GBBO Technical Challenge Styled Bakewell Tart

On Saturday, a handful of us (Paul, Allison, Cameron, Leah, Avani) decided to go on a tart adventure! Inspired by the technical challenges of Great British Bakeoff, we wanted to try baking something from the show that would challenge our baking skills without being impossible. We landed on the classic Bakewell Tart!¬†This tart was the technical challenge in episode 5 of Season 7 (on Netflix as collection 4, hella confusing I know). It includes a short crust pastry, raspberry jam, frangipane, and layer offeathered¬†almond icing. Our tart adventure was not lacking in excitement; we had missed steps, last minute substitutions, an oven filled with smoke, some excellent icing, a lot of ‘tasting’ our ingredients, and some guest appearances (Jess and Amy stopped by). I think its fair to say we had a blast. It was so nice to bake with friends, be able to see how others did things or just know that you aren’t the only one whose tart did weird things in the oven (like spew hot butter all over it).¬†Having lovingly dubbed ourselves the “Loaf Island,” we invite anyone to join us for our baking shenanigans or just stop by to say Hi. We’re thinking something savory next!

Here is the recipe we used, courtesy of Mary Berry herself:

And here are some pictures of our triumphant tarts!

Leah’s Tart
Paul’s Tart
Cameron’s Tart
Avani’s Tart
Allison’s Tart

Confessions of a Game Show Addict (Submitted by Allison)

Games shows are my go-to guilty pleasure and when I’m in need of a deep reality escape, I always run to my childhood classic favs. When I was a kid I would dream of being a contestant on Supermaket Sweep…Would I dash through the aisles grabbing everything in sight? Of course not! I’d head straight for the large hams, grind some coffee and look for some inflatable bonus prizes. And stock up on diapers…

Here’s a full episode including commercials and that square video frame we all know, love and maybe miss just a little.

Catamaran Cocktail Recipe (Submitted by Paul)

‚ÄúCoconut is one of my absolute favorite things to put in cocktails in any form,‚ÄĚ says Shannon Tebay, who, having noticed that none of the coconut-flavored cocktails at Death & Co. were built around gin, set out to make the Catamaran. Full recipe here!

  • 1 1/2 ounces dry gin, preferably Bimini 
  • 1/2 ounce navy strength gin, preferably NY Distilling Co. Perry‚Äôs Tot 
  • 1/2 ounce Aperol
  • 1 ounce Don‚Äôs Mix
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Coco Lopez

Recipe Plea (Submitted by Cameron)

I have decided I want to make a quarantine cook book. Instead of being separated by appetizers, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert- it will be separated as follows : denial, anger,  bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If you have anything you have been loving to cook, meaning to try, invented in a dream please send it on over for submission! The more the quicker I can finalize this project! Thank you! Love you!

Recommended Recipe (Submitted by Amy)

It’s Mexican dump casserole and it’s delicious!

The original is on Food Networks insta page but I made some tweaks with what I had at home: 

1 can of diced tomatoes chilis (any will do)

1 cup chicken broth (more if you want it moister)

1 teaspoons cumin 

1 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic power** I always wing it with spices… I probably added more than this. 

1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)

1 can black beans (I used kidney beans)

1 can corn (I substituted frozen chopped green peppers)

6-8 small corn tortillas cut in quarters 

Shredded chicken 

2 cups Monterey Jack cheese (I used slices of pepper jack I had that I chopped up)

1/2 cup Chopped red onions

Sour cream/Greek yogurt 

Fresh Cilantro 

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Dump the tomatoes, chicken broth, spices, salt in a large mixing bowl and stir well
2. Add beans, corn, other veggies, tortillas, shredded chicken, cheese into bowl and stir well. 
3. Oil a 13×9 inch baking dish and dump casserole ingredients. 
4.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. 
5. Add some cheese to the top and bake at 410 for another 8-10 min uncovered until melted. 
6. Serve with chopped onions, sour cream and cilantro on top. 

Updates from Francisco Street (Submitted by Matt D.)

three albums i hadn’t heard before this week that i then listened to for several hours on repeat without getting bored or antic or depressed:

natural child – okey dokey – 2016

did everybody know about this?  i loved their album from 2014 and apparently just missed this entirely.  they were very dirty to start with and loud and every song was about how totally ripped they were getting all the time, and this is much more restrained tonally and verbally but focused, but fun, weird, head-bobby.  for daytime!

music from the penguin cafe – 1976

this feels to me like if lou reed and john cale and brian eno all made an album but had lori anderson be in charge and is very unpredictable and could be a soundtrack to a sci fi movie?¬† a lost sequel to cat people with david bowie and mia farrow on a spaceship?¬† but this is all in the seventies and all these people i think are classically trained musicians being weird together, this is i guess a classic i had also overlooked and there’s a lot on it to read, it was especially good during the thunderstorm.

dorothy ashby – the rubaiyat of dorothy ashby – 1970

cheating a little cause i heard this on youtube last year but it just recently showed up on spotify finally, it is a heady orchestral choosy retelling of the rubaiyat of omar khayaam from the middle east which celebrates like, pleasure and wine and the time of pleasurably drinking your wine and gives maxims about it and is like an ur-text of romanticism?¬† she picks some of it to speak or sing out loud but for the rest builds big imaginative songs with all these different atypical instruments, the zithern and ocarinas and the harp of course (her other stuff is usually just her on the harp).¬† it’s great and works best in order on full repeat but works on shuffle too which actually helps the already well paced variety to sometimes even surprise itself.¬† early evening when the lights are coming on, with a whiskey drink or wine while cooking and waiting for things to glaze or deglaze.¬† a hip shaker!¬† five stars!

regarding cooking my first major discovery was tostadasssss – prepared in the amount that is normal (serving size: 1 family) this allows a solo mio to for over a week ! create tiny mexican pizzas on command.
second discovery: carbonara – because i got bored with breakfast and had slept into the afternoon, and wanted something that seemed like both!  the secret to not ending up with scrambled egg pasta (not the worst but not the point) is WHISKING which i did and retained a lil bit of pasta water to get everything to combine.  also it said to make the bacon (typical) separately but i was using diced andouille sausage so i browned it in the saucepan with onions before adding the eggs and cheese and then stirred in the linguine on top till it was a very Adult Tasteful mac and cheese full of egg richness and toasty andouille spice!  nice.  

if we’re keeping score i have yes seen all of tiger king and am hesitantly looking forward to the follow up episode next week – my fav new show i found is on amazon and is called tales from the loop and is like if that great season of black mirror in 2016 had 8 episodes all separate but set within a frame structure of a town with a big crazy sci fi science operation running underneath it.  could not stop!  i gasped, i cried.  the only episode that i thought got long and boring was i realized about the character i identified with the least (the dad) and after i thought about it more i realized i liked it just as much.  beautiful, slow, tender, thoughtful, scary, soft, gorgeous.
and designing women is on hulu!

No Bad Hair Days (Submitted by Jess)

So much time! So much quiet. While some of us are stuck zoom chatting all afternoon, doing whatever we can to get through this tunnel of sheer virtual time, still others are waiting out the scariest part of this here rollercoaster ride. How crazy! Seems like it wasn’t too long ago that everything was familiar.  

My bathroom has become this incredible refuge during this time of uncertainty. I recently painted it this BEAUTIFUL blue/green color. Think a deeper turquoise hue – one that’s not quite as bright and loud, but one that’s earthy and opaque, heavy yet simultaneously light. Between that color and the way that the sun pours into the space around 3:30pm, the room is so peaceful. Almost meditative. Safe. 

My rhythm under these unspeakable circumstances is such that it’s about at that time of the day that I naturally find myself getting all dolled up. Where to? No where. Just ’cause. 

I bust out the brow pencil and the dry shampoo and then legit look at what the mop on my head is doing. Ughhh this spring weather makes my hairs soooo HUGE. And goodness I hope I don’t go full on grey by the time this isolation is over. But oh, the real joy? The curling iron. (Cue Beethoven’s Symphony #5 and a sparkly image of the good ‘ole Conair 2″ barrel.). Seriously. It’s the BEST. 

When I was in Sydney and things felt wild and confusing and uncertain, I got this transformative pleasure out of simply putting on mascara. Well here in Chicago – amidst the temporary unemployment and the worry that my company is going to go under, the “is it safe outside?” thoughts, and the ever-changing news reporting, the act of curling my hair offers a sweet release and escape from the chaos. The birds chirp outside the window – a sound typically so unheard of in this big city, as I part and comb and play. I highly recommend finding some solitude in your bathroom palace! Don‚Äôt worry, no toilet paper is necessarily required. 

Also too, dig into the back of your bathroom cabinet and see what’s back there. I found this AMAZING Tresemme curl control hair gel that’s been a lifesaver against my stressed-out frizz. Oh, and if there’s nothing for you in any of that, just get a pair of scissors or clippers. Did I mention I gave myself a trim over the weekend? 

Hey, whatever you gotta do right now, do ittttttt.

Reggae Dreams (Submitted by Jim)

I’ve been on a two-month+ reggae kick and it might the only genre that matters to me anymore! Cam can verify this. Here’s a couple artists and tracks that have become absolute faves!

Upsetters – Waap you Waah (incredibly fun stop and start from Lee Perry and his rotating group The Upsetters)

Jackie Mittoo – OboeKnown as the “Keyboard King of Jamaica,” enough said!

Upsetters РTaste of KillingIntense song title, decidely fun and playful instrumental!

Books of the Week

You can check out ebooks from the public library with this app.

Just download it on your phone, it’s great, or you can read them on a Kindle and Amazon gets no money.

Deborah Recommends: To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy

Gallagher Recommends: The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

You’ve probably heard of the first book in this tetralogy My Brilliant Friend. I don’t know what this Goodreads review is talking about though, there’s nothing seductive about the world of the novels — Italy in the ’50s and ’60s seems pretty awful. But the main characters eat a lot of pizza and gelato, maybe that’s what they meant by seductive.
Less jokingly, these books are about a pair of women who grow up in the bad part of Naples. Are they friends? I don’t know, sometimes. Is her friend brilliant? Yes. But their friendship is complex, and it’s at odds with their individual needs for survival. If you read it, let me know because I want to talk with someone about them and how they relate to the Kill Bill movies.

Allison Recommends: How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Cameron Recommends: The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck (free on Kindle) and The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Things Keeping Me Sane (Submitted by Cameron)

-30 min of Down Dog a day 

-Zoom friend meetings (uncomfortable but at least a form of socializing)

-Cooking (currently making a at home cook book happy to share when it is done or as it progresses)

-There are chickens at the school in the neighborhood so I go and feed them pop corn once a day


-Painting my living room

– Learning the drums

– Spa days are home (taught JIM how to cup so I could get cupping , gonna start doing massages on him soon- I am currently loosing all the muscle mass I have built up from work! Cos I am not working-  So I need to practice! 

– Starting to do webinars based off of my practice so I can learn some things trying to keep the mantra  when I am bored sad or apathetic that I am safe at home not stuck at home 

– Trying to keep the mantra  when I am bored sad or apathetic that I am safe at home not stuck at home

Something From Nothing: Lost Lake Cocktail Recipe (Submitted by Paul & Dan)

Our favorite tiki bar, Lost Lake, set up an Go Fund Me ‘tip jar’ to help out their employees while the bar is closed.¬†If you donate, you can sign up for a twice-weekly newsletter, which includes a variety of things, most excitedly, never-before-released cocktail recipes. We’ve gone a bit overboard and made three of them so far – our favorite has been the ‘Something from Nothing’ which includes rum, bourbon, and coffee. We’ve included the¬†recipe¬†below, and we encourage those interested to donate and subscribe to the newsletters if you can! Here is the link:¬† And here is the recipe:¬†

1 oz bourbon
1 oz aged Barbados rum
0.5 oz coconut cream (recipe below, we used that bottled ‘cream of coconut’ you can find in most alcohol aisles)
0.5 oz coffee demerara syrup (recipe below)
1 oz cold brew (or cold coffee)
0.5 oz cinnamon syrup (recipe below)
0.5 oz lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with one cup crushed ice. (You can just bust up a bunch of freezer ice with a rolling pin!) Give it a good shake for about 5 seconds, then pour the entire contents into your cutest glass (we call that a ‘dirty dump’ lol). Top with more crushed ice, and garnish with tropical things! We like cinnamon and a swizzle stick on this one.

Cinnamon Syrup
Whip up some simple syrup (equal parts white sugar and water, stirred over heat until all the crystals dissolve) and toss in a bunch of cinnamon sticks. Let it steep for at least 24 hours, strain out cinnamon.

Coffee Demerara Syrup
Take some of that demerara sugar left over from making coconut cream, and mix equal parts with brewed coffee over heat until all the crystals dissolve.
Coconut Cream
1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups demerara sugar (like Sugar in the Raw!)
Combine the coconut milk and sugar in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. This recipe makes approximately 22 ounces. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. This syrup will separate and that’s okay! Just give it a good shake before using.

Also, here’s a cool article from Punch about a mixologist at Existing Conditions in NY who’s using modernist techniques with tiki inspiration to take tiki a step further.

Pickling Ideas for Overbought Produce (Submitted by Oriana)

So you panic-bought your produce and now that pound of asparagus that looked beautiful last week is starting to droop (based on a true story). What to do? The answer is QUICK PICKLES.

Almost any vegetable can be given the pickling treatment, which preserves it and adds a delicious tang. The pickle itself can be eaten as a side dish, snack, or incorporated into other recipes. All you need is a hardy, fibrous vegetable + vinegar + water + salt + sugar  + optional spices & herbs.

Here‚Äôs the general method: Wash your produce well, peel as needed, trim any questionable looking bits off. Slice into manageable sticks or chunks and pack into a jar (or any sealable container, really). If you have any flavor add-ins like garlic you can layer them with your main veg. Create a 50:50 vinegar + water brine with 1 Tbsp salt and 1 tsp sugar per cup of liquid, bring this to a simmer and stir to get everything nice and dissolved. You should have enough liquid to cover all the veggies which are tightly packed into your container. Taste and adjust according to vegetable ‚ÄĒ stronger tasting vegetables can handle a higher vinegar: water ratio. 

It will last at least a week in the fridge, and probably much longer ‚ÄĒ use your nose & good judgement. Here are some ideas to get you started:

asparagus + white wine vinegar + black peppercorn + garlic + coriander seeds

cabbage + carrot + onion + white or cider vinegar + bay leaf + oregano + jalape√Īo (inspired by Salvadorean curtido)

red onion + distilled white vinegar + allspice + thyme (fresh if you can, dried is fine) 

cucumber sliced in thin rounds + rice wine vinegar + splash of soy sauce + sesame seeds (inspired by Japanese sunomono)

broccoli + rice wine vinegar + sesame oil + chili paste (or flakes) + garlic

mushrooms (cleaned and boiled for ~10 mins) + white wine vinegar + shallots + oregano + thyme + black peppercorns + olive oil 

tomato + jalape√Īos + distilled white vinegar + scallions +garlic + cumin (seeds if possible) + peppercorns + olive oil

If you‚Äôre looking to take your vegetable processing to the next level, consider fermentation. Sauerkraut is a good place to start ‚ÄĒ all you need is cabbage, salt, and time!