Monday, March 31, 2014

My TreeHouse is on tour this weekend


It's the Annual Village ArtWalk & Garden Tour this weekend. My home, the TreeHouse, will be open to visitors on Fri & Sat from 12 - 4pm. I've done this every year since its completion in 2007 as an example of how living in less than 1000 sq ft doesn't doom you to a series of rabbit warren interior spaces.

I had never designed anything before, but this 3 year long project succeeded due to the incredible support I received from the community. John Secleter, (an architect & long time Bonni Bakes' customer) took my amateur drawings and turned them into professional blueprints. In addition, he visited the site daily during his lunch hour to oversee & guide the progress. Howard Bard came to install the bamboo floors & stayed for months afterward to finish all of the carpentry. Employees of various City agencies helped me at every step along the way. That's why I was delighted to throw a party for 125 supporters when I reached the finish line.


I've used a lot of plexiglass throughout, including the two story windows along the staircase wall. There are ductless "split" A/C units, a tankless hot water heater, glass block in the floor and several hand-painted tile installations done with the help of Anna D'Aste of "Little Swamp Studios". Village metal artist, Victor Garcia, spent weeks fabricating & welding the aluminum bannister system.


This past summer I enclosed the second floor outside deck to add more living space. It's all done with acrylic windows and plexiglass walls which allow the feeling of being "outside" to be experienced from "inside".



The house won't be picture perfect because I'm still in the process of re-allocating items since the sale of my other house. There are boxes of pictures & papers to go through, but I've finally unpacked some items that are available for sale. Most are kitchen & household things, as well as a collection of dishes that we brought back from Spain.


My TreeHouse is located at 932 12th St West in the Village of the Arts. Walk down the driveway toward the bright green fence, through the white wrought iron gate to the house in the rear. 


Here's what I'm baking this week in my kitchen: 
CRANBERRY ORANGE MUFFIN    $2
For 12 years it was always one of the most requested muffins at my bakery/cafe. Maybe because of its delicious subtle blending of orange & vanilla, punctuated by plump cranberries throughout. 


JEWISH APPLE CAKE    $3/pkg
Just like my  Grandma used to bake for Friday night. Never too sweet, but delicate, moist and packed with cinnamon coated chunks of fresh apple. Perfect by itself as a snack, or an accompaniment to coffee & tea.


THE BIG COOKIE  $1.50
Individually wrapped & available in the following flavors:  Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate ChipOatmeal Raisin Walnut, Snickerdoodle, Pecan Coconut Belgium Milk Chocolate


CHOCOLATE ORGASM COOKIES  $5/pkg
My legendary chocolate delivery system made from melted Belgium Bittersweet chocolate, toasted fresh almonds, chocolate chips & very little flour. Sold in packages because you must have more than one.

CHOCOLATE WALNUT BROWNIE    $2.50
My Goldilocks take on a perfect brownie. Not too dry. Not too gooey. Just moist enough, so the intense chocolate flavor can embrace the fresh roasted walnuts. All I need now is a glass of milk! 


MINORCAN MULTI-GRAIN LOAF  [VEGAN]  $4.50   FRIDAY PICK UP ONLY


A crisp outer crust hides the complex blending of the numerous seeds & grains inside. Toasting brings out the flavors of the roasted seeds. Great bread for a sandwich or grilled cheese (if you aren't vegan).

KALAMATA & FETA BREADSTIX    $4/pkg
It's the Mediterranean Diet whipped up as a breadstick. Luscious imported Greek olives, fresh garden oregano, briny Feta cheese and a healthy dose of extra virgin olive oil. Perfectly divine with anything.



JAM, CHUTNEY & MARINADE    $4/jar
The selection is getting slimmer, with only 1 or 2 jars of some flavors. Choose from: Mango ChutneyGinger Pear ChutneyTropical Tangerine Marinade, Plant City Strawberry, Blueberry Lemon, Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper (wonderful with sharp cheese as an appetizer), and Berry Basket. 


 Everything always hand-made in small batches with the best ingredients & locally sourced when possible. No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or fake stuff EVER!!

ORDER BY 5pm WED. &  PICK-UP  

FRIDAY  12-4 in the Village of the Arts
at BONNI's TreeHouse 
932 12 St W (down the driveway thru the white wrought iron gate) 

OR

SUNDAY 11-3 at Palma Sola Farmers Market
  at Geraldson's Community Farm, directions at
facebook.com/palmasolafarmersmarket


ALL ITEMS IN LIMITED SUPPLY...FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED

TO PLACE AN ORDER 
email  bonnibakes@gmail.com  
OR  
call me at (941) 746-6647 

   PAY BY CASH OR LOCAL CHECK TO BONNI BROWN  

 Hugs from my kitchen,
Bonni

Monday, March 24, 2014

OMG, it's almost April!


Now that I've finally moved my "stuff" out of the former BONNI BAKES bakery/cafe building, it's time for some serious soul searching. I'm committed to pare down my possessions to a precious few that I need, love & use. Since my TreeHouse has limited storage (and wall space), bigger pieces of furniture have to go. Like these: 


This "secretary" pre-dates me in the family. The desk panel folds down to be a writing surface and there are cubbies for small storage. The 3 drawers are perfect for linens, and the rounded "glass" display area holds a lot of china. The original finish was dark & alligatored, so it was re-finished & bleached to lighten the old wood. When the glass cracked it was replaced by plexi 30 years ago and has never yellowed.  $450



This delicate piece was my mother's writing desk. It is birds-eye maple and has also stood in as a side table or lamp table in many configurations, while maintaining a small footprint. All original hardware. $300 


My TreeHouse will be open for touring during the Village of the Arts Garden Walk, April 4 & 5, 11-4. If you've been curious to see how exciting 965 sq ft can be, please stop by. New this year is my second floor deck that has been enclosed & re-purposed as a casual living space. 


Also coming up is the Village Annual Brunch & Fashion Show on Sat April 19 from 10:30-12:30. Always a delicious brunch (I'll be providing some of the food), exciting fashions, music, art, door prizes & a fun time. Tickets are $35. For reservations & information call Vicki at (941) 302-1069.

Here's what I'm baking this week in my kitchen: 

CRANBERRY PECAN CORN MUFFIN    $2
More interesting than a boring plain old corn muffin. The buttery muffin body tastes like butter pecan with the toasted nuts, and then there are the sweet/tart cranberries. Yum!!



CINNAMON APPLE TWIST    $3.50   
I love Coffee Cake, but a whole ring is just too big for me. Now you can avoid the guilt & temptation, yet have enough to share with someone else...maybe. 


THE BIG COOKIE    $1.50 
Individually wrapped & available in the following flavors:  Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Orange Belgium Dark Chocolate Walnut, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Snickerdoodle, Pecan Coconut Belgium Milk Chocolate


CHOCOLATE ORGASM COOKIES    $5/pkg
My legendary chocolate delivery system made from melted Belgium Bittersweet chocolate, toasted fresh almonds, chocolate chips & very little flour. Sold in packages because you must have more than one.


RATNER'S ONION ROLLS    $3.50/pkg of 4
On the Lower East Side of NYC, Ratners Kosher Dairy Restaurant was an institution for most of the 20th century. These pillowy, onion flecked rectangles were their beloved signature rolls.


WHOLE WHEAT RAISIN WALNUT   $5   
When I went shopping with my Mom in Manhattan, we'd have lunch at "Chock Full 'O Nuts", devouring their Cream Cheese Nut sandwiches. This is my version of that bread, just add a schmear. 


ROSEMARY PARMIGIANO BREADSTIX    $4/pkg
The original product that launched BONNI BAKES in 1997. They reminded us of the crunchy NYC goodies we left behind when we moved to "biscuit soft" North Carolina. GO CRUNCHY GO!


JAM, CHUTNEY & MARINADE    $4/jar
This week's flavors are:  Mango ChutneyGinger Pear ChutneyTropical Tangerine MarinadeStrawberry  Mango Cardamom and Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper (wonderful with sharp cheese as an appetizer).


 Everything always hand-made in small batches with the best ingredients & locally sourced when possible. No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or fake stuff EVER!!

ORDER BY 5pm WED. &  PICK-UP  

FRIDAY  12-4 in the Village of the Arts
at BONNI's TreeHouse 
932 12 St W (down the driveway thru the white wrought iron gate) 

OR

SUNDAY 11-3 at Palma Sola Farmers Market
  at Geraldson's Community Farm, directions at
facebook.com/palmasolafarmersmarket


ALL ITEMS IN LIMITED SUPPLY...FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED

TO PLACE AN ORDER 
email  bonnibakes@gmail.com  
OR  
call me at (941) 746-6647 

   PAY BY CASH OR LOCAL CHECK TO BONNI BROWN  

 Hugs from my kitchen,
Bonni

Monday, March 17, 2014

Reunited with my dining room table at last!

After our marriage, the first piece of furniture we bought for our new house was a dining room table. My husband Rea admired a trestle table in a shop window he passed daily on his way to work, for several years. Now he had a place for it, but feared the Madison Avenue price would be beyond us. After all, if it was still on display, it must be very expensive.


When he walked in to inquire, it turned out that he had seen a series of similar tables over the years. The artisan workshop imported white oak beams removed from old French barns when they were disassembled; shipped them to NYC by boat, then used the 150 year old wood to make new furniture to order. Rea ordered a table, plus 8 side chairs, built in France. We loved our 8' table so much that when we moved to North Carolina and were ready to renovate the house we bought, we told the architect to design the house remodel around the table. He failed. We fired him, and Rea designed it!!


I used that same table at  Bonni Bakes Bakery/Cafe as a communal dining table for years. It's been in storage for a year, but this week it moved into the location in my TreeHouse that I originally designed for it in 2006. To define the space better, I had yet another wall painted black. Personally, I love it. You'll get your chance to weigh in when my TreeHouse is on tour during the Village of the Arts Garden Walk, April 4 & 5, from 11-4 daily.


I never met my father-in-law, Robert Rea Brown, who was a decorated WWI veteran. He met his future wife while recovering from his injuries in a French hospital, but that's another love story. Years ago his daughter, Betty Spaulding, designed & framed a beautiful remembrance that included his Purple Heart, Columbia Certificate, ribbons and medals. 


As part of the South Florida Museum's show honoring veterans this month, I have lent it to them. It's on display in the Planetarium lobby through March. He recovered, returned home, married his love on Veteran's Day, became an inventor and sired three beautiful children. I'm particularly fond of his only son, who became the love of my life.

After spending the last week moving furniture, boxes & a lot of loose "stuff", I'm pretty tired. On reflection, I have to agree with W.C.Fields. To paraphrase him, "All things considered, I'd rather be in my kitchen."

Here's what I'm making this week in my kitchen: 
PUMPKIN DATE WALNUT MUFFIN    $2
This gloomy wet weather makes me hungry for something filled with deep flavors like dates, raisins & walnuts, combined with earthy sweetness like pumpkin. Perfect, and they're also moist & filling!


HAMANTASCHEN     $2.50   
I missed making these in time for Purim last week. With their crumbly shortbread base and smooth prune filling, these classic Jewish pastries are welcome in my house all year long.



JEWISH CHEESE DANISH mit almond    $3
These are the wonderful cheese filled pastries that I grew up on. Never too sweet, because sugar was expensive. A delicate pastry encases the filling & is topped off with sliced almonds. So good!!


THE BIG COOKIE    $1.50 
Individually wrapped & available in the following flavors:  Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Orange Belgium Dark Chocolate Walnut, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Snickerdoodle, Pecan Coconut Belgium Milk Chocolate

CHOCOLATE ORGASM COOKIES    $5/pkg
My legendary chocolate delivery system made from melted Belgium Bittersweet chocolate, toasted fresh almonds, chocolate chips & very little flour. Sold in packages because you must have more than one.


MINI BOULE with cheese, tomato & pepperoni    $3
This smaller loaf of bread, perfect for two, is part French and Italian. It boasts the crisp outer skin of a baguette, but inside its heart comes alive with sun-dried tomato, pepperoni, oregano & 3 cheeses. 

KALAMATA OLIVE & FETA BREADSTIX     $4/pkg
Enjoy the magic as Mediterranean olives, capers, oregano & Feta cheese combine, and explode in your mouth. Perfect partner to soup, salad or a drink... and they stay crunchy to boot!


HOMEMADE  JAM, CHUTNEY & MARINADE     $4/jar
This week's flavors are:  Mango ChutneyGinger Pear ChutneyTropical Tangerine MarinadeStrawberry  Mango CardamomBlueberry Lemonand Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper (wonderful with sharp cheese as an appetizer).


 Everything always hand-made in small batches with the best ingredients & locally sourced when possible. No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or fake stuff EVER!!

ORDER BY 5pm WED. &  PICK-UP  

FRIDAY  12-4 in the Village of the Arts
at BONNI's TreeHouse 
932 12 St W (down the driveway thru the white wrought iron gate) 

OR

SUNDAY 11-3 at Palma Sola Farmers Market
  at Geraldson's Community Farm, directions at
facebook.com/palmasolafarmersmarket


ALL ITEMS IN LIMITED SUPPLY...FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED

TO PLACE AN ORDER 
email  bonnibakes@gmail.com  
OR  
call me at (941) 746-6647 

   PAY BY CASH OR LOCAL CHECK TO BONNI BROWN  

 Hugs from my kitchen,
Bonni

Monday, March 10, 2014

YIKES, it's moving time AGAIN

My new tenants, Manatee Children's Services, are ready to start transforming my former BONNI BAKES Bakery/Cafe building into their new Center for the Arts & Bistro. They're planning on art classes, art consignment and great food. Can't wait!! That means I need to concentrate all week on moving my remaining things out, so I won't have time to bake this week. Imagine that I'm on vacation...if I were a masochist.

Here are some scenes from last Saturday in the Village of the Arts when the GIANT PUPPET HEAD PARADE weaved through the streets. "Frida Kahlo" (above) was created by Anna D'Aste of Little Swamp Studio (catch a glimpse of her smiling at Frida's waist).


These characters were made by Jo-Ellen Gorris of Clay in the Garden, who also created the hanging mural under my arbor. Years ago I had rhinoplasty to correct a deviated septum and most of the people in the plastic surgeon's waiting room had the same giant noses. And I thought only in New York City; guess I was wrong.


It was fun watching the little kids open the shutters of the row houses and put on a Munchkin Puppet Show. I finally repurposed the great box that held my IKEA couch into a tall Puppet Theatre complete with curtains and backdrop.


This week, while I'm shlepping, packing, unpacking & moving everything around, you might want to stop by the Palma Sola Farmers Market on Sunday from 11-3 where you'll find fresh picked farm-to-you organic veggies like these:
Magenta Lettuce, Kohlrabi and Red & Orange Carrots

I'm sorry that the timing means I won't be able to bake Hamantaschen in time for Purim, but I plan to make them the next week. Look for my next Blog Post on Monday March 17th (St Patrick's Day). Have a great week!!

Hugs from my kitchen,
Bonni

BONNI BAKES
in the Village of the Arts
932 12th St West
Bradenton, FL  34205

(941) 746-6647
bonnibakes@gmail.com