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Posts posted by devinf

  1. What to do with leftover applesauce?

    I work in a hotel/banquet/2 restaurant outlet and have about 1 1/2-2 quarts of applesauce leftover that I have no idea what to do with. Anyone have some good muffin recipes? Any ideas on substituting the applesauce as a fat (that can be done, correct?)

    Any/all ideas are welcome. Thanks!

  2. If you can find a pair of teal check pants and wear a chef's coat (all can be purchased at their gift shop) you can more than likely just sneak your way in. Although I've been able to attend several because I was a student there, it's always seemed remarkably easy to just walk right in.

    Also, if you are a pro or serious cook, you may be able to volunteer as slave labor. They can always use someone at 3am to help set up/cook - then you have the rest of the day to play/explore. A friend of mine did this for this one and I plan on going this route for the pastry conference.

  3. If we're talking about an In-N-out vs. Taylor's comparison, Taylor's will loose everytime for one simple reason. I get off work at 10-11pm and I can still go get a double-double with grilled onions for dinner. Taylor's closes when the tourists leave. Access! A very important factor for the working slob.


  4. How about after all that wine tasting you try for some beer? The palate and senses can be shot by the end of the day. It's nice to switch it up. When I make the trip to Healdsburg/Dry Creek I always enjoy a relaxed bar/pub meal and a beer (or three) at the Bear Republic.

    "It takes a lot of great beer to make good wine"

    Hell yes.


  5. The original Taylor's received a distinction from the James Beard foundation as an "American Classic".

    An American Classic? That makes me shudder. As far as burgers go, Taylor's is just over-priced. Nothing you couldn't find at any ma-n-pa corner charbroil hamburger joint. Taylor's has an advantage in that there aren't many of those types of places around to compete with them. I'd kill for a Duke's Burger within 50 miles of Napa (is there?). They would spank the sh*t outta Taylor's and at more than half the price.

    Since I live up here in the North now, I'd rather spend my money at In-N-Out, minus the fries. I think the fries suck. But you either love 'em or hate 'em methinks.


  6. I graduated from CIA Greystone B&P program a little over a year ago. I attended "culinary school" proper in 94-95 (local community college). I worked hot side for a few years but am now devoted to pastry. I still owe a few thousand in student loans and currently work in the Napa Valley.

    My take on all this? I want my money back. Worth it? Not really. I would have been much happier spending that much money and coming out at the end fluent in Spanish (which is unbelievably more valuable than anything you could learn in culinary school). I could have got the same education from buying a few books, Harold McGee and The Food Lover's Companion - then spending some quality time in my kitchen. I work with a guy that spent 40K on Cordon Blue and 25K at CIA. My God.

    Sure, you get a wide base of exposure to things, but nothing solid you couldn't get with a bit of common sense, repetition and some base idea of what cooking is. I justify the time/money spent as a very expensive set of solid recipes and a name. The schools seem to have a large percentage of people who are career-changers that bitch that they aren't going to make 80K a year anymore or full-time students that still can't figure out what they want to be when they grow up (There were some folks I met in school who had a bachelor's degree, graduated CIA NY, did B&P at Greystone and were talking about the next school they were going to attend). Not to mention growing class sizes.

    When it all comes down to it and someone asks me about culinary school, I shrug my shoulders and say "Eh. Yeah, I went." Want to change it? Go for it. But for-profit or non-profit, these larger schools are corporations and we were/are nothing but a unit. I really don't see that changing.


  7. I'm with Carolyn and everyone else - something ethnic!!! PLEASE!

    And no, sushi does not count. Coming from So. Cal to Napa, this place sucks for food. "Napa Valley Cuisine", while I love it, is damned boring. Give me a place I can suck down pho noodles or eat tandoori and I will frequent it often (open late is even better for a working fool like me). It is a sad state of affairs when you have to eat at Magic Panda for a Chinese fix or drive 45 minutes to the city. The discussions at work have us hoping for some sort of Middle Eastern or Asian cuisine. And not at TFL/Yountville prices (although that'll never happen).

    Whatever Keller decides will happen. I've never seen a town kiss someone's ass as much as they do there - unless you're talking Anaheim and Disney.


  8. I have a baked alaska on the menu (it's an OK seller at best). We have them fully prepped in the freezer, slap it in a serving dish warm it up in the oven and get a little color, then the waitstaff flames it the table with some 151. They pour it out of a small creamer and use a spoon. No real problems.

    Besides the flame part, it's a damn boring dessert. I wish I didn't have to waste my time making them.


  9. Most bases can hold for a couple of days no problem. Whip up some whites and go when needed. Shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to get them into the oven.

    If you want to have them mixed with whites and still come out looking perfect - maybe 1-2 hours ahead at best? I've cooked souffles left over from the previous night's service for breakfast and they come out more of a mushroom and very cracked. Not pretty but still tasty.

    Are these souffles for home, work, catering...?


  10. I've had the same problems...

    I took a recipe from Epicurious for a lemon olive oil sorbet. I spun it in a normal ice cream machine (Taylor) and it came out fine. But it was a one shot deal. I couldn't melt it down and respin it the next day without it breaking. I tried same recipe in the paco and it broke right off the bat.

    I can only assume the high fat of the oil is contributing to the problem? I'd love to hear some ideas on this. It was a really good sorbet and one I'd like to use more often.

    Sethro suggested using stabilizers. I've seen commercial stuff like Cremodan 64 but don't know much about them. Any more info on their uses?


  11. Plugra vs. others.... not much of a difference in day-to-day applications. Why pay more unless you REALLY need it. We just switched from all Plugra to generic crap from one of our distributors (long live food cost) and haven't come across problems. Yes, fat content is different but not enough to screwup a buttercream, IMO.

    Buttercream. Keep it simple, right? 1-2-2 1/2. 1 part whites, 2 parts sugar, 2 1/2 to 3 parts butter. Flavor as needed.

    The biggest thing you can do to make your buttercream come together nicely is to balance the temperature of your meringue and butter. Warmer meringue means colder butter. Cooler meringue means room temp butter. If all else fails, whip the hell out of it, blowtorch it, and you will recover.


  12. Hardware store trip!

    PVC for sure. Also check for metal supply places nearby. Pick up some stainless steel tubing, hacksaw and sandpaper - make your own. Much cheaper, sometimes you can pick up a couple of feet of "scrap" for super-cheap/free. Plus it's fun to do if you're into those sorts of "shop" things.


  13. No info yet, but I second jsolomon on the 4-H.

    Our restaurant purchased a steer, John Henry, and had a special "John Henry"-only menu for a few days. It was some good eating and we still have a few roasts left!

    From a google search, the local 4H number is 707-584-9284.


  14. Basic skills I think are important but are surprisingly hard to find with new people.

    Make an anglaise sauce. Know a basic version, that you can tweak, off the top of your head - sauces, ice cream - it's essential. Make pastry cream. Choux paste as well. Make cream puffs and eclairs and eat them! Good piping practice.

    Boil some sugar and make some caramel. Don't be scared of hot things. Learn to temper chocolate.

    Know how to whip cream and eggs. When to add sugar. Volume, ribbons and peaks. Try doing it by hand to get your "pastry guns" strong. Sharp knives and how to break down fruit. Buy some and cut it up. Apples, pears, peaches, oranges. dice some stuff. make some matchsticks. supreme cuts. Peel things very fast and clean.

    From there you can just about go anywhere. Common sense and confidence in using it. Ask questions, but try not to ask more than once. As long as you can follow recipes and know some basic techniques it isn't that hard. Never sweat mistakes - they happen a lot no matter how long you've been doing this. Learn from them and don't do it again.

    Above all else, just shut up and do it.


  15. Carolyn, I believe you're speaking of Buster's BBQ?

    That place is killer - his tri-tip and pork are just the best! I try and stop by whenever I'm in that area. Get a couple of hotlinks and beer then you'll be set.

    Watch out, the bbq sauce is VERY hot. I love heat but, wow. I get the mild (still spicy) with a splash of the hot. If you're lucky, Buster will be cooking or sitting around the patio. A very friendly, welcoming gent.


  16. Talking about a 25 or 50lb. bag? Buy a large plastic flour bin/Cambro that has a reasonably tight seal and the flour should be fine. Since you're going through a baking phase you'll probably run out before the stuff goes bad or beasties invade.

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