Caitlin McGrath's Profile

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September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Ratatouille, p. 254

It took me partway through the month to get to this, and then I neglected to post. But the CSA haul included most of the ingredients (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes) up through last week. Sadly, the summer vegetable haul seems to be mostly done. I followed Joan's lead in using only 4 teaspoons of oil, and I used a small, not-very-sweet yellow pepper in place of the banana pepper. Otherwise I followed the recipe except for the unfortunate omission of tomato paste (I thought there was a tube in the fridge...).

I liked how the quick cooking left the vegetables tender but not mushy, without allowing their flavors to muddy. As I ate some of it hot, and in following days more of it cold, I enjoyed it well. The final serving, I heated in a bit more olive oil in a small skillet, stirring a bit, and broke an egg in to cook. The result, if somewhat softer in texture, was the best yet, as the further cooking gave it the depth I'd missed out on without the caramelization of tomato paste.

I found myself ruminating on the contrast between this successful 20-minute ratatouille and the Catalan samfaina from Mediterranean Harvest, which I haven't made but was a big hit with some COTM folks last summer, and which involves finely chopped vegetables and cooks for hours.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition! [old]

I think there are a few Bouchon reports from the Ad Hoc, etc COTM in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896494

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition! [old]

I poked around again, and ended up getting Baking Chez Moi and Ikaria. Those plus my outstanding TGC preorder of Beranbaum's Baking Bible, and Plenty More, will be it for the year.

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

Yes, that's the stuff. And yes, you squeeze some out and use a pastry brush to spread it thinly (I love my silicone brush for this because it's dishwasherable). If you want to pick it up locally, Michael's craft stores generally sell it, for about $4, IIRC, and I believe there are a couple in Manhattan now. (Checks - yes, there's even one on the UWS, which is, I think, where you are?)

Sep 28, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

Yes, I also use the baking spray most of the time (usually Spectrum, as that's the one sold at my regular grocery), but I've found the Cake Release makes for a cleaner release from my few very detailed pans, like the six mini rose bundt pan. I never had cakes stick with baking spray, but I'd get a fine coating of crumb left behind, making the pan harder to clean and the cake less polished looking, and that was eliminated when I used the Wilton product.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition! [old]

Yeah, not sure how I missed it, but I didn't see it when I looked yesterday. Of course, I went back after reading nadiam's post, and there it was. I'll take another look this afternoon, but from my initial look, I'm not sure it's something I need to add to my shelves. Hmmph. I'd like to order Baking Chez Moi, but not sure there's a second title I want enough to bother. Perhaps I'll just wait for another of their everything's-$13 sales to get the Greenspan.

Sep 28, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition! [old]

I'm actually rather intrigued by Flourless, but I really wish I could get a better sense of the recipes. There's no look-inside feature on Amazon, and it's in the process of being indexed on EYB, so I haven't found any way of accessing the contents or index online. Oh well, I guess I'll have to decide whether to take the plunge in short order, while the bundle sale's on.

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 1-3 (Big Flavor, Star Ingredients, Farming the Sea) Reporting Thread

Ha, I had to go look at the recipe after reading your post, and indeed, the parsley is meant to go in with everything else, but I obviously got it in my head that it was meant to go on top (probably because that's more common in such recipes).

Your mussels do look marvelously plump.

Sep 27, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

Have you had problems with the original Cake Release in the plastic bottle, or just with the Bake Easy spray? I've looked online and can't find the ingredients of the spray anywhere, but reviews I see are comparing it to baking sprays like Baker's Joy and Pam for baking so I'm assuming it's a similar thing. I use baking spray regularly, but it definitely is not affective like the Cake Release is for complicated pans or sticky cakes, IME.

Sep 27, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Announcement Thread: October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food"

If you're not sure whether area natural foods stores carry it, I can say that Whole Foods around here has unsweetened dried coconut in the bulk section along with the nuts and dried fruit. As far as coconut cream (assuming that's what's meant by solid creamed coconut), it's like the the thick cream that separates out of canned coconut milk when it's cold. I've seen it in boxes, as L.Nightshade describes, and also cans, and in fact noticed recently that Trader Joe's has cans of coconut cream.

Sep 27, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition! [old]

I used Pamela's GF flour blend yesterday, first time using a commercial GF flour, to make muffins for a friend and they are moist and delicious, and frankly indistinguishable from the wheat-flour version in flavor and texture. Like herby, I usually tend toward the naturally GF when doing GF baking, but I wanted something more quick bread/snacky than dessert, so I took the risk. Pamela's is a blend of rice flours (white, brown, sweet) and tapioca flour with a bit of guar gum. I tasted the batter and streusel raw and nothing tasted funky even in that state, so I'll use it when the need arises again.

Sep 26, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

It actually works out okay, given that the cake contains a cup of unsweetened cocoa, though when I've made it, I cut it to 2 1/2 (1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 1/2 granulated), and found that just right to my don't-love-supersweet-sweets self. I also like to use the dehydrated buttermilk powder so I can use water for the liquid, which I boil and whisk with the cocoa and instant espresso powder to bloom, then cool before incorporating.

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

To take to my friend when I visit with her and her two-month-old daughter tomorrow, I made carrot apple walnut muffins with a seeded crumble topping. I like to bring something that makes a good one-handed snack to new/nursing parents. I used half walnut oil, and they've got a great, nutty, almost buttery flavor (despite having no butter save for in the topping). I made them with a commercial gluten-free flour mixture (Pamela's) because my friend has developed a wheat allergy, and as this was the first time I'd used it I was a bit nervous they might have funky flavor and/or texture, but they're just as moist and delicious as usual.

"Naturally" GLUTEN FREE baking/dessert recipes, without weird ingredients

Meringues, macaroons, macarons, pavlovas - all naturally gluten free and delicious. (Egg whites seem to be a common denominator.)

Some of my favorite naturally gluten free desserts involve nuts and chocolate, but aren't as rich as typical flourless chocolate cakes.

Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte, from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert cookbook is super simple, but has a very sophisticated flavor: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Basler Brunsli, a cakey Swiss chocolate-almond cookie with a hint of cinnamon and a sugary crust, courtesy of CH poster CathleenH: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7408...

Chewy chocolate pecan cookies, adapted from a Francois Payard recipe, courtesy of CH poster Danna: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6519...

Not chocolate, Claudia Roden's orange almond cake (made famous via Nigella Lawson): http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/32...

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition! [old]

Yvonne Ruperti has a One Bowl Baking column on Serious Eats, so you could peruse that to get a sense of the kind of thing that'll be in the book.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/co...

Sep 25, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Yes, that sentence could use a change in word order for clarity. I'm afraid careful copyediting - especially important (and taking a good deal of skill) in cookbooks - is dying out, a victim of budget cuts and related tight deadlines. /editorial rant

Sep 24, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

Well, they definitely tasted more "real" than Cheez-Its or Cheetos, but when I made them with cheddar, they did remind me of cheddar goldfish. I could definitely taste the cheese. Here's some discussion about them: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7758...

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

Yes, the Greenspan ones are relatively rich. Because of how they're made, with the cold butter, they've got a great flaky texture.

Sep 24, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Mollie Rose Baking Co., South Berkeley

I happened to walk by this place, on MLK across from Ashby BART station, near the end of opening hours on a Saturday afternoon. She's open on Saturday and Sunday only, in a space shared with some other concerns. They started there in June.

I tried samples of cinnamon-glazed almonds (crunchy, sweet glaze with a good hit of cinnamon flavor) and soft molasses-ginger chocolate chip cookie (good flavor, but doughy and underbaked to my taste). There were also dark chocolate almond butter cups and peppermint cups, savory spiced almonds (Indian spiced and harissa-garlic), bagels, and bread. Cinnamon rolls on Sunday mornings.

The almonds are all $4 for a 4-ounce conical cellophane bag, and would make a nice hostess gift.

I didn't realize it's all vegan until I looked up the website. That might account for the cookie's texture. Sounds like they're using coconut oil in baking, but also use vegan "cream cheese" and such in icings. The Facebook page is updated with what's available each day, and when they sell out of things.

Mollie Rose Baking Co.
3140 Martin Luther King Jr Way

http://msmollierose.wix.com/mollieros...
https://www.facebook.com/msmollierose

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

I love Dorie Greenspan's Cheez-It-Ish Crackers. They're a savory shortbread, easy to make and very nice and cheesy. I've made them with cheddar and they were gobbled up. Especially nice when still a bit warm. Though the main recipe has you roll the dough and cut it out, there's a sidebar suggestion to do them slice-and-bake style, cut 1/4" thick, and that's how I've done it for ease.

Recipe: http://traceysculinaryadventures.com/...

Suggestions of what to make with 3 pounds of shredded cabbage

Marcella Hazan's smothered cabbage, Venetian style. As simple as can be, it's the more than 1 1/2 hours cooking time that makes it a supremely tender dish.

http://www.farmerdaves.net/smothered-...

Sep 23, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Caramels without corn syrup?

For your basic butter/cream caramels flavored with vanilla, I agree golden (cane) syrup (Lyle's is the brand you'll see most in the US) is great, and enhances their flavor.

Sep 23, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are your favorite recipes for bake sales (making and purchasing?)

The "puppy chow" sweet chex mix is people food with a cutesy name.

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

I've wanted to make this one ever since helen_m mentioned it in the cooking-from thread as her very favorite DH recipe, although every time I read it, I'm daunted by the number of pots and pans required (ergo, dishes to wash). But your report reminds me that I really should try it anyway, while decent tomatoes are still around.

Here's the recipe: http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/600522

Sep 23, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

I used a healthy sprinkle, not more than I'd use otherwise, then rubbed it in to the skin.

Sep 23, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Roasted Chicken with Za’atar Stuffing, p. 247

Like Gio and NMCW, I followed blue room's lead and roasted bone-in chicken thighs atop the stuffing mixture. I used three thighs, two large and one small, and the specified amounts for the stuffing, except oil, of which I used only a small drizzle. I used some multigrain bread that was hanging out in the freezer, which is why my stuffing appears so dark. I roasted this at 425F for about 40 minutes, and got juicy chicken with shatteringly crisp (if not darkly browned) skin, thanks to a Diana Henry trick: rubbing kosher salt into the skin and skipping the oil. The stuffing suffused with chicken drippings was decadently delicious. I did feel that the richness of those drippings obscured the flavor of all the added aromatics a bit, so I might up the amounts of garlic, parsley, za'atar, and lemon zest.

Sep 22, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? September 2014, part 2! [old]

The red one is very lightweight aluminum (with a red enameled exterior), and the other is heavy cast aluminum. Just compare the shipping weights:

Red - 318 g
Cast - 2 k

Sep 21, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

The secret ingredient in Geoff Beattie’s rich dark fruit cake

I love this:

"It’s not a smell, it’s a state of mind, a place where people can go. It’s a smell that conjures images of forest walks and Snow White singing to blue birds and being a kid again staining your clothes and fingers beneath a mulberry tree."

I want that. But I'd settle for a piece of his cake.

Unfollow not working?

Have you tried logging out and logging back in again? I sometimes find that when something I change doesn't take, doing that helps.

Sep 20, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Site Talk
1

ISO Fancy, elegant plated dessert

Oh, sorry if I misled you - I've never made the tarts, just remember some complaints (perhaps even on CH) about the pastry, but I don't remember what the exact issue was.