Browsing Tag



Mommy Tools: Four Artisanal Breads by Weston

premiere fournee

I went to the Première Fournée media event last week where I learned the tricks of the trade of artisanal bread making. After trying some steps and seeing how much manual labor it involves, I gain a deeper appreciation of the traditional baker’s job. We learned the many steps required to make a classic baguette bread and how modify the cooking process or adding one ingredient allows you to create another bread variety. It was very interesting but I will leave bread making to the experts. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Cute Presentation for a Rustic Flatbread

rustic flatbread

rustic flatbread

Whether you serve a homemade or a bakery bread, how you serve it could make a statement at a party or a picnic. I love the idea of wrapping pieces. There is no special skills necessary to assemble your own pile. And the best thing is that these are made with supplies you should always have at home.

You will find the Flatbread with Olive Oil and Sea Salt recipe on The Kitchn. If you never bake your own bread, flatbread is the perfect introduction to this fabulous world. And you will find a whole chapter on flatbreads in the Bread in 5 minutes a day cookbook series by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I owned both cookbooks.

+ Flatbread with Olive Oil and Sea Salt recipe
+ photo by Rebekah Peppler for the Kitchn

USA [affiliate links]
+ Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day $14.77 USD
+ Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day $18.28 USD

Canada [affiliate links]
+ Artisan Bread in 5 Minute a Day $22.56 CAD
+ Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day $22.56 CAD


Thanksgiving Dessert Idea: Potted Pumpkin Pies

potted pumpkin pies by inchmark

potted pumpkin pies by inchmark

Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving staple. To ensure everyone gets their share of dessert, try this adorable idea from Brooke Reynolds of Inchmark (she is a former art director for Martha Stewart Kids magazine).

Bake pumpkin pies in a small glass canning jars, allow to cool and top with whipped cream. Not only does it take less time than baking a pie, the miniature potted pies could also be labeled with guest names and used as placecards on your Thanksgiving table. And if your guests are pressed for time, they’ll love taking their pie “to go” so they can enjoy it at home.

Also For Bread

dinner rolls in a jar by simple bites

Check out this additional idea for dinner rolls baked in a jar Simple bites shared a few weeks ago.

+ Potted Pumpkin Pie Recipe and Tutorial from Inchmark


My Muesli Covered French Toast Recipe

muesli covered french toast recipe

muesli covered french toast recipe

I usually make my French toasts with a cereal type of bread but this morning, I had almost an entire Italian loaf left, freshly baked yesterday. I did not want to lose it. Plus, I do not feel like going to the store on a Sunday morning. Instead, I improvised.

I mixed a little handful of oats with authentic muesli. I am picky when it comes to muesli. Select your own favorite brand as long as it is none of the mass-produced cereal boxes. I added oats to help the muesli sticked more to the soaked bread. I made my usual French toast egg mixture. I found that it works better if I put a layer on top and press a little. It is a messy job but once you tasted, you will see that it is worth it.

The Sugared Apple Topping

cooked apple topping

Heat one or two teaspoons of margarine in a pan at medium. Add two sliced and peeled apples. I used one pear apple and one Granny Smith. I put the slices on a bowl and immediately pour over some lemon juice.

I put the Granny Smith first so they can cook a little bit longer than the softer pear apple slices. Cook for one minute. To create a sauce, throw in the pan the lemon juice used earlier on the sliced apples – you need about one or two tablespoons. I added brown sugar to taste; it does not take a lot. I eyeball the quantity by lightly sprinkling the brown sugar until I am happy. Reduce the heat to 2 or 3. Let it cook until some apples become soft.

When I served the French toasts, I decorate the apples with a little bit of the remaining oat-muesli mix.


Avva Felt Breadbasket by Teroforma

Avva Felt Breadbasket for Teraforma

Avva Felt Breadbasket for Teraforma

The husband and wife team Anna & Andrew Hellman relies on an international group of designers and artisans to make thoughtfully designed objects for the table. Their latest creation is the cutest bread basket I came across so far. It is made of felt and it ships flat.

With the holes, I do not think this bread basket is suitable for long storage. My guess is that it is designed more to carry the bread but it is so cute. I feel it looks like a present.

Avva Felt Breadbasket for Teraforma

The assembled version stays upright. It even hold its shape when the front is opened to access what is inside. A bread basket will hold four bagels or a round country bread. It will become available this Spring in soft white, spring green, deep brown and quiet grey. They planned to reveal later an Autumn color collection. The Avva Felt Breadbasket was designed by Josh Jakus of Berkeley, California and it is produced for Teroforma by Buffalo Felt from Buffalo, New York.

+ Avva Felt Breadbasket by Teroforma


Many French Toast Recipes

fortune french toast for breakfast

If you are looking for what to cook this weekend for breakfast, why not make French toasts? I shared my basic French toast recipe a while ago. It is so easy to make that you can do it for a weekday breakfast.

Someone commented on The Kitchn about the fact that they don’t make French toasts because they feel it tastes better with stale bread. My answer is to switch to a muesli or another type of multi-grain bread if you get freshly baked bread. I put real maple syrup, home made berry jam and, once in a while, I spread Nutella.

A tasty twist is an adaptation of the Fortune French Toast recipe by chef Michael Smith. I did mine by stuffing small pieces of cheddar inside the bread pockets. If my suggestions do not inspired you, the Kitchen listed more French Toast recipes.

+ photo of Fortune French Toast via


The Bodum Bistro Toaster Does More Than Add Color to Your Kitchen

colorful bistro 2-slice toasters and flatbed toasters by bodum

I guess that a lot of college students will ask this toaster as a housewarming gift. I totally understand the appeal. You know by now that I love bringing color into my home. It is not the first time that Bodum introduced color in an unusual but tasteful way.

The Bistro Toasters is not just a pretty thing. It has nice features that would be appreciated by moms and dads. The 900-watt Bistro 2-slice Toaster is made of stainless steel that is cover with a heat-resistant rubber exterior. It is safer. The little fingers cannot be burned by touching the toaster. It is also easier to clean. No more worries about finger marks on the toaster. Cool features are a defrost mode and a cancel button.

Writing this post makes me want to change my 15-year old toaster. I would like a red one to repeat the bright red center of my kitchen cabinets.

Bistro Flatbed Toasters by Bodum

The Flatbed toaster is something that I never seen before. It will be soon available. I read that it is:

  • Great for Bagels, Croissants, Baguettes & More
  • Toasts one side and defrosts four traditional slices of bread at once
  • Comes with an adjustable Timer
  • Toast larger breads without crushing them

I am curious to know how well it performs. If you have ever tried something similar, I would like to get your input. The Flatbed toaster is available in the same 8 colors.

+ Bistro 2-slice Toaster by Bodum choice of 8 colors $79.99 USD at
+ Black Bistro Flatbed Toaster by Bodum $79.99 USD
+ Bodum Toaster Collection


Making French Toast on a Sunny Sunday Morning

french toast recipe

For cooking breakfast, my husband and I each have our specialities. My husband is the specialist of eggs and omelettes. I prepare French toast, crepes or Belgium waffles. It is fun because this way, we take turns on cooking our Sunday’s breakfast.

This morning it was my turn. The sun was shining. It inspired me to take a picture before I made breakfast.

Kim’s French Toast Recipe

The secret of a great French toast is to use thick slices and to soak them well. I select the smaller mixing bowl where my bread slices lay down comfortably.

I prefer to use margarine to fry my French toast because it does not burned as easily. You can add oil to butter to get the same result.

Ingredients for a baguette:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
  • 2 tablespoon (30 gr) sugar
  • Little more than 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt – if you use table salt, 1/4 teaspoon is plenty
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 French baguette or a country multi-grain bread log (I often use muesli bread) – use what you need, a baguette can feed up to 4 persons depending on your menu and the appetite
  • 2 tablespoons margarine to pan-fry the French toast


  1. Cut thick slices the baguette at a diagonal angle (you wish for more bread surface).
  2. Put in a mixing bowl the eggs, milk, salt, sugar and the vanilla extract.
  3. Whisk everything for half a minute.
  4. Soak the bread slices well in the egg mixture by turning the bread of all sides
  5. Heat the margarine in a large skillet over a medium high heat. I often use a small and a large non-stick skillet to fry all the bread in a single batch.
  6. Fry the bread slices until golden brown on one side, flip with tongs and brown other side.

Served with authentic maple syrup or a freshly made jam that is still warm.


My Picks on Tastespotting


+ Learn how to make your own no-knead European peasant bread. Pete of used a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. You may recall that I reviewed the book. By the way, the blog for the book is called Artisan Bread in five.

+ For breakfast, try this Bread pudding baked in a muffin tin from James Starmer


+ For a quick lunch, opt for healthy salad like the Butterbeans with sweet chili & herbs salad from A Spoonful of Sugar. You can have a slice of the European bread with it.

+ For a simple dinner, my friend Quynh of QlinArt shares her recipe for a moist and fluffy steamed omelet with pork, mushrooms and fresh dill. It sounds delicious. This dish takes 30 minutes from prepping the ingredients to the table. Perfect on a weekday!

More Vietnamese Recipes

Quynh told me her pork steamed omelet is a traditional Vietnamese family dish. This is not something you will find at a restaurant.

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip (Nuoc Mam) by QlinArt - rights reserved

I encourage you to read QlinArt. She is a talented photographer and cook. QlinArt is about easy to make and tasty Vietnamese recipes. Last week, she published her delicious Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip (Nuoc Mam). You can keep the sauce up to 3 weeks if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

+ 4 first images showcased on Tastespotting – rights reserved
+ nuoc mam: image by QlinArt – rights reserved


Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day | Book Review

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe FrancoisThe blogger behind Zoe Bakes, Zoe Francois is a professional baker who wrote a book about Artisan bread making. She wrote this book with Jeff Hertzberg.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day contains nearly 100 no-knead bread recipes including French loaves, ciabbata, pita, and peasant bread. An imposing majority of the 158 reviewers on Amazon really enjoy this book.

Take the time to fully read the first chapters that explain key principles in bread baking. Then, you can start to make your own bread. One of the appeals of homemade bread is how good your house will smell. It is a good idea to bake your bread when you have guests over.

One Weakness

Unfortunately, the book does not indicate the weights for flour in recipes. The two authors decided against writing both weights and cup measures because they think most people do not use scale. Even if it is true, it would have been great to serve the minority who uses a scale.

You will be surprised on the difference you can get if you do not use the proper technique for measuring flour in a cup. Keeping the right proportions between the ingredients is crucial when you make bread and prepare pastry. Having all the facts can help you if a recipe does not turn right.

The Art of Measuring Flour

Sifting influences the weight of a cup of flour. So pay attention to the words used in a recipe. 1 cup of flour, sifted is different than 1 cup of sifted flour.

If you experience problems, know that there are many opinions on the subject. But I found a general consensus around these facts:

  • a cup of all-purpose sifted flour weigh 4 ounces (113 grams)
  • a cup of sifted cake flour = 3.5 ounces (100 gr)
  • a cup of whole wheat flour = 4.25 flour (120 gr)
  • a cup of bread flour = 4.5 flour (128 gr)

In a reader question, Zoe said that she evaluates the weight is about 5 ounces per cup of all-purpose flour. You can watch an instructional video on Star Tribune about how Jeff and Zoe make the bread on the cover of their book.

For more read making advices and recipes, consult the blog of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

+ For Americans: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois – $18.45 USD
+ For Canadians: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois – $19.50 CAD


Follow up to my No-Knead Bread story

Apple and Cheddar crostini recipe - Croute aux Pommes et au CheddarThe Pain Maison from Eric Girard has many holes on it as you can see on the picture. You cannot compare this bread to the texture of a baguette; that is two different things. The recipe produces a rustic bread loaf with a crispy crust.

Rustic bread is often better toasted, which makes this recipe perfect for breakfast or to prepare yummy French toasts. I serve my French toast with a couple of spoons of homemade jams on top. I cook my jam fresh on the spot, so I use it while it is still warm. You can pour a little bit of genuine maple syrup to finish it up.

After digging more this morning, I read some comments on the Web about the lack of taste of breads made with the no knead technique. It may be true with the NY Times recipe. But knowing the well-deserved reputations of the two chefs that I talked about, I feel confident that the recipes of Eric Girard and Michael Smith taste good.

One thing is clear: delicious recipes begin with best of the crop products. For success, it is crucial to start with a top of the line flour, preferably an organic one.

Michael Smith‘s Real Bread seems to have fewer holes than Eric white bread. I took the photo from Michael Smith’s Web site, so I assume this is the actual product. In fact, it is gorgeous whole wheat bread.

With more than 100 loaves under its belt with its No-knead artisan bread recipe, it is fair to say that Michael Smith took a look at many aspects. I suggest you sign in to its quarterly newsletters; this is how I got its Real Bread recipe.

I want to finish this follow-up by giving you another great recipe from that same A la di Stasio episode, Dyan Saloman, the cook at Olive & Gourmando, used the no-knead bread of its partner Eric Girard to make a crostini recipe. It will be a hit as an appetizer or for quick snacks. This recipe comes handy for the nights where you prefer eating a light supper made of a nice soup.

Apple and Cheddar crostini recipe (Croûte aux Pommes et au Cheddar)

A recipe by Dyan Saloman of Olive & Gourmando


Thinly sliced green apples, use a mandoline for perfect slices
A few drizzles of hazelnut oil, nut oil or simply olive oil
Slices of bread, fresh or toasted
Chopped roasted hazelnuts
Slices of Aged Cheddar, Manchego or another kind of cheese that you like

In a bowl, mix together the apple slices and a little bit of oil. Layer the hazelnuts, the oiled apple slices and top it with cheese. Grill it until the cheese is soft.

Link: Croûte aux Pommes et au Cheddar by Dyan Solomon and Eric Girard of Olive et Gourmando as seen on TV at A la di Stasio
Link: To subscribe to Michael Smith’s newsletters
Link: Web site of Olive & Gourmando, a bakery-cafe located in Old Montreal

+ No Knead Bread 101