Apr 18, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
Craftsy produces and sells state-of-the art on-line instructional video classes. To date, the company offers over 600 course listings covering all manner of crafts--not only cooking and baking. I was delighted to receive an invitation from the acquisitions editor, Denise Mickelsen, with whom I had worked when she was senior editor at Fine Cooking Magazine.
The Craftsy studios are located in Denver, CO, known as the mile high city. This meant inevitable high altitude adjustments for baking. Fortunately, Jenn "Knitty Baker," one of our accomplished Alpha Bakers (the group that is baking their way through The Baking Bible) lives in Denver. She agreed to test all 9 of the cookie recipes and comment on any adjustments that would be required. In addition, Woody and I made a batch of each of the cookies and carefully packed them to bring with us. Making all the recipes gave us a chance to go over notes and tips I wanted to offer for each cookie. Also, even with adjustments, I knew that there would be some differences in the baked cookie, for example, when it is necessary to lower the baking soda; due to the lower pressure of higher altitude, the cookie will brown less.
The Curtis Hotel was our home base for the week. It was conveniently situated within walking distance of The Ice House building where the studio for our Craftsy video taping sessions were we taped my class. It was also close to several excellent restaurants. We were pleased that Denver's weather forecast promised to be mostly sunny with temperatures in the 60's compared to our -14 degree F reception last November. For our first evening, Denise invited us to dinner at The Kitchen. I felt right at home because on the shelf of the open kitchen was my Baking Bible. We all enjoyed the excellent food and exchange of food world stories. As true foodies, we all enthusiastically shared our entrees and dessert.
Our four-day Craftsy video taping session started with a day of orientation. The morning was spent with Jared Mahler, my instructional producer, going over the cookie lessons with us and, Victoria Perkins, our assistant prep person and stylist. Jared and Victoria were glad that we had brought all of the cookies so that they could see what each recipe looked like, as well as having them on hand incase a freshly-baked recipe did not turn out as expected. In the afternoon, we mis en place'd all of the recipes with adjustments as per Jen's notes, while Jared and his crew set up their equipment.
Continue reading "Taping of My Craftsy Baking Class" »
Apr 16, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
and how it got its name. This is the first time it is unveiled in print and here is the story on Epicurious!
Apr 15, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
Our six weeks of touring concluded just about where we started--New York City. We left extra early to be sure to arrive at the Martha Stewart New York studios well ahead of time given the variables of traffic on route 80 and arrived so early we headed straight to the reasonably close by Doughnut Plant for doughnuts and coffee.
They claim to be creator of the world's first crème brûlée doughnut, which quickly became the Doughnut Plant's signature, and also square jellied filled doughnuts. They now even have shops in Japan.
The engaging manager enjoyed telling us about the doughnuts and, as a self-proclaimed dessert lover, looking through our new "Baking Bible."
My dear friend Martha had recently made one of my cupcake recipes on her television show, so I was looking forward to an unstructured live radio conversation with her on her Sirius Radio Show. I had been on several times in the past with her radio host Lucinda Scala Quinn. But when we arrived at the studio we were informed that Martha had the flue.
We also learned that I was to share the air time with another cookbook author, Carol Barrow. We were both delighted to make her acquaintance. Her wonderful book, "Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving" on canning and preserving was released just after ours. She brought along several of her homemade preserves for all of us to enjoy.
Lucinda, who had moderated my 92nd Y event just a few weeks ago, and had read my book cover to cover, stepped in for Martha. We briefly talked about "The Baking Bible" and then went on to discuss my thoughts and tips for solving common baking problems, after which Lucinda opened up the phone lines for me to answer caller's questions from Delaware to California. The time went all too quickly with the lively array of questions.
With our final event completed for the year, we decided to celebrate with an excellent lunch at the nearby Trestle on Tenth. We toasted over wine and enjoyed sharing the Brook Trout with Chanterelles and Roasted Cauliflower, followed by a perfectly cooked to rare and delicious Dry aged Beef Burger with exquisitely crispy and flavorful shoestring French fries, dusted with paprika.
A grand finale to an amazingly successful and enjoyable tour filled with events, old friends and new, family, bloggers, radio hosts, and culinary professionals.
More events, however, are already slated for next year from Dallas to upstate New York to mile high Denver. We are grateful to the brilliant team at our publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for their support and creative ingenuity.
Apr 13, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2015
I wish everyone in the world could read this posting by the talented baker, beautiful person, and member of both my Alpha and Beta Bakers (who are baking their way through The Baking Bible and The Bread Bible).
Don't miss this: Building Bridges, Building Friendships and the Power of Breaking Bread.
Apr 12, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2015
I only just discovered that there is a "Sibling Day" which began April 10, 1997. What a perfect opportunity to feature my brother Michael Levy who, on Saturday, April 11, opened his 56th Pet Food Express location, renowned in the Bay Area, and for the first time opening in Beverly Hills.
When I was a little girl there were only two things I begged for: a sister and a dog. What I got instead was brother (who specializes in dogs and other pets) and a parakeet. And now I feel like I'm the luckiest sister in the world!
Check out Pet Food Express Website to see Michael's company's mission to give back to the pet world community.
Apr 12, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
in OUT BAKES, BAKING BIBLE
CUTTING OUT THE HEARTS
LIFTING OUT THE HEARTS
SPREADING THE JAM
LIFTING THE FROZEN TOP PASTRY
SLIDING THE FROZEN TOP PASTRY ONTO THE BOTTOM
CRIMPING THE BORDER
PRICKING THE DOUGH
Apr 11, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have a huge collection of loaf pans, and for a long time the clay loaf pan was my favorite just because it was so earthy and bread-like looking. Also, the clay absorbed moisture yielding an extra crisp crust, But one day I noticed that the crumb toward the bottom of the loaf was a little dense which meant it was not getting enough, what is known in the industry as, oven spring.
As I started thinking about it, I realized that even though I was placing the pan on a well-preheated, thick oven stone, the clay did not conduct the heat as quickly to the dough as does metal. Assuming that there might be a difference even between two different brands and types of metal, I decided to test the same exact bread dough side-by-side in two different metal pans: my favorite All Clad metal pan and my new USA pan. Both pans yielded excellent results and had oven spring superior to the clay pan. I also discovered that the USA pan had a slightly superior oven spring and, because it was less wide, a higher rise and, to my taste, a more attractive shape.
Jenny Yee, my dear friend and colleague in New Zealand, who is a food scientist, advised me many years ago, when I was writing The Bread Bible, that the most accurate way to analyze the crumb of bread or cake is by photocopying it rather than photographing it so here are both the photocopy and the photograph to illustrate the difference between the final loaves.
Apr 8, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Baking Bible
PHOTO 1 fante's door front
Philadelphia, where I first met Julia Child on TV over 50 years ago, was our final city of this year's tour. We were heading to Fante's in the Italian market, one of largest kitchenware stores in the nation, for our first event, but when we learned that it was only a 10 minute walk to the Philadelphia's Magic Garden, and had a little extra time, we decided to make a short detour. Woody had visited this incredible mosaic garden with his T'ai Chi group in 2000. Using an old vacant lot as his 'canvas,' artist Isiah Zagar constructed his magical garden of archways, grottos, and walkways using items that might have been considered to be junk to others, such as discarded glass bottles, broken mirrors, old bicycles, porcelain tiles, and myriad other objects.
Fante's, owned by the Giovannucci family is located in the heart of the Italian Market, which is open year round, both indoor and out, with sidewalk tables laden with produce and other farmers market items. We were welcomed by Mariella Giovannucci Esposito with one of Phily's traditional sandwiches, the Philly Cheese Steak, before sitting down to a waiting line of people bringing up our books to sign. The staff made my chocolate chip cookies to offer to all patrons to enjoy. I especially enjoyed talking to Erica, who grew up in the Cajun region of New Orleans, and we sang the praises of the beloved chef Paul Pruhomme, whose "Cajun Magic" spices is now in just about every supermarket in the country.
I was also delighted to see John Zagat who had recently moved to Philadelphia with his wife, my couusin, Aison Butterfass. Alison wasn't able to come but John purchased some books for family presents.
My long-time friend Rhea Denker, whom I hadn't seen for too many years, came by with her husband and then joined us for coffee and for some wonderful and catching up on what has transpired since last we met. Then off we drove to Chef Anthony's Italian Market in Chadds Ford--an hours drive away. I first met Anthony Stella many years ago. At the time he was a restaurateur in Delaware but we met at a mutual friend Fritz Blanc who owned the famed Deux Chiminees in Philly. Anthony sent me an old-time recipe he had unearthed, with the hope that I could improve it and it went on to become one of my all time favorite cakes: the Whip Cream Cake, now in "Rose's Heavenly Cakes".
When we entered the front of Anthony's shop, tables were filled with attendees and their stacks of books. After my telling the story of how Anthony I met, we gave an informal discussion and Q & A while everyone enjoyed of our English Dried Fruit Cake served on toothpicks.
We were delighted to meet Cindy, one of Harold Kitchens' bloggers each of whom had made a recipe from The Baking Bible to post of her blog and offered a give away of one of the pieces of my product line.
Anthony and his charming wife Amy treated us to a fine dinner at their favorite retaurant, the award winning Harry's Savoy Grill. We dined on exquisitely prepared lobster, crab cakes and scallops. Chef Patric D'Amico is a master at blending complex flavors and we savored every mouthful.
Continue reading "Trio of Events in Philadelphia: Baking Bible Tour part 16 " »
Apr 4, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
The Ins and Outs of Making Your Own Wedding Cake
If you are a home baker, chef, or especially a pastry chef, people are going to expect (or at least hope) that you will be making your own wedding cake. After having made over 100 wedding cakes, and gotten to experience first hand all the dramas surrounding a wedding, I have a few basic ideas to help keep your sanity intact and allow you to enjoy your own wedding.
First, keep in mind that wedding cake portions are traditionally small. A three-tier cake (12 inches, 9 inches, and 6 inches will serve 150 people. If you are anticipating more guests or chose to serve larger portions, make a sheet cake in addition to the tiered cake. (The batter for two 12 inch layers is equal to one 18 by 12 inch sheet cake.) Tiered cakes take longer to cut and serve and since the wedding cake comes at the end of the reception, guests often leave before the entire cake is cut.
A good plan is to make the cake layers ahead and freeze them. If frosting the layers before freezing, they need to be set, unwrapped, in the freezer for a few hours until frozen solid so as not to mar the decorations when wrapping. They will need to be defrosted gradually by unwrapping and setting them overnight in the refrigerator, to avoid condensation. Be sure to use a refrigerator that is odor free as butter and or chocolate absorbs aromas readily. If freezing the layers unfrosted, wrap them well in several layers of plastic wrap. It is also helpful to set the wrapped cakes in freezer weight zip seal bags. You want to keep the cake from drying or absorbing any odors in the freezer.
If you choose to have a traditional white (or ivory, assuming and hoping you are using butter!) the best choice of covering the cake, if not using fondant, is mousseline. At relatively warm temperatures it holds up well, and even at excessively high temperatures, should it melt, it is so beautifully emulsified it forms an elegant sauce. (See base recipe below. You can add different flavorings such as colorless liquors. Fruit purees, lemon curd, or cooled melted chocolate will tint the mousseline so best used as the filling between the layers.)
If traveling with a tier cake it is highly advisable to stake the tiers. Drive a 3/8 inch wooden dowel, sharpened at one end, through the tiered cake layers to keep them from sliding. Choose a dowel that is about 6 inches longer than the height of the finished cake for ease in removal. Before frosting each cake layer, it is a good idea to cut two 1 inch long slits in the center of each cardboard base to form an X before placing the cake layers on top. This will enable the dowel to penetrate through the cardboard without risk of compressing the cake. No need to make the cuts on the cardboard supporting the bottom tier.
Use a hammer, tapping gently, to drive the dowel through to the bottom of the cake. When the cake is ready to be displayed, remove the dowel by twisting and pulling it up and out of the cake. Frost or place an ornament on top of the cake to hide the small hole.
Alternatively, you can use a 3/16 inch decoratively covered wooden cake base and a 1/2 inch dowel attached to its center with a flat head screw (similar to a sheet rock screw). Be sure first to make a hole in the dowel slightly smaller than the screw to prevent the dowel from splitting. The dowel must be shorter than the height of the completed cake. Also drill a slightly larger than 1/2 inch hole in the center of each cardboard base before placing the cake layer on top. When ready to tier the cake, lift the layer supporting it with the palms of your hands. Line up the center hole with the top of the dowel and carefully slip the layer down to the base or layer beneath it. To prevent marring the frosting, when the cake layer gets almost to the base or layer beneath it, remove your hands and allow it to drop gently into place.
Mar 31, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
Just back from Washington DC where Sunday night, at the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference, our book won the award in the Baking Savory or Sweet category. How gratifying, after all those years of work, to receive such a validation and honor.