Monday, December 31, 2012

A GREAT NEW YEAR IS COMING...

Just picked cherry tomatoes 

Suddenly, all of the cherry tomatoes on my two plants decided to ripen at once. They're delicious, especially the darker ones called "Black Cherry", which have an old fashioned big tomato taste. It's hard to determine when they're ripe & ready for picking because of their odd color. One day too late and they've split, which isn't a good thing. They've been brightening up salads, stir-fries and sandwiches, but each day more ripen. In order to prolong my enjoyment I roasted a batch with olive oil, salt & pepper at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. When they were soft and beginning to brown I mixed in slivers of fresh garden basil and let it cool.

 Cherry tomatoes after oven roasting, plus basil

I made small packets of this intensely tomato/basil flavored mix and froze them. This way I can always add that fresh garden taste to pizza, pasta, soup, spreads and who knows what else, all year.

Yesterday I amassed a colorful variety of veggies to bring home from the Sunday Palma Sola Farmers Market.


Multi-colored zucchini, striped eggplant, bright green peas and perfumed dill. Their organic red cabbage is in a class by itself, so sweet with just the right amount of crunch when julienned into a salad. I love raw cauliflower but it takes on a wonderful nutty flavor when you roast it the same way as the tomatoes.

This weekend join me in celebrating the Village of the Arts January ArtWalk Fri 6-9:30pm and Sat 11-4. Welcome a creative New Year by sharing & enjoying everything you find in the Village galleries. I'll be open during ArtWalk with my goodies & hope to see you in the driveway of 932 12 St W 


Friday night wander the streets & look for BABE, the delightful therapy horse who works at Prospect Riding Center. She'd love to nuzzle "Happy New Year" to you.

I can't help sharing with you what an incredible family I have. Sure, they're all smart, funny, thin, good looking, very loving and employed at the moment. Move over 007,  because together they pulled off the most amazing coup. A box arrived for me in a plain brown wrapper a few days before my actual birthday. Assuming it was a present, I executed extreme restraint & left it unopened on the table. It was only due to the pointed direction of my son (who has played a director on & off tv) & my brother over the phone, (my daughter was out of the country), that emboldened me to open it early. A few minutes later I delivered the gift from its tenacious packaging. My mouth dropped as I saw it was a MacBook Air.


They're insanely WONDERFUL, so I'll be taking this "smaller & lighter than a breadbox" computer with me on my various travels. It isn't often that I'm so happily stunned and rendered speechless. This was one of those very rare times. Thank you Abby, Rob & Teddy...I LOVE IT, but I love you more!!!


New Year celebrations are a tough time for me. The day after our last party "Just Desserts" on Jan 1, 2003 Rea was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The doctor's prognosis took the air out of the room as nothing else could. In contrast, this photo taken a few years earlier, shows us celebrating New Year's Eve with joy & hope for the future. Those are the feelings that embrace me whenever I think of Rea and our life together. So, from that very loving place, I send you my 
Very Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy & Joyful New Year.


I'm starting 2013 by focusing on something happy. That has to be Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese Breadstix. I spent 2 years developing this recipe for Rea when we lived in N.C., where we couldn't find any crusty & crunchy bread. It was the  original product that launched BONNI BAKES in 1997. This week I'm also baking Whole Wheat Raisin Walnut BreadThis loaf re-creates what Chock Full 'O Nuts used in their classic Cream Cheese & Nut Sandwiches, which I consumed a lot of as a kid. This soft flavorful loaf makes a great sandwich bread, with or without cream cheese, and is fabulous when toasted. Limited number available, Special Order $4.50/loaf.


When I saw these stunning sweet red peppers yesterday I knew I wanted to make something yummy with them. They're sitting on my counter now, but are actually headed to the grill. Once they've charred and cooled I'll scrape off the blackened skin and use that smokey red pepper body. Not quite sure what they'll become but it will be yummy! Stop by the Palma Sola Farmers Market this Sunday Jan 6th to sample it, go home with the free recipe & have a chance to buy those very peppers.

ALSO AVAILABLE ON MY MENU THIS WEEK:

HOMEMADE JAM & CHUTNEY   $4/jar
Mango Strawberry Cardamom,  Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper, Mango Meyer Lemon, Berry Basket, Just Strawberry, Tangerine Pineapple Meyer Lemon, Keitt Mango Chutney, Ginger Pear Chutney.

BREADSTIX  $4/pkg
Rosemary Parmigiano, Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese

MEGA MUFFIN  $2/each
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin 

CHOCOLATE ORGASM COOKIES  $5/pkg
Mostly Belgium Bittersweet Chocolate, chocolate chips & almonds

LARGE COOKIE  $1.50/each
Belgium Dark Chocolate Orange Walnut, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Belgium Dark Chocolate Lemon (no nuts), Classic Chocolate Chip (no nuts)

PLACE  YOUR  ORDER  BY  5pm  WEDNESDAY

call (941) 746-6647 or email bonnibakes@gmail.com

 PAY BY CASH OR LOCAL CHECK MADE OUT TO "BONNI BROWN"


ARRANGE TO PICK UP YOUR ORDER AT MY HOME IN The Village of the Arts 
FRIDAY OR SATURDAY  from 2-5 
or SUNDAY AT PALMA SOLA FARMERS MARKET 11-3


              Palma Sola Farmers Market  Sundays 11-3 
held at Geraldson's Community Farm. Go to their FaceBook link 
where you can get driving directions  & more information

facebook.com/palmasolafarmersmarket 


Happy New Year & Hugs from my kitchen,

Bonni & Twink



Monday, December 24, 2012

THIS WAS CHRISTMAS IN MINORCA



a few years ago when Rea & I were there celebrating it with our good friends Kinty, Allan, their son Federico, assorted neighbors (some in costume) plus the usual birds & dogs. Just look at her face and you'll understand what an imp she was. In totally whimsical style the Christmas cedar tree was placed in the middle of the kitchen, where you met it head-on as you entered the house. Of course the official Spanish holiday was Three Kings Day in January, but they celebrated their American holidays as well. One year there was chatter about Chanukah candles too because I was there. They lived in a centuries old building that had once housed the island's monastery. The left over resident ghosts were probably quite annoyed at the "goings on" there. However, for us mortals it was a bit of heaven with Freixenet thrown in. In those days Spain's "champagne" was cheaper than bottled water, and we were trying to be frugal.

This week, as Christmas is celebrated and the year winds down, I'm going with the flow. I'll celebrate my birthday, plus 15 grateful years as a cancer survivor, while anticipating the beginning of a very exciting New Year. As of this writing, in January I'll be traveling around Florida for a week with my dear friend Judy. She is giving up the option of skiing, snowboarding & making angels in the snow at Violet Hill in Rhinebeck for a road trip around Florida. Think "Thelma & Louise"...without the fiery ending. 

Okay, this is Abby not Judy, but an angel is an angel

In February I'm off on an adventure to Kerala, India to spend time with family & friends. This "you can't get there from here very easily trip" includes some down-time in NYC with the Brooklyn hipsters. I can't wait to experience the re-birth of artisan food in my old neighborhoods. 

Kerala, by the Indian Ocean in the south, is famous for the practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Part of that is doing yoga. I plan to learn some before I leave so I can join the people I love doing it on the beach. I'm also hoping to learn how to make some of those wonderful Indian breads. 

Indian Naan
Indian Puri
If I can pull this off, you're in line to be one of my taste testers. The last time this happened I was off to Europe & announced I was going to make pizza upon my return. That resulted in those infamous Bonni Bakes thin-crust pizzas that people are still longing for. Can my traditional Puri and Naan be far behind? Stay tuned.




Last week, the veggies I got at the Palma Sola Farmers Market inspired me to create this stir-fry for dinner. I used shredded TATSOI greens, leafy & crunchy sliced BOK CHOY and EDIBLE POD PEAS (instead of snow peas) in my mix. I blanched the peas (boiled 30 seconds in lots of water then threw them in ice water for a minute and drained dry) then added them during the last minutes of cooking. I was amazed at how crunchy they were after being reheated for lunch the next day. I think that only happens when you buy farm-fresh produce.

POTATO KNISH
SPINACH KNISH
KASHA KNISH
There's a huge snow storm coming across the country, so I'm going to celebrate "Winter in NYC" by making street food this week. That translates to Knishes to me. 

POTATO:  potato, sauteed onion
KASHA:  kasha, potato, sauteed onion
SPINACH: spinach, potato, onion
SWEET POTATO:  sweet potato, sauteed onion

If you haven't spent a freezing cold day standing on a sidewalk in NYC, wishing your socks were on fire, the the next best thing is to buy a hot knish. The thin pastry crust encloses a simple, yet delicious, filling. It feels as warm as a passionate hug or as satisfying as...well, you know. But for just $3 each how can you walk away? They freeze perfectly, ready to be taken out & baked briefly in a hot oven or even a toaster oven. Some people even like to shmear them with mustard, it's a personal thing.  LIMITED NUMBER AVAILABLE. SPECIAL ORDER, $3 each

ALSO AVAILABLE ON MY MENU THIS WEEK:

HOMEMADE JAM & CHUTNEY (limited amounts)  $4/8 oz
Mango Strawberry Cardamom,  Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper, Mango Meyer Lemon, Berry Basket, Just Strawberry, Keitt Mango Chutney, Ginger Pear Chutney, Tangerine Meyer Lemon Marmalade

BREADSTIX  $4/pkg
Rosemary Parmigiano, Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese

MEGA MUFFINS  $2/each
Breakfast Corn Muffin (Bacon, Cheddar, Scallion) or Cranberry Orange Muffin

CHOCOLATE ORGASM COOKIES  $5/pkg
Mostly Belgium Dark Chocolate, chocolate chips & almonds

LARGE COOKIE  $1.50/each
Belgium Dark Chocolate Orange Walnut, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Belgium Dark Chocolate Lemon (no nuts), Classic Chocolate Chip (no nuts)

PLACE ORDERS BY 5pm WEDNESDAY

call (941) 746-6647 or email bonnibakes@gmail.com


ARRANGE TO PICK UP YOUR ORDER AT MY HOME IN The Village of the Arts 
FRIDAY OR SATURDAY  2-5 (OR BY APPT)
OR SUNDAY AT PALMA SOLA FARMER'S MARKET 11-3

 PAY BY CASH OR LOCAL CHECK MADE OUT TO "BONNI BROWN"

Sunday 11-3 at the Palma Sola Farmer's Market 
at Geraldson's Community Farm. Go to their FaceBook link 
where you can get driving directions  & more information

facebook.com/palmasolafarmersmarket 


Twinkie, my dog, is waiting to welcome you...especially if you rub her tummy

Happy New Year & Hugs from my kitchen,

Bonni & Twink

Monday, December 17, 2012

SOMETHING SPECIAL TO SERVE FOR THE HOLIDAYS



MIRO THE GECKO (2006) by Bonni Brown, ready for the holidays 

I've finally been dragged, kicking & screaming, partially into the Holiday Season. Sorry, but I need real snow, sleds, roaring fireplaces, tall live fir trees, hot chocolate to warm cold noses and special treats on the table. Sitting here in my shorts with the door open to the deck & listening to Barry Manilow's "The Classic Christmas Album" doesn't really do it for me. At least I have the company of  Miro the Gecko, who joyfully hangs on the wall of my TreeHouse. 

Today is also the 45th anniversary of my first marriage. It wasn't the most perfect pairing, although we thought so at the time. Together we had two wonderful kids and I learned a lot as I grew up & matured over the next ten years. 



December has always been a month of celebrations in my family. In addition to the usual suspects we also had numerous birthdays & anniversaries. This year I have a few GINGERBREAD ORNAMENTS left that I'll be giving away, one with each purchase, until they're gone. Originally baked as chubby cookies, they've morphed into painted ornaments that would love to hang on your tree this year & next.

Here are some unsolicited suggestions for making your personal celebration into a delicious & unique occasion. Guarantee your cheese tray sparkles when you serve the freshest local goat cheese around. Each Sunday at the Palma Sola Farmers Market Glenna Roberts & family bring a selection of their goat milk products including cheese, milk & yogurt. The footprint is so small that you can hang out with their wandering grazing goats Mosquito & Mitchell, plus the kid-friendly 22 lb pet turkey Mr Darcy.



Because their products start with raw goat milk, they have to be "sold as pet food only" per state law, but we all know what that means. If you'd like to order something from Glenna & can't come out Sunday, I'll be happy to bring it back with me in a cooler and you can pick it up in The Village of the Arts. Here's a short list of what's usually available --

Chèvre 1/2 cup   $6
Plain with sea salt; Basil; Garlic Chive; Cranberry Cinnamon; Date Honey Walnut; Spiced Mango; Strawberry or Tuscan

Feta 1/2 cup   $7
Crumbled or Sliced In Brine Whey

Yogurt  $4.50/pint

Milk  $4/quart       $12/gallon

Or just call Glenna at  941 322-1014 

When my vegan brother Teddy stops by I like to have a big supply of my Minorcan Multi-Grain Bread handy for him to munch on. 



It's wonderful on its own; in a sandwich; as the perfect foil for spreads; a great side to soup and incredible when toasted. I've even been known to ship half a dozen loaves as a birthday present. ONLY AVAILABLE THIS WEEK BY SPECIAL ORDER, $4.50/loaf

If you're over-dosed on sickly sweet desserts and want a comforting partner to enjoy with an after-dinner beverage, let me suggest my New York City Classic Apple Cake


Once you've tasted it, you know how wonderful it is and Publix doesn't even try to replicate it. Lots of big cinnamon laced tart apple chunks embraced in an old fashioned, not-too-sweet cake. It would even make my Grandma (the family baker) smile, and that took a lot! Perfect as a snack or with a meal. ONLY AVAILABLE THIS WEEK BY SPECIAL ORDER, $4.50/8 oz

ALSO AVAILABLE ON MY MENU THIS WEEK:

HOMEMADE JAM & CHUTNEY (limited amounts)  $4/8 oz
Mango Strawberry Cardamom,  Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper, Mango Meyer Lemon, Berry Basket, Meyer Lemon Bitter Marmalade, Keitt Mango Chutney, Ginger Pear Chutney.

KEITT MANGO BUTTER  $7.50/12 oz   There's ONLY ONE JAR LEFT
Pure Keitt mango concentrated down for hours with a little sugar & citrus

BREADSTIX  $4/pkg
Rosemary Parmigiano, Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese, A Mixed Bag (assorted)

MEGA MUFFINS  $2/each
Cranberry Orange

CHOCOLATE ORGASM COOKIES  $5/pkg
Mostly Belgium Dark Chocolate, chocolate chips & almonds

LARGE COOKIE  $1.50/each
Belgium Dark Chocolate Orange Walnut, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Belgium Dark Chocolate Lemon (no nuts), Classic Chocolate Chip (no nuts)

Last chance to order something in time for Christmas. Guarantee your order by placing it by 5pm Wednesday

call (941) 746-6647 or email bonnibakes@gmail.com


ARRANGE TO PICK UP YOUR ORDER AT MY HOME IN The Village of the Arts 
FRIDAY OR SATURDAY  2-5 (OR BY APPT)
OR SUNDAY AT PALMA SOLA FARMER'S MARKET 11-3

 PAY BY CASH OR LOCAL CHECK MADE OUT TO "BONNI BROWN"

Sunday 11-3 I'll be at the Palma Sola Farmer's Market held at Geraldson's Community Farm. Go to their FaceBook link facebook.com/palmasolafarmersmarket where you can get driving directions  & more information.


Twinkie, my dog, is waiting to welcome you...especially if you rub her tummy


Happy Holidays & Hugs from my kitchen,
Bonni

Monday, December 10, 2012

THE HOLIDAYS ARE UPON US

and the music is in surround sound. I hope you made it to last week's Village of the Arts Dec ArtWalk  when we celebrated an Olde Fashioned Village Christmas.





It isn't often that you see a barbershop quartet serenading a horse...especially a Christmas horse! But Babe, the therapy horse from Prospect Riding Center was the perfect audience for The Bowery Boys' blended voices. They crooned while she smiled, along with all of the holiday shoppers around her.


Will the next holiday please step forward.  Oh it's you CHANUKAH
This is the Jewish holiday celebrated for 8 nights featuring burning candles and fried food, especially latkes & donuts. Since I believe that fried food tastes best when just removed from the oil, it isn't practical for me to offer you any of those. Instead, I'll just celebrate the common thread found at all Jewish occasions, both happy and sad.  LOTS OF FOOD  Here are my two holiday specials for this week.


One of the oldest Jewish restaurants in NYC was Ratner's on the Lower East Side. It was a "dairy" restaurant, famous for things like Vegetable Cutlets w/Mushroom Gravy, soups, blintzes and their Onion Pockets. The mere mention of this onion studded roll brings tears to the eyes of people who remember noshing on them. So versatile you can enjoy one as a sandwich, with soup or salad, or just on its own with a bit of butter & jam. Just available this week by special order.


For dessert here's another Jewish bakery favorite that's  rarely seen these days -- Mohn (Poppy seed) Bars. They're made up of a shortbread base, filled with a flavorful ground poppy seed mixture and topped off with sugar sprinkled streusel. Lots of textures & flavors that melt in your mouth simultaneously. The Mohn Bars are available only by special order. I'm using the fresh German poppy seeds I brought back from Berlin. I declared them, along with sacks of Swedish Coarse Rye flour, which filled my luggage. The Miami Customs agent looked at me, rolled his eyes, then just waved me through without a word. I love having authentic ingredients to bake with. 

ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:


Homemade Jam & Chutney (limited amounts)  $4/8 oz
Mango Strawberry Cardamom,  Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper, Mango Meyer Lemon, Berry Basket, Meyer Lemon Bitter Marmalade, Keitt Mango Chutney, Ginger Pear Chutney.

Keitt Mango Butter  $5/8 oz  Only a few jars left for this season
Pure Keitt mango concentrated down for hours with a little sugar & citrus

Ratner's Onion Pockets  $3/pkg of 4
Soft roll filled & topped with sauteed onion & poppy seeds

Mohn (Poppy Seed) Bars  $2/each
A cookie with a shortbread base, poppy seed filling & streusel topping

Breadstix  $4/pkg
Rosemary Parmigiano, Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese, A Mixed Bag (assorted)

Mega Muffins  $2/each
Apple Cranberry Spice

Chocolate Orgasm Cookies  $5/pkg
Mostly Belgium Dark Chocolate, chocolate chips & almonds

Large Cookie  $1.50/each
Belgium Dark Chocolate Orange Walnut, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Belgium Dark Chocolate Lemon (no nuts), Classic Chocolate Chip (no nuts)

Sunday from 11-3 I'll be at the Palma Sola Farmer's Market, held at Geraldson's Community Farm. This week I'll be turning a beautiful organic head of cabbage into that appetizing store staple, NYC DELI HEALTH SALAD. This easy to make, non-mayo based menage of veggies in a sweet/sour marinade will stay crisp for a week in your refrigerator. Stop by Sunday and try some. If you like it I'll give you the recipe, and you'll find the organic veggies very close by. 

I'll be set up under my tent with most of the menu items. If I have any extra Onion Pockets and Mohn Bars, they'll be there too, but no guarantees.

PLACE YOUR SPECIAL ORDER BY 5PM WEDNESDAY

call (941) 746-6647 or email bonnibakes@gmail.com

that's my dog Twinkie (almost hidden behind the gate) waiting to welcome you

YOU CAN PICK UP YOUR ORDER AT MY HOME IN The Village of the Arts 
FRIDAY OR SATURDAY  1-4 (OR BY APPT)
OR SUNDAY AT PALMA SOLA FARMER'S MARKET 11-3

 PAY BY CASH OR LOCAL CHECK MADE OUT TO "BONNI BROWN"

Hugs from my kitchen,
Bonni

Monday, December 3, 2012

THIS IS GOING TO BE AN EXHAUSTING WEEK...



because Chanukah intersects with the December Village ArtWalk, An Old Fashioned Village Christmas. This Fri 6-9:30pm and Sat 11-4pm. My dog Twinkie is wiped out just thinking about it. Let's take things in chronological order.

Each year the Village of the Arts celebrates by lighting up the Village (6pm this Fri) to kick off the celebration. Come join us & get in the holiday mood with The Barbershop Boys singing, as they roam through the galleries. Our 5 restaurants have holiday specials, while those of us on the street will WOW YOU with our unique goodies...look for me in the driveway of my TreeHouse at 932 12th St W, next to Sweets' Bakehouse. Santa will be there too, but you better be good or you'll find coals in your stockings. 



Move over Rudolph, BABE the Christmas Horse is coming to the Village! She's taking a break from her work at Prospect Riding Center for Therapeutic & Recreational Directed Equine Activies. Reindeer might have a WC Field's nose, but Babe has a immense HEART as she works with special needs folks, their extended family, care givers & service providers. Bring your kids to meet her up close, because she's a PEOPLE LOVER. BABE, assisted by Susan Tambone & her associates will be walking around the Village to wish you a happy holiday season!!




In honor of Chanukah, which begins Saturday, I'm baking two Jewish favorites: NYC CHALLAH and RUGELACH. They are the rich fruit & nut cookies pictured below & on my business cards. People ask me all of the time, "when are you going to bake those?" Duh, this week!!!  Because I create a limited amount in small batches, they're only guaranteed to be available by prior special order. If I have extra, they'll be around Friday night, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Email or call me by 5pm on Wednesday to order yours.


Sunday I'll be at the Palma Sola Farmer's Market 10-2, held at Geraldson's Community Farm. This week I'll be turning a gorgeous bunch of Red Russian Kale into Kale Chips. This is an easier magic trick than the one that transported my parents from Russia/Poland to New York City. Stop by, have a taste, buy some organic kale & get the recipe. I'll be bringing a selection of my homemade jam, chutney, muffins, Breadstix & who knows what else?

I was amazed at how my big stash of homemade jam & chutney were scooped up at the craft fair, MADE HERE, last week. I honestly thought I had canned enough to last me through 2012. After the Farmer's Mkt on Sunday I was left with less than a dozen jars. I guess a lot of people thought $4 handmade jam makes a great present. I plan to make more this week, but who knows how that will work out. So if you want to order anything in time for Xmas, including hand decorated holiday sugar cookies, now is the time to plan.

AVAILABLE THIS WEEK:
Homemade Jam & Chutney (limited amounts)  $4/8 oz
Mango Strawberry Cardamom, Mango Daiquiri, Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper, Mango Meyer Lemon, Berry Basket, Meyer Lemon Bitter Marmalade, Keitt Mango Chutney

Keitt Mango Butter  $5/8 oz
Pure Keitt mango concentrated down for hours with a little sugar & citrus

NYC Challah  $4.50/loaf
Golden on the outside, soft on the inside...just as it should be

NYC Rugelach  $6/8 oz
A soft crust encloses a sweet combo of jam, walnuts and raisins

Breadstix  $4/pkg
Rosemary Parmigiano, Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese, A Mixed Bag (assorted)

Mega Muffins  $2/each
Pumpkin Date Raisin, Aunt Gert's Carrot Spice

Chocolate Orgasm Cookies  $5/pkg
Mostly Belgium Dark Chocolate, chocolate chips & almonds

Large Cookie  $1.50/each
Belgium Dark Chocolate Orange Walnut, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Belgium Dark Chocolate Lemon (no nuts), Classic Chocolate Chip (no nuts)

TO ORDER: call me at (941) 746-6647 or email bonnibakes@gmail.com

that's my dog Twinkie (almost hidden behind the gate) waiting to welcome you

This week's pickup at my home in The Village of the Arts 
Friday or Saturday between 1-4 (or by appt)
or Sunday at Palma Sola Farmer's Mkt 10-2

Pay by cash or local check made out to "Bonni Brown"

Happy Holiday & hugs from my kitchen,
Bonni