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Everything posted by achevres

  1. I've made the Black Magic Cake many times and it's very good. I make it in the large food processor (mix the liquids first, than add the flour/cocoa mixture until dissappears).
  2. Emily_R: Those chocolate salty oat cookies look wonderful -- I like everthing in them. Do you use old-fashioned or instant oats?
  3. Love this thread. I can come out of the can closet with everyone else. For many canned items, I consider them a separate category, not necessarily in competition with fresh. All the vegetables have to be of the salted variety, except the tomatoes. Peaches - Love these. Fresh ripe peaches are one of my favorite fruits, but they are only available for 2-3 months at best. Pinneaple - nearly as good as fresh Delmonte Gold and no work Fruit cocktail - great with cotage cheese or Greek yogurt, in Jello, or alone Sour Cherries - for pie (fresh are so rare and so time-consuming to pit) Tomatoes - for cooking and even for salsas in a pinch All beans - even restaurants rely on their consistency Corn - I also like it right out of the can. Otherwise it's fresh on-the-cob. I don't like frozen. Green beans - I like the regular cut, especially for salads. I also like the fresh, but would rather have canned than undercooked fresh Evaporated milk - much better for cooking than fresh Sardines - can barely eat the fresh ones, but love the canned Tuna - for me it's either sushi or canned (also the fancy ventresca in olive oil) Salmon - I'm tired of fresh salmon, actually Corned beef - this is totally different than fresh corned beef (which I love) and is cooked in a quick stew and served with rice (a Puertorican pantry standby)
  4. Love it. I am just now on a gingerbread streak. There is just something about the bitterness that I love. I've used Bill Neal's recipe, adding a little extra ginger and it's perfect for me. I ran out of molasses and(at Wegman's, the mecca)they had mild and robust varieties, which I had not seen before. I bought one of each and tried them straight before I made the 2nd bread. They taste very similiar, but I liked the robust one better; it did have amore rounded taste. I ended up mixing half and half for the recipe. Molasses brownies sound good to me. I found 2 brownie recipes with molasses. This first one calls for 2 eggs, but it makes 2 9x9" pans. But it's odd in that it calls for confectioner's sugar. The recipe here: Molasses Brownies This next one is more standard Molasses Brownies 2
  5. I am a long-time subscriber of Saveur (since the 2nd issue) and highly recommend it, especially for foodies. I read it more than cooking from it, but I do that with other food magazines. If you enjoy reading about food and the places, history, culture and people etc associated with food then you will love it. It has a mix of American and international culinary topics. I do not subscribe to Fine Cooking, although it looks very good; it appears to be concentrated on recipes and technique. Go on to both websites and check out the current issues.
  6. I do this exact method also. I just put the slices in a bag and the bag in the freezer. No need to over think it. Actually, with no-knead bread, slicing first has worked better (texture-wise) for me than freezing the whole loaf.
  7. I have been reading up on the basics to make sure I have my science correct. My student has been asking questions about everything, and I like to be prepared. I have read Harold Mcgee but don't own a copy...this is a great excuse to get it.
  8. My problem with roast chicken is that the ones from the farmer's market are always better than mine, so I'm reluctant to do roast chicken, although everyone recommends to teach it. I would consider cornish hens, though. Chicken soup is always great after roast chicken and you can teach about stock. My favorite leftover chicken recipe is chicken ala king, which can be served with rice or on patty shells. On patty shells it looks impressive. I plan to teach this recipe. It is from Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet cookbook, easy and delicious. Forget any bad versions you may have had, this one is a winner. I'll post it if there is interest.
  9. I've been too busy to post, but finally have time for an update. The first class ended up lasting 4.5 hours . First we shopped for ingredients. She had a lot of good questions about how to pick produce, which oil etc. Then we went back to her house and I'm a little embarrased that we did not do the mis en place, but I'm learning as a teacher too. I felt somewhat pressed for time and neede to get things in the oven. Luckily, things did go smoothly. I brought her a binder with the recipes in sheet protectors. After all the good advice from this board, we made: 1.Italian meatballs with tomato sauce made in the same pan (skills: knife handling, chopping, grating parmesan cheese in processor, frying, deglazing, basil chiffonade), 2. poached shrimp (skills: court bouillon, peeling shrimp, poaching), 3. green beans with brown butter and almonds (skills: blanching and shocking the beans, finishing them with the butter), 4. roasted eggplant and zucchini (skills: knife practice) and 5. roasted asparagus with balsamic sauce (prepping asparagus, reducing liquids). We didn't have time to boil pasta, but I went over it. she froze the meatballs for the next week. We both had a great time. I forgot to eat until the end of class, which is a miracle for me and an indication of how into teaching I was. It was a great feeling for me to be able to teach skills that are second nature to me and I couldn't ask for a better student. She and her husband love to eat well and are not picky eaters and little by little she will be able to make good food at home. She liked the experience so much that we are planning for 1 class per week if we are both available. This week's class lasted 4 hours. We started by shopping for kitchen essentials she was missing and, with my advice, got really good quality items. We bought a heavy skillet with straight sides and lid, heavy 2 qt pot with lid, 2 tongs, microplane, 2 large cutting boards and a chef's knife. I had sent her the shopping list ahead of time. For some items I also listed where in the grocery store they could be found, but next time I'm going to be even more specific and try to put synonyms and maybe a picture, because finding something like "green onions" took her a while. This week I was better prepared. (For the first class it took me a long time to set the menu and take extra equipment just in case and getting the recipe binder ready that I ran out of time.) This time I had gone over the cooking sequence the night before. And I made 3 of the dishes for myself ahead of time, so I was able to see how to modify the instructions for a beginner. And we did my modified mis en place, which is to set out all the ingredients and then move them back as they are used. We made 1. roasted beets with a simple vinegar and olive oil dressing from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook and 2. roasted beets in a light ginger syrup, an E. Lewis and S. Peacock recipe (skills: knife practice, roasting and checking for doneness, making a syrup), 3. pesto, 4. white rice, 5. chicken lettuce wraps and 6. the Southern marinade for chicken breasts. She was serving the wraps that night and grilling the marinated chicken breasts the next night and serving them with the rice and a salad with the beets. They love beets, as you can guess. I was thrilled when I saw she had a food processor during the first class and immediately planned to make pesto. There is a thread here about hand chopped versus mortared pesto, but for me is the processor all the way. So easy it's like magic and then she can have the pesto in the freezer ready to go. She is allergic to alliums, so we made it without garlic. This time we did boil spaguetti and had the pesto for lunch. To give an example of a skill I take for granted that she didn't know, she learned was how to boil spaguetti without breaking it. She knew some people didn't break them but she couldn't figure it out until she saw me do it. To teach knife skills I had to break down the different motions in my head to be able to explain it. Seeing her learning and trying to do it made me realize that holding the knife correctly and doing the motion correctly are skills that are hard to learn on your own. I've heard that when you teach then you really learn, and it's true. The chicken lettuce wraps are easy, but a lesson in logistics. It has 3 sauces: a stir fry sauce, a peanut sauce and a soy-ginger dipping sauce. Each sauce has about 7 ingredients, many of them the same. My idea was to set out 3 small saucepans and measure each ingredient into each one, then do the cornstarch and water at the end and cook them at the same time. The skills here were measuring accurately each time, more chopping, working with cornstarch slurry and grating carrots in the food processor. She was serving this for dinner so all she had to do was wash and dry the lettuce and re-heat the chicken. I went over how to plate it. For this class I brought the beets and the basil from my favorite farmer-to-consumer market and also a peach and an apple for her to try. She is coming with me next week and I'm thrilled to introduce her to this great market and she can taste how great fresh, local foods are. We are not having class next week (scheduling problems), but we're making fish next time (sole meuniere or similar fish). I don't expect to go into such detail in future posts, but I did with this one to see what areas are of interest to other members. Let me know if there is anything else you are curious about.
  10. She's not interested in baking, but I am going to try to convince her to learn the no-knead bread, because I don't know of anything else so easy and so impressive. Gravy is a must, I agree. so many times I'm passed "gravy" and it turns out to be just all the pan juices plus the fat, just like that. A major pet peave of mine. And I love bechamel, and other white sauce permutations, but, at least in the beginning, we'll do mac and cheese and chicken a la King (veloute').
  11. Of course. I'm not doing Chinese first because I want to leave her with an entree for the freezer this first time, due to scheduling issues, but will do soon.
  12. Thanks!!! I'm printing this out. It's similiar to the one I have, but I like the addition of balsamic and sugar.
  13. I wanted to update this thread. I have been going regularly to this market and I love it. Here is the link to the producers: Oakmont Farmer's Market Producers. I get an email every Monday specifying who'll be there that week. This week everyone's coming except Spotted Hill Farms (Soap). Most weeks they are all there. It is useful to go to the website to see where to park. I have been buying fruits and vegetables, of course, but also chicken, pork and buffalo. I want to particularly recommend the pork from Lindenhof Farms, which is heirloom and free range (of course) and like the pork of many years ago. On the produce, overall all are great. Here are just a few of my highlights: Blueberry Hill Farm has the long line for a reason. Everything is picked just right and packaged very well. Fruitwood Orchards (from NJ) has had the best peaches. North Star Orchard has had the best and only plums and apples. Wimer Organics sells basil clean and ready to use. The hours are 2-7 pm until May 27 and 2-6 pm after that until Nov 26. If you live anywhere near to this market you should definitely check it out!
  14. I did go to the Conshohocken Market (Sat 10-3), but it is quite small with only 3 vendors, at least when I went: cooked food, breadstuffs and produce. I think all are from Lancaster. Still, it is a great beginning for a market in this area.
  15. I think egg cooking is, indeed, an important area to cover. Eggs are so incredibly versatile, plus they're a good basis for teaching a variety of dishes. For example, there's custard - sweet - as a dessert; with flavorings it becomes pie filling. But it's also a savory dish - quiche, or a vegetable flan. A few months ago I contemplated doing a cooking class for teenagers. One of the things I thought about was gougeres. The basic recipe + pudding (custard!) is a dessert, creme puffs. It also can be made in to profiteroles and eclairs. But with cheese added, it's an appetizer by itself, and made with or without cheese, it can house a chicken, tuna, or crab salad for a sandwich. When I taught a young friend to cook, the first thing we did was stew a chicken. She had meat and broth (and the bones could have been saved for stock), which can be turned into chicken and noodles; chicken and dumplings; chicken pot pie, and many other things. Have fun!!! ← Also agree (and I love to cook with eggs). We are starting with dinner menus first, so I'll get more info on Wednesday on whether she likes eggs etc. I love all those chicken dishes you mention, thanks. I was thinking of ratatouille or roasted vegetables, since the fresh veggies are so great right now in the markets. Thanks so much. I knew there had to be other egulleteers teaching. I think my student is on the shy side, and with that plus not knowing about food she has not been able to formulate requests for specific dishes. I'm sure as soon as we start she'll tell me or I'll get a better idea of what kind of things she likes. I think for the first day to do the menu below and do the shrimp another day, to keep it focused and not overextend. Plan: equipment check and shopping for these ingredients (at least this first day) Italian Meatballs (M Hazan's recipe -- she can freeze them for later) and spaguetti Marinara sauce (can also freeze) Roasted vegetables vinagrette salad if we have time, chicken paillards with pan sauce What do you guys think?
  16. OMG, thanks to everyone so far. The first class is Wednesday and my mind is going crazy because, as I read these posts, so many other topics come to mind. But I'm trying to remember it will all come together and I'm not teaching rocket science. Beef stew, lamb shanks, osso bucco are definitely on the list for later, when it's colder and she has more skills. The other things we'll be tackling right away, like rice, pasta, potatoes, blanching veggies and roast cauliflower and asparagus. Absolutely. I suggest that you take a look at Pam Anderson's How to Cook Without A Book. Anderson gives basic template-like recipes for many of the dishes you mention above. The point is to learn the basic recipe, then mix and match ingredients--whatever's fresh at the market, or left over in the fridge. The recipes are easy and geared to weeknight dinners. When the book came out, Anderson gave a class near me that I attended. I always remember this tip: When she's cooking dinner, she starts the onions frying right away, because when hungry people can smell dinner cooking, they're less impatient. They know dinner's on the way. ← Thanks for the reference, I'll take a look. I better review the temperatures ! I am planning to start with knife skills and I'm bringing my good knives, just in case, and my knife sharpener, in case her's need to be sharpened. Also an oven thermometer to test accuracy. I just found out that my oven is 5 deg off, and affecting baking. I want to make meatloaf, but I'm not 100% happy with any of the 5-6 recipes I've tried in the last few years (every permutation)... Definitely making pastas and if she has a blender or processor, pesto. I'm going to wait on cutting the chicken till later. But roast chicken with the potatoes roasting underneath is a great idea. She doesn't want to bake desserts but I am hoping to convince her to make the no-knead bread, which is so easy and so good. Mexican is on the list and all that is easy and so much better when made at home (guacamole, refried beans, carne guisada, chicken for tacos, etc.). I agree, and my greatest hope is that I can transmit some of that intuition give her more confidence, but I think in the beginning it's so comforting to have a recipe, and to be able to follow the instructions of a recipe, which she can't do right now. My plan is to start with a recipe so then she can learn the different techniques in the recipe, and we go from there. With experience we learn how to fix things or tweak them, but in my experience when most beginners try to cook without recipes the results are...dissappointing and frustrating. One of the things that you almost never see on cooking shows is what to do when things go wrong, which, at least for me, is many times. But nearly always I know how to fix, substitute, fake, etc, so that the final dish is good. Or I go on egullet and ask!! I'm sure some things will go wrong and then I can demonstrate how to fix them.
  17. I'm looking for ideas for a beginner cooking class. I don't need the actual recipes (unless you are dying to share). I would also appreciate any advice, if you have taught cooking before. I am teaching someone how to cook (I'm sooo excited) and thinking of what to cook. She can cook a few entrees and would like more to add to the rotation. And we need to start easy. My goal is to teach the basics so that she can later follow a recipe on her own. I'm hoping to do at least one make-ahead entree per class, and one for that day. I cook all kinds of foods and have a huuuuuge cookbook library so I thought it would be easy to come up with ideas and menus at first, but I've really had to go back to when I started cooking. I do have a list of options, but would like more ideas. Some things are so second-nature to me that at first I didn't think to teach them. For example, I just thought of shrimp cocktail, which couldn't be easier, but how often do we have perfectly poached shrimp (unless making them ourselves)? Then poached chicken (base for a lot of dishes) and poached salmon came to mind, using the same technique. For a first make-ahead I'm thinking of a baked pasta dish such as baked ziti or cannelloni. Lasagne, I think, for a later class. Other obvious things like marinades, sauteed chicken, pan seared steak, pan sauces etc. are on the list, as well as sides and vegetables. And as soon as it gets colder there are a lot of stews and braises that are easy too. The family likes Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, BBQ foods, in addition to "regular" American food. Thanks for any help!
  18. The Art of Eating $24 instead of $48 through Zingerman's. Sorry I didn't post it earlier.
  19. I just had this ice cream and it's everything RuthWells says it is. Fresh, creamy, light, blueberrish, violet-colored and soooo easy. I usually make custard-based ice creams, but this cream and sour cream combination is genius. I followed the recipe exactly. May I highly recommend the cream I buy at Trader Joe's: Garelick Farms Heavy Cream (Pasteurized -- not ultra-pasteurized). I think it does taste better and, believe it or not, it lasts weeks in the fridge, much longer than the ultra-pasteurized ones. It forms a thicker layer on top that apparently keeps the rest of it good. I'm thinking of black raspberry for the next batch. They are still in season here. Or red raspberry -- the main reason I got the machine.
  20. I can't find these comprehensive lists of producer-to-consumer only markets posted elsewhere, so here are the links. Here is the link for the markets outside of Philly: Local Food Philly, Outside Philadelphia and this is the one for all of Philadelphia: Local Food Philly. Several of the markets listed have a thread elsewhere, but these are the complete lists. I have been going to the Oakmont Farmer's Market on Wednesday's (which has it's own outdated thread) and love buying straight from the farmers, all of which are located very close to the market. There is also a market in Conshohocken on Friday's that I want to try -- it's closer to me.
  21. If you use coconut you could mix it into a graham cracker crust recipe. Also, Maria cookie crumbs come to mind, keeping with the latin theme, maybe with coconut also, or with nuts, or with lime or lemon zest. I like the zest and cookie idea. I wouldn't use chocolate because I also think it would overwhelm the guanabana. I've had guanabana, but never with chocolate. You could eat some of the fruit with chocolate to see what that's like. Let us know what you end up doing!
  22. Great thread. I keep mine in the back seat and do remember most of the time. Like anything, it took a few weeks for this new habit. My Trader Joe's has raffle tickets when you bring your bags, and that small incentive helped a lot. I'm having a hard time getting my husband to re-use, but hopefully in time he will. Also, I've now been taking store shopping bags when I go to the mall, clothes shopping, etc. Here is another great idea of what to do with extra plastic bags: Etsy Labs fusing bag tutorial. The "fabric" can be sewn into different things, especially shopping bag totes. I have been meaning to do this for a year !
  23. I haven't had vanilla ice cream with olive oil and salt but it does sound good. I have had the olive oil gelato at Otto's several times and I love it. The best combination was the gelato in a coupe with strawberries, passion fruit granita, a drizzle of olive oil and Maldon sea salt. I can taste it now.
  24. OMG mofongo and baked pork chops was my favorite dinner that my grandfather made when I was growing up. In Puerto Rico the traditional recipe is to fry the plantain pieces first and then mash them. It is not creamy. There are variations, of course, and I'm not disputing anyone's recipe. Here is our family's recipe for Mofongo: 1. The plaintains must be green green green (totally unripe). 2. The mortar and pestle are made of wood and about 6 inches diameter and 6 inches deep, at least. 3. Peel and cut 3 green plantains on the diagonal into pieces about 2 inches thick and soak in 4 cups water and 1 Tb salt for 15 minutes. 4. Dry slices well and fry in oil (about 300 deg F) until cooked and golden, but not crispy, about 15 minutes. 5.In the mortar crush 3 cloves garlic and 1 TB olive oil and take out and reserve. 6. Add about 3 plantain pieces to the mortar, start mashing and add part of the chicharron, and some of the garlic/oil mixture. Add the rest of the plantain and chicharron. If it doesn't all fit you can mash half and then the other half. As you mash, the mass of mofongo will come up the sides of the mortar and just fold it back into the bowl. Salt to taste. Depending on how much oil was on the plantains, you may want to add little extra olive oil to the mofongo as you mash it. (You could also add broth instead of the oil, or for part) 7. We always scooped it with an ice cream scoop. 8. Can also use crumbled crispy bacon instead of the chicharron. The chicharron or bacon is to taste, 1/2 to 1 cup for the 3 plantains. 9. As with any grandfather/grandmother recipe, the amounts are approximate and he never measured anything. p.s. the porkchops were marinated and baked slowly and I can't make them any more because pork now is so lean
  25. Edible Eyes I saw this on another site and I'm sure someone in egullet will appreciate it. I know in most baking contests everything has to be edible. Here they use the end of an empty gelatin capsule and a large non-pareil and embed the capsule part into half of a malted milk ball.
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