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  1. amclaud

    Amedei Chuao

    I don't know that chuao, or any of amedei's chocolates, are meant to be used for cooking/baking... With all the effort that goes into making one tiny little square of chocolate, shouldn't you just leave it be and appreciate it as is? If nothing else.... isn't the price a bit prohibitive?
  2. Try Cafe Luigi's on North Clark -- floppy and greasy, just like the East-Coasters like it!
  3. My husband and I utilize bookstores for date nights/ cookbook research. We will each pick a pile to browse, grab a cup of coffee and hang out for hours... If we find ourselves wanting to browse the same book more than 3 times, we deem it purchase-worthy, and will either buy it on the spot or look for a deal online. Too many books seem really appealing at first glance, only to proove mostly useless once you bring them home.
  4. Any smallish shaped pasta tossed with brown butter, toasted breadcrumbs and chick peas. All stuff you should have in your fridge/pantry even if you haven't been grocery shopping in a month -- as is often the case in our house! (edit) ooh -- and a pinch of esplette pepper in there is great too!!
  5. I really like the Panda brand, but tastes vary. I thought I was a major black licorice fan, but I tried one from Australia a while back that was WAY too robust for me! I don't know the brand name, but the Scottie-Dog shaped ones are good too -- and awfully cute!
  6. amclaud


    You can cook farro bunches of ways -- just like other grains. I've had good luck with... Cooking it like risotto -- a nuttier, chewier, but feels so healty version. Soaking and adding to soup like you would barley. Cook like you would pasta, but in way too much liquid (stock, etc.). Let cool in the liquid and drain. Serve re-warmed or cold. Yummy and healthy! In these times of "eat more fiber" farro is a welcome addition to my diet!
  7. For those of you who are pro's -- does anyone else use the convection oven for choux? I use my deck ovens for almost everything, but for choux and puff pastry I always go convection. With the choux I find this gives me the best results -- and quickly. I get a nice, fully cooked, brown exterior but the insides are still moist... not undercooked, but moist. I don't, however, have the best luck with choux piped the day before and baked from frozen or chilled. I never get the same puff as when I bake them right away. And freezing them after baking leaves them soggy.... and then when I re-crisp them they seem to dry. I guess I'm only satisfied when they're baked the same day...
  8. amclaud

    Cocoa Nibs

    If you have access to a Whole Foods, they should carry the Scharffen-Berger brand. This is by far my favorite brand. They come in much larger pieces and seem fresher than those from Vahlrona. You can also buy them online at Scharffen-Berger I think they were around $9 for a 6 ounce bag. I also love the tips in Alice Medrich'sBittersweet -- her info on what types of baked good the nibs work in is really helpful.
  9. If you are looking for pastry projects, creme fraiche (I know it's not cheese, but dairy related) is super easy to make and way more cost effective than buying it. I make two third-pans at a time. In each combine 1/2 c. sugar, 1 quart buttermilk, and 4 quarts heavy cream (try to avoid the ultra-pasteurized kind) and leave it out for 3 days (only 2 in the summer), then chill for one. I drain off the liquid that settles to the bottom and it's ready to use!
  10. Constantly using: -The Last Course, by Claudia Fleming -Bittersweet, by Alice Medrich -Paris Sweets, by Dorie Greenspan I do find myself frequently peeking at my husband's more savory themed books though... Babbo Cookbook, Gotham's, The Food of France/Italy... And I am currently intrigued by Michel Bras' Pasty Notebook.
  11. Just before I met my husband at the CIA, he placed second in a "Food of Spain" cooking contest. They had to come up with a menu item using a certain number of "Spanish" ingredients (sherry vinegar, serrano ham, piquillo peppers, manchego, etc...) The guy who placed first was unable to accept the prize, so my husband recieved an all-expense-paid 3 week trip to Spain. He spent one week in a cooking school, one week at a restaurant called Tragaluz in Barcelona, and a third week basking in the Medditerranean sun at a lovely resort. He also found time to visit Bilbao and dine at the Guggenheim restaurant. He was also one of the 2003 Bertoli Sous Chef Award winners -- we had a great trip back to our old stomping grounds in NYC on that one. This was also the event where we got to meet Michael Anthony of Blue Hill. We have since developed a great relationship with him that has treated us to 2 behind-the-scenes tours of the new Blue Hill at Stone Barns project. We got to walk around the grounds about 5 months before and then 3 months after their opening.
  12. As icky as it might sound at first, I've had an ice cream float made with cherry lambic... Not too bad. Really. The gingerbread idea is also great -- there's a good recipe in The Last Course, by Claudia Fleming. Cherry Compote, Candied Kumquats, Candied Pistachios and Cream Cheese Ice Cream were the accompaniments we used with it at Gramercy Tavern. Yummy... and it saves well. I think it's one of those cakes that tastes even better the next day.
  13. You can also make your own dulce de leche by simmering an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water -- it takes about 3 hours though....
  14. As far a no-work desserts go, dulce de leche warmed and spooned over good vanilla ice cream is about as easy as it gets. It's also good with caramelized/roasted pineapple under the ice cream. Remove the skin from your pineapple and cut into rings, then cut out cores. In a large saute pan, combine 1 cup of sugar with a bit of water and caramelize just to a light amber color. Place pineapple rings in a single layer in pan and just barely cover with apple juice. Bring up to a simmer so the caramel dissolves and throw into a 325 degree oven to roast. Once the pineapple is cooked through, let the whole pan cool. The pineapple will absorb the flavor and color of the caramel liquid. Cut into chunks, top with ice cream, top with dulce de leche!
  15. Everyone seems to love those chorizo stuffed dates! If you can, try them with a glass of the brachetto, somewhat sweet, lavendery and rosy -- it goes perfectly even though you'd think it shouldn't match.
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