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leonora1974's Profile

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Need Soda substitutes

if he turns out to like the fizzy drinks, you could get a soda siphon--about fifty bucks and will save you tons of money over the long term. on amazon you can search:
iSi 2248 Soda Siphon, Brushed Aluminum

Mar 20, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

How do I make a sweet, moist cornbread!?

peter reinhart's recipe in breadbaker's apprentice. sweet, moist, tender, insanely delicious.
whatever recipe you use, soak the cornmeal in buttermilk or whatever your liquid is overnight first. will go a long way toward creating the texture you're looking for.
(reinhart calls for bacon. i usually leave it out, use oil or butter in place of bacon grease, and up the salt.)
recipe isn't online sadly--could be worth ordering the book, esp. if you like baking.
i love this cornbread so much, it's my second time talking it up on chowhound.

Mar 11, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Authentic minestrone - it's unbelievable!

my guess is that whatever recipe you use, it's the parmesan rind that's absolutely crucial. that's the umami. maybe that's what was so good about what you had?

here's a link to marcella's minestrone--you could replace the beef stock.
http://gourmay.net/recipes/soup/marce...

i'd also try googling minestrone plus the name of whatever city or region you were in. might up your chances of finding a reasonable facsimile.

Mar 10, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Fresh Mozzarella with the rennet?

Close to 100% of cheeses require enzymes. Of those that don't, you can make a cottage cheese/paneer type thing, which is quick, easy and tasty:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
(you can sub whole milk for the heavy cream
)you can also press it into a block to give it more density if you want.

and you can make fresh cultured cheese, but that's not quick--you have to let it ferment a bit. if you want to try it, see pg. 291 of anne mendelson's book Milk. too long to paraphrase! but there are probably similar recipes online.

ditto mascarpone--easy, no enzymes, but also takes time b/c it's cultured.
http://www.bakingobsession.com/2009/0...

if animal products are in fact the issue, you can buy vegetable rennet on line. if you're into making cheese, try using rennet! it's not hard--there are plenty of non-aged cheeses like feta or queso fresco that you can easily make with rennet.

Mar 09, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

First Offal Foray?

i think chopped (chicken) liver is the natural choice. so easy, incredibly yummy. a good gateway offal as it were.

this recipe on epicurious seems pretty classic; i would garnish with plenty of parsley. and if you have chicken fat, use that as your frying medium.

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

some recipes call for way more eggs proportionally, and/or for brandy or wine. i can't vouch for those; for your first foray, you might want the cleaner flavors of a recipe like this.

there's lots of ways to use chopped liver other than the classic jewish appetizer. it can replace pate on a banh mi, makes an unbelievable ravioli or other dumpling filling (leave out the egg if using as a filling), etc. any place you want some unctuous umami deliciousness. and you can freeze it.

Mar 08, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Ancient Recipes

the slow food "ark of taste" is really fun and fascinating--it lists very old traditional foodstuffs (endangered, sadly), but also has lots of recipes for very old foods.

http://www.slowfoodfoundation.org/pag...

there's also a slowfoodusa web site which might have ancient new world recipes, but i actually havent' looked at it. ditto the slow food uk site.

Mar 06, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Coconut rum cake?

there's a delicious coconut rum pound cake in "desserts by pierre herme." it calls for coriander but you can leave that out and just have the classic flavors. dense and tender with strong coconut flavor and a rum soaking syrup.

http://www.amazon.com/Desserts-Pierre... go to this link to the book on amazon, and search "coriander" using the "look inside" function. it will take you to the recipe which is fully accessible.

Mar 05, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Your favorite CI main dish recipes that can be prepared in 1.5 hour or less

I really like their "simple beef chili with kidney beans." it's just what it sounds like, nothing fancy, but i like it a lot--tastes like what chili is supposed to taste like, to me. makes a ton and freezes well.

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recip...

Mar 04, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Persian Seder

check out this link. i've made the haroset. it's yummy!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/din...

Mar 02, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Looking for very low fat salad dressing recipes

buttermilk blended with enough avocado to make it light but not pastel green is delicious--the tang of the buttermilk and the richness of the avocado. you don't need much avocado to get the richness and flavor of it, so it barely has any more calories than buttermilk alone, which is very few calories. i just salt it, but herbs etc. would obviously be good too.

Mar 01, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Bittman's "How to cook everything" & "How to cook everything vegetarian" - opinions? favorite recipes?

there's a sauce/dressing with dark sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar that i make constantly--ordinary ingredients, but his version is perfectly balanced. i use it on shredded cabbage for a slaw that i take to potlucks and people rave. i forget the name of the recipe (it's in how to cook everything--not sure if it's also in the vegetarian book) but it's right above a recipe for marinated mushrooms, i remember. the recipe is not for the sauce alone--it's for a salad dressed with it.

Mar 01, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

help me make this recipe lower in fat

P.S. I don't think it's worth reducing the eggs in terms of the fat-saving to taste equation, but you could use one whole egg and two whites.

Feb 28, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

help me make this recipe lower in fat

I often substitute half soft silken tofu for things like sour cream or may in dressing recipes. You don't get a tofu flavor at all. (I hate tofu, so I wouldn't eat it if it did.) The texture is better than with yogurt, and I think it winds up tasting richer than if you use a reduced-fat version of whatever the fatty thing is. Though of course you could combine the tofu with a reduced-fat sour cream.

If you try it, it's important to put it in a blender or food processor, don't whisk or mix by hand.

Feb 28, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Whole Foods Cornbread?

Peter Reinhart's cornbread in the Breadbaker's Apprentice is amazing (I make it without the bacon, upping the salt a little to compensate) and very corny. It calls for soaking the cornmeal in buttermilk, which I think may be the secret to unlocking the flavors--something to try for any recipe you use, maybe.

It's very crumbly though quite sweet and moist--you could reduce the sugar by about a third, and reduce the liquid a bit and the fat a little--though the recipe doesn't call for much fat.

Also, of course, your choice of cornmeal is important. I use King Arthur, and keep it in the freezer.

I think of classic cornbread as on the dry side and that may be what you want--in general, substituting white sugar for brown sugar and/or honey would also dry it out a little.

Feb 28, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Homemade Fresh Ricotta,

and i agree, the lemon flavor can be really nice.

Feb 25, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Homemade Fresh Ricotta,

re: not using it for pizza, it's just a matter of taste. i think whey ricotta has a slightly different taste and texture from this stuff, but it's pretty close!

Feb 25, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Homemade Fresh Ricotta,

oh, and, i like to curdle it with citric acid (a crushed-up vitamin c pill, or buy it powdered at indian grocery stores or on line) because citric adid is completely flavorless. still excellent when curdled with juice or vinegar, but if you want that totally neutral flavor, the citric acid is worth a try.

Feb 25, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Homemade Fresh Ricotta,

I freeze this cheese often with good results, though have never kept it more than about a month.

you can use any milk you want, even skim, although skim definitely won't taste very good--cow's milk that is. i have never tried with goat or sheep, presumably it would work and be yummy, but i can't speak from experience.

bacteria levels don't matter since there's no fermentation involved--the acid is what produces the curdling.

btw technically this is curd cheese or paneer, not ricotta--true ricotta is made from whey. it's delicious in all kinds of dishes (including not surprisingly saag paneer, and all kinds of baked, breakfast, dessert-y things) but i'd choose a good fresh cheese-store or farmers-market ricotta over homemade curd cheese for any italian savory dishes.

Feb 25, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

muffins

baking soda is alkaline--it needs to come into contact with an acidic or sour ingredient (sour cream, yogurt, etc., as antilope says, lemon juice, vinegar, etc.) in order to set off the chemical reaction that produces the leavening, lifting/puffing effect.

baking powder contains both acidic and alkaline/basic components, and it only needs to come into contact with liquid and/or with heat to produce the leavening effect (the creation of carbon dioxide gas).

i guess when recipes use both, the recipe author wanted the baking soda to interact with the acidic ingredients, and then to get extra lift on top of that with the baking powder.

but in the end both powder and soda wind up doing the exact same thing--they produce carbon dioxide gas to leaven the muffin. if you use the correct amount you'll get the maximum lift. some recipes call for way, way to much leavening, and that can make whatever you're baking puff up and then collapse, making it very dense.

here's a good rundown of the baking soda vs. baking powder distinction and the correct proportions to use per cup of flour.

http://soundcloud.com/kcrw/shirley-co...

Feb 24, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

cake rising and falling

according the shirley corriher's bakewise, if a cake rises and then falls in the oven, it's overleavened. the leavening is producing so much gas that the bubbles explode and the cake collapses, is how i understand her explanation.

i don't know what kind of flour you're using or whether this will help, but corriher's formula is: for each cup of AP flour in a recipe, no more than 5 to 6 grams baking powder (1 to 1.25 tsp), or, no more than 1 gram (quarter tsp) baking soda.

Feb 16, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Jewish Food Dinner Party Menu Help

You could think in terms of Sephardic Jewish food (Egypt, North Africa, Middle East) which opens up all the flavors of those regions. I highly recommend Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food--beyond its usefulness just for this, it's a great cookbook and a wonderful read (lots of culinary history). Plus, it might be worth showcasing this lesser-known Jewish culinary tradition, which is so full of wonderful dishes.
If you want to stick with Ashkenazi (Eastern European) recipes, then a beet ice cream could be very interesting, and would surely be beautiful to boot. The Roden has numerous Ashkenazi recipes as well to give you flavor and ingredient ideas in addition to specific dishes.
And then there's always the trusty Flavor Bible--looking up cabbage, cucumber, etc. could yield some neat ideas.

Kudos to you for doing this!

Feb 14, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Can't have chocolate or fatty foods, so what's for dessert?

plus any merinque-based recipe that seems appealing and not too fatty.

Feb 13, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Can't have chocolate or fatty foods, so what's for dessert?

check out this recipe from recent nytimes for huguenot torte:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/mag...

description is "the brown crust is like the ideal macaroon, and the center has the gooey, custardlike texture of a proper pecan pie." and the only fat comes from two eggs! you could top it with reduced fat whipped cream per potato puff's suggestion.

you could also try mark bittman's cornstarch ice cream which has a great deal less fat than regular:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/din...

Feb 13, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Experimenting w/ Unusual Flour- Coconut, Green Pea, Spelt, Buckwheat,Flaxseed, White Bean.......?

here is mark bittman's recipe for farinata--might be what you are referring to paulj. made with chickpea flour; easy, yummy, and fun to make. I substitute wheat flour for half the chickpea flour and reduce the water by a couple of tablespoons; i also use sumac, thyme, and toasted sesame seeds instead of rosemary.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

there's also a kind of buckwheat pasta called pizzoccheri i've been meaning to try--it's a rustic pasta that you just cut with a knife so it seems easy. lots of recipes online.

Feb 13, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Best contemporary vegetarian cookbook

sorry--not ottolenghi: the cookbook. the title is "plenty" and it's by the same guy, yotam ottolenghi.

Feb 08, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Best contemporary vegetarian cookbook

ottolenghi: the cookbook is amazing and the recipes are very creative

Feb 08, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking

Woman suing Nutella over false nutrition claims

it's not about marketing and selling sugary cereals that are devoid of nutritional value. there is nothing wrong with selling sugary foods with no nutritional value.

it's about specifically claiming that these things are good for you. healthfulness is arguable in nutella's case--the calories aren't empty, but i'd still argue it's not something you should feed your kids for breakfast.

healthfulness is not arguable in the case of captain crunch, coco puffs, cinamon toast crunch, pop tarts, or toaster strudel.

these things are not "smart choices" (see link below), despite the labels on their packages proclaiming just that. they are in fact very stupid choices. anyone who knows anything about nutrition (e.g., anyone whose profession is selling food) knows that.

but there a lot of people who actually don't know these things are bad for you. one of the reasons they don't know is that millions of advertising dollars are spent telling them the opposite.

false advertising, though incredibly hard to prove, is in fact illegal. it's fraud.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/bus...

Feb 08, 2011
leonora1974 in Food Media & News

Woman suing Nutella over false nutrition claims

Totally--as I said in my original post, there's nothing wrong with eating Nutella for breakfast. And I completely agree we're all responsible for having a basic understanding of nutrition and applying it to our food choices. And of course, no one becomes diabetic just from eating Nutella.

It may be that there actually are two Nutella commercials out there--the one I saw featured a Mom talking about what a healthy breakfast it makes when spread on whole grain bread. It made claims for its product's healthfulness in very explicit and unmistakable terms.

I was thinking of the book The End of Overeating which convincingly makes the case that fat, sugar, and salt are in fact addictive, and then talks about the process whereby food scientists working for food corporations knowing spend their days trying to pack as much fat, sugar, and salt into their products. It's not that I see NO distinction between cigarette companies and food companies. But they are just as knowingly marketing products that can kill you.

People become obese and may become diabetic when they eat outrageous amounts of fat, sugar, and ultra-refined carbs. And of course, diabetes isn't the only potential complication of obesity.

Nutella is loaded with fat and sugar, and feeding it to kids in the morning is not only a bad choice in terms of their daily nutrition, it is probably the worst, least healthful message a parent can send to their kids about food: Breakfast should taste like dessert.

If you read the book, it's likely you'll be as appalled and infuriated as I was--it's not so much that I think Nutella, alone among other companies, should be held negligent. But I'm starting to feel like, as a whole, there needs to be some legal accountability on the part of the food industry.

Feb 08, 2011
leonora1974 in Food Media & News

Woman suing Nutella over false nutrition claims

It's true that there's nothing wrong for hazelnut butter on bread for breakfast and if there's a little chocolate mixed in, no big deal. That is totally beside the point though. The issue is context.

I was actually thinking about posting a topic here today about two commercials I saw last night back to back: one for pop tart toaster strudels, billing them as a healthy breakfast for kids; the other for nutella, also billing it as a healthy breakfast.

parents would be better off hitting their children on the head with a mallet every morning than feeding them a toaster strudel. it's no less conducive to a productive day, and is probably actually healthier because it won't make them obese.

in comparison, nutella is health food--but it's still outrageous it to market it to American mothers as a healthy breakfast when people all over this country are dying from too much fat and too many calories. Nutella has more fat and sugar than any child needs in the morning. Worse, it establishes the habit of basically eating dessert for breakfast--a nice way to help set your kid up for a lifetime of terrible food decision making.

Some studies project that FIFTY PER CENT of people in America will be diabetic in twenty years.

Think about that.

i see less and less moral distinction between cigarette companies and these giant food conglomerates. The Nutella campaign is insidious and unconscionable. I agree the woman is stupid if she truly got gulled into eating Nutella because of their patently ludicrous ad campaign. She is a grown up responsible for her own decisions.

That does NOT mean Nutella and companies like it shouldn't be held to account. What they are doing is irresponsible, unethical, and in my opinion should be actionable. If knowingly telling people that unhealthy food is healthy isn't willful negligence, what is?

Feb 07, 2011
leonora1974 in Food Media & News

Chicken Mole with skin or w/o?

I agree, I've never seen the point of leaving the skin on in a braised or stew-y dish. It gets very unappetizing. Cooks Illustrated recipes sometimes call for browning the chicken w/ the skin on and discarding the skin, then deglazing so you get the flavor without the skin. It works well.

Feb 05, 2011
leonora1974 in Home Cooking