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LindyCat

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  1. LindyCat

    Spirit Jams

    No, I don't mean ghostly apparitions on the toast of Christmas Past. I have a recipe for a red-wine jam (red zin or merlot work well) that is absolutely out of this world on a loaf of fresh, nutty wheat bread, and wondered if anyone had encountered such a thing for other alcohols. Now that it is far too close to Christmas to make such a thing, I thought a trio of "grown-up" jam would make a great present for any of those people you can't ever seem to buy for. Office folks and the like. I can't think of what might work well, though, perhaps addding a spirit to a juice to make something like rum-passionfruit jelly?
  2. LindyCat

    Tart Cherry Concentrate

    I just discoved this product, and I love it. It's a tart cherry concentrate from Nature Blessed, with a very intense, fresh taste and the texture of a sugar syrup, about like Rose's Lime Juice. It's quite acidic. If you have had dried cherries, it tastes quite similar. I've been trying to put it into cocktails, especially with chocolate, but so far nothing has been right. I think that it would go beautifully with ginger somehow. Does anyone have suggestions on how to use it?
  3. LindyCat

    What to do with passionfruit?

    You guys are the best! Thanks for the suggestions!
  4. LindyCat

    Falernum: The Topic

    Falernum is a real word? I've been listening to Irish folk music with the word falernum in it since I was, well, a wee lass, and I just thought it was a made up word! Maybe it still was in the context, I don't know. Or maybe it's an old nonsense word that they used to name the concoction. The song I'm thinking of is a bawdy warning young maids not to marry old men, and the chorus goes: "Because he's got no falernum Fie-iddle-i-urum! He's got no falernum Fie-iddle-i-ay! He's got no falernum He's lost his ding-durum So maids when you're young never wed an old man."
  5. I LOVE passionfruit, and I just found out that my little Mexican grocery sells frozen passionfruit puree for about $1/cup. Any suggestions for drinks?
  6. Hershy was developing a heat-resistant candy bar for military use at one time...I'm not sure if they are available or anything, but an inquiry with the company might be worthwhile.
  7. I'm sorry to hear this; I tend to think, too, that even if quality doesn't decline that the social-equality commitments of the company will get rolled over by the bottom line. I certainly think Scharffenberger is worth using in baking, at least in some recipes. When you make something where the chocolate is the star and not just an optional additional flavoring, the difference is very noticeable. In blind tastings of seven chocolates in mousse and glaze, my friends (just ordinary folks, not foodies) all prefered the Schbgr hands down, with a Guatemalan varietal coming in second. But I hesitate to say whether I would bother with it in a cake or cookies or something else where a more complex set of ingredients would reduce the need for (IMO) or ability to distinguish all those subtle, interesting flavors.
  8. LindyCat

    Vegan pudding?

    Ivan. Because we all grow up with chocolate cake. Because everyone still loves buttered toast. Because food is so much more than nutrition, or even flavor; it is also culturally significant. When someone decides to turn their back on animal exploitation or when someone decides that their new religion prohibits animal products or when someone discovers they have an allergy to some animal ingredients, they don't suddenly stop wanting chocolate cake. Vegans and other abstainers mostly don't want to remove themselves entirely from society; they just want to remove the animal from their diet. At it's best, a choice to limit ingredients can produce a more varied cuisine, the same way that rules and limits and any other structure often help an artist create something better than if they start from the void. But there isn't any reason to give up chocolate cake. For most people's palates, margarine and other substitutions in desserts with a strong flavor like chocolate aren't even noticeable. Egullet is probably a bit beyond there, but I nevertheless haven't met anyone who has turned down my vegan chocolate cake with a mocha glaze. American pudding can be made vegan using soymilk. Preparing it over the stove via a warm milk and cornstarch method produces something basically identical except the soy flavor. After years of abstaining from dairy, I do have to point out that milk and dairy are not neutral flavors, either, but simply seem that way in our dairy-heavy culture. I can taste milk in things immediately, and I think it tastes strange and overwhelming. It's just a matter of what you are accustomed to. I love coconut milk pudding, too, and I'm glad your coconut rice pudding turned out well, Sarah! You can also make it with Thai black rice for a traditional Thai dessert. The rice itself has a quite distinctive and unusual flavor, and it colors the pudding a sort of purple color. My dinner guests love it.
  9. LindyCat

    Baking with cocoa butter

    No, I'm definately not completely anti-margarine at all! I eat it all the time. It's just not satisfactory for everything, and I want to serve things that make people say, "This is vegan?" My current project is a cake with a buttercream icing. I just learned to make proper French buttercream for the first time, and it tastes somewhat chemically with margarine, even when made with a whole-egg recipe that should give it some other flavor notes. I tried it tonight and ended up adding a bunch of chocolate to make it taste better. (Pretty much anything that can't be improved with garlic can be improved with chocolate.) I even felt like my traditional vegan chocolate cake, which most people like quite well, seems a little bland lately, and I would like to be able to try other recipes.
  10. LindyCat

    Baking with cocoa butter

    Hi, flour girl! We lurkers have to stick together. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by allowed flavorings, but as for brands of margarine (I think that was your other question), I usually use Earth Balance regular. I try to avoid hydrogenated oils, and it's pretty much the only palatable option I've encountered among the non-hydrogenated. In fact, it's quite good for margarine. Before I switched to non-hydrogenated, I was using Willow Run, which tastes more like butter than most of what is at the supermarket. What about you? (I keep expecting to be driven out of this forum with wooden spoons at any moment for even discussing margarine in here.) My objection to the margarine is that sometimes the best dairyless deserts come out of unusual ingredients being used to their best advantage, rather than trying to substitute something in for a dairy ingredient, where you inevitably end up with something less, not something different. For example, Cool Whip simply isn't whipped cream; it doesn't even come close. I would rather go with something entirely different, even if it means reinterpreting the desert, than use it in most cases. By sophisticated, I simply mean a dessert designed with a somewhat educated or moderately discriminating palate in mind. Most vegan and dairyless dessert recipes are remixes of rice-krispie treats, devil's food, and so forth. It's fairly rare to come across a recipe like the one for dairyless chocolate mousse in Bittersweet, where it has been designed to accentuate the flavors of the chocolate, not hide the fact that there isn't any cream present. Is cocoa butter really so much stiffer than dairy butter? They have similar melting points. I know that cocoa butter is currently employed to stiffen traditional buttercreams (by which I am referring to cooked Euro-style buttercreams, not just butter and powdered sugar whipped; perhaps I should have been more precise before), so I wondered if a balance might be struck between it and more liquidy ingredients? Perhaps even a fat that isn't solid at room temp? I also know that it has multiple crystalline structures, some of which melt at much lower temperatures than its tempered form used for chocolate, so I wondered if it could be manipulated to be softer simply in that way? I'm not really familiar with the ingredient, though, so I can't comment on flavor, except that I understand the cocoa scent and flavor can be removed (as they are for white chocolate). I'm going to have to just order some and play around with it a bit, I think.
  11. LindyCat

    Baking with cocoa butter

    Hi. I'm totally new to this forum, and I hope I'm not bugging anyone with my question and lack of expertise. I'm an amateur baker, and I generally bake without dairy due to food sensitivities and allergies in my family. I'm often in a tough spot in the kitchen, trying to use excellent ingredients and flavors to pull off a sophisticated desert while grubbing around in vegan cookbooks or modifying recipes from conventional cookbooks to omit dairy. I've recently become dissatisfied with the texture and flavor options I have available in solid fats, and I wondered if it would be possible to bake with cocoa butter as a sort of substitute for dairy butter. I thought that since cocoa butter as present in chocolate is already used as a fat in baking, that it might be possible to skip the cocoa solids and use pure cocoa butter in buttercream icing, in cake batter, and in other things to achieve something with a consistency similar to that you would get from butter and a flavor a bit more interesting at least than what you get from the lackluster alternatives. So far, however, I haven't seen any recipes, etc, suggesting it's use this way. I thought that might simply be due to the cost of cocoa butter, which is certainly fairly high (but doable for special occasions IMO). Does anyone have any experience, thoughts, or directions to point me? I appreciate it!
  12. LindyCat

    World's Best Hotel Bars

    These types of articles and their accompanying price lists always make me think of the gruff advice on fine dining my husband received from his grandpa: "Remember, son, you can't eat ambiance." Terribly gauche of me, I know.
  13. LindyCat

    Pimms and fruit cup gins...

    Thanks for the education, folks. I think I will have to try it after all.
  14. A UK friend recently recommended the new Plymouth Fruit Cup as a refreshing summer drink. I've been a little puzzled about things like this and Pimms. I haven't really seen much on them, and haven't tried one yet. What are these things like and are they worth drinking? Any fans? Any warnings?
  15. I second the Ninotchka/Kretchma. The unexpected combination of lemon and chocolate is always a hit with my guests, especially if you color the drink pink. They can't figure out what the heck is in there. It's a nice "beginners" cocktail. But I use different proportions to make mine. My Kretchma is 2:1:1 with a dash of grenadine, Ninnotchka is 4:1:1 (from the Bartender's Bible) I personally think 2 parts creme de cacao would make the drink far too sweet, but I'm also not above putting a maraschino cherry in mine, so do what tastes best to you. I would think creme de cacao and orange-flavored vodka would like each other, also.
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