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  • Writer's pictureWine & Whiskey

Here's What's Cooking

Updated: Mar 9

I made sourdough baguettes successfully my first time! I can't tell you how exciting this is. As with sourdough boules and batards, I read several recipes and watch many YouTube videos before attempting this. I've baked six baguettes in two separate batches and each time they came out great. I am so happy with the results.

Whiskey liked the baguette so much that he ate almost a whole one at once. This is where I tell you we grew up in New Jersey where crusty bread and "hard" rolls were the norm. "Good" bread in NH is hard to find. But now we have it in our own kitchen. Fingers crossed that I can repeat this over and over. This shape is versatile for so many things.

Most challenging is creating steam in the oven. I did it with pouring hot water into a cast iron pan placed on the oven floor. This worked and was the easiest option I found.

In addition to all of this new baguette knowledge, I learned even more when a new friend, Sarah, hosted a gluten-free baking class in her home. Sarah's presentation was great, but it is a lot more work (and many more ingredients) than the straight-up sourdough that I am making. I am so thankful that we don't need to eat gluten-free. Here is the video that I made of Sarah's baking.

While at Sarah's I learned that she makes vanilla extract. I've often thought about doing that but never did. However, with the high cost of real vanilla I decided to give it a go. These two bottles will sit for a few weeks so that the vodka and vanilla beans can fuse.

Having Mr. Coffee working at the house several days of the week encourages me to make decent lunch. Mr. Coffee is a frugal Yankee and would resort to eating nothing instead of buying something, and he's not inclined to make a lunch to bring; he's a single guy that isn't into cooking. So, I cook up all kinds of things including brioche buns.

Sam the Cooking Guy made brioche buns on one of his episodes and it looked really easy and gave it a go. They are in fact very easy and quick. They are best consumed the day they are baked. Otherwise, they need a bit of warming up with steam or a bit of butter.

Whiskey, Mr. Coffee, and I gather around the kitchen table for lunch and catch up on project status and or hearing more of Mr. Coffee's stories about hiking mountains and other life adventures.

Sometimes we watch YouTube videos of skiers, interesting carpentry projects, or other backyard maple syrup makers. It's a nice break in the middle of the workday. However, my real motive is to keep Mr. Coffee coming back day after day so we continue tackling the list of projects on our drafty old house which will be featured at some point in a future blog post.

On Mr. Coffee's birthday I kicked it up a notch with store bought cupcakes, but everything else I made.

Mr. Coffee is another skinny guy that doesn't gain a pound no matter how much food I serve. Meanwhile, I am not so lucky. 😁😡 I just try to eat less than these two skinny guys.

The addition of maple syrup has not helped my waistline because now I make pancakes on the weekends. And yes, Mr. Coffee comes on the weekends. Look at this epic combination; pancakes topped with bacon crumbles and drizzled with our maple syrup.

I created a pancake recipe from a couple that I've made. My recipe includes soaking flour overnight. There are a few reasons to do so: links down below in the resources section.

overnight pancakes
Download PDF • 409KB


Side bar on the maple syrup. We are up and running again as the sap is flowing. Another 35 gallons of sap collected, and 6 cups of syrup made. It's not a very good sap to syrup ratio but that's what's happening.

We are bottling the syrup in whiskey bottles, of course! Here is our collection so far.


Other things cooking in the kitchen include my go to mushroom and sage quiche. This makes for a nice lunch served with a side salad. From top to bottom: quiche (always a go-to easy lunch), veggies and kefir with onion dip, sourdough pizza, sourdough bread loaves, nachos for Super Bowl Sunday, beef stew, more quiche, and chicken liver pate with the yummy baguettes. The last picture shows the wood cookstove multi-tasking by boiling sap, heating our space, and warming rising dough.

If it isn't apparent, I pretty much live my life in the kitchen. At this time of the year, there is not much else to do. I work on my computer in the kitchen while tending to the wood cookstove to boil maple sap. One more month of this then we are headed south toward palm trees, sunshine, and the beach.

The days are getting longer and I'm itching to get outside in the yard to start pruning. Until then, we'll be boiling sap outside on the patio fireplace and gearing up for winter clean up. Hopefully we won't get an abundance of snow; but it can and has happened. March can be a snowy month.

Thank you for reading and watching!


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Feb 27

Julie, the inspiration you exude with your determination, abilities and writing and photo skills is fun to experience through this blog. Thank you! Nancy

Wine & Whiskey
Wine & Whiskey
Feb 27
Replying to

Wow Nancy! Thank you so much!

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