Monday, July 30, 2012

Greek Pasta Salad

Summer days are quickly drifting away.  I have no idea why time has to fly by so quickly when the weather is beautiful and there is so much outdoor activity.  Before we know it, the freezing winds will be chilling us to the bone and Paul will be cursing every morning while struggling to shovel snow from the uneven cement of our driveway.  And I will probably be craving lots of pumpkin flavored sweets.

But for now, it is still summer.

This pasta salad is the perfect summer picnic dish.  It travels well, is packed full of veggies, has a lot less oil than your average pasta salad, and features all of my favorite Mediterranean flavors!  Plus, it can be made up to two days ahead of time!  Pretty sweet.  I have already made it twice in the past two weeks.  Paul and I even ate the leftovers as our main course for dinner for a couple days.  Neither of us complained - this is delicious stuff!

Greek Pasta Salad
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

For the Dressing:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
1 medium shallot , minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Salad:
1 pound rotini pasta
1-2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and diced
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 2 cups)
1 cup pitted kalamata olives (about 6 ounces), chopped coarse
½ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces), quartered

For the dressing: Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
For the salad: Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Stir in 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and cook until completely tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta in a colander. Transfer the hot pasta to a large bowl.

Stir the reserved pasta water into the dressing. Pour half of the dressing over the pasta and toss to coat. Stir in the carrots, bell pepper, feta, olives, and parsley. Scatter the tomatoes on top of the pasta (do not mix in).

To Store: Cover the pasta salad tightly with plastic wrap and poke several vent holes. Transfer the remaining dressing to an airtight container. Refrigerate the pasta salad and reserved dressing separately for up to 2 days.

To Serve: Microwave the pasta salad on high power to remove the chill, 1 to 2 minutes. Shake the reserved dressing to recombine, then pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Add the remaining dressing as needed to keep the salad moist.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Vegetable Gratin

I am having a really hard time figuring out how to convey the pure deliciousness of this meal without an adequate photo to back me up.

This dish just did not photograph well.  Especially when plated.  So none of those are included here!

However, it was such a fresh, light, tantalizing dish that highlighted the bounty of produce available this time of year at every farmer's market.  Summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and fresh basil come together and mingle with the flavors of garlic, thyme, olive oil, and Parmesan to create a satisfyingly healthy meal.  It is a really easy dish to put together, but you do have to plan ahead because the vegetables need some time to be salted to extract excess liquid so the final dish is not too watery.  Paul and I both loved this dish and we already have plans to make it again soon!  All you need is some good, crusty bread on the side to sop up the delicious juices.

After all, I have to post a healthy dish once in a while.

Summer Vegetable Gratin
from Entertaining Magazine

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound zucchini , ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound summer squash (yellow), ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 teaspoons table salt
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes (3 to 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 medium onions , halved lengthwise and sliced thin pole to pole (about 3 cups)
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 large slice white sandwich bread , torn into quarters
2 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated (about 1 cup)
2 medium shallots , minced (about 1/4 cup)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.

Toss zucchini and summer squash slices with 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; transfer to colander set over bowl. Let stand until zucchini and squash release at least 3 tablespoons of liquid, about 45 minutes. Arrange slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.

Place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and dark golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Set onions aside.

Combine garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme in small bowl. In large bowl, toss zucchini and summer squash in half of oil mixture, then arrange in greased baking dish. Arrange caramelized onions in even layer over squash. Slightly overlap tomato slices in single layer on top of onions. Spoon remaining garlic-oil mixture evenly over tomatoes. Bake until vegetables are tender and tomatoes are starting to brown on edges, 40 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, process bread in food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds. (You should have about 1 cup crumbs.) Combine bread crumbs, remaining tablespoon oil, Parmesan, and shallots in medium bowl. Remove baking dish from oven and increase heat to 450 degrees. Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture evenly on top of tomatoes. Bake gratin until bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and let sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

As I have alluded to in previous posts, we have been watching an awful lot of Winnie-the-Pooh around here. Being Matthew's favorite cartoon character to date, when it comes time for an evening family movie, his choice is undoubtedly one of the four Winnie-the-Pooh VHS tapes that we have in our collection (yes, we are still the proud owners of a perfectly working VHS player!). Paul and I are so incredibly sick of the adventures of the "bear with very little brain." We can recite every single line from every single movie. When I wake up in the morning and am washing my hair in the shower, I find myself humming various catchy songs from the movies. One time, while Paul and I were outside weeding the lawn, we realized that we were both singing the same lyric under our breaths:

Bears love honey and I'm a Pooh bear
Yum Yum Yum Yum
Time for something sweet

If you are unfamiliar with those lyrics, I suggest you get thee to a movie store and pick-up a copy of Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree. Fun times ahead for you!

Actually, it was while watching Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree that Paul and I had a sudden realization. Perhaps unknowingly, Walt Disney was portraying a very serious case of addiction in his film. The pure, utter, shameless, undeniable addiction of one fat bear to his honey. Winnie-the-Pooh will stop at nothing to ensure that his pot is filled with the sweet sticky goodness, even risking his own health and friendships.

Psychologists have pinpointed several common behavioral patterns of addiction. For one, addicts will go to extreme lengths to obtain the object of their desire. Pooh was willing to steal honey from a nearby beehive located high above the ground in an oak tree...risking hundreds of painful bee stings and a potential plunge to the ground (I am still unsure as to whether or not a bear "stuffed with fluff" would in fact perish if such an event were to occur!).

Second, addicts often use their friends and relatives to help them obtain their "fix." Winnie-the-Pooh asks Christopher Robin to help him get his honey by using his balloon as a second attempt to reach the hive while simultaneously requesting that Christopher Robin aid him in his charade by convincing the bees that Pooh is in fact a rain cloud and not a honey-thieving bear. When this charade fails to work, the bees angrily charge both Pooh and Christopher Robin. Did Pooh consider the potential danger to his friend's life when enlisting him to help with his honey quest? What if Christopher Robin had gone into anaphylactic shock from numerous bee stings? We would have had a very different tale, that's for sure. But Pooh was not thinking about that...not one bit...he was only concerned with his rumbly tummy (or his desire for a "honey fix").

Third, addicts will often consume the object of their desire in large, unhealthy quantities without consideration of potential long-term effects on their relationships or health. Pooh Bear obviously has quite a little bit of fluff accumulated in his belly. ;I am not sure exactly what the anatomical makeup of a bear stuffed with fluff is, but most creatures have many vital organs located in the center of their bodies, meaning that Pooh Bear might only have a few, honey-filled years left to live. Pooh Bear is often referred to as "a bear with very little brain." Could his lack of brain matter have something to do with the massive quantity of honey he consumes? I imagine he is also a diabetic, having killed off his pancreas years before with a diet consisting solely of liquid sugar. Maybe he should join Paula Deen on her new mission to eat healthier. Also, when Pooh finally finds some honey at his dear friend Rabbit's home, he eats all the honey in Rabbit's possession which causes his belly to quadruple in size. This obviously does not go over well when Pooh tries to leave Rabbit's abode and becomes wedged in the entrance, unable to move in or out. Thus, he is forced to to go on a starvation diet in order to slim back down to a size that will allow him to be freed from his self-inflicted imprisonment. And as soon as he is free, where does he end up? With his head stuck in a beehive, eating a massive amount of honey. And so the vicious cycle begins anew.

Obviously, we have to entertain ourselves somehow while being forced to watch this film for the sixtieth time this month. Might as well analyze the heck out of it.

Can you guess what movie is playing in the background as I type this post?

Even though it has been wicked hot outside, I have kept up with my baking routine. I love experimenting with different cookie combinations and when I came across a recipe for Orange Creamsicle Cookies, I knew I had to give it a shot. Plus, Paul is absolutely in love with the orange-vanilla combination, so I knew that these would probably go over well with him.

These cookies were, like most cookie recipes, a breeze to whip up, the most time consuming part being the zesting of the orange. These made the house smell DIVINE! And the taste? Sweet, soft, rich cookies that completely capture the essence of those frozen ice cream bars I remember loving so much as a kid. You will not be disappointed with these! Although a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie will always have my heart, these cookies definitely come in a close second!

Orange Creamsicle Cookies
adapted very slightly from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, silpat liners or lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, orange extract and orange zest until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture and white chocolate chips, mixing until combined.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges, taking care not to overbake. The cookies should be rounded and full, not flattened. Let cookies cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet, and then remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TWD: Semolina Bread

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie featured a delightful Semolina Bread recipe from master baker Nick Malgieri.  The bread was another easy recipe to throw together.  No heavy duty equipment was required and with three generous rise times, I could quickly perform the next step in the recipe and then run some errands, do some housework, etc. before having to proceed.  I especially loved that the bread went into the oven immediately after I put my son down for a nap.  He usually goes nuts for hot bread fresh out of the oven and I wanted this loaf to cool completely before cutting it so as to avoid a gummy texture.  Had Matthew been awake, he may have cajoled me into cutting into it a little too early...

Overall, the flavor of the bread was delicious - the semolina almost imparted a nutty, buttery taste to the crumb.  I know some people had been complaining about the salt level, but I personally thought it was just perfect.  We served this alongside the shrimp bisque I made for dinner and it was divine.  I am already planning to make another loaf to serve with a vegetable gratin we will be enjoying for dinner later in the week.  Gotta use up the rest of the semolina flour because I refuse to make fresh pasta until it is a little colder outside!

Again, I have really been enjoying all the recipes from Baking with Julia for their clear, concise directions.  So far, every single recipe has been delicious and fun to make!  I highly recommend that you add this book to your cookbook collection if you have not done so already!

Thanks to Anna and Renee for hosting the recipe this week!  Head over to their respective blogs for a copy of this delicious bread recipe.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Over the past few days, a small, grey-and-white cat has been taking naps in the bare, shaded area of our backyard where Paul and I have been attempting to grow some grass.  The cat has proven to be very skittish, immediately darting to a neighboring lawn should I slide our deck door open.  Despite my best efforts to charm this animal into approaching me (even resorting to opening a can of tuna as a bribe), the cat will not come within 10 feet of me.  Matthew has been fascinated with the cat as well and always announces that he is going outside to "see kitty."  He has also fondly named the kitty "Sassy" after the famed Himalayan star of Walt Disney's Homeward Bound, one of his favorite movies of all time.

The other day, I was finishing up with the breakfast dishes while Matthew sat on the deck eating a Popsicle.  I watched as he climbed down from the deck and headed towards his swing-set.  I temporarily averted my eyes to put away a couple pots and pans and when I looked out the window again, Matthew was nowhere to be found.  I immediately dashed outside and immediately saw Matthew's little blonde head peeking out from over the neighbor's flower bed.  I walked over to him and saw that he was sitting on the ground with the stray cat "Sassy" comfortably perched in his nap, enjoying a lovely back rub.  As soon as she saw me approaching, she took off, but not without first wrapping her tail affectionaley around Matthew's chest as she pranced away.  Since that day, she has come back every morning just to visit Matthew.  She still will not let me come near her, but really enjoys some attention from my little man.  So now Matthew thinks the kitty is his.  Which really takes the pressure off Paul and I to actually get a pet!

Tortillas are one of those items that I never though about making from scratch.  They are relatively inexpensive in the grocery store and I always assumed that you needed a special tortilla press to make them thin enough.  How wrong I was!

Homemade tortillas taste incredible - they are really quite good hot, puffy, and fresh from the skillet.  And they take less than an hour to make, start to finish.  There is no actual rising involved with making them, just some resting times to allow the gluten to relax completely so you can roll/stretch them with ease.  I like to make a huge batch and then freeze whatever is not needed for dinner so we can have them readily available!  

I have an awesome enchilada recipe to share later in the week using these homemade tortillas.  Give them a try!  And make some easy quesadillas for dinner tonight - divine!

Homemade Flour Tortillas
adapted from The Homesick Texan

Two cups of all-purpose flour (may substitute one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cups of warm milk

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.

Slowly add the warm milk and stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.

Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for about 20 minutes.

After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate, keeping enough space between them to ensure that they are not touching.  Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes.

After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. Once you have a rough circle, you can also gently and carefully pull and stretch the dough into an 8-inch circle.  Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered with a damp towel until ready to cook.
In a dry iron skillet heated on medium-high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.  Do not step away from the stove - they will burn FAST!

As the tortillas are removed from the skillet, stack and wrap them in a kitchen towel.  Serve immediately or let cool and place in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  You can also freeze them for up to 1 month.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blueberry Cornbread with Buttermilk Syrup

Oh, how we love summer!

The weather has finally been a bit cooler, allowing us to spend more time outside without being so uncomfortable from the heat and humidity.  Matthew's favorite place to be this summer has been the beach.  He absolutely loves sitting in the warm sand and watching the waves move back and forth across the shoreline.  Such a change from last summer when he was deathly afraid of water in any capacity.  Paul has been trying to teach him how to skip rocks.  The only thing Matthew registered from his lessons was that it is okay to throw things in the water.  I really have to keep an eye on him now because he has tried throwing my sunglasses, his shoes, our lunch, his gym shorts, etc. into the lake.  A seagull almost choked on the Oreo cookie he chucked into the lake last week.  I really would prefer not to get fined by the Wildlife Protection Agency.

Lately, Matthew has been trying to drive himself home.  This has made Paul very happy, especially since Matthew has been scaring him recently with some of his wardrobe choices.  Just the other day, we were at a shoe store and I was trying on a pair of new running shoes when I saw Matthew precariously walking towards me in a pair of silver peep-toed pumps with four-inch heels.  

Paul flipped out.  Majorly.

So, Matthew's fascination with cars and driving has been a bit of redemption from some of his less masculine fetishes.  

Last week marked the beginning of blueberry season.  Matthew and I headed out to the picking fields earlier in the week and came home with a couple gallons of huge, juicy, sweet berries.  I wish I could report that Matthew was such a help in this venture, but alas he probably ate more berries than he put in his bucket.  As I was finishing off filling my bucket, I heard Matthew, who was seated under a nearby blueberry bush, counting aloud the number of berries in his bucket:  "One...two...three...four...five...six!"

I took a glance inside to see that he was entirely correct.  There were exactly six blueberries that made it into his bucket after nearly two hours of picking.  He probably ate close to 500.

The first thing we made with our batch of berries was this blueberry cornbread.  One of my favorite pancakes are blueberry-cornmeal, so it only seemed fitting that blueberries would taste great in cornbread.  I just utilized my favorite cornbread recipe and folded a cup of blueberries into the batter.  Once the batter was scraped into the pan, a handful of blueberries were scattered over the top and the entire concoction baked up into a delicious, lightly sweet cake that is perfect for dessert or breakfast.

I ended up making "cornbread sundaes" for Paul and Mathew by taking a warm slice of the cornbread, topping it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and drizzling some buttermilk syrup over the whole thing.  It was divine!  I'm including the recipe for the buttermilk syrup below because I absolutely insist that you try it!  We made a big batch to have on hand for pancakes, etc. but it really is quite delicious on ice cream and pairs marvelously with the flavor of the blueberries.  

Blueberry Cornbread
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cup buttermilk (but regular milk will work just fine if it's all you have!)

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk together the oil, butter, eggs, and buttermilk.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  With a spatula, stir until just mixed.  Gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries.  Scrape into a greased 8" square pan and scatter the remaining blueberries over the top. Bake in for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.  Let cool slightly on a wire rack.

Buttermilk Syrup
from Tasty Kitchen

½ cups Butter
1 cup Sugar
½ cups Buttermilk
1 Tablespoon Karo Syrup
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

In a LARGE pot, combine butter, sugar, buttermilk, and Karo syrup, and bring to a boil for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add baking soda and vanilla. Mixture will fizz to TWICE THE SIZE or more, so make sure you use a good-sized pot! Set it aside to thicken while stirring occasionally. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blueberry-Corn Salad with Feta

One of the things I look forward to most during the summertime is the endless supply of sweet corn that comes pouring in from local farms.  You can usually purchase five ears for a dollar and it tastes so much more fresh, crisp, and sweet than any type of frozen corn.  Since it is so readily available, we eat corn in some capacity with almost every single meal during the summers.  Spoon bread, cornbread, corn on the cob, corn salsa, corn quesadillas, and corn chowder are just a few of a ways we have utilized this delicious crop so far this year.

But my absolute favorite way to have fresh sweet corn is in a raw corn salad.  Have you ever tried corn raw?  It is so delicious sweet and refreshing and the perfect platform on which to build a delicious summer salad.  There are several recipes for corn salads floating around the web, but this is my personal favorite adaptation of several different recipes I have seen.  It may sound weird, but blueberries and corn go really well together!  REALLY well.  Throw in some cucumber, red onion, feta, jalapeno and cilantro and toss with a creamy honey-lime dressing, and you get one satisfyingly complex salad.

If the idea of eating raw corn freaks you out a bit, you can simply place the corn cobs in a pot of boiled water for about 3 minutes.  Just pat it dry and let it cool completely before cutting it off the stalk and continuing with the recipe.

I'm eating the leftovers for lunch today while sitting outside reading Jane Eyre and watching Matthew tease the little pekingese we are dog-sitting for the week (he likes to take her favorite toy, hold it just out of her reach and giggle as she repeatedly jumps up and down in a fruitless attempt to rip it from his grasp).  Sounds like a great way to spend the afternoon!

Blueberry-Corn Salad with Feta
heavily adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

3-4 ears fresh sweet corn, husked and cut from the cob
1 large cucumber, peeled and gelatinous seeds removed
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 cups blueberries
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons mayo
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (I like greek yogurt because it's less watery)
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cut the cucumber into 1/2 inch wide strips and then cube crosswise.  Toss together in a large bowl with the corn, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and blueberries.

Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.  Pour over the corn mixture and toss gently to coat.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (but no more than 1 hour) to allow the flavors to jam together.  Sprinkle with feta shortly before serving.

To make ahead, you can refrigerate the veggies/blueberries and the dressing in separate containers and then just mix them together shortly before you're ready to serve.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TWD: Almond Biscotti

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie featured a lovely almond biscotti recipe that was easy, simple, and fun to make.  The recipe was written very clearly and could all be done by hand.  This is a major plus when you have a two-year-old with an obsession with the stand mixer.  Had I brought it out from the cabinet where I keep it hidden from sight, he would have insisted on inspecting it thoroughly to ensure that it is still in good working condition (and after a few more of his inspections, I'm sure it won't be).


A lot of biscotti recipes call for the addition of oil or butter but this recipe required only an egg to bind the ingredients together.  The dough was easy to shape into the logs and even easier to slice into the traditional biscotti shapes.  This was a major blessing because I had a crying child wrapped around one of my legs as I attempted to carefully slice away with my serrated knife.  Even my child's faint attempts at sabotage could not cause these biscotti to turn out absolutely beautiful and delicious.


I did deviate from the original recipe a tiny bit by substituting roasted almonds for the hazelnuts and Amaretto liqueur for the Frangelico.  These smelled so delicious when toasting in the oven and they have made a splendid addition to my morning cup of coffee.  I will definitely be making these again because I will be very upset once they are all gone.  Next time, I might try adding some anise so as to replicate the delicious licorice-flavored biscotti that my wonderful mother-in-law makes. 

Thank you to our wonderful hosts Jodi and Kristina.  If you would like the recipe for the biscotti, please head over to their websites or pick up a copy of Baking with Julia.