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Posts posted by tigerwoman

  1. We've recently set our daughter up in a small vintage clothes and jewellery shop in town and she's doing quite well. I decided to start baking a few things to give away in the shop and they are going down a storm - apparently they are being tweeted massively (whatever that means). So far I have tried Italian olive oil biscuits (very much like British shortbread) in Rosemary and Orange variations, an orange Torta de Santiago cake (extremely expensive to make for something thats given away free) and I'm going to try some classic almond biscotti this weekend. Does anybody have any suggestions/recipes for anything else? You might have gathered from the sort of things I've been cooking the area the shop is in is a bit arty so I couldn't get away with a hob-nob but I'm keen to explore more Italian/Spanish offerings.

    Oh, also any recommendations on good cookbooks that cover the same?

    I too was looking for some great cookies lately - nothing "vin ordinaire" for a cookie table station I am creating for my son's wedding next week, and while not all the ingredients are inexpensive they certainly are adaptable to some extent. I found quite a number of great recipes from a site called the Luna Cafe and in fact you can find the links and descriptions to what I used on my recent blog post http://cuisinetc-weddings.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-cookie-table-new-trend-or-adaptable.html

    We really loved Susan Bradley (Luna Cafe) cookies that had added fine cornmeal to the flour - the results being a crisp crunchy cookie that as she mentions "ages" well - we made ours 2-3 weeks ago and sampling some last night (it's a tough job you know) found them to be almost caramel in flavor like a good shortbread. Her playful inventiveness - such as the garam marsala cookie recipe will give you a great platform to jump off of and IMO take your cookie repetoire to the next level.

    I found great recipes by following links to Dorie Greenspan's site - an article in NY Mag about her new bakery lead me to search for both the World Peace Cookie recipe (thank you google and the internet~!!) and the struesel jammers, both of which I adapted and tweeked to suit my own purposes.

    We baked over 2,000 pieces of cookies and bars, starting with the ones that "aged well" and that could sit out stored airtight, and then many batches that needed to be frozen and will be pulled out a few days in advance of the wedding.

    We are even serving warm cookies and cold milk shots as an added surprise after the cake is cut.

    Check out the blog - I will also post more photos on my blog after the wedding next week showing the final products set out beautifully - the cookie table tradition is amazing and I am so excited to finally be producing one!!!

  2. Kim, I don't know whether to thank you or curse you for introducing me to world peace cookies. Wonderful, addictive chocolate goodness. I made some yesterday and the family already wants me to make another batch.

    The nice thing about the World Peace cookies is that you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it. Make a double batch and freeze half of it to be used at a later date. It's great for last minute invites or surprise guests that pop in.

    I stumbled across the World Peace cookie recipe and then found notes about it on Dorie Greenspan's site - my own adaptation most recently was to add a few tablespoons of Sriracha to the butter as it was creaming and to follow the notes to reduce several ingredients in order to bake it as a bar. They are sinfully rich with a surprise twist - we will cut them into tiny byte size pieces for the wedding cookie table. With about 2,000 plus pieces of cookies and bar bytes, smaller is better.

    We have been on a baking blitz this past month - all leading up to a 16 foot Cookie Table with close to 2000 cookies and bar bytes displayed for our son's wedding next week. I have blogged about this amazing cookie cookie journey and linked the recipes as well as posted my adaptions and sources. Being both the parents of the groom and the caterer is tricky - and I am making the wedding cake as well but fortunately the requested cake is my version of the bullseye cheesecake using cappuchino and vanilla circles so little or no decorating will be required and the cheesecakes can be baked earlier in the week. The guest list keeps rising - originally they envisioned 40-50 guests the RSVPs seem to be about 107. Not too worried about running out of food cause if all else fails, "let them eat cookies"

    Lots of great recipes on our amazing cookie journey. Check them out here on one of our blogs http://cuisinetc-weddings.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-cookie-table-new-trend-or-adaptable.html

  3. a really good corn beef hash is always popular at the brunches we cater. The secret is to poach the corn beef in apple juice - slow simmer a few hours before shredding and mixing with shredded potato and then you can griddle to crispy to order.

    Another thought if you are in the middle of cleaning. - we just did some major stainless cleaning and found the orange spray (natural citrus oils) WAS AMAZING for getting the grease off when other products didn't work without major elbow grease -

  4. We've used them for catering jobs as have many caterers (hence JB Prince sells them)

    They seem to work best with layers - it looks prettier with layers.

    like beet layered with sour cream consistancy sauce,

    tuna tatare with sushi rice layers

    cobb salad push pop

    cake layers - red velver, black forest cake with cherry + whipped cream

    apple crumble

    did one this summer w/ calvados sauteed apples layered with flavored whipped cream.

    Abigail Kirsh Catering is offering

    Frozen Cocktail Push-Pops

    peach bellini: peach ice with champagne gelee peaches

    green lavender-tini: apple vodka ice with lavender thyme gelee apples

    crushed cherry rose: morello cherry ice with rose gelee cherries


  5. we had a corporate catering business/cafe serving upmarket sandwiches, salads and pastas in NYC for over 10 years. It was before twitter and facebook and early days of internet.

    We used daily broadcast faxes to send our daily specials to the various offices we regularly delivered to.

    Ok that doesn't sound like anything special but the trick was that we named the daily specials with amusing titles such as

    Marylyn Monroe meets Krushev - a grilled turkey breast sandwich with russian dressing...

    Finally democratic broccoli soup - after Bush Sr. stepped down and Clinton was elected.


    KGB TURKEY Sandwich - it's our secret why it's so good - turkey, chipotle mayo + thinly sliced red onions on Semolina Hero.

    enchanted broccoli forest pasta

    bullwinkle's salmon burger

    yabba dabba do filet mignon sandwich

    Anyway, many times the clients told me that they had no intention of ordering that day but they always loved to read the daily menus and pass them around as they were quite funny. and in the process the description of the food sounded so good they just had to order it.

    Constant contact - not neccessarily the program with that name - but keeping your brand out and center in the customers minds is key.

    Also call and ask if you can send platters of food or cookies to the office manager and come in with it to give a presentation about your food. You need to get through the gatekeeper eg the receptionist to find out who orders for corporate catering but even a cookie platter with a bunch of cards and menus

    and then a facebook contest or something would help.

  6. having often smuggled cheese back from England and France the story of the beagle at JFK reminded me of one of our adventures.

    we had bought out safeways for chocolate covered digestives, marmalades and chutneys but were also smuggling mature english cheddar and some wensleydale cheese. The beagle went nuts some where around us, but stopped next to a man from africa who also had lots of candy in his bag. The inspector kept asking him if he had yams - but of course not. We held our breath and they passed by us, at which point we picked our contraband bag of goodies up off the floor - on the next go around the beagle was sniffing nearby but the officer pulled him off and said, we've already checked this out. Another sucessful smuggle.

    now interestingly enuf - the last trip hubby made home to the UK he was scheduled to fly back a few days after they caught the would be bombers and of course security was ultra tight and you could bring nothing on board, not even a newspaper or a bottle of water. He was allowed to pack cheese in his luggage, apparently they had changed the rules again and cheese was no longer contraband?? not sure if this was a fluke but that mature cheddar sure is lovely on toast.

  7. arugula goes very well with watercress - Nicks' Pizzeria in Forest Hills serves a classic salad with a honey mustard vinaigrette (more of a viniaigrette with a touch of sweetness) with arugula watercress, roasted peppers & sundried tomato. Yumm

    We use arugula on sandwiches alot - like filet mignon, arugula and sundried tomato balsamic & parmesan tapenade.

  8. when hubby and I first married (23 years ago yesterday - thank you) we embarked on a 6 month 30 state, 15K mile trip around the US based on Jane and Michael Sterns original road food book.

    nearly all of our travels since have had some sort of food/culinary slant - we don't visit nearly as many musuems as we do markets - outdoor, indoor - even supermarkets - go to a supermarket in indonesia or turkey and see how everyday living differs from back home.

    The last few years we have made a point to seek out some sort of cooking classes or food production tours once we are grounded. In Bali two or three summers ago we saw them producing palm sugar, harvesting sea salt, and took a cooking class in Ubud - which included a tour of the market.

    Last year we spent a month in southern france with our niece and her husband, cooking the fabulous produce (both fresh and bottled) from their garden and the local weekly market. We even catered a dinner for 100 over the Easter weekend for the village using all local ingredients. A neigbor gave us all a lesson on how to make the local apple tart croustade - including hand stretching the filo like pastry.

    Last summer in Oaxaca we stumbled into a rug weaving village - Tiotitlan - and found a woman who besides selling rugs was willing to have us stay with her and do some cooking lessons. That too included daily trips to the local market - where we were the only non villagers around (other than the vendors). In turn she asked us to show her how to make lasagne - as her husband had had it on one of his rug selling trips to San Miguel De Allende. We had to approximate some ingredients and couldn't find lasagne sheets (substituted ziti -- which we had to drive with them back to the big city to buy) but it was fun. Now we have several great recipes, lots of memories and 3 incredible rugs.

    traveling on your stomach is the way to go...

  9. how about bbq chicken or bbq pork on mini biscuits

    pigs in the blanket - pedestrian but beloved (did you see the NYTimes article about serving them at haute affairs)

    or the modern version, italian sausage or chicken sausage with honey mustard in puff pastry.

    mini sliders - same concept

    korean meatballs - ginger & lemongrass, onions, chilis & pork or beef - glazed with orange sherry. serve them on skewers coming out of wheatgrass or kale or just in a chafer. Glaze them, don't sauce them.

    quesadillas - make them international not mexican

    like my favorite - american cheese, bacon & tomato with scallions

    shrimp with goats cheese & mozzarella (not really old boy tho)

    prime rib sliced thin wrapped around a small "log" of asiago mashed potatoes.

    potato croquettes

    potato pancakes with a dollop of sour cream onion dip

  10. to the caterer from New Zealand - log onto www.catersource.com and go the the forums - caterer to caterer and look thru for lots of great ideas and you can post questions after you register on how tos. Anyway, think of stations as mini buffets.

    Here's the menu for the wedding we are catering on September 23rd for 160 guests. Also stations. Not all caterers use boilerplate menus and presentations.

    We love to sit with our clients just like your chef did and brainstorm as to what would be most appealing to you. THese clients wanted a morrocan decor but an transglobal menu. We call this format "continuous passed hors d'oeuvres, accompanied by global food stations.

    pre ceremony - – inside ceremony tent

    Med Rim Antipasto Station –

    at which guests can help themselves to delicious and fresh nibbles

    - antipasto Garden of flowering vegetables with meats, salamis and cheese

    - herb cured and marinated olives displayed in martini glasses

    - creamy eggplant mousse on cucumber crowns

    - sundried tomato and rondele pesto torta surrounded by flatbreads

    - sunflower hummus with pita petals

    - greek dolmatis garnished with feta and red peppers,

    housemade flatbreads, european crackers

    and more…

    post ceremony -

    International Quesadilla Action Station

    choose three selections

    dramatically cooked in front of your guests by one of our station chefs:

    …. eurotrash – gruyere cheese sautéed mushrooms,

    caramelized onions and fresh spinach

    …. american gigilio – grilled cheese, crispy bacon, tomato and scallions.

    the best grilled cheese ever!!!

    …. santa barbara – smoked turkey, honey mustard and tomato

    …. brie-licious – triple crème french brie with apricot mustard

    …. capri– baby shrimp, goats cheese, mozzarella & sundried tomato

    …. knish as a quesadilla – a new twist on an old favorite –fluffy mashed potatoes with caramelized onions

    … hand passed temptations

    alaskan smoked salmon sushi style

    alaskan smoked salmon wrapped around wasabi-scallion marscapone pate perched on a framed black and white photo of an inuit native american

    peking chicken empanaditas

    herb scented miniature baked crescents filled with roasted peking chicken

    served from a garden basket with fresh flowers and botanicals

    golden triangles potato bytes

    piquant potato & veggie triangles with cilantro coconut drizzle

    arranged on a inlaid coconut tray with chili flower garnish

    auntie dai’s dumplings

    steamed chicken and veggie dumplings

    passed on asian spoons with wasabi- soy sauce

    absolut shrimp shooters

    island and coconut shrimp shooters

    served in absolut citrus infused shot glasses garnished with orchids

    big city biscuits

    grilled filet mignon in miniature parmesan buttermilk biscuits with horseradish crème and fire roasted peppers served in a whimsical armadillo basket

    milanese pinwheels

    roasted tomatoes with panko pork cutlets, fresh basil, fire roasted peppers and a blend of mozzarella, smoked provolone & grana padano cheeses

    served on a smoky leaf platter

    mushroom truffle risotto bundles

    luxurious flavors bundled into a buttery phyllo flower

    passed on an art deco platter atop tiny cut veggies

    garnished with baby enoki mushrooms

    saffron scallops

    seared diver scallops with orange saffron glaze

    passed on coconut forks nestled into green and black beans


    petit mexican turkey baci in a smoky chipotle sauce

    served in a rustic oaxacan clay pan garnished with gerber daisies

    ubud lotus cups

    asian chicken with balinese peanut sambal dressing

    & japanese cut scallions in a crispy wonton cup

    served on coconut spoons on a rustic driftwood tray

    nouveau jewish lollipops

    old fashioned crispy mini potato pancakes

    loaded with caramelized onions – topped with sour crème and salmon caviar

    skewered into wheatgrass in a lovely petit treasure chest

    tangerine tuna crowns

    ahi tuna in cucumber cups with tamari, tangerine and ginger

    served on a gilted antique mirror with fresh flower and leaf garnish

    cha cha cha soup sip

    tequila tomato chilled soup sip with pepper jack cheese straw

    served in a tall shot glass

    lamb lollies

    rosemary baby lamb lollipops atop meyer lemon scented spinach and watercress salad optional extra add $5 per guest

    martini mashed potato bar

    creamy mashed potatoes served by waitstaff

    in cocktail glasses

    with a variety of toppings

    pick two of the following meat toppings

    …. chicken monterrey – sautéed with white wine and sundried tomatoes

    …. spicy salsa chicken

    …. thai green beef curry

    …. belgium beef and ale

    …. south american pork roast with garlic sauce

    …. tender pork with salsa verde

    accompanied by creamy portebello mushroom ragout

    shredded cheddar cheese

    and sour cream

    short plate presentation

    Garden of Eatin’ Station: Pastas, Salads & Veggies

    …. bow thai salmon - grilled teriyaki salmon with bow tie pasta and haricot vert in a thai herb sauce served in red chinese boxes

    …. vietnamese crab coleslaw with fresh crab meat and chili jam lime dressing

    served in 1930’s glass punch cups

    …. marinated fresh bocchochini mozzarella, basil leaves and multi colored cherry tomato atop spinach and watercress salad with roasted peppers

    served on small glass plates

    …. fanned sliced lemon scented chicken over moroccan spiced carrot curls and japanese cut tender summer asparagus served on small glass plates

    ….. dessert, the final indulgence……

    opulent fresh fruit display including golden pineapples, luscious summer melons, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, exotic fruits and more

    including watermelon peacock with skewered fruit tail

    to compliment a finger food buffet with a dazzling array of temptation such as

    cream puffs drizzled with chocolate and pistachios,

    middle easternand italian pastries

    assorted petit cookies

    mini cheesecakes

    mini mousse cups


    almond macaroons

    served with sweetened thai and traditional ice coffee …..

  11. we have this weird habit of running into a COSTCO when we travel.

    So far besides the USA, this translates to Mexico and several locations in the UK.

    In England they sell "jacketed potatoes with coleslaw" read baked potato - a common vending cart item you might find in the UK.

    Everywhere has some version of the hot dog - and many of the same products with a few local twists thrown in.

    I forget what was different in at the COSTCO food court in Mexico but it must not have been too appealling because we went with the hot dog. One difference was that it was outdoors and they required your membership card before you could order.

  12. you could also do marshmellows dipped in red and blue "chocolate" and use white stars to garnish - stick the marshmellows on skewers before dipping and then spear them into some sort of foam form that is covered (or you can use melons or pineapples) but you could build a platform and give them height.

    Patriotic "Lollipops"

    Actually homemade lollipops in strawberry and blueberry flavors would be cool too

  13. My husband and I are both chefs and

    a. neither of us are athletic (though cooking does build muscles so we are strong)

    b. neither of us come from a military background, although both come from families where there was always someone dropping by for dinner-open table

    we cook and are in the catering business because we have a passion for food. We love to explore, taste, create, serve.

    Cooking can be a very positive ego trip.

    It gives us the chance to be creative and make a living at the same time.

    This being said, neither of us would ever go back to line cooking again. We enjoy the challenges of catering...

  14. Nutella is a great dip for thin pretzel sticks.  Mmmmmm....it's got that whole sweet/salty thang goin' on.

    Trader Joes makes a honey whole wheat pretzel stick that I often dip in melted Belgium chocolate - I bet it would be great with Nutella.

    I just remember that I used to make a guandjua mousse years ago - using callebaut - that would probably work with Nutella too - tho I have to agree with the last poster that the callebaut is better - more refined and less sugary (maybe we could say more European).

    oh that would be a good name for the nutella dipped pretzel sticks:

    Eurotrash Pretzel Sticks

  15. Paradise Tropical Mango and Passionfruit Ice Tea - a fresh brew that uses really good black tea, and leaves and flowers. The smell while it's brewing is magical and the taste is clean and fragrant. It''s distributed via California. I've rarely seen it retail (but occasionally, it comes in a bright yellow package with a hibcus flower on the front) We used to brew it and sell it by the glasses, gallons and gallons per day back in the day when we had the cafe (which coincidentally was called the Paradise Cafe).

    a site that sells paradise ice tea leaves

  16. When I did my short trial at Charlie Trotter's, I got to talking to the dessert crew about the strange requests that come in from guests. All the usual like no gluten, vegetarain, vegan, no sugar (diabetic), etc. The topper was one table that demanded NO WHITE FOOD! White flour, white sugar, milk, or cream were fine as ingredients but the FINISHED DISH COULD NOT BE WHITE! We concluded that there was a mental health issue involved. :hmmm:

    I once had a customer that would not allow any red food at a catered dinner (for a famous NY WOman Senator no less).... Naught so strange as folk...

  17. it's probably too late for your buffet tomorrow but I am a caterer and I use wheatgrass quite a lot for a natural display look. Especially for things on sticks or skewers and another fun thing you can do that people like is a chocolate fondue or chocolate fountain. Also for the kids I always do the simple approach of chocolate dipped marshmellows decorated with sprinkles and on long skewers coming out of something fun. Cookie jars and retro stuff would work with the bunnies and grass and even picket fence. Also doll houses make good dessert display items, as do old fashioned toys such as Tonka trucks, fire engines made from metal, and wooden pull along toys in bright colors. Nostalgic but still "elegant"

    shabby chic even.

    Happy holidays, your menus all sound wonderful. I am so glad I am not a pastry chef any longer, too much work in too short a period of time.

  18. I personally love baguettes (and don't love sourdough)

    I think it is a matter of taste, but even though I am not supposed to eat wheat or yeasted products, last summer in Paris my main concern was not upscale dining but eating croissants and baguettes and frankly it was worth it.

    In NYC Tomcat bakery makes a good baguette - nice and chewy stales within a day - it also makes good crostinis and croutons. Unfortunately Tomcat only sells directly via wholesale but there are places that sell it retail, I amsure they would direct you ifyou called the sales office. Here is Queens I know that Bonelle Bakery on Ascan Avenue in Forest HIlls sells Tomcat bread. Rahita picks it up herself daily from Long Island City

    I too am finding your comments offensive FG, your taste doesnt denote the ultimate expertise, it's really a personal thing.

    And according to my niece who bakes bread and now lives in France, the flour does make a difference. Just a note, the way the flour is milled is different, as may be the mix of strains. And bagels and bread in NYC do taste different. What's that old story about the Stella Dora Bakery trying to move to the south in the 60's or 70's and having to move back to the Bronx ultimately.

  19. PS my husband and I owe the conception of our son to the Movie Moonstruck, it made us go out to a great Italian Restaurant, drink a great Italian Wine and give birth 9th monthes later to a kid who loves Italian food...

  20. These aren't noir . . . but if you're looking for a movie that's partially about food:

    Italian cuisine is well represented in Goodfellas

    There's some good cooking in Moonstruck

    And that famous eating scene in Tom Jones

    and Like Water for Chocolate is a fave of many people (but not me)

    Babette's Feast is a very fine film, and ALL about food

    Big Night is about a little restaurant

    a Mexican-American food movie: Tortilla Soup

    What's Cooking? is a multi-ethnic Thanksgiving day film

    art-house Chinese/Taiwanese -- Eat Drink Man Woman

    Japanese: Tampopo

    African-American Soul Food

    and of course . . . Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?


    Part of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House involves ad executive Cary Grant trying to come up with a catchy name for a canned meat product a la "Spam"

    Imitation of Life is partially about pancakes

    (interestingly, in both of those films it's an African-American maid who provides the essential contribution)

    and don't forget

    Ginger Rogers Kicking Carrot Soup.... Ginger Carrot Bisque

    Fred Astaire Black Tie Strawberries... Elegantly dipped in Black CHocolate

    Maryilyn Monroe Meets Krushev Quesadilla- Breast of Turkey with Russian Dressing.

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