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Posts posted by SusanGiff

  1. A little early but I'll bump this up to make it easy to find. Last year my faves out of everything I made were Tejon's coconut cranberry chews from page 8 of this thread. Anybody got anything new and interesting?

    Hey, amazing! I logged on specifically to look for this thread. Must be the relative chill in the air. Thanks!

  2. Yep, I'd love to know about the Palisades Park one. I poked around the Internet, and the hyper-busy Fort Lee one does appear to be the same one mentioned above. Of course, Bourdain and his lunch buddy were the only people in the place on the show, so who knew?

  3. My husband and I were watching the New Jersey episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" last night. He went to a Korean place that looked amazing, but never said where or what it was. Anyone know? The only words on the sign that were in English were "soft tofu," and I can't find anything on the website.


  4. Does anyone know why a perfectly good ganache might get grainy after a couple of days in the fridge? It didn't go in that way, and it's fully at room temperature now. The graininess goes away after a couple of seconds in your mouth. Any way for me to get rid of it? I don't mind starting over, but I also don't want it to happen again, and while it's on the cake, which I'm serving tomorrow.

    To those of you who helped with a previous thread re: these cakes for my neighbors' sons, thank you. I will never agree to such a folly again. There's a reason people get paid to do this!

  5. Apart from this cake, the event is catered :wacko: . I'm leaving the cutting to the professionals. What I've seen work well is a concentric circle or two cut one-third to midway through the cake, then slices cut from that. Would that work, you think? Anyway, like I say, I'll strictly be a guest at that point, albeit an anxious one.

    K8--I'm in New Jersey (although I'm actually from Memphis). No one would EVER cut a pizza in squares here! Unless it was a Sicilian pie, of course, but that's a whole 'nother thing. Thanks for the tin-foil trick. You've saved me from yet another use-it-once baking purchase.

  6. I'll see if I can find it for you. It's somewhere deep in the "Best Chocolate Cake" thread from a while back, and the specific post is literally from 2004. I printed it out immediately because I knew I'd never find it again. If I really can't, I'll just type it up here.

    I should tell you that I've never tried the un-tweaked Double Chocolate Cake, which seems to be very popular and might work just as well. But I'm sticking with this one!

    Thanks again, y'all.

  7. Heck, if I were going to travel, I'd just go to Murray's on Bleecker St. in NYC. OTOH, the staff at Whole Foods is pretty knowledgeable and the selection's decent. Oddly, though, I've found that West Orange has more of each cheese than Montclair, but not a significantly wider selection, even though the section is about three times the size. Maybe that's changed--I haven't checked it in a while.


  8. Wow! Thanks, everybody. This is quite helpful. Re: the following, I do have some questions:

    i think you're right to go in the direction of buttercream or ganache...depending on what you like flavorwise. if you do dark choco ganache, it will be a very truffley-rich cake...perhaps too grown up for the young lads at the party. however, you could do a milk choco ganache that might be just what the boys want...just be sure to adjust your cream/milk chocolate ratio for the milk chocolate.

    This is exactly what I was thinking--that ganache would be too grown-up. But messing with the cream/milk chocolate ratios is way beyond me. Is there a formula, or, even better, a milk chocolate ganache recipe someone likes? Alternatively, would the whipped ganache be less rich somehow, or is that just a head game I'm playing?

    K8, I'm going to check out the Hershey's box recipe, too; I'd already made a note to myself to do so, based on one of your responses on an earlier thread.

    Sugarseattle, it never occurred to me kids might want a slice of each if they're different! Shoot. Maybe I better not offer options after all.

    Yes, the cakes will be double-layer.

    Thanks again,


  9. I am dizzy from searching the archives. Here's the situation: My neighbor believes I am a better baker than I am, and has asked me to provide the cake(s) for her twin sons' bar mitzvahs next weekend. Flattering pressure, right? Because they're twins, I've made my own life easier by offering to make two cakes. I'm figuring two 12-inch round two-layer cakes will be sufficient for 60 people, no? Please correct me if they should be larger.

    I'm keeping this simple as well by just baking chocolate cakes, and have settled on the truly delicious eGullet tweaked version of Epicurious's double chocolate cake (thank you, thank you to the Michelle who did the tweaking back in '04).

    But I'm not sure what to frost with. I'm considering the lighter whipped ganache that's been mentioned in a few threads, and perhaps putting a vanilla buttercream or Dorie's marshmallowy frosting between the layers.

    Ideally, though, I'd like to frost and decorate the night before the ceremony and refrigerate until the morning, when I'll bring the cakes across the street (the ceremony's at home). That should give them plenty of time to warm up to room temperature, but will it work? Or will the whipped ganache get all hard and nasty? Is there an alternative to the ganache? If I have to, I'll frost the whole thing in the morning, but I'll have to get up mighty early, since I'm a guest and things start at 10:30.

    Help!! Please.

  10. I wish I could! One reason we chose Comerc24 was that almost every other top restaurant in town was closed; I will never go to Barcelona mid-August again. (Also, I've traveled to Europe in August every year for the past five, and have never, ever seen as many tourists as I did in the past week there. It was unbelievable.) A much larger limiting factor for us was that we were with our two children, who find the entire food thing boring at best. You might be able to try some cavas at Vila Viniteca--you can definitely sample some remarkable cheeses, hams, and sausage there, and pick up more to bring home. Great place.

  11. A quick note: We just returned from Barcelona last night and had an excellent meal at Comerc24, having made a reservation the day before. It's modern in the Per Se sense more than in the El Bulli sense, judging from personal experience with the former but not the latter, but very, very good. I'm too wiped out to run down the list, but I know we both ordered the more limited tasting menu ("snacks," 7 tapas, and dessert; I believe the "super-Fest" menu offered 10 tapas), supplemented by a cheese course. I had two glasses of wine; my husband had an array of half-glasses paired with his courses, and the bill came to around 150 euros. We really were blown away, perhaps because we didn't quite know what level of excellence to expect. I'd definitely recommend it if it fits your budget.


  12. Anything good and casual near the Waldorf?  The hotel's breakfast options are way fancier than I need.  Today I'm tempted to cab downtown to Grey Dog in the Village...would love something closer for tomorrow.

    Try the Viand coffee shop at Madison and 61 or so. Classic New York coffee shop--crowded, loud, and tasty. I believe my parents pick their fancy NYC hotels by their proximity to Viands.

  13. Has anyone tried the Cusinart stand mixers, yet?  I'm thinking up a stand mixer this summer, and Fine Cooking seemed to like the one they tested (I think it was Fine Cooking, but I could be wrong).  Since they're fairly new, though, I wonder if anyone has used one on a regular basis, and can comment on his/her experiences with one.

    Advantages of Cuisinart over Kitchenaid (based on 5.5 qt vs 6 qt pro600):

    800W motor vs. 575W

    3-year product, 5-yr motor warranty vs. 1-year product warranty (from what I can tell from Kitchenaid's website)

    Tilt-head vs bowl lift

    $349 vs $499 MSRP

    I'm very interested as well. I've only used the Kitchenaid bowl lift model once and didn't like it (I have a tilt-head), so I was intrigued by the Cuisinart. I've looked at it in stores, and honestly, it looks kind of crummy--lots of cheap plastic casing. But if someone can tell me the performance is spectacular, I'd be tempted.

  14. New owners too, or is it Top Notch retooled?

    Brand new place. My husband had breakfast there (I just had some fruit salad) a couple of days ago. Very promising, and the lunch menu looks amazing. Also, it's really nicely designed--homey. A good addition to the breakfast/lunch landscape.


  15. What a cool looking character!

    I've seen cookie recipes that instruct you to cut a shape out of cardboard and use it as a stencil. I've never done it, but I tend to have so much trouble with cookie cutters (especially something with arms and legs like the cactuar) that the idea of just cutting around a stencil with a sharp knife is appealing.

  16. Shopping (including Zabars) will occupy a lot of the day. I used to play in bands and loved to buy records downtown (is Bleecker Bob's still in business?), but I think my wife and kids (15 and 16) will take over that role. Any good ideas on where to find teenage girl shopping, rock and roll high school boy shopping, and my better half shopping all in one district?? And how about those "knockoff" handbags? Anybody want to divulge their secrets on getting the best deals? Is Union Square a good all around location for a lot of this? I want to hit the market vendors there anyway.

    I'd probably try lower Broadway for your shopping, moving south from around what would be Tower Records (at 4th St) if there were a Tower Records anymore and making your way down to Canal for the knockoffs. Lot of cheap, trendy clothes and shoe stores line that part of the street, and they (your wife especially) can make side trips into Soho and Nolita to check out the cool but completely unaffordable stuff. Dean and Deluca's along the way; there's also a Bloomingdale's if anyone's looking for that.

    Not sure what the R&R boy is in search of, and not sure what other CD stores remain--maybe Other Music, a good one just up from what would be Tower Records if...

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