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Everything posted by rickster

  1. Food companies are constantly tweaking inredients and formulas to lower costs. If you haven't had any in a couple of years, you've probably missed 4 rounds of cost reductions and the difference will be really apparent.
  2. There was this article from a couple of years ago in the New Yorker. A bit long winded : Adulterated Olive Oils
  3. Still, in the split decisions, the crowd determined who went to Judge's Table or not. I would have liked to see the judges vote simultaneously, by holding up cards or something, to avoid influencing the next judge to vote. I found it a little suspicious that they ended up with a bottom three like a lot of previous episodes, when they could have ended up with no one losing. Not to say it was purposeful, but there could have been some subconcious influencing going on.
  4. Some things like this may have more to do with different labeling requirements than different formulas.
  5. In hindsight, she had been really praised for her skill in making a pastry crust. It might have been a mistake to assume that translated into overall dessert skills. An interesting question is whether a team leader should ever assign themselves to FOH duties. It seems to me that the judges are always going to hold the leader accountable to some extent for the food and that's difficult to supervise from the FOH. On the other hand, I think they would be more inclined to allow the leader to completely delegate the FOH to someone, and give the leader a pass for FOH screwups if they're back supervising the kitchen.
  6. rickster


    I think this show and Food Detectives demonstrate that hosting is not Ted's forte and he's much better as a commentator.
  7. Whole Foods Sustainable Chilean Sea Bass: AUSTIN, Texas (September 25, 2006). Whole Foods Market and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) are pleased to announce that the supermarket is the first retailer to offer Patagonian toothfish, commonly known as Chilean sea bass, from an Antarctic fishery that has been certified to the MSC’s environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. This point has come up on Top Chef before. Of course it's still not local...
  8. Not a bricks & mortar shop, but lepicerie.com has a lot of what you're looking for and they have free delivery in Manhattan.
  9. I read the OP to be asking about pastry more than bread baking. I'd suggest Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible and Pie & Pastry Bible as good starting points for pastry, besides the professional books mentioned.
  10. Pretty sad when you can win by making breaded chicken cutlets, sorry, "paillards". I don't think deboning a lamb leg is that difficult. I think I could probably do it. I thought it was sort of stupid to let the chefs do all the planning assuming they were going to Whole Foods, not the farm. I understand the desire to throw in twists, but these guys need all the help they can get.
  11. I agree with you and I could have sworn they gave out better EC prizes in past seasons, although they were sometimes inconsistent episode to episode.
  12. This is why it seems like an extremely weak field this season.
  13. So I tried the gnocchi recipe on Saturday. Not entirely successful, but this was my first try ever at making them and I thnk the problems can be corrected. I think the key to the recipe is one's interpretation of the direction to mix the ingredients until "just" incorporated. This is what I did, mixing for probably 30 seconds (compared to 4 minutes suggested in the Babbo cookbook, although Batali also uses a higher proportion of potato to egg). This was too short a kneading and the first batch of gnocchi fell apart when cooked according to the directions. I adjusted the cooking time to pull them almost as soon as they surfaced and got an OK result. They were far far lighter than any gnocchi I've had in a restaurant, but still too close to turning to mush. I will try them again with a longer kneading.
  14. Maybe a bit nit-picky, but looking at the seafood risotto recipe, it is nothing like the accompanying photo. The risotto in the photo obviously has squid and saffron in it (never mentioned in the recipe) and has no sign of the called for mussels.
  15. As part of my Christmas baking, I made the chestnut "potatoes" confection. Not receommended. They took an inordinate amount of time to make, most in peeling the nuts, and the result was very bland. The vanilla crescents were a hit last year at Christmas, but for some reason did not come out as well this year.
  16. I thought the fridge either died or someone on the production staff left it open. Helps explain why they had extra pork and duck lying around for the chefs to use, which would have been a violation of the rules in earlier challenges. I thought they pushed the Christmas theme a little too much with some of the holiday comments, but remember they just did the Foo Fighters Thanksgiving which was obviously filmed in the summer too. Last year they did a Christmas special in Chicago which was obviously filmed with leaves on the trees. I still think the talent level is down this season vs. the last two, maybe we will learn for sure next week.
  17. I found my dough to be very wet also, which is what led me to think I made a mistake with the recipe, either not enough flour or my butter was too warm.
  18. I agree, but remember they were limited to what Whole Foods had in stock on that particular day.
  19. I'm interested to see what you think of this. I made a half recipe as a test batch yesterday and did not like them. Too much of a raw rum taste for me. Plus they spread quite a bit - not sure if I messed up the proportions in halving the recipe.
  20. This is exactly was most bakeries I've ever been to do. They usually have a separate rack or table for this.
  21. My mistake, the mole recipe ran onto a second page. Here's the rest of the ingredients:
  22. The list of ingredients for the Quickfire, from the Top Chef website. Water is not an "official" ingredient:
  23. I thought this was a terrible episode. They are competing for "Top Chef" not "The next Food Network Star". I couldn't figure out the basis for judging the elimination challenge - how did they weigh not finishing the challenge on time vs. making a poor dish? For example, the duck egg was undercooked because the contestant pulled the egg off to make the time limit. But it looked like a number of contestants didn't finish on time at all. Why weren't they at judge's table? I also couldn't figure out the point of surprising the 3 finalists with the 2am wake up call. Why not just tell them in advance they would have to cook for the Today show?
  24. Have you tried the King Arthur Flour website for citron? Although their shipping can be pricey. Edited to add: I've made panforte a couple of times and I don't think there is a huge issue in most recipes with replacing the citron with candied orange and lemon peel. The spicing tends to dominate and the candied fruit is more for texture.
  25. So I was suckered in by a 30% off coupon at Borders and picked this up last weekend. I haven't baked anything from it yet, but my take is that there are some interesting tips buried in one of the most confusingly written cookbooks ever. Cheesecake recipes in the pie section. Genoise in the meringue section. Recipes you are not supposed to make. I know there is a logic to the organization, but it is very different to that of the average cookbook. It's probably better to think of this as a Harold McGee type book with some recipes for illustration. My other thought is that baking by nature is more "scientific" than cooking and a lot of baking books already use that perspective, a la Beranbaum and most serious bread books. So Corriher has less unique to offer here than in her Cookwise book. May be why it took so long to finish.
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