Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in...

This quote by Arlo Guthrie always inspires me (I got to make Mr. Guthrie a latte and watch him enjoy it in the bakery yard a few years back, truly a highlight of bakery life!),  especially now as the light is slowly returning to our cosmic hamlet by the sea but the grip of winter is still firm. Which can mean anything, really. We have had snow and rain, cold temps and warm ones, high winds and icy roads. Baker Abbey had to take a cab to work in the wee morning hours yesterday and even with their four wheel drive and studded tires ended up in the ditch in front of the bakery. She went on with her morning to make these amazing jalapeno cheddar buns, though....Go Abbey!
one of these will spice up your day!

This is the time of year that tests the hardiest of souls. The dark is waning, but it is still pretty dark. Winter will not be gone for 4 more months... there is no fresh produce at the grocery store and people walk around with pale faces and blank stares. (though a new tanning salon just opened up in town, woo-hoo!) When there's no snow, you have to work pretty hard at staying entertained, especially difficult to do without stretching your vices, or pocketbook to the limit. When we opened the bakery 18 years ago, it was in response to the need that Homer had, or so I thought, for a little bright spot that was open during those dark times, not just for the summer when things are bright and bustling. Turns out I was right and we have carved out a merry and loyal following who keep us opening the doors every day no matter what the weather. If we do close it's because we are concerned for our employees safety in getting home, or to take a few days  to scrub the walls and slap on a fresh coat of paint. I'l admit, last winter we actually closed on sundays for a while to give our staff (and me!) a little breather. Not this year, though, instead of cutting back, we are adding on...in more ways than one! The new enclosed porch is done and to celebrate all this new space we are opening for dinners starting in February. It will just be friday and saturday nights for now as we collect signatures (only 600 more to go!) for a beer and wine license and get this whole dinner thing figured out. By spring we hope to be open 5 nights a week and to be able to serve you a refreshing locally brewed beverage with that.  It will be a bright and busy couple of months for us, so if things start looking a little too dark in your neck of the woods, come by and see what's up, or, as my friend Tom Bodett likes to say: "We'll leave the light on for ya..."

Thursday, January 20, 2011


We've received many favorable comments as well as questions about our new cups featuring our logo. Homer coffee connoisseurs have probably seen custom logo cups all over town and the peninsula as they flit from watering hole to watering hole. We have the inside story about these cups and thought it would be appropriate to write about it here.
About 12 years ago, we first inquired about what it would take to get our logo on our paper cups from our new paper products distributor (and future husband to Sharon) Dale Banks, with Loopy Lupine Recycled Products. At the time, two really large corporations controlled most of the production of coffee cups, and we would have had to buy about 100,000 cups at a time in order to get our name in lights, like the big coffee shops. Our tiny supply closet barely held any backstock, requiring us to constantly call Dale to heroically rescue us from our suddenly running out of cups in the middle of a lunch rush ("oh, Da-ale!!"); actually buying a gazillion cups in advance AND finding a place to store them was obviously out of the question (and may have proven detrimental to a budding romance...).
Fast forward 12 years and a lot of research: Loopy Lupine Distribution is all about the LOOPYCUP! Available in 12, 16 and 20 oz., Dale prints and forms thousand of cups for local coffee shops. The paper is sourced from Forest Stewardship Council certified paper stock, which is coated in a biodegradable plant-based plastic. The printing utilizes water-based inks, and the waste is recycled after being played in by our children.
In case you think this is just child's play, we should mention that the production space is solar heated, and is a straw bale design utilizing local wood and recycled materials.
We are sorry that not everyone has time to sit in our shop and drink coffee out of a nice mug. But if ever you forget your travel cup and you still want to make a better environmental choice while drinking coffee or soup on the go, have no fear - LoopyCups are here!

Baker boys rolling in the sunshine!

This time of year, the sun shines in low below the roof, giving us amazing light to work by...

Ben Gerhards rolls the pastry dough.

and Shea Babich is all up in the ham danishes...(or ham jobs as we like to call them)

Oh, Yeah...the new enclosed porch opened for seating this week...look for dinners on the weekend by the beginning of February! (and better pics as soon as the sun comes out again)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ski Dinner 2011...Go Mariners!

Irene and Jill dish and dress the Cioppino
The lack of snow on the ground this year is proving that winter weather in what is essentially a northern rain forest, is not to be counted upon. When it is here, the snow provides endless entertainment for virtually every kind of person. You can ski  (downhill too!) or snowmachine on the vast and varied trails. You can go sledding or snowshoeing, build snow forts (Ryans are amazing) or just enjoy the moonlight sparkle across the yard on a full moon solstice night. When the snow is not here, what you have is a whole town full of crabby people. Winter is almost 9 months long and for many of us, it's a whole lot more fun if it's really winter. They have more of the fluffy white stuff in NYC. Makes me jealous, nothing quiets people down more than a snow storm and following the snowbound Ruth Reichl's tweets tempered with the mischievous echoes of Ruth Bourdain has me wishing I could take the forced break in my life that only a good snowstorm can bring. My friend, author Daniel Coyle addresses the necessity of solitude to our creative success on his Talent Code blog. He definitely makes a good case for getting away from it all on regular basis. I wonder how to do that.
There was no solitude this past weekend for sure as I got my chef on and, along with some friends (Thanks, Barb, Irene, Jill and Maya...you all were awesome, as usual!) made some fine food for the annual Homer High School Nordic Ski Team Dinner. The theme this year was 'Nuts for skiing' , but if this weather keeps up, they'll have to start calling it 'nuts for not skiing'! Here was the menu:
anti pasti...spiced nuts...melon and proscuitto
Appetizer trio-
Rockfish Crudo...alaskan charcuterie...fresh oyster with pommegranate and champagne
Pasta & Salad-
Cappelini carbonara with smoked salmon roe and home cured pancetta
arugula and tangerine salad with red onion vinagrette
Main Courses-
Cioppino with crab, rockfish and shrimp
Flank steak and crab roulade with oven roasted polenta and red wine reduction
Dessert trio-
Tiramisu...raspberry napolean...chocolate bombe

Moose summer sausage, Reindeer salami and house made lavender cured delta pork belly

Rockfish crudo on deck

Cioppino awaits the servers

Service went great with lots of help from all the parents and students on the team.  Thanks also to Pauli and Harmon Hall for their amazing space. It is one great place for a party.
Word is they raised $10,000...Great Job everyone!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Ciabatta hits the big time....

 Happy New Year, everyone! I'm a little late on my greetings this year, but you'll have to excuse me, we have had a lot going on. We battled through the first weekend of 2011, staying open even on New Years Day. Then Monday saw the delivery of our new 3 door lowboy refridgerator and all the furniture for the new porch. Also, Sharon put out the petition to collect signatures for our beer and wine license. A huge project that we think will give a whole new meaning to hanging out on the porch. (Dinners coming soon, too!) Then, on Tues my friend and mentor Michael Ruhlman asked if I could pull together a guest post for his excellent blog. The top of my head almost blew off. Thank goodness I had the next day away from the bakery so I could get myself together. (read my post on ciabatta here) When I went back on Thursday, this is just a taste of what I found:

This is going to be great. More to come...

Here is a sample of what Brianna has been up to!