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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. I think Salvatore Settepani's entry is the most visually appealing piece of all of them. I wonder what the exact criteria was for judging? I really think those big thick clunky bases on the 1st and 2nd place entries are fairly horrid. Even though each piece is different, there seems to be a "sameness" about all of them; as though there's a certain "style" each one has to attain. I've noticed this with lots of sugar and chocolate showpiece competitions. Why is that?
  2. That must explain why I loved to eat potato chips and Oreos together when I was a kid. My family thought I was crazy......hmmmm....guess there's a fine line between crazy and genius!
  3. You know, I'd take Harry on in a hot second.......I always need the help, and my employer would just love the "free" part. Here's how I view it though. It's a lot of work to train someone. Even if they're willing to do anything......like scrub pots, or chop stuff, or do anything fairly simple, you still have to tell them where stuff is, how YOU want it done, where to put things, what to watch for, etc. It takes extra time out of my already busy day, and when I put that kind of time into someone, I want it to pay off later. If I know someone is gonna be gone 6 months down the road, I'm not really interested in the time and effort it will take me to train them, because there's no real payoff for me. It just means that 6 months later, I have to start training someone all over again. I'm more interested in people who intend to stay. Some of them may not but I at least want that intention from them up front. That could be why Harry is having trouble getting someone interested......even if it's FREE labor, there's still effort involved on the part of the person training you and it may be something that just isn't worth the hassle to them....free or not. It just so happens that today I learned I'm getting my own intern. One day a week til the end of the year. I agreed to it, because it's only one day a week, and I'll be able to schedule a lot of the grunt jobs for the one day she's there, so it may mean an extra day off for either me or my assistant. So that's my payoff........
  4. Why don't you try adding the topping midway through baking, after the poundcake has formed a skin? I'm still not quite clear though......is your cake sinking in the middle whether the streusel is on it or not?
  5. I'd like to know that too. Also, when I clicked on the link from the video to get the printed recipe, I noticed that it's more or less a brioche dough. All I really want to know is why doing it by hand like that would be any different than developing the dough on a mixer? I make brioche every week by the way, so I'm just curious.
  6. Well, I guess the good news is that The Seattle Times had a front page article about rising food costs, and the big part of that was about wheat and grain prices. It also pointed out that prices for almost everything....soybeans, corn, etc are way up too. Farmers are loving it. The production of ethanol is part of it, but there are many other factors that are playing into the increased food prices also. Seems that demand for grain in third world countries is up, as is demand worldwide. Bad harvests have depleted stockpiles. A lot of people interviewed in the article had differences of opinion when it came to whether this was going to be a long term situation or not. It seems to me that high food prices will not go away soon. It will be interesting to see how it affects the economy as a whole.
  7. I was disappointed they didn't show the final product all baked up. That would have been the "proof in the pudding" to me. Sure it looks like fun, but is it worth it? I'll only go for a labor intensive technique if the ends justify the means.
  8. Wow! Thanks for the info and clarification on that. I wondered how Crisco was able to switch their formula to a non-transfat shortening......now I know. I wonder if labeling laws will be stricter from now on and require companies to designate fully hydrogenated from partial......
  9. Wha? I thought hydrogenation, whether partial or complete meant "trans fats". Also, as I recall, every time I see the word "hydrogenated" the word "partially" usually comes before it. I can't remember seeing just "hydrogenated" by itself. But then, my memory isn't 100% reliable either.
  10. Well I guess it's all who you want to please. I would think "Peoples Choice" would like the oreos, and the "Judging Chefs" would like the panini. As a chef, I vote for the panini because it sounds good....... and interesting! But as a "people", I do love Oreos and a cold glass of milk. But I'll stick with the panini vote. If you ever want to share your recipe for chocolate brioche.....(hint hint)......
  11. I don't think it's so bad really. Just tastes like a chewy marshmallow to me. Actually, once the cake is sliced, you hardly have to take the effort to peel it off.....it just sort of falls off by itself anyway.
  12. Well, the news, both local and national, have been running stories about wheat prices and what it means to the common consumer. Just last night our local news ran a story about pizza places raising prices, because I guess cheese is really expensive right now too. Plus if it's delivery pizza, you also have to pay for the gas in the trucks that bring it to you...... We've already been making changes to the bread sizes.......and going to more non-organic flours for our breads. Sort of sad really, because the whole organic thing was sort of our niche to fill in this corner of the world. I haven't experienced any shortages yet, luckily....except for some reason I can't get my supplier to get me my gianduja that I've tried to get for three weeks now. There is a local miller here near Bellingham, but their prices are even higher than the stuff we get from the organic supplier in Portland. We'd love to tout local flour......but financially can't do it at this point. Yeah, we're all in the same boat.....I'm just still so flabbergasted.......I never thought I'd see wheat get this high in such a short period of time..... We run on propane too......so yeah, there's THAT on top of everything else.......
  13. I figure they're all going to have to get with the program at some point, otherwise we'd all have outlawed fondant, right? When fondant is outlawed, only outlaws will have fondant!
  14. So my boss, who is like in this weird boss-like frenzy right now, asked me if I use any ingredient that has trans-fats. At first I said no, but then upon further inspection, I looked at my bucket of Pettinice rolled fondant, and I'll be damned, there's partially hydrogenated oil in it. Argh! Does anyone know if Pettinice is reformulating their fondants so there is no trans-fats in it? And does anyone know if there's a commercially made fondant that does not have trans-fats? I really don't want to use anything other than Pettinice, because I like the way it handles. But this whole trans-fat thing may make me change brands. Info appreciated!
  15. So I don't know about the rest of you who are in the pastry and baking end of it professionally, but where I work the price of flour is just eating us alive. My boss is sort of freaking out. Most of our business is in organic artisan bread. Regular flour is expensive, but organic flour is REALLY expensive. My boss has already reduced the amount of organic loaves we make, and we are now making more non-organic loaves. People will only pay so much for a loaf of bread, so we can only raise prices so much......the rest, well, we have to "eat". How is this price increase affecting the rest of you? What are you doing to deal with it? Are you freaking out? How can I make my boss calm the f*&K down?
  16. Yes, I do something similar. If you add the powder to a large amount of melted chocolate, the powder doesn't all break apart and blend in. What I do is mix the powder with the tiniest amount of white chocolate in a small bowl and mix it all together.....as I am stirring I also press down with the rubber spatula to "grind" it in as Kerry describes. Once that is all mixed and smooth, then I add it back in the to rest of the chocolate.
  17. Ok, just take any old dessert that you have in your repertoire......panna cotta, molten chocolate cake....whatever......serve it on a plate that has swirled sauces on it (similar to Kim's suggestion about the swirled cheesecake), add a "peace sign tuile" and voila......groovy man!
  18. Oil based candy colors work fine to color white chocolate. However, I don't think you would be able to temper it anymore since you are adding a fat to it that is not cocoa butter. I use powdered color to color my white chocolate. You can find some here.
  19. Over at the Pastry and Baking forum there's been posts about bacon flavored desserts (such as ice cream). Today I found a recipe for bacon flavor vodka for your drinking pleasure. Pair it with some sausage infused vermouth for a morning Breakfast-tini!!! Bacon Vodka Makes one pint *Take some of your favorite bacon, and fry up about three strips. Or fry up bacon scraps if you wish. *Add the cooked bacon to a squeaky clean pint sized mason jar. For an extra kick, you can also add black peppercorns. *Pour your fav vodka in the jar. Screw on the lid and place in a dark place for at least three weeks.(Refrigeration not necessary) *At the end of the three weeks, put the jar in the freezer to solidify the fats. Strain out the fats through a coffee filter. You will now have a clear filtered pale yellow bacon vodka. *Pour into a decorative bottle to give as a gift, or just drink it right from the jar. Yeah baby! This recipe originally appeared on Brownie Points. Permission to reproduce it here is granted by a Creative Commons license.
  20. chefpeon

    Grooms cake

    Are you saying you want to make the whole cake including decorating it first before you freeze it? Or are you saying you just want to bake the cakes and freeze them, then decorate them just before the wedding? For the latter, you will not lose quality if you wrap the cakes well and freeze them right away. For the former, that's a lot trickier. Freezing cakes with fondant decorations is NOT a good idea. They're fine frozen, it's just that the thawing part is tricky. Depending on your climate conditions, the interior of the cake, the kind of fondant you use, and how it's thawed are all factors. Two really bad factors for you are "July" and "Lousiana". Humidity is the enemy of fondant. Add some heat in there and there's even more trouble. I know from personal experience that a frozen cake coming up to room temperature in my non-humid MILD climate (60 degrees) covered with fondant turned into a drippy icky mess. I don't actually know if this might have been alleviated if I had brought the cake out of it's frozen state in the refrigerator slowly, but somehow I think the results would have been the same. My professional and safest advice to you is, freeze the cake with the crumb coat on it, but do not apply the fondant and other decorations until the cake is thawed, but still cold, from the refrigerator. This is the safest thing to do. If you choose otherwise, then, well, that's the risk you elect to take.
  21. Thanks for that clarification alana. I make tons of sucree as well, and the mixer is fine for that.
  22. Just remember, when you use brown sugar, your dough will retain more moisture and be softer. The higher amount of brown sugar, the less crisp your final product will be. So assuming you are asking this question in regard to biscotti, go ahead and use a percentage of brown sugar for the flavor you like, but also know you will probably have to give it more time on the second bake (the one after you slice it up) to get the crispness biscotti needs.
  23. I must say, that I don't really like using a stand mixer for these types of doughs, but when you have to crank out massive amounts of it, one really doesn't have a choice. So true in my case. I have to crank out 200 hand made pies per week on average. There's no way I can make that kind of amount of pie dough by hand efficiently, and even our professional size food processor is simply too small. I have to use the 20 qt. mixer, and even then, I have to make more than one batch of dough to cover the amount for the pies I need. Even when I am ultra careful and only pulse the mixer and use ice cold everything (from flour, to butter to shortening to water), it still doesn't come out as nice as if I did it by hand or on the processor. This, however is a shortcoming I have to live with. There are dough cutter attachments for professional mixers; they look like a paddle, except they are just a flat piece of metal in the shape of the outline of the paddle. They work pretty well, but most of the bakeries I've worked in never had that particular attachment (unfortunately!) I'd REALLY like to have one for the 20 qt I have now. At home, I do those types of doughs by hand only. I might use my food processor, except I hate getting dishes dirty, so I don't. Besides, there's a satisfaction one gets by doing it by hand, dontcha know. So my advice for home bakers is, either do it by hand or on the processor. The stand mixer won't get you where you want to be as far as flakiness and tenderness.....believe me, I know.
  24. Damn. It's in Spanish. Let me know when the translated version comes out. One thing I am wondering about molecular gastronomy is, how the general public will take to it. I personally think it's way cool, but I live in an area where people are uber-health conscious. I'm surrounded by Raw Foodies, Vegans, Vegetarians.......food purists......they would gasp in horror at words like xanthan, pectin x58, pectin 325 nh, cremodan, agar agar, gellan, and carrageenan.......of course, I do believe all of these things are essentially "natural" aren't they? I think making food into mini-science experiments would be ultimately fun.
  25. McDuff.....you're 58! Holy cow, and all this time I thought you were a wise-ass whippersnapper. Funny how you visualize people from the way they write! I don't dare ask anyone what *I* look like........ Anyway, since you mentioned acupuncture, I have a mind to try it too......My 82 year old Mom swears by it and she's an old-fashioned skeptic. One thing K8 says is so true......even if you get surgery and drugs and treatment for whatever ails you, if you keep doing the same thing the same way, the injury just never goes away. I can certainly attest to that. Problem is, I don't know how to change anything I'm doing.......
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