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Savory Onion and Leek Tart

This sounds good. Discovered a great way to simplify the pastry-rolling when making free-form tarts, savory or sweet, that are going to be baked on a baking sheet or flat pan, rather than in a pie plate: simply put the disk of dough directly onto the baking sheet and roll it out there. You do not need to flour the cookie sheet or pan, and the dough is easily rolled thin or to whatever thickness you like. And there's no risk of its breaking or tearing or becoming overly worked, because the dough doesn't have to be lifted or handled.

Works a charm, besides being a relief.

And another superb onion tart is Julia Child's "Pissaladiere Nicoise" in her Vol. 1 Mastering the Art of French Cooking. NO cream, no eggs, no butter. Just onions, anchovies, olives and olive oil. And bliss.

Just made it over the weekend, on a similar pastry crust (though used slightly less flour that the recipe called for here: 1 1/4 cups of flour to 1 stick of butter, a pinch of salt, and around 3 Tablespoons of ice water, done in the processor)

The filling is then about 2 lbs of minced onions that have been cooked slowly, for about an hour, in about 4 T olive oil, and an herb bouquet of a little parsley, thyme, bay leaf (or you could use Provencal herbs). The onions melt to pale gold rather than take on deep color.

Pat these into the tart (8" pan) that has been pre-baked for about 12 minutes. Then top with about 8 oil-cured anchovies arranged in a spoke pattern, and about 16 pitted oil-cured dry black olives. Dribble about a tablespoon of olive oil over the top.

Bake in the upper third of the oven, at 400 degrees, for about 20 minutes until bubbling. It's fantastic.

But for any tart that doesn't require baking in a pie or quiche or tart pan.....just put the pastry dough on the baking sheet and roll.

- rgallica

Feb 22, 2007
rgallica in Recipes

Vanilla-free Light corn syrup

As if on cue, today's NYTimes has a great & fascinating article about sugar in its various guises.....including golden syrup (cane sugar by-product)and how it's made in this country...& much more.


The article reminded me of the American source for golden syrup, Steen's. Though I've never used it and have no idea how it compares to Lyle's, I did see in the article one of the Steens refer to its rich depth as "buttery" - which is how I described Lyle's Golden Syrup. (Steen's website: http://www.steensyrup.com/ ) It seems Steen's no longer produces its golden syrup, though, from its own sugar cane fields. Wonderful piece...especially if you want to learn more about how to use the various kinds of brown and raw sugars, etc.

By the way, if one is going to make English flapjacks, use Demerara sugar (also described in the Times article)instead of brown sugar, for best flavor and caramelised texture, besides authenticity. This country's brown sugars bear no comparison, for flavor or crunchy/chewy bite.

Agree about how great chowhounds are...learn so much, and it's so much fun. Donna

Dec 13, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Vanilla-free Light corn syrup

Lyle's Golden Syrup isn't cane syrup by a golden light by-product of sugar cane refining. It has almost no flavor, more an almost buttery richness. I'd say it adds more depth to a recipe, rather than taste. "Treacle" syrup is different, dark and strong and on the line of molasses, though to me more bitter - and unappealing.

Lyle's has a good page about its origins and history:

And to Chriv VR: thanks so much for the Chowhound link to flapjacks. Everyone loves them once they discover them, and nothing could be faster or simpler to bake.


Dec 12, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Vanilla-free Light corn syrup

PS: Lyle's Golden Syrup Recipes: the recipe for "Golden Flapjacks" is a version of the flapjack recipe I mentioned above. If your family likes macaroons, they might love these, as the texture is of caramelized chewy oats. Use organic oats for the most flavor, old fashioned or thick-cut, if possible.

But! As far as the other recipes on the Lyle's site: you can only use the recipes on this U.K. site that do NOT call for flour, because the milling of English flour is different and almost never works out to an equal substitution using American flours. I tried for years to make it work - living in London and desperate to get some of my cherished American baking recipes to work. Fortunately, there were many many great British alternatives.

The Lyle recipes using ground nuts, for example, or no flour, should all work. http://www.lylesgoldensyrup.com/Lyles...

Their "Almond Syrup Tart" sounds great...and the sesame bars...
...hope you find some more non-gluten sweets to enjoy.

Dec 12, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Vanilla-free Light corn syrup

For years I've substituted "Lyle's Golden Syrup" for corn syrup in recipes. It is a form of pure cane sugar and absolutely delicious, with a richer flavor than corn syrup. It even enhances home-made caramel corn recipes and other sweets. I first began using it to make English "flapjacks" - an flat oatmeal "biscuit" or bar cookie, in which American versions of the recipe use the more commonly known light corn syrup. It works in pecan pie and other desserts or cooking wherever corn syrup is called for.

It's superb, and now pretty easily found on supermarket shelves either in a green and gold tin, or jar.

I just found their website for you and it states "All our products are gluten free." http://www.lylesgoldensyrup.com/Lyles...

And this is the link to the main homepage: (& recipes

I hope this helps and that you enjoy it. You can also mail-order from some websites, but I'd recommend asking locally first, as the shipping will add to the price. (You can find it on Amazon, I see! http://www.amazon.com/Lyles-Golden-Sy...

It's incredibly delicious, as reviews there confirm.

Sincerely... Donna

Dec 12, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Anything good in Stamford, CT?

"KORAMANDEL" in Darien is, I believe, CORAMANDEL, and the owners opened DAKSHIN in Stamford, after Coramandel's great success. and it is also rated "Excellent," so one can stay in Stamford for the same superb food. DAKSHIN 68 Broad Street, Stamford (203)964-1010
Lived in London myself for 15 years and agree with you about how great Coramandel is. (See my October 12th post above) Hope others go and enjoy it as much.

Apple Dumplings- probably my best recipe of all time!

Thank you...."just eyeball it" the sound of a baker who's not only experienced, but enjoying herself. Thanks for the recipe, and for making it sound feasible, besides delicious.

Oct 28, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Apple Dumplings- probably my best recipe of all time!

This recipe sounds delicious, thank you. I've wanted to make apple dumplings for years but until this recipe, was always scared off by how complicated they sound.

Question: did you really mean to roll a 9 inch circle of dough for EACH dumpling? That seems a lot of dough, almost the size of a pie crust for an entire pie, not just one apple. Given you say the recipe makes enough dough for 9 apples, I'm wondering if the 9" circle recommended for each individual dumpling is correct? Seems you might end up with a lot of dough at the top of the apple, if it is.

But thank you.....it sounds great, and clearly, is.

Oct 28, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Miso Paste - How do I use it

What delicious-sounding suggestions here! They sent me back to reread the superb NPR piece from a few weeks ago that was filled with incredibly useful information about MISO - all the various kinds & uses - and basic recipes.

Highly recommend it: it will give you a fine basis to proceed on some of the fine ideas posted here. "Mastering Miso's Mysteries"

The links on the page to other pieces by Betsey Block for NPR, and to her blog are also well worth following.

Oct 24, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Need really, really easy choclate cake recipe for teenager to make

Sorry! WELLESLEY FUDGE CAKE (reprise!) LINK TO RECIPE ONLY (did not realise it was illegal to paste the recipe, sorry. But link below. It's on the BAKERS CHOCOLATE website - Donna

Baker's "WELLESLEY FUDGE CAKE" is easy and superb, so rich it doesn't really need frosting, and it keeps beautifully moist several days, if it lasts that long. Perfect "take to school" or a picnic or party cake, made in a 9x 12 pan, or as cupcakes, or bundt, etc. Have been making it for years, found it on the back of the Baker's box and it's often still on the inside of their unsweetened chocolate boxes) It might be what you're looking for - an easy (but excellent) chocolate cake for a beginner.

Oct 19, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Need really, really easy choclate cake recipe for teenager to make

Diane, it's really a great recipe. Yes, around 60 minutes in a bundt pan, about 45 in a 9" by 12". I'd begin watching it in the bundt at around 45 minutes, it might need loose covering with buttered foil. I've made it most often in the oblong pan, and in that it can even run to 55 mins. or so. It will look very shiny and moist, but spring back when you touch it, and pull away from the sides of the pan a bit. It's a forgiving recipe. It is superb with a ganache frosting, which is simply chocolate quickly melted by heavy cream brought to the boiling point and left to cool. But it is so good plain, and vanilla ice cream or whipped cream - even putting out a can of real whipped cream on the side, if the occasion's informal enough, does the trick, and seem to go with the spirit of the cake - simple and homey. I make more complicated chocolate cakes, but having gone to Wellesley, was curious when I saw the name of this one, and now no matter how many other desserts are on offer at the same time, everyone ends up loving this one and disbelieving its simplicity. Hope it turns out & you all enjoy it. Sincerely, Donna

Oct 19, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Roman cookbooks

I own both Jo Bettoja's "In a Roman Kitchen" (recommended above) and also David Downie's "Cooking the Roman Way" (link below) and when I went to Amazon to find the Downie link to send to you, was amused to see a review comparing both books - both of which have fine virtues - much the way I would. Were I to make a choice, Downie's "Cooking the Roman Way" would come first. And if you check this link, you will see you can have a used copy for under $4 (versus list price of $25), so perhaps you will buy both.

I'm of Italian heritage and have spent a good deal of time in Rome over thirty years, several times renting a flat for myself and my family so I could market and cook, as well as feast on all the infinite rest that Rome offers, culturally, socially, as well as gastronomically. All to say, I don't buy Italian cookbooks for exact recipes as much as to read them and expand what I've learned through experience and inherited - and think Downie's book a great start because he not only offers a great range of home and restaurant cooking, he gives fascinating and useful background information about methods, and even the history and social mores of certain practises and ingredients.(great sections on making Roman style pizza...preparing artichokes...desalting anchovies...seeding tomatoes...making pasta, ecc. simply explained besides inspiring, emboldening...)
And if you're at all homesick for Rome, his great photos of some of the restaurants and markets and purveyors will be a delight - most likely you'll recognise some spots, maybe even faces. We did. (a few other recommendations follow this link)

Cooking the Roman Way: Authentic Recipes from the Home Cooks and Trattorias of Rome (Hardcover)
by David Downie

Another great book that includes a section on Roman cooking is the classic by Ada Boni, who was the grand nonna - grande dame - of Italian cooking,one of the greats - "Regional Italian Cooking" - This is authentic Italian cooking, plain and perfect. And you can find it used (it is out of print) on Amazon for around $9.

And if you want to learn how to make Italian bread, Carol Field's "The Italian Baker" is it. http://www.amazon.com/Italian-Baker-C... She is brilliant, and a beautiful writer, and after years of trying to bake a decent loaf of bread, of any nationality,and dozens of bread books, sh let me succeed. The background history, as well as methods and recipes for breads and baked sweets, make the book a treasure.
Ada Boni's book:

Oct 17, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

more homemade yogurt issues

Thanks for the suggestion to search out locally produced organic yogurts made without thickeners or pectin. I didn't realise these additives affected the beneficial health qualities of the yogurt, besides giving it a disagreeable gummy fake texture. Don't recall this being the case with Stoneyfield when it first came on the market. Am not sure how much choice there is in this part of the world. Do you think that a few tablespoons of these pectin-treated yogurts end up compromising the quality of the entire batch? Thanks again.

Oct 16, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

more homemade yogurt issues

Fage/Total yogurt does have live active cultures, the two most common. Just saw it printed on the Fage/Total container in the market.

And Fage/Total works, for my friend, who successfully uses the regular full-fat kind for a starter, and whole organic milk.

My guess is that the problem may be that either the yogurt culture is too old and weak to work (check the carton date), or that the temperature of the milk or the yogurt starter is de-actifying the live cultures by being too hot or too cold. Have read that too vigorously stirring the mixture can kill the live cultures, too.

Apologies for the length, but only wish to pass along some of the very helpful advice given to me, and some eventual discoveries of my own.

Hope it works out.

Oct 16, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

more homemade yogurt issues

I've successfully been using nonfat organic milk (any brand) and Stoneyfield organic nonfat plain yogurt (1/4-1/2 cup yogurt, it doesn't seem to matter, as long as you use at least 2-3 Tablespoons of the yogurt)ever since I began making yogurt again the past year.

I am now using non-organic "The Farmer's Cow" because it's produced locally in Connecticut where I live, and is free of growth hormones, and a good deal less expensive than organic. My main reason to switch is because The Farmer's Cow nonfat milk is substantially fresher and sweeter tasting than the organic brands.

All to say - in my experience I've been able to stay with nonfat and non-growth hormone treated or organic milk, and nonfat yogurt starter from the supermarket - with great success. I switched from the Donvier individual cup yogurt maker, because the individual cups were a nuisance to use and to clean,to the Salton single container one-quart yogurt maker (available on Amazon), which I love. But both electric yogurt makers made good yogurt with the ingredients mentioned above.

I bought organic nonfat dry milk powder to add, because I read this helped with thickening, but thought it gave the yogurt an off taste and dull texture. And once I got the temperature of the milk right, it wasn't necessary to add milk powder for a creamy sweet nonfat yogurt.

I think the most important thing to do is to use an instant read thermometer to be sure your milk isn't too hot when you add the yogurt,or else it kills the culture. You have to heat it to just below the boil, to 180 degrees, then let it cool down to between 100-110 degrees. This cool down takes approximately 25 minutes,so you can set a timer and leave the milk to cool. It is also important to stir it very gently. With the Salton I find the yogurt is usually ready in 5-6 hours.

The maker comes with great clear instructions, and one other thing they recommended that also helped, was to plug in the yogurt maker and let it warm up. So I do this at the start, even before I put the milk on to heat. Take the yogurt starter out of the fridge, too, at this point, so it will be room temperature by the time the milk has cooled down from near boiling.

It's also important to check the date on the yogurt container you buy to use as a starter. The fresher the better, as live yogurt cultures weaken over time, and compromise your success. This is also true if you are using some of your own home-made yogurt to start the next batch - it is best to do so within a week to 10 days.

Another thing I learned is that the yogurt needs some time in the fridge to set, and the texture improves overnight. Though not enough to stop one from enjoying it as soon as it's done.

As suggested by Salton, I can use some yogurt from this home-made batch for the next few batches of yogurt. I take some out as soon as it's made and put it in a small jar, to keep it (relatively) sterile and airtight until needed. I also put the rest of the yogurt in a wide-mouthed glass Mason jar, because the Salton container is plastic and even if it doesn't affect the taste of the yogurt in reality, it's not as appealing.

Fage Yogurt is one of the best things in the world. The nonfat could be heavy cream or ice cream it's so rich. But if you look at the label, it does not have as many live cultures as Stoneyfield. I'm no fan of Stoneyfield's rather gelatinous texture on its own, and anyone who makes or eats home made yogurt ends up spoiled for good, when it comes to store bought.
But Stoneyfield is organic, nonfat, and it works. And it doesn't compromise the sweet fresh taste or texture of the home-made yogurt made with it, the way the nonfat organic milk powder did.

Hope this helps! You don't have to give up nonfat milk or starter...might be more a case of the milk temp when you mix the yogurt starter in. And the Salton yogurt maker really works a charm - and is inexpensive, around $15. - Donna

Oct 16, 2006
rgallica in Home Cooking

Something that looks like cobwebs in baked goods

Thank you, Angel Food, for the "biconet" link that showed the Safer traps - they're clearly, as you wrote, "a little more discreet" than the Gardens Alive design, and more easily looked at, besides disposed of. Also discovered, thanks to your reference to the link, that there do exist clothes moth traps, something we've needed round here for, well, probably three centuries... So, thank you. Though I hope both our households continue to extend our two year stretches of freedom from the pantry pests, and have no further use of the traps. With help from biconet, perhaps the same will be true soon as far as the clothes moths..... Conversations about cooking are far more delightful.....

Oct 12, 2006
rgallica in Not About Food

Anything good in Stamford, CT?

For great Indian food in Stamford: DAKSHIN 68 Broad Street, Stamford (203)964-1010

Along with friends who are serious Indian food enthusiasts, this restaurant was also rated "EXCELLENT" by Patricia Brooks in the NYTimes http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...


This is the sister restaurant of the also highly praised("Excellent" NYTimes)Coromandel in Darien, CT. Have not been to Dakshin yet, myself, but hope to do so soon. Coromandel is superb. Both have lunch buffets, in addition to fascinating menus with dishes from many regions of India.

The website CtNow has good and pretty reliable reviews of Fairfield County (and other areas of Ct) restaurants, especially simpler and ethnic fare,and a decent search engine: http://www.ctnow.com/dining/

Something that looks like cobwebs in baked goods

These eco-friendly, foodsafe, pantry moth traps from "Gardens Alive" worked! http://www.gardensalive.com/product.a...
The moths have been gone for good here for over 2 years (& counting...) after only one round of use. We did not need to replace the "lure" after 3 months, and the moths began to disappear within days of positioning 2 of the simple cardboard "traps" on an upper and lower shelf of our 6 1/2' tall by 4' wide 18th c. wooden food store (cupboard).
I put them on top of boxes out of sight, did not hang them in full view - as they get pretty ugly with the dead critters fast, though can be thrown out and replaced as often as you like. Simply wait for a few days of no flying activity, and most likely you're done with them - and they with you - for good. Least this has been our experience, and we live in an old colonial farmhouse with a dirt basement and more crevices and holes and warmly hospitable hiding places than we ever counted pantry moths.
(If only there were a comparable invention for clothes moths.
These pantry moth traps actually catch the moths and end their breeding cycle - clothes moth traps only confirm they're there. As if the holes in your clothing weren't enough news...
) I've pasted the info from Gardens Alive below, which includes mention of the fine "netting" you saw, besides the moths. I have no connection with the company, though as an organic gardener, have used their fine products for over 15 years, and have the highest regard for them.

Hope you will end up as satisfied - and freed of the horrible pests. They were in everything, and no amount of washing or tossing or embalming things in plastic or tins worked.

PANTRY MOTH TRAPS: http://www.gardensalive.com/product.a...

From the "Gardens Alive" webpage:

Has this ever happened to you? You open a box of cereal and find the contents clinging to the sides of the box in a mass of fine webs...or perhaps you've seen small, brownish moths flitting around a cupboard...or tiny cocoons and larvae in your dry pasta. Chances are, Indian meal moths (a.k.a. "pantry moths" or "flour moths") are at work in your pantry. Stop them with Cupboard Moth Trap
* It effectively traps Indian meal moths. In extensive tests we found that these innovative traps caught more Indian meal moths than other traps. The little brown moths attack flour, grains, seeds, cereal, chocolate, cake mixes, rice, nuts, dried fruit, dog food, birdseed-even tea, herbs and spices. Their larvae hatch in stored food.

* It works wherever food is stored. Place the cardboard traps in cabinets and pantries with food; they’re non-toxic and free of pesticides.

* It uses both sight and scent to lure moths The traps attract moths with powerful pheromones, as well as a patented black-and-white printed pattern, then catch them on the large sticky surface.

If your house is overrun by Mediterranean flour moths, almond moths or tobacco moths, the traps also catch these food-attacking moths.

Lures last for 12 weeks, after which you can replace the lure or hang a fresh trap.

Oct 12, 2006
rgallica in Not About Food