Archive for April, 2011

Culinary Alchemy: Your Own Herb and Spice Mixtures

I have many recipes calling for different types of spice mixtures in my books. Some are simple and familiar, some lavish, others find their home in ethnic cuisine. They range from classic French and Mexican to the dry toasted spices of India, Japan, and Morocco. A dash of herbs or spices, not too overwhelming, allows the cook to present a familiar dish with new tastes. They are a great salt substitute, tricking your palate with the savory accents. Great cooking comes from “people who have an innate capacity to taste and see and smell,” says Cristeta Comerford, White House Chef. You can most certainly take advantage of commercial mixtures, but you can also mix up your own, playing alchemist in your kitchen, bringing a depth of flavor that feeds both body and soul.

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In The Nic of Time

One day while I was working at the bakery, one of my customers asked if I would do a special cake for their birthday. It would be a three-tiered construction, something I had never attempted before. The price was negotiated at $45, a large amount in 1979 for a cake and almost a whole day’s pay for me at the time.

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French Mousseline Buttercream

I can tell I am getting wound up about the upcoming royal wedding when I have buttercream on my mind. Mousseline Buttercream are two sweet words that slide off the tongue. Also called a French buttercream or Swiss buttercream, leave it to the French to find a way to make one of the richest, most luxurious frosting preparations in all of pastrydom. How do they do that?

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