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Lesley C

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Lesley C

  1. Have you tried his creme anglaise recipe? I got my copy of the book finally, and I must say, it doesn't have that which I would most like to see in terms of ratio's but it is a step in the right direction. I don't mean to single your comment out, but a problem I'm having is that so many people seem to be saying his proportions are off but without saying they have tried his recipe/ratios. I will buy the fact that his ratios are off when I see people say they've tried them and they don't work. It seems/feels to me like people right now are passing judgment based on their own ratios without trying his. Creme Anglaise is not a recipe that I've really tried or found a need for. So to me, as a newbbie so to speak, I want to know that somebody has tried his recipe and found it doesn't work. Perhaps I'm all wet, but I sense that peoples' judgment is based on belieft rather than trial. ← It's not that it doesn't work. Work is relative. The recipe is incorrect in its ratios. Too rich. Sure it works, but it's actually closer to a pate a bombe than a creme anglaise. I think Ruhlman should rewrite the entire custard chapter.
  2. Got the book last week. I thought the creme anglaise recipe was off but the creme patissiere recipe is even worse. Too many egg yolks, cream, too much butter. There are recipes here that are just wrong. If it was just a book about recipes, well fine then. But his ratio here is just so off. It makes me weary of the whole premise of the book.
  3. Shirley Corriher is a lovely lady and well-liked member of the food community. The fact that she won this makes me think the cookbook judges were impressed with her idea but don't know enough about pastry to understand why this book is a mess. It's a real shame, because Flo Braker's book was the better one in that category.
  4. It is good. Well, it was good back when i reviewed it years ago. Also from there you aren't too far from Le Locale where, if the weather is nice, you can eat outside.
  5. What about Thuet's Bite Me? I had an incredible meal there last fall.
  6. None. That's why I declined to judge. Anyway, the last restaurant I dined at outside my city was L'Astrance, which I found WAY overrated. I would have never voted for it anyway, and there it is at #11. These lists are impossible to get right. Ultimately they serve as great PR for San Pellegrino and Restaurant Magazine, and give already acclaimed restaurants new bragging rights.
  7. OK, 18 months then but still, I can't imagine people didn't vote based on past experiences. And maybe it's just me, but after a decade in the business of reviewing restaurants, I'm so tired of seeing the same old same old praised over and again. Isn't it time we start applauding new chefs? I mean Adrià's mantle is pretty full by now and a lot of talented cooks out there remain anonymous year in, year out. Sad, and stupid really to keep praising the same gang, over, and over and over... How about for next year's list, the 50 best restaurants you've probably never heard of. Now that would would be interesting! It's a complete bore to keep questioning whether The French Laundry is better than The Fat Duck and so on.
  8. In ALL of the restaurants, or just a certain proportion? ← ALL. And that's why I don't buy this list and that's why I declined a spot as a judge. How many of the judges ate at El Bulli AGAIN this year? Don't know, but let's see the receipts. Also concerning regional representation, there is a limit to how many you can vote for in your own backyard. I remember it was something like two. So the way I see it, the judges are voting for the two best restaurants they dined at in their city, plus maybe two more they dined at while traveling, and the rest just go by either past experiences or an educated guess following hype. Anyway that's my take on it. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
  9. I used to be a judge for this list and for the past two years have declined. The judging rules stipulate that the judge must have dined in the restaurants voted for in 2008. I really have a hard -- no make that impossible -- time believing that the judging panel really did dine in the restaurants they voted for in the past twelve months. Especially considering the shrinking dining-out budgets provided by media sources these days. Now I read the list and smile, thinking that the hype wins out in the end. I mean L'Astrance as #11 really is a big fat joke. And where is Robuchon's Las Vegas restaurant? Don't tell me L'Astrance beats Robuchon in Vegas? I mean L'Astrance doesn't even beat Toqué! here in Montreal, a terrific restaurant that does not have a hope in hell of making that list. Lists are silly, really. Nice read, but fiction in the end.
  10. The problem here is not so much the cream (you could make creme anglaise with Vin Santo) but the yolk ratio. If the book is about ratios, this one is too high. Why does he stray from the classic recipe of 12 yolks/liter of dairy? I wonder if any pastry chef out there is using this high a ratio of yolks to dairy anymore. And his recipe is actually not sweeter than the classic, which calls for 250g (1 1/4 cups) of sugar over his 200g (1 cup). Creme anglaise is the perfect example of a recipe that has evolved from the days of Escoffier and Point when pastry was far too rich. All that has changed, but Rhulman is bringing us back to the pastry dark ages. Anyway, I really should hold all commentary before I see the book. I got this much from his blog. As for the cover comment, wow, is that what it all comes down to these days?
  11. Judging by the custard post on his blog, which I assume is taken from the book, his "ratio" idea is odd IF ONLY because the custard sauce (creme anglaise) recipe he provides is WAY too rich. Too many yolks, and he uses cream when the classic recipe doesn't have ANY! So what is his ideal ratio? The classic, or the one he decides is right? Weird. Also, why no gram measures (far more precise than ounces) and why no cooking temperature? The 85-degree C cooking temperature for creme anglaise is scripture for pastry chefs. It's the key to getting it right. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the book.
  12. Flo Braker's excellent new book, Baking for all Occasions, has metric measures as well. Just made three recipes from the book, all came out wonderfully. The chocolate angel food cake is gorgeous! Thank you Flo!
  13. Lesley C


    I'd say this is easily THE WORST food magazine I've ever seen. My favourite part is the letter from the publisher where one of the chicks pictured in sexy garb rhapsodizes over finding a parking place when out hopping for the "veggies" on the cover.
  14. There are so many great restaurants to try in Montreal and Laurie is not one of them. Maybe the one Quebec City, but not the one here in Montreal. Toque! is much, much better. Besides the over-the-top food at Laurie, the space is very cramped. Not a fan.
  15. Chocolats de Chloe is a must. Genevieve Grandbois is a big step below in terms of quality. Chloe is right next to Au Pied de Cochon, so you could do those together.
  16. As you seem so sure, could you be specific here, especially comparing self-raising flours? Also, the recipe says "any self-raising flour". If White Lily is really the only option for success, she should have included a line like: "Do not even attempt this recipe is you don't have the White Lily Self-Raising flour." No problem with that. Yeah, and maybe not. Has anyone else made the biscuits from the book? My biggest complaint with these was not their heavy texture but their overly salty flavour.
  17. I wrote a story about Naomi and was lucky enough to spend an afternoon cooking with her. We made the noodles, the ginger carrot pork stir-fry, the beef and tomato soup (so delicious!) and the market stall salsa. The story, as well as several recipes, is on My Webpage. Having read the book cover to cover, I would strongly suggest buying it or at least picking it up from your local library (if they don't have it, tell them to order it!). It's fantastic. Naomi and Jeffrey are great cooks and even better story tellers.
  18. Try Linda J. Amendt's excellent book Blue Ribbon Preserves (HP Books, 2001)
  19. Not necessarily. I wasn't going to post anything but that last statement of Anko's had me worried as do the southern biscuits that I just made from the book that are salty, greasy and heavy. Perhaps, I'm thinking, self-rising flour in the U.S. is different than here in Canada? Or maybe I don't have that "touch of grace." I see several problems with this book so far, first and foremost the laborious method of the recipes and the lack of visual reference points. Illustrations would also have helped. And the use of shortening and corn syrup is just off limits for so many of us bakers. And from a scientist like Ms. Corriher, I expect a serious paragraph on why bakers should be using a scale to measure. She provides metric measures, hooray!!!, now tell us the advantages of using a scale. There are many (interesting to note that it says the recipes were not tested using metric measures. Why? I used the metric measures, maybe that's why I had gummy biscuits?) Also, the recipes are complicated complicated. I have little time or patience to bake like this any more, and I even worked as a pro pastry chef for a decade. People who worked on the book, not naming any names here, may indeed go nutso when they read any criticism, (again let me say the author is the loveliest of ladies) BUT for those of us who have worked with meringues, batters, creams and doughs for years, this book is far from a baker's bible. Pro bakers will find problems here as beginners will be discouraged by the length of the recipes.The 12-step pate a choux recipe alone is so unecessarily complicated...and why use release foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray? Why not use parchment paper? Or better yet, a Silpat? In the roasted pecan chocolate chip cookie she admits the baking soda is "excessive and overleavens" but keeps it in there to make a "slightly darker cookie." What's so great about a darker cookie? And then there are the recipes themselves. Take, for instance, the creme anglaise. Why not use a thermometer and cook it to 85C, strain immediately and cool over an ice bath as pastry chefs do? Looking for the answer, I see on page 328 that she claims creme anglaise turns to scrambled eggs at 82C. What? Then I go back to the anglaise recipe on page 331 and see that she uses 5 egg yolks for 1 1/2 cups of liquid (milk and cream). The standard recipe most pastry chefs use is 12 yolks for 4 cups of milk (I actually use 10 because 12 is too rich). By my calculation, she's using about 14 yolks per litre of liquid and over 250g of sugar, which is very high. The whole thing is too rich. And why doesn't she add a note to tell us how long this sauce can be kept refrigerated -- a very important factor with this cream due to the egg content. So much here left me scratching my head. Why so many egg yolks in the pastry cream? And why the backwards method when the classic works so well? Why bother with the steam for the pate a choux when you can achieve great results in a simple convection oven? Why the marshmallow in the whipped cream when gelatin is so much easier? Why the cream of tartare (I know she explains why but it's hardly essential)? Why chopping chocolate in the food processor when melting in the microwave? Why bother pouring the hot syrup into a glass cup when making Italian meringue (get used to pouring it in a stream from the pot; it's actually less dangerous than transferring it into a cup)? Why not put half your sugar in the milk when making creme anglaise and pastry cream to stop it from burning? Why list a recipe and then tell readers not to make it? Why why why??? I'm all for food chemistry helping us do things better, but so many of these suggestions and bold statements (roasting nuts improves flavour, butter enhances flavour) are all too obvious. I'm a fan of Ms. Corriher but this book misses the mark for me. I think she has a lot to give, but I also think she should have teamed up with a seasoned baker for best results, like Herve This does with Pierre Gagnaire.
  20. I put up a listing of my picks on my web site. Get ready for some fancy bistro food...
  21. "Mario has jumped the shark." gfweb, you speak the truth! You should see the book that goes along with this lame series. For anyone who cares, p.173 states that Gwyneth's fave ice cream flavour is a toss up between jamoca almond fudge and pumpkin. Mario's is -- drum roll please -- olive oil! The Mario/Gwyneth "talk" with Frank Gehry is worth the $35 ticket price alone. They just don't make compelling books like this anymore. One for the ages.
  22. Thanks sf&m! That's super nice of you to say so.
  23. In the only show I watched, they were at a tapas place owned by an Adria family member. Batali, Paltrow and Michael Stipe were at the table with Ferran Adria's wife, and when a beautiful plate of jamon hit the table, Paltrow actually blurted out the word "traif." I turned it off right then and there. This could have been a good show -- without that overindulged bubble head at the table.
  24. Anyway Bruni got that whole adieu thing wrong. You would never say adieu to a customer. You would say "au revoir". Adieu is something you say when you never intend on seeing someone again -- it's almost an insult. And yes, French people say Ciao all the time.
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