Monday, October 29, 2012

JRBakes a pie - crust and all.

You can do it too - it's easier than making a mess.
Buttermilk pie with homemade crust that you can make yourself.  Maybe just in time for Thanksgiving...?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_bn-cwZzzA

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Only in America

I celebrated Independence Day by enjoying my freedom to operate my own at home business. Only in this country can someone work from home doing something they love. I'm thankful to live in America - I'm proud to be one too.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paul Sherman Brown - Just 2 states and 3 generations away


Over the holiday weekend I took a short trip to see one of the first mix use buildings in St. Louis.  This was built by my Great^3 uncle in the 1920's and is now downtown loft living for 222 lucky individuals.  Not bad for a poor country kid who used to sell tobacco door to door from a wagon.  I'm excited to learn more.
http://paulbrownlofts.com/history.html

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Today I got a message from a customer.  I'm so touched by why this item was ordered and how it was given.  You never know what good things can come from generous actions....I call this a win win situation.
Message below the photo's of the project as it unfolded...
Hey, just wanted to share a story with you about the good your "goods" do! My father passed away recently and my mom had not been able to take care of our big yard by herself, so our long time neighbor took it upon himself to step in and take my dad's place as yard man. Long story short, I wanted to return the favor and when I asked what I could do for he and his wife I was told to pay them in Chocolate, so then I ordered a LB of fudge from you and it might as well of been a LB of gold!  He not only said it was the best fudge he’d had, which didn’t go over well with h is wife btw lol, but that it was worth all the hard labour and sweat!  I sent the FD article you were featured in and he was very impressed and wishes you the best and is sure you will be a success.  Looks like I know what I’ll be ordering periodically for you to send to Grandbury!  You got a good thing going here.
Peace and success,
Chad
JRBakes That story is worth 4 times its weight in gold. THAT is why I bake. Nothing says to someone that you care about them or care about what they do like giving them something homemade and delicious.
You rock, Chad. I'm happy to make something for you anytime. :)
Thank you...
-J.R.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ode to Buttermilk - Buttermilk Pie, that is...

Possibly the best - most satisfying dessert I make is my buttermilk pie.  I can't think of anything more simple and delicious.  If you have eggs, butter, buttermilk, flour, and sugar - and don't forget the vanilla - you're all set.  Several of my friends buy their crust; I think it's a sin but who am I to judge these poor slackers?  If you've never tried this or think "I HATE BUTTERMILK", all I can say is that I "pity the fool" that doesn't eat this southern staple.
Enjoy!
Order one at: johnraleigh@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter

I thought I'd share this photo of my Great-Grandmother, Josie, and my Grandmother, Virginia.  Check out those lapels!  I knew both of them.  By the time I was born, Josie was blind and only traveled from home to church on Sundays when Gin Gin would pick her up.  Both were amazing cooks and known in the community and especially the church for a meal fixed in an iron skillet or any dessert they made with a crust.  Josie having raised 8 children of her own and helped raise another 20 grandchildren knew how to feed a crowd and taught all of her daughters the same technique.  My grandmother could fry enough chicken fried steak to feed any busy resturant for an entire day in what seemed like the blink of an eye and each piece would be just as warm and crisp as the next and every pie had a crust that was consistantly as flaky as the next.  I strive for this cooking perfection - I think I've made it with the pie crust - I figure I'll try the skillet skills next.  Steak supper anyone?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wholesome Goodness?

As the first thousand orders come in for Oatmeal Toffee cookies, I'm reminded what it's like to love something enough to stay up past bedtime to finish.  OK, maybe it was only 4 dozen, but 4 goes into 1,000 somehow.  These discs of soft and sweet heaven are going to 4 very deserving people - what could be more wholesome or natural?  Find out for yourself!
johnraleigh@gmail.com

Monday, April 30, 2012

This is a snap shot from an advanced copy.  I'll post the actual link when it's online.  Stay tuned - and I'd put your order in now.  Or wait, if you're feelin' lucky!
Thank you everyone for your support, kind words, orders, and of course the creative people at FD Luxe.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Skillet, Crisco, Action!

My earliest memories of dinner are the sounds associated with its preparation.  I'd hear an iron skillet placed on the stove and then the sound of the oversized stainless spoon hitting the inside surface so the Crisco would turn loose - and GO!  I don't remember many meals as a child that didn't involve a skillet - some cakes were even made in one.  When looking around thrift stores or flea markets keep your eyes pealed for an old No.9.  You'll be amazed how naturally cooking can come to you when you use the basic tools of the trade.  I found the above picture of Gin Gin doing what she did best.  Professionally she was a statistician - by trade she was a kitchen chemist.  Imagine how many chicken fried steak suppers started this way..Enjoy!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Who shot J.R.?

Well, I guess the more accurate question would be; "Who shot JRBakes"?  Here's a preview of what I'll get to tell you more about in May.  And by tell you more about I mean you will read all about it.
Intrigued?  Patience, young grasshopper. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sweet rivalry - that's good!

Fruit pie or custard?  Double crust or meringue?  Bette or Joan?  If you're like me, there's no choosing a favorite from any of those ultimatums so why not just have it all?  I know that some view the difference between a fruit pie or custard to be as vast as the rivalry of "Cadillac or Lincoln".  Well, I've owned both, have loved them for different reasons - and that tolerance and appreciation is also given to both desserts mentioned above. Why not let me show you how wonderful two things can be when ordered together so that everyone can has an equal chance to experience what a true diva would do  - have your fruit and eat your custard too!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vanilla Pura - Nothing less

If you want the real deal, head to Mexico and step on it!  More specifically, head to San Luis Potosi, Mexico.  This eastern region capital city named after the sate it resides in is a former vacation spot my Grandmother visited in the early 80's where she stumbled on a very rare treat that lived in her baking cupboard my entire life.  I know the last of the bottle she had was used when I was in college - a couple of years ago...  Every trip south of the border I've looked for this brand, recognized by it's four gold coins and big red cock at the top, I've never found it.  I was in the wrong region!  Vanilla in Mexico is made and sold by region and I would not have ever found this while on the Western side of the country.  BUT, a friend of mine traveled through more than 15 supermarkets while in Puerto Vallarta this past week including a disco tech deli (don't ask) and lo and behold he found this bottle of precious liquid (not in the disco tech).  This had been part of a shipment brought in from the other side of the country because people had asked for it and didn't know about the regional seclusion.  Well, now it's here with me in Dallas and will be part of all the things I bake from now until the time it runs out and then - oh, darn I'll have to vacate to Mexico to replenish.  The hardships I'll go through for great taste in baking!
Ring ring, donde esta "La Vencedora"?  American Airlines flight 323 DFW to PVR.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Camden, Arkansas history. I've pieced this set together over the past couple of years. One candle holder bought in a goodwill store in North Dallas and the other online advertised as California pottery. I found the centerpiece sitting on a shelf in an old gas station in Oklahoma on my way back from a wedding in Eureka Springs - I told the lady at the counter I'd give her $5 and she took it. These are all Camark Pottery, made in my hometown in the mid 40's and were original designs by Ernest Lechner. It's important to share a reunion of any kind - especially ones where things have been separated for over 60 years. What have you brought together lately?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mrs. Hilly - two slice

Maybe not the best pie reference BUT that was the first time I'd seen a chocolate pie made and served like the one in "The Help".  I used my basic custard recipe and just added cocoa with a big dollop of freshly whipped cream in the center.  It was a "bake in shell" pie and was an amazing surprise how delicious it was.  It's my new standard chocolate pie - compared to a boiled custard with meringue on top. 
No special ingredients.  :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's a Miracle!

I grew up in a town in south Arkansas, Camden.  My Mother grew up in the same town and her whole life ate at the Duck Inn Restaurant.  It was a local haunt that originally was both a diner and a car hop but by the time I rolled into town it had become only a sit down restaurant.  There were many staples on the menu that ranged from a hamburger with home cut fries to a veal cutlet plate special.  I usually had the veal - but on toast.  One thing that you could only get there was their "house dressing".  Of course as a child I thought it was good but never thought of it as being obsolete - until the doors closed when I was in college.  Years went by before I really thought about the special sauce again but last week it was the only thing on my mind.  I emailed and called several people back home only to find mostly tight lips and dead ends.  I did however manage to get the basic ingredients - but no proportions.  The original recipe made over 5 gallons of sauce.  Luckily my attempt weighed in just shy of 20 ounces.  I'll continue to play with the recipe but I have to admit the first night I ate a whole sleeve of saltines with the glop on it and wanted more....the next step is to french fry some fresh cut potatoes and go to town.  I don't know when I'll try to bread my own veal cutlet but I'll post pictures when I do.
Take a trip back in time this weekend with something delicious from your past - you never know what you might come up with!