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KMPickard

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  1. Bricktop is right; the Fresh Ginger Cake is seriously good. I actually find myself craving it. I had one guest spontaneously exclaim that this was the best cake she'd ever had. It is an adult cake, definitely not shy on flavour. I can't imagine that kids would find it palatable though. I've also made the Buckwheat Cake (minus the poached apples). It's a simple, homely cake - in a good way. I liked it best for breakfast with a mug of milky black tea. When fresh, I'd call its taste subtle. As it aged the flavour bloomed and I actually found it to be at its best in the third day after baking, just as we finished it off. Be warned; as DL says, the batter is VERY thick. I had a hard time imagining that it would have any rise, but it did. The Very Spicy Baked Pears with Caramel was richly flavourful. It was hard not to lick the pan, it was that good. I'm not sure that the "very" in the title is warranted. I can't imagine even the most spice averse would find it unpalatable. It's a fantastic fall/winter dessert that I know I'll repeat again and again. Kathy
  2. My copy of "the" book arrived last week and my first perusal resulted in a long list of things I want to try. We're fortunate enough to be spending a week at a cottage up north next week and I'm planning to do a lot of cooking, reading, cooking, photography, cooking. You get the idea. I couldn't wait until next week to start working on the list though. First up were the grated carrot salad, the curried chicken etc in papillote, and marie-helene's apple cake. The carrot salad couldn't have been quicker. Using the food processor to grate the carrots and then mixing up the vinaigrette in the same bowl was extremely efficient. The only change I made was to substitute pecans (toasted) for the walnuts. Using multi-coloured heritage carrots, as suggested above, made the salad a visual treat. It tasted great the first day and almost as good the second day.( I, like Dorie, like a little crunch to my carrots.) My husband's comment was "please don't lose this recipe". It will go into regular rotation. It's good enough for company but not "too fancy" for just us. The apple cake was a real winner too. I've been looking for a recipe that makes the apples the star, not just part of the supporting cast; and this is it. Using the "divers' apples was really the brilliant touch. I used Empire, Mutsu, Ida Red and Smoothee (really) - it was akin to a Golden Delicious. Because the apples are in such significant chunks the variation in texture and flavour was very apparent. Like the carrot salad, this is homely enough for weeknights but more than presentable for guests. I had a few reservations about the curried chicken - mainly due to operator error, I think. The parcels were charming but I overcooked them somewhat and, like Chris, my chicken stuck together in clumps. The chicken breasts I got were really huge, over 2 lbs for the two, and even though I didn't use all the chicken I think the meat to vegetable ratio was off. Maybe that was the source of the problem. I'd also boost up the seasoning. My curry powder was lacking in punch. I'll try this again but perhaps I'll try the salmon-tomato papillotes first. I think that this book is going to become as much of a favourite go-to recipe source for me as "Baking". Thanks Dorie. You've done it again. Kathy
  3. Add another one to the list. It's plum season and I tried the Flip Over Plum Cake. Another winner! Easy too. It does, in fact, have a rather puddingy texture with a delicious caramelized, buttery outer ,um, how to describe it?.. skin? Crust doesn't seem quite accurate given the texture. It's actually a bit chewy. My plums were quite tart so I decided to go with the full amount of sugar suggested in the recipe. We did find it overly sweet for our tastes; so, next time the sugar added to the fruit gets halved. I'm wondering if the sugar in the batter could also be diminished somewhat without affecting the texture. A topping of some lightly whipped and barely sweetened cream complemented it perfectly. Kathy
  4. I made the Butterscotch Pecan ice cream while on holidays last week. All I can say is WOW!. I had four very happy guests and, thankfully for my waistline, not a lot of leftovers. I think that it may just become an annual cottage tradition. (and, yes, I did schlep my ice cream maker up to to cottage.) Kathy
  5. I just returned from a wonderful cottage week on Georgian Bay in Ontario. Crystal clear water and gorgeous rocks - and, really, the first nice summer weather of the season. It's always a bit of a crap shoot in regards to kitchen equipment in a rental cottage so I load the car up with far more stuff than I think I could possibly use. I even packed in "the" book, as I think of it. This particular cottage, though great in every other way, was, to put it kindly, kitchen deficient. I do like to inaugurate the corn season with Dorie's corniest corn muffins and, of course, there was no muffin pan and nor had I thought to bring one. I did bring a 9X2 baking pan though - so I made up the batter, poured it in and baked it for 25 minutes. It turned out fabulously. DH thought it was the best corn bread ever; and, I have to agree with him. I'll be making it like that in the future even if a muffin pan is right at hand. Kathy
  6. We have a 3 year old 22 cu ft GE Profile bottom mount fridge that seems to be decomposing rapidly. The motherboard has gone (an approximately $500 repair) and, on top of that, the interior plastic shelf supports are breaking off - so far the deli drawer support and the whole bottom shelf. And this is in a household of two rather careful adults . Now the decision is whether or not to repair this piece of junk and, if we do replace it, what to replace it with. We need a fridge of about 32" width and really can't expand the space available for it. Any suggestions? Kathy
  7. I've made about 8 loaves using the Cook's Illustrated modifications--as mentioned up thread, they reduce the water, use lager and vinegar, reduce the first rise, and do the second rise on oiled parchment paper which is then lifted into the dutch oven for a no mess transfer. The loaf is easier to handle since there is less liquid. 15 hand kneads are advised before the second rise, and this is easy on a floured surface since the dough is less wet and messy. I've been using wheat beer and cider vinegar. The flavour is definitely improved over the base recipe. I also used the toasted walnut and dried cranberry varient. Great toasted for breakfast. I chopped some Rosemary in one loaf and that boosted the flavour as well. There is a somewhat denser crumb using the Cook's Illustrated varient, but not gummy or heavy--still springy and smaller air holes. All in all, a very satisfactory varient on the base recipe. I plan on using different flavoured vinegars and different ales in the future just to have fun. But it's nice to get the thing kneaded and rising after 8 hours instead of having to wait 18 or longer--although you still can, of course. Nice to get back into this bread baking technique a year or more after the initial excitement was over. Cheers, L.
  8. Thanks to all for your help so far. I've come to the conclusion that we just don't have enough days to eat everywhere that we want to. What a surprise, eh? Now L has proudly announced that we have tickets for the San Francisco Opera on Saturday night. Being Wagner it's going to be a marathon session starting at 7 o'clock. That means we're going to have a very late lunch/very early dinner and it can't be so heavy as to set me snoring before the first intermission. What would be recommended within an easy walk of the opera? TIA, Kathy
  9. Thanks, everyone, for the replies so far. Carolyn - it's acutually your mini-blog that put me on to Aziza. It doesn't sound like anything that we'd be able to experience elsewhere. I've been following your food adventures with much interest (and envy). It sounds like SF has endless possibilities for the food obsessed. Zuni is on our list for late lunch/early dinner on our first day in the city after Manresa - I thought that we'd need some simpler food after Los Gatos. Alas, we are no longer up to consecutive tasting menus from either a digestive or budgetary point of view. Or would Tadish Grill fall into that category?- good food, simply prepared. It's hard for me to imagine missing Chez Panisse if we're in the vicinity - it's as much a pilgrimmage as anything else. I'm leaning towards the Cafe as it's a bit more casual in nature. I'm curious, too, to know if anyone who has eaten at Manresa has also eaten at Eleven Madison Park. We were fortunate enough to eat there earlier this summer and Daniel Humm's cuisine seemed quite "west coast" to us. It was a wonderful dining experience in every way. We'll be thrilled if Manresa can deliver a like experience. Incanto and Ame also tempt, but it's a case of too many meals, too little time - unless someone can convince me to skip one of the choices above. I've got the whole of Saturday morning set aside for the Ferry Market and I intend to arrive pre 9am - is there any point in arriving earlier? Poor L. does have to attend at least some of his conference (our excuse for the trip in the first place) so will miss out. I might bring him back a few treats, though. Cheers, Kathy
  10. L& I are going to be travelling from Southern Ontario to the Monterey Penninsula and San Francisco for 10 days at the end of September and I'm hoping to refine our eating itinerary with your help. As you will see, our existing plans are already heavily influenced by my reading on this board. We're stationed in Moss Landing for the first several days. I've made a dinner reservation at Passionfish in Pacific Grove and we're thinking about the Moss Landing Cafe and Sea Harvest for more casual and convenient eats. Can anyone tell me what sand dabs are like? Tuesday is Manresa and we'll stay in Los Gatos. I figure that we'll be too stuffed to consider travelling any distance. In the city Aziza, Zuni and, of course, Chez Panisse are on the list. Does anyone have comments on the Cafe vs the Dining Room at Chez Panisse? I've set Saturday morning aside for the market - I'm planning to buy a whole bunch of Rancho Gordo's beans to pack home with me. TIA Kathy
  11. Over the last several years L & I have done a number of the tours mentioned above. As far as we're concerned they're one of the best values available to a tourist in the city. In fact, in our week this year we did two - the Central Village with Food Tours of NY and the "Slice of Brooklyn" Pizza Tour. The Central Village tour took us to places like Joe's Dairy (fresh hickory smoked mozarella and Grandaisy Bakery (white pizza) and numerous other spots, all with prearranged nibbles. By the end of the three hours we had a good working knowledge of a neighbourhood that we weren't familiar with and, as well, we'd had eclectic selection of interesting and good foods. Most people would have been stuffed with the tour food - we, however, had enough room to grab a "Pinnochio" at Alidoro. The sign at the counter listing the items "We Don't Have" (ie DON'T ASK) still makes me laugh when I think of it. The Brooklyn Pizza tour was an absolute hoot. Tony and his business partner, Jimmy, have done a wonderful organizational job. Grimaldi's, at noon, with no wait; and later, L&B. We asked about DiFara's and they said they'd love to do it but that that service was too slow to consider including it. (I knew that). Possible dead times in transit are filled in with pertinent film clips. I loved driving under the El just as the famous chase scene from The French Connection was being screened. I think New Yorkers, if they could stand the embarassment of being identified as tourists, would find a lot to enjoy about them too. Cheers, Kathy
  12. KMPickard

    Casellula

    I'm surprised how little note Casellula has received on this board given the quality of its offerings and its pleasant, low key atmosphere. It calls itself a "Cheese and Wine" cafe, with the emphasis on the cheese - and rightly so. It's a small, brick-exposed bistro setting with welcoming, efficient staff, including a cheese sommelier. We arrived early, sans reservation, and that was fine, although it did fill quickly. Many of the other diners, uh, nibblers, seemed to be there for a platter of meats or cheeses and a glass of wine before moving on for the evening. Fine, it's well situated for pre-theatre, but the food is definitely worth lingering for. L. had the Chilled Carrot Consomme that was zinged with ginger. Perfect for a steamy day and so good and full-flavoured that I was denied even a taste. Cooled down, he moved on to the Mac and Cheese. Three cheeses (Fol Epi, Comte, and Chevre) with lardons and carmelized onions. This I did get to share and it was great- rich but somehow not too rich. We agreed that it rivalled the mac and cheese at Bar Etats Unis, until now our touchstone of comfort food. I started with the Endive salad. Be warned, this is not a "lite" plate of salad. As well as the endive there was an unholy but delicious amount of blue cheese (Roaring Forties Blue) with pear and macadamia nuts. Normal eaters would find the salad alone a satisfying meal; however, we're not and I was unable to resist the Pig's Ass Sandwich. Basically ham and cheeses made homey with the addition of bread&butter pickles. Good stuff, especially when dipped into the unshy chipotle aioli. I'm embarrassed, even in this company, to say we didn't stop there. We went on to share a cherry clafouti with lavendar ice cream ( I couldn't detect the lavendar) and a plate of three goat cheeses, the star of which was a French Tarentais. If I were in the neigbourhood very often my cholesterol levels would be in peril. Cheers, Kathy
  13. I'm looking to fill a few holes in our dining schedule for the upcoming week. This was reviewed in the latest issue of The New Yorker and I'm wondering what the eGullet opinion is. At this point, if we arrive for early dining, are we likely to need a reservation? We're already booked for Lupa, Artisanal, EMP, The Little Owl and the Bar Room at the Modern. Hoping for neighbourhood eats at Kefi or Celeste and lots and lots of gelato. Any feedback? Cheers, Kathy
  14. As to menu choices at Devi, do what my SO and I did, have the tasting menus - one with meat and one vegetarian. If both of you are willing to share (and I warn you that's going to be a challenge) then you get to taste the widest range of what they have to offer. I'm a confirmed carnivore and I had the vegetarian menu. I was absolutely delighted with it - and would have been even if I hadn't been able to strong arm a few bites from hubby's meat dishes. Have a happy birthday, Kathy
  15. Is there anything new to report near the theatre? Or, is Thomas Beisl still the best and most convenient option? TIA Kathy
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