Happy Passover!

Welcome back! Have you ever wondered why Easter seems to be a little nomadic on the calendar? The date changes every year. I was having a discussion on a long car trip this past weekend with a loved one and neither one of us really knew. Well, Google to the rescue!

According to ThoughtCo, “At the heart of the matter lies a very simple explanation. Easter is a movable feast. The earliest believers in the church of Asia Minor wished to keep the observance of Easter correlated to the Jewish Passover. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened after the Passover, so followers wanted Easter always to be celebrated subsequent to the Passover. And, since the Jewish holiday calendar is based on solar and lunar cycles, each feast day is movable, with dates shifting from year to year”.

Now to dig a little deeper, here is some history on Passover in the Jewish faith. Per Wikipedia, The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the English name of the holiday.[9]
When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason Passover was called the feast of unleavened bread in the Torah or Old Testament.[10] Thus matzo (flat unleavened bread) is eaten during Passover and it is a tradition of the holiday.”

Today Im going to share with you a great recipe for Matzo Icebox Cake.

Simple. Easy. Delicious. Thanks to Delish on Youtube for sharing that recipe.

Until next time, Hoppy Baking! See what I did there? Did you?

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday filled with family and friends! And for those of you that don’t celebrate the holiday, thank you for indulging me in letting me share some great history!

Christopher

Why Did I Start a Blog?

Hello readers. Today I’m going to answer the question above. Ive gotten asked it several times since I started my blog so lets dig in! Why did you start a blog?

My original intention was not to start a blog, but an Etsy shop, which you can view here. I wanted to create some beautiful sprinkle blends to sell to others that I knew were searching for the same thing. Lets break that down even further: The reason I wanted to start or sell anything? Financial stability.

My previous position was a nightmare. They expected me to be available around the clock for their every whim. 80 hour work weeks weren’t out of the question. 4am text messages, 11pm phone calls. After 16 months, I’d had it. They’d had it with me. Long story short, I no longer work there. So i’ve been without any type on income going on three months as I write this. Thats rough.

I was doing some research during my new found free time and everything kept coming back to the same thing: Multiple income streams. Thats right, you need a main hustle and a side hustle. The side hustle is something you can do while you still work full time and creates a second income. That second income can create financial security for you and your family. In my case, I want this to eventually become my full time gig. I have come to the conclusion that I no longer want to be a chef. The hours suck, the pay isn’t great and there is no stability. Also, where I live, there isn’t a huge call for pastry chefs or really chefs in general. Why not move, right? Well, Lorelei, my daughter, is the reason Im here. She’s the reason for everything I do. I can put my dreams on hold for 10 more years until she graduates high school. Nothing is worth more than coming home to that little girl. Nothing.

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Photo by Abby Reid at Chickadee Photography by Abby

Back to the topic: Creating multiple income streams. I would highly suggest this for anyone. It doesn’t mean that you have to sell sprinkles. There are some multi level marketing companies that make people a lot of money. You can become an affiliate marketer, start a blog with it. Become a seller on Amazon, sell your art on Etsy. There really are no limits as long as you are willing to put in the work. So check it out, do your research, find your side hustle. Who doesn’t want financial freedom? I know I do!

Until next time, happy baking!

Christopher

New Easter Tradition?

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Happy Monday all! The good news? Its almost over 🙂

I was browsing my Facebook feed and ran across a dessert i’d never seen before. It’s called an Empty Tomb roll. It’s basically a marshmallow dipped in butter, rolled in cinnamon sugar, encased in a dough and then dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar again. It seems like a lot of steps but it looks super simple. Go visit our friends at Sweet Basil here below for the recipe!

Happy Baking!

Christopher

Breakfast for Dinner

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(Not My Waffles)

Welcome back! It’s great to see you again. I missed you.

You might be asking yourself, what does a single father do on a Friday night when he doesn’t have his daughter? You werent? Okay, I will share anyways because its TERRIBLY exciting!

Laundry. Yup. You read that right. My night began around 6pm folding laundry. Laundry is one of those things thats a constant in all of our lives. Not super exciting but without it, we’d be naked. Once that was done and put away, I moved on to cleaning the house, which really is pointless since it’s been raining today and the dogs are wet and muddy. But believe me when I tell you, my bathroom was atrocious. Now on to the exciting part!

My dinner. I tried something completely new tonight and I’m going to share it with you! I made some of my favorites: Breakfast for dinner. If you’ve never done this, you’re missing out.

It was a roundup of the usual suspects: Waffles, cheese, eggs, did i mention cheese?! The “completely new” part was the waffle. I’ve been on a weight loss journey for over a year now. I’m overhauling my life and trying to take better care of myself. This includes NOT dousing everything in maple syrup, which is like 100% sugar. So instead of the usual sweet waffle, I made them savory! Herbs have no calories so to speak so you can add great flavor without ruining your diet.

Have you ever had a savory waffle? I don’t think i had prior to this evening.

Here is the recipe I used:

Savory Waffle

1 c All Purpose Flour

1.5 tsp Baking Powder

1 egg

1 c almond milk (use whatever milk you like. I just had almond on hand)

1 tbsp Oregano

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 c Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

Mix all ingredients together. Bake in a waffle maker until golden brown.

Yield: 4 waffles

 

Thats it! See, super simple. While the waffles were waffling, I cooked up some sunny side up eggs, 1 per waffle. I placed the egg on top of the waffle and sprinkled it with more shredded cheddar cheese. My favorite part? When you cut into the egg yolk and it creates a sauce for the waffles. The savory waffle, mixed with the cheesy goodness and fatty egg is a match made in heaven. My only regret? Not getting a picture!

If you are feeling adventurous this weekend, this would make a perfect brunch dish. I tend to experiment a little bit when I’m on my own for dinner. My daughter Lorelei is 7 and is every minute of 7 years old. She’s adventurous when she’s in the mood. This is one of those dishes she would look at me and say “Really Dada? You think i’m going to eat this?”. Since it was just me and dogs tonight, I was in the clear.

Until next time, Happy Waffling!

Christopher

Scratch Vs. Box Mix

Hello readers! I appreciate you stopping by. Today we are going to discuss the age old cake question: Box mix or scratch? I have my preferences and I’d like to share them with you.

A little history first: We have a Pittsburgh company called P. Duff and Sons to thank. On Dec. 10, 1930, the company’s John D. Duff applied for a patent for an “invention [that] relates to a dehydrated flour for use in making pastry products and to a process of making the same.” In the application, Duff’s mix for gingerbread involved creating a powder of wheat flour, molasses, sugar, shortening, salt, baking soda, powdered whole egg, ginger, and cinnamon that the home cook could rehydrate with water, then bake.

“What it was really about was about using up molasses,” says culinary historian Laura Shapiro, author of Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America and queen of cake-mix historians. “People were eating differently, and food and how they made it had changed drastically. So Duff figured out how to dry it and add it to a flour mix.”

Interesting, right?

Let me share a little secret with you. I’d never had a scratch cake until i started pastry school. Criminal i know. My mom was a working mom of 3 boys and my dad liked dinner on the table at 445pm when he walked in from work so he could promptly start his evening chores and projects. Being the youngest of three boys, I was tasked with cooking dinner a lot. My brothers really didn’t show any desire or aptitude to learn and I liked a challenge. After a few years of cooking i decided i needed to do something with the spare time and i started experimenting with baking. And thats how this pastry chef started.

Being naive to a lot of the food world, remembering this is before Food Network and Cooking Channel, I didn’t know any different than what was in our kitchen. Hamburger Helper, Instant pudding and jello, microwave popcorn. My mom did a little bit of cake and cookie decorating but nothing too involved. At Christmas we would gather and spend a day icing cut out sugar cookies but that was as fancy as it got.

From an early age, i was conditioned to like sweets from commercial bakeries and box mixes. I was mesmerized by the fact that i could pick out a box and 30 minutes later have a baked cake ready to ice and eat. To be honest, my favorite was and still is a white cake mix cake with American Buttercream.

When i ended up at pastry school, i was in for a little shock to the system. Nothing bad of course, just out of my comfort zone. Whats the saying? “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there”. Being pushed outside my comfort zone definitely helped shape who i am today.

One of the first things we made was chiffon cakes. If you haven’t had a home made chiffon cake from scratch, you are missing out! Its light and fluffy and flavorful. It was something that was super popular in the 50s and 60s and is still holding its own today.

The thing is, Americans are conditioned to visit the bakery in their local grocery stores these days. Gone are the days of independent mom and pop bakeries that are truly a from scratch operation. In the kitchen were large, hot ovens churning out bread and pastries. It really was a sight to see. Now we have a taste for mass produced cakes made in a factory some where. No judgement, like i said before.

A lot of the reason for this decline in independent bakeries is the amount of labor required to produce large volumes of product. To get someone that is reliable and skilled will cost you money. Also with the human element involved, theres always a chance of variation in the product. I can bake a cake and it comes out exactly how i want it to, but can give the recipe to an assistant and they will bake completely differently. Its just human nature.

By now you are probably asking yourself “well which is it? Box or scratch?”

My answer is this: Both. They each have their appropriate applications. A bakery that is doing a large amount of volume that wants an easy, consistent product would choose cake mix. I have worked in some of the best restaurants and hotels in the area and they all choose cake mix. Heck, even some of the more popular wedding cake bakeries in my area do too. When i had my own bakery cafe, I baked from scratch. I like a more dense cake when it comes to wedding cakes. Its more sturdy and the structure allows for carving of the cake, if needed. I had a few clients who didn’t appreciate the dense cake and they ended up choosing someone else to make their wedding cake. Thats the thing. Everyone grew up differently and have their preferences. If I’m making cupcakes, I reach for a mix. Less work, more consistency. If I’m baking (and charging) for a wedding or birthday cake, i feel i owe it to my customers to bake from scratch.

At home for you, you need to decide whats worth your time. Does your family LOVE cake? Bake it from scratch. Does your family not really eat cake? Then why are you making cake at all? Just kidding. But you see my point. It all depends on your audience.

Until next time, Happy Baking!

Christopher