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Everything posted by takomabaker

  1. I have a tilt-head that I got for Christmas years and years ago that has always been just fine for me -- and I love to make brioche and similar doughs. But I would have preferred a bowl-lift if I could have gotten away with exchanging it and not hurting my mother's feelings.
  2. takomabaker

    Pate a Choux

    Curried chicken salad
  3. I had a business lunch at Poste in D.C. awhile ago and had a Meyer lemon and rock shrimp risotto that was really nice. I've tried to recreate it, but haven't quite gotten it right yet.
  4. takomabaker


    Not bread, but the pear cardamon custard pie in Four Star Desserts is to die for. I made it for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to rave reviews. BTW, I buy cardamon pods at Penzey's and crush the seeds myself. I think it makes a difference in the flavor and it stays fresh longer.
  5. In reference to you comment about not being able to get rid of your Silver Palate cookbook... me either. It was one of my first cookbooks. I was in college and living in a dorm with only a shared "kitchenette" on my floor. I used to flip through it and mark recipes for "some day" in anticipation of graduation and a real kitchen. Unfortunately, I was a theatre major and my first kitchen was in a group home with eight other company members who were all vegetarians. And we worked from about 10 AM until well after midnight every day but Monday so we didn't cook much anyway. Now that I have my own little house with an equity loan payment for my kitchen remodeling and three floor-to-ceiling Ikea bookshelves full of cookbooks I haven't thought about my Silver Palate cookbook in years. You've inspired me to pull it down and take a look at those dog-eared pages again.
  6. Key Lime Pie made with persian limes, or worse yet with persian limes and green food coloring.
  7. I don't like sprays. They gum up my pans and get everywhere. I melt and clarify my butter, then brush it in my pan or mold with a pastry brush.
  8. QUOTE(I have always received the 'As Seen On TV' gifts @ and I cannot think of a single one that worked. The worst was the T-Fal Ingenio cookware (the ones with the clip on handles).This year, my worst has to be the LePresse chopper. You push down on a handle to chop your food through a type of mold. [img) http://buyinnovations.com/images/products/13_1013527859.jpg I'm sorry, but the WORST is "The Chocolate Factory" -- basically just a cheap, crappy double-boiler. http://www.nyproducts.com/cf.htm/ It will "turn ordinary desserts into the extraordinary" for only $15.95 plus shipping.
  9. Has anyone else ever made that tuna fish/potato chip/cream of something soup casserole? They actually taught us how to make it in Girl Scouts (in Pensacola, Florida if that explains anything) when I was about 9. It was the first thing I think I cooked by myself. I just loved it. My mother used to throw it away when I wasn't looking.
  10. My SO is a Mac and Cheese LOVER and makes it with a combination of Velveeta and Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar. For years, I ran from the house screaming every time she pulled out the Velveeta. I pretended I didn't know her in checkout line at the supermarket. I hid the Velveeta box behind the jar of pickled fiddleheads and wasabi mustard before guests came over. But she talked me into trying it and I have to admit that it's not too bad in a "I can't friggin' believe I'm actually consuming Velveeta" kind of way.
  11. I got a microwavable ice cream scoop (the scoop end supposedly heats up in order to better penetrate hard ice cream). I also got one of those tv advertised whisk/tongs that does not do even a mediocre job at either task. Gee, how could I have lived without either!
  12. A macabre New York cannoli story: My father-in-law passed away just two weeks before Christmas. My partner and I live in DC, and she went to NY about every week to check on him. She stopped at our favorite Italian bakery on the way to his house, and called me to get a cannoli order. Since we were going to a Christmas party that evening when she returned I asked her to pick up two dozen for the party and a dozen for us, and she picked up a dozen for her father. An hour later she called me, obviously very upset, because she had found her father in a bad way. Of course, I dropped my holiday baking, called my boss, and aimed the Honda up I-95. We unfortunately lost her father, and with the usual chaos that ensues from such an event we didn't stop for many meals, and as a typical New Yorker my partner doesn't believe in keeping anything but baking soda and tonic water in a refrigerator. But we did have cannolis. Four dozen of them. I love New York cannolis, but I don't think I'll be eating another one for a very long time. But they do have a distinct filling that is different than any cannoli I've had anywhere else. My partner's family thinks that Vaccaro's in Baltimore's Little Italy comes close, and I have to agree (although my Southern vote hardly counts to them). But it is a little sweeter there.
  13. takomabaker

    Wedding food

    Wow, I can't believe you are doing your OWN wedding catering. That's amazing, with everything else you will have going on. I did a friend's very casual wedding last July, and I needed to make most everything in advance and haul it two states away. I made a really sensual fruit platter with champagne grapes and figs and star fruit and strawberries, etc. with a cream cheese/whipped cream dip that was a big hit. I made some filo "cigars" filled with a mixture of walnuts and feta cheese that I froze and popped in the oven right before the reception. I made some savory palmiers with puff pastry and some onion confit that I also froze and prepared right before the reception. I made chicken sate skewers with the traditional Thai peanut dipping sauce. Proscuitto-wrapped shrimp. Bruschetta spread with aioli, then topped with sauteed shiitake mushrooms and melted manchego (assembled and broiled right before the reception). A "too-easy-terrine" that I make by mixing cream cheese and feta and parmesan in the FP, layering it in a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap with purchased olive tapenade and sundried tomato tapenade unmolded and served with sliced bread. Everyone loved it. It was a good menu for a casual wedding and reception of about 25 people.
  14. I cool down my stock by floating the largest sized ziplock bags with the zipper tops filled with ice cubes in the strained stock. I can usually cool it down enough this way (it takes a few bags and they need to be refilled with ice a few times) to put it in the fridge safely to continue cooling. I've tried the blue cooler things in ziplock bags (because I've heard horror stories about them leaking), but they cool down so quickly that they are not worth the freezer space for me, especially since I need every inch of my freezer space for stock. And the ice-filled ziplock bags do a bit of preliminary defatting because fat clings to the cold bags. I would appreciate any advice about brown stock. I bought some really nice veal bones from a free-range farmer that frequents my local farmers' market and made some AWFUL stock with them. I don't know if I roasted the bones too long, if I used an inferior tomato paste, if the fact that I let my stock accidentally come to a boil for a few minutes after I started simmering it, or if it was the fact that I just used bones and no meat (I have heard of brown stock being made both ways) ruined it, but it was bitter and too horrible to reduce. Ick! I'm in the midst of reading the stock lesson. I want to try again and get it right! Edited: Wow, I just read the third section on stocks and realized that my ice cube in a ziplock bag isn't so originall! But it did raise a another question on brown stock. In the initial roasting, I roast some vegetables along with the meat/bones and add them to the final stock. Could this be what made my brown stock bitter? This is the way to make brown vegetarian stock, so I can't imagine that in itself this method would produce bitter stock.
  15. Funny you should mention Lithuanian... My grandmother, the daughter of two Lithuanian immigrants, passed away almost exactly a year ago at the age of 89. Toward the end of her life she started craving the traditional Lithuanian food that her mother had made her, specifically a sardine soup that she ate as a child. I don't know the recipe, but she did tell me that her neighbors in her retirement complex came knocking to request that she never make it again. Apparently, you could smell it three buildings away. She said it was delicious, though. Just like my great-grandmother used to make.
  16. This is Evelyn's recipe from Recipezaar. She has a treasure trove of Greek recipes on this site. I haven't made these, and am generally wary of most "recipe site" recipes, but everything else that I have ever made of her's is fantastic. Kourambiedes (A Greek Christmas Cookie) #76513 by evelyn/athens Basically a Greek butterball cookie recipe. These, with Melomakarona, are found in every Greek home during the Christmas Holidays. I go through phases. One year, or for a couple of years, these are my favourites, then Melomakarona are, and I keep switching back and forth. They're both wonderful! These keep wonderfully, long after Christmas is over, if any are left. — 2 cups butter, softened 2 egg yolks 3-4 cups flour 1 cup icing sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 tablespoon brandy 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup almonds, chopped and roasted some rose water or orange flower water (available in many ethnic groceries) or ouzo extra icing sugar, for rolling the cookies in 70-80 cookies Change size or US/metric | 30 minutes 15 mins prep 1. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer for 15 minutes, until it begins to turn white. 2. Add the egg yolks, the brandy, and gradually add the flour, until you have a dough that is neither too soft nor too firm (you may need to add slightly more than the amount I've written); stir in the almonds. 3. Let the dough stand for an hour in a warm place covered by a towel. 4. Next, with small amounts (about 1 1/2 teaspoons of dough), shape small rounds by gently rolling the dough around between the palms of your hands. 5. Arrange the round cookies on a buttered pan and flatten ever so slightly on top with your hand. 6. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. 7. Immediately upon removing the kourambiedes from the oven, sprinkle them with rose water (or orange water or ouzo. I do this by putting a small amount of the liquid in a bowl, wetting my fingertips, and shaking the droplets over the hot cookies a few times. The scented water or ouzo gives the cookies a very delicate fragrance). 8. Roll the hot cookies in icing sugar to cover and let cool. 9. When cool, arrange on a pretty holiday platter, sieving more icing sugar between the cookie layers to give a snowdrift effect.
  17. I thought that the reason I may have lost the enamel coating on the bottom of my dutch oven (see my other post above) is because I used to soak it in a bleach and water solution to remove stains. But if you have been doing it for 12 years then perhaps it was another reason. I have decided that I will just live with stains on my new dutch oven. It's a pot, after all. The most I use is Bon Ami.
  18. I contacted LC when the enamel coating came off the bottom of my dutch oven. Frankly, I inherited my LC pieces from my mother, and I think some of them are about as old as I am. Their customer service department told me to ship them the damaged piece and they would determine whether the problem was misuse or a manufacturer's defect. I did so, and they sent me a letter stating that they did not feel that the enamel coating peeling up was a manufacturing defect, but they would send me a new "second" dutch oven for about $50 plus shipping (I don't remember the exact amount but it was somewhere between $50 and $80 with the shipping). It seemed like a pretty good deal, considering that the dutch oven costs over $200. I guess it depends how much you paid on Ebay. And just more LC praising: I had a crowd over on Friday night and had to sear a mess of steaks quickly. I pulled out my All Clad 14" and my LC uncoated 14" and heated them up on two burners. The All Clad didn't even come CLOSE to the good sear I got on the LC.
  19. This is pretty interesting. I never realized that there was such pie diversity! Mom's family family is pretty old American-- immigrated in the early and mid-17th century to New England and South Carolina -- but has been in Florida since the early 19th century. This side is pretty huge as well, so we usually have somewhere between 7 and 12 pies, depending on how many are brought by relatives to supplement my grandmother's. 2-3 pumpkin (right off the Libby's label) one cherry (right out of the Comstock can! Grandma's been doing it that way for years!) 2-3 key limes (from my grandmother's tree) 1-2 pecan (right off the Karo label) 1 mincemeat (my mother makes it every year and it's pretty bad) an occassional apple and usually a hummingbird cake or a coconut cake that is an old family recipe Dad is half Lithuanian and half Irish. His father passed on when he was very young so I only knew my Lithuanian relatives. My paternal grandmother was never very domestic and would get an occassional a rare burst of domesticity and would make me blintzes or potato pancakes (which she made extremely well but extremely rarely), but Thanksgiving was usually pretty simple and the pie was usually a Mrs. Smith's pumpkin. She didn't get a lot of domesticity bursts around the holidays. Now that I do Thanksgiving on my own for my friends (I only fly home for Christmas), I make a pumpkin, pecan, apple, and usually try to do something creative with pears. This year I made the pear custard tart with cardamon from Four Star Desserts. It was great.
  20. I don't know a thing about Kosher, being a Southern DAR girl. But I do know greens for the aforementioned reason, and I know that you can buy sliced smoked turkey legs (bones and all) at the "Soul Food" Safeway on the corner of Georgia and Piney Branch just over the Takoma Park MD/DC line. High cholesterol has forced me to improvise.... This is good-- VERY good. I work in Silver Spring. But, alas, I don't know where the kosher markets are. But I'll find them! Great idea on the turkey leg folks-- perfect, in fact! ←
  21. I thought that most professional chefs consider the hand protector on mandolines "wimpy". Just quoting an old friend of mine who had her own catering business... I work in advertising. A few years ago, after pulling an all-nighter on a new creative pitch and while cleaning up before leaving at about 8 AM, an account exec comes into the studio and begs me to prepare some presentation boards for a meeting she has in an hour. All I want to do is go home and fall into bed and sleep for two days, so I tell her to go find someone else to comp them. She starts crying that she's going to get fired, etc. so I angrily grab some double black board, a triangle, and an Xacto to cut down the board and swipe down across the left side of my index finger effectively trimming my finger as well as the board about 1/8". Of course, my creative director comes barreling into the studio crying "Don't bleed on the comps. For godsake, don't bleed on the comps" while I'm squirting blood all over the studio. No pity at all! I still have a scar, but when I came in the next morning one of the studio artists asked if I could clean the piece of my finger off the Xacto because they were running short on blades and no one would use the one with my body part still attached. I've used Xacto blades pretty much daily for 15 years of my life, and that's the only nasty accident I've ever had. But it taught me two things: 1. Don't use sharp objects when you are a bad combination of overtired and pissed off; and 2. If you work with sharp objects daily, it's only a matter of time... So, when I started taking cooking classes I prioritized knife skills. The chef/instructor remarked that I caught on pretty quickly. So, I told him, "Well, I've always worked in advertising...." So far only had to make one trip to the emergency room after learning the hard way why mandolines come with the hand protecter -- the nurse who bandaged where the tip of my finger was refered to mandolines as "finger guillotines" (I did have insurance.) ←
  22. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's done that, except I was trying to keep the oven steamed while baking bread and it exploded all over the inside of my oven. And cracking eggs directly into the Kitchenaid, rather than pouring them in from a cup. I ruined a batch of Brioche that way.
  23. I'm not a professional pastry chef and don't claim to be an expert, but in the pastry course that I took a while back I THOUGHT we were taught that French buttercream was a whole egg buttercream and Italian and Swiss were meringue buttercreams. But I could be wrong. Am I wrong? I would love to have clarification.
  24. I have always worked in the creative departments of advertising agencies. In every job I have ever had, I have been required (as well as my co-workers) to sign a contract stating that any "intellectual property" is owned by the agency during my employment tenure. Mostly this is to keep other agencies from taking clients and then hiring the creative team and taking the entire campaign out of from under them. But I have seen it used for evil purposes. For example, I worked for a large agency that was doing a re-compete for a client they had for 15 years. An art director and copywriter team had been hired several months earlier by one of the other agencies competing for the account. Despite the fact that the art director and copywriter had NEVER worked on the account that was up for grabs when they worked with me, this did not stop my employer from having their lawyers send a letter to the other agency threatening legal action based on the intellectual property contract that they had signed if the agency did not drop their bid for the account. My employer was just being a BIG jerk. The agency that was threatened was a small shop that did not have an entire full-time legal department at their disposal. I always figured that most of industries that deal in creative or intellectual property would have similar requirements. Don't chefs have to sign similar contracts with employers? I take pastry courses (whether I actually change my career or not is still in question) and I HAVE noticed that some chefs copyright their recipes and some do not. I have always, as a general rule, not shared recipes that are not "general" recipes. I don't think I would worry about sharing a recipe for brioche, but I probably would not share a recipe for something like twice-baked dried cherry brioche on any public forum or in a setting where I might get credit for it. But I might make my own variation on the recipe and not feel badly about it. Isn't that the point, to use the recipes from those who teach you to get your own creative juices going and to build on their ideas? In which case, you are doing what you are PAID to do as a professional in ANY creative field.
  25. I had a similar college cauliflower experience. I was doing a costuming internship once summer. I was a theater major, a vegetarian, and flat broke. I would melt butter with some store-bought curry powder, pour it over a head of cauliflower, and roast it for dinner. I ate that quite a bit in those days, but haven't done it for probably 15 years. Never did the supermodel thing for me, either.
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