{sms} whole-wheat triple ginger fresh peach muffins

I was wide awake at 3 am on Thursday morning. I thought to myself, Why don’t I make this week’s Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe? Isn’t that what any self-respecting baker with deadlines thinks to themselves in the wee-hours of the morning? I quickly scanned the ingredients to see if they needed any room-temperature butter and since they didn’t I was good to go.

I think because of my recent bout of seasickness, I couldn’t stop thinking of Trader Joe’s Triple-Ginger Gingernaps Nancy of The Dogs Eat Crumbs mentioned in this post. I made the following changes/additions to the recipe: I used half whole-wheat pastry flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour; I grated 1/2 inch of peeled fresh ginger and rubbed it in with the sugar and orange zest; I added 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger; and finally added 2 tablespoons of chopped crystellized ginger.

There were a big hit both at home and at work. I like making muffins because they are easy and tasty. Thanks to JoVonn of The Givens Chronicles for selecting the Fresh Peach Muffins for this week’s recipe. For the recipe visit her blog or buy the book.

Fig & Feta Focaccia

A quick post to show the other type of focaccia I made this week for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.  I made a pizza version of this a couple week’s ago (and did not blog about it! Took picture to Tweet my lunch, though) and it was so delicious I knew I would make it when focaccia came up in the rotation.

Fig & Feta Pizza

Fig & Feta Pizza

It’s just plain foccacia with sliced figs, crumbled feta, chopped rosemary, and lots of extra-virgin olive oil.

Caramelized Shallot and Golden Raisin Focaccia

I was a good baker and read the recipe instructions for Focaccia from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice ahead of time. I knew the dough required an overnight rest in the refrigerator. I planned on making the dough Saturday night after my day of diving and baking it Sunday. Little did I know how exhausted I would be after the dive. Wow. It was a great day and a horrible day all rolled into one, but the great outweighs the horrible.

I ended up getting seasick on the way out to Catalina from Long Beach. It was bad. Everyone told me I would feel better once I was in the water and it was true! The nausea went away once I was underwater.  The first dive was amazing. The kelp forests were cool, it was a magical and peaceful place. Unfortunately once I surfaced, I felt sick again. It took all my strength and willpower to gear up for the second dive. I had to keep telling myself, “if you can do this, you can do anything…”.

The second dive was even better than the first, but by the end of it I was so weak and tired it wasn’t safe for me to attempt the third dive of the day.  I was disappointed with myself. I really wanted to be PADI Open Water certified by the end of day. The good news is that I get to go diving again. :) On Saturday we’re doing a beach dive and I can’t wait.  I really like diving and I’m considering going for my Advanced Open Water certification (which amazes all my friends because all I did was complain about how I don’t like dealing with the equipment and prep).

Back to the Focaccia. Because of my long day, I was almost too tired to brush my teeth let alone make bread. I wanted to complete the Focaccia on Sunday, so I omitted the overnight rest in the refrigerator. I did chill it for a bit, but I don’t think anyone considers two hours to be overnight. :P The overnight rest is to enhance flavor, but when you are drenching something in olive oil how much more flavor enhancement do you need??

I incorporated golden raisins into the the dough as suggested in a side bar and topped the Focaccia with caramelized shallots and rosemary. I was inspired by my recent meal at Bouchon where I had the most delicious Gnocchi à la Parisienne made with caramelized shallots and golden raisins. I just borrowed the Bouchon cookbook from the library and it turns out that Parisienne gnocchi is different from traditional gnocchi in that it is made from pâte à choux, the dough usually used for profiteroles or éclairs.  No wonder they were so good. I’m going to attempt the gnocchi in the near future…

Gnocchi à la Parisienne

Gnocchi à la Parisienne

The Caramelized Shallot and Golden Raisin Focaccia was awesome. The taste was great. I really love the taste combination of sweet and savory.  I made the focaccia as part of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. We’re a group of bakers baking our way in order through the book. This is also my Vegan Tuesday recipe. I had some for lunch yesterday. YUM.

{twd}Mini-Creamiest Lime Cream Pies

My favorite Odwalla juice is their Summertime Lime. I love squeezing limes on fruit salad, burritos, tacos. Lime on corn on the cob rocks my world. Are you sensing a theme?

Thank you to Linda of Tender Crumb {visit her blog or buy the book for the recipe}for selecting Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie as this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie.  Relatively easy to make, it did require a loooooooong time whisking continuously over the stove. On a hot summer day. I made mini-pies using my mini-springform pan {co-workers, easy to grab and run}.

I did not make the meringue topping because I was not going to serve these the day I made them and did not want to run the risk of “weepy meringue” as Dorie Greenspan writes. Instead I topped them with candied ginger to match the fresh ginger in the lime cream. YUM.YUM.YUM.

These were very successful and enjoyed by all {hordes at home & co-workers}.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie also marks my one-year anniversary of officially baking along with the group. Inspired by Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs and THIS POST, I give you my list of the top ten TWD treats from the past year:

tiramisu-slice-3

ice cream sandwich

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cb13brownie

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bites

My Top Ten Dorie Recipes

  1. Tiramisu Cake
  2. Coconut Butter Thins
  3. Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread
  4. Thanksgiving Twofer Pie
  5. Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies
  6. Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte
  7. Creme Brulee
  8. Brownie Buttons
  9. Chocolate Armagnac Cake
  10. Cinnamon Squares

In comparing lists, I notice that Nancy and I only have two of the same recipes on our Top Ten Lists. And that two of my top picks are the only two recipes she “did not find tasty”. :P

In the year, I only missed one week…my goal for the coming year is to make that one as well as baking all the recipes selected before I joined the group. You can see all the recipes I need to complete on my TWD Page {only 13 left!}.

{sms} mom’s banana apple muffins

In preparing for this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe, I kept reminding myself to buy bananas early enough to allow them to get nice and ripe. I meant to buy them before I left for Las Vegas last Sunday, but forgot.  In preparing for a getaway to Vegas is remembering to stop at the store to buy bananas high on anyone’s list?

I’m glad I stumbled on Twitter at just the right time when fellow bakers were discussing the oven trick for ripening the bananas. I didn’t read the details about the oven trick, just read the words “oven trick” and “bananas”. I stuck my bananas in oven while it was preheating and took them out when it beeped.

Other than the oven trick, I halved the recipe and made 8 regular sized muffins.  The trick to this banana bread is the addition of apples carmelized with brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Yummilicious!

Thank you to Joy of Hot Oven, Warm Heart for selecting Mom’s Bananna Apple Bread. For the recipe, visit her blog or buy the book.