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Everything posted by Lindacakes

  1. For balance, amazing: In college I had a friend who hosted Sunday potlucks at her tiny little house at the top of a hill. She had a couch in the kitchen, and over the sink a copy of Scott Fitzgerald's accounting of his household expenses (wild parties was one of the entries). One could open the back door, which led directly into the kitchen, sit on the couch with a drink, and talk to her while she cooked, gazing steadlily out onto the grassy hill. My grandmother liked to host mother's day at her house, with all of her children and their children and cook a lasagna so big that the oven door couldn't close -- a thick rug was placed over the cracked open part to close it off.
  2. Ah, my favorite above is the mother who set her kitchen on fire twice. During a misspent youth I had a job bellydancing in a Middle Eastern restaurant. Try entertaining the dining room while the kitchen's on fire. Also in misspent youth I allowed an acquaintance to go into my spotless kitchen to cook. This was an act of off-the-cuff creative and entertaining inspiration for her and about a hour of cleaning greasy handprints off my spice jars for me. Since it's just us in here, I can say that my father in law has spat in my sink. The memory brings a sour taste into my mouth. Luckily, we moved into the apartment above and I no longer live with that sink, but I know it's down there. His wife, the MIL, is as the one mentioned above. I am from an Italian family where to have guests means to overfeed as many people as will fit in the kitchen with as many courses as possible until they are about to burst and then send them home with a bunch of wrapped food for later. She once fed twelve people on six eggs, I kid you not. More than once we've had dinner at her house and then sneaked out to get a hamburger. I once assisted her in the kitchen, dredging parsnips in plain flour at her request. I have a friend who cooks all the time, and I've never eaten at his house, but I saw his kitchen once. The stove was covered (not an exaggeration) with streaks of running brown-black grease. The sort of thing you think you'll see on the six o'clock news when they're exposing the home of a serial killer. There, I feel better.
  3. Okay, so I'm hanging out on the Dorie Greenspan thread and I'm hanging out on the David Lebovitz thread and voila -- World Peace cookie ice cream sandwiches with malt ice cream . . . That's good. Really, really good.
  4. Candied Cherry recipe has been added to Recipe Gullet.
  5. The recipe has been posted to Recipe Gullet -- "Candied Cherries".
  6. Which did you personally like better? I'm thinking fudgy?
  7. Hee hee. I love when this topic gets resurrected. My fruit's been going since May, I don't intend to bake until September. Right now I'm candying cherries for my fruitcakes -- this year I'll be starting my fruit AT CHRISTMAS! So that it will be a year-long process. I like the poetry of that. The candied cherries are a real pleasure, take only about fifteen minutes a day for a couple of weeks and yield fabulous deep red delicious cherries. Very difficult to keep from eating them all now. I've copied all these recipes and I might change my recipe a bit. To answer a question above, I use ground pecans in my cake. You don't taste the pecan flavor, but I'm sure it adds to the overall effect. Also, regarding the aging of the cake -- I don't soak mine in alcohol. I wrap in plastic and then foil and leave it be. I personally don't like a really boozy cake, I want the taste of the alcohol to subside.
  8. Candied Cherries From Favorite Homemade Cookies and Candies, Sedgewood Press 1982 Wash one pound of cherries and remove the pits. Place the cherries in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Cook for about 4 minutes or until tender. Drain well, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the liquid. Spread out the cherries, in one layer, in a heatproof dish. Pour the reserved liquid back into the saucepan and add 3/4 cup of sugar. Heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the syrup evenly over the cherries. Cover with a plate or tray to keep the cherries submerged in the syrup. Allow to soak for 24 hours. The next day, drain off the syrup into a saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar, stir to dissolve, then bring to a boil. Pour over the cherries again and let soak for 24 hours longer. Repeat this step every day for the next 5 days. The next day, drain off the syrup into a saucepan. Add 6 tablespoons of sugar, stir to dissolve and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cherries. Return the pan to the heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the cherries and the syrup back into the dish, cover and soak for 48 hours. On the tenth day, repeat but soak for 4 days instead of 48 hours. The syrup should be like clear red honey. Drain off the syrup. Place the fruit on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Finishing Dry the cherries in a warm place or in a 250-degree oven. Cherries are dry when they no longer feel sticky. For a glace finish, place 2 cups sugar and 2/3 cup cold water in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Have a saucepan of boiling water ready. Pour some of the sugar syrup into a cup. Dip the cherries, one at a time, first into the boiling water then the syrup. When the syrup in the cup becomes cloudy, discard and replace with fresh. As the cherries are dipped, arrange on wire rack over a cookie sheet. Dry the cherries as described above. For a crystallized finish, dip the cherries in boiling water and coat with sugar. ( RG1997 )
  9. Wow, man, a peeled egg exploded? I'm sorry about your lip, but that's cool. Gives you a concept of just how strong those proteins are . . .
  10. I lift the cherries out with a slotted spoon, then pour the liquid back into a saucepan. The recipe calls for a quarter cup of sugar per pound of fruit. I screwed up and used a quarter cup for three pounds of fruit, but the last time I did it, I added the full amount. Each day, then, the syrup becomes more concentrated. I did this last year and allowed the cherries to sit in their syrup in the fridge for six months. Just fine. The recipe I'm using asks you to dry them. I don't think I want them dry, but I'm not sure, so I'm going to experiment this weekend. Right now I have a single cherry sitting on the counter to drain all day so that I can sample it this evening. They're that precious. I've started making ice cream with the David Lebovitz book and I'm thinking vanilla ice cream with cherry pieces in it . . . David Lebovitz has a quickie method on his web site. I used that last season. It worked okay, but I like the long method better.
  11. Lindacakes

    Making Butter!

    Oooooooooo. Thank you. What a concept: better than buttermilk. I'm dying here, because buttermilk is one of my all time favorite tastes on the flav-o-meter. I collect buttermilk recipes . . . I love buttermilk . . . . Oooooooooo.
  12. I like to cook with other people, even when I was a kid. My dad and I are making popcorn balls and it's my job to stir the pot with the popcorn in it and it's his job to pour the molten candy syrup in the pot. Somehow, we discombobulated and he poured boiling hot candy over my fingers. The old man grabbed me by the hand, pulled me over to the sink and ran cold water over it. I had a blister that covered the top of my index finger and formed ropy swirls around the finger and onto the next one. After this "healed" the resulting scar was smooth like glass. My knuckle wrinkles hadn't grown back. I called it my "monster finger". The knuckle wrinkles evenutally grew back, it took years, I think. You have to look close to see it now but the skin is thin and sensitive. And somehow, I still insist on cooking with other people over a bowl, arguing about the syncronicity of the pouring and the stirring . . .
  13. I am addicted to something called Red Chile Sauce that I found in Epicurious. It uses dried guajillos and and New Mexico chilis. I put it in little containers in the freezer and put it on lots of things, especially a nice steak/avocado/tomato/black bean salad.
  14. Lindacakes


    In the Julia Child French Chef series (available on DVD), Julia makes and displays a souffle. Easy to see texture there if you have access to the show.
  15. There are a couple of very useful threads about this already. I just started one a couple of weeks ago myself, asking for advice candying cherries. I can share with you what I learned: A proper cherry was once a brandied cherry, until Prohibition. The maraschino cherry was invented when brandy was outlawed. The process involves bleaching a cherry and replacing the colors and flavors with artificial ones. Cherries are in season right now, and it is a good time to candy your own if you are truly interested. It isn't difficult, it takes a commitment of twenty minutes a day for a week or two, actually less time than that. I started with 3 pounds of sweet cherries. I boiled them for four minutes and then used some of the water to make a simple syrup and soaked the cherries in that. The syrup was drained daily, more sugar added and then added back to the cherries. Right now I am off recipe as I think the cherries are finished and they're just sitting on the counter waiting for me to decide that and do something with them. They have decreased in size, they are not as plump, but they are not bad looking. For days they were brown, but over time they've become a very sexy dark red. They have produced a quantity of deep, thick cherry-flavored syrup that I will likely use for cocktails. I highly, highly recommend doing this for yourself as the result is unmatchable. You cannot buy cherries like these. I have made a fruitcake with chocolate, recipe from Janet, The Old Foodie. It was an exceptional combination and I think a similar cake made with dark chocolate and candied cherries would be absolutely out of this world. You can search for the fruitcake thread for that one. These cherries would also be great in white cake, but they would bleed. One could do a cherry upside down cake rather than a pineapple upside down cake, something like that. The color is really deep and glorious and appropriate, I think, for a ceremony commemorating the joining of two hearts. Good luck -- I think this is a great idea!
  16. Lindacakes

    Making Butter!

    Can someone post the recipe for this? I would love to do it myself. Is it possible to make a higher fat percentage butter? I would assume the buttermilk is better than store bought (organic)? I completely would do this if it meant fresher tasting butter and buttermilk, because I use oodles of both. Also, is hard to get buttermilk on a whim and if I was only ten minutes away from it, the pancakes I could make . . .
  17. Just a public service announcement: blueberries are in season. I made a blueberry pie for a Fourth of July picnic yesterday. We actually fought over who was going to get what of the leftovers. Hee hee. I gave it a lattice top and it leaked, oddly, clear syrup. I always put my pies on a jelly roll pan lined with foil. I baked it on the bottom rack, nearest the bottom of the oven. I protect the edge from browning too much with a handmade foil shield -- I found the ones they sell are too heavy and flatten the edge of the pie. In the end, I had to uncover it and brown it a little more before it was fully finished.
  18. Indeed, baking soda quantity is missing. Thank you for taking the time -- utterly fantastic.
  19. Rose Levy Berenbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible is a good source for all this sort of problem-solving.
  20. Thank you both for the help -- I agree with the serendipitous delight inherent in chunks of different sizes, but chocolate shards and dust is another story. It may be the shards and dust factor that added to my cookie's flat chests. Thanks for the tips -- I particularly liked the armpit support system one of the posters describes. I have a warmish body, so the end of the chocolate stuck in my armpit would collapse, leaving me unsupported and probably stab my own eye out with the serrated knife, but I'm anxious to go back and try the serrated knife. I was using a chef's knife.
  21. Those are truly beautiful cookies, by the way. Picture perfect. I even used the paper towel roll trick and mine are not that uniform. Well done. I can't remember if I posted this question, but I'll try anyway: Anyone have a secret for chopping chocolate nicely? I used a brick of Valrhona and ended up with some big chunks, some shavings, etc. Not that this is a big problem in a dark cookie, but it would be nice if the chips could look more uniform.
  22. Thank you for the visual. Those look quite thick compared to what I'm talking about. I've got a bunch of frozen rolls of WPC and I've been trying different things. The 325 degree oven worked better, it did not work well to start with frozen (mainly because I will eat an entire batch of not-baked-enough cookies before I decide they weren't baked long enough, I just can't wait). Baking is rarely a challenge for me, particularly cookies, but mine ain't that puffy. Maybe my baking soda is too old or something. All the same, it is no chore to chew through them.
  23. I'm totally into trying Food of the Gods, too.
  24. Jende, I HIGHLY recommend that you bake another pie immediately. I took a class with Carole Walter to perfect my pie skills -- I told her that's what I was trying to do, make absolutely perfect pie. She corrected my technique and told me to go home and make five more pies that week. It took me two weeks, but I made the five pies (and tried some truly interesting fillings in the process -- like Jefferson Davis pie) and now I can make perfect pie. And it's a handy dandy skill to have. Good luck! Linda
  25. I love this sort of recipe -- epicurious has a marvelous brown rice, broccoli and blue cheese salad that is extraordinary. It's a great take on the ubiquitous white rice/broccoli/American cheese thing my sister-in-law does and thinks everyone else likes. You can change the rice, the veggies, the cheese ad infinitum. I also like a southwestern salad thing with lentils and couscous, corn and black beans.
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