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Special K

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Everything posted by Special K

  1. I would love to have room for a big roll of commercial wrap. Amen to the 1/4 sheet pan! Don't know what I did without them. Also amen to the precut parchment paper, dishers (every cookie is exactly the same size as every other cookie!) and tongs. To this excellent list I would also add a large pot-rack (I guess they're not in every professional kitchen) - frees up room in the kitchen cabinets and makes selecting and storing often-used pans (and anything else that's hard to store but can be hung on a hook - right now I'm looking at my copper egg bowl, my big colander, various ladles, etc. - and whisks.
  2. Got "Italy" at a yard sale for five bucks. Woo-hoo! Gorgeous.
  3. And the winner is: ChefJohnny's "X" and needlenose pliers! Worked like a charm - neat and fast. I stuffed the cherries with plain mascarpone (Trader Joe's), and they were great! That was easy - just used the old zip-lock bag-with-the-corner-cut-off technique. Lovely little bites - hard to stop at just one, and there's just something about keeping that stem on that makes it kinda elegant, y'know? (I tried photographing them, but my photography skillz aren't so hot, sorry.) Now that I have the de-pitting technique down, I'll be having fun stuffing cherries with all sorts of things - I'm thinking chocolate ganache to start with. Ooh, and maybe hazelnuts covered with chocolate! And the whole thing dipped in chocolate! Maybe I'm getting carried away, but what the heck! Thanks again, everyone.
  4. Ah! If the lady tools or the multisexual tool don't do the trick, go in with the pliers! Thanks
  5. What a cool blog! This will be of interest not only to me, but to my chemistry-teacher husband. And now I must have an olivator! Thanks.
  6. Thanks everyone; I'll give your tips a try. Also, Mom just sent me a care package, and in it was the August issue of Good Housekeeping, with a suggestion to use a paperclip in much the same way as the bobbypin suggestions (I have paperclips - I don't have bobbypins!). I may have to go through a lot of cherries . . . Badiane, the dishwasher also did a lot of the prepping with the chef, and helped with the very meticulous plating. It was a big room with an open kitchen - usually I don't like those all that much, since you can't usually really see much, but this one felt like someone's (very well-equipped and huge) home kitchen at the end of a large living/dining room. I'm guessing the room couldn't accommodate much more than 20 guests at a time, and there's just the one seating, apparently only two or three nights a week. Our group was at one end of a large communal table; we didn't interact with the other guests but if it had been just the two of us we could/would have. There was just the chef, the dishwasher/jack of all trades, the chef's wife (I think) and two hostesses, plus the little girl.
  7. Just got a jar of TJ's Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce -- amazing - and HOT! Highly recommend it. (Best egg salad I ever made.)
  8. We had dinner last Thursday at the Inn at Langley on Whidbey Island, and the meal was absolutely fabulous. Chef Matt Costello couldn't have been more gracious (he was saddled with a ten-year-old "helper," which couldn't have been easy). He "talked us through" the meal, explaining what we were about to be served, where it came from, and what inspired him, and it really made every bite special. He is obviously a very, very happy man. Here's my question: The amuse bouche was a Rainier cherry, pitted from the bottom (stem still intact), and stuffed with fourme d ambert cheese. I'd love to make these, but by the time I get that pit out (with my little bird's beak knife, which seemed to me to be the best tool to use), the cherry is a mess. He said that the "dishwasher" spent hours doing this job, so I'm guessing there's not a special cherry pitter tool out there that doesn't also remove the stem, but I'm posting the question in this forum just in case. I suppose I just need to practice (and eating my failures isn't all that bad). Does anybody have any tips? Thanks.
  9. I tried that, but I guess I'm clumsy. . . too many times I've dumped the cookies all over the place (Doh! I could use the pizza peel - same concept!). Anyway, I just went out and bought three more half-sheet pans. They're easy to store (and I re-use the parchment paper so I just store that with them), and while the first three are in the oven, I'm loading the second three. If I'm making more than six pans, usually the first three pans are cooled by the time I'm ready to load 'em up with more cookies (if not, I just slide them into the freezer for a few minutes).
  10. A little time-saver: yesterday I made 12 dozen chocolate chip cookies, and I had the bright idea to use my fish spatula http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp;jsessionid=TEAA5KCNSOJANLAQBBJCCO3MCAEFGIWE?id=0073112519536a&type=product&cmCat=perf&rid=0180101070502&xpid=k216837&cm_ven=Affiliate&cm_cat=Google%20Product%20Listing%20Ads%20-%20Experiment%2003&cm_pla=Primary&cm_ite=cabela&_requestid=51796 to remove them from the pan and onto the cooling rack - three at a time!
  11. But definitely do read Kitchen Confidential.
  12. Yes, I saw that, but I think my old one was about the same interior height, so I'm OK with it. Thanks for pointing it out, though - I appreciate the warning!
  13. Similarly, I will never again turn on the oven in a friend's house without first checking to make sure she hasn't stored her Corningware baking dishes (I think it was) in there -- in their original Styrofoam packing!
  14. Thanks, Andiesenji! That might just work. I'll check it out and see if the front feet are placed far enough back that it'll sit in my 17" deep (open) cabinet. Douglal, this smaller unit will give me more ventilation space, which has to be good. I agree with you about wishing for the ability to set a default to my liking. And Marlene, thank you, too. Lovely picture. If yours works well in that cabinet, then I shouldn't have a problem. Lowe's, here I come!
  15. Oh, I just realized - a convection oven will get hot, so I'm thinking it's probably not a good idea to plan on putting one in the box the old microwave occupied. Duh. Oh, well. Guess I'd better go back to looking at plain microwaves! Dang.
  16. Saturday morning our old (1997) microwave died with a flash and a bang(!). Now we're looking for a new one, and I know I've seen convection microwaves mentioned here. The old Sharp was 12" high, 22" wide, and 17" deep. It was a tabletop model (just a regular plug), but it fit into a boxed-in shelf 14 1/4" high, 22 3/4" wide and 17" deep. The few convection microwaves I've seen in my early searches seem to be over-the-range models, and they seem to be too big to fit on my shelf. Does anyone have/know of a smaller tabletop model convection microwave -- and is it worth it? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  17. Had the ice cream first thing when we went to the festival oh, twenty years ago. Waaaay too strong. Couldn't taste anything else for a solid week. Anyway, it was far too hot that day to have any of the hot food, although I'm sure it was all wonderful.
  18. There's another thread around here somewhere, but I'm sorry, I don't have time to look for it. My contribution is rosemary ice cream, served with reduced balsamic vinegar. Mmmm!
  19. Yes, I've seen guacamole "kits" at Trader Joe's, too.
  20. "We measure, you create!" Pre-measured spices with a recipe card. http://www.mccormick.com/Products/Herbs-and-Spices/Recipe%20Inspirations/Spanish-Chicken-Skillet.aspx I suppose it would be good for someone who is just learning to cook - use these once or twice to get an idea of what spices go in what dishes, and how much. But I don't think it'll catch on. Do you?
  21. Such interesting stories! Here's mine: My Mom was and is an indifferent cook. Dad was an enthusiastic but downright bad cook (if a little of this seasoning is good, a whole lot of it must be better!). I made the mistake of earning a Girl Scout badge in cooking, and overnight became the family cook - and hated it. I was competent, but resentful (I mean, my brothers got to use the cool riding mower to cut the grass, and they got paid for it!!). Then I married a wonderful man whose Dad was the excellent family cook, and DH took over the cooking -yay! He was and is very good at whipping up a very decent meal in under an hour, and he's a genius at pizza. But although he loves him his sweets, he doesn't bake. After I became a lady of leisure I took a desserts/breads course at the local community college and had a great time, even though I landed in a nest of militant vegetarians. I have nothing against vegetarians, of course, but as an omnivore I did get kind of tired of their tirades. The other problem was that I don't eat sweets myself - awkward! Then a wonderful thing happened! I did a two-week rotation in the culinary side of the school, and I loved it! The culinary people cooked everything. I learned more in that two weeks than I'd have believed possible, and I have never looked back. In fact, I've pretty much muscled DH out of the kitchen (which seems to be just fine with him -- he is still the Pizza Man). I could have switched over to culinary school, but this was a real training school for serious professional cooks, and I knew I didn't want that, so I just sort of learned on my own (yes, we do love the Internet!) and I took the occasional two-hour class in whatever interested me. Then I found eGullet!
  22. I grow lots of herbs - rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley chives, etc., and I always plant a few onions and garlic bulbs for the tops . . . and I rarely use them! Basil I do use, during the hottest part of the summer, the only time I can grow it in Seattle, and rosemary I use a lot (cuz I love it), but the others I forget, let bolt or go to seed. Oh, the ignominy! Now, if I had a little garden spot right outside the front door (which is where the basil grows in pots), I'd see it and think to use it, but no, all this stuff is planted out in the front yard, where it sure looks purty!
  23. Well, seriously, who buys wine in a box to keep for over six months?
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