Archive for the ‘baking’ Tag

Save Room for Dessert and Snacks   Leave a comment

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I’m a cooking magazine and cookbook junkie. I like discovering new recipes and techniques, but I especially enjoy the narrative accompanying them. Ovenly is an excellent example of a cookbook with delectable recipes and engaging storytelling. It’s also the name of the authors’ New York City Bakery.

Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin are self-taught bakers. In her introduction, Patinkin writes, “… (recipes are) not just about food of a certain time, but also about relationships, culture and tradition.” Kaluga also shares her own insights. Many of the bakery items were adapted from recipes handed down from their grandmothers.

The pair met through a book group. Ovenly’s early days were auspicious relying on a borrowed kitchen and an old Ford Explorer in which they made deliveries. Slowly, they built their brand, established relationships with neighborhood artisans (including a local dairy and brewery, among others).

Except for the first chapter which offers baking tips with suggestions for equipment and ingredients to have on hand, subsequent chapters focus on specific baked goods: biscuits, muffins, cookies, you get the idea. While most are sweet, as the subtitle implies several are also savory like cheddar mustard scones and bacon and blue cheese quiche.

The chapter on bar snacks is a surprise given that everything else, even the non-sweet goods, are associated with bakeries; for example, flavored popcorns.

Most of the recipes, rest assured, appeal to sugar cravings. Easy-to-follow instructions, impressive color photographs, and personal stories introducing each chapter make this enjoyable and sweet tooth appealing!

Ovenly: Sweet and Savory Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery

Park Row, 2021

Four Bookmarks

272 Pages

Mystery Lite   Leave a comment

Revelvet

A wholesome, but fiercely independent, young woman in rural Minnesota isn’t exactly who comes to mind when a murder needs to be solved. Yet, author Joanne Fluke has developed quite the following with her Hannah Swensen mysteries. The only explanation I can surmise lies in the fact that Hannah, who fits the above depiction, is also a baker extraordinaire and it’s worth the easy reading to get some new recipes.

Fluke’s most recent addition to the Hannah Swensen oeuvre is Red Velvet Cupcake Murder, which had been on The New York Times Best Seller’s List for several weeks. That, along with my own penchant for cupcakes, is what drew me to the book. Nonetheless, my expectations, fortunately, were not high, so I was not  disappointed.

Hannah lives in Lake Eden, a small town, where she owns the Cookie Jar, a bakery and coffee shop. The story begins with her catering the opening of a renovated hotel. The cupcakes are a featured attraction, along with several delicious-sounding baked goods. Readers are immediately introduced (or for those Hannah followers re-introduced) to Hannah’s mother, sister, love interests (yes, plural) and friends. Hannah’s nemesis from an earlier book reappears on the scene.

It doesn’t take long for an accident to occur, which requires a lot of cooking on Hannah’s part to help make people feel better. Soon thereafter someone is murdered, and instead of being part of the unofficial investigation, Hannah becomes a suspect. Somehow, thanks to friends and family, the bakery continues to serve the delicious sweets it is known for, and readers can continue to drool over their descriptions.

All of the delectables include clever names to fit the situation. Among them are Razzle Dazzle Brownies, Tickled Pink Lemonade Cookies, Snappy Turtle Pie and the Red Velvet Cupcakes with a Surprise Filling — the storyline is so predictable it’s nice there is at least one revelation that truly unfolds.

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder
Three Bookmarks
Kenninsgton Books, 2013
323 pages, including recipes