July 2012

I rarely buy bread products from the grocery store. They smell funny- like chemicals. And I don’t want all those preservatives in my body. Most people wouldn’t either, if they realized what goes into that stuff. So this time of year when the grill gets fired up, a bad bun can completely ruin a potentially delicious sandwich. I love sandwiches, so this is something I take very seriously. Last week my wing-woman Meredith and I were dog-sitting for our friends Megan and Dane. It turned out to be the perfect day. We joined forces with two other friends and took the dogs with us up by Vail Pass to Shrine Ridge Trail. It’s a gentle incline with picturesque Colorado views.   Rather than driving home on I-70, we took Shrine [...]

Hello high altitude dwellers and friends, I am pleased to announce two things: 1. We have been receiving rain! In the last two weeks, the showers and thunderstorms have been a big help. The mountains and grasses are a little greener again, and new wildflowers are popping up. Thanks to all who sent rain karma this way. 2. My pastries and treats will now be available at Yeti’s Grind coffeehouse in Vail Village, under Solaris. You will be able to find them Saturdays and Sundays, freshly baked and loaded with local ingredients. They will vary between “Honest Twinkies”, assorted fruit tarts, mini cakes, and other French-inspired pastries. You can follow me on Twitter to see what goodies I’ll be delivering each weekend. For custom ordering, baking classes, entertaining ideas, and [...]

One thing I have learned in my experiences as a pastry chef is that any time you create a dessert that brings up “food memory”, you’ve got yourself a winner. Warm peach pie. Sugar cookies with pink icing. Freshly baked cinnamon rolls. All the things you ate as a kid, or at your grandmother’s house. They transport us back to a simpler, more care-free time. When I was young, my mom used to take us to a teeny hole-in-the-wall cookie shop. I always got the sugar cookie, slathered in about a half-inch of frosting and covered in sprinkles. Do you know what I would do first? I’d eat the frosting off of the top of the cookie, with my non-sensitive child teeth. But I still get excited when I see [...]

It happened every summer growing up. At some point in July, behind all the leaves and growth in the garden, a zucchini squash or two would go unnoticed for awhile. With each passing day they would grow larger in size, turning into mammoth zucchinis the size of small baseball bats. And then one day, watering the plants or picking other vegetables, we’d find them. We’d proudly twist them off the plant and plop them on the kitchen counter. “Mom! Check this out!” Zucchini squash of any size are great for this recipe because they solely contribute moisture. So you can save the smaller, tender zucchini squashes for cooking. My mom would bake these cupcakes when we were younger, and always during the summer (for obvious reasons). But nobody complained, as [...]

Sigh. Is there anything sweeter than a fruit pie? Flaky, crimped pastry. Bubbly, baked fruit filling. Memories and comfort. I love baking pies because I find them very relaxing. They break the norm for me from plated desserts or complex pastries because they don’t need accompaniments and garnishes, or multiple steps; they are wonderful as is. Pastry and fruit. A simple slice, and that’s all. In my opinion, an honest pie should have a homemade look to it, so perfection is not important. Honest pies aren’t production pies. They are hand-crafted. Someone lovingly picked through and cut the fruit. That same person pinched the dough between his or her forefinger and thumb to create a fluted crust. An honest pie is also a very proud pie that forever holds memories [...]

A few years ago, molten chocolate cakes were all the rage on dessert menus across the country. They’re kind of a past ‘fad’ now, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to make an appearance now and then. Think about chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s spun into ice creams, topped on brownies, and eaten raw all the time. There’s just something about eating a dessert that’s the nemesis of everything your mother ever told you. “Don’t eat that cookie dough, it’ll make you sick.” “Stop eating the cake batter. You’ll get sick from all the raw eggs.” So what do pastry chefs do? We create those nostalgic-flavored, “oh-no-you-didn’t” desserts. The best way to describe these little cakes is that they are blend between a brownie and a chocolate cake, with [...]

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