Caitlin McGrath's Profile

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What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

Went to a baby shower yesterday, for which my friend said she wanted me to bake something even before confirming that she was pregnant (I did know they were trying). They did have a (boring) bakery cake, but mom-to-be has developed a wheat allergy during pregnancy (for her sake I hope it's pregnancy related and will abate in a few months), so I wanted to make something she could enjoy. I did a flourless chocolate sponge cake--really just eggs (yolks and whites beaten separately), sugar, and melted chocolate--spread with raspberry jam and topped with whipped cream and raspberries. And in the event, she didn't serve it, but tucked it away, telling me, "It's all for us!"

about 10 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
6

Cooking from Diana Henry's Books

Yes, do share your impressions. If you post about it (and I hope you will, it's always so nice to see more reports), you might want to reply to this post that Gio made about that dish: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8959...

Apr 18, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

Instead of lemon meringue pie, how about a lemon tart, made with lemon curd? You can serve it with berries, or a berry sauce. I love Alice Medrich's: http://butteredup.blogspot.com/2012/0...

Or you can top a pavlova with lemon curd and fruit instead of (or in addition to) more traditional whipped cream.

Apr 17, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

Cooking from Diana Henry's Books

I noticed that Diana Henry has replied to a number of reviewers, too (in the comments to each). Among other things, it appears that there is no index in the kindle edition (a big oversight!), but thanks to reviews objecting, the publisher will be rectifying this.

Apr 17, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

dishwasher detergent

Just put one in the main/first wash compartment, and see how it does. We have only ever used one, with excellent results. Especially with more water-efficient dishwashers, sometimes it's more effective to use less detergent.

Apr 17, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Cookware
1

Cooking from Diana Henry's Books

Ah, got it. Looks like the North American kindle listing shows the UK cover: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Change-Appeti...

Apr 17, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Cooking from Diana Henry's Books

Interesting. I see the same covers, release date, etc., in comparing Amazon US and Amazon CA, even the same product number...

http://www.amazon.ca/Change-Appetite-Diana-Henry/dp/1845338928

http://www.amazon.com/A-Change-Appeti...

Apr 17, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

They keep fairly well in the fridge. Not as long as frozen, of course, but long enough so you needn't be resigned to using them all ASAP.

Apr 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Brown Sugar

Sugar brands are regional. Domino is only available in the Eastern part of the US; it's not sold in the Western states, where the dominant brand name is C&H. C&H is also OK-P, so no worries there.

Apr 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Kosher
1

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

Gorgeous!

Apr 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

Suggestions for using Middle Eastern spice blends

This roast chicken is stellar, and a great use for ras el hanout: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Organic-Chicken-with-Moroccan-Spices-231437

In addition to all the previous posts' recommendations for using za'atar, I like to toss vegetables (especially brocolli and cauliflower) in olive oil and za'atar and roast them, and also like a simple lunch of chopped cucumber and liberal amounts of za'atar mixed into cottage cheese.

This recipe for roasted butternut squash and red onions with tahini and za'atar, from Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Jerusalem cookbook, is an inspired flavor combination: http://www.bonappetit.com/events/prom...

Apr 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Cooking from Diana Henry's Books

Nope, don't have the book yet. I decided to wait till June.

Apr 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Cooking from Diana Henry's Books

EYB has links to 22 recipes from A Change of Appetite amalgamated together on one page: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

Based on this sample, it looks like some but certainly not all are as streamlined as those in Pure Simple Cooking. From those linked, the Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber and feta and orange salad with honeyed almonds (I love any iteration of orange/fennel salad) are going on my short list, probably to be made within the next week. I love the sound of the gin and tonic jellies with blueberries for a summer dessert.

Apr 15, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
2

dishwasher detergent

I use the Finish tabs with rinse aid included; it's the brand recommended by my dishwasher's manufacturer. They're not inexpensive compared to bargain or store brands, but easy as can be to use and get the dishes and glassware clean every time.

Apr 15, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Cookware
1

Pepperplate menu planning app

Everything's working fine for me, on my computer and syncing with the mobile app.

Apr 14, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Cheese with crystals

In terms of aged goudas with lots of amino acid crystal, you can't do better than Boerenkaas. That's good stuff.

Apr 12, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Cheese

what should I do with a giant bag of dry roasted hazelnuts?

I have always wanted to make that; it sounds so good!

Here's the recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/0...

Apr 11, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

It's a memoir, not a cookbook. It has less than a dozen recipes. Not a COTM candidate in any way, but I definitely recommend reading it - equal parts humorous, poignant, and edifying. A terrific book.

Apr 09, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
2

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

Glad to hear it, herby! I agree that they're rather sweet, and I might cut the sugar a wee bit next time.

Apr 09, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

He has a fun blog piece about the process of creating the book: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2014/04/...

Apr 08, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

Croissants - SF Dish of the Month February 2014

A friend and I tried a few croissants from Nick's Pizza in Oakland, which serves coffee and an assortment of croissants and scones in the morning.

We didn't try the plain butter croissant, but did get three filled ones: chocolate ($2.75), almond ($2.75), and mixed mushroom and gruyere ($3). There's also a poached pear croissant, but they didn't have any in the case the other day.

These croissants are made with sourdough starter, like Nick's pizza crust, and while the sourdough flavor is discernible, it's pretty subtle, and doesn't overwhelm the pastry's other qualities. Overall, these are well made - nicely browned, with a good, flaky exterior; fairly uniform layers inside with good elasticity; and a moderate butter flavor.

The chocolate croissant was the miss among our samples. The chocolate had melted out the ends and what ended up on the exterior was a bit hard, while inside there was a tunnel without much filling. The mushroom was very nice, with a savory, flavorful filling that I think may be made with a combination of fresh and dried mushrooms; the pastry directly under the filling was a bit damp, however. The almond is not double baked, and the interior is tunneled, without any visible filling, but it turned out that the almond paste had melted into the pastry; overall, the flavor was very good, and very almond-y.

http://oaklandstylepizza.com/nicks-pi...

Apr 08, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in San Francisco Bay Area

Fresh Masa for homemade tortillas?

Primavera's all corn.

Apr 08, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in San Francisco Bay Area

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - April 2014

Right. They do have small bars that are the same as the pound plus, but instead of one flat bar, it's three smaller bars that are wrapped in plastic in a stack. The 72% have red wrappers; here's a photo of one: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_LqbGiE1RyhU/TUNyHJMgBeI/AAAAAAAACmc/Fr03rpZ0E-E/s1600/032.JPG

There's another Swiss bar, organic 73%, that I really dislike the flavor of, finding it very unbalanced. That's this one: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KMno6FFnO1M/UEwLczIBQDI/AAAAAAAABEM/69CrmarnD4Y/s1600/DSCF6643+copy.jpg

The one I like to keep around for nibbling is the fair trade organic Belgian 72%. That's this one: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Qk0TodWErt0...

Apr 07, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Chains
1

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

I just put them in a waxed paper-lined tin, and people took them, but there were plates. You could certainly put them in muffin cups to make them easy to grab, because they are quite moist.

Apr 07, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

Those almond squares are very quick to make, as well. They were served at a post-performance reception where I didn't really know people, and all I heard was how good they are. You know, just to make your decision easier...

Apr 07, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

Absolutely! Apricot and peach (and all the stone fruits, really), complement almonds extremely well. Most fruits do, in fact, and I'm sure fig would be delicious with these, too.

Apr 07, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

Battling "condimentia"

This is true; if you will use them up within a reasonable amount of time, and especially if your kitchen isn't too warm, pure nut butters won't go rancid if kept in the pantry.

Apr 06, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in General Topics

NBC Cancels Television Without Pity and The Daily Candy

Different mods were definitely more or less stringent in how they enforced the rules (each TWOP subforum or single-subject thread has an assigned mod), but the things Firegoat mentions are explicitly spelled-out forum rules there. Sounds like you'd approve, greygarious.

TWOP forum dos and don'ts (caveat: if you're reading this after 5/31/14, this will be a dead link): http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...

Apr 06, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Food Media & News

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

I'm glad they were going away, so I couldn't eat more than a couple, because they're so very good. Went over very well with the crowd.

Apr 06, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition!

Are you threatening me? Guess I'd better get on it or go to bed afraid!

You could easily halve this for an 8x8-in pan.

8 oz/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup AP flour
1 cup almond meal/flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
scant T. almond extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam
ounce or two semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

Heat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 metal pan with parchment (I like to make a sling) and grease (I use baking spray). Melt butter, cook to a nutty brown, pour into a mixing bowl, and set aside for a few minutes. Stir dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Whisk sugar into butter, then eggs. Stir in dry ingredients. Scrape into pan, then dollop spoonfuls of jam on top and use a table knife to swirl it through the batter. Bake 25-30 minutes, until tester comes out clean. When cool, melt chocolate and drizzle.

Apr 06, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1