TorontoJo's Profile

Title Last Reply

ISO Fancy, elegant plated dessert

These lemon mousse napoleons are lovely:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

The phyllo crisps have cardamom and ground coriander, which are an unusual and delicious foil to the lemon mousse. And you can dress up the plate with crushed pistachios and little dollops of lemon curd.

about 12 hours ago
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
2

Recipes Using Prepared Caramel Sauce

Here's my batch out of the oven. I won't cut it up until later today. Will report back then!

I used 12 oz of chopped Trader Joe's pound plus chocolate and some salted caramel sauce that I had in the fridge. I add some extra sea salt to the caramel to up the salt factor, as I think I will want that to balance out the sweetness.

I was a bit lazy about measuring out a quarter of the dough for the top, so it's a bit light and the caramel oozed through. However, I actually like the way it looks. :)

about 13 hours ago
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
2

Recipes Using Prepared Caramel Sauce

My batch is in the oven as I type...

about 14 hours ago
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Recipes Using Prepared Caramel Sauce

Oh dear god, I need to make these. Quite possibly today.

about 17 hours ago
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Disastrous meal at 28 Lister steakhouse in Hamilton

I had the single worst meal that I can recall at 28 Lister a week ago and wanted to warn folks about it. It had been open for 3 weeks at that point, but they shouldn't have been open at all. I don't like slamming a place that's new, but this was so bad that others need to have a heads up.

They have pricing equal to the most expensive steakhouses in Toronto, but the food was worse than Swiss Chalet. My $70, medium rare "Himalayan salt crusted 20 oz ribeye, glazed in truffle butter" was very well done (gray, dry, chewy), with no salt crust and no butter. The other steaks were just as poorly prepared. My friend who ordered pasta carbonara received a bowl of dry (I mean bone dry) pasta that had been tossed with some bacon and parsley. The risotto was made with long grain rice and was dry and pasty. The coconut shrimp had almost no trace of coconut. And on and on.

Our main server was fine, but all the support servers were laughably green and still being trained at our expense. Spilling the martini and not wiping it up or providing a cocktail napkin. Asking if I wanted to "save" my cutlery that was stacked on an empty appetizer plate with no other food on the table. Not knowing what plate went to which guest. And on and on.

There were also a rash of spelling and pricing errors on the menus, including two Amarones listed at $49.99, which had me jumping for joy and questioning their sanity. Sure enough, it was a typo and the actual price was $99.99. And of course, they weren't honouring the listed price, nor had they tried to correct it in the 3 weeks they had been open.

About 2 bites into my steak, I stopped eating it and asked to see the owner (who greeted us when we came in) because I wanted him to see first hand what was coming out of the kitchen. 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour goes by. Our waiter kept asking if he had been out yet. Um...nope. Turns out the owner had shut down the kitchen completely and was working in there himself to get the last of the orders out. He sent a note tell us to call him as he was really busy at the moment (seriously).

To be fair, our waiter did the best he could. He first brought us a free bottle of wine to make up for the disaster. And in the end, the owner comped our whole meal, as he should have, given that most of us didn't actually eat a meal.

But if you are going to open a fine-dining steakhouse at these price points, you don't do it until you are ready. And you have a quality chef in the kitchen. Our waiter explained that their executive chef had an accident and died...which is a tragedy, no question about it. But afterwards, I found out that the executive chef passed away in June. And if you haven't set up a new kitchen in that time, don't open.

I also found out that the owner has a pretty sketchy background. I have no idea how this place is going to succeed. The owner did email me later that night to apologize. But he also told me that he fired his chef and he asked me if I had any recs for a new chef. Seriously? You are asking a guest for chef recommendations? It was a bizarre end to a rather entertaining evening.

http://28lister.com/

And some background on the owner and the restaurant (which was delayed by 14 months):

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/455...

Help with scaling a recipe, please

I've got iota carrageenan -- how much do you add? And add the same point as the sodium citrate?

Edited to add: I just found some recipes. Looks like about an eighth the amount of sodium citrate, added at the same time. Will try that with this recipe!

1 day ago
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Recipes Using Prepared Caramel Sauce

I love mixing caramel sauce with mascarpone cheese, then use that as a filling for whatever you want: little banana tarts, stuffed figs, etc.

Help with scaling a recipe, please

Ack! Thank you both! I totally missed that page on the site. Duh. Thanks again!

Sep 17, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Help with scaling a recipe, please

I'm making my usual mac and cheese with sodium citrate, but I'm make a massive quantity of it. Looking at this recipe, I see that there is a column labeled "scaling".

http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/s...

Can someone help clarify what the scaling column means? For the sodium citrate, it says "4%". Does that mean when I double it, I only add 4% more sodium citrate? In my case, I'm making 6X the recipe, so would that mean I only need about 13 grams of sodium citrate instead of 11 grams for a single recipe?

Thanks for any guidance, scaling on this level is new to me.

Sep 17, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? September edition, part 1! (2014) [old]

Beautiful! Reminds me of galleygirl's pear cake. Which reminds me that I need to make that again soon.

Sep 14, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? September edition, part 1! (2014) [old]

Oh, that's super helpful, thank you!!

Sep 14, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? September edition, part 1! (2014) [old]

Made some lemon sablés last weekend. I had the hardest time rolling a round log. I have no idea what my problem was. I honestly felt like an idiot. :) Fortunately, they are tasty little guys, even if they aren't the flashiest of cookies. I picked up the recipe from someone here on CH some years ago and only now got around to trying them. Definitely a keeper.

Also made these pistachio financiers from Saveur:

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

I first tried doubling the recipe, but mucked it up badly. I think I forgot to double the eggs, and I realized after mixing all the ingredients that I had left the baking powder out. Added it at the end, but I don't think it mixed in very well. And because this was my first time trying the recipe, I didn't know how much the batter would rise and I ended up overfilling the tins. By a lot. Oops. Total, utter fail. I basically ended up with an entire layer of financier on top of my mini muffin pan. Fortunately, they made for very tasty "cookies" after separating them from the little cakes underneath and breaking them apart. Kind of like a giant crispy muffin top.

So I tackled the recipe again this weekend. I made a double recipe again, but made them separately just in case this is one of those recipes that doesn't double well. This time they come out very nicely. Whew! Brown butter and pistachios are really made for each other.

Sep 14, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

Home made Ice Cream has too much icy crystals

It really comes down to the science of ice cream: sugar + fat + protein + air = smooth, creamy ice cream or gelato.

I have no idea what effect using stevia would have, so can't comment on that. But if you are making it by hand, are you stirring it frequently while it's freezing? Here's a good guide to making ice cream without an ice cream maker:

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/07/...

Sep 12, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Home made Ice Cream has too much icy crystals

What kind of ice cream maker do you have? The amount of air that it churns in will affect the final texture.

But, as everyone else has said, the faster the ice cream freezers, the less crystals there will be. If your freezer runs on the warm side, you will likely always have crystals.

Also, what is the base recipe you are using? I've been using the base from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream and have been very happy with it. This recipe, combined with a great ice cream maker with compressor and a very cold freezer has resulted in a lot of fabulous ice cream this summer.

Jeni’s Ice Cream Base

2 c whole milk
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch or tapioca starch
1.5 oz cream cheese
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 c heavy cream
2/3 c sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup

Mix 2 tbsp milk with cornstarch/tapioca starch.

Whisk cream cheese and salt until smooth

Heat remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in saucepan. Bring to roiling boil over medium high heat. Boil for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in cornstarch slurry.

Return to boil and cook, stirring until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat. Gradually whisk into cream cheese until smooth.

Thoroughly chill mixture before churning.

Sep 12, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

Pie delivery for wedding - help needed

+1

Healthy Popcorn

If you are willing to use a little bit of oil, then get yourself a Whirley Pop. It's a stovetop popper that let's you stir the popcorn in the same way a movie theater popper works. Because you are stirring, the popcorn doesn't burn and you can get away very as little as a teaspoon of oil for a whole batch of popcorn. Olive oil works just fine.

http://www.amazon.com/Wabash-Valley-F...

I love my Whirley Pop -- the popcorn is infinitely better than air popped. Hopefully a teaspoon of healthy oil fits into your diet.

Any fruit pies in GTA similar to The Pie Plate (NOTL)?

The cream pies are kept in the refrigerated case at the front. If you didn't see any, it's because they were sold out or you were there too early for them to have been put out yet. In general, you are best ordering the cream pies ahead of time, as they sell out quickly. They have three standard kinds: banana cream, coconut cream and chocolate cream. And seasonally, they have peach custard pies and strawberry custard pies. All their pies come in individual tart size and full pie size. The peach custard pie is one of the best things I've ever eaten and I eagerly await Niagara peach season just for those pies. And the chocolate cream and banana cream pies are minor addictions of mine. They are perfect.

Pies freeze well. Go for it. :)

Any fruit pies in GTA similar to The Pie Plate (NOTL)?

I pretty much live at The Pie Plate. No one does pies quite as well as they do. It helps that there is so much glorious fruit grown all around them. The closest you will get in Toronto is at The Flaky Tart. Slightly different style (a touch sweeter), but delicious in their own way.

ISO - (pink) curing salt

Just a heads up that local company Powder for Texture carries sodium nitrate:

http://www.powderfortexture.com/colle...

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

Here's my friend's blog post with her gorgeous cake photos:

http://www.foodpr0n.com/2014/08/24/ca...

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

No idea yet, Cynsa! I'll try to remember to post here in this thread next year. But you shouldn't have to wait a whole year! Grab some friends and hold your own cake day and share the results here on chowhound. Cake is such a happy thing! :0)

Aug 23, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

Oh, nice! I love that you made a test cakelet. I agree that it's a lot of poppyseeds and the cake would certainly not suffer for using less of them.

How are you going to frost the next one?

Aug 22, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Bundt cake

It's stunning isn't it? I've been saying that you could put a Duncan Hines cake mix in this and still look like a brilliant baker!

Aug 20, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

If I don't have a cast iron skillet, what can I use?

Any oven-safe skillet will do. If you don't have one, then use an 8" round cake pan or springform (wrap the base of the springform in foil, to catch any butter leaks). Just make the brown sugar mixture in a small sauce pan, then pour into your cake pan. Proceed with the rest of the recipe.

BERO has closed

Actually, this was the video I was looking for -- he made this when he found out The Cookbook Store was closing:

http://vimeo.com/88447277

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

Yes, 1/4 cup of raisins, sorry!

Aug 20, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

BERO has closed

This. Exactly.

Matt's a nice guy and a very talented chef. I have yet to meet a chef without an ego, and I have seen and heard a LOT worse coming out of many, many other chefs in Toronto. It's a lot of hot air and rarely spills over into real life, where they are usually very grateful when people appreciate their work.

And his persona in that video seems to be fulfilling a pretty specific vibe for a video series that was sponsored by Lincoln motors.

If you want to get a different side of Matt, watch this video he made in honour of The Cookbook Store:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWzi3...

Bundt cake

This turns out the most beautiful cakes. The cross section of a slice is stunning, too!

You can use pretty much any cake recipe in it. JoanN made an almond pound cake in it that would be delicious:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9843...

Just be very, very conscious of the batter quantity. A lot of bundt cake recipes are for 10 - 12 cup pans. This one is significantly smaller. My mocha rum cake was for a 12 cup pan and I had enough left over to bake a separate 8" loaf cake.

Never fill it more than an inch from the top, 2" is probably better. Err on the lower side if you're not sure. :)

Aug 20, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

Here's the recipe my friend used. He started with a Martha Stewart recipe, but it was a big fail, so he had to make a second cake. He improvised this one, but it turned out great.

Pink Grapefruit Poppyseed Cake

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1 tablespoon red grapefruit zest
1/4 golden raisins, chopped

Segments from 3-4 red grapefruits

White chocolate buttercream frosting

Preheat oven at 350 F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients. Add butter cut into small cubes, a few cubes at a time, and mix until the batter appears grainy with a sand-like texture to it. Next, add the eggs and and mix until just combined. Slowly add the milk, and the vanilla. Add in poppy seeds, zest, and raisins.

Grease two 9" round cake pans, or one 9"x13" cake pan at 350F for 30-35 or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Frost with frosting, adding the grapefruit segments to the middle layer. My friend used food coloring to color the frosting -- he went for an ombre effect with the dark pink on top and lighter pinks down the sides.

Note: my friend says he would use a Swiss meringue buttercream instead of the white chocolate frosting next time, as it was too sweet.

Aug 20, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Chowhound Cake Day 2014!

I solve the "eat all the cakes" issue by freezing them immediately. Though that is often not a sufficient deterrent since most cakes are actually quite delicious straight out of the freezer. Meringue buttercream frostings, in particular taste like ice cream. :)

fickle made that amazing black pepper buttercream cake and the beautiful raspberry and pistachio cake.

Aug 19, 2014
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1