Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quite a week...'literally' speaking!

This has been a big week for our little town of Homer in the Literary World...Yesterday, two of our good friends had book releases...Daniel Coyles 'The Talent Code' finally hit the bookstores...on it's way to changing the world of teaching forever! And Miranda Weiss' book 'Tide, Feather, Snow' a memoir of adjusting to a new life in Alaska, will sure to be in everyone's beach bag this summer! I got a call Monday from Miranda's husband asking for a cake to I channelled my inner Duf Goldman and whipped out a book so good you could eat it! Of course, this was not without it's I was dismounting the chair I stood on to take this picture, I slipped (you know it had to happen, didn't you?) and drove the heel of my hand into the corner of the cake! Luckily, I had already gotten the photo, right?! Some quick cake repair (after I finished swearing) and all was well once again...

After all the cake excitement was out of the way and my blood pressure returned to normal, we got a sweet e-mail from the author of this book:

He said he lived in our neighborhood a few years ago and would walk his little girl to the beach, stopping by the bakery for snacks. Then he moved back to N Carolina and decided to write a childrens book about it! You just never know when you are going to be someone's muse!
Maybelle, Bunny of the Northis available Here

Related Events: Dan will be doing a reading at the Homer Public Libraryon Friday, May 1st... (Don't worry, buddy, I've got a cake for you, too!) and Miranda will be reading on Thursday May 14th at The Bunnell Street Art Center

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Planting Moon...

The volcano still looms in our presence with it's 'lava dome' and 'discreet earthquakes'...enough to make us wary of settling into normal life. Luckily, Mother Nature marches on with or without us, so when Natalia said that this weekend will be a good planting moon, we decided to get together after work and dig in the dirt! We saved tomato cans all week and got some bags of soil and seeds and stuff (I plantd Dahlia corms in # 10 cans). Natalia had bunch of 4 paks and she was very organized, carefully labeling everything. Ryan brought in a pair of waders that he planted Sunflowers in, propping up the boots with alder sticks. Irene brought some lovely little Basil starts and, along with Brianna, helped Kate juggle Calvin and Henry and still get something accomplished! We had to do it inside because the weather kicked up some wind and rain...(what's a planting party without a little of that!) Spring is slowly but steadliy having her way with us, teasing us with snippets of sun and warmth, but at the moment all is still very grey with ash and it's hard to believe things will be green ever again!

...a few weeks ago I was so desperate I planted me some grass, man!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fresh Bread for Dinner, Toast for Breakfast!

We are borrowing a page from the Tartine playbook and adjusting our baking schedule to fit a little more closely with both the needs of our customers and ourselves. Instead of trying to put out a bunch of beautiful pastries and breakfast and lunch items AND make bread AT THE SAME Time, we are moving the bread bake to mid-day, so as to free up our oven space and give folks a hot loaf just in time for dinner! It is taking a little time to figure out the oven firing schedule and it will take even longer to fully train our customer base, but in the end, It could be well woth the Thanks, Chad! (I think)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Old is New again...

WWD has a great article about the time Julia Child came and cooked lunch for them in 1972. Julia stressed thrift as being not just about boring food...she was all about transforming the most humble of ingredients into flavorful meals that would satisfy both the senses and the pocketbook. A couple of years ago I found an old copy of 'Mastering the Art of French Cuisine' at a goodwill store on the island of Molokai, of all places! This article makes me want to pull it out and read it again!
I love looking back to our past for inspiration and am always on the lookout for a good thrift store or flea market. When I was a kid we would drive a few miles north from our town in Michigan up to the Armada Flea Market. It was (and I think still is!) the quintessential outdoor market where you park under the trees and shop the local farmers fruits and veggies as well as antique vendors from all over the area. It's one of the things I miss the most about the in Alaska, the outdoor markets are just catching on and they are mostly farmers markets...this state is still so young, antiques are hard to come by!
In the spirit of marrying the old and the new, amazing and innovative chef Grant Achatz (who also happened to grow up in the Armada area...strange coicindence,no?) has written an interesting piece for the Atlantic about that very subject.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On a 'scale' of 1 to 10...

Our two new favorite cooking books around the bakery both score a '10' as far as we are concerned!
Michael Ruhlman's new book 'Ratio' is a great way to understand the dynamics of cooking and especially baking.He breaks the formulas down to simple ratios and then provids the methods with which to implement them, giving the reader the power to unlock the code of great technique. It is a very comprehensive and well written foray into cooking like you've never seen before. Mr. Ruhlman has been an important mentor to me in the world of food writing and I'm convinced this new book of his is sure to be an instant kitchen standard! (you might want to invest in a scale, though!)
Tartine is not so new...published in 2006...I'm not sure why it took us so long to get it! It is a lovely book written by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson about their very popular Bakery/Cafe in San Fransisco. Sharon and Kate met Chad back in 1999 at a bread bakers conference in Sausilto...the same time they met Alan Scott, the legendary oven builder who changed how we looked at baking bread forever! When we finally built our wood fired oven, Chad was gracious enough to council us on some of the finer points of using the oven more effectively. It is exciting to see Chad and Elisabeth and their beautiful bakery doing so well... and it gives us the inspration to stick to our dream, no matter what!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Here, at the Bakery, around lunch time the phone calls will often be centered around what soups we have to offer. Sometimes I picture the person on the other end of the line has all the cafes in town on speed dial to make it easier to decide what to have for lunch that day. I tried to keep up by posting the soups of the day on this blog, but I didn't get the word out very well and ended up kinda sucking at it anyway, so, still the calls come. The one that has the most fans is the Hungarian Mushroom Soup. It's hearty and meaty (without having meat...which is very big around here!)...and a little spice to warm a body on a cool spring day!
The full recipe is here at Two Sisters: The Recipes
My favorite question customers ask about this soup: "What makes it Hungarian?"
My favorite answer: "Because of all the Hungarians we put in there...only you have to chop them up real fine,
'cause they are really chewy!"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hot Stuff!

Just like I promised, Here is something hot for you! Only it's not coming out of my oven ..OR a volcano...this one is hot off the Presses! My good friend Dan Coyle (author of Lance Armstrong's War and Hardball...among others!) has a new book coming out that has already changed my life and I haven't even read it yet! I was lucky enough to watch his first presentation of the book's premise and, with that alone, have put some of his 'practices' in place when teaching both my bakers or my children! Whether you are coaching t-ball or teaching someone how to roll pie crust, the stuff Dan lays out in this book will make you a more effective teacher and learner...I can't recommend it highly enough! I pre-ordered mine from can,too!
It hits bookstores April 28th!
Update: You can read the first chapter here...!
Check out the web site, too!