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Everything posted by Mottmott

  1. chris, russian markets? Where do you find them? What special items do you go there for?
  2. Mottmott

    Bron Mandoline

    Thanks for the recommendations. Mostly I'm cooking for one these days - or very small dinner parties, so the Benrenier or Oxo will go on my list. I often use the slicing disk on my Cuisinart, but there's not enough control. I'll get something that's more user friendly and tuck the Bron away in case.
  3. I have a Bron mandoline that I hardly every use as it seems too cumbersome, complex for everyday use. Instead I've made do, day to day, with a cheapy plastic one that I just gave away to someone. Two questions: First, the use of the Bron. What's it best for? Why should I keep it? I there some trick to using it easily? Second, I need a recommendation for a mandoline I can grab quickly, no need to fiddle with it to set it up before using. I mostly just use it for slicing, maybe some julienning.
  4. Those are spectacular. I usually find the Buche de Noel a bit kitsch-y looking at best. Yours are elegant, inventive, playful. On the first, did you make the "base" for the roll from cake or wood? Since it's sitting directly on cloth, I guess the wood's wood. Either way a wonderful choice, the more cake would be the icing.... I was first attracted by how the subtlety of the bark as opposed to what one generally sees, but you outdid yourself with the leaves and acorns. What's the overall size? and the size of the little log? But for sheer beauty, it has to be the rum and caramelized chestnut cake. Is there chestnut in the filling? or perhaps even some chestnut flour in the cake itself?
  5. This recipe has my name on it when I get home from Washington and am snowed in on Tuesday. I have the last bits of my hoarded Gold Rush apples waiting to be used up. Similar texture to Grannies, but more interesting flavor. I like what looks to be a denser, less airy pudding-cake. David, thanks for posting it. And the pic was sooo inviting.
  6. Options, options, and many price points. When I entertain, it's mostly buffet style, so I like to get multiples of casserole dishes and I tend to stick with white (easier to find and they always match). So I have an assortment of types and sizes. You can't go wrong with Pyrex, tried and true, always affordable. I've never had a problem with breakage unless I drop the dish - and even then... I use them all the time in the kitchen, but frankly I don't like the look on a party table and have no trouble finding more attractive inexpensive casseroles. Similarly I don't care for the look of Corning Ware. (just my personal take) My top of the pile is the Le Creuset which comes in two sizes. I've been able to snag them at sale prices, but still pricey. There's something about that enameled heavy cast iron hanging onto the heat that does wonders for my lasagnas. And it's the easiest clean up. I think that Lodge has some much less expensive enameled cast iron, though I haven't seen it yet. And there are other cast iron lines - Tramontina, Batalli or is it Bam (?), probably others. I do have a couple of those thinner enameled steel casseroles, lightweight, inexpensive, but need tender handling or you'll nick the enameling. I have mostly clay pots. If price is not an issue and you're up for something partyish, check out artisan potteries. All stoneware is ovenproof. Prices range greatly. Note stoneware is heated at temperatures too high for the potter to use lead, so is always safe. Lowfired cooking pottery made in this country tends not to have lead. Cazuelas and other pottery from Mexico and Spain may or may not be lead free. Low fired clay bodies may be made with lead glazes. They're still useful for many things, but long cooking acidic foods, not so much. Other imported traditional casseroles would include such things as sand pots from Asia - which may or may not have lead - I haven't been able to find out about that. There are also other shapes. I recently found an inexpensive deep lidded casserole similar in shape to a canister. Both these can be used on the stove or in the oven. For the more traditional ethnic type casseroles and pots, check out unglazed pottery from North Africa or South America. Beautiful blacks and tans. No glaze, no lead problem. And these are traditionally used over a flame, though I sometimes put them in the oven. You could even check out Paula Wolfert's book on clay pot cooking. Lots more info there. Most of my casserole dishes in a variety of sizes were found at Marshall's using the very sound principle of nothing more than $10. and less if you please. I'm sure other discount type places have them, too. (Home Goods, TJ Maxx, etc. - which, btw, I recently learned are all part of the same company. Where have I been?) I've also seen plain glass casserole dishes at Ikea some time ago, similar to Pyrex but a little more dressed up looking. The down side was they lacked those useful handles at the ends. Don't remember how much they were, but comparable with Pyrex. Last and not least. Garage sales and flea markets. Check to make sure they're not cracked.
  7. My immersion blender's working find - mostly use it just for soups and sauces. It even has a little whisk attachement that ok for chantilly creme. BUT: the cord is a hassle. Are there any cordless out there that have good power. Bells, whistles, frills are acceptable. What do you use yours for besides soups, sauce, ganache?
  8. Lancastermike, I get my Tday smoked ham from Blooming Glen, off Rte 309. It was delish. And as an added bonus, it had no added water, no antibiotics, no hormones. You say yours comes from local hogs, but not where you find them.
  9. Thanks for the link. I was hoping for something local. Guess not.
  10. A public thank you to the Iovine brothers who personally carried my small bag of groceries to the car for me. While walking there, I said I couldn't find fresh chickpeas, so he called back to see if I'd just missed them and then said they'd get them for Monday. Usually, I try to get a parking space near their door and/or leave the bags behind the counter next to it, so that I can nip in and get them myself. Saturday, however traffic was a zoo both inside and outside the market and difficult for me to navigate. This time I was faced with having to carry more than I should up to 11th and Arch. Sounds silly, even to me, but those with similar problems know how painful that can be. One of the Iovine brothers was right there when I was discussing my dilemma at the check out and volunteered his brother to help. I have a long felt aversion to the chains and box stores that litter our landscape, so I am glad to see the upsurge in sentiment towards independent vendors, local produce, farmers markets, etc. And though I confess to be sick of hearing all the talk about it, hyp,hyp,hyp, I'm happier shopping at family businesses or the coops I've belonged to since the 70's.
  11. By God, I think you've got it! I recognized the picture. Thanks muchly.
  12. Some years ago I went out somewhere into Montgomery Co and got the BEST smoked ham ever. Alas, I've lost the info - ALL: name, address, the works. Last year I went out and tried to find it by failing memory with failing results. It was a large store with all sorts of pork products, where they did the smoking and curing on site. It was not in a strip mall, etc., but stood alone, perhaps on the edge of a farm. Where do you get your best hams products?
  13. I've had great luck buying 3 ply All Clad at an outlet that sells 2nds at deeply discounted prices. Most times I can't see any difference at all and even use http://www.cookwarenmore.com/ to buy presents. Twice a year they add a 20% discount, one of them in the fall (just before Thanksgiving as I recall).
  14. I've been doing that for some years and got tired of them falling out of the (top) freezer and of having to shuffle through frozen ziplocks to find what I wanted, so as a refinement on the technique, I do two things. When I have multiple zips of this or that, I slide them together into a larger zip which makes them easier to find and/or into a plastic container which holds them neatly together upright, as you suggest, like cd's or books. That way I can keep soups together, sauces, etc, and no longer have to duck the missiles raining from the freezer.
  15. Now that A & T is gone, any suggestions as to where I can find Vahlrona fevres (3 # bags, preferably)? I looked at B & K website and they don't seem to carry that.
  16. I'll be visiting Charlottesville (suburbs) in a couple weeks. What food delicacies are there in the vicinity that I might bring back to Philadelphia? I'll be making some day trips while I'm there, so I'd be willing to go a distance to find something outrageously good. I assume there might be specially good places to get Virginia Ham direct from the maker, maybe honey. Where? and what else? Thirty years later I still remember some spectacular bacon we found in an ordinary market on a W. Va camping trip. I'll also be doing some cooking while there, so where are the local farmers' markets?
  17. Welllll, maybe no 15 minute hop for pizza today. My DIL had to drive, with kids in the car, to Charlottesville from Phila yesterday. The van with their belongings scheduled for today. What a welcome. I'm to go down tomorrow, but I think I'll be a day late.
  18. Thanks rob, I'll only be there for a week or two, so knowing where to find things right away is a big help.
  19. I'll be staying with my family just moving into Charlottesville in about a week. I'm to do the cooking and supervising the children so my DIL can do all the rest of the settling into a new community. It would be super helpful to know where to get meat, chicken, fish without hormones and antibiotics, local and/or organic produce. For those who know Philadelphia, I'm used to shopping at the farmers markets and Reading Terminal Market, 9th street vendors, and a local coop, with Whole Foods and Trader Joes as backup. It would also be helpful to know where to find the best pizza, thai, and chinese takeout.
  20. My son and DIL are going to NYC Thursday and need a nice restaurant for dinner, preferably in or near Chelsea where they are staying. Food is more important than atmosphere; preferably not Asian; preferably not (much) more than 200/couple. Their fallback is Prune so it doesn't absolutely have to be Chelsea if there's better food to be had with a little travel.
  21. Thanks for all the input. I've decided to go with a sheet cake. As suggested, staging it makes it easier. We did some of the shopping yesterday and will finish up by getting the eggs and butter today. I will make an almond batter. It's a nice compromise. It's a nut based cake, and yet using the ready made almond paste, it shouldn't be much more complicated than anything else. We'll make the sheet this afternoon. Then tomorrow we can make the buttercream and decorate it. We went to Fante's and bought some more colors and a bunch of plastic piping bags. The plan is to decorate it with many colored balloons.
  22. I've been nominated by my DIL - last minute of course - to "help" my 8 year old grandson make a cake for his Dad's birthday party - this Saturday. We'll need 30 servings. This is complicated by my recent hip injury that has me just coming off a cane. I'm still hobbling about and it's been 10 months since I've baked! (DIL is not being insensitive, I minimize how restricted my activities have been.) I tend to like European style tortes more than the traditional American three-layer cake and most of my home baking tends to emphasize flavorful fruit or nut cakes that take little more than a dusting of confectioners, skipping the hi-sugar frostings. So, I'm really in need of advice. I'm open to anything that won't take three days and scouring the city for ingredients. I'd like to do something like an almond cake. (Though I'm open to other possibilities.) Ordinarily I'd just dust it with confectioners garnish with fruite and/or whipped cream, but need advice: 1. Advice about the best almond cake recipe. [Note I've read this No one disagreed with Russ. Does that imply consent? Or just too small a sample.] 2. Advice on turning it into a birthday cake (or2) to serve 30 people. 3. Advice on decorating it (semi-) elegantly, though minimally. As an aside, I had, recently printed out a sheaf of almond cake recipes to try out to decide on the "best" and laid in a tub of almond paste from Assoluline. When I was ready to start, I'd have posted a thread on it, but this has precipitated action.
  23. I need to get a bunch of ingredients for a mole sauce. Which are the best markets in the Philadelphia area to find them. I prefer not to go to Jersey where I always get lost unless it's absolutely necessary.
  24. My grandaughter has tapped me to help her with her 6th grade class project while studying the Maya. She's volunteered to prepare a mole and found a recipe on Epicurius. Alas, I know nothing about Mexican cuisine (beyond a single empanada recipe I often make), but I'm sceptical that that recipe is historically authentic. Are there easily accessible sources (in English) for both the history of Mayan cuisine and for an authentic recipe? Unfortunately there's only a little more than a week til we produce the mole.
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