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Posts posted by annachan

  1. The only one I've tried is Recchiuti and the chocolate is heavenly. The Fleur de Sel Caramel is my absolute favorite. I also love the Burnt Caramel and Piedmont Hazelnut. I can't pass by the shop without getting a little something for the husband and I to indulge on.

  2. I like my spinach in soup. Just heat up a can of chicken stock, add spinach and it's soup! Once in a while, I would beat up and egg or two and add that to the soup to make a spinach egg drop soup. I like Kale in soup as well, w/ sausage, potato, stock and cream.

    I've been into chards lately as well. I really like the bag of rainbow chards at Trader Joes. I usually sautee up some garlic, shallot and/or onion w/ some chili flakes, add the chard and a little stock and cook until tender. Sometimes I like to add a little soy sauce and lemon juice at the end.

    I also really like the Southern greens mix at Trader Joe's. I mae my greens somewhat traditionally. I like to start w/ making a broth w/ ham hock (sometimes I use fresh pork bones), water and stock. Then throw in some garlic, onion, chili flakes (depending on my mood) and greens and let it cook for about an hour. If I don't have time to deal w/ ham hock, I may sautee up some salt pork and add stock to it as my broth.

  3. Here are some of my picks:

    Greasy spoons/diner types

    Lucky Penny (Masonic @ Geary) - no thrills, 24/7 diner. Large portions @ great prices.

    Manor Coffee Shop (West Portal x 14th Ave) - a very old fashion diner. The waitresses still don pink uniforms.

    Mega-breakfast/Insulin shockers

    Hard Knox Cafe (3rd St x 22nd St) - delicious southern food. I would suggest calling before going over to check the hours (415) 648-3770. Since the first time I went a few years ago to now, hours have been changing.

    Semi-refined/yuppie-type places

    Miss Millies (24th St @ Castro) - always love those fresh churros. Many items on the brunch menu tend to be new twists on old classics, such as gingerbread pear waffles and lemon ricotta pancakes. You'll definitely spot a crowd waiting for tables outside on weekends.

    Gourmet breakfast

    Chouchou (400 Dewey @ Laguna Honda) - my all time favorite! :wub: We're there for brunch about every other week (and dinners in between!). A casual French bistro serving up delicious food at decent prices. Most items on the menu are below $10. I've had most of the items on the menu (changes from time to time) and have not been disappionted. Don't forget to get a cappuchino and a piece of their divine tart.

    Cheap Eats

    Denny's Cafe (not the chain!) (Geary x 19th Ave) - daily breakfast specials from 8-11am. For each day of the week, there are 3 specials @ $2.35 that includes coffee or tea! There are usually 1 or 2 Chinese type breakfast and the rest American type, ranging from BBQ pork noodle to French toast to porridge to sausage and eggs. Other than the specials, they also have a full breakfast menu @ excellent prices. Steak and eggs is about $6.

  4. Something fancy but easy.....I don't know if this will be too much work, but I'm thinking something along the line of a napolean type dessert. Either bake up some puff pastry and put some sort of a filling (fruit, mousse, cream cheese+preserve) in the middle, or make stacks using phyllo. What about baklava?

    One item that really worked well for me is a Chocolate Roulade. I used the very simple recipe from the Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home cookbook. I used Valrhona chocolate and it's divine.

    I've also have great success with serving almond toffee and chocolate covered cornflakes (use good chocolate) at holiday parties. Both are easy to make.

  5. Well, in order to make it as creamy as the commercial stuff, you will have to be able to grind the hazelnut particles so that they are less than 20 microns in size. For the average home grinder, this is almost impossible to achive (at least on a uniform basis).  Stirring for a REALLY long time will not help much either. 

    Commercially, it has to be run through the same equipment which is used to make chocolate in the first place since that equipment is designed to be able to get the cocoa bean, sugar, and other ingredients ground to a fineness of less than 20 microns.  (15 microns are about optimum 10 microns is too fine.)

    I made my own not too long ago using an antique melangeur and it turned out pretty good.  My neighbors were pretty happy when I gave them samples as early Christmas presents!


    I have a Chinese stone grinder at home that is traditionally used for making sesame paste and soy milk. I wonder if that would work.

    Do you have a recipe for me to try out the grinder?

  6. I made a visit to Sugar n' Spice today. My impression is that it's more a baking place than a candy place. The candy/chocolate supplies it carries is somewhat limited. When I asked for woman, I think she's the owner, about E. Guittard chocolate disk, she was a little puzzled. I told her I'm looking for the 72% bittersweet chocolate, she told me that only people who are really serious in chocolate get something that dark and most people don't like it. I thought that's a very strange comment. (Maybe it's just me... :huh: ) I was able to pick up a few things, but wasn't able to find too much. I'll probably go back for basic or bakig items. For candy/chocolate supplies, I'll stick to Spun Sugar and online.

  7. Yep, I tried soy sauce--too one-note. Then I tried soy sauce/oyster sauce, and it was closer, but still...no Cantonese cigar. I think I might well have to forego duplicating it as Mr. Liang did it, but I intend to have fun trying!!

    (I should also mention that I have a bunch of Wei-Chuan publications--still can't find it.)

    I'd love to know what seasonings might be good for the combo of tofu, limas, and rice. How did your grandmother make it? (I go to a really great Asian market, so get as esoteric as you'd like with ingredients. )

    All suggestions will be enthusiastically attempted!  :biggrin: Thanks very very much!

    I can't remember exactly how she made it, it was almost 20 years ago now. My grandma wasn't into using a lot of different seasonings, so I suspect that she would have used so sauce and/or oyster sauce. She would most likely have used some sugar to balance the saltiness. Probably a corn starch slurry to thicken the sauce.

  8. You can make praline paste yourself in your food processor.

    It's not going to be the same as the Mec3 pastes and the like but it will do the trick.

    I used to offer Gianduja ice cream at one of my former places all of the time that I made my own praline paste for.

    For bon bons, that would be a different story but for macaroons it should be fine.

    Do you have a recipe? I would like to try it out. :raz:

  9. Okay - I admit it - I am completely off of street food.  It is too scary.  The only thing I took part in was the elcair and egg tart.  Everything else just seemed like I might as well swab my insides with hepititis viruses.

    I can't believe that you missed out on all those street food!! :shock:

    Those noodles and various ingredients in the bag are a great way to fill the stomach for poor students(they just spent all their money on manga, anime, and CD) since you can get each ingredient for HK1.00 in the cheap places.

    I was thinking the same thing. I lived off street food while I was there. Those egg puffs, eggettes, are divine. Street food isn't as bad as some people think it is. I have yet to get sick from any and when I was back there, I had street food everyday. But I did tend to go to larger places for street food and skip the shady looking little stands.

  10. Right in the middle of Central (where most of the offices are) - there is a little coffee shop that has earned the nickname 'snake pit' - because it where office and government workers go slithering off to slack off.


    It is famous for its 'chicken pie' - which seems more like an ham and onion pie in a insanely rich short crust.  Still - the service is good and it is fun to hang out with all the other slackers.

    I recogonize the Snake Pit. My dad used to go there when he worked at a bank closed by. I went there when I visited a while back. They're also famous for their pineapple buns and toast. Yes, toast.

  11. Michael Recchiuti comes to mind as a local SF person.

    FYI - him and Fran Gage is doing a Chocolate Obsession demo class @ Sur La Table in February. 2/8 in SF and 2/9 in Los Gatos @ 6:30. I think I'll be signing up for that one! :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

  12. Also, find out if the CCA (California Culinary Academy) has any part time courses in chocolate/candy making.  If their instructor Chef Devin is still there, she's great.  Her stuff is mostly "old school" mostly because that is what they have to teach, but she's a whiz with chocolate.

    I just called the CCA and the person on the phone wasn't even interested in talking to me when I mentioned that I'm interested in chocolate/candy making only. She said what they have is one class in the baking/pastry program that deals w/ chocolate and ended the conversation when I said I wasn't interested in the entire program. I saw on their website that they offer weekend classes. I'll look into that more when they have an updated schedule for that. They still have the summer 2005 schedule online.

    i would get the wybauw book if you're looking to focus on chocolate.  you can find it cheaper than the JB Prince price though.  look at this link (it's in canadian $$ but even with shipping it ends up cheaper) Chocolate Books and Molds

    I'll definitely look into the chocolat-chocolat website for books as well (I love the chocolate molds they have! :wub: ). I notice that some books are less and some are more than JB Prince. I'll probably look on Amazon and Abe as well to see if I can get better prices. With so many books I want, I got to do some comparative shopping. :laugh:

  13. Thanks for everyone's input. I understand very well that an online course is not the most ideal. I haven't done extensive research, but from what I can tell, there are not a lot of programs that may fit my current situation of having to keep my full time job and offer more than just the very basics.

    The Jean- Pierre Wybauw book 'Fine Chocolates' should be right at the front for a serious yet more or less affordable look into the world of artisan chocolate work.

    Tan319: I have my eyes on that book along with SAVEURS CHOCOLATEES, CHOCOLATS & CONFISERIE-Volume 1 & 2, and CHOCOLAT BEHIND THE SCENES on the JB Price website. They are quite pricey so I wasn't sure which ones to get. Any suggestions? BTW, I live in San Francisco.

  14. I've been looking into books and resources for making truffles lately and ran across Ecole Chocolat. It's in Vancouver and offers an online course. I'm tempted because the price is reasonable ($595 for a 3 month course) and it offers a followup hands-on course (one week) in either Vancouver, Tuscany or Paris (@ Valrhona's Ecole du Grand Chocolat!).

    I've been making candy as gifts for the past 15 years and have been considering making a career out of it lately. I would really like to concentrate on chocolate and candy. I'm not sure I'm ready to quit my job and go to school full time, due to financial reasons, so I'm excited about this online course. I'm thinking this could be a first step in seeing if this is the career for me.

    Anyone have any thought/suggestion on this? Also, if you know of any other programs available that may serve my needs, I appreciate the resource.


  15. I will definitely be ordering Chocolate Obsession and Oh Truffles by Au Chocolat (I found it online for $9!) The websites recommended here both looks great. I'm sure I will be making some purchases there soon. Thanks everyone for your help.

    Happy New Year! :biggrin:

  16. I've been wondering about Sugar 'n Spice myself. I drive by often but has yet to stop by. Have you visited the store? Do they have a lot of candy making supplies? I'm in SF as well but made trips to Spun Sugar because I have yet to find something closer for what I need. I like to hear your impression of Sugar 'n Spice.

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