January 14th, 2009

corn bread

cornbread 9

i present to you, the readers: your quiet sunday morning.


keep in mind, your quiet sunday morning will start with the sound of sizzling bacon, but who doesn’t love that? and until you take the bread out of the oven, your morning will also be filled with the sounds of your friends and family asking “is it done yet? is it done yet?” but once you start divvying out pieces of this perfect,  moist and flavorful corn bread, simply put, everyone will shut up. forget dry, tasteless and crumbly corn bread – this is the real deal, complete with bacon fat. pair it up with brunch, or with a great big bowl of chili.

cornbread 3

bacon 2

it’s sweet, but not too sweet, soft and delicate but still hearty, and of course, topped with delicious crumbled bacon. with a mix of fresh corn and coarse cornmeal (soaked in buttermilk), the flavors are so vibrant,  you can take a break from your new years diet to indulge.

cornbread 5

there are hundreds of variations on corn bread, but all of them have one thing in common: when you eat corn bread, it just makes you just feel good inside.

cornbread 7

continue reading and get the recipe »

January 12th, 2009


bastilla 10

just one week ago, i made a few new years resolutions, and baby, i intend to keep em!

poached chicken 3

bastilla (pronounced bas-tee-ya) is a moroccan dish that combines spicy and sweet chicken, almonds and scrambled eggs wrapped in phyllo dough and then dusted with confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon. traditionally, it’s made with pigeon, but i went with chicken because american pigeon is so different from moroccan pigeon it wouldn’t have tasted very good in the first place. also, i wasn’t really in the mood to go pigeon hunting on the mean streets of dc.

chicken 4

what gives the chicken it’s awesome color is a combination of turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, parsley and cilantro. i can’t describe how delicious the apartment smelled when i was cooking.

making bastilla 1

you assemble the whole dish on layers of phyllo. what’s great about phyllo is that it’s so flaky and light. what sucks about phyllo dough is trying to get it to do anything you want it to do. every single piece of phyllo i unrolled fell apart in my hands like it was some ancient babylonian scroll. luckily, all you need is copious amounts of melted butter to repair it – no one will know.


bastilla 3

this dish normally takes a few hours to make from start to finish, but in all the hubbub of decorating it and taking pictures, it cooled before i could cut myself a slice. at the time, i didn’t actually know if i was supposed to eat it warm, so i just had a piece cold. to be honest, it was amazing cold. i still haven’t had it hot – i can’t wait long enough to heat it before digging in.

bastilla 8

i’ve been nervous about using different spice combinations in the past, but this recipe has helped things make more sense to me. i’m already dreaming of other things i want to make this week, like sweet and spicy chicken salad with grapes and red onion. mmmmmm…

bastilla 12

continue reading and get the recipe »

January 9th, 2009

best recipes of 2008

let’s keep 2009 going the right way – by looking back at the best of 2008! here are the top 10 most popular recipes on pete bakes from last year.


10. real apple pie vs mock apple pie

around the fourth of july, i was feeling very patriotic – so patriotic that i made TWO apple pies – one with real apples and one from an ancient nabisco recipe that uses zero apples. would we be able to tell the difference between them? find out!


9. english muffins

gotta love those nooks and crannies! the only thing better than a warm toasted english muffin with butter and jelly is one that you made from scratch. you’ll never go back to the bread aisle again.


8. jewish apple cake

this cake isn’t just for rosh hashanah anymore. it’s perfect anytime of the year (and anytime of day). just make sure you let it cool completely before trying to get it out of the pan, or else you’ll be apologizing to your guests.


7. ginger cheesecake

who doesn’t love rich, decadent cheesecake with the kick of ginger? and here’s the secret: the crust is the best part. and don’t worry about cracks, it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to taste great.

6 6. cheese danishes

we used to reserve danishes for special occasions, but now you don’t have to. your friends will think you went to a real fancy bakery, but it can just be our little secret. unless you’re baking them for me, in which case, i’ll get over it.

5 5. how to make braided challah

half the fun of baking is wowwing your friends and family before they even take a bite. challah is a beautiful, flavorful and light eggy bread that works great as french toast. it was the first yeast bread i ever tackled and it’s become one of my favorites.

4 4. chocolate chip coffee cake

this will become your go-to sour cream coffee cake. make it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or dessert and get ready for requests from all of your friends for the recipe. a great starter cake for beginning bakers.

3 3. brownies! with coffee!

the original brownie recipe came courtesy of my mom, but the idea of adding coffee came from ina garton. and now i don’t think i can eat brownies that don’t have coffee in them. get a giant glass of milk ready and start baking!

2 2. spinach artichoke dip

spinach and artichoke and cheese – sounds fancy, no? why limit yourself to eating this dip only when you go out to eat when it’s so easy to make at home? try it with tortilla chips or homemade wheat thins!

1 1. onion bacon and cheese buns

let’s see…bacon, onions and cheese…in a roll…for breakfast? how could life get any better?

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