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« May 2006 | Main | July 2006 »

The Best Salmon I've Ever Tasted!

Jun 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

i never thought i would be moaning with delight over food at an airport but anthony's restaurant at the seattle airport had a sign outside the entrance announcing the arrival of copper river sockeye salmon and we had an hour before boarding so i made a bee line to the restaurant.

the salmon was described as oven roasted on a plank of alder wood, lightly swathed (i think this is my word) with beurre blanc. i asked my husband to order it medium rare (fearing they would overcook it) as i dashed off (i'm always speeding in airports--they make me hyper, i.e. i want to get in and out as fast as possible) to use the nearby facilities. he instead, in his infinite wisdom, ordered it rare to medium. my first forkful told me everything i needed to know. it was plush and moist with the faint but distinct flavor of the alder wood. it was served with pencil thin asparagus and rice pilaf which were also good. but the salmon was divine.

definitely the best food i've ever been served in an airport and the best salmon bar none. america the beautiful is becoming ever more so!

Why Cakes Dome???

Jun 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

There are two desirable looks to the top of cake layers:

1) slightly rounded for a one layer cake
2) perfectly flat to stack as a multiple layer cake

Cakes dome in the middle for two reasons:
1) the metal on the outside of the pan conducts the heat faster so that the sides of the cake set while the center still continues to bake and rise higher than the sides.

2) the structure of the cake is too strong, preventing the leavening gases from escaping til toward the end of baking when they erupt through the center like a volcano.

My recipes are created to have the proper strength or structure of the batter to result in level or slightly rounded tops.

Solutions:

If you are getting doming:

1) try silicone pans (silicone does not conduct the heat the way metal does making the center to sides more even).

2) wrap metal pans with moistened cake strips. you can make your own by wetting paper towels and wrapping them in foil or purchase cake strips that can be reused many many times.

3) use a weaker flour. i you are using all purpose flour switch to cake flour.

4) increase the leavening. if using baking powder increase it by 1/4 teaspoon; if baking soda 1/16 teaspoon. you may need to increase it further depending on the results. leavening weakens the structure of the cake by breaking through the cell walls created by the gluten formed by the flour when combined with liquid.

5) increase the butter: an extra ounce of butter will coat the flour more preventing the formation of gluten, weakening the structure.

A Most Dramatic Sunset in the Delaware Water Gap

Jun 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Happenings

sunset_in_the_delaware_gap.jpg

Elliott and I have been arguing for years about whether the sun ever sets directly in the gap. I took the no 'way' position while he took the 'sooner or later' one. he was right and here's proof. in fact, it only happens two times of the year, around june 10th as the sun is heading north for its longest appearance of the year and again on july 10th on it's way back the other direction.

This year I got really lucky because in the midst of a rainy windy weekend, the sky cleared and the sun sank toward the gap just as we were returning from dinner with my new digital camera in my bag.

One other person was there with no less than 4 cameras. Apparently he's been coming to photograph the event for about as many years as we've been arguing about whether it existed or not! He says it's most dramatic when there are some clouds in the sky. I'll have to go back in July!

My First Wedding Cake Podcast

Jun 14, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Web Appearances

I was interviewed recently for a podcast just in time for the June wedding season. The interviewer was delightful, asking questions that ranged from technical, to practical, to fanciful in which I had the chance to tell about the cake I made and transported to Westport Ct., to appear both for my niece Joan Beranbaum's wedding and in Martha Stewart's wedding cake book!

For fascinating lore on weddings and traditions through the ages, be sure to listen to the second interview with Nicolas Fletcher, author of "Charlemagne's Table" on the same podcast, immediately following mine.

To listen, click here. For full details on how to get the show to play if it doesn't start automatically, go to the Eat Feed site.

Good News for Fellow Bloggers

Jun 16, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Over the past half year's life of this blog there have been about 1000 questions and responses from me (i can hardly believe it myself) which makes is rather difficult to find the answers to frequently asked questions.

We are presently working on providing an easier way to search the blog for answers to your questions.

In the very near future there will be new categories within the FAQ's, such as cakes, cookies, pies, bread, equipment, ingredients, and during the summer, as time allows, i will organize the already posted questions and replies that are most relevant into these categories making it easier to find what you need.

Stay tuned! And thanks for your patience and for your wonderful comments and questions that have made this process all absorbing and joyful instead of feeling like work.

I love the famous Buddhist quote: "Find work you love and you'll never work a day in your life!"

The Best Part About Writing Cookbooks

Jun 20, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Publicity

is the feedback... is the knowledge that other people are sharing the pleasure of one's work, and to see that one's little life is touching the lives of others.

below is a wonderful e-mail (which i have been given permission to share) from a newly born bread baker!

Dear MS Beranbaum,

I am a salesman who called on large commercial bakeries in the Midwest. I have always wanted to bake good breads, did not know where to start. Last summer my daughter purchased your book "The bread bible" for my birthday. You have completely removed the mystery of how to get good results.

The variety of bread recipes gives me the opportunity to make great things at home.

Thank you for putting such a great book on the market. I will be giving copies to my friends who like to use their kitchens.

Best wishes for the new year.

Sincerely,
Steven R. Alderson

Cherry Pie Time!!!

Jun 25, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie

remember how i bitterly complained about the birds having pecked holes in the sour cherries, leaving them on the ground to rot? well nature once again has proven it's infinite balance! this weekend i discovered 50 perfect bright red unpecked cherries still on the tree! i also found a few currants hidden behind the leaves of the currant bush and overlooked by chipmunks and birds alike. i sprang into action and made what i call a windfall pielet!

i always have some pastry scraps in the freezer so while they were defrosting i pitted the cherries and consulted the chart in my book (the pie and pastry bible) to see how much sugar and cornstarch were needed for each. this is where weighing really comes in handy.

currants need more sugar and more cornstarch than cherries as they are more sour and more juicy as well. i had enough of the small currants to stuff one into each pitted cherry (i call this churrant pie) and the filling turned out to be the equivalent of a 1/4 pie. i used an antique 7 inch red stone pie plate but even a cast iron little skillet would have worked just fine!

we had still slightly warm churrant pie for dessert for dinner and for lunch on sunday. how ironic that the cherry tree i planted in full sun that grew to bear many cherries was struck by lightening, but this scrawny old tree that i didn't even recognize as a cherry tree for many years, hidden in the shade, produced enough cherries at last to enjoy this amazing little treat! by the way, this little pielet took 35 minutes to bake in a 425 degree oven. i protected the edges with foil toward the end. and i didn't prebake the pie crust or the filling--i simply placed the dough leaves on top. it's easier for such a small pie.

the recipe i'm offering here is for a full size one from "the pie and pastry bible."

note: the absolute best way to pit cherries is by hand using a large hairpin. using mechanical devices, the pits which vary in size, can slip through and create a great deal of damage should someone unsuspectingly bite down on one, plus the hair pin technique maintains the beautiful global shape of the cherry. here's how:

search out a large metal hair pin. insert the looped end into the stem end of the cherry and use it to lift out the pit. if you like this technique as much as i do, for future use, imbed the two ends of the hair pin deeply into a cork. i use a champagne cork as it is rounded and fits comfortably into the palm of your hand.

second tip: if you have a wine or root cellar, you can leave the pie dough in it until you are ready to roll it. most cellars are around 60 degree F. which is the ideal temperature at which to roll dough. the sad fact is that when the fresh fruit season is in full swing, it's usually too hot in the kitchen to make a good crust! i recommend countering this by making the dough early in the morning. if it's still cool in the kitchen (or dining/ living room if you are willing to roll it there) proceed to making the pie. otherwise, make the dough early one morning and the pie the following morning for best results.

Continue reading "Cherry Pie Time!!!" »

Cherry Pice Cream

Jun 29, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie

Day 1 of our vacation in Hope, NJ started out with a bang: I spotted something unusual from the corner of my eye moving quckly through the brush. Suddenly it came out into the open and what I then perceived it to be was a huge bear walking around the garden. I calmly called 911 and was transferred to the local police who politely informed me that they “don’t do anything about bears.” They went on to assure me that if I don’t bother it, it won’t bother me (they didn’t realize that trampling the patience was indeed bothering me). Then Elliott pointed out that it was a baby bear and that it was now by the porch door. I went over to investigate and found that it was indeed a very sweet looking little bear, just a little larger than a large dog. It looked so friendly I started thinking “pet” but decided this would surely be a huge mistake.

The only project I had planned for today was to pit the sour cherries I purchased yesterday at the Union Square farmer’s market because even with the stem still on they do deteriorate very quickly. But since I’m really really in need of a little break from my usual activities such as baking and blogging (I’m making an exception since the season is short and I want to share this exceptional discovery, I compromised by deciding to take my husband’s advice and cook the cherries as a pie filling without a crust to serve over ice cream (hence it’s name).

We just got back from shopping for staples, one of which was ice cream to go with the cherries (yes I had to really speak sternly to myself to keep from whipping some up since I have all the necessary ingredients on hand. What really won me over to store bought was the fact that my several ice cream makers all need to have the containers chilled in the freezer for about 24 hours and I wasn’t willing to wait.

So we bought Edy’s “light, slow churned caramel delight,“ and Haagendazs’s vanilla bean, which my friend Marko rightly had just highly recommended . Both are excellent, of course the vanilla bean better with the cherries but we wanted to try the Edy’s we’d been hearing so much about. The theory behind slow churning is that the ice crystals that form are much smaller when the ice cream is frozen and churned slowly meaning you can use much less fat which usually accomplishes the same creamy non-granular consistency—in this case half the usual fat. It is truly creamy and fantastic—bravo Edy’s for putting there knowledge of science before profit. I’ll be in the long run their profit will increase!

So here’s how you make cherry pie filling without the crust and on top of the stove.: Use my recipe one posting down for the cherry pie (filling) but decrease the cornstarch to 1 tablespoon. (If your too lazy to look, it’s 20 ounces (3 1/2 cups) pitted cherries: 6 ounces (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract. Let the pitted cherries sit with the sugar and cornstarch for a minimum of 15 minutes (up to abouat 2 hours), until the sugar mixture is moistened and a syrup starts to form.

Bring the cherry mixture to a boil on medium-low heat, stirring constantly but gently so as not to break up the cherries. Raise the heat to medium-high and boil for about 10 minutes or until the liquid and cherries are bright red and the juices thickened but still possible to pour off the spoon.

Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in the almond extract (it makes the cherries taste cherrier). Allow the mixture to cool a little or use it at room temperature to spoon atop your favorite ice cream. Bliss!

By the way, don’t hold me to my word about not blogging any more during vacation—there are a few postings and a few responses to questions I intend to do, but do try to hold off with any more questions til july 12! Meantime I’ll need most of my will-power to keep from eating all of that fabulous pice cream in one sitting!

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