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Everything posted by beacheschef

  1. Steve and all: I'm really looking forward to talking with all of you to learn more about developing my own flavored ganaches and fillings. That's the "put what you learn into practice" part of the weekend that I can't wait to hear. Also - the whole topic of running our own business will provide us all with lots of good knowledge, laughs, and tips we can implement when we return home. Steve - not sure if I'm driving or flying, but if I drive up I'll bring equipment. I'll be in touch. Mary
  2. I'm re-opening this thread to see if anyone has found a vegan cake recipe they have made and really like. A bride has asked me to experiment with some vegan recipes for her wedding cake. I've read the threads and checked out some websites - PostPunkKitchen looked like it had some good recipes to try. I tried a couple of recipes last night, and found a chocolate cake to be pretty good and a chai-tea cake to be rubbery. I'm planning to make GFron's chocolate cake from his blog later today and have great expectations for it Any recommendations?
  3. It's been a busy week, the family eating out last night, and (for me) again today as lunch was catered in at work. The rest of the meals have been made up from ground beef spiced with taco seasoning, salad and roasted beets, leftover French Onion soup and canned tuna. I don't think my family even realizes that they're part of this effort! I tend to cook lots over the weekend, so "eating the leftovers" is how meals are in our house. It will get more interesting heading into next week, as I'm challenged to use ingredients on hand only. I love the idea of making pasta - what a great way to utilize basic ingredients to create a special meal. Sauce frozen last month will top it off and no-one will be the wiser! I may find myself baking bread and sub rolls for lunch boxes - which still would be a treat! As long as the peanut butter holds out, we'll be in good shape...
  4. I've been keeping an eye (lurking?) on your progress, thinking about how great it would be to participate. But...then I pop into the market for a couple of items and tell myself that I've "blown it" and will have to wait before joining in. I arrived home from work last night and didn't have thawed meat or leftovers ready to serve for dinner. I was tired and wasn't patient enough to defrost something, so I scrounged through the pantry and fridge. I ended up making a quick version of Onion Soup, with canned chicken stock instead of homemade beef stock, and threw together a salad with romaine, onion and celery (the only fresh vegs in the fridge). Dinner was great and I was impressed that I created something out of "nothing". Then, I realized, it was time to join the Klatch. I admit that I stopped for hard taco shells on the way home tonight, but dinner for the family was ground beef and black bean tacos with onion/lettuce/sour cream/cheddar and salsa. Dessert was some leftover chocolate cake we've been snacking on. Breakfast for me was oatmeal with blueberries frozen last summer, while the kids ate peanut butter. That's it - just spoonfuls of peanut butter. Hubby has cereal. Lunch was a peanut butter sandwich, steamed broccoli and raisins. The kids bring their lunches to school each day and husband comes home for lunch - usualy eating a sandwich and chips. Kids ate sandwiches, apples, chips or pretzels, cheese sticks and water. We're a family of 4 - with 2 teenagers - and go through a LOT of food each week. I'm taking on this challenge in part to come up with new meals, limiting myself to food only found in the house. Now that I'm finally posting, I'm holding myself accountable and will post updates. I wonder how long it will take for anyone in my family to even realize I'm not shopping for food this week?
  5. Pomegranate Curd tastes pretty great - a bit tart. Combined with either white or dark chocolate (my favorite) - the flavor is wonderful. I cook the curd until it reaches about 170 degrees F and add a small amount of gelatin to hold shape.
  6. Can you keep me posted on the shelf life of your pom curd? Absolutely.
  7. I wondered about the shelf life of my pomegranate-white chocolate center that I made last weekend for a charity event. I made the pomegranate curd recipe from the pom. curd thread post, adding curd to both white and semisweet chocolate to get flavors I liked. Pomegranates aren't too acidic, but the recipe has lemon juice in it and I figured the chocolates would be OK for a short period of time. So - what sort of shelf-life can I expect? Is it any different than a cream-based ganache? I have a few pieces sitting around for a test in 2 weeks.
  8. I'm loving the taste of pomegranate curd with dark chocolate and want to offer a molded chocolate with a pomegranate center fro the holidays. I can combine my pomegranate curd with semisweet chocolate for a really good tasting piece, but will I have shelf-life issues? Would it be better for me to reduce pomegranate juice to a syrup, then add it to the cream? I'm open to suggestions - so bring 'em on!
  9. What is the best way to boost the red color of the curd? Right now it's a dreary brownish color. I added some grenadine to a small sample of curd - the color reddened somewhat but the taste was awful. I have red liqua-gel coloring - would that work or is there a better way to bring out the red color?
  10. How do you juice pomegranates?
  11. I pulled the two versions of my pomegranate curd from the refrigerator to compare the tastes - one was made with lemon juice, the other using lime juice for the acid. Otherwise, the recipe was exactly the same. The pomegranate curd with lemon wasn't great tasting the night I made it, but its flavor has since mellowed. I really liked its taste this evening - and it was firm enough to pipe into tartlet shells on its own. The curd made with lime juice tasted sweeter, it lost some of that tartness that pomegratnates have. It was a firmer curd, as I made sure to cook it until much thicker - closer to 170 degrees. Compared side by side, the less sweet curd made with lemon juice was a winner. I then combined white chocolate with the (lemon-based) pom. curd in a 1.5 - 1 ratio of curd to chocolate. It's setting up now, but tastes good. I'll fill some chocolate shells and see how I like them. Additionally, I mixed the curd with equal parts semisweet (56%) chocolate and will see how it tastes as a molded chocolate filling. Thanks for the help!
  12. Here's a basic recipe that I use for liquor truffles that are hand rolled: 8 oz Heavy Cream 8 oz softened butter 4 oz (or to taste) liquor 13 oz semisweet chocolate 4.5 oz milk chocolate Scald cream, pour over chopped chocolate. Let sit for few minutes, then stir until emulsified. Add softened butter, then liquor. Chill. Scoop with small ice cream scoop, roll into balls and roll in cocoa powder. If the ganache is too soft, you may want to roll them in chocolate before the cocoa powder. (no need to temper it as long as you're rolling the truffles in cocoa) I've often made this recipe with Grand Marnier, B&B or Framgeilco. You may have to play with the butter / chocolate ratio.
  13. Let me know what happens when you make it. Last night I substituted lime juice for the lemon juice, and I think I like the taste better. I'll check it later to see if it set. I'm mixing the curd with white chocolate, piping it into mini tart shells. Because of the white chocolate, I'm not as worried about the curd setting, but I still would like to have a great recipe for pomegranate curd to use in pies and cakes.
  14. HELP! I made pomegranate curd this evening using the recipe Lisa posted on her website. Even cooking the curd to 160 degrees, it's still thin and not set up (even with the 1/2 tsp of gelatin in it). It's also an "odd" color, more of a drab brown, but I held off on adding lots of grenadine until I was able to thicken the curd. I used 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice as the juice of 1 lemon. Should I have added 3-4 tbsp of lemon juice - what's the rule of thumb for "Juice of 1 lemon"? Are there any tips to making the pomegranate curd that I need to know to successfully make this recipe? I've made lemon, lime and orange curd for years with success - this recipe is really making me puzzled.
  15. Good advice about the kids and mess! We've already eliminated many selections due to the "mess factor". I appreciate your responses.
  16. Good points. This will be an open house party - late afternoon until evening - and guests will be milling around the house and yard, standing and/or sitting. It's a bit of a guess to plan for a large number of children - knowing that lots may take 1 bite and set down their dessert. Do I plan any differently for children than adults, or is 3-4 pieces still a good figure?
  17. Is there a difference between the number of dessert item for adults vs children? The cupcakes and cookies are kid-friendly, which means they might also eat 3-4 per kid. Any thoughts?
  18. What's the rule-of-thumb for estimating how many small pieces of dessert (bite sized pieces) should be ordered for a party? I have a customer who will be throwing a holiday party and estimates 130 adults and 70 children will attend. I need to tell her how many pieces of dessert she should order. She's asked for 4 desserts - a tartlet, a mini cupcake, small sugar cookies and a petit four (cake). Thanks for any suggestions -
  19. You can even pre-scoop the icecream and store it in the freezer until service. Just place the bread pudding ramekin on the plate, add the ice cream scoop, and out the door... I find bread pudding to be a well-received comfort dessert that can be dressed up with the addition of poached or plumped fruit. Customers love it - it's something they wouldn't think of cooking themselves.
  20. Ruth - The eyeball chocolates are inspired! I would have so much fun with eyeball chocolates at work... HOW did you get your caramel to turn grey?
  21. Count me in! The weekend at Niagara on the Lake was such an enjoyable experience, I'll make it a point to attend next year's weekend! Let me know if there's anything I can do to help with the planning and/or class. I think I'll drive up next time, and can fill the car with equipment, tools and books. Mary
  22. You can eliminate the bourbon from the recipe, if desired. In that case, I'd use an additional teaspoon of vanilla in the recipe.Otherwise, substituting dark rum, whiskey or a liquour, such as Amaretto, would work.
  23. OK - You've got my attention. WHAT is Blue Velvet Cake?
  24. I can second "Sweet Miniatures" by Flo Braker - everything I've made from it has been fabulous. The pecan strudel is to die for! If you have mini tart shells, you can made many different bite-sized desserts by using the same sucree crust and changing the filling. Fruit curd (lemon, key lime and orange work well) with a fresh berry are beautiful and easy to make ahead of time. The curd is acidic enough that there won't be a food-safety problem. Ganache works well, and you can infuse the cream with a flavor, just as you would for a molded chocolate center. Mini cream puffs filled with Kahlua white chocolate buttercream (or any flavor combination), then dipped in dark chocolate work well when sitting out for a couple of hours. The pate a choux can be baked ahead of time, and recrisped the morning of the event, before filling. I second the caramel, salt and chocolate combination - it's always on the menu when I make dessert bars. Either I make a caramel dipped in chocolate, or combine caramel and salted nuts in a mini tart shell. You can add a dollop of ganache in the bottom of the tart shell. Just make sure the caramel is thin enough that the tartlet is easy to bite into. Although I love orders for dessert bars because the look beautiful and have great variety, don't underestimate the amount of time it will take to make and set ebverything up.
  25. Your other option is to get a VISA check card in a small dollar amount, then use it for such internet purchases. It's hard for a magazine company to continue to bill you for a subscription when the card is no longer active! I usually find these cards in large grocery/discount stores (Walgreens Pharmacy, WalMart, etc).
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