This is not the prettiest picture I've ever posted, but it's a useful one: it's my Rube Goldberg contraption for keeping fresh herbs fresh for days. And it's simple.
As soon as you get the herbs home from the market - or the garden - cut the stems, as you would for flowers, put the bouquet in fresh water and cover the set-up with a plastic bag. Cut the stems and change the water daily and you're good. If my bag is big, I'll criss-cross the handles under the vase; if it's short, I'll put a rubberband around it; and if I forget, it seems to be just fine, too.
I leave my 'greenhouse' at room temperture, but you can stow it in the refrigerator - just be careful: messy mishaps are not uncommon ... I know.
As many of you know, I am crazy about the artist, John "Crash" Matos. He's been a family friend for a long time and was the man behind the window of the first pop-up store for CookieBar (now Beurre & Sel). Naturally, when Crash designed a Vapor Case for Tumi, the people who make my favorite travel gear, I had to be the first on the block to get one ... and I was. Now Tumi and the team at LonelyLeap have created a video of me packing in my Crash Case. They caught me as I was leaving for Paris and packing everything I'd need to be able to bake there ... and everything else I'd need 'just in case'.
After packing my suitcase with flour and baking powder and pans and clothes and 'just in case' stuff, I packed a tote that Tumi actually calls Just in Case. It's the bag that held my books and make-up and notebooks and pen and M&Ms too.
To celebrate the video, which is part of Tumi's fascinating Case Studies series (mine's the first video of a woman!), Tumi is giving away a Just in Case bag packed with an autographed copy of Around My French Table and lots of cookies from Beurre & Sel ... just in case you need a nibble on the road.
And if you've got more travel tips, please share.
Bon Voyage! xoDorie
My husband made bread for years. And then he didn’t. The-didn’t period lasted a lot longer than the-did period and then, just recently, he began baking bread again … a lot … and seriously … and beautifully. And soon after he started baking again, he started accumulating breadmaking gear. Some beautiful, like the linen-lined rising baskets, and some not so beautiful, but extraordinarily useful, like his DIY proofing box. But let me back up a few decades.
When we first got married, neither of us cooked and neither of us baked. But, since we had to eat, and since I was really interested in cooking, I learned and soon we had an amenable division of labor: I made dinner and he did the dishes. It’s still the way we do things, except that a few years after we got married he took up something that I never did – breadmaking.
In the beginning, he made loaves in pans. And then, when we bought Bernard Clayton’s groundbreaking The Breads of France, he dared free-form loaves. Then there was the focaccia era and the sourdough phase. And then there was nothing. And now there are baguettes and boules, miches made with a mix of grains and varying levains and poolishes. It’s exciting and it’s very delicious.
...Continue reading DIY Proof Box: Father's Day is Almost Here
We're thinking about making some changes in CookieBar's baking rings and so I've been experimenting. Funny, for someone with little scientific bent (my physics teacher would chuckle and think I'd just flattered myself), I love recipe testing. I love trying one thing many ways and I love it most when I get something great at the end of the testing. Last night, I tested CookieBar's Jammers. As some of you know, Jammers are a sable or shortbread cookie, topped with a spoonful of jam and some streusel, baked in a metal ring. For last night's test, I baked several cookies in rings of different heights -- that was the main test -- and was surprised to find no difference among the rings. All of the cookies baked to the same degree of doneness and browness in the same amount of time, no matter the rings' height. Who woudda thunk?
My streusel test wasn't as easy. I made two different streusels and liked them both. So did Michael. I just might have to assemble a tasting panel. Scream if you're in the 'hood.
I’ve always had an inkling that when the oven light turned off, telling you that the oven had reached the temperature you’d set it to, you weren’t supposed to slide your cake in immediately. But I couldn’t tell you why I was inkled or even what it was that had me inkling. It just didn’t feel right and so I always waited awhile.
Yesterday, I not only learned that my hunch was right, I learned why. And I learned it from experts, the Viking crew that had come to tune-up my range.
Mr. RepairMan explained that ovens cycle on and off to maintain an average temperature. I knew this. And that some ovens cycle further up and down from the desired temperature than others. And that some cycle more frequently than others. I knew this too. I also dreaded it because, as a cookbook author, I knew that every time I wrote a baking recipe I was jumping into the danger zone. With so many variables going into maintaining an even temperature, how could I be sure that your cookies would bake in the same 10-to-13-minute range as mine.
...Continue reading Preheating Your Oven: Count to 3 and Be Patient
AND THE WINNER IS ... Clare of Houston, Texas. The random number generated was 29 -- one of my favorite ages (I liked 31 and 35, too), the date of my parents' anniversary and the number of Clare's comment.
Thank you everyone, all 400+ of you, for commenting, telling us about your favorite use for a blender and even sending recipes.
Happy soup season to you all - xoDorie
It's the season for soup ... and creamy desserts ... and smooth sauces ... and velvety hot chocolate ... and so many more comforting dishes, and the terrific people at KitchenAid agree. Because they, too, want you to enjoy all that is cozy and good, they've given me a KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender to give to you.
It's a great blender and I think you'll love using it as much as I do. It's got a very heavy base and a heavy-duty motor. You can crush ice with it as easily as you can smooth a creamy lemon tart filling.
To win, just leave a comment telling me what you most like to make with a blender. You've got until midnight Eastern time on Monday to leave a comment and then I'll pull out the random-number generator and pick a winner.
To get you in both a soup and blender mood, here's the recipe -- one of my favorites and one of my simplest -- for Beatrix's Red Kuri Soup.
...Continue reading Soup Season's Here: Win A KitchenAid Blender
There's something so very, very satisfying about making biscuits. You don't need fancy equipment (although there are few things that are fun to have), you don't need to set aside a big chunk of time and you don't even need to bake them as soon as you make them: once you cut the biscuits, you can freeze them and bake them whenever you want, no defrosting necessary.
I love this kind of convenience almost as much as I love feeling like a genius because I can have something fresh-from-the-oven on the spur of the moment.
You can find my recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits on the Parade website along with my recipes for Pickled Cucumbers and Spicy Egg Salad (I love the lime and jalapeno in it) - all the fixings for a little picnic.
But if you've never made biscuits before, you might want to give these few pointers a quick once-over before pulling down the flour bin.
...Continue reading Biscuits on Parade: A Recipe + A Biscuit Tip-Sheet
Every once in a while something comes along for the kitchen that makes you think, "What took them so long?" And the thought that usually follows in the minds of those who are more mechanically inclined than I am, is "Why didn't I think of that?" My bet is that as soon as you see the new BeaterBlade+, you'll have one or both of these reactions.
The BeaterBlade+ is like a windshield wiper for your stand mixer. It's a leaf or paddle attachment with wipers on the sides and bottom so that as your blade whirls around, the wipers scrape the bowl in those hard-to-get-to places.
...Continue reading BeaterBlade+ A New Tool and a Recipe to Test-Drive It
I'll be talking measuring cups and spoons this weekend with The Splendid Table's Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Check your local NPR Radio stations for day and time, listen online or download the show as a podcast.
Lynne has a great Thanksgiving Show this year: Jane and Michael Stern report, this week about Enstrom in Colorado, the folks who make the bestest toffee; John Willoughby talks about Thanksgiving menus and myths; Lynne gives ideas for Thanksgiving on a shoestring; and Jeff Henderson, the inspirational Food Network star, tells his story.
I'll be listening (I'll also be cooking dinner then) -- hope you will, too.
Well, we weren't the only ones with mortars and pestles on our minds.Â Â Â My friends at Splendid TableÂ called to say that they, too, were thinking aboutÂ the duo and wanting to talk about them.Â And so, because who would ever miss the chance to talk to Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Splendid Table's host, about anything, you can hear us chatting mortars and pestles this weekend or you can listen to the podcast.
As always, when I'm on the show I get to share the airwaves with Lynne's regulars, roadfoodies, Jane and Michael Stern, and her special guests.Â This week it's Steve Jenkins, a.k.a. Mr. Cheese, and cookbook author and southern-food scholar, Jean Anderson.
Hope you enjoy the show -- I did.
You know how mothers are always telling their kids to follow their advice so that they (the kids) don't have make their (the mothers') mistakes?Â Well, I feel a little like a mother now telling you to add a mortar and pestle to your batterie de cuisine sooner in your cooking life than later.
It's not that I didn't have a mortar and pestle before -- I did.Â It was just the wrong one.Â I had a small green marble duo that looked like it came from ye olde apothecary.Â As pretty as it was, that's how ineffective it was.Â It just wasn't big enough to do anything that really needed doing and, when I gave it a job that fit its petiteness, it couldn't do that either because it was so slick that stuff would just slide around no matter how fiercely I pounded.
...Continue reading Mortar and Pestle: What Took Me So Long?
Yesterday, my friend Michael Laiskonis, the extraordinarily talented pastry chef of Le Bernardin restaurant in New York, wrote to tell me that he's launched his blog.Â It's exciting to have a new neighbor in cyberspace, especially one who is so smart and has so much to tell us and to teach us.
...Continue reading Michael Laiskonis: Ace Pastry Chef/New Blogger
This week, instead of a Baking with Dorie recipe on Serious Eats, I've posted a list of holiday gifts that would be fun to give to the bakers on your list - oh, and yes, they'd be fun for us bakers to get, too.
Of course it would be nice to give or get big-ticket bakers' dreams like a KitchenAid Stand Mixer or a fabulous Cuisinart Food Processor, which is what I use to make pie and tart doughs, but there are so many other great gifts that are so much less expensive, like the six-buck Pie Crust Bag that makes rolling out dough a cinch, or the great vanilla extract "crush" from Sonoma Syrups (which you might be able to find for even less at your local TJ Maxx).
After you take a look at the list, you might want to email it to Santa.Â I'm told there's still time for the elves to fill special requests.
My husband, Michael, couldn't resist this Siamese-twin tomato at the Lyme Farmers Market this week (it would have been a perfect match for the boomerang eggplant I bought the week before, but that had already become caponata)
...Continue reading Rainy Day Salad
A French friend once told me that the way to hold an opened bottle of Champagne was to stick a silver (or silverplated) spoon in it. Since my friend had never steered me wrong, that's what I did and I was happy for lots of years.
Then some know-it-all told me that the spoon thing was an old wives' myth. He shrugged dismissively when I mentioned that my spooned Champagne seemed to have fizz a day later, and he insisted that the only thing to do with bubbly wine was to drink it up quickly - admittedly, not a bad idea, or to seal it with a cap made especially for that job - also not a bad idea. So, I bought a cap and I used it and it was fine, perhaps finer than the silver-spoon solution, but I couldn't really tell because, just like with the spooned leftovers, we sipped the stoppered stuff only a day later.
...Continue reading Champagne: How to Keep the Fizz
I am not a competitive person. For proof ask The Kid, who used to get so annoyed with me because I wouldn't play checkers - capturing men upset me and having my men captured upset me even more. So it's not out of competitiveness, but rather a sense of tickledness, that I say, "I beat Rachel Ray!" Well, I beat her at only one thing, but I beat her by a fair measure: I had my fabulous FuriTechnics TechEdge Pro Knife Sharpening System before she did. Okay, she's got her name on it now and now the sharpener comes in RR's signature orange, but so what? I've probably had sharper knives longer than she has! (That's an RR version in the photo; my original model is in Connecticut.)
...Continue reading A Furi of Sharpness: Keeping Knives in Shape
There are so many things that can make me happy in the kitchen and a perfect tool is one of them. I love when I can grab just the right thing for a job, an act that entails:
- Knowing just what the right thing is;
- Having it; and
- Being able to put my hands on it the instant I need it.
Given that I've got oodles (shorthand for hundreds) of kitchen tools and gadgets, that they're divided among three kitchens and that I'm neither the neatest nor the most organized person in the world, when all the tool-elements are aligned, it's an excellent day.
...Continue reading Fish Flipping Made Easy