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Posts posted by forever_young_ca

  1. I use Jacques Pepin's recipe in "Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home".

    It is the perfect balance of egg and cream, infused with orange. It is delicious, simple and classic.

    I brulee with a torch that I purchased at a local hardware store. It has a strong flame and makes a crust in seconds. The small torch that I purchased in the kitchen store was useless.

    To me this is one of the best desserts to have at a dinner party. It takes a very few minutes to prepare and can be done ahead - with the exception of the brulee. Also, it looks elegant and it is not too sticky sweet after a big meal. I often serve it with a small delicate nut based cookie.

  2. I always think of Pommes Anna as nothing but potatoes sliced very thin in layers with butter slathered over every step of the way. The potatoes get partly crispy, which for me is the major thrill. Adding cheese would kill the crispy somewhat, no?

    Sounds like you are going for a more classic gratin, which might include creme fraiche or milk or cream, onion, but always cheese--often gruyere. Look up some recipes for Pommes Dauphinoise and you might get some good ideas. And Dauphinoise is a yummy word!

    Gruyere and just a little grated parm or aged pecorino is a nice combo; a combo of one that melts well and then a little of another that's more aged and punchy for flavor. There's a manchego with rosemary coating that might add great flavor, but I've never cooked with it.

    I would try to assemble it ahead and bake it on site if possible or if you bake it aheat, reheat it in the oven.

    I am trying to replicate a delicious dish that I had at a dinner last weekend. It was definately Potatoes Anna as it did not have the Dauphinoise creamy character. It was essentially thinly sliced potatoes that were stacked and cut into a square. In this case the cheese that was introduced was Epoisse and was only a flavour booster. There was not enough of it to become a "sauce". It was an absolutely subline dish. The top retained its crispy characteristics.

    Since my original post I note that Julia Child has in "Mastering" a variation of Potatoes Anna with a cheese addition.

  3. I want to make Potatoes Anna for the family Christmas Eve dinner.

    Two questions:

    1) Can I make it ahead and reheat?

    If I reheat, do I reheat stove top or in the oven?

    2) If I want to add some cheese as a flavour booster - how much and what kind? I was thinking of a combination of Gruyere and Eden or Port Salut, but am open to suggestions.

  4. How about Red Cabbage with Maple Syrup and Ginger from All About Braising (Molly Stevens)? It is delicious, a very festive red colour and very Canadian with the Maple Syrup. It also has bacon in it!

    I can pm you the receipe if you need it.

    I took vegetables for a recent dinner and it was a hit!

  5. My husband and I are planning to spend the first two weeks of October in a villa in Spoleto (Umbria). We will be doing day trips using the villa as our base.

    I would welcome any suggestions that you may have as to places to eat in the region.

    Thanks in advance...................

  6. I am not a big white chocolate fan, so I think I will stick with the whipped cream.

    I have a friend who freezes BF cake all the time, with the whipped cream in place. Before serving she skim coats the outside to make the whipped cream look fresh. It is a lovely cake, so I think I will take a chance. PH's whipped chocolate layer has gelatin in it as a stabilizer.

    I am going to go with a chocolate slab as a foundation for the picture and incorporate it onto the top of the cake as part of the decoration.

  7. Another thing you could do is make a chocolate plaque the size of the picture. Melt/temper the chocolate, pour it into the desired size, let harden, put picture on, and you're set !

    Great idea! That is what I will do. It should work a treat. Thank you for the suggestion. :biggrin:

  8. The cake will be 9 x 13 - the image will be covering most of the cake.

    I was thinking that I would apply the image to the top of the cake just before serving, not the night before. However, I think the image will break down on whipping cream as soon as it starts to get a bit warm. For that reason I need a sturdier surface to attach the image.

    I have no experience working with fondant - I am an experienced home baker, but far from a pro.

    Am I trying to do the impossible?

  9. I will definately do whipped cream, as that is what is in BF cake. The reason for the butter cream is to insulate the tranfer picture from the whipping cream. The picture will not hold up on whipping cream.

    Maybe a thin layer of chocolate icing would be better and butter cream?

  10. For a 60th birthday party on Saturday night I want to make Pierre Herme's Black Foreset Cake. Here is my plan.................

    Make the cake, decorate and freeze. The filling consists of the usual kirsch flavoured whipped cream and chocolate whipped cream. The kirsch flavoured whipped cream has glelatin in it as a stabalizer. The cake is brushed with a kirsch flavoured simple syrup.

    Will freezing damage the gelatin?

    I will go to the local bakery and have them reproduce an edible picture transparency of the birthday boy taken 30 years ago.

    Once the whipped cream is frozen solid I will put a thin layer of chocolate buttercream on top of the whipped cream. The purpose of this is to provide a suitable layer to take the transparency. The bakery has told me that pictures are not stable on whipped cream. Will the buttercream freeze OK, or should I put it on when I pull the cake out of the freezer?

    The cake has to travel about 90 minutes from home to birthday party. The plan is to pull the cake out the freezer in the morning, travel the 90 minutes, put it in the fridge until the evening party.

    Before serving, I will put on the transparency and decorate the top of the cake.

    Will this work?

  11. This is spot on. I can listen to my quickbread and cake batters and know if they are done even before testing with a toothpick

    I listen to stove top items all the time - the sizzle of a saute pan, the plop, plop of a boiling or simmering pot and many others mentioned above.

    Question though - Can you hear your baking goods making a noise through the oven wall?

  12. In "Baking from My Home to Yours" Dorie Greenspan recommends a couple of things -

    1) Line the roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels.

    2) Put the pan that is going to hold the flan in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.

    These tips, plus an overnight rest in the fridge helps soften most of the caramel.

    I have noticed that if I make individual flans and have some leftover, and put them in the fridge a second night, all of the carmel will become soft. However, there are not often leftovers :biggrin:

    I like my sugar very coloured as well, and always use sugar, no water.

    Sometimes I do individual flans, but I like the look of a large flan set out on a beautiful serving tray. It is a more spectacular presentation, and easier for guests to pick at and have seconds!

  13. I make flans often. It helps to make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge. The crust softens.

    Last time I made it I used Dorie Greenspan's tip of putting the dish in the oven to warm while making the carmel. It seemed to help. From this I assumed the crust has to do with the hot carmel hitting a cold dish - but I am not a scientist :biggrin:

  14. You might want to take a look at Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine

    I too have this book and have eaten at his restaurant several times. The book is a compendium of receipes from his 2 restaurants.

    I can highly recommend the book. I have made several of the receipes and never had a disappointment. In fact I made a multiple dish Indian dinner about a month ago and used this book extensively. It is excellent.

  15. I have taken the Amtrak bus from Seattle to Vancouver. It was great. I think it was about 3 1/2 hours, including a quick stop at the border for border check and duty free. It loaded downtown Seattle and let you off at the train station downtown Vancouver. I thought it was a great bargain for $28. I believe there are only two trains a day - early morning and later in the day. All other Amtrak offerings are on buses.

  16. We have two problems when we entertain

    1) The shoe thing really bugs me. While growing up in Canada it was considered extremely rude for someone to walk into your house without taking their shoes off at the door. To this day, I cannont force myself to walk into someone's home with shoes on. I feel extremely uncomfortable. We live in a new home with beautiful hardwood floors throughout. and we entertain alot, both formally and informally. Most people take their shoes off at the door. However there always is one or two that do not and it is usually someone with stilleto heals on! I spend the evening cringing everytime she walks. No, I am not a neat freak, I just think that it is common courtesy for someone wearing high heals to be aware of the potential damage they are causing on a floor worth thousands of dollars!

    2) My husband has a wonderful wine collection and spends considerable time before a dinner party matching the wines with the food. We have a dilema when people bring wine to the party - do we serve it or not? To be gracious hosts, we usually do. We do this because we have, on more than one occasion, taken a special bottle of wine to a dinner party only to have the host keep it "for later". :blink:

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