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Posts posted by Marmish

  1. Jen,

    What chocolate are you using? Have you found a good source for chocolate in Chicago?

    I was using a chocolate from Poland, Wedel Dark. I love the taste-- in fact, we had a chocolate tasting and it won-- and the competition included all the major brands-- Callebaut, Scharfenberger, etc. I can get Wedel at my local supermarket (A&G at Belmont and Central), but it wasn't working well for dipping-- maybe I could add some cocoa butter. My daughter has been asking for chocolate-dipped caramels, so maybe I need to try again-- candymaking has fallen off my radar!

    Let me know if you come across a great source in Chicago-- between the poor selection and the high sales tax here, I am thinking mail order (chocosphere, King Arthur flour...)


    I know. I was going to order via Amazon, but there's a shipping surcharge that I hadn't noticed before. I was NOT happy about that. We live in Chicago for pete's sake. There has to be good chocolate in quantity somewhere. There's a Qzina out near O'Hare, but don't know if they will sell to me (us). I may call in a couple of weeks when I have more time. We went to Blommers a couple of weekends ago. I actually thought their stuff was better than I expected and you can't beat the price. I got some Guittard at Cakewalk. It's definitely more cake focused than chocolate focused. I've been mostly using the pound plus bars from Trader Joe's. I'm not far from you, so maybe I'll check out your Wedel Dark.

  2. Here is my second batch of dipped chocolates, using the tempering method in this book. My first batch was out of temper, but reading the book allowed me to understand and diagnose the condition of the chocolate and make a fix. As a novice, this book is just right for me.

    The batch here uses a caramel recipe from Fine Cooking, to which I have added ancho chile powder, cinnamon, orange zest, and pine nuts. The orange and spices combine to make a warm-spice taste. I didn't use very much spice (about 0.5 tsp each for a recipe with 1.5 cups of sugar.) The recipe is here:


    I have made variations on this caramel recipe for many years as teachers' gifts, but the chocolate coating with its nice snap really brings these to a new level.

    So clearly my dipping technique requires work-- the chocolate is very viscous and thick once I get it into temper. I'm also having trouble measuring the temperature with either my Thermoprobe, or my other thermometer, which is one of those with a probe and a long wire. Both are very accurate, but I'm getting chocolate everywhere and it's hard to keep the probe in place while stirring. What a mess. I think more practice is in order!



    What chocolate are you using? Have you found a good source for chocolate in Chicago?

  3. Beth:

    I would love to get some chocolate transfer sheets with you. I think the only ones I currently have are decorated with small gold stars. My only concern is that shipping them might melt or smear the cocoa butter.

    Let me know if you decide to buy them and what their policy is about shipping in warm weather.

    Glad to hear that Milo was doing better - keep us posted!

    Thanks, Mary. Milo is hanging in there. I'll try to get something together soon for the transfers before it gets too warm and see what the vendor recommends. It's still cool here in the Windy City.

  4. I'd love to have some transfer sheets, but I certainly don't need 10-15 of the same one. I thought if several people were interested, we could pick a vendor and everyone could pick a transfer. I'd place the order and have them shipped to me, split the packs so each of us got an assortment, and send them on to each person. I could resend them in a flat rate type envelope, right?

    Advice, interested swappers and dire warnings welcome.

  5. speaking of that awwwwwwwwwwwesome salted caramel ganache, um, is anyone allowed to post that recipe with credit to shotts of course? major craving...(hard to believe after only 24 hrs eh?) *darn it, hanging out with Canadians rubs off on you....eh?) :P

    I'd be a little nervous posting full text to eGullet, since I don't know how copyright sensitive we are - but surely no harm can be done with an official Google Books Link

    Watch out for the Canadians. Soon you'll be a socialist! B-}=

    Always the geek! For the formula, we had to make a batch 4x the size in order to get a volume sufficient to our purpose. :smile:

    And personally, I would tone down the salt a bit. It was a bit over the top for my taste.

    Sigh. Sounds like I would have LOVED it. FYI, basic rule of thumb is ingredient lists can't be copyrighted. Text - ie explanation of method, can.

  6. Beth standing in front of an empty bowl with a guilty-looking grin on her face. Beth, tell me you didn't eat the WHOLE BOWL!!

    HEY! Just the one on the right. Ahem. I learned that I've come farther than I thought and that I need to just jump in with both feet. That there isn't a nicer and more supportive group of people around - which I already knew, but was reinforced in many ways in the short time that I was there.

    On another note, Milo is hanging in there for the moment and has made some improvement.

  7. Sorry I missed it guys. I made it 45 miles into Pennsylvania (I'm in Columbus, Ohio) when the guy in the "fast lane" decided that heavy rains meant "drive faster". He probably wishes he'd have rethought that given he hydroplaned and took out myself and two other vehicles on the highway. So, rather than heading to Maryland, I got sent back to Ohio. The Highlight? Being told by a PA county sheriff "I could have been killed - or worse" (is there something worse than death, officer?) and being told by the speedster that "Sorry your chocolate is melting. Could we try a few pieces?" Yes, sir. You just ruined my weekend, cost me hotel reservations that im positive wont be refunded, and did many dollars worth of damage to all these vehicles. But yeah, lets eat the chocolate intended for my colleagues and dance in the rain like happy little hippies.

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    On a side note, I did have some cool chocs to show you guys. I have been toying with making my own transfer sheets, even using mylar in place of acetate and bunching it up to form a sort of texture/transfer sheet hybrid. I did some nice work using an airbrush on acetate that transfered well. Sadly, thanks to Mr. Fitch and his resounding logic of "I always drive that fast in the rain", I'll have to settle for posting pics of them on here.

    HOLY CRAP! I'm glad you're ok! Wow.

  8. I'm afraid I've lost track of who still needs airport rides. I've sent a couple private messages, but fear they or their replies may have been lost, so I'll make first come - first served offers here - replies to the thread is probably best, so that others know if rides are accepted.

    First offer: Late night Thursday/Early morning Friday - thinking of Chocoera. I'm driving in and my schedule is hard to predict; I could be at Reagan National as early as 1:30 am, but 3:30 am is more likely. I'm game if you are. If our roles were reversed the Supershuttle fare would look a lot better to me than 2-3 hours at an airport in the middle of the night B-}=

    Second offer: one run to BWI, Regan National, or Dulles Friday Late morning. I think Beacheschef and Marmish are still looking for a way in from BWI - I could handle that.

    I'm not going home until Monday morning, and have kept my Sunday plans fairly open, so something could be negotiated for rides back to airports if needed.

    Please let me know as soon as possible. I love it when a plan comes together.

    Sleep is for the weak!

    Looks like chocoera is renting a car and picking up beacheschef and myself, so we are set! May still need to take you up on that offer on Sunday though as chocoera is leaving earlier and from a different airport. Steve, that means we'll be fine for to and from the restaurant and conference locations, too.

  9. I randomly ran across this article about bringing your own containers to the grocery for bulk items which they also extend to deli and meats.

    From the article: "Mesh bags for produce: They’re cheap and can go in the laundry. . .

    Cloth bags for dry bulk items. . .

    Glass jars and bottles for wet items: These are for foods like meat, fish, cheese, honey, and peanut butter, and for liquids like vinegar and oil. “Get a supply of glass canning jars in different sizes from the hardware store,” recommends Myscha Theriault, coauthor of 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget."

    Now, I have cloth bags, and somewhere around here there's some organza to sew up for produce bags, but bringing your own jars and other containers for bulk items? Do you do this? Would you?

  10. I'm arriving at BWI on Friday morning around 10:30. Is anyone else flying in around then - so we can share a ride to Albert Uster?

    Steve - I'm game for any meal that someone else cooks for me. Any place that you select would be great.

    Do you need an extra digital scale, or do you have enough?

    Thanks for organizing this gathering!


    Mary! I'm glad you are coming. I think I fly in earier than you, but let me check. That might work.

  11. I had to use up some cream and decided to make ice cream. DH picked Tin Roof. I think it's one of the best ice creams I've ever made. The texture is great, even a couple of days later right out of the freezer. If anything, the fudge ripple is a little too thin. Could be sloppy measuring or that it needs more cooking time.

    Did not remember this ice cream and just looked it up. Did you include the chocolate covered peanuts too?

    I think we need permanently installed cameras in our kitchens to take those photos which everyone else wants to see. :smile:

    I bought chocolate covered peanuts and used those.

  12. On 101 Cookbooks, a recipe was posted from Good to the Grain for figgy buckwheat scones. The fig butter, which makes the scones figgy, calls for dried figs, port, red wine, cloves, star anise and cinnamon.

    What red wine would be best to use in this type of recipe? I really hate when there is no further explanation other than red or white in recipes.

  13. Another question for the attendees!

    I've received a request from a local reporter who writes food pieces for a local paper. If her editor approves, she would like to come do a piece on our workshop. Pictures will almost certainly be involved. Before I say "yes", does anyone have any objections? Anyone in witness protection or on the lamb from the law?

    Let me know in the next few days so I can respond to her in a timely manner.


    I am currently on the right side of the law, so no objections. And I would attend Kerry's beginners class.

  14. Forgot to put in my two cents about the restaurant. I'm up for most anything. Not a big fish/seafood/sushi eater. Not a huge fan of Chinese. BUT, any eG trip is about trying new things and I'm ok with whatever you pick. We have tons of good Italian here, especially in my neighborhood, so unless it's really, really outstanding or the place is super accommodating of us, I'd rather have something else. But I only say so because you asked.

  15. I've been promising to put out the call for equipment for some time. Thank you all who have been both offering and asking about this.

    First. We will be in a pretty well equipped kitchen with all of the bowls, spatulas, and other "standard" items you can expect.

    I personally have a Chocovision X3210 temperer which can hold about 10 lbs of chocolate at a time. I believe we'll need at least one more temperer or melter that we can temper chocolate in. Does anyone have one they can bring?

    I also have a selection of caramel rulers in varying sizes and various polycarbonate molds. If you have a favorite mold you would like to bring, please do so.

    As of today, I believe we'll have lots of chocolate to work with. I've secured donations of chocolate, glucose, invert sugar, and colored cocoa butters. I'll be bringing a selection of liquers for flavoring agents. We may also have a donation of flavorings/oils to come.

    What else do you think we need? What can/would you bring? I'll start making a list.

    Thanks for all your offers of help and the help to come!

    Last year I wished I had a candy thermometer.

  16. The pickled onions were a condiment they could choose, sliced onions, lime juice, a bit of oil and salt, lots of cilantro. I used two HUGE red onions and they were almost gone. I made 6 cups (dry) rice with lime and cilantro. There is a decent, but not huge, amount left over. The pork butts totaled almost 9 lbs pre cooking weight. The pork was all eaten. The chicken was somewhere around 10 lbs, not sure exactly. There was about 1/4 of it left over. I made a second pan of cookies this morning, strawberry jam bars. There are 3 bars left and no chocolate chip cookies (4 dozen).

    So, all went well. No complaints, lots of compliments, and just enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow for the office staff.

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments.

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