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Everything posted by djyee100

  1. I was very proud of myself when I took ketchup off the shopping list 3 years ago, and began canning my own. Now it's an annual ritual. I buy 20 lbs of organic tomatoes from a local farm, and just go at it. There's no comparison in flavor between homemade ketchup and commercial ketchup. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't go back. Of course, when I'm prepping tomatoes and standing over the sink up to my eyebrows in tomato pulp, peels and seeds, I sometimes wonder if I'm crazy. Most recently I've taken canned tuna off the list. I've started slow poaching chunks of fresh tuna in olive oil with garlic and spices. Heavenly!
  2. djyee100


    Re: dessert #6 Excuse me. "Wood ice cream," as in wood??
  3. Re: using fresh flour I have read caveats about using fresh-milled flour, i.e., you should let it dry out and season for a week or two. Yet I buy fresh-milled flour from a local farm. When I mentioned this issue to the farm people, they thought I was nuts. They bake with fresh-milled flour all the time. I've baked with flour that was milled only a day or two ago, and the results were fine. This is stoneground whole-wheat flour.
  4. I was also struck by the similarity to pain a l'ancienne, which I have made several times, with mixed results. In Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice, the procedure calls for mixing the dough with ice water and immediately putting it in the fridge. The next day you take the dough out and let it rise at room temperature. When this method worked for me, the bread was exceptionally flavorful, with a beautifully caramelized crust. But half the time this method did not work for me. Either the yeast died from the harsh cold treatment, or it never woke up. Once I kept the dough around at room temperature for almost 2 days before it rose properly. Honest to God, I really think the instant yeast I put in the dough just died, and some stray wild yeast cell took pity on me, showed up, and made the bread rise. I've shelved pain a l'ancienne as a breadbaking technique for a couple years now. Fortunately, the minimalist no-knead technique has arrived, and the results from that technique taste very much like pain a l'ancienne. I believe Reinhart has modified his technique to keep the dough out at room temperature for an hour before refridgerating it. Maybe that helps the little yeasties get a better hold on life.
  5. My latest experiment: making rolls like SparrowsFall's housekeeper. (See SparrowsFall's post, 12/2/06). My ingredients list: 430 g King Arthur unbleached bread flour 1/4 tsp yeast 1 1/2 tsp salt 2 cups buttermilk 2 TB melted butter 2 TB sugar I mixed up the dough as usual. The first rise took about 20 hours--I think the buttermilk and butter must have slowed down the yeast development. The second rise took 2 1/2 hours. Compared to my usual dough from this recipe, the buttermilk dough seemed less bubbly and drier, without the long gluten strands clinging to the sides of the bowl. (The dough did not look promising. I considered dumping it, but then just forged ahead.) After the second rise I formed the dough into rolls. The dough seemed dry, so I decided to skip S's housekeeper's "steam oven" method (dropping the dough into a preheated muffin tin, then covering with foil). The dough didn't feel moist enough for this technique to work. Instead, I placed the rolls into a well-buttered muffin tin. I let the rolls rise until doubled, covered with plastic wrap, while I preheated the oven. There was a little extra dough so I made a couple bigger rolls and placed them in buttered ramekins. I baked the rolls in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, then because the rolls were getting very brown, I lowered the oven temp to 375 degrees and baked for another 5 minutes. The rolls smelled divine while they were baking. I was beginning to feel optimistic! When I removed the rolls from the oven, they tested 200 degrees on my digital thermometer. Despite my anxieties, these rolls turned out very good. They are tasty and tangy from the buttermilk, sugar, and butter. The texture is slightly denser than usual, but open and airy (smaller holes). The crust is tender-crisp and dark brown, as you would expect from a buttermilk roll. The next time I make these rolls, I will try to push the internal temperature to 210 degrees before removing them from the oven. I think they could have used a little more cooking time. I may start with a lower temperature of 425 degrees in the oven, and let the rolls bake longer. The rolls I baked in the ramekins were beautifully caramelized on their bottoms. Maybe ramekins are the way to go when baking rolls. SparrowsFall, pls thank your housekeeper for the idea of making rolls, and thanks to you for passing the tip along.
  6. I like that flexible cutting board idea! As for the wet dough: Don't be put off by it. I once mismeasured the water so I had a super-gummy dough. It was virtually a batter. I baked it anyway, and though it was more moist than I would have liked, it baked up decently. I toasted it for breakfast.
  7. Shirley Corriher in her cookbook, Cookwise, only counts the fat content of butter in her basic formula for piecrust. I don't compensate for the water in butter when I mix up the dough, either. However, after hydrating the dough in the fridge, the dough is so much moister that I have assumed that water from the butter has leached into the dough. When it comes to adding water to dough, look and feel should be your guidelines. Just add enough water to form a rough, dryish ball of dough.
  8. The amounts of water given in pastry recipes have almost never worked for me, because the optimal amount of water can vary depending on the weather, the brand of flour you're using, and most importantly, on how finely you have cut in your butter. At one end of the spectrum is a shortbread-like piecrust with no water, and at the other end is puff pastry, with super-big pieces of butter, a fair amount of water, and a very flaky texture. The finer you cut in your butter, the more careful you should be about adding water. The most water-tolerant dough has lots of large pieces of butter in it. I now make my dough with dime-size pieces of butter, so I don't worry about adding too much water. There's marbled butter showing in the dough when I roll it out. It's OK! It makes a very flaky crust. I've made piecrusts with 3 oz and 4 oz of butter per cup of flour. The piecrust with more butter (4 oz) was more tender and seemed more water-tolerant. BTW, jgm's post of 12/1/06 contains some excellent pastrymaking technique, especially steps 3, 4, and 5. I myself would hydrate the dough between steps 4 and 5. Let us know how your pastry experiments go.
  9. Now this rang a bell. I used to have a problem with the bottom crust of quiche lorraine, very similar to your problem with the bottom crust of pumpkin pie. The bottom crust was never crispy and often mushy. I solved the problem with a combination of Chez Panisse and Julia Child techniques. From Chez Panisse: cook the tart shell completely. You can do this and bake a filling in it later because pie crust is so slow to brown anyway. From Julia Child: Unmold the pastry shell, let it cool, set it on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably a rimless baking sheet), fill it and bake it. (See Julia Child, Mastering the Art of Fine Cooking, vol 1, page 146.) I found that unmolding the tart shell was key. More moisture could evaporate out that way. Also, if you are going to cook your filling in an unmolded tart shell, make sure the walls are strong. Julia Child suggests a double thickness of dough for the tart shell walls to make them sturdier. (See Julia Child, Mastering the Art of Fine Cooking, vol 1, page 144.) I also suggest making sure the dough next to these walls is also sturdy, i.e., not too thin, or the extra weight of the walls will cause cracks where the walls meet the tart bottom. (Sturdy walls, sturdy foundations, cf. medieval castles. ) I don't know if these techniques will work for your pumpkin pie, but my quiche lorraine has nice crispy well-cooked bottom crusts now.
  10. I'm not the world's greatest pumpkin pie expert (I make pumpkin pie very rarely), but here are my thoughts: Your filling is too wet and that's keeping the bottom crust from crisping. The moisture is collecting on the bottom. This may be a problem inherent in using pumpkin, which can be watery. For a very similar flavor profile, but a drier filling, try substituting butternut squash for the pumpkin. I cook David Lebovitz's recipe for Butternut Squash Pie in his cookbook, Room for Dessert. Lebovitz (former Chez Panisse pastry chef) says in his intro: "After years of making both pumpkin and butternut squash pies, I've decided that butternut squash makes the better pie. I like the sweet, intense orange pulp of butternut squash, and to me it has a superior flavor." If I remember correctly, Lebovitz likes to use a glass pie pan so he can see the crust browning properly. If you're wedded to your pumpkin pie filling, try using less of it so that less moisture drains down into the bottom crust. good luck!
  11. SparrowsFall, Those rolls sound scrumptious. I want to try making them. Do you know if your housekeeper preheated the muffin tin? Or just used a greased muffin tin at room temperature?
  12. I always made mediocre, if not bad, piecrust until I read Judy Rodgers' explication of pie crust in her cookbook, the Zuni Cafe Cookbook (page 481). Rodgers explains that to keep a piecrust tender and flaky, add less water if you are working the butter into small bits, and relatively more water if you are leaving the butter in chunks. The light went on in my head, because I was inclined to work the butter in a lot, then add copious amounts of water. The result: cement. I suggest you read those passages in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Since my enlightenment, I have made consistently excellent pie crusts, to my amazement. I like to use the recipe for pie crust in the Zuni Cookbook, also. It contains more butter than your pumpkin piecrust. (Maybe too little butter to flour contributed to the toughness?) The Zuni recipe is simply a cup of flour, a stick of butter, and enough ice water to hold it together. Rodgers uses salted butter, which I can't abide, so I use unsalted butter and add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt. This recipe makes a 9" piecrust. To keep myself from overworking the dough, I add just enough water so the dough pulls together, then I let the dough hydrate in the fridge for at least a few hours, or even better, overnight. By hydration I mean that the water in the dough, from both the ice water and the butter (butter contains water), has a chance to moisten all the flour consistently. When you take the dough out of the fridge it will even look different: darker and moister, with a more consistent texture. You will have to let the dough warm up a little in order to roll it out. Handy tip: After you mix up the dough, form a rough ball and place it on a large square of plastic wrap. Loosely wrap the dough ball in the plastic wrap. Then with your palm flatten the plastic-wrapped ball into a disk about 3/4" thick. The disk will be easier to roll out later. Then put the dough disk in the fridge to hydrate. Another good piecrust recipe: Julia Child's pate brisee in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol I, page 139 et seq. This recipe always works for me when I make quiche lorraine. Julia suggests fraisage, a final smearing of butter and flour, that I find makes a better piecrust (page 141). She also gives a great explanation for rolling out dough, something else I never did well until I read her cookbook. If you don't own these cookbooks, try your public library. good luck!
  13. Postscript: The specialty cocktail is the Pisco Sour, topped with frothy egg whites. It is very strong, like brandy, and garnered mixed reviews. (I sipped a bit from somebody else's drink and didn't particularly like it.) Also, I suggest that you stock up with ingredients like aji peppers (especially the yellow pepper, aji amarillo) and Pisco when you are in Peru, if you plan to cook Peruvian dishes back home. Peruvian ingredients are tough to find in the US, especially the distinctive hot peppers.
  14. Re your query: "Would you recommend any must have dishes?" In the Cusco area, the specialties are pink trout, alpaca steak, guinea pig, and beef heart kabobs. I can vouch for the pink trout, which reminded me of salmon. I ate it twice at different restaurants, I liked it so much. I also tried a bit of alpaca steak, but the restaurant overcooked it so it was tough and dry. A good alpaca steak would probably be like venison. I tried the alpaca steak before visiting an alpaca farm. After petting the cute, sweet-faced alpacas, I couldn't eat 'em anymore. I never tried the guinea pig. Reviews from other people ranged from "tastes like chicken" to "so gamy I couldn't eat it." No reviews on the beef heart kabobs. When in Lima, try the fresh seafood, especially cebiche (or ceviche). At a non-English speaking restaurant, I pointed to "jalea mixta" on the menu, thinking it was some kind of seafood fried rice, and I ended up with a delicious deep-fried fishermen's platter with salsa and deep-fried yucca. Loved it. Other Peruvian specialties: Lomo saltado, an Asian-style beef stirfry with chile peppers, served with french fries and rice; aji de gallina, chicken in a bright yellow creamy chile-nut sauce; and papas a la huancaina, potatoes in a chile-cheese sauce. Alfajores are pale round sandwich cookies with caramel (dulce de leche) filling--they're very tasty. I look forward to reading your culinary reviews of Peru, also.
  15. to Fromartz: So sorry the parchment paper technique didn't work for you. But I notice from the posts on this thread that people are mixing up doughs of different wetnesses, probably because they measure flour differently. Also, there can be significant differences in flours by region and by brand, and certain flours will simply absorb more water. When I baked with the parchment paper lining, the paper showed crinkles from moisture, but the bottom of my loaf was golden and caramelized, and came right off the paper. It sounds like the bottom of your loaf never dried and set, because once that happens the loaf should come right off the parchment paper. Alas, these things happen. Once in a cooking class someone said that he couldn't think of any disasters he'd had in cooking. Another person replied to him, "Well, you're not cooking enough."
  16. Here are links to the 2 restaurants I mentioned in my PM to you. Pacha Papa http://www.theperuguide.com/cusco/restaura...novo/pacha.html La Cicciolina http://www.theperuguide.com/cusco/restaura...cicciolina.html have a great time!
  17. My latest experiment: I successfully baked a loaf in my All-Clad stainless 7-quart stockpot, by lining the inside of the pot with parchment paper. First I crumpled the parchment paper in my hands, so it would be more flexible to fit the pot. Then I completely lined the inside of the pot with parchment paper. I overlapped the sheets of parchment to cover the interior of the pot. Then I put the cover on the pot and preheated it according to recipe instructions. When I slipped the dough from an oiled bowl into the hot pot, I was very careful not to disturb the parchment paper lining. It worked! My loaf baked up beautifully, without damaging my precious pot. Hope this suggestion helps anyone out there who doesn't have exactly the right pot called for in the recipe.
  18. oops, sorry for the duplication. I'm asking a friend for the name of a good restaurant we went to in Cusco. When she tells me, I'll post it here.
  19. I was in Peru this past September. In the Cusco area I suggest the Pisac market for food, arts, crafts, not to mention Incan ruins. Also, if you have the time, you can visit the salt beds of Salinas Maras. Besides being culturally fascinating, Salinas Maras sells wonderful (cheap) fleur de sel in small tubelike bags. When I got home and discovered how delicious the salt is, I wished I had bought more. If you can, arrange for a traditional Peruvian pit barbecue, or "pachamanca." Wow. We were served delicious smoky lamb shoulder, pork loin, spareribs, fish, several kinds of potatoes and corn in this fabulous barbecue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachamanca
  20. Great idea, Robert! Chocoholic, if you ever want to cross the Bay into Berkeley, you can do the factory tour for Scharffenberger Chocolate. The tour's great, I've done it twice. Then maybe lunch or dinner at Chez Panisse Cafe, with a visit across the street to the Cheese Board? (Excuse me for promoting the East Bay, where I now live. ) http://www.scharffenberger.com/factory.asp http://www.chezpanisse.com/ (though this is not a restaurant for 3 yr olds) http://cheeseboardcollective.coop/Cheese%2...CheesePage.html
  21. I suggest the Sur La Table store for gourmet cookware. It's just off Union Square. http://www.surlatable.com/stores/StoreDeta...m?StoreNumber=5 Zuni Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants. It belongs to the bistro genre. Also, I would recommend the Greens restaurant at Fort Mason if you're interested in gourmet vegetarian food ( http://www.greensrestaurant.com/ ). I suggest you make reservations for these restaurants during the holiday week. Also, just to throw this out-- As is the case with big cities, once you're away from the downtown area, you'll find more casual (but excellent) neighborhood restaurants that are family-friendly and more reasonably priced. When I lived in SF, these are the neighborhoods where I liked to eat and shop: - Chestnut Street (the western end) in the Marina neighborhood has many wonderful restaurants and interesting shops. http://www.chestnutshop.com/ - Clement Street in the Richmond neighborhood is the place where many Asian residents go to avoid the crush (and higher prices) of downtown Chinatown. http://www.viamagazine.com/top_stories/art...nt_street01.asp - 9th & Irving in the Sunset neighborhood. You can take the N Judah MUNI streetcar from downtown and get off here. It's a short block to a popular entrance for Golden Gate Park, close to the Arboretum and the Japanese Tea Garden. Noteworthy for food are Park Chow, Ebisu (for sushi), and the Arizmendi Bakery. The Arizmendi Bakery sells my absolutely favorite pizza in the world, made with a sourdough crust. Thank God I no longer live near this neighborhood, otherwise I would be at the bakery everyday eating pizza. http://www.sfgate.com/traveler/guide/sf/ne...nersunset.shtml Have a wonderful trip!
  22. to cookman: I mentioned using an oiled bowl in my post of 11/19. That's what I always do. I oil the bowl lightly. I don't think it makes any difference in the crust. The crusts in my breads are thin and crackly like French baguette. to SusanGiff: Cast iron tends to hold in heat, which can result in overcooking and burning. I suggest you use the 450 degree temperature in the printed recipe (as opposed to the 500 temperature in the video). As for burned bottoms: Sometimes you can move the bread to a higher oven rack to put less heat on the bottom; but then the top gets more heat and will turn browner. Sometimes if I am troubleshooting a bread I will move the bread higher up in the oven if the bottom is getting too brown; or I will lower the bread in the oven if the top is getting too brown. to everyone: Does this recipe have legs. I received an email from a breadbaking friend and he's cooked this recipe twice since I last heard from him (he's up to a total of 3 tries). He's already planning what to do for bread #4.
  23. I was in a cooking class on Thursday when the teacher mentioned this thread, and I practically jumped out of my seat. I've been making this bread since it was printed in the NY Times. So far I've made it three times. The breads baked up with an open texture (big holes), wonderful aroma, good flavor, and crackly crust. Twice I baked with King Arthur unbleached bread flour, the third time half unbleached bread flour and half whole wheat flour. The breads made with all unbleached bread flour were particularly good. I'm a skilled but not particularly dedicated bread baker, and this may be the closest I ever come to a French baguette-type bread. Some things I did differently from the printed recipe: > I make only a 1/2 recipe and bake it in a 3-qt earthenware covered casserole dish, since that is the largest size pot I have of the required kind. The smaller size doesn't seem to matter, and maybe it's even better. The breads cook well and there's proportionately more crust to body compared to the regular recipe. > On the tip of a friend who tried this recipe before I did, I increased the salt. For a full recipe, it would be 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. > In Step Two, I like to do a ciabatta-type stretch of the dough. I pull the dough to twice its length, then fold it back on itself in thirds, like a letter. I do this twice. > I do not mess with flour-y towels (Step Three). After stretching the dough and forming it into a loose ball, I place it in a lightly oiled bowl, flip it over to grease the top, cover it with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for a second time. When the dough is ready to bake, I remove the plastic wrap and turn the bowl upside down over the hot pot. The dough slides out into the pot. The final shape of the bread may not be as elegant as it could be--let's say it's Very Rustic--but the bread is attractive enough and most important, tastes delicious. > For the half-unbleached, half-whole wheat flour version of this bread, I increased the water to 1 cup for a 1/2 recipe. I have no idea what the baker's formula should be. I kept adding water until the texture of the dough seemed right, and it worked. I'm enthused about this recipe. It's very easy and practical. If you time it right you can mix up the dough in the evening and have fresh-baked bread for dinner the next day.
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