Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Torta di Yogurt Con Mele e Rosmarino - Rosemary and Apple Yogurt Cake

Two baking recipes in a row. I know. It's frightening...but this recipe was Baketard-proof, quick to put together and a delicious end to an Italian dinner (the rest of which I'll post later this week. We had a few new "keepers" emerge from the meal).

This recipe came from Cook Italy, by Katie Caldesi. I'm obsessed with this book right now. Every recipe in the book screams, "COOK ME, MARC" and the photos are fun and compelling. The pictures show a ton of personality and tell a story about regional italian cuisine and the author's experiences interesting enough I had to read it cover to cover.

Nothing clever to say about this one. It's sweet from the apples with a savory note from the rosemary, and it's really easy to prepare. (It would have to be for me to do it sans catastrophe). Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or do what we did and let some vanilla bean ice cream melt all over it when you serve it warm from the oven.

Torta di Yogurt Con Mele e Rosmarino - Rosemary and Apple Yogurt Cake

Makes a 9-Inch Cake 


Butter or oil, for greasing

8 oz natural plain yogurt

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup sunflower or seed oil

2 1/2 cups "00" or plain (all-purpose) flour

1 level tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

2 large or 3 small apples, peeled and sliced 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Grease a loose-bottomed 9-inch cake pan with sides about 2 1/2 inches deep. 

Whisk together the yogurt, eggs, sugar and oil in a medium mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder and chopped rosemary, folding it in with a large metal spoon. Fold in the apples then spoon the mixture into the pan. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.



Pierre Herme's Olive Sable Cookies (Sablés aux olives noires)

I baked. Yes, baked. And the result didn't suck.  As a matter of fact, these cookies turned out to be great! 

I found this recipe and was intrigued by the combination of shortbread (hello, fat+sugar+carbs=bliss) combined with brininess from olives. These cookies rock as pre-dinner nibbles for a few reasons:  They're sweet and salty at the same time.  They're a surprise when you bite into them (pleasantly so). They're easy to make as proven by the fact that *I* made them successfully. Enjoy!

Special thanks to my Little Mao Mao (Kairu Yao) for the photo.

Sablés aux olives noires

makes 60 biscuits 


one egg

400g (14 oz) high-quality salted butter, at room temperature

150ml (5 fl. oz) fruity olive oil

220g (7 3/4 oz)icing sugar

500g (17.5 oz) flour

100g (3.5 oz) potato starch

140g (4.9 oz) black olives


  1. Boil the egg until hard: ten minutes or so. Once cooked, discard the shell and white and keep the yolk aside.
  2. With a sharp knife, roughly cut the olives.
  3. Mix the butter, olive oil, sugar and grated cooked egg yolk. Quickly fold in the flour and starch, and mix until the dough comes together.
  4. Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper, until 6mm thick and chill overnight.
  5. The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Use a 55mm round cookie-cutter to form small disks of dough. Arrange disks into a muffin tin (you’ll have to bake it in several batches, unless you have a 60-bun muffin tin).
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool and unmould.
  7. These sablés keep well in an airtight tin for 6 weeks.
  8. NOTE: An easier alternate to steps 5-7 is to roll the dough into logs about 1" in diameter and slice about 1/4" thick. Place the discs onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for the same amount of time as outlined above.

The Best Damned Ribs You've Never Tried

I love sharing recipes, and I have a lot of them I go back to over and over. This recipe is in my top five, and I’ve never served them to anyone who didn’t beg for it afterward. (By “it” I mean the recipe, sickos). I realize this picture is kind of a big gloppy of pile of ribs, but there's a simple explanation...it's a big, gloppy pile of ribs.

Yes, they require some labor. Yes, you will need a defibrillator and a Lipitor drip. Yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but don’t be so goddamned lazy. You have to hack up some vegetables, dump them all into a pan with the ribs and let them braise for a few hours. Cry me a river. Once they cool overnight you slice ‘em, bread ‘em, fry the shit out of them and dip them into a quick-and-easy Asian-esque barbecue sauce that’ll make you slap your mama. They’re crispy, they’re tangy, and you won’t stop with just one. According to the recipe, there's enough to serve 6. Once you try them, you'll realize they serve 2. Oink.

Thanks to Food and Wine magazine for rocking our world over and over with this recipe, originally published in 2006. Thanks Kairu Yao for the photo.

Oola’s Crispy Deep-Fried Ribs 

One reason Oola's ribs are so impossibly good is that they're braised for hours and then deep-fried so they're supercrisp. The sauce—which includes ketchup and plenty of garlic—was originally concocted for chicken wings.


                   14 large garlic cloves—8 peeled and smashed, 6 minced

                   1/2 cup sliced fresh ginger plus 1/4 cup minced (6 ounces total)

                   6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated

                   4 star anise pods

                   3 cups soy sauce

                   2 quarts water

                   2 cups ginger ale

                   1/2 cup dry white wine

                   Strips of zest and juice from 1 navel orange

                   1 cup granulated sugar

                   1/2 cup cilantro stems plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

                   3 racks of baby back ribs (5 1/2 pounds)

                   1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying

                   2 cups lightly packed brown sugar

                   1 cup ketchup

                   1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

                   1/2 cup all-purpose flour

                   1/2 cup cornstarch


1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan, combine the smashed garlic with the sliced ginger, scallion whites, star anise, 1 1/2 cups of the soy sauce, the water, ginger ale, white wine, orange zest and juice, granulated sugar and cilantro stems. Set the pan over 2 burners and bring to a boil over moderately high heat.

2. Add the baby back ribs to the roasting pan, cover tightly with foil and bake for about 2 hours, or until the ribs are very tender. Let cool to room temperature, then spread the ribs out in a single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 30 minutes. Discard the braising liquid.

3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil. Add the minced garlic and ginger and the scallion greens and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of soy sauce, the brown sugar, ketchup and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the chopped cilantro. Transfer the rib sauce to a large bowl.

4. In a large, sturdy pot, heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 375°. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch. Cut the racks into individual ribs. Toss the ribs in the flour mixture and shake off the excess. Working in batches, fry the ribs until the coating is lightly golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer the ribs to paper towels to drain briefly, then add them to the sauce in the bowl and toss to coat. Pile on a platter and serve hot.

MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared through Step 3; refrigerate the ribs and sauce separately for up to 2 days.



I needed some work-stress relief this weekend, so I went to my happy place--Cooking. I made a lot of Asian dishes, most of which I think are worth repeating. Many of the dishes came from Teague Ezard's Lotus: Asian Flavors book, because I'm just obsessed with his recipes. I've blogged some of them before, and I'll add some more this week. They're amazing!

This recipe for the Bibimbap Arancini came from Plate Magazine, a professional chef publication I really enjoy. Be warned--the prep for this is a bit of a pain in the ass, but it's something you can do well ahead of time up to the point of frying so it's good dinner party or catering fare.  You've got to be careful to control the size of your filling and keep it small, otherwise you end up with Flintstone's-sized brontosaurus nuts as an appetizer.  I think the result is worth the effort--Everyone really enjoyed these, and I think they're gorgeous.

Special thanks to Kairu Yao for the photo! 


Bibimbap Arancini

Recipe from Chef-Owner Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia - Louisville, Ky., USA

Published in Plate Magazine

Yield: 6 servings               


Rice - 2 C

Water - 3 C

Beef top round, cut into small dice - 1/4 Lb

Shiitake mushroom caps, finely diced - 2 Oz

Onion, diced - 3 Oz

Small carrot, finely shredded - 1 each

Garlic clove, minced - 1 each

Soy sauce - 2 TBS

Honey - 1 tsp

Pineapple juice - 1 tsp

Sesame oil - 1/2 TBS

Freshly ground black pepper - 1 tsp

Spinach, chopped - 1/2  C

Kimchi, chopped - 2 ½ Oz

Sesame seeds - 1 tsp

Nori sheets, cut into 2 1/2-inch squares as needed

Water, as needed

Egg whites - 3 each

Milk - 2 tsp

Panko bread crumbs - 1 C

Black sesame seeds - 1 TBS

Oil, as needed

Gochujang sauce (Recipe Below), as needed     


1. To make rice, combine rice and water and cook in a rice maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an oiled sheet tray and reserve, refrigerated.

2. To make filling, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add beef, mushrooms, onion, carrot, garlic, soy sauce, honey, pineapple juice, sesame oil and pepper. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until meat is tender and liquid has mostly evaporated. Turn off heat and add spinach, kimchi and sesame seeds. Transfer to a sheet tray and cool in refrigerator, about 20 minutes.

3. Roll cooled filling into twelve 3/4-inch balls.

4. Lightly moisten nori squares with a little water. Place 1 filling ball in center of each sheet of nori and enclose nori sheet around filling.

5. Wet your hands with cold water. Take a handful of rice and flatten it out between your palms. Lay rice flat on one palm and place nori wrapped balls into center of rice patty. Using both hands, shape rice around filling to create a nice, even ball about 2 inches in diameter. Repeat with other balls and reserve, refrigerated.

6. To make egg wash, whisk together egg whites and milk and reserve.

7. To make breading, combine panko and black sesame seeds.

8. Roll each ball in egg wash, then breading.

9. Fry each ball for about 2 minutes in 370-degree F oil.

10. Remove arancini from oil, drain on paper towels and reserve in a 300-degree F oven for 5 minutes before plating 2 per serving with gochujang sauce.

Gochujang Sauce

Yield: 6 Oz                           

Gochujang (fermented Korean chile paste) - 3 TBS          

Sesame oil - 1/4 C

Lemon, juice of 1 each  

Sugar - 1 ½ TBS

Water, warm - 2 tsp, plus as needed      


1. Whisk all ingredients into a smooth sauce. If lumpy, whisk in water until desired texture is achieved.


Easter, Irreverence and Cypress Grove Goaty Goodness 

Recipes Below for: Rain Shadow Meats Ham with Champagne-Apricot Glaze, Scalloped Potatoes with Stinging Nettles and Cypress Grove “Truffle Tremor” Goat Cheese

This past week we had our annual irreverent Easter brunch. For us, the the irreverence factor is the critical piece for our holiday décor, the themed food (Souffle, anyone? It is risen indeed!) and drink (Who wants another Rusty Nail?). We had an enormous hot-cross bun “tomb” with a chocolate egg “stone”, which rolled away to reveal a wind-up easter bunny inside, lollipop crucifixes, bible verse bedecked chocolate eggs, etc. What can I say? I grew up in one of those crazy fundamentalist environments. My way of dealing with all of that is to find the humor. Fortunately, our guests get it. 

Humor aside, we also served a LOT of food, some of which is repeat-worthy.  My pal Rachel Riggs of Fromagette in Bellingham sent me the mother-lode selection of amazing Cypress Grove goat cheeses and asked me to let her know if any recipe-worthy results emerged.  We had a few things which were just ok (completely user error---I tried to use the cheese in a couple of baked items. You know what happens when I try to bake. It isn’t pretty).  Forgetting about my unfortunate raspberry and goat cheese tart FAIL, some keepers emerged. The ubiquitous Easter ham and Scalloped Potatoes rocked a little bit (ok, a LOT) more with her Truffle Tremor Chevre as a key ingredient, and the inevitable annual Rabbit Spanakopita I posted in the blog a few weeks ago was made even better by replacing the feta and spinach in the recipe with Cypress Grove Chevre and wild rocket arugula. 

This year was also the first time I bought an organic, artisan ham from Rain Shadow Meats instead of the cheap grocery store or Costco variety. Granted, it cost more. I was surprised at how much more expensive it was, but when we tasted the result there was no doubt that this was a perfect example of You Get What You Pay For. Applewood smoked, tender and packed with flavor. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better ham.  I’m still not the guy to write a second mortgage for an organic chicken, because I don’t think it really tastes that much different – or at least not enough to justify the cost difference. With bigger meats (and you know I loves me some bigger meat), that difference comes screaming through! I will never buy a grocery store ham again. Seriously. 

Oh yeah—Getting off my soapbox now.  How about some recipes?

Ham with Champagne and Apricot Glaze

1 10-12 lb fully cooked, smoked ham
24 whole cloves
1 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups Champagne or sparkling wine, divided
1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup apple jelly

Preheat oven to 350°.

Trim fat and rind from ham. Score outside of ham in a diamond pattern, and stud with cloves. Place ham, bone end up (if you bought a bone-in ham), in a roasting pan lightly coated with oil. Pour 1 cup Champagne over ham. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a small saucepan. Add vanilla bean and 1/2 cup Champagne to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Stir in apricot jelly; cook 3 minutes or until jelly dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Discard vanilla bean. Pour half of Champagne mixture over ham. Bake 30 minutes; pour remaining Champagne mixture over ham. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until ham is thoroughly heated. Place ham on a platter; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 15 minutes.

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure or bowl. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain the drippings into a bowl, stopping before the fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Serve sauce with ham.

Scalloped Potatoes with Stinging Nettles and Cypress Grove “Truffle Tremor” Goat Cheese

Makes 4 Servings 


1 1/4 cup whole milk

¾  cup heavy cream

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

6 oz Cypress Grove “Truffle Tremor” Goat Cheese

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 sweet onion, diced

1 bulb fresh fennel, coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 lbs large russet (Idaho) potatoes     


  1. Prepare the nettles:  Wearing kitchen gloves (naturally you have evening length kitchen gloves to protect your delicate hands, darlings), remove the nettle leaves from the stems. Add to boiling water for about 30 seconds, then rinse, drain in a colander and squeeze dry. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the onion and fennel:  Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add onion and fennel and a pinch of salt and cook until beginning to soften and turn slightly golden. Add nettles, stir to incorporate and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place the milk and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the milk and cream are boiling, add the garlic, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then immediately remove it from the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes or longer while you prepare the potatoes.
  5. Prepare the gratin: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a shallow 1 1/2 -quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Peel the potatoes, slice them 1/8 inch thick with a mandoline and arrange 2 layers in the bottom of the dish. Top with onion, fennel and nettle mixture and crumble goat cheese over the top. Top with remaining potatoes. (You should have enough potatoes to do at least 2 more layers on the top) Bring the cream back to a simmer. Pour the cream over the potatoes, coating all the slices. The liquid will not completely cover the potatoes at this point. Dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
  6. Bake until the top is nicely browned and the potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Halfway through the cooking, use the back of a large spoon to lightly press down any potatoes that are not yet submerged into the cream.

 Makes 6-8 servings.