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Lindacakes

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Everything posted by Lindacakes

  1. Today is my stir-up Sunday. Or rather, the first of two, one today and one next week. I didn't make a fruitcake last year; I was on hiatus. Just didn't feel like it. So, two cakes this year. Jane Grigson's Country Christmas Cake (found in Moira Hodgson's Favorite Fruitcakes and Laurie Colwin's More Home Cooking) and William Woys Weaver's Twelfth Night Cake from his book, The Christmas Cook. I prepared my fruit mix last night, which included applesauce that I made myself from local Honeycrisps, and cherries, lemon peel, orange peel and ginger that I candied myself. (Excellent recipe, Andiesenji, thank you.) I'm beginning to feel like the only way up is to grow my own wheat . . . I'm about to mix and bake the cake (Country Christmas Cake). The recipe calls for one 9-inch springform. Can I bake this in two 7-inch pans? The baking instructions are two hours at 325 and two hours at 300. What would be my internal temperature of done? I'm all skittish about making any changes; I've not made the cake before and we all know the commitment a fruitcake entails. Mistakes are costly. Any advice or pointers or sources on changing pan sizes and baking times very much appreciated.
  2. I would recommend you get in touch with Bonnie Slotnick, a bookseller in New York City.
  3. Pasta Fresca: An Exuberant Collection of Fresh, Vivid and Simple Pasta Recipes by Evan Kleiman and Viana La Place.
  4. I love bringing my own lunch, and when I don't have time I really miss it. I like Built neoprene lunch bags because they go flat when not in use. I like nalgene screw top containers from reuseit.com because they are leak-proof. I travel nowhere without a reuseit drawstring bag filled with snacks. These choices after long searches. I eat with a "real" fork poached from TWA first class a long time ago. I carry my own food to work, on day trips, when travelling. I just went to Italy and brought two snack bags, one for the trip there and one for the trip back. Extremely useful. I HATE being dependent on airlines or airports for food. I LOVE picnics of every stripe. Trader Joe's is the brown bagger's friend. Their frozen vegetables and frozen vegetable mixes are top-notch. Hard boiled eggs and sliced beets. Artichokes and mushrooms. Black bean, corn, tomato, avocado salad, Tuna with potatoes and green beans. Tofu and TJ's balsamic vegetable mix. On and on. I like having a TJ organic low fat string cheese everyday and I have to have three fruits. I have nuts, cheese, dried fruit, olives. I don't eat bread; I don't eat sandwiches. I also often carry my own liquor, but that's another story . . .
  5. I love it each and every week of the year, but I especially enjoy it in the dead of winter. There are no people . . . In New York City, the farmer's market is a tourist attraction, which is festive, but not when you are trying to do your grocery shopping and you want to get out of there and get your other errands done. Once in a while, some hens will be laying, and that's a great surprise. Incredible micro greens grown in a greenhouse. Fresh as spring. I love root vegetables, but most of all: squash. Weird squash of every stripe. Excellent soup market. Maple syrup. Apples. OK, aging apples, but apples. Best of all, the exact Saturday that new stuff starts to show up and the cycle returns again. So exciting.
  6. Since you have the Malgieri book, take a look at the Date Nut Bread -- absolutely delicious. From my thinking what we think of as quick breads are not the same as the icingless cakes we're trying to pin down -- they are denser. I Solo Poppyseed Cake 1/2 pint sour cream 4 eggs, separated 1 cup shortening 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 1/2 cups sifted flour 1 teaspoon soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 twelve ounce can of Solo poppy filling Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening until light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually and cream well. Add poppy filling and beat well. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Blend in vanilla and sour cream. Sift flour, soda, and salt and gradually add to poppy mixture. Beat well after each addition. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into greased tube pan lined with wax paper. Bake for one hour and 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. I would have to spend some time poking through my recipes, but these come to mind instantly: Poppyseed cake from the Solo poppyseed can label. Includes folded-in egg whites. Nice with a dusting of powdered sugar. I know now that I've thought of it, I won't rest until I have it. Nick Malgieri's brown butter hazelnut financier. Ditto the powdered sugar. This may well be my all-time favorite cake. This is from The Modern Baker. Craig Claiborne's mother's black walnut and candied ginger (only one nut and one fruit) fruitcake from Moira Hodgson's Favorite Fruitcakes. I recently had two transcendent meals at a restaurant in Naples, Italy and I intend to send the owner one of these cakes as a thank you. If I was looking for a perfect chocolate cake with no icing, I'd take a look at Maida Heatter. She's pretty good at recognizing perfection. I like the Hershey Black Magic Cake very much, but I consider a mocha frosting a necessity.
  8. I kind of hate raisins, especially in cookies. I am in the camp that dies a little inside when I pick up what I thought was a chocolate chip cookie and encounter a raisin. My taste buds must be dying, though, because as I get older, I hate them less. I do like white raisins in rice pudding in Indian restaurants, all plumped up with milk. White raisins are very tricky. Good ones can be had at nuts.com, jumbo golden raisins. Super good. They are really sublime when ground into, for instance, a black cake such as my 'tar. Mixed with port and other dried and candied fruits they reach new heights. Same is true of prunes, also part of black cake.
  9. Question for the fruitcake peeps. Big jar of fruit soaking in alcohol, right? I have been using a 6-quart plastic container with lid. I try to stay away from plastic, and I'm thinking six months with alcohol is not a good thing. So, I am thinking, "Crock!" and I've been looking around for one, but most do not have lids. Anyone familiar with these pickling crocks? Good idea to use one instead of the plastic bucket? Pricey, but kind of gorgeous. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/fermentation-pot/?cm_src=AutoRel#reviews
  10. Martha Stewart always has cracker recipes -- try her Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook. The Time Life Good Cook series has Cookies and Crackers. There's also The Cookie and Cracker Book: 150 Unusual and Mouth-Watering Temptations by Anne Lanigan.
  11. I just bought this one, it's very good on the spices themselves, I don't know about the recipes yet. Published in 1969, excellent illustrations. The Book of Spices Frederick Rosengarten, Jr. This one is out now, very beautiful and the recipes look good, well-chosen. It comes in for some criticism on Amazon but it doesn't seem as if anyone has actually cooked from it: The Spice Bible Jane Lawson Thanks for the tip on The Spice Cookbook, Jaymes. Looks good, I'm getting one.
  12. There doesn't seem to be anything in the threads about spice cookbooks. I just bought The Book of Spices by Frederic Rosengarten, Jr. Copyright 1969. (He has a nut book, too, different thread.) Fabulous illustrations. I also have McCormick's Spices of the World Cookbook and The Spice Cookbook by Avanelle Day and Lillie Stuckey. Anyone have opinions or recommendations?
  13. Has anyone seen or cooked from Vegetable Literacy, Deborah Madison's new book and if so, what did you think?
  14. I am a huge fan of Trader Joe's and buy many of their products, lots of frozen vegetables. The vegetable masala burgers (really just a spicy potato patty) are really handy. I'm crazy about the frozen artichokes. One of the best items they make are the graham crackers. Brand name graham crackers taste like chemicals and health food alternatives taste like sawdust. Trader Joe's taste exactly like they are supposed to.
  15. I've bought the whipped cream in New York/Chelsea branch. Haven't tried it yet.
  16. I don't make them, but when I was a kid the local chocolate shop specialized in filled eggs in various sizes, the most common being about the size of a softball. Getting possession of a whole one was a transportive experience and nothing could take the place. My favorite had a marshmallow and caramel roll in the middle so that slices had a spiral effect. Second favorite had what was then called a French chocolate center. Very soft, like Ice Cube candy. I would absolutely go nuts for one filled with candied fruit today. There is a candy company called Lagomarcino's that makes a hollow egg filled with individual chocolates that makes an amazing gift.
  17. Lindacakes

    Squish Squash

    Thanks for the tips, I'll get the book. I had no idea -- I thought squash just kept forever . . . These squash would have been picked before the cold you describe.
  18. Lindacakes

    Squish Squash

    Interesting points. Thank you. Yes, true, the squash could be old. I doubt it would be watery then? I tried two different vendors -- I was surprised to find the same result at both. Maybe it is a weather thing. I'll try more, more varieties. I was terribly disappointed because the first dumpling was so damn good.
  19. Lindacakes

    Squish Squash

    Achorn, dumpling, sugar pumpkin.
  20. Can we talk about squash? I love squash, summer squash, winter squash. I love the idea of it and I love the look of it. Or, at least, I used to. A couple of weeks ago I bought a dumpling squash at the farmer's market. It was delicious. Tasted like pudding. Smooth, sweet. Everything a squash should be. So, I went nuts and bought a bunch of squash, I started keeping a plate of beautiful squash on the table and patted myself on the back for an autumn job well done. Except for one thing. Is it me? Or does the squash taste different this year? Stringy, watery. Not so good. Bitter. Darn yucky. Am I cooking it wrong? Do I not know the secret of squash? Is there a better way than cutting it in half, baking it in the oven, and buttering it? Drizzle of maple syrup? I did try peeling it first, thinking that the peel was causing the squash to retain moisture. I pureed it to bypass the string issue. It was drier and smoother but still bitter. I'm afraid to try a butternut; I've always loved butternut. But I'm afraid I've decided everything else tastes awful and there's nothing left. Tell me your squash secrets.
  21. Most people who are not bakers are overjoyed at anything we do, even when we personally are disgusted. I recently made a Rose Levy Berenbaum cake that I thought was an utter failure. It fell apart when I tried to get it out of the pan (doing exactly what I was told to do, and doubted). I cut it into little odd shaped chunks and bought an angel food cake and neopolitan ice cream slices to fill in. Guess which offering disappeared and which one sat? Yup, homemade anything wins. Me, I had to massage my throat to get it down. I would suppose most of us are critical perfectionists (I am) and that's why we are attracted to a practice like baking. I remember very fondly one time I made a chocolate cake for a relative who is a fiend about chocolate. We sat side by side on the couch, forking up mouthfuls and criticizing every single aspect of the cake. Color, texture, taste, quality of chocolate. It was heavenly. The cake was very good. I like perfect. All the fun is in reaching for it.
  22. Screw people who tell fruitcake jokes. I support Fruitcake Liberation for Christmas of 2012. I am forming a Fruitcake Party and you can come to my house for tea.
  23. After talking to (okay, grilling) a friend of mine who has been diabetic from childhood, I gave up eating wheat and I eat potatoes and rice in extreme moderation. There is a new book out, called Wheat Belly, that tells the wheat story. My friend told me that sugar wipes out of the blood stream quite quickly. Wheat hangs around for days. So does rice and potatoes. I've lost 30 pounds and have every reasonable hope of losing 50 more. I'm never hungry. I do Weight Watchers -- mostly to give myself some structure because I don't actually believe WW wants you to lose weight (they want you to give them money, two different things). I often have about half my points left at the end of the day and I'm not sure what to do with them. Cheese helps. When I gave up wheat, I also decided that vegetables and fruits were going to constitute the primary focus of my diet and I started focusing my food energy (formidable food energy, I'm a baker) on the farmer's market, eating all my meals at home, vegetable cookbooks, etc. I feel great -- better mood, optimism and energy than I've had in a long time. I am in complete control of everything I put in my mouth and it isn't a careful balancing act of self-talk and motivational focus. It just is. And the point is, I eat fat. I've been eating more of it since I saw the movie Fat Head. Apparently, Congress decided that fat was the cause of fat and now we're fatter than ever. I eat butter. I eat sardines in olive oil. I eat peanut butter. I avoid oil in general except olive oil. I eat full fat cheese. I eat full fat yogurt. When I do have milk, it's full fat. What's really good is a mess of greens, spinach is my favorite, with butter. Cooked carrots with parsley and butter. Dumpling squash with butter. Butter is also good with butter. I've also started eating my meat with bones and fat. I don't eat much meat in general, but I like it rich when I do eat it.
  24. There are a couple of other threads on this topic, I believe. I'm a crank on this subject. Here's something that backs me up: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/technology/data-centers-waste-vast-amounts-of-energy-belying-industry-image.html?pagewanted=all I think folks aren't conservative enough on this subject. My opinions are informed by two events I read about in eGullet that really stuck with me: the person whose house was robbed and the perp took her handwritten recipe book and the person whose house burned down and lost all her recipes. I would be very unhappy if I lost some of my recipes. My most beloved recipes are handwritten in a cute book with hand drawn illustrations. Which I have scanned. And I've copied all the recipes. And I've put a copy of the files in my safe deposit box. Paranoid or sensible, you decide. I used to keep files of printed recipes, clipped recipes. I still have those. But I don't add to them anymore. I copy and paste and file the Word doc in the files I want it in. I might put a recipe in both "Pie" and "Lemon" for instance. I like to follow flavors and some of my most valuable (to me) files are called "Buttermilk" or "Fruitcake". My entire file is backed up and in my safe. Even if you have a program like Evernote, you could lose your recipes. I just upgraded to Mac Mountain Lion, which ferociously ate my calendar. Ten years of notes on what I've done. Gone. I forgot to back it up before I upgraded. You can't be paranoid enough, it would seem. Eat Your Books is an excellent program that enhances the value of your cookbook collection. I love pulling the books off the shelf and sitting with them, pencil and notebook in hand and studying. Nothing makes me happier. But Eat Your Books is much faster and more efficient. I like to proselytize: annotate your recipes, rate them, keep notes. The rest of us can see this and benefit from your experience. If we all do this, we'll all know which of Julia's recipes are not hard and real keepers or which Maida Heatter cookie is unforgettable.
  25. Hubba hubba. I have a brand new game to play. Thank you!!!
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