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Posts posted by jfield

  1. I agree with dougal. While it sounds like the product could reduce waste, just by virtue of its containing gelatin, it does not allow for true vegetarian cooking. Ovo-lacto veggies who adore cheesecake, for example, would no longer be able to order it. Or creme brule. I'd like to think that, if folks use this stuff, restaurants/caterers let their guests/clients know about it.

  2. Actually, the correct proportion of sugar to egg whites for a stable foam is 2 parts sugar to 1 part whites. No problem w/your recipe there. I would look to the speed at which you whisked your whites. Optimum speed for the most stable foam is medium on a stand mixer. It'll take a little longer, but the bubbles will be small and densely packed-the end result will be almost creamy rather than fluffy. Whipping too fast makes bubbles that are too big and unstable. That means they pop. Next time, start slow then increase speed to medium, adding the sugar a bit at a time, along w/salt, espresso powder and corn starch. Fold in nuts last. Good luck :smile:

  3. I agree with paulraphael. It's probably not your recipe so much as it is your technique. His pointers are excellent. Make sure you're not refrigerating your dough before baking. "Mash" the balls down so they're somewhat flattened--that will help them heat through more quickly so the butter melts and spreads. You could also bake on dark cookie sheets that will absorb rather than reflect heat.

  4. Hi there--my two cents worth is this: we used to make large batches of batter at the restaurant I used to work at. We then made mini cupcakes to serve as a dessert component. We kept the batter in the fridge for no more than 2 days, and we could discern no difference in flavor or texture between the "fresh" ones and the ones we baked from refrigerated batter. We did not do this with any cake leavened only with baking soda--only double-acting baking powder, as KarenDW suggested.

  5. Good thread. We've recently moved to a new town and are renting for a year before we decide if we really want to live here, long term. As a result, we have a wee little kitchen. SpaceSavers has helped quite a bit. I've gotten some under shelf shelves: http://www.spacesavers.com/unshelbas.html and some expandable shelf organizers: http://www.spacesavers.com/ms-expandable-shelf.html

    I also got a wee step stool at Target, and now I use my very top shelves (never did before--too short and plenty of cabinets:-)

    Love the idea of using the side of the fridge for "gadgets." Might be using that one in the near future...

  6. As almost all the examples indictate, and as Tri2Cook said, the hardest things to make aren't the ones with tons of exotic ingredients. It's the items with short ingredient lists that rely on the baker's technique to achieve perfect results that are the real kickers.

    I submit for your approval--a perfectly flaky pate brisee. There are 4 ingredients: flour, butter, salt and ice water. I spent more than a few sessions trying to get it right. I even watched others do it, and ended up with overly wet dough that toughened and shrank upon baking. I've finally gotten it down, and it all comes down to "feel."

    A recipe can't teach "feel," you've got to find that for yourself!

  7. Ginger ice cream with crystallized ginger is nice.

    Basil ice cream or sherbet is wonderful (here's my version--1 #10 can sweetened condensed milk; one gallon water; vanilla; salt to taste, bunch of basil: Heat water, whisk thoroughly into condensed milk, vanilla and salt. While warm, pour over large bunch of washed basil. Steep overnight, strain, pushing on the solids; spin in ice cream maker. Heaven)

    Dulce de leche is nice--stir in a ribbon of DdeD to rich vanilla or caramel ic

    Speaking of which, use 2X sugar that your base vanilla recipe calls for, take it to a dark caramel and proceed with recipe (pour in dairy, temper all into eggs, etc). Add extra salt--it will need it. Pour this base over some semi-sweet chocolate, and you'll have the richest, most decadent chocolate-caramel ic ever.

  8. Consider planning using "ounces of protein/head." That way, you don't need to worry about number of tenderloins, turkey, etc, but total weight.

    Depending on what time the wedding is (at a time that people would expect a meal vs. snacks) I would plan 6 pc/head for a lighter bite and up to 8-9 pc/head if it's a meal replacement.

    I agree with Liz that your menu is very protein-heavy. To help with cost, cut back some and add in those salads.

    Are you making the cake, too? If so, I'd lose the other desserts; you'll have enough on your plate (literally!), as it is. With wedding cakes being so expensive, you want to force the choice so the bride doesn't end up with a half-eaten cake.

    For a deal like this, simpler might be better (and less messy, especially if folks are milling around while trying to eat). I think your condiment list is just fine. For the chicken skewers, do a sate-type peanut sauce, and maybe a hot blue cheese sauce (for a play on Buffalo wings).

  9. I agree with Marlene. When it comes to trying to hold fruit with something you want to be crispy, you're just asking for trouble. Bake it--cool and leave at room temp, then reheat during your meal. Less stress for you, I think, because you won't be worrying about if it's soggy.

    By the way, I'm a big strudel fan.... :biggrin:

  10. My training is generally in baking and pastry, so I am not very familiar with using tea for savory applications (although I've seen it done). The fish smoking is a really intriguing way to introduce tea on the hot side, and I've been enjoying reading the thread.

    I did make a very light and refreshing Earl Grey granita to go with a lemon sabayon tart. (My take on Earl Grey with lemon) That was really tasty--Strong Earl Grey, simple syrup and a pinch of salt, stir every once in awhile as it's freezing to get really large ice crystals. It would also make a nice palate cleanser.

    I've also made ginger-hibiscus sorbet, based on hibiscus "tea"--steeping fresh ginger in with dried hibiscus flowers, sugar, some corn syrup and a pinch of salt. Froze it then spun it in the PacoJet. Really tasty.

  11. Here's a good one: sweet and sour blackberry sauce. Blackberries, sugar, pinch of salt and balsamic vinegar. Cook down to desired consistency. Strain--or not. More to the sour side, it would be great with duck, pork or game. More to the sweet side, pour over ice cream or pancakes.

  12. To throw in my 2 cents worth, it's been my experience that you get what you pay for.

    A machine that can grind nuts down to a smooth paste for $40? I'm going out on a limb to say it's impossible: nut pastes are incredibly smooth, and the product overview states that this machine will make nut butter--not paste. Big difference. A butter will have some texture to it--at least "grainy" and all the way up to "crunchy."

    If you want nut butter and not true nut paste, it might be okay, but I've had good luck using a good food processor to make nut butters. Not as smooth as Jif, but certainly close to a natural peanut butter mouth feel.

    I'd save the $40 and use the food processor.

  13. I've never really had a problem with getting it all over myself though. My biggest problem is that my thermometer always tips over in the bowl and gets so much chocolate on it the numbers are obscured.

    I used to have the same problem with my thermometer, so I decided to "cut the cord" and learn to temper without a thermometer. I've learned--with some disasters along the way, admittedly--how chocolate at the correct temperature feels on my lower lip and over the backs of my fingers. Maybe this last is how I tend to get it on me:-)

    At any rate, I always test the chocolate on marble or a cool sheet pan to check for streaks.

    To start, once you are pretty sure the chocolate is in temper, check with the thermometer. After using it to check for 2-3 sessions, you should be able to do away with it altogether. Until you change up the kind of chocolate you're using, and that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. Um, chocolate :biggrin:

  14. Hello. I am new here and have been enjoying this thread. I like the idea for making caramel corn during the popping process!

    This thread brings back memories--I made spiced caramel corn at least twice a week (20 quarts at a time) as a bar snack at the old restaurant where I was pastry sous chef. I'm posting this for the first time. It is spicy. It is sweet. It is caramel-y and delicious. We had folks coming in just to get the popcorn. Warning: this stuff is like crack, so be careful:-) This recipe is more along the lines of a kicked up Fiddle Faddle than Cracker Jack, so it's nice for non-molasses-y people.

    This recipe is my base for the restaurant, but you can easily scale it up or down, depending on how much you want.

    Spiced Caramel Corn

    3 1/2 cups mushroom popcorn, popped

    4 cups spiced pumpkin seeds (recipe below)

    1 1/4 cup light corn syrup

    20 oz. unsalted butter

    30.5 oz. dark brown sugar

    3 1/2 T. salt--yes, tablespoons.

    1 1/4 t. cinnamon

    1 t. cayenne pepper

    1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

    1 1/4 t. baking soda

    Spread popped popcorn evenly in 3 hotel pans coated with pan spray. Divide spiced pumpkin seeds evenly over the popcorn. In a large, heavy pot, bring corn syrup, butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cayenne and paprika to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the baking soda. Stir and stir. The mixture will foam up and look like caramel shaving cream.

    When it's evenly shaving creamy, pour mixture evenly over popped corn and stir as well as you can with a large spatula. Place in a 225 degree oven (this is for convection, so you could go with 250 if you're using a standard oven) for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Every 20 minutes or so, give the pans a careful but thorough stir. Remove from oven, stir again, and then again to keep the popcorn from becoming one monolithic hotel pan shaped ball o' corn.

    Eat and store the leftovers. I used to get dessicant packs to throw in the storage Cambro to keep the popcorn crisp and fresh (the restaurant was in hot and humid Florida).

    Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

    I'd make an enormous batch at once. No real measurements here--the goal is to get all of the seeds evenly coated but not gloppy with eggwhite.

    Brown sugar



    chili powder

    orange zest

    egg white.

    Whisk ingredients together. Add pumpkin seeds (or any nut would be just fine). Spread in thin layer on Silpat-lined baking sheet(s). Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir and bake a few minutes more. Nuts are done when they are lightly golden brown. Cool and break apart. If the egg white is still a little gooey in the center, bake a couple of minutes more, but watch them so they don't burn.

    You could also leave out the spices and reduce the salt a bit for a more traditional caramel corn. The increase in salt makes it more addictive, plus folks at the bar would order more cold beverages when eating it.

    I hope you try this stuff. It is amazingly good.

  15. Fantastic thread! I love to see what other folks are doing. Seems like a fantastic place to get some ideas and inspiration! I can see I'm going to have to bust out my camera...

    I just made a peach crisp the other day. My mother brought over some beautiful, juicy freestone peaches. I cut them up and threw them together with some minced crystallized ginger a wee splash of Bourbon and OJ, some Tupelo honey, a pinch o' salt and some cornstarch. I topped all that with streusel made with oats, flour, dark brown sugar, butter and salt.

    Baked it off at 375--it was lovely.

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