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Molly James's Profile

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What are these utensils?

The one on the left is a fruit pitter and the one on the right looks very similar to a pear corer. That's the best I can come up with.

They're nice tools and a reminder of your grandmother. I hope you use them.

Jun 27, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Cake Baking cookware and tips

Yes, and thanks for the correction. By the time I realized my error, it was too late to edit.

Jun 15, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Cake Baking cookware and tips

I make cakes all the time and the one thing I learned is you really don't need expensive or fancy tools unless that's your preference.

For the basics, an 8 or 9 inch x 2 inch round pan is probably the most common size for recipes, and most recipes call for 2 pans. My personal preference is for thick bare aluminum such as Magic Line or Nordicware Naturals. Magic Line is often times sold through restaurant supply stores, but Amazon carries them and can be found at very good prices, such as $6 for an 8 or 9 inch, if you watch for sales.

Bake strips - I've never used them. I tend to turn the temp down 25 degrees and increase the bake time to have a level cake. I do know that if you're inclined, you can make your own from soaked towel strips or soaked newspapers wrapped in aluminum foil and secured with a binder clip to the pan.

A standmixer is a wonderful thing to have for both the batter and especially the icing. If you don't have one, a hand mixer will suffice, but it will take much longer and if your preference is for American Buttercream icing, your hand mixer may die an early death!

Decorating tips: My preference is Ateco. They are good quality, one piece stainless steel and are reasonably priced. Fat Daddio makes a nice set of seamless, polycarbonate tips that I really like, too. However, if you're jut starting out, buy a basic set from any manufacturer, that has many of the more common designs such as, a writing tip, shell, stars etc. Sets with basic tips are typically inexpensive. If you find you like decorating, look at upgrading your tips to those that will produce designs you like. You can google "cake decorating tip charts" to see examples of each tip design.

Both straight and offset spatulas make icing a cake a breeze.

A turn table is a great thing to have. Fat Daddio makes a low profile, ball baring one that I've seen at TJ Maxx for about $8.

Welcome to the world of caking!

Jun 15, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Kobi Blocks Cutting Boards

I saw your question on the Boos vs Boardsmith thread first, and responded there. Here is a copy paste of my response.

A few weeks ago, there was a poster "promoting" these boards, as their recent purchases. Even to me, they looked like shill posts and they were subsequently deleted.

The posts did grab my interest and I did some digging and found the boards listed on Amazon for about $30 including shipping, for about a 12 x 18 size (going from my memory on that). There were several boards in varying materials in the same size/price range with a lot (collectively, maybe 20+, but again, my memory) of positive 5* reviews from verified purchasers. I think there was one 2*, but that review was not related to quality - I think it was a delivery issue or something along those lines.
I see Amazon now only has one board size that is listed with reviews. I can also tell you, a few weeks ago, I don't remember seeing 1k+ boards. Take that for what you will as prices on Amazon fluctuate in the blink of an eye.

The Today show clip that appears on their website is valid.

At any rate, the company is local to me and I've wanted to stop by but haven't had the chance. If I do, I'll be comparing their offerings to my Boardsmith boards, and report back.

May 30, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Boos vs. Boardsmith

A few weeks ago, there was a poster "promoting" these boards, as their recent purchases. Even to me, they looked like shill posts and they were subsequently deleted.

The posts did grab my interest and I did some digging and found the boards listed on Amazon for about $30 including shipping, for about a 12 x 18 size (going from my memory on that). There were several boards in varying materials in the same size/price range with a lot (collectively, maybe 20+, but again, my memory) of positive 5* reviews from verified purchasers. I think there was one 2*, but that review was not related to quality - I think it was a delivery issue or something along those lines.

I see Amazon now only has one board size that is listed with reviews. I can also tell you, a few weeks ago, I don't remember seeing 1k+ boards. Take that for what you will as prices on Amazon fluctuate in the blink of an eye.

The Today show clip that appears on their website is valid.

At any rate, the company is local to me and I've wanted to stop by but haven't had the chance. If I do, I'll be comparing their offerings to my Boardsmith boards, and report back.

May 30, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Which packaging scam annoys you the most

About a year ago, Baker's Chocolate reduced their package from 8 to 4 ounces and pretty much kept the price the same ($3.29 vs $2.99). People immediately began complaining and they defended their new product size as saying it was based on "consumer feedback." Regarding pricing, they've defended their decision by saying they can only suggest an MSRP, not mandate it, but would have their product team check on why stores are selling the new, reduced by half product for the same price.

Really, Kraft? Consumer feedback? I can't think of anyone who says "Your product is too big! Reduce the size by half but it's ok to charge me the same. Please and thank you."

I tried they new size, which is in a bar form now instead of the one ounce individually wrapped squares. I think their strategy of trying to compete with premium chocolate that is formed, sized and priced similarly, isn't a good one. Besides, I think it tastes waxy now, although I've seen nothing published that the formula was changed, I'm sure they downgraded the ingredients.

Their new product and pricing strategy backfired, at least with me and others I know that use a lot of chocolate for baking. I discovered I can get Callebaut, among other semi-sweet premium couverture, block chocolates at Whole foods for less per pound. Sometimes as much as $4 less per pound, but I usually buy the Callebaut which is $2 less. I see that as a win on both taste and price for me.

If anyone is interested, at a couple different Whole Foods I've been to, the block chocolate is in the produce section, not the baking isle. The pieces range in weight and wrapped in plastic wrap.

Asking For Piping Tips Because I Suck At It.

I agree with larger tips and practice. Other suggestions would be to check out Youtube for video tutorials, Wilton.com for technique instruction or Wilton cupcake class (it's a short session held at most craft stores). These types of stores also carry the class instruction books if you don't want to take the class. The book will show what tips are used, the needed icing consistency and the technique.

If you want a shortcut on prepared icing, I think Duff, The Cake Boss and Wilton sell small pre-made canisters of decorating icing, that is usually on the thick side of medium to stiff consistency that you can use to practice and use over and over for quite a while. Don't use canned frosting like Duncan Hines, Pillsbury or Betty Crocker as it's far too soft for much of anything other than icing a cake. The type of decoration usually dictates the consistency.

Good luck and have fun! If you don't get it right the first time, you can always eat and enjoy your mistakes!

Mar 16, 2015
Molly James in Home Cooking
1

Does anyone know what this Kitchenaid Standing Mixer bowl is?

Looks like the bowl is now available for both the tilt head http://www.kitchenaid.com/shop/-[KSM1... and bowl lift http://www.kitchenaid.com/shop/-[KSM1...

"The KitchenAid ® Precise Heat Mixing Bowl is great for chocolate, bread and cheese. Temper chocolate, proof bread dough, make fondue, soups, yogurts and more." $299.99 Yikes!!

I could make a joke about the lack of precise detail on among other things, the heat range of the Precise Heat Mixing Bowl, but....

Mar 09, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Food Storage/Dry goods in Mason Jars?

I don't know either. Just used it the one time for the marshmallows. A lid works fine for me. The one piece canning lids get my vote for convenience.

Mar 08, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Food Storage/Dry goods in Mason Jars?

I agree the originals suit the purpose, but I was interested in finding a one piece lid, which may be the path the OP is on since s/he mentioned the plastic lids and shared the information.

I'm not looking for anything in addition to the solution I found that works best for me, but thank you for asking. Or was the question directed to the OP who seems to be looking for advice on options?

Mar 08, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Food Storage/Dry goods in Mason Jars?

I use Mason jars for storage and have switched over to one piece metal lids made by Bormioli. They're meant for canning, so you get a pretty tight seal even without, and work much better than the Ball one piece plastic lid, which was designed for storage only. I picked mine up at the Container Store. A pack of 2 was a $1.49 for the 86mm which fits wide mouth and $1.29 for the 70mm which fits regular jars. http://www.containerstore.com/shop/ki... If you read the reviews, you'll see people use them a multitude of storage needs and are pretty happy with the seal.

If you wanted to stick with Ball, and don't have a FoodSaver, you can use the vacuum adapter for canning jars and the hand held sealer - it's a bit tricky to get a vacuum seal, but it can be done - I tried it on a jar of marshmallows so I could "see" it working. The adapters are pretty inexpensive and the hand held can be found on sale for a good price.

Half size bread pan?

You're very welcome.

When I saw the dimensions you needed, my first thought was "cake pan," and I used that as the search criteria and it came right up.

Enjoy and happy baking!

Mar 02, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Half size bread pan?

Fat Daddio's makes a 5x5x3 cake pan http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Daddios-Ano...

Both Fat Daddio's and Parrish Magic Line make smaller, not mini, loaf pans.

Other suggestions would be to look for a small vintage Corning Ware casserole in about the size you need, a steam table tray, or make shape and make 2 loaves in a larger bread pan and freeze one.

Mar 01, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

need help identifying a cast iron skillet

The 3 notches in the heat ring makes me think it's an unmarked Lodge. Looks like a nice pan.

Jan 19, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Which mini-cocotte Staub or LC?

Zwillings online has the grenadine and dark blue for $29.99 http://www.zwillingonline.com/clearan...

They may be seconds, tho. "Description
While supplies last.
Product may have minor visual imperfections or a damaged box."

There are some good prices on other pieces, too.

Oct 30, 2014
Molly James in Cookware

Food Processors and the D word.

Not the OP, but here is the link http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/ki...

I had to go look, as quite a while ago, I was part of a KA focus group for the concept/item (hadn't realized it was on the market now). It's quite similar to the old KA DVSA food processor attachment, that cost new, a fraction of this unit.

Things may have changed since I last looked, but KA was constantly slammed in consumer reviews of the variable blade slicing function (when it was first introduced) on their food processor.

Jul 29, 2014
Molly James in Cookware

Food Processors and the D word.

I was thinking french fry disc, then taking those pieces and feeding them thru the other way. Wouldn't that produce a dice of uniform pieces?

I'd love to test it out, but I don't have a french fry disc :-(

Jul 29, 2014
Molly James in Cookware

Advice for baking and icing equipment purchase

For cake pans, I'd recommend the Parrish Magic Line in either an 8 or 9 inch round (the most common cake size). Parrish Magic line also has square pans that are truly square.

I'm not a huge fan of Wilton products overall, but they do have a nice cake pan line. I think it's called Decorator Preferred or something similar. They also have nice muffin tins that have straighter sides than most and that pan is in whatever their low cost line is.

For good quality, reasonably priced tips, I like Ateco. PME tips are better still, but more costly and may not be worth the cost if you're a casual decorator.

I mostly use disposable bags.

Sheet pans I would get at a restaurant supply store if one is convenient to you, otherwise, Nordicware Naturals is reasonably good.

As someone mentioned, you can take Wilton classes to learn everything from basic decorating in buttercream to more advanced tired cakes and gumpaste design and decorations. Most Michael's, Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby offer all the classes. Craftsy.com also offers numerous classes, both free and paid, and you can log in and learn at your own pace. Another alternative is to buy the Wilton course books and or course kits and teach yourself. The kits will contain most of the basic supplies, such as tips and bags, to get you started. Youtube is wonderful for tutorials on just about everything.

Finally, a good source for information on all things cake is the decorating forum at Cake Central http://cakecentral.com/f/9/cake-decor...

Happy baking and decorating.

Jul 19, 2014
Molly James in Cookware

Do I keep this 9qt French Oven?

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I edited my post to clarify 'Fontignac' brand.

My local BB&B is tiny and they don't carry either LC or Fontignac. It was just last week that I first saw a Fontignac piece in person and that was as Tuesday Morning. The piece was a huge oval. Smooth iron. Nice, even color/glaze on the outside but it didn't appear (subjective, I know) to be as thick as the Staub and certainly not as 'flashy,' but it looked good. The interior looked just like my Staub's.

The piece must have been in the 8 or 9 quart range and the price was $109. If I were in the market for something that large, I would seriously consider it.

Nov 04, 2013
Molly James in Cookware

Do I keep this 9qt French Oven?

BBB carries Fontignac as their other ECI line. Both Fontignac and Staub are under the Zwilling umbrella. Staub probably does the manufacturing for the Fontignac brand.

I've no personal experience with Fontignac, but Staub products are excellent.

Nov 04, 2013
Molly James in Cookware

Temp-taions bakeware

HI, dixiegal.

Are you familiar with the QVC Community Temptations forum?
http://community.qvc.com/forums/tempt...

I have no personal experience with Temptations, but know of the piece you're interested in. The first time I saw it, it reminded me of a set of casseroles I had in the late 70's or early 80's, made by Anchor Hocking/Fire King, I think. They were clear and the lids could also be used as trays. Loved the concept. Lost them in a move, but really enjoyed using them because of the versatility. Still miss them all these years later.

If you get the piece, please let me know what you think about
it.

Feb 19, 2013
Molly James in Cookware

le creuset 5qt multi-pot

Thanks, cutipie!

I hope you get your toy and now thanks to you, I may get one as well!

Dec 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

le creuset 5qt multi-pot

Can you please clarify the sale at cutleryandmore.com? I usually get sale notifications and didn't receive one for the 20% off sale you posted about nor is it listed on their website.

The last notification I remember getting was for 20% off Wusthof knives and that was a few weeks ago.

Dec 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Do older Kitchenaid mixer attachments work with a new mixer?

Does your question relate to hub attachments? If yes, then they should fit.

If your question relates to things like bowls, beaters, etc. they tend to be model specific. I don't think, for example a bowl or beater from a 4C will fit any of the newer models.

Your question reminds me how much I miss the old KA Conversations forums. Kitchenaid shut it down a few years ago and moved to a Facebook page. It's a very different environment, but may be helpful to you if pose questions to a KA rep.

Dec 01, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Confused about cutting boards

I condition by oiling it once a day for the first week and then put a mix of oil/beeswax on it. It just took me a bit to get started doing that.

I'm sure it would be fine to use after oiling once or twice. (I think that's the general recommendation).

Jul 09, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Confused about cutting boards

I did a lot of research here and at kitchen knife forums looking for a good cutting board and I recently received my first Boardsmith, in walnut. I'm still conditioning it and it's so far unused, but I have to say that it is a thing of beauty and craftsmanship and that's just for a stock piece! The craftsmanship truly reminds me of old school furniture makers -those that took pride in their work and had it reflected in what they made. That's high praise from me.

Based on all the good reviews Boardsmith gets, I'm sure I'm going to be very happy using it. My only regret is not getting something custom designed, but I think that can be remedied.

Jul 09, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

I agree going into a gun shop may be intimidating for some, but for some of us, a gun shop may be hard to find. I live in Chicago and although I know the laws of gun ownership have changed a bit in the past few years, I believe gun shops are still prohibited in the city. I could be wrong, of course.

Mar 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

Thanks for the assurances the plates look like as they should.

The grinder was a thrift store find. I almost didn't even look in the box because it was in such horrible (dirty, greasy, musty smelly) condition, but two aisles over, I decided to go back and take a look. I'm glad I did, because what was inside was in pretty good condition.

Sueatmo, I have no idea how old my grinder is. I didn't even think about it missing the pusher until I started researching it on ebay. I have an old maple muddler that I intend on redirecting to use as the pusher. I may even see if I can find something in stainless steel that I won't have to worry about.

I'm excited to try out the grinder, but it will have to wait a tad. My mixer is on loan for a few more weeks.

Mar 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

The automotive department has those brushes, too. I picked up a couple last summer and the unused one has now been diverted to the kitchen.

Mar 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

Yes, oxidation is rust and I misspoke. I meant and should have said orange colored, pitting rust. The plates and blade are totally smooth, and are a very light grey.

Mar 23, 2012
Molly James in Cookware