Friday, March 12, 2010

Blue House Ann Arbor

Blue House Ann Arbor
It's open! This week Ann Arbor welcomes an exciting new addition: Blue House Ann Arbor. It's a creative studio dedicated to the handmade — studio spaces, workshops, even a small retail shop. The lovely and talented Siobhan Lyle has great vision and has been working hard since last summer renovating and planning. And now, the Blue House is ready and open to the public. The space is so beautiful and warm.

There is a whole crew of enthusiastic local artists involved (including yours truly — wink, wink) and the enthusiasm has been contagious. We're all getting together March 20th to say howdy-do and break in the space with a crafty spring show from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The lineup of vendors is fantastic. So if you're in the area — it's right on the corner of Main Street and Pauline — drop by, say hi, have a peek around and pick up some local art, dang it. Or check out the web site for the roster of workshops and details about the space.

Welcome, Blue House!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Buns for any night of the week

homemade hamburger bunsI'm usually more of the slow food, make it from scratch kind of cook, lingering in the kitchen and trying out ridiculously complex recipes. I try to take my time and enjoy it. My brother is rolling his eyes right now and scrolling down to count the number of ingredients in this recipe. But I'm not keen on the thirty-minute meal just for the sake of speed. I know, I know. None of us have enough time. So this is my answer to that: A forty-minute home-baked hamburger bun to dress up a weeknight burger. It really is easy enough and worth it to do any night of the week.

Weeknight hamburger rolls
Adapted from
Makes 8-10.

2 Tb active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 Tb warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 8-10 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

The original recipe said for a dozen buns, but they were a bit small for the burgers. I'd go for a little bit bigger depending on the size of yours. You could also dress these up with an egg wash before baking and a sprinkle of sesame or poppy seeds. They are uber light and fluffy -- delicious!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Color Study No. 1: Green

Green color studyI've seen quite a few posts around the interwebs lately with color studies and thought I'd jump on that band wagon. Wish I could remember where I saw the first one. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Year of (a) Cake

At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted 2010 to be the year of cake. Singular cake. Not cakes. Just one. I decided that this is the year that I will make at least one truly grown-up cake. I haven't made very many cakes in my time and I may not have ever made a truly grown-up cake. I'm not sure exactly what that even means. Maybe something with layers? Something that isn't made in a brownie pan? Not a cupcake or a coffee cake. I know what it's not. And I think I'll know what it is when I find that perfect recipe. So this is the year — 2010. This year I will make a fancy pants cake.

This is not that cake.

chocolate gingerbread cakechocolate gingerbread cakeYou might think with it's rich intense grown-up flavor that it is, but it's simply too ooey and gooey. It's what Nigella calls "a glotally thickening wodge of chocolate chip and cocoa…." How's that for a description?! It's not fancy pants and that's why I love it.

Chocolate Gingerbread

Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 c. + 2 Tb dark brown sugar

2 Tb sugar

3/4 c. light corn syrup

3/4 c. molasses

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

2 Tb warm water

2 eggs

1 c. milk

2 c. flour

1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

For Frosting:

2 c. powdered sugar

2 Tb unsalted butter

1 Tb unsweetened cocoa

1/4 c. ginger ale

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 10x13 baking pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the sugars, syrup, molasses, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Dissolve baking soda in water. Remove saucepan from the heat and whisk in eggs, milk and soda mixture. Beat in flour and cocoa with a wooden spoon. Fold in chocolate chips ad pour into lined pan pressing bake the paper a bit so the batter spreads into the corners. Bake about 45 minutes until risen and firm on top. The middle should still be a little damp under the set top, and will sink a little. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

For the frosting: Sift the powdered sugar. Melt the butter, cocoa and ginger ale in a heavy-based saucepan. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the powdered sugar. When the cake is cooled, remove it from the pan, fold back the paper and pour frosting over the cake — just enough to cover the top and ooze down the sides a bit. Let frosting set slightly, and cut into large slabs. (Be sure to remove it from the paper once frosted as it will stick like glue later.)

chocolate gingerbread cake

Monday, March 08, 2010

Spring ladies in skirts

Happy Monday, everyone. It's so lovely and springy out here, it makes me smile all over. I hope wherever you are, there is sun and a smile on your face. Here is a peak at two lovely ladies I am working on. The pastel color palette is new for me and I am having fun playing with it.