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DessertsByDesign

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Everything posted by DessertsByDesign

  1. DessertsByDesign

    Most fluid white chocolate?

    I've been using Felchlin's Edelweiss for quite some time, and it serves me well for enrobing and moulding. Prior to that I was a Vahlrona fan, but found it at times a bit too fluid, requiring 2 passes when moulding bon bons. And IMO both have very similar flavor (although the Vahlrona is tad less sweet), where the Felchlin is easier to work with and costs a bit less. In past I have had the least success with Callebaut and Guittard.
  2. DessertsByDesign

    White Bread, Your Go To Recipe

    Agreed, the white bread formula I currently use is a derivitave of that same Reinhart formula. Quick, tasty, straightforward. Just a note about the Chorleywood link. Makes me want to run out and grab a bag of Wonder.....I have been baking (artisan) bread for almost 15 years and have never even run across most of those ingredients. And to think, I felt a bit of remorse when I had used soy lecithin in a few of my formulas.
  3. DessertsByDesign

    Restaurant Dress Codes and Attire

    I must whole heartedly agree, I think as generalizations go, Americans are sloppy dressers. Not sure why, but we are. My wife and I had taken a trip to northern Spain (my first trip abroad)we had to call quite a few restaurants to ask about a dress code, since no 'rules' were offered on the websites. Both of us were prepared with NYC formal attire, three suitcases full of suits and evening dresses (well, not for me.We ate at no less than 25 restaurants in 2 weeks, everywhere from local pinchos joints to the likes of Mugaritz, Cinq and other Michellin Stars. Our first dinner was at Martin Beresategui's, and we were both dressed to the 9's, upon sitting, we were shocked, confused, and a bit uncomfortable(but not for long) that we were the only couple in 'formal' garb. Most men sporting dress slacks and sweaters, or the more common combination of Jeans and a button down, even the two tables with kids (even more shocking). Women were well dressed but not as formal looking as our last trip to 'Per Se'. This trend continued througout our entire trip, ending with us returning home with a suitcase and a half of unworn attire. And not once did the lack of 3 piece suits and evening gowns dampen our dining experience. My observations were that people in Spain, and from what I have been told most of Europe, just 'dress better'...all the time. We did tons of walking in San Sebastian, Madrid, Barcelona, etc... and the overwhelming population of men walks around town in dress shoes, slacks sweater and a nice coat, women mostly wore heels with dresses, overcoats and scarves. The only people that we saw in 'Americal Casual' were tourists, and stuck out like a sore thumb. My wife laughed one morning when I told her that I just saw a gentleman picking up yard waste in slacks, dress shoes and a button down. Later that evening (2 am ish) we saw three separate women walking their dogs in dreses makeup and heels. It occurred to me that maybe Europeans seem (apologies in advance)to grow up knowing how to dress, something that American just seemingly missed the boat on. They don't need to be told when to dress up, because they always look sharp in public, Americans on the other hand need to be told, since, like so many other aspects of our society we don't know how to think/act for ourselves. Even though thought the dress in Fine dining is more casual, the dress in casual restaurants is much more sharp. I'm sure folks in Spain wear jogging suits and t-shirts, but they wouldn't show up at Cinq Sentits in it (they would be embarassed). Sorry for the digression, but I really do feel like Formal Dress does not = Fine Dining. However this only holds true when diners know how to present themselves in public, which may be a while here in the US. Since our trip, I pay even more attention to what I wear on a daily basis Just my $0.02.
  4. DessertsByDesign

    Barcelona over Easter weekend

    AEK, Yum, we've had oxtail at a few places in Spain, and all were excellent. Paco Meralgo was on our list, and I see they have paella on the web offerings, guess we'll have to check it out! Thanks
  5. Hi Gulleteers, I was hoping to get a bit of help for the weekend, and had a few questions: My wife wants to have a great Paella experience, unfortunately, I don't have any restaurants in mind, and have learned to avoid the joints with the photos on the walls. ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?? and am I correct that in Catalonia, it is called Fideua (sp)?? We have reservations tomorrow at Cinc Sentits......we are doing the sensations menu, but I have heard rumors of them having Suckling Pig, is it worth the substitution?? Also, we are going to try AGAIN to get into Inopia, since last night the red rope was up and about 30-40 people waiting outside @ 10 PM. ??? Is Inopia any easier to get into for lunch??? Lastly, does anyone have any info if the Boqueria is open on Monday???? We have to be at the airport by noon, but don't want to miss the Boqueria. we're kind of pissed about that one! I obvoiusly don't post very often, mostly since everytime I need to ask a question, the answer is already there. And also since my opinion seems to jive with the majority. But I will definately be posting about our trip this time. Thankx,
  6. DessertsByDesign

    Barcelona over Easter weekend

    Ahhrrrrggg, I feel your pain, this is our first trip to Spain, and we are finishing with Thursday through Monday in Barcelona. I did a lot of planning, but had NO IDEA that most of the city was shut down for the holiday weekend. How frustrating, especially since we just left San Sebastian and quite a few of the Pinxtos bars were closed for holiday as well. So far I have found the following closed for the weekend: Quimet& Quimet El raco den Frexia Gresca Cal Pep Nric Rovira Chocolates And I can't believe that the Boqueria is not going to be open for the Entire weekend! Luckily we had a good time at Arola, Taller de Tapas, & Cheese-me ( marginal at best), so they are open for the weekend. Also we have passed by Bar Mut, La Vinya Senor(Eixample), Cerveceria Catalina, Commerc & Tapac24 and they seem to be open, and most are scheduled to be open on Sundays, but I don't know about Holidays. We'll probably hit Taller de Tapas again on Sunday if all else fails. and we have reservations tomorrow at Cinc Sentits......we are doing the sensations menu, but I have heard rumors of them having Suckling Pig, is it worth the substitution?? We are going to try AGAIN to get into Inopia, since last night the red rope was up and about 30-40 people waiting outside @ 10 PM. ??? Is Inopia any easier to get into for lunch??? BTW... Does anyone have any info if the Boqueria is open on Monday, we have to be at the airport by noon, but don't want to miss the Boq. ???
  7. DessertsByDesign

    elBulli 2008 reports

    Alex, would you happen to have a link (or a saved file) to this full recipe for the micro-sponge? it seems the MadridFusion site is down. This technique is intriguing, and I would love to have a baseline to work with. thanx
  8. DessertsByDesign

    ISO: Creme Brulee Iron

    Hi Gulleteers, I am looking for an ELECTRIC creme brulee iron. Anyone have any sources!!! My trusty iron of 15 years has finally died. After having done many internet searched, and calling a few of my suppliers, I have not been able to find one. The last one I bought needed an adaptor to fit US outlets, I'm assuming it was from France, but it was second hand when I bought it. Unfortunately, the label has been worn off for quite some time. Thanks in Advance, Chris
  9. DessertsByDesign

    ISO: Creme Brulee Iron

    Thanks a ton!! How did you find ine so fast? I tried all kind of keywords and search engines.... Why? you ask... for starters, its instant, literally, a 4" disc of carmelized sugar takes only a second. So when I do a banquet-style plating and I need to brulee 40 free standing brulee's, I can do them with an iron in about 3 minutes...try that with a torch, it'll take about 12. You could also do a 12" diameter gateaux in a few seconds. There is almost no thermal transfer, since it is so quick to carmelize sugar, I can 'brulee' sensitive items like ice cream, chiboust, sorbet. It also will not 'cook' most items, so you can have a thin layer of carmel on a paper thin blood orange slice without the cooked flavor, or scorching the membranes. There is also no 'stray flame'. Ever try to caramelize a thin slice of brioche, phyllo, or brik wrapper? a torch will just burn it, or the edges of the one next to it. Another advantage of having no flame is that you can 'brulee' things like a key lime custard tart, without burking the pate brisee on the edges. I could go on and on...oh I just did I am getting all excited...Now I have to go and buy one tonight Thanks again. Hope they have one in stock.
  10. DessertsByDesign

    cocoAroma magazine

    Just ordered the most recent issue (2:2) of cocoaroma magazine, looks like its only been out for a year? I was considering ordering all the back issues if it was worth the read and the $$. Any of you have any input?? Thanks in Advance,
  11. DessertsByDesign

    NASCAR Food

    We go to the Loudon, NH race in the fall, its a tail gating thing for us. Last year it was 12 of us. I do the menu, buy the food, and cook and everyone else buys my ticket and brings the beverages. My favorite was the prosecco-pomegranite-mimosa's. I bring a small enclosed trailer and a gas grill. Last year I did a 'brunch' menu: croissant, muffins, soft rolls, roasted veg frittata, quiche lorraine w/lardons, irish bangers, corned beef hash, kielbasa, smoked duck quesedillas, an apple tarte tatin, and mini flourless chocolate cakes. It was a blast, it was great seeing some of the looks we got . Hopefully we do it with a few more this year. Not sure what the menu will though, maybe Indian/middle eastern, or someone mentioned rotisserie a suckling pig... I'll have to take the camera this year.
  12. DessertsByDesign

    Sugar Density meters (Hydrometers)

    If you are not going to be making random sugar solutions on a daily basis, just go and buy a book like 'the Professional Pastry Chef", the book is a great reference and containg charts for suagr densities, the scales are accurate, just do not boil your syrup or you will no longer have an accurate ratio. Hydrometers are cheap, and well worth the investment, allbeit a little 'old school'. Refractometers, however are deadly accurate, and much more 'modern', although you will need to buy one for low range density (sorbets and syrups) and an additional for high density (if you do pate de fruits, jellies, jams, etc) and the cheaper ones are about $150 or so last time I checked. However, if you want to check and measure these products when they are hot, like in the case of a pate de fruit (since checking it when its cool is a bit too late and irreversible) you will want to get a refractometer that is made for 'high temperature' use, mine cost me $320 and $365 (low density/high density). A big investment, but they should last a lifetime. I've used the same Hydrometer for the last 10 years! If you will seemingly be doing this on a daily basis, first learn the base scales (in grams) and buy a hydrometer. If you actually seem to be doing this on a regular basis then spend the $$$cash on a refractometer.... In the meantime, 24* b is 340 grams of sucrose dissolved by 500ml water. Do not boil, but completely dissolve. Hope that helps...
  13. DessertsByDesign

    Proof box

    Not at all! Obviously, if you are doing volume, it will make proofing much more consistent and efficient. The method I use currently is a speedrack with a commercial rack cover (heavy clear vinyl with a zippered door. I place the washed croissant near the top of the rack with a hotel pan full of hot tap water (120*F) near the bottom. Heat rises and the water keeps them moist. The pans are rotated top to bottom every hour or so. We use a probe thermometer to monitor temperature at the top, and if it exceeds 85*F it can unzip and vent out some heat, or if it drops below 75*F we replace the water. Its not the most effecient method in the world, but its pretty cocsistent and a regular routine, and it does not take much time or effort. We produce 2 doz croissant, and 1 doz pain au chocolate daily, sometimes Danish. BTW, my croissant and Danish are bulk fermented overnight before lamination, and the average final proof is about 4-5 hours. Room temp is usally 72-76*F. If you are needing a faster method, I have done a similar method with small holes punched in the top of the clear rack cover, a full hotel pan of water in the bottom with a lid and a sterno under the pan of water, you can adjust the sterno flame as well as adjust the cover on the hotel pan to allow steam and heat out, to keep the "proof rack" at a consistent 80-85*F. I've been using these methods at every restaurant/resort that did not have a proofer. All the hotels I've been at have had proofer-retarders, life's much easier with one of those!! Just don't go too hot for too long or you'll melt your butter, and end up with dry, greasy, delaminated glorified crescent rolls Hope that helps...
  14. DessertsByDesign

    Culinary Classifieds

    We have expanded the kitchen brigade here at ********** Resort and I am in search of a pastry assistant to work in Beautiful rural Vermont. The ideal person would be well rounded, energetic, enthusiastic, willing to learn, food-focused and extremely detail-oriented. Ideally I am looking for someone recently graduated or at an early point in their career although this position is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to progress to the 5-star level. The position is full time, with excellent benefits, vaca, 401k, etc. and possible on-property housing to boot. Pay depends on what you can bring to the table. We run a tight kitchen filled with foodies. We love what we do and strive for perfection without the all too-hard-core, ball-busting, militant attitude. A good majority of our kitchen staff have been here for 5 years or longer, some 9, 10, and 11; the kitchen is well equipped (steam hearth ovens, pacojet, sheeter, tons of china, space, etc...) and is an excellent place to work. The Resort recieves awards every year and is, and has been a Mobil 5-star property for the last 13 years, we feature only 20 exclusive rooms and cottages set on a few hundred acres with our own ski hill, pond, spa, multi acre organic garden, and more. We have not recieved a Mobil rating for food, simply because our restaurant is not open to the public! Since our property is not open to the public we therefore we have a maximum of 40 guests on property (there is, however, never a shortage of work). Room rates range from $1,100 to $3,200 per night and our guests expect nothing short of perfection. As for the position; I run a 100% scratch operation and we produce a full range of products from almost every aspect of patisserie and boulangerie: -Daily production of Artisanal hearth breads, rolls, flatbreads for lunch and dinner; Breakfast pastry includes laminated, enriched and quick breads as well as afternoon tea service products. All Fairly traditional yet forward thinking. -Our main focus is on plated dessert; 1 dessert course for lunch (2-3 course meal), 2 dessert courses for dinner, sometimes cheese (5-8 course tasting menu format) as well as dinner petit fours and evening turndowns. The desserts, as well as the savory food, are all encompassing and purely progressive, blending classic theory with modern applications and techniques (kind of like -dare I say- The French Laundry meets WD-50 -We also produce a line of hand made artisan chocolates and confections soon to hit the market. Look out Mr. Recchiuti' -The other fun note is that whether our guests stay 2 nights or 12...they will never see the same dish, bread, tea or turndown twice!! -And this is just the short list... Needless to say, the position of pastry assistant is an enormous learning opportunity for a motivated, dedicated foodie. Or an excellent position for an experienced pastry chef wanting to get out of the rat race of the city, but still work with high-end cuisine. The position is available now and I will not fill it until I find the right person. Please help me spread the word and find that person!!! Resumes can be sent to DessertsByDesign@aol.com or e-mail me and I can give you a fax and phone number. Many thanks in advance. Sincerely, Da Pastry Chef
  15. DessertsByDesign

    Bix Restaurant, has anyone tried it?

    were you looking for Bix or Brix in Napa?
  16. DessertsByDesign

    ISO Vanilla appetizer recipe

    We used to do a tahitian vanilla poached white asparagus, with dandelion vinegar sabayon...
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