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Vegan Chocolate Has Arrived

Apr 19, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts

When people ask me about recipes for vegan baking, which is not my area of expertise, I direct them to my good friend and colleague Fran Costigan, known as "the Queen of Vegan Desserts, and who is listed under the favorites section of this blog's home page as Fran Costigan.

I have known Fran for many years and have great respect for her integrity as an expert in the subject, as a teacher, and as an author.

When the book arrived, I was struck by large number of gorgeous photos and delighted by the way in which the ingredients are listed in both volume, grams, and milliliters. This, together with the detailed instructions, make it a pleasure for me to work from this book.

All 120 recipes contained in this book are plant-based and some are gluten-free. The luscious chocolate ganache glaze which graces the cake on the book's cover is made with almond milk and Fran has generously given me permission to post the recipe.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

It will take longer to read this recipe than to make it, but its success is all about the quality and taste of the chocolate and following the details in the recipe. As long as you stay within the percentages listed, any premium chocolate you enjoy eating is the one to use. The important part is to chop the chocolate very fine. Allowing the chocolate to melt into the milk for the full 4 minutes is not optional. And stir only until the chocolate and milk are emulsified--that is, glossy and smooth. Over-mixing may turn your silken ganache gritty. If the chocolate has not completely melted after the ganache is mixed, bring the water in the saucepan on the stove to a simmer and turn off the heat. Place the bowl of ganache on the saucepan for a few minutes, then stir very gently until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.

Makes 2 cups/480 ml

8 ounces/227 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
1-1/4 cups/300 ml organic almond milk or soymilk (more as needed to adjust consistency)
2 tablespoons/18 grams organic granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1-1/4 teaspoons/6.25 ml pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons/10 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil (optional but recommended for sheen)

1. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.

2. Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times to a low boil.

3. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the hot milk over the chopped chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 4 minutes.

4. Add the vanilla and olive oil (if using) and whisk fro the center out ony until smooth and glossy. (If the chocolate is not completely melted, refer to the Sidebar on page 28 for instructions on using a water bath to melt the chocolate.)

5.Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should e smooth and firm, but should taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk, and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.

6. Pass the ganache through a strainer into a bowl. Whisking slowly will speed the process.

7. Allow the ganache to thicken at room temperature for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it will coat a spoon thickly with minimal dripping, but remains pourable. Stir a few times from the outside into the center before glazing.

Bake from this book often and with pleasure. It will never fall apart as it has a stitched binding!

The Rose Scale by Escali

Apr 12, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


As most of you know, I am a major proponent of weighing ingredients rather than using volume. My first book, The Cake Bible, was the first cookbook for the home baker to use ounces and grams as well as cups. That was over 25 years ago and gradually the wonderfully precise and near effortless process of weighing for baking has caught on.
I knew that it was here to stay when Escali, maker of the finest scales for laboratory and home baking, contacted me about producing a scale with my name and criteria.

The Rose Scale is a beautifully designed scale of the highest quality and durability. Its weighing range of up to 13 pounds/6 kilograms in increments of 0.1 ounce/1 gram which is ideal for baking and cooking.

The scale can be operated by A/C adaptor as well as by battery. When operated by battery, it has an automatic shutoff, but when using the optional adaptor, the scale stays on until it is turned off, which I prefer because the scale doesn't inconveniently time out when I am in the middle of weighing and get distracted for a few minutes. The scale is small and compact, not taking up much counter space.

The Rose Scale's adjustable-angle backlight display is easy to read even when using pans that are larger than the platform, which is easily removable. The display and the buttons are sealed to protect against accidental spills. There is also a tare button to remove the weight of the container and each ingredient after it is added.

Escali Rose Levy Bakeware Digital Scale - Multi-Purpose - Rose

The Secret Shelf Life of Arrowroot

Apr 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


Arrowroot is used as a thickener for sauces and glazes. It is made from a tropical rhizome (underground stem). I like using it for glazes to top fruit on a tart, pie, or cake because it has a slight sparkle and also because it starts to thicken long before the boiling point so does not cause the fruit to soften.

Although cornstarch, also an effective thickener (when allowed to come to a full boil), has an indefinite shelf life if stored in an air-tight moisture-proof container, I have found arrow root to have a limited shelf life.

As a result of my move from New York, I discovered I had three bottles of arrowroot each of a different vintage. I seized the opportunity to do a comparative testing of their thickening powers.

The oldest one (now don't be horrified as I was!) was 24 years old! The next to oldest was 19 years old. And the third one was 14 years old.

The results were: The oldest arrowroot thickened but not effectively as it still had flow. The next to oldest thickened but not as fully as the last one which also was less tinged with yellow. This was was kept in an airtight container in an air conditioned room which accounts for its unusual viability. I recommend that if you want to be sure of the full effectiveness of arrowroot, use it up to two years from the purchase date and then replace it.

My Birthday Cake at the Lincoln

Apr 04, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


As so many people asked the inevitable question: who is baking your birthday cake?here is the answer:

To begin with, we had an astonishingly delicious dinner at the Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center. This was my first visit for dinner, having had a glass of wine at the bar awhile back accompanied by an assortment of bread and one of the best olive oils I had ever tasted.

I have to confess that I had made a serious error by reserving at the Smith at Lincoln Center and only discovered this when I called the Lincoln to tell them that after driving 2 hours from NJ we were still caught up in traffic. They had no reservation whatsoever under any of the names I always give (usually just Rose as spelling my last name over the phone is always an exercise in irritation. My cousins Bill and Joy Howe, who were meeting us, also having driven a long distance, were already at the Smith wondering why I had chosen such a noisy and casual restaurant for my birthday dinner albeit they reported that the people there were absolutely lovely--even when they discovered that none of us was staying for dinner!

But the Lincoln came through for me. I could tell that they didn't recognize my name as being in the food profession but they did recognize my sincerity and panic. So we sat down to dinner in the elegant and quiet dining room. Elliott and I chose the special of the evening which was a dry-aged rib steak, the juices and beef marrow added to the panzanella salad accompanying it, along with that above mentioned fabulous olive oil.

The star dish of the evening, however, was ordered by Bill. It was a tian of eggplant and zucchini slices with a tangy tomato sauce that caused Bill and me to turn to each other (after I got to taste it) and pronounce it to be the quality of taste we are always looking for in Italian food. Up until that point I was entirely incognito but that ended when Bill got the idea that if revealing my identity as a food writer we might find out the secret to the sauce.

Chef Jonathan Benno arrived at our table and graciously explained that they used San Marzano tomatoes but that it was the technique that gave it the extraordinary flavor. Then I remembered (from experience) that the secret to its intensity is seriously reducing the juices to the near dry consistency.

We ordered one dessert to share but thoroughly enjoyed the three that arrived. thanks to pastry chef Richard Capizzi. The birthday cake was:

Tortino al Gianduja con caramello al pompelmo chocolate cake, hazelnut praline, gianduja ganache, salted caramel-campari crema, grapefruit variegato gelato

Rose Knows (Eat Your Books)

Apr 02, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Here is the link to my latest Food Arts article. This information could change your culinary life!

click here

14th Annual Great American Pie Festival

Apr 02, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

This sounds like so much fun I've volunteered to be a judge next year!

Event: 14th Annual APC Great American Pie Festival
Who: American Pie Council
Location: Celebration, FL
Date: Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, and Noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday
Description: The town of Celebration, Florida will become the Pie Capital of the World on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014, when thousands of pie lovers, tasters and bakers gather together for the 14th Annual American Pie Council's Great American Pie Festival. Help preserve America's pie heritage by taking part in the Never Ending Pie Buffet, pie eating contests, pie baking activities, cooking demonstrations, PieCasso art, the Baker's Square Pietopia stage with live music and entertainment, games and much more. The highlight, as always, will be the Never-Ending Pie Buffet, featuring award-winning pie, ice cream, toppings, and beverages from some of our fine sponsors. Don't miss the announcement of the winners of the APC National Pie Championships, taking place this same weekend, Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27. For more information visit the pie council site or call 407-566-2200. Or look for the American Pie Council on Facebook and FYPie on Twitter.
Cost: Never Ending Pie Buffet will be on sale at the door for $10/adults and $5/seniors 65+ and children ages 6 through 12. Cost for the children's area, which includes the crafts and bouncy houses, is $10/child.

Interesting Article on Bread

Mar 31, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

If you speak Spanish you will enjoy the original of this piece for which I was interviewed recently in the original Spanish publication El Pais Semanal.

If, like me, you require a translation, here it is thanks to google translate--imperfect but still of value. But click on the Spanish version first to see a gorgeous photo of my "Stud Muffin" bread.

It is available in Internet forums, is passed between coworkers, there are even who makes home this matrix of yeast and bacteria. Sourdough traffic grows in Spain and makes the heat of an atavistic practice today charged new meanings : artisanal bread making . A rising phenomenon that originated in the engine and amateur world, although the industry has also sought to take advantage of baker jerk . Ibán Yarza , referent and pioneer of this mixer community knows its evolution: "Four years ago you were a geek . If you wore a braid to a dinner at a friend's house I looked like a fool for having it ferment for 24 hours when you could have bought in China below. Now has prestige . It has grown from a hobby to a fashion like cupcakes , but other grounds . Which is good and evil at the same time . "
Yarza argues , without false modesty , that the chapters of most watched cooking show Robin Food ( ETB) in which it participates are dedicated to bread. But the proof that there is great interest and market is that publishers catalogs start filling meal . In 2010, Yarza translated Handmade ( Editorial El Universal Reader ) , Dan Lepard teacher , and in 2013 , Bread ( Books with Miga ) , by Jeffrey Hamelman . That same year the Basque published his own volume , Homemade bread ( Larousse ), which has already sold 30,000 copies . Now RBA launches Spanish La Bible bread, encyclopedic cookbook Rose Levy that "it is invaluable for both amateur and professional ," according to Goodreads , the community of the world 's largest readers.
Javier Brand started making loaves at home seven years ago " like someone throws a pie to cook ." From the first slice was surprised " by the taste of bread that had that bread" and opened four months ago in Madrid artisan oven Panic. Besides selling offers courses to non-professional : from housewives willing to improve their technique to chemical engineers fascinated by the metabolic process . No single demographic profile , but a universal pattern : who engages test .
Social networks have functioned as a kind of digital dining yeast accelerating this trend and learning their fans
What does that have no bread , for example , lentils or emperor ? Rose Levy believes that appeals to the most primitive in man : humility media , hands in direct contact with the mixture during mixing and, above all , " the magical dimension " of yeast. "We work with a living organism in a latent state that can awaken and nourish so grow and expand to provide flavor and texture. Therein lies its great appeal , "said the cook.
Yarza ensures that even the most experimental chefs are mesmerized . " The bread requires technical , but it has something that no kitchen . Fry an onion and undergoes a transformation but a metamorphosis. Fermentation is a real spectacle vital , "explains Yarza . Levy goes a step further and even talk of his creational symbolism. In ancient Egypt , for example , the word used to describe the bread meant life . "It seems no coincidence that at the wine - another staple that precisely this process arises from chemical - represent the body and blood of Christ in the Catholic liturgy." In Judaism the matzo - unleavened bread used - to commemorate the exodus , and the Puritans represent the divine purity by the so-called white bread of God.
American author collected in The Bread Bible the story of a French diplomat that underpins this theory. During his years of confinement in a Nazi concentration camp , he and his companions evoked with great detail the magnificent feasts and typical of their respective hometowns dishes to keep your spirits. The harder the situation became more simple recipes that were needed to invoke recite happy times , until the end of their captivity, and to ward off despair, a unique food starred his conversations : the bread "and its sublime aroma, crumbs or even the snap of its bark . "

But aside from anthropological concerns , the rise of homemade bread in Spain responds to more prosaic reasons. The first is that , in these times of cuts , an alternative economic , recreational practice that generates immediate gratification. To make a baguette , for example, only needs a furnace , water, yeast , a pinch of salt, about 40 cents of flour and the secret ingredient, as Brand: the chair. " Waiting is fundamental. The slower the process more flavors develop , "says Baker . Yarza was devoted to the bakery after becoming unemployed and occasionally teaches unemployed . " Some have three weeks without leaving home because they have to make a paste and cool plan , suddenly the hollow bread covers them they did not expect ."
Furthermore, according to the expert , thanks to online communities and social networks the learning curve of new panófilos " has exploded as a space rocket ." The author acknowledges feel some envy. " People hang pictures of her fifth pan -stopping and I remember that even my 200th bar got do something respectable . But in 2005 who was going to talk about how long you had to have the dough in the fridge , "he jokes . From bread forum , created in 2010 to the Facebook page Friends of homemade bread, with more than 5,000 followers , through groups of Instagram or pages Webosfritos , the Network has functioned as a sort of digital yeast expanding this gastronomic trend by Spain .
Fans are exchanged tricks , answer questions, and delivered to endless discussions about whether the longevity of the sourdough determines its quality. "It's like people , why be older 're better or smarter ? Well, not always , " Brand sentence .
Levy For this return to artisanal bread is part of a much wider power : the growing concern about the quality and sustainability of food in developed countries. Increasingly consumers want authentic products so tired of prefabricated and packaged food . In this context , home baked connects with local shops and seasonal cuisine.
The preparation of homemade bread is part of a wider current: one that seeks sustainable , quality food
"In an increasingly homogeneous world , bread is still a great way to express individuality " delves U.S. . Front and standard bar mold , that the same can be found in a table that bar Chicago Albacete , many panarras themselves - as the native - looking claim while researching recipes from around the world . Although Mark Levy and warn about the thin line between pretentious ambition . "Just that once happened with gin and tonics , breads now check them all : nuts, carrot , pistachio . It's the easiest way to hide that you do not know anything , "says Baker .
Collateral damage have gone from " raruna hobby " to fashion Speed 2.0 . Yarza fears that something as simple and accessible instrument be a snob . "I worry that the same thing happen that happened with wine . An elite that says ' we are the ones who know who you are and you buy the muffin in the Mercadona " arises.
The benefits of becoming a trend : the bread universe long ninguneado , best values , and the emergence of the erotic ( new) baker. " Yes , pretty binds " says laughs.
Making bread with hands also represents a paradigm shift in the consumer society. According Yarza , many people are discovering that spend Sunday with friends in the kitchen and preparing your own food is quality of life: "There is a return to the simple pleasures in them and eating is very important."

four keys
"It is a term that refers to the masses of boot created from wild yeast (Saccharomyces exiguus ) . Can be kept alive for long periods of time, even centuries , and its ingredients are organic rye flour or whole wheat flour and pandera mineral water " , says Rose Levy in The Bread Bible (RBA ) .
Getting Started
The range of courses and classes is vast and varied . Since the six-week cycles of Babette 's Kitchen ( www.lacocinadebabette.com ) in Madrid , to informative workshops on marriage or decoration Turris and Xavier Barriga ( www.xavierbarriga.com ) in Barcelona , passing days With Galician moita crumb ( conmoitamiga.org ) .
A hand or machine
Kneading is the process that arouses more curiosity and respect among beginners . That's why many opt for bakery use . Rose Levy For both options have pros and cons. " With the manual method is very easy to go with the meal , but the machines tend to heat the mass increasing faster than desired volume ."
The Iban Yarza specialist ensures that the bread made with sourdough is not necessarily better than the classical containing yeast. "It depends on the recipe and the result that we pursue . The only good bread is dense and acid. A Burgos cheese may be delicious but much softer than afuega'l pitu . Quality is doing things right .

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 12

Mar 29, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Proofing the First Pass

This phase of production began with the arrival of the laid out pages which represent the final design complete with photos. Unfortunately, due to extreme weather conditions, UPS was unable to navigate the icy mountain roads but that didn't stop Woody and me from chasing the driver down to the nearest large town. We lost no time in beginning the proofing process, checking the copy edited pages against the laid out pages to ensure that all the changes were implemented.


The inputting was excellent but upon seeing the clean copy, things that required finer tuning virtually leapt off the pages. For example, on the charts, when an ingredient weighed 29 grams followed by one that weighed 28 grams it looked odd that both were 1 ounce. This is the result of the higher exactitude of the metric system and need for rounding off ounces, as much as possible, to the nearest whole number. We decided to have the grams for both ingredients read the same so it wouldn't look odd or like a mistake. This wouldn't make any difference for most ingredients, but when it comes to minute ingredients such as yeast or baking powder it would make a great difference. Of course any change affects the entire rest of the 500 plus unwieldy legal-size pages. This took many hours and days.

We worked from sun up to sun down, enjoying beautiful sunsets as our reward.

We were overjoyed to discover, now that the pages were laid out, that there was room to put back some of the recipes that we thought had to be cut. One of them, we felt, needed a retest. Here's a photo of Woody, digging through two feet of snow to get to the silicone pan we needed for the test, that was buried in the little storage house nearby.


Another reward was this fabulous 10 layer lasagna, recipe compliments of Hector Wong. It took us 6 hours from start to finish, layering almost transparent thin home-made noodles, and two sauces, cheeses, and miniature sausage balls which were Elliott's request, but it gave us a much needed break.


Continue reading "Baking Bible Book Production Phase 12" »

ThermoWorks Open Box Spring Sale til end of March

Mar 26, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

ThermoWorks thermometers and timers are of the highest quality available for the home baker and professional chef.

This private sale is available through this link. I recently posted about the ChefAlarm which works as a probe thermometer both for mixtures for cooktop heating (it comes with a pot clip) and for roasting in the oven. I even use it on the grill.

The Extra Big & Loud Timer is my timer of choice as I can set the sound loud enough to hear from one floor to the next! The huge buttons make inputting so easy and if I get distracted and need a little extra time, it even counts up the time that has elapsed.

The IR Gun is super accurate for surface temperatures which is very useful for finding areas in the kitchen ideally suited for warming or cooling mixtures. I also use it in the fridge to determine shelf temperature and for a quick check when a pan on the cooktop or the oven is preheating.

for the Love of Beach Plums

Mar 22, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Not Only for the Birds


For those of you who have not read my story about beach plum preserves in Rose's Melting Pot,I am offering it here and also a source for one of the best vinaigrettes using beach plums I've ever tasted: Beach Plum Specialties of Cape May: Michael Craig 609-425-9057: beachplumspecialties@gmail.com

Here's the story from which is now 10 years old:

I had been hearing about this for years: the annual family expedition to the beach around Labor Day to harvest the native beach plums that most people are perfectly content to leave on the bushes for the birds. Last year, though, Cousin Marion gave me a jar of the resulting thick, deep garnet, glistening preserves and after the first fruit-tangy taste, just perfect as a counterpoint to rich flavorful fowl such as goose, duck turkey, squab or Capon. I resolved to join in the annual tradition. So we met last year, three generations, which included Aunt Margaret, her daughter Marion, and granddaughter Alexandra. We met in a parking lot and all piled into one car. Aunt Margaret guided us down the morass of winding roads leading to her special site by the bay and there were the beach plum bushes hung with clusters of the small purple orbs, resembling Concord grapes in size and shape. After two hours, we had each picked at least five pounds of beach plums developed appetitites for lunch and caught up on many stories.

The next day I started the pitting process. It was slow--averaging one pound of beach plums an hour--so I called Marion to catch up on some more stories while squeezing the pits from the fruit. I was awed to realize that I, who during the rest of the year can't seem to spare five minutes for relaxation, was spending five hours pitting beach plums and loving it. Precious preserves aside the real fruit of our harvest was the intimacy and connection this time-honored activity provided.

Addendum: Our preserves used a little more than half the weight of the pitted fruit in sugar. The labels on the Beach Plum Specialties of Cape May jam and jelly lists sugar first (which means there is more sugar than beach plums) but still has that unique flavor of beach plum.

Aunt Margaret is no longer with us; Cousin Marion has become a grandmother as Alexandra now has a little girl of her own.


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