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« August 2006 | Main | October 2006 »

Fallen Cherry Tree

Sep 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Happenings

due to the extraordinary amount of rain we've had this summer and the extraordinary amount of rocks in our soil, one towering cherry tree toppled with a resounding thud missing our house by a mere 3 feet. it served as a major wakeup call that when you live in the forest you need to assess the state of trees that shade the house to keep it cool in summer but can also be a major hazzard. we hired a terrific tree guy to assess what needed to be trimmed or felled and he reduced the toppled cherry tree to wood chips in short order.


Starched Thighs and Charred Chilis

Sep 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Press Mentions

really fun article in yesterday's washington post. click on the link:

washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/05/AR2006090500256.html

reprinted here with the kind permission of the author food editor Bonnie Benwick! Be sure to scroll down to Jacques Pepin's contribution--i can just picture his expression when what he reported happening happened!

(just got the paper and saw that my esteemed friend Mitchell Davis is featured in an interview right next to the above mentioned article, re his new book "kitchen sense: more than 600 recipes to make you a great home cook"! bravo mitchel!!!)

TALES FROM THE PROS
Starched Thighs And Charred Chilis
Wednesday, September 6, 2006; Page F01
Kitchen dramas? We've all had them, even the pros. The dramas turn out to be learning experiences -- at least that's what we tell ourselves.
As proof, we asked some of our favorite culinary luminaries to share their own cooking class tales. Let these be a lesson to us all.
-- Bonnie S. Benwick

ROSE LEVY BERANBAUM, baker and cookbook author:
I was teaching at Rich's Cooking School in Atlanta in August several years ago, and the demo kitchen was so hot my legs stuck together. In a moment of desperation/inspiration, I reached for what turned out to be the perfect solution -- and not just for my baking: cornstarch.
DUFF GOLDMAN, owner of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore and star of Food Network's "Ace of Cakes":
When I was a student at the [Culinary Institute of America] at Greystone [Napa Valley, Calif.] I was known as the bread guy because I worked at a bread factory after school. One of my teachers, an amazing bread baker, asked me to make 200 baguettes for a big American Culinary Federation conference. I was really paying attention, baked 'em all . . . they had a nice jump on them. They were beautiful. I was so proud of myself.
The next day my teacher came in and tore one in half to taste it. "Did you try one?" he asked. I'd forgotten the salt. I had to make another 200.

Continue reading "Starched Thighs and Charred Chilis" »

The Bread Bible Goes into New Printing!

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

at last the new printing of the bread bible has arrived with all the corrections! it will list 3 on the page after the title page which means 3rd printing.

thank all of you who have made it possible to have this book that i adore in it's best shape.

My Husband the Mad Mower

Sep 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Happenings

Believe me, I’m grateful that Elliott takes care of the great outdoors here in Hope so that I can sit on the back porch and write about it! But come late August I get nervous when he starts making threatening noises about mowing the back lawn again and that I’d better pick the flowering garlic chives before he mows them down (he knows this to be an unforgivable offense but still it propels me into action).

Regular chives with round leaves have lavender blossoms which bloom early Summer but garlic chives have flat leaves which I find more flavorful, and delicate white blooms that smell very aromatic and make an exquisite and tasty garnish. They are particularly lovely sprinkled on salads such as this cucumber and onion salad. I also cut the leaves into small slices and freeze them for baked potatoes during the Winter.

My garlic chives plant was given to me by my cousin Marion Bush whose company “Wild Edibles” in Westchester NY supplies wonderful things from ramps to lobster mushrooms to restaurants in the greater NY area. She learned from her mother my Aunt Margaret who in turn learned from our Great Uncle Nat who founded the New England Mycological Society. Years ago Aunt Margaret taught chef Larry Forgione about wild edibles and also provided him with them for his restaurant. She likes to joke about how they used to meet like drug dealers in the early hours of dawn in a parking lot in Long Island as my Uncle David didn’t want it known that she was doing this!

The one plant that Marion gave me over 20 years ago is now growing everywhere except for the spot where I officially planted it, which means we may eventually have a lawn of garlic chives. This does not please Elliott. But look at the bouquet I harvested and decide for yourself!

It reminds me of a sad/funny moment at Uncle Nat’s funeral in the Berkshires. The ground was carpeted with thyme. Aunt Margaret couldn’t resist saying: “Are you supposed to have (a) wild thyme in a graveyard?” Thus carrying on another Uncle Nat tradition…punning.

The Importance of Pourfection for Baking

Sep 10, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in New Products

POURfect Bowls, Beakers, and Measuring Spoons

Good design is something I value very highly. The first thing I learned about design when I was a freshman in college, is the concept of form following function. Over the years I have found it to be both disappointing and outrageous that in the arena of home baking, the critical tools--measuring spoons and cups with spouts for measuring liquid--have fallen so far from this design principle and, more often than not, are inconsistent in accuracy. I kept thinking: no wonder so many people are under the mistaken impression that baking is hard--there is no standard of measure for the ingredients and unfortunately most people seem to think that measuring is easier than weighing.

When I bake, I weigh almost every ingredient except for small but essential ingredients like baking powder, baking soda, salt, and yeast. 1/8 teaspoon more or less of baking powder or baking soda makes a critical difference in determining whether a cake will dome, have a flat surface, or sink in the middle--as does 1/8 teaspoon of yeast in bread baking which can affect the rising time by as much as an hour for each rise. Most scales don't measure these minute ingredients as accurately as measuring spoons do. And I know most people who bake measure liquid by volume not weight.

With each new brand or design of measuring spoons and liquid measuring cups I eagerly ran (with hope in my heart) to the sink to start checking by pouring in water. A cup of water, by the way, measures 8 fluid ounces but does not weigh 8 ounces. Look up water in the dictionary. It defines one fluid 8 ounce cup of water as 238.35 grams which is 8.4 ounces. The volume reading should be taken at eye level and the meniscus--the clear space at the very top--should be above the line. (Incidentally, liquid measures are not designed to measure solids such as sugar and flour which need measuring cups with unbroken rims on which to level off the ingredient.)

Continue reading "The Importance of Pourfection for Baking" »

My Television Series: Baking Magic with Rose Levy Beranbaum

Sep 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Television

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from readers of my books and wished I could just be with them in their kitchens to guide them through the maze of baking. Well now – thanks to the magic of television – I can be! If you believe a picture is worth 1000 words, here’s some exciting news – I recently finished taping 13 episodes for a brand new public television cooking series called BAKING MAGIC WITH ROSE LEVY BERANBAUM. The series has started to air on PBS stations across the country. WGBH--CHANNEL 2 IN BOSTON PREVIEWED THE FIRST THREE EPISODES AS PART OF THEIR PLEDGE DRIVE. PBS stations air their programs at different times depending on the local market. I would suggest you get in touch with your local PBS station and ask them if they are planning to air Baking Magic. Feel free to let them know that you are very interested in viewing the program.

Now you can see step-by-step demonstrations of all those important baking techniques that you’ve been reading about. The series includes a wide range of recipes from all three of my “bibles” (Cake, Pie & Pastry, and Bread) bringing you a delightful assortment of baked treats.

Zucchini Blossoms

Sep 14, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Savory Cooking

There’s a reason I can’t offer a photo of these exquisite fried blossoms: I couldn’t stop eating them to photograph them they were that compellingly delicious!

I’ve been wanting to try this dish for years and every year the season passed before I got to it. Now it will become an annual tradition.

The delicate blossoms puff up in the hot oil and obtain a fine crispy crust from the light batter while remaining slightly plush and moist inside. They have a surprisingly fresh and lovely aromatic flavor faintly reminiscent of the vegetable itself. And they’re quite quick and easy to prepare.

I love to use Wondra flour for the batter as it mixes so readily with the water and forms the most delicate coating.

First inspect each blossom by carefully opening it to ensure that there are no bugs hiding inside. Then rinse them quickly in a colander and pat them dry.

Continue reading "Zucchini Blossoms" »

Zito's Lard Bread in the Bread Bible

Sep 16, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

i've been waiting to post this exciting news until the new gold medal harvest king flour launched but now that any day it will be on the shelves i can restrain myself no longer!

i was never entirely happy with the recipe as it appeared in the bread bible and finally got to the bottom of it. zito's never actually made this bread--it was made by parisi bakery and they told me the secret. instead of 3 ounces of prosciutto they use a combination of 6 ounces of prosciutto, pepperoni, and spicy hot sopresseta. They also add about 2 tablespoons of lard to the dough. NO WONDER!!!

for extra intensity, they wait til the end of the day when all the meats have had a chance to dry more and use the hard dried ends.

the reason i was waiting for the terrific new harvest king flour to become available is that it is the perfect protein content for this bread. if it isn't in your market yet and you just can't wait, use half bread flour half unbleached all-purpose.

Here's a preview of the new headnote that will appear in the fourth printing of the bread bible, but if you have the book all you need to do is omit the bacon fat brushed on top, add the lard to the dough together with the water, and use the delicious meat combination (cut into pieces 1/4 to 1/2 inch in size).

Continue reading "Zito's Lard Bread in the Bread Bible" »

Lori's Lovely Cake

Sep 29, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Wedding

A house is beautiful not because of its walls, but because of its cakes.
– old Russian proverb

lori sent me this most lovely photo and note, and I had to share it. I also happen to love Russian proverbs and especially this one as being of half Russian heritage it explains much!

oleary_cake.jpg

I just wanted to share this picture of a cake I made this past weekend, using your recipes! Your charts for scaling the base recipes and how to adjust the baking powder are a lifesaver.

Two layers are the all American chocolate butter cake, the other two are the white velvet butter cake layers. All cakes are raspberry filled and finished with buttercream and rolled marshmallow fondant.

A side note to anyone attempting fondant ribbons horizontally... use a hand-crank pasta machine for the skinny ribbons, and for layered ones, assemble them and *then* put them on the cake (I use piping gel brushed on the back)... much easier to get them straight that way.

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