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Foodiefy by Goddess of Scrumptiousness

Everything you want to know about food, cooking, baking, eating, foodie lifestyle and the art of deliciousness
Oct 5 '13

Wine 101 

  1. How-to Choose
  2. How-to Pair w/Food
  3. Using The Right Glass Shows You Have Class 
  4. Basic Types of Wine
  5. Expanded typing of Wines
  6. What Temp For EachType of Wine
  7. Knowing Your Wine Colors
  8. Wine Type Descriptions
  9. Caloric Comparison vs. Beer


source: www.winefolly.com

Oct 2 '12

GREEN TEA

Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates in China and has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. It has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally consumed. Green tea has become the raw material for extracts which are used in various beverages, health foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetic items. Many varieties of green tea have been created in countries where they are grown. These varieties can differ substantially due to variable growing conditions, horticulture, production processing, and harvesting time.

Over the last few decades green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting that regular green tea drinkers may have a lower risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer. Although green tea does not raise the metabolic rate enough to produce immediate weight loss, a green tea extract containing polyphenols and caffeine has been shown to induce thermogenesis and stimulate fat oxidation, boosting the metabolic rate 4% without increasing the heart rate.

According to a survey released by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2007, the mean content of flavonoids in a cup of green tea is higher than that in the same volume of other food and drink items that are traditionally considered of health contributing nature, including fresh fruits, vegetable juices or wine. Flavonoids are a group of phytochemicals in most plant products that are responsible for such health effects as anti-oxidative and anticarcinogenic functions. However, based on the same USDA survey, the content of flavonoids may vary dramatically amongst different tea products.

HISTORY

Tea consumption has its legendary origins in China of more than 4,000 years ago. Green tea has been used as both a beverage and a method of traditional medicine in most of Asia, including China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and Thailand, to help everything from controlling bleeding and helping heal wounds to regulating body temperature, blood sugar and promoting digestion. A book written in the Tang Dynasty of China is considered one of the most important in the history of green tea. The book was written by Lu Yu and is called the “Tea Classic” or “Cha Jing”. It was written between 600 and 900 AD and spoke about exactly how and where one could enjoy a fine cup of green tea. The Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written by Zen priest Eisai in 1191, describes how drinking green tea can have a positive effect on the five vital organs, especially the heart. The book discusses tea’s medicinal qualities, which include easing the effects of alcohol, acting as a stimulant, curing blotchiness, quenching thirst, eliminating indigestion, curing beriberi disease, preventing fatigue, and improving urinary and brain function. Part One also explains the shapes of tea plants, tea flowers, and tea leaves, and covers how to grow tea plants and process tea leaves. In Part Two, the book discusses the specific dosage and method required for individual physical ailments.

BREWING AND SERVING

Steeping is the process of making a cup of tea; it is also referred to as brewing. In general, two grams of tea per 100ml of water, or about one teaspoon of green tea per five ounce cup, should be used. With very high-quality teas like gyokuro, more than this amount of leaf is used, and the leaf is steeped multiple times for short durations.

Green tea steeping time and temperature varies with different tea. The hottest steeping temperatures are 81°C to 87°C (180°F to 190°F) water and the longest steeping times two to three minutes. The coolest brewing temperatures are 61°C to 69°C (140°F to 160°F) and the shortest times about 30 seconds. In general, lower-quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer, while higher-quality teas are steeped cooler and shorter. Steeping green tea too hot or too long will result in a bitter, astringent brew, regardless of the initial quality. It is thought that excessively hot water results in tannin chemical release, which is especially problematic in green teas, as they have higher contents of these. High-quality green teas can be and usually are steeped multiple times; two or three steepings is typical. The steeping technique also plays a very important role in avoiding the tea developing an overcooked taste. The container in which the tea is steeped or teapot should also be warmed beforehand so that the tea does not immediately cool down. It is common practice for tea leaf to be left in the cup or pot and for hot water to be added as the tea is drunk until the flavour degrades.

Oct 2 '12
Featured Beverage : Green Tea

Featured Beverage : Green Tea

Aug 15 '12

HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY JULIA CHILD!!!

Source : http://www.pbs.org/food/features/julia-child-quotes/

Jun 5 '12
May 8 '12

MODERNIST CUISINE : The Art and Science of Cooking

www.modernistcuisine.com

May 8 '12
Feb 21 '12
HISTORY OF CHEF AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER (1846-1935)
Auguste Escoffier, was born in Villeneuve-Loubet,   							France in 1846.   He is considered by many  							to be the father of modern day cuisine but is  							probably best known for having created the dessert  							Peach Melba for the singer Dame Nellie Melba.   							However there is much more to this master chef. Prior to Escoffier, great chefs were only to be found  							in the kitchens of the nobility and royalty, but Escoffier was the first of the  							master chefs to work directly for the public, and was never employed  							in a private household. He started his career at the age of 12,  							when he entered into apprenticeship at his uncle’s  							restaurant in Nice, after which he went on to another  							apprenticeship in Paris at the age of 19.  At that time Grande Cuisine was composed of  							very complicated recipes, the dishes being adorned  							with rich sauces and garnishes which somewhat  							obscured the main ingredients. However, Escoffier’s  							idea was to simplify  							these extravagant dishes - a trend which was taken  							up my the culinary world. He also changed the practice of serving  							all the dishes at the same time ( à la française)  							to serving each dish in the order printed on the  							menu (service à la russe). Whilst he was never employed directly by royalty or  							the nobility, his time at high-class hotels such as  							the Savoy,  The Carlton House and The Ritz, found him cooking  							for and praised by royalty, heads of states, and  							many celebrities and  in 1904, he even took charge  							of the kitchen on board The Imperator - a ship used  							by the German Imperial Family. It is reported  							that the Emperor of Germany was so impressed with  							the cuisine that he commented “I am the Emperor of  							Germany, but you are the Emperor of Chefs”. His general philosophy on food had more far-reaching effects, in  							particular with regards to hygiene and work  							standards, which he found to be very poor in general.  							At the time, chefs were not highly regarded and  							it was Escoffier who made the profession more  							respectable by instilling a sense of pride in his  							subordinates. He also started the brigade system  in his kitchenswhich is  							the practice of each section in the kitchen being  							run by a chef de partie (section head chef). He was also one of the first  							of the master chefs to take a true  							interest in the nutritional value foods.
Escoffier went on to write many articles and books on cooking, the  							most famous being Le Guide Culinaire and Ma Cuisine and in 1920, he was awarded the Legion of  							Honour for his services to French Cuisine. Escoffier died aged 89 on February 12th, 1935 but in  							gastronomy circles, his legend lives on with the  							values he brought to to the art of cooking still in  							practice today.

HISTORY OF CHEF AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER (1846-1935)

Auguste Escoffier, was born in Villeneuve-Loubet,  France in 1846.   He is considered by many to be the father of modern day cuisine but is probably best known for having created the dessert Peach Melba for the singer Dame Nellie Melba.  However there is much more to this master chef.

Prior to Escoffier, great chefs were only to be found in the kitchens of the nobility and royalty, but Escoffier was the first of the master chefs to work directly for the public, and was never employed in a private household. He started his career at the age of 12, when he entered into apprenticeship at his uncle’s restaurant in Nice, after which he went on to another apprenticeship in Paris at the age of 19.

At that time Grande Cuisine was composed of very complicated recipes, the dishes being adorned with rich sauces and garnishes which somewhat obscured the main ingredients. However, Escoffier’s idea was to simplify these extravagant dishes - a trend which was taken up my the culinary world. He also changed the practice of serving all the dishes at the same time ( à la française) to serving each dish in the order printed on the menu (service à la russe).

Whilst he was never employed directly by royalty or the nobility, his time at high-class hotels such as the Savoy,  The Carlton House and The Ritz, found him cooking for and praised by royalty, heads of states, and many celebrities and  in 1904, he even took charge of the kitchen on board The Imperator - a ship used by the German Imperial Family. It is reported that the Emperor of Germany was so impressed with the cuisine that he commented “I am the Emperor of Germany, but you are the Emperor of Chefs”.

His general philosophy on food had more far-reaching effects, in particular with regards to hygiene and work standards, which he found to be very poor in general. At the time, chefs were not highly regarded and it was Escoffier who made the profession more respectable by instilling a sense of pride in his subordinates. He also started the brigade system in his kitchenswhich is the practice of each section in the kitchen being run by a chef de partie (section head chef). He was also one of the first of the master chefs to take a true interest in the nutritional value foods.

Escoffier went on to write many articles and books on cooking, the most famous being Le Guide Culinaire and Ma Cuisine and in 1920, he was awarded the Legion of Honour for his services to French Cuisine.

Escoffier died aged 89 on February 12th, 1935 but in gastronomy circles, his legend lives on with the values he brought to to the art of cooking still in practice today.

Feb 21 '12

Molecular Gastronomy by MOLECULE-R __ Cuisine R-EVOLUTION

(Source: youtube.com)

Feb 6 '12

Featured Chef : The Food and Photography of Chef Simon Sperling

I have to admit now that it was a wonderful blessing the day that I saw this on my dash aperture24 started following you”, this was back in July of last year. All I saw was an icon of a man with a camera that covered his face. And so I visited his blog and immediately I was inspired! I saw proper photographs of plated dishes (fantastic food photography), street, landscape and travel photography… really a cornucopia of awesome visual images all neatly cataloged in one blog.

Then I started to investigate who is the photographer behind all that tasteful food shots (although I already have an inkling that it must be someone very well connected with the food biz).

I stumbled upon this link on his blog About Me and my guess was right on the money!

The man behind the blog aperture24 is Simon Sperling, a “well-seasoned” Chef with a very impressive resume, holding the Executive Chef position throughout his culinary career in the kitchens of luxury cruise ships and top hotels all over the world.

Elements Magazine: Exclusive Interview with Simon Sperling

Simon Sperling is a chef cum photographer who loves traveling and has a brilliant portfolio of food photography! He has very kindly agreed to an interview with us and believe it when we say that he is talented! Not only that, he has travelled the globe and he was also based in Malaysia for a couple of years and has showcased wonderful food.

- I was born and grew up in the south of Germany . I didn’t really enjoy school, but life sort of started during my chef’s apprenticeship. Food, people, creativity, ideas and lot’s of activities, I loved it.

After apprenticeship I went to work for a year in Geneva , a city I love and remember until today. A few years on, back in Germany , I finalized my master chef title and was looking for new experiences.

I ended up working on a cruise ship for Celebrity Cruise Lines, based in Miami , as Executive Chef. Here I met my love, we stopped cruising and got married in Las Vegas!

We went to Asia and I worked in the Philippines , China and Malaysia for a few years. Best time of my life, also as my son was born in the Philippines . Next stop was the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East region, where I am until today. I had the pleasure to work at the fabulous Anassa resort in Cyprus , followed by a classic, the Oberoi’s Mena House near the pyramids. Just imagine looking out of the window and seeing the pyramids everyday.

Then we experienced a completely different environment on the beautiful island of Mauritius . Didn’t stay long though and moved on to Saudi Arabia, where I worked a few years in Jeddah, where I was opening chef for the Waldorf Astoria Collection hotel, the Qasr Al Sharq, or Palace of the Orient.

Recently I worked again in Egypt and am now in Kuwait . Let’s see for how long…I want to see more of the world and take photos of it.

I try to keep my life simple, live healthy, love my family and help others where I can.

Read more of this interview here

(Source: www.elements-magazine.com - May 19, 2011)

To visit and browse through Chef’s Archives or click his Tags tab, one can instantly travel to all the places he has ever been… a good way to exercise after seeing all those pictures of fine food he constantly stock his blog.

Chef (aperture24) is also a constant Top Contributor on #Landscape page because of his stunning photography of Kuwait and other Middle Eastern cities landscapes.

The Food and Photography of Chef Simon Sperling… Brilliant and filling to our sense of sight.

- Jeannie

All Photographs are owned and copyrighted by Simon Sperling (aperture24 + Follow)

(Source: foodiefy)

Feb 6 '12

FEATURED RECIPE:

Moroccan Lamb Loin Tagine

by Chef Simon Sperling (aperture24 +FOLLOW)

I have visited Morocco only once, a long time ago, for a short vacation on the beach in Agadir. I don’t really remember too much of it honestly, except that the weather was mostly bad.

In more recent years though I have worked with many Moroccan chefs here in the Middle East and through them I have learned to appreciate the flavours of the Moroccan cuisine.

This vegetable tagine here oozes with the flavours of lemon, coriander, cumin and saffron and is served with a modern twist, along a pan seared lamb loin.

Ingredients:

For the Lamb Loin

0.800 kilograms (1.76 lb) lamb loin, cleaned of all fat and skin

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

For the Tagine

1 small onion, finely diced

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cm ginger, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon green chili, finely diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 cup chick peas, cooked

1 large zucchini, diced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

6 pieces dates, pitted and coarsely diced

3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon brown sugar

salt to taste

few threads of saffron

2 cups peeled tomatoes, chopped

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

10 pieces lemon slices, grilled

fresh coriander sprigs (to garnish)

Preparation:

Lamb Loin: 

Season and marinate the lamb loin for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.

Heat a frying pan with a little olive oil and sear the lamb for 2 minutes for each side.

Transfer to an oven at 140 C and roast the loin for another 5 minutes. Timing really depends on your oven. Remove from the oven, cover it and let it rest for a few minutes before carving.

Tagine:

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pot and sauté onion, garlic until a soft, but not brown.

Add ginger, chilli and other ingredients and simmer all until the vegetables are soft and the sauce has slightly thickened. Check seasoning.

Arrange the lamb slices on top of the vegetable tagine and garnish with some toasted sesame seeds, fresh coriander and the lemon slices.

Serves 4

All contents (photograph and recipe) of this post are courtesy of Chef Simon Sperling

Jan 31 '12

BAKING SMARTS:
TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT COOKIES, BARS, MUFFINS AND QUICK BREADS
I am a self-taught baker. I’ve been baking since I was 11 years old using an Toaster Oven. When I turned 14 years old I became decently good at baking (this means that the cookies and mini muffins I baked in our toaster oven were no longer like that of flat stones and cute hard weapons for throwing whenever I had those teenage tantrums) I was permitted to use a Turbo-Broiler (this baking/roasting appliance is now on display at the Smithsonian I believe! joke!). Then when I finally got my baking mojo at the age of 17 years old, my father bought me a mighty fine Italian made oven large enough to fit two baking sheets. I became more confident and have started modifying and creating my own recipes of cookies, cakes, muffins, tarts, candies and even flavor combinations (some were a  success, others were absolutely, Yuck!)
I learned through Trial and Error. If the product came out not tasting and looking like I want it to taste and look like, I would analyze it and tweak at the ingredients, I add and deduct one or three ingredients and start over with the whole baking project again.
I also relied on as many baking books and magazines as I can learn and get techniques from. It was my absolute passion for baking that also lead me to pursue a culinary career.
Some people are quite intimidated with baking, and I believe it’s because most of them just look at the recipes and go through the whole ingredients list and procedure without having the proper understanding of the certain “behaviors” of some flours, the temperament, size, material of various cookie sheets and baking pans, and the “sensitivity” of different batters.
So I decided to share with you some mish mash of baking wiz I learned through the years.
_______________________________________________________
Cookies:
On Baking/Cookie Sheets
- Look for shiny, heavy-gauge cookie sheets with very low or no sides, this will ensure even browning of cookies.
- Avoid using dark cookie sheets (those teflon finished baking sheets), these kind tends to make the bottom of the cookies to overbrown.
- Instead of spraying your sheets with vegetable spray to avoid cookies from sticking, use either baking parchment or silicone mats (silpats) to line your cookie sheets. You will never have a problem taking out your baked cookies, plus you also don’t need to add fat (from vegetable sprays).
- Always let hot cookie sheets cool before you place another batch of cookie dough on it, otherwise the butter in the dough will instantly melt and separate.
- To avoid having your cookies fall apart when you take them off the cookie sheet, let them cool for a good minute to firm up on the sheet before removing them.
How come your cookies came out perfect and mine did not?
- Never substitute margarine or shortening when the recipe calls for butter. Because nothing beats the flavor and richness that butter adds to cookies and mostly other baked products. It also contributes to the texture and browning properties of cookies.
- When your cookie dough or baked cookies turned out dry, you may have been too heavy handed when measuring the flour. To measure properly, stir flour in the container to lighten it. Gently spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level the top with an off-set spatula or the back of a knife. Never pack the flour into the cup or tap the cup with the spatula or on the counter to level.
- Do not substitute baking soda for baking powder and vice versa.
Do not omit when the recipe calls for both or either of them.
Although it is true that both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents and produce carbon dioxide which causes baked products to rise, each do not react the same way because they differ chemically.
- Do not replace a cup and a half of sugar in a standard recipe with  3-4 packets of sugar substitute. It will never work! Instead, find another low-sugar and/or sugar free recipe of the same kind of cookie or any baked product.
- Most if not all cookie recipe uses large eggs.
- I use an ice cream scooper to make my cookies in uniform shape and size… this might also tell you that I suffer from acute OCD! :)
Storing Cookies
- Most types of cookies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Make sure cookies have completely cooled on a wire rack before storing them, otherwise they will stick together.
- Never store crisp cookies and soft cookies on the same container. As crisp cookies will absorb moisture from the soft cookies.
- Most drop, sliced, bar and shaped cookies freeze well. Place cookies in flat containers. Place the cookies in layers separated by parchment or wax paper so they won’t stick.
__________________________________________________________
Bars or Slices:
- Use the right size baking tin for your bars. A tin that is too small will make a thicker and more cake-like base, not a chewy one. A tin that is too large will make the base dry or brittle. And tins with dark color are usually non-stick, these make your bars cook faster and brown more quickly, so check the bar for doneness 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
- It is always the best idea to line your tins with baking parchment, doing so will prevent the bar from sticking to the tin and provide handles so you can lift the whole product out of the tin.
- Most bar recipes have a pastry base. When making pastry, butter should always be diced and well chilled. I find that the easiest way to make pastry and not make the butter melt is to just use a food processor.
- Blind baking - when a recipe ask for pastry base to be partially baked before the topping or filling is added. This ensures that the base is cooked and firm and not made soggy once the filling is added and baked in the oven. Method: once the uncooked pastry is in the tin, cover with a sheet of baking paper, then fill the top of the sheet with either uncooked rice or baking beans (this weighs down the pastry and prevents it from puffing up) and bake. Remove the beans or rice and cook the pastry again until lightly brown and firm.
________________________________________________________
Muffins and Quick Breads:
- The most important thing to remember about muffin and quick bread batter is that it requires minimum mixing and SHOULD look coarse and lumpy. A large spoon or serving fork is the best implement for mixing.
- Muffins and quick breads are cooked when they are browned, risen, firm to touch and beginning to shrink from the sides of the pan. You can also insert a wooden skewer in the center. When skewer comes out clean then it is done.
- I always bake my muffins in cupcake liners just to avoid the fuss and to just easily take them out of the tin once they come out of the oven. And for quick breads, I always use a baking parchment paper to line the inside of my loaf pan so that I can just easily lift out the whole bread out of the pan.
- Muffins and quick breads freeze well. Just wrap them really well with cling wrap and place inside a ziploc bag and can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.
- I find the use of sour cream or buttermilk in muffins and quick breads makes them more tender, moist and flavorful. :)
________________________________________________________
Ingredient Substitutes that works just as great:
No Buttermilk: I add the juice of half a lemon to evaporated milk to make a cup. Let stand for 5 minutes to curdle a bit and lightly stir.
No Self-Rising flour: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to every cup of all-purpose flour. Sift thrice to blend.
No Cake flour: Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to every cup of all-purpose flour. Sift 3 times.
Article and Food Photography Credit: Jeannie Maristela (August 6, 2011)

BAKING SMARTS:

TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT COOKIES, BARS, MUFFINS AND QUICK BREADS

I am a self-taught baker. I’ve been baking since I was 11 years old using an Toaster Oven. When I turned 14 years old I became decently good at baking (this means that the cookies and mini muffins I baked in our toaster oven were no longer like that of flat stones and cute hard weapons for throwing whenever I had those teenage tantrums) I was permitted to use a Turbo-Broiler (this baking/roasting appliance is now on display at the Smithsonian I believe! joke!). Then when I finally got my baking mojo at the age of 17 years old, my father bought me a mighty fine Italian made oven large enough to fit two baking sheets. I became more confident and have started modifying and creating my own recipes of cookies, cakes, muffins, tarts, candies and even flavor combinations (some were a  success, others were absolutely, Yuck!)

I learned through Trial and Error. If the product came out not tasting and looking like I want it to taste and look like, I would analyze it and tweak at the ingredients, I add and deduct one or three ingredients and start over with the whole baking project again.

I also relied on as many baking books and magazines as I can learn and get techniques from. It was my absolute passion for baking that also lead me to pursue a culinary career.

Some people are quite intimidated with baking, and I believe it’s because most of them just look at the recipes and go through the whole ingredients list and procedure without having the proper understanding of the certain “behaviors” of some flours, the temperament, size, material of various cookie sheets and baking pans, and the “sensitivity” of different batters.

So I decided to share with you some mish mash of baking wiz I learned through the years.

_______________________________________________________

Cookies:

On Baking/Cookie Sheets

- Look for shiny, heavy-gauge cookie sheets with very low or no sides, this will ensure even browning of cookies.

- Avoid using dark cookie sheets (those teflon finished baking sheets), these kind tends to make the bottom of the cookies to overbrown.

- Instead of spraying your sheets with vegetable spray to avoid cookies from sticking, use either baking parchment or silicone mats (silpats) to line your cookie sheets. You will never have a problem taking out your baked cookies, plus you also don’t need to add fat (from vegetable sprays).

- Always let hot cookie sheets cool before you place another batch of cookie dough on it, otherwise the butter in the dough will instantly melt and separate.

- To avoid having your cookies fall apart when you take them off the cookie sheet, let them cool for a good minute to firm up on the sheet before removing them.

How come your cookies came out perfect and mine did not?

- Never substitute margarine or shortening when the recipe calls for butter. Because nothing beats the flavor and richness that butter adds to cookies and mostly other baked products. It also contributes to the texture and browning properties of cookies.

- When your cookie dough or baked cookies turned out dry, you may have been too heavy handed when measuring the flour. To measure properly, stir flour in the container to lighten it. Gently spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level the top with an off-set spatula or the back of a knife. Never pack the flour into the cup or tap the cup with the spatula or on the counter to level.

- Do not substitute baking soda for baking powder and vice versa.

Do not omit when the recipe calls for both or either of them.

Although it is true that both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents and produce carbon dioxide which causes baked products to rise, each do not react the same way because they differ chemically.

- Do not replace a cup and a half of sugar in a standard recipe with  3-4 packets of sugar substitute. It will never work! Instead, find another low-sugar and/or sugar free recipe of the same kind of cookie or any baked product.

- Most if not all cookie recipe uses large eggs.

- I use an ice cream scooper to make my cookies in uniform shape and size… this might also tell you that I suffer from acute OCD! :)

Storing Cookies

- Most types of cookies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

- Make sure cookies have completely cooled on a wire rack before storing them, otherwise they will stick together.

- Never store crisp cookies and soft cookies on the same container. As crisp cookies will absorb moisture from the soft cookies.

- Most drop, sliced, bar and shaped cookies freeze well. Place cookies in flat containers. Place the cookies in layers separated by parchment or wax paper so they won’t stick.

__________________________________________________________

Bars or Slices:

- Use the right size baking tin for your bars. A tin that is too small will make a thicker and more cake-like base, not a chewy one. A tin that is too large will make the base dry or brittle. And tins with dark color are usually non-stick, these make your bars cook faster and brown more quickly, so check the bar for doneness 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

- It is always the best idea to line your tins with baking parchment, doing so will prevent the bar from sticking to the tin and provide handles so you can lift the whole product out of the tin.

- Most bar recipes have a pastry base. When making pastry, butter should always be diced and well chilled. I find that the easiest way to make pastry and not make the butter melt is to just use a food processor.

- Blind baking - when a recipe ask for pastry base to be partially baked before the topping or filling is added. This ensures that the base is cooked and firm and not made soggy once the filling is added and baked in the oven. Method: once the uncooked pastry is in the tin, cover with a sheet of baking paper, then fill the top of the sheet with either uncooked rice or baking beans (this weighs down the pastry and prevents it from puffing up) and bake. Remove the beans or rice and cook the pastry again until lightly brown and firm.

________________________________________________________

Muffins and Quick Breads:

- The most important thing to remember about muffin and quick bread batter is that it requires minimum mixing and SHOULD look coarse and lumpy. A large spoon or serving fork is the best implement for mixing.

- Muffins and quick breads are cooked when they are browned, risen, firm to touch and beginning to shrink from the sides of the pan. You can also insert a wooden skewer in the center. When skewer comes out clean then it is done.

- I always bake my muffins in cupcake liners just to avoid the fuss and to just easily take them out of the tin once they come out of the oven. And for quick breads, I always use a baking parchment paper to line the inside of my loaf pan so that I can just easily lift out the whole bread out of the pan.

- Muffins and quick breads freeze well. Just wrap them really well with cling wrap and place inside a ziploc bag and can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.

- I find the use of sour cream or buttermilk in muffins and quick breads makes them more tender, moist and flavorful. :)

________________________________________________________

Ingredient Substitutes that works just as great:

No Buttermilk: I add the juice of half a lemon to evaporated milk to make a cup. Let stand for 5 minutes to curdle a bit and lightly stir.

No Self-Rising flour: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to every cup of all-purpose flour. Sift thrice to blend.

No Cake flour: Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to every cup of all-purpose flour. Sift 3 times.

Article and Food Photography Credit: Jeannie Maristela (August 6, 2011)

Jan 8 '12

VARIETIES OF PASTA

LONG PASTA

SHORT PASTA

SHORT PASTA

MINUTE PASTA (PASTINA, PASTA USED FOR SOUPS)

FRESH PASTA

PASTA ALL’UOVO (EGG PASTA)

PASTA AL FORNO (USED FOR BAKED PASTA DISHES)

source: pasta charts are from www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasta

Jan 8 '12

Bread-Baking Cheat Sheet: 13 Bread Terms to Know

Photograph: Donna Currie

This isn’t a complete list and the definitions have been simplified, but it should help make reading just a little easier.

Autolyze: Resting the dough after the first mixing of flour and water. Things happen in the dough (the flour hydrates and gluten develops) but from the baker’s perspective, you just let it rest.

Baker’s Percentages: A method of determining the amount of each ingredient based on its relationship to the weight of the flour. If you like math and percentages, you’ll love this. Otherwise your brain will melt. Read more here.

Baguette: A long rope, sometimes with tapered ends. Used for baguettes as for strands of dough for braided breads, pretzels, and similar shapes.

Batard: Bread dough shaped into a fat log with tapered ends.

Bench: Your work surface. Bench Rest means letting the dough rest on the work surface before proceeding with shaping. Bench Flour is flour that you’ve sprinkled on the work surface.

Boule: A round squished ball-shaped bread.

Couche: A sheet of fabric used to hold and separate loaves as they are rising. Usually linen. You can use a thick, clean, fuzz-free kitchen towel. Terrycloth is a bad idea.

Ferment/Proof: Letting the dough rest and rise. Yeast can also be proofed by adding dry yeast to warm water with sugar or flour to prove that it is still viable.

Fold: Just like it sounds; you fold the dough over itself. This is gentler than kneading but serves much the same purpose.

Lame: A tool used to score or slash the top of a loaf of bread. A razor blade or sharp knife can also be used.

Preferment: Any of a number of mixtures of flour, water, and yeast (and sometimes salt) that is combined and left to develop before being added to the rest of the dough components. The biga, levain, pate fermente, poolish, and sponge are all types of preferments. If you need to use one of these, the recipe should give you the instructions for making it.

Pull a window: A test used to determine the development of the gluten. A small bit of dough is gently pulled and stretched. If it can create a thin membrane without tearing, the gluten is fully developed. Read more on the windowpane test.

Retarding: Slowing down the fermentation of the dough, usually by refrigerating it.

Source: Entirely from www.seriouseats.com

Jan 7 '12

13 Cheeses Everyone Should Know

Where do you even begin when it comes to fancy cheeses? Which are mild, and which are stinky? Which will melt well on my burger and which is better appreciated off a cheeseboard with a smear of good honey?

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For each cheese in this list, we’ll talk a bit about the following features:

  • Country of Origin: The country where the cheese was first developed. In some cases, the name of the cheese is protected, meaning that unless it is produced via strictly controlled methods in a specific region of the world, it cannot bear the name. Roquefort or Manchego are examples of cheeses like this. Other cheeses originate from a certain area but are now produced around the world. Gouda is an example of such a cheese. In general, the latter type of cheese will vary in quality far more than a protected cheese.
  • Type of milk: Cheese always starts with milk, but the animal it comes from can make a profound difference on its final flavor. Cow’s milk is the mildest, with a creamy, sweet flavor that translates into a more subtle base flavor in the cheese, so aging and ripening play a prominent role in the development of flavor in these cheeses. Sheep’s milk has a mild grassy flavor with a tangier backbone and less buttery sweetness than cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is the gamiest of all, with a definite hay/barnyard funk to it.
  • Aging: Most cheeses are aged for a period of time in a temperature-controlled environment. During this process, moisture evaporates leading to a denser paste and a more intense flavor. Bacteria get to work inside the cheese slowly digesting proteins and converting the texture of a cheese from grainy and crumbly to smooth and creamy (eventually, as enough moisture leaves, a cheese can become grainy and crumbly again, like in a good parmesan). Bacteria on the exterior also play a role in developing a rind and enhancing flavor.
  • Tasting Notes: Here we’ll discuss what to expect when you eat a bit of the cheese and any key characteristics you should be looking out for.
  • Best Uses: Is the cheese best on its own? Cooked into a specific dish? Served with a specific drink? We’ll tell you here.
  1. Roquefort
  2. Camembert
  3. Cotija
  4. Chèvre
  5. Feta
  6. Mozzarella
  7. Emmental
  8. Cheddar
  9. Gouda
  10. Taleggio
  11. Parmigiano-Reggiano
  12. Manchego
  13. Monterey Jack

ROQUEFORT

Country of Origin: France

Type of milk: Sheep

Aging: At least five months.

Tasting Notes: The blue pockets of mold that dot a chunk of Roquefort are colonies of the mold Penicillium roquefort, found naturally in the caves of Roquefort, France. It has a moist, crumbly paste, and a sharp, sweet and nutty flavor from the yeast with distinct grassiness from the sheep’s milk. It’s best eaten in the fall, when cheese made from early spring milk is just coming to market.

Best Uses: Eaten as is, or with nuts and honey.

CAMEMBERT

Country of Origin: France (Normandy)

Type of milk: Cow

Aging: At least three weeks

Tasting Notes: The outer rind is a layer of penicillium candidum. Take a look at this fungus under a microscope, and it resembles the tufted head of a dandelion. That’s why you’ll hear it referred to as a “bloomy rind” cheese occasionally. As one of the most widely produced French cheeses, its quality can vary significantly. Some Camemberts are handmade and name-protected (the raw-milk Camembert de Normandie, for example), while others are mass-produced from pasteurized milk (like “Le Châtelain” brand pictured). Because of their short aging period (just over three weeks), you will not find any raw milk Camembert in the U.S. Rich, buttery, and spreadable, Camembert has a mild, mushroomy aroma.

Best Uses: Eaten as is, on sandwiches, baked in a crust, breaded and deep-fried (giddy-up!)

COTIJA

Country of Origin:Mexico

Type of milk: Cow

Aging: At least 3 months.

Tasting Notes: Younger cheeeses are mild and salty, somewhat like a young feta. As the cheese ages, it acquires nuttier, tangier flavors and a drier, coarser texture.

Best Uses: On tacos, salads, in soups, over rice, on casseroles, over beans, in guacamole, etc.

CHEVRE

Country of Origin: France

Type of milk: Goat

Aging: Varies

Tasting Notes: The French word chèvre literally translate to “goat,” and is used to refer to any cheese made from goat’s milk. Colloquially in America, however, chèvre refers exclusively to fresh goat’s milk cheese, it is unaged and eaten almost immediately after it is made. Fresh chèvre tends to be moist, bright and acidic, with a lemony flavor and slightly chalky finish in the mouth. You’ll find it sold in vacuum sealed logs, sometimes flavored with herbs, spices, or garlic.

Best Uses: Crumbled in salads, breaded and fried, in sandwiches, in macaroni and cheese.

FETA

Country of Origin: Greece

Type of milk: Sheep and goat

Aging: About 3 months

Tasting Notes: Feta is one of the many cheese worldwide to be a protected designation of origin product, meaning that a cheese may only bear the label “feta” in the E.U. if it comes from either mainland Greece or Lesbos, and is made with at least 70% sheep’s milk (the remainder must be goat’s milk). A brined cheese, it is made by soaking freshly pressed curds in salt water. Tangy and moist, feta can range from completely crumbly to moderately creamy and pairs well with fresh summer fruit.

Best Uses: Broiled with olive oil. Crumbled in salads. Sandwiches. Use in place of Cotija in tacos and other Mexican dishes.

MOZZARELLA

Country of Origin: Italy (Campania)

Type of milk: Cow or Water Buffalo

Aging: None

Tasting Notes: Mozzarella is a fresh, pulled-curd cheese made from the milk of water buffalo (for mozzarella di bufala) or cows (for mozzarella fior di latte). The curds are heated in warm water and stretched by hand before being rolled into moist balls. The balls of cheese can then either be sold fresh, or packed in a salty brine to add flavor. Fresh and dairy rich, mozzarella is prized for its texture and mild creamy flavor.

Best Uses: Fresh with a drizzle of olive oil, coarse salt and pepper. With tomatoes in a sandwich. Pizza!

EMMENTAL

Country of Origin: Switzerland

Type of milk: Cow

Aging: at least 4 months

Tasting Notes: Emmental is what many people think of when they hear “Swiss cheese” (yes, holes and all). It’s is considered an “Alpine-Style” or “Mountain” cheese, meaning it originated from the milk of cows that are led up the Alps to graze over multiple seasons, and its curds are cooked and pressed together firmly. The holes you find are bubbles of carbon dioxide gas created as the bacterium Propionibacterium freudenreichii consumes lactic acid. This cheese has a certain sweetness with a piquancy that hits the back of the tongue on the finish. What is more, like all Alpine cheeses, it is a great melter.

Best Uses: Fondue, grilled cheese, casseroles.

CHEDDAR

Country of Origin: England

Type of milk: Cow

Aging: No minimum, but good ones are generally aged at least one year

Tasting Notes: Cheddar is a cow’s milk cheese that originated in Somerset, England. Cheddar is not only a noun, but it’s also a verb; “to cheddar” refers to a cheesemaking process whereby the curds of the cow’s milk are cooked and then milled into rice-size pieces. The pieces are then pressed into large blocks, and the blocks are stacked one on top of another to press out any remaining moisture. Cheddar cheese made in this traditional fashion are dry and crumbly in texture, with a deep, tangy, nutty flavor. A far cry from the smooth mild American-style cheddars you might find on top of a burger. Cheddar-style cheeses vary dramatically in quality, so it’s a good idea to talk to your cheesemonger about them. The color ranges from ivory to straw to deep yellow in color, depending on the season and the feed of the cattle.

Best Uses: As is, in sandwiches, grilled cheese, casseroles.

GOUDA

Country of Origin: Netherlands

Type of milk: Cow

Aging: At least 4 weeks, but better ones are aged at least a year

Tasting Notes: Gouda is a semi-hard to hard cow’s milk cheese from Holland. Like Cheddar, its quality and flavor can vary wildly from the mild, creamy wax-coated lunchbox versions of our youth to those specimens that are hard, crumbly, and deeply flavorful. Long-aged goudas will have a crunchy texture due to crystals of concentrated calcium lactate or and the amino acid tyrosine that form as the cheese loses moisture, just like a good parmesan.

Best Uses: Young they can be melted. Aged cheeses are best as-is or grated into salads or over casseroles.

TALEGGIO

Country of Origin: Italy (Lombardy)

Type of milk: Cow

Aging: Six to ten weeks

Tasting Notes: At over a thousand years old, Taleggio is one of the world’s oldest soft cheeses. The washed rind cheese is in a family of cheeses created by monks who made cheese from the milk of their grazing cows in order to eliminate waste. The story is that the monks repeatedly washed the wheels clean of any mold that began to grow on their surfaces. Little did they know, they were actually fostering the growth of a slew of new bacteria on the inside and outside of the cheeses, contributing to pungent flavors and even more pungent surface smells. Taleggio smells sort of like… feet. Rich, buttery, meaty, feet. Its soft rind is edible, though it acquires a grainy texture from its repeated wash with salty brine.

Best Uses: As is.

PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO

Country of Origin: Italy

Type of milk: Cow

Aging: At least 12 months

Tasting Notes: There are a number of hard cheeses on the market that are sold under the name “parmesan.” These are not to be confused with true Parmigiano-Reggiano, a protected cheese that can only be produced in Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia in Italy. Aged for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 36, it’s a hard, dry, crumbly cheese that has great crunch and deep caramel-y, nutty flavors.

Best Uses: Grated on salads and pastas. The harder, saltier rinds are perfect for adding flavor to many Italian soups.

MANCHEGO

Country of Origin: Spain

Type of milk: Sheep

Aging: 60 days to 2 years

Tasting Notes: Made from the milk of Manchega sheep, it’s a firm, compact cheese that ranges in color from ivory to straw yellow. Younger manchegos have a buttery, rich texture that borders on creamy, while the aged version develops a deeply salty flavor and crunchy tyrosine crystals as it dehydrates.

Best Uses: As is. Spanish membrillo (quince paste) is the ideal accompaniment for it.

MONTEREY JACK

Country of Origin: United States of America (California)

Type of milk: Cow

Aging: About one month

Tasting Notes: Very mild and buttery in flavor with a bit of tang, Monterey Jack is one of the few all-American cheeses. Because of its young age and relatively high butterfat content, it’s a great melter. It often comes mixed with hot pickled peppers to make Pepper Jack cheese.

Best Uses: Melted in casseroles, grilled cheese, over chili, cheese dip, any time you want a good melting cheese.

source: www.seriouseats.com