Archive for November, 2009

When I learned that we would be having one of our weekly staff meetings in my apartment, I knew I would have to bake something awesome. Our staff meetings tend to have treats as we have the best administrator/office mom ever, so I wanted to make something as a treat for her as well as the rest of the crew. So I decided the way I usually do: what did I feel like baking that I had not tried to bake before!

So I made these:


ooooooohhhh yeah

Yes, friends, cinnamon buns from scratch. And I tried to make them as healthy as I possibly could! I was sent a recipe for an imitation Cinnabon, but I’ve never really found those appealing what with the being drenched in sugar and butter (yes, I know that’s why they’re supposed to be appealing). Instead, I used the recipe from my Modern Baker cookbook and substituted raw sugar, whole wheat flour, and soy milk.


you want one.

The recipe calls for the baker to make a brioche recipe and then use that to make the cinnamon rolls, which was a learning experience. Mainly because I don’t have a baking thermometer, so I think I scalded the yeast preventing the dough from rising as much as it should have. Or perhaps the whole wheat flour made them a bit more dense than I hoped.

They were delicious, and even a bit nutritious. If you want the recipe please just ask!




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Levain Copycat

Related to my trip to Martha’s Vineyard is the acquisition of a delicious cookie recipe given to me by my friend Tammy. During my official week of cooking in the FOCUS kitchen, Tammy brought me a delicious cookie she made based off of the cookies sold at the Levain Bakery in New York City.

Apparently, these cookies are so good that a number of people have tried to “discover” the recipe. I mean, look at this cookie.


Levain dark chocolate peanut butter cookie

Anyway, I asked Tammy for the recipe and she graciously hunted it down and printed it for me. So I made them for church. Naturally.


I did modify the recipe some. I halved the number of peanut butter chips and made close to 50 cookies from a recipe that mandated that I make about 12. I neglected to mention that the cookie that Tammy gave me was almost the size of my face (granted, I do have a small head).


I do think I’ll make these again– likely just for something special and probably without the modifications.

The recipe can be found here.



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Good Eats: Art Cliff


mmm Vineyard... courtesy Lauren Massey

The most difficult part of my job would have to be the summers I have to spend on Martha’s Vineyard with FOCUS. I know, my life is hard. So I was pleased to be able to head back up there for a day as a part of my job this autumn. I saw some friends who are there all year round– including Bubbles, the man who’s been sassing us from the FOCUS kitchen for about 5 years.

Now, the thing with the Vineyard is that it also happens to have one of the best brunch places I’ve been to. Chances are, if I’ve tried to get you to volunteer in a behind-the-scenes capacity with our summer programs, I’ve probably told you about the Art Cliff. It’s a foodie’s diner. So it’s awesome. Also, now they have a food cart, which is the new “thing” to do.

some family I don't know in front of the Art Cliff

Apart from the food and atmosphere, what I love best about this place is the wait for a table. Counter-intuitive, I know, but it’s true. The restaurant takes no reservations (and as you can imagine can get quite packed during the summer season) and I have many fond memories waiting for hours, famished, with lovely company.

This most recent visit, I took my boss, Rob, who loves food and had yet to go. I jotted down the specials to taunt those with whom I spent many a hangry (hunger induced anger) hour on porch of the Art Cliff.

  • Pumpkin apple pancakes
  • Grilled polenta with mole sauce, over arugula  and served with two fresh farm eggs
  • Sweet potato biscuit with maple butter
  • Brie apple spinach flat bread with two fresh farm eggs
  • Brioche french toast with caramel gingerbread saute apples

Now. I am strictly an egg person when it comes to breakfast– things like pancakes don’t make sense to me that early in the morning. And I’ve learned that often found that the specials tend to reflect both seasonality and culinary interests of the chef, so they tend to be a wise choice in a place like this. I went with the flatbread special, but now wish that I had the french toast. Oh well.



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For those of you who haven’t read it, novelist J.S.F.’s article in the New York times “Against Meat” is pretty interesting.  Here are a couple snippets I found especially thought-provoking:

“To give up the taste of sushi, turkey or chicken is a loss that extends beyond giving up a pleasurable eating experience. Changing what we eat and letting tastes fade from memory create a kind of cultural loss, a forgetting. But perhaps this kind of forgetfulness is worth accepting — even worth cultivating (forgetting, too, can be cultivated). To remember my values, I need to lose certain tastes and find other handles for the memories that they once helped me carry.”

“Eating factory-farmed animals — which is to say virtually every piece of meat sold in supermarkets and prepared in restaurants — is almost certainly the single worst thing that humans do to the environment.”

“Try to imagine any end other than taste for which it would be justifiable to do what we do to farmed animals.”


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the beer you’ve been waiting for


He'brew: Messiah Bold

Rebecca found this beer a few weeks ago. Awesome.


L'Chaim!looooves it



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This Halloween I drove to Brooklyn to collect my friend Phil and bring him to port in Baltimore. Yes, port. If all has gone to plan, Phil is on his way to Bermuda, that is if the craft was sea-worthy. The funny thing about Brooklyn on Halloween is you really can’t tell if people are dressed in costumes or not. Hipsters are confusing!

The best part about picking Phil up in Williamsburg was that we got to hop across the street to his very local and very awesome coffee shop. Basically, if I were to have a coffee shop today, it would be a lot like Boneshakers (134 Kingsland Ave).  I was sold when I saw the stack of Cursive and The Good Life cds while I was adding soy creamer to my coffee.

looooves it.

The first time I went to Boneshakers I loved it and all I had was a cup of coffee. It’s a vegan/vegetarian cafe situation with sandwiches called “The Kevin Bacon” (tempeh bacon and other delicious things). It’s a clever, beautiful place. This weekend I did not venture toward the seitan Cuban (!!!) but instead went for a vegan oatmeal- apricot cookie.  It was an awesome tweener of a cookie and a granola bar.

There were many things that I liked about this place that Caitlin and I had talked about already doing, so it was nice to go to a place that was living our dream. At least in a manner of speaking– The Dark Horse will never be in Brooklyn. But lots of crazy little drawings everywhere? Alexandra, I’m looking at you for that one.


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