a new addition to her family. We are so excited to welcome the, if I'm counting correctly, 9th bakery baby! (UPDATE: I'm's baby number TEN! see what happens when you get a bunch of women together? we all start counting wrong.)
Due date is Dec 31st...Congratulations, Kate, Jeff and Henry!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Farmers Market Begins!

Today is the first market of the season! It's been rainy and cold, and yes it's raining right now, but that rarely dampens the spirit of the farmers here in Alaska! We are so ready for anything fresh and saw me last week grinding up nettles for pesto, for pete's sake! (I've gone through 2 jars already!) Last night I baked off a hundred or loaves to send with Irene to sell at the bakery booth. She'll also have apple rhubarb tarts, fresh, hot chocolate bread, cheddar scones...oh, I'm getting hungry!

15 years...

This past May, amongst little fanfair, the bakery turned 15. It's hard to believe I've been doing anything for that long, and it can only mean one thing...My Maya, bakery babe numero uno is also 15! This year is extra special with it being her Golden Birthday, the big day is Sunday (the 15th, yeah) and she has chosen a quiet celebration with a few friends. Her big request to mark this time is to get her nose pierced and by the sound of my husbands voice, he's going to go along with it! wonders never cease! I think she knows exactly how she wants to be seen by the the world (its so much of what this age is about!), and she's right, it would look great on her! Last summer she waited until her father left for Bristol Bay and she dyed her hair purple before I put her on the plane to Interlochen for summer camp. I went along with it because it was a great way for her to try standing out against the rules and regs of camp life and it wasn't permanent...or so we thought, oops! Truly, I am a mother with little backbone, but I sure got me some cute kids...Happy Birthday Maya!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Nettle Pesto!

Spring can be a stinging affair this far north, with temps still in the forties most days (look, the trees aren't even leafed out yet!)...a little wind, a little rain, and yes, a little sun as well! Enough so that my nettle patch, on the western side of my lawn at home, is thriving quite nicely, thank you! It's the perfect time to cut back this itchy nuisance as the ball playing is in full force around here and looking for lost baseballs in a patch of nettles is, well, no fun! It's great that we get to take care of this pesky problem in such a tasty satisfying way! My friends Jenny and Sydney showed me this the past, we've gotten to make many different batches...but this year has been a little challenging to get us all together.
Since I am home today, I think I'll get things started!

I cut about 16 cups of nettles...enough for two batches

Drop 8 cups of the nettles into a large pot of boiling salted water and blanch for two minutes

Squeeze out excess liquid and give them a rough'll have about three cups

Into your food processor with approximately ( I say this because you can certainly
add more, less or delete altogether any of the proposed ingredients to your liking!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesean
1/2 cup walnuts (I prefer the flavor over pine nuts)
5 garlic cloves-peeled (obviously)
a splash of lemon juice
dash kosher salt
a few turns of the pepper mill
1/2 cup olive oil-the nicest you can afford - drizzle in as processor is running...again you can add more or less depending on how thick you want it!

I like to spoon it into glass jars and pour a little olive oil on top...refrigerate for up to four weeks or freeze in ziplock bags to save for the middle of winter when your dying for a little taste of spring!
This first batch is packaged up and ready to pass out to my friends!