ashallen's Bookshelf

  • I loved the dark, spicy flavor of these but the texture was off - like a wet, dense, "underbaked" brownie and more tender than chewy. I'm hoping that the main cause was that I pre-soaked my raisins (which had seemed dry) - I won't do that next time. The raisin moisture was exacerbated given that I was using the 1965 edition recipe which calls for 1/4 c dried currants in addition to the raisins (I substituted more raisins) plus 3 tbsp candied citron and/or candied orange peel. I used homemade candied peel packed in sugar syrup - I squeezed it out but it was still very moist. I baked these for ~20 minutes after which the corners were ~192F and the center was ~185F. Since their flavor is very good, I'll try these again. In the meantime, the "gooey" version might make a good mix-in for a batch of vanilla ice cream...
    about Hermits from Fannie Farmer Cookbook added on June 15, 2020

  • From the author's website: In the SOURDOUGH PUMPERNICKEL on page 462 (Mixer Method and Hand Method) use the same amount of starter as is on the chart on page 461 (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons). on page 463, step 7, oven temperature should be 400°F, and on page 464 step 8 lower it to 375°F. If using sesame seeds, add them after the glaze.
    about Sourdough pumpernickel from Bread Bible added on June 14, 2020

  • From the author's website: In the SOURDOUGH WHEAT BREAD SEEDS on page 468, after the first paragraph add: "Cover tightly and allow it to sit at room temperature 8 to 12 hours. It will have puffed slightly. Proceed to step 2. At step 2 add the words "That night..." At step 4 on the following page add the words "The next morning"
    about Sourdough wheat bread with seeds from Bread Bible added on June 14, 2020

  • From the author's website: In the PANETTONE on page 513, use only 1/4 teaspoon of fiori di Sicilia (the 1/2 teaspoon listed in the earlier printings is just a bit too intense).
    about Panettone with chestnuts from Bread Bible added on June 14, 2020

  • From the author's website: In the CHALLAH on page 517, when making the sponge add the yeast listed in the ingredients. In all breads, when making a starter that you plan to have sit for more than 4 hours, refrigerate it after the first hour at room temperature.
    about Traditional challah from Bread Bible added on June 14, 2020

  • I'm a big fan of panang-style curries and enjoyed this very much. Very flavorful and easy to cook once ingredient preparation was done. I was glad to be able to get makrut lime leaves - they made a big difference. Recipe says you can substitute grated lime zest for the leaves, but since my red curry paste was a bit sad (Taste of Thai brand that's been sitting in refrigerator the past few months) and since I substituted Thai basil for holy basil, it was nice to have the more aromatic lime leaves. Recipe says it serves 4-6 - note that those serving sizes are relatively modest.

  • Delicious, tender shortbread-style cookies with a dab of jam in the middle. Recipe calls for raspberry jam or apricot jam - I used homemade apricot lekvar, but any jam, especially a slightly tart one, will work well. Rolling the dough smoothly/firmly when forming the dough balls helps prevent cracking later on. A 1/2-inch wide jam pocket worked best - my first batch had a slightly smaller pocket and weren't jammy enough. Cookies needed a longer baking time after filling with jam to lightly brown and lose their raw squidginess on the bottom - more like 10-15 minutes versus the 5 minutes specified in the recipe. Not sure why since everything was at room temperature... These might do better baking on a thinner/lighter single-layer cookie sheet than the thicker/heavier one I used.
    about Poppy seed thumbprints from Great Cookies added on June 07, 2020

  • This is a fine, basic corn bread recipe. I prefer the flavor that comes from using buttermilk, soured milk, or thinned yogurt in place of regular milk.
    about Corn bread from Fannie Farmer Cookbook added on June 06, 2020

  • Nice comfort-food type soup with large, tender, prune-stuffed meatballs. Aromatic flavors from large quantities of tarragon, mint, and parsley. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the various flavors melded. My prunes were on the small/tart side and that worked well - large prunes would be harder to mold the meatball mix around and really sweet ones would be a bit cloying. I used a flavorful homemade chicken stock instead of lamb/beef stock as specified in the recipe - worked fine, but this would be really nice with a flavorful beef stock. Recipe doesn't say how big to cut the potato chunks - scant 1-inch chunks with skins-on worked well. Recipe calls for 1/4 cup rice in the meatballs - I used cooked rice, but based on some internet research it looks like I should have used uncooked rice - next time! Leftovers kept well to next day - soup thickened but flavors were still good.

  • Excellent angel food cake recipe. Instructions are very well written. Cake is very moist, fluffy, and tender. I made the regular vs. reduced-sugar version and it's quite sweet so I skipped applying any of the suggested icings. Cake surface is a bit sticky in spots where the sugar's absorbing moisture from the air. Used an unbleached cake flour (King Arthur) and it worked well - cake is still very tender. Used a French coconut essence for the coconut extract and the cake's coconut flavor's very good without being overwhelming. Left out lemon juice. Note that the heavy cream in the ingredient list is necessary only if you wish to frost the cake with whipped cream (one of several finishing approaches suggested in the recipe).

  • This recipe is for a cassis-berry sherbet that's scooped into a glass of homemade pineapple soda - I just made the cassis-berry sherbet (though the pineapple-berry combination sounds great). Fruit flavor comes through well - my blackberries weren't very flavorful, so I'm impressed I can taste them at all in the sherbet! The creme de cassis definitely boosts the flavor. I'll look forward to trying this again once the wild blackberries ripen around here. Easily scoop-able even after full freezing. Texture's a little icy but not bad, especially for a sherbet. Aromatically fruity and refreshing overall. Yielded a scant 1.5 quarts sherbet.
    about Purple and yellow cows from Passion for Ice Cream added on May 31, 2020

  • This is a rich rice pudding that's firm enough from gelatin to hold its shape well when released from a pretty mold. It's also firm enough to handle being sliced without the remaining pudding falling into a heap. I actually skipped the mold and poured it into a covered storage container to save a few steps. I like that the gelatin preserves the light fluffiness from the whipped cream that was folded in (Day 2 and still no weeping!) but otherwise found the pudding to be firmer than I prefer. If I skip the mold again in the future, I'd see how far I could work down the gelatin without losing the fluffiness. Flavor's very good - I love the dark rum + creaminess. Store was out of dried currants, so I chopped dark raisins down to currant-size. I'd reduce the raisins/currants a bit next time - personal preference.
    about Louisiana bavarian from Way To Cook added on May 31, 2020

  • I accidentally purchased too many fresh mushrooms during my last shopping trip - this simple recipe is a great way to "preserve" them in the freezer until I can get around to using them in other dishes. This is also delicious by itself!! I followed the cooking directions pretty loosely, skipping the squeezing of the diced mushrooms in a towel and choosing instead to cook them longer to drive off moisture.
    about Mushrooms duxelles from Way To Cook added on May 24, 2020

  • I was worried that the chicken in this recipe would taste bland and "steamed" and so decided at the last minute to saute the breasts separately and serve them with the sauce. It turned out that the sauce is so rich and flavorful that it probably wouldn't have mattered if the chicken had tasted like cardboard. I used fresh cremini and dried porcini. Sauce is earthy, creamy, umami-rich, and has a bit of sweetness from the port and shallots. I'll try the recipe's technique of cooking the chicken next time since it's much quicker and easier than sauteeing it separately.

  • I was worried that the chicken in this recipe would taste bland and "steamed" and so decided at the last minute to saute the breasts separately (rather than use the cooking method specified in the recipe) and serve them with the recipe's sauce. It turned out that the sauce is so rich and flavorful that it probably wouldn't have mattered if the chicken had tasted like cardboard. I used fresh cremini and dried porcini. Sauce is earthy, creamy, umami-rich, and has a bit of sweetness from the port and shallots. I'll try the recipe's technique of cooking the chicken next time since it's much quicker and easier than sauteeing it separately.

  • Very nice. The pork is moist and nicely cooked and the sauce is very flavorful. This version of "pork with prunes" is a bit leaner than another version I've had in which a pork loin braises with prunes and adds more (pork) fat to the sauce - that version is more luscious, but less healthy :). Recipe was flexible on brining time, saying to brine at least 8 hours with "overnight" being best. The meat was too salty for my taste after brining 19 hours, though my husband was happy because it reminded him of ham. Next time I'll brine a shorter time and/or reduce the salt in the brine. I roughly broke up the prunes after their wine simmer so they'd integrate more into the sauce - worked well. Leftovers kept very well.

  • Very nice. The pork is moist and nicely cooked and the sauce is very flavorful. This version of "pork with prunes" is a bit leaner than another version I've had in which a pork loin braises with prunes and adds more (pork) fat to the sauce - that version is more luscious, but less healthy :). Recipe was flexible on brining time, saying to brine at least 8 hours with "overnight" being best. The meat was too salty for my taste after brining 19 hours, though my husband was happy because it reminded him of ham. Next time I'll brine a shorter time and/or reduce the salt in the brine. I roughly broke up the prunes after their wine simmer so they'd integrate more into the sauce - worked well. Leftovers kept very well.
    about Pork tenderloin with shallots and prunes from New York Times added on May 21, 2020

  • Excellent basic recipe!

  • A lightly crunchy, tea biscuit-type cookie. Not super sweet and flavors are fairly gentle. I thought my husband wouldn't pay much attention to these given their unassuming nature, but he found them immediately, ate a small pile, and thinks they're great. I rolled the dough into two logs and chilled overnight to make slicing easier. If you cut 3/8-inch slices as specified in the recipe, you'll get fewer than the specified 60 cookie yield - 1/4-inch slices are needed for that. Either way, I found the cookies were lightly browned after 12-15 minutes vs. 20 minutes as specified in the recipe. Recipe says cookies will puff and spread during baking, but mine didn't do much of either so I was able to bake them pretty close to each other. I substituted golden raisins for dark raisins - worked well. Next time I'd chop them up before soaking in rum so they'd distribute more evenly through the cookie dough.

  • Made this again to see if I could avoid the potato starch lumps. Stirred carefully and nearly constantly during heating with a silicone spatula, scraping the pot bottom. Success - no lumps! Because all of the potato starch integrated into the custard, it "bubbled" at a lower temperature (~185F) and the final ice cream had less of a "cooked" taste, which was great. Be careful not to overchurn when freezing in an ice cream machine - it freezes in nearly half the time that many French egg custard style ice creams freeze. Because it melts so slowly and tidily, this would be great for summertime ice cream cones for the little ones!
    about Black currant ice cream from Leite's Culinaria added on May 11, 2020

  • Made this again to see if I could avoid the potato starch lumps. Stirred carefully and nearly constantly during heating with a silicone spatula, scraping the pot bottom. Success - no lumps! Because all of the potato starch integrated into the custard, it "bubbled" at a lower temperature (~185F) and the final ice cream had less of a "cooked" taste, which was great. Be careful not to overchurn when freezing in an ice cream machine - it freezes in nearly half the time that many French egg custard style ice creams freeze. Because it melts so slowly and tidily, this would be great for summertime ice cream cones for the little ones!
    about Black currant jam swirl ice cream from À la Mode added on May 11, 2020

  • Great shortbread-type cookie. Delicious almond-lemon flavor and a wonderfully sandy texture without being bone-dry or brittle. I used a finely ground, whole-grain cornmeal (House Autry) and substituted demerara sugar for turbinado sugar in the topping. Used 1.5 tbsp sugar for the topping - 2 tbsp of sugar topping is very generous, even for a 9-inch version, and might not stick fully. It was also pretty sweet so I'll use a scant 1 tbsp in the future. Press nut topping lightly into dough - I skipped doing that and some of the almond bits popped off easily after baking. Baked in a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate which worked well. Cookie browned quite a bit around edges but that didn't harm the flavor.

  • First time making a starch-thickened ice cream - worked great! Egg-free. Ice cream was dense, smooth, and creamy. Froze faster and melts slower than most egg custard-based ice creams I've made. Definitely scoops best when softened a bit. Flavor contrast between sweet cream base and tart black currant jam ripples is great. It's really pretty, too - dark purple ripples against a white base. I did have a mishap with the potato starch - I heated the custard too long without stirring and a swollen potato starch layer formed on the pot bottom. I scraped it up and tried whisking it back in, but there were still little blobs in the final custard that looked and tasted like soft tapicoa pearls. I left them in, thinking maybe they'd incorporate during freezing, but they didn't - they just got firmer! If they show up again in the future, I'll strain them out.
    about Black currant ice cream from Leite's Culinaria added on May 03, 2020

  • First time making a starch-thickened ice cream - worked great! Egg-free. Ice cream was dense, smooth, and creamy. Froze faster and melts slower than most egg custard-based ice creams I've made. Definitely scoops best when softened a bit. Flavor contrast between sweet cream base and tart black currant jam ripples is great. It's really pretty, too - dark purple ripples against a white base. I did have a mishap with the potato starch - I heated the custard too long without stirring and a swollen potato starch layer formed on the pot bottom. I scraped it up and tried whisking it back in, but there were still little blobs in the final custard that looked and tasted like soft tapicoa pearls. I left them in, thinking maybe they'd incorporate during freezing, but they didn't - they just got firmer! If they show up again in the future, I'll strain them out.
    about Black currant jam swirl ice cream from À la Mode added on May 03, 2020

  • Very flavorful dish - if you love ginger, you will love this dish. I was concerned when I tasted the pan juices before reducing because they seemed overly spicy-hot from the large quantity of ground ginger (and maybe too much black pepper?) and a bit bitter. But then they magically transformed after reducing into a thick, deeply flavored sauce with delicious sweetness from the prunes and port. I'll probably still experiment with reducing the ground ginger from 3 teaspoons to 2 next time and watching the black pepper.
    about Braised pork loin with prunes from Olives and Oranges added on May 01, 2020