Blog

  • Finding the Sweet Spot

    If you know me well, you know that I can talk sweets with the best of them. I love what I do with flour and sugar. But sometimes I need a break. With another foodie deadline looming, this morning I went for a walk and worked in my garden. Most importantly, I didn't feel guilty about not being in the kitchen. I knew that I needed a little break, that the line between work and play is often precarious if you work from home. I know that since I officially started my little business, I want to do well, be profitable and productive. And that today, being productive needed to be something other than making sweets. I got back to work this afternoon with a little extra kick in my step. Soon, I'll have more than a few hours for myself. But for now, I'll look for the small moments in the day that I can claim as mine.

  • Market Update

    You can still find Paper Cake Scissors at the Walloomsac Farmers' Market at Bennington Station on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm. In addition, I'm at the Manchester, VT market on Thursdays, from 3pm to 6pm at Adams Park. I will be regularly updating my facebook page with what I'll have and when I am not able to be at a market—so , I'll see you over there!Image

  • Blur

    This is what life feels like lately. Days fly by in a cloud of flour and sugar, or words, or dirt (it's garden time, too). Life grows ever busier as we get closer to the summer. The days don't wait for me. They charge forward, second by second, willing me to keep up. I am forever counting the hours, adding and subtracting them like a bank account I could manage with the right budget. I want more, but instead moments must fit into what I have.

  • Summer Season

    The market is starting up for the season on May 5th! Please come visit me at the Walloomsac Farmers' Market on Saturdays at the riverwalk at Bennington Station from 10am to 1pm. I can't wait to see everyone again!

  • April Break

    PCS will not be at the upcoming farmers' market this Saturday, April 21st. I will be back for the Walloomsac market's summer season starting May 5th! As soon as I know, I'll let you know where else to find me this summer. Thanks for your support!

  • Turning Green

    This picture was taken about a month ago from a walk near my home. Since then, trees have sprouted tiny, bright buds that are slowly morphing into leaves. Afternoons have been pleasantly mild, but I've been running the wood stove just enough during the day to take the edge off of the chill that sets in when the sun sets. There are glorious clumps of daffodils blooming and forsythia burning a bright gold along the fence, and if you look hard enough, delicate white violets peeking out from timid leaves. It's an encouraging sight to wake up to.

    But already, I feel the urgency of summer biting at my heels. There are lists of things to do to get ready for the upcoming market season–supplies to inventory and order, a tent to check, and a myriad of little things to attend to. I look forward to those busy months ahead...and before they come charging in, I'd like to revel in the slow unfolding of spring.

  • Eye Candy

    I'm very lucky to know (and be friends with!) the talented local photographer Greg Nesbit. We had been talking about arranging a photo shoot for quite awhile, and finally he had time and I had pastries, and we were ready to go. While the purpose of the shoot was to get good shots of my sweets, I also wanted to show a little of my process. I'm sure most of my customers are aware of my dedication to quality, local ingredients, but they might not know that I infuse my own sugars and salts. I dry my own herbs to use through the winter in my baked goods. And yes, sometimes my kitchen feels like a laboratory, with experiments brewing in every corner. So, enjoy this peek into my kitchen and the secrets that are found there. And please get in touch with Greg if you are looking for a great photographer in the southern VT/eastern NY/Berkshires area.

  • Hoarding of a Surprising Nature

    In my everyday life, I am not a hoarder. I am not one of those people who squirrel away their obsessive collections that make others squirm. I am a reasonably organized person who regularly empties her purse and throws away old receipts and coupons. But I have a weakness: collecting culinary ingredients. No, this is not sensible. These things turn bad and unusable if kept too long. And yet, I ration the maple sugar because I know how expensive it is if I run out. I don’t use the pricey jar of coconut oil that I bought for recipe experimentation.

    As we’re nearing spring, I look at the things that I’ve preserved with the same eye. When the strawberry jam is gone, it’s gone until strawberry season finally rolls around in June. I want to hide those precious little jars and make sure that there’s enough to last. I’m trying to come to terms with using ingredients that I so carefully preserved before they turn into fossils rather than food.

    I’ve made progress in the last few weeks. I pulled out a jar of pickled pears to slice and serve with cheese. Frozen raspberries were cooked into a puree that I added to marshmallows. I defrosted rhubarb and cooked it down with tart dried cherries into a lovely compote; it filled pocket pies at the last market and I enjoyed the rest on top of oatmeal. The dehydrated corn that was languishing in the cupboard made a deliciously sweet addition to a roasted butternut squash soup. Despite myself, I enjoy these pure tastes of the season as my larder steadily empties and prepares itself for the bounty of the coming months.

  • Marmalade, In The Style of Vermeer

  • Bread Love

    People like to ask me what my favorite thing is to bake. I tend to stammer and stutter "cookies? cakes? depends on the day, really." But lately my answer to this question would definitely be bread.

    Making bread is evoking kitchen alchemy at its finest. There is nothing more satisfying on a cold, gray morning than the soft, yeasty scent of a rising loaf, other than the toasty smell of that very same loaf baking. One of my goals for 2011 was to learn how to make bread using a natural starter instead of commercial yeast (and apparently, this is not a common goal for non-food obsessed people–my husband laughed when I told him). Thanks to Doug, bread baker extraordinaire at Murray Hollow, I acquired some established starter that was already making fantastic breads for him and was able to get to it. Although I generally reinvent a recipe every time I make it, I've stuck with and tried to perfect the "My sourdough" recipe from the River Cottage Bread Handbook.  My only adjustments have been adding some rye and whole wheat flours to the dough, and adding enough water to make an exceptionally moist loaf. It's amazing how good only flour, water, starter, and salt taste when they are combined and allowed to rise slowly, then are baked quickly in a very hot oven.

    I'm going to recommend that if you haven't made bread yet this winter, do so now. You will instantly feel satisfied. And if you need some recipes to try, start here or here with focaccia or rye bread recipes that I developed for Culture Magazine. Although they are meant to accompany cheese, they are equally good slathered with butter or served with soup.

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