Category ... Photos
Mar 09, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
Visit to The Keck Telescopes--Luca Rizzi Day
The long-awaited day finally arrived. Hector and his partner Christopher, Woody, and I, and Hector's good friend Luca Rizzi set out for the long and gradual ascent up to Mauna Kea, elevation 13,600 ft. It is here that Hector photographed one of his first "Hector's Takes on My Cakes," and it is the first time that it is being posted in this extraordinary top of the world setting.
Luca is an astronomer who works in a complex near Hilo and at the W. M. Keck Observatory. The observatory houses two identical telescopes. The first was built in 1993 and the second one was completed in 1996. Luca explained that the observatory looks more like a mechanical shop and warehouse with some computer rooms, than a pristine scientific laboratory. Each telescope weighs over 300 tons. The 36 hexagonal segments required to compose the primary mirrors make these telescopes the largest observable telescopes in the world.
On the telescopes, each segment is kept stable by a system of active optics, which uses extremely rigid support structures in combination with adjustable warping harnesses. During observation, a computer-controlled system of sensors and actuators adjusts the position of each segment, relative to its neighbors, to an accuracy of four nanometers. This twice-per-second adjustment counters the effect of gravity as the telescope moves, in addition to other environmental effects that can affect the mirror shape.
Luca methodically went over safety precautions and possible health effects of the extremely high altitude, checking on us from time to time. We walked and moved around in slow motion to minimize any possible effects in the 50˚F/10˚C temperature designed to mirror the outside environment.
We were dwarfed by the over-two story tall sphere structure of the telescope. Luca explained various telescope apparati that are stationed around a walkway surrounding the telescopes, which can be attached to the telescopes for particular experiments. One spectrometer was cooled to just above absolute zero -456˚F/-273˚C.
Hector put together this spectacular slide show of our visit to the Keck Telescopes.
Continue reading "Hawaii Part Seven (Seventh Heaven)" »
Mar 02, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
Touring around The Big Island
Back in Kona we were eagerly anticipating the tour that Hector had been planning over the past 7 years awaiting our visit.
We had been hearing about Ken Love and were greatly looking forward to meeting him. Ken Love is a larger than life person and it would take a book to do him justice. In a macadamia nut shell, he travels around the world researching and giving lectures.
Love wears many hats. He is president of Love Family Farms on the Big Island and has been growing pineapple, and numerous other tropical fruit for nearly 30 years. He is vice president of the Kona Kohala Chefs Association ACF. As president of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers he is instrumental in the development of prototype sustainable agriculture systems for farmers in Hawaii. He assists growers with market development for unusual tropical fruit by establishing farmer chef relations and agtourism options. Most recently Love has recently performed a feasibility study on marketing Kona coffee in South India and is currently assisting with avocado market research and managing fig variety trials. He has just completed filming a documentary with Bill Pullman, called "The Fruit Hunter."
So you can imagine how at lunch with him at the Nasturtium Café, over bison burger, chicken with mango chutney, and fish quesadillas, we were all spellbound by his contributions and accomplishments.
After lunch Ken invited us for a tour of his amazing farm. In the front yard we got to taste an orange from a tree that is the oldest orange tree in the United States, planted in 1792 by botanist Archibold Menzies.
We followed Ken through the gardens tasting all manor of exotic tropical fruits including mangosteens, noni (a South American cure-all fruit), dragon fruit, white fruit with black seeds, huge ugli fruit, Tahitian gooseberries, bilimbi (used for salad oils and pestos), guava, bread fruit (sought after in the story of Mutiny on the Bounty), and rambutan.
Continue reading "Hawaii Part Six" »
Feb 23, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
Last Day in Honolulu Brunch at Hector and Visit to Pearl Harbor
On our last day in Honolulu, Hector wanted us to meet as many of his friends and family as possible given the size of the apartment. Eight people attended, each bringing a special dish. Debbie Story, who offered to pick us up from the hotel along with cups of coffee, made fabulous spinach, mushroom, gruyère, and poached egg casserole (she gave me permission to post the recipe in future).
The buffet table was laden with goodies from pastries to Chinese dim sum to Portuguese sausages.
Kevin Kawahara brought delicious squares of pumpkin mochi. He also brought a jar of mango chutney and of lilikoi butter (passion curd) prepared by the students at the Punahou School where he works as part of the IT staff and where President Obama was once a student. Kevin explained to us the special story behind the preserves:
The students make these preserves each year to sell at the Punahou Carnival held on the first weekend of February. The carnival is put on by the junior class and parents, and supported by the entire Punahou community. All proceeds from carnival are used to help fund the financial aid budget - the same fund that helped put Barack Obama through Punahou! One of the more popular and famous parts of Carnival is the Mango Chutney. Just before all the mangoes start to ripen, students and parents collect green mangoes and spend hours and hours peeling, slicing, cooking, and canning the chutney to sell. It is only available twice a year - once at the Christmas craft fair, and then at the carnival. People wait in line for hours to buy as little as a single jar. While almost everyone knows about Punahou Carnival Mango Chutney, the lilikoi butter is in much shorter supply, and arguably more desirable - it disappears before the chutney.
Continue reading "Hawaii Part Five" »
Feb 16, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
The Culinary Demo at the Leeward Community College, Honolulu and Hector's Yellow Kitchen
I was thrilled when Hayley Matson Mathes invited me to give a baking demo in Honolulu. Hayley is executive director of the Hawaii Culinary Educational Foundation, a charitable organization that brings in chefs from all over the world to give classes and workshops to culinary students. She and her charming husband Mike were the best of hosts. They picked Woody and me up at the Honolulu airport and brought us to the Halekulani 5 star hotel at Waikiki beach, with a glorious ocean view from every room, where Haley arranged for us to stay for two nights.
Hector picked us up for dinner at his apartment, home of The Yellow Kitchen, where we met his delightful partner Christopher Obenchain. Christopher is a free lance actor, who occasionally does commercials. He is also working on his PHD in education. He gave us a short viewing of his cameo appearance as a waiter in one of my very favorite movies "Dirty Dancing!"
I don't know how Hector managed it, having been with us in Kona up until that morning and doing most of the prep for the upcoming baking class, then making us a tasty Peruvian dinner of Hake fish with rice and a sauce of Aji Panca marinade: vinegar, cumin, garlic, oregano,aji panca, and a touch of soy sauce. (Aji panca is a Peruvian dried chili pepper which gives a dark red color and has almost no taste. It is similar to paprika.), and onion salad. For dessert, the "Hector's Take on My Cake" chocolate oblivion made with avocado instead of butter. If I hadn't spotted a tiny bit of avocado green I never would have suspected it was there!
In the Yellow Kitchen, Hector has established his personal signature with as many appliances and tools as possible in yellow. Christopher even painted the frig yellow and made a hanging ceiling light from a yellow colander.
The second bedroom is set up as a baking studio. It was quite amazing to see how much Hector could fit into this space. Even the inside of the cabinet doors have brackets for tools to make more storage.
Continue reading "Hawaii Part Four" »
Feb 09, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
Our home base for the entire visit to Hawaii was at Patti and Marty Kimball's beautiful home high in the Kona Mountains with a panoramic view of the ocean below.Ocean liners and their entourage of smaller boats looked like toy boats in one's bathtub.
The first thing we both noticed before entering the house was this stunning 'dinosaur egg' cement planter made by Marty's brother Mark Kimball.
Imagine being able to go out into one's half acre yard to pick passion fruit, several varieties of avocado (Marty explained that the most delicious, the large and plump Kahalu'u variety cannot be exported because of it's loose pit that shakes around during transport damaging the flesh), mangoes, oranges, apple bananas, papaya, pineapple, star fruit, and all manner of vegetables. Truly we had landed in tropical paradise. A paradise with no snakes as years ago the mongoose population wiped them out, however, the Coqui frogs, which have no other natural predators, abound. We were serenaded by their bird-like chirping all night until the roosters took over at 4:00 am (Many Hawaiians have a slightly different opinion of this concert!). This created a life-style of early to bed and early to rise--ideal as the best time for ocean swims to prevent sunburn is before the sun rises too high.
During our swim at Kahalu'u, a favorite of the locals, we saw many of the fish that I had seen growing up in my cousin's aquarium. Hector held up a rock to attract them. The black, white, and yellow angelfish and butterfly fish with their long streamers, the bright yellow tang fish, and blue parrotfish all flocked to him.
After our swim we went to Sam Choy's for lunch, recommended by my dear friend Leslie Harlib, formerly food editor of the Marin County News. She said it was the best view on the Big Island but she didn't know at the time about the view we were to have chez Kimballs! The food was quite good. We had our first fish, poke, two ways: marinated, w/onions and chives, and fried w/cabbage. We also sampled another of Hector's favorite fish, ono w/ brown rice and purple sweet potatoes.
Continue reading "Hawaii Part Three" »
Feb 02, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
Culinary Event at the Fairmont
Things started off with a bang: We were invited to a special event at the Fairmont Hotel, coordinated by Hector's friend chef Patti Kimball. It was the Culinary & Wine Extravaganza Charity Event for the Kitchen Campaign Palamanui to buy equipment for the school. Hector arranged to have three of my cookbooks at the auction!
On the way to the Fairmont Hotel we were treated to a landscape of black lava, decorated with personal messages written with small white rocks. We thought about bringing some lava rock home as souvenirs but were warned by Hector that the goddess Pele would bring bad luck to anybody who does this. As we drove up to the hotel it seemed strangely familiar. It took a few days to discover that Elliott and I had stayed there 18 years ago when it was called the Ritz.
The hotel was decorated for Christmas which included this unusual gingerbread house.
The first person we met turned out to be a colleague of mine I hadn't seen since she moved to Hawaii: The chairwoman of the event Jean W. Hull (pictured with Hector below, at breakfast the next morning)
Hector describes Jean as the Grand Dame of Hawaii Culinary. She wrote the curriculum for the West Hawaii Culinary College and now is a consultant for major culinary events
Out in the garden, chef students helped man the booths. After meeting our host Patti Kimball, we raced around to try to taste everything!
Favorites were the ginger chicken salad, wild boar meatballs, and eggplant cake frosted with avocado.
We met and were charmed by French born chef Fernand Guiot who opened a bakery in New York in 1980 and a few years later opened a bakery in Hawaii. He now teaches at the culinary school. It was his students who made the gingerbread house above and several other ones, under his supervision.
The next morning we were treated to the brunch buffet and were blown away by chef Curtis Lea making omelets. Not only were the omelets made with Portuguese sausages, cheddar and spinach so good we had to go back for seconds,
what impressed us still more was when he volunteered that having a metal prosthesis served as a great advantage. He never worries about burning or cutting his left hand or arm, and can run the metal device under boiling water to sterilize it. (Talk about silver linings!) Patti told us later that she and he were in culinary school together and the students all took up a collection to buy him a better prosthesis.
Hector and Jean at Breakfast
Before departing for Patti's home we walked to the hotel beach and learned that the white sand was imported from California. A few of the beaches in Hawaii are black sand, but there are also beaches of plain rock, lava rock, and white sand. The Fairmont is located in an area where there is a mixed landscape of all these forms and colors.
Jan 26, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
Hector Wong and I first met over the internet in December of 2006 when he posted a question on my blog about Panettone. Since that time we have had an enormous influence over each other's lives. Hector baked his way through many of the recipes in The Cake Bible and all of the recipes in Rose's Heavenly Cakes. He read through all of my books and became intimately familiar with my work and in the process became a masterful baker. His renditions of my cakes were so stunning I gave him a spot on the blog called "Hector's Take on My Cake." And Hector taught me how to make the leap from a PC to a Mac and innumerable techniques on the computer. He also edited and posted over 150 of my video and tv appearances on YouTube so that every one could benefit. He also often jumps in to answer questions on the blog. It hardly seems possible that we have been friends for 6 years, only having spoken once on the phone, but having exchanged hundreds of e-mails.
Hector has been inviting me for several years to come to visit him in Hawaii. Finally the time came this past December to meet in person. It took a lot of planning on all our parts and even included a culinary demo at Leeward Community College, arranged by another wonderful new friend Haley MatsonMathes.
The 10 day visit was the trip of a lifetime. And for Hector, it meant achieving several of his wishes:
A chance to interview me over the period of many days and long car trips
The chance to do a drop dead mis en place for my demo
The perfect opportunities to show off his baking and culinary skills
Getting me to taste his avocado rendition of my chocolate oblivion
And to work together to create a Hawaiian adaptation of one of my favorite recipes that will be in the upcoming book.
The trip included so many special highlights that I've divided it into several postings to share with all of you and I hope that you will feel almost as if you were there. Truly it was an embarrassment of riches: the people, the fruit, the demo, the landscape, swimming in the ocean. The most unusual highlight, the visit to the Keck Telescopes on Mauna Kea, arranged and led by the astronomer himself, Hector's close friend Luca Rizzi, was video taped by Hector along with appropriate music. It will be posted in the posting about touring in a few weeks time. Do Not Miss It!!!
Woody flew out of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, which had 14 inches of snow
I from out of cloudy gray, 40˚F/4˚C New York City
We both arrived to 80˚F/27˚C sunny Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Sep 29, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
I've always loved this French expression for twilight which translates as the blue hour. One early evening I had the good fortune to captured it on film just as the moon was beginning to rise out of the east, behind some buildings of Manhattan, as seen from my window.
Jun 23, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
Hector never fails to amaze me with his unending stream of creativity, and imagination, and skill to engineer one exquisite cake after another. This latest one was for his own birthday in May. Here is his enchantingly delightful description:
"For my 43rd birthday, I baked my own cake with my own recipe. This cake is inspired from Rose's Tropical Wedding Cake, and what an experience it is!
I celebrated my birthday on 5/19 at a friend's house, who I graciously asked to cook dinner for us! We were 18 guests and I kindly asked that in lieu of gifts, to please bring money to pay the cost of dinner. I offered to bring the cake (indeed nobody had a second thought on this). We turned to be 25 guests, and what a blast we had. The food was peruvian and plenty. We ate for close to 3 hours and we managed to finish this cake which normally feeds 110 people.
The cake was flourless. And in my opinion, unbelievable to achieve. I don't have much to report yet, but all I can say, is that you can eat cake without using flour. Currently, I am experimenting with a straight substitution of flour with corn starch and by using a different mixing method. The resulting cake tends to dry out faster, however the taste is PERFECT and it melts in your mouth. I am so pleased and can't wait to one day write The Corn Starch Cake Bible ...Rose approves...
The cake is frosted with coconut buttercream, and you can find the recipe on myyellowkitchen.
From Hector, with love, to my friends and family who shared my 43rd birthday dinner, here is a banana cake with coconut buttercream, baked on a pair of 12" and 8" heart cake pans, stacked off center, and decorated with fresh coconut and white chocolate pearls. The buttercream is infused with Koloa brand dark rum."
Jan 21, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
My office in Hope was a 6 foot deep space at the end of a narrow cat walk. If I had gained 5 pounds I would no longer have been able to squeeze into the space between the back of my desk chair and the front of my desk. It never seemed like a good time to commit to construction but this summer, in between book projects, it seemed like it was now or never.
My friend Patty Maertons asked her husband Edgar for a recommendation as he is the local dry wall expert. He suggested Chris Smigel, saying everyone has wonderful things to say about him. Now I know why! Not only did he go above and beyond my expectations, he and his team cleaned up so thoroughly every Friday that when we arrived for the weekend it was almost as though no one had been there. And how exciting it was each week to see the latest transformations. (It was Chris who recommended the delightful architect Art Demarest.)
Another friend, Margaret Kurzman, who lives in nearby Blairstown and also New York City, and has had vast professional experience in renovations, offered excellent advice and moral support. No matter how wonderful the contractor, having your home "invaded" has to be one of life's most unsettling experiences.
There are always new decisions that have to be made along the way and plans that don't work out quite as expected but the only real drama was being awakened one night by not one but two bats that had made their way into the house and into the bedroom! Was I hysterical? Of course--I'm still somewhat of a city girl when it comes to things like that but I've been working on myself to think of them as my friends as they are known to eat mosquitoes and hopefully their taste will turn to stink bugs as well!
I may have lost most of the summer being so involved in the renovation but it was worth it. The new office is truly paradise.
Here are a few before and after photos.
Extending the office 20 feet over the porch turned out to require hand drilling into the boulders to create secure footings. The area was too small to bring in heavy machinery so this took longer than a day and much effort.
We hadn't planned for a lofted ceiling but when I saw the framing I fell in love with the feeling of airy spaciousness. Chris said he knew when I saw it I'd feel that way and he agreed. He made it happen.
The completed office.
Found the perfect fan out of 100's on line.
Dec 27, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
Fellow blogger Suzanne Lenzer shared with us this impressive chocolate roll spread with apricot and glazed with lacquer glaze--all components from Rose's Heavenly Cakes except for the flourless chocolate roll from The Cake BIble.
Dec 18, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
Hector has put together an amazing photo collection of all the cakes he made from his personal bake through of Rose's Heavenly Cakes.
If you click on this link you will see each photo in a drop down line and each one can be opened for larger viewing plus more photos and comments about the specific cake.
Has any cookbook author ever received greater validation of her (or his) work?! I live happy.
Oct 15, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
Here is a chocolate rose that is actually delicious to eat as it is made with 100% tempered chocolate. It is tricky to make as it requires a cool room and great care to keep the chocolate petals from melting but the results are well worth the effort. These excellent photos and instructions are from Hector himself. He suggested working in a very cool room, ideally a walk in refrigerator!
CHOCOLATE ROSE PETALS
1- use a fresh rose that is near fully open. a closed rose bud will be near impossible to assemble.
2- disassemble the rose and place the petals in gradual order on a baking sheet lined with silpat. 30 to 40 petals are needed, if the rose has more petals, discard a few petals every now and then as you disassemble the rose: don't just discard all the small petals or all the large petals because the completed rose will look unnatural. discard the very small center core rose petals growing near the pistils; these petals are ruffled and very hard to peel.
3- brush the outside of the petals with melted chocolate (never above 91˚F/32˚C to prevent the chocolate from loosing its temper). for sturdiness and easier handling, coat the petal bases thicker; the bases aren't visible when the rose is assembled. for the most natural effect, coat the petal edges thinner; the edges are visible. a few "rough/hollow" brush strokes are desirable, this gives the illusion of translucency on the completed rose. chocolate side down, place the petals on a baking sheet lined with silpat. it is perfectly fine if the chocolate sticks to the silpat, this will facilitate peeling the rose petal. also, the area that has stuck to the silpat won't be noticeable on the completed rose. freeze for 30 to 60 minutes.
4- with tweezers, peel off the rose petal from the chocolate. the rose petal will be 'fairly easy' to peel since it has been frozen and when thawing it becomes softer and wilted. to minimize breakage, have on hand a variety of tweezers: some tweezers with pointed edges, some slanted, some flat, some round! exchange tweezers as needed, to best fit the part of the rose petal that you are peeling. about 25% of the chocolate petals are discarded due to breakage. return your petals to the freezer if working in warm weather.
5- line a turntable with plastic wrap or silpat. place a 1/4 tsp of melted chocolate on the center of the turntable and attach 3 to 4 petals. start with the smaller petals. the objective is to create a rose core "glued" to the turntable and work around it. continue adding 1/4 tsp of melted chocolate on the turntable and attach the rest of the petals. by adding chocolate on the turntable, a solid chocolate base is created which makes the completed rose easier to handle. peel the completed rose from the plastic wrap or silpat and store in a cool room.
6- to prevent melting, avoid handling the petals with your fingers or hands. use a small icing spatula to "lift and drop" petals from the baking sheet to the rose core. use tweezers to "spin and toss" the position of the petals around the rose core. use the back of a spoon to "push and drag" the petals if they were dropped too far from the rose core.
7- this is the chocolate rose decorating a Chocolate Oblivion Torte.
8- the sliced cake shows that only the petal edges are thin while the petal bases are thick!
Sep 29, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
These are the challat I made in 2007 for my friends the Reich's New Jewish Year's Dinner. It is traditional for New Year's to shape them in the round and to dip the slices in honey for a sweet year to come.
May 04, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
KONA LEMON MERINGUE CAKE
This is so unbelievably unlike anything I've ever seen I just have to call your attention to it but it will also appear on Hector's blog.
Hector writes: clever! a favorite pie presented as an elegant cake. a simple sponge cake, butterless and oil free. whipped eggs, plain vanilla. perhaps too plain. my secret weapon is adding an invisible hint of coffee extract, just to lift vanilla tones and tame eggyness!
Apr 23, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
For those of you who knit or crochet, as well as bake, here is my latest effort: it's made with Road to China kid mohair malachite green.
Feb 12, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
First the snow, then the rain, then the deep freeze. Here are my beloved rhododendron with icicles beginning to form. Just outside the kitchen window, the leaves tell me how cold it is. When they're closed tight I know it's well below freezing. When they open up I know it's not that bad. But either way, I don't mind grilling outdoors all winter long as, once I get close to the grills, their heat keeps me warm!
My excuse for expanding the kitchen several years ago was so that I could put in a hood and fan over the cooktop that would vent to the outside. But then I found that grilling outdoors keeps the kitchen and rest of the house cleaner and free of smoke and the results are better as well. Surprisingly, I found that when the fire place is lit in the living room, if I turn the kitchen fan on it sucks the smoke out of the fire place and all over the house! Still, I have no regrets about having done the renovation. And in the not too distant future there will be a baker's kitchen in the basement. Of course postings to come!
Feb 06, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
Many people think of brioche as a challenging bread but Woody discovered that with the right type of flour it's actually one of the easiest recipes!
In the photo on the left he used Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour. Then he made the same recipe using the Gold Medal Better for Bread flour. The difference in crumb is quite astounding. The higher protein content yields more structure for greater loft but as Better for Bread flour has a slightly lower protein than most available bread flours it maintains a gossamer, tender texture!
Jan 23, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
When someone I love makes a surprise birthday party for someone we both love, before I can clamp my hand over my mouth out pops: I'll make the cake!
Of course I love baking, especially for special people, but the heart-stopping part is transporting the cake. This cake was based on the Deep Chocolate Passion in Rose's Heavenly Cakes. On Friday, I baked one 12-inch layer in a Wilton 12-inch heart pan. As the pan is slightly smaller than a round 12-inch pan it was 2-inches high, instead of the usual 1-1/2-inches, which was perfect for a single layer. I removed the moist/chocolaty top crust (crumpled it over ice cream for dinner) and brushed in the ValRhona milk chocolate syrup. Then I frosted it with more ValRhona dark chocolate ganache.
The weather in Hope was in the single digits and the kitchen was colder than usual, so the ganache kept setting up before it was perfectly smooth. I prayed that the dark chocolate lacquer glaze would cover any little imperfections.
I placed the frosted cake into the largest styrofoam box in my collection (I have trouble ever discarding styrofoam boxes or bubble wrap) and left it in the 50˚F basement overnight with the intention of glazing it the next day in New York so as not to risk damaging the glaze in transport.
I warned Elliott not to make any short stops on route 80. He said he would stop short if he had to which was not the answer I was looking for, but fortunately it was smooth sailing and the cake did not slide in the box.
The glaze is so quick and easy to make but takes 4 hours to set up completely and I only had 3 hours before needing to place the chocolate perles monogram on top. This was inspired by a cake that Hector did and he advised using tweezers with rough markings at the tip to hold the perles securely. We agreed that one false step and it was over, i.e. if one perle was misplaced it would be impossible to move it on the still soft glaze so I would have to have scattered perles artfully over the entire top.
Reminding myself to breathe as I placed the perles I followed Elliott's advice to make little markings in the glaze with a skewer rather than placing the perles by eye. What a sigh of relief I breathed when the last perle was in place.
I've been saving some gold dust for a special occasion and this clearly was the time to bring out the "heavy artillary!" The effect was like the night sky but the gold flecks were so light they risked blowing off if exposed to the wind in front of our apartment house. What to do?! I had no box big enough to accomodate the 15-inch base on which the cake was now sitting.
The solution was the largest cake pan I have which is 18-inches by 2-inches high. Now that the cake was frosted and glazed it was higher than the top of the 2-inch high pan, so I inverted a 15-inch by 3-inch cake over it and taped it in place with strapping tape, securing the top of the 15-inch pan to the sides of the 18-inch pan in several places.
Pans set on my lap, hands freezing in the cold car but clamping the pans together as added security, and lifting the pans slightly with each bump in the snowy icy streets, we made it to the party all of 5 blocks away. The party was in the wine cellar and in the dim light the cake glistened but any little imperfection disappeared competely.
The feedback: The general consensus was "It was the best chocolate cake I've ever had in my life!" But the best and most erudite comment was from one of the guests, my friend Bob Blumer, The Surreal Gourmet, who flew in from Los Angeles for the event. He was impressed that so light a cake could be so intensely chocolate. Yes!
Dec 26, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
I am totally blown away by the beauty of this painting of the Marsala Farm Geese by my 12 year old niece Mariella Katherine Levy. I am so pleased she gave me permission to share it with you. Suvir and Charlie are in India for the holidays but I sent the photo to their dear friend Sally Longo (tv host of "Dinner at 8") and she asked if Mariella would accept a commission to do a painting for her!
This geese painting was inspired by a photo my brother took on his cell phone when visiting the farm.
Nov 28, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
Here's what I just made--a pecan pie shaped in a tart pan (recipe in the Pie and Pastry Bible). And here are a few tips:
Keep in mind that if there are any holes in the crust the sticky filling will find its way there, leak below the crust, and stick to the pan's bottom. To avoid holes best not to pierce the bubbles that form during blind baking, after removing the rice or beans to weight it down, but just to gently press down the crust a few times as it bubbles and finally it will set and be flat.
Should a hole develop, fill it with a little dab of egg white and return it to the oven for about 30 seconds. And if worse comes to worse and the crust sticks, just serve the pieces--no one will complain. This pie is the very definition of heavenly!
Be sure to use the Lyle's golden refiner's syrup which is so much more flavorful than corn syrup in a butterscotchy/tangy way, and preferably light Muscovado sugar (I love the one from India Tree). And be sure to weigh or measure the yolks. For this pie/tart that calls for 4 yolks I needed to use 6 to equal the right amount as they were so small. Without enough egg yolks the filling will not set effectively.]
One last word of caution: When heating the filling go by the thermometer rather than looking for signs of thickening. And when baking test at 15 minutes. I find it usually takes 20 but it should just shimmy slightly when moved and begin to puff.
Oct 25, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
Encountered them strutting around the yard when I went to pick up a quart of delicious raw milk from the Klein Dairy this weekend. They didn't seem to mind a bit as I approached them with my camera, in fact, I think they enjoyed posing! I never knew roosters came in these colors!
Oct 21, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
I was checking out this weeks' heavenly bakers to see each rendition of the cake of the week which was the Many-Splendored Quick Bread and low and behold: look what I found on Knitty Baker Jenn's blog--a stunning rendition of Hector's "rose valentine." I think it is the most perfect design for a heart-shape cake ever which Jenn adapted from a round version: The Strawberry Maria from The Cake Bible.
Aug 17, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
I was just scanning through the cake of the week on the Heavenly Cake Bake Along when I found this wonderful photo on Vicki's Blog called Grandma's Gonna Bake Cake.
I would assume this exquisite little girl is her granddaughter. And it is whipped ganache in the bowl--a component of The Chocolate Feather Bed Cake.
Jul 07, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
Can you believe this is the tres leches?! Instead of the biscuit layer Hector chose Savoiyardi biscuits arranging them in a very beautiful and conducive to serving manner. And has Hector manages to turn almost every cake and pastry into an exquisite rose, observe how he piped the whipped cream topping!
Hector wisely advises: "Be sure to allow the savoiardis to soak 24 hours, adding more milk sauce 2 or 3 times, and the final milk addition should leave a 1 inch swimming pool of milk sauce on the bottom of the savoiardis". If the savoiardis lack moistenes, it will be chewy and not tender."
Jun 15, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
Jana Norstrand came for dinner last night. Little did either of us realize that we'd be celebrating more than the spring garlic pesto: Jana had just been awarded for her work as publicist at our publisher Wiley!
This was probably the best pesto I've ever made as all the ingredients were so special. The frozen pesto was from Woody's sister Kim made from basil from her garden in MN. The olive oil was from the just released harvest from Ragusa, Sicily; the Parmesan Reggiano was over 15 years old, and of course the newly harvested crisp fresh garlic and the garlic serpentine-like scapes were terrific decor and great flavor and texture. And in Jana's hand is a glass of Man O'War sauvignon blanc from NZ. I love sb with the grassiness of pesto.
Jun 01, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
These are my favorite blueberry buttermilk pancakes from The Cake Bible but with a new twist: I garnished them with fresh blueberries. I love the way it looks but also I love the burst of fresh blueberry flavor.
May 15, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
A year ago, when we were both in Paris at La Petite Rose Patisserie Zach was an apprentice. Now he has an apprentice of his own and shared these beatiful photos and text:
My apprentice Lillian, who is a very enthusiastic new baker with a lot of potential, wanted to surprise her boyfriend with a cake for his birthday. We turned to Rose's Heavenly Cakes to find one she felt he would love. She immediately noticed the striking romantic look of the Double Chocolate Valentine cake, so we scheduled a time to bake it together.
These are the resulting photos. In the end, she was short some raspberries, so we improvised by spreading raspberry cream on top as well as randomly placing a few raspberry cream-filled chocolate hearts that I had made. Lillian then placed a smaller heart shape in the middle from the remaining raspberries Nate, her boyfriend, loved it and had several pieces but luckily they saved a slice for me to try - and naturally I loved it, too.
Lillian reading through the instructions for the Double Chocolate Valentine cake (sorry for the blurry photo caused by my shaking hands).
Pan with cake strips.
The cake filled with holes and getting ready for the ganache. The cake baked up perfectly using Rose's Heavenly Cake strips that easily slipped over the heart-shaped pan.
Lillian and the Finished Cake.
May 06, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
This note is from Hector and, and, as usual, his 'take' is exceptionally beautiful.
Hector's Torta de las Tres Leches
happy mothers' day everyone! this take is for my late mother and her baking genes: a white heart with tres leches. she loved heart pans, she loved biscuit de savoie with milk, she loved whipped cream, so what best tender take than this cake? i feel this cake was written for us!
Rose's recipe calls for a 9x3" round pan. instead, i used a 9x2" heart pan plus a 6x3" round pan. it worked PERFECTLY. for more information, i will be posting about this cake on my blog at this link
Apr 05, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
Hector surprised me yesterday with this ultra artistic Easter-inspired cake. Here's what he wrote to explain how it came about and how he accomplished it:
Happy Easter! My Holiday started with a 7:30 run for 18 minutes, followed by 10 pull ups, minutes of push ups and ab crunches, and then 90 minutes of outrigger canoe paddling. My coach asked if I could help with her surprise Easter egg hunt (she hid the eggs during the run!). She asked to bring a cake themed 'golden egg' to share with the team. She made my Easter, not only because now my canoe buddies realize I can bake and take cakes, but also because this is the first Easter egg hunt I ever did since it isn't a tradition in my family.
Here is my take on a chicken egg nest. Dark chocolate brushed on the inside of egg shell halves; after the chocolate hardens, peel off the shells with surgical precision or leave a few shells for more realism (be sure to clean the shells prior brusging the chocolate: boil the eggs shells for a few minutes, rinse well, and air dry).
The cake is ROSE'S heavenly CAKES Yellow Butter Cake, baked on a ring pan. There is a wide hole on the center of this cake, therefore the chocolate eggs are suspended on the air over caramel cage sticks.
To make the caramel cake sticks, use the same technique for the cake Hector Builds a Bridge.
Now, regarding outrigger canoe paddling, it is my new sport and I absolutelly adore it. You are all welcome to join my canoe club during the leisure season, just show up any Sunday from November to January. I found new friends that can eat all the heavenly cakes and burn calories at the same time. I have a confession: I am not able to do one single pull up to date and wonder if it has something to do with the skill of precision buttercream piping?
Mar 15, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
I met the very talented and charming Carlos in Montréal back in October at Appetite for Books. Here are two photos of his incredible cake:
Félicitations Rose ! Can't say I'm really surprised about RHC's nomination- it is sincerely a remarkable work of art that benefits so many people.
And so in honor of you and your oeuvre, and since the event will be taking place on Earth Day, here's a picture of a cake I baked for a friend's birthday last year : Chocolate Butter Globe with raspberry "lava" + buttercream oceans and continents. (The 2 candles represented my friend whose birthday we were celebrating here in Montreal and the other was for her lover who was in working in Dubai and whom she missed terribly.) Here's hoping that this image will be some kind of omen come April 22nd !
Mar 04, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
My new book sandwiched by Lisa Yockelson's latest two books!
Feb 05, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
I just can't stop finding an excuse to make The Golden Almond Lemon Cake from the new book.
Today's excuse is to try out the elegant new Nordicware fluted tube pan introduced to us by Raymond on his blog as part of the Heavenly Cake Bake Along.
One of my favorite things about these deeply fluted tube pans is how amazing it looks when cut:
Dec 29, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
It will be cake for New Year's but for Xmas week here's what I made and talk about heaven on a plate!!!
It's my recipe for Pecan Pie from the Pie and Pastry Bible, baked in a tart pan but I discovered I don't have my favorite non-stick Gobel 9 x 1 inch pan so i chose the 1 1/2 inch high one. Cold as it is I just had to photograph it out on the porch with the sun shining on it to show the translucency of the crust. My favorite part is all the textures: the nuts, the crust, the plate, and the table top.
The crust is my favorite cream cheese one available on the blog. I now prefer to roll the crust 45 minutes after chilling it as it remains the most malleable. If I'm not ready to roll it I store it in my 65˚F wine cellar. I line the pan, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight. It has the most perfect shape this way.
Dec 28, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
This cake is hands down the most technically demanding in The Cake Bible.
The owner of the blog Foodmayhem (link below) did a magnificent job to honor her Great Aunt Peggy's 90th birthday.
click here for how it was done.
Oct 30, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
I asked Luis to share the photo of the cake she was planning when she posted a question on the blog about a challenging cake request. Here was her response:
This is the cake I did where the customer was "not too much not too sweet; not too this not too that." I didn't end up doing the meringue sticks as planned because she said they were too sweet so this is what ended up being done. It wasn't stacked in the normal way but it worked.
Well done Luis!
Sep 15, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
I was so taken by the image of this family, with the little girl's skirt draped over her father's back perfectly appropriately like a fan, I followed them and snapped this shot with my Iphone! And guess where they turned off: The SoHo Apple store!
I love NY best in the fall with its crisp, clear, golden days and quickening of back to work activity.
Aug 25, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have to share with you this link to my dear friend Caitlin Williams Freeman's exquisitely artful cakes.
Now I can't wait until she sees how her "Tom Boy" the signature cake from Miette Bakery in S.F. is pictured in my new book!
Aug 06, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
I know I’m blessed that my father has reached this incredible age in reasonably good health and mind. But it still makes me sad that he has lost so much of his hearing, vision, and independence. He always has had an extraordinary ability to sleep and now he is sleeping 90% of the time. But when he’s not sleeping he’s always ready to eat and that is something I can do for him. So for 10 days I cooked and baked my heart out. This did not stop me from feeling guilty for becoming impatient with him when once again he misplaced his hearing aid and I had to shout for him to hear me. But it helped.
Of course there had to be his favorite cherry pie. That was going to be his birthday “cake”
until he put in a request for Black Forest Cake. At first I was annoyed because I didn’t have the right pan nor did I have access to the non-ultrapastuerized cream that makes such a difference and had he asked the week before when I asked him what he’d like I could have procured it. But then I decided to do what most of the rest of the world does: make do. I beat melted butter into the supermarket cream to increase the butterfat and stability (as I wrote about in The Cake Bible). I set the top cake layer on top of the cream filling before realizing I had forgotten to poke in the brandied cherries (which I found in back of the frig where I had stored them years ago). Upset at first, as I tried to lift off the top cake layer only to see it start to come apart, I decided to stick the cherries into the cream from the sides. So what if it didn’t look perfect—he couldn’t even see the difference. We enjoyed the cake over several days, complaining only once that the cream was lighter than he remembered it (well…yes!).
Continue reading "Dad’s 95 th The Highlights" »
Aug 02, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
It was preceded by the eeriest yellow green light and then the charcoal grey clouds started rolling in. Constant thunder, lightening, and sheets of rain coming sideways. I've never been frightened by nature before from a NY high rise! It looked like a tornado was approaching.
I was talking to Woody who said "take a picture." But in my excitement I didn't remember how to eliminate the flash so what you see as a bright comet is merely the flash bouncing off the window pane!
It was at its most dramatic in this photo when one can see the part of the sky that was not yet covered by the ominous clouds.
Jul 09, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
Have you ever seen a garlic scape? Every July I make my pilgrimage to the Union Square Farmer's Market to pick up several of these exotic looking tops of the garlic plant. You can buy them already cut or attached to the fresh green garlic bulb which I also adore to use in cooking. It is milder and has a lovely texture. Later on in August they sell them as what I call garlic pearls when the little seeds inside grow into tiny buds that if planted would form new garlic bulbs. They are a nuisance to peel but worth it for their lovely crisp texture and little bursts of flavor. I sometimes poach them for a minute or so in boiling water to make the skins easier to remove and then add them to pasta and pesto or ratatouille.
The fresh scapes are great sautéed lightly in a little olive oil or even steamed just until the stems are tender--about 5 minutes (insert a thin metal or wooden skewer to judge this).
Until I'm ready to cook the scapes I put them in a vase as table decoration.
Jun 13, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
I'm sure you're all curious to see what Hector made for his special birthday celebration. I think the results are stunning! I just couldn't resist offering Hector a recipe from the wedding cake chapter of my upcoming book because it was so appropriate to his location. I asked Hector to write this posting so he could describe the process and results!
Hector Hawaii 4-0
Be careful what you ask for as you may get it, and there hasn't been one thing Rose hasn't delivered for me! Months ago, while working on the youtube project, I shouted to get paid: "Rose, can you make my 40th birthday cake?" She almost said yes, except knowing that it will need to be done far apart and on the same day after her return trip from Paris, instead she gave me one of her new cake recipes: The Tropical Wedding Cake for Hector.
When I reviewed the recipe at first sight, i was not excited. Tropical fruits was something I hardly specialized in. You know, it is true we always think the grass is greener at the other side of your town (yellow in my case). But as one matures with time, like love, I now feel the "local chef celebrity status in Hawaii." This cake has gained more attention than any of my previous cakes have, locally. The macadamia nuts came from Lions Gate Farm in Kona http://www.coffeeofkona.com. Suzanne Shriner harvested the most perfectly fresh nuts and carefully packed the precious cargo with layers of bubble wrap; per my paranoid request of a food stylist! Whole mac nuts are worth their price in gold, so here they are for your enjoyment! The vanilla came from Huahua Farm, also in Kona http://www.huahuafarm.com. Clare Wilson grows the vanilla beans herself; hers are so nature perfect that one day I envision making a cake covered with whole vanilla bean twigs.
This is a banana cake with passion fruit mousseline. The nuts were removed prior to slicing the cake, and later added back on to each serving plate. My dearest friend Deanna and her children Jade and Wilson, were uttermost supportive (needless to say, they attended each of my month long birthday parties!). Wilson is such well behaved child, he was hired to remove all the nuts during cake cutting, and he did so without snacking!
I love the picture with the ocean and being tossed a prize medal. Children tell the true story without words: Jade shared her judo medal with me! Everyone made comments that Rose's banana cake was the best in the world. It was truthful bananas delicious, fragrant without using banana essence (which most bakeries use giving it an artificial flavor), the dark tan color and the speckles were appetizing, but most of all is the characteristic melt in the mouth texture Rose's butter cakes mixing method have. I confess to always mixing an extra minute or two whenever using Rose's butter cakes mixing method, to guarantee achieving "developing cake structure" a concept I find so hard to explain in writing... so perhaps I will make a short video and youtube it!. I do notice Rose adds an incredible amount of salt, and kindly whispered asking if anyone thought this cake was salty? Nobody said so...... Salt is sweets’ and desserts’ best flavor enhancer. My mother always used sugar to enhance the flavor of salty dishes, or salt to enhance the flavor of sweet dishes!
Continue reading "Hector Bakes His Own Birthday Cake!" »
Mar 14, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have a small whimsical collection of tiny ceramic animals: two little dinosaurs, two little frogs, a moose, and a blue bird with outstretched wings i think of as the blue bird of happiness.
In this photo, i frosted the cake with chocolate whipped ganache, grated bitter sweet chocolate on top and set the little moose in the center.
Be sure to remove the non-edible decoration before serving!
Mar 10, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
due april 9th, and all chocolate cake, say no more I made these out of chocolate rose modeling paste. sugar flowers is not my specialty, but for this cake I needed a few, so opted for Cake Bible's Chocolate Rose Modeling Paste. It really works, I had to follow rose's instructions step by step since the last time I modeled roses was 25 years ago!
the recipe is sufficient for 8 roses, plus a bit extra, and let me share with you that these are the most delicious sugar roses I've ever eaten. who can resist chocolate? even if no real cocoa butter is in? the smell of the roses was so chocolatey, too.
next time I will use real white chocolate, it should work, but will be a little more temperature sensitive and not keep longer than a month or so on display.
ok, I am so bad keeping you all in suspense. april 9th is Luca's birthday and he is going to get a very special cake from the Cake Bible. i am planning on the chocolate oblivion torte, thinly frosted with white chocolate, then wrapped with chocolate fondant, and adorned with chocolate roses (leaves, branches, and roses). if you have or have seen a copy of Cake Bible, you know the name of this cake already!
p.s. yes, this cake is completely flourless, and just happens my flour bins are full of bread flour, go figure bread baking is taking over.
Feb 24, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
My dear friend Diane Boate, about whom I have written on the posting of the Daniel Patterson Alexandra Foote wedding cake a few epiphanies ago, has just sent me the most amazing cake she made for the Balboa Theater’s 83 birthday. I just had to share it with all of you and Diane, who is the soul of generosity (actually she even won Woman of the Year award for public service recently) gave permission unhesitatingly.
Just in case you don’t remember, Diane is an amazing photographer, dress and hat designer, and was long ago dubbed “The Cake Lady.” There is nothing that Diane can’t make and she can even play the piano without music. (Is it fair that one person should have so many gifts?!)
Diane wrote: I am calling this my Signature Cake (because I have been making variations of this for 35 years). It is your Mousseline Buttercream frosting with 60% Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate and coffee flavor to taste...... Chocolate on Chocolate on Chocolate.”
Continue reading "The Cake Lady of San Francisco" »
Dec 31, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
Never too late for a Xmas card of this extraordinary beauty from star blogger Hector of Hawaii! (if you don't know Hector, visit the forums!)
HECTOR SAYS: 5 months ago, while doing my daily run to empty the kitchen trash at my bakery internship, I noticed 7 full size sheet pans of dark chocolate macadamia nut bars. The bars were over-stirred while adding the nuts, so it cooled as the most 'unnaceptably' streaked dark choclate bars with delicious highlights of blonde nut oil! I no longer have this dirty task on my job description as I have been promoted to the cake team, but I still have over 7 kilos of this chocolate! When I came home with the precious trash, I placed the bars on a suspended big holed colander overnight in my oven with the lights on, so I removed the nuts.
Therefore, I made Cake Bible's Chocolate Pine Cone cake, in my opinion is the most chocolatey cake in the book, so chocolatey I am naming my rendition as the Chocolate Pine Truffle. This was my first cake in my new apartment, and you won't belief how relief I feel that I was able to bake! The cake celebrated my uncle's 60th birthday.
Be sure to include the cute whole pine nuts, if time permits place a pine nut under each and every petal! The caramel pine tree branches are entirelly optional, this time I brought these back and plan to keep in my airtight containers for reduce-reuse-recycle causes!
Merry Christmas dearest bloggers, it has been the best year yet, and may 2009 bring many high energy (and calories) joy joys.
Sep 17, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
The photo of this impressive cake with most unusual decoration was sent to me by Audra Comer. I want to share it with all of you along with this gracious note:
I just wanted to send you a quick picture of my brother's groom's cake which I made for his wedding on the 31st of August. It had to travel across our state of NC and didn't arrive in quite the shape I wanted, but I was still proud as a novice cake baker. You taught me how to do this! Thank You!
Jun 25, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
You asked for it and Hector generously created it for download as a poster!
Download: 20 x 30 size Poster of Rose in People Magazine
(6.45 MB file size)
Download: 16 x 20 size Poster of Rose in People Magazine
(6.48 MB file size)
Jun 04, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
I always hate to leave when the rhododendrun is in full bloom.
We have tons of irises I brought from the old house in Hainsburgh. (Yes we just moved a little down the alphabet!) Unfortunately only the yellow ones seem to survive with a very few purple ones. The gorgeous scarlet ones were probably too delicious for the chipmunks and ground hogs to resist.
The vase is an antique my father gave me belonging to an old man, John Zerkelese, who worked in his shop many years ago.
Jun 03, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
It doesn't get much better than this in the wish fullfillment department!
May 27, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
This is a note from Hector from Hawaii and I thought you'd all appreciate seeing the spectacular photo plus a description of how it was made and for what special occasion!
Note from Hector:
Last Saturday, my younger cousin Keith Chan graduated in Civil Engineering. He organized a lovely dinner for our ENTIRE family which turned into a family reunion of 80. My relatives has seen me baking since I started with The Cake Bible back in 1989, but they have not seen any of my recent work, so I offered to make cake and attempt to re-introduce myself as a baker. My first cake from the book was the Golden Cage which I have a picture I dare $$$ to ever share publicly. I felt the responsibility to do something with caramel....how about a caramel bridge? If it didn't turn out, my cousin could fix it!
Here it is. The vertical ropes of the bridge were done by pouring caramel onto every other groove of corrugated cardboard lined with aluminum foil. Honestly, the technique is here, but I would execute this cake again, a little more carefully and precisely to make it look prettier and less heavy: I inserted Mc Donald's drink straws in the cake to prevent the bridge from smashing! I ran out of time that evening and showed up late at the dinner, never again because when you show up late no-one sees your cake! I do have a few pictures with my cousin and my nieces with the cake, but besides that people admired the cake mostly for its flavor when served.
May 26, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
Jennifer Giampetro sent me these delightful photos and it looks like not only was it her first big cake but it was someone else's first big cake too (see below)!
May 22, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
It has been almost 12 months since I baked my last butter layer cake. I am very sorry to report defeat in the form of Rose's Yellow and Chocolate Butter Wedding Cake. I needed to make two 9-inch, two 6-inch, and a variety of smaller sizes. Rose's recipe is perfect, and it is probably a recipe that has been executed over a million times during the 20 years since Cake Bible printed. Use cake strips, lower oven temperature 25 degrees if convection is used, and I THINK you will avoid defeat.
May 18, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
Never has a German Chocolate Cake looked more appetizing!
or a blueberry lemon cake more beautiful
May 05, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
A year ago, during my visit to Germany to visit my nephew Alex and family. Marley Jane was only two months old then. When I returned with Elliott a only 6 months later she had, predictable changed significantly--in fact, she took her first steps with him. And what a lovely surprise to receive these recent photos her mom Haley sent me and to see she is already a little girl and such a sweet one too! Haley titled the photo with the daisy "Haysmile" and I just know it's because Marley was looking at her older brother Hadyn!
Feb 03, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
I’m not sure if I’ll ever make onion soup again, at least not as long as I live a 5 minute walk from Blue Ribbon Bakery and they still make their glorious version.
For starters, chef and baker Sefton Stallard makes some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted and believe me I’ve tasted many a bread around the world! When creating the kitchen for Blue Ribbon Bakery he excavated an ancient wood fired brick oven in the cellar and called in an expert from Europe to restore it to working order.
Seton studied in Paris at the Cordon Bleu and apprenticed in Paris and in Switzerland for several years. He created this onion soup based on his taste memory and, I suspect, improved on it as it’s better than any I tasted even in France.
When cold weather sets in there is little more pleasing than this hot soup filled with caramelized onion and topped with a slice of bread soft and comforting with the juices of the stock, also serving to float an ample island of stretchy/stringy strands of melted gruyère with crunchy golden bits adhering to the edges of the bowl. It satisfies every possible longing--at least while eating it.
Continue reading "The Best French Onion Soup" »
Dec 19, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
well there it is--the babka stayed and i gained a little over 1 pound. i just returned from my early morning swim and ran into one of my favorite neighbors waiting for the elevator. she asked me in a hushed voice what i had been baking the night before last. she said the whole hall smelled like apple pie and permeated all the apartments (she had already queried another neighbor). it was the cinnamon and butter combination of course. incidentally, ann has a luscious sounding chocolate and apricot filling as another great alternative to the cinnamon and sugar.
since i can't seem to get this babka out of my mind, i started thinking that maybe i should use half light brown muscovado sugar in the filling but then decided it was risky as where the babka opens up during baking and the filling carmelizes, the molasses in the brown sugar would make it either burn or become too dark and bitter.
i'm having trouble waiting the 45 minutes for my editor to arrive so we can finish the babka together. i'll distract myself with coffee.
Dec 11, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
A few postings ago i mentioned viewing the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and how I regretted not having brought my camera. No longer, however, because standing next to me was Kurt Liu on his first trip to New York from San Francisco and he had a very impressive looking camera mounted onto a tripod. I knew his photos would be better than anything I could have taken so I asked his permission to post it on this blog and he graciously agreed.
These two photos really capture the majesty and exquisite setting of the most spectacular Christmas Tree I've ever seen in all my years in New York. Only once did I happen to be at Rockefeller Center at the moment of the tree lighting and it was an experience I'll never forget.
Thank you Kurt for allowing us all to enjoy these two fantastic photos.
P.S. for more photos by kurt liu here's the link to his flickr site
Nov 19, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
It was beginning to snow as Shelly climbed up to the top of the tall ladder and refusing my help managed to find a way to sever it together with the branch in a way that kept it from dropping to the ground. That left me free to run for the camera!
The grey and brown paper strips and swirls of the nest were amazingly beautiful up close and through one of the holes in the side one can see the pockets of the hive.
It's the largest one I've ever seen and astounding to contemplate that it is made from the hornets' saliva. Fortunately there were none still dwelling inside. Once the first frost comes they are said to leave the nest and the following year they rebuild from scratch. If left to the elements the next gradually disintegrates. I hope to hang this one from the porch ceiling in a place where the rain doesn't come slanting in to harm it. It's a treasure.
Nov 06, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
I had to share with you...
From: Cathy Waller
Subject: Happy Halloween!
I just wanted to share with you a little of what I've been up to. I brought this to a Halloween party last night, and it was a hit! It was 4 layers of Perfect All-American Chocolate Cake with Orange flavored Mousseline Buttercream filling and icing. One of the best compliments, besides its spectacular taste, was that most people thought it was a centerpiece, not a cake.
Next is a 3-tiered anniversary cake and another sculpted cake to feed 100. Thanks, friends, for all your encouragement, help and support!
Nov 03, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
in New Products
It has taken several years, but such is the superiority of silicone in many applications of baking and cooking, the consumers have reached a real comfort level in near record time it usually takes to accept new technology. I would bet that there is at least one silicone product in every kitchen in America. I don't think anyone still uses rubber spatulas rather than silicone spatulas that are heatproof to over 500˚F.
Through using silicone bakeware and cookware, and learning its properties and how it functions, manufacturers and designers are coming up with all manner of incredibly inventive gadgets that show silicone to its best advantage and that serve as indisputable replacements for old technology.
Continue reading "A Few of My Favorite Silicone Things" »
Oct 10, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
Nushera has shared this great technique for making roses. You can use marzipan, or gumpaste and the colors of your choice.
Oct 09, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
When Ron Ben Israel came to live in this country he claims to have known nothing about cakes or cake decorating. He learned baking from The Cake Bibleand cake decorating from the high priestess of pastillage flowers Betty Van Norstrand.
When The Plaza planned their 100th birthday celebration it was Ron they chose to make this extraordinary replica of the hotel in cake!
Ron teaches regularly at the French Culinary Institute and occasionally at different locations around the country.
ONE OF RON'S MANY ASSISTANTS FOR THIS MASSIVE PROJECT
Sep 30, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
My dear friend Ruth, of Montecastelli in Tuscany, where will be in just a few weeks, www.montecastelli.com is an incredibly talented photographer. She rarely sends me an e-mail without including her latest visual splendor and this one, captured at Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierras just East of Yosemite National Park, I just had to share with you.
Sep 04, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
I’m back—well rested and well fed and ready to begin the new year!
Thank you all for responding to each other and I’ll try to catch up with the questions that have remained unanswered as soon as possible.
Here are some Hope highlights from our lovely vacation (for me vacation means getting to cook and bake special things as well as rest).
The hornet's (paper wasp's) nest is just outside our back door but high enough above to keep them and us safe from each other. I can almost forgive them their sting when i observe the splendid home they built for themselves!
Be sure to try the Primo Focaccia which has been posted on the blog many months ago. I think it is my top favorite bread. Since I couldn't bear to throw out any of the fed starter i used all 160 grams and increased everything else by 1.185 times.
Continue reading "I'm Back!" »
Aug 18, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
i've lost track of just how many years we've lived here (part time) but one of the many things i've enjoyed has been how little things changed. recently this has changed.
the charming village cafe in town, where we enjoyed many lunches and dinners, has closed and is up for auction. and the lovely inn across the way where we went for special dinners has changed hands. it has been owned for many years by our friends cordie and charlie puttkammer who now plan to retire to their home on the beautiful mackinac island in michigan, and tour the u.s. via trailer. i met cordie when another mutual friend, food writer joan nathan, learned that we lived here and insisted that i go over and meet cordie. i found her playing tennis on their court up the hill and we've been friends ever since.
often, cordie would happen by to watch us hit and on occasion appeared with her racket and a partner and we played doubles. i will miss her very much and hope to visit in michigan.
here is our current tennis audience on cordie's court:
Aug 11, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
that’s what elliott calls it after my having called attention to the fact that i have foamed the milk for my cappuccino to a new height resembling the matter horn. i’ve written before on this blog about my preference for foamed milk made with a foamer without the injection of steam produced by the foamers on some espresso machines. but i now have some new information that i think will be of use.
first of all, i found that not all foamers are created equal. if using a hand-held battery operated foamer, aeorlatte is the one that produces the finest, most stable foam. if suddenly the foam seems less impressive it’s time for two new batteries. for ease in use, and a finer foam still, i use the nespresso aerocino which plugs in and makes the process mostly and blissfully automatic.
fellow blogger hector made the important discovery that when chilling the aerocino the foam is still more voluminous. i now keep the aerocino in the frig always at the ready!
but there’s another vital factor to the production of ideal foam and that is the milk. you can have the best apparati and still achieve inferior foam if the milk isn’t right.
non-fat milk probably foams the best but has no flavor. next best is 1% so when i use that, i add a little heavy cream to the espresso. whole milk will also foam well but you have to experiment to find the best brand. i’m sure it has to do with something in the milk production and/ or ingredients added. in my area, cream o’ land whole milk and tuscan 1%, work the best.
Aug 01, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
here are the pictures you've all been waiting for from the amazing Hector!
Jun 23, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
I think I’ve told this story before but for those who may have missed it, here’s the background to this photo that I hope you will find inspiring, i.e. I hope you will see how much one can improve with practice and determination!
Elliott and I were not yet married so this was a little over 31 years ago. Elliott’s son Michael was celebrating his 13th birthday and had the good taste to request see ingthe Broadway play Dracula with Frank Langela. I offered to make the birthday cake. This was BG (before ganache) and I wanted a rich dark chocolate frosting if not for the cake itself at least for the decoration. So I kept adding brown food coloring, not realizing that it would darken on its own after several hours.
Continue reading "My First and Worst Cake" »
Jun 19, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
This was the cake that I made this weekend (with your help!) for my
At the wedding I was asked if I could come teach a class on cake
decorating! I thought they were kidding! This was only my fourth
wedding cake!!! Anyways, I was honoured... but I think I will just
tell them to all go buy your book;)
Jun 17, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
One of my very favorite things to eat are fried clams but rarely do I find them worthy of eating. For one thing, if they are just the strips without the bellies, they are more batter than clam. Only if they are steamers (aka piss clams) so they won’t have the right texture variation from plump juicy to crisp chewy. And if the place uses a low grade commercial oil for frying and doesn’t change it often enough, the fried clams become all but indigestible. I have found one place in the world that makes fried clams exactly to my taste—The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport Maine (see below for contact info). (Actually this was a discovery of my eating partner in crime Elizabeth Karmel of Grill Friends). I have driven miles to get there from wherever part in Maine I find myself.
Sadly and obviously fried clams can’t be shipped, but to my delight, The Clam Shack has just started shipping their lobster roll kit! It is shipped overnight in Styrofoam, with icepacks, and despite the 90 degree weather it arrived in perfect condition—the ice still frozen and the lobsters, even the Styrofoam, smelling only of that dreamy briny/sweet sea-breeze aroma.
Continue reading "The Great Lobster Pig Out" »
May 26, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Travel Adventures
after several years of thinking about little more than the book and the blog, what a departure it was to take off to france with no computer or manuscript! and after months of little sleep, to meet the deadline of book submission, i felt as if i were sleep walking until i arrived chez my friends the chouards in a little village of st. méard de gurçon. actually i fell asleep in the tgv to libourne until i heard an enchanting little voice calling to me: “cou cou madame!” i opened my eyes to a 4 year old little girl with blond curls and blue eyes wide with daring at speaking to a stranger—a sleeping stranger at that. (i had noticed early that her father was working on a computer and answered her in polite don’t bother me monosyllables when she cried out “regard papa, le chateau!”—which was probably responsible for her daring approach.) i asked her if she lived in the town where the train was approaching and since no answer seemed forthcoming i fell back to sleep. moments later came the response: “oui”! i fell back to sleep secure in the knowledge that i was home at last to one of my favorite places on earth where children are more often than not especially charming.
Continue reading "Spring in the Dordogne Vacation Part 1" »
May 10, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
This cake which Lisa Shepley calls "My Tribute to Rose Cake"(and I am honored) is so stunning I had the impression, for a fleeting instant, that I could smell the rose (not to mention that my head cold is still preventing me from smelling anything!) In Lisa's words, here is how she accomplished this breath-taking work of art. I sure would love to see it cut into!
The layers are 10"x3", 8"x3", 6"x3" butter cakes, torted and filled w/buttercream. All covered in white fondant, doweled as usual and stacked. For the "rose layers", I roll out fondant aprox 1/4" thick. First cut a piece about 2" x 4", straight on one side and wavy on the other side with a pizza cutter. Roll up to resemble a rose center. Press the bottom to make a "base". Glue in center of 6" cake by brushing the base with a little corn syrup. Cut another strip a little longer and form the next layer of petals around the center piece and continue until the top of cake is filled. (using corn syrup as your glue) Next, cut a little wider strips in same fashion and start on the sides of the 6" cake, overlapping and turning out a little at the tops to form a natural rose look. Continue to bottom of cake, making the layers a little wider so it looks natural. To color the tips, drop a bit of food coloring on a small plate, dip an artist type paint brush in a little vodka and make a diluted puddle on the plate. Wipe almost completely dry on a paper towel. Brush on tips making a little darker at the top of rose. After completely dry, go back with a dry brush and dust with a little pearl luster dust. (hope this was condensed enough!)
Thanks again, you're the best!
May 05, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Travel Adventures
It worked out perfectly to escape from April showers into May flowers two weeks early. When I arrived in the Dordogne the day after the huge storm in the Northeast, everything was in flower. The ground was covered with these tiny daisies and the fields with golden culvas from which the ubiquitous cooking oil arrachide is made. They seemed to capture the sunlight. May in France and Germany began two weeks earlier than in New York.
I'm eager to catch up on postings as there have been many highlights this past month, the trip to France where I had the great pleasure of meeting Clotilde Dusoulier whose terrific blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, is linked to mine, meeting my nephew's new family in Germany, and this coming Monday the Oscar's of the food world—the 20th anniversary of the James Beard Awards which will be held at Lincoln Center. Stay tuned!
P.S. Three days before leaving for France I turned in the manuscript for the new book—815 pages weighing in at under 1 ounce on a CD. (My editor at Food Arts, Jim Poris, tells people I weigh everything—even air! Actually the weight of air is known as altitude.). Here's the presentation:
Apr 02, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
Another Beautiful Cake from Patrincia!
Here is a photo of the 2nd wedding cake I made this past weekend. I used your Mousseline Buttercream and you might be interested to know that the reception was held in a place that serves meals to senior citizens, so the room was warm before anyone arrived. Add to that about 100 people and a bunch of spotlights (one directly on the cake - yikes!)... so let's just say it was VERY warm. The great news is this - your buttercream held up extremely well for the 3 hours the cake was on display; it didn't slide or shift at all. I added grosgrain ribbon to match the bridal party - it stuck to the buttercream without any problems either.
Thanks to you, this stay at home mom's can turn out cakes that not only look like they were made by an upscale professional bakery, but they taste like it too!
Sincerely, Patricia Reitz (Patrincia), Winchester, VA
Mar 22, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
i received this lovely note and photo, and couldn't wait to share it with you...
Thanks so much for letting me send this photo. I've been baking from The Cake Bible for years, but this was my first attempt at a wedding cake. I'm so pleased with the way it turned out (like a proud mother of a new baby). The cake was made from your Chocolate Butter Cake formula and it was filled and frosted with your Dark Chocolate Ganache recipe. One of the wedding guests asked me to make her son's wedding cake - all vanilla, inside and out. I'll be sure to use The Cake Bible for the formulas and recipes I'll use for it too!
Sincerely, Patrincia, Winchester, VA
PS - I can't wait to get your new book when it comes out!
Mar 10, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
Cranberry Walnut Bread
I’ve been carrying my own food on plane trips for years now but my husband usually prefers to eat what’s given on the plane. HOWEVER, now that one has the privilege of paying for such dreadful stuff, I’d have to be plain crazy not to bring my own and Elliott is now amenable to the idea. So two days before departing for our annual ski vacation in Deer Valley, I started the cranberry walnut bread destined to be filled with cold roast chicken for the trip. (brownies for dessert)
Since I baked it the day before, we already consumed about a third of it before making the sandwiches. The rest will be divided between breakfast before departure and the freezer for our return.
This seemed like an excellent opportunity for a step-by-step bread lesson so instead of packing in a timely way, and not waiting til the last minute, I photographed all the different stages of the bread.
For those of you who have the Bread Bible, you will already have the recipe. As you will see from the photos, I mixed it in the bread machine this time.
I made half the recipe (which baked in the same time) though I would recommend tenting it with foil after the first 30 minutes of baking and using a cushioned baking sheet or double baking sheets as this bread tends to brown readily.
The only thing I did that was different was to add 75 grams (2.6 ounces—a scant 1/4 cup) of stiff starter that I keep in the freezer to add to dough to give it extra flavor and extend its shelf-life. If you do this, defrost it and add it torn in pieces to the water mixture. Also add an extra 1/8 teaspoon of salt to balance the extra flour in the starter.
Anyone who doesn’t have the Bread Bible and wants to make this recipe let me know and I’ll post it on the blog on my return.
Sponge Peaking Through Flour Blanket After 1 1/2 Hours
See the rest of the photos on the individual page.
Continue reading "Plane Food" »
Feb 22, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
I was about to start writing about this newest soup recipe but had to jump up and eat a bowl first—it is that compelling a soup! After having fallen in love with the veal shoulder bean and barley soup a few weeks ago I started thinking about bones that have the most gelatin, and pig’s feet have them all beat, though calves' feet trot in as a close second.
PIG'S FEET SIMMERING
THE CHILLED GELLED STOCK
THE GRAND FINALE
After simmering the feet for 3 1/2 hours the meat, grizzle, and ligaments were easy to separate from the bones. And there were an astonishing number of little bones. It made me think of a story my mother told me many years ago about her experience in dental school. She recounted that the only difference between premed and predent(al) was when it came to autopsy. The predent students stopped short at the hands and feet. She never understood why but now I do—at least partially. There are more little bones in the feet than in any other part of the body. And I suppose they don’t relate to what is happening in the mouth (except for the metaphor of putting one’s foot in it!).
When I was growing up, my grandmother often made calf's foot jelly, called pitcha (which I wouldn’t eat). My Uncle B would walk over for a bowl of it at the shortest notice, he loved it so much. He would eat it still hot and then take back some to eat cold and jelled the next day. Grandma always added vinegar to the boiling feet and after researching pig’s feet I discovered that it wasn’t so much for flavor but rather for health. I wonder if she knew that vinegar leaches the valuable calcium out of the bones and into the stock! My husband suggested I call my version of this dish “Pig Pitcha”! By the way, the secret to keeping the beans (my addition) jet black is to add the water in which they were soaked along with the beans.
Actually this soup is surely exceptionally healthful. The pig’s feet have so little fat there was nothing to skim off after chilling. I love the idea of using every part of the animal we eat. This dish is so economical I felt justified in pairing it with a disproportionately expensive pinot or cabernet.
Continue reading "Pork and Black Bean & Barley Soup" »
Feb 14, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
Jan 22, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
Having fallen in love with my new cast iron pots with the intended use of baking bread, I found myself gazing admiringly at the lids when inspiration struck. Why not cook on the inverted lids ?! And why not borrow the technique of preheating them from the no knead bread recipe?
So I preheated the lid with the oven to 450ºF./230ºC. tossed some quartered little potatoes and a few mushrooms with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
The lid handle fits right through the opening in the oven rack keeping the lid stable. After about 30 minutes, turn the potatoes and remove the mushrooms. Sprinkle the potatoes with chopped garlic and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are browned and tender.
Jan 17, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose
This is the first time I’ve ever made a wedding cake away from my own home kitchen so back in August I started compiling long lists of essential ingredients and equipment necessary for the task. I forgot one indispensable item, however, until 2 days before I was due to fly out to S.F. as I was visualizing the whole process in my mind’s eye—a heavy duty turntable. Luckily my friends Caitlin and Meg from Miette Bakery jumped in generously loaning me their best, most smoothly turnable turntable. Caitlin also managed to find me the Green and Black cocoa which is my favorite and had been sold out at Whole Foods.
Continue reading "Deep Chocolate Passion Cake/The Foote-Patterson Wedding" »
Dec 18, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Travel Adventures
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but almost did. October 17, 2006 Elliott was recovering from hip replacement surgery and not driving and I was recovering from sympathy back pains with four bulging discs. There was no way either of us could drive to New Jersey. But the ever gracious and generous Knowles sent a car for us so we got to participate in this unforgettable event that I’ve been wanting to post but have been waiting for some very special photos and for the courage to do it full justice.
My connection to the Manor goes a long way back to when my then 92 year old grandmother had her wedding ceremony there. (She married a younger man of 89!) It was a very intimate celebration so I wasn’t actually included, but only a few years later I had the good fortune to meet the owner of The Manor Harry Knowles, the family patriarch of the 6 generation restaurant family, at an event of the Chaine de Rotisseurs. And when the Cake Bible was published over 18 years ago, it was Harry who hosted the first press party for it at the Manor. By the time the Pie and Pastry Bible was published I had celebrated several more of my book publication parties at the Manor. And the incomparable Mary Jane Frankel, who is responsible for all the publicity including their publication “Manorisms,” always did a fantastic job rounding up all the local press and organizing the events.
At our first dinner at The Manor Elliott and I enjoyed a tour of the kitchens and we were both awed by this Utopia that addressed every possible comfort and indulgence not just for the guests but also for the staff. I had never before nor since seen a kitchen that had carpeting to make it easier underfoot. When I asked Harry how they maintained it he said “we just tear it up and replace it whenever necessary. It’s worth it because it makes the staff happy.” The pastry chef had a separate air-conditioned kitchen all to himself (believe me this is not the usual case—pastry chefs are usually relegated to the bowls of the restaurant where it is the most hot or an equally hot corner of the kitchen.) We learned that the Manor even has it’s own metal shop which produces and repairs all the copper cookware. And Elliott rejoiced over the substantial dining room chairs with arms which add so much to comfort for dining pleasure.
Continue reading "The Manor’s 50th Anniversary Celebration" »
Dec 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
i just saw my friend Rosanne Gold on the today show, demonstrating two recipes from her new cookbook "cooking for kids" 1-2-3. i 've long felt that in addition to sharing a name, we have a strong aesthetic bond and the proof this time was her apple sauce (the traditional accompaniment to latkes) prepared with apples, brown sugar and cranberries.
since we won't be home for dinner tonight (the first night of hanukka) i got a head start on my latke making a few nights ago. and as i still had some cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving (mine had some fresh ginger in it as well) i literally put 2 and 2 together and came up with the most beautiful and delicious applesauce ever.
uncharacteristically, i didn't measure--i just added the cranberry sauce to taste. really hard to go wrong with this! even using prepared apple sauce and cranberry sauce it will be great and i encourage you to try it.
i'm posting this without the photo (that should appear soon after) so hopefully you'll get it in time for tonight, but after all, hanukka is 8 days so there's plenty of time. oh dear--as i started to write that this cran-apple sauce will be delicious all year round my mind immediately leapt to pork chops--but not this week.
update: here's the photo...
Nov 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
Yes it Works!
Several people have contacted me regarding the article in Wed. Nov. 8, 2006 NY Times: "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work." Although the techniques described in the recipe are not new to me, the combination of them was, so I stopped everything I was doing or planning to do Sunday late afternoon and threw myself into dough production. 20 hours later here's the report: The results are exactly as promised--very large holes in the crumb, light texture, thin crisp crust, and an absolute minimum of MIXING effort.
As far as putting the dough into an extremely hot and heavy pot, I think I'll stick with other equally effective methods such as a heavy baking stone that holds the heat and ice cubes tossed into a preheated cast-iron pan or perhaps the new device I'm testing that has a relatively light-weight metal lid that also gets preheated and a very effective steaming device to create steam contained by the lid.
The flavor of the bread developed during the long 12-18 hour fermentation (I gave it 15 hours) was indeed superior to a shorter rise with higher amount of yeast but not as good or as deliciously complex as when I add some of my old starter. Also, I would add my usual 7 to 8 % whole wheat or kamut flour for extra flavor and no compromise in texture.
I like the ease of minimal mixing coupled with long slow rise which develops the gluten more gently resulting in the larger holes. I also like the flavor and texture of bran instead of flour on the outside. I intend to try these techniques with my pugliese recipe which has a slighter higher 80% hydration and different mix of flours.
Two important caveats to the Times' recipe:
I watched the video on the Times' website and noticed that only 1 1/2 cups of water was used, not 1 5/8 cups as was listed in the printed recipe. The 1 5/8 cups, which is 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablesopons, constitutes an extra 2 tablespoons of water bringing the hydration to 82% as opposed to 75%. Using the 1 1/2 cups of water the dough will be much more manageable, especially for those unaccustomed to handling very sticky doughs.
Also on the video it was recommended that an oven temperature of 500°F. or even higher be used to bake the bread but in the printed recipe a more reasonable 450°F. was listed. I hedged my bets, used 475°F. and after 30 minutes of baking the bottom became slightly over browned toward the blackened stage. (Some people like their crust this dark.) Also, the bread was fully baked (210°F. internal temperature) and the top crust beautifully browned without the need to continue baking it for 15 to 30 minutes as was indicated in the recipe.
I usually wait a week before making any recipe from a newspaper to see if there are any corrections because a weekly paper is under such a heavy deadline pressure there are often little or big glitches! In this case my eagerness to try it overcame my good judgment but luckily someone sent me a link to the video. And that's the beauty of the baker's % and weight. Realizing that I had used too much water, all I had to do was rebalance the dough by gently stirring in the additional flour to bring it to 75% hydration and the extra yeast and salt to balance the extra flour. As you can see from the photos--no harm done!
Continue reading "Holy Bread!" »
Oct 25, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
The Cubanos were out of this world! What had been less than moist but flavorful 5 day old pork shoulder came alive with a gilding of mayo, the bread and butter pickles from the farmer's market--less sweet than the usual. The slice of ham was a perfect addition and the melted Swiss cheese bound it all together. But it was the bread that was the star--crisp crust, soft flavorful crumb!
The recipe for the bread is on the Harvest King bread bag and in the Bread Bible and all you have to do to make these great rolls is divide it in 6 (5 ounces/144 grams each) and shape them into 6 inch long batons. They only takes 20 minutes to bake. Cool and split in half horizontally. Heaven!
For the Cubano, it took 10 minutes on medium high in a panini maker and in a 350 oven wrapped in foil, and weighted between two baking sheets with an oven-proof skillet on top it will take about 20 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Sep 29, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
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!
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.
Sep 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
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.
Sep 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
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.
Aug 30, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
My dear friend and culinary colleague Marguerite Thomas and I have been exchanging recipes since the outset of our friendship nearly a decade ago. She came up with a really cute idea for a joint cookbook entitled "e-mail eats"! but she's very busy with projects including travels for her column in "wine news" and www.winereviewonline.com where she and her husband Paul Lukas offer up inspired food and wine pairings. and I'm busy with my upcoming cake book. so I'm going to share one of the best of our "e-mail eats" collection right now while all the summer vegetables necessary for this timeless recipe are at their peak. and I'm going to include the original e-mail because the uniquely casual and friendly charm of Marguerite's writing is not something one finds very often if at all in recipe books!
Marguerite's ratatouille has become a summer tradition. it is superb with grilled leg of lamb or lamb chops and I always freeze little packages to enjoy with pasta during the winter. This is an idea borrowed from my beloved Sicilian friend and colleague Angelica Pulvirenti. She makes this dish for me every summer by sautéeing the vegetables in an ample amount of olive oil and then tossing it with pasta.
This summer, I tried something a little different for the ratatouille. i grilled the egg plant (cut in rounds), zuchinni (cut in half the long way), and peppers—uncut, all brushed well with olive oil. I used high heat, making sure to turn the vegetables and check for doneness to prevent blackening. The slight touch of smoky char was a fantastic addition.
Marguerite's original e-mailed recipe:
Continue reading "The Re-Evolution of a Classic Dish: Ratatouille" »
Aug 29, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Travel Adventures
This is a photo I will always cherish of my new editor Pam Chirls's family's first visit to my house in Hope. They asked for a cake baking lesson and here are the proud results of their just having unmolded a chocolate cake baked in Lékué silicone molds designed with children in mind (though I adore the cute shapes as well).
Since cakes baked in silicone need to cool completely before unmolding, it makes it ideal for kids as it eliminates the danger of burns from hot pans!
Allix and twin Julia are in the back and Isabelle is the one holding the little loaf cake. We also had a cake tasting of Gateau Breton and they were all amazingly helpful comparing the salt version with the no salt.
The best part is that after taking the cakes home, they cherished every crumb making the little cakes last several days and now want to bake their own. This is what every lesson hopes to inspire!
But I suspect that what they'll remember best of all is the big black bear we encountered on a drive through the back roads. Happily we were all in the car at the time. We wanted to take a photo but he moved far too quickly and all we saw was as Allix remarked "his butt," to which I added: "yes—his bear butt."
Aug 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
i've been promising this recipe on the blog for a while, and here it finally is.
the photo is the dough at the point where the corn, cheese, and chilies are being mixed in, which is the point at which you can really start to smell how everything is going to turn out.
Continue reading "Bennett Chili Bread as Promised" »
Jul 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
YES--it's still real baking!!! but the cake kits contain all the best ingredients that i use for my cakes and the best part is that they are all premeasured (weighed) so all you have to do is soften the butter and add the liquid and eggs.
I am starting with two cakes: a moist buttery french vanilla and a soft rich chocolate. they can be made as 14 to 16 cup cakes or one 9 by 2 inch round cake or one 8 by 2 inch square cake.
there will also be two buttercreams, both containing lyle's golden syrup in just the right amount so that when combined with the sugar packet and brought to a full boil the syrup is the perfect temperature to thicken the egg yolks for a true foolproof classic buttercream.
one buttercream will be french vanilla with a hint of lemon and the other kit will contain a package of valrhona chocolate to melt for adding to the buttercream and valrhona chocolate pearls for decoration. both will have the finest madadgascar french vanilla(eurovanille) contains actual grains of vanilla.
the kits are being produced by my friends sarah leah chase (the reknowned cookbook author) and her husband nigel dyche (pictured here) The other photos are of our booth at the fancy food show where we offered miniature cup cakes samples. all 800 were consumed before the curtain went down on day 3 of the show!
the kits will be available in stores across the country by october--stay tuned for where they will be distributed.
Jul 03, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Travel Adventures
This is the view of the Delaware River and the Gap as seen from atop the old trestle bridge spanning the Delaware between Columbia, NJ and Portland Pa. Most of the bridges between NJ and PA up here are closed due to flooding. I've never seen the Delaware so high, cresting way over the banks, or so quickly flowing/raging it’s way to the ocean. I’ve always wanted to climb the trestle aqueduct bridge and finally here was my excuse!
Jun 25, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
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!!!" »
Jun 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
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!
May 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
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.
Continue reading "Where to Go!" »
Apr 24, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Travel Adventures
I’ve finally discovered why writing a negative review is so much easier than the reverse. There’s a certain drama to it. I don’t like sounding negative but I like still less feeling negative. So here goes—at least on the positive side I’ll get it out of my system and perhaps you will be forewarned of what to expect should you chose to plan a trip to this area:
I really was expecting to enjoy the experience. Last time in the Bahamas—about 10 years ago—it was a lot of fun but then we didn’t stay in a humongous amusement park type of hotel like the Atlantis (it should have stayed mythically submerged under seas), nor was it Spring break, nor was the weather stormy every single day making swimming in the ocean impossible. This didn’t seem to stop people from crowding around the many swimming pools but I suspect they were using extra towels to keep warm as there never seemed to be any available by the time my husband was finished with his morning seminars and ready to give the pool experience a chance. There weren’t enough lounge chairs either—not that I like lying around a crowded pool. I guess I was hoping for a secluded beach with the shade of a palm tree and gentle breezes transporting me into a dreamy state, rather than the gales of wailing wind and rain that made me start thinking tsunami one night. The security alarm going off for 10 minutes in the middle of the night for no explained reason didn’t help to assuage my sense of panic and unease.
Our room had a splendid view of the raging ocean and hypnotically staring out to sea was my favorite and most relaxing part of the trip. Unfortunately wireless internet access was available only in the library ($10 for 24 hours no less). Other than the room, this was the one place that was mostly quiet. Everywhere else I don’t think I’ve ever heard this many screaming kids at one time.
[Read about the rest of Rose's trip on the full post page.]
Continue reading "It’s Batter in the Bahamas!" »
Apr 19, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Travel Adventures
on the recent visit to seattle, for the iacp conference, i had the pleasure of having dinner with my family who live in nearby slohomish. my stepson chose a new restaurant called the crow and we were joined by my dear friend elizabeth karmel (her new book: "taming the flame"--john wiley). all four of us grownups chose the halibut that turned out to be moist and flavorful--in fact the best halibut i've ever tasted. the grandchildren had their usual spaghetti with butter and cheese. but they did ask to smell the cabernet cork. here's evidence:
Apr 18, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Travel Adventures
I know that baking is often perceived as alchemy and magic, but chef Letty Flatt, who is in charge of all baking at the Deer Valley Ski Resort in Utah, really takes the cake. You have to be there to believe the wide variety and exquisiteness of the desserts she creates at altitudes as high as 8200 feet above sea level.
At the Seafood Buffet, a little lower down but not much, there is a selection of about 20 different desserts and one can taste all of them as part of the buffet dinner—in fact there are those who do just that (I came close) My favorite—also Elliott’s--was the baklava batons. Another favorite, the Black Forest Crème Brûlée (see photo) is a magnificent plated dessert served only at the Mariposa restaurant at Silver Lake.
My top favorite, which I can never resist (I returned for it twice) is the ice cream sandwich served at the Café at Silver Lake. I’m usually torn between that and the Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie.
(By the way, they also serve the best crawfish bisque I’ve ever tasted anywhere including New Orleans and an astonishingly good Caesar salad—both of which required a revisit as well.) The ice cream sandwich consists of perfectly creamy vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two terrific chocolate chip cookies, cut into 4 wedges, and served with a little pot of hot fudge sauce for dipping (oh bliss).
Happily the recipe is in Letty’s cookbook “Chocolate Snowball.” No wonder she recently was cited in Salt Lake Magazine's Dining Awards as Best Pastry Chef in Utah 2006!
I used to think I had to go to Europe to eat well at a ski resort but not since we discovered Deer Valley. Now we just keep going back. Usually we stay on the mountain for dinner as the choices are so varied and excellent, but it’s well worth going into Park City—just about 15 minutes away-- to eat at Wahso—a wonderful Asian restaurant with equally appealing décor.
In addition to the great food and staggering beauty of the mountains, we really enjoy the genuine friendliness of the people. Last year, when I wanted to try out snow-shoeing, one of the shop keepers loaned me not only a pair of snowshoes, but also his own gaiters to keep the snow out of my shoes, as none of the stores had them for sale.
There was tons of snow and blue skies this year but I actually forewent a day of skiing for the pleasure of hiking with my friends Letty and Julie Wilson (the director of food and beverage at Deer Valley Resort) who led us up the Sun Peak Trail for an unforgettable experience. It was a rigorous one hour uphill climb on a narrow snowy trail surrounded by pines. I couldn’t chat much as I was too occupied with catching my breath, but it was well worth the effort because the summit gave us a panoramic view of the Canyons ski area that was absolutely breath-taking (in every sense!)
Deer Valley was the dream creation of Stein Erikson—the great ski hero whose elegant style--rear end improbably extending at near right angles from one’s hopefully parallel skis--everyone tried to emulate when I started skiing back in 1961. He still skis every morning and word had it he skied with Dr. Ruth the week we were there. It was probably was more than a rumor as I spotted dear Dr. Ruth at Kennedy airport waiting for her baggage while we were waiting for ours.
But by far the most serendipitous moment of the entire week was discovering at almost the very end of one of the rides up the mountain that the familiar looking person sitting next to me on the lift was the editor of Real Simple Magazine. Disguised as we were by our ski apparel it took that long to realize we recognized each other! I’ve seen her countless times on the Today Show and she’s been baking out of my books for years! Out of 1400 people on the lifts it seemed unimaginably improbably that we should be sitting on the same lift chair. Most delightful was that before I realized it was Elizabeth Mayhew I was charmed by her sweet friendly personality—just the same as she is when she appears on the Today Show.
Before we skied off down the mountain Elizabeth invited me to appear on her new PBS show and I invited her to the press party for the launch of the new Gold Medal artisan style flour (more about this in June!). Life is good!
Apr 17, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
During the few days of IACP in Seattle last week of March, TIm Bennett Product Manager of Gold Medal Flour (who was the inspiration behind this blog) and I skipped out and drove all the way to Vancouver to experience some of the most creative, spectacular and delicious sushi of our lives. We had the added pleasure of meeting Travis Smith and Susie Gardner of Hop Studios, the designers of our blog, who happen to live in Vancouver.
This is my 5th visit to Tojo's and I warned Tim to eat nothing beforehand because it's impossible to say no to just one more of Tojo's beyond description creations. One of the most interesting and demanding of his culinary feats is to create a sushi that is hot on the inside and cold on the outside. He gently but firmly commands you to use your hands (because touch is part of the experience) and eat it immediately.
There is sake and there is sake and the finest quality, served cold in bamboo containers is a world apart from the ubiquitous hot sake one often encounters.
We made it back to Seattle safely and by 10:30 and with only one eye-opener stop for coffee on the way. By the way, it seems that anywhere coffee is served in the state of Washington, it is strong, mellow, and never bitter.
See six more photos below (on the full post page).
Continue reading "A Side Trip to Heaven!" »
Apr 10, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
Lisa Yockelson's book "ChocolateChocolate" won the best book in the baking category at the IACP cookbook award ceremony on the evening of April 1!
As presenter of this category, along with my friend and fellow-baker/author Jim Dodge, now of the Getty Foundation, we had the great pleasure of announcing the award to Lisa and an audience of close to 1400.
Photo by Adam Schneider
Afterwards we celebrated with a bottle of champagne with our publisher Natalie Chapman (John Wiley).
Photo by Adam Schneider
A full list of award winners can be viewed on the iacp website http://www.iacp.com
Mar 27, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
When packing for a business trip I love to start a large bread for my husband to eat while I'm away. Challah is one of his favorites and since it's one of mine as well, I usually manage to eat a few slices myself before slicing, wrapping and freezing the rest. This is the one I made before leaving for Barcelona in February. It's similar to the one in "The Bread Bible" with one wonderful difference: I've discovered that adding some old stiff starter instead of the vinegar does wonders for elasticity making it much easier to braid. It also increases the moistness and shelf life and adds depth of flavor. And because it so exceptionally moist for a challah, the ends of the braids hold together well.If you want to make this recipe and don't have any starter, add 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar when adding the oil and use the lower amount of salt.
Continue reading "My New Favorite Traditional Challah" »
Mar 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
we're off for our 30th annual ski week at what has long ago become our favorite of all ski resorts: deer valley in utah!
a few years ago, my husband had an accident skiing that prevented him from accompanying me on the slopes for the rest of the week. in all these years of marriage, i had never skied without him so it felt very odd and lonely navigating the mountain on my own. i decided to take a short break and check out the food at the snowflake lodge. somehow, inevitably, i found myself in the kitchen and that put an end to any possible loneliness at deer valley! letty flatt, who is in charge of all bakery operations at the many restaurants at deer valley, also took charge of me! on her time off we skied together and she introduced me to double black diamonds that i could handle with ease. on the chair lift we exchanged bake-talk and royal icinged (baker's cement) a lasting friendship.
last year, at a marvelous dinner at mariposa--the high-end restaurant on the mountain--we were served a bread that both my husband and i adored. it was, of course, letty's, but she immediately credited peter reinhart for the original recipe. comparing the two i saw that letty had used 5 times the polenta. i decided to double the original amount of polenta but also added 90 grams more flour. neither letty nor i added the optional 3 tablespoons of cooked brown rice simply because i didn't feel like making rice just to make this bread and found it was so delicious without it i've yet to try it with the rice--but i will.
the first time i made this bread back at low altitude in new york city i e-mailed peter immediately saying i was proud to be in the same profession as he. he graciously e-mailed back thanking me for reminding him about one of his very favorite breads--which is now mine as well. and as toast it is unequaled. toasting seems to bring out the sweet nuttiness of the grains. the texture is--well--perfect is the word that comes to mind. judge for yourselves by the photo. and the golden specks of coarse polenta add a jewel like quality. it doesn't get better than spread with sweet butter but the other night i served it for dinner spread with mustard mayonnaise and filled with sardines sprinkled with lemon juice. it deserved the glass of trimbach frederique emile alsatian riesling that accompanied it. gloriously simple and wholly satisfying.
Click to see the flecks!
as i now am inclined to do with most of my breads, i've added a small amount of old stiff sourdough starter (the consistency of bread dough) to increase shelf life and add depth of flavor and extra moistness. if you chose not to add the starter decrease the salt by 1/8th teaspoon.
Click to view the recipe
Continue reading "Struan Bread" »
Mar 06, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
i'm delighted to announce that my dear friend and colleague lisa yockelson's glorious book ChocolateChocolate has been nominated in in the baking category. the award ceremony will be held on april 1 at the international association of culinary professionals conference in seattle washington. by a happy coincidence, i will be the presenter of the awards in the baking category.
below is a photograph taken the day before the nominations announcement, of me (left), our beloved editor pam chirls of wiley, and lisa
photo by adam schneider
Mar 02, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
Here are several images of Rose you can use. You can preview them on the individual entry page (after the jump).
Continue reading "Press Photos" »
Jan 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
You're going to love this: I've made my first failed génoise ever! And I learned an important lesson in the process.
People have told me over the years that they were afraid of making génoise. I even taught an 80 year old friend of the family in Harrogate England how to make génoise and it worked perfectly. But I haven't made génoise for a while now and what I remembered best was all the fearful statements of others. It never pays to do anything with fear because either one is too tentative or too bold and cavalier. I fell into the latter category. After all, I've made hundreds of génoise and I developed my original recipe for Cook's magazine almost 25 years ago. After all, what did I have to fear but génoise i mean fear itself?! But though cavalier and génoise are both French words the two should never be combined when baking! I could tell something was wrong when I poured the batter into the pan and it only filled the pan half-full instead of the usual two -thirds. Also what was odd was that the top was filled with little bubbles. Predictable, the cake never rose more than 1 inch.
My heart fell. Had I lost the magic? What if I never again would be able to make a perfect génoise? And what went wrong? Does cornstarch have a shelf life after all? (Mine was several years old.) Did I fold in the flour and cornstarch too much and deflate the batter? I felt just like everyone else who's ever asked me to diagnose or sleuth out his or her baking problems on things that always worked before and suddenly went wrong.
I sprang into action whipping up a second génoise before I lost the courage. The horrible thought occurred to me that now I understood the story of the chef who killed himself when his recipe failed-I think it was a soufflé but maybe not. Could it have been a génoise?
It always takes so much less time when you’ve just made something to make it again- all the thoughts are still active on the hard drive of one's mind. I narrowed it down to the one thing I did differently (what I was referring to as cavalier). I made the mistake of thinking: “Why do I have to beat the eggs and sugar for five whole minutes on high when after three minutes they look thick enough and don't seem to be getting any thicker or fuller in the bowl?" So I stopped beating at three minutes, and that was what made the critical difference as to the texture and height of the finished génoise (see photograph for comparison).
So the lesson is clear: Don't be fearful; and follow the instructions in the Cake Bible, especially if you wrote it.
Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
Bread Made with the Sponge Method--Note Even Holes
This fantastic bread is my holiday gift to dedicated bread bakers who either have a sourdough starter, are willing to make one, or to purchase one: (www.sourdo.com).
The source of this bread goes back several years to a visit we made to the Old Sheepherding Co. in Chatham, New York. My cousins Bill and Joy Howe have a second home nearby and were overjoyed to report that at the time Melissa Kelly, a CIA graduate, was the chef and that they had a standing reservation every Sat. night. I fell in love with the place and the food. Subsequently, the pastry chef, Price Kushner, fell in love with chef Kelly and they left to open their own restaurant, Primo in Rockland Maine www.primorestaurant.com
Last summer my husband and I spent a week in Maine attending his radiology conference and i persuaded him to drive to Primo saying it was no more than an hour away. (I fudged a little.)
The restaurant, located in a renovated Victorian house, was exquisitely New-England charming and romantic and Melissa’s food was as always unlike any other and well worth the voyage. But this time there was something extra: THE BREAD. i immediately pronounced it to be the best bread I had ever tasted (which means it was ONE of the best breads because when it ranks up there, it’s the one that’s in my mouth that gets top billing.)
After dinner I sought out Price who agreed, saying it was his favorite as well but he hesitated to give me the recipe saying it required something I didn’t have: A sourdough starter. My reply: “Guess what was the last thing I did before leaving for vacation! I fed my sourdough starter!”
Several months went by and finally I put my pride aside and called Price. Good thing too—he had misplaced my e-mail address. The recipe came that very day and I made it very soon thereafter. (I wasn’t taking any chances—I once held a recipe for 30 years only to find it wasn’t what I thought it would be.) The only changes I’ve made to Price’s recipe is to add the caramelized onion after baking as I found that in my oven it burned on the top of the bread, and I used a 475°F oven instead of 550°F as mine won’t go that high. My husband and I were thrilled with the results.
Now here’s what I love so much about this focaccia: It’s soft, and moist, with big uneven holes inside, a faintly tangy flavor which blends impeccably with the deeply caramelized onion topping, and it stays fresh for up to 3 days. It’s really easy to make—it’s just that you HAVE to have the sour dough starter. I tried to make it with the sponge technique and got smaller totally even holes in the crumb, far less flavor, and it staled the same day it was baked. Price was right! (NOTE: the photo on top with the even holes in the crumb is the bread made with a sponge. The photo below, with the beautiful irregular holes, is the one made with the starter!)
So make, buy, borrow, or beg a little starter and mix up a batch of this wonderful bread. Once a starter is established it only takes minutes once a week to keep it alive. I now add a little to almost every bread I make. Even when not fully active, it adds depth of flavor, better texture and keeping qualities to the bread.
The Perfect Texture--Note the Uneven Crumb
Continue reading "Fantastic Focaccia (Primo Rustic Bread)" »
Dec 12, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose
i found this photo of me as a little girl, taken back stage at city center after a performance of george ballanchine's "the nutcracker suite." it was the second annual performance of the ballet which is still performed at christmas time every year. i am ever grateful to my mother for having enrolled me in ballanchine's school of american ballet, which gave me the possibility of being in the nutcracker--the experience of being on stage in a magical performance no child would ever forget, either from on or off stage.
after each performance, my mother would take me to the schrafts around the corner from the ballet and i got to choose between a hamburger or an ice cream sundae. i was a disinterested eater in those days and my mother was delighted that i enjoyed these treats with such unaccustomed relish. but the delicious post performance celebration stopped abruptly after my soldier's costume starting getting too tight! ballanchine had one iron-clad rule aside from being able to dance in an acceptable fashion: if you could find a costume that fit, you were in. conversely......
in those days he was married to the beautiful prima ballerina tanaguil le clerk who tragically had just been stricken with polio.
i will always remember living for this brief moment of my young life in the rarified world of ballet.
Nov 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Cake Questions
I hope you are well. I have had an interesting cupcake experience. Today I made cupcakes using your All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake, the recipe of which I have used on countless occasions for both cakes and cupcakes. I baked the first two trays of cupcakes in separate ovens at the same time and got basically the same result, I have gotten in the past. The cupcakes were mostly flat on top, especially when filled too high. (When filled lower I got a slight arc.)
While they were cooling, I ran out to the store, to get more cupcake fillers to bake the last of the batter (6 more cupcakes.) I baked these for the same amount of time, but got a much higher cupcake. It looked as if they almost erupted slightly...peaking like a volcano! I have attached a picture for you to look at...the one in the middle is from the second baking, the other two are two samples from the first baking.
Why did I get such a different result from the same batter? Did it have something to do with the batter sitting for more than 30 minutes before baking? Or that I used a 6 cup tray instead of a 12 cup tray? (The 6 cup tray was made of the same material as one of the 12 cup trays I used.) I would really like to be able to duplicate the result, since they looked nice frosted, but cannot understand why. Your insight would be invaluable!
cake batter that rises up in the center during baking resembling a volcano is always due to the cake's structure being too strong. this can be the result of using a higher protein flour or of inadequate leavening which i'm fairly certain is the case in your situation. baking powder is called double acting because part of it reacts on contact with the liquid in the batter and the other part from the oven heat. since part of your batter sat a while before baking, part of the baking powder activated leaving less to tenderize the batter. if you want to simulate the result, simply decrease the baking powder and you will get a more rounded top but a less tender cake.
Oct 14, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose
Rose has been called the "Diva of Desserts" and "the most meticulous cook who ever lived." And add this recent accolade -- "If ever there was a cookbook author who could place her hands on top of yours, putting you through the proper motions, helping you arrive at just the right touch, Beranbaum is the one."
Rose's first book, The Cake Bible, was the 1989 winner of the IACP/Seagram Book of the Year and the NASFT Showcase Award for the cookbook that has contributed most to educating the consumer about specialty foods. A culinary best-seller, The Cake Bible is currently in its 48th printing. It was listed by the James Beard Foundation as one of the top 13 baking books on "the Essential Book List," and was included in "101 Classic Recipes."
Rose's Christmas Cookies, was the 1990 winner of the James Beard Best Book in the Dessert and Baking Category. The Pie and Pastry Bible, published in 1998, received many kudos including: Food & Wine Books "Best of the Best: The Best Recipes from the Best Cookbooks of the Year" and Coffee & Cuisine "Best Cookbook" award.
Rose's encylopedic book, The Pie and Pastry Bible, 1998, was nominated for a James Beard award. It was also included in Food and Wine's book "the Best of the Best."
Rose's comprehensive book, The Bread Bible, was the 2003 winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the Best Bread Book Category. It was listed by Publisher's Weekly and Food & Wine as one of the top ten books of 2003, and by Fine Cooking as one of the top 12. From quick breads, such as muffins, biscuits, and scones, to yeast breads, such as seeded wheat breads, Jewish rye, baguette, and brioche, this is a collection of her favorites, with innovative techniques that will guarantee making a successful bread baker of anyone who so desires.
Rose's newest book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, is a return to cakes with a comprehensive four color book for Pam Chirls, Senior Editor at Wiley. It won the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook of the Year for 2010.
Rose is currently working on The Baking Bible, to be published in the fall of 2014.
Rose also has two product lines, Rose Levy Bakeware, which includes Rose's Perfect Pie Plate and Rose's Heavenly Cake Strip, a silicone halo that produces more even layer cakes, both distributed by Harold Imports. She has just launched a new product line under NewMetro Design, called The Rose™ Line.
A luminary in the world of food writing, Rose is a Contributing Editor to Food Arts Magazine where "Rose's Sugar Bible" (April 2000) received two prestigious awards: The Association of Food Journalists Award for the Best Food Feature in a Magazine and The Jacob's Creek World Food Award for Best Food Article. She is also a contributor to The Washington Post, Fine Cooking, Bride's, Reader's Digest, and Hemispheres. Rose has been inducted into the James Beard Foundation/D'Artagnon Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America.
An internationally known food expert, Rose also has been a featured presenter in the highly regarded Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and the Oxford Food Symposium.
Rose is a popular guest on major television shows (The Today Show, The Early Show, Martha Stewart, Charlie Rose, The Food Network, and PBS: Master Classes of Johnson & Wales, and Seasonings with Dede Wilson). Rose has taped 13 episodes for a public television cooking series called Baking Magic with Rose Levy Beranbaum. The series started in 2004 on PBS stations across the country and continued for three years.
Continue reading "Rose's Bio" »