Tag Archives: baking

Mary Joseph’s Series of Fortunate Events

June 27, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Ask Mary Joseph, owner of Tasty Pizza (formerly Tasty Pastry), how she wound up running a restaurant in Omaha, and be prepared for a story of fortunate coincidences. She has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

Born in Jamaica and raised in Costa Rica, Joseph attended college in Massachusetts to study pre-med and international relations before moving back to Costa Rica to finish her degree. After a chance conversation struck up with a fellow passenger on a plane trip in 1997, she would eventually marry that fellow passenger—a man who just so happened to be from Omaha.

After moving to Nebraska, she attended a neighborhood party and met Dario Schicke and his wife Amy. The two women became friends. In a conversation about hobbies, Joseph mentioned she liked to bake and eventually baked a chocolate cake for the Schickes. When Dario later opened his restaurant—Dario’s Brasserie in Dundee—he asked Joseph to bring in her chocolate cakes for his customers.

Thus began her foray into cooking and baking as an occupation. “Dario was a huge inspiration—both him and his wife, Amy,” Joseph says.

Tasty Pizza, located at 5423 Leavenworth St., has been open for “about four years off and on,” Joseph says. It didn’t take her long to realize a pastry shop just wasn’t her cup of tea. “I knew the very first day,” she says, explaining that soup was quickly brought into the mix because being open lunch hours meant customers typically wanted lunch. “Soup was a hit,” she says, “but cooking good soup isn’t just about following recipes. It’s about food technology.” Soup proved too frantic a menu item to feature, with intricate preparation and last-minute adjustments making things stressful.

Not afraid of trying new things, Joseph and her staff played around with a few different ideas for a new focus. Once pizza appeared on the menu, Joseph was sold on the idea.

She liked the predictability and organization of running a pizza line. Patrons enjoyed the ability to customize their toppings or choose from artisanal pizzas that the staff created. Hence, Tasty Pastry evolved into Tasty Pizza.

Joseph attributes some of her success to other local restaurants near her that are willing to work as a community and share knowledge and advice. She also cites her staff as helpful and inspirational. “I’m lucky, I have to say,” she admits.

“I love to cook,” Joseph says, adding “I love Omaha.” Tasty Pizza, which she opened as something to do while her kids were at school, continues to thrive. She won’t predict what the future will hold, as she prefers to live in the moment.

Joseph is doing what she loves (in a place she loves) while enjoying the reciprocal love her customers give Tasty Pizza. It’s a story many years—and twists of fate—in the making.

Visit tastypizzaomaha.com for more information.

This article appears in the May/June 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Cinnamon Apple Chips

Photography by Baldwin Publishing Inc.

Fall treats can be healthy. Try these delicious apple crisps for a sweet after-school snack made of fresh fruit. The kids will keep coming back for more.

Find more great recipes at HealthyKohlsKids.com. The Healthy Kohl’s Kids program is a partnership between Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Kohl’s Department Stores to educate children and parents about healthy nutrition and fitness. 

AppleChips14 large apples, such as Cortland

4 teaspoons cinnamon

preparation

Preheat oven to 200°. Line four baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a sharp knife or mandoline, cut apples into thin slices (if using a mandoline, cut the apple in half first, then start with the sliced part facedown on the mandoline). With a knife, remove the seeds. Arrange apple slices in a single layer on the baking sheets.

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon over apples.

Bake the apples for one hour. Flip the apple slices and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Bake for two hours, or until crisp. Store in airtight container.

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: about 1/4 cup; Calories: 40; Fat: 0; Saturated Fat: 0; Cholesterol: 0; Sodium: 0; Carbohydrates: 10g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 0. Yield: 6 servings 

FamilyGuide

Cranberry Nut Bread

Photography by Baldwin Publishing

Make this quick bread for Christmas or any time you want an easy, delicious snack. Orange juice sweetens this cranberry recipe and chopped nuts add crunch.

Find more great recipes at HealthyKohlsKids.com. The Healthy Kohl’s Kids program is a partnership between Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Kohl’s Department Stores to educate children and parents about healthy nutrition and fitness.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 Cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 1/2 Cups fresh or frozen cranberries,
    coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  • Stir in orange juice, orange zest, oil, and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan.
  • Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: One slice, about ½-inch-thick. Calories: 136; Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 0; Cholesterol: 11mg; Sodium: 148mg; Carbohydrates: 21g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 2g

Yield: 16 servings

CranberryNutBreadFullWeb

Ed LeFebvre

December 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Ed Lefebvre, owner of Cupcake Island at 120th and Pacific streets, made his very first cake at age 11. “I made it for a neighbor lady’s 80th birthday,” he recalls. “I really liked her, so I volunteered to do it.”

A baking course at Metro Tech in 1973 was followed by 25 years at Baker’s grocery store, most of which were spent specializing in cakes and decorating. “This is all I’ve ever done my entire life,” LeFebvre said. “Cake decorating in particular is my passion.” He bakes all of Cupcake Island’s wedding cakes personally, just as he did for friends and friends of friends in his home kitchen for 20 years before opening the shop six years ago. “I want it the way I want it,” he confesses, “but I really do need to hand this off.”05 December 2012- Cupcake Island is photographed fro Omaha Magazine.

It’s a timely consideration, given that his plan is to retire in the next three years and travel with his wife, Lois. Their children Katie, Brian, and David are grown with their own careers, so LeFebvre says he hopes one of his staff takes up the business’ torch.

Still, three years is three years, and the ideas aren’t stopping anytime soon. “I eat, breathe, everything, Cupcake Island,” LeFebvre says. He added that while he intends to keep up with the trends and expectations created by shows like The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, he’s always going to focus on quality. “I take pride in doing that for my people,” he says, referring to his customers.

His signature flavor is Ed’s raspberry. The chocolate cupcake has raspberry filling, chocolate frosting, a raspberry on top, and chocolate curls. But his personal favorite? Plain white. “It’s just a really moist, flavorful cake,” he says without a hint of apology for the simple preference. “I’m not a big ‘filling’ person.”05 December 2012- Cupcake Island is photographed fro Omaha Magazine.

To keep things fresh in the new year, LeFebvre wants to put an emphasis on the cupcake’s big brother. “I already have more cakes on the books for 2013 than I’ve ever done in a year,” he says.

Any other visions for the future?

After citing new recipes like snickerdoodle, tiramisu, and turtle, LeFebvre leans forward, eyebrow raised. “I’m telling you this,” he says. “The next thing is food trucks. And I’m not saying anything, but Omaha could use a cupcake truck.”

And what does wife and bookkeeper Lois think about that? “I think he already has enough to do,” she says with a laugh.

Cupcake Island
1314 S. 119th St.
402-334-6800
cupcakeisland.com