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Everything posted by lisa_antonia

  1. I adore the banana gugelhupf. It's one of the better cakes i've made lately.
  2. Cinnamon rolls made with the simple sweet dough. So far I like the book. These were delicious.
  3. I like the recipes i've made from The Swedish Table by Helene Henderson, but I'm not sure which other books to try. Most of the cookbooks at my library have sparse instructions and no photos. Can anyone recommend some Swedish/Scandinavian cookbooks that they've actually cooked from? I'm mostly looking for pastries/breads/sweet things. I'd be interested in good Hungarian baking books too.
  4. I made the peanut butter brownies from epicurious.com today. They are amazing! All the issues I had were resolved when the brownies fully reached room temperature.
  5. Dorie Greenspan's peanut butter brownies from epicurious.com and Chewy Almond/Cherry Bars from Alice Medrich's cookies and brownies. I'm going to dinner at a friend's house (a great excuse to use loads of chocolate and peanut butter.)
  6. I made the gingersnaps yesterday and they're delicious- especially if you don't overbake them. They're great for people who like a soft gingersnap.
  7. I'm interested in learning more about decorating with royal icing/sugarpaste and making sugar flowers. At the moment I don't have time to take a class, but i've managed to teach myself most of what I know about baking. Does anyone have recommendations for good cake decorating books/resources? Or some easier first projects? I thought decorated cookies or cupcakes might be an easy place to start.
  8. I've only tried the kabocha squash cheesecake and the banana cream pie with ginger pastry cream, but so far i'm enjoying the cookbook. Has anyone else had trouble with the cheesecake gradually weeping liquid? I've tried it with steamed squash and canned puree, and both times the cake has started weeping on top about a day later. I'm wondering if adding an extra egg might help.
  9. I have been working my way through all the cookie recipes. These are: Thin and delicate peanut brittle Oatmeal cookies with milk chocolate and golden raisins Walnut sandwich cookies with cream cheese filling Cinnamon currant walnut rugelach I have dough for the chocolate cherry cookies in the frige, and i'm going to make the chocolate chip ones too. They are all delicious, though the rugelach were difficult to shape, and i'd recommend rolling the dough into a circle and cutting it into wedges to roll the cookies individually. I love the oatmeal ones in particular.
  10. I'm looking for a good tamale recipe or several. Do you know any cookbooks/sources with multiple tamale recipes that are reliable and have some vegetarian options? I had some excellent tamales in San Francisco that i've been hoping to emulate...flavors like summer squash and chiles or butternut squash with a masa mixture that was fluffy and light- not that horribly dense/waxy consistency.
  11. I really like Abagail Johnson Dodge's "Fudgy Frosting" recipe. It's used on a great banana cake in her book "The Weekend Baker." adapted from the weekend baker. 6oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (Bakers squares have worked best for me, for texture.) 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar 1 cup evaporated milk 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut in 2 pieces 1 tbsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp table salt melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. meanwhile, combine the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, vanilla, and salt in a blender- no need to blend at this point. When the chocolate is melted, give it a stir and scrape it into the blender. Cover the blender with the lid and blend on high speed until the mixter darkens and is very thick (about 2 minutes) Youll also hear the engine working harder when the frosting is sufficiently thick. Scrape the frosting into a clean bowl and set aside at room temperature. When the frosting is cool, cover with plastic wrap until the cake is ready to frost.
  12. I've found good things on King Arthur Flour's website as well as L'epicerie.com and pastrychef.com. Are there any other good on-line sources you can recommend?
  13. Apricot <img src="http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/lcampbel/images/apricot.jpg"> Roasted Banana <img src="http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/lcampbel/images/bananaic.jpg"> Honey Lavender <img src="http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/lcampbel/images/honeylav.jpg"> Panforte, Green Tea, Lemon-Specaloos, Turron. <img src="http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/lcampbel/images/tartufi.jpg"> <img src="http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/lcampbel/images/tartufi1.jpg">
  14. Wonderfully described post. It's nice to see other people live for the everyday.
  15. Lately most of the posts i've read here only address the challenges of a job with food. So what do you love about your job? In my current pastry gig, I love the people I work with. I usually get to pick one dessert of my choice to make whenever we change the menu. I love having a little creative control despite my relatively limited experience. My hours are good. Despite coming home exhausted some nights and occasional problems in the personal life, I find my work very stimulating and rewarding.
  16. I prefer my chocolate chip cookies slightly crunchy and on the thinner side. I've been very dissapointed recipes from Tartine, Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and a few other sources that I usually love. The best chocolate chip cookie i've had recently came from a local creperie. It has a combination of APF, buckwheat flour, and ground oatmeal along with huge chuncks of good quality bittersweet chocolate. It has a very solid crust, but remains pretty soft in the middle. Do any of you have recommendations for intriguing chocolate chip cookies? I'm tired of underbaked, rather flavorless lumps of flour.
  17. Thanks Brian, this reply was very helpful. It is both busier and bigger, and one of the biggest differences is the air of prestigious haughtiness...Still, the interview was very helpful. It sounds as though i'll be offered a part time production position in the mornings, which would work well with my current schedule. I don't really have the best sense of how good my skills are, since my work experience is rather limited. Here's what I can tell you; can you give any suggestions for what I might work on? Decent piping and decorating skills (still practicing away...) A few breads (focaccia, brioche, sourdough, a few table and sandwich breads.) Very comprehensive knowledge of custards/ice creams/things needing tempering Short doughs, sugar doughs, choux pastry Mousses, gelatin or egg based Many varieties of cakes and meringues Basic knowledge of chocolate, but I haven't tempered it before, and I cannot shape well into ruffles/cigarettes etc. (also practicing...) Knowledge of sanitation/servsafe practices Scones, quickbreads Cookies, bar cookies, shortbreads, pies, macaroons, macarons Buttercream, Ganache, Glacage Caramel and sugar garnishes, but not much else. Good with budget, money, and time management. I'm pretty weak in the decorating department, compared to everything else. I think there's a ton more I could learn about breads, particularly good shaping techniques. I don't have any experience with laminated doughs/puff pastry, though i've made some blitz puff pastry recipes. I guess i'm wondering what the next step is? I am mostly self taught (baking since I was very very young.) I've been building work experience for a while- I started with catering and camp cooking, then moved up to an actual pastry position. Now i'm looking at another position at a much more prestigious restaurant. I guess i'm wondering what the next step is? I don't really want to make the financial investment of culinary school. I'd rather just keep building experience. I'd love a chance to work in europe, or even just other places on the east and west coast (NY, SF...anywhere else.) I've been browsing for places that would teach me skills I want to learn. Any insight?
  18. I don't want to be famous- but I want to gain respect in my local food community. I want to be able to give creative input. I want to gain more technical skills (i am largely self taught and always looking to continue my learning.) I was very nervous about interviewing somewhere else when I feel rather committed to my current job, but a friend told me if I want to make this a career, it would be stupid not to look at other sorts of options.
  19. I currently work as an assistant pastry chef in a small cafe (the most we'll ever do in one day is maybe 200, with the average being 80-120.) We do breads, pastries for catered events, and around 6 different desserts which change every 4-6 weeks. I'm meeting with the executive chef of another restaurant this week to discuss a pastry chef opening. This restaurant is much more popular, and rather huge with a seperate pastry kitchen with a large ice cream machine, a sheeter, bread ovens, chocolate tempering machines etc...They'd be able to offer me a better salary and benefits. I am wondering what people like or dislike about small vs large jobs. I worry that in a large restaurant things will be a lot more stressful since pastry staff remain there for service (as opposed to my other job, where we work after hours). I love the prospect of learning new equipment and techniques and working for a restaurant that has a much more sophisticated approach to desserts and presentation. I guess my main concern is that the environment could be much more corporate/impersonal and that working on one particular image/style could become soulless and stifling. So can someone give me some insight on why they like or dislike working for large restaurants or restaurant groups?
  20. So i've been playing around with my new ice cream maker. I had a few disasters long ago at home (not straining off the skin that grew on the base...makes for yucky bits that stick to your spoon...) Do you really need to chill ice cream bases 4 hours to overnight, or can you cool it rapidly in an ice bath? How will not chilling it negatively affect your finished product? I have an ice cream maker with a built in freezer- while there's no bowl to freeze, i'm still unclear on how important it is to chill your base.
  21. I tried a few recipes yesterday: Chocolate Cinnamon Squares, Rum Soaked Vanilla Cakes, and the Cream Puff Ring. On the cream puff ring: I had the same trouble I've had with some cream puff recipes. Even though I baked it until well firmed and browned, it collapsed shortly after I took it out of the oven. Any suggestions on how to fix that? Some recipes have you let choux dough cool in a turned off oven. Is there a problem with the amount of egg i'm adding? The rum/vanilla cakes are utterly fantastic. One of the best recipes i've made from the book thus far, I think.
  22. thanks for the advice guys. it's very encouraging. Work was great tonight. We did three varieties of scone, some chocolate cinnamon mousse with rum flambeed bananas, focaccia, passionfruit sorbet, almond macaroons, strawberry white chocolate mousse cakes....lots and lots of stuff. now I will try and get to bed.
  23. I've been working as a pastry assistant for about three weeks now. It's my first serious food service position and I love it! I work shifts from 5pm-11:45pm, and generally I really look foward to going to work. Still, i'm -much- more tired than I ever anticipated I could be. I used to wake up at 6:45 every morning, and now when I manage to roll out of bed around 8ish i'm sore and utterly catatonic. Some people have told me that it just takes time to adjust to the physical demands and routine of a new position. I am struggling because i'm finishing college, and some days I just feel too tired to function. It seems silly to me because I know this schedule isn't as bad as many other food service shifts... So my question is, how have you adjusted to the demands of your schedule? What helps you cope with being really tired?
  24. It's a medium-rich brioche. I used this recipe: http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/journal/2...ct-brioche.html
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