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Buttercream: where did I go wrong?

It sound like Cook's cribbed Rose Levy Beranbaum's neoclassic buttercream recipe from The Cake Bible. You didn't need a temperature because, according to RLB, when the sugar-corn syrup mixture comes to a rolling boil it is at the right temperature.

If you have a stand up mixer (like Kitchen-Aid with planetary action), you have to alternate adding very small quantities of the hot sugar-corn syrup mixture and beating it at high speed for about 5 seconds. As you proceed and the egg yolk-sugar mixture warms up, you can gradually increase the amount of sugar mixture you add each time. If you add the sugar while the mixer is on, the syrup will hit the beaters and fly off onto the sides of the bowl rather than being incorporated into the yolks.

If you have a hand mixer (and I would assume a second person), you can add the sugar mixture in a slow stream being sure to keep it away from the beaters.

I've made this recipe several times without a hitch ... usually a double batch. RLB's claim that it and her classic buttercream are identical is, I feel, a bit misleading. The consistency appears to be the same, but the taste is a bit different.

May 12, 2009
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Pink lima beans

Does anyone know of a source for pink lima beans (canned or dry)? I work at a food co-op and a customer has asked about them ... but the link she came up with was to a website that sells images of things, including pink lima beans, not the actual edible search.

A Google search yielded a couple references to pink lima beans but nothing that would suggest how or where one might buy them. Most of the search results had nothing to do with the food.

Nov 25, 2008
Timowitz in General Topics

Prune and armagnac truffles

Does anyone have a recipe for prune and armagnac truffles with pecans. It appeared in Food and Wine several years ago (probably in the '90s, possibly the late '80s and does not seem to have made it to the magazine's website.

Nov 25, 2008
Timowitz in Home Cooking

your favorite raspberry dessert?

Raspberry charlotte from Mastering the Art of French Pastry by Paul Bugat and Bruce Healy. It's a case of ladyfingers holding raspberry mousse. I don't know if she has a ladyfinger recipe in The Cake Bible, but Rose Levy Beranbaum's "cloud creams" appear to be identical to Bugat and Healy's mousses, so that might be another source for the recipe. Bugat and Healy have many variations on this recipe, including strawberry, blueberry, cranberry (my favorite), lemon, and more.

Jan 13, 2008
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Recipe Ownership

I believe that in most cases the NY Times "adapts" a recipe to make the description conform to house style or to make a restaurant's recipe something that will be usable by a home cook.. I suspect in most (if not all), the Times is running the recipe with the knowledge and approval of the "originator."

Sam was right about copyrighting the prep information ... but all you can copyright is the way it is written up. You cannot copyright the technique itself ... you would have to try to patent the actual technique used in the preparation of a dish. I would imagine that if such a patent were issued it would be very difficult to enforce if the recipe were later published.

Oct 02, 2007
Timowitz in Not About Food

Secret Food Myths - Let the De-Bunking Begin!

I think that the addition to yogurts to make them drink consistency is actually less of the stuff that makes yogurt as solid as most yogurt we are used to. My senior year in college I boarded with a couple who had a friend who made his own yogurt (at the university where he worked, as I recall). It was thinner in consistency that the drinkable yogurt I bought at my co-op earlier this year.

As for the yogurt that was about 10 past its sell-by date, was it ever positively determined that the yogurt was really the cause of his gastric distress?

Sep 25, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

how do you make only 2 cups of chocolate frosting ?

What is the issue? Reducing a recipe that makes more frosting down to two cups?

Sep 25, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Chicken Liver Recipes?

My favorite pasta sauce incorporates chicken livers, veal stew meat, and bacon. I will try to find the recipe and post it. I also like to saute chicken livers and add them to a salad.

Aug 07, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

NYTimes Cheesecake recipe w/tart cherry topping

Thank you, thank you, thank you. That's the one!

Jul 15, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

NYTimes Cheesecake recipe w/tart cherry topping

I've been trying to find a NY Times recipe for goat cheese cheesecake with a tart cherry topping ... no cherries in the cheesecake itself. My recollection is that is ran in the Times in the summer of 2004 or 2005 (but it might have been as early as 2002 or 2003; definitely not 2006). Does anyone remember this recipe? The co-op where I work just got some local tart cherries in and I'd love to try the recipe, at last.

Thanks for any assistance.

Jul 13, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

ice cream recipes

I've never been bothered by the flavor of egg-based ice cream. Of course, that's just my preference. I'd make an exception for ice cream made from raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries (and their close relatives). I've never like the texture of egg-based ice creams I've made from those fruits ... and I'm not sure if I've ever tried Philadelphia style for any of them.

I think the idea that homemade ice cream will only last for a few days is a bit much. It might not be quite as good but it certainly won't be bad. Consider high-end ice creams like Haagen Dazs that last for longer than that and are made with fairly few (if any) industrial additives. I believe that the vodka is added to keep the ice cream from freezing rock solid (alcohol has a lower freezing point than the ice cream base).

Jun 14, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

cake recipe for 14" round cake pan

Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible has directions for upping the size of cakes. Basically, all ingredients are increased in proportion to the increase in the square of the radius (or diameter), except for leavening which does not increase as rapidly. Beranbaum tells how to determine how much to increase the leavening. I assume this would work for any cake recipe that includes baking powder or baking soda as leavening.

If you use a recipe for a 1-layer 8-inch cake, you will need 3 times the other ingredients. If you use a recipe for a 9-inch cake, you will need about 2.4 times the other ingredients. If you use a recipe for a 10-inch cake, you will need about twice the other ingredients.

So you could make a recipe for a 2-layer 10-inch cake and just pour all the batter into your 14-inch pan EXCEPT you would have to reduce the leavening.

My recollection is that the leavening needs to be reduced because otherwise the cake will collapse.

Jun 14, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Miso Ice Cream Recipe

Apparently Pinchet Ong has a good one. My suggestions:

1: Check his new cookbook: The Sweet Spot
2: Write or email the restaurant and ask for the recipe

Jun 13, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

a cookbook to cook my way through?

Mastering the Art of French Cooking is in two volumes, not three. And I believe Julie Powell cooked her way through volume 1, not both volumes.

Jun 03, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Kumquat Recipes besides marmalade and preserves...

Kumquat ice or sorbet. I made it once and it was tasty. I got the recipe from either Simple Cuisine by J-G Vongerichten or from Bruce Weinstein's Ultimate Ice Cream Book.

Jun 03, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Candy's Chocolate Pound Cake -- REVIEW

farmersdaughter was contrasting how she made the cake (fresh buttermilk) with the technique of the original poster, dev (who used powdered). She was not contrasting her technique with that called for in the reciple.

May 14, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Traditional Uses For Seville Orange Marmalade?

Sorry ... I misread your post and thought you had bought Seville (bitter) oranges rather than marmalade. I believe there is a traditional English pudding that is made with marmalade. Check recent issues of Martha Stewart Living.

Apr 26, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Traditional Uses For Seville Orange Marmalade?

Marmalade. Rose Levy Beranbaum has a recipe for bitter orange curd in The Cake Bible. When Nigella Lawson was doing a biweekly column in the NY Times Dining section, she published a recipe for a cake that calls for bitter oranges. I'd bet it's in one of her cookbooks.

Apr 24, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

So good that you make it over and over again (or at least 3 times!)

Here's a paraphrase of the recipe:

1 tablespoon light oil, like corn or canola
2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1-inch chunks (I always used country style ribs; he also recommends fresh ham or shoulder. It should be red meat, none of that other white meat stuff, which will dry out)
1 large onion, sliced
1 pound butternut squash or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks (I always used sweet potatoes simply because they are easier to pare than the squash)
1 can coconut milk, about 1 1/2 cups
3 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce) or soy sauce, or salt to taste
Juice of a lime, or more to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish, optional.

1. Heat oil in large skillet or casserole. After oil heats up, add pork and brown on all sides.

2. Add onion, and stir. Stir occasionally until onion softens. Add squash, coconut milk and 2 tablespoons nam pla or soy sauce (or a big pinch of salt), stir and brin to a boil. Cover and simmer with heat on low untill pork is tender, about 40 minutes.
3. Uncover and add remaining nam pla. Raise heat and reduce the sauce IF you want it thicker. Add lime juice, garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.

Serves 4. You can also substitute skinless bone-in or boneless chicken thighs. Cooking time will be 20 or 30 minutes. In all cases, cook until the meat is tender.

Apr 19, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

So good that you make it over and over again (or at least 3 times!)

Here's the NY Times link for the pork recipe (it's from Jan 31, 2001):

Here's an edited version of the brownie recipe:

These brownies have to be made in advance and store well. The original recipe called for sprinkling the top of the batter (which ends up being the bottom of the brownies) with sea salt before baking. I tried it and didn't like the results but the problem might have been that my sea salt was fairly damp and tended to clump (it came that way).

Zest of 1 orange, cut into 1/8-inch strips and chopped into fairly small pieces
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of half an orange
2 tablespoons sugar, more for pan

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter, more for pan, at room temperature
11 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
11 ounces best-quality chocolate (preferably 58 percent cacao
)1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Combine orange zest, lemon juice, orange juice and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer until zest is tender and liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 10 minutes. Cool. There should be about 3 tablespoons.

2. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put parchment paper in 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan. Butter and sugar paper. Be generous with the sugar.

3. Separate 9 eggs, placing whites in bowl of a mixer and 7 yolks in a medium bowl. (Save the remaining yolks for another use.) Add 2 whole eggs and 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar to yolks; whisk to blend.

4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave or in a double boiler. I always use a microwave and add the butter after the chocolate has all gotten pretty soft and some has melted. Mix into the yolk mixture and add the cinnamon.

5. Add 2 cups confectioners' sugar to egg whites. Whisk with mixer until stiff. I beat it until its VERY stiff. Blend some of the meringue into the chocolate-yolk mixture. Add this to the remaining meringue in bowl. Fold until smooth. Fold in the orange zest and half the walnuts. It will take some time to mix the chocolate and the meringue if you use a deep Kitchenaid (5 qt) bowl like I use. It can be tough to get the meringue at the bottom of the bowl mixed in.

5. Pour into prepared baking pan, and use a spatula to spread evenly to sides. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Bake. Remove from the oven when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. While cake is still hot, use a paring knife to trim sides, which have puffed up over rim of baking sheet, and any burnt spots. Place another baking sheet lined with parchment paper on top of brownie, and invert; remove top sheet. Allow brownie to rest at room temperature for 8 hours, then cut into rectangles.

The recipe calls for cutting it into 12 rectangles (each 3-1/3 by 3-3/4 inches) but I've always thought this would be too big and have cut them into 24 pieces (2-1/2 by 2-1/2 inches)

What to do with the extra yolks? (A) avoid them by using 2 whites if you have any. (B) make two batches and use the 4 yolks to make coconut rum sauce from Chocolate by Nick Malgieri (it's basically a coconut rum creme anglaise).

I have also made the following substitutions (all at once): lemon zest for orange zest, cardamom for cinnamon (reduced to 1 tsp), and pistachios for walnuts. The result was very good, although I should not have reduced the amount of cardamom. I've considered other substitutions but have have yet to act my ideas or suggestions others made. If you prepare lots of candied zest in advance, you can make continuous batches fairly easily. I once did three batches in an afternoon.

Apr 17, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

So good that you make it over and over again (or at least 3 times!)

Country ribs? They're boneless. The brownie recipe has been posted to this site (by me, but I don't remember where). Do a search for cardamon.

Apr 15, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

So good that you make it over and over again (or at least 3 times!)

The flourless brownies with cinnamon and candied orange peel from Chefs of the Times.

I made a vegetable dish a few years ago from the second Union Square Cafe cookbook. It was good, but one element (roasted cauliflower) is so good that I've made it several times since. People wolf it down.

Oxtail braised in red wine from Epicurious (I think it's a Le Cirque recipe).

Vongerichten and Bittman's butternut squash soup ... the variant with coconut milk and fish sauce ... from Simple to Spectacular.

A pork recipe BIttman published in his Minimalist column in the NY Times a few years ago ... made with coconut milk, lime juice, and fish sauce.

Apr 13, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

40th Birthday Celebrations in NYC...need restaurant recommendations

Got a budget?

Apr 13, 2007
Timowitz in Manhattan

Request for unusual dessert to impress

The flourless brownies from Chefs of the Times (the chef, whose name I've forgotten, is French and was chef at Petrossian in NYC. They are very sophisticated ... with candied orange peel and cinnamon (I've also made a variation with candied lemon peel and cardamom).

Apr 13, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Restaurant cookbooks

I like Jean-Georges Vongerichten's 3 books (Simple Cuisine, Simple to Spectacular, and Jean Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef), Chez Panisse Desserts, and Claudia Fleming's The Last Course. I'll also second the Union Square Cafe cookbooks.

Apr 13, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Novice Indian Cooking Question

Well .. I've tested and have always been a bit surprised that King of NB's formulation appears to work. If, for example, I need a tsp of ground allspice, I generally have found that grinding a tsp of allspice berries (I use a Krups coffee grinder) yields a tsp of ground allspice.

Perhaps it works because generally smaller seeds (like cumin) will fit fairly tightly while with larger seeds (like allspice) you'll start with a heaping full measuring spoon that will grind down to a level full measuring spoon. The exception to this rule: nutmeg!

Mar 27, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Mastering the Art of French Cooking question

Some of these responses have gone off track from Suzie's question. If you want a complete Mastering the Art of French Cooking you have to buy both volumes. I don't think that recipes are duplicated ... readers of recipes in Vol. 2 that use a component from Vol. 1 are referred to Vol. 1 for the instructions to produce that component. The index to Vol. 2 includes all recipes from Vol. 1.

While new editions of a book might change substantially (this is certainly true of medical, scientific, and legal texts and some textbooks that must be updated to reflect changes in the discipline), various printings of the same edition are usually unchanged, except for correcting errors found after publication.

When a book is published a certain number of copies are printed ... this is the first printing. If sales warrant, additional copies will be printed ... these will be the second printing, the third printing, etc. A successful book might go through dozens of printings. I have a copy of Fannie Farmer from the 1930s that lists all of the printings (and the size of each printing) on the copyright page. It's a testament to the book's enduring popularity.

Other posters who mentioned that the two volumes are completely separate but make up a whole are correct. Seattle Rose refers to her edition published in the mid-60s. This is probably the first edition. Volume 1 was published in 1961; Vol. 2 in the late '60s. I suspect that the only difference between the first edition and the 40th anniversary edition is the addition of Alice Waters' introduction that she refers to. References to stand mixers and food processors, which would be Julia Child's updating to include equipment that was fairly uncommon or nonexistent (not lightening up) when the first volumes were first published, might have been introduced in 2001 or in 1983 when a revised edition was published. The cover of the 2001 edition is tacky ... Julia Child's name has been made much larger than her co-authors.

Mar 27, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

Good reading cookbooks?

Diana Kennedy! I have two of her books ... they're wonderful reading.

Mar 18, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

What are your tried and true favorites from

Oxtails braised in red wine. I believe it was a Le Cirque recipe that called for red burgundy. I've always used the least expensive pinot noir I could find.

I've also made a great cranberry sauce made with dried cherries, cherry juice (or cranberry cherry juice) and cloves.

Mar 11, 2007
Timowitz in Home Cooking

What's your favorite champagne? And a book review. [Moved from Not About Food]

My favorite used to be Mumm Cremant de Cramant. Very austere packaging; the label was a simple white strip on the bottle. I haven't had it in years. It was renamed Mumm de Cramant and got fancier packaging. I also liked Salon Le Mesnil, unfortunately very expensive. I tend to prefer blanc de blancs.

Mar 11, 2007
Timowitz in Wine