The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

I switched mine up a bit and gave it a Autumn flavor twist.  Instead of the traditional quark (cheese)  filling I made a pastry cream flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.  Then I switched the plum jam for apricot and added a few more spices there as well.  They came out delicious, if not the prettiest thing I have ever made.  I would definitely make the bigger pastries next time.  I was ambitious in making all the small ones but I think I would have found the bigger option easier to work with.

Still very tasty though, and that’s really the most important part.

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Sweet and Sour Pork


Some weeks I just don’t feel like cooking anything fancy.  Some weeks I just want to cook recipes I barely have to glance at because they are almost memorized.  This was one of those weeks. Plus my brother always says I prefer my dinner in a bowl.  And this is definitely a recipe which lends itself to throwing a little rice in a bowl, topping with the pork, and eating.

This is one of my favorite recipes from my childhood.  I once translated this whole thing into French for my high school French class.  Now that is love and devotion to a recipe.

It is an easy dinner recipe.  A little fussy with all the chopping and dredging but I don’t mind.  Plus it makes good leftovers for the next day!

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French Toast Bagels


Some weeks seem to me more an enthusiastic suggestion than a recipe.  This is one of those weeks.

My husband, last week’s aforementioned New York Pizza snob, also has strong opinions on bagels.  I, alas, agree with him on this one.  Bagels, I have previously thought, were ok.  A little dry, but, you know I like my carbs and carbs which can withstand large quantities of jam… well that was really all I thought a bagel was good for. Then he took me to his favorite bagel bakery on Staten Island and I was converted.  I have now eaten a bagel plain, straight from the bag.  No jelly at all!

But we often buy more bagels than we can really eat when we travel up to Staten Island.  And it breaks my carb-loving heart when they get stale sitting on my kitchen counter.  Recently we went to one of my husband’s favorite breakfast places and I had a revelation.  They served me a french toast bagel! Dilemma solved!

And really, giving a slightly stale bagel the french toast treatment is something I highly encourage you to do!  Sweet and chewy and delicious!

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Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce


I planted tomatoes this spring and, even with a slight case of the blight, I have tomatoes: beautiful red tomatoes grown by my own two hands! And the CSA my husband and I joined is also sending me beautiful tomatoes.

I have a lot of tomatoes right now.

Thus I am so glad that I found this recipe.  It is a truly delicious pizza sauce.  My husband, a die hard New York pizza snob, even said it tastes like a restaurant’s!   Plus it is really not that hard at all!  I always thought making a sauce from fresh tomatoes would be arduous but not this one!

I made a huge batch and have some in my freezer right now.  Just waiting for me to make another pizza.  And with me you know it won’t be long till that happens.

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