I bake a lot of pizza. I have a seven year old daughter. I'm also a type A obsessive personality, and I work hard, obsessively so, to perfect what I cook. This week I've been trying Caputo tipo "00" superfine flour to make my pizza crust thin and crispy with just the right amount of chew.
(click image to embiggen) This wonderfully cute yet sophisticated cookbook for children reminds me of when I took my picky 3-year-old to Paris. She lived on bread and butter for a week while I noticed with astonishment that the French children ate whatever exotic dish was put in front of them. American “kid menus” of white mac and cheese and white buttery pasta trains children to fear food that has any real taste or texture to it. The antidote to this is Big Meals for Little Hands, filled with recipes created by French Michelin chef Sébastien Guénard. The book, which has a slick waterproof cover, is divided into seasons, offering dishes such as cold cucumber soup in the summer, a mushroom omelette in the fall, banana fondue in the winter, and deviled eggs in the spring. While these recipes would work beautifully at any adult party, they are also simple, fun, slightly exotic, and will expand your child’s palate beyond chicken nuggets and cheese pizza. (See more pages from this book at Wink.)
Making yogurt at home is fun, easy and satisfying, it doesn’t require any specialist equipment or ingredients, and is healthier as it only contains the milk you choose to use. Joshua Naylor shows you how.Read the rest
On Instructables, Klee67 has remade the chocolate chip cookie shot glass recipe in a home version that anyone can bake. Her tutorial starts with a modified version of the Serious Eats "Best Chocolate Chip Cookie" (increasing the flour and beating more), baked in a popover pan with molds made from corks, foil, paper towel rolls and baking parchment. She's still looking for a viable glaze to keep the seepage to a minimum. Do you have any ideas?
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Meg Favreau writes, "I thought you guys might be interested in this column I've been writing for the last year-ish -- I scour old cookbooks for once-popular recipes that have fallen out of favor, explore the (often weird) history of the food, and provide a recipe. Favorites include Welsh rarebit (the OG bachelor food, cooked in proto-microwave chafing dishes, and known for causing dreams so batshit that Little Nemo creator Winsor McCay did a long-running strip just about rarebit nightmares), beef tea (the chicken soup of its day, which tastes like hamburger water in the best way), and a Halloween about a booklet that juxtaposes candy recipes with testimonials about feminine ills (That ended up being posted on Table Matters' non-food sister site).
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J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief creative officer for Serious Eats, delved very, very deep into the science of making the perfect chocolate chip cookie. He's got a very specific definition of "perfect" ("...Barely crisp around the edges with a buttery, toffee-like crunch that transitions into a chewy, moist center that bends like caramel, rich with butter and big pockets of melted chocolate... with crackly, craggy tops and the complex aroma of butterscotch...that elusive perfect balance between sweet and salty").
But the food science in his piece is deep and fascinating, and provides a kind of road-map for any definition of cookie-perfection. If you've ever wondered about the chemistry of eggs, sugars, flours, rising agents and butter, and how they interact with mixing, cooking, "resting" and cooling, this is pretty much the ultimate, definitive guide thereto. I also defy you to read this without developing a craving for chocolate chip cookies.
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"There's no better way to start the work week than a chocolate/coffee cheesecake with chocolate covered coffee beans on top," Stefan says. "I followed the 'Wakeup Cake' recipe from Boing Boing to make six of them for my co-workers."
Woohoo! We aren't kidding about the Boing Boing part.
Geek cook Chris-Rachael Oseland of kitchenoverlord.com has come up with another awesome nerd-themed recipe: bread that displays the Superman "S" symbol, just like Clark Kent would eat for his hero sandwich. The end result looks super fun and cute, but the process of making the multi-layered, colored bread is really interesting, too. I can imagine making other special-occasion breads in the same way.
Previously on Boing Boing: "Sci-fi bread recipes: Sandworm loaf from Dune, and Alien xenomorph pretzel eggs."
(via Boing Boing Facebook)
Leo Kent of Humans Invent writes about a new free service in Sweden that uses Instagram to find out how to make Asian food.
Ask CT Food is a new service people can use through Instagram to find out the ingredients and methods of cooking Asian food. If you’re at a restaurant and want to know how to make the Sushi that you’re about to eat, you can take a photo of the dish and CT Food will tell you how. We will then see the picture and, based on what the question is, reply as quickly as possible Luong Lu, who, along with co-creative Farnaz Sajadi and web developer Nikola Romcevic, created this concept for CT Food, says, “It is a very personal, almost 24/7 customer service right in your pocket. Everytime you have a question about an Asian dish at a restaurant you just snap a picture and then put in our username @askctfood. We will then see the picture and, based on what the question is, reply as quickly as possible.”
Ashley Rodriguez has tweaked a recipe for homemade "Cadbury's" Easter creme eggs from Instructables user Scoochmaroo and published it. The store-bought version of these glop-filled chocolate eggs always seem like a good idea until they get halfway down my oesophagus (whereupon they try to reverse direction); who knows, maybe a "small batch" homemade one with less HFCS and plutonium* will continue to reward ingestion all the way to my digestive tract's terminus.
½ cup Lyle’s golden syrup
6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon salt
3 drops orange blossom water (optional)
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cup powdered sugar
¼ to ½ teaspoon yellow food coloring
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or 1 bag bittersweet chocolate chips)
*Or whatever Cadbury's uses to attain that "Holy shitting Cthulhu, what have I just swallowed?" sensation
I experimented with fondant first, that was completely unsuccessful. Then I though of gluing it together with caramel (since I had a fresh bag of that around too). Too messy and too hard. Then, another light bulb went off.....cookie dough! Sugar cookie dough works perfectly (don't attempt with chocolate chip dough, the chips just get in the way and jeopardize structural integrity). It only took about 4 minutes to assemble and looked authentic.
Vegans: it can be done vegan.
My friend Jen Gardner has co-written a gorgeous recipe book called Meringue, which is all about the featherweight delicacy that turns desserts into works of art. I asked Jen if I could include an excerpt that discusses the history and science of meringue, and she kindly gave me permission.
Egg whites. Sugar. A pinch of cream of tartar or a dash of vinegar. And air.
Meringue. How can something be so simple, so divine, and yet so intimidating at the same time?
We both fell in love with meringue the same way. Though we grew up thousands of miles apart it was the first bite of our mothers’ lemon meringue pie, the fluffy topping still warm from the oven atop sweet lemon curd that made us swoon. But it was years before we fully realized how many different forms meringue could take -- and we were hooked for life. For Linda, it was the addictive meringue gelato at the world famous gelateria Vivoli in Florence; for Jennifer, it was a cloud-light meringue torte, le Vacherin, while living in Paris.
Our paths finally merged at a potluck “feast” at our children’s preschool. We spotted the desserts first -- Linda’s tiny, light-as-cloud meringue cookies flecked with chocolate, and Jennifer’s raspberry meringue tartlets -- amidst the store-bought cakes, cookies and one sad frozen lasagna. As the adults elbowed their toddlers out of the way to get to our desserts, our eyes met, smug smiles in check. It was friendship at first sight.
We always get the same reaction when we serve meringues. It seems that because they are so delicate and look so elegant, everyone -- even our friends who are experienced bakers -- assumes they are difficult to make. Not so. They may look intimidating, but they are actually quite simple to make. Even those with little or no baking experience can quickly master meringue.
Meringue is magical. It is incredibly versatile. It can be spooned onto pies, or piped into any number of beautiful shapes. It can be baked or poached, whipped into silky frostings, or folded into cakes to make them fluffier. It can be combined with ground nuts, chocolate or any number of flavorings. It can be formed into various vessels for Chantilly cream and fresh berries. And that’s just the beginning. We hope that Meringue will encourage you to embrace meringue as we have, and that it inspires you to create heavenly creations of your very own.
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Here's a cute idea from CHOW and Chris Rochelle for baking chocolate cakes in campfire coals, using scooped-out orange peels as molds:
Cut the tops off about 10 oranges and scoop out the pulp. Fill the oranges three-quarters of the way with chocolate cake batter (cake mix works fine), then put the orange tops back on and wrap each orange in aluminum foil. Place directly onto the smoldering coals of the campfire, avoiding any intense flames, and cook for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice.
I've had sorbet served in an orange and pate served in an orange (AKA "meat fruit). Both were delicious. You could probably do a whole meal inside of citrus peels.
Given a black light, some tonic, some gin or vodka, and pink lemonade concentrate, you can mix a cocktail that looks like the aurora borealis:
Aurora is TCCs black light phosphorescent take on jungle-juice. Originally conceived in 2006, it is a drink that is pink in natural light, but glows aqua-marine in black-light. Thus, it represents the two main colors of the aurora-borealis. So, without further ado here is the recipe. (Originally, the drink was made with just pink-lemonade, but was later modified to use Rose’s Mojito Passion).