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Catching My Breath

Beginner’s cheeses, including (clockwise from top left): feta, mozzarella, cottage cheese, and chevre.
Saag paneer with hot, toasty naan.
Chevre and port spread with a maple, pecan, cranberry, & rosemary topping-SO. GOOD!
Cucumber & Yogurt soup with mint and dill; perfect for the dog days of summer.
Strawberry, Chevre, and Balsamic Vinegar ice cream.

Whew! What a whirlwind week! After
landing a new part-time baking gig on Monday, I jumped headfirst into a frenzied few days of baking, cooking, prop acquiring, and equipment gathering. Bright and early Thursday morning (by which I mean, REALLY bright and early-I was up at 5:30 a.m. making a batch of curd destined to become gorgonzola), we (being my editor, photographer, creative art director-Chris Bryant of Lark Books, and myself) began a feverish race to the deadline on the third book in the “Homemade Living” series, “Home Dairy” (Lark Books, Spring 2011-also the release date of book #4, “Keeping Bees”).

Somehow or other, we did it. We took every shot necessary to complete the book, styled every dish just so, and managed to find time to nosh a few bites ourselves along the way. The book is going to be beautiful, truly. I cannot be held responsible if you should find yourself licking the pages (although I’d certainly love to hear about it!). We’ll begin work on the photographs for “Keeping Bees” in late May/early June, when we’ll start kicking out our strategic efforts all over again.

I took the week off from my “Small Measures with Ashley” column on Design Sponge so that I could focus all of my efforts of the photo shoots. Right now, I’m making frosting for this cake, to share my mother, grandmother, brother, sister-in-law (due with their first child in June-yeah!!! First grandchild for the family, too!!!) and husband this afternoon at this park after having a big family lunch here. Later tonight, I’ll be saying happy birthday to this super talented, warm-hearted, always-fashionably-turned out lady. Tomorrow, my dear friend Jenny (who just started up an awesome bicycling school) is making a split from one of her hives, which I’m hoping to stop by and watch, along with getting some work done in my garden. And then Monday morning, at 5:00 a.m., I’ll begin my time at Short Street Cakes. Maybe on Tuesday I’ll find time to catch my breath!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

20 Responses to Catching My Breath

  • Denise says:

    Is the Saag in your new book? Can you share the recipe?

  • Kim says:

    Oh myyyyyyy! Everything looks heavenly, and of course I will HAVE to HAVE this book! (Gotta have the entire collection)

  • Hannah says:

    Wow. The Saag looks fantastic! And the Naan amazing! Will these recipes be in your new book? Would you be willing to share the Naan recipe. I've been looking for one for ages but none seem to work for me! Looking forward to learning how to make my own cheeses!

  • Dom says:

    These look fantastic! Nice work everyone!


  • Paula says:

    Funny. I just discovered pecans and chevre last week when looking for a snack, since we don't keep crackers in the house anymore. Pecans and chevre go amazingly well together.

  • Laken says:

    Busy lady! But everything sounds so fun!!

  • Renai says:

    Ugh YUM! Can't wait for the book to come out.

  • Cyn says:

    Would you judge me if I almost licked my computer screen looking at those photos? Can't wait for the book!

  • innBrooklyn says:

    I'm so looking forward to the book. I've successfully made paneer but my attempts at mozarella were mediocre at best (though i need to try again!). I feel like i use so much milk for so little cheese i keep wondering if i'm doing something wrong! (I have been using the whey for bread baking so I feel less guilty about having so much of it!)

  • J.Noelle says:

    I can't wait for the new book! I'm absolutely in love with Canning & Preserving.

  • Your telling me I have to wait a whole year to buy your book “Home Dairy”! Those pictures look so good I am really looking forward to the book and making some of the recipes for myself. :-)

  • Cat K. says:

    Beautiful (and delicious-looking) once again! Like everyone else, I am super excited for that saag paneer–it's my favorite! Best of luck with everything!

  • regrettably, i can't provide the saag recipe. it's now owned by my publisher, as it's part of the book. sorry, all!
    in the meantime, and this is truly pathetic advice, but i suggest eating saag out anywhere you can, knowing that, once my book comes out next spring, it will shame all of the other saags out there!!!

  • keri says:

    you are phenomenal. truly.

  • Tiffany says:

    I cannot tell you how excited I am about your next two books! I swear, it's like an answer to my wishes! I just got “Keeping Chickens” and “Canning & Preserving” in the mail last week, and am loving everything about them. Thank you for providing such wonderful information in such lovely, fun-to-look-at packages! I will be waiting impatiently for the next two titles :)

  • Tony R. says:

    I just have to say that these photographs (and those in your book) are simply amazing.

  • Melly says:

    Oh my that Saag paneer with fresh naan is making me hungrey! It is exciting to see your blog. We got our first flock of 16 baby chicks yesterday and found your wonderful chicken book at the library. It is very helpful and encouraging just as you hoped it would be. Thank you so much. You can see our new flock on my blog
    Melly =)

  • tigress says:

    girl, you totally rock! all you're doing and those cheeses and the paneer and nan! i can't wait for your dairy book!!! :)

  • lieludalis says:

    Home Dairy?! Can't wait!!

  • Cindy says:

    Can hardly wait for your book! I make cheese, love reading about cheese, and travel to find new cheese. My most successful cheese so far is quesa fresco. Yummmm!