Dec 25, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose in Photos
A work of art!
Rose's Melting Pot
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Dec 25, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose in Photos
A work of art!
Mar 28, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
While going through and editing out over 2000 of my photos on the computer I discovered this great series of step-by-step photos, taken by Woody, of the Hungarian Jancsi Torta from Rose's Heavenly Cakes.
As I have just posted a coffee pecan version of the cake, we thought it would be helpful to share the technique photos that are essentially the same.
Nov 27, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Photos
Talk about fun: 17 pies to taste, all made by the delightful staff at Gramercy Tavern and orchestrated by pastry chef Miro. More details to come!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! may your pies be wonderful.
Aug 19, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
I have a wonderful friend, Marko Gnann, who travels the world and brings or sends back, among other things, some great baking ideas. It was he who introduced me to the Kouign Amann which now graces the cover of my upcoming book The Baking Bible.
Marko's latest contribution is this adorable cookie from Barcelona. He reports that the cookie consisted of "a very nicely balanced shortbread with the right amount of salt and then the chocolate for a sweeter section." Last I visited the city I was stunned by the creativity taking place in the bakeries throughout the city. Thought you'd all enjoy this photo.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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 in Photos
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 in Photos
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 in Photos
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 in Photos
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 in Photos
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 in Photos
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!