Mar 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have always been led around by my nose. I still remember the enchantment of my first aromas: freshly ground coffee, honeysuckle, the ocean air, and bread baking. And I was always passionate about what I ate. When I was a very little girl, I experienced flavors so intensely that my young palate could not tolerate most of them. But as I got older I began to delight in many foods and was intrigued to discover the importance of smell to taste.
The first time I heard of perfumer Mandy Aftel was many years ago, when eating at Daniel Patterson's first San Francisco restaurant Elizabeth Daniel. One of the courses was accompanied by a tiny vial of an exotic essential oil that we were encouraged to smell as we tasted the food. The blending of the aroma and taste was surprisingly sensational. Chef Patterson went on to coauthor a book with Mandy which was published by Artisan 10 years ago: Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Foods and Fragrance.
I was so impressed by the groundbreaking creativity of these two artists that we became lasting friends. When Daniel got married I was inspired to fly to the west coast and create a wedding cake that became the most beautiful and unusual of all the cakes in my book Rose's Heavenly Cakes. And Mandy, from time to time, sends me samples of her extraordinary essential oils and sprays for experimenting in my baking and cooking. It is amazing how a drop of essential oil of basil, or a tiny spritz of cepe, transform and enhance a dish. And a drop of her essential oil of vanilla on a sugar cube, stored with a cake after baking, infuses into the entire cake.
Just as one of the major secrets of great chocolate or coffee producers, is access to the rare and limited supplies of the best beans, Mandy's access to the sources of her aromatic ingredients gives her the special palate with which to create and blend her aromas. She has been featured in several magazines including a major feature in Vogue Magazine, and is the author of several books on the subject of aroma.
Last year Mandy created a perfume for me combining two of my favorite aromas: sandalwood and jasmine. I couldn't imagine how the two would intermingle but that is the magic of her exceptional talent. And recently She created a multi award winning perfume to which I became completely addicted: Cuir de Gardenia Extrait. I start each day with a drop rubbing it between my wrists and can still smell its lingering fragrance at bedtime. If my taste can be defined by one essential aroma, this is it. Words cannot do it justice but the closest I can come is: alluringly ethereal floral notes perfectly balanced by an elegantly exotic warm base. It suggests the promise of wonderful secret discoveries. And I want to live in this smell forever.
When I asked Mandy why she named the gardenia essence 'cuir' which means leather in french, she explained that is is because it has beaver castoreum which has the smell of leather and had been used for hundreds of years in perfume but is now rarely used.
Mandy is a poet, a philosopher, an alchemist, a magician, and a beautiful friend. For more information, go to aftelier.
Feb 27, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
Here is the link to my latest contribution to Food Arts Magazine. This time the subject is tips for making the creamiest possible ice cream.
Feb 22, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
There is only one moment in book publishing more exciting than seeing the "laid out pages" of the manuscript, complete with all the photos and the final design. That moment is when the actual book arrives. Woody are now in the midst of proofing these laid out pages against the copy edited version. Proofing is a horribly laborious process as one so often sees what ought to be there rather than what is (a great metaphor!). What takes away the pain, however, is enjoying the beauty of the pages.
The offiicial pub date is November 4 but it can be pre ordered now on Amazon: The Baking Bible
The major advantage of preordering is not only being among the first to receive the book but also the deep discount ($28.80 instead of the cover price of $40).
Feb 20, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
Up until this month, the first and only country to publish a translation of my book The Bread Bible, published in 2013, was Czechoslovakia. It was so exciting to see my familiar book cover in a language totally unfamiliar to me and thrilling to get a letter from a reader saying he made the pizza and it was the best he ever tasted.
This month two other countries have joined the list: China, a few weeks ago, and now today I just got the link and cover photo of the Spanish Bread Bible, published by RBA who published the Spanish translation of The Cake Bible a few years ago.
Feb 15, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
Thermoworks, producer of the Thermapen, my favorite instant read thermometer, has recently created The ChefAlarm: an accurate probe thermometer with alarm, ideal for use to determine and be alerted to desired finished temperature of food in both ovens and grills. They've also designed a simple device that clips onto an oven rack and secures the probe, enabling you to use the ChefAlarm as an oven thermometer. It is highly accurate and has a maximum temperature of 700F/371C.
When using the ChefAlarm for a roast chicken, for example, the probe is inserted into the thigh. The probe's cable feeds through the side of the oven door (or grill cover) into the sturdy device that can be magnitized onto the side of the oven or placed on a nearby counter. The device can be set for a minimum and a maximum temperature. An adjustable volume alarm will sound when it reaches the minimum temperature and again when it reaches the maximum.
I love using the ChefAlarm in my gas grill, especially in this exceptionally cold winter weather. As the probe should not be subjected to the direct flame, I turn off the burner under the probe after preheating the grill. I can monitor the progress through my dining room window and stay warm indoors until the alarm sounds and it's time to take the food off the grill.
Feb 12, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
Order from Amazon
I don't speak Chinese, but I can tell you that this will be an excellent translation based on the many technical questions asked by the Chinese editors and proof readers.
Here is the introduction I wrote in English:
Introduction to The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
The first translation of The Cake Bible took place many years ago for the United Kingdom. The biggest challenge at the time was the difference in flours but I soon discovered the rationale behind the phrase "two countries separated by one language!" The words were the same but the way in which they were used was quite different, for example, cake pan became cake tin.
When I was offered the opportunity to have The Cake Bible and The Bread Bible published in China and translated into Chinese I was overjoyed. Chinese food was the first cuisine I experienced as a child outside of my own home in New York City, when I was a very picky eater, and I adored it. I decided that when I grew up I wanted to move to Chinatown so that I could eat Chinese food all the time. And I read every book I could find on Chinese culture. At one of my first jobs I persuaded a Chinese colleague to teach me the language. Sadly he left before he could teach me only three phrases: the inevitable "how are you?"; "where are you going?"(at my request); and what he must of thought might be useful in polite social conversations where weather is always a safe subject: "rain is falling." This was 50 years ago and I carried these cherished phrases with me all this time.
I knew that none of these limited phrases would help me to understand how faithful a Chinese translation of my books would be to the original. (To my amazed delight, the technical queries that came to me in English from the Chinese proof reader were more meticulously detailed than any I had ever encountered in my own country, so I knew my fears were groundless.) But my greatest concern was that instead of being two countries separated by one language it would be two countries separated by ovens! Several years ago I had been invited by an Egyptian-American food writer to accompany her to China to teach baking at a culinary school where she was teaching French cooking. Unfortunately, she had to withdraw the invitation when she discovered that there were no ovens for traditional Euro-American baking. It is so good to learn that this has changed. And it is so very gratifying to know that the world has grown smaller, that cultural barriers are dissolving, and that I will be able to open new doors by sharing my work and so many of the recipes and techniques I love with the people whose culture I so value.
Feb 10, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
At first I thought it had to be a mistake but Amazon is actually offering Rose's Heavenly Cakes Kindle edition for $2.51! The offer is good until the end of February.
rose's heavenly baking kindle edition
Feb 08, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I wouldn't have missed it for the world--but I almost did because I didn't know about it ahead of time. May of 2010 I decided to attend the Beard Awards at Lincoln Center even though my most recent book Rose's Heavenly Cakes, which had just won the International Association of Culinary Professionals Book of the Year Award, had not even been nominated for the Beard Awards.
There were over 1000 attendees but by some fortuitous miracle I bumped into Ariane and Michael Batterberry as we were pouring into the theater where the award ceremony was to be held. Michael immediately congratulated me on my recent award and another friend and colleague, Silvie Bigar who was standing next to us, congratulated him and Ariane for their present one. "What award?" I questioned. Michael, with his usual gracious humility said: "The Life Time Achievement Award!"
I've long known that Michael Batterberry, publisher of Food Arts Magazine, was an amazingly eloquent, fascinating, and entertaining speaker. In fact, in an interview when I was once given a choice of any person living or dead that I would like to have as a dinner date, Michael was my first choice. But until that night, when I heard both him and his wife Ariane's acceptance speeches, I never realized what a brilliant speaker Ariane is as well.
When I visited their table at dinner after the awards Michael invited me to join them as there was an empty chair next to him. The last words I said to him were: "I love you." I didn't know it was also a goodbye.
My only regret of the event was that I could not share the amazing experience of hearing the Batterberries speak at the awards ceremony, but now I can! Just this week Food Arts Magazine sent this link to a few videos, one of which is the James Beard Award for Batterberries (the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award). Another is Dan Barber's Introduction to the Lifetime Achievement Award. Be sure also to click on
Batterberry on Julia for a delightful reminiscence.
Feb 06, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
Cookstr is a great website that gives recipes from what they consider to be the top cookbooks.
Click here and, in addition to my profile and links to several of my recipes, check out the first announcement of an exciting new 'Rose' product!
Feb 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
and I love them both. For many years I didn't drink tea at all, associating it with childhood colds and fevers when my mother would bring a cup of hot tea to my bedside. Actually I didn't become a big tea appreciator until i visited Kate Coldrick in Devon, England, and discovered her husband Oliver's favorite tea: Dilmah Premium Ceylon .
I learned from Kate to allow it to brew for only 2 minutes instead of the usual 4 to 6 to keep it from becoming bitter. And I like to add a teaspoon of honey and a touch of heavy cream. But the most important thing about brewing tea after the quality of the tea itself is the quality and temperature of the water. Different types of teas require different water temperatures to reach their peak of flavor. I've had Japanese green tea that required water that was barely warm. I find that black tea has the best flavor when brewed with water around 203F/95C which is below boiling. Using water that is too hot can result in bitterness.
Until recently, I had been heating the water for the tea in the microwave and often I didn't catch it before it came to a boil. Then I discovered the Chef'sChoice "SmartKettle," which makes it possible to set precise temperatures and knew at once that it was the answer. Not only does it maintain the temperature setting until ready to pour, once shut off and cooled the illuminated read-out doubles as a room thermometer! And is is faster than the microwave.