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Category ... Recipes

My Best Bagels with Step by Step Photos Part 1

Jul 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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This is the first in a series of 5 by monthly postings on my favorite breads complete with step by step photos. The photos will come at the end of the recipe and as there are so many, I will be dividing them into two postings, one immediately following the other, to make downloading faster and easier.

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Levy's Bagels

If you've never had a homemade bagel you are in for a great surprise. Most commercial bagels lack the delicious complexity of flavor and the pleasant degree of chewiness. The chewiness is a result of using high gluten flour but as this is not readily available in supermarkets I decided to make my own by using Gold Medal Better for Bread flour and adding gluten. It worked perfectly.

The dough is quick to make and then can stored overnight before shaping, making it an ideal weekend project. Authentic bagels need to be boiled before baking. The shaping, boiling, and baking are somewhat time consuming, therefore it behooves you to make a batch of an adequate size and power. This is only possible with a heavy duty mixer and the Ankarsrum is ideal.

Bagels are very much a part of my heritage. My first bread memory and my first teething ring are one and the same. My mother, who was a dentist, considered the bagel an ideal natural teething ring because of its firm yet forgiving texture. But it was my father who brought us freshly-baked bagels on a string every Friday afternoon after he made his weekly delivery of bagel peels. In the 1940's after the war and the early 1950's, when times were hard, my father Robert Levy, a skilled cabinet maker, turned to bagel peel production and laid claim to the exclusive bagel peel business in the greater New York area which included the five boroughs and all of New Jersey. This did not make us rich, but we had all the bagels we could eat.

A peel is a flat wooden pallet with a long pole as handle, designed for transferring bread to and from the oven in commercial bread bakeries. Peels used for bagels are only slightly wider than the bagel itself. In traditional bagel production, the bagels, after being boiled in salted water, are placed on a wooden board and set in the oven, often as deep as 20 feet. When the tops of the bagels are firm, a piece of string is run under the bagels to release them and they are inverted onto the hot oven shelf. The peel is used to move them about so that they bake evenly and to remove them from the oven. Making my bagel recipe in a home oven, however, does not require a bagel peel, however, I regret that my father did not save one of his for me to put up in my kitchen as decoration.

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Continue reading "My Best Bagels with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »

My Best Bagels with Step by Step Photos Part 2

Jul 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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CUTTING THE DOUGH

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ROLLING THE DOUGH BALLS

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BRINGING UP THE EDGES

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PINCHING THE DOUGH TOGETHER


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ROUNDING THE DOUGH BALLS

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MAKING THE HOLE

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STRETCHING THE OPENING

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LETTING THE DOUGH RISE

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BOILING THE BAGELS

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SETTING THE BAGELS ON TOP OF THE POPPYSEEDS

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FIRST BATCH READY TO GLAZE AND TOP

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GLAZING THE BAGELS WITH EGG WHITE

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TOPPING WITH POPPYSEEDS

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THE BAKED BAGLES

There's a New Widget on the Blog!

Jun 28, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Have you noticed the lovely green box on the left side of the home page that says Search my Recipe Index, by Eat Your Books? Click on it and you will find a fantastic data base which includes a listing of articles I written for magazines and newspapers as well as a listing of recipes from my 9 soon to be 10 cookbooks. What an incredible gift to all of us!

Here's the posting I did recently for my on line column for Food Arts Magazine Rose Knows, which describes how Eat Your Books works:

When researching or searching for recipes, it seems a lot easier these days to go to Google rather than to start flipping through one's ever growing cookbook or magazine collection. But how much better it would be to have one's own personal search engine based on selected and trusted recipes in addition to a more general search. Sisters Jane Kelly and Fiona Nugent, originally from London and now respectively from Boston and Auckland, New Zealand, have created just such an extraordinarily useful site: EatYourBooks.com.

Jane and Fiona's goal is to have every cookbook in the world indexed. They launched the site in 2009 with the most popular cookbooks, and now offer their data base to people who want to index their own books. (They proof these indexes before adding them to the general list.) At the present time they have 125,000 cookbooks listed, with 4,500 cookbooks and a million recipes indexed.

You can enter the name of a book and see a listing of the entire contents. You can also enter the author and access all recipes by that author, or search by a specific ingredient, or type of recipe such as "buttercreams," and narrow down the search through detailed filters. You can even add a bookmark and note directing you to where in your location you have placed the book or magazine.

Twenty indexers from all over the world go through each recipe in a given book, in order, to harvest and input a complete list of every ingredient and to categorize the recipe in terms such as recipe type or cuisine. The recipes themselves are not given on the site, except for those already residing on the Internet by permission of the author or publisher. There are also links to videos.

One can access any of the indexes without being a member or signing in, however in order to add more than 5 cookbooks to your "cookbook library"--making it easier to personalize and refine searches--there is an annual membership fee of $25, which gives you the ability to add an unlimited number of books and/or magazines.

Bottomless Lemon Meringue 'Pie'

May 24, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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This is my husband's favorite pie but he prefers it without a bottom crust. As I prefer the texture and flavor of lemon meringue chilled, which doesn't do wonders for a flaky pie crust, and graham cracker crust is not my favorite, I decided to turn the 'pie' into a 'pudding.'

I like to use a light (meaning lower than usual in sugar) Italian meringue for the topping as it holds up better than an uncooked meringue and is almost as light. It only needs to bake for 5 minutes and then broiled very briefly. I was delighted to discover that my countertop Breville oven switched instantly from bake to broil and within seconds browned the meringue exceptionally evenly.

Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ

I made it for Mother's Day which was the first day of the year warm enough to eat dinner on the porch. The lemon meringues were just perfect!

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The Perfect Dessert for Mother's Day

May 03, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart

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The smoothest, creamiest, most milk chocolaty filling which melts in your mouth, contrasted with a fine layer of creamy caramel, and thin crisp buttery cookie crust. This is truly one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted.

It all began with an informal book signing that Woody and I had at the Belvedere Farmer's Market last summer. A neighbor introduced herself as the mother of a pastry chef--Linsay Stewart, at a New Jersey culinary school restaurant called 90 Acres, in Peapack, a 40 minutes drive from Hope. We were waiting for a special occasion to visit and it arrived this past March when we invited Woody to celebrate his birthday.

Linsay and I exchanged a few emails in the course of which I knew I had met a kindred spirit. Here is an excerpt of one:

Our two best selling dessert items are an ice cream sundae and a pie of the day. That's what people want, simple and delicious. I feel like some chefs lose sight of that when they are creating. That bleeds into the cake business as well. I don't consider something that is made out of cereal treats and a substance similar to Play-Do a cake. It's sad really how many people are surprised when they eat my wedding cakes that they actually taste delicious as well as being beautiful. It hurts my heart because that's the point of pastry, isn't it? To taste good.

Yes! It was love at first write.

We were all immediately impressed by the location of the restored carriage house set amidst the rolling hills of Somerset County NJ, and the refined but comfortably informal atmosphere of the main dining room. Dinner began with a tasting of extraordinarily delicious salumi cured from the culinary center's own pigs. It was accompanied by bread so good I had to ask where it came from and not surprisingly, it was from Balthazar's Bakery in Tenafly. We were all completely sated by the time dessert rolled around so we decided to share just one and what a one!!! I woke up the next morning still thinking about it. A day later I found myself wishing I could have another serving. Finally I summoned my courage and wrote to Linsay asking if she would share her recipe, hoping hoping. But I wasn't surprised when she said yes, because anyone who could create such a glorious thing would have to be a beautiful and sharing person.
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The original recipe was made in the form of a pie with the most tender/crisp crust that was, of course, made with lard, but not just any lard--it was lard from the culinary center's own pigs.
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Normally I prefer lard crusts only with savory pies but the flavor of this one was perfectly compatible with a dessert pie. Lacking access to this type of lard I decided to make the pie as a tart and use a cookie tart dough (pâte sucrée). An added benefit is that this dough never gets too firm when chilled and the richness of the chocolate filling benefits from slight chilling.
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We will return soon to 90 Acres but not for a special occasion because being there IS the special occasion.


Continue reading "The Perfect Dessert for Mother's Day" »

Hector's Special Peruvian Onion Dish

Mar 15, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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When Woody and I visited Hector Wong in Hawaii, a year ago December, we discovered what a great savory cook he is as well as a baker. One of the many dishes that he made for us from his Peruvian roots I knew I would have to replicate on our return home. It is called salsa criolla, and is served as a condiment for every dish, akin to kimchee for Koreans or ketchup for Americans. It also works well as a salad.

Hector says that he also calls the recipe cáscara which means skin of a fruit or egg. This is no doubt because the onions are so thinly sliced and on marination become so delightfully crisp.

Although my intention was to make it right away, somehow time got away from me but it was not forgotten. Here is the recipe for you to enjoy as well. I've named it Oinyums!

1 large onion
1 tablespoon sea salt (More salt is fine. It will accelerate the wilt and any excess is washed off.)
1 lemon, well scrubbed
Optional one small hot pepper of your desired heat!

Slice the onion into rings, as thinly as possible. Set the onion rings into a glass bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to mix well and and let them sit for 1 hour til wilted. Drain and discard the liquid.

Squeeze the lemon, saving the empty lemon shells and refrigerate the juice.

Rinse the onions well under running water. Return them to the bowl. Add cold water to cover and the empty lemon shells. Allow them to soak for 1 hour or longer. Squeeze the lemon shells to release their oil from the lemon peel into the water. Thinly slice the hot pepper into the onions. Drain and stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour until serving to blend the flavors.

The onions stay crunchy for several days.

My Fresh Blueberry Pie

Oct 05, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

I've been remiss. With all the kitchen construction going on I forgot to give you all a link to one of my top favorite food sites, FOOD52.

Senior Editor Kristen Migliore did me the honor and you the kind service of featuring one of my favorite pies on her column Genius Recipes. She included great step by step photos.

Blueberries are available virtually all year 'round so you don't have to wait for next summer.

click here for the recipe


What a Grill Basket!

May 18, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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I've been enjoying 'blackened' string beans since Paul Prudhomme was a little boy and blackened redfish wasn't yet a gleam in his eye! That's because my grandmother once burned the string beans and I found it to be so delicious I always threatened not to eat the string beans unless she burned them.

Some years ago, my dear friend Elizabeth Karmel, renowned grilling author and chef, taught me how to make grilled string beans. She is such a skilled griller only one or two beans ever slipped between the grates but when I tried, I mourned each of several beans that slipped through. I tried a grill pan with holes but had to be very careful as the ones available were all very shallow and didn't have large enough holes to expose enough of the string beans to the flame. This is no longer a problem as Elizabeth has created the ideal grill basket, Elizabeth Karmel's Grill Friends Sizzlin' Skillet Grill Basket. Its curved sides enable you to toss the beans without risk of a single one leaping out. The wire mesh is strong but fine, leaving the maximum open space for 'blackening.'

The grill basket is easy to clean and even dishwasher safe. And it comes with a great-sounding recipe for "firecracker shrimp," which gives new definition to "shrimp in the basket."

I posted the recipe for grilled string beans about three years ago. Here it is again but this time in the basket!

For beans with a little bite, simply toss the washed and trimmed string beans with salt and olive oil and then to toss them in the grill basket and continue tossing them with tongs until they are deliciously browned, partially blackened, and beginning to shrivel.

For a softer texture, par boil the beans in salted water for 3 minutes, drain them, and toss them in the olive oil and salt, though sometimes I use melted bacon fat. Then into the grill basket they go to be browned and blackened as above.

Either way, season with lots of freshly ground pepper.

Note:
The handle is easy to remove for grilling and to replace when removing the basket from the grill, but it is not designed for emptying the beans into a serving bowl as the basket will flip over. Use tongs to lift the beans into the bowl.

The Recipe That Kick-Started My Culinary Career

Mar 10, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

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Spaghetti Carbonara

I don't know what other people do when their spouses are out of town but as for me, my first thought leads to pasta and not just any pasta: spaghetti carbonara. This is a dish I cannot make for my husband as he prefers a low-fat diet and because the way I like it best it has just about every edible fat I adore: bacon, butter, olive oil, heavy cream, egg yolk and Parmesan cheese. (If you prefer you can replace the butter with extra olive oil and it will still be delicious.)

Naturally, when something you crave is denied, it grows larger in temptation so when Elliott announces that he won't be home for dinner, I mentally start getting out the ingredients for the carbonara, which I always have on hand. I like to use the best of each ingredient as this is a once in a great while treat so I want it to be all it can be.

Most important is using egg yolks from pasteurized eggs as the yolks don't cook to a high enough temperature to be considered safe for young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those whose immune systems are impaired, and egg yolks are a critical component of the recipe to coat the strands of the pasta to give it an unctuously creamy consistency and luxurious flavor.

Next is the right kind of bacon. My favorite is corn-cob smoked which I mail order from Harrington's in Vermont (1-802-434-4444) and then freeze in 2 ounce packages and thaw in under 15 seconds in the microwave. I also keep on hand the finest Parmesan cheese (Parmesano Reggiano), refrigerated loosely wrapped so that it doesn't mold. (Once dry enough I wrap it tightly in both plastic wrap and a freezer weight zip-seal bag.)

Heavy cream that has not been ultra-pasteurized and therefore does not have that cooked flavor is the best kind of cream. Of course I choose fruity-mellow extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter for purity of flavor, and fine sea salt for its mild sweetness.

My favorite spaghetti, Lattini, is imported from Italy and made with durum wheat which is firm to the bite. (Barilla is also a good choice and more easily available.) And when fresh porcini mushrooms are available, their woodsy, almost meaty flavor and plush texture elevate this recipe to its highest point.

This recipe has evolved through the years. It all began 40 years ago when I was interviewing for my first official job after graduating from 7 years of night school. Over 100 people vied for the job as test kitchen recipe developer at Ladies' Home Journal. I had mis-understood the directions to bring a prepared recipe that could be made using ingredients that were usually available in a home kitchen. I understood it to mean that I should bring a recipe to prepare in the magazine's kitchens. But to prove how easy it was to whip up and how perfectly it fit the requirement of using readily available ingredients I offered to make it on the spot.

I got the job for three reasons:
The recipe was great.
I didn't know that I possessed the skill at the time but the editor noticed and was impressed by my ambidexterity. (I thought everyone cooked with both hands.)
The interview fell on my birthday (good karma).

I lost the job for one main reason:
I'm not great at following other people's directions. I held on for about a year and it was the best training grounds possible. But then I yielded to the advice of my new husband who said: "You can't work for other people; you should work for yourself." The rest is history.

Here is the recipe that will serve 4 friends on special occasions.

bacon, preferably corn cob smoked: 8 ounces/227 grams
Optional, fresh porcini mushroom: 8 ounces/227 grams
extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup/59 ml
unsalted butter: 4 tablespoons/2 ounces/56 grams
2 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced (1 tablespoon)
4 large egg yolks, preferably Safest Choice Pasteurized: 69 ml/2.6 ounces/74 grams
heavy cream: 1/4 cup/59 ml
Parmesano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated: 3/4 cup/1 ounce/28 grams + extra if desired for serving
salt (preferably fine sea salt): 2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon , divided
black pepper, freshly ground: 1/2 teaspoon
a sprinkling of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup minced parsley, preferably flat-leafed
spaghetti: 1 pound/454 grams
1/4 cup water from the boiling pasta

Place 4 large pasta bowls or dinner plates in the oven with a pilot light or heat set to very low. Fill a large saucepot with at least 4 quarts of cold water; cover it and bring the water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large wok or 12-inch Dutch oven, fry the bacon in batches of single layers until medium crisp. Drain it on paper towels and break it into 1/2 inch pieces.
Drain all but a thin film of the bacon fat from the pan.

If using the porcini, remove any dirt with a wet paper towel and cut off the very ends of the stems. Slice them into 1/4 inch slices and then cut them into 1/2 inch pieces.

Add the olive oil and butter to the pot with the bacon fat and heat over medium-low heat. If using the porcini, add them and cook covered for about 10 minutes or until tender, stirring once or twice.

Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute or until wilted, stirring constantly. Do not allow the garlic to brown or it will be bitter. Turn off the heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cream.

In another small bowl, stir together the Parmesan cheese, the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, black and cayenne peppers.

When the water for the pasta boils, add the 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta. Cook it until al dente, 11 to 15 minutes, or until no white appears in the center when a strand is cut. Shortly before the end of cooking, remove 1/4 cup of the boiling water with a ladle and whisk it into the egg yolks and cream. Turn the heat on under the wok or Dutch oven to medium-low.

Drain the cooked pasta and add it to pan. Sauté, stirring with a large silicone spatula until it is evenly coated with the butter/oil mixture and add the reserved bacon, the cheese mixture and the parsley. Using 2 large forks, toss to blend. Empty the pasta into a large bowl. Add the egg yolk mixture and toss quickly to blend it in without scrambling the yolks. Transfer at once to the serving bowls. Pass extra grated cheese, salt and a pepper mill.

When is a Cupcake a Muffin?

Feb 03, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Eggs

My Quest for the Perfect Blueberry Muffin
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I worked for years to create my vision of a perfect blueberry muffin, soft, moist, tender, and bursting with blueberries with only lemon zest to accentuate them and a whisper of nutmeg in the crisp sugar topping. Although I had arrived at my idea of perfection, I discovered that both my husband Elliott and my protégé David thought they were too cake-like and wanted a coarser muffin-like texture.

I made a batch using my original recipe but mixing by mixer rather than by hand, which strengthened the structure of the batter, making it firmer and coarser in texture. David and I were both happy with the result but Elliott still wanted a drier firmer muffin. After giving it about 1-1/2 hours of chemical analysis of ingredient ratios, comparing my muffins to scones, which are more like a cross between a cake and a pastry than are muffins, I came to the ridiculously simple solution. All that was needed was more flour!

Here is the recipe originally published in The Bread Bible but with now with my newest version--the mixer method. And, if you prefer your muffins to be more muffin than cake, use the higher amount of flour.

Blueberry Muffins

Special Equipment
6 small soufflé, custard cups, or a 6 cup muffin pan, lined with foil or paper liners, lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray (see Notes).











INGREDIENTSVOLUMEWEIGHT
unsalted butter (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C)4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)2 ounces56 grams
sugar1/2 cup3.5 ounces100 grams
lemon zest2 teaspoons.4 grams
1 large egg, preferably Safest Choice Pasteurized3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoons (47 ml)1.7 ounces50 grams
pure vanilla extract1 teaspoon..
bleached all-purpose flour1 cup plus 2 tablespoons to 1-1/4 cups, lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off4.7 to 5.3 ounces135 to 150 grams
baking soda1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon..
fine sea salt1/4 plus 1/16 teaspoon..
sour cream1/3 cup2.7 ounces80 grams
small blueberries, rinsed and dried3/4 cup3.5 ounces100 grams
Topping: sugar3/4 teaspoon..
nutmeg, freshly grateda dusting..

Preheat the Oven Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set oven racks at the middle and lowest levels. Preheat the oven to 375˚F/190˚C.

Make the Batter

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater, cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add 1/2 the flour mixture with 1/2 the sour cream and beat on low speed until it is fully incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream. With a silicone spatula, fold in the blueberries.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups. Dust with sugar and nutmeg.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until they spring back when pressed lightly in the center and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack and allow the muffins to cool for about 15 minutes before unmolding them.

Notes: I like to use muffin liners as they keep the cupcakes fresher. If using muffin pans, spray them before setting them in the cups to prevent the spray from baking onto the pan.

If using frozen Maine blueberries, do not defrost them but toss them with about 2 teaspoons up to 1 tablespoon of extra flour to keep them from staining the batter when mixed in.

Frozen muffins can be reheated in a preheated 400°F/200˚C oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a metal cake tester inserted briefly into the center feels warm.

A Special Holiday Dessert

Dec 01, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

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Tira Misu: Quite Possibly the Most Adored Dessert in the World

This recipe offering is actually a special tribute to Anna Teresa Callen, one of the most beloved Italian cooking teachers, who died this year. She loved to tell the story about when I was working on The Cake Bible and asked her about the recipe called Tira Misu which translates as Raise Me Up. The name appealed to my sense of poetry, though I had never heard of it before nor did most people outside of Italy. All that was to change in short order as it swept the world. In Japan they even created a drink with the TIra Misu profile. Anna Teresa used to laugh heartily as she told people her response to my interest in including it in my book which was: When Rosa asked for the recipe, I said: Why would you want such an oRRRdinary dessert?! You write such elegant and extraordinary recipes!

Tira Misu is the ultimate comfort food. It is essentially a voluptuous mascarpone and Marsala egg yolk custard, layered with Savoiardi biscuits that have been dipped in a coffee syrup, topped with cocoa.In its very simplicity It is one of life's perfect things. It didn't make it into The Cake Bible, but it was included in my next cake book 20 years later, Rose's Heavenly Cakes. And here it is now. The ordinary that became the extraordinary by virtue of its excellence.

Continue reading "A Special Holiday Dessert" »

Glazes for Bread: Did you Know?

Nov 03, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

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The quality of bread crust is not determined only by the type of bread being baked. There are glazes and toppings that can help to achieve a range of textures from soft and velvety to crisp and crunchy.

Here is the full range of possibilities:

Type of Glazes and Toppings
A crisp crust: Water (brushed or spritzed)
A powdery, rustic chewy crust: Flour (dusted)
A soft velvety crust: Melted butter, preferably clarified (1/2 tablespoon per average loaf)
A crisp light brown crust: 1 egg white (2 tablespoons) and 1/2 teaspoon water, lightly beaten and strained (the ideal sticky glaze for attaching seeds)
A medium shiny golden crust: 2 tablespoons egg (lightly beaten to measure) and 1 teaspoon water, lightly beaten
A shiny deep golden brown crust: 1 egg yolk (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon heavy
cream, lightly beaten
A shiny medium golden brown crust: 1 egg yolk (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon milk, lightly beaten
A very shiny hard crust: 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch and 6 tablespoons water: whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the water. Bring the remaining 1/4 cup
water to a boil and whisk the cornstarch mixture into it; simmer for about 30 seconds,
or until thickened and translucent. Cool to room temperature, then brush on the bread
before baking and again as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Note: When using an egg glaze, it goes on most smoothly if strained. I like to add a pinch of salt to make it more liquid and easier to pass through the strainer.

An egg glaze will lose its shine if using steam during the baking process.

My preference is to use Safest Choice pasteurized eggs.

Hector's Case Study: Chocolate Domingo Wedding Cake.

Sep 01, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

Hector has created another stunner, dapting one of my top favorite chocolate cakes to wedding cake proportions.

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In Hector's Words:

The Chocolate Domingo Cake is a beloved chocolate cake from the Cake Bible. The recipe is for one 9" round cake pan, 2" deep. I offered this cake for a party of 100 and converted the recipe into a wedding cake: a top tier consisting of two 9" cakes, and a bottom tier consisting of two 12" cakes. What attracted me to make this recipe a wedding cake was its high butter content which near guarantees a moist and tender cake even after 3 days of baking, which is the average span of time of a wedding cake to decorate, deliver, and display.

For the top tier, I multiplied x2 every ingredient and baked two 9" pans. For the bottom tier, I multiplied x4 every ingredient; and in addition multiplied the baking powder and baking soda x0.84, which is indeed a subtraction, and baked two 12" pans. A 12" pan is very close to twice the volume of a 9" pan. I used Rose's Heavenly Cake strips on all pans, fitting 3 strips with large paper clips on each 12" pan. Oven temperature was as indicated in the 9" recipe. The oven times were longer since i baked two 9" cakes at once (35-45 mins) and then two 12" cakes at once (50 to 60 mins).

It worked PERFECTLY!!! The cakes rose beautifully. The cakes didn't collapse nor volcanoed in the middle. The cake was level and a dream to stack.

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The texture of the 12" cakes were indistinguishable from the texture of the 9" cakes. I came about the x0.84 subtraction of the leavening from studying the Rose Factor charts from the Cake Bible. I can't tell you for sure yet that this is magic rule, but it is a handy start for converting a 9" butter cake into a 12"!!!

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Now, if u want a 6" third tier, make one 9" recipe and bake two 6" pans! A 6" pan is very close to half the volume of a 9" pan. It is recommended to increase the baking powder and baking soda when baking on smaller cake pans, but I find it unnecessary with a 6" pan; it is so small that any arguing can be shouted off with some serrated knife action post baking!

Buy, borrow, or steal, a copy of the Cake Bible to understand my full thinking. Read pages 490-492 and you can expand on my case study for any pans up to 18" wide.

Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America 2012

Aug 18, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

One of my favorite events of the year, the Dessert Professional's 19th Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America, was held again this past June, at the Institute of Culinary Education. My only disappointment was that my dear friend and colleague Marcel Dessaulniers, this years honoree to the Hall of Fame, was not able to be present. He was busy opening his new café with his wife and partner artist Connie Desaulniers: Mad About Chocolate! Marcel was owner of The beloved Trellis Restaurant in Wiliamsburg, Virginia, and author of Death by Chocolate and several other wonderful cookbooks. Now people will be able to taste his favorite chocolate recipes without even having to make them!

In addition to tasting many delicious desserts, meeting the chefs, colleagues, and old friends, this year I brought back a very special recipe which was my favorite taste of the event: raspberry caramels. They were presented, along with the classic caramels, by pastry chef Marc Aumont of The Modern, NYC. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times my hand dipped into these bowls of caramels!
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Chef Aumont also offered these beautifully presented little chocolate mousse desserts. Is it any wonder he works at The Modern (the top restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art)?

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My dear friend, pastry chef Jean-François Bonnet of Tumbador Chocolate, introduced me to pastry chef Sandro Micheli who had once worked under him at Daniel, NYC and is now the Executive Pastry Chef. I was stunned by the beauty of his chocolate glaze and when I asked Jean-François for the secret of the amazing shine his answer was: "just perfect execution."

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For a complete list of this year's top ten pastry chefs and the recipe for the raspberry caramels read the extended entry.

Continue reading "Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America 2012" »

Charlie Trotter's Closing: A Special Tribute to Charlie

Aug 11, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

I was sad to learn that one of America's greatest restaurants, located in Chicago, is closing its doors this month. Charlie is a brilliant restaurateur, inspired chef, cookbook author, tv host, and loyal, generous friend. Over the years, whenever I was in Chicago on book tour, he hosted a party in the classroom adjoining the restaurant, making recipes from the latest book. Once he even made a special lunch drawing recipes from several of my books.

I'll never forget the special dinner I arranged at his restaurant during the International Association of Culinary Professionals. I invited Harold McGee, Shirley and Arche Corriher, Elizabeth Karmel, Sarah Leah Chase, Steve Raichlin and there may have been others. We were treated to the dinner of our lives with amazing wines to accompany it. When I was presented with the bill, to my total amazement, all that was written on it was: "For Rose and friends, from Charlie." To tease Arche who often complained that my annual dinners were a bit too steep, I said: "Arche, you won't believe this bill!" To my delight his response was: "What ever it is it was worth it!" We all went down to the kitchen to thank Charlie and staff.

Charlie, I love you for all that you are and look forward to your next incarnation.

Another of the most delightful and memorable experiences I had chez Trotter's was when I got to see what it was like being in a chef. I wrote up the experience 20 years ago for the monthly column I wrote at the time for the LA Times Syndicate.

MY LIFE ON THE LINE, June 1994

Chef! What an image-laden word for lovers of fine food. But the literal meaning of this French term is merely chief. It relates to food only when used as the title "chef de cuisine." In English, however, the word chef has come to imply a fine restaurant cook and that is why I have never described myself as chef. Before a year ago this April, I had baked and cooked in many places including a windy street corner at the Miami Book Fair, but never actually "on the line" in a restaurant kitchen. I have also enjoyed my share of meals in the calm ordered elegance of the world's finest restaurants. But behind the scenes, I discovered, is truly a world apart. The closest analogy I can offer is that of a war zone but this may be because I have never worked in an O.R. The tension, excitement, and life or death attitude, not to mention near manic joy, that pervades a great restaurant kitchen was beyond my imagination. It was Charlie Trotter of Charlie Trotter's in Chicago who gave me the opportunity to participate in this living drama of "working on the line" by inviting me, along with 10 chefs from around the country, to be part of his annual Sunday night James Beard birthday fund raiser dinner for over 100 guests.

The weekend started with a dinner at Charlie's for the visiting chefs and spouses or assistants who arrived Friday night, which, coincidentally, happened to be my birthday. The dinner was held in a special upstairs room; the mahogany table laid with the finest French porcelain, but it was the number and array of wine glasses that offered a glimpse of the extraordinary tasting to come: 7 savory and 5 sweet dishes beginning with monkfish liver (I never even realized they had livers) on organic yellow currant tomatoes, organic ennis hazelnuts and foie gras with 25 year balsamico brown butter vinaigrette, and ending with warm liquid center bittersweet chocolate cake with vanilla hazelnut and cinnamon ice cream.

Early Saturday morning we visiting chefs began to invade Charlie's kitchen, which was already in progress bravely producing their regular Saturday night dinner menu. My personal challenge was to produce a dessert that would be both light and tantalizing after 11 other courses prepared by Charlie, Mark Baker, Elizabeth Terry, John Sedlar, David Waltuck, Geoff Felsenthal, Elka Gilmore, Christopher Gross, Jean Louis Palladin and Jean Joho. Whew! I chose an ethereal Lemon Snow with Golden Grand Marnier Sauce accompanied by my signature cake: Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake, baked as madeleines.

An hour wait for the citrus reamer to produce the 6 cups of required lemon juice for my dessert gave me a chance to get acquainted with the kitchen staff and visiting colleagues. It also set me way behind producing over 100 desserts but pastry chef Michelle Gayer assured me that she would stay and finish them for me even if it meant staying all night (another friend for life)! By the end of the day we were all very ready for cocktail's and sunset at Jean Joho's Everest Room and dinner at the glorious estate of Tubby and Julie Bacon*. (It was truly a weekend in wonderland!)

Early Sunday morning back to the kitchen for another day of mad activity and prep. By serving time, the action had reached a feverish pitch, deftly orchestrated by sous chef Guilliermo. Meanwhile, in the calm oasis of the dining room, a mere few steps away, my husband Elliott joined David Waltuck's wife Karen, to greet and seat the guests.

Back to the roar of the kitchen, as each course readied for launching, everyone stopped what he or she was doing and focused full intensity on the dish at hand: plating, garnishing, shouting out orders and passing it "down the line" to the waiters poised for flight. The very air was charged with palpable energy. Most delightful, was the realization that though most of us had started out the weekend as interested strangers, we had all by now become a team of very supportive friends.

After the final act, my Lemon Snow, Charlie brought all of us visiting chefs into the dining room to introduce us to the guests. We all felt the event was a resounding success. Not only did it raise money to contribute to our profession, it also served to connect 11 captains of our own ships in one common endeavor. In the after glow of our success, we sat at last, joked and relaxed and by midnight celebrated with the universally beloved leveler: take out pizza.

* Julie gave me a recipe for Java crisps, which were her favorite cookies. They will be in my upcoming book "The Baking Bible." They are indeed marvelous.

Continue reading "Charlie Trotter's Closing: A Special Tribute to Charlie" »

Sprouted Ancient Grains Flour

Jun 02, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

A few weeks ago I posted information (and a recipe) about a terrific flour made from sprouted wheat. Joe Lindley, of Lindley Mills, also sent me a sample of his sprouted ancient grains flour. These grains are buckwheat, sorghum, millet, amaranth, and quinoa, but no wheat, so I should have realized that a bread made without wheat would also lack the gluten necessary for a good texture and rise unless augmented by other substitute ingredients. Instead I proceeded to make a loaf with 100% ancient grain flour. Here are the unfortunate and inedible results:

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When I mixed the dough and did the first stretch and fold I noticed at once that the dough lacked structure and tore easily so I kneaded in a good bit of vital wheat gluten, dissolved first in water. This did increase the structure but not adequately. I immediately reported all this to my friend and colleague Peter Reinhart who introduced me to this flour. He said that he uses only 20% ancient grains and 80% of the sprouted wheat flour. The bread is so quick to make I immediately whipped up a batch of this type of dough and here are the magnificent results:

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I like the extra flavor dimension and slightly softer texture of this loaf even more than with the 100% sprouted wheat flour.

Sprouted Ancient Grains Flour is available at Lindley Mills (Joe Lindley) 336-376-6190

Special Matzoh Brie for Passover

Apr 07, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Eggs

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I love this recipe so much I make it during the rest of the year as well. It's great as a brunch dish but also makes a delicious light and fluffy stuffing for chicken. If you are kosher, and opt to use this as a stuffing, you will of course replace the butter with another fat or oil. (Wouldn't schmaltz [chicken fat] be delicious!!!) Safest Choice pasteurized eggs are an ideal choice because they are OU certified kosher for Passover.

Southwestern Matzoh Brie

Makes 2 Servings

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

volume

ounces

grams

matzoh

3 squares

3.5 ounces

100 grams

unsalted butter

2 tablespoons

1 ounce

28 grams

1 medium onion, chopped

1-1/2 cups

6 ounces

170 grams

1 fresh jalapeño pepper, minced

.

0.5 ounce

14 grams

sugar

2 pinches

.

.

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons

.

7 grams

2 large eggs, preferably Safest Choice Pasteurized

3 fluid ounces

3.5 ounces

100 grams

water

2 tablespoons

.

.

salt

1/4 teaspoon

.

.

pepper

2 grindings

.

.

cilantro, torn

to taste

.

.

Into a medium bowl, break the matzoh into pieces, about 1 inch in size. Cover the matzoh with warm water and allow it to sit for a few minutes until it is soft. Drain away the water, gently pressing out any excess from the matzoh.

In a skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter and fry the onion and jalapeno pepper, sprinkled with the sugar, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown. Add the garlic and fry for one minute or until it softens. Add the matzoh and fry for about 3 minutes to dry it slightly.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg with the water, salt and pepper. Mix in the cilantro.

To use as a stuffing, spoon the hot matzoh mixture into the egg mixture and stir until incorporated. Spoon it into the cavity of the bird, without packing it in.

To use as a brunch dish, add the egg mixture to the matzoh mixture in the frying pan and fry on low heat, stirring often until the eggs are set. Remove at once to a serving dish.

Buttercream Rules!

Mar 03, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

Isn't it grand! Thanks to the availability of Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs I can now say yes when people ask if it's safe to make a buttercream.

This week I presented my favorite yellow butter cake frosted with Neoclassic Buttercream at a press event for Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs.

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Classic buttercream is a silken smooth and buttery mixture made by beating a hot sugar syrup into egg yolks. Once the mixture is completely cool, softened butter is beaten in and then flavoring such as vanilla, liqueur, fruit purées, or chocolate.

The syrup needs to be 238˚F/114˚C in order to create the correct thickness of the egg yolks. This necessitates an accurate instant read thermometer. But many years ago, I discovered that there is a very easy way to produce a sugar syrup of the proper temperature and consistency without needing a thermometer! The technique is simply to use the correct proportion of granulated sugar to corn syrup. When brought to a full rolling boil the temperature is exactly 238˚F/114˚C!

There are only two problems I have encountered from readers and bloggers over the years:

1. If the syrup is not brought to a full rolling boil, which means the entire surface of the syrup is bubbling, it will not be hot enough to set the yolks.

2. If the egg yolk and syrup mixture has not cooled completely to the touch the butter, when added, will melt instead of emulsify into a smooth cream. Once this happens it is impossible to restore.

Here is the recipe and also the link to the video from my PBS show "Baking Magic with Rose."

Continue reading "Buttercream Rules!" »

Buttercrunch Toffee

Dec 21, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Web Appearances

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photo credit: Sheila Phalon

My dearest friend Nancy Weber has written a most entertaining and educational article on her visit to me several months ago when I was testing buttercrunch toffee for the new book.

When I learned that Betty Fussell, who also lives in the neighborhood, and is a highly esteemed author and friend, is also a friend of Nancy's, I invited her over to watch the process and taste the results.

Several of you have posted questions about toffee so this is a first rate opportunity to review the key steps. Enjoy! NYCityWoman.com

Yogurt--Better Than Store-Bought

Dec 17, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Savory Cooking

My old friend from India, Madhu Trehan, told me many years ago that she would never buy yogurt as home-made is so easy and so much better. She added that all one has to do is save a little from the present batch to start the next batch.

I've long been intending to try making my own yogurt but somehow never got around to it until inspired by my new bread proofer! I wanted to be sure that it would work so I purchased some freeze-dried yogurt culture from Integral Yoga--a store in the West Village in New York. Yogurt culture is also available on line.

In the space of one afternoon I produced 4 half pint jars of deliciously creamy and flavorful yogurt--ever so much better than anything I have ever tasted that was store-bought. I received some excellent guidance from Michael Taylor, producer of the bread proofer. He also gave me moral support when, after about 3-1/2 hours I could detect no thickening. But sure enough, after about 4 hours I could see it was beginning to 'take.'

Michael said he uses commercial yogurt as a starter and to check on the container to make sure it says live culture. He uses 1/4 cup per gallon of milk. (I scaled it down to 1 tablespoon for 1 quart of milk. Now I wish I had made more but it's a simple matter to make a new batch.)

Michael's basic technique is as follows:

Pre-heat the proofer to 115˚F/46˚C with four empty quart Mason
jars inside to get them warm. (This keeps from cooling down the milk when poured into the jars). After heating the milk to 180˚F/82˚C and cooling to 120˚F/49˚C, remove 1 cup of milk, add 1/4 cup of fresh organic yogurt, then stir it back in. Immediately pour the milk/yogurt starter into the jars. The temperature drops to about 112˚F/44˚C. Put all the jars (covered) back in the proofer at 115˚F/46˚C for an hour, then turn down to 110˚F/43˚C. (As the temperature didn't drop after pouring the mixture into the jars--and was 115˚F/46˚C I used 110˚F/43˚C for the entire time.) The total time once the mixture is in the jars and in the proofer is about 4-1/2 hours but if you want more tang leave it in longer.

Michael writes: Incredible! Creamy and luscious with the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. I entirely agree!

I may stop buying crème fraîche as well now that I have the perfect place to incubate it! All you need is 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of buttermilk. Ultra-pasteurized cream will take as long as 36 hours but plain pasteurized cream at 90˚F/32˚C usually takes 12 to 14 hours. I'm going to try 110˚F/43˚C. No need to heat the cream and buttermilk mixture before placing it in the jar(s).

Butter Solution for the Lactose Intolerant

Aug 13, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

Loving butter as I do, I have a great sympathy for those who cannot eat it due to lactose intolerance. Recently, I was visiting my Dad and his wonderful caretaker Shelly Tilly and her mom Pat who is a retired registered nurse. Shelly's enchantingly adorable daughter, Jessie Ray, ate the corn that I made for dinner, slathering it with gobs of butter despite her lactose intolerance. Sure enough, she was sick all night. This inspired me to teach her how to treat butter to remove the 'devil' lactose which is the milk solids.

Its really very simple and the resulting clarified butter not only tastes extra delicious, especially if you allow the milk solids to brown, but it is also useful for frying as it has a higher melting point and since the process removes the water as well, it doesn't even spatter.

My reward for doing this is not only that Jessie Ray will be able to enjoy butter in so many ways (except where it requires the milk solids such as pie crust--stay tuned for the solution to this coming soon) but also I learned a new trick! I always pour the clarified butter through a very fine strainer to remove every trace of the milk solids. I advise people to line their strainers with cheesecloth if the strainers are coarser. But since there were no strainers or cheesecloth in the house, I allowed the butter to congeal at room temperature for several hours. I brought over a strainer from my dad's house, reheated the butter in a microwave and poured it through the strainer. To my amazement, instead of the milk solids pouring into the strainer, they stayed congealed at the bottom of the cup. Not a speck got into the clarified butter. This means that if you have the patience to wait, you don't need a strainer at all!

To make clarified butter, place unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan and allow it to soften. Over medium-low heat, melt the butter and cook until bubbling. Watch carefully so that the milk solids don't burn. They don't start becoming golden until the bubbling noise stops, indicating that all the water has evaporated. Sometimes the froth forming on the top hides the color of the milk solids so move it aside with a spatula.

Just as soon as the milk solids become golden pour the liquid into a heat-proof container. If you want a deeper flavor allow the solids first to become golden brown. The French call this beurre noisette which means butter the color of a hazelnut.

If desired, for those who are not lactose intolerant, reserve the milk solids for future use to enhance bread dough, or vegetables such as baked potato or green beans.

Another great benefit of clarified butter is that it keeps refrigerated for more than a year as there are no milk solids to make it rancid.

When Life Hands You Lemons...

Mar 12, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

You know the rest (make lemonade)! But here's my newest discovery: When life hands you a Heritage chicken, make coq au vin!

I received two precious Heritage chickens and roasted the first. The flavor was exceptional but the skin, one of my favorite parts, was like shoe leather. Also, the meat was a bit too chewy for my taste and my mother the dentist made sure that I have all my teeth and in good shape! So my thoughts turned to a dish I haven't had in a long time: coq au vin. In fact, the last time I had it was in the Loire valley when my dear friend Nadège Brossollet made it for Hervé This (before he became father of molecular gastronomy) and me many years ago. Nadège told me that the dish was created in this region and that she was making the classic version with le vraie coq (ie a rooster).

Continue reading "When Life Hands You Lemons..." »

Green Rice and Eggs--Who Could Resist!

Feb 08, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

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On a recent visit to Kalustyan, the mid-eastern specialty store in New York City, I spied this exquisite pale green rice labelled bamboo rice.

I followed the directions on the package to add what would be the equivalent of 100 grams of rice to 200 grams of water and simmered it for 10 minutes. (I also added a scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the water.) On tasting it, I could not detect any unusual flavor what-so-ever. On researching the rice I learned that it is infused with liquid from young green bamboo and is high in vitamin B with a flavor similar to jasmine tea. This I did not detect. But remembering how Hector told me that his mother would break an egg onto the rice in the rice cooker and let it sit for 5 minutes after the rice was cooked I tried it with this rice for today's lunch.

I added a little boiling water to the cooked rice to create steam (not necessary in a rice cooker with a keep warm function), added the egg, covered it, and let it sit until the white was opaque. It was indeed a beautiful combination, not least of all because it was a Menegus egg from a free range chicken.

I think I'll make the rice again for dinner this week to accompany grilled blood sausage. I'm thinking visual here as in "green eggs and ham" à la Dr. Seuss!

Apple Time

Sep 30, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

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What is a more perfect combination than pork chops and apple sauce! And apple sauce is so easy to make. Just cut and core the apples, toss with 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar per pound of apples and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add a 1/2" stick of cinnamon if desired. Let it sit for about 20 minutes until liquid forms. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 20 to 30 minutes until the apples soften. Cool and press through a strainer.

The secret to the dreamy pink color is to choose red apples and leave the skin on while simmering.

Poor Strawberries—Here’s the Easy Rescue!

Jun 04, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

It's entirely possible that there is no flavor more delightful and compelling than strawberry.

I’ll never forget my first taste of wild strawberries. I was 13 and was sent to the Putney Work Camp in Vermont to learn some work ethics and outdoor skills. The first overnight hike, carrying what seemed like an unbearably heavy backpack, was not very much to my liking until I discovered just before falling asleep that my sleeping bag was on a bed of wild strawberries. The sweet intense sting of the tiny berries was so amazing I almost forgot about the raw egg someone had slipped into my sleeping bag after hearing me brag about how my father had made it for me (another lesson learned!).

A few years ago, at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, I discovered the best strawberries since that night in Vermont so many years ago and a subsequent trip to France one June. They are called “day neutrals” and are a cross between the French fraises de bois and our often watery, flavorless, over-sized variety.

But what to do when now, at the height of strawberry season nearing, when the berries are sometimes disappointingly flavorless. This happened last weekend and here’s my restoration solution. It's quite shocking to discover how a little sugar and time can transform and bring out the flavor that a strawberry was born to possess.

For 1 cup/4 ounces/113 grams of hulled, sliced strawberries add about 1 teaspoon of sugar (don’t get fancy here—just superfine or granulated). Toss lightly, cover, and allow to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes—longer is better still. They will keep at room temperature for several hours or in the refrigerator for several days.

When ready to serve, drain the berries, placing the liquid in a lightly oiled microwave safe cup. Watching carefully, microwave on high until the juices are reduced to thick but still pourable syrup. Allow it to cool until just warm or room temperature and gently stir them back into the berries. Fabulous over Haagen-Dazs strawberry ice cream!

Peanut Nut

Mar 21, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

I love international cuisine, but when it comes to peanut butter, I’m as American as apple pie. Or maybe it should be changed to as American as peanut butter. Peanut butter seems to be the great divide between American and European taste. I’m sure they’re out there but I don’t know a single European who would prefer peanut butter to hazelnut paste in fact for many it isn’t even a contest—they wouldn’t consider eating the stuff in the first place. Quel domage!

My favorite recipe in The Pastry Bible is the peanut butter and chocolate mousse torte and not surprisingly Fine Cooking magazine chose that recipe to be featured in one of their Best of the Best cookbooks as their favorite recipe too. In my upcoming Rose’s Heavenly Cakes there will be a terrific combination of spice cake and peanut buttercream.

Of course peanut butter also shines in savory dishes as was amply demonstrated by several of America’s top chefs at a recent peanut butter party hosted by the National Peanut Board. I’m posting some of my favorite recipes from the event below except for one which I must tell you about instead as it requires special food service ingredients and machinery—the peanut cotton candy. How chef Linton Hopkins, from Atlanta, Ga. managed to capture the ethereal texture of cotton candy and the full flavor of peanut butter is nothing short of culinary alchemy! One of his secrets is using roasted peanuts for the oil used in the mixture. I’m not going to go on raving about each recipe as I wouldn’t be posting them if they were anything short of fantastically worth making yourself!


Rose and Linton


Suvir and three dishes

Continue reading "Peanut Nut" »

Cast Iron Eggs

Sep 13, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

Some years ago I visited London for the first time and was staying in a rather depressing dumpy but affordable hotel, but not for long. Old family friends, the Streeters, who had retired to Harrogate—land of James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small), invited me to visit. It was like coming home—a beautiful apartment in the countryside, my own room with comfy bed and down pillow. I never did have to return to that dumpy hotel as my next stop was friends in Paris.

Staying with the Streeters was a most wonderful and sentimental visit as I had grown up with their sons and we hadn’t seen each other for years. Ted took me to see the newly unearthed (literally) Viking Village in York. Rosalind, a terrific cook, fed me well, but what was most memorable was breakfast. Rosalind served me a fried egg that was still sitting in the little copper bottomed stainless steel Revereware skillet in which it had been fried. She silently set it before me, having announced the night before that she didn’t like conversations first thing in the morning, and left me blissfully to enjoy the fabulous country egg.

When later I told her what a perfect way it was to serve an egg, keeping it warm but not continuing to cook it she told me that she had been looking for years for more of those little frying pans so she could serve more than one person at a time.

Continue reading "Cast Iron Eggs" »

As Orange as it Gets

Jan 19, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

I have a cousin, Peggy Samson, who flies to Spain every year to bring back Seville oranges to her home in London to make orange marmalade. If you live in the U.S., however, all you have to do is order from a Ca. company owned by Eric and Kim Christensen and appropriately named “Ripe to You”! www.ripetoyou.com or call 559-626-7917. These oranges are available now and will only be in season for about 2 months but they will keep refrigerated for several weeks.

Seville orange are also known as bitter oranges because they have an acidity level of about that of lemon. They offer the true orange flavor of a sourball candy and will give you the consistency of a perfect lemon curd, unlike that of other oranges which don’t thicken adequately. Don’t use the zest for the curd, however, as unless it is sweetened with tons of sugar as in a marmalade, it is undesirably bitter. Best to use naval oranges for the zest in the curd.

Note: weigh the yolks or measure them as you need the full amount to achieve the best texture.

Continue reading "As Orange as it Gets" »

Baking Magic Recipes

Feb 13, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

My Husband the Mad Mower

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Most Important Ingredient for Optimal Flavor in All Food

Aug 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

we baker’s know that the most important and least expensive ingredient in baking is air. but it’s taken me years to put together the importance of air in all aspects of food, especially the consumption of it. the idea has so intrigued me i am prompted to share it on this blog. i think it could well change our way of experiencing more fully the dining experience. oh let me not formalize my favorite activity—let’s call it what it is--just plain EATING.

one night a few weeks ago, on the back porch in hope, nj, where it had just rained all afternoon unearthing the usual woodsy aromas from the forest around us, i noticed that dinner had the flavor of mushrooms. the odd thing is that i hadn’t added mushrooms to any of the dishes. that’s when i remembered all the incidents over the years when i noticed how what i smelled was affecting what i was tasting. a little bulb went off in my head: great way to diet: smell more, eat less! good luck!

but the idea of smell and taste intrigued me and remembrances of times when i noticed the phenomenon kept popping up. the first was when i decorated a chocolate cake with freesias and happened to smell them as i was tasting the cake. suddenly i was eating freesias! (but without putting them in my mouth of course—i think they’re poisonous—but not to the nose—ah ha!)

then my mind leapt back 40 summers, eating al fresco (italian translated as in fresh air) on a hill top at my uncle nat’s farm. actually it was just off bean hill road in the berkshires. my father was in the midst of building a log cabin nearby so i went up for the weekend to help him strip logs. he made an outdoor fire and we grilled a steak, accompanying it with freshly cooked vegetables from my uncle’s large garden. the panorama was unforgettable: the hilltop surrounded by the berkshire mountains in the distance with only the stockbridge bowl and one large white house belonging to leopold stokowky in sight. watching the fireflies dancing in the twilight, breathing in the country air, the simple meal tasted better than any i had ever had before (no i didn’t breath in any of the fireflies!)

years later i ate an unusual dish at the river café in brooklyn. it was my first introduction to a chef’s using the concept of aroma’s influence on taste and to great dramatic effect. chef david burke served steamed scallops, sitting on their shells, and placed on a substantial bed of toasted black peppercorns. with each bite of scallop, one tasted the heady perfume of black pepper without the accompanying irritation had one actually consumed enough black pepper to have the same flavor impact. then, for dessert, talk about drama: he served it on a miniature cast iron stove with little cinnamon logs burning in its oven. there’s a chef who knows how to maximize flavor and presentation.

i mentioned this concept to my friend michael batterberry, publisher of food arts magazine, and he immediately delighted me with the image of a rosemary branch twined around a fork (it somehow had to have been antique silver—perhaps even vermeil) so that with every bite one tasted the aroma of the herb without the overpowering flavor had it been in the dish itself. The possibilities here are endless.

just one thing i’d like to see take place immediately: a stringent ban the wearing of perfume or scented cosmetics in eating establishments (it certainly is and needs to be so at wine tastings). well, at least cigarette smoke is no longer a taste distorting presence. maybe eventually perfume will bite the dust as well but in the meantime i think i’ll either design a nose blinder or eat at home, most happily on the back porch of hope. (not, however, if a skunk should happen by!)

Continue reading "The Most Important Ingredient for Optimal Flavor in All Food" »

What is the best way to stabilize whipped cream for frosting a cake?

Mar 26, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Whipped cream tends to water out slightly after beating so to keep this from happening I use a small amount cornstarch which does not affect the texture.

It will not hold up well at room temperature but in the refrigerator will stay well on the cake for 24 hours! Many people have reported that this recipes has saved their lives!

For 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, use 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (if your cream is very low in butterfat use 1 1/2 teaspoons), and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
Refrigerate the mixing bowl and (preferably whisk) beater for at least 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan place the powdered sugar and cornstarch and gradually stir in 1/4 cup of the cream.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for just a few seconds (until the liquid is thickened). Scrape into a small bowl and cool completely to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla.
Beat the remaining 3/4 cup cream just until traces of beater marks begin to show distinctly.

Add the cornstarch mixture in a steady stream, beating constantly. Beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

Product Line: Rose Levy Bakeware

Oct 15, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

I'm pleased to announce my association with Harold Import Company. Harold Import is distributing my new line called Rose Levy Bakeware™.

Rose Levy Bakeware™ represents my vision for the ideal bakeware that has been brewing in my imagination for years. I'm proud to offer these new design concepts for you to enjoy in your home.

Rose's Perfect Pie Plate
Rose's Perfect Pie Plate is the first product to be developed and I am very proud of it. It has a deeply scalloped border which effortlessly creates a beautiful crimped crust. Also available is Rose's Sweetheart Crème Brulée. Recipes for my favorite pie crust and three variations of crème brulée are below.

If you are a member of the trade, please contact Harold Import. If you are a consumer, look for Rose Levy Bakeware™ at fine kitchen and gourmet food stores near you. It is also available on line at CyberPantry.com, Fantes.com, and LaPrimaShops.com

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