Thursday, May 08, 2008

i designed a cookie label


Cookie Baker, I claim to be on occasion. Cookie Label Maker, I had never thought to try.

But when I received word from my friends at Haley House (my favorite non-profit Bakery Cafe in Boston) that they were in dire need of a cookie label, of course, I felt compelled to reach for my inner wannabe designer and see what I could do.

Boston College had agreed to sell Haley House chocolate chip cookies in packages of 5 (a la Dancing Deer), at one of its dining halls. The business case had been done (good market opportunity), the recipe tweaked and finalized (delicious), but, alas, no Cookie Label.

Now, for someone who claims to have worked at a design firm for 2 years, it's rather shameful that all I had by way of a design application was Microsoft Publisher (this is the type of program kids use to make their lemonade stand banners). Nevertheless, I managed to play nice with its eccentricities, and together we got the job done.

And so, the Cookie Deal closed successfully, and now you can find the most satisfying chocolate chip cookies at Boston College, fresh from the ovens of Haley House Bakery Cafe (Roxbury, MA):

Lower Campus Dining Facility
60 St. Thomas More Road
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
[Off Commonwealth Ave.]

Chocolate Chip Cookies - 5 Pack - $7

Thursday, May 01, 2008

banana muffins to the rescue


There are few things I find more bothersome than a bunch of neglected bananas. They become more freckled by day, and not before long, bruised and squishy. Their peels thin and overpower the air with a disturbing overripeness. Soon, I know, I will be raising fruit flies in my kitchen.

This is why banana bread is fantastic. It captures so gracefully the concept of "sustainable" baking - taking what otherwise would have been tossed out and turning it into a valued treat. Furthermore, mashed bananas provide moistness to quick breads, so that you can use significantly less oil/butter than you would for, say, something of the lemon poppy seed or cranberry walnut variety. (Of course you know, a banana muffin is really just banana bread with the cheerful disposition of a muffin.)

I recently came about a new cooking website called eatNation, where I scored a great Banana Crumb Muffin recipe from someone named Sprocket. There are actually a number of great recipes and cooking tips on the site. The concept itself is neat - it's a meeting place for people who love to cook (eatNation calls us "homechefs"), where we can exchange information about our experiences and epiphanies in the kitchen - whether in the form of recipes, photos, videos, etc. As more people get on the site, I can see eatNation becoming a go-to place for cooking inspiration and advice - for "mastering the art of the everyday meal".

I posted my favorite Classic Pancakes recipe. I've tried many-a pancake recipe out there, and this is by far the best basic pancake you can make for a lazy Sunday morning. (If anything - check out the site because I somehow made eatNation's "Star Chef" of the week. :)

CLASSIC PANCAKES (with strawberries)

Anyway - the Banana Crumb Muffins by homechef "Sprocket" were easy and delicious - I highly recommend them for the next time you encounter a overripening banana crisis of your own.

Recipe notes: I added 1/4 cup toasted, chopped almonds to give some texture to the crumb topping. And as always with muffins, I tried to mix the batter as little as possible to ensure that the muffins come out light and moist.