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Everything posted by kitwilliams

  1. kitwilliams

    Making Butter!

    I started making my own butter/buttermilk about two years ago. I'm hooked, not only on the fresh butter, buttermilk and creme fraiche I get out of the process, but the process itself. I love making butter. From making the creme fraiche to churning (I have an old 1940s glass churn which is fun, but mostly use the KitchenAid), to washing, squeezing in butter muslin, kneading in the salt until creamy and develops beautiful waves of golden goodness. But here in Southern California, I have exhausted my resources, which aren't a lot in the way of fresh, local dairy. I usually use Clover or Humboldt cream (everything else is tasteless and/or ultra-pasteurized). But I want to find someone with a Jersey cow(s), from whom I can purchase cream. There MUST be people outside of LA/Orange/Riverside counties who have a cow or two. I just have no clue as to how to find them! Do any of you have any ideas? And, one thing: I just started using Icelandic Skyr as culture for my cream. It was wonderful!
  2. I was just bemoaning the fact that I have never found forced rhubarb in this country so, thought I'd ask on eGullet if anyone knew otherwise. Turns out, I asked the same question eleven years ago (see above posts from 2005). So...eleven years have passed. Does anyone know where I can find forced rhubarb in the USofA?
  3. Those are stunningly beautiful and you should be thrilled with the fantastic puff you got. The reason yours are so beautiful and each one different is because YOU made your pastry, not a machine. Be proud! Gorgeous.
  4. I'm with you - I typically make shortbread only at Christmas. But Dad wanted it. A couple of weeks ago it was chocolate cake. Doesn't really eat a lot any more now that he's 94 - but still wolfs down desserts and cookies. Aren't we lucky to have dads who love their sweets? A word of caution: Don't let those dads read this month's "National Geographic"...the article about sugar (cover story) has put my dad on edge and he now is suspicious of me and the sweets I love to feed him!
  5. So sorry to cause you to endure a longer period of PPD (Post Paris Depression), Linda, but thank you for your help. La Flute Gana (I agree: truly annoying website!) was a nice morning walk in the 20th, from our fun stay at Mama Shelter, up Rue des Pyrenees. Never enough time when in line to take in everything and make up your mind by the time someone greets you with a "bonjour madame"! Loved this boulangerie, sad they weren't open Sunday as well. The Kouign Amann, although not traditional in shape or in its shimmering lightness, was glorious and, literally, glistened in the morning sunshine with the butter and sugar. I'll dream about it for some time to come and will start working on duplicating it asap!
  6. Brownies most definitely. In fact, I don't like room temp brownies at all. Uno Bars, for the candy bar category. If you can find them. Chocolate chip cookies. But I have to disagree, ruthcooks. They're not any safer in the freezer than in the cookie jar, as I think you know!
  7. We were successful in finding some more than decent goods. The macarons at Patisserie Bouche were divine...the passionfruit especially so! And their croissants were the best I tried. Patisserie Wagner was another good stop for a morning pick me up...their kouign amann, although not traditional, were very delicious. And their canelles were perfection: crisp exterior going into perfect chewiness and then creamy custardiness! But the best, of couse, were in Paris. We only had a weekend there but I can't sing the praises enough for La Flute Gana on rue de Pyrenees in the 20th. Ganachaud's daughters have a rustically beautiful place there and everything we tried tasted as beautiful as it looked. Their kouign amann were, again, untraditional, but one of the best pieces of viennoisserie I have ever eaten. It absolutely glistened with sugary-butter...buttery-sugar. Maybe my new boss will send me back to Paris for more research...
  8. Again, many thanks to you all for the expert advice. Needless to say, WE LOVE BEAUNE and all of Burgundy. Our apartment was perfectly charming, the kitchen well-equipped, so centrally located. I'd gladly recommend it to anyone and, if anyone wants the info, just contact me. We rode bikes to Pommard, picnicking in the town square under a blossoming cherry tree, and walked to Chorey-le-Beaune in the rain (thanks Lesliec!) We had our favorite meal with new friends at Ma Cuisine (oh how I loved their jambon persille, not to mention the perfectly cooked plump pigeon) and another at Le Gourmardin (thanks Julian and Kenneth). We took the train to Lyon for a weekend and fell in love with France's second largest city. Unfortunately one horrid dinner at a bouchon in Vieux Lyon (long story but we were already laughing about it during the meal so it was an adventure); but the next night went to Brasserie Georges which was so French and so bustling and the food was darn good (simple steak frites and tete de veau) and it all made for such an entertaining evening! And the view of Vieux Lyon from Croix-Rousse made for one of the most beautiful photos I've ever taken. Having two fabulous rivers in one fabulous city is unbelievable to this girl from southern California! We rented a Smart Car for three days, visiting Autun and Bibracte and Alesia (gotta love that Vercingetorix) and Fontenay and Chateauneuf, stopping and walking along the Canal du Bourgogne and thinking about a possible barge trip NEXT TIME! Our favorite macarons in Beaune were at Patisserie Bouche, just around the corner from our apartment. At Wagner's Patisserie, the had a very un-traditional Kouign Amann that was very delicious, and their canelles were superb: evenly dark and crisp, chewy, and creamy, custardy interior. But, overall, I was truly disappointed in the breads and pastries around town. Fromagerie Alain Hess was Disneyland for us. We couldn't stop ourselves from purchasing everything we wanted yet were always surprised at how reasonable their prices were. I think we still smell of Epoisses. That's it in a very small nutshell. Will post more details in the appropriate spots but just wanted to thank you all for your generous recommendations.
  9. Okay, folks, the last post here was seven years ago...updates of Parisian boulangeries and patisseries, s'il vous plait! I'll be in Paris on Friday, lucky me. And does anyone know for sure when a la Flute Gana is open? Are they closed both Saturday and Sunday??? Merci beaucoup.
  10. We had cocktails with our landlord last night and a neighbor of hers, a chef, confirmed that most boulangers are resorting to purchasing frozen product (I'm talking viennoiserie here), and even he could not heartily recommend anyone in town. That said, I've worked with frozen croissant and puff pastry in the US and, when proofed and properly baked, have more than passable results. I'm with you, Dave...I printed out quite a list of local shops to try and am working my way through it as well as pounding the pavement in search of the most rustic looking boulangeries of which I have found a few (will head to a couple tomorrow morning now that we are back from Lyon!) Will revert. Julian...not fair. Email him and post the location of his purchases! Thanks for all your kind replies, opinions, and information.
  11. So here we are in Beaune, and loving it. Cooking to our heart's content (couldn't tear ourselves away from the Saturday market). But I am shocked at the lack of great breads and pastry! In four days, I've tried three different boulangeries/patisseries. The croissants - bleh. None of them would I describe as "buttery" (and I did order the "au beurre"). The breads, not one of four loaves would I write home about. Although one pain au chocolat looked promising, I lifted it and was blown away by how heavy it was...and it was not due to an excess of chocolat! So my questions are: 1) Does anyone know a great boulangerie/patisserie in Beaune; and 2) Do all the talented bakers head straight to Paris?
  12. Ooh. Thanks, Dave! Had to look them up...stunning and functional. What could be better?
  13. I'm bumping this up, in case someone else with lots of Burgundian experience hasn't seen it! Thanks again, everyone who has offered advice!
  14. Oh, this is all fantastic. Thank you all for sharing your time and expertise. Frogs legs and escargot are way up there on our "to do" list. We'll probably get a car for a day here, a weekend there...would rather save our money for the important things! I have nearly every issue of SAVEUR so pulled out Issue 30 from November of 1998 which is all on Burgundy and has Ma Cuisine's recipe for Jambon Persille Maison which looks amazing and if we can't get a reservation, we'll make our own! Wouldn't mind finding a nice old terrine to refrigerate it in, and a copper bowl for whisking my egg whites for the raft to clarify the stock! I understand there are lots of antique shops in and around the Cote-d'Or...hope to find one specializing in kitchenwares. We will most definitely check out Alain Hess as "Hess" is my boyfriend's last name! Is he from Alsace? Again leslie, Julian, nibor and Kenneth, MANY thanks! I'll be thinking of you!
  15. Boyfriend and I rented an apartment in Beaune for the month of April. I still can't believe it. Markets and cooking and baking and eating and speaking and eating (he doesn't drink wine!) and walking and more markets and brocantes and cooking and eating. Finding the best croissant. The best fromagerie. You get the picture. We just want to explore every day. Maybe a cooking class if there is something interesting looking. We won't have a car. May rent bikes. Lots of buses and trains. What can't we miss in Burgundy? Thanks for any and all information provided!
  16. Steven: This is an old thread but was just reading it and wondering if you ever saw the "chicken brick" episode of Beyond River Cottage. If not, you must, it is great TV, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSTSBrNf1Mg Enjoy!
  17. I was the last to post in this thread last summer. And that tomato plant I had last year??? It never died. It has not stopped producing since then! Very little during the winter, but now it is taking over the entire garden. The vines are supported on the patio furniture as we've run out of tomato supports! The last three days I've picked over 20 tomatoes per day! It makes me very happy. On that note, I'm off to make a bacon and tomato sandwich on wheat berry bread! Some things never change, thank goodness! Happy summer, everyone!
  18. I began researching oatcakes about fourteen years ago. Long story short: came across the website of a guy from Stoke-on-Trent who waxed poetic about North Staffordshire oatcakes. He invited me to visit his family when next I was in the UK, which I did, not knowing that he had arranged with the local bbc radio to take me around to several shops early the next morning, broadcasting all along the way! It was great fun. We went to Hole in the Wall where they put a Pinny on me, gave me a ladle and let me fry away. Then off to Hamil's Oatcake Shop in Burslem (Home of the Whopper) and while there, the bbc sent over reporter and cameraman and I was on the evening news! Then The Sentinel sent over a reporter and I made it into the next morning's newspaper. Such fun, great memories, and great traditional food of The Potteries. And now I'll go grab Elizabeth David as I have always made her version and they are quite acceptable!
  19. If they can pick up a picnic lunch before they leave Waterville, they should stop at Gougane Barra on the way to Kilkenny and picnic there. It was the site of St Finbar's (patron saint of Cork) 6th century monastery. Now a small chapel is located on the island in the lake (small causeway connects to island). Picturesque is an understatement. Just off the R584 on the way to Macroom. Or, they might want to swing through Cork for lunch, on their way to Kilkenny. The English Market is totally fun foodie exploring!
  20. Try this recipe for Dan Lepard's Sour Cream Sandwich Bread. I think it may be what you are looking for. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/02/sour-cream-sandwich-bread-recipe
  21. Such fun to read about your trip, Kim, with one exception: I'm getting homesick for my second home!
  22. I'm dealing with this issue right now. I am a baker. I used to have a business, baking pastries for several local cafes and restaurants. I had to turn prospective clients away because I was so in demand, yet didn't (at the time) have staff nor kitchen space to keep up with the demand. And then I lost my rental space (building was sold). That was seven years ago. Recently an old client came to me saying he'd do anything to get my pastries back. He serves the best coffees in town. In addition, I recently served some goodies to another cafe owner (unbeknownst to me) who is now courting me to provide his cafe as well. The NEW guy, however, told me that having a baker on site is out of the question due to costs (which the 1st guy is learning as well). So, even though I would be contributing mixers and sheeters and smallwares, etc. and despite the fact that some of these great coffee houses WANT to have the smells of really great freshly baked goods to offer their customers, bottom line is, understandably, the bottom line. And for me to get back in the wholesale biz, well, I'm not getting any younger and my costs won't be getting any lower and I'm not willing (nor able!) to work as hard as I used to for the little bit of profit I'd be pulling in. I WANT to be a small business and provide the best pastries in this 'hood, but, if you're selling wholesale, you just can't make it being 'small'.
  23. There are several Ottolenghi restaurants (Islington, Notting Hill, Kensington, Belgravia). Delicious, fresh, stunningly beautiful Mediterranean-based food. I worked with Yotam Ottolenghi (owner) briefly when we were at Baker & Spice (which you might want to try as well however they are now owned by the Patisserie Valerie group and I can't imagine the quality is as good as with the original owner). Gail's Artisan Breads has a slew of locations around London so if ever you see one and are in need of a sandwich or coffee and cake, pop in and give it a try. Disclosure: I worked with them a few years ago and I understand the carrot cake I developed for them won an award last year! Their breads are very good and the sandwiches are fresh and quite original. You say you'll be going to Portobello Road? After a long morning of antiquing, I will walk to the far north end of Portobello Road, past all the antiques (be sure to stop at Books for Cooks on Blenheim Crescent, and The Spice Shop across the road), pass the fruit and veg stands and the clothing stalls, under the overpass and make a right on Golborne Road until you find Lisboa Patisserie. Order a nice milky coffee and several pasteis de nata (custard tarts) and enjoy! Where will you be going outside of London? I might be able to help there too! Oh to be in England now that April's there!
  24. ...so was at the library last week and saw Bill Yosses' and Melissa Clark's "The Perfect Finish". Thumbed through it, looked interesting, but best of all, MEASUREMENTS IN CUPS, OUNCES AND GRAMS - woo hoo! Checked it out. Pulled it out to try his yummy looking Feathery Jam-Filled Butter Cakes (wouldn't you want to try them too, with a name like that?): first ingredient listed as follows: "2 cups cake flour (16 ounces/450 grams)" Many of you who bake will immediately see the error, for those of you who don't, two cups of (sifted) cake flour weighs 8 ounces which is about 225 grams (and why don't they say "one pound" instead of "sixteen ounces"?). Other ingredients are off (perhaps the test kitchen's scale needed calibration?) such as 4 oz of butter is stated as 127g. Well, it's closer to 112g! His next recipe calls for 6 oz/171g of sugar, the next recipe 6 oz/175g sugar. If we can't be right, can we at least be consistent? :wink: Can't even trust the former White House pastry chef!
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