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Everything posted by Sugarella

  1. I don't know if she attended later, but wasn't Julia Child self -taught through writing her first book?
  2. I LOVE MUSHROOMS!!!!! Sadly I've never had your Lobster mushrooms, but if they're anything like Enobi (the only mushroom I've tried and hated) then you might like this quick easy way of preparing them. This even makes Enobi taste good....takes the bitterness off. First, a disclaimer about my 2 mushrooms pet peeves. The first is when people don't wash them. Mushrooms are water so washing them off won't hurt them any, although they do cook up nicer after you've let them air dry half an hour or so after washing. So do prepare them ahead. If you're pressed for time you can even whip them around in a salad spinner. The second, and this is the big one, is that most people sadly undercook them. (At least all the people I know. I realize this place is full of foodies and I may be preaching to the choir, here, so correct me if this is what everyone does already.) Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil + 1/4 tsp. sesame oil in a skillet, drop the shredded mushrooms in & sprinkle with kosher salt & grated pepper. (The salt activates the sweating process quicker.) Lower the heat a little and just let them sweat it out until all the liquid is gone from the pan, stirring once or twice. This might take as long as 10 - 15 minutes depending on how thickly they're cut or ripped. Mushrooms aren't done when they start sweating; they're done after they've stopped sweating. This long cooking time exponentially intensifies the flavour! Once done, sprinkle with about 1 Tbsp. of a decent quality Japanese soy like Kikkoman Lite, and cook another 2 minutes or so until the soy starts to carmelize in the pan. ........and you're done. If that fails and they still taste icky, try roasting them in a coq au vin-type concoction....that'll make anything taste good! Edited so I make sense.
  3. Sugarella

    Pumpkin Cake

    Thanks for the suggestions.... I think I'll try the fig/Armagnac combo. Big help you've been. No problem.... I appreciate the input. Now.....for the cake batter!?
  4. Your whites to butter ratio is just right, and I personally have added very soft butter to my buttercream; it just takes a lot longer to whip the 2 together. Then again, maybe my whites have always been slightly too warm? Next try, remember it takes quite a long time for the whites & butter to meld together. If it looks like it's ruined again, just keep beating it and it'll eventually thicken up.
  5. Sugarella

    Pumpkin Cake

    Thanks for the suggestions. I do cakes all the time and I've had 2 tier wedding cakes I can't even lift by myself. I say, the more stuff in there, the better! Weight is no issue. By too many flavours going on I meant my original idea of using marzipan plus walnut flour. I think that'd be too much. I should have mentioned that I do cakes often (trying to carve a living out of it here) so I don't need too much help with the decorating aspect. I think I can carve a large square of cake just fine. It'll need to serve 8-10 which means knowing me it'll probably end up serving 30. Haha! Although I wouldn't usually use mascarpone in a wedding cake, this one is for family so it'll just be on display a bit before dinner, but refridgerated most of the time. Plus there are ways to stretch the room temp shelf life of dairy so I'm not too worried. I was thinking covering it in marzipan only because my family hates fondant, and I personally don't do too well decorating a carved cake with buttercream. I could make a marzipan from walnuts I suppose if that'd be more appropriate, flavour-wise. Now this combo I am liking!!! I don't have too much experience wth figs though.....it's not possible to make a curd with them is it? Jam I know I don't have time to make so could I just do a cooked fig reduction or do you think it'd be better to just puree them fresh and thicken for a filling?
  6. I looked in the recipes and way back on this forum and didn't find anything, so sorry if this has been brought up before. I need to make a pumpkin cake, which of course I've never made before, and I'm looking for a good one if anybody's got one. I've found several online from other sites and based on experience I know that just because 800 people gave it 5 stars doesn't mean it's any good. hehhehe So it looks like I'll be doing a bit of experimenting here, unless anybody's got a fabulous recipe already. I was thinking of adding either a layer of marzipan inside, or possibly just covering the outside with marzipan. (This is to be decorated like an actual pumpkin.) Thanksgiving's only a week and a half away so I don't have tooooo much time for experimenting, and making it look like a pumpkin will probably take me a whole lot longer than making it taste like a pumpkin. But I don't mind getting creative with the ingredients though. If I didn't go the marzipan route I was thinking of maybe replacing some of the flour with walnut flour. Then again, maybe just keep it simple and use both almond flour and marzipan? I don't want toooo many flavours going on here. I've also never had pumpkin cake, which I guess is the biggest hurdle in figuring out whether I've actually made a good one.. I've had storebought pumpkin pie, and I've tasted both plain pureed pumpkin and canned pumpkin pie filling. That's about it for my experience with pumpkin. Never even eaten the stuff steamed or baked or anything. But I'm thinking canned stuff always tastes canned and maybe I should shred real pumpkin for this cake, same as I do for carrot or apple, or would it make much of a difference using canned pumpkin in a cake? What do you think? And what, if anyone can describe it, should it really taste like? I also need suggestions for my IMBC for this cake (White Russian? Saffron Orange?) and something for a filling also. I like the idea of something with mascarpone but I'm worried that might be overkill. Any & all thoughts appreciated.
  7. Do you know what sizes these cakes are? We can tell you servings just based on that. I've never heard of a cake artist being unable or unwilling to provide a serving chart. And a reference to the Joy of cooking one no less! Hope that's not indicative of things to come. ( And cutting a round cake by slicing the circles first is much harder than just cutting each pece as a rectangle, which is quickly becoming the standard cake slice as far as I can tell. I disagree with this though.... two flavours means guests get a choice of one flavour or the other, not both. )
  8. You mentioned that you'll be asking te cake artists for guidance....smart move! Ask them which serving chart they're basing their cakes on; Wilton vs. Earlene? Those are the 2 serving charts most commonly used and their cake portions vary greatly. If you abide by the serving guide they give you should have no problems like running out of cake. Also make sure to ask if there's any equipment like supports that need to be returned. As already mentioned, Earlene's way of cutting, with a plastic glove on one hand and a knife in the other, really is the most efficient. And as well, do keep a tray nearby with clean napkins to cover up messy bits like supports, as said above. If you're more inclined to use your regular method of cutting, with the serrated knife, hot water, and towel, go ahead and do so. You can keep the hot water container and dirty towels tucked down at waist level on another serving cart out of sight and still keep things looking discreet. It's a little more work to do it in public but those clean cuts really are nice and presentation is everything. It helps to also have a plate runner who takes the plated cake from you and sets it where it's going to go, so all you have to do is cut & plate. You don't need the fancy serving sets.....those are for the bride/groom cut only (traditionally taken from the bottom tier) and they're pretty much useless for cutting up the whole cake. Most Brides buy their own or get a loaner from the cake artist. But you stick with your serrated knife. One of my biggest pet peeves though (aside from caterers or decorators moving the table with the cake on it, but that's another thread!) is when the portions are plated then left to sit for an hour or two or even more. Cut cake is like bread and it gets dry when cut pieces are exposed to air for some time. It doesn't matter how moist & wonderful the cake was, leaving it plated for long periods always results in "Gee, too bad the cake was dry" comments from guests, when in fact it wouldn't have been if handled properly. You mentioned the first bride wants it plated as soon as they do their traditional cut, then left on a buffet. Bad idea. Instead, let them do their cut, then you don't start cutting until the cake is ready to be served. Preferably, if you can do it, serve the cake to guests rather than letting them come to the buffet in their own time, because some will take hours to do it. (I've seen people actually do this.) But having said that, plating the cake and leaving it on the buffet is still preferable to letting guests cut their own piece, because they almost always cut themselves a piece 3x larger than what was intended, so of course that way you'd run out. Is there going to be any of your staff manning the buffet table? If so, I'd get them to cut & plate pieces as guests request them. I'm suggesting staff because I know you likely won't have time to stand there & do it yourself all evening. ) Hope that answers a few of your questions.....any more just hollar. And don't, as you said, have an anxiety attack over this....you do fine!
  9. It's the same up here in Ontario, so it's likely because they don't have the cages on them. Depending on the model, you can order the cages.
  10. Sugar cookies with a royal icing glaze will freeze very well, so no problems there, but it's the sprinkles you mentioned I'm worried about. They usually contain such cheap food colour that they'll easily bleed colour at the sligtest temp and/or moisture change. For freezing, I'd forego using the sprinkles.
  11. QUOTE (I have no idea why rum balls are such big sellers, but they are - so it's a win-win). Boy, ain't that the truth. When I was green and fresh out of pastry school, and I discovered what rum balls "really" were, I never ate one again. tongue.gif **************** Ok....I'll ask..... what are they "really"!?! ?? I like eating rum balls....should I stop!? Argh!! Edited once again to try & fix the quote & not succeed.......
  12. Sometimes I don't bother and it works to my advantage. If the cashier doesn't know the difference between haricot verts and stringbeans, I deserve to save that $2 a pound. ←
  13. Hi.... I'm new & this is my second post. ) Thanks for the info & I've enjoyed reading this thread, but wanted to ask about the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon paste a few of you mentioned earlier. I know some said it's sub-standard in flavour but how bad is it, or is it bad at all? I'm wondering if it'd be suitable in vanilla cake batter versus using the beans or will I lose a lot of taste? I suspect it's not good enough to use in a buttercream. Anyone with experience with the product?
  14. Hi there. I've been lurking for quite a while and this is my first post. (I was going to post on another thread then this caught my eye on the way there!) I would remake the batter and produce the correct muffins for your clients because you can't give them a substandard mutant muffin....like everyone else said your reputation is more valuable than a batch of batter. I would not, however, throw out the mutant batter just yet. Fiddle with it first and see if you can come up with something palatable, but don't waste too much time on it either. If you happen across a half decent new muffin you can call them Seredipity Muffins or something, and you might have a new favourite. ) Regardless, I'd still make the new guy stand in the corner.
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