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Posts posted by Lindacakes

  1. Excellent ideas, thank you.


    Andiesenji, can I ask why use a meat grinder rather than a food processor?


    Do you plump the fruit or otherwise prepare it before you grind it?  Do you press it into a baking dish, like a 9 x 13?  Do you let it set before forming the balls?



    Maida Heatter’s California Fruit Bars


    1 generous cup of dried fruit – apricot, fig, date

    4 large eggs

    1 pound box brown sugar (2 1/4 cups)

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

    7 ounces (2 cups) walnut halves


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


    Line a jelly roll pan with foil and butter it.


    Cut dried fruit into small pieces.

    Steam over simmering water for 15 minutes.

    Uncover and set aside.


    In a 3 quart saucepan beat eggs, add sugar and mix.

    Place over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Stir and scrape until sugar melts.

    Remove from heat.

    Add salt, vanilla and flour one cup at a time.

    Whisk until smooth.

    Stir in fruit, then nuts.


    Pour evenly into pan and smooth.

    Bake 15 minutes until golden brown with a shiny top.

    Cool, cut and wrap individually.

    • Like 3
  2. I love wax paper.  I use it for many of the reasons already stated above.


    One that was not mentioned is wrapping cookies.  I learned this from Maida Heatter:  You take two cookies and put their flat sides together.  Then you wrap the pair in a piece of wax paper.  You can keep them like this, but it's especially good for mailing cookies.  I mail a lot of cookies and I always do this.  I actually cut the wax paper into squares and fold it neatly and tape it shut.  


    It makes the food taste better.   :smile:


    My mother made the best fudge, so good I can't really eat any others.  And she cut her fudge in nice thick squares and wrapped each piece in a perfect square of wax paper.  When my brother got married, he insisted that his wife do the same because it was such a central experience for him.


    I never sift anything without doing it over wax paper.  The flour glides off of it into whatever you are pouring it into.  


    Like many other people, I only use parchment for lining baking sheets.

    • Like 4
  3. I'm curious as to why you are choosing to make your first cake using these two particular recipes . . . Are you interested in just learning how to make a cake so that you can have some fresh homemade cake or are you looking to challenge yourself?


    If you are just interested in learning and having cake, I would recommend making a simple cake in a small pan, like an 8 x 8, at least until you feel confident.  You don't even have to work with icing at first.  This gives you an opportunity to learn how to measure, how to mix, how to judge doneness.  You can dress a cake with a simple glaze or powdered sugar.


    I wouldn't start with Rose Levy Berenbaum.  I would recommend Maida Heatter.  She has a cake book that is actually a compilation of cakes from her other books.  Maida's tastes are more straightforward and her instructions are basic.  You can't go wrong with a Maida Heatter recipe.  

    • Like 1
  4. Well, I have a little bottle of Carl Griffith's Oregon Trail sourdough starter.  How long does that keep?  I am assuming forever.  


    I actually have items I have no intention of ever using, maybe, like the glass ampule of orange flavoring I bought in the grocery store in Naples.


    I do think there's some cross-over to general food hoarding.  The thing about the pantry cupboard is, it feels good when it's full.  And I have had to, once or twice, live for two or three weeks due to weather or poverty and I came out fine.


    In my mind, a little curl of smoke rises over the stone cottage in my mind when I see my cupboards full . . . 


    I buy endless amounts of baking supplies for when the mood strikes me, and the mood does not strike for years, but I've cut down on that lately because I'm trying to lose weight.  The mood isn't supposed to strike me.

    • Like 2
  5. Eggplant rollatinissimo.


    I do this as often as I can, bring something back from the farmer's market or specialty grocery that I am unfamiliar with and don't know how to cook.  I draw it before I eat it.  Have explored:  Turk's Turban squash, salsify, Hen of the Woods mushrooms, scallop roe, ostrich egg, dragon fruit, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, fresh ginger, Buddha's hand citron, celeriac, rutabaga, parsnips, cherimoya, purslane, avocado squash, fava beans, tatsoi, romano beans, etc. etc.


     I have yet to do this to the Asian vegetables, and look forward to it.

    • Like 1
  6. Edna Lewis recipe.  One cup raspberries (I may have this wrong, best to check) and one cup sugar.  Mash with fork.  Allow to set in fridge for 24 hours.


    Delicious raspberry sauce that you can then freeze.


    Nice for your Pavlova.

  7. Claudia Roden has a picnic book that has some nice ideas in it.


    A Middle Eastern picnic is always good -- mixed grill skewers, hummus with pita, olives, baba ganoush, feta cheese, etc.


    I like shrimp with avocado, tomato, onions, and (gasp) Miracle Whip.


    There's a book called Lean Bean Cuisine with some good cold bean salads -- one I remember was Jeweled Rice Salad that had brown rice and red grapes.  It's lovely.  Black beans with avocado, corn, onion, cilantro, etc. and corn chips is good.


    Also, somewhere I have a spectacular pasta salad with shell-shaped pasta and a great deal of parmesean.


    Maybe it's in Jane Grigson Good Things?  A chapter on celery salads.  Celery, cold chicken, walnuts.  With blue cheese.


    Roasted beets and hard boiled eggs.


    Shortbread.  Thin crispy chocolate cookies.  Florentines.


    Really delicious wine.


    Once I did a canoe trip picnic that had stuffed apricots -- I think Claudia Roden -- mascarpone and chopped pistachio, something like that.  I can still feel the water rushing past my ankles while I ate those.


    Picnics absolutely rule.

  8. This is quite similar to washing a food processor (i.e., 300 food processor parts, some of them like razor blades).  I avoid using the food processor because I hate washing it.  Not so the ice cream maker.


    Banging is the best advice, as is simply learning to let go.  Do not try to clean the dasher and the bowl like you want to.  Get as much out as fast as you can, put it in the freezer and then wash the parts.  Don't think about it.


    Alternately, lick it.  I don't like doing that, either, because it seems like too much work, too.


    It's the price of making ice cream, I think, the worst part.

  9. I have been thinking this about wheat, not carbs.  Take a look at the book Wheat Belly.


    I've known this about my body for years:  If I eat wheat, I crave more food.  I am not talking about gluten.  It doesn't factor into the picture at all.


    I have a diabetic friend who tells me that wheat is far harder to clear from his body than pure sugar, like ice cream, which clears out pretty fast.


    I am more alert, have a better attitude, weigh less, and have more flexibility when I don't eat wheat.  I am also trying to give up sugar and every day I go without it, I feel that much better.  I also feel better when I don't drink coffee.


    To circle back to the fat question -- I came from a traditional fat consuming family and that's what I eat.  Butter.  My mother used to say that she could not wash margarine off her hands, and refused to eat it.  

  10. I think nutrition labels should show the calorie content of a real portion.


    But the article makes it sound (like so much "information" about nutrition) that Americans just eat a huge amount of food, rather than what I think is the truth:  that food manufacturers purposefully skew the numbers on the label so that you think the calorie, fat and sugar content is lower than it is.  Many of us know how to really read a nutrition label, but some of us don't.


    I'm also tired of reading that the so-called obesity epidemic is because we eat so much instead of because we're chained to our desks at our jobs for increasingly longer hours with little to eat but refined white flour and sugar, unless we make our own food (which is also time-consuming and adds to the length of a working day).

  11. The Joseph Joseph Scoop Straining Ladle.  It saves washing the colander, which I hate.


    As far as favorite, though, really, it's the Bastard.  A twelve inch cast iron fry pan with helper handle and basting lid.  It rocks.  It's huge for two, and cooks everything.  I once tried to sell it on Craig's list when it was brand new for an extremely good price.  I was so insulted by the "offers" I got that I decided to make it work.


    Thank you, anonymous public!

    • Like 1
  12. I use both cotton dish towels and paper towels.


    I have a large amount of dish towels.  I take care of them and never throw them away, so they match my historical kitchens.  Mostly I use them to dry dishes.


    I buy paper towels at Costco and use way too many.  I try to assuage my guilt by using the used kitchen paper towels to clean.  This is anal but it works really well for me -- if I use a paper towel to do something like drain washed vegetables, then I take the used paper towel and use it to clean the kitchen window sill.  Or wipe out the bathtub, etc.  


    I try to think of something to clean before I throw it out.  The net result of this is that I rarely have to make a point of cleaning.  It gets done all the time a few wipes at a time.

  13. This doesn't bother me, what bothers me is finding a recipe that will include junk food as an ingredient.  It always pays to read several recipes in any magazine or book to make sure this isn't done before buying. This would include slices of American cheese, boxed cake mix, and canned mushrooms.


    However, that being said, it is perfectly legitimate to include brand names in recipes.  Some of us have an affection for say, Solo Poppyseed Filling.  The cake on the label is seriously good.  So is the fudge on the Solo marshmallow creme label.  I would not make a cake made with crushed Oreos but I would very likely eat it if offered it at someone else's house and find it delicious.


    Certain sour creams taste different than others.  I can see saying, Daisy sour cream, which to me would taste better than Breakstone's.


    In other words, it works both ways.  And sideways.  I think it's okay, you can ignore it either way.

    • Like 1
  14. Of course!  Usually in the Time Life Good Food series, because I can't remember what I have and what I don't off the top of my head.  


    Sometimes I buy something that I remember some piece of and it turns out I wanted a different book by the same author or some similar mistake.


    As above, no big deal, most of these purchases happen in thrift stores.  Cookbooks are completely undervalued, and most folks working the stores don't know a good one from a bad one.  I once bought a slew of first edition cookbooks from a used book store -- they caught on when they saw me all flushed and excited at the cash register, though . . . 

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