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Everything posted by browniebaker

  1. Store the milk in the coldest part of the fridge, having used a thermometer to determine where that is, and that should not be the shelves inside the door of the fridge, which is usually the warmest part. I go by the sniff-and-sip test, using the sell-by date as just guideline. I find the milk is usually good for at least a week after the sell-by date. If it does go sour, it's not spoiled for baking and cooking. Ever hear of sour or clabbered milk? That's milk that's gone sour, and it's great in pancakes, yeast breads, muffins, biscuits, scones, waffles, and so on. Another thing I do is, if I sense the milk is about to go sour and we can't possibly drink it all, I freeze batches for later use in baking or cooking. This is what I do is we are about to go an vacation and there's milk we cannot finish. My mother-in-law (a chemist, as she always points out) extends the life of the milk thus: if she senses it is getting close to going sour, she zaps it in the microwave to just short of boiling and curdling, brings it back to room temp, and refrigerates it again. She says killing off much of the bacteria this way extends the life of the milk. I have tried this and it seems to work.
  2. Any food called "Asian." Asia is an entire continent. Often understood to include islands in the surrounding seas and oceans. Comprising diverse countries, cultures, ethnicities, and cuisines. Calling a food "Asian" is as meaningful as calling a food "European."
  3. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again for that information! To think that I (not wanting to pay shipping fees) have been waiting for semi-annual trips back home to Nashville to stock up on White Lily! And Food Lion prices can't be all that high, I'm sure. Thank you! (This has to be one of the best things I have learned from eGullet!)
  4. Another fanciful food name I like is the Chinese Dog Biting Pig. A plain steamed white bun made from wheat flour (man t'ou) is split along one side and filled with sliced red-braised pork belly and sliced pickled mustard greens, sometimes with a garnish of chopped peanuts and/or chopped coriander.
  5. I love the name Stargazey Pie, a savory Cornish pie of pilchards with their heads poking straight up through the pastry crust.
  6. Verrrrrry unscientific estimate by me based on the fact that I get hungry again about four hours after ingesting 500 calories of food: half a standard-size, lotus-paste mooncake, with or without egg yolk, contains about 500 calories. Think of a mooncake as a 1000-calorie bomb.
  7. Though I have never eaten any, I have heard that the ugly tropical fruit called custard apple (also called sweetsop) has a creamy, fragrant flesh inside that is mightily seductive. Anyone had one, who would care to post your impressions?
  8. Gary, I am sorry for what you are going through. From past personal experience, I know how bad it feels to be transferring money to divorce lawyers. I have a few frugal measures in baking: I get the best prices on most pantry and dairy items from Costco (flour, sugar, everyday butter, milk, eggs, rolled oats), Trader Joe's (Plugra butter, baking powder, nuts, dried fruits), and Honeyville Grains (rolled oats, dried macaroon coconut, milk powder, vital wheat gluten). For serious baking I use the best bourbon vanilla but save money by buying it in the double-strength in the largest bottle I can find. I use only half the amount called for in a recipe. Vanilla keeps for a very long time. However, for everyday baking, such as in heavily chocolate-flavored cookies, I save money by using CVS's Gold Emblem (store brand) "Premium Imitation Vanilla with Pure Vanilla Added." This has performed excellently in blind taste-tests, and I'm very happy with it -- and with the savings: 8 ounces sells for $0.89 when CVS has a sale on its Gold Emblem spices. I save money by using Costco's Kirkland (store-brand) butter for everyday use, as in brownies; it costs $1.87 a pound. But where butter flavor matters, as in shortbread, I use Plugra but by it cheap from Trader Joe's. Bread flour often costs more than all-purpose flour. I make my own bread flour by adding one teaspoon of vital wheat gluten to one cup of all-purpose flour. Brown sugar costs more than white granulated sugar. It can be cheaper to make your own brown sugar by adding one or more teaspoons of molasses to white granulated sugar. This is especially easy to do if the brown sugar is to be mixed together with other ingredients, as in a batter. If bulk purchases are larger than you have room to store, see whether you can find a friend or friends to split the purchase with you. The vital wheat gluten and milk powder I buy from Honeyville Grains keep practically forever so I don't mind having a large store of them in sealed Rubbermaid Roughneck Totes in the basement. I could get extreme and tell you that I'm so frugal I avoid baking in the warm months when the A/C is on since I refuse to heat up the house just to spend money to cool it down, but you may be a bigger baking-fiend than I . . . .
  9. Ah, coconut-bun-love. You are not alone. I think you need at least the gluten level of an all-purpose flour, since cake or pastry flour would not give you much rise for that pillowy texture, and bread flour, on the other end of the gluten-level spectrum, would make the bread too chewy. The supreme softness of the coconut bun comes, I think, from enrichment with lots of butter or other fat, milk, sugar, and maybe egg or egg yolk in the dough. Fat, milk, and sugar seem to play a big part in the softness of the buns at Chinese bakeries. Oh, how lucky you are to be in or near a major center of Chinese bakeries such as Toronto! Try all the coconut buns! Yum.
  10. I like a pastry crust on my potpie -- lard or butter, sometimes butter and cream cheese. A short, tender-flaky crust is pushed into the pie and is the perfect textural counterpoint to the gravy of the pie. And, I must say, puff pastry on a potpie leaves me cold. Puff pastry just has a bready toughness that does not marry well with the gravy. Puff pastry is also too high falutin' for the supremely simple, humble potpie. One of my pet peeves is the way restaurants fancify their potpies with a meretricious cover of puff pastry.
  11. I love these coconut buns, too. There does not seem to be just one name for them, hence the difficulty in searching for them. I happen upon them in Chinese bakeries here and there and never fail to buy a couple. I remember one coconut bun that I loved and have not found again since. The bread was soft, sweet, white, and milky. The oval, coconut-dusted bun was split along the top. In the split was piped a rope of coconut filling like a buttercream frosting in texture. Since I have not seen a recipe, if I were going to try baking them myself, I would use a sweet-roll dough (the one I use for all my sweet rolls is in Wei-Chuan's International Baking Delights) and experiment with different fillings until I got the taste and texture just right. Good luck in your search. The search, in bakeries and in the kitchen, is more than half the fun of it all. (edited to get the italics right!)
  12. Cheese pie! I scaled down my cheesecake recipe by 3/5 and baked it in a pie plate lined with a pastry crust. So much easier and quicker than baking a large cheesecake in a springform for more than an hour only to have to refrigerate for 12 more hours before enjoying. This cheese pie was wonderful just slightly warm.
  13. . . . . Say, is there Beauty yet to find? And Certainty? and Quiet kind? Deep meadows yet, for to forget The lies, and truths, and pain? . . . oh! yet Stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea? Rupert Brooke The Old Vicarage, Grantchester (1912)
  14. Blueberry pie! I used Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe for two-crust blueberry pie in The Pie and Pastry Bible. Her Flaky Cream-Cheese Crust I had made countless times before, but this time, instead of placing the butter pieces and flour mixture in a Ziploc bag before rolling the butter into flakes, I just dumped the whole thing onto my granite countertop and rolled it right there. I got the same flaky pastry as always, and I avoided throwing one more piece of plastic into the landfill.
  15. I like Rose Levy Beranbaum. A lot. Her "Baking Magic" show on PBS is rather dry and no-nonsense, but that's okay, since I am there just to learn. I like Martha Stewart, too, still. I'm going to be watching her new morning show, which starts today, in just a few minutes. She comes off arogant sometimes, but she always had so many good ideas on her shows that I don't care what she's like in her private life.
  16. Jan, I am very sorry about your Dad's passing. What you wrote was beautiful. Your dad sounds like a wonderful person. Your father has left you a legacy of good memories of food and times shared, which you can draw on in these difficult days and thereafter. Please know I am thinking of you and hoping each day brings you some solace. Brownie
  17. I can't believe I forgot to mention Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. It's a family favorite. The sour cream in the batter distinguishes this upside-down cake from the others.
  18. I love the All-Occasion Downy Yellow Butter cake. Extremely moist, with a fine crumb and buttery flavor. That's my "little black dress" of a cake. The Pound Cake is very good, too. It's very light and fine in texture, sort of like a Sara Lee. The Cordon Rose Cheesecake I had to throw out. Baked in a water bath, it was so cloyingly creamy I couldn't eat more than a few bites. But it you like very creamy cheesecakes, this could be for you.
  19. MightyD's not dreaming this: she really did see a Cook's Illustrated recipe for carrot cake that calls for squeezing the juice out after maacertaing the grated carrots in sugar. I saw it, too. The rationale given was that removing the water concentrates the carrot flavor. I have never tried doing that, though. It seems a waste to squeeze out, inevitably, some of the flavor; and I am perfectly happy with the traditional, no-squeeze, carrot-cake recipe.
  20. Any chance you could share the recipe and instructions for peach empanadas or point me in the right direction? Just the thought of it is making my mouth water. ← If only I had the recipe! This was the conclusion to a delicious dinner with my favorite cousin (girls's night out!) at a little restaurant named Persimmon, right here in Chevy Chase. Uh, I can't get up the nerve to ask for the recipe, but if you get the recipe, please let me know!
  21. Last night I had warm, flaky peach empanadas with peach-almond sorbet and a drizzle of raspberry sauce. It was heavenly.
  22. Every other year or so, I must spend Thanksgiving with the parents-in-law and eat my mother-in-law's cornstarch-based, no-fat gravy; her boiled, no-fat, no-seasoning-other-than-salt-and-pepper potatoes, sweet potatoes, and green beans; her wild-rice, tastes-like-pure-roughage stuffing; her unadorned, unseasoned celery sticks and carrot sticks; her Pillsbury crescent rolls; and her store-bought pumpkin pie and apple pie with the bad, musty-smelling crust. The night before what to me is Thanksgiving in hell (because of the food and the company, both), I give myself a treat by cooking for my husband and two children our own pre-Thanksgiving dinner. The works. All the dishes we love for Thanksgiving, cooked just the way we like them. So we end up with two Thanksgiving dinners in a row, and everyone is happy. And the children know not to let on to their grandparents that we had turkey already the day before!
  23. I'm waiting for someone to say, if brownies and blondies are always favorites, why make alternatives? Sometimes I get so disappointed because I am served an alternative when all I want is a good brownie. But I may be biased.
  24. The maitre d' and the waiters have fake "continental" accents, and everything they say, even in answer to your questions, is obviously scripted.
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