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Everything posted by Zeemanb

  1. Kim, that pie looks insanely delicious! Your cupcake frosting looks fantastic, hook a brother up w/the recipe (meringue based it looks like?)! Love that glossy shine...with some mint oil it may make a great filling for the ol' macarons.
  2. Assuming there isn't another "oh wow" thread about this... has anyone else seen the Knorr commercials featuring Marco Pierre White? Kind of blew my mind....
  3. As far as olive or salad bars at my local grocery stores, if it's something I need I get it....short of the ebola virus my immune system is a miracle of evolution. And holy crap, if I started down the road of worrying about germs in the food, my OCD mind would go straight to germs on the tongs, and how the stack of plastic containers were handled....yuck, I did NOT handy-wipe the handle on this cart....did I turn the knob on the burner all the way off before I left? Did I pull the basement door all the way shut so the cat can't get into the garage? DID I LEAVE THE GARAGE DOOR OPEN?!?!?! So I go ahead and eat germs. Delicious, savory, abundant and diverse little germs. BUT I do NOT go digging my claw down into a bin of anything...ever. The husband story above reminded me of a funny story from a couple of years ago when I was attending...finishing school.....the class would break halfway through and there was always a huge tray of cookies waiting for us. We had this one really rough guy, kind of reminded me of a homeless Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons. EVERY TIME we were on the cookie break, he would get there first and handle every single cookie to see which one he wanted...picked it up, turned it over, held it up to inspect it, put it back in the pile and grabbed the next one. People screamed at him every time, to no avail. And YES, I ate the Sideshow Bob cookies.
  4. Cookbooks- Bouchon, Eleven Madison Park and Heston Blumenthal at Home. And a good paring knife. Maybe a new jar of Amarena cherries. Other than that, my current kitchen is pretty well stocked. Will reassess once we do some renovations!
  5. And with THAT note you just boosted my cool-factor at holiday parties by about 1000% with the addition of Ecuador into the conversation .
  6. Jerry, use the buttercream as a dip for "Milano" type cookies, or for shortbread... Oh man, wishing I didn't bring that up...now I'm thinking of dipping vanilla oreos in there...... lol. Deciding on macaron fillings is the really tough part- but sour cherry, dulce de leche and cinnamon apple butter buttercreams are at the top of the list right now....
  7. FINALLY starting to get some consistency in my batches of macarons. And by consistency I mean that when some of them go south I can generally troubleshoot...humidity, don't take shortcuts like buying cartons of egg whites, crack the oven open once or twice when they look like they are rising too quickly, etc. I'm really getting my system down though...pastry is starting to amaze me as far as repetition allowing you to narrow down personal preferences in your hardware and recognizing the subtle look, feel and even the sound of the various stages of prep that lead to success. Knocked out three batches over the weekend to freeze until shortly before Christmas when I do all of my fillings. This is the first chocolate batch I did, and for whatever reason the addition of (really good) cocoa and slight change of egg white/sugar proportions created a very sturdy batter that was easy to work with and the results on all five cookie sheets were among the most consistent I've gotten so far. I have enough now for around nine dozen finished macarons, and the narrowing down of buttercreams and ganaches of choice can begin.... Edited to add: Lol, oh yeah, not all sweetness and sunshine....I managed to fatally break a batch of meringue-based strawberry buttercream. Heating it up, cooling it down, more mixing....nothing worked, I broke it good. Now to think of a way to utilize half a quart of semi-runny but delicious buttercream.
  8. I totally agree w/scubadoo97- Even in the best weather I rarely attempt to time my bbq to where I'll be able to serve it right out of the smoker. Take advantage of the most optimum conditions available when you'll be able to monitor it more closely and cook it a day or so ahead. I always cook it, let it rest until I can pull it, and just to make sure it will reheat without drying out I'll take the fattiest pieces and put those on top before covering with foil and refrigerating. If I'm doing an especially fatty Berkshire shoulder, there is usually ample fat between the meat and bark and I'd normally discard at least some of that if I were serving immediately. When refrigerating, I keep most of that too and put it near the top of the pile so that as it reheats in the oven the meat gets a good basting. I'll usually move the meat to a different pan before serving....the amount of fat involved in a specatular batch of pulled pork will forever remain behind the Great Oz's curtain .
  9. A brief reprieve from my macaron odyssey...I did do a test batch over the weekend to see what effect freezing/thawing has on them, and sure enough...lopsided batch when I took them out of the oven. The horror. Anyway, honecrisp apples have been miraculously good this year and I found a version of a Laurent Tourondel recipe for honeycrisp apple upside down cake on the web I wanted to try (and I happened to need SOME dessert recipe for my wife's bday). Super easy spice cake batter with grated apples- like a good carrot cake. The most labor intensive part of the whole recipe was cooking the apples in the butter/brown sugar mixture (I added some honeycrisp apple cider to add some flavor), and grinding the spices. I'm not the greatest at fanning out the apple slices in the bottom of the pan, but camouflaged that by putting more of the brown sugar goo on top. Getting the center cooked through as much as I'd like will take some tinkering, but overall this is going to be a great addition to holiday parties. Cupcakes with this batter would be awesome and easier to cook evenly. PLUS, excellent excuse to play with some apple-spice buttercream concoctions.... edited for clarity
  10. I was thinking "there is NO WAY they are going to edit this season's biggest douchebag into the first episode like this".....and then "oh, THAT'S why they let you hit your peak so quickly". How about that James Bond theme audition tape he did, huh? Everybody like that one? Wasn't it awesome?
  11. Definitely an acquired taste! When I was working for a tiny church in northeastern Arizona, the pastor and his wife had a huge garden and one thing they grew a lot of was the multi-colored corn. They would prepare it just like regular corn on the cob, and it did take some getting used to. Amazingly heavy and starchy....a good sized ear was about as filling as an entree. It was considered good luck to find and eat a solid blue or black ear...for what reason I have no idea. I got to a point where I preferred it over sweet corn, and it is VERY hard to find fresh back here in midwestern corn country. At the market a corn farmer will look at me like I'm insane when I ask about it. I'm very curious to try it again 20 years later and see what I think of it...back then we ate it because it was filling and piecing together enough food for a meal was often a challenge. Anyway, enjoying the blog even though it is salt on a big wound....last weekend was the final week of the season for my local Farmer's Market!
  12. Thanks for the ideas. Cocoa nib brittle sounds like the right direction...just a little bitterness to kind of round out the sweetness and will play well with piloncillo/panela. May throw a touch of chile in the brittle too... But most of all because "...and a little bit of cocoa nib brittle..." just sounds cool when you tell guests what they're eating, .
  13. The piloncillo/panela topic got me thinking about my choice for this year's signature holiday dessert (last year was panettone bread pudding)....I'm leaning towards tres leches cake, always a crowd pleaser and not overly involved if I end up making three or four. I'm going to make ice cream to go along with it, and until the panela topic got my brain rattling I was going to do the Milkbar cereal milk ice cream recipe. Using the raw sugar for an ice cream base will be more in-line with the tres leches...but it's a pretty rich combo. In short, I'm trying to think of a simple component to add to the cake and ice cream that will cut through the richness a bit and maybe play off of the spicier depth of the panela. Something with a little crunch, or herbal, or spicy, salty....a syrup or a crumble or a nut, etc. etc. Any ideas appreciated, I'm not wanting to over-complicate things but there has to be a good flavor/texture bridge between my 2 holiday dessert choices.
  14. If you like deep and delicious, try for Panela. :wub: Darker than piloncillo. Thanks, when I read that I heard a little voice over my shoulder whisper "ice cream base!".
  15. That is a very handy tip...I was at a dinner recently where someone had made a cake with piloncillo and it was delicious, deep flavor and not overly sweet. But the thought of processing a brick turned me off from trying it....will definitely be purchasing some soon.
  16. Good topic, I'll be curious to read more about this....up until now I've just had to rely on my frustrated tears to soften it.
  17. I searched for quite a while to find gift boxes that were the right size and looked good...I found a lot of them on the web that were beautiful but $15 for 4 boxes was crazy considering the number I want to make as holiday gifts. I haven't received these boxes yet, so I can't speak to the construction but they do have a nice deal where you can order samples for $10 shipping. http://www.brpboxshop.com/macaron-boxes.html (disclaimer, disclaimer, not affiliated with the company, etc. etc.)
  18. Received my copy today...beautiful book with some intriguing combinations. Now that I've found some very nice gift boxes made specifically for macarons, holiday baking can begin!
  19. I walked away from this season with exactly one thing on my mind- I'm makin' me one of them there fancy entremet thingy's just to know that I can! And in the meantime, I'm going to start harassing local pastry chefs to skip the macaron craze and make the entremet "the thing" right now.
  20. May have already mentioned this one about 19 times.... I will never again clear the remnants of freshly ground chipotle powder from my spice grinder by blowing down into the chamber. My eyes made me look like a stoned Marty Feldman for the rest of the day. Bad stuff.
  21. Zeemanb

    Making home fries

    Very basic....par boiled, skin-on, cooked in beef fat. The frozen stash of rendered beef fat cubes come out to play when it's time for home fries.
  22. That pasta looks absolutely fantastic, rock star world class! Oh, and I am also a big fan of braunschweiger. I grew up eating the cheap stuff in the yellow/orange tube on plain white bread with mustard. These days I'm very fortunate to have a local producer who makes a high quality version of my favorite "poor man's torchon". Enjoying the blog very much!
  23. I think my body knows how to get the maximum effect from the smallest amount of asparagus. Very, very fast acting. And for that I am thankful. The only thing that ever rivaled it, eclipsed it by quite a bit actually, was after a wine drinking bender at a friend's apartment in Washington Heights about five or so years ago. He dug back into some of his older, pretty potent vintages, mostly cabs. I think the four of us drank about three bottles each. I'd done nothing but eat, drink wine and Manhattans and walk up and down Manhattan for several days prior, so dehydration may have contributed to it. Anyway, the morning pee after that wine binge was something that will remain in my mind for the rest of my life. I promise you, any master level sommelier walking past the bathroom would have been enraptured by a dusky, tannic cloud so thick it pretty much deserved to be given a first, middle and last name. This was an "old vines" pee....it was magnificent.
  24. I could be wrong, but when I see that I generally associate it with salt water being added to various meat products. But most of the time it will say "x-percentage of solution added"...so not sure here.
  25. Am really enjoying reading of your baking adventures, Jerry. Thanks! The experience always feels like less of a beatdown after a 24hr breather...
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