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  1. Past hour
  2. No, not a whole sleeve and a whole stick. Just that a sleeve of crackers, a knife and a butter dish on a table makes a fairly complete snack for me that goes back as far as I can remember.
  3. Very good point. Ed and I have certain skills which we have offered on occasions to others. Some are delighted by the offer of help...others are not. At all. Added: I would say to let it go. Perhaps when his chocolate does not sell well, he'll be more amenable to learning.
  4. @GRiker, what I do is make a pâte de fruit with Pomona's pectin (easy to find on Amazon). It allows for much less cooking time (therefore more fresh fruit flavor) and is reversible (you can remelt the PdF and cook it some more or some less, and no harm is done). Controlling the texture is also fairly easy: Test a bit of the finished PdF by placing in the refrigerator for a while and see what its texture is going to be like. Another trick is using an immersion blender to "un-thicken" the PdF to be able to pipe it. Kate Weiser is a chocolatier who uses lots of pipeable PdFs; take a look at her site to see examples (I also bought a box, and they are as good as they look). The Aw issue is one I struggle with. A regular PdF made with "regular" pectin can have a somewhat high Aw, especially if you don't cook off the liquid (because you want the PdF thinner in consistency). All the sugar added to a PdF helps bind some of the water but makes for a very sweet product. With my recipe using Pomona's, I substitute sorbitol for some of the sugar. It provides the binding agent but is much less sweet than sucrose. I don't know whether using the Perfect Purée as is (or even with adding glucose) would work. My guess is that the free water content will be high. Another guess is that glucose does not provide the same ability to bind with water as grains of sucrose (or sorbitol) provide. Wish we were closer so that I could test the Aw of the various permutations you are talking about; testing is the only way to know for sure. My raspberry and strawberry PdFs are higher than other fruits; I think that may be because it is so difficult to reduce those purées (I think I still have burns from violently bubbling raspberry purée). With cherry, apricot, mango, pear, and apple purées, on the other hand, I add some dried fruit and purée it along with the commercial purée--this adds more bulk and reduces the Aw while also adding more flavor. With raspberries, however, you really can't add fruit unless you don't mind the seeds. You are so right about not being able to control the behavior of recipients of your chocolates. There are other threads in which I and others have given specific examples of exasperating customer behavior. They just can't imagine that bonbons can mold (or deteriorate in flavor).
  5. chromedome

    Dinner 2020

    A couple of thoughts. First, there's nothing wrong with using a commercial gravy browning product, if you're otherwise happy with the flavor and texture of your gravy. The one I use (Kitchen Bouquet) gets most of its color (and its smidge of flavor) from roasted mirepoix, the way I'd do it myself if I had time. I don't use it often, but when I feel the need I apply a few drops without shame or apology. Just be aware that anything more than a drop or two will give your gravy an over-darkened, artificial appearance. Second, a dark roux requires practice and *all* of your attention while it's under construction, lest it simply be a burnt and acrid roux. I'm seldom willing to invest the time. I'll offer up my "go-to" tip here. Take a small portion of the jus - say, a quarter-cup or so - and transfer it to a separate small pot or pan. Simmer it until it boils completely away (an occasional glance is all you need to give it, up to that point), then turn down the heat and watch carefully as it darkens to a deep mahogany. Seriously, it should be almost coffee-colored but not quite black. Now deglaze with some water or broth, or whatever other liquid you choose (I generally just use water, but it depends on the dish). Stir and scrape to get up all the browned-on bits and dissolve them into the water, which should be quite dark as a result. Stir that into either the jus (if you haven't started the actual gravy yet) or the finished gravy, which could be under construction on the next burner while you do this (that's how I usually approach it). The browned-on "fond" will darken your gravy quite acceptably, but that's just the first benefit. A second is that you're taking the flavor of your main (lamb in this case, but it applies to anything) and enhancing it through the browning. The browning comes from the actual amines in your main dish, just as they do when you brown the meat itself, which means you're creating the very same flavors you'd get from a good, hard sear and adding them after the fact. It's a powerful technique. You can use more of the jus if you have lots, and want to really kick up the flavor. Alternatively, you can use the same technique with a prepared broth (chicken, beef, whatever) if you haven't got enough jus. It concentrates the broth so it tastes more like the drippings from your roast, and if you then combine it with the actual jus it works really well. That's a great option when you want to stretch the gravy for a family get-together...I'll often do that at holiday meals, for example. It's a lot easier to press leftovers on everyone as they leave, if you can assure them there's plenty of gravy included.
  6. Today
  7. Shelby

    Dinner 2020

    Cabbage/ramen noodle/smoked chicken salad with beans and ribs
  8. Duvel

    Breakfast 2020!

    My in-laws arrived yesterday night from Spain, so we had a “full” German-style family breakfast ...
  9. Oh, my goodness, this expat is drooling. I've been craving a good hot dog, and they were served at lunch at the workplace Friday. No condiment but ketchup, rolls were sweetish potato variety. Didn't quite scratch the itch. For sauerkraut, I can only buy it in giant cans of charcouterie - and those are some rubbery weenies, man. My favorite variety is "with the works" in NYC, but at home it's with with kraut simmered in chicken broth and caraway seeds, with a slather of whole grain mustard.
  10. Grocery shopping here in Africa means always having bills in your pocket: You never know when the crab man is going to knock on your door with a dozen kilos of hard-plated racers. Or when someone squatting on the side of the street will have Asian apple-pears (score!!) The man with the zebu herd sells me unpasteurized milk 1.5 liters for 80 cents: He comes by my desk at work every Monday morning. At church on Sunday I get two dozen freshly-laid eggs from another congregant, who uses the money towards his school fees. My neighbors are always curious what I bring home in my basket: Baguettes at 05:45? I'm a good Malagasy housewife. Did you really mean to buy a kilo of mustard greens, Madame? It's much more than transactional, it's relational here......
  11. Anna N

    Breakfast 2020!

    Fried egg and toasted beery, cheesy, oniony quick bread.
  12. Yes - up to 4% but it will make the chocolate softer
  13. When Wylie shuttered WD-50 quite a few years ago, I went to the on-site auction that was held there. His kitchen "suite" was gorgeous, the vultures were swarming. The bidder who won the suite had to have the front windows of the place removed so that the suite could be unloaded that way.
  14. Seems like this guy jumped a bit too early in the market. Those mistakes are kind of amateurish. Putting that photo on his facebook page is something a savvy professional would never do. Usually these are signs of someone with a hiigh self confidence and unable to admit his/her own faults, those people are not too keen to receive criticisms, so you should be really really cautious when trying to point out those troubles. Teo
  15. You can try spraying melted clarified butter on the shells before filling them, fill them with the nut based center, spray again melted clarified butter on the centers, then cap them. It should help acting as a barrier. Teo
  16. heidih

    Dinner 2020

    It is almost Mardi Gras so roux all over the internet. Yes dark nut brown is a thing. Example! https://www.food.com/recipe/microwave-roux-60992
  17. CantCookStillTry

    Dinner 2020

    So I can cook the roux to brownish? (These are Noob questions I know). I'm scared of burning so leave it quite pale 3/4 mins before adding the juices. Taking it further would be better not burnt?
  18. Interesting! I was just thinking about the peanut butter egg I just ate and marveling at its 2021 expiry date. I wish I had taken a closer look at the ingredients, but perhaps the milk chocolate shell helped. Are you saying to add butter oil to the coverture?
  19. Duvel

    Dinner 2020

    If it tastes great - no worries 😉. For the look, my thought would be: Not sufficient caramelization: either at the (a) roasting stage of the meat, (b) during the roasting of the veggies for the gravy or (c) while making the roux. Options would be to do a harder sear/roast (a,b), using some promoters, e.g. icing sugar (b) liquid aminos, soy (a) or cook longer (c) to promote browning. Other than that, you can always prepare a quick caramelized reduction (toasting icing sugar, red wine, oyster sauce) to amp up your gravy ...
  20. I'm having milk and Ankarsrum oatmeal cookies at the moment...almost the same thing.
  21. I think the breakfasts I’ve had at the hotel have been some of the better meals this trip. crusty roll, buttered and some yellow mustard with ham and cheese yogurt and granola
  22. CantCookStillTry

    Dinner 2020

    Found the energy to make a "Scaled Back" Roast. Or as my husband calls Roast Night - Trash the Kitchen Day. Growing up a Roast wasn't a Roast without at least 6 vegetable sides along with the Pots, Meat & Yorkies. Not happening. 10 hour slow cooked leg of lamb with unpictured Gravy from the juices (diluted). I don't often picture my pan gravys because while they taste great - they look anemic - any ideas? (I have to use flour to thicken to get to an Australian standard of Gravy Paste).
  23. Thanks for the reply and the information about aw. Looks like 100g or 110g, pretty close. I am getting more concerned about shelf life. I spent the day making chocolates at end of January with a friend who was in from out of town. We made lime coconut truffles, mint truffles and peanut butter meltaways. The day was super fun. She was headed back to Oklahoma in a few days and I thought she'd passed them out to her friends as soon as she got back. Then I heard from her daughter-in-law that she saved them to give away until Valentine's Day! It had been almost a month since we made them. Then who knows how long her friends kept them before eating them. Makes me realize you can't be sure what people will do with the chocolates once they have them. The raspberry coulis was bit complicated for me. When I was at the produce market in San Francisco, I found one of my vendors sold frozen fruit purees. I had seen this recipe in the book and because I had a source for the raspberry puree I was inspired me to make it. I purchased the puree but when I got all ready to make it and pulled the puree out of the freezer I found that it wasn't straight puree. https://www.perfectpuree.com/product/red-raspberry/ . Ingredients are red raspberries, can sugar, fruit pectin, citric and ascorbic acids. I have made a raspberry sauce before by straining out all the raspberry seeds from the fruit then adding sugar and reducing. This commercial product is definitely thicker than straight strained raspberry juice and about the same consistency as the reduced and sweetened juice. (In fact, I think I'll use it for my raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. I don't often make it because the raspberry step takes too much time.) But I digress... I also didn't have pectin and decided to use Sure Jell for lower sugar recipes that I use in making jam. Not off to a very good start, but determined to give it a go as I have lots of things to practice, I followed the raspberry coulis recipe, using the pectin and puree that I had. It ended up way too thick. Even before I added the pectin and sugar then boiled it for three minutes it seemed it was already coating the back of the spoon pretty well (his verbiage for how long to cook it.) I piped it at 86 - 88 degrees but it wouldn't settle into the mold and I ended up with air pockets between the raspberry coulis and the chocolate shell. I tried again tonight, just deceasing the pectin and making a 1/3 recipe but my kitchen scale was giving me issues. The raspberry was still too thick, but I'm not totally sure the recipe was correct. Since it was so thick and I knew that it wouldn't settle in, I just added some of the Perfect Puree until the viscosity seemed right made sure it was the right temperature and piped it in, figuring at least I would be practicing my molding techniques even if I wasn't perfecting the raspberry recipe. Now I'm thinking about a different solution. When I compare the ingredients for the raspberry coulis: raspberry puree, sugar, glucose, pectin, more sugar for pectin, and lemon juice vs the ingredients in the puree I have easy access to, seems like the only difference is an absence of glucose in my commercial puree. I understand that the ingredient list doesn't tell me much about how much of the ingredients are in the finished product, but I'm wondering if I could just add a bit of glucose and cook up the raspberry puree to reduce it a bit, then use it instead. What issues do you see with adding glucose (or not) to the Prefect Puree and then reducing it to thicken and piping that into a shell? My goal is to have a product that will have a 2 - 3 week shelf life. I did think about the pate de fruit suggestion. I've never made it before but am not totally sure I'd like the very firm pate de fruit inside a shell. I do also need to get some plain pectin (I read some posts here that talk about pectin and seems like many people like apple pectin, I'd need to find a source of that. I looked on Amazon but most of the apple pectin was marketed as a nutritional supplement. Would that work you think?) I'm so excited about all the recipes, I'm tempted to just try them one after the other, but decided I'd be more satisfied by focusing on one recipe until it works then move onto my next favorite or convenient.
  24. The average one I'm seeing on amazon (of course now I'm seeing them on Amazon) seems to be 150 to 160 ml - 5 to 6 ounces.
  25. My tax refund came and I ordered two more Williams Sonoma branded Scanpan non-stick pans similar to the ones I linked above. Perhaps not the smartest thing for someone who may soon lose her job. But I've been cooking more and more with induction on the Paragon(s); and my Cuisinart pans from the 1980's -- at least nine Cuisinart pans that I can count -- are not compatible with induction* and the flimsy Cuisinart spot welds fall off. I should add that the Cuisinart pans are not non-stick. As a plus I really like the Williams Sonoma handle design, which is consistent across multiple lines of Williams Sonoma branded cookware. One of my favorite pans is a Williams Sonoma stainless steel stir fry pan with the same handle. And most Williams Sonoma branded pans are cheap by almost any standard. The made in Thailand stir fry pan I love was about $30. *my Falk pans are not compatible with induction either, but the rivets do not fall out.
  26. I think pastrygirl’s suggestion about engaging in conversation is a good one. People usually like to talk about what they enjoy doing. Telling him about eGullet could be helpful too.
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