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Everything posted by HungryC

  1. I use Trader Joes dried sour cherries all the time in baking....soak in hot water until they swell, then squeeze dry in paper towels or a kitchen towel....but I do like to cut them in half or even quarters before soaking. A big hunk of cherry in one bite isn't always the nicest, I'd rather have smaller chunks of fruit. If you prefer sugar preserved cherries to dried, then find your nearest Italian import grocery store and buy Fabbri brand amarena cherries in syrup, sold in a distinctive blue printed milk glass container. Cherries and almonds play well together, so sub a little almond flour for the wheat flour in your brownies when you add the cherries. And if you don't like the fruit texture in the brownies, mix the cherry syrup from the amarena cherries with some powdered sugar for a drizzle or glaze atop the brownies.
  2. Huh--if its been used to make almond milk and is mostly tasteless, I'd be tempted to donate it to a nearby community garden's compost heap. Just because it's left over and a gift doesn't mean YOU have to use it.
  3. Best/easiest cake to make without any sort of mixer is Dorie Greenspan's French yogurt cake, from her "Baking My Home to Yours" book. It is rather gently stirred together. See recipe here: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/the-bakers-apprentice-french-yogurt-cake/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 Ditto for my aunt Mary Ellen's brownie recipe (closer to cakey than fudgey, but delicious): sugar & butter stirred together (in a pot, even) with nothing more than a wooden spoon. ETA link to brownie recipe on my blog: http://bouillie.us/2008/12/22/holiday-baking-mary-ellens-brownies/ Funny you should mention brioche: the only bread I make that I feel requires a stand mixer is brioche! I'm way too lazy to beat in 50% butter by weight. Stand mixer gets it done in 10-15 minutes. It would take me an hour to do that by hand, and by then, all the butter would be melted.
  4. Get a copy of Shirley Corriher's Cookwise and the sequel Bakewise. She will school you in every bit of cake tech you need to know. Leavenings, foams vs batters, and so on.
  5. I slash lots of dough....and for less wet doughs, I've found a fine-toothed, serrated cake knife works best for me. It is thin bladed and has lots of very tiny sharp serrations. It slashes enriched white breads way better than my lame.
  6. But oil IS frequently used in the Western pastry tradition, especially in cakes....liquid vegetable oils yield a very tender, even cake crumb that is soft even when quite cold. So oil based cakes are often used for ice cream cakes or chilled trifles. A butter cake (genoise style) would be firm bordering on tough/chewy when chilled. And oil cakes don't stale as quickly as butter cakes. A butter cake is not automatically superior. In fact, I'd wager that most Americans raised on boxed mixes (which generally are made with oil) would reject the drier texture of all butter cakes.
  7. If you freeze the grated cheese and add it frozen to the pizza just before cooking, you can get a well done crust with minimal cheese browning.
  8. Check out the website of the Southern Foodways Alliance, which might help your son pin down some regional favorites for that region: http://www.southernfoodways.org/
  9. RE: slickers, a neighbor taught me a pretty good cheat: cut strips of supermarket flour tortillas (Azteca brand, in the refrigerator case) and put 'em in your simmering chicken stew. They soften, swell, and taste pretty damn close to thin-rolled homemade dumplings.
  10. Easiest: share the bounty with others. Bring a big sack to your local public library--see if they'll put them out for patrons. I take surplus citrus to my gym, where it is put out in a pickup basket near the smoothie counter. Your neighbors will love you if you share the largesse. Ditto for your coworkers. Nothing says you can't share the wealth. Better to share than to have it all go moldy while you strive in vain to use it. Juice and freeze some for making lemonade and orangeade once hot weather returns. Make freezer jam: you can buy powdered pectin formulated for freezer jam, and you eliminate all of the cooking and tedious canning steps. Fresh juice every AM is the biggest highlight of winter. I recommend the MetroKane L-Press for high-volume manual juicing, esp if you don't like pulp.
  11. HungryC

    Too-thin porkchops

    Very thin chops are meant for grilling...hit 'em with your favorite dry seasoning blend (creole, greek, montreal steak, whatever) and cook over direct, fairly high heat. Flip just once. They'll be done in minutes.
  12. So if price is no object, then buy a jar of Christine Ferber's apricot preserves: http://www.borneconfections.com/apricotsbergeronetvanille/bergeronapricotjamwithvanilla.aspx Or Linn's, made in California: http://www.linnsfruitbin.com/products/California-Apricot-Preserves.html
  13. I like D'Arbo's rose apricot preserves. D'Arbo also makes "double fruit" preserves. Whole Foods & Cost Plus carry the D'arbo products in my area. http://www.darbo.at/
  14. Canned beans are staples at my house, though I do make beans from scratch. It's great to have a last minute option for tuna & white bean salad.
  15. And illiterate means unable to read or write. Not unable speak or pronounce. Most people in the world are illiterate. It doesn't mean they can't speak their own languages or create cultural artefacts. Oral culture tends to drift.....my people speak a Cajun french understood in Paris, but absolutely frowned upon. The pronunciation is suspect, we use the "wrong" words for certain things, the accent is awful to a Parisian ear. So what? It's an oral language--most native speakers of this dialect do not read or write in French; they're completely ignorant of French spelling. Many older speakers have limited English literacy as well. Do I correct an 80 year old native French speaking Houma Indian who says "plarine" instead of "praline"? She makes damn good pralines, whatever she calls them.
  16. Some of the most intuitive cooks I know are indeed illiterate. Oral culture is still culture.
  17. I love the diversity of pronunciation heard in the USA...regional accents are fascinating. How boring would this country be if we all sounded the same? I live in the land of my-nez (mayonnaise), erster (oyster), earl (oil), ax (ask), hawt (hart)--and those are just the English-ish "mis"pronunciations common in New Orleans. I won't even begin to list the Cajun English massacres (pronounced mah-sah-crey, by the way) I hear every day. We don't all sound the same or cook the same. "Correct" to whom? If the food tastes good, I don't care if the chef bends the language.
  18. Why not just buy storage garlic, still in its husk? A properly cured garlic braid will keep for months and months hanging in a cool, dry place. Break off what you need, when you need it. Mother Nature's convenient, biodegradable wrapping will keep it far fresher than factory-peeled, then frozen garlic. It takes less than 10 seconds to peel a clove of garlic.
  19. I don't have the BS salamander, but I do have a RNB 30" with the IR broiler. It's damn hot--I see no need for the stovetop salamander with this broiler, but then again, I don't broil and bake at the same time. I can see the stovetop salamander as an asset if you do. BUT the dimensions of the BS stovetop salamander seemed a bit limiting--your heatproof plate has to fit into the rather narrow salamander opening. Using the in-oven broiler, you can have any shape or size dish, as long as you center it directly beneath the broiling element.
  20. You need some narrowing of focus: perhaps consider one region (Cali chefs, or the Deep South) or a particular subset of American cuisine (Modernist or Asian fusion). Or examine a particular range of years (say, post WWII to 1975). Food is everywhere, all the time (unilke most creative discipines). You don't eat a poem for breakfast or examine sculpture 3X a day. So you can't approach the culinary world in an art-survey fashion.
  21. eBay is your best bet. Or try Cookin' , the second-hand culinary shop in SF on Divisadero (aren't you in the Bay Area?)
  22. I use the blue "painter's tape" sold by Scotch. You can write on it with a ballpoint, sharpie, etc. It peels off easily and stays on in the freezer. That said, the easiest way to label containers for the freezer is with a china marker: the grease/wax pencil will write on most plastic or glass surfaces, it won't fade in the freezer, and it only takes a bit of effort to rub it off. No tape necessary, no tape to fall off or peel off later. Just wipe away the writing.
  23. I'm always befuddled by the precooked, heat n serve mashed potatoes. Which are sold from the meat case....WTF? Why would anyone buy a heat & eat item stored in the RAW meat case? Yuk yuk yuk.
  24. Can't say I agree--I use soured milk all the time as a buttermilk substitute with good results. Pancakes/waffles, muffins, cupcakes, biscuits.....
  25. Sweetened applesauce will make everything too sweet....and it's bringing more liquid sugar to the party, changing the ratios of the original recipe even more. Why not use part strained greek yogurt and part applesauce? The yogurt will tenderize the crumb (milk solids) and add acid, but not add all of the fiber that the applesauce brings to the recipe. Are you making notes on each batch? Write out the ingredients each time, and make some notes on taste/texture. ETA: just saw that someone posted the yogurt suggestion a few secs before I hit reply. Try it--it works for me. Also, I prefer pureed bananas to applesauce as a substitute for fat.
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