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Posts posted by Malawry

  1. Besides things already listed:

    Wire cutters (for getting the fins off of bigger fishies)

    A pocket Spanish-English dictionary

    Hair ties

    When I worked in a restaurant, I kept plate diagrams for the first few weeks, and I'd review them on my way in to work or on breaks to be sure I was getting it right.

  2. The syrup is definitely optional. I did use the rum called for in the cake itself, though. I used Pyrat and its aroma really added something special to the cake--yet it was subtle enough that my husband didn't object (and neither did my son, for that matter).

    I made the chipster-topped brownies and the chocolate chip-peanut butter-oatmeal cookies today (those may not be the actual names, but you can figure it out from there). The brownies are INCREDIBLE. I'd wanted to try them for a long time since the idea of spooging brownies and chocolate chip cookies took me back to my second-grade chocoholic self, and these treats did not disappoint. I froze most of them to take to a friend's for the super bowl and I'm sure they will be a big hit. The cookies are good, but not as peanutty as I'd hoped. If I make them again I may add some chopped salted peanuts (I think the cookies need a little more salt, too).

    ETA: I can't remember the last time I was compelled to make so many things from a single book. Today I cooked, what, the tenth thing from this cookbook so far? I don't bake very often, but I am loving this book so much that it is making me bake more. And I'm nowhere near done trying out recipes that look appealing. Thanks, Dorie.

  3. OK, I have to ask... 

    I haven't tried these yet, but why is it that almost everyone who has made the vanilla-rum pound cakes has done it without the rum syrup?  It seems like the rum would have been a lovely addition to the pound cake.


    Hi Pat,

    I would have loved to have used the rum syrup. However, my husband is a teetotaler and really dislikes the taste of alcohol. I also have a 21 month old son, and while I'm not neurotic about alcohol around him, I don't make a habit of giving it to him either. Also, I wanted to freeze one of the cakes and eat the other one with my family, and a soaked cake doesn't freeze well.

  4. I made the vanilla-rum pound cakes today, without the rum syrup. This is simply one of the best simple pound cakes I've ever baked. The crust was fabulous, crisp and sweet, and the vanilla beans really added a lot of aroma and flavor to the cake. We had thick slices for dessert with softly whipped cream and fresh blueberries. Fantastic and easy to make with pantry staples, if you keep things like cream and vanilla beans around like I do anyway. Thanks, Dorie.

  5. I made Dorie's chocolate pudding today. It's got a great flavor--it's very similar to other chocolate puddings I've made and loved, with both cocoa powder and melted chocolate. I made her recipe specifically because I wanted to see how using the food processor affected the finished product. I have a Cuisinart food processor--the original model (it says "Cuisinart Original" on the front). Apparently this is too small to use for this recipe, because when I added the hot milk to the feed tube the blade flung the liquid up and over the sides of the processor. I didn't see a headnote warning about this (there is such a warning in the excellent pie crust recipe). Sigh. I ended up finishing the pudding by hand, the old-fashioned way. It came out great, but there was a bit of a mess to clean up afterwards.

    I also used Dorie's bourbon bread pudding recipe, both for a private cooking class and then to bake off the leftovers at home afterwards. That was far less messy and equally full of deliciousness. I added a sauteed Granny Smith apple to the home-baked batch and drizzled with caramel sauce (the students wanted to learn caramel sauce, so it was hanging around the house). Nice, basic recipe.

  6. I learned a fabulous shallot soup recipe developed by Jean-Louis Palladin when I was in culinary school that is mounted with foie gras. Basically you slowly and gently roast shallots with stock, similarly to the technique for fondant potatoes. Puree with some mirepoix that's been softened and simmered in stock on the stove to make the body of the soup. Season. When ready to serve, heat until smoking hot, put it in the blender, and add the foie while it's running. Serve in demitasse-type quantities because it's incredibly rich.

    I served this once at a formal event I was catering, with a grilled sandwich of brioche with apples and farmhouse cheddar. I called it "soup and sandwich." Nice use of foie trim.

  7. If this happened to me, I'd go to the doctor and try to have them help me ascertain what caused my illness before talking to the restaurateur--and when I talked to the restaurant I'd bring a copy of my test results.

    FWIW, I just suffered a 24-hour stomach bug complete with vomiting and diarrhea, and I didn't eat out recently. My son had it too. This is definitely going around our geographic region right now.

  8. Everybody will try to tell you what to eat. I say ignore them and just eat what you feel like eating. I personally decided to avoid raw animal proteins and alcohol, but other than that I ate whatever interested me. I had a pretty healthy pregnancy and a healthy son.

    Like Hjshorter, my son developed an intolerance for dairy by being exposed to it through my milk. I subsequently developed a taste for soymilk and sorbet, both of which remain a part of my diet even though the child is fully weaned. Fortunately, Colin outgrew this intolerance, which is a good thing because ice cream is probably his favorite food in the world. (He's 20 months.)

  9. bump

    I just made Redsugar's recipe, using bread flour (no high-gluten flour available here, I'll have to look elsewhere). My first batch didn't form rings--the dough detached where I'd pinched it together--so I reinforced the remaining dough rings and they came out okay. The oven temp and time are both way off IMO, I ended up cranking the oven to 425 and letting them bake closer to 30min (I only baked half at a time, since that's all that fits on my stone). I topped them with finely diced fresh onion.

    What difference does malt make to a bagel? Should I try tracking it down?

  10. Hi Walker, congratulations on your new job.

    Variety is definitely going to be one of the keys to getting good food into those girls. I guarantee you some of them will eat anything you throw at them, some of them will eat only a few items because they're picky or perpetually dieting, and most of them will be in between.

    Your fruit and salad ideas will be very, very popular. My girls could never get enough fresh fruit, and they loved picking up a local apple to take to class as much as they enjoyed digging into summer melons that I'd slice and put out. Augmenting these items with cheeses, yogurts, and nuts as energy sources will make you very popular indeed, and they don't take much of your time.

    Soups were probably the most popular thing I'd make at my sorority when I worked there. So yes, adding those is wonderful. Busy girls can get a styrofoam coffee cup of soup and drink it on the way to class, and leftovers heat up well if they have access to "late plate" service like I provided for my girls. Most soups are also low in fat and filling, which made them popular with the dieters.

    I DO NOT recommend axing the deli trays. You say you have a generous budget, and they don't take any significant time to assemble, so if you can avoid it don't limit options they're used to. You're better off not adding the soups than taking away something they already know and love, many of these girls will be eaters of habit and they're not gonna be happy with an offer of PB&J if they normally eat turkey on wheat for lunch. You can keep the deli tray interesting by swapping out meats every so often and making some good condiments (a horseradish cream for roast beef, apricot or cranberry mustard for ham, etc) to go alongside.

    Fat Guy's bar idea is good, but they will get tired of the bars if you offer them too often. Only do them often enough to keep things spiced up. All of those concepts are easy for you to execute with minimal effort, and they're especially good for when you are feeding extra large numbers of people (during rush, or if they sometimes have a fraternity and/or another sorority over for dinner like mine did a few times each semester).

    Most college kids don't often get to eat breakfast foods, so breakfast-for-dinner was a very popular meal idea. I did one every few weeks: sometimes a big basket of homemade breakfast breads, or some homemade pancakes, along with eggs, sausages, bacon, potatoes, etc.

    Vegetarians will love you forever if you provide options like veggie burgers, fake sausage on breakfast night, etc. Sysco carries many of these products, ask your rep what they have that doesn't require special order.

    I would recommend that any desserts you give these girls be something really good and homemade. College girls love simple desserts like brownies and cookies, but mine also loved things like coconut pudding, tiramisu and apricot cake which I made every now and then. I only did a dessert twice a week, so nobody could bitch that I was making them fat every night, and those who wanted a sweet fix could get one.

    If you're not sure you can keep up with all your new ideas, don't feel you have to introduce it all at once. You can start off for a few weeks providing your own quality versions of what they already had, and once you get used to the environment, look at improving the salad bar or adding the fruit bar or nudging soups into your menus. Don't feel you have to do it all at once, keep your wits about you and learn the ropes as you go. It's easier to add one new thing once you know how to manage your time for the baseline menu than try to do five new things at once. This is true anytime you take over a kitchen, IMO.

  11. It's AWESOME. Not many cookbooks include recipes for Moravian Sugar Cake--which alone won me over. I enjoyed her timeline of Southern cuisine quite a lot, and there are fascinating sidebars covering favorite Southern ingredients and convenience foods. Good stuff.

    I have not actually cooked from the book yet, but I read it cover-to-cover as part of a roundup of 2007 cookbooks I wrote for my local newspaper, and it's a great read. The recipes look solid to my eye. (I rarely cook from recipes, and use cookbooks primarily for inspiration.)

    There's a looooong bibliography and a detailed list of sources for Southern ingredients in the back of the book, which I imagine would make it simple for anybody who wants more than they can find locally to go into their Southern food.

    This is a better regional overview of Southern cuisine than the Lee Bros cookbook that came out last year--less focused on lowcountry cuisine. I did really love the Lee Bros cookbook and have cooked a lot of recipes from it, and I enjoyed the stories and sourcery tips therein. However, if you're only buying one Southern cookbook I think Anderson's will give a better variety, and it's comprehensive to boot.

    The only thing that annoyed me about the book was her repetition of "Back when I was a home extension agent in Iredell County..." I get that her work for the extension offices was seminal, but she repeats that sentence or a permutation thereof at the beginning of a startling percentage of recipes. However, if you don't read the cookbook cover-to-cover like I did, you probably won't notice or be bothered by it. :smile:

  12. We also deep fried two chickens and, lastly, a mess of albacore/yellow fin (gifts for my brother from one of his customers who had gone deep sea fishing) with two different kinds of breading which was Da Bomb! It made for some interesting appetizers.

    I was just thinking how sorry I was that we didn't try deep-frying a whole chicken while we had the turkey fryer up and running. How was it? How long did it take to fry? Or do you mean you made "fried chicken"--pieces dredged or battered and fried?

  13. Thanks, Rancho Gordo, I knew you would weigh in on this.

    The oversoaking theory is interesting. I usually soak in the fridge in the hopes of avoiding fermentation. My beans soaked for about 16 hours before I started cooking them. The rest of my actions resemble your method, except I didn't salt until they were completely done.

  14. I reached through the leaf-shaped cutouts and picked off the bits of apple that had the most tapioca on them. In the rest of the filling, the tapioca had dissolved enough to still be visible, but it was translucent and not at all gritty. I thought the filling was too "jellied" in texture against my teeth when I bit down on it. But it wasn't bad, it was the granules that were really icky and I'd eliminated those. Everybody seemed to love the pie, I didn't mention anything about it and nobody mentioned anything about it to me. If I make it again I don't think I'll use the tapioca, though.

  15. I've managed the Thanksgiving meal for about 6 years now, but this year was the first year I personally made everything myself. I've been rather ill and leaning on my friends heavily, and since this year's Thanksgiving was friends-only, I wanted to knock them out with some fabulous food as my way of giving thanks.

    I never, ever make dessert for Thanksgiving--I tell people to bring it if they ask what they can bring. So this year was very different in that regard. I made two pies, pecan and apple. The tapioca in the apple pie didn't dissolve completely, but I picked off most of the crunchy bits and nobody seemed to have trouble finishing their slice. I also made creme fraiche and cinnamon ice creams, but those came out fabulously well.

    My friend had trouble getting the turkey fryer going, but after I went outside and stood with him and stared at it while he futzed around it worked great. We fried some snackies before the turkey: beignets, which were great, vegetarian spring rolls, which were fine, and cranberry sauce. You read that right, we were inspired by Paula Deen to try frying cranberry sauce. The result was strikingly similar to a jelly donut and not bad, but not good enough to really be worth trying again. (We followed Deen's recipe, slicing and freezing canned cran sauce and then dusting them with flour, battering and frying the disks.)

    I thought my cran sauce (the real stuff, homemade, to go with the meal) needed a little more sweetener, but it was kinda nice being so tart at the same time. We fried two turkeys. I have to say an herb-brined one tastes better than one injected with a commercial Cajun-style marinade and coated in Tony Chachere's seasoning, but they're both tasty in their own way--one takes more advance planning is all.

    That's my wrapup.

  16. Nina, how did it go? It's a mind-blower moving from only doing 3 pies at once before to trying to master a production quota during the hectic days before Thanksgiving.

    As a cancer patient, I salute this effort. And just to put the problem in perspective, I just got a bill from my oncologist stating that they've billed my insurance for about $50,000 so far. And that's just for 75% of my chemo treatments and my visits to the oncologist herself. I have no idea what the real cost of surgery and radiation will be when those events transpire. I can't imagine the financial devastation this would represent to my family if we didn't have excellent health coverage, particularly since with palate changes and low energy levels I've been mostly unable to work since beginning treatment.

  17. The pie was in the oven for about an hour total. I don't know about liquid levels, and I mentioned the pie cutouts partly because I wondered if I dried out my filling too much by having big cookie-cutter cutouts instead of small vents.

    I checked on the pie again last night before bed, and some of the granules had softened a little more. I picked off the pieces of apple that were right on top of the cutouts and discarded them, and the bits underneath looked a lot better--you could still see bits of tapioca, but they were translucent and soft, not white and crunchy. The pie filling does look a bit dry--jellied-like. We'll still give it a shot later today when it's dessert time.

    I also read the package of Minute Tapioca, and the pie recipe on the box (pick-a-fruit type recipe) says to let the pie filling sit for 15 minutes before putting it into the bottom shell, adding the top crust and baking. Dorie's recipe only says 5 minutes, and it's optional. I think it sat for about 3-4 minutes before I baked it. If I ever try this again, I'll definitely let the filling sit for longer.

  18. I didn't see anything powdered at the store. I saw three products: two types of pearl tapioca, and then the Minute Tapioca, which was small granules but definitely not a powdered starch.

    Dammit, right now I'm really regretting having used the stuff. I don't even like tapioca pudding and can't imagine what I'll do with the rest of the box.

  19. OK, I ended up at the store anyway, so I bought Minute Tapioca (which I assumed was quick-cooking, given its brand name and its ingredient label that indicated "precooked tapioca"). I made the pie exactly as directed, including the crusts from the back of the book. Well, there was one change: instead of cutting vents in the top crust, I used a leaf-shaped cookie cutter to cut out three leaf-shaped holes, and then I stuck the leaf cutouts on top of the pie too. So the holes on my top crust are larger than the vents specified in the recipe.

    The pie looks great EXCEPT through those leaf cutouts, I can see pieces of tapioca. I fished one piece of apple out and sure enough, there's crunchy tapioca bits that didn't dissolve on there. :angry:

    Is there any fix for this? The pie is almost completely cooled, and I plan to plastic-wrap it and let it sit out overnight for serving tomorrow. I also plan to warm the pie in a slow oven while we eat dinner. Will the tapioca granules soften on their own overnight from the moisture in the filling?

  20. I added about 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the beans. About an hour later, they were done. I don't know if it was brute application of heat and water or the baking soda that did it, but eventually the battle ended. The finished baked beans are delicious and the baking soda didn't change the flavor or texture at all. Next time I'll be sure I use filtered water when I cook beans in this house. I think it was the hard water and not old beans--I just bought these 2 weeks ago from a natural foods store that I know has a high turnover, and I've not had problems cooking beans from there before.

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