Monday, December 23, 2013

Last Minute Gift Ideas!!!

Jim Lahey Bread
Are you looking at that picture and thinking "mmmm, warm bread," while you're also frantically scouring the internet for last minute gifts? Well, that could be your gift, in a way. I've been noticing a few gifts for those of us who abhor shopping and like giving experiences over things. Everyone has too many things.

That breaking of the bread happened with Mr. Sullivan St Bakery himself, Jim Lahey, wanted to show his class the insides of the bread we'd baked. I was fortunate to go to this test class because Jim needs to know his way around the International Culinary Center's (formerly FCI) kitchens and they needed volunteers. But beginning next year, Jim Lahey as the Master Bread Advisor will be overseeing the teaching of classes that us hoi polloi can go to! You, or your beloved baker friend, can learn about bagels, pasta, chocolate deserts (trust me, it's hard to get that smooth glaze), or, you know, beer brewing. You'll need someone on your team to make beer during the zombie apocalypse, right?!

Brooklyn Kitchen Class
If those classes are for someone you like a little bit more or they'll *never* want to trek to SoHo ever for a class, may I suggest Brooklyn Kitchen? As always, they have their class schedule for the busy Brooklyn location, but they do also have an outpost at the Gotham West Market on 11th Avenue. No more leaving work a few minutes early to get to Brooklyn (and no dealing with that L train!)

But what about those friends who don't live in the city? You could send them an online gift certificate to a seed exchange--some to get started with are Southeastern, Hudson Valley, and Seed Savers. What if they live further afield than the US? Well, do they love farm animals? I mean, errybody knows about Heifer now (thanks, Bill!), but they can also adopt a farm animal at the Farm Sanctuary! Caution: there are some adorable photos of piggies eating pumpkins, piggies in the snow, cows in the snow, chickens looking curious, and goats and sheeps!!!! If you have other great last minute gift ideas, leave it in the comments or tweet it at us @BlondieBrownie (now that I'm on winter break, I may be popping up on the tweeters more than usual!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Have You Hit Up Robicellis with a Holiday Order?

Robicellis treats 
Guys, I hate to be the one to say this, but Christmas is in two weeks. Yeah, fourteen days. Ok, you can commence freak out now. If you're looking for some awesome treats to put out for Santa or to, you know, eat your feelings before Christmas rolls around, look no further than the Robicellis new shop in Bay Ridge. See that haul above. It didn't last the car ride home...

Clockwise from the top that's a chocolate chip cookie ($2), chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and sea salt ($3.25), Cinnamon Bun Cake ($2.50) and banana cake with a chocolate chip, caramel, bacon streusel ($3). Yes, we know, Robicellis makes great cupcakes (they wrote a book on it, too!), but for those of you who say "Cupcakes? Meh!" Let me tell you that Robicellis is so much more than their famous cupcakes. You are not allowed to "meh" at this ridiculous banana cake. It's not good. It's make you want to turn around in your car and get another slice good.

So about those holiday parties. I know you want to impress your relatives. Well, you could bring them cupcakes, but you could also bring them pies! Or Buche de Noels! They have four different types you can order including one that involves Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel and Bourbon N’Awlins Praline. And if you love your cake in slice form, they're also making some amazing sounding layer cakes. Keep tabs on the offerings via their their Tumblr. You can get a sneak peak at the menu here and here. Whatever you do, get those orders in so you don't get shut out!

9009 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Monday, December 9, 2013

Send Them Brownies!!

Greyston Bakery
Yesterday was National Brownie Day, did you partake in celebrating?! Between you, me and the internet, I didn't, but that's partly because I was baking gingerbread men and partly because I had gone through a whole box of brownies recently. By myself.

I had received a box from Greyston Bakery, but before you say "bribes!" hear me out. I knew of Greyston prior due to their contract with Ben & Jerry's (and we ALL know how much I love Ben, and Jerry, and their entire R&D team). As someone who wants to change "the system," specifically to address how the lower classes are not given the opportunities needed to change their situations, I've been a silent fan of them and hoped that one day, I'd get the opportunity to visit the bakery. I wouldn't dare buy a whole box of brownies for myself because that's just a terrible idea. So when they asked if I would like a box, I DID IT BECAUSE I'M WEAK! And holy goodness, the brownies were like fudge and moist and individually wrapped so you only eat one. At a time.

So, if you're like me and totally into the idea of sending everyone homemade holiday treats, only to rethink that idea at 9 o'clock at night when you're slightly tipsy from that day's holiday celebration, may I suggest sending your loved ones brownies & blondies from Greyston? You'll be giving money to a great bakery with a great mission and saving yourself from being covered in flour & crying.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's Time for the Burmese Food & Fun Fair!

Shan Noodles

It's time once again for one of my all time favorite food events of the year, this weekend's 18th Annual Fun Fair at the Myanmar Baptist Church in Queens. The fair is much later this year than in years past, so there's still time to get your fill of homemade Burmese food before 2014 rolls around...
The event is usually held in the summer. Last year they moved it to October and this year it's happening this Saturday. Why is this event so exciting? Well, you don't often find Burmese food in the city and this is high quality home cooked yumminess. Before my first Fun Fair experience a few years ago I was completely unfamiliar with the wonder that is Burmese food. It's a geographic center for deliciousness. Myanmar is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, and India on the northwest. As you can imagine there are all sorts of interesting influences in Burmese cuisine.

Tips: Bring cash and your appetite. Food tickets are $1 each and different dishes have different ticket prices.

Here are some of my favorites from years past:

Light and refreshing spring rolls...

Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008: Spring Rolls

Pickled mustard greens. These are homemade by the church ladies. Homemade, people! Hello, delicious...

Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008

One of the most popular dishes at the fair by far is the fresh fried paratha bread. If you want to give it a try you'd best put your name on the list when you first arrive. You have to pay in advance and get a ticket to reserve your spot. Each bread is made to order so the wait is LONG.


Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008

The event has been growing in popularity with food lovers from all backgrounds and for the past couple of years they've outfitted the tables with illustrated signs in English with photos of the dishes. The parish community is warm and welcoming and did I mention that I love the food?


If you've been in the past take note of the NEW location! DATE: December 7th (SATURDAY).
TIME: 11:00AM - 5:00PM

Event details can be found on the church's Facebook page.
For more pictures from previous fairs check out this slideshow: