Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Wedding of the Summer!

This was one crazy week...we've covered it all: new babies getting ready to be born (go Emma!) the loss to cancer of one of my oldest friends here in Homer (We'll miss you, Patsy!) and then, yesterday...Irene and Jakes wedding! The scene was set for a lovely outdoor soire but mother nature intervened with rain and wind and wildness! We were unable to move the party indoors, so plucky Alaskans that we are, Three Legged Mule put trash bags over their electronics and we danced our (sweet) asses off in the rain! The cake got VIP treatment with a nice dry spot in the house until cutting time!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

a good starter...

as my bacon cures and my tomatoes ripen in preparation for the BLT attention now turns to naturally leavened bread. I've been lucky to work with sourdough starter virtually every day for the past 20 years...when people ask me: "what do you do to keep yours going?" I say, "Use it!" Use it as often as you can and it will reward you with fluffy pancakes, tasty bread, awsome's almost endless! Now, mind you, it wasn't always that easy for me, either. I started working with sourdough in my first days learning to bake, but I always relied on the starter that was already there. When I left that kitchen, I took a little of that starter with me, and so it I moved jobs, my little starter friend came with me and everything was great. Until I decided to open a bakery of my own in an old paper making studio. We had to build the kitchen from scratch and when it was time to move in and start making bread, well, the starter I had didn't like it there so much. You see, it's alive, and if it doesn't like where it's living, well, there is going to be hell to pay! In other words, my little friend slowly died...nothing I did seemed to save it and I was not at all sure how to start over until one fateful day, I saw Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery make a starter using a red cabbage leaf on Martha Stewart's PBS program (I have learned so much from her shows!)...the next day when a friend showed up with red cabbage from his garden, I knew fate had intervened...the secret,( or rather the yeast), was unlocked and, as you can see, our 'baby' is doing just fine!
For the starter and bread formula visit our recipe blog!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hedwig does Homer

Hedwig and the Angry Inch wrapped up their performances at Down East Salloon this week, culminating in an amazing final performance on Wednesday night when all of Homer's Finest came out in all their glory! (I was sadly not one of them, I'm so sorry!) Sharon and the rest of the crew made it to the fundraiser event earlier in the summer for the Kachemeak Bay Family Planning Clinic. Even Sharon's partner Dale got into character for that one and was last seen that night making out with the drummer...oops! (did i get that part of the rumour correct? 'cause you know I want to get it right!)
Huge kuddos go to Irene and Ben for working so hard on this project while at the same time getting their asses kicked on a daily basis here at the Bakery! Bakers by day, Rock Stars by night...that's why we love them!
And to everyone who performed: Congratulations to all of you....BRAVO!
p.s. if I can get a hold of some video I will link it here...
(Atz Kilcher made for a stunning Hedwig...he may have a future in this, no?)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Busting Out!

My little Arkansas Traveler Heirloom Tomato Plant isn't so little anymore...and it has babies!

Fourth of July weekend brought seriously sunny skies to Homer. a stretch we needed desperately after the rain and cold that dominated last summer. With two wedding cakes on the books,Farmers Market, a Sunday brunch cater and our busiest retail days of the year it was difficult to schedule some time away. I was determined to join my friends the Coyle Family at their camp across the bay for a big Fourth of July celebration. I knew that with a little planning and help from my awesome staff (Irene- Thank You!) I would be able to bust out. All the details fell into place, then at the last minute, my fresh pork belly arrived along with our regular meat order fom the butcher. No time to deal with it, so I put it into a hotel pan and wrapped it up tight and stashed in the fridge until Monday, when I could give it the attention it deserved.
I arrived at the party to a mini concert... 90 people in the yard of the cabin enjoying the singing of a local entertainer whooping it up with her brightly patriotic costume and Elvis impressions. As many were extended family of my hosts, I only knew about a dozen people there, so as my social anxiety kicked into gear and I tried to come up with things to talk about, all I kept coming back to was this porkbelly waiting for me and how I was finally going to make bacon. It's funny how many ways you can fit pork belly into a conversation! When the whole roast pig came out of the box, it only added fuel to my fire, to anyone who would listen I talked about my bacon project. (and the reason for my Bacon Obesession? Here is the Challenge Damn, you, Ruhlman!)
The Party was super fun and went late into the night, with about 45 of us spending the night. The next morning after coffee and breakfast was wrangled for the crowd, out came the newspaper. (everyone was dying to read the latest on Palins resignation!) My daughter took the comics and started working on the Sudoku puzzle, I looked over her shoulder and read my horoscope..."This weekend miscommunications will abound. be prepared" That's all it took to fire up the worry...all the details I had left behind certainly left lots of room for miscommunication! I decided to hang over the point to check my messages and since there were none, figured the best thing to do was to wait until the next morning to get the report in person.
Sure enough, Randall met me at the handwashing sink. "Um...we had a little confusion around the catering order...I wasn't sure what I was doing-so I baked your porkbelly by accident." His words came at me really fast and I had only heard "Problem, Cater, Cooked Pork Belly." I blinked a moment and queried cautiously, "Did the Brunch go out all right?"..."Yes, Yes...It's just that I thought the Pork was supposed to go ,too. I mean it wasn't labeled or anything." I remembered being in a hurry, it's true, my own fault really. Funny, huh?
Luckily, They ordered me another straight away (thanks, Red!) and here I was curing my Pork Belly on Monday, just like I said!
I'm missing photos of the drying process, will get them on the next batch!
I fried some up and it is all that I had hoped for and more, not too salty a little sweet, so good! I had arranged for a friend to smoke some for me, however our timing was wrong...will have to try that with the next batch, which is already curing...I'm hooked!