Friday, December 24, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Christmas Stollen

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking.  She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen.  She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.
Stollen bread was first made in Dresden, Germany in the early 1400’s.  It was shaped into a loaf to represent the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.  The early stollen breads were rather tasteless because they were made during Advent, when the use of butter or milk was banned.  Eventually, the Pope allowed the use of butter and eventually dried and candied fruits were used to sweeten the bread.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Moon

On December 21st there was a total eclipse of the moon.  This was the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the day of the Northern Winter Solstice since 1638, and it won’t occur again until 2094.  A total eclipse occurs when the full moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Most people view fallen leaves as a chore, something they have to rake up and dispose of.  I see them as compost.  A valued addition to the kitchen scrapes, shredded paper, sawdust, and grass clippings we use to make the layers of our compost.  We rake them up and store them in trash cans.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Corn and Black Bean Soup

Soup is the perfect end to a cold damp winter day.  It’s also easy to make, inexpensive and low calorie.  Curling up with a big bowl of hot corn and black bean soup, after a day of yard work, warms me right up.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tuscan Chickpea Frittata

This Italian Frittata (or Farinata) is a tradition in the Ligurian region of Italy.  People line up in the streets in front of the bake shops and pizzerias in anticipation of eating them fresh from the oven.  It’s also know by the name Cinque e Cinque, which is a name given to the dish by sailors in the early 1900‘s.  It refers to the the price - five cents for the patty and five cents for the bread.