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Posts posted by tammylc

  1. You'll definitely need to play with it for slabbing - it's a very soft ganache. At the right temperature for piping it's still quite runny. I think you'd want to up the pumpkin pie spice amount a little bit to counter the additional milk fat in the milk chocolate. Good luck!

  2. I've made the Grewling pumpkin pie truffles the last couple of years, and they have been very popular. I've not done any serious shelf life testing on them, but they've certainly lasted for the 3-week shelf life I give my truffles.

  3. I've been there once and had a very enjoyable meal. I'm looking forward to going back to try the duck confit poutine on the bar menu, the thought of which makes my Canadian heart swoon. I've been thinking about attending the 53 mile dinner myself, but hadn't called to see if they had seats left (PM me if you'd like some company...)

  4. Experimented at my little cocktail party tonight with a tomato cocktail i'd had at a local restaurant. They basically made a tomato margarita - muddled cherry tomatoes, cilantro, salt, tequila, cointreau, lime. I didn't have any cointreau, but I figured St. Germain would work really well with those flavors. And I was right.

    I still need to come up with a name for this one - any suggestions?

    4 cherry tomatoes

    1 sprig cilantro

    sm piece serrano chile

    pinch salt

    1.5 oz silver tequila

    .5 oz St Germain

    1 oz lime

    i'm finishing the last of it now. Really quite nice. And smells amazing.

    I also served something I picked up from the Paramount Room in Chicago - they call it the OMFG. I didn't have proportions for it, so i had to guess. They started with the idea of an Old Fashioned, with St Germain taking hte place of the sugar. Here's how I made it.


    1 wedge orange

    1 maraschino cherry

    2 oz Ridgemont Reserve 1792 Bourbon

    3/4 oz St Germain

    1/4 oz lemon

    2 dashes angostura

    i started with a 1/2 oz of St. Germain, but liked it better with a bit more.

    (Edited to add the salt)

  5. I live in a cohousing community where we have shared meals several nights a week. Since cooks and menus are posted in advance, reputation does become important in determining whose meals you want to eat, and I have garnered something of a reputation in the community as a good cook. I've probably got two signature dishes that I can count on a big turnout for.

    The first is tortilla soup. I use a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, scaled up to serve the 50-60 people that tend to turn up for that meal. The recipe starts off with canned stock (I actually use Better than Bouillon) which is "enriched" by cooking the chicken in it along with some onion, garlic, fresh oregano and fresh cilantro. The chicken and stock are reserved while the solids are thrown away. Then I puree tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chipotle, and cook it with a little oil until it darkens in color and some of the liquid evaporates. That gets added to the stock along with the chicken pulled off the bones. This layering of flavors really creates a complex and flavorful broth, without a lot of work (important for the time and context I have to work in). I serve it buffet style with oven-crisped tortilla strips, avocado, monterey jack, jalepenos, cilantro, lime, and pureed chipotles en adobo, so diners can tweak it to their specifications.

    My other guaranteed hit meal is Pecan Crusted Tilapia with Brown Butter Sauce. Dead easy (especially in small quantities - it's a pain in the neck to cook the fish for a big crowd). I combine equal parts panko and pecans in a food processor, and process to to even crumbs (but not too fine). Dredge tilapia filets in seasoned flour, dip in egg, and coat in the crumb mixure. Then fry until crisp. For the sauce, I brown some butter, then add lemon juice, salt and a bit of chopped tarragon.

  6. cluizel elianza is a new great white couverture, very fluid and not that pricey (7 euros/kg)



    That's good to know - the standard Cluizel is very viscous, IME.

    This thread comes at a good time for me, I'm almost out of chocolate, and probably won't order my white from Cluizel next time...

  7. Hmm. The web site says that information will be posted "soon," but it's only a couple of weeks away, and nothing yet. However, a list of restaurants is here (scroll down to the entry for August 17). There also are a couple of menus on the page.

    The price ($27) isn't bad. D.C.'s current Restaurant Week is $35.09 for dinner. It might be worth a weekend trip from the west side of the state. Pending more information, I'd probably opt for Roast, Cuisine, and Saltwater or Wolfgang Puck's Grille. How do those sound to you?

    Click the "restaurants" link in the top navigation toolbar to get a list of restaurants, then click on the name to get a description and a menu. Looks like they added the info, but forgot to change the "soon" language on the front page.

    I've been to Saltwater, and it was really good. And I'm sure Roast is great. Don't know about the other two.

  8. And to the question of "is it really important to decide now?"

    Well, of course it's not. But there's always some energy and enthusiasm right after a Gathering, so it's a good time to capture that and initiate movement. But organizers probably don't want to devote a lot of time or effort to making connections and arrangements if they don't know for sure if they'll be hosting or not.

    I've been emailing with a few Ann Arbor/Detroiters, and here's what we're noodling about in terms of an Ann Arbor gathering.

    Thursday: upscale dinner, either in the Ann Arbor area (Eve, Common Grill) or Detroit (Tribute, many other possibilities)

    Friday Day: workshops in Ann Arbor (bread, whatever else people want to organize). For those not interested in a workshop, a shopping/eating tour of some Detroit neighborhoods. There are a lot of possibilities there - Dearborn for Middle Eastern, Mexicantown in Detroit, the great National vs. Lafayette coney dog controversy, Polish food in Hamtramck, etc. Maybe lunch at Brian Polcyn's place in Birmingham? And a Jiffy Mix factory tour is also a possibility if people thought that would be interesting.

    Depending on what the interest level was for various of these activities we could potentially run a couple different "tours" in parallel, rather than all of us hitting all the stops.

    Friday Night: Less expensive dinner in Ann Arbor, probably a Sichuan banquet at one of our two hidden gems where jmsaul and kitchenchick are friends with the chefs.

    Saturday Day: Shopping and lunching at the Farmer's Market, Feast cooking in the afternoon, maybe there's some kind of demo we can squeeze in early afternoon.

    Sunday morning: Brunch somewhere, haven't given this one much thought yet.

    So that's what we're thinking about here in Ann Arbor/Detroit, but I do understand the desire to get to another part of the Heartland and won't be crushed if that's what people want to do!

  9. The Gathering is still about a year away.  Is it really necessary to decide right now? 

    There are three people who have expressed interest in hosting next year:

    tammylc--Ann Arbor/Detroit



    Two have hosted the gathering before, so the volunteers are very familiar with what's expected (from the organizers and the gathering).

    Would it be possible for someone to post those expectations for others who may be interested in hosting, but who have never attended?  And perhaps also comments about what is necessary (i.e. post about expectations vs necessities--for example, does there have to be a Thursday night dinner, or is it merely expected?  Does there have to be one "higher-end" dinner, or can the whole weekend be done "on the cheap"?)

    I think knowing what's involved would help people decide if they're interested in hosting, and perhaps people from other areas previously unvisited may volunteer, as well.  It would be great if the event could move around more--the Heartland is such a large area with each state having something different to offer.  Even if I can't attend each gathering in person, I'd be just as happy seeing the different areas vicariously.

    I had created "brief history of the Heartland Gathering" post after last year's event, summarizing what the activities were at each of the gatherings, but I think it probably got lost in the beginning of the 2009 planning post that's no longer available. (If there's a mod reading this, any chance you can dig that up?) That's a good place to look to see how the Gathering has evolved, and to get some idea of what might be considered core vs optional.

    The formula in recent years has been Thursday dinner, Friday tours/workshops, Friday dinner, Saturday shopping and dinner, and Sunday brunch. Usually the Thursday dinner has been more expensive and the Friday dinner less.

    The heart of the Gathering is - of course - the Saturday feast. For that, you need a good market to shop in, and a place to cook and eat. Finding that space at a price that's affordable is probably the most challenging part of the event. Church kitchens are probably the most easily accessible spaces with the kind of setup we need. Attendance at the Feast ranges from about 25 to 50 people.

    Other key requirements from the organizers are just attention to detail and the ability to keep track of all the various activities, how they're being paid for, etc. Having someone to organize hotel rooms blocks is good. Sending out directions. Printing up maps. All the little event-organizing details that make something like this go smoothly.

    I pretty much ran the first two Ann Arbor events single-handedly, but I have a lot of event planning experience and was able to put a lot of time and effort into organizing them. Plus, the Gathering was simpler then, with fewer activities. Both of the Ann Arbor ones didn't start until Friday night, for instance. Cleveland was the first to add Thursday activities, and that was picked up by Chicago and KC.

  10. While I did chime in earlier about keeping the voting to cities where we actually have volunteers, I didn't actually make my preference known. While I am more than likely to drive to whatever city is finally chosen, personally, I'd like to see a return to Ann Arbor next year. It's been three years since I attended there and honestly, I think it's time for a return trip. Not that Cleveland or MSP wouldn't also be good venues, but that's just my two cents.

    I'll be honest though ... part of that preference is the fact that we have a kitchen space for workshops prior to our Saturday dinner as well as a space to cook for ourselves on Saturday, too.

    I agree!! I Lurve Ann Arbor!!

    Eve( of Eve Restaurant) will be a contestant on Top Chef this upcoming season. I've never eaten there, but have heard great things about the restaurant.

    I just had breakfast with a sous chef from Eve this morning. I'm sure we'd be able to put together a good Thursday or Friday night dinner at Eve.

    Fat Guy has also suggested that we consider incorporating Detroit and suburbs into our plan, and I'm giving that some thinking. I haven't done any outreach yet, but we could see if we could get Brian Polcyn to do something charcuterie-connected for us. Tribute offers another good upscale dinner option. Dearborn has the largest concentration of Middle Eastern population in the USA, so I expect we could put together an interesting shopping trip out there.

    So I've got lots of ideas on how to make this Gathering different from the other Ann Arbor ones, if folks decide they'd like to come here.


  11. I lightly brush it into the mold after applying cocoa butter, and it works fine.  I think it works better that way, because it has something to stick to.  I haven't tried airbrushing with it.

    I brush it into molds too. I find that if I brush it on to molded chocolates after, it's just as RWood said - it doesn't stick. It will stay on dipped chocolates, because they're not as shiny.

  12. I love Ann Arbor, and I'd love to visit Cleveland (especially after seeing the pics of the previous Gathering there), but I'm still hoping someone from MSP will step up.  It's such a great city that doesn't get enough exposure or credit. 

    Or if Kentucky can be considered part of the Heartland, I vote for Kentucky.  Isn't racheld in Kentucky?  hint hint. . .

    eta:  oops.  racheld is in Indiana, but that would be good, too!


    MSP = Minneapolis

  13. I'm up for hosting in Ann Arbor again too. We've got some interesting new culinary goings-on, and I bet Kitchen Chick and spouse would be up for helping to organize an authentic Asian banquet at one of the many restaurants they are regulars at in town.

    I think the biggest highlight of Ann Arbor as a location is the kitchen space we'd have available to us, which would give us the space and opportunity to do a lot of hands-on workshops - like chocolate, bread, etc, without the troubles in finding space to do them. We could have the space all day Friday through late Sunday, at no cost to us.

    Ann Arbor isn't as strong in terms of restaurants as some other Gathering locations, but it has a lot of excellent purveyors and is a really amazing place to cook.

  14. I've had success getting out those last sticky pieces by holding the mold at an angle and tapping the end of it quite hard against the counter. I get them really cold first, and then bang bang bang - I don't think I've ever had a time when I couldn't get the chocolate out of the mold doing that.

    Interestingly, the ones that are hardest to get out are also usually the shiniest!

  15. Looks like you all had an amazing time! I am definitely sad to have missed it (and to have lost my perfect attendance record). I kept myself busy cooking a 9 course dinner for 8 people (link), so I was kind of with you in spirit, at least!

    Looking forward to reading the rest of the reports. And happy to bring it back to Ann Arbor in 2010 if folks would like that, but also happy to have it to be elsewhere (and hopefully be able to attend this time!)

  16. You can see many of my airbrushed dark chocolates upthread here. I never use a white chocolate layer, and my colors come out plenty bright, so I don't think it's necessary. I will add just a smidge of white cocoa butter to my darker colors. Not enough to make them pastel, just enough to give them some better opacity from the titanium dioxide.

    As I think the answers already have shown, there's really no right or wrong here. Have fun and experiment, see what happens!

  17. Why don't you substitute Aperol, Campari's orange flavored cousin (made by the same folks) for the grapefruit flavored Campari?  It's just slightly less bitter and there's a lot going on there already without adding a fourth flavor to the mix...

    It's for this wacky caramel pairing dinner. And the caramel for that course is flavored with blood orange and Campari, dipped in chocolate, and dusted in hibiscus powder. So that's my motivation for those particular flavors.

    (The other caramels are sundried tomato, parmesan, anise myrtle, peanut butter, and bacon. I said it was wacky!)

  18. Orange ice cream it is, then! (Guess I should have goggled that first.)

    Spike the orange ice cream with campari? Put the campari in this hisbiscus sauce? Add it as a different component all together?

    Hibiscus will infuse well into water, and then I could use that in a sugar syrup. Cook it for a while, and I could have a hibiscus brittle or something. Thoughts?

  19. What would you do with this flavor combination?

    I'm thinking of doing a caramel pairing dinner with a line of "sweet and savory" caramels that Vosges and Zingerman's paired up to produce, and that's one of them. I was planning it for dessert, and thinking of a flourless chocolate cake with a blood orange-campari sorbet and a hibiscus sauce.

    But I'm not sure about cake with sorbet - ice cream seems more appropriate, but can I make a blood orange ice cream?

    Any other ideas for this flavor combination?

  20. Hello all and thanks for all the great replies. I love this forum!

    Speaking of Corn Syrup as a substitute, when my 1KG pail runs out I might try that. Is it true that Corn Syrum is just another form of "vegatable sugar" like Glucose is? I thought I read that somewhere on EG or perhaps in Greweling's book?

    Thanks again,


    Glucose syrup can be derived from a number of sources. In the US, corn is most common, in Europe, it's wheat. The ingredient list on my glucose says "100% corn syrup."

    Now, corn syrup or "Lite Corn Syrup" as it's sold in grocery stores (Karo being the most common brand) is a little different. It used to have high fructose corn syrup added, but that seems to have disappeared from the ingredient label. It has a higher water content, which is what makes it more easily pourable and measurable. It usually has some salt and vanilla added.

    I will frequently substitute corn syrup for glucose. The place I don't is if I'm making ganache and need to be concerned about shelf life. Because corn syrup has more water, I figure it's probably not going to have as much of the water binding effect that glucose has in a ganache.

  21. Has anyone worked with a low sugar pectin. Any recommondations? I want to try a pate de fruit with less sugar.


    The first time I ever made pdf was from Andrew Garrison Schotts book. Not knowing from pectin, I had no idea what the g-pectin he called for was, and ended up using Pomona's universal pectin, and actually got something that worked. I know the Pomonas can be used for low-sugar jellies, so you could start there. I only used the pectin part, and not the calcium solution that's supposed to be the second part, but strawberries have some calcium on their own.

    Discussion about it here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...0entry1335761

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