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  1. The pandemic awakened a desire to cook - in my son. He refused to do take out during lockdown and he was really missing calzone and pizza, etc. So he's learning and experimenting and he's improving by leaps and bounds every time he makes one. He's intent on calzone at the moment, but I'm selfishly buying the Koda so when he moves on to pizza I can have wonderful pizza like the rest of you!!
  2. sigh.... let me count the toys tools I've bought as a result of lusting after your photos: Breville Smart Oven Air, Philips Avance Infrared Grill, The Control Freak.... and now there is a Koda 16 in my cart as a very early surprise birthday present for my son who is intent on perfecting his calzones but a selfish purchase on my part because all of your pizzas look amazing and I want to make them too! The only thing I've resisted so far is the blast freezer that JoNorville Walker loves..... but give it time
  3. 😢 I am so sorry to hear this; my deepest condolences to her family and to her many friends
  4. looks a little like grapes....
  5. Maybe check out what All Clad calls some of their pans (i'm thinking generic names like sautoir, windsor, gratin) and see if there is something that sounds "right" in Italian.
  6. Perhaps do a word "association" style game for words that are used when cooking, maybe even some obscure recipe names or pasta shapes - write them on a whiteboard or other huge sheet of paper. Just write, don't think about the appropriateness of the word, write down everything - then go back and see if you can shorten/elongate/abbreviate some of the words and see what you come up with. You never know where inspiration can come from. And then make sure it doesn't mean anything bad/naughty in a different language!
  7. @heidih yes. This weekend i have 21 wedding cakes, and 4 events with just petite pastries or a plated dessert. It's always busy the week after July 4th due to vacations that people plan around resort wedding destinations. Yes, I am more tired than I can remember being and I haven't forgotten those %$#& hot cocoa bombs last December to give you an indication of just how busy this week is. And people still call to see if there is a chance they can get something for the next day.....nit to mention the bride who called Friday afternoon to say she wanted to check in about her cake. Of course, can you remind me of the date again? Sunday. The 18th? I ask No. This Sunday. The 11th. WTF?! Because doesn't everyone think a cake will magically appear when it hasnt been ordered or paid for? (Yes, we are making it happen and yes she paid. A lot.)
  8. for what it's worth, I haven't been able to get the (baking) pan spray from our usual distributor for two months. Every time I've ordered, it's out of stock. And I never remember to check Restaurant Depot when I am there for a substitute; so it could be that there are other brands available, but I thought of the comments here about sprays when our order today was OOS again!
  9. My son is cooking - a gift I'm not sure we would have gotten otherwise. He's mastered grilled fish (thanks to the Philips infrared grill!), is having fun with burgers, is experimenting with calzones. He got into my stash of cookbooks and routinely sends me a shopping list for curbside pick up. He's gaining confidence and I am thrilled Back on thread though - I have two quick-to-make dishes that are new to the repertoire - a spicy pork noodle soup that means we have introduced korean gochujang bean paste and black vinegar in our pantry now; and a Food52 orzo/tomato/chickpea dish that doesn't require anything new but is nice because it's quick and you can add whatever protein you want if you choose although I've been asked to omit the garbanzos. So I throw in some RG beans if I have any leftover
  10. If you have a copy of, or access to, Carol Field's The Italian Baker, or in Nonna's Kitchen, you might find similar recipes in them. Also Nick Malgeri's books are also a great resource.
  11. I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing Liuzhou, I remember the birthday party you shared with us a while back. It's definitely for the memories that we recall - fondly or not! - what we ate as children. My memories of certain meals mirrors my siblings (my sister in particular would hide the white fish doused in ketchup 🤢 in her napkin to keep from eating it but make is disappear from the plate!) and in the summer, my father would surprise us with a big container of ice cream and we'd make frappes/milkshakes; or we'd go clamming and have the entire extended family over for steamers. And we knew when we got hot dogs and beans or pastina on a Saturday night, we were getting a babysitter and my parents were going out. Before I left home, I handcopied all of my mother's recipes into my own steno book and I still have the steno book. I go through it sometimes - knowing I'm not going to make anything from it - and smile at the memories.
  12. See! That's what I needed to know, and now I remember that from those hot cocoa bombs - without a machine there's only so much chocolate you can temper at once and use it! Once I got the right cocoa butter for the EZTemper, it was easier but still, there's only so much you can do at once. The cannoli thing is just an example of how there's lag time in how someone does something; and I don't know enough about bonbon production to know if there is a point of no return where you *can't* speed things up. I wish I were closer @pastrygirl or @Jim D. because I would volunteer to come help!
  13. Curiosity question - when you are making bonbons, are you fulfilling orders (for wholesale or retail or a combination of both) or making inventory? I'm not making fine chocolates (I'm not making *any* chocolates ) so I wonder where the place is that would give you more ROI of time. Does having an intern polish molds make sense or is there the chance if it's not done properly, the end result is the piece doesn't come out of the mold and you lose that one(s)? Or is it possible to store the pieces you make in a day and then package several days' production all at once? I routinely refer to myself as the efficiency bitch because I am always looking at how to make a process more efficient. For example: It drives me up a wall when someone is filling cannoli, and they fill the shell, put it on a sheet pan and wait til all of them are filled; then they dip the ends in vermicelli and back on the sheet pan and then box them up. (this happens only once with a new person!) Every time you handle something adds to your labor cost; so cannoli shells are counted out for each order, they are filled, dipped in the vermicelli and put into the box in one fell swoop. (ETA that this means you fill one shell, dip the filled shell and put the shell in the box. Then go to the next one, etc) So I'm curious about whether it's even possible to do the same in chocolate making.
  14. For the meringue buttercreams, it's more the butter going soft in the heat and melting/sliding; for the crusting buttercream it's a little firmer. In warmer parts of the country, bakers use shortening which is stable for a longer period than all butter types. We use a recipe from the Whimsical Bakehouse that has both shortening and a little bit of butter; it's very light and to my taste, not nearly as sweet as the "American Buttercream" type. We have also used all vegetable shortening when we need a dairy free version. Personally I don't like very sweet things so my preference taste-wise is the meringue buttercreams. Swiss meringue is "looser" than Italian; and American buttercream and whimsy will hold up better in the heat. You can store Swiss or Italian meringue for 12-24 hours at rm temp, American buttercream I think is ok for 3 days (could be longer) and the whimsy is ok for at least 3 days.
  15. An Italian meringue buttercream would work, as would a Swiss meringue. An American buttercream, sometimes referred to as a crusting buttercream is also ok for a while at room temp. I define room temp as between 60-68 defrees Fahrenheit. If your room is warmer, or has no a/c on a hot summer day, anything based on butter will soften and be a problem to work with and will spoil faster. You can use vegetable shortening to replace all or some of the butter, just remember the taste changes as a result.
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