Saturday, January 31, 2009
For some reason, so far this year, Mother Nature's mood has been all over the place like a whirling dervish going through menopause! We started the month with below zero temps that had everyone dealing with freezing pipes and cars that wouldn't start. Then the winds began to howl and the temperature went up to 45 degrees and the rain came blowing, not just sideways, but ALL ways! We slid around on icy roads til the snow was all gone (!) and then last saturday we had a 5.7 earthquake (just making sure we're paying attention!) and now we are on code orange Volcano Watch of Mt. Redoubt while a total white-out blizzard rages outside...Good Times! (p.s. this photo is of the eruption in 1989...truly spectacular! image courtesy R. Clucas)
Friday, January 30, 2009
It will an interesting day here...
While being a Bakery is very important to us...the coffee that goes along with is really just as big of a deal. We have a sweet 10 year old Astoria 2 group manual espresso machine we bought brand new. Some people think it's older than it is because of it's lack of electronic controls...but, we have to clarify, we wanted it this way...old school,more control of our shots, and besides, they are way more fun to operate. Because it's not a machine that's used much commercially anymore, when it goes down...fixing it can be quite an adventure! Our house handy ma'am and Espresso Machine Technician- Sharon- has had a crazy couple of days tryint to figure this all out...a big Thanks goes to Steve (now known as Sharon's new boyfriend) at General Espresso in North Carolina. Now, hopefully the part will show up today and we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming...til then can I interest you in a cup green tea with your scone?
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Hershey's (who purchased the company in 2005) is going to close their Scharfenberger Chocolate plant in the city...Their excuse to consolidate production is probably the wise, pragmatic chioce for a conglomerate given...you know, the economy and all. The story got me thinking, though, does that mean there is going to be this cool old chocolate factory sitting empty in the city by the bay? Perfect oportunity for some start-up artisan chocolate producer to take it to a whole other level...Gordon Terpening are you hearing me?! First Bisbee...next San Fran....what do you say?!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The Chocolate- Bacon Truffle became the subject of the day as I performed my own social experiment to see how people would react to this 'unusual' pairing...pretty much it was an all or nothing deal- either you said "YES...I'll have two!" or it was "uh...I'm not doing bacon right now" the people who did try it thought, if nothing else, decided it could be more...well...Bacon-y!
My method this morning was to melt more semisweet chocolate, add a little bacon fat and use this to enrobe the rolled truffles. Each one was then topped with a mix of crispy bacon and turbanado sugar all ground together in the spice grinder (sorry Randall, I swear I cleaned it really well!)
The result was smooth, silky, not at all what you would expect...in my mind...a complete success!
A more detailed formula will be posted to the recipe blog as soon as I work it all out...
It started as a bit of a jokey challenge from my friend in all things chocolate, Jenny Coyle...but the more I thought about it, I knew it had been done before, so I decided to try making a ganache by first frying bacon til quite crisp, pouring off the fat and adding cream to deglaze the pan and heat the cream. I then poured the heated bacon-y cream through a strainer and over the chocolate. I made two versions: one Milk Chocolate and one Semisweet. The flavor was amazing in both, but I think so far the winner is the semisweet pairing. The fillings are chilling overnight and this morning I'll go in and roll them into balls...now, how to top them off...hmmm. I'll be back later, hopefully with photos of the finished product...so stay tuned!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
...we start playing with our food! Sharon has been making these long yummy bread roulades for lunch,filling them with savory blends of spinach and cheese or whatever is around. I kept thinking they looked like a big Caterpillar. This is one bug you definitely want to eat!
The cold weather from the beginning of the month broke into raging rainstorms and 50 degree temps that left us all slipping and sliding on icy roads and canceling all of our snow related fun! All the snow melted down in town and the sun came back to give us a few days of summer-like weather. People came out in droves on Saturday as they emerged from their storm-imposed exiles. I think we all agree that this may be one of the wildest winters in our collective memory!
Here at the bakery, we are readying our candy stocks for the Valentine holiday...time to replace the snowflakes on the windows with some pretty paper hearts and get the red ribbon out...love is in the air!
Monday, January 19, 2009
If someone would have told me when I opened Two Sisters Bakery with my good friend (we felt like sisters...we thought people would get it), that one of my true sisters would move from Michigan to Homer and end up for a time working at the Bakery (you can picture the dialog can't you? "Are you one of the 'sisters'?" "No, but my sister is!"), I'm not sure I would have stuck with it. We have confused so many people because we also happen to have almost the same name. My delightful and talented sister Tarri has since married a 5th generation blacksmith and has herself been creating beautiful pieces of metal art for a decade now. All from a gal who spent 20 years as a high-end hair dresser in Ann Arbor! Her husband Marlon Prazen is part of an amazingly talented family and my sis just fit right in. They have built a new shop out east of Homer and hope to open their new gallery on site very soon. Until then you can ogle at their work on their new website at mooserunmetalsmiths.com
Saturday, January 17, 2009
This January marks the 10 year anniversary of 'Soul Sisters. inc.' We formed the official corporation in Jan 1999 after Sharon and Kate had worked their way into partnership of the business with lots of sweat equity and creative contributions. It has been a fruitful 10 years! We bought land and designed and built a new Bakery with beautiful B&B rooms above...installed the brick oven we had been dreaming of and given birth to 5 more babies along the way. Without their swooping in to save Two Sisters way back in 1997...the bakery itself would be a distant memory! I was just interviewed by Alaska Business Monthly Magazine about how a business survives as long as we have. (we'll be 16 years old in May!) It really gave me a chance to reflect on what it takes to make it work. In our case it has been a serious passion for what we do, a fierce determination to do it and a sincere love for both the people we work with and the people we serve. It helps to be doing it in such a beautiful place. We have a view of the snow capped mountains meeting the sea from our baking tables and great tunes on the stereo and a warm fire burning in the brick oven...surviving? Shoot, we're thriving! And we couldn't have done it without each other, so, Congratulations Girls! (did I spell that right?)
Monday, January 12, 2009
A year or so ago author and food blogger Michael Ruhlman wrote an informative post on the film King Corn. Check it out HERE .
King Corn is a documentary directed by Aaron Wolf and features two College grads; Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis (shown above), as they discover where America's food comes from when they plant a single acre of corn and follow it from seed to the dinner plate. They treat this complex subject with humor to show how , with the help of modified seeds and powerful herbicides, this country's most sudsidized crop becomes the staple of it's cheapest and most troubling foods...(high fructose corn syrup anyone?)
Now, King Corn is coming to Homer! This Thursday at the Homer Family Theater. 6 pm. They'll be serving an all organic menu sponsored by Smoky Bay Natural Foods and Inner Nature Chiropractic...with hot dog buns made by us! We'll be meeting here at the Bakery for beers before the show if you'd like to join in!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
January has begun clear and cold making it hard to even keep the wood oven fired up to temp. Our mop sink has frozen pipes, which is no big deal compared to some of the people we know. Business has been humming along with lots of people coming in for refuge from the frigid weather. The light is short, but quite bright and now that the sun is so low in the sky it comes into the kitchen and makes for beautiful afternoons of rolling pastries in the sunshine!
Monday, January 5, 2009
I'm back from a New Year's week of fun in the cold! And was it cold! We skiied the first two days of the week in -5 degrees and I thought that was pretty adventurous for me, especially! Then when the temps dipped past -10...I cried uncle! Daughter Jane toughed it out on that last day...honing her new boarding skills. Now it's back to school and Bakery. Homer is a little warmer this morning, my thermometer says 0 degrees right now. Time to make ice cream! Which brings me to a new blog to share by a very creative pastry chef in New York. Michael Laskonis' Workbook today tosses around the idea of sweet yellow pepper sorbet...mmm!