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  1. I have noted several mentions of buttering filo dough to get the right texture and flavor. I thought I had mentioned this a couple of years ago, but maybe it was further back in time. I used to do a lot of things with filo dough when I was catering, both sweet and savory and I was always frustrated with the stuff tearing when I was brushing on the melted butter. Some time in that period I had a brainstorm and began using an oil sprayer and GHEE, since it is already liquid and all the particulates that might clog the sprayer have been strained out. The local Indian grocery carried the best quality ghee in quart jars. Spraying it on the sheets give an even coverage and it is so much quicker - I could do the pastries in half the time. So much time had been taken up with brushing and often re-melting the butter because I worked in a rather cool kitchen. Neither I or any of my clients ever noticed any difference in the more delicate sweet pastries and certainly not in the savory pastries. I got one of the trigger type sprayers that I think held a pint of oil. Since I don't use so much now I have one made by Evo that is smaller. I clean it after each use and store the ghee in its original jar.
  2. andiesenji

    Ratio of cinnamon to sugar in recipe

    I have some of the Frontier organic Vietnamese cinnamon that can blow your head off, spicy and very "sharp" flavor. I also have some of the Frontier, organic, fair trade CEYLON cinnamon that has wonderful flavor, quite sweet and is terrific in custards, puddings, etc. It has a component that is almost like cardamom. Very aromatic but not sharp. I use a blend of the two - 1 part Viet to 2 parts Ceylon in my cinnamon rolls.
  3. andiesenji

    How do I make Candied melon?

    You can more easily candy this DRIED CANTALOUP from nuts.com than using fresh melons. They also have dried cantaloup chunks. You only need a "light" simple syrup, 1 to 1 heat it in a crock pot on low for about 8 hours and check to see if the melon has become translucent. That is the point to stop, drain well place on a wire cooling rack over a pan and to speed things up use a fan to air dry it.
  4. andiesenji

    Waffle Varieties

    Do you mean like hot fruit compotes - such as spiced apples, similar to what would go on a Dutch Baby pancake or Blueberry or other berry compotes with or without toasted nuts? Or something more exotic? We used to have an omelet and waffle place here in Lancaster and they used the commercial prepared fruit pie fillings for toppings. With some they combined toasted nuts - as with the spiced apple. Slivered almonds with the blueberry, Walnuts with one, I can't recall which. It was very popular but they lost their location when the row of shops was demolished to make room for a supermarket and they couldn't find another suitable location at a reasonable rent. They only offered buttermilk and whole wheat waffles. There are any number of toppings: This Food and Wine article has seven. Here is a list of 101 toppings. When I was catering, I used to do brunches with a "Waffle Buffet" with a line up of toppings that the guests could apply themselves. The hosts and I would choose how many and what flavors of waffles and the same for the toppings. Usual number of hot toppings, other than syrups, was 8 although at a couple where there were many more guests, I did 12. The only one that required someone to serve it was the whipped cream, always last in line.
  5. I had a commercial GAS convection oven - Blodgett - for quite a few years. I used the convection when I had all 7 trays in use. (it was a 10-tray Blodgett but the space for the three bottom trays was taken up by an add-on steam fixture) For most cookies, pastries without thick fruit fillings, I had the temp set at 350°F + convection to get EVEN heating, and 8 minutes to bake. For larger, thicker cookies, the thick gingerbread, same temp 10-12 minutes - I always did a test run first. Most important was to bake all the same TYPE of cookies at the same time. the coconut macaroon cookies which were WETTER, took longer. Some were baked at a lower temp for longer. I had to experiment because the commercial formulas I had at the time or the "home type" cookies that I converted to larger batches did not have the times that I required. And when I first got the oven, the temperature calibration did not hold and I had to get the technician out several times until he added a sensor that did the trick. After that it only needed calibration once a year - except after the '94 earthquake when it was apparently as shaken as I was. When I sold the Blodgett the buyer had all the burners cleaned, new sensors and of course re-calibrated after the move. I haven't spoken to him for a few years but he was able to start baking, using my formulas with no problems.
  6. I bought the original Food That Really Schmecks in 1968 when it was first published. And the More edition. I was interested in Mennonite and Amish cooking. There were Amish communities in the area in Kentucky where I was born and raised so I was familiar with the foods, which are very similar.
  7. I had a set of hole drills years ago that I used for drilling different sized holes in squash, melons, etc., for making centerpieces when I was catering. They were only about 2 inches long so not really long enough to drill through a potato end to end, but they were very hand for my tasks.
  8. They use them to core zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, etc. I have a longer strait one. And two or three apple corers. There was a definite fad about three or four years ago of coring and stuffing all kinds of things. This one overall is 11 inches long.
  9. I have a "vintage" metal one somewhere in one of the boxes of old kitchen gadgets I have collected over the years. And then I have a newer set, a gift from a friend, that is somewhere hidden in with newer junk. I will look for it later, meanwhile here is the only photo I could find of it on line. My friend bought it at the kitchen outlet store on the I-10 on the way to Palm Springs.
  10. andiesenji

    Buttermilk as A Substitute for...

    Yes, the homemade stuff is much thicker. But there are a couple of commercial brand that are thicker, more like the cultured buttermilk and unsweetened.
  11. andiesenji

    Buttermilk as A Substitute for...

    According to a nutritionist friend, KEFIR is equivalent to clabbered milk and can me made with regular milk. The nutritional profile is almost identical, with none of the problems of obtaining raw milk and without the possibilities of a pathogen sneaking in.
  12. I remember this so well and how proud I was when cook handed me a metal pitcher - probably held about a quart - and sent me down to get some fresh molasses at the filter. I was finally big enough to be trusted to carry it up to the house without spilling it. One of my "chores" probably to get me out from under foot in the kitchen. Either my grandpa or my grandmother would put some butter in a bowl and pour in the sorghum and mix it till it looked like marble, the colors swirled together. We called the mixture "scumble" and until I got more control over my flatware, the stuff was applied to my biscuits for me. The bulk of the sorghum was put into gallon cans. Some, that was going to Ft. Campbell for the Army, went into 5-gallon cans. For us kids, the "cook off" of the sorghum was fascinating as it started in one "pan" and when it reached a certain point was filtered into a second "pan" and finally into the "finishing pan" where it was tested with fascinating instruments that we were warned never to touch. Before it went into the tank from which it was canned, there was a spigot on the side of a pipe and that is where one of the workers would draw off the still warm molasses for immediate consumption. It was a clear light amber, close to the color of maple syrup. As it aged, it would darken and it also got thicker. Cook had several things she made with the fresh molasses. A pudding made with cornmeal and apples. Pies, cakes, "stack" cakes and candy. Molasses taffy, which required the cook and both the women who worked with her in the kitchen to "pull" it till it was light and fluffy.
  13. I'm a bit late coming in on this but thought perhaps you might be interested in trying real black currants, freeze-dried. from Nuts.com I use some for baking but mostly I use them to make a black currant drink, often combined with hibiscus and sweetened with stevia since these two things are so strongly flavored, they overpower the residual flavor of the stevia. You can eat them out of hand but they are extremely tart. For baking for each half cut, I mix about 3 tablespoons of sugar into the dry berries and just cover with hot water, putting a weight on top so they stay submerged. They are pretty well plumped after an hour. They are very light so 2 pounds is a large volume. I ordered 2 pounds last December. It filled this 8 liter container and I still have this much left and I used a lot for drinks during the hot weather.
  14. andiesenji

    Buttermilk as A Substitute for...

    If you google it, there are at least a dozen pages.
  15. andiesenji

    Buttermilk as A Substitute for...

    It doesn't curdle if prepared correctly. I have cookbooks from the late 19th century with recipes for buttermilk pie, puddings, fillings for pastries. Buttermilk - cultured buttermilk kept longer than regular milk, the same as "clabbered" milk. Before refrigeration, especially in the south, it was stored in crocks set into barrels, tubs or if they had a "spring house" directly in the stone "run off" from the spring, which was often extremely cold. But cooks in New England used it, the Pennsylvania Dutch used it extensively. When I was little, one of the most common nursery foods was buttermilk blancmange - one of my earliest food memories.