Caitlin McGrath's Profile

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Best one-stop supermarket?

Where in the Bay Area will you be living? The best answer to your question will vary depending on your location. And I do agree that you're probably better served by hitting a drugstore for things like diapers (based on availability, price, and/or selection) if you also want the best selection, quality-wise, in groceries locally.

My answer would also be Berkeley Bowl (and there are drugstores within a block of both stores), but whether it's a practical place for regular shopping depends on where you will live.

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 2

Yes, rose as in the flower, not rosé wine. I did a bit of a cheat (but an effective one), and just stirred rose water into raspberry jam, to taste, for spreading on the cake. And I also used raspberry jam and rose water to flavor the icing, adding and tasting until it seemed right. The raspberry-rose combo really works well, and I knew that it's one that buttertart especially loves.

What does your cookbook collection look like?

pistachio peas, you might enjoy a spin through this similar thread from a couple of years ago. Lots of great bookshelf photos!

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/863403

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 2

I had the pleasure of making a (surprise!) birthday cake for our baking pal buttertart, who is visiting her old haunts here on the left coast this week. She was kind enough to include me in her blowout birthday feast for nine at a renowned local Chinese restaurant, where we had a parade of 27 unique and wonderful dishes, followed by cake.

I made two Golden Almond cakes from RLB's Cake Bible (recipe slightly tweaked), and split them to make four layers, which I brushed with amaretto. Between the layers, raspberry-rose jam, fresh raspberries, and raspberry-rose-flavored cooked flour frosting, with more of that covering the cake. Definitely a more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts flavor combination (if I do say so).

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

It's from the cookbook Cake Simple, so the answer is yes, in a way - I looked up Spiced Life, and the blogger used the Cake Simple recipe. I don't have the cookbook in front of me, but the only things I think the blogger changed were adding white pepper where the book sticks with pink, and I'm pretty sure the book only uses two vanilla beans. Pink peppercorns aren't botanically related to the pepper tree that gives us green/black/white, but they do taste peppery, and also floral, and they're great in the cake.

Here's a photo of the one I baked: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8259...

Aug 19, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 2

I use a very similar all-cream recipe for scones. I use a fork to mix the cream into the flour mixture, then knead two or three turns to bring the dough together, very, very gently, being sure not to compact the dough, and then gently pat it out, again being sure not to compact it. They come out very light. It should be noted that, used for biscuits, this style won't please everyone because while they're light and tender, they're not flaky.

Aug 19, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

Tell me about the black pepper buttercream, please! What style of buttercream, how much black pepper and in what form (crushed, ground, etc.), and what was your inspiration? It sounds great, and I can imagine how well it worked against the chocolate. I've had black pepper ice cream with a fruit dessert, and it was a super combination. I also baked a great vanilla bean-pink peppercorn cake once, which I definitely need to repeat...

Aug 19, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Food from Plenty

That looks scrumptious.

Aug 18, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month September 2014

Weird, looks as if little squares are replacing all the buttons on your CH page. Everything appears as status quo for me - hearts, photo icon in the upload field, 'x' to delete, etc. - all the places you've got squares. So many variables (OS, browser, extensions, versions, etc.) seem to affect appearance and functionality on CH, especially in the midst of all these ongoing tweaks.

Aug 18, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Porgy (Rockfish) with Ginger, Soy, and Scallions, p. 209

I scored a very fresh rockfish fillet at the farmers' market today, and used it to make a reduced portion of this. Soy sauce, rice wine, and superfine sugar (I skipped the latter) is mixed, and some is poured over the fish, along with slivered ginger, which is left to sit for 15 minutes. The plate of fish is set in a steamer basket and steamed for 7 minutes, then left covered off heat for another minute. More ginger and slivered red chile (I used a Fresno) are sizzled in oil. The fish is topped with julienned scallions, the hot oil and ginger and chile, and more of the soy mixture.

My fish would have been better with a little less time in the steamer (or skipping the minute off heat) because it was a bit overcooked, though not fatally so, but perfectly enhanced by all its additions. Photo shows half the large fillet and accoutrements.

Aug 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Japanese Eggplants with Miso, p. 188

I made a half recipe, using only white miso (had it on hand, but no brown), mirin, and sherry instead of sake. Because I was using only the sweeter white miso, I skipped the sugar. The result was deliciously salty-sweet-savory, with tender and creamy flesh as nomadchowwoman says.

Aug 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

November 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, Marcella Hazan Month: Vegetables; Salads

It is (I actually posted about it further up the thread during COTM).

Aug 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month September 2014

I like your green frames!

Aug 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 1 [old]

Michael's craft stores that have a cake/candy supply section carry it (every one I've been to, but I recall on a previous thread that you said your local one doesn't), and perhaps other places with lots of Wilton. And naturally, you can get it through Amazon.

I sometimes have had to hunt for the flour/oil sprays, and generally buy whichever brand I find (they're pretty equivalent in my experience).

Aug 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 1 [old]

Baking spray (have used Pam, Baker's Joy, Spectrum variously) has been my go-to for years and is still my usual, however Wilton Cake Release is absolutely superior for fancy pans with a lot of detail. I actually bought it before using the heritage bundt pan TorontoJo used for the first time, and it has made a huge difference in how cleanly cakes release from my few detailed pans (not to mention how much easier it is to get them clean after baking).

I do agree that the baking spray coats more evenly if you hold it a distance from the pan, but it's also true that you get a much thinner coating after brushing on the Cake Release.

Aug 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

Even just a good dusting of powdered sugar will go a good way in disguising the broken bits, or a thick chocolate glaze will distract the eye (along with upping the anticipation).

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month September 2014

Aw, then it's a shame you didn't look into it, back in 2008 or so, when oakjoan instigated Dessert Cookbook of the Month(s), because as I recall the books I was familiar with had plenty of homey and simple offerings, not just fancier things. But as smtucker noted, ultimately there wasn't enough sustained interest for constant regeneration.

Aug 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 1 [old]

For dark cakes in that pan, I think a light sprinkle of powdered sugar highlights its shape really well.

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 1 [old]

If your post is a reply to the OP, the first photo you upload will be the large one at the top, and any others will be thumbnails you have to click to enlarge, but if you reply to someone else's post, the photos are all thumbnails. In other words, you didn't do anything wrong, that's just how it is.

Aug 15, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Other Books and Online Recipes

Regular couscous would be a fine sub. Since you'd be letting it rehydrate off heat once you add the stock instead of cooking over low heat as with the bulgur in the recipe, I'd just make sure to saute the onions a bit more, until they're translucent, before putting the couscous in.

Aug 15, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Food from Plenty

Yes, it's the same book, as greedygirl says, title is different for the US edition.

Aug 15, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry: Pure Simple Cooking

I was curious about your fish, Gio, as ling cod is something that's considered local here on the Pacific coast, but this was obviously fished in your locale. I looked up cusk, and found that it is a North Atlantic member of the ling family that's completely unrelated to the Pacific fish known as ling cod (which is apparently neither ling nor cod!). However, the ling cod I get (and I'm guessing geekmom in BC also gets the Pacific variety) is also a nice, firm, and versatile white fish.

The one recipe I've used most from this book (to the point where I don't actually refer to the recipe anymore) is the baked cod with zesty crust, which is easy, delicious, and works with any fish of similar flavor and texture, such as seem common to your CSF. I don't worry about the exact proportions in the topping, and I use a lot less oil than DH specifies, and it's all good.

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry: Pure Simple Cooking

Thinking about my experience, there are two variables that may have made a difference. One is that each time I made this I made a half recipe or so, and used a pan where the potatoes were pretty much in a single layer. The other is that my oven is fast, by virtue of being small and having an electric element at the top, so things are often done to a greater degree in the same or less time, and I will sometimes reduce the heat to compensate. Since this recipe calls for a moderate 350F, it might help the potatoes to raise the temperature a bit (unless you're using my oven, that is).

Aug 13, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Chicken and Fennel with Honey, Mustard, and Orange, p. 74

This is very simple to put together, with a handful of ingredients that add up to a pretty delicious result.

I made a half recipe, using four chicken thighs and one very large fennel bulb. Bone-in chicken thighs, with or without skin (I skinned them) go in a pan that accommodate everything in a single layer (a 9x13-in dish accommodated my half recipe's ingredients). Orange juice and zest, honey, whole-grain mustard (I used Dijon), and olive oil are combined (I halved the proportion of honey so it was equivalent to the amount of mustard) and two-thirds is poured over the chicken, which is sprinkled with salt and fresh thyme leaves (I used fresh oregano because I had that). Into the oven for 15 minutes, after which it's basted and wedges of fennel are added, along with the remaining OJ mixture, the whole roasted for 30 minutes more, with intermittent basting. At the point where the fennel went in, there wasn't really sufficient liquid to baste, and I wondered whether it would have been better to double it, but as roasting progressed, it increased and I was able to turn the fennel in it, ending up with tender, glazed pieces as she suggests, and a nice amount of sauce.

I was happy with my decision to halve the honey, as I found the sauce/glaze well balanced, with the flavor of orange in the forefront, and not too sweet. While thyme is certainly the obvious choice to pair with chicken and orange, the fresh oregano worked well. Henry suggests serving this with the pilaf on the same page, but I chose a more restrained route and rounded out my plate with sauteed zucchini, spooning the sauce over it as well, but I'd say it'd definitely be a good call to have something like rice or pilaf to absorb it, or bread to mop the plate because it is very tasty. Overall, a meal with a pretty high return on a modest amount of effort.

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Thanks so much! I finally got a moment to compare with the US ed. The flour weights look right for the volumes they've used (but I will use the weights). They've rounded up both oils (to 4 and 8 fl oz, which accords with standard US cup fractions), and I will certainly not go with that, as the cake already has a great deal of oil for its size in the original, IMO. I'm an inveterate tweaker, anyway.

Aug 12, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry: Pure Simple Cooking

Well, that's a bummer. I've made this a few times with really nice results (I posted in the cooking-from thread last year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8959...). I wonder why things turned out so differently for you, gm.

Aug 12, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 1 [old]

I really need to find an occasion to try that crystal almond pound cake recipe, after all the times you've extolled it, Joan. When I do make it, I will definitely use the heritage bundt pan, too.

Aug 11, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 1 [old]

I found the kids' reactions to the cream cheese icing interesting, in that it seemed entirely unfamiliar to them. Perhaps it's just less common in Australia? (Not so American buttercream, given that it was the most familiar to all.) And I agree about the sweet-tooth's friend!

Aug 11, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Food from Plenty

Sounds delicious - I love berries with rosewater - and your choice of dish ware couldn't be more apt!

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Thanks, that would be swell, and glad to hear your endorsement, as I thought the recipe sounded very good.

Aug 10, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking