Monday, September 27, 2010

Voting is Open for Project Food Blog #2!!!

Voting is officially open for the second challenge!  Please click on my face to the right and vote for me!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


 Baklava 2

Last week I entered myself in's Project Food Blog at a chance to win $10,000 and a year long feature on their website.  About 650 entries were submitted and... I'm advancing to the next round!!  Thank you so much to all those that voted!  I'm gonna need your help again starting tomorrow with this week's challenge.

This week's challenge is tackling a classic dish from another culture.  Something that is unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone.  Because the French and Italian cuisine's are taken out of the options I was left with little.. but I guess that's where "going out of your comfort zone" comes in.  

I thought about cooking food and not dessert.  But let's face it, touching raw meat and sauteing of any kind is something that still freaks the bejesus out of me so that was just out of the question.  For now, anyway.  

Thinking about this challenge, for some reason I kept thinking about Baklava.  Baklava is a Middle Eastern dessert made of nuts, phyllo dough, and a sweet syrup.  Phyllo is Greek for "leaf" which the flaky layers of the crust resembles.  In doing some research it appears to have its origin in the Ottoman Empire (this information I got from Wikipedia, which we all know can be inaccurate sometimes so take it as you will).  

Rolled Baklava 3

I don't know much about baklava.  What I did know before doing a little bit of research was from two movies:
Aladdin 2


My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fun With Green Velvet Cupcakes

Green Velvet Cupcakes

Someone commissioned me to make about 80 Red Velvet Cupcakes where the colors of the party were green and brown.  I tried using green food coloring instead of red and it worked pretty well.  A small yet elegant decorative piece was added on top of each cupcake.  

Green Velvet Cupcakes 2

I used fondant for the decoration but it wasn't a good idea.  I had kept some left overs at home and even in the fridge the decorations absorbed all of the moisture from the cream cheese and melted all over the tops of the cupcakes.  Maybe I'll try gum paste next time.

Green Velvet Cupcakes 3

I took these photos in an awful rush in the morning and I have to say.. they turned out very well!  Natural lighting is always indeed the best when it comes to food photography.  It was taken with my brand new Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens.  I still have to get used to it but it's definitely a change from my nifty fifty that I've had for over a year now. 

Monday, September 20, 2010


Voting for the first challenge in the Project Food Blog is officially open.

PLEASE click on the picture of me to the right and vote!!  Or click here.

The only way I can advance to the next challenge is with votes so please help!!!!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

So... What's This "Nads' Bakery" All About Anyway??

Me.  Plain and simple.  

That's the conclusion I came to after weeks of thinking,  pondering, reflecting, and rethinking what the "hook" of my blog is.

Before I continue I should probably explain why I've all of a sudden decided to unleash this sudden need to declare myself to you. is having a contest called Project Food Blog where over 1,800 food bloggers that are featured publishers on the website compete to see who has what it takes to be a food blogging star with a series of challenges to stretch our blogging skills.

The first challenge is to explain what defines me as a food blogger. Part of the prompt reads:

"Consider what makes your blog unique and sets you apart from other food blog brands: 

is it your foolproof recipes, NOPE

your mouthwatering photos, Uhh Maybe

or your perspective on family meals?  DEFINITELY NOT

Write a post that comes from the heart and is true to you and your blog."

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that sometimes I can be a little blunt.  Often times I say things I probably shouldn't be saying.  So maybe I shouldn't be saying this but... I don't have a hook.  **GASP!!!!**

My blog doesn't have foolproof recipes that I've brilliantly come up with.  It doesn't show hilarious photos of cakes with improper spelling.  It doesn't show gorgeous photos of a beautifully decorated and well thought out table setting for a chocolate souffle.

I enjoy food.  I enjoy taking photos of food.  I enjoy sharing things I love with others... and food lets me do that.  Whether it be a delicious meal I had or a wonderful recipe I discovered or me failing at a new recipe.  Anything worth while in life is best enjoyed when sharing with other people.  Haven't you ever watched something side-splittingly hilarious that you instinctively looked around hoping someone saw it too?

So this is me.  Sharing with you my successes...

Gianduja Ice Cream

Chocolate Macarons 3

Jae 2 utter failures...

Cracked Out 2


...and everything in between.

I'm a baker... photographer... and food blogger.  And that's it.

(Entry #1 Ready, Set, Blog!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Disasters In Baking: Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten-Free baking is something that's as foreign to me as attempting to backpack through Europe with only a napsack of clothes, one pair of shoes, a small sum of money, and the ability to say goodbye to any kind of good hygiene.  

Alright, so maybe that's exaggerating just a little bit but I was just as clueless with all this gluten-free business.

My friend, Hanna, has recently been on a gluten free kick.  Not because she's allergic but due to health reasons.  She loves carbs of all kinds, as do I.  Seeing her in a pickle I decided to offer her a free baking session this past Saturday afternoon so that she could satisfy her longing for the delectable glutenous baked goods.

After tossing back and forth some gluten-free recipes we decided on a Gluten-Free Tea Cake she found on and a cornbread recipe that I found on a gluten-free blog that another friend had told me about.  

Red Mill Products

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Disasters In Baking: Almond and Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

Biscotti 2

Every once in a while I get complacent in my baking and decide to venture out into the unknown to tackle something unfamiliar.  It can't be that hard... right??

There are great benefits to brave the uncharted territories of the vast world of pastries: a great sense of pride and accomplishment.  But the downside.. is when it goes horribly awry.  It just plain stinks.

I attempted at 3 different recipes today that failed.. pretty miserably.  Did you catch that?  THREE.  

Oi.. the bruised ego.  Thankfully, I'm surrounded by encouraging friends who don't expose me for the fraud that I am, but who say, "It's ok!  It's not... that bad!"

The first attempt... an Almond and Chocolate Chunk Biscotti recipe in the book Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz.

The recipe is simple enough.  Whip the eggs, vanilla, and sugar until it gets pale.  Add flour (I substituted half of the AP Flour for Whole Wheat Flour) and baking powder to the egg mixture and mix well by hand then add toasted almonds and chocolate last.  In the original recipe it calls for huge 1/2" pieces of chocolate.  I didn't have huge pieces of chocolate so I decided to use chocolate chips.  Lucky for me, in the side notes on variations it said I can substitute chips for the chunks.  So I did.  I divided the logs into two and baked it for about 20 minutes.

When I went to cut the logs to bake it a second time the logs of biscotti were bleeding chocolate out the yin yang.  It had so much chocolate in it, I couldn't see the whites of the cookie that's so clearly shown in the photo in the book. 


Maybe I'm missing something.  I just don't know what it is. 

The other two recipes... well, they require a bit more explanation and details of the recipe/execution gone wrong so I will elaborate in the next post.  Until then, dear friends, stare at the photos above in amazement, like I do, wondering... 

"What the hell is that?!"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tartine's Almond Rochers

The moving/settling in is nearly complete.  My room is finally neat and tidy and my mind is finally starting to feel more at ease.  This is good news because now I can return my focus back to what's really important... baking!

Almond Rochers 3

I was at a bookstore looking for a gluten-free baking book in preparation for a baking session I'll be having this weekend with a friend of mine that can't eat flour at the moment.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find one in the store.  I was browsing around the cookbooks section and stumbled on a bakebook I've been eying for a really long time but never got around to getting.  It's called Tartine.  From the moment I picked up the book I knew it was something special.  It's a bakery up in San Fransisco that I've never heard of but there was just something about it that grabbed my attention.

So, with the 40% coupon I was ready to use for the gluten-free baking book... was used on Tartine.  I also got The Modern Baker which was in the bargain books section for... get this... $5.99.  That was another book I was eying for a while too.  I walked out of there with 2 books for $30.  Needless to say I was ecstatic.

Tartine Cookbook

Today, I thought I'd attempt at something in one of the books I bought and I was looking through Tartine, I found a recipe that was pretty dang easy: the Almond Rochers recipe.  With only 5 ingredients and an approximate time of about 30 minutes.. I was sold.

Almond Rochers
Yields about 30
4 oz (1 cup + 2 TBSP) Sliced Almonds, toasted and cooled, then broken into small pieces

2 Large Egg Whites (room temperature)
4 oz (1 cup) Powdered Sugar
Pinch Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2-3 tsp Coffee Extract (Trablit), Optional

First, toast the almonds in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until it gets golden brown.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Saguaro Syrup Cupcakes

 Saguaro Syrup

The saguaro (pronounced sa-wir-ral, like you're trying to say swirl but with a sa in the front) syrup is similar to maple syrup except not so insanely sweet.  It's like caramelized sugar that's almost too caramelized.  There's a slight bitter aftertaste to it but also very delicious.  It's also loaded with fiber!

Saguaro Syrup 3
As I mentioned in the previous post, this syrup is expensive.  I was doing some research and came upon a site called Acacia Artisans that sold it.  For a 1.5oz bottle it's $18.55 and for a 8 oz bottle it's $75.55.  On the website there is a description of the syrup:

Taken from