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Everything posted by takomabaker

  1. Okay, I'll make you feel better. This was MY Sunday! 1. Caramel filled truffles. I had some pre-formed truffle shells, but I think I screwed up the caramel filling because by the time it was cool enough to pipe into the shells, it was too hard to pipe into the shells. Finally bit the dust and figured it HAD to be cool enough and piped away. When I tempered my chocolate and went to plug the shells, they had..... well, let's just say the caramel was NOT cool enough to fill the shells. One tray of truffle shells and one recipe caramel in the trash. 2. Successfully (thank GOD) lined one bon-bon tray with milk chocolate. Filled with cashew butter ganache. Sealed bottoms. Whoo. Started on nougatine. Heated almonds on half-sheet tray and re-weighed almonds on scale. Set half-sheet aside. Brought sugar/glucose to 248. Didn't look right. Shouldn't it be darker? Sugar starting to burn. Eek. Poured almonds in. Added butter. Stirred madly. Grabbed half sheet with bare hands to line with silpat to pour in nougatine. Forgot half sheet was hot. Dropped half sheet on top of setting bon bon mold. Grabbed half sheet with towel, but not before half of the bon bon bottoms had melted onto bottom of hot half sheet. Burned nougatine AND right hand. 3. I won't go into my white chocolate-raspberry ganache. Let's just say: 1-1/2 pounds of white callebaut... bye bye!!! It was HORRIBLE! I finally made a batch of fleur de sel caramels. I was amazed, but I did not screw those up. At least SOMETHING turned out okay. It was a cursed Sunday.
  2. I found mine on Ebay for about $40, but they sell "retail" at Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table for about $80. I just saw a really, really cool one that has a probe in it so you can use it as both a laser thermometer or a probe thermometer in the latest Sur La Table catalogue. The unfortunate thing about them is that they only measure surface temps. I use mine for checking the oven temp, and for working with chocolate and sugar. I have gotten so dependent on it for tempering chocolate that I couldn't live without it for that alone. Edited to add, here it is.... sur la table laser with probe
  3. I was taught that laminated doughs, which of course includes puff, lose layers the longer it hangs around. So, the longer it sits in the refrigerator, the more likely it is that the layers will melt into one another and the pastry will lose flakiness. That said, about 6 months ago I had some leftover puff from another project that I wrapped and stuck in the fridge and forgot about. I had meant to vacuum seal it and freeze it, but I lost track of it. When I came across it about 3 days later I felt that it was past it's prime so I used it to make some sweet palmiers. They weren't the lightest, flakiest palmiers I have ever made, but no one who ate them complained. I would think that you could, however, freeze the shaped palmiers, then bake them in a very hot oven directly from the freezer. I've never done this, so I'm just speculating, but knowing the nature of laminated doughs I would think this would be a direction to research.
  4. I LOVE my hearth kit. But after I moved it in and out a few times when necessary (such Thanksgiving turkey time) and experiencing the same difficulties that you described, I finally just kept the bottom part of it in the lowest rack in my oven all the time, and I put in and take out the sides when I want to. I find that just removing the sides makes the hearth kit less "beastly". I don't own your oven, but try to just leave the bottom part of the hearth kit in the lowest part of the oven and see if it works. It does for me. Also, I test the temp with a laser thermometer. I find it more accurate than the one that came with the kit.
  5. I got together with some baking friends and bought 25 lbs. and split it up. I have a vacuum sealer and sealed it in 2 pound increments. This qualifies for free shipping, so if you REALLY love almond flour or have some pals who want to split it up with you, this is the way to go in my book. alber uster almond flour When I run out and need to buy it on my own, I have much better luck with KA almond flour that Bob's. Per pound it's twice as expensive than buying in bulk at AU, but it works in a pinch. KA almond flour Also, I've been wondering about this, but the price just makes it seem too good to be true, frankly. I don't know how fine it actually grinds. KA nut grinder I only use Bob's if I'm really desperate. It's more like almond meal than almond flour. I don't get very good results from it. Frankly, I'd be inclined to make my own in my FP first. I'm a macaron and frangipane junkie, so I like having a lot around. When we made pistachio macarons in class, we did grind our own pistachio flour with a little AP, but we sifted it through a drum sifter (regrinding the larger bits as needed). You can buy pistachio flour at Albert Uster, but I make pistachio macarons only a few times a year (although I do LOVE them) so I tend to continue this way. I would imagine I could get better results from doing the same with almonds than using Bob's, frankly.
  6. My grandmother made something suspiciously similar for Christmas every year, called a Hummingbird Cake. I did some research on Southern Living's website. You only have access to the recipes as a subscriber, and I believe that only posting the ingredients is not a copyright infringement, so here are the ingredients for both: Southern Living Magazine's Italian Cream Cake: 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 1/2 cup shortening 2 cups sugar 5 large eggs, separated 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup flaked coconut Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting Garnishes: toasted pecan halves, chopped pecans Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting 1 cup chopped pecans 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted Hummingbird Cake (which they bill as the most requested recipe in Southern Living history") 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 large eggs, beaten 1 cup vegetable oil 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained 1 cup chopped pecans 2 cups chopped bananas Cream Cheese Frosting 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  7. Taste of Morocco and Mandalay are not strictly vegetarian, but offer great veggie options. Also, Red Dog cafe, which is not in downtown SS but is worth a few minutes drive, has great vegetarian pizzas and I think they have a soy cheese option for vegans (I dream about their brown pie). Here's a good source (scroll down for SS): vegdc.com
  8. Thanks!!! MUCH closer than Flushing! I use it for canning, cheesemaking, and one cookie recipe.
  9. I'm looking for citric acid/sour salt. I'm currently getting it in New York (Queens) when it is my turn to make the trip up 95 (long-distance relationship woes), but I KNOW that it has to exist someplace closer, preferably Maryland. Anyone?
  10. Inspired by the rose macarons (above), I did a quick "Google" search to find a rose ganache recipe. I found what I was looking for here rose ganache but despite 8 years of French study I am unable to decipher the ingredients. I have some rose water at home that I bought for a Moroccan dessert, but I don't know the difference between sirop de rose (Shah) and d’essence alcoolique de Rose (Sevarôme). One appears to be rose syrup and one rose water, but I'm not familiar with rose syrup. Can someone who knows French better than moi help? I would love to try these.
  11. I order it from the KA catalogue, but I think Bob's Mill also makes it. Here is one of my favorite uses for it (among others). KA soft roll recipe
  12. Cool! Thanks all! I figured I'd better ask before I bought out the clearance rack. I use potato flour in bread baking. It keeps bread from going stale as quickly. I also have a favorite pastry recipe that I use for sweet rolls that uses potato flour.
  13. I bake a few regular items with potato flour. I was in my local grocery store last night and wandered past a cart of half-priced Kosher items. Boxes of potato starch caught my eye. The ingredient list states only "potato starch". Does anyone know if this the same thing as potato flour?
  14. I LOVE Fine Cooking and I am so glad that this topic was started. Completely inadvertently, I created a Fine Cooking menu this weekend that rocked. I needed to make a portable meal for a friend who had just had knee surgery. It was very well-recieved, and the Banoffee Pie was great for breakfast on Sunday morning with coffee (my friend would only let us leave half of the leftover pie at her house). Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing (from Issue 33, but also on their website) Tom Colicchio's Pork Shoulder Braised with Apple Cider, Thyme and Tomatoes (Issue 49) Banoffee Pie (issue 50) Edited to add (after reading about buttercream woes) that there is a video instruction on Fine Cooking's homepage for buttercream that I found really helpful. fine cooking buttercream demo
  15. Hi again. I live a few miles from College Park. It is such a wasteland for anything but "college" food. There used to be a GREAT Burmese restaurant in College Park that moved to Silver Spring a few years back called Mandalay. Great for Silver Spring, bad for College Park, but definitely worth the short trek. It's moderately priced, very unusual, and has a great deal of protein on the menu. Very highly recommended, but can also get very crowded during dinner hour on weekends. It is very popular for a reason! http://www.mandalayrc.com/ With the exception of Lupo's, I have tried liked all of the other places that have been mentioned as well.
  16. I hate to say it, because the food is overpriced and it sucks, but when my 10-year-old nephew visits, or my friends from college with an 11-year-old daughter, it's Dave and Busters! Sometimes it's worth eating a crappy hamburger just to have some peace.
  17. Verjus, anyone? Hopefully in Maryland or DC? Also, has anyone seen salsify?
  18. Hi, I work in Penn Quarter and my favorite "expense account" lunches are: Jaleo (as mentioned) Poste (had a business lunch there on Friday -- wild mushroom consomme to die for) Zaytinya (probably my VERY favorite lunch spot) Zola Andale Cafe Atlantico Clyde's (newly opened a few months ago) My favorite "I'm Paying" spots are: Teaism Ella's Brick Oven Pizza Ginger Cove Matchbox (highly recommended) either café in the National Gallery (if I am taking a longer lunch) the cafe in Olson's books edited to add that Matchbox is REALLY busy at lunch and usually has a crowd waiting outside for a table, so they do rush you a bit. So, that might not work for you.
  19. A friend of mine brought me some Minor's veal base when she visited me, singing its praises and telling me how great it is. I made the mistake of trying it out in a reduction sauce. I should have read the label and I would have seen how much salt was added (it's the second ingredient). It was the nastiest, saltiest reduction I have ever made and it went right down the disposal. It was reminiscent of that powdered onion soup mix from the 70's that everyone used to make dip with. ICK!! I noticed that they have a "low sodium" and "no msg" version, but I'm a bit wary of a company that ever thought msg and salt in a stock base was a good idea in the first place and needed to come out with "versions" with low salt and msg. I would definitely e-mail them and ask them if they add salt to their demi-glace if you want to try it. Because they sure do to their veal stock!
  20. I had the same problem with a Le Creuset pot, and someone on this site recommended Dawn Power Dissolver to me. It worked like a charm. I swear by it now! It's amazing stuff.
  21. I was in San Francisco on business a few weeks ago. One afternoon, I played hooky from my conference and I made my way to the Ferry Building and did some serious damage to my credit card balances. During my purchasing orgy in Cowgirl Creamery, I asked the salelady if they were opening a store in DC anytime soon, as I had heard. I think the Post mentioned it months ago, but I hadn't heard anything since. She told me yes, and told me the neighborhood was Penn Quarter (my work neighborhood -- Yeah!). She wrote the address and opening date on a brochure and put it into my bag. But by the time I made it back home, I couldn't find it. I must have left it in my hotel room or thrown it away by accident. But I just checked their website and they have it listed. It will be 919 F St. I do remember that the salesperson in San Francisco said it was opening in March, but the website doesn't confirm that. I hope it's soon. I can hardly wait! We had a little San Francisco picnic in our living room when I got home. Cowgirl Creamery cheeses. Sourdough bread. Stonehouse olive oils (VERY yummy -- I'll be mail ordering more of that). Recchiuti chocolates. Macarons from a little organic bakery, Miette. Satsuma mandarin oranges from one of the outside farm stands. It was awesome. The cheeses were amazing. I can hardly wait to be able to buy them on my lunch hour!
  22. Thanks. I am using a 525 watt KA. The speed tips are a great help. Maybe I'll have some time to try a batch this weekend.
  23. I grew up in Florida and my mother sends me BOXES of key limes from the tree in her yard. I've frozen all of the juice that my freezer will hold. Your problem is an ongoing struggle for me, sometimes solved with a simple, impromtu margarita party. Here are a few links I've accumulated. I haven't actually made all of these things, but it's an ongoing quest to collect ideas. I hope they help. Key Lime Stack key lime creme brulee key lime marscarpone cannoli with Mango Sauce This one I can highly recommend. key lime sparkler cookies This last one came from my mother. She bought one of the supermarket checkout cookie cookbooks and we used key limes instead of the persian called for in the recipe. VERY good!!!! http://www.landolakes.com/mealIdeas/ViewRe...?RecipeID=11328 Also, Marcel Desaulniers has a chocolate key lime bar recipe in one of his cookbooks (I think the cookie one) that is an old standbye of mine. And, I just bought Chocolate Obsession last week, and I'm dying to try the Key Lime Pears! My mother just called me this morning and mentioned that she had a box ready to go out with both meyer lemons and key limes. I might try the pears this weekend.
  24. Julia did, God bless her!: Child loves to use butter and cream in her recipes, bucking the national trend for low-fat, healthy living. Her secret of staying trim, despite the rich diet? "I don't eat so much butter and cream -- just enough! And no snacking. That's very important."
  25. I meant 16 calories a teaspoon, which is what I have always been told at least. Sorry. It was a typo. I'm about as much of a Southern, sweet tea drinking gal as they come, and I don't think I put much more than a teaspoon in one glass of iced tea. Maybe it's cultural, but sweet tea and Splenda just ain't right. I suppose it's a matter of taste or health concerns. My partner is a South Beach addict, and she swears by Splenda. I won't let her within 50 feet of me with the stuff. Bleh! But I also try very hard to not consume anything overly processed or fake -- including margarine or artificial sweeteners. I'm not always successful, but I do try. Well, sugar is actually about 50 calories a tablespoon, and a lot of people who like sweet tea are going to want a bit more than 1 tablespoon of sugar in their tea. Certainly if we are talking subbing Splenda for sugar in all of our sweetened drinks, the calorie savings are not trivial at all, easily hundreds of calories a day. I'd rather save the calories for something for which there is not IMHO a good low-cal substitute. Like buttercream. ←
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