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Everything posted by laurenmilan

  1. OK, I'm finally up to 115... I got "Cooking at Home with the CIA," "Mrs. Wilkes Boardinghouse Cookbook", "Seduction of Rice," "Union Square Cafe", "Kitchen of Light" and "Aquavit" lately...
  2. Too true... reminds me of that *other* Xmas tradition, fruitcake... I've had 2 truly exquisite fruitcakes (one with dark rum and fresh cherries, the other "golden" with light rum, macadamia nuts, pineapple, coconut AND coconut milk, and mango), and a few dozen ones I spit out. best eggnog I ever had was my old neighbor's - she up-ended half her bar into it, bourbon, dark rum, brandy, and frangelico, I think. She also whipped half the cream in the recipe then folded it in. The stuff had indescribable texture, so much so you didn't notice how soused you were getting... I've gotta try reverse-engineering it from memory sometime.
  3. Gave Mom a 7-qt Le Creuset French oven, and received 3 cookbooks, 2 of which I already own... Seriously, my mother and I both belong to the Good Cooks club, so she gave me 2 of the books she didn't want from the club. Well, they ARE books I did want, but I kept em when I originally got 'em ("Home cooking with the CIA", and "From Emeril's Kitchen"... So I gave copious thank-you's, and when I got home, I went to Borders and exchanged said books for 2 other books I'd wanted to get... Yes, I know I'm going to hell for that... at least the replacements were relatively very good books ("Union Square Cafe Cookbook", and "Aquavit".)
  4. Is there a standard recipe for a non-cream based foam using gelatin? I'm attempting a basil or beet foam for an entree (using a stick blender, but I'm willing to invest in other tools if needed.)
  5. laurenmilan

    creating foam

    Very good advice so far, thanks very much! Also, what would you recommend for a non-cream foam? specifically I'm looking to create a brilliant jewel-tone foam, like basil or beet foam, as an accent for an entree....
  6. Some of these stories are so bad I almost wept! Particularly the Polish story and the ones involving demential or other apparent mental illness (people living in "garbage houses" and the like.) I had a real doozie of a bad meal Xmas eve... my mother insisted on cooking the traditional Polish Christmas Eve Dinner herself, despite the fact she had been recovering from a head injury and (apparetly) was coming down with the flu... borscht, pierogis, fried cod, bechamel sauce, kapusta (sauerkraut), mashed potatoes, and a wreath cake for dessert. Well, the evening consisted of me doing all the food shopping, then coming home and helping out as much with the cooking as she'd let me. Basically it was me frantically trying to fix/prevent her mistakes. I'd only been partially successful... the borscht had whole (albeit small) beets in a runny broth instead of the slices of fresh-roasted beets we love, the pierogis were partially burned (she'd left a pan of them burning on the stove, and I had to run in when I saw the smoke). The potatoes were rescued from overcooking, only to be killed with far too much milk and butter, to make a runny, lumpy gluey mess. The bechamel was missing all the flavor compotents (mustard, beef broth) so it was tasteless, and she let it boil over twice so it was now a curdled mess. The cod turned out very good, but then again, I was frying that. Thank god she didn't get near the fryer! The wreath cake was a flat bundt cake. Unfrosted. She'd given up on it, and told me to serve something else (thank god I brought a lot of cookies). After Xmas dinner she was too weak to do anything else, and we found out she had the flu. She was bedridden and feverish until yesterday. So yes, I had to do Xmas dinner alone... but it DID come out well. Rack of lamb, sauteed crimini mushrooms in garlic, brandy and vermouth, polenta with garlic and olive oil. Last Thanksgiving, my mom had another doozie when she didn't let the turkey defrost enough, but tossed it in semithawed anyway. Undercooked in parts, and a soggy inedible mess in the center from all the melted ice crystals, so the stuffing in the bird was unusable.
  7. Same here... crazy parents, insisted on having crown roast of lamb for Xmas dinner instead of prime rib or beef tenderloin... Was still pretty good though...
  8. I brought it to a "geek party" one time, on a platter of alien-looking fruit and veggies. Anyone who got close to it ran away. Finally one of the host took a meat cleaver to it. The result was like a stimk bomb being let loose in the large hall. People fled from it! The brave soul dipped his finger in the durian's creamy center and tasted it, & nearly retched! Well, this became something of a legend in our circle of friends, and so I often find durian foods in the local asian food stores and bring them to parties. (although it sometimes backfires, as some of the items are themselves too rotten-smelling to get near! After the Durian of Doom incident, my car stunk for a week from having the durian in the TRUNK.
  9. "It all started one Saturday night, when my good friend Sandra Lee invited me to a dinner party..."
  10. Ditto on the ham - most tasteless food known to man. Meat for people with severe sweet tooths and no tastebuds.
  11. Try to make chocolate mousse with light cream (hey, I thought light cream was whipping cream, cuz whipped cream is light, and heavy cream is too heavy, you can only use it for sauces.... right?) I got a call from my mom while doing this, and mentioned the problem. She laughed so hard I'm surprised she didn't disconnect. Cut me some slack, I was 19!
  12. I'm looking to learn creating foam accents for dishes, and have seen a lot of discussion of the use of foams in restaurants, but nothing in the way of how to best create one in the home. What's the preferred/required equipment and methods?
  13. I'm a serious eggnog junkie... but then again, I make a homemade version w/ the cream half whipped, half liquid... and about 1/2 the bar in it...
  14. Just went out to Bistro Les Amis the other night, very good, unpretentious French bistro. Really enjoyed it!
  15. Put me in for 1 on 1/3 too! Yep it'll be my first Egullie meetup.... only problem is I haven't a clue where the blue smoke is!
  16. Here's a kheer recipe I made last week (again) and was a big hit (taken from CyberKitchen) KHEER (INDIAN RICE PUDDING) (Serves 6-8) Ingredients: 2 cups water 1 cup rice 5 cups coconut milk 1-1/4 cups sugar 6 cardamom pods or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice, cover, reduce the heat at low, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. 2. Add the coconut milk, sugar, cardamon, and salt. Simmer, uncovered and stirring frequently, over medium heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. 3. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the pudding into 6 to 8 serving bowls. Serve warm or chilled.
  17. Well, last week I found out the name of the source of this cake: Hansen's Bakery in Los Angeles. Turns out it's very very popular for producing just about any custom cake imaginable... And so my search has concluded, and the official answer IS: Rolled Fondant, marbleized! A year's supply of Turtle Wax goes to the EGullies that gave the correct answer! I am currently learning basic rolled fondant as a result (hey I might even display a cake with it at Xmas) and god willing, I may produce something darned close to the aforementioned "Trek" cake in February. I'll post the results!
  18. For me this year, it's those Ginger Biscotti (with candied ginger and a ginger-5 spice icing), macaroons half-dipped in dark chocolate, and a Top Secret Recipes version of Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars. So far, all 3 have been successful (brought them to a cookie exchange, to the office and 2 parties).
  19. I have the Star Ledger here in Central NJ, and I think they do a very good food section (ok, so they're in NYT's shadow, so that seems to just jack up residents' expectations...) There is a serious Italian-American bent to the food section, reflecting the local population, and the tastes quite a bit more sophisticated and diverse than other small-time papers. But they also cater to the low-brow (but great) chow that's out there... My favorite: a great feature every summer, the MunchMobile, which is a refurbished WeinerMobile that travels the state filled with volunteers, looking for the best food in NJ. Every week from Memorial Day to Labor Day, they look for the best of a specific type of food - from pies (southern NJ's farmstands has a near-monopoly on that), milkshakes, Vietnamese cuisine, Sunday brunches, you name it. Loosen your belts...
  20. Every immigrant family I know cooks most everything from scratch, not surprisingly... One of my tightwadding tips from my freelancing days was to buy from ethnic markets. Forced me to cook more meals from scratch, but also encouraged me to eat a lot of greens, and lay off the prepared foods. Learned a lot about cooking, looked and felt a lot better than I had in years, and of course, kept the bills down.
  21. And when they suspend you for posting what appears to be bukkake photos on the computer desktops, you will not be laughing! But EGullet WILL!
  22. I'm amazed that pods have NOT become more popular in restaurants, just for the convenience/mess factor alone.
  23. I'm guessing the disrespect to espresso preparation is linked to the disrespect given towards desserts? As a little meaningless extra?
  24. Did any of you checkout the "what is this" contests that the WW recipe card site held? Basically, you guess what the dish actually is... the visitors to that site have very, very dirty minds, and watch far too much anime...
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