Category Archives: baking

Rise up

DSC_0015Last year, I was blessed to spend Easter in the Black Forest.  There was a dusting of new snow that morning and I attended mass alone in a beautiful church where the only word I truly understood was “Amen.”  It was perfect.    In the little town of Neustadt, thousands of miles from “home,” I had a deep sense of belonging to something larger than the daily world I have made for myself and my children.  I loved that holiday.

7lbs of bone-in prime rib

7lbs of bone-in prime rib

This year, the boys and I enjoyed a special dinner on Holy Saturday.  I jumped off the meatless Lent train a day early and we feasted on prime rib and grilled asparagus.  I opened a fine bottle of Bordeaux which, after our meal was consumed and cleaned up, I brought to the neighbors’ to share.  There were more bottles of wine uncorked and I enjoyed a relaxed spring evening.  It was lovely.

DSC_0025 This morning, I mastered the lamb cake mold my family had mailed from Germany a few weeks back.  It took three attempts to nail it.  The first try was a disaster – the pan fell over in the (newly cleaned) oven making an impressive mess as the batter flowed into the most impossible to clean crevices.  Take two involved an unfortunate premature slide of the cake from the perfectly buttered and floured mold as the poor lamb lost its head.  Literally.  Toothpicks put things back in place, but I decided to give it one final shot this morning and I found success.

These different experiences from last year to now, offer a wonderful perspective, for me, about life and living.  Home is where we feel loved.  Friends are family.  Sometimes we need to keep trying to get something right.  And, finally, we all need to rise up and live the life we have been given.  Happy Easter.

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Filed under baking, family, friends, Germany, holidays, Observations, Spring

10 Reasons why I’m baking cookies for Father’s Day

  1. I never got to bake them for my own father
  2. I like to eat cookie dough.
  3. It’s Father’s Day - not (ex)Husband Day.  He’ll always be my boys’ father and deserves to be honored as such.
  4. He always enjoyed my cooking and baking skills.
  5. The house will smell great.
  6. It’s his first Father’s Day without his own father.
  7. The boys should see their parents continue to do nice things for each other because we’re truly nice people.
  8. I’ve got a surplus of chocolate chips.
  9. He isn’t expecting it and I like pleasant surprises.
  10. The idea of my boys sitting around eating homemade cookies with their Dad makes me happy.

    FYI: My cookies will (unfortunately) not look like these!

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Filed under baking, Boys, family, holidays

12 days of Christmas ~ Dining DelSo

DSC_0004On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a kick ass bialy from All Good Bakers.  Ok, people, you must know about our DelSo Farm to Bakery restaurant, right?  Britin does a great job promoting their efforts and if there is a discussion about locally sourced produce or dairy, you can be sure she’ll chime in.  She and Nick happily brought their business to the neighborhood where they also reside and have  inspired others to follow them, be it literally, as in the case of their former Farmer’s Market neighbors who have taken the space to their right, or more philosophically, as evidenced by some thoughtful changes to the menu at their neighbors on the other side.  Make no mistake about AGB being exclusively a spot for baked goods – their menu is much more comprehensive than mere carbs!  So, go for breakfast or lunch and take some of Nick’s baked goods home for later.  And seriously, if one of Nick’s bialys inspires words of love, wouldn’t a holiday gift of a share of All Good Baker’s Community Supported Bakery Program prompt something along the lines of flat out adoration?  Yep, that’s what I’m talking about.

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Filed under Albany, baking, breakfast, Brunch, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Eating, favorites, ideas, Local, Recommendations, soup

From jingle bells to a masquerade gala

Yep, just another day in the life.  December dawned with an appropriate and picturesque dusting of snow, pretty to look at, but not necessarily fun to run on.  I thought the Jingle Jog 5K began at 9:00, but since 10:00 was the actual time, I had plenty of time to stretch and mentally prepare to run at a cautious, slow pace.  You know, slow down and enjoy the run, Christmas Pandora and all.  I was wearing my new UnderArmour compression shirt, and I have to say, it really did keep me warm as my base layer.  The crowd was festive, with Santa and the Grinch represented in the pack of participants and I started at a nice even pace.  I came this close to injuring myself when I rolled my ankle in the first 1/2 mile, but pressed on and was able to run fairly comfortably to continue the race.  I finished 141st out of 446, with the not particularly stellar time of 30:08, but the time wasn’t important, especially at a time of the year when time is so precious.  It was a wonderful way to start this month of holidays and festivities.

I didn’t take photos, but here’s a gallery of the event from TU photographer, Michael P. Farrell.

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After an afternoon of making cookie dough, doing laundry and running errands, I found myself gussied up and heading to the State Room for Albany Center Gallery’s 35th Anniversary Masquerade Gala.  I was seriously concerned about the parking situation with the huge UAlbany-Sienna basketball game at the TU Center, but did well on State Street only having to mince step for a couple of blocks on my ace-bandage wrapped ankle.  (Thank you, to my friend, for taking care of my war wound.)  The State Room was pleasing to the eye in every direction and the guests were creatively attired – a good looking crowd, I’d say.  Check out those photos here.

Walking back to my car, I captured this shot of the Capitol.  Ah, Albany!

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Filed under Albany, art, baking, Christmas, Events, Local, running, SEEN, snow, winter

(As American as) Apple Pie!

There’s something about a frosty morning that inspires me to turn my oven on and get busy roasting and baking.  An apple pie seems the perfect quick project to accomplish three tasks – warm up a cool kitchen, fragrance a cozy home and use up the last of those damn apples now that my box of citrus is filling my fruit crisper.

I really am not much of a baker because I have a tendency to wing it, something that can result in disaster when it comes to baking.  Pie, though?  Please! Pie is a crust or two and some filling – easy, peasy as the phrase goes.  I peeled 7 apples and  sliced them and then tossed them in a bowl with maybe 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, a couple of tablespoons of flour (this helps the juices tighten up) and a bit of cinnamon and ground ginger.  (Confession: I use pre-made pie crusts.  Sorry, but I’m just not into making pie crust and my family isn’t discerning enough to complain.)  I unrolled a crust into my favorite deep pie dish, loaded it with my apple mixture and topped it with a second crust.  My crimping skills leave much to be desired, but here’s how it looked before hitting the oven for 50 minutes at 375 degrees:

I intended to take a picture of the finished product, but when you live with teenagers it is a challenge to photograph baked goods before they’ve been compromised by ravenous boys.  The photo below is the best I could do.

It’s fruit and milk, right?

I’d like to publicly thank Griffin for indulging me by making that serving of pie a la mode the second course of his Sunday morning breakfast all for the sake of my Delso readers.  What a guy!

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Filed under baking, Boys, breakfast, Food, Recipes

It’s All Good

I finally had a chance Saturday morning to get to All Good Bakers in their new DelSo location.  The space looks great – tidy, warm and inviting with the awesome aroma of baking bread. I poked around a little and was impressed with the variety of offerings – loaves of different shapes in varying shades of golden brown. I left with a couple of traditional white waxed bakery bags with bialys, cookies, rolls and a 2-day old loaf ($2!) of yummy bread that screamed French toast.  My overall impression was that this is staff of life bread – simple, wholesome, baked with care and quality ingredients, bread.  Not fussy or overwrought, but an essential, basic part of life.  Yeah, it’s all good.

wholesome goodness

olive loaves

rolls, bialys, DelSo cookies

$2 deal of the day

French toast with All Good Bakers bread @chez Silvia

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Filed under Albany, baking, Brunch, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Eating, favorites, Recommendations, Restaurants

Delso cookies!


Sometimes I think I am a pretty lucky lady, other times I know I am a very lucky lady. Like Thursday evening when I got to participate in a Cookie Tasting. Yeah, I said Cookie Tasting. You may not know this, but I love cookies. If I had a choice between cookies, cake or pie, it would be cookies all the way for me, although I would eternally miss this pie.  Maybe it is their shape (I like circles) or the fact that I can eat many of them without feeling too guilty.  Or perhaps the way the pair so perfectly with a glass of cold milk.  And talk about varieties!  There are seemingly an infinite number of variations on these simple treats – and I’ll try them all, holding a special place in my heart for New York City style black & whites, Linzer Tarts and good old fashioned chocolate chips.
You all know the exciting news about All Good Bakers relocating to the DelSo, yes? The owners of this terrific business already reside in the neighborhood and they, along with Linda Kindlon of Bake for You, decided that it would be appropriate to create a cookie that represented their new location – the DelSo cookie. Although I didn’t officially submit a recipe, in my mind the winning cookie needed to be a combination of wholesome and indulgent, traditional yet with a surprise component, and definitely had to demonstrate an artistic flair without an iota of preciousness. That’s kind of a lot to pack into 3 bites, isn’t it?
The event was well organized with 6 varieties of cookies to be tasted. There were beverages, including Meadowbrook Farms milk, scorecards and plenty of cookies for those inclined to go back for seconds. Me? I was the annoying person who broke the cookies in half so as to not weigh myself down for my return run home. No worries – my hands were clean, I swear.
Of the six, I had two strong favorites but the cookie pictured was my ultimate number one – or number six since the scale was 1 to 6 with six being the best score. What set this cookie apart was the inclusion of popped corn,which added a completely unexpected airy crunch to the cookie. A close second was the Mexican chocolate cookie which had a wonderful chili pepper spice, making it very much a grown up cookie, which just might keep the children’s hands out of the cookie jar.  Each of the different cookies, regardless of the ingredients (dried apples, orange zest, coconut…) was perfectly baked and there truly wasn’t a bad one in the bunch.
It was a really fun way to spend an hour and I enjoyed chatting it up with the Fussy and the friendly. The winner has not yet been announced in the battle to be the DelSo cookie, but I know we, in the DelSo neighborhood, are certain that we are the ultimate winners with the upcoming arrival of All Good Bakers, complete with cookies from Bake for You,  in our little Best Up and Coming neighborhood.

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Filed under Albany, baking, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Events, favorites, Food, Recommendations