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Catherine Iino

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Everything posted by Catherine Iino

  1. That chocolate calculator is too cool! Thank you. Thanks to everyone for their help. The cake was a huge hit. I made it in three batches, since I have only a 5 quart Kitchenaid, and in the first batch I replaced 25 percent of the chocolate with sugar. That wasn't sweet enough, so I added more sugar to the subsequent batches by feel and I'm not sure exactly how much. The good thing about the recipe is that it's not so different baked and unbaked, so you can taste as you go along. I'd guess I added another ounce of sugar per 12 ounces of chocolate, without reducing the chocolate further. I covered the cake with a white chocolate ganache, which was another adventure, so the whole thing was kind of a giant truffle. I'll try to post a photo this evening. Served it with raspberry coulis--I love that stuff but HATE making it--and whipped cream. I really appreciate all the advice here. Egullet is the best.
  2. Thanks. I have used 70 percent chocolate without adjustment, and it was delicious.
  3. Thanks so much, merstar. That's exactly what I need!
  4. I am making the Rose Levy Beranbaum Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte wedding cake, which calls for three pounds of chocolate. I was able to buy a lot of Lindt bars for little money, because they were mis-manufactured and are 83 percent rather than 85 percent cocoa solids. Beranbaum doesn't recommend using anything above 60 percent or so, but this deal was too good to pass up. Would it be enough to increase the amount of sugar in the recipe, or do I need to adjust for fat or anything else as well? Or am I just courting disaster all around? (I'm not a professional baker, but I play one late at night in my kitchen . . . )
  5. For years I've been using white sugar and molasses in place of brown sugar. Rose Levy Beranbaum says, though, that this is how brown sugar is made from beet sugar but not from cane sugar. Don't know who to believe anymore, but the substitution works in just about every application I've tried, and it's a lot easier than storing and measuring brown sugar. If you are baking, for instance, you can just add the white sugar and the molasses without combining them first. I use, oh, maybe a couple of tablespoons of molasses to a cup of sugar (minus a couple of tablespoons of the sugar) (you get the idea).
  6. Many, many thanks, Dave. Since I had always thought that cane and beet sugar were identical, I consider myself re-bunked. It's interesting that every reference on this question seems to be to that one SFgate article. I look forward to seeing your 2003 piece when it gets back online.
  7. Many thanks, as always for all the enlightening answers. I'm surprised I missed all the web discussion of cane vs. beet sugar before, since I'm a pretty avid culinary reader. I do have a couple of questions, though: Beet sugar is apparently prevalent in Europe, where there are some pretty good pastry chefs; how do they deal with it? Can the difference in coarseness be corrected at all by putting sugar in the food processor? And Chris, I'm afraid I don't know what Domino campaign you are referring to. I will certainly experiment a bit with the different sugars.
  8. In the last year or so, the chain supermarkets I shop in have had 4 lb. bags of granulated sugar on the shelves, for substantially less per pound than the 5 lb. store-brand bags or, of course, the brand-name bags. The 4 lb. bags are called things like "Better Valu" and have rather generic lookiing packaging. The sugar seems the same as always, white, no off-flavors that I've noticed. So what makes this stuff cheaper? I can't help feeling suspicious.
  9. The mesh bags from onions and other stuff have a bunch of uses. If you accumulate several of them and stuff a few into one, then tie off the end, you have made yourself a plastic scrubbie thing. But the best use I've found--enough to justify a year's subscription to Cook's Illustrated--is to remove the skins from hazelnuts and other nuts. You toast the hazelnuts, dump them in a relatively fine mesh bag, hold the open end closed, and rub the nuts around over a sink or a dish or your compost bin. The plastic scrapes off the skins and they fall through the holes. That discovery made me happy for weeks. I don't save peanut butter jars--I figure the amount of hot water it takes to clean them outweighs the resources conserved--but Skippy lids fit nicely on one-cup glass jelly jars. The heavy cardboard tubes from plastic wrap are good for propping up your couche when you are making baguettes. You can drain yogurt or strain clam broth through gold coffee filters. Those heavy rubber bands from broccoli and such make perfect jar openers. Just put one around the lid that you couldn't budge, twist, and, I promise, it's like magic. Of course, you can use those asparagus bands on bigger jars. Speaking of which, the Velcro-like straps that come around some produce these days are great for tying up vines in the garden. And those take-out containers with lids--perfect little seed-starting greenhouses; the garden places would like to charge you for the same thing. Oh, and oyster shells make great driveways.
  10. I've been lusting after All-Clad to replace my increasingly unsatisfactory decades-old Cuisinart pots and pans. Have you had any experience with the new D5 All-Clad that Williams-Sonoma is advertising? Is it better or worse than other All-Clad? Worth the money?
  11. Thanks. I'll try soaking the noodles for a shorter time and tossing more gently. As I think about it, the problem might actually be skimping on the amount of oil. More oil would let the noodles slide around more and perhaps tear less. I'll try to report back.
  12. When I have a Thai rice noodle dish at a restaurant, the noodles are long. Whenever I prepare Pad Thai or some other rice noodle dish at home, the noodles break up into short little pieces when I am stir frying them. I've tried presoaking the rice noodles in hot water, in boiling water, and actually boiling them a bit, but they still break up. Any advice on keeping them long? Or is it the brands or age of the rice noodles I'm using?
  13. Dorie-- If you are still monitoring this thread, I have a couple of unrelated questions. On your polenta and ricotta cake, do you still have the original recipe without the flour? I have friends and relations who can't eat gluten, and this sounds like a great treat to offer them. Could I just replace the flour with polenta? On the bittersweet brownie recipe, which we have discussed before, I curious about the unusual baking technique--the 325 degree temperature and the baking sheet under the pan. It does produce a wonderful, creamy brownie. I am wondering how you developed that technique for that particular recipe? Thanks!
  14. Yes, I've been making a dough based on Peter Rheinhart's Pain a l'ancienne, replacing the water with whey. It's pretty good straight but makes a fantastic fougasse with, say, red pepper, cheese, and nuts. Wondered about using it as starter partly because every once in a while my husband eats every bit of the yogurt, leaving none for the next batch. That said, this last time, he ate almost all of it, and I didn't think there was enough left to start a new batch. I did anyway, and I have to say, it is the best yogurt I've made in a while. As I've said before, the controls are really weak, so it's hard to attribute the success to any one factor, but I'm going to try again making it with one tablespoon of starter per quart instead of two and see what happens.
  15. Could one use whey drained from yogurt as starter for the next batch? Does the whey have all the little beasties in it that whole yogurt does?
  16. My yogurt came out great. I used a quart of 2% Parmalat, a couple of cups of whole (4%) pasteurized milk, and a couple of cups of 1% pasteurized milk (clearing out the refrigerator, as you can see). Unfortunately, my temperature and time controls are not good enough to make a conclusion about the effect of the UHT milk, but I can say that I do not notice the UHT flavor in there. My father made yogurt when I was a kid--long before yogurt was a supermarket staple--and used that awful reconstituted powdered milk (my family had no money). We drank that stuff, too--under duress; I couldn't stomach it--but my recollection is that the yogurt tasted fine. We ate it with molasses. Just to reminisce a bit more: we lived in Manhattan, and you could buy Dannon yogurt in two flavors, plain and prune. The yogurt came in waxed cups, with a cardboard disk inserted in the waxed lid. You could save that disk and make it into a spinning toy with a bit of string. Boy, am I feeling old. And I never thought about it before, but I'm impressed with my father: he was a Nisei who volunteered for the army out of the relocation camp during WWII, fought in Italy, and came east after the war. What was he doing making yogurt in the 1950s?
  17. Well, I've got some in process now, and I'll let you know tomorrow!
  18. Thanks, as always! You are the best source of information in any field I know.
  19. If I use ultrapasteurized milk to make yogurt, has the ultrapasteurization already denatured--or natured--the proteins, so that I don't have to do the 180 degree stage of the process?
  20. I've made the Granola Grabbers more than once, and they are excellent. I replaced the peanuts with pecans, since the granola I used had pecans in it. Hard to stop grabbing them.
  21. I second, or third, the recommendation for the fresh berry blueberry pie. I based my version on an old Joy of Cooking recipe, which leaves three cups of berries raw and purees one cup of berries into the binder. Particularly excellent with wild blueberries, of course. I also make raspberry and black raspberry and mixed berry pies this way. They're the best.
  22. I arrived in Budapest today and will be here for five days. My head's a ball of fuzz from jet lag and starvation--the worst airplane food ever, inedible--but soon we'll want to eat. Any updates? Thanks to Martin H and other posters for their recommendations on this thread.
  23. Sound like almond paste to me. Although marzipan is supposed to be sweeter than almond paste, in my experience there's a lot of variation, and I have occasionally used marzipan in place of almond paste with no problems.
  24. I just arrived on Grand Cayman for about a four day's stay. I've heard I should try conch--how? where? anything else?
  25. I've always suspected that the Cook's Illustrated tests are flawed because they don't seem to take into account variation in, say, how long a box of pasta has been sitting on the shelf, and other storage-related issues. So when they decide that Muller's is better than DeCecco, it could well be that the DeCecco pasta was old and stale. Dry pasta definitely can get stale. Seems as if the NY Magazine trial could have had the same problem. I don't know how you'd control for it other than by getting stuff shipped directly from the manufacturers, and then other questions would arise, I suppose.
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