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Everything posted by Lindacakes

  1. I did a very smart thing yesterday: I made the World Peace cookies, doubled the recipe and left three nice little logs in the freezer for when the mood strikes. That is one highly addictive cookie. I have one problem: mine baked quite flat (not that this was a problem, the sugar carmelized and made for a crunchy little cookie texture that I liked very much). I used butter, I know butter is flatter than other fats. Is that normal for a Korova/World Peace? Did I overbeat the batter? I have a 6 quart KitchenAid that I'm getting used to -- it's a bit big and I end up overbeating because half of the batter is stuck to the paddle . . . Also: Is there a secret to chopping large slabs of chocolate? I used Valrhona, as suggested, and lots of the chocolate came as chocolate shards instead of chunks. I used a knife and just cut hunks off, and then cut the hunks smaller . . .
  2. I just started a thread about candying cherries -- I'm in the middle of candying three pounds of cherries right now. I did this before, and I used a quick method recipe that involved boiling the syrup and the cherries. This time I'm using a recipe from an old candy-making book, it is more time consuming. I pitted the cherries, I boiled a pot of water and submerged them for four minutes. I placed the cherries in a jelly roll pan so they would all be flat. I took four cups of the boiling liquid and added sugar and boiled it. The cherries rested overnight. Each morning I'm draining them, adding more sugar to the syrup, boiling it and pouring it back over the cherries. At some point the recipe calls for the cherries to be dried. I posted my thread hoping that someone could advise me on that part -- I don't want dried cherries! I want candied cherries! Plump ones! What is nice about this process is that you can put other stuff in the syrup -- a drop of almond extract, some Kirsch, etc. I haven't read the maraschino cherry thread linked above, but I'm certain that a nicely candied cherry enrobed in chocolate would be exceedingly tasty. I'm doing mine for fruitcake, and the derivatives thereof (cookies, tutti fruitti ice cream, etc.)
  3. The recipe recommends adding food coloring to the boiling water for reddness. I opted not to do that. After four days of increasing the sugar in the syrup, they're now a sort of deep dark red, still brown, but a more robust color. I'm thinking I might do some photographs and post the result in recipe gullet. There's very little real information out there about candying, just fruit peel. It's actually not difficult, one just needs to be prepared to spend a half hour playing with the fruit every morning. I'd like to make my own prunes, now known as dried plums, from a better quality of plum than most prunes seem to be made of.
  4. I'm wondering if anyone out there can offer advice for candying cherries -- I bought three pounds of cherries at the Farmer's Market and pitted them, then ditched the recipe I used last year (it's all about boiling the cherries for a long period of time, making a reduction of the syrup) in favor of one of those complicated processes from a really old-fashioned candy making book. So, I plunged the cherries in boiling water for 4 minutes. Used some of the water with sugar added to create a syrup. I've got vats of cherries one cherry thick in my kitchen. Every day I'm pouring off the syrup, adding another 1/4 cup of sugar, boiling it, and then pouring it back over the cherries. I'm on day two of this, it will continue for five days. At which point I go through a drying process of some sort, I go up to like ten days. The cherries aren't red, they're not exactly brown. They've reduced in size. The syrup is still pretty thin at this point. Anyone been through this and care to help me avoid disaster? After the time investment, I'd like to have my two pounds of really delish candied cherries. Also, any other candying advice you may have is welcome, I'm just interested in the process. The more perfect, the better.
  5. I only had one good star fruit in my life, and it was picked fresh from the tree in an experimental fruit farm in Costa Rica and sliced on the spot. I dream about that star fruit. I think the taste is quite delicate, but I'd try this, since you have a lot: stew some fruit, reduce it, make a sort of fruit jam out of it. Blind bake a pie crust, line it with the fruit jam, add a custard that has also been flavored with the fruit jam. When this is done, just as it comes out of the oven so the top is soft enough to gently embrace it, line the top with the cut star slices so that they touch edges and form a pattern. In my head this is quite stunning . . . I might be inclined to cheat a litte and pep it up with some food coloring if it doesn't have much of it's own.
  6. I've been doing it for forty years, so I'm pretty comfortable. I LIKE the precision.
  7. I see it as a vast political issue, a product of the consumer culture we live in. It will take a lot of education for the mind and the palette of the average American to change. It takes books like Fast Food Nation, Omnivore's Dilemma, and Kitchen Confidential to open people's eyes to the business of food and how that business translates to the ultimate loss of money from their pocket and loss of the quality of their lives. The average American believes in the payoff of his food -- it's fast, it's cheap, it's my way, it's comfortingly the same wherever I go, it's clean because it's wrapped in cellophane. Look at that guy on the food channel, the one with the impossibly fake smile who shows you the crusty hoppers of blue sugar spinning gumballs of chemicals with great excitement. This is who we are, he says, we are fun people! We've come to accept a passivity about life, we work hard and we deserve to be entertained. When I come home, I'm too tired to cook. Forget about the fact that one of the main purposes of life, and of working, is eating. We have to eat. We expend a lot of energy to make that happen, but we don't really accept that. We want to believe there's so much more. Fame, fortune, self fulfillment!!! I wish I could remember the statistic, but the average American spends like 8% of his income on food while the average European spends like 25% of his income on food. I was really lucky, my parents had this weird food thing going. They really enjoyed food and saw it as a pursuit. They never ate out, people didn't do that back then and there. My mom was a good cook and she sought out quality ingredients. We went to the Polish butcher on the other side of town. We went to a farm out in the country to get our eggs. My parents made tomato sauce from the garden tomatoes. My mom made pie with lard. My dad made root beer in the basement. Etc. blah blah blah. So, I think I blame ourselves, ultimately, because we're falling for the whole thing.
  8. I guess I'll have to speak for those of us who are precise. I am precise. I take pride in it. I rarely forget where I am because I create a mise en place in order and follow it. Once in a while while I am measuring cups of flour I forget and I remeasure them. I don't think dip/level/pour is precise enough. I spoon the flour into the cup, level and pour. I like this about baking, very much. I don't like it if my results aren't at least close to perfect. I like washing the dishes, too. I have pretty bowls. But I don't do this for a living, and if I did, I wouldn't do it the same way. I've always found the precision extremely relaxing, like yoga.
  9. Lindacakes


    Upthread there's another recipe for homemade Bisquick. I want to want to use it myself, but I know that the last time I tried, I was disappointed.
  10. OK, I am willing to sit in anyone's kitchen who will cook for me, including my own, and I promise I will talk about food.
  11. My mom also did 100% lard -- I found the flavor to be a bit intense and the digestion thereof to also be a bit intense. I don't remember this from my mom's pie, though. Lard is actually healthier for you than butter -- this is explicated in again, a recent Splendid Table or Good Food broadcast/podcast. It's higher in the good fats and lower in the bad fats. If you stop and think about it, it's no worse than anything else that goes on in or comes out of an abbatoir.
  12. Congratulations on your award, Dorrie! I hope it brings a bounty of good things for you. I made the cranberry shortbread cake last night. Chantilly cream on top. Wow, was it good. I say "was" because it's nearly gone. Two people each ate two pieces last night, then pieces for breakfast, I think there's two left . . . Yes, they were big pieces . . . The shortbread is delicious and I want to make it again with strawberries for a strawberry shortcake. My mind is reeling with delicious possibilities to stick in between the layers. It's like an American Victoria sandwich . . . Every thing I've made from this book is something I look forward to making again. Which is just the sort of book that deserves to win the Beard award.
  13. That's it! Thanks for finding it -- they do Union Square Greenmarket, apparently. Found out about them on either The Splendid Table or Good Food, can't remember which, but they sound fab. It's a very good segment, if you want to hear about pig fat, fat back, fat. Yum. Fat.
  14. Lindacakes


    I imagine Bisquick, like most packaged foods, has gotten more packaged with ingredients of lesser quality over time. My mom also made everything on the Bisquick box -- pancakes, biscuits and shortcake, mostly. And they were excellent. I still haven't had a strawberry shortcake that comes close to my mom's. The pancakes in Joy of Cooking are not unlike how the Bisquick version used to taste. (I myself, however, use a recipe with a hoooooooge amount of butter in it.) Impossible Pie -- I have been thinking about this all afternoon, even though I don't think I've ever had it. During my performance review I was sitting there thinking, "cheesy, ground beefy mass held together with eggs and flour" and I'm starving.
  15. I'm not sure I get the celebrity cook, let's sit in the kitchen, let's watch them compete sort of thing that is happening . . . Can someone tell me why people want to do this? I can completely understand the concept of having an excellent cook prepare dinner for you and your friends at your house, it's the watching and talking to the cook thing I don't understand. It's not as though someone is creating a smoking volcano out of a pile of onion rings or flipping shrimp tails into their hat like at Benihana's . . . I'm not a professional cook, but if anyone wanted to watch me in the kitchen, they'd better stand back and shut up.
  16. Another half and halfer. Also order from Dietrich's. New thing I just found out about -- Flying Pig. I also use high fat butter -- organic high fat butter for extra fattiness. Duck fat. Better fat.
  17. Not eaten one? Has a crispy carmelized coat to the outside, soft buttery interior and then a custardy sort of dollop or something, more like a hint of custard. I haven't read the recipe yet, this is just going by how it tastes. It's the chewy carmeley taste and texture with hint of eggy custard that seals the deal. Just a really nice thing to eat.
  18. Fabulous -- thank you. I am going to bake that thing.
  19. I am a big fan of Maida Heatter. I have all of her cookbooks in the first edition. I started with the cakes/pies/cookies books and ended up dumping them because they didn't include recipes I was looking for. I always ask people their favorite Maida recipe and keep tabs on them -- a list follows. I've found some recipes that I was disappointed with, personally, but always from a preference standpoint, never fom technique. Maida is a perfectionist and I like that very much. I hate wasting my time on a bad recipe. I think there should be serious penalties for people who publish bad recipes. My all time favorites are Sour Cream Pecan Dreams, Lemon Squares and California Fruit and Nut Bars. These are among my favorite cookies and I make them all the time. You can listen to Maida interviewed on NPR: The Queen of Desserts http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1026458 These are recipes other people have told me they love and make all the time -- Chocolate Souffle Cake Coffee Cream Sponge Cake Orange Chiffon Cake Denver Brownies Coffee and Cognac Cream Pie Mrs. Foster's Lime Pie Lemon Tartlets Sour Lemon Squares Coffee Buttercrunch Pie Walnut Tart from Saint Paul-de-Vence Blackberry with Scotch Cheesecake Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Blueberry Peach Buckle Colonial Blueberries Cranberry Grunt Vermont Baked Apples with Gingered Creme Fraiche Strawberry Sorbet Amaretto Chocolate Cheesecake Queen Mother's Cake Chocolate Angel Pie From the Book of Great Cookies -- Black and White Coconut Slices Peanut Butter Pillows Chocolate Mint Sticks Almond Spice Box Cookies
  20. Is Angelica hard to grow? Candying it yourself is an excellent idea -- there is one mail order place I've found for it. I took a cannoli class at ICE, which is how I discovered the angelica. It really works well with ricotta and chocolate. I really, really like this cream on a bowl of strawberries and bananas. Maybe even better than in a cannoli shell. Thanks for the tip on the Carole Field book -- I'm always looking for ways to use candied fruit, because I always have loads left over at Christmas.
  21. Lapin, where do you get your candied fruit?
  22. Nougat . . . creamy, buttermilky, that's an excellent idea. I'll think about that one. Have you tried Vine Tree Orchards? I'm pretty happy with their candied fruit. I've also candied my own cherries, which you might try when they are in season. They're darker and tarter but much tastier than the commercial ones. Tutti fruitti ice cream! Never had it, never realized it had candied fruit. That's an excellent idea!
  23. Also, I have a tube of chestnut cream, if you want to play with that.
  24. One of the the things I hauled back from a recent trip to Paris was candied fruit, in particular, candied fruit very hard to get here -- angelica and canteloupe. I got the angelica because I like it in cannoli with fresh riccotta and chocolate shavings. I have plenty, so I'd like to try some other things. For the melon, I'm clueless. I'm thinking melon and blueberry muffins. Help!
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