May 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Happenings
When friends come to town and invite me for lunch, asking me to chose the restaurant if it’s downtown in my neck of the woods my mind leaps to Gotham Bar and Grill. if it’s uptown, it’s Alto. And I’ve never been disappointed.
My friend Anna Schwartz, who owns a wonderful art gallery in Melbourne Australia was making one of her all too rare visits last week and staying a mere few blocks from Alto. it was an easy choice. And happily, after something like 15 tests, I had just perfected my ideal of a German chocolate cake for my new book. so I walked up town with two pieces—one for Anna to share with her husband Morry and one for chef Scott Connant.
May 10, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Travel Adventures
People often ask if I love to travel since I seem to be doing more and more of it these days. The real answer is that I am torn between the adventure/discovery of visiting other places and the comfort of being home. There never seems to be enough time to synthesize all the experiences from each trip. And I’m never happier than when sitting on the back porch in Hope (as I am doing now) listening to the birds and watching the spring-time new bright green leaves dancing in the breezy sunlight.
But just two weeks ago, I attended the annual Swiss press luncheon, this year at 11 Madison, and it rekindled my wanderlust all over again. I’ve loved the idea of Switzerland since childhood: Heidi and the alps stirred a longing in this New York skyscraper-landscaped child’s heart. I don’t remember when chocolate entered the picture but once it did, the result was at least eight “research” trips to this glorious country. I’ve enjoyed hiking through the alps, visiting the Jung Fraujoch, eating the entire contents of a wooden trencher filled with the best triple creme I’ve ever experienced, in the mountains of Gruyere. I’ve eaten chocolate in every canton of Switzerland, tasted the fabulous buttery Engandine Nut Torte in the Engandine Valley near Klosters, drunk amazing white and red wines including Dezaley, and Rubro, Merlot de Ticino; eaten white and black truffles in the same meal, weighed out on an antique balance scale before shaving over the pasta, and astonishingly tender but flavorful wild boar from the forests outside of Berne. In short, I’ve had a secret love affair with Switzerland for many years now and I’m ready to come clean and share some of the joy.
I’ve been proclaiming from the rooftops tops that as soon as I return from Slohomish to visit the family in June I’m staying put until Fall. But that was before I was tempted by photos of the Glacier Express (see www.graubuenden.ch) which travels 7 1/2 hours over 91 bridges from the high Alpine regions of St. Moritz, Davos, Zermott, with unparalleled views of the Matterhorn, past the fortresses and castles of the Domleschg, through the Rhine Gorge--the Swiss Grand Canyon and then to source of the Rhine River. Count me in—or should I say on! I have just one problem: The moment I’m in a moving object I tend to fall asleep. I just have to find out if this spectacular scenery will prove the exception.
While watching slides of the beautiful regions of Switzerland we were treated to a lovely lunch prepared by the newly arrived executive Swiss Chef Daniel Humm. It was appropriately light but exquisitely flavorful. The first course was tiny index-finger-sized columns of roasted beets, follwed by moist and deilicious Atlantic wild halibut with hon shimeji mushrooms and tiny new asparagus in a vin jaune sauce. And the Passion fruit meringue tart with macademia pralines and toasted coconut ice cream, prepared by the very talented pastry chef Nicole Kaplan was among the most exquisite desserts I’ve ever tasted anywhere.
May 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment
When it comes to baking, the three most critical factors to ensure the best results are the quality of the ingredients, the quantity of the ingredient (I prefer weight to volume) and the temperature. For the latter, it’s often useful to have a thermometer but if it’s not an accurate one it’s better to use none at all. You can get away without one for most baking but when it comes to sugar syrups it is almost essential. And it’s reassuring when baking bread to know for sure when it’s reached the proper internal temperature. For roasting or grilling I can’t begin to imagine doing without a thermometer.
Since mercury thermometers for use in the kitchen were banned by the FDA I’ve been searching for a viable replacement that would be both accurate and affordable. I love infra-red for surface temperature such as the inside of the oven, the freezer or frig, but have not found the ones that also include probes adequately reliable for internal temperatures. For these uses I can now recommend the CDN Pro Accurate™ Quick Tip™ Digital Cooking Thermometer on a Rope Model Q2-450 that I’ve been testing since the Chicago Housewares Show a few months ago. I’m pleased to report that tested against my old reliable mercury thermometer it is as accurate and possibly even faster. This is now the one that I pull out with the most regularity, probably because it’s so handy in design and so extraordinarily easy to use. Since I’m not working with large volumes, I especially appreciate the “quick tip” feature--the sensor is in the tip of the probe so it doesn’t require the usual deep immersion to get an accurate reading (No more tilting of the pot!). There are so many useful features I’ll list them here:
Temperature Range: -40 to 450˚F, -40 to 230˚C ±1/2 ˚
One button operation (easy to turn on and off but auto turn-off after 10 minutes)
Big digit readout
Data hold (locks reading on display for use in low light conditions)
Hangs on a rope
Suggested retail price under $20
The company also offers a 23-page booklet on “temperature and thermometer tips” at www.cdnw.com or by mail if you send a stamped self-addressed envelope to:
CDN Customer Service
PO Box 10947
Portland, OR 97296
Check out their site for other useful thermometers such as one specific to grilling. I haven’t tried it out yet but the outdoor grilling season is just beginning so stay tuned!
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