bake 20: blue cheese biscuits and tomatoes.

aka, the dish you make when your gardens raining plump, beautiful tomatoes & you're over caprese salad (wait, did i just admit that out loud?).

last weekend i was neck deep in a tomato recipe search.  over the last week our garden has exploded and day after day, we're gifted with these unbelievably sweet roma, cherry & heirloom tomatoes.  generally i make a killer tomato basil soup, but this year i wanted something different.

joy the baker to the rescue!  while perusing, i stumbled upon joy's tomato cobbler with blue cheese biscuits recipe.  the moment i saw it i knew this was it & went to work.  not only did the recipe call for all the tomatoes from our garden, but also incorporated baking.  and with the bake 20 challenge in full force it was the perfect opportunity.
adjustments: with the exception of omitting the vegetable shortening* from the biscuit recipe and baking nine biscuits atop the tomato mixture, i made no other modifications.

review: oh-em-gee.  this was fantastic!  both myself and a. gobbled it up.  as a vegetarian constantly seeking good eats, this dish was so satisfying to both my belly and taste buds.  as for a., well, it was "too vegetarian for  him" (as in too many vegetables and not enough "substance").  he still enjoyed it, but didn't think it made the best main course.

*personally, i'm not a fan of processed shortenings and tend to omit them from all recipes.

over the next five months i'm going to try my hand at 20 different baked goods.  there's no specific order and 
no plan.  just making things that look good and hopefully in the process, finding a new appreciation of baking.  
feel free to join me in the Bake 20 Challenge.


close-to-perfect summer weekend.

oh what a weekend it was.  i helped create a garden themed wedding with my friend kate, watched the olympic opening ceremony with friends & in honor of the festivities, happily ate fish and chips.  the garden is flourishing and i'm loving all the plump red tomatoes, the second wind of strawberries, and of course, some tasty greens.

i'm a huge fan of the olympics.  after six years without cable, we finally conceded and have loved watching the games.  thus far, my favorites have been womens volleyball, rowing (of course), and men's water polo for the win.  while the olympics are on, i'm pretty much useless & can't do much of anything else.  i'm on the edge of my seat awestruck by the close calls, cheering along with the crowds and occasionally jumping out of joy or sorrow for team usa.

new york has gifted us with some very rad friendships and after an hour and a half drive to sackets harbor, ny, i enjoyed a fantastic brunch with some of my favorites.  we drank mimosas on the patio while indulging in some of the greatest brunch fare ever.  stuffed french toast?  please and thank you!

the weekend ended with an intimate concert featuring the alabama shakes, a make-shift picnic dinner and world-class sunsets.  a. and i played around with a camera timer app i downloaded for the iphone and were rewarded with two of my favorite pictures from the entire evening.

yep.  & that's what i call a rockin' weekend.


bake 20: homemade naan.

tada!  my first attempt at naan.  not too shabby if i say so myself!

it's been over six years since i've attempted indian cuisine.  my first attempt happened when we lived in alabama after we were first married, with some old spices i picked up during a college trip to india.  not only did it not go well, it was a monumental disaster.  i for one, was teaching myself to cook and two, at the time, a. was the pickiest eater on the planet.  needless to say, it wasn't one of my finest culinary moments.

fast forward to last night.  i decided six years was long enough and forged ahead.  of course, indian cuisine isn't complete (in my opinion anyway) without naan.  ready to bake and take on the "bake 20" challenge i announced yesterday, i figured naan would make for a great start.

recipe: i settled on this naan recipe after reading some of the reviews.

adjustments: i intended to follow the recipe verbatim, but neglected to warm the milk before adding it.  

review: these were fabulous.  they tasted relatively authentic and perfectly complemented the palak paneer i made for dinner.  of course, the naan was the highlight of dinner & i'll definitely make these again (being certain to add warm milk next time).
over the next five months i'm going to try my hand at 20 different baked goods.  there's no specific order and no plan.  just making things that look good and hopefully in the process, finding a new appreciation of baking.  feel free to join me in the Bake 20 Challenge.


bake 20.

as you may or may not now, i'm not a fan of baking.  at all.  lately i started dabbling in the art (and it really is an art) of bread making and while it's not always successful, i've fallen in love.  determined to embrace this new world of baking, i've set forth a little challenge for myself.

between now and the end of the year, i am going to bake 20 different items.  i don't have a plan and have no idea where to start.  also, considering we're moving in a couple months and will possibly be without a home for a few weeks after the fact (fingers crossed this isn't the case & more on this later), 20 still seems a bit lofty.  

as it should be, this will be rather challenging for me, but i'm so set on doing something that will push me out of my comfort zone.  depending on what i end up baking, we might also have some very happy co-workers.

here goes nothing!


auf wiedersehen germany.

germany was so, so good to us.  we spent the past 2 weeks exploring munich, germany and salzburg, austria.  there was so much to see and i feel as though we barely scratched the surface.  but for us & the time we had, it was utterly perfect.

more than anything, we drank up the european culture, german cuisine and marveled in the history that was.  right now i'm obsessed with europe- and finally after all these years, have seen the light.  some of my favorite things about germany and austria were:

cobble stone roads lined with towering buildings and kissing trees
slow-paced, multiple course meals
gelato.  lots and lots of gelato
snow capped mountain peaks riddled across the alps
walking for hours on end throughout the quaint villages and massive cities
cappachino.  all day, everyday
castles.  real, on-top-of-a-mountain-castles
one & two dollar coins
dunkle weiss beer.  preferably served in a giant glass
simple & fresh ingredients proved to make some amazing meals
u-ban, otherwise known as the underground railway
art everywhere.  in buildings, as buildings, parks, walls, etc.  
dog friendly restaurants, shops & even tours.  fantastic.

these pictures can only begin to explain how wonderful this time away was for us.  & as fantastic as it was and as happy as we were to spend some much-needed time with family, it sure feels great to be home!



currently, a. & i are in munich visiting family.  
we're spending much of our days walking around town looking at beautiful old buildings, wandering through fantastic parks, drinking plenty of beer & eating lots of food.

we're loving it here.  there's a ton to see & do in 2 weeks...but we're doing our best to see it all!