More of my favorite things…

Let’s talk rolling pins.

Your mother’s rolling pin might do the job just fine but I have a favorite that I’d like to tell everyone about.

OXO Good Grips makes a fabulous pin that is weighted so that you hands are always a bit higher than the center of pin.  This allows you to really put some elbow grease into your rolling adventures without scraping your knuckles on the counter.

 

The only rolling pin you'll ever need.

It’s non stick surface is easy to clean and the handles feel great in your hands. 100% worth the investment!

These are a few of my favorite things…

When you start using the tools you have in your kitchen more often, say everyday, you begin to see their shortcomings.  After a few years of baking almost every day, I have some tips I’d like to share that might be helpful to a young person building their first kitchen or to a seasoned baker.

 The Rubber Spatula

Got batter?  You need a rubber spatula that can fold eggs delicately and scrape the densest dough from your beater bowl.  They might look alike but not all spatulas feel the same in your hand.

  1. Rounded Handles = Comfortable Hands.  Whether you’re mixing dough by hand or with a mixer, you will need a spatula that feels comfortable in your hand.  The pretty, colorful ones you might find at a fancy kitchen store always seem to have a flat wooden handle.  This kind of spatula can be hard to grip when your making batch after batch of your mom’s christmas cookies. Your hands will thank you when you purchase this simple rounded design.

    Rounded handled spatulas can come in fun colors.

  2. A flexible head is essential so that the spatulas can bend enough to actually scrape.  If the head is too rigid, it won’t do what you want it to.
  3. An Integrated handle won’t slip out and leave the rubber in your batter.  They might not come off right away, but eventually your spatula will behead itself.  Choose a spatula with a handle that is integrated into the design like the one shown above.  It will last a lifetime and feel great.

 

Bad, Bad Spatula! Like a popsicle, this stick will come out eventually.

 

Lastly, own more than one size.  A small size can squeeze into a batter bowl while the paddle is in place.  The larger size will cover most jobs. Personally, I don’t bother with the spoon shaped spatulas.  If I am spooning something, I prefer an actual spoon.

Butter! That’s the secret

Thanks for the plug, Garrison Keillor

“Yes—– the secret of a happy Thanksgiving is butter.

“Whether you’re serving tofu or turkey, make sure to use plenty of butter.  Baste regularly with a big brush. Inject melted butter with a butter gun. And before serving, put a few pats of butter on top. It’s the secret of every great cuisine. No matter what country you’re from, butter is the passport to pleasure.  Everybody’s a little cranky around the holidays but you slip a little butter into the crankcase and it’s Buon Giorno time. Be happy.  Use butter. (BIG PIANO CHORDS)

My Medford Farmers’ Market buddies: Mystic Coffee Roasters

What’s a better name for a coffee roaster than “Mystic,” the river than runs through Medford to Boston Harbor?  Mystic Coffee Roasters might just bring you enlightenment.

Like a growing number of people with a dream and a dose of courage, Sharon started her Medford cafe and roaster (find it and her on Facebook) when a corporation let her know they didn’t need her any more.  Nothing personal, of course.  It’s just business.  She decided that she didn’t need them either.  No hard feelings.  Because if you can make it in a recession, when things pick up, the worst is behind you.  That inspires me.

That and her amazing coffee, roasted almost every day so it’s fresh when you pick it up.  At home, I make a pot when I don’t have too much baking to do.  That way I can savor it.

Sharon will grind, brew, ice, whip, and find other ways to make your cup of their coffee delicious.  At the cafe – not for nothing – you can enjoy it with ButterGirl cookies and brownies.

Stop by and try what Sharon’s tasting this at the market on Thursdays.

My Medford Farmer’s Market buddies: George

What does George make?  The answer is, “It’s Greek.”  A little bit of a mystery man, George spends part of the year in Greece, where he and his family make the delicious Eleofillo olive oil that he sells at the market.  I can tell you from personal experience, it’s delicious.  And it’s become a gift to one friend who knows her olive oil.  She’s two thumbs up, too.  Then there’s the olive oil soap that my husband likes.

It's Greek!

George's Eleofillo olive oil

But you’ll find stylish sweaters at his booth, too.  All summer long, no matter how hot or humid, George has gotten one woman after another to try them on and many have bought them.  There must be a lot of air conditioning somewhere.  Somewhere else!

Now that the weather’s turned seasonable again, come out and see George before he goes back to Greece for the winter.

ButterGirl?

When I was a kid, I lived in a divided family.  One division was that my parents were divorced.  Another was that one ate butter on everything and the other used margarine.  My mother used margarine and I grew up in my mother’s house for the most part.  If there was butter in the fridge, it inevitably had a taste that mimicked the smell of the fridge.

One day I decided to make some popcorn and melt something on it.  The butter tasted funny so I decided to use margarine. Ohhhh what a nasty mess!  The margarine had turned to oil and the popcorn had turned a wet greasy mess.  From that day on, I vowed to only use butter in any food I cooked or baked.

And baked I did!  I baked for every track meet, every soccer game, every party.  I was building a reputation for my chocolate chip cookies…thank you Nestle!

Butter in my mother’s house had become a precious commodity.  In order to avoid that “funny” taste, I carefully placed the wax paper wrapped sticks of joy in airtight ziploc baggies to protect them.

As a result of this careful attention to butter, my step dad assumed I ate a lot of it and started calling me the “Cholesterol Queen”. I didn’t actually eat that much of it (not that I remember) but the name stuck.

When I started brainstorming names for the bakery, one thing I knew was that butter had to be in the name.  It is the most important ingredient!  Eggs, flour, spices, sugar, vanilla can all be substituted for a something else but BUTTER is essential.  And since I am the “Cholesterol Queen” then I could also be called the ButterGirl.

People liked the name, I became the ButterGirl and a bakery was born.

Union square market…just 1 more reason I love Somerville!

ButterGirl at Union Square Farmer's Market

Just finished my first market in union square today.  I sold out of everything.

This Farmer’s Market is awesome.  It is filled with local farmers selling wonderful produce.  The market also has live music and a friendly local and loyal customer base.  I hope Union Square organizers will ask me back again.

It makes me very proud to be selling in my home town.

Many thanks to the supportive and enthusiastic crowd today.

ButterGirl is baking for the Pan Mass Challenge

ButterGirl will be making butterfly cookies for a Survivor Fashion Show to support Team “Savanna’s Smiles”, a local Pan Mass Challenge team.  Katy Wolf, a represenative for the event, tells us more about the team…

This fundraising effort benefits a PMC team of 10-cyclists that  raised over $55,000 without any corporate matching donors last year.   The team was recruited and started by Savanna James’ grandmother, Kyle James.  Savanna is now 8-yrs. old and a 4-yr. survivor of a rare brain cancer.  Once you begin raising money for cancer research for the Dana Farber and Jimmy Fund by riding in the PMC, you realize most people have been touched by cancer at some time in their immediate family. Our list grows daily.   It is so inspiring to ride shoulder-to-shoulder with survivors–just as it has been to work side-by-side with these models.

If you would like to learn more about the Pan Mass Challenge or make a donation, visit www.pmc.org.

The heat is on…or will be soon!

I couldn’t start the year without another appliance purchase!  Yup that’s right, another oven.  One new oven was not enough.

Feeling Hot Hot Hot!

Now my dream of 6 dozen at a time will be fulfilled.

Look out Dancing Deer,  ButterGirl is on the hunt!

Butter Business in Somerville!

I have always loved living in Somerville, MA. My love for Davis Square was one of the reasons I commuted over an hour to work for more than eight years. As I began the process of starting this little company, I discovered how wonderful the city really is.

Setting up shop involved meetings with many city departments like inspectional services, the mayor’s office of strategic planning, the fire prevention bureau and the department of weights and measures to name a few. Before each meeting, I had low expectations. I thought that each meeting could be long, slow and tiring like visiting the DMV. I was so wrong!

At every turn, I was met with a smile, helpful tone and quick, supportive service. Starting ButterGirl has made me love living here even more.

To learn more about my home, the 2009 All-America City, visit:
www.somervillema.gov/AboutSomerville.cfm