Skippy1414's Profile

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Do you bake your own cakes or cookies ?

I do prefer to bake things rather than buy them. My roommate requests a batch of chocolate chip cookies every month, so I've had a chance to really perfect that recipe. I do like to make cakes but rarely get a chance because at many events, people tend to prefer things they can eat "out of hand," like cookies, without having to have a fork and plate. This is too bad, because I like sorting out the flavor combinations of cake/filling/frosting.

I've made two wedding cakes and one wedding cake style 50th anniversary cake. I really enjoyed doing that, but my decorating skills don't match my baking. That means I'm only able to make big event cakes for people who don't mind a simple style and that's a pretty limited audience.

My dad loves pies, so I try to make sure he gets one or two apple pies each year. And my mom often has me make her different types of candy (not baking, but while we're on sweets...). For myself, I mostly make bread, but very simple stuff, like basic whole wheat or pitas (super quick). I'd rather make it than buy it.

Jul 10, 2015
Skippy1414 in General Topics

Wedding Cake Ideas involving Passion Fruit?

I agree, stacking tiers isn't difficult at all--I did it as a pure amateur. I think I got the cardboard cake rounds pre-cut at a cake supply store, and instead of dowels, I used those heavy green straws from Starbucks. I saw that mentioned as a tip somewhere and they worked fine. They were sturdy enough and I could easily cut them to the right size. I couldn't assemble in advance, so I just brought the frosted cake layers each in their own box to the site, along with two pastry bags filled with frosting, stacked them there, and then piped along the bottom of each layer. It took no time at all.

Oh, and I agree with biondanima about white chocolate. I used the White Chocolate Mousselline recipe from The Cake Bible, and it was very easy to work with and held up well. Just make sure you get good quality white chocolate if you use it.

Jun 29, 2015
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

Sichuan cooking classes in NYC, private or otherwise

This one night class may be more casual than what you want, but you could always try it out and then if you like it, maybe ask the teacher if she'd do additional lessons for you:

Jun 22, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Returning to a "never again" restaurant (in my case EMP)

Of course, I understand that you drew that conclusion based on what you observed; I can't argue with your belief, I wasn't there. But that's also why I feel like the only thing I can do is address your basic question--should I go back to a restaurant where I was poorly treated?--rather than discuss exactly what went on that night.

And as for what I would do? I flip flop here (which is why I didn't give an opinion earlier). On one hand, I tend to believe that everyone can have an off night, and it's good to give second chances. But EMP is a pretty hefty chunk of money and there are a lot of other fine restaurants in NYC...so I'd probably be inclined to go someplace else if I only had one chance here.

Enjoy whatever you decide to do--

(Note: I really shouldn't be writing anything at this late hour, so please forgive typos, errors in grammar and syntax, or just real failures of logic.)

Apr 03, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Returning to a "never again" restaurant (in my case EMP)

I don't think I could make a fair guess without having seen what happened or hearing any other descriptions of the events.

Apr 01, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Jury Duty, and help for a Chinatown neophyte

Oh, Federal Court, that must explain it--I just did NY Supreme.

Mar 24, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Jury Duty, and help for a Chinatown neophyte

Really? I did Jury Duty in early Feb and we kept our phones, laptops, everything (called in for 4 cases over 2 days, excused from all of them...I am a master at this).

Mar 24, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Columbia Student with foodie aspirations

There's also a Xi'an on Broadway and 102nd.

Feb 23, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Question about Cinnamon Rolls

Just for future reference, if a recipe calls for instant or rapid rise yeast, it usually specifies that. Also, you can tell by the recipe--active yeast needs to be dissolved in a liquid before it is added (as in this recipe) while instant does not. They're pretty interchangeable, though. If a recipe has instructions for instant and I only have active, then I just add it to whichever liquid is used in the recipe first and if I only have instant, I put it in directly with the dry ingredients.

Feb 08, 2015
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

Where to buy cake or pastry flour?

I often see cake flour in regular supermarkets. It's usually in a box (Softasilk or Swan's Down brand), not a bag, so keep an eye out for a box.

I thought Whole Foods had pastry flour, if not their own brand, then King Arthur.

And finally, if nothing else, try NY Cake on W 22nd, off 6th Ave.

(Oh, and I make puff pastry using AP flour--never had a problem with it being too tough.)

Feb 07, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Cakes. Where to begin?

King Arthur Flour has a gluten free section:

They're also really good about responding to questions.

Feb 04, 2015
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

Help With Bread Recipe

I know what you mean--I'm not getting a stand mixer unless the KitchenAid fairy comes to visit. But you really don't need one to make bread.

I looked at your recipe and while I'm certainly not a challah expert, I have to say that 5 cups of sugar seems like an awful lot of sugar...that's more than flour. Is that a typo?

Here are two pretzel recipes I've tried--they're not bread machine specific, but maybe you can adapt them. Or pretzels are really easy and forgiving if you want to try them just as they are:

Jan 19, 2015
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

Nut free bakery

Babycakes is vegan and gluten free, and here's what they say about nuts:

"We do not bake with nuts* or soy; however, all of our gluten free flours are processed on equipment that packages hazelnut, almond flours and soy. They power wash the machinery and discard the initial 30 pounds of flour between runs."

So if that works for you...

Jan 17, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Aux Merveilleux de Fred – Heavenly Meringue Pastries

I think you have very lucky neighbors--

Jan 11, 2015
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Party sides and nibbles--hot and bored!

I've done mini unfrosted cupcakes with a bowl of frosting for dipping. People really liked it. The German Chocolate brownies are also a good idea.

Jan 08, 2015
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

Cooking Resolutions

I've failed at every attempt to make a sourdough starter, but yes, I'll try that again this year. And I'll push myself to try canning this year.

Dec 31, 2014
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

What did you/would you eat the morning of your wedding?

No, I didn't get that impression at all. She sounds fine.

I agree with either her usual breakfast or the previously suggested smoothie. She can sip on that periodically if she's nervous or if (as someone else noted) she's just too busy for a sit down breakfast.

Dec 19, 2014
Skippy1414 in General Topics

Holiday Reads to Give & Get for Chowhounds

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, by Anya von Bremzen

Dec 17, 2014
Skippy1414 in Food Media & News

Moving to 129th and Lenox-and I'm vegetarian...

Not really the type of answer you're looking for, but you do know that there's a Whole Foods opening on 125th, I think near Lenox? For the times when you are cooking--

Also, I'm not quite as north as you, but Frederick Douglass Blvd./8th Ave is always sprouting restaurants. You might want to just wander over in that direction to take a look around and see if there's any hidden or new gems. (Actually, I should probably do that too!)

Dec 15, 2014
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Defontes gone?

Ha, my landlord tried to increase our rent by $1000. I negotiated it down to "only" $800, but got them to lock that rate for two years. There is no one as self destructively greedy as a NYC landlord.

Dec 08, 2014
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Un-hip Dad

Have you or your wife read her blog to see if she talks about any place she'd like to go to or is interested in? Or any of the places she's been that might give clues about where she would like to go?

Of course if it were me, I'd just as soon get a nonspecific gift card, like AMEX or Visa card; you could give a card with it that says something about it being for a night at a restaurant of her choice. Sure, that means she might end up using it for something else instead, but if she does, well, then that tells you there was something she wanted more than a visit to a fancy restaurant.

Dec 07, 2014
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Please give your recommended recipes that use unsweetened chocolate - thank you!

Here's another hot fudge sauce recipe that uses unsweetened chocolate:

Dec 06, 2014
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

Latin American Desserts?

I just saw an ad for a place called Brigadeiro Bakery, a shop that specializes in (unsurprisingly) the Brazilian candy Brigadeiros.

Or you can easily make Brigadeiros--your son could help too. They're very simple, like the world's easiest truffle.

Dec 04, 2014
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

How can we say no to a dinner invitation? We don't want to appear ungracious even though we don't really like the boyfriend!

You hope that they've broken up by then.

Dec 01, 2014
Skippy1414 in Not About Food

Where can I find great PIEROGIES in Manhattan??

My mom is Polish and it's one of the wonders of the world that I am vegetarian because she only had one way of cooking vegetables: boil until unbearably mushy. I think that's why she doesn't understand why anyone wants to eat vegetables at all, let alone eat them full time, because she believes they're supposed to be tasteless with the consistency of a pile of wet napkins. The only reason her beets were passable was because she used my Swedish dad's family's recipe.

(And that was $3200/month for a studio less than 500 sf--rental prices are overall appalling, but you can find some slightly better deals in the low 100s and the UES...)

Nov 28, 2014
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Has anyone tried the chocolate chip cookie recipe posted on Serious Eats?

I spent a lot of time testing out chocolate chip cookie recipes last year but didn't try a bread flour version. I did try the Serious Eats recipe early last year, but had to make some last minute swaps for a few ingredients (didn't have some things that I thought I had...it was not my finest day for planning). That meant I didn't get a clear read on it.

I moved on to other recipes in a search to find the perfect thin chewy cookie and found the Joy the Baker one as posted on the King Arthur site. The person I make cookies for thought these were perfect.

The only real change I make is that I brown all the butter, not just half. Then I do borrow the Serious Eats idea of throwing in an ice cube or two to make up for any water that evaporated. I don't know if it makes a huge difference, but it hasn't seemed to hurt the outcome (I'm sure there will come a day when I forget to do it and I'll find out if it is important). Also, my baking times are also usually a few minutes less than stated in the recipe, but that may just be because my oven can be a little wonky.

Anyway, that's my current favorite, so if you're looking for thin and chewy, give it a try.

Nov 27, 2014
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

Where can I find great PIEROGIES in Manhattan??

I always pictured Eastern European vegetarian menus as "potato....cabbage...potato and cabbage."

(Just FYI, there is availability at Mercedes House--studios start at about $3200, so it's not a place to bargain hunt...)

Nov 27, 2014
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Moving to 105 and Broadway - Whats good up there?

I've been on 108th St for four years after more than a decade in the West 80s. We loved that area but this is even better. I think it's an underrated neighborhood.

Nov 18, 2014
Skippy1414 in Manhattan

Logistical help needed for bring a meal to friend

If you use several smaller containers, then they will also have more flexibility for fitting them into the fridge or freezer than one big one--they can stack them or put them in different corners, etc.

Nov 16, 2014
Skippy1414 in Home Cooking

Baked ( Tribeca)

I'm a a fan of their books--

Nov 16, 2014
Skippy1414 in Manhattan