Category ... Did You Know
Apr 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
Arrowroot is used as a thickener for sauces and glazes. It is made from a tropical rhizome (underground stem). I like using it for glazes to top fruit on a tart, pie, or cake because it has a slight sparkle and also because it starts to thicken long before the boiling point so does not cause the fruit to soften.
Although cornstarch, also an effective thickener (when allowed to come to a full boil), has an indefinite shelf life if stored in an air-tight moisture-proof container, I have found arrow root to have a limited shelf life.
As a result of my move from New York, I discovered I had three bottles of arrowroot each of a different vintage. I seized the opportunity to do a comparative testing of their thickening powers.
The oldest one (now don't be horrified as I was!) was 24 years old! The next to oldest was 19 years old. And the third one was 14 years old.
The results were: The oldest arrowroot thickened but not effectively as it still had flow. The next to oldest thickened but not as fully as the last one which also was less tinged with yellow. This was was kept in an airtight container in an air conditioned room which accounts for its unusual viability. I recommend that if you want to be sure of the full effectiveness of arrowroot, use it up to two years from the purchase date and then replace it.
Jul 14, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
How to Rim a glass: nothing works as well as a light brushing of egg white. Enjoy your summer margaritas!
Nov 03, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
The quality of bread crust is not determined only by the type of bread being baked. There are glazes and toppings that can help to achieve a range of textures from soft and velvety to crisp and crunchy.
Here is the full range of possibilities:
Type of Glazes and Toppings
A crisp crust: Water (brushed or spritzed)
A powdery, rustic chewy crust: Flour (dusted)
A soft velvety crust: Melted butter, preferably clarified (1/2 tablespoon per average loaf)
A crisp light brown crust: 1 egg white (2 tablespoons) and 1/2 teaspoon water, lightly beaten and strained (the ideal sticky glaze for attaching seeds)
A medium shiny golden crust: 2 tablespoons egg (lightly beaten to measure) and 1 teaspoon water, lightly beaten
A shiny deep golden brown crust: 1 egg yolk (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon heavy
cream, lightly beaten
A shiny medium golden brown crust: 1 egg yolk (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon milk, lightly beaten
A very shiny hard crust: 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch and 6 tablespoons water: whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the water. Bring the remaining 1/4 cup
water to a boil and whisk the cornstarch mixture into it; simmer for about 30 seconds,
or until thickened and translucent. Cool to room temperature, then brush on the bread
before baking and again as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Note: When using an egg glaze, it goes on most smoothly if strained. I like to add a pinch of salt to make it more liquid and easier to pass through the strainer.
An egg glaze will lose its shine if using steam during the baking process.
My preference is to use Safest Choice pasteurized eggs.
May 12, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
Now here's something I didn't! When blind baking (baking a pie or tart crust without the filling before adding it) I like to use a large coffee urn filter to contain the beans or rice which are used to weight down the crust and keep it from bubbling up or slipping down at the sides. I prefer it to parchment because I find there is no need to coat it with nonstick cooking spray to keep it from lifting off a little of the crust but mostly because its shape conforms perfectly to that of the interior of the pan. A sheet of parchment has to be pleated in order to achieve this shape.
Fellow blogger Cenk Sonmezoy, from Turkey, has a terrific blog called CafeFernando. One of the great tips I learned from him as that by simply crumpling the parchment it practically shapes itself to curve into the dough lined pan.
As a graduate of FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) I should have figured this out long ago. But isn't it the case with all great ideas that one experiences that "why didn't I think of it" moment?
Thank you Cenk!
May 05, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
It always seems nothing short of miraculous how a small pool of transparent egg white can whip up to a billowy white cloud of meringue...or not!
I once took for granted that it was common knowledge that egg white will not beat if there is even the tiniest speck of fat in contact with it. But then I visied my favorite older cousin, who I thought knew everything, and was amazed to have her ask me why her egg white wouldn't beat. So I want to share the simple but all important details and discoveries I have made that will ensure success every time.
There are three important things to know about egg white.
1. The bowl and beater(s) must be free of fat. If you are not using a dishwasher, give them a rinse with water and a little vinegar.
2. Use exactly 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for 1 egg white/2 tablespoons/1 ounce/30 grams and you will never risk overbeating the whites. (Overbeating turns them dry and grainy and causes them to curdle and deflate when folding them into other mixtures.) Add the cream of tartar as soon as the beaten egg white begins to foam--after about 1 minute of beating. Start on low speed (or medium-low if using a small amount of egg white) and gradually bring the speed up to medium high. Note: more cream of tartar than the amount specified will have the opposite effect!
3. Pasteurized egg white such as from Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs makes an exceptionally stable meringue. It is similar to a Swiss meringue which involves heating the egg white over a double boiler before beating. (During the pasteurization process the egg white is heated which results in the same effect). Pasteurized egg white, however, will not beat to a stiff meringue unless either cream of tartar or lemon juice is added. You will need double the cream of tartar for pasteurized eggs: for 1 pasteurized egg white/ 2 tablespoons/2 ounces/30 grams use 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Start beating on low speed (or medium-low if using a small amount of egg white) and gradually bring the speed up to high. It will take longer than egg white that has not been pasteurized but trust me, beat long enough and you'll have meringue looking like this!
You don't even need the usual amount of sugar to achieve this creamy texture. In fact, instead of double sugar to egg white by volume I used only 1/3 the volume! Here's my new recipe!
3 large egg whites from Safest Choice Pasteurized eggs: 6 tablespoons/3 fluid ounces/3.2 ounces/90 grams
cream of tartar: 3/4 teaspoon
sugar, preferably superfine: 2 tablespoons/1 ounce/25 grams
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, starting on medium-low speed, beat the egg whites for about 1 minute or until they foam. Stop the mixer and add the cream of tartar. Continue beating, gradually raising the speed to high. When the whites begin to thicken, gradually add the sugar. Continue beating for 5 to 10 minutes or until a thick meringue forms.
Oct 01, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
No two pans cook exactly the same way any more than no two ovens bake exactly the same way. This is why exact guidelines for recipes are so difficult to make precise. With one saucepan, for example, I need to have the cooktop on low heat while with another one it needs to be medium-low to achieve the same degree of simmering.
I first discovered how non-stick coating changes the way in which a griddle cooks (or should I say griddles?) when I was making pancakes on my Farberware electric griddle some years ago. I should explain that I have two Farberware griddles and I treasure them. The first rectangular one I purchased over 30 years ago when I was a food stylist. It was the only device I could find that produced perfect, evenly browned pancakes. This is because it has an encased heating element running through the entire griddle. (Sadly these griddle are no longer being produced but can be found on ebay.)
Some years later, I discovered that Farberware was producing round griddles with non-stick coating. I loved the idea of not having to add too much butter to the pancakes to keep them from sticking but I wished that it would come in the rectangular model, which it did not. So I called Farberware and asked them if they would be willing to make one for me. To my delight they said yes.
When I use the nonstick model in Hope, NJ, I set it to the highest temperature, but one day, in New York, I used the model without the nonstick surface and set it to the same temperature. My first batch of pancakes burned and I realized that the nonstick coating was lowering the temperature of the griddle and that the griddle without the coating needed to be set at a lower temperature. This is no doubt why my Chicago Metallic cake pans with dark grey exterior and nonstick interior bake at the same rate as my uncoated lighter grey aluminum pans. The dark exterior speeds baking but the nonstick coating tempers it and slows it down.
The lesson here is to learn the idiosyncrasies of your own pots, pans, and ovens and other equipment, and treasure them with care.
Feb 05, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
Egg yolks are the sunshine of baking. Golden, beautiful, and full of flavor. They also are very effective in emulsifying and thickening creams and batters.
There are three things that are very important to know about egg yolks:
1) More and more often, the proportion of yolk to white is less than it has been over the past decades. This means that a recipe dependent on many yolks in order to set or have the proper consistency may be significantly short on yolks if you go by just the specified number. I've found, occasionally, that when I measure or weigh 6 yolks I need to add as many as 3 more to have the needed amount. So be sure either to measure or weigh the yolks. I list them on every recipe and if you're using other people's that don't, make a little index card with measurements or weights to put up in your kitchen as a reminder.
2) If egg yolks are combined with sugar and allowed to sit they will crust over, dry out on the surface, and result in lumps in the cooked or baked product. If you need to separate eggs ahead of using them, either spray the yolks with nonstick cooking spray or if using oil in the recipe that will be added together with the yolks, simply store the yolks in the container with the oil.
3) If you have extra yolks and are not in the mood to make lemon curd! you can freeze them but only if you stir in some sugar which will maintain their texture. Be sure to mark on the container how much sugar you added so you can subtract it from the recipe when you're ready to bake with them. I use 1/2 teaspoon sugar per yolk which is enough to keep them from being sticky when defrosted.
Mar 05, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
Decorative cookie cutters are great fun to use making extra special cookies that are ideal as gifts!
Betsy Cukla of Hammersong, creators of the most exquisite cookie cutters I've ever seen, has also created a great bunch of tips to help you get that cookie dough out the cook cutter in one perfect piece!
Continue reading "Tips for Using Cookie Cutters" »
Feb 20, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
Lemon zest, the colored portion of citrus peel, freezes well after zesting. But my step-daughter Beth, who is an architect, came up with this great idea for zesting citrus peel after the fruit is juiced.
Many recipes call for freshly squeezed lemon, lime, or orange juice. But after the fruit is juiced, the remaining outer portion of the fruit becomes too limp to grate into zest. If you freeze it until you are ready to use it, it is rigid enough to allow it to be grated with ease. So if you didn't think of grating the fruit's outer peel while it was still whole, this is a terrific method.
Feb 06, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
Did you know that not all plastic bags can be boiled? Only the ones designed for that purpose such as these bags from FoodSaver vacuumer. It took me years to figure out that when I vacuum pack my meatballs in tomato sauce I can reheat them along with the spaghetti right in the bag!
A good quality vacuum machine is an indispensable piece of equipment in my kitchens. You wouldn't believe how much it increases the life-span of ingredients in the freezer.
Dec 03, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
This goes for springform pans as well: Always place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any possible leaks--usually butter--that make there way out of seam in the pan and potentially onto the floor of the oven!
Apr 04, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
That egg whites can be frozen for at least a year but to freeze egg yolks you need to add sugar to keep them from getting too sticky and unusable.
For 1 egg yolk/about 1 tablespoon/0.6 ounce/18 grams stir in ½ teaspoon/2 grams sugar. Don’t forget to remove the sugar from the recipe after defrosting the yolks.
My favorite healthful lunch is 0 fat Greek yogurt with 1 heaping teaspoon of lemon curd swirled in and a handful of blueberries.
Continue reading "Did You Know" »
Feb 13, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Did You Know
I love the Nespresso aerocinno for foaming milk perfectly and effortlessly but when it comes to cleaning the 'non stick' bottom surface it is anything BUT effortless and if it isn't cleaned between foamings it develops little burnt milk points.
My first solution was to scratch at the milk with my fingernails--not a happy one. A better solution turned out to be a dobie plastic sponge reserved for this use. But what a nuisance to have to hide not one but two dobie sponges from my cleaning lady who loves to grab them to scour the cooktop!
I've just discovered the best solution of all to remove the milk scum is to spray the bottom of the aerocinno very lightly with odorless cooking spray. If too much spray comes out simply wipe out the excess.Too much spray could affect foaming.
Voila! I mean ECCO!
When rinsing the aerocinno all the milk comes out easily.
Jan 03, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
I’ve never liked or should I say accepted rules--at least not without questioning or testing them. But for the new year I’d like to offer up two for consideration and that’s the operative word—consideration!
Restaurant Reservations: How would you like it if you made a dinner party and cooked your heart out for your guests and a few didn’t show up without even letting you know before hand. That’s the way it is for restaurants, especially small ones that have even more trouble surviving, especially in this economy. Some restaurateurs are forced to take credit cards along with reservations.
Also, keep in mind that in order to survive financially, small restaurants need to turn the tables, i.e. you really can’t occupy your table for the entire evening unless, perhaps, you are willing to pay for two seatings.
Group E-mails: If you like or need to send the same message to several people, be sure to blind copy. This is not to keep anonymity of e-mail addresses as much as to prevent hackers—vampires of the internet (who adore group e-mails) from sending everyone in your address book endless spam. All you need to do is put the names in your group list in ( ) and they will be safe. Some people think of this as e-mail etiquette. Surprisingly, though, I’ve lost one very old friend and another previously friendly though evidently self-centered colleague after making this request. Each promised never to e-mail me again at all! And I had informed them in good faith assuming they didn’t realize the consequences of what they had done and would be glad to know how it works.
My husband Elliott has a saying that is a near mantra—it goes something like this: Do what you want as long as it doesn’t hurt others. Of course this is subject to interpretation and requires much turning of the tables but could well account for why our marriage has endured for 33 years as of this July 2009.
Happy and Considerate New Year!