May 14, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Has it ever happened to you when reducing/concentrating liquid in the microwave: Suddenly you hear a loud blast, open the microwave oven door, and find that most of the liquid has spattered all over the walls, ceiling, and base of the oven.
It's been happening to me once too often since I've moved from an apartment building in New York City to a house in the country. So I finally had to get to the bottom of the problem.
Essentially the problem is that a high powdered microwave will have more power in a private home than in a building where many people are using electricity for various appliances. The solution turned out to be so simple: Set the microwave at lower power.
My microwave at high power is over 1000 watts so I set it at medium power which is 550 watts. It took longer to concentrate the juices but they didn't bubble over or explode.
Always use a container much larger than the liquid. Spray it with nonstick cooking spray, and that will ensure that the liquid will not bubble over the top.
Stir the liquid often while reducing it.
If you have a scale that allows you to turn off the automatic shutoff, you can use weight instead of volume to reduce liquids. For example, tare out (remove) the weight of the container, and add the liquid. If it is 100 grams and you want to reduce it by half, then as it thickens you can weigh the container and continue reducing until it is 50 grams.
May 07, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
This is truly the queen of buttercreams: silky, buttery, light and airy, and a bit temperamental. Combining the Italian meringue with the butter is the tricky part. It is essential that the two mixtures have near the same temperature. And sooner or later it happens to everyone: Instead of becoming a beautifully emulsified satiny texture, it starts to curdle and separate. Your heart drops and panic sets in--all that expensive butter and time....But all is not lost. Here are some tips and also a solution should all else fail:
Use an instant read thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the mixture is between 65° to 70°F/19° to 21°C and adjust as needed. If not using a thermometer, try adjusting with just a small amount of the buttercream.
If all else fails, with your hands, squeeze out the liquid that has separated and pour it into a large measuring cup with a spout. On high speed, beat the remaining butter until it becomes smooth. Then gradually beat in the liquid. The resulting buttercream will be less airy but perfectly emulsified and silky smooth.
Note: You will have a higher degree of success if using high fat butter.
Also, it works best to add all the meringue to all the whipped butter rather than the reverse. This technique is detailed in Rose's Heavenly Cakes and The Baking Bible.
May 05, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Scottish Shortbread--the purest butter cookie, from Rose's Christmas Cookies. Click here to watch the video.
This is part of an ongoing series of How To Bake Videos, produced by American Products Group for Rose's Signature Series.
May 04, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Mezza House has been on Main Street in Hackettstown for 2-1/2 years but it only caught my eye last week. Loving Lebanese and Mediterranean food as I do we lost no time in making a reservation for dinner.
The restaurant is cozy/small and run by chef owner Nellie, who makes you feel so at home it's like having a Lebanese mother cook your dinner. Everything is made from scratch including the kibbeh (a savory mixture of ground beef and spices stuffed with lamb and pine nuts) so popular there was none available which means we have to return as soon as possible! We loved the hummus, and the M'Jadara, a traditional dish of lentils, rice, and caramelized onions served with a copious amount of creamy, snowy white whipped garlic so delicious I actually asked for more. Nellie shared that it is garlic, olive oil and lemon juice, pureed in a food processor. She would make a fortune if she bottled it.
We were too full for dessert but had to try to baklava and so glad we did. It was the least sweet baklava I've ever experienced--deliciously crispy and flavorful---some with whole pistachios.
Mezza House is open for lunch and dinner and reservations can be made on Open Table or at (908) 269-8141. It is a bring your own bottle restaurant and your wine will be enhanced by the most beautiful wine glasses I've seen in any restaurant in the area.
May 01, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
The Bread Bible Bake Along is now linked to a new website. It is administered by Vicki and her daughter Elle. Click here to see the new site. You will also see how to join the group if you would like to be an active participant, or simply enjoy it as an observer.
I know no activity that gives more joy than baking bread.
Apr 30, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2016
Whenever life takes us to the Hudson River Valley, our dear friends Biliam Van Roestenberg of Liberty View Farm and Agnes Devereux of the Village Tea Room host a spectacular dinner and we all invite friends from the area.
The warm spring weather enabled us to dine outdoors with a view of the apple orchards in full bloom!
This month, we were once again presenters at the International Wine and Food Festival at the Mohonk Mountain House. By happy coincidence, Sara Moulton was also a presenter so she and her husband Bill Adler were among the dinner guests. (We each bought and personalized each other's newest books.) And we were delighted that Nina Smiley, of the Mohonk Mountain House could join us. We learned that she had just started a Wellness program which includes meditation, T'ai Chi, and "forest bathing."
When we were in Vancouver for Nathan Fong's wedding, we met fellow award winning author Hiroko Shimbo and discovered that she and her husband Buzz have a house near New Paltz so they were also invited guests. Coincidentally, Hiroko was just featured in Sara's beautiful new book Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101. Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better
Agnes prepared a delicious dinner beginning with warm roasted red onion salad with ewe's blue cheese and a sherry vinaigrette.
The main course was pan roasted salmon with rhubarb relish and Hawthorne Valley yogurt, accompanied by an amazingly delicious red cabbage braised in rhubarb, and a local arugula salad with stone ground mustard vanaigrette.
Once the sun set the temperature began to drop so we enjoyed dessert indoors: Agnes's signature Honey Bee Cake (which she says was inspired by my Honeycomb Chiffon Pie from The Pie and Pastry Bible). She also served pastry cream filled cream puffs and Orchard Hill Cider Mill Ten 66 Pommeau.
Apr 29, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
My favorite tender and flaky pie crust, from The Baking Bible. Click here to watch the video.
This is a first in an ongoing series of How To Bake Videos, produced by American Products Group for Rose's Signature Series.
Apr 21, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
I'm so excited that my new line of baking tools now has its own Facebook Page. In less than 2 months there are more than 2900 followers.
There are links to the product line on the Facebook page. You can also find them on Amazon if you search for Rose Levy Beranbaum Signature Series. And on this blog home page, on the left, under "Rose's Family of Bakeware Products."
Apr 16, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2016
My friends the Meneguses gifted me with a huge batch of spinach from their farm. Here it is trimmed, washed, and ready to blanch. It filled my largest "everything bowl to the very top."
Blanched 2 minutes before freezing to keep the color. Reduced in volume to 1/10th! 100 grams, together with cheddar cheese, made a delicious filling for an omelet.
Packaged for freezing for many an omelet to come.
Apr 02, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2016
What a challenge to try to summarize all the exceptional talents and qualities of Diane Boate. Perhaps her father said it best when, as a little girl, he dubbed her Mrs. Much.
Our friendship began 20 years ago when she called me and introduced herself as "the cake lady of San Francisco." She was planning a trip to New York City with her partner Robert Meyers (now her husband) and hoped to get together. She also told me that she had lost her only two sons to AIDS and that the reason she brought it up in our very first conversation was that she wanted to avoid an awkward moment should it inevitably arise later on.
Contemplating the devastation of such an unimaginable loss I expected the possibility of a defeated person but instead discovered again and again over the years that followed that instead of succumbing to self-pity, Diane turned her grief to the joy of creativity and most of all to helping others and making the world a more loving, beautiful and interesting place. I have never known a person to possess so many skills: from artistry, photography, crafts, cooking, baking, writing, gardening, and even playing both the piano and banjo by heart and ear. You may have seen the recent posting of this exquisite crocheted blouse she made for me after my having admired it years ago.
I asked Diane if she would write a short bio, and in her own words highlight the activities and accomplishments she values most in her life.
From 1966 to 1976 I held three of the only regularly paying jobs I would ever have, for The Dating Game TV Show, The Egg and The Eye Gallery, and The Renaissance Pleasure Faire.
From 1976 to the present 2016 it has been a 40 year run being The Cake Lady, the Hat Lady, Photographer, Botanical illustration artist and published writer.
Special awards were winner in Gourmet Gala March of Dimes food extravaganza, winner SF Urban Fair cake decorating contest, being selected to produce cake for 2000 visiting mayors, winning a contest at National AIDS Grove Mad Hatters fundraiser for a huge hat comprised of 27 handmade dolls, being made President of the SF Hat Society, being selected to write a regular baking column for EATDRINKFILMS.com.
Working through the grief of losing my sons to the AIDS epidemic, I embarked on learning new skills as in taking my first Art History class and earning an Aplus from a tough European trained instructor. If I can do that, I told myself, I can do anything.
For escapes I disappear into knitting and crochet projects, and always back to reading books. (One year in the 60s without a job, I read 87 books.)
I have come to an idea that everything I do has a foundation of music behind it. I started music school when I started kindergarten in a Convent School in Eureka, California, my home town, graduating 10 years later, going on to Napa High School and College.
I see color when I hear music. Music has given me mathematics, form, cadence, harmony, structure, and joy. If you listen carefully when I play the piano, you would understand where my flights of fancy come from when making a hat or decorating a cake, or where patience and discipline fit in when constructing clothes or any number of crafts, or where sadness tried to drag me down but I came out the other side, singing.
The main thing with me is, what is the next new thing I am going to do? How can I surprise someone today?