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  1. and I thought I was the only one with restraint problems. This is my absolute favorite cookie! I do almost the same thing. I form the cookies individually and (plastic)wrap them before they go in the freezer (raw). I don't like to cut through the frozen log because I don't like cutting through a chip (I cut blocks of Callebaut chocolate to get my chips and I like to keep what chunks I end up with whole for that gooey chocolatey effect). Then when I want some WPCs (like for dessert) I cook them off in the oven (14 minutes instead of 12). Just did it last night, in fact. We sit down for dinner just as the cookies come out of the oven... they are still warm when we get to dessert. Next time I will try your microwave method... sounds promising! yum!
  2. Lucky you! Nothing wrong with a healthy discussion, as long as it is constructive. Our little chat may help someone who is looking to make a decision on a Bamix.
  3. One reason I went with bamix-usa.com is that they offer a 10 year warranty while PleasantHill offers only 1 year. Granted, Bamix-usa does charge an extra $20 for their Gastro 200. I got the feeling, also, that they may be able to do something on the price (or maybe throw in the meat blade, perhaps?); anything is negotiable. Bamixes are supposed to last forever, so maybe a 10 year warranty isn't significant, but lemons exist in the best of circumstances. Really comes down to one's risk tolerance. I agree that the recipe book and DVD aren't exactly worth extra $$, but I do kind of like the stand that comes with the Swissline. Yes, you get a wall-bracket with the Gastro, so it is a question of personal preference... wall bracket or stand. For a new Bamix user who doesn't already have the dry grinder (like you do), the little processor nearly makes up for the $50 price difference between the Gastro and the Swissline. The processor seems to me to have a greater capacity than the dry grinder, so if I were to choose between the grinder and the processor, I would probably go with the latter.
  4. Here I was all set to buy a Waring Pro after reading through this thread... it is now on amazon for $80, which seems like a good price when I decided to go and browse through Williams Sonoma's site and came across the "Krups High Performance Deep Fryer" priced at almost $400. This thing looks almost identical to the Waring Pro in its specs (1750 watts, nearly the same advertised capacity, a little lighter, etc.) So I can't help but wonder why it is > 4X the price. I know that the advertised wattage of an appliance does not necessarily correlate to its power, so maybe the two really aren't comparable? Could it be that much better? Don't know what to do, so I turn to you, fellow e-gulleteers... anyone own one of these "Krups High Performance Deep Fryer"? Any thoughts?
  5. I called Bamix USA and they gave me some interesting info. Basically Bamix makes 2 motors. The most powerful one is on the Swissline and the Gastro series. The less powerful one is on the Deluxe, Mono, Cassette, etc. The only other differences are (1) the accessories included and (2) the Gastro lines have a longer wand (but again, same motor as the Swissline so same power and same durability). The guy on the phone reminded me that the motor housing can be easily submerged halfway and not damage the machine since it is sealed near the top. This fact makes getting a Gastro serious overkill for the vast majority (unless you are making industrial quantities of sauces in industrial size pots). The Gastro's extra long wand can make it clumsy to handle. I did have a Swissline in France and loved it, and I have mostly seen regular sized Bamixes in pro kitchens. I went with the Swissline here in the States as well. _______________ On the grinder: it *is* meant for dry ingredients although you can also use it to chop herbs (leaves that you have removed surface water from for example) or veggies (again, dry surface). There is also a "processor" which is meant for wet and dry. See: USA Version Accessories Also: Bamix Headquarters Accessories: Grinder and Processor I have both and confess that I have never tried to make a paste in the dry grinder (great for grinding spices to powder, though). I have however successfully made pastes (harissa, thai curry pastes, etc) in the wet/dry processor. It does need enough moisture to form a paste and often this is more moisture than the recipe calls for. I started out adding extra vegetable oil until I realized I could just add some water and the paste came together beautifully without added grease. I also reduce garlic & ginger to a paste simply by adding a little water. I can get 4 cloves of garlic to paste with a 2-3 TBsp water with one or two scrape downs max. The water goes away when I add the paste to hot oil, so it doesn't affect my recipes. __________________________ In case anyone is wondering I have used the meat chopping blade (to make pet food) and found it worked beautifully. I have also used the SliceSy and had great success shredding veggies as well as starting out pie doughs (cutting the butter into the flour, but then mixing in the liquid ingredients by hand in a separate bowl) and to make crumble toppings. These were all in circumstance where I was travelling and had no ready access to other major kitchen appliances. I was honestly surprised how well these little machines stood in for processors and blenders (sadly nothing replaces a standing mixer for serious dough work).
  6. Hi Folks, http://www.bamix-usa.com/ Anyone out there with opinions on Swissline vs. Deluxe vs. Gastro? I am having trouble choosing between them... Thanks!
  7. Dear Heartlanders & KC-folks, I will be in KC one a Sunday and a Monday night. I would like to host a small family dinner at a top KC table (price no object) and am dutifully doing my research.... and I can't decide, so I pose the question to you. My first choice would be bluestem, but they are not open for dinner Sun/Mon, and the dates cannot be changed. I have gleaned the following names from your previous posts and am hereby requesting your additional comments and knowledgable recommendations: 1. 40 Sard OR michael smith OR The American Restaurant (OR other special occasion place)? 2. Is bringing your own bottle (a VERY nice bottle) an issue with either place (I would be buying one bottle from them -champs- and bringing one of my own)? On a side note, I would love steak place recommendations, but I hear all the great beef from the area is wet-aged in the local restos... and I'm a bit spoiled by an 8-week dry-age experience at Bern's a year ago (sigh) Thanks to all who comment..... cavepullum
  8. Unfortunately the new website is only new for the French programs ... it links to the old one when you are looking for info for international students (the Anglophone program). And the old one is pretty crappy if you ask me. The information is out of date - I wouldn't trust it.
  9. I don't have lots of details on the Pat course, other than I know it is very well regarded. Last year I know they had a week (or was it two week?) Pierre Herme workshop that most pastry fans would kill to do. Doubt you'll get that elsewhere. If the Pat program is at all like the Cuisine program they are going to have different schedules for each day of the week. So a single day's schedule isn't going to tell you much. Here is what I know about last year's program: 1. It is shorter than the Cuisine program, but still very intense 2. You get a day every two weeks of cuisine, which I think is invaluable for a Pastry student, and a unique feature of the program. 3. You will get good exposure to boulangerie in addition to pastry If you send me a personal message I will forward your email address to some of last year's pastry folks and ask them to email you ... can't promise anything, but if they have the time, I think they will be happy to answer questions. If you are in Paris, you should ask Stephanie for a tour. She should be able to arrange a visit with the Pat chef and you'll see the current students in action. You'll be able to ask folks who are in the thick of it questions - invaluable.
  10. OK, so, if I may bring up one of my scenarios which I don't think has been answered.... What about higher-end restos. Restaurants where one may spend from 200-800 euros for dinner. Are you saying if one spends 800 euros and experienced exceptional service one should leave a 40 euro tip (5%)? What would you (and this is an open question) leave on a 350 euro dinner, 500 euro dinner, 200 euro dinner.... is there a "tip cap"? Yes, I know it depends on if anything was comped and/or if the service was great.... assume the service was well above average and no comps.
  11. In NYC I regularly left 20%, unless the service really sucked and then I would leave 12%. I arrived in Paris trained by the NYC scene to tip reasonably well... I came to Paris from the states a year and a half ago, and this tipping question continues to plague me. I figured I would run some numbers by those expats lurking about who have been around Paris longer than me. My french parents-in-law typically leave 3-5 euros when we go have a relatively simple dinner - maybe 30-40 euros a head... at a local brasserie including wine. Personally, I fee weird leaving less than 5 for dinner. I regularly leave 1 euro for a 10 euro breakfast or 5 euro cafe creme. DH and I go out on a relatively regular basis to nicer restos where the tab can run from 150-350 for the two of us (depends on the wine) and we typically leave 10 euros - I must point out, however, that we are regulars in a couple restos and we get excellent service. On St. Sylvestre we went to Senderens and left 40 on a 750 euro for two prix fix menu (yes, I know this is the one night in the year when one should stay home since restos charge double, but New Year's is my favorite "just-the-two-of-us" holiday - and we always go on a date, so...) SO here is the question... am I way over tipping? Am I in the ballpark? Am I (cringe) under? Curious minds want to know...
  12. Concerning the school on l'Abbe Gregoire in the 6th: This school is quite large and has several programs in it, including one catering to foreigners (which I have written about above). That being said this is also a French high school for "metiers" - pofessions. They have programs in everything from boulangerie, patisserie and cuisine to textiles, interior design and a bunch of others - all for those clean-cut french kids. See: http://www.egf.ccip.fr/presentation.asp They also offer "formation continue" - adult continuing education for professionals much like the CIA's Greystone campus does. There is also a very noteworthy cuisine program which we called "Sup" level. I can't find any official web presense for it. It is an elite French spoken-only program for individuals who have a CAP, and/or the culinary experience equivalent of the comis level. It is meant to churn out chefs de parti. Only about 24 students are accepted per year and there is stiff competition - most are 20-something French students. The program is 6 months of school work (in kitchen, and in teaching restaurant) plus 6 months of stage and this goes on for 2 years. I know one graduate of the foreigners program (which I described above) who is going to be doing this program starting this month (she is very gifted and has months of work at Helen Darroze behind her). Her French is passable, but not fluent. She understands and can communicate - this is all she needs. The program which concerns us (primarily), on egullet, is the Anglophone, foreigner's program. About 24 students are accepted. No prior experience is required and it is built for beginners. The acceptance rate is about 60%, I've been told. I wrote about it above. It is geared to adults (my class ranged from 23 to 50 year olds), not the teenagers you see milling about on the sidewalk in front of the school. The program is held in the same building that teaches hundreds of French teenagers and is funded by the Chamber of Commerce. Yup, there is a teaching restaurant and all the rest I've mentioned above. Keep in mind that the anglophones are going to be in the teaching restaurant kitchen only one day per week and cooks stay in the kitchen, so you may not see them. Also, there are two restaurants at the school, so unless you picked the right restaurant on the right day, and you asked and got a kitchen tour, you will only see French kids. If you really want to see the anglophones at work, call Stephanie Curtis (the communications person for the program) and ask her to hook you up with the right day and place. There is a (really bad, IMHO) web site concerning the Anglo program: http://www.egf.ccip.fr/ESCF/english/ If you go by the school again ask for Sebastien de Massard - he is the head chef for the anglo program and/or Stephanie Curtis (American) who handles marketing and other "communincations" tasks for the school. They just moved the program to its own dedicated kitchen and offices (good thing), so you have to be persistent to find them... it is a big place. I take this opportunity to re-state my opinion that I consider this to be the best professional culinary program in France. (sorry, they get so little press ) I know they have an open house sometime in the spring... - Cave Pullum PS. I know you speak French, my amateur translations above are meant for those who do not.
  13. Any folks out there celebration Thanksgiving this year in Paris? I am taking the opportunity to introduce my French in-laws to the traditional American Thanksgiving classics (you know, pecan pie, etc...). I found that the store Thanksgiving in the 4th sells fresh cranberries and am getting ready to head out there (greve or no greve, yay Velib!). I have a dinde de Bresse ordered which I am really looking forward to. I am curious to know what you turkey-day fans are doing and sources for tough-to-find ingredients (hello, sweet potatoes anywhere?) -Cave Pullum
  14. Hi there, I am an alumn of the program at Ferrandi and I have to say, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have also had experience at Cordon Bleu (Paris) and was very disappointed. It comes down to this: kitchen time and breadth of experience. You will spend less than 8 hours per qeek in the kitchen at CB (3 sessions per week). You will spend 16-21 hours per week in cuisine at Ferrandi PLUS 5 hours in pastry per week. You will get French classes, wine classes and wine/food pairing classes at Ferrandi. You will get none of these extras at Cordon Bleu. You will use professional equipment at Ferrandi... big central "fournaux", just like you will in your professional career. This you will not see at Cordon Bleu - you will use a range. You will have an opportunity to hear conferences by major chefs/food experts at Ferrandi like Herve This. Ferrandi is one of the (if not THE) top culinary school for French kids. This is were the locals go. They are not going to Cordon Bleu. Cordon Bleu is were the rich foreigners go. I know CB also provides a good education, but it simply cannot compare to Ferrandi. You will keep the same instructor at Ferrrandi throughout your education. He will be able to know your strengths and weaknesses and pay attention to you as one of a group of twelve. At CB you will have many instructors who are all dealing with many more than 12 students.... not exactly individual attention. You will spend one day per week cooking at the teaching restaurant, serving real food to real people that are paying for it - you will get no such experience at CB. At Ferrandi you will have the option of taking the CAP exam in Cuisine (not obligatory) - the basic, nationally recognized exam. This is like the SAT of cooking exams in France - everyone here knows it. Having it is a big deal. You won't have this opportunity at CB. And to top this all off, you will spend less $$ at Ferrandi. Ferrandi is easier to get to and more central in Paris. The connections (for stages, etc.) are just as strong at Ferrandi than they are at CB - so no issue there. Just my 45 cents, Cave Pullum
  15. TarteTatin, put me on the list for smuggled toms too! Felice, not to put a damper on things, but I have spent some (summer) time on the French sourthern Med coast from Marseille to the Italian border. I search through every market I come across, and my success rate on tomatoes is about 5%. I once found some nice pink Brandywine-like ones in a market near Saint Mandrier Sur Mer (outside Toulon) which were above average, but that stand's other varieties were mealy and tasteless. I've sailed around the Med for months at a time and been surprised by the mediocre tomatoes in many markets from the Balearic Islands to Sicily and Greece. Really Surprised. ('s ok, I cheered myself up with gelato and granita This past year I've often thought that there would be great demand for great tasting toms here in Paris both from individuals and restaurants. Someone's bound to do it. Here's hoping for that pendulum swing as John Talbott puts it. Next week I'm going to head over to Rouge Tomate... -CavePullum (edited for typos)
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