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Lisa Shock

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Everything posted by Lisa Shock

  1. If you get really overheated, you can always fill the bathtub with cold water and get in. Or, a small footbath is nice, too. For food, I tend to make extra portions when I cook during hot weather. Most things will last 5-7 days, so you won't get too tired of them. Chilled cooked pasta can be different kinds of pasta salad over the next week with different dressings and components. Hardboiling a dozen eggs is always a good idea -they can be eaten sliced, devilled, or in egg salad. Sesame noodles are pretty obvious, you can make a large amount (without cucumbers or other watery vegetables) and nibble throughout the week. Fresh Japanese pickles are always refreshing. So is homemade tofu, if you like it, it can be served cold with various toppings. Fried chicken is good cold, and slaw is a classic accompaniment. Don't forget summer sandwiches! The BLT and well, anything with garden produce is good. I like to make a 'salad sandwich' on toasted bread with a little mustard on one side and vinaigrette poured lightly in the middle. You can make veggie cream cheese in a blender by blending down some celery, carrot, raw bell pepper, radish, green onion, chives, shallots, etc. in small amounts then adding cream cheese. (tomato tends to be too watery) Hummus can be the perfect snack or meal, use your slow cooker or IP to cook a couple pounds of beans. You can freeze the plain beans in smaller portions to use later. Use vegetables as dippers. Cottage cheese is a good cold lunch with a little salad or some fruit. Hope your AC is fixed soon!
  2. I found THIS bit of news at Science Daily. Turns out that the pancreas' of some people with type 2 diabetes, all of the tested samples, contained crystals of titanium dioxide, while samples of pancreas' from people who did not have type 2 diabetes did not have the crystals. This brings up the possibility that the disease might be a crystal induced inflammatory disease. The sample size is small. More work needs to be done. I just thought I'd post this as a timely news article. I suspect that public awareness will spike for a while, and it could affect those of use producing/using certain foods. (white colored cocoa butter comes to mind, along with some powder colors for cake decorating)
  3. Lisa Shock

    cheese slicers

    It's a paper cutter! All joking aside, the one-star reviews are a bit off-putting. (although the one about sausage and parmesan cheese is weird)
  4. Lisa Shock

    Over mixing

    Try putting your mixer on a lower speed so that the moment doesn't go by so quickly. Try to remember that you want the ingredients to just (barely) be mixed evenly, no more. With a mixer, that's often just 5-20 seconds. By hand, it can be going around the bowl with a spoon or spat about ten times. Look at the paddle in the mixer and see if you can tell how many times it goes around the bowl. More than 15 rotations is generally unnecessary. Don't worry so much about every last little lump, most will bake out anyway -and, if you sift your flour you won't have much of a lump problem anyway. Also, do not let mixed batters sit around much unless (like for crepes) the recipe tells you to rest it. Wet flour sitting around means that gluten is developing and in some cases, you'll get a result that appears like it was overmixed. With biscuits, if you're making them on the bench, you just want the shaggy mass to come together. You can press into shape and cut them with very little manipulation. A light hand is the key to light biscuits. Try to remember that biscuits are not yeasted bread and you want to avoid anything like kneading. Good luck! Hope this helps!
  5. Yes. There's only so far down you can go on each pass or it will just jam or tear.
  6. I have run pizza dough through a sheeter. You often need to run it through 2-3-4 times to get it thin. What temperature was the dough and what was your room temperature? You should keep the room (and thus the machine) at or below 78°F and refrigerate the dough to >40° before running it through the sheeter. The cold dough should run through the sheeter with a minimal dusting of flour. You can also try oiling the outside. At home, I like to oil the outside of pizza dough. I think it helps with the bake, much like oiling a potato for baking vs not oiling the potato. Dunno how oil will affect your particular machine, it works with some, not so well with others, some machines need to grip the raw flour to prevent the dough from sliding around. Hope this helps!
  7. The basic formula for these cakes was developed by the wife of a mayonnaise salesman in an effort to help him out. I did a bit of research, and have found many variations. Early variants generally involve using less cocoa, which I cannot recommend. Later variants involve using cold water instead of boiling, adding salt, and additional leaveners. I personally do not feel that any additional salt is needed, as mayonnaise and that famous, tangy brand of salad dressing (sometimes the label just says 'Dressing') both contain a fair amount of salt. If you are using homemade mayonnaise or a low sodium product, an eighth teaspoon of salt may boost the flavor a bit. And, of course, somewhere along the way fans who prefer a certain salad dressing over mayonnaise started using it to make this cake. Nowadays, the Hellman's website has a different formula -one with added eggs and baking powder. I have not tried this newer formulation. Some versions of this recipe specify sifted cake flour. This will result in a very light cake with virtually no structural integrity, due to the paucity of eggs in this recipe compared to a regular cake. Cupcakes made this way give beautifully light results. However, every time I try to make a traditional 8" double layer cake with cake flour, I experience collapse. I recommend AP flour or at least a mix of cake and pastry flour. I have never made this with a gluten-free flour replacer. This recipe does not have very much structural integrity and as such does not make a good candidate for a gluten-free cake. I have made this cake many times, the type of sandwich spread you choose will affect the outcome. Made with mayonnaise, the cake has a good chocolate flavor and moistness. Made with that famous, tangy, off-white salad dressing that gets used as a sandwich spread, the cake has a subtle bit of extra brightness to the flavor. If one chooses to use a vegan mayonnaise, the result is tasty but lacking a little in structure; I would bake this in a square pan and frost and serve from the pan. The cocoa you use will also affect the flavor. For a classic, homey flavor use a supermarket brand of cocoa. To add a little sophistication, use better, artisan type cocoa and use chocolate extract instead of the vanilla extract. Supposedly, the traditional frosting for this cake should have a caramel flavor. Look for one where you actually caramelize some sugar first. Modern recipes for the icing seem like weak imitations to me; using brown sugar as the main flavor instead of true caramel. Chocolate Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing Cake makes enough for two 8" round pans, or a 9" square (about 7 cups of batter) 2 ounces/56g unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa 1 cup/236g boiling water 1 teaspoon/4g regular strength vanilla extract 3/4 cup/162g mayonnaise, vegan mayonnaise, or salad dressing (the tangy, off-white, sandwich spread type dressing) 10.5ounces/300g all-purpose flour 7 ounces/200g sugar 0.35ounce/10g baking soda Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease or spray two 8" round pans or an equivalent volume square or rectangle. Place the cocoa in a medium (4-5 cup) bowl. Add the hot water and stir with a fork to break up any clumps. Allow to cool down a little, then add the vanilla extract and the mayonnaise or salad dressing spread. Beat well to eliminate lumps. In the bowl of an electric mixer or larger regular bowl if making by hand, sift in the flour and add the sugar and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients to distribute evenly. Slowly beat in the cocoa mixture. Mix until the batter has an even color. Pour immediately into the pans. If making two 8" rounds, weigh them to ensure they contain equal amounts. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the center of the top springs back when touched lightly. (The toothpick test does NOT work well on this moist cake!) Allow the cake to cool a little and shrink from the sides of the pan before removing. Removal is easier while still a little warm. Good with or without frosting. Good beginner cake for kids to make.
  8. Lisa Shock

    Fun and Creative Kitchen Gadgets

    How are your knife skills? Mastering precise cuts is a fundamental skill that many home cooks don't really have but would serve them well in the long run. Almost all of your food will look better, and, with practice, you will gain speed. Speed is one of the hallmarks of a restaurant cook and will free up time for other tasks in the kitchen. And, when company comes over, they will marvel at the fluted mushrooms and the brunoise celery.
  9. Thanks for pointing that out, I have edited that bit in. This recipe uses the 'Muffin Method' of assembly, wet ingredients mixed together, dry ingredients mixed together, then combined. (with sugar viewed as 'dry' in this case, unlike in other cakes where it's 'wet') @andiesenji, clever business there, tricking the kids! The tangy dressing contains several extra ingredients: garlic powder, sugar, spices, and extra vinegar. It contains less oil (it cannot be called mayonnaise for this reason) and less egg. However, it does contain starch which helps the cake structure. My best results for this cake have been with the MW salad dressing -which I also have a recipe for. (hmmm....)
  10. Lisa Shock

    New pastry job question!

    One of the best antique books I own is a tiny pocket pastry reference by Paul Richard circa 1900. It's rare, and I wouldn't take one to work so my advice is to make your own pocket reference. Go to an office supply store and buy a couple of those little (3¼ x 4½") blank books that look like miniature composition books and are bound on one side. (these are tougher than the spiral bound ones) Just start writing down recipes and shortcuts and temperatures. Take note of failures, so you do not repeat them. Take notes on what your boss likes/hates. Being clean starts with not leaning. Many home cooks lean up against counters and such, don't do it. Also, try to figure out the cleanest way possible to perform every action, so the cumulative mess is lessened. I used to just imagine I was on a tv competition and a commentator was constantly critiquing my sanitation. Keep your sanitation bucket clean. "Chocolate work isn't messy, you're messy!" -Ewold Notter Stake out freezer space. Freeze small slabs of leftover cake, leftover cookie dough, puff dough, and carefully store ice cream to reduce freezer burn. This way, you can pull out an emergency dessert with very little effort. Good luck!
  11. @liuzhou, thank you and thanks to your friend! For anyone interested, I found THIS with a brief bio of the seven sages.
  12. So, I found this item for $.99 at a local Goodwill. I am wondering if anyone here who reads Chinese (I think it's Chinese, I could be wrong!) can give me any sort of clue about its function. ( @liuzhou ) It appears to be a vase. It has a lot of writing on the side along with images of people listening to a speaker, maybe making a bed and some other tasks. There is just one mark on the bottom, and it is almost unreadable because the glaze apparently flowed too much. I have a feeling that the item has some age to it, as the glaze has crazing. Any thoughts? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  13. I use my cleaver.
  14. All true, but there is a broader study in the works. And in general, restaurants have caved in to rubbish research. Think about how many places advertise that their food is MSG free, despite there being no such thing as 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.' I'm just saying, don't be surprised when customers start asking if your white sugar flowers or white bonbons have titanium dioxide in them.
  15. Noted, will put something in the Recipe Gullet soon.
  16. I try different bakeries. Last year, I had a really big cake, so I cut it into slices and individually double wrapped them in plastic wrap, foil, and then plastic wrap and foil and froze them. I took most of the slices to work, maybe 75% of the cake, and stuck them in the freezer there. The freezer was mostly empty, and had plenty of space. Three days later, the teenager who cleans the fridge out once a week threw them all away because, "they were wrapped in foil, ew!"
  17. Lisa Shock

    Cocoa butter separated on mold

    You may be able to save the bottle. I was originally taught to do a mini temper on the colored cocoa butter. Warm the bottle in a bain marie, off the heat, where the water is at 105°, let it sit in there for a while. Pour out the amount you wish to use into a tiny bowl or directly onto a silpat. Use a small offset spat to stir/table it until you can tell that it has cooled but is still liquid. If it gets too cold, you can reheat for a couple of seconds in a microwave on very low or by using your torch with a very light hand. Always make a test strip or two before investing in a project. You can also temper the whole bottle.
  18. Lisa Shock

    sneeze guards

    Maybe you should call the health department and ask them for clarification...
  19. Thought everyone might enjoy THIS VIDEO of real Italian chefs watching the top carbonara videos on youtube.
  20. Lisa Shock

    sneeze guards

    If the place really looks like that, I'd be willing to bet that someone swipes a fingerful of icing off a cake about 20 times a day.
  21. Lisa Shock

    sneeze guards

    Weird photos. They're clearly not professional pictures. (I dabble in photography, and I know I have a lot more to learn, but...) For publicity photos, it's always best to have establishing shots showing the inside as it looks to customers, complete with smiling staff. (not disembodied limbs and torsos) Then, you go for food porn: closeups of items or the bounty of the cases. I know that the NYT food section has been using a photographer & stylist for the past couple of years have been using a style that it reminiscent of the early 1970s: overexposed, wide shots, flattened perspective, overhead viewpoints, garish plates. But, I am not fond of that. And, I think it does not encourage appetite. Ironically, if you apply the Fibonacci spiral in the first photo, starting at the sweet spot on the upper-left and rolling out horizontally, you notice a sequence of flaws. The employee's crotch is (very unfortunately) in the actual sweet spot. Just a little off from that (starting a theme of 'just a little off') is a drooping red and white flower. This mirrors the broken and drooping carnation in the middle of the arrangement. Leading us to ask, why are these sad flowers here at all? Are they a metaphor? As one draws the imaginary spiral outwards one's eye is drawn to the sad, leaning cakes and unevenly frosted cupcakes. The viewer then realizes that the wooden table underneath it all is more precisely made, and at the same time the wood grain is more visually interesting, than any of the baked goods. All of the food in that picture is tired and drooping. To paraphrase Elliot, "This is the way the bakery ends, not with a bang but a whimper." And, yeah, clearly none of the staff there worries about cross-contamination and how it might affect allergy sufferers. And, I am guessing this place is in a state which allows wood in a commercial kitchen -some do not.
  22. Lisa Shock

    New composting options

    Honestly, if you have a garden, all you really need to do is make a 2 foot diameter cylinder out of something like chicken wire and tall stakes, anchor it in the ground, and toss things into it. Occasionally, it helps to keep tabs on the ration of brown/green stuff you're adding. Tossing a little soil on top with a shovel helps keep flies away. And, lining it with some plain newspaper can help keep stuff in, but that's about it. Do it for a couple of years, then move the cylinder someplace else in the garden and use the compost. All the other stuff you see online is generally about speeding things up or optimizing for pH or other content. My parents did it this way and we never had a problem. They live out in the country and we never had any issues with wild animals, at least none that we noticed.
  23. Some people I make cakes for really like the Hellman's mayonnaise cake. I converted it to weight based measurement for the dry ingredients because I use the recipe fairly frequently. The cake does not have much structural integrity, but, it's moist and light.
  24. Lisa Shock

    Who is the Greater Master?

    The peppers belong in Tortellini Pavarotti. (with dill, oddly enough)