salted matzah toffee, smoffee

Smoffee mania

This week is Passover, and it’s always a challenge. No flours, no yeast, no leaveners… generally speaking a baker’s nightmare. Oh, there are all sorts of adaptations and substitutions you can make (egg white meringues, anyone?), but there is only so much you can do to keep your cake and cookie cravings at bay. Mostly,… [ Read More ]

Irish Whiskey Traditions

(Pot) Still Traditions

History and tradition grounds me. A few years ago I took one of those genetic DNA tests, and unlike so many people I know, there was very little ethnic diversity in my gene pool. What those results meant to me was that, despite my not being able to trace back my family tree beyond a… [ Read More ]

pie-math

Pi(e) Math

Last week was Pi Day (March 14th, or 3/14), a day fully created to make my math tutor/chef’s heart skip a beat. I love the number-to-date relationship (not to bring back nightmares from Geometry, but pi (∏), an irrational number representing the ratio between the circumference and diameter of a circle, is 3.14159…). I, of… [ Read More ]

Scotland scotch regions

All over the place

It’s not news that Scotland has many different regions where scotch is produced, and it’s not news to say that those regions each have their own unique flavor signature. What is interesting is when the scotch is blended to represent and highlight the best of what each region has to offer, and we get to… [ Read More ]

Bean seeing you

You know how you sometimes see little brown specks in baked goods, custards or frostings? No, those aren’t dirt from a careless chef…they’re something wonderful that adds a delicious flavor to all they touch: real vanilla bean seeds. Vanilla beans can be expensive and messy, but they’re oh so worth the effort…the flavor they impart… [ Read More ]

(Re)Visiting Friends

I’ve been told time and again that everyone’s palate is different, that what you taste won’t necessarily be what I taste. I’ve also been told that what I taste can be different from one time to another, and I’ve found that to be true as well. And I’ve found that I’m better able to describe… [ Read More ]

Pop to it

Do you love a good challenge? After all, it’s called a comfort zone for a reason. The tried-and-true is safe, a known quantity, and yet…sometimes a challenge can be appealing. That can-I-pull-this-off-even-if-it-hasn’t-worked-before feeling can propel me into trying something new or trying something once more in the hopes of a better result. It’s how we… [ Read More ]

Of Vikings and Volume

Pride…it’s an emotion that can elicit both positive or negative reactions. Too much pride in one’s abilities leads to boastfulness and hubris (a negative judgement), yet pride in one’s heritage, or adherence to quality work is encouraged. Whenever I research a distillery for the various tasting panels I present here, I’m struck by the pride… [ Read More ]

blogiversary

Once ’round the sun

Yep, that title is right…it’s been one year since I started this blog, my blog-versary as it were. There’s been a whole lot of baking and whisky tasting going on! I started this project just to have a place to keep my notes on scotch tastings and do a little British/Scottish baking, but it’s really… [ Read More ]