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Everything posted by LaurelH

  1. 1. "The Joy of Cooking" - I still return to it for basic recipes and it still holds up against years of experimentation and newer cookbooks. 2. "The Vegetarian Epicure" vol. 1 & 2 by Anna Thomas - The first cookbook that I cooked from regularly and it was groundbreaking in its day. I was inspired to expand my repertoire and explore because of her recipes. 3. "The Good Cook" Time Life Series - My mother passed these on to me when I moved into my first apartment and the detailed illustrations and photos were perfect for a young cook. 4. "Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads" - This was one of the first cookbooks that I bought. I was impressed by the quality of writing. His detailed and well researched recipes were excellent, moreover, the stories behind the recipes were inspiring. 5. "The New Home Cook" by Florence Fabricant - My first dinner parties would not have been the same without this book. 6. "Fields of Greens" by Annie Somerville - A long-time favourite that celebrates fresh produce and quality ingredients. It also inspired me to explore some ingredients that weren't readily available in Canada at the time. 7. "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison - This book has become my newest favourite. It is a compendium of simple and lovely recipes where the key ingredients truly shine through and old classics are renewed. Do I love cookbooks? Yes, I do. I should note that I am not a vegetarian, but for some reason many of my favourite cookbooks have a vegetarian theme. They are simply great cookbooks that stand out on their own merit.
  2. I have 120 cookbooks at a quick estimate. Who knew? I am glad I never counted before. I was already feeling like I had no excuses to purchase anymore cookbooks. Why am I always looking for recipes online? That must stop. But I am a chronic researcher and tend to investigate any new recipe or method so I need all those cookbooks (and the internet).
  3. After a lot of experimenting and a few years of waitressing an Italian restaurant and hanging out with the pizza cooks I finally developed a pretty fool proof method and recipe. It is as much the method as the recipe when it comes to pizza dough. A few things that you need to keep in mind regardless of the recipe are: - don't overwork the dough - don't knead the balls of dough after they have been portioned, shaped, and rested - always work with room temperature dough - try to work with relatively soft (high water content) dough - bake at the highest possible temperature (within reason of course) - bake on a low shelf - use a pizza stone if possible - never put the pizza in the oven right after taking a pizza out, give it a few minutes to reheat - for less than perfect ovens use a pizza screen (it works on the rack or a stone), this is a recent discovery for me and I have never had better results. Standard pizza pans only work if you have a really hot oven and gas not electric because electric ovens are too damp. - adjust for climate, damp climates might need less liquid, dry climates might need more, although I think you would have to move to the Sahara Desert to get any dryer than Winnipeg in the Winter. I have had a lot of success with the following recipe adapted from the KitchenAid stand mixer cookbook/manual: 5 cups flour 2 teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons sugar (or honey) 1/4 cup olive oil (or canola) 2 1/4 cups water for crispy crust (or 1 c. milk 1 c. water for less crunchy more tender crust) 2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast (not the instant kind) In a stand mixer: Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the warm water (~ 115ºF). Add the remaining water, salt, olive oil, and most of the flour (you can set aside a 1/2 cup portion if you live in a dry climate and knead it in later if needed). Turn to speed 2 (kitchen aid) and mix until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl (2 to 3 minutes). In a processor (using the metal blade): Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the warm water (~ 115ºF) in a 4 cup bowl. In the processor Add the flour and salt and give it a whiz to combine. Add the remaining water, oil, and sugar to the yeast mixture. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour with the machine running, and pulse a few times until the dough froms a ball or rough mass depending on the brand of machine. For both methods: Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter and knead lightly for a minute or two. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise 1 hour, punch down split the dough into 5 portions (for medium thin crust pizzas) turn each portion into a nice round ball and cover and let rise a minimum of 20 minutes, or pop into the fridge overnight. Bring the dough to room temperature if it has been refrigerated. Do not knead the dough. Take out the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Once you have a nice circle you can relax the dough and make it expand bythrowing/tossing it or stretching it by hand now and again, and then give it a final turn with the rolling pin for nice shape. Have an oven heated to the highest temperature (500º or higher) for an absolute minimum of 20 minutes and the shelf set on the lowest rack. If using a pizza stone preheat for an absolute minimum of 30 minutes, preferably longer and on the lowest rack as well. If you have a pizza screen simply lay the dough on it and dress it as you please. If you don't have a mesh pan and own a pizza stone the easiest way to make a crisp crust is to actually pull the (hot) pizza stone from the heated oven, carefully lay the dough across the hot stone, quickly build your pizza directly on the stone and pop it in the oven. For the next pizza you need to give the stone a few minutes to heat up again post pizza baking (5 to 10 minutes). Obviously you want to make sure that you lay the pizza stone on a heat proof surface while building your pizza, be very careful when handling the hot stone. As I mentioned above, you can buy these cheap (5$ or less) mesh pizza pans/screens that look sort of like they are made out of thick chicken wire if that make any sense, and in a less than perfect oven like my old electric kenmore with a maximum of 500ºF you can actually get a lovely crusty bottom of you bake them at the highest temp on a low shelf or a pizza stone set on a low shelf. They are a good cheat when you don't have a high end oven. Good luck, and trust me with the method it will work.
  4. I was getting tired just looking at the pictures. I am not sure when I will work up the energy to make these but at some point I will have to do it, for the nostalgia of eating them. Although, I could probably just hop in the car and make the trip down Corydon for a container of the lovely dumplings. Do you sell them in the shop? I am thinking from the photographs that my Baba must have made hers with wonton wrappers because hers had thinner wrappers and looked like little wrinkled up paper bags, if that makes any sense. Hmm, I'll have to dig through her recipe collection to find out.
  5. Thank you, as always, for the trip down memory lane. The soup looks lovely. I haven't looked at the kreplach recipe yet but I am looking forward to it since it is one of the items that I never got a chance to cook with my Baba. Our family soup is almost identical, which is no surprise since we are both Winnipegers, but there are a few slight variations. My Baba added 10 whole black peppers and studded her onions with 4 or 5 cloves. She also left the roots on the onions, and added some garlic if there were any colds to be comforted. Oh, and a sprig of fresh parsley. I would also like to add that I think that one of the overlooked keys to good chicken soup is the Parsnip, as in yor recipe. It imparts a sweetness and earthiness that is unavailable from any other source. So for those of you who do try this recipe you should absolutely use parsnip, even if you aren't fond of it under regular circumstances. The other key is the fat. Leave a little, it is probably the next wonder food, we just don't know it yet. The smell of chicken soup comforts my soul. I still make it religiously whenever my family or friends are ill. It is like a reflex. I have made it for friends suffering from heartache, cancer, and the blues, all with the sincerest wishes that it might cure more than the common cold. Thanks again Pam.
  6. Soup and biscuits/bread are always comforting, and cobbler or crisp for dessert, it can be a pretty good breakfast food too. I always do dishes that I can cook for my family and double up for extra, like chili, stew, soup, etc. I tend to do pies and quiches as well because you can make a bunch of pastry and just fill them with desserts or quiche or stew. Also brownies, cake, or cookies are good items for guests because if they are jewish they will have a house full of people and it is nice to have extra sweets in the freezer to take out if needed. It is the thought that counts and if you are greiving as well don't feel bad about bringing some nice bagels and lox, or good french bread, along with store bought dinners if you are not up for cooking. Nobody is particularly picky at times like this but it can be very comforting for you to do some cooking if that helps you and the love that you put into to it always makes a difference, but don't stress yourself. I am sorry for your loss. Take care.
  7. I would have some concern about chemicals leaching into my food, make sure that the cling wrap that you use does not contain DEHA, a carcinogen commonly found in some food wraps. Saran Wrap, resinite and cling wrap may all have a different chemical make up. So you would want to know if the particular product is recommended for use in contact with the food while heating or just for draping loosely, while heating, and what methods of heating are recommended. I personally would use the product that has been engineered for this purpose, not all plastics are created equally and most of them are designed for a specific purpose and the safety of these products outside of their specified use is unknown.
  8. I would pick pie over cake any day with the exception of my grandmother's chocolate cake, which I used to ball up into dense little balls and eat with happy abandon. Here is the recipe in case you are enthusiastic enough to try baking a cake that is better than pie, it is an odd recipe but it is the most purely chocolate cake I have ever tasted. Light and fudgy at the same time. Yum! Black Beauty Cake 2/3 cup butter 2 eggs 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate 2 ¾ cups flour 2 teaspoon baking soda 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder 1 pinch salt Stir together the chocolate and 1 cup of boiling water, to melt. Set aside. Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the cooled chocolate mixture. Blend. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the butter mixture alternately with 1 cup of hot water. Bake in 2 9-inch round tins or one rectangular cake pan ~45 min. at 350º. As for pie, I vote for homemade Saskatoon Berry Pie with a double crust here in Canada or Tarte aux Myrtilles in Switzerland as the supreme pie experiences of my life (both with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream depending on your mood.) Sigh.
  9. Yes!! For the last two weeks I had been craving (and eating alot of ) saag paneer! I won't be posting to this thread for awhile: The pregnancy was an ectopic one, and yesterday I had surgery just in the nick of time. I've been comforting myself today with the recommended doses of painkillers, and lots of chocolate. Lots and lots and *lots* of chocolate. ...Already, I notice I'm fine with food smells. Funny how quickly that changes? ← Hi Susan, I just wanted to add my heartfelt sympathy. So sorry to hear of your sad news, glad to hear that you made it to the hospital in the nick of time. Best wishes, Laurel
  10. I have to say that I was just beginning to feel guilty about my cookbook fetish, thinking that I had perhaps become unreasonable, then I found this thread... Well, I am feeling much better now. It never even occurred to me to count my cookbooks but based on a brief scan and some ragged estimates I have about 200 cookbooks, which I now realize is a totally reasonable number of cookbooks to own. I am not counting favourite archived food magazines and food related books mind you because I just don't have the time nor the inclination. However, I feel a burden lifted from my shoulders in knowing that I am not alone in my irrational gathering of all things food related. I use mine mainly for reference. If I do follow a recipe I tend to refer to 3 or 4 cookbooks at the same time. I have also come to the realization that I have yet to follow a recipe to the letter. I went through a phase of trying to follow recipes but I seem to incapable of doing so without constant adjustment. I am not sure why this is. I wish that I were more scientific in my approach and less intuitive, but I have always had a problem with authority. Thanks to all of you for making me feel better.
  11. Actually, yes. I just let my subscription lapse because I decided that something had changed there, as I was finding far fewer useful articles and recipes. A few years ago, there were recipes that became staples; now it seems fussier and less useful, and the articles seem over-written. It's still better than many food magazines, but I am very choosy about whether to buy an issue now. ← I'd have to agree. I have read Fine Cooking since the beginning and when they started they were amazing. They have become more and more complacent. I have so many issues that involve pork loin and chicken breast; they certainly don't explore food in the way that they used to. I still find that they research their recipes well and you often find classic recipes, but the magazine as a whole has become kind of repetitive. I wish that they would explore some more off the beaten path foods and cuisines, because they tend to be more like cook's illustrated lately where the obsession seems to be with technique, and the food seems to be very middle america. Some variety and exploration would really brighten things up. Also with so many great guest chefs you would think that they might let them run with it instead of rehashing methods of gnocchi making, soup and stew fixing, and torte baking over and over again. We should be forwarding them our thoughts. I really respect the magazine and would love to see an improvement.
  12. I am assuming that your interest in this topic is of a more academic nature and that you are interested in authenticity rather than personal taste. So... I am not a chef and have never lived in France and so I am not claiming to know anything earth shattering on the subject, but, having made a brief review of my ridiculously large cookbook collection it appears that Julia Child knows what she is talking about (no suprise there). I checked out all of the cookbooks that I have relating to French Cuisine and none of them include sugar in the ingredients for their vinaigrettes. This list of chef/authors includes Jacques Pépin, Paula Wolfert, Louisa Jones, Anthony Bourdain, and Madeleine Kamman. I believe that they constitute a reliable source. If you want specifics I can forward more specific info. I, however, love a little sugar in my vinaigrettes, and add it on most occasions. Also adding little glucose is an old restaurant trick to help keep a dressing emulsified for a longer period of time, if that is of any importance to you. Have you seen the Weblog Chocolate & Zucchini?It is a really enjoyable and engaging blog by a young french woman (Clotilde Dusoulier) who could probably enlighten you as to all things french (I mean French with a capital F). I just looked at her blog to confirm her name and she has a delicious looking Salad with Arugula, toasted almonds, and a sherry vinaigrette that contains 1 tsp. of sugar, which would compliment the bitter greens and almonds nicely, so there you have it, maybe not historically appropriate, but certainly french. Does that help?
  13. I don't know whether it is appropriate to dietary laws but what aqbout Agar or arrowroot? One is a seaweed and the other a root. Are they allowed? oops! for some reason I didn't have the previous 2 posts on my screen when I wrote this.
  14. Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions, now I just have to pick which one to make. We might have a few cakes and some meringue to pick from this year if I can't decide! I am feeling very inspired now.
  15. Kosher Cookingmany of these will be fine without nuts ... ← Thanks for the quick response. Many of these desserts work so well because of the nuts (dacquoise, etc.). I would like to find out if anyone has a favorite nut free recipe to escape the old sponge cake routine. I suppose I am looking for some inspiration. Sigh.
  16. Help! I have searched through this whole thread and found only 2 passover cake recipes that did not contain nuts. My uncle has a nut and seed allergy, and I would like to prepare a nice dessert that has no nuts or seeds. Any suggestions of favorites that fit the bill? I would appreciate any guidance.
  17. I have to add my agreement to those of you who want to support locally grown, sustainably produced (and preferably organic) food. I have watched Manitoba's small family run farms dwindle and fail over the years, and seen the transformation as the land has been bought up by large corporate farming operations. Many farmers in rural Manitoba agree that although Monsanto and others promised to make their lives easier through the use of GMO pesticide resistent crops they have not benefited from these products. The only ones who seem to benefit from these arrangements are entities like Monsanto who keep marketing and selling their products and services. I am not a journalist, and I am writing this from a more intimate and personal experience, so I can't cite any studies or stats. I can give you the perspective of someone who comes from a rural community whose water and land quality has suffered at the hands of run-off from pesticide laden fields and giant hog barns and I can attest to the damaging effects that I have personally witnessed. Our aquefers were always clean until the last 10 to 15 years; now communities across the province are no longer able to draw potable water from their wells, among other problems. I have a friend who runs a local organic grocery delivery service here in Winnipeg, and as you can imagine our local crops are pretty slim during the winter here in the Great White North. However, we do our best and augment with food shipped from warmer climes when we can't get anything but long stored Turnips and Carrots. My friend Marnie puts it this way: "Why is buying local important? • fresher taste - with less distance traveled, produce will have more vitality and will taste more alive. • more nutrients - nutritional content is kept intact with less time from harvest to ingestion. Foods that are frozen or canned within a couple days of picking have more nutrients than fresh produce that has been in transit for over a week. • seasonally attuned - by eating local produce, we are attuned to the seasonality of growing. Eating seasonal foods grounds us within our environment and place in time. • puts face to the food - honors the age old tradition of bond between eater and grower. It feels good to know those who grow and to help them keep doing it. • promotes genetic diversity - by purchasing from local market gardeners who grow many fruits, vegetables and herbs of several varieties, more types of seeds are saved and transmitted through plant generations, creating a more biodiverse ecosystem which thrives to encourage diverse wildlife and lowers extinction rates. • preserves green landscape - we take for granted our picturesque landscape of lush crops, meadows and pastures, the red barns disappearing at a disheartening rate. Family-run farms encourage green spaces that are habitat to diverse plants, wildlife, insects and birds, while agribusiness brings mono-cropping and hog factories. • rebuilds rural economy - with this years farm profit margin at an all time low, the family farm is a vanishing breed and sucked down with it the health of our rural communities. If less primary crops (which Manitoba is a fertile centre for) were exported and more were consumed and processed here in our province to be eaten by prairie people we would create jobs while reducing the use of fossil fuels and reducing pollution emissions. • ethical local economy - Spend your money or barter with personal and global responsibility in mind to increase the chance that it will circulate among ethical locally-owned businesses, not greedy multi-national corporations like Monsanto (biotech & seed), Phillip Morris (cigarettes and food) or Wal-mart (the largest retailer of food in America) that place dollars above the environment and human rights. Keep the cash circulating within your community and it also comes back to you quicker! " I think that Marnie has a good argument for organically grown, locally source food. I also think that a key element of Organic food is the principal fo sustainability you can't (or shouldn't) have one without the other. I wish that I did have a more scholarly or statistically justified argument in favour of organic food. I just have my own experience, common sense, and my meager research based on my personal concerns for my family. We must demand a more principled and ethical approach to food production through our consumer choices if we hope to make a better world for our children. I could go on but I'll refrain from further impassioned declarations. By the way, should you wish to read more Marnie's website is here. (I hope I did that right I am new to this web forum thing) I edited because I forgot a word, sorry.
  18. Congratulations. Everyone has offered great ideas. I was an "all day" sickness sufferer for the first 4 or 5 months with my first pregnancy and Toast and Crackers and tea, yes, all good. Fortunately I craved steamed green vegetables of all kinds. Just steamed plain with salt and butter. Brown rice, white rice and lots of fresh fruit and yogurt. However the absolutely most important things for me were: 1) Have food near the bed so that you can eat before you sit up in the morning, just one or two soda crackers and a sip of water should do it. 2) Keep soda crackers, or a mild treat that you can stomach in your desk drawer at work to nibble if your blood sugar drops. 3) Clothes that are normally comfortable are no longer sufficient. Even if they still fit you. Try wearing something that does not bind your stomach, ever! Wear loose fitting pants or dresses. For some reason this can make or break the day nausea-wise. It might not work for everyone but it sure worked for me. Unfortunately, I didn't make this connection until my second pregnancy. 4) Make sure your Folic Acid Supplement is Iron Free and eat lots of fresh greens instead, unless your doctor recommends otherwise (anemia being a common issue with pregnancy). 5) Eat what you crave, try to be reasonable, if you crave chips its probably the salt so find a healthy salty thing, and so on. 6) And drink lots of water, or juice blended with water. I hope that you are able to find some suggestions that work for you amongst all of our kind wishes. Good luck! It will go away. Enjoy the rest of the pregnancy, it is like a massive science experiment on your own body. It is so cool.
  19. I might be able to help with the buttercream. I haven't tried that particular recipe but it looks like it should work. First, I use Rose levy Berenbaum's method for icing which is fail safe. She recommends that you pour the boiled sugar syrup into a greased glass measure so that it does not continue to cook and is easier to pour. Also, if using a heavy duty stand mixer you should stop the mixer add a dribble of sugar syrup, mix for 5 min. add another dribble, mix 5 min. and so on; adding a greater amount of syrup each time as you go so that it doesn't end up stuck to the side of your mixer bowl. It seems that your icing was just too warm. Try whipping the meringue for at least 10 minutes before adding the butter. It should be at room temperature. Make sure that the butter is at room temperature as well. Still firm, but soft enough to put a thumbprint in. And once you have added all the butter continue whipping until you reach the right consistency. It shouldn't take too long if your ingredients are at the correct temperatures as you go. Good luck, if you do try to do it again. I love the fact that you are documenting your adventures while cooking your way through the issue of Fine Cooking.
  20. LaurelH

    eGCI Demo: Knishes

    I am new to this technology so I hope that this works. First of all my compliments on your knish instructions. It is lovely and descriptive, and it brought back some great memories for me. I come to this a little late but I do have some items of interest to add to this topic. I am also from Winnipeg and we do indeed have some fine jewish food. My Baba (grandmother) taught me how to make knishes and she used a white cotton or linen sheet to stretch out her dough, this seems to prevent some tearing, it isn't a perfect solution but it helps. It also helps to roll up the knish. Also she made 2 kinds of knish dough; one similar to the recipe above and the other was a sour cream dough which is delicious. The following is the recipe for her sour cream dough, it is made in the same fashion as the standard dough and well worth trying: Baba's Sour Cream Knish Dough This is my favourite knish dough, I apologize for the lack of greater description, but I am ashamed to say that haven't made it since since my Baba and I used to make them together over 13 years ago. Dough: 1 egg 1/3 cup shortening 2 Tbsp. sugar 1/2 cup sour cream 2 cups flour salt Combine in cuisinart or mixer. Let rest in refrigerator. Roll out and stretch on a lightly floured sheet as you would regular knish dough. Filling: 1 carton dry cottage cheese 1 egg 1 Tbsp. sugar salt This is good with potato filling too. Bake at 400ºF 25 min.
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