Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie and Maple Pecan Sticky Buns: A Baking Farewell to 2009!

Perhaps it's no surprise to my faithful readers that this blog has not been updated regularly this month despite the fact that I have been baking: turkey meatloaf, coffee cake, shortbread cookies in the shape of angels and pine trees, numerous chicken pot pies, my first attempt at sticky buns, and much more. I will save my New Year's Resolutions for 2010, but just suffice it to say that a regular posting schedule for this blog is high on that list.

I'm okay with making mistakes so long as I learn from my blunders and procrastinations and begin to practice baking and writing with more care and discipline. I really love sharing what goes on in my oven and head, so it's up to me to be a bit more vigilant in the process. No woulda, shoulda, couldas from me!

Overall, though, I'm pleased as punch with 2009. We--um, I mean me; there is no royal we behind the blog here unless you count my three cats and Dave--kicked off this blog in February 2009 and one of the most exciting, happy moments in my writing life this year is that I found out this month (Dec. 23rd to be exact) that one of the two essays I've published for Sauce Magazine is going to be nominated for a 2010 James Beard  Foundation Award in magazine writing. Holy flip! To read the nominated essay, "The Procrastinator's Guide to Baking," please click here.

In the meantime, to bid adieu to all that is happy and warm about baking during the winter months, I thought I'd offer a two-part tribute to homey, comfort food: the humble pot pie and the delicious sticky bun.

For the chicken pot pie recipe, click here. Please note: I omit the lobster and fennel and add a pound of roasted or pan-fried chicken (with thyme) and 2 cups steamed carrots. Superb!

For the maple pecan sticky bun recipe, click here. Please note: This recipe is not the one Gesine shares (though it's pretty damn close), but I think that whole copyright infringement thing prevents me from listing it word for word in this blog of mine.

The backstory: I was inspired to try my hand at pot pies after my dear friend Shane made one for me in exchange for dog sitting his adorable puppies, Bonnie and Suzie. Shane's pot pie was incredible, and I was hell bent to recreate the lovely, buttery roux that enveloped the pot pie's innards. It's actually easy to do, so I hope others will try this recipe while the temperature outside is still cold and dreary.

Lastly, the second recipe I'll share is the maple pecan sticky bun recipe by Gesine Bullock-Prado, whose whimsical memoir, Confections of a Closet Master Baker, was a Christmas gift from my buddy and avid blogger/photojournalist, Elie Gardner. Bullock-Prado does a really excellent job interspersing a bittersweet narrative about loss and remembrance (I see this book as a literary tribute to her influential, bad ass, opera diva German mother) with recipes a la Like Water for Chocolate meets Dorothy Parker if she knew how to make puff pastry. I like Bullock-Prado's chutzpah and her accessible recipes of treats I would never dare attempt unless I had such a warm and witty person narrating exactly how to attempt chocolate-filled croissants and Opera Cake.

New Confections of a Closet Master Baker Trailer from Raymond Prado on Vimeo.

Hugs, high fives, and a very Happy New Year!


kristin said...

Congratulations, Kella! No one deserves it more than you.

I loved Confections of a Master Baker. I read it over Thanksgiving, and it made the holiday feast seem a bit dull. And now I see opera cake everywhere I go!

Kella said...

Thanks, Kristin! You're very kind.

I'm happy to hear you liked Bullock-Prado's book too. I can't wait to make Opera Cake in the New Year. In fact, speaking of cake, for New Year's Eve, I'm going to make Orange and Brandy Cake to usher in Twenty Ten! Woohoo!!


J said...

Hey Kella, I saw the little video on Gesine and I had to tell you that I used to love that place! It is right down the street from where I work in Montpelier. I am so sad that it closed! Hope you are awesome! Love to you! -Jen

Anonymous said...

kella, you are pretty freaking awesome. congratulations and happy new year!

Kella said...

Jen and Nishta,
So sorry I'm so late in responding to you too! My gram took a spill right before Christmas and broke her hip--I'm in Scottsdale, Arizona taking care of her and business.

Jen, it's fabulous that you actually got to go to Gesine Confectionary when it was still open. She's opening another shop in Austin, so I hope when Dave and I visit for SXSW, we can see if it's open.

Nishta, you're very kind. Thanks for the kudos. You're an equally (if not more so) kickass writer, too. Honestly, I thought that essay wasn't my strongest one, so we shall see what I come up next. :-)