If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know how much I adore Dorie Greenspan – I have several of her books, and her Baking From My Home to Yours is so well-used that half the pages are stuck together from various spatters and spills. Well she just came out with a new book, called Dorie’s Cookies. OMG, it’s like she wrote this book just for me! I actually pre-ordered it months ago, and it was just delivered last week. I spent a lot of time over the past week, curled up and flipping through the pages. I want to try everything. Seriously. But to start, this gingersnap recipe sounded absolutely perfect for the season. And with an introduction like this cookie? I have no doubt this book will be another favourite. (more…)
Well the kitchen is mostly unpacked and set up (I have a lot of stuff still packed long-term) and we’re expecting the tail end of a cyclone to hit us tonight (seriously!), so I figured it was the perfect day to try out my new oven. I was going to make some white chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal and dried cranberries, but I couldn’t find my oatmeal (I’m sure I have a new bag somewhere) and I couldn’t find my cranberries either (ditto). I have no idea where they could be. There aren’t that many cupboards. I suspect I set them aside somewhere while I figured out where to put stuff and I’ll find them in a really weird place one day.
It didn’t take me long to find a recipe that I definitely had all the ingredients for, though, and the one I ended up with sounded really good. And speaking as someone who’s been sampling them all afternoon as they come out of the oven, they are really good.
I won’t be posting the recipe until next weekend after I’ve had a chance to get some feedback from my coworkers during the week. But I can give you a hint – there’s peanut butter, and chocolate chips, and pecans. This cookie is making me very happy.
I can also tell you I don’t quite have a feel for this oven yet. While tiny (my baking sheets barely fit in it), it’s way newer and fancier than my old one. I tested it out with my handy oven thermometer and while it’s still a bit off, it’s way closer to accurate than my old one too. It’s only off by about 15°.
However, while I found that I had to bake things a little longer than the recipe recommended in my old oven, this one seems to bake things way faster. Because the heat is contained in a smaller space? Because there’s less room for air to circulate? Maybe the oven is accurate and my thermometer is a bit off? I have no idea. I think these cookies are a wee bit over-done though. I also don’t quite have a handle on the lighting in this kitchen, because while they looked just barely brown around the edges in the oven, when I pulled them out they had more colour than I was expecting.
I’ll get used to it in time.
Make no mistake, though, even though these cookies are a little crisper than they probably should be, they’re still absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to share them with you next week!
Just a quick update – I moved yesterday and haven’t even begun to unpack. It took the best part of the day and I was exhausted. And today I’ve just been puttering around, doing laundry, and hanging out with my cat. Poor kitty is totally stressed and has yet to leave the bedroom. It was hours before she even ventured outside her carrier, and that was just to relocate to the bed where she’s pretty much stayed.
I really want to get my kitchen unpacked and test out that oven, but I also still have to clean out my old place. A lot of stuff still to donate/trash, and then the clean-up itself (ugh). Did I mention I’m exhausted? I kinda just want to abandon it (I would never, but it’s so tempting). I do have until the end of the month to take care of that all, though, but I’ll be back to work next week and will have to deal with it all in the evenings and on the weekend. Did I mention “ugh”? Yeah. I can’t wait for this to be done.
Good news, though, is that I’m loving my new place so far (in spite of the tiny kitchen). So. Many. Closets.
I’m afraid this is another cookie-less weekend. I actually had planned to make something to snack on while I get ready for the move, but I under-estimated how much time packing would take, and now I’m panicking a bit. Honestly, I thought I’d have a lot more done by now. Yikes. The fact that I’m also sorting out things to donate/trash at the same time is slowing me down, too.
Not to mention my kitchen is a disaster area, with things pulled out of the cupboards, and half-packed boxes everywhere. I’m going to be living on pizza for the next week, just watch me. Have I mentioned how much I hate moving? So much hate.
But I got possession of the apartment (I have keys and everything!) and as promised, I have photos of the teeny tiny kitchen. Just look at this. It’s nice, right? Really nice cupboards, granite counters, everything is super clean and nice and bright. But it’s wee.
I had an issue with lack of cupboards/counter space in my current kitchen too, so I actually had a cabinet custom-made. And luckily, it will just barely fit in that space beside the dishwasher. Sort of. I may have to angle it a bit. I’ll make it work. Somehow.
The actual move is next Friday, so don’t hold your breath for cookies next week either. But it’s a long weekend up here in Canada (we have our Thanksgiving in October), and I’ll probably get my kitchen sorted and try the oven out at some point before I head back to work on Tuesday. Maybe there’ll be a post after the weekend. Wish me luck!
I wanted to thank all of you who had kind words for me after my stressed-out post last week. Seriously, it means so much that people I’ve never even met are following me and hoping my situation turns out okay. So I wanted to give you a quick update on the apartment situation. I’ve found a place. And oh man, if you know anything about the Vancouver market, you’ll know it was not easy. I went to several open houses where there were literally dozens of people all vying for the place. I responded to so many ads and got no response whatsoever. I walked all through my neighbourhood, up and down every street, looking for “for rent” signs. I contacted rental agencies and building management companies, and only got responses from a couple of them (none positive). I refreshed Craigslist obsessively.
No lie, there was one listing that popped up on Craigslist that I called within 15 minutes of its posting, and it had already been rented.
And as I mentioned last week, it’s this difficult for anyone looking to rent, but it’s even harder with a cat because the pool of available apartments is even more limited.
But I found something. It’s pretty spacious, has lots of closets, lovely hardwood floors, and is bright and sunny with lots of windows. And it’s close to my ideal neighbourhood. But it’s south-facing, so it’ll be hot next summer, it overlooks an alley, and it has no balcony (so I have to get rid of all the plants I have on my deck, which makes me very sad). And it’s off a much noisier side street. It also has a teeny tiny kitchen with a teeny tiny apartment-sized fridge and stove. And I get to pay quite a bit more money for it than I was paying for my old place.
But hey, at least I have a home and can stop panicking. And now I get to focus on downsizing and getting organized for the move. That’s going to be quite an undertaking – I’ve been in the same place for about 15 years now and I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. I’m taking this opportunity to purge and minimize. Partly out of necessity (it is a smaller space after all), and partly because it’s just going to feel good to have a fresh start. Of course I’ll be keeping all my kitchen stuff and cookbooks – those are absolutely necessary. But I’m getting rid of a lot of books that I haven’t looked at in years, all my DVDs and CDs (I’ve digitized everything, why was I holding on to those?), and a ton of clothes that I haven’t worn in ages (most of which don’t even fit anymore). And of course that juicer that I never used after the first couple weeks. And a whole lot of knick knacks that I used to love but now just seem to be taking up space.
I am gonna be brutal.
I’ll try to get a new recipe up as soon as I can, but it’ll be a bit sporadic for awhile. Once I take possession of the new place, I’ll post some pics of the wee kitchen so you can see what I’ll be working with. Fingers crossed that oven is reliable!!
I’m afraid I got nothin’ for you this week! Except some sad news. Sad for me anyway. As much as I complain about my tiny kitchen and ancient unreliable stove, I actually really love my apartment. I’ve got the top floor of an old house. It’s old and drafty and falling apart, but with an amazing view of the city and the mountains, plus a nice big south-facing deck that gets lots of sun. I’m in a great neighbourhood within walking distance of everything I need. And my landlord just sold the house. Waaaaah.
So this past week has been a whole lot of panicking and running around, desperately trying to find a new apartment. Which is hard enough in a city with less than 1% vacancy (eep!), but it’s even more difficult when you have a pet. And I have a cat. An oooooold lady of 18 who I’m not going anywhere without. So with all that stress and worry, I didn’t even feel like eating, let alone baking. Sorry, but no new treats this week. In fact, I completely forgot about writing a post this week at all. I was so exhausted yesterday I fell asleep sitting upright on the couch. Whoops.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!
Earlier today, someone mentioned that they were really looking forward to pumpkin spice season starting up soon. I thought “What are you talking about? It’s still summer! It’s only… waitaminute, next week is September!?” I feel like the summer has flown by. But when I look back at the blog, I’ve made a lot of popsicles, so it’s not like I didn’t get the chance to enjoy it or anything. We’ve had a lot of beautiful weather, and a lot of omg-it’s-way-too-hot weather. And I’m honestly looking forward to things cooling off again. And I’m definitely looking forward to being able to bake again on the weekends. I have so many recipes tagged and plans for what I want to make. But the summer’s not quite over yet. The stores are still full of fresh summer fruit – right now there’s lots of peaches and nectarines, and cherries are starting to show up. And watermelons. Beautiful fat juicy watermelons. What’s more refreshing on a hot day? (more…)
It’s another scorcher in Vancouver, so instead of going to the farmer’s market, I’m dipping into my supply of frozen fruit again for this week’s popsicle. As I mentioned last week, I like to make fruit smoothies to take to work with me for breakfast, so I keep my freezer stocked with the basics – bananas, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries. Plus whatever looks good at the market each week. Right now I’ve also got a lot of blackberries, raspberries, and rhubarb. I have no plans to add rhubarb to my smoothies (I’m sure it would be stringy and unpleasant…), but I do use it occasionally in baking, like these amazing rhubarb almond muffins I made last year. I’ve also added it to apple crisp, along with cranberries. And sometimes I’ll add it to my oatmeal while it’s cooking. Man, I can’t wait for the weather to cool down a bit so I can get baking again. I really miss it, and I don’t even have any more of my stash of frozen muffins in the freezer. Sadness. (more…)
We’re taking a little break from the farmer’s market this weekend, but we’re still making popsicles because it’s crazy hot here (don’t even ask me about my sunburn). In fact, it was too hot to go to the farmer’s market (why yes, that is why we’re taking a break). All I wanted to do was keep cool in front of my fan. So this week we’re working with ingredients you can get any time of year, and it’s one of my favourite flavour combinations – which is why I happened to have all the ingredients on-hand. Orange juice and cranberries (plus a bit of Cointreau). It’s a combination that works well in so many things. I haven’t posted it yet, but I have a recipe for cranberry orange muffins that I make all the time, and they’re fantastic. (more…)
I hope you’re not all sick of popsicle recipes yet, because it’s just too hot to be making much else right now. And I hope you’re not sick of hearing about our amazing farmer’s market, because I’m still going every weekend. And every weekend it’s the inspiration for what I end up making. Right now it’s all about the berries – every stall has tables loaded full of baskets of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. I’ve been buying lots of all of them, eating a few fresh (they’re great added to salads!), and freezing most of them to use in my morning smoothies and muffins. And of course making lots and lots of popsicles. This weekend we’re taking advantage of the beautiful plump blackberries. (more…)