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Ekaterina

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  1. Gruzia, you took the thoughts right out of my head - as a professional pastry chef, I applauded Gourmet for showcasing the trends and staying true to this in their choice of recipes. Not all cooking magazines out there should be made for the "home cook" - otherwise they would all be the same: boring and somewhat condescending in the relentless explanation of very basic skills. Gourmet was wonderful to bring the trends and inspiration of the professional field to the main stream. I mean - with so many people loving the Food Network, isn't it only natural for them to want to read about and better understand the things they see on Iron Chef? Gourmet was a natural progression for those foodies, who have mastered the basic skills, and are looking for more of a challenge. Needless to say, not all recipes are designed to be easily made in home. But reading such a recipe allows for a person to get a better idea of a technique and then adapt it for use, experiment with it, evolve as a cook. (That's what happens as professionals progress in their field: master the basics and then chellenge yourself to evolve.)
  2. This is, indeed, very sad news!!! I agree with what was said the other eGulleters above: Gourmet is a far better magazine because of the balance of content. It provided great recipes, wonderful travel stories and I often used the information in Gourmet to plan my foreign trips. And with all due respect to consulting companies (my husband used to work for BCG and we have many friends at McKinsey), most often those studies don't reflect the true nature of things, and they never take into account people's sentiments. The Gourmet's website MUST stay alive. It is a wonderful resource, very chic, useful and well organized. I really enjoyed visiting it, when I was not able to get my hands on the magazine. (I live in Moscow, Russia, so I get my foodie mag fix only when I fly to another country). If someone will start a petition to keep Gourmet, I will be one of the first to sign it!
  3. Just happen to come across this post. I see so many funny translations from Russian to English in the restaurant menus in Moscow. Everyone uses the same dictionary, which often has the most obscure names for things. But my favourite thing by far is the "Fresh-squeezed birch juice"... How DO they get a birch log into the juices is beyond me...
  4. That's an excellent idea! I am having a very Homer "Duh!" moment now Thanks!!!
  5. Dear Bill, from one entrepreneur to another: congratulations! You have accomplished so much in a year, but even if you count your whole journey from 2004 - it is still amazing! It does take a ton of work and a lot of courage to get started and keep going. And, from my experience, sometimes you cannot plan for the good things - you just get lucky. The trick is to not be afraid to jump at the chances, not to think too much far in advance (at the same time to always be aware of the big picture) and use those lucky breaks. Sounds like you were blessed with a few, and were strong enough to take your chances at "fame and fortune". I am very happy for you, truly! It's always so exciting to hear of someone's success story. Gives all the rest of us so much hope. Thank you for taking the time to post! I must admit, that I did not follow your story before, and after I am done with my huge amount of work this week, I will take the time to read through the past threads. I have one question - how much do you rely on your team, and how difficult was it for you to give up the control and trust someone else with your product? I have started a luxury celebration and wedding cake business in Moscow, Russia. For a city with such a ton of money and a need for exuberant ways to display the wealth, the high-end cake niche is wide-open. I have been building the business from an idea/business plan in October 2006 to an extensive internship with Sylvia Weinstock to slowly starting to build a portfolio of work in July 2008... And it is so scary to see your product on TV or in print! You can never first quite believe it is indeed yours. It has been a journey, and continues to be. Maybe once I am done with this Opera House cake, I will find the time to put it into words here. For now - once again, congratulations on your HUGE success. I wish you all the best, and I hope that you find time to enjoy the sweet life.
  6. Dear fellow Egulleters! I am making a cake in the shape of an opera house, and decided to carve the facade out of a huge Rice Krispie treat to attach it to the cake afterwards. This is the first time I use Rice Krispies in cake decorating, because the client is on a budget - I normally carve the cake itself. I wonder - should I "crumb-coat" the Rice Krispy facade element with buttercream before covering it in gum paste? I am looking for a smooth look on the gum paste, and am afraid that if I don't cover the Rice Krispies, the little bumps will show. On the other hand - maybe the buttercream is not the right choice... I did "shave" the structure down with a knife to make it as smooth as possible. I know some of you are expert cake decorators. Any tips? Thanks so much!
  7. I have rested the paste overnight, and have tried to vary the amounts of gelatin and gum arabic, but have not achieved the proper result. I need to make wire-mounted flowers, so the rolled fondant method will not work, as it is too soft. I am not sure what makes the dough "flake", when I roll it or pinch it to thin, I get small pieces of dough stuck to my fingers, even though I am using shortening on the hands.
  8. Dear everyone, I hope someone out there can help me. I have to make a cake for 500 people, loaded with flowers here in Moscow, Russia. I have tried to use the same gum paste recipe, that I used in the US, but here it's not working! The main ingredients are: gelatin (powdered) water gum arabic (Spray R) glucose (in lieu of corn syrup) icing sugar with no corn starch in it at all Here are the problems: 1. the dough is moist enough, but I cannot shape is well - it is still a little flaky, sticks to the fingers and tears a lot, when I try to pull out petals or shape them on the palm for roses, etc. So it is taking me FOREVER to even make hydrangeas, because the dough is incredibly difficult to work with. 2. if I add corn starch - it helps a little, but if I add enough to stop the dough from flaking and sticking to the fingers, it loses its "stretch" and does not shape well. 3. if I add glucose (corn syrup), the dough becomes even more flaky (breaks down into small pieces when I try to shape it) and too sticky. Do you suggest I increase the amount of gum arabic, gelatin or both for the next batch? I am working with a little more than a pound of sugar at a time (500 gr; 1 lb. = 454 gr.) By how much do you suggest I increase the gelatin and/or gum arabic - by a lot, or by very little? How much effect does a small increase cause? Perhaps some of you make your own gum paste and have encountered similar problems, and have arrived at a good solution for them. I have less than a month to make the flowers, and commercial gum paste is not available in Russia. Please help!
  9. Rodney, I am not sure if anyone has suggested this earlier (did not have the chance to read the whole thread), but you could try to rub the zest into the sugar with you hands to get out the flavor and the color. This technique is very similar to rubbing butter into the flour by hand. This should give you the orange color you are looking for in the dough. Good luck!
  10. I've tried to use hand-made mochi dough, but after two tries, I realized my arms might fall off before I am able to roll it thin enough. So I ended up using spring roll paper to wrap my desset sushi. I realize that it's white, but you can always add vibrancy by the filling you choose for your rolls. I am still working on the mochi thing. If I ever get it right, I will let you know
  11. Ekaterina

    Biscuit Help

    Regarding the gluten-content of flour: I lived in Paris (actually in Fontainebleau) for a year, and worked at a great restaurant Chez Catherine. My husband and I moved from France in July for his work, and I really miss it! The French system of marking the flour by type is really wonderful. And the regulations require that all flours be marked. I know that some EU regulations are trying to force farmers to use pausterized milk for cheese (a horrible thought!) and standardize certain food-making procedures. But some regulating is good, actually. The problem with Russian flour is that the markings on it are not regulated. Some makers mark the g. of protein on the flour (it usually hovers at 11 or 12, which is on the strong side), but it is not a requirement. And even the the flour is marked, there is no guarantee that that is how much protein it actually contains. Eric Kayser has recently opened a bread bakery in Moscow. When I consulted on a menu for a very posh Moscow restaurant, I also arranged for them to change their bread to the Kayser bread. It took the Kayser bakers three tries to produce a result that resembled the fine crust and chewy texture of their bread in Paris. The first iteration was aweful - very heavy and chewy. The same exact symptom as I've had with my biscuits. I've run into small issues with many of my US and European recipes, but I've never had as much trouble as with bread doughs or a biscuit recipe. So that is why I posted on Egullet. I've recieved a lot of great advice, that hopefully will help me decipher the root of the problem. I honestly am not sure what the cause is. My Harold McGee book has offered no distinct help. Whether it's the flour, or the butter, or the water. Or a combination of the three. I've already mentioned that I am using cane caster sugar, instead of the normal beetroot sugar. Otherwise, even petit four-sized finianciers turn out heavy, like tiny bricks.
  12. Ekaterina

    Biscuit Help

    Maggie, thank you so much for your pointers! You gave such a detailed description, that it would be hard for the biscuits to come out heavy again! I never realized that you have to almost "turn" the biscuit dough like puff pastry. First time I hear about this, actually. But it makes sense to get a light and fluffy biscuit as a result. Thanks again! I will lelt you know how it turns out. And with buttermilk in Russia there are no problems. It's sold in every store here. My favourite is the kind that is still made in glass bottles, like the ones that milk used to come in. It wonderfully delicious, thick and so rich, that it even has a thin layer of cream at the top!
  13. Ekaterina

    Biscuit Help

    Here is the recipe I used: 110 g. flour 1 tsp. sugar pinch of salt 1/4 tsp. baking powder 1/8 tsp. baking soda. 30 g. butter 60 g. buttermilk 2 Tbs. milk Russians usually use beetroot based sugar, but I've used the fine caster sugar from sugarcane. The beetroot sugar has very large crystals, does not caramelize well, has many impurities and just weighs everything down. Since the flour has not gluten content written on it, it's hard for me to say for sure. But I presume it is like regular all-purpose flour. Other than that, I really don't know what could have been the problem. Perhaps I just used too little quantities? I was doing a degustation for a job and did not want to make a huge amount of dough, as I only had to present one plate of each dessert. Thank you for the recipe. I will give it a try. This biscuit stuff is bothering me now.
  14. If you are looking to make a natural sorbet, that has a hint of olive oil flavor - I've had success with a recipe that used plain yougurt as a emulsifier. It makes for a lighter result, that fromage blanc. But, tecnically, once you add dairy - it is no longer a sorbet.
  15. Hello, everyone! I am experiencing problems with a biscuit recipe from the US, that proved to be a bad choice in Russia. I've had experiences like this before, where a recipe I've used in the US or Europe needs to be changed to achieve a proper result in another country. I tried making some biscuits to make a strawberry shortcake. They came out very heavy and took forever to bake through. Perhaps someone can help me with a recipe for light and airy biscuits. I would like to give it a try, since I've had no luck with modifying the amount of butter or flour with the one I was using. Thanks in advance!
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