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Posts posted by marthapook

  1. Hi marthapook,

    You may already be lying on some of that beautiful white sand, soaking up the rays as I write this, but-

    I would recommend Los Almendros in Cancun city for Yucatecan dishes (inexpensive too!) and second the vote for La Distelleria. Sampling the vintage tequila flights was a real eye-opener for me, as I didn't think I liked the stuff. The waitstaff there is very knowledgeable and friendly as well.

    not there yet - but all of the above will be printed and in my lap on the plane down there - thanks for the help and info all

    can't wait - it's sand and margaritas this time next week!!!

  2. marthapook,

    Welcome and all that. but, I think the tone of your 'chocolate tutorials' presumes that tchorst and I have never worked with chocolate before.

    Most everyone who is in here works with coverture pretty exclusively, be it for cooking ,enrobing, etc.

    Including the moderators of this forum.

    And sometimes a new product acts a bit differently and we talk about it.

    I'm no Robert Linxe but maybe you could turn it down a few notches?

    Just a thought...

    tan 319

    thanks for the warm welcome

    my intention was to offer options and information on the 'good stuff'

    call my opinion 'tutorials' if you'd like but i wasn't presuming anything at all

    i could tone it fown a few notches or if you'd prefer, i could simply refrain from posting to your forum

    just another thought. . .

  3. Clay,

    Thanks for the continuing education - really - it's always cool to learn something new about something you thought you already knew everything about. And I took a peek at your site - on my list of things to do this weekend. Thanks again :smile:

  4. Shouldn't any well stocked Asian market carry this item?  It's used as the outside wrapper of fresh spring rolls in Vietnamese cooking and I believe there are some Chinese and Thai dishes that use  it also. Should be no more than $2 - $2.50 per package.

    It's not the same stuff.

    The asian rice wrappers are much thicker and are soaked in water to make them pliable.

    The pastry stuff is paper thin and would fall apart in water.

  5. whatever.

    an added thought....

    for my food, I know what's best. I really don't care what others use in their products. I know what makes what I do stand out. And yes, I actually use couveture for my brownies.

    and BTW, we weren't talking about cocoa powder, compounds or glazes.


    we weren't talking about your food :smile:

  6. Ted, I thought you'd be using it in bon bons or truffles. That's why I brought up adding cocoa butter.

    I'd still stick with a good couveture for any desserts in a pro kitchen. The low end stuff just doesn't make a good end product.

    But I'm of the opinion that chocolate is like wine. If I'm not going to drink(or eat) it, I'm certainly not going to cook with it.



    Have to disagree.

    Baking chocolate is good chocolate.

    It is not a low end product.

    It just does not require tempering.

    As a pastry chef, you must know that.

    Couverture and baking chocolate are manufactured by many chocolate companies, from Valrhona to Fruibel.

    The 'good stuff' is not classified by couverture or baking but by the manufacturing process and the quality of ingredients.

    Walk into any of the 'pro-kitchens' in New York restaurants, patisseries and bakeries and you will find both couverture and baking chocolate - as well as cocao powder - not to mention glazes and compounds. Do the top ten pastry chefs (named in PA&D each year) then work in kitchens that are not considered professional? I know quite a few that would never use couverture for a brownie recipe - it is simply a waste of money.

    If your rule of not cooking with any chocolate that you would not eat applies - then you would never use 100% -unless you enjoy the taste. :hmmm:

  7. Try

    Pfeil & Holling at www.cakedeco.com they have it and they are in Woodside (Queens) NY - search on wafer paper at their website.


    NY Cake & Baking

    56 W 22ND St Ste 1

    New York, NY 10010-5812

    Phone: (212) 675-2253


  8. I'm not using it to temper or enrobe, etc.

    I'm cooking with it.

    All of these chocolates have different characters that make them different to work with.

    Thanks for the info about conching, I've always been under the impression that a longer conching time helped determine mouthfeel.

    That's great that you don't have to temper for time and for costing considerations.

    Ask your suppliers to give you samples of all their baking chocolates. Specify that you do not want chips or chunks. Those are for cookies and are not meant to be melted down and put into recipes - far less conching on that chocolate.

    Tell your supplier that you want pistoles or callets only. Different manufactures refer to them by different names. Generally speaking, baking chocoalte does not come in blocks - however, there may be exceptions to this rule.

    You should easily find something you like for under $3.50 / lb. that's the high market price on baking chocolate (and the market is pretty high right now). Expect your absolute lowest price on decent couverture to be the $3.50 / lb mark also.

    On the characteristics of chocolate, the % refers to the ratio of cocoa mass - or cacao liquor - to sugar/cocao butter (and dairy in the case of milk chocolate) in the chocolate. And you're right about the conching/mouthfeel relationship.

    100% cocao mass - is pure baking chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is also relatively inexpensive - and a good way to add extra flavor to a relatively inexpensive baking 58%.

    On white chocolate - it has no cacao liquor. IMHO, Carma is a Swiss manufacuterer of some of the best white chocolate - ask to see a sample from anyone who sells Cacao Barry and Callebaut - all three lines are owned by the same company. Also, Valrhona and Cuisel make great white chocolate too.

  9. Ok. Great!

    I was so totally convinced that we just had to drive.

    Then Jason had to go and scare the $%!^ out of me. :shock: Thanks, J. :wink:

    Anyway, I'm so grateful to you all and plan on spending a lot of time exploring thanks to your suggestions.

    Zora, how jealous am I??? Not a bad gig.

    I'm a little crazy right now - prepping for the resaurant show at Javits this weekend but I will pm you in a week or so.

    Thanks for the help all.

  10. Ted,

    Might have something to do with the kind of cocoa butter added to the blend. The same thing that causes E. guittard to *sludge* for me has been described to me as being the type of cocoa butter used. Drew referred to it as "hard crack".

    Just a thought.

    I cooked with the 55 and 58% today, Tchorst, and found the same sludge factor, as you described.

    It melted nicely and when it started to cool it got very thick, it was kind of weird.

    But I just kept it slightly warm and everything was fine.

    It wasn't as taxing to work with as El Rey, let's put it that way.

    Here are some things to consider....

    Are you you working with 55% and 58% couverture or baking chocolate?

    Every chocolate manufacturer - Valrhona, Cocao Barry, Callebaut, Carma, El Rey -all produce both.

    Are you going to be making chocolates with molds or enrobing with it? Do you require a shine on the chocolate? If so, you need to use couverture. Couverture requires tempering - not just simply melting. Never expect chocolate to perform correctly if it is not tempered correctly.

    Baking chocolate does not require tempering. It is used for ganache and baking. It will always be cheaper than couverture.

    There are also products that can be used to enrobe that require no tempering. These contain vegetable oils.

    The kind of cocao butter is not the factor that determines the fluidity, 'melt-ability', mouthfeel or quality. The determining factor on these is the legnth of time the chocolate is conched. The flavor is dependent upon the type of beans used.

    First you need to determine how you are going to use the chocolate - then you need to pick wich one you are going to use.

    What you might want to do is call your supplier and simply ask to speak to the person on staff who knows the most about the chocolate they carry. Tell him/her what your requirements are - couverture/baking, flavor profile (fruity, smoky, acidic etc.) and price. Also use a tempering machine - it will maintain the proper temperature you need to work with the chocolate without the guess work.

    Hope that helps a little.

  11. Thanks to all for the helpful advice. Your rec's are exactly what I was looking for.

    Zora, sounds like you go quite often....business or pleasure?

    Also, Tighe and Marezion, we are definitely planning to go to Playa del Carmen and possibly to Isla Mujeres. We were going to rent a car when we landed but I wonder if it is nec??? Any thoughts???

  12. I spent a little time in Cancun - -damn party kids were calling me "sir"; I have never felt so old.

    at thirtysometingish myself i anticipate being called ma'am at some point

    ain't that what the margaritas are for???

    anyway, Jaymes, thanks for the explanation on Chilaquiles - leftovers for breakfast sounds good to me.

    and gracias lleechef for the info on Perico's and Busboy for that on La Destiliria

  13. Thank you both

    The "tiny and unassuming" restaurants in 'town" you mentioned Jaymes and the Parque de las Palapas you suggested sound exactly like what I want

    Jaymes, what is chilaquiles?

    Fresh fish and ceviche is what I'm really looking forward to.....

    I've traveled quite a bit but have never 'journaled'. I've always relied memory- which usually boils down to remembering the really good and the really bad - only. I think this time I might actually write stuff down and would gladly report back.

    I am going April 16 - right after spring break - whew!!! - which is also nice because the rates drop dramatically - on the 16th (The JW Marriot was asking $359 per night on the 15th and $179 per night on the 16th.)

    I'm kinda looking forward to it now that I know there are places where I can visit the local eateries for real food. The info you both provided gives me somewhere to start exploring from - thanks :biggrin:

  14. are you saying that his restaurants suffer because of this?  i'm not sure i've seen an actual decline in Vong, although that might very well be the case.

    no, i don't think his restaurants suffer - i think they're doing quite well

    i think fans of his style and his innovative approach may - well not exactly suffer - but may feel that he's not offering 'amazing' - something that blows them away like the first (or 10th) time - just more of the same

    or maybe " i'm becoming "no fun" to eat with " too? :hmmm:

  15. Well, that could be an element of it, marthapook.  But, that said, there is no indication that Alain Ducasse is having trouble keeping things fresh and current at his various AD/XX, Spoon and Mix places.

    You're right. And a few others may fit the bill as well.

    Unfortunately, I believe some chef/owners have decided to switch gears and focus on expanding their revenue and creating a brand rather than creating excitement and nuturing their art.

  16. I just go buy Greek yogurt from the deli because I'm lucky enough to live in super Greekland, Astoria.

    As a native of Astoria, I can appreciate how lucky you feel.

    BTW, if you ever see a one kilo container of yogurt on the shelf labeled Family - buy it quick - it is Total - made by the same company - only slightly higher fat content and not intended for retail sale - that's what restaurants use when they want Total. :wink:

  17. If you're young and look fab in your bikini, you'll love it. 

    young is relative

    and so is looking fab in a bikini :wink:

    thanks for the advice on the time share stuff and honestly i'm expecting it to be completely touristy - we're going just to get AWAY and because it's relatively cheap

    but i certainly won't mind splurging on great meals

    we're staying at the JW Marriot and aside from the Ritz Carlton restaurants - any place you'd recommend for great dinners?

    also any advice on places where the locals eat?

  18. maybe try a jelly-roll approach? it would be easy on you since you don't have a count yet

    very very thin white genoise, blueberries and whipped cream layers and many turns

    strawberry coulis and confit

    whipped cream and blueberry garnish on top

    you can also do the same with a napoleon or profiteroles but i don't know how 'american' that would be

    don't you just love those sales people??? :wink:

    good luck

  19. Just one thing to add to the previous postings

    when you do get up and running. . . .

    pay your purveyors cod or bill to bill

    i've seen may a restaurant close because the 30-60-90-day-take-from-peter-to-pay-paul thing just does not work

    buy what only what you have the cash flow to pay for

    that one simple rule can make or close a restaurant easily within a year

    best wishes

  20. Peasant on Elizabeth


    Don't be so quiet. :laugh:

    Would you please contribute a mini-review?


    Peasant on Elizabeth


    Good food and reasonably priced, but I've had my last meal in the dark..... but the specialty is roasted meat. I just didn't want to wrestle with a quail or animal shank in the dark. I just don't get it.

    Sure thing

    on my most recent trip

    to start - tripe - perfectly done - small pieces, cut on a bias, fresh ripe tomato base, tender and finished in that beautiful wood burning oven and served in terra cotta - as is the seppiolini. Frank DeCarlo, chef/owner must have eaten tripe often as a kid and does it authentically. (The tripe I recently had on the uws pales by comparison)

    mezzo - maltagliatti w/rabbit - amazing - If he's not making his own pasta, I don't want to know. The pasta was very light and still had perfect bite. The rabbit was sweet, moist and pulled. Very delicate textures and flavors in a light cream.

    main - suckling pig - once again, perfectly done, succulent pulled meat, over a simple bed of potatoes finished with garlic, parsley and olive oil - with a perfect crackling laid over the whole teasure. No one does it better.

    dessert - pear pie w/ ice cream - enough for two if you're in a sharing mood - but a good reason to be glutttonous if ever the was one

    service - always good as far as service goes but waitstaff was genuine and warm at times, at others, aloof and cool

    As for the lighting, yep, it's a little on the dark side but they take the roasted meats off the bone for you so there's no carving in the dark. I don't think I've used a knife there yet.

    As for the decor, it's pretty bare and in that, almost sexy. I've, on a couple of occasions had this strange compulsion to eat with my fingers - and have (and it wasn't the company). And the smell when you first walk in - wood burning - does something to me too. Hard to explain.

    I guess what I like most about Peasant is that everything is real. Nothing I've tried there so far is contrived or over-thought. I've always left feeling - "Now that's what it's supposed to be like." A perfect meal.

    Peasant is just about the food. No models, no pretense, no waitng for an early table. Later, it does get crowded and chefs tend to gravitate there after service - so try to go early.

    For an absolutely perfect, simple and non-fancy meal, go. Just go and you'll see what I mean - or maybe you won't - which is not such a bad thing. I like to think of it as mine - all mine. :rolleyes:

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