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Everything posted by juliachildish

  1. I haven't posted on this thread in forever! I'm currently living in a co-op and one person has a peanut allergy, so I decided to experiment making the oatmeal peanut-butter chocolate chipsters with almond butter instead. I used chunky natural almond butter (don't think there's any non-natural almond butter), and they came out fabulously! I think the texture was actually about the same, and the roasted almond flavor was subtle and really went well with the oatmeal. I may experiment with other nut butters now...
  2. Underfoot, I adore your gingerbread house! I really need to make the time to do more cookie cutouts next year-you've given me so many ideas! I think we both share an affinity for rather "special" gingerbread houses...
  3. Here is my first ever gingerbread house! It's not much, and also the back looks better than the front (but unfortunately I can't find a picture of it), but I had a lot of fun putting it together. It's supposed to be a model of the co-op I live in at school-it was the head of the table at this big wine and cheese feast we had. Note the igloo and the pond (and the huuuuge wheel of blue cheese just behind it)! After attempting this, I have a new respect for those of you who make such intricate and professional-looking houses. It's so difficult!
  4. Am I the only one who's been making ice cream??? I made the chocolate-peanut butter ice cream a week or two ago, and while it is very tasty, I realized while churning it that it's really more of a winter ice cream. It's been hovering in the 110's here, temperature-wise, and so I can only handle this ice cream's richness when it's paired with a vanilla or some fruit. Also it froze rock hard, much harder than the other ice creams I've made from the book. I also made the French-style vanilla and the olive oil. The vanilla was very good, of course, but almost a bit tooo rich. I think I might go for Philadelphia-style next time. I decided to try the olive oil on a whim and because it sounded sort of refreshing. While cooking the custard, I used a whisk instead of a spatula, because the spatula hadn't worked that effectively for me with the vanilla. Even then, I had a few cooked egg pieces that I had to be careful to not push through the strainer-the same happened with the vanilla. I'm keeping it on just below medium heat and stirring constantly, but I think next time I'm just going to cook it on a double boiler. It'll take longer, but I have an egg phobia! Anyway, the olive oil ice cream tastes undeniably of olive oil. The first spoonful is a bit of a shock, but after that I thought it was very good. It's much better paired with some peaches than it is by itself, I think, just like how you wouldn't eat olive oil on its own. I gave some to my mother to try, and she described it as "too avant-garde", but I think I would make it again, as long as I had some good summer fruit to pair it with.
  5. Speaking of the library, that's where I just got my copy! Although I'm sure, after looking through it, that it's going on my birthday list. So many exciting flavors, and I love the mix-in suggestions and recipes, because I am a big big fan of chunky ice cream. So far I have tried the strawberry sour cream and the milk chocolate. I very much liked the strawberry sour cream, and found that it actually firmed up really fast. I don't usually even like strawberry ice cream, but this one really tasted like strawberries. I didn't think it was extremely sour, but it was enough to cut the sweetness. And I think the brand of sour cream I used-organic, without any thickeners-was particularly sour, so that may have helped. I added brownie (the chewy brownies from the back) and cocoa nibs to the milk chocolate ice cream. I think the brownies do, as promised, keep their chewiness and flavor in the ice cream, which was a pleasant surprise. However, two cups might have been a little too much for some people-I sort of taste the brownie more than the ice cream. It is a nice background for the brownie though! And the cocoa nibs were a welcome crunch. I did have a little trouble getting this one to firm up-but I think that might have been because I have a cheapo Donvier ice cream machine, the kind where you freeze the canister, and I only let it freeze for six hours in between the strawberry and milk chocolate ice creams.
  6. Actually, when I make mini-tarts, I freeze the tarts in the tart rings for about a half hour before baking, and then they generally keep their shape pretty nicely without using any weights at all. I'm not sure if that's an option for you, as I'm a home baker, but it works for me!
  7. I have a quick question as well. I'm currently attempting to cook various desserts for a 100+ people (out of a dorm kitchen, no less). So, I'm trying to make stuff ahead of time. But I've never before frozen already-baked goods-I know everyone says you can, but I've always been afraid they'll come out tasting odd. The only stuff I've frozen is cookie dough, lemon curd, etc. Any tips? But more specifically to this book, I'm making a cookie platter. Two of the cookies are going to be the espresso chocolate shortbreads and the pecan brown sugar shortbreads. It says in the book that they can be baked and then frozen, but I'm trying to maximize baking the day of, so things taste fresher. Would it be okay to just freeze the dough and then bake it? I can't think why not, but I just wanted to be sure. I'm also going to be making the mini milk-chocolate bundt cakes tonight, and then freezing them. I assume it would be best to defrost them and then glaze, but it seems to imply in the recipe that you can freeze them with the glaze already on. Any ideas?
  8. The only food that I really just can't stand (although I'm a vegetarian, so I suppose there are a lot of disgusting foods out there that I've never even tried) is eggs. Any form-scrambled, hardboiled, omelettes. Even things that taste eggy, like custards, flans, meringues...no good. Everything else (that's not meat) I'll eat, and even mostly like. I'm glad that I'm not alone in my egg-phobia! Although you guys are surprisingly picky for a bunch of foodies...which I guess is why we all feel sort of guilty about confessing these things!
  9. Yes, please do tell. I'm curious because I went there last night for the first time. I have no prior experience to judge from, but I had the cinque formaggio pizza and thought it was delicious, as was the salad with pine nuts and red peppers. I must admit that the service was pretty terrible, however. I waited five minutes for a hostess to appear, to be seated. Once seated and with menus, I think we sat around for a good ten minutes before anyone noticed us-and even then, we had to flag a waitress down as she was walking on her way to another table. And we didn't get waters for a few minutes after that. Later, after our plates had been cleared, we wanted to order dessert but once again had to wave at our waitress as she was repeatedly walking by our table without noticing us-and we were then informed that it would take a half-hour for our dessert to be ready, something it would have been nice to know much earlier in the meal (we ended up not ordering the dessert-a shame, as the picture of it in this thread looks delicious). Regardless, I still enjoyed our meal. I suppose the service didn't bother me as much because we were sitting outside at a pizza place, in no particular rush. But I wonder if molto e has perhaps had a similar experience with service?
  10. As for Roaring Fork, check out this tidbit. Apparently McGrath has taken over at Pischke's Paradise in Scottsdale.
  11. Personally, I looooove string cheese. I should be too old for that sort of thing, but I still get a kick out of peeling it apart. And that stuff is pretty cheap. I also am fine with a cheapish cheddar or monterey jack for melting, sandwiches, quesadillas, that sort of thing. The only cheap stuff I won't do is cheap "mozzarella". For some reason, I can really taste the difference much there than with cheddar.
  12. juliachildish

    Toast toppings

    Ooh, last night I had some extremely delicious toast. I had been intending to slow roast some plum tomatoes for a pasta sauce, but I got started much later than expected, and so once I was done I didn't even want to bother with pasta. Instead I grabbed some sourdough toast, spread it with butter, and simply stuck the roasted tomato halves on top. Heaven!
  13. doughgirl-the only springform I have is 10 inch, so I just made mine in a regular 8-inch cake pan. I just unmolded it and then topped it with the caramel goo. I had a little issue with the topping spilling over, but I put wax paper underneath and scooped some back on afterwards, and it turned out fine and still looked lovely.
  14. Just in case anyone's interested, the NYTimes had an article on Red Velvet cake today: article here Doesn't really talk about anything we haven't already discussed here, but it does give a new recipe for anyone who's curious!
  15. I believe in Alice Meidrich's Bittersweet (and probably her other books too), she goes into her belief that it does make quite a difference. However, I pretty much ignore it when a recipe specifies, unless I'm totally out of cocoa and have to go to the store just to buy some. I have easy access to both, so if I'm buying it just for a recipe, then I'll usually buy what's specified (if I remember). Back on topic, I made the molten chocolate cakes the other day. They were quite delicious, and easy to make, but I felt like the centers were a little...gummy? Tasted undercooked rather than gooey. Maybe I really just didn't bake it long enough. Or maybe I just prefer souffles to molten cakes. I also made the bittersweet brownies, just as is. They were quite delicious, a sort of quintessential basic brownie, but very good. And even though I think the recipe says they only stay fresh for 2 days, we had them around for around 4, I think, and they were still moist and delicious by then.
  16. I have a few rather old pictures from a bake sale I did a few weeks back...it was basically just a way for starving college students to raise money, and I made a few things from Dorie's book. This is the spread, as it was still being set up. You can see my very professional labels and styrofoam bowls. This is the brioche. Unfortunately, these all sold quickly, so I didn't get a chance to try them! But they looked and smelled wonderful. I made the holiday bundt cake, but for some reason, nobody bought it! However, I ended up being glad that no one did, because that meant I got to eat all of it, and it was absolutely delicious. Just the thing almost any time of day. I did want to add more cranberries though-I thought it needed a little extra tartness. Oh, and it's wonderful served with cold butter and apple butter. I made it again on Christmas morning, and it was very well-received. The pumpkin marshmallows. You know, I thought these tasted quite good, just like pumpkin pie, but I spread the batter too thinly and I think these weren't quite as airy as they should have been. I just don't tend to have good luck with things requiring lots of egg whites. But others liked them. The lemon tartlets, using the lemon cream and her sweet tart dough. The tart dough worked very nicely, and the lemon cream, which I have made many times, was once again fabulous. In fact, this ridiculously easy item was the one thing I had people emailing me requests for the recipe-two people even commissioned me to make more of them! So I don't think I'll share how very easy the recipe is... I have also made recently: the caramel brownie cake (chewy, gooey, yummy, really easy), the toffee brown sugar ice cream bars (can't remember the name, but they made perfect ice cream bars [with chocolate cinnamon ice cream] and were, of course, delicious, with a nice crunch), and...hmm, that's all I can remember for the moment. But I'm sure there will be more soon!
  17. I have to agree...I really don't like cream cheese-occasionally I can tolerate it in small amounts, but large amounts make me kind of sick. And I will have a bite of cheesecake if it's offered, but I would never make it or buy it on my own. And I love almost all other cheeses-although I suppose I occasionally have issues with ricotta and mascarpone-but not as much as I do with cream cheese! The one interesting exception for me is cream cheese dough-for rugelach, for example. I looooove that stuff and even eat it raw. I don't know why-maybe because it's masked by other things?
  18. Is that bread cheese at all similar to halloumi cheese? I've never seen anything sold as bread cheese where I live, but halloumi sounds quite similar-squeaky, can be grilled. But I would never have thought of creating a dessert out of it! Now that you suggest it though, sounds delicious!
  19. I have tried both Peter Reinhart's and RLB's recipe, and I don't think you can really compare them. RLB's is very different from most recipes. As others have noted, it contains a huuuuuge amount of water. And mixes for a veryyyy long time. But then, if I recall, it doesn't rise for that long. And it results in an incredibly airy bread-light, thin, chewy, humonguous holes, and very flavorful (I made the pockets of garlic too). I have made it with very good results, and normally I have bread issues. That said, one of the batches I've made turned grey, and I'm pretty sure it was from grease dripping down. However, it's strange that you said the bottom of the beater scraped the bowl...that should only happen if the head is mis-aligned or loose. Which I suppose could happen if the mixer were overtaxed? In any case, I don't think there's a problem with the recipe-it works, and even if it's a bit unconventional and there are plenty of easier ways to make focaccia, it's quite delicious. The problem here is with the mixer. My Kitchenaid artisan mixer is just about shot-they really can't handle mixing for that long. Now, if you had a better mixer, with a stronger motor, then I think things would be okay. Yours probably didn't come together because the mixer was laboring so much that it started slowing down.
  20. I'm not sure if we're talking about the same cookies...are they the ones with two layers of pate sablee and then chocolate dough with hazelnuts in the middle? Because if so mine came out fine, and stuck together very nicely. But I feel like these may not be the same cookies you're referring to. However, I definitely can say I've had success with the caramels...although maybe I like my caramels squishy? But I made them, following the reciepe, for a dinner party favor once and everyone raved about how they melted in your mouth. I'm sorry you had such a frustrating day!! That's kind of what happened to me the other day with an apple pie...and normally pies are my specialty...
  21. I have a somewhat related question, so I thought I'd put it on the same thread. I live in the French house dorm at college, and for our house project, we're celebrating (a week late) St. Nicholas. I was just wondering if anyone could give us some insight about traditional foods/drinks consumed at St. Nicholas, or of any traditions surrounding it. Thanks!
  22. Well, I'm not going to even attempt to enter the home baker/professional debate, since I have experience only in one arena. Since I last posted, I've had many baking successes, one fairly big issue, and one catastrophe (the catastrophe is unrelated to a recipe, don't worry). I have no pictures because it was all baking at home and I forgot my camera at school. Successes: the quintuple chocolate brownies were fabulous-my mom called them the best brownies she's ever had. I used walnuts because they were what I had on hand, and they were just fine. And of course I used the best chocolates-these are almost all chocolate, so that's definitely necessary. I put a little cinnamon in too, inspired by the other brownies with cinnamon you guys have discussed above. At the last minute on Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to make the savory corn and pepper muffins...unfortunately, I got to the store literally two minutes after it closed. So I put in some cheddar and parmesan and freshly ground black pepper into the basic buttermilk biscuits, and they were quite delicious, although ridiculously filling. On Thanksgiving, I also made the cranberry upside-down cake and the pumpkin pecan pie. The cranberry upside-down cake was not stunning, but it was nonetheless delicious in a homey way, and quite pretty too. The pumpkin-pecan pie, however, was quite a success-I liked it much better than I like either pie on its own! I also made the chocolate malted whopper drops. It was interesting...I didn't have my mixer at home, so I mixed these by hand. And, contrary to the theory advanced upthread, they came out extremely flat. I don't think I could have overmixed them by hand. It might be due to the fact that the recipe doesn't actually mention what temperature to bake them at! I guessed 350, and cooked them for 9-10 minutes. But, although very flat, they were extremely delicious and chewy-the malted flavor was subtle, but it boosted the chocolate-y flavor in a wonderful way. And now, for the big issue-Bill's Big Carrot Cake. I followed the directions perfectly as far as greasing and flouring the pans, waiting the right amount of time for them to cool before unmolding, etc. But all three rounds stuck horribly! Two of the pans were nonstick, and one wasn't, but they all stuck equally. The sides came off fine, but the bottoms-I had to pry them out with my fingers and a knife! They seemed fully baked, and if I had added parchment to the bottom, I might have been fine, but...as it was, I had chunks of cake instead of a lovely three-layer cake! Also I didn't quite have enough frosting, but that may have been because I needed a lot to glue the layers together! Any suggestions? Oh, and the catastrophe...well, it wasn't that bad. But we have a new puppy at home, who's adorable but teething, and a troublemaker. I brought Baking home with me, and put it on top of a stack of books-well, the puppy knocked them over while we were out to dinner, and gnawed on the edges of it. Fortunately, she didn't rip any pages out, but my lovely new book now looks a little tattered, and I'm kind of ashamed to bring it to get autographed when I meet Dorie this weekend (I'm so excited!). One last thing: I live in the French dorm here, and we have French TA's who are in their 20's, from France. I made the tarte tatin from this book for a dorm event a month or so ago-and I just got an email from one of the TA's asking me for the recipe! So I impressed the true French with my cooking! How exciting!
  23. Well, for a dorm kitchen, it's not terrible, because I've dragged a lot of my supplies up from home. And okay, the burners are unreliable and the oven fluctuates a lot, but I just check on things constantly! And I have such an addiction to cooking that a dorm kitchen is far better than no kitchen at all. And even though I've been baking/cooking for a few years now, of course I'm still trying new things and am still really excited about it every time. It's funny, because outside of cooking I'm terribly unorganized. But my sophomore year in high school I decided to throw a dinner party for 10 people. I got really ambitious with the planning and I think we ended up sitting down for the meal three hours later than planned. But I learned my lesson, and I love throwing parties where I can stuff people full of food, so...my senior year in high school I did one dinner party for 20 people and a dessert-only party (but not buffet-style, still sit-down courses) for 25 people, and so after that a brunch buffet seems like a snap. It really really helps that you give suggestions for all kinds of things to be made in advance. I made the toppings for the crisp and blueberry crumb cake a couple days in advance, made the banana bread and rugelach the night before, and started cooking three hours before people were supposed to arrive, and things turned out very nicely. Anyway, since my last post, I've made the Russian Grandmother's Apple Cake and the best Chocolate Chip Cookies. The apple cake was a little plain, but satisfying nonethless, and even though I thought initially that I wasn't wowed by it, I couldn't help sneaking back for little extra pieces constantly. I added pecans to the apple filling because I didn't have enough raisins, and I think the little crunch was really nice. The Chocolate Chip Cookies really were quite good-I usually prefer mine a little more gooey than crisp, but I undercooked them a bit deliberately, and they had a delicious chocolatey and buttery flavor. It's always hard for me to pick a number one chocolate-chip cookie recipe, but these rank up there. I don't have pictures of either of those, but I do have pictures of the chocolate cupcakes I made for a friend's birthday. I filled them with chocolate ganache, and did about half with the chocolate glaze in the recipe, and about half with a basic American vanilla powdered-sugar frosting, as requested by my boyfriend. The cupcakes themselves definitely aren't as sweet as most cupcakes, but they complement the frosting really nicely. Everyone I served them to oohed and aahed, and I thought the chocolate frosting/glaze was particularly delicious-denser than typical frosting, but not the same flavor as a ganache. I also think they benefited a lot from being filled, but then, I always like the frosting better than the cake part anyway. I had a lot of fun using up leftover sprinkles on them, as you can see:
  24. coconutlime-concerning the allspice muffins, are you sure your allspice was fresh? How old was it? Although I haven't made these specific muffins, in my experience, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice would certainly be potent enough to add significant flavor, especially if you had another 1/2 teaspoon in the topping. But spices do expire and fade with age (quite a bit in some cases), so that might be the culprit.
  25. My family was planning to go out to Binkley's in a couple weeks to celebrate a birthday...unfortunately it's closed on that date, so I think we're going to try Vu instead. Binkley's has been fabulous every time I've been there, but your photos and descriptions of Vu are awfully tempting, so I have high hopes that it will be a good substitute. I don't think I had realized what awesome stuff was going on at Vu until I read this, so thanks so much for bringing it to our attention!
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