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David Leite

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  1. Actually Jacques was kind enough to have some all-purpose on hand for the baking session, and we made many batches with varying amounts/ratios of the different flours, etc. to see the effect. We both felt the combo of flours had a better structure and didn't spread as much as ap flour. He feels the combo bumps up the protein/gluten content a bit above ap flour. Of course, this all depends on which ap flour you use, etc.
  2. Lora, I'm glad you like the recipe, and you bring up a very good point, which I only briefly mentioned in the article: The longer the dough rests, the darker the cookie. Thanks for making it very clear for eG's bakers. David
  3. Abooja, So glad you like them. I can't tell you how many cookies I had to eat for the article. It's obscene. But these are my new favorite, too. I've never tried Medrich's, but Shirley Corriher, when I interviewed her, said I must. David
  4. Josho, When I tested and researched the cookie for the article, I found making the dough into balls lessened spreading; they should be balls, not mounds. Each time I made them, I was able to get six cookies on a half-sheet pan without them touching after baking. Also the 40/60 ratio is for Ruby and Violette, not these cookies. And, I agree, the balls are larger than "generous" golf balls, but the we all wanted to stop short of saying "baseballs"... David Leite
  5. If I have anything to say about it! But I have to carefully balance the fried stuff. A few apps, a few sides, a few desserts... How to choose?!
  6. This test is absolute bollix. When I was tested by Linda Bartoshuk, the woman who furthered this field of study and who coined the term "supetaster," she didn't ask me any of these questions. I had to undergo about an hour's worth of testing, having my tongue and palate swabbed with different solutions. Then my tongue was dyed a deep blue. Only under a microscope was she able to truly ascertain that I was a supertaster. Of the descriptions of a supertaster on this Web test: 1. Perceive all tastes as more intense than other taster types, particularly bitter tastes True. I find a lot of food bitter and almost inedible. But I also find sweet things really sweet. I adore fatty foods. (Foie gras with french fries, anyone? Most supertaster don't like fatty foods, but a subset of male supertasters have a penchant for it. That's moi.) 2. Tend to be fussy about their food and have strong food likes and dislikes Somewhat true. But that has lessened as I've made a conscious effort to be as democratic with my meals as possible. 3. Usually don't like coffee, grapefruit, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and spinach Can't stand bitter coffee, don't love grapefruit, cabbage I'm fine with, Brussels sprouts work for me if sautéed (lessens the bitterness) and tossed with balsamic vinegar. Love spinach. It tastes creamy to me. 4. Have lots of papillae, the tiny bumps on the tongue that contain taste buds According to Bartoshuk, I do. I was one of her highest testing supertaster males. BTW, you can't really see these with the naked eye. But, don't be fooled by the name "supertaster." It's not a superiority thing. It actually puts you at a disadvantage because there is a high correlation between certain types of cancer (colon especially) and suprtasterdom. Because we find food (mostly veggies) bitter, we don't eat them. And some supertasting men like me have a high risk of illness associated with being overweight due to all those fatty foods.) If any of you are interested, Bartoshuk does research at Yale; she's always looking for subjects. She wanted to stick a big needle in my ear for the next level of testing. I kinda drew the line there
  7. Obrigado. I'm writing a Portuguese cookbook, and, yes, it will have plenty of Portuguese pastries.
  8. Carrot Top, You gotta let me quote you. This is a great line. I have to add it to my book. David
  9. I thought going to my family's celebrations, where several huge tables are filled with desserts, was impressive. This is utterly, stupendously amazing. Thanks, Filipe. Is this an annual event?
  10. And kudos to you, Ronnie, for helping me get in touch with Zier. It's much appreciated. David
  11. Mike, you're the greatest, thanks. The note has been added to the recipe. I mentioned your help at the bottom of the page. David
  12. NYC Mike, can you tell me a bit more about what the book said regarding the cinnamon? It's possible that information dropped off the recipe when we posted it originally, and I no longer have the book. I always like to make sure any notes--even if in another part of the book--are present in the recipes we post. (Sorry, Pontormo, if it caused a problem when baking.) David Leite
  13. Thanks, Pontormo. And, yes, Dara is great writer. Everyone should take a look at her work; it's an object lesson in how to write well. D
  14. Russell, I agree with you about David Shaw; it was great to see his name as a winner. And, Susan, thanks for the kind words. I'm in great company in the Internet category: Jon Bonne. David
  15. Abra, Whenever we get a certain percentage of complaint about a recipe, it gets yanked—regardless of whose it is. So in effect, the site is self-editing. The more people chime in, the better it gets. David
  16. Everyone, We're removing the recipe from the site. If you guys had trouble with it, then others will, too. Sorry for the inconvenience. Best, David
  17. Paul L, "Mostly unused," is an understatement, at least in many top-shelf NYC apts. A friend is a broker and tells tales of showing prospective buyers eye-popping kitchens. Over the years when he's opened the stove he's discovered 1.) books, 2.) shoes, 3.) newspapers, and 4.) cereal boxes. Apparently, someone forgot to tell the owners FOOD goes inside. David
  18. Hey Wendy, Do you mean David Lebovitz or me, David Leite? Not sure if he put out a list. But if you mean me and LC, let me give you a few of our thoughts as to why we included the two books. (Apparently rancho_gordo is right: We will add commentary to each book choice next year. For the past two years, no one ever commented on our list!) Chocolate Chocolate was placed on the list because those of us who tested recipes loved them. There are only 13 recipes for brownies out of more than 200 recipes. Admittedly there are a lot of cookie recipes. But looking at the book again this morning, I think the photography does the book an injustice: the lion share of pictures are of…cookies and brownies. (Maybe someone from market research said cookies and brownie pictures sell. Who knows.) But there are recipes for babas, bars, breads, cakes, candies, muffins, scones, pies, crepes, biscuits, crescents, waffles.... We also liked the book because of the in-depth primer in the front of the book on chocolate, ingredients, and baking. But most important, the book really can be used by the beginning baker as well as by the advanced baker. Chocolate Obsession, a very fine book, was on the finalist list for a long time, but was edged out by just a few points. Regarding Martha's baking book, we looked at it on its own merit, not whether recipes appeared elsewhere. (Our one goal is to offer up books we think are well done.) Many people don't subscribe to her magazine, myself included, so we found many recipes that we all wanted to make. Those that we did make, we liked very much. It’s comprehensive and very well illustrated; something just about any baker—especially the novice—appreciates. Much about a recipe can be divined from a good photo. Best, David
  19. I'll comment on Julie & Julia. While there are problems with the book (it occasionally sinks into blogarrhea; Powell comes across at times as a very unlikable narrator, and the pacing flags in spots), the book has a lot going for it. 1.) Powell has a fresh, unique voice. 2.) The concept of the book and blog is patently brilliant. 3.) And how she presents the project (in the book at least, which is hindsight, of course) as a battle ground for working out her issues of turning 30, problems with having children, and her own insecurities and petty meannesses lifts it above the original project and gives it dimension. It ain’t just about cooking—something that really pissed off a lot of fans of her blog, but something I found refreshing. Plus she writes well. I found myself underlining words and phrases and writing them down for future use. (As they say, good writers borrow, great writers steal!) But stepping outside of the confines of the book, and seeing how it fits into the scope of things, it’s one of the few food blogs/Web sites that have made the transition from Internet to page—and done it successfully. The project, the book, and she are media phenomena. I think she’s part of a cadre of writers, which includes Steven Shaw and others, who are forging a new approach to writing. And I hope that serves as a model for future writers. Powell’s a very bright woman, and although her prose is sometimes shrill, I think she’s someone to watch. So factoring together the book, the writing, its purpose, how it fits into a larger scheme, as well as into the world of writing as a craft is how it ended up on the list. David You can use my micro reviews if you like!!!! I'd especially like to hear why you picked certain books like Julie and Julia and The Silver Spoon that I'd made certain assumptions about or wouldn't have put on my own top 20 list. ←
  20. Rancho Gordo, Great suggestion, and we'll do that for 2006. It was paticularly hard this year because some of us reviewed one type of book, while others looked at different type of books. (And a lot of the books were late entries.) By the time we settled on the list, it would have taken another week or so to collate it all. And we wanted to post in time for any reader who wanted to pick up a book or two as gifts. Thanks David Leite
  21. Daniel, So glad you mentioned this. All this brouhaha over the "first" female chef in White House, when others preceded her. But does anyone find it unfortunate that there's even a need to mention she a woman? The WH chef should be judged upon professionalism, skill, and talent. Period. Gender shouldn't be an issue...unless some First Lady (with shockingly plebeian taste) is trying to politicize the issue. (Is Bush under the impression he can run for a third term?) David
  22. Leslie, Still naughty after all these years... David
  23. ewindels, No, they looked local, but I did wondered if we stumbled in an an AARP night. I'd say the median age was mid-60s. David
  24. We went there last night and had a mostly fine meal, but there are problems that definitely need fixing. First, when we arrived, the din and sheer body count was overwhelming. Fire codes had to have been violated last night. We had to squeeze our way into the narrow bar area, into which some backward-thinking waiter had wedge a baby stroller the size of a Volvo. Within minutes we were seated at perhaps the worse table in the place: it was flanked with busy aisles on three sides. We asked to be reseated, and the hostess was extraordinarily accommodating. We got a table with more room by the window. By now I was growing hoarse, as were my dining companions, from shouting. The service was wobbly at best. Five water glasses appeared on a table for four, the waiter forgot who ordered the wine, and the food was auctioned off: "So, who has the escargot? And the scallops go to whom?" Having been a waiter for years, I saw waiters fired for that. That being said, we all enjoyed our food immensely. The escargots were served in a piece of garlic baguette that was split on top then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch sections; it resembled a crusty bread ribcage. It was topped with a creamy pesto pastis sauce. I had the fried calamari and was mercifully spared a sauce any shade of red. In its stead was a saffron aioli with a big garlic punch. Both the escargots and the calamari were cooked to within degrees of perfection. No pencil erasers or rubber bands here. One of our guests had the green salad: "What can I say about a salad?" was his response, while the other raved about the Niçoise pizzettas, which was topped with basil puree, plum tomatoes, olives, Parmesan, "and those little fishes." (anchovies). The main course held up to the appetizers, but were served to us faster than Big Macs and fries. I eyed the rest of the dining room, and customers were barely finished wiping their mouths before the next course was placed down in front of them. Collectively, we had seared scallops with black truffle vinaigrette and sautéed leafy greens (chard); seafood pot au feu; codfish filet braised with tomatoes, mushrooms, and drizzled with a vermouth chive sauce, and steak frites. Again, all of us were quite pleased: the flavors were deep, well-balanced, and well-seasoned. The meal disintegrated at dessert. I ordered a rustic strawberry-and-apricot tart that was so burnt and dry I sent it back and asked for another. The waiter returned and told me," Sir, I'm sorry, that's the way they're supposed to be served." Oh, really? I looked at all three of my dinner companions, who had tried the tart, and they descended upon the waiter, the poor child. I then ordered the "Cocoa Vin." I think it was supposed to be a dense chocolate cake/brownie baked in a ramekin, served with citrus syrup and whipped cream. It was astoundingly, astonishingly dry—and for me to eat only half a chocolate dessert, it had to be bad. I looked at our guest who had ordered the same thing; he had hardly touched his, too. The lavender crème brûlée was well-flavored, but the custard beneath the sugar topping was so runny, not a pleasant mouth feel. I'd certainly go back, but not for a few weeks, until they work out their front-of-the-house issues and that terrible flight of desserts. David
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