Greetings and salutations, everyone!
Many of us have great memories of our mothers. I think my first memory of my mother was sitting on the floor with her while she taught me my colors using the crayon box that was really long and flat.
I have so many memories baking with my mother (remember– I married into this family). She always took the time to let me help her even though it certainly lengthened the task. She always let us lick the bowl and beaters. My job was to grease the pans and my sister got to turn the mixing bowl (I realize now the mixer was broken all my life). We always sifted the flour and helped put the cookie dough on the baking pan, and we were there when they came out of the oven. I’m smiling as I recall that memory.
One time, when I was older and in ninth grade, I was out very late. An adult asked if I needed to call my parents to let them know where I was (remember– this was before cell phones). I said, “I don’t need to call them; I don’t have a curfew.” I arrived home at three o’clock in the morning and my mom was sitting on my bed with her arms crossed, her hair wrapped in toilet paper with the hairnet (that’s what they did to preserve the weekly beehive hairdo). Boy was she mad! Dad was sound asleep. I learned then to always call my mom, so even when I was 30 years old and visiting my parents from out of town I still called her at midnight to let her know I was okay.
Bobby has some interesting stories about his mother as well. When Bobby was eight years old, he stayed from school one day, sick. There were only three television stations at the time, so I guess the ads were geared more toward adults. A few days later– maybe a week– someone knocks on the door, and his mom answers and there is a man standing there. He says “ Is Robert Jucker there?” And his mom says, “ He is not here right now can I help you with something?” So the man says he has a delivery for Robert Jucker. So his mother asks, “ Delivery? What kind of delivery?” He replies, “Well, Mr. Jucker ordered these two chinchillas and I have them here and he needs to pay me $1200.” At which point you could have picked Bobby’s mom off the floor (remember– this is the 60s). So then his mother says, “ Robert is not here today. He is in school. Robert Jucker is eight years old.” This time you could have picked the driver up off the floor for he had driven all the way from Nebraska. He then asked Bobby’s mother if she would like to buy them. Another great memory!
Cherish your memories with your mom and keep making them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – CREATE MEMORIES!
When you are in our line of business, there are few things that say “YOU DID IT!” such as waking up in the morning and knowing that your bakery will have some very important visitors that day…
…that is, if those visitors are from Food Network itself!
Three Brothers Bakery was honored and excited to play host to Tom Pizzica of the hit television show Outrageous Food and his amazing crew. And of course, we had tons to show him!
We started off by showing him our pumpecapple piecake. Our pumpecapple piecake is our signature cake that stands 11 inches tall and weights 23.5 pounds, combining layers upon layers of pumpkin pie baked in pumpkin spice cake, pecan pie baked inside a chocolate cake and apple pie baked in its own spice cake.
And of course, we couldn’t send our Food Network friends home without pulling out all the stops and showcasing some of our more “extreme” creations. After all, the show IS called Outrageous Food, right? 🙂 With a crowd of friends and Three Brothers Bakery patrons, we lit up the night sky with our Firebreathing Serpent and Oil Derrick Blowout Cakes!
Don’t forget to catch us on Friday, April 8 at 10:00 PM ET/PT (that’s 9:00 PM CST for all of our Houston friends!) on Food Network’s “Outrageous Food.” Thank you again to Tom Pizzica and the staff and crew of Food Network’s Outrageous Food for the opportunity to be on the show!
Here is the YouTube Link to FoodNetwork TV and the clip of the Outrageous Food segment on the Pumpecapple.
In Outrageous Food, “Big Chef” Tom Pizzica, season six finalist from The Next Food Network Star, is on a quest to unearth the most jaw-dropping, eye-popping, occasionally heart-stopping foods in the country – dishes that give “outrageous” a whole new meaning. From the oversized (60-inch pizzas carried by crane to the table) and absurdly spicy (“Ninja” sushi rolls made with fresh habaneros, cayenne peppers and wasabi oil) to the ridiculously pricey (the $175 burger made with Kobe beef, black truffles and foie gras) and the blatantly bizarre (corn-on-the-cob flavored ice cream), Tom learns the secrets of these out-of-this-world eats from the chefs at all the locales. Years of experience working in kitchens coupled with his every-guy likeability, sharp wit, and appetite for bold food, Tom Pizzica takes Outrageous Food to new heights.
For more information visit: www.foodnetwork.com/outrageousfood
ABOUT TOM PIZZICA:
In August 2010, Tom Pizzica finished among the final three contestants on season six of The Next Food Network Star. His “Big Chef” personality and culinary curiosity make him the ideal host of Food Network’s primetime series, Outrageous Food. Originally from West Chester, Penn., Tom’s passion for cooking began at an early age, learning the basics from his mother and cooking for his siblings while growing up. Tom’s 15 years of experience working his way up through restaurant kitchens includes being a dishwasher, server, prep cook, line cook, and most recently as executive chef of the restaurant within his family-owned hotel in Maryland. He graduated from George Washington University in 2000 with a degree in Speech Pathology and California Culinary Academy in 2004 with an Associate of Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts. Tom lives with his wife, Rachel, in San Francisco, Calif.
Premiering Friday, April 8th at 10pm ET/PT
“The World’s Biggest Burger”
In the season two premiere episode, Tom Pizzica heads to Mallie’s Sports Grill and Bar in Southgate, Mich., to help set a Guinness World Record for the largest burger ever made. In Bedford, Pa., Tom visits Bad Boyz Bistro where they serve up hot wings in a sauce that nearly reaches two million Scoville units. For his last stop, Tom travels to Three Brothers Bakery in Houston where they bake pies into cakes and stack them almost a foot tall.
I have been in charge of seders for my entire family for the past five years or so, and the guest list has ranged from a 20-person head count to a 50-person head count. I know some of you feel my pain! For those of you who have never had the privilege (ahem) of preparing a 50-person seder, here is a sneak peek at a typical shopping list:
- 27 pounds of chicken
- 30 pounds of brisket
- 75 eggs
- 20 onions
- 10 pounds of carrots
- 8 pounds of celery
- 4 pounds of walnuts
- 20 green apples
- 10 pounds of Matzo
- Maror (unless you plan on making it at home; I for one vow to never do that again!)
- 15 bottles of screw top Magen David wine (I did the fancy wine the first year and no one drank it – the only variety that was gone was the screw top wine, so cheap wine it is!)
Once I gather all of the ingredients at the grocery store (in Houston you had better be one of the first to get to Beldons, so you have everything you need), it’s back to work I go – in the kitchen, that is. The first thing on my list includes 10 gallons of chicken soup and 180 matzo balls. My chicken soup and matzo balls take SEVENTEEN woman hours to make.
Over the years, I have learned (the hard way) that you cannot take a one batch matzo ball recipe and multiply it by ten. Your matzo balls turn out to be cannon balls. It gets exponentially worse if you attempt this at midnight, like I did the very first time I prepared a Passover feast. Not only did I forget to use club soda instead of water (club soda is the key to light and fluffy matzo balls) but in my haste, I DID make one recipe X 10. Suffice it to say, no one in my entire family ate a matzo ball that year (except my cousin Marjorie who graciously said, “Well, I like them hard!”) and from then on everyone had something to say about Janice’s “cannon ball matzo balls.” One person’s matzo ball even jumped out of the soup bowl and flew across the room (luckily no one was hurt).
Preparing the chicken soup and the matzo balls is probably the hardest out of all of the preparations. However, they are not the only things that need to be prepared. Don’t forget that you will have also make 75 hard-boiled eggs (I am probably the only person on earth who has difficulty making hard boiled eggs and has to practice with a small group first) and gefilte fish (you must use your mother-in-law’s recipe… though I will tell you now that you will fail miserably every single time, guaranteed – never as good as Mom used to make). Make sure you cook as much as you can in advance so you can freeze and reheat. Not only does this save you time, but it will save your sanity as well! Of course, this means you might have to get a separate freezer… but take it from me when I say it is truly the lesser of two evils!
Once the food situation has been taken care of (well, as “taken care of” as any pre-Passover preparations can be), then comes a whole horde of additional tasks that must be done, including (but not limited to):
- Ironing 50 napkins and 10 table cloths
- Polishing the silver
- Dusting the glasses and crystal
- Borrowing all the tables and chairs and everything else you don’t have enough of
- Setting the table for 50 people (really 5 tables)
- Finding 30 Yarmulkes from weddings and bar mitzvahs for the men to wear
- Preparing 5 seder plates with everything on it – don’t forget the oranges
- Making 50 mini seder plates to put at each place
- Getting your husband on track and studying for the seder, so it runs smoothly (a gal can dream, can’t she?)
After my first 50-person seder, I was absolutely BEAT. I can’t even imagine what I would have done if I had to bake the dessert. Not having to bake was the only saving grace throughout this entire ordeal! Thank you to my amazing husband Bobby for bringing home whatever was leftover from the bakery for us.
Also, honey, thank you for going through the garbage every year to find that one tiny little piece of silver that was scraped into the garbage can and HAD to be found. I know you always find it in the last bag of the 5 bags of garbage, but you always find it and we’re proud of you for doing so. 😉
Hag Sameach to all
and let me know how your Seders turn out this year!
The season of Purim is a very special one to Three Brothers Bakery. Purim is a holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman the Agagite. Jews and Christians alike may be familiar with the Megillah (the story of Esther), but we decided to share one portion of our culture with you, our extended family, by telling you all about the story behind hamantaschen.
What are Hamantaschen? Hamantaschen are delicious little sugar cookies stuffed with delicious fillings (typically fruit). These sugar cookies are pinched into little triangle “hats” to represent Haman the Agagite. If you’ve heard the term “the whole Megillah,” you know that Haman the Agagite was the man who wanted to rid the ancient Persian empire of the Jews. Haman wore a hat that was in a triangular shape (I once heard them referred to as “Napoleon hats or French hats,” which made me chuckle), which is where we get the name: HAMAN-taschen or the singular hamantash.
Every Purim at Sundown, we go to the Synagogue and the Rabbi reads us the story of Esther. As we listen to the Rabbi read us the Megillah, we make sure the name “Haman” is written on the bottom of our shoes and that we have Gregors on hand. Gregors are noisemakers that are made of wood, metal or aluminum that spin around and make a very loud noise. When we hear the name “Haman,” we stamp our feet and spin our Gregors so we drown out the wretched name of Haman.
Celebrating Purim is fun for the entire family. You could almost think of Purim as our version of the fun part of Halloween in that we wear costumes like the characters in the Megillah – Queen Esther (our heroine), Queen Vashti, Haman, Mordecai and King Ahasuerus, who was the King of Persia. It’s a lot of fun! And, not to be forgotten, we get to eat lots of hamantaschen.
Traditionally, hamantaschen are filled with some favorite fillings such as prune and poppyseed (mon), apricot and other fruit fillings such as raspberry, cherry and others. Nowadays, you can find hamantaschen filled with other types of fruits such as lemon, blueberry and pineapple, as well as non-fruit varieties such as chocolate or cheese fillings. The Americanized version are the cookie dough type and the traditional hamantaschen are made with yeast.
Three Brothers Bakery serves hamantaschen all year round, but are happy to be able to provide families all across the country celebrating Purim every year with a little bit of history. Not to brag, but many say Three Brothers Bakery has the best hamantaschen in the country (maybe in the world).
This year, Purim is from March 7-8, 2012
but don’t wait till Purim
order your hamantaschen today!
Great song by the Maccabeats about the Megillah!
Website with easy Do It Yourself Gregor!
Did you happen to bite into a small trinket while enjoying a king cake this year? It’s your lucky day!
What is this thing?!
Traditionally, small trinkets are baked or placed in a King Cake. These trinkets can be ceramic dolls, small beans or (if you’re in America) a tiny, plastic toy doll. If you’ve gotten your king cake at Three Brothers Bakery, you might notice we used chocolate coins instead. For some, the small doll represents the baby Jesus, especially if the King Cake is being served on the last day of the 12 days of Christmas. For others, the trinket has no religious meaning and is meant only to play a role in the King Cake Tradition!
What is the King Cake Tradition?
If you are at a Mardi Gras party and you find the trinket, lucky you– literally! Not only are you deemed the “king” or “queen” of the event, but it is also said that the person who finds the trinket will be very lucky.
So I found the trinket. Now what?
A caveat to the Mardi Gras King Cake tradition is that as part of your luck, you get to bring King Cake to the next event! We know that “kings” and “queens” deserve the best, so we’re going to make it easy for you! Present your king cake trinket at the bakery, and we will give you 10% off your king cake purchase! Talk about getting the royal treatment!
There’s a great story behind everything. Behind a piece of art, your favorite song- heck, even behind your friendly neighborhood bakery! This Mardi Gras season lends itself to tons of culture and history, and we at Three Brothers Bakery want to celebrate with you.
The dessert associated most with Mardi Gras is the almighty (and mighty delectable!) KING CAKE. King cakes can be found in a variety of forms, but typically they come in a round ring of sweet, cinnamony bread, with a choice of fillings and topped with icing, sprinkles and of course the all famous Mardi Gras colored beads. King cakes are found with either a little baby hidden inside or chocolate coins. The one who finds the prize is the recipient of much good luck and, most importantly, is responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party!
King cakes are typically in season from the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Twelfth Night and Epiphany Day) through Mardi Gras day, which falls on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. The name “king cake” comes from the story of the Biblical three kings. Catholic tradition states that the three kings journeyed from Bethlehem over the duration of twelve days Ever wondered where the 12 days of Christmas came from? Now you know!
Another item that many oftentimes associate with Mardi Gras are the fun and colorful Mardi Gras masks! These feathered masks are fun to make and definitely take place of other, well, questionable Mardi Gras activities. To download templates and view the instructions on how to make your own fun masks, visit the DLTK-Kids Website here.
Last but not least, don’t forget to visit Three Brothers Bakery for sweets and treats this Mardi Gras! It may be a month before we see you (as we know many give up sweets for Lent), but then again, don’t forget – we offer tons of yummy, healthy breads and sugar-free items as well!
Needless to say, January was a VERY busy month for Three Brothers Bakery. First, we rang in the New Year with the Houston Bridal Extravaganza, then celebrated National Pie Day. What could round off an amazing month of happenings than National Chocolate Cake Day?
Last Thursday, we called all chocoholics of Houston to UNITE and join us in celebrating National Chocolate Cake Day by offering $3.00 off all our whole chocolate cakes. In addition, we were invited to FOX 26 Morning News Extra, during which radio talk show host Cleverley Stone, Danny Trace, executive chef at Brennan’s of Houston, and two Houston Texans cheerleaders served as judges on “FOX 26 Morning News Extra” to determine the source of the best chocolate cake in the Houston area.
And guess what….
Three Brothers Bakery was named the home of the best chocolate cake!
We were so excited and honored to have our Chocolate Delight Cake named the Best in Houston! Bobby had such a great time with everyone and said ALL of the cakes were wonderful. Kudos to The Chocolate Bar and Dessert Gallery!
Thanks again, Houston!
I am reposting from my past blog. Interestingly this post is really still valid for today. I posted this in 2009 and it applies at the beginning of 2011. Happy New Year!
Always the best part of the Retail Bakers convention is the seminars and decorating sessions. Ron Ben-Israel from NYC, gave a short educational seminar about working with lace and some of the trends. This man has such talent and a great sense of humor. Ron taught us how to take a sample of the actual lace used on a wedding dress and put it on the cake in fondant.
Ron said in NYC he is continuing to see the trend toward black and white and contemporary. In regards to flowers he’s producing creations with spirals of sugar flowers, as well. Fondant swags are out, but if you like them, then I say get them.
I’m not sure I can describe what I see when I look at a montage of his creations, but his lines and cakes are so clean and beautiful. He has a special touch, and his designs will be classics forever. Robert took his class in early 2010.
Norman Davis, another cake designer, said he’s seeing a trend toward no toppers, but just a big bold flower on a lower tier. This concept reminds me of the way Michelle Obama dresses, with a big flower pin and perhaps the center could be a broach of some sort.
Also, the antique cake toppers are a trend. We used my parents topper, which was about 50 years old and ironically was purchased at 3 Brothers Bakery. They are beautiful and meaningful, but make sure it comes from someone whose marriage lasted. ☺
Cakes will always be taking elements of the dress – this year it is lace and ruffles. Julie Bashore told us that texture and varied sizes of layers are here.
Ashley Vicos, from the Ultimate Cake Challenge, was also demonstrating her skills. She likes fun and bold. With her work we saw the glitter trend illustrated. Warning to all: some of these glitters can be consumed and some cannot, so be sure your baker only uses edible glitters if you plan to eat that portion of the cake!
Painted cakes are a trend for 2010 and 2011. Something we have been doing for years. It takes true artistry to be able to paint on a cake, for it needs to be freehand to be done well. Cake is just another canvas for an artist.
Now let’s talk about cupcakes – round is out! I frankly cannot see the point in serving messy cupcakes at a wedding, but if you do, go square. Really almost like a mini cake with a flower or embellishment or something.
Grooms’ cakes also now seem to be a trend moving from the south to the rest of the country (The south is finally setting a trend and not following). The Groom’s cake is illustrative of the Groom’s personality. Here is one we did New Years Eve 2010 – a lifelike, lifesize turkey!
I’m also not sure if this color is a trend, but I seem to be seeing gold fairly often and less silver. They say gold is out, but I’m not so sure.
Green is in still, as well as pink is making resurgence, and purple a little less seen now.
We hear people are moving toward buttercream again, but not one baker could confirm that trend at the Retail Bakery Association convention.
One more trend that will make its way to the south is designing your own cake stand. We have already done that for two of our brides this year. Renting the silver stand is out; have your baker make a stand to be a part of your cake design. To do so, you will have to order early and commit to your design with no changes.
No matter what the trend of the moment, the two most important qualities of the cake should be to taste good and a design you love. Wedding cakes symbolize the first sweetness of a long, sweet happy marriage!
As I was making my Christmas image for my newsletter, I decided to make it from all edible items made at the bakery (except background, text and bubbles). I added some of my favorite giftbox cakes, 3D cakes and gingerbread cookies. I even framed it with scrollwork from a Christmas cake.
Please remember we’re bakers and not electronic artists. Anyway, one of my favorite “people” in the photo is Santa’s newest elf, Percy the Penguin.
Meet Percy the Penguin – Santa’s newest Elf!
He came to life about 4 years ago, when someone ordered him and then did not pick him up. We were saying we’ll never be able to sell him, so we put him on sale. This wonderful woman came in and was ecstatic, for she LOVED penguins. She ran to the car and brought back a life size stuffed penguin. So I introduce you to Percy the Penguin, Santa’s newest elf.
The nice lady even sent me a picture of Percy sitting at the dinner table with Papa, Percy Penguin, Sr.
Just a bit of fun for the holiday, and maybe some of you will adopt Percy as one of your new holiday traditions.
Enjoy and all the best for a sweet holiday and sweet 2011,
PS: When he is not working for Santa at the North Pole you can find him at www.blog.3brothersbakery.com! 🙂