HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Matt Lewis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matt Lewis. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Where to find the Best Lobster Roll in the whole country, the best Baked Goods in New York City and how to get there for Free!

        
Earlier this spring, Andrew and I set off on one of our city adventures.  We headed to Red Hook, Brooklyn, known to be a hipster haven and now, sadly, likely better known for having been flooded out by Hurricane Sandy.  The place took a terrible beating. It is only a few feet above sea level and 14 feet of water from Sandy’s storm surge inundated the neighborhood. Five feet of water closed the huge Fairway Market for 4 months.  The store sits directly on the water at the end of the main drag, Van Brunt Street.  Since the market anchors the whole neighborhood, this closing was hard on everyone. But at a cost of $10,000,000, the store was up and running on March 1st.  And it should be noted that since the storm’s arrival October 29th, Fairway kept Red Hook employees on the payroll, shuttling them to other Fairway stores to keep them on the job.  Here’s to you, Fairway!  There were plenty of reasons for Andrew and I to want to support the neighborhood on our jaunt there on a sunny, if cold, April Day.  For one, we wanted to try what Bon Appetit called “The Best Lobster Roll in the Country” and we wanted to make a pilgrimage to “Baked”, the café and bakery home to two of our favorite bakers, Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving 101 Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from Baked’s Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito



Thanksgiving Desserts at our house
From left to right: Caramel Apple Pie, Sables, Pear and Honey Cake,
Southern Pecan Pie, Chocolate Tart

         Chewing the Fat gets regular read-outs of what people are looking at and searching for most.  It came as no great surprise that, hands down, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies have been a big drawing card this Thanksgiving. So today I thought I'd share this easy recipe that's a real crowd pleaser--especially if children are in the crowd.  So here goes.
         Andrew’s idea of a good time is to bake enough Holiday treats for four to five times the number of people who are actually coming to our house for the Holidays. As you can see from his beautiful dessert table, he truly excels in his efforts.  Last year at Thanksgiving, we were 14 all told.  Andrew made 5 desserts.  Well, he actually made 6 but one was deemed not good enough to serve.  The day after Thanksgiving I had a piece of his rejected Sage-Crusted Lemon Pie.  It tasted fabulous although I would concur that everything else did too. The lemon tart suffered from not setting properly.  So it was not served.  I suppose looking at the dessert table you’re likely thinking “Well, where are the promised Pumpkin Whoopie Pies?”  Well guess what? They weren’t there.  The advertised Pumpkin treats were something Andrew made the day after Thanksgiving to take to our friends’ Monique and Curtis’ Leftover Party.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Presenting "The Aunt Sassy", Pastachio Layer Cake from Baked Explorations



         It’s been too long since we shared a terrific baking recipe with you. For that I apologize. But after our Christmas baking binge, our house baker has been taking a long rest.  In truth, all our baking is done out at the Beach.  And for most of the winter, the Beach is off-limits to Andrew whose real estate business takes up most of his weekends.  Today, in anticipation of Easter and for all of you who crave the comfort on a great party cake, there’s this phenomenal confection from Brooklyn’s best bakers, the team at Baked, Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis.  And of course there’s a story attached to it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Black Forest Chocolate Cookies


      To add to the growing list of great cookies to bake this Christmas, I almost overlooked these beauties.  They are so luscious and deeply chocolate tasting. And that's before you get to the secret ingredient inside.  Put these on your must-bake list. Here's the whole post:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

“Baked” Brownies


Renato (left) and Matt
       I would have to say that Andrew is not ‘a gusher’.  He is not a person who cares much about celebrity.  And because we live around an awful lot of them, a Seinfeld sighting or showing a property to a colossal media star is water off his back.  (I, meanwhile, have gone practically catatonic at the sight of Martha Stewart at our local nursery.)  So you can imagine my surprise when we were doing our Williams-Sonoma Artisan's Market for Monte's Ham.  They were staging this artisanal food event and they’d lined up some wonderful local New York talent (if I do say so myself)--none more illustrious than Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of “Baked”, the Red Hook, Brooklyn Bakery .  Before I knew it, Andrew was introducing himself to the two guys and waxing poetic over how much he loved their recipes and their cookbooks, how many recipes he’d used from their first “Baked:New Frontiers in Baking” (2008)Explorations” and how much he looked forward to working with their new one “Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented” (2010)  And on and on and on…

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Baked’s Matt Lewis and Renato Poliofito



Renato (L) and Matt outside
Baked in Red Hook Brooklyn
        I am sure there are any number of readers who don’t believe Andrew cooks anything that isn’t from Baked, the Brooklyn bakery we’ve raved about before.  Now into their second cookbook, Baked’s founders really do impress us time after time.  And if you're in the mood for Christmas Cookie making, you couldn't find a more delicious offering than these delicious chocolate-y, peanut-y treats.    This great recipe comes from  “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” (Stewart Tabori Chang). It would make a terrific Christmas gift for any baker on your list.  And you can order it by clicking on the cover on the left. Order today and Amazon will get it to you in time for Christmas.  Back to our recipe:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baked’s simply incredibly delicious Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake



         There’s a new shop that just opened practically across the street from us.  Across town, on the East Side, it’s called “The Best Chocolate Cake in the World”.  Somehow, on the West Side, it’s morphed into “Choco Bolo” (2058 Broadway between 70th  and 71st  Streets). Perhaps the name change reflects somebody pointing out that the old moniker was slightly obnoxious even in a city of superlatives.  Or more likely, the bakery, which has its roots in Lisbon, is just trading on its Portuguese heritage:  Choco Bolo translates to “Chocolate Cake”.  I have another theory:  As good as Choco Bolo’s cakes are, and I am told they are outrageously good, someone had one taste of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliofito’s Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake and surrendered the title on the spot.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Ultimate Hampton Classic Cookies




         As promised earlier this week, this Chewing the Fat is all about the phenomenal cookies Andrew baked for the Hampton Classic, our annual Horse Show that’s a fixture of our summer calendar.  People raved about them!  And small wonder.  Andrew went all out to find the best-in-class recipes for everything he baked.  And by the incredibly small number of cookies that were left over that afternoon, he was a roaring success.  But then, who among us can resist a Chocolate Chip Cookie?  Who can turn their nose up at something with both chocolate and cream cheese in a one cookie.  And please let me know if you know anyone without a nut allergy who wouldn’t devour a cookie that comes close to the best Peanut Butter and Jelly you’ve ever eaten?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New York-Style Crumb Cake from Baked Explorations

Crumb Topping Actual Size 

  Those boys from Brooklyn, Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis, are no strangers on Chewing the Fat.  We just can’t get enough of their spectacular baking recipes from not one, but two great cookbooks: “Baked” (Stewart, Tabori and Chang 2008) and “Baked Explorations” (Stewart, Tabori and Chang 2010).  Today, we’d like to share a perfect way to start a weekend morning:   A crumb cake that’s more crumb than cake: The topping on this one is over the top. And for Andrew, it's a trip right back to his childhood.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Whoopie Pies from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito


         Politics has always fascinated me.  The wonderful things that our government concerns itself with leave me in awe. Take for instance the recent decision by the Maine State Legislature to declare the Whoopie Pie the state dessert.  This has led to two major confrontations but I am happy to say they are strictly bi-partisan.   
The first was highly understandable.  In Maine, which produces 25% of all blueberries consumed in this country, making it the largest producer of blueberries in the world, naturally a hue and cry rose up with this legislative legerdemain.   The Maine State governing body relented declaring the blueberry pie as the state dessert and relegating the Whoopie to something called the state “treat”. 

According to the Associated Press, the measure was approved 107-34 but required a second reading before going to the Senate for consideration. “Off the record, I would say a heavy load has been lifted off our plate,” House Speaker Robert Nutting said to some laughs after the vote was taken. But that hardly ended the controversy.  You see there is some question as to how Maine can justify saying the Whoopie Pie is its own.  It seems that Pennsylvania lays claim to the delicious chocolate and vanilla treat that is like biting into a piece of childhood itself.

        Once Maine made its intentions known, Pennsylvania wasted no time in declaring, no joke, that Maine was committing ‘confectionary larceny’. Pennsylvania’s claim comes with a great story which goes like this: Amish mothers plopped leftover chocolate-cake batter into the oven, filled the result with icing and the whoopie was born. The practical pies were easily transportable for farmers in the field and children at school. The name?  Amish moms put the pies into their children’s lunch boxes and when found the kids would yell “Whoopie!”


Now there are are differences between the Maine and Pennsylvania whoopies. In Lancaster County, the traditional filling flavor is vanilla, and it is usually made of shortening and sugar. In Maine, marshmallow is sometimes used in the filling, though recipes vary.

A Woman named Nancy Griffin, author of the 2010 "Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book," was determined to find the origin of the whoopie.  The first documented evidence she could find was in neither state.

It was from Barry Popik, a Texas researcher who edits a website on the origins of words. His site traces the pies to a 1931 ad in a Syracuse, N.Y., newspaper advertising a five cent "Berwick whoopee pie" made at the now defunct Berwick Cake Co. in Roxbury, Mass.

Because whoopie is a catchy name, food historians believe it must have been coined commercially. Ms. Griffin, however, says the name was derived not from the shouts of glee of Amish children but, probably, from a 1928 show tune.  And that tune…”Making Whoopie” by Gus Kahn.

Well if all this controversy has made you hungry, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliofito, with a sizeable helping of Andrew’s baking skills, are here to rescue you.   Their “Baked Explorations” has a wonderful recipe for the treat.  Now interestingly, they don’t get into provenance.  They acknowledge both the Maine version and the one that’s Pennsylvania Dutch.  And then they offer up this delicious moist, deep dark chocolate cookie with a light and fluffy vanilla filling.  Their goal, they state, is not political at all.  It is to make the Whoopie Pie just as ubiquitous as the chocolate chip cookie and the brownie.  A tall order indeed but one you may latch onto once you’ve tasted these gorgeous “treats”. Or make that “desserts”.



Recipe for Whoopie Pies from “Baked Explorations”
For the Cakes:

3 1/2 cups (17.5 oz) All Purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup (2.18 oz) dark cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) hot coffee
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) hot water
2 cups (15.32 oz) light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) buttermilk, shaken

Swiss vanilla filling (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 4 cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat pads.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and espresso powder. Pour the hot coffee and hot water over the cocoa mixture and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.

4. In another medium bowl, combine the canola oil and light brown sugar. Add this to the cocoa mixture and whisk until combined. Add the egg, 
5. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. 

6. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe into 2 inch rounds on prepared baking sheets, 1 inch apart (or scoop onto sheets with a small scoop).
7. Bake 10-15 minutes, until the cookies crack slightly on top and spring back in the center when gently pressed. Let cool completely, then remove from sheet with an offset spatula. Pipe or scoop half of the rounds with the filling. Top each piped round with another cookie and serve. 

For the Swiss vanilla filling

Talk about a lot of butter!
5 egg whites
1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz) sugar
2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Place over a pan of simmering water and gently whisk until the sugar dissolves (test this by dipping your finger into the mixture - when you can no longer feel grains of sugar when you rub the mixture between your fingers, then the sugar has dissolved) - the mixture will be slightly warmer than body temperature.

Transfer bowl to mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until the mixture is smooth, white, and fluffy - about 5 minutes. Add the butter, one piece at a time. Add sea salt and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Beat until the filling is smooth and glossy (it may look curdled, but just continue to beat - eventually the mixture will come together).
Put a generous helping of vanilla filling atop a chocolate cake, then top it with another chocolate cake.  Serve.  Yields about 24 Whoopie Pies 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Peanut Butter and Banana Cream Pie



        The boys at Baked, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, were inspired to create this dessert by the King himself.   Elvis’s obsession with Peanut Butter is well known.  I first read about it when my friend Yvonne gave me “Are You Hungry Tonight?” by the brilliantly named Brenda Arlene Butler, the all-Elvis cookbook that you could likely put on ten pounds just by reading.   Elvis’s mother is credited with his love for Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches.  Talk about variations of a theme:  Later in life, Elvis added bacon to the mix thereby creating the first heart-attack-on Wonder-bread sandwich.   The only person I ever knew who could out-peanut butter Elvis was my Mother. 


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lemon Lemon Loaf, a Lemon Pound Cake from “Baked” And a reminiscence about Sara Lee



        There’s something amazingly satisfying about a simple pound cake.  Especially when it’s perfectly made, as were these by Andrew.  The ‘crumb’ of the cake gives it a richness and depth of flavor that’s unlike any other cake.  Infused with lemon flavor and enriched with sour cream, this cake then is glazed with a lemon-y icing.  It’s a delight that we never grow tired of.  And it always brings back memories for me of my Advertising years because, at one time, I worked on the Sara Lee Bakery account and at one time, Sara Lee made a pretty mean pound cake.  That, unfortunately, was before the Butter Police and the accountants got in the way and Sara Lee’s cakes no longer cut it.  You only had to ask Sara Lee herself.  Yes, there was a real Sara Lee.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lemon Lime Bars



        I know I’ve mentioned Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito before.  They’re two of my heros because they fled the Advertising business for a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn and haven’t looked back.  Instead, they’re the authors of one of Andrew’s go-to sources for fantastic baking recipes: “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2008). (See my “Black Forest Cookies” post.) Matt and Renato’s bio says that “after years in the Advertising business”, they decided to open a bakery in 2005.  Well, all I can say is baking must make you stay forever young because they look like they just got out of school.  One look at them and I think you too will highly recommend their career change to anyone who wants to improve their looks and their lives.