Category Archives: Bakeries

Biscuit Berry Nests — Two Treats In One

Holes get punched into a big round of biscuit dough, then filled with fresh berries, before being baked.
Holes get punched into a big round of biscuit dough, then filled with fresh berries, before being baked.

If you adore fruit baked into your biscuits or even biscuits slathered with fruity jam, then you will go bonkers for “Biscuit Berry Nests.”

Because a jumble of fresh berries is baked into an actual hole punched into each biscuit. Not only that, but those “holes” are also baked, creating regular biscuits, too.

It’s like donuts plus donut holes — but in biscuit form.

This fun little recipe is from “Hot Little Suppers” (Harper Horizon, 2021), of which I received a review copy.

It was written by Carrie Morey, founder of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, a South Carolina business based on her mom’s from-scratch biscuits that has now grown to encompass eateries, a food truck, and mail-order items.

Of course, you’ll find biscuit recipes galore inside, including “Cinnamon Biscuits” and “Whipping Cream Biscuits,” plus accompaniments such as “Savory Thyme Butter,” along with clever ways to use up leftover biscuits (does that ever happen?) in dishes such as “Toasted Maple Biscuit Casserole.” Since one can’t live on biscuits alone, there are also entree recipes such as “Lemony Crab Pasta” and “Salty Sticky Sweet Pot Roast.”

The "holes'' get baked, too, to create individual biscuits.
The “holes” get baked, too, to create individual biscuits.

When I saw the photo of these clever biscuit nests in the book, I knew I had to make them. They didn’t disappoint, though, I did have to tweak the recipe in a number of areas.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 40

Feast your eyes on the "Italian'' at Troubadour.
Feast your eyes on the “Italian” at Troubadour.

Troubadour, Healdsburg

How incredible are the sandwiches at Troubadour in downtown Healdsburg? After I scarfed down an entire one in no time flat, I actually contemplated getting another. Yes, that’s how amazing they are.

The sando shop, which opened earlier this year, can’t be missed, not with its adorable sign that’s like a toad in the hole, except this is a slice of bread with a “T” stamped in its center.

A great sandwich has to start with fabulous, fresh-baked bread, and Troubadour has no shortage of that, thanks to the fact that it’s owned by the same folks behind Quail & Condor bakery on the edge of Healdsburg.

The sign that marks the spot.
The sign that marks the spot.

Both establishments are the brainchild of couple, Melissa Kane and Sean McGaughey, who both worked at Michelin three-starred SingleThread in Healdsburg. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the quality you’re in for, too.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 39

The jerk chicken plate from Back A Yard.
The jerk chicken plate from Back A Yard.

Back A Yard, Menlo Park, San Jose, Campbell

There is comfort food. And then, there is comfort food with panache — heady with loads of allspice, ginger, and garlic.

That’s what Back A Yard serves up in spades. And for those still indulging in takeout, you’ll be glad to know this Caribbean fare travels well, too.

The plates come complete with a starchy mash of rice and red beans, and thoroughly addictive sweetly caramelized plaintains. You choose a main or a combo of two. The jerk chicken plate ($10.95) includes three pieces of tender dark-meat poultry, seasoned in a moderately spiced jerk rub redolent of fragrant cloves and allspice. You could also get all-white chicken for $11.95, but why? The dark meat is where it’s at.

Jamaican beef patty with a shatteringly flaky crust.
Jamaican beef patty with a shatteringly flaky crust.

The oxtails ($14.95 for a plate) are fabulous — fall-apart-tender in a sticky, reduced sauce, and with that fatty, meaty unctuousness that can’t be beat. It’s a rendition you’ll be craving anytime the weather turns chilly.

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You’ll “Heart” White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies

Put a twist on Valentine's Day with pretzel cookies.
Put a twist on Valentine’s Day with pretzel cookies.

When it comes to romance, my husband is all about the art of subtlety.

When he proposed to me at the French Laundry, it wasn’t in the dining room, in the midst of a throng of well-heeled diners. It was in the restaurant’s parking lot as just the two of us sat in our car, and he pulled the ring out of his pocket.

When he buys me flowers, it’s not because it’s some Hallmark holiday. It’s because he just spies a pretty bouquet that he knows will unexpectedly make my day.

And when he wants to express his love these days, his favorite way is to flash the Korean finger heart symbol at me, because, yes, in the pandemic, he’s become addicted to Korean dramas like so many others.

That’s why these “White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies” are right up his alley.

This is how you make the Korean finger heart.
This is how you make the Korean finger heart.

First, they feature white chocolate, which can be polarizing to some, but which he actually likes.

Second, they get fortified with and crowned whimsically with mini pretzels, whose classic looped knot shape slyly resembles a heart.

This cute cookie is from “Maman: The Cookbook: All-Day Recipes to Warm Your Heart” (Clarkson Potter, 2021), of which I received a review copy, by Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte. The couple are the founders and co-owners of Maman, the bakery-cafe with locations throughout New York, as well as in Montreal, and Toronto. The book was written with food writer and recipe developer Lauren Salkeld.

The couple named the cafe for the word “mother” in French to evoke the cozy, homespun environment they wanted to create.

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My Top 10 Eats of 2021

What a year. On the downside, normal is still far more of a concept than a reality. But on a bright note, my favorite eats this year are not comprised solely of takeout foods. I actually was able to dine outside at restaurants, and a couple times even indoors when the situation felt especially safe. So, there is that.

Whether you are comfortable dining indoors, only outdoors or just through delivery or takeout orders, please continue to support your local restaurants, which still need you more than ever.

To stoke your appetite to do so, here are my Top 10 eats of this year, in no particular order:

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