Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What we made for the Village Studio Tour

Instead of joining this week's group challenge bake from "Inside The Jewish Bakery", we opted to participate in the annual Village of the Arts' Studio Tour.

Friday, Anna with her flexible young fingers, adeptly demonstrated how to create an Asian Summer Roll. The photo below shows ones with shrimp. They start off vegetarian but you can customize them any way you want by adding chicken, tofu, seafood, varying the veggies, etc.

Rice paper wrapper around cellophane noodles, cucumber, carrot, snow peas, cilantro, shrimp and lettuce

We made several dozen and happily gave them all away, along with a delicious peanut dipping sauce, to everyone who stopped by. All day we heard a chorus of YUMs. I love being able to take the mystery out of something, then teach it to others who competently add to their own repertoire. We distributed a hand-out with recipes explaining how to create Asian Summer Rolls and two dipping sauces, plus a local resource for buying inexpensive oriental groceries. I don't know how to post it here. If you'd like a copy, send a request to me at

I was hungry for more Chinese food when this was over. Since I've been wanting to make Ming Tsai's Pork Pot Stickers, this seemed to be the perfect time. My dinner consisted of a veggie stir fry and a few pot stickers & sauce. They're outstanding. The rest, uncooked in the freezer, wait to be shared with our Friday taste-tasters down the road.

Pork Pot Sticker with homemade Dipping Sauce

Saturday I taught how to make delicious homemade bread with no tools and in a minimum amount of time. The recipes came from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" and "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day"; both books by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

Whole Wheat & Seeded Oat Loaf from "Healthy Bread...Day"

People were able to taste their crunchy Basic Baguette and Seeded Oat Loaf (seen above). There were samples of all of my jams, including my newest, Mango Daiquiri. Great way to start the day. 

The breads are made by simply mixing a few ingredients together in a large plastic container for 2 minutes. No kneading or fancy equipment required. Leave the covered container on your counter for two hours, during which the yeast causes the dough to bubble up. When it stops rising, place it in your refrigerator. You can use this dough to provide fresh bread whenever you'd like over the next two weeks. Just cut off a chunk, shape it, allow it to rise and then bake it. It's that simple. The time it spends in the refrigerator allows the enzymes in the dough to produce a flavor that normally would take a lot of time, effort & fussing. It's easy and tastes great.

This is also the week that I bake for Geraldson Farm's Co-op. As a result I have some extra muffins available. I'll also be at their first 
SUNDAY FARMER'S MARKET on Feb 26th from 11-3

Blueberry Lemon (foreground) & Cranberry Orange Muffins

Vegan Pumpkin Date Raisin Muffins 
Limited quantities available, call or email if you'd like to order some.

Wade Tatangelo wrote a wonderful article in the Bradenton Herald this past week about the house I built & live in. You can find it here:

If you'd like to be a taste-tester for this week's bake from "Inside The Jewish Bakery", stop by the TreeHouse on Friday from 2-4pm. We'll be making some kind of Sweet Egg Buns. The simple version is a knot roll but Anna & I want to experiment.

The TreeHouse is located down the driveway of 932 12th St West in Bradenton's Village of the Arts. Come through the white iron gate and follow the driveway back to the TreeHouse. We'll be waiting for you.

Pass thru the gate with the sign "BAD DOG BEWARE"

 Hugs from my kitchen,
Bonni & Anna

932 12th ST West
Bradenton, FL  34205

(941) 746-6647

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Heart of NYC Is A Black & White Cookie

 At last, one of my most anticipated bakes of this challenge so far. 

What is more iconic than a real New York City Black & White cookie? Here in Florida I've seen the most appalling versions...shortbread for the base, bizarrely over-sized, a hard crisp cookie, fluffy frosting. I can't bear to remember all of the disasters I've tasted. And of course the taste was never right-on. The biggest insult is that these much less than accurate versions are presented as "the real thing" to innocent mid-westerners and other locals.

A true NYC Black & White cookie is more like cake than cookie. The base is somewhat rounded with a soft, vaguely lemon flavored bottom that is thinly covered on top with equal areas of vanilla & chocolate icing. This recipe had it all, except the lemon, which we judiciously added. In order to have lots of samples, we made most 3"-4", rather than the usual 5" size. Here's how we made them.

First the sugar & fat were creamed until fluffy

Then the eggs were gradually added

This resulted in the batter curdling temporarily

But it all smoothed out once the flour was added

The smooth batter was poured into a bag for piping; we're used a freezer grade zip bag with a 1/2" diagonal cut made in the corner

We piped them as concentric circles, which meant 
we had to smooth out and flatten the tops

We used an off-set spatula, but if we had piped it as a 
3" blob we probably could have eliminated this step

The cookie centers all puffed up in the oven, as they should

You have to watch them carefully to make sure they only 
brown lightly around the edges

While the baked cookies cooled, it was time to make the two icings

In the end they were a delicious bevy of beauties. 
I hope you were one of our lucky taste-testers.

 galleries invite you in to see the magic behind the curtain

We're taking a break in our schedule to share this with you

FRIDAY from 12-3 Anna will show you how to make

delicious, simple, healthy, inexpensive & impressive

  We'll be demonstrating how to make them, giving
away free samples, plus the recipes & resources 


SATURDAY from 12-3 I'll show you how to make

basic baguette & whole wheat seeded oat loaf
delicious, easy, can be baked fresh with little notice

  I'll show you how to mix this master dough in minutes & have it ready to bake at will. Taste a variety of different samples.
We'll be in a tent (I hope it doesn't rain!!) at the edge of the driveway in front of my TreeHouse at 932 12th St W, in the 
Village of the Arts both days from 12-3.

I'm proud that the Bradenton Herald has decided to do a story on my TreeHouse. It will be in the Neighbors Section, this Friday Feb 17th.

Any questions, call me at (941) 746-6647
or email

Hugs from the kitchen,
Bonni & Anna

Monday, February 6, 2012

Oh my, I think my streusel is showing

As a kid I always looked forward to Sunday morning when I would go hand-in-hand with my Dad to round up the usual suspects. Each item was found in a different store -- lox (the real salt cured salmon), whitefish, smoked salmon, chopped herring and health salad at the appetizing store; hot bagels & bialys burning your hands through the paper bag from the bagel bakery; and finally the Jewish bakery for pletzels, corned rye bread, chocolate crullers and cake. When you ordered "Coffee Cake", it was cut from a huge slab and sold by the pound, like my favorite Seven Layer Cake which was sold the same way.

This week we baked Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake and it transported me right back to age 8, nose pressed against the glass bakery case trying to see everything from my modestly elevated position. The warm buttery-sugar smells that wafted from my oven Friday were not lost on each person as they entered. Welcome to my place where memory deliciously meets reality. Stop by Friday between 2-4 to sample each week's bake. This Friday it's the classic NYC Black & White Cookies. These made us proud long before the Giants in the SuperBowl...but we'll toast to that too!

I doubled the recipe and needed A TON OF STREUSEL to top the cake

The ingredients were simple and basic...lots of sweet butter and sugar. 
They mixed for a long time until whipped to a texture like butter cream frosting.

Then the beaten eggs were added at a slow dribble

An offset spatula helps to gently spread the cake batter without crushing the air of it

 Anna gently & evenly spreads the LARGE AMOUNT of streusel over the top

 Followed by sprinking the toasted chopped walnuts

I baked a double batch and it came out golden with delicate rich cake bottom & walnut streusel topping

All of this was supervised under the watchful eye of Twinkie , All Breeds Super Chef

There are no interior shots of the cake, because we gave it all away. Yums were heard echoing.

I think I'm a very lucky person because I've always found myself in the company of wonderful people. Just this week Mike, our terrific mailman, brought me a stunning cabbage that his lovely wife Evelyn grew in her organic garden. I had to consider how to use such a jewel. My thoughts went back to that old appetizing store in Brooklyn and their Health Salad. It was a specialty I've only found available in those stores, usually located near bagel bakeries, where the combo of fresh bread, smoked fish and cream cheese spreads had an affinity for each other. Health Salad was usually sold next to the Greek Salad, by the pound. It is a sweet & sour, non-mayo version of cole slaw that is a perfect "side" with a sandwich and stays crisp for weeks in the refrigerator in a sealed container. It's even VEGAN before anyone thought to promote it that way. It took a long time for me to unearth a recipe that tasted "right on", but the Second Ave Deli's cookbook has the real thing. 

Try this in honor of Mike & Evelyn's generous gift...
I hope you have a cabbage that is worthy
                         2nd Ave Deli Health Salad          yield 8 cups

1 small head green cabbage (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 small green bell pepper
1 large rib celery, cut crosswise into thin slices
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, peanut, corn, or canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
To prepare the salad, halve the cabbage, cut into quarters, and remove the core in each section. With a large, sharp knife, shred the cabbage as finely  as possible and transfer to a large bowl.

Using the coarsest side of a box grater, shred the carrots into the shredded cabbage. Halve the green pepper and remove the seeds, ribs, and stem. Wash and dry the pepper halves, then cut them into extremely fine strands; add them to the slaw along with the celery.

To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the slaw. Toss well.

Refrigerate the slaw, tightly covered, for at least 8 hours before serving. As the slaw will not wilt much, it should remain crisp and fresh tasting for 2 to 3 weeks.
  This cookie can be found in every deli, coffee shop & bakery in New York City. It is a soft, almost cake-like cookie, whose top is iced with vanilla & chocolate. Stop by and 
sample one to see if it lives up the standards all of us New Yorkers know & love.
Anna & I will be baking them Friday morning Feb 10th
Stop by to sample between 2-4pm Friday at

my home, The TreeHouse, just down the driveway at
932 12th St., Bradenton (Village of the Arts)
come through the white iron gate & walk back to the TreeHouse

I also have a limited amount of
Chocolate Orgasm Cookies
Assorted Breadstix
Homemade Jam & Chutney

Any questions, call me at (941) 746-6647
or email

Hugs from the kitchen,