Dessert Divine – the Chocolate Mousse


Chocolate mousse is a sophisticated pudding, once only a specialty of French restaurants. It is an integral part of French dessert making. Every home baker and restaurant pasty chef have their version for special occasions. “Mousse” is the French word…

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Culinary Traveler: Valley of Fruit

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, which happened in a flash last week when I drove south on El Camino Real, passing the land that used to be Olson’s cherry orchards. The aging cherry trees have been pulled out to make way for more shopping centers and apartments, which is also the fate for Brentwood, west of Stockton, where much of our California fruit has been coming from in the last decade.

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Chocolate Cake of the Month: Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake

When asking many of my friends what their favorite winter layer cake is, I am always surprised when most of them emphatically reply “Black Forest Cake!” Never having made it myself and finding bakery versions much too sugary with canned cherry pie filling, my interest perked up when a friend told me of the best Black Forest Cake she ever had; it was from an old recipe printed in Bon Apétit magazine in the 1970s.

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Frito Pie


Frito Pie, one of the great fun foods of the Southwest, consists of chile con carne (beef in red chile sauce) ladled over Fritos corn chips, and topped with shredded cheddar cheese and, if desired, raw onions. If you buy…

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Chocolate Cake of the Month: Little Ricky’s Sachertorte

a beautiful box designed for shipping and easy carry on
Invented by Austrian Franz Sacher, a boy working in the royal kitchen on a day when the pastry chef was absent and a special dessert was needed in the palace,…

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Baking Icon: Lionel Poilane

In the realm of professional artisan bread baking there is one name that is instantly recognizable by serious bread bakers: Poilâne. Part of the brotherhood of artisan bakers, Poilâne is not only a family of French bakers, but a standard of excellence for from-scratch-production sourdough bread baking all over the world.

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Welsh Bara Brith

Bara brith, also known as “speckled bread” (the literal meaning of the original Welsh-language name referring to the mixed dried fruit scattered in the bread), can be either a yeast bread enriched with dried fruit (similar to the Irish barmbrack)…

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The Culinary Traveler: Indonesian Rice Bowl

Indonesia is the land of spices and herbs. This was the main reason the Dutch, Arab, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, and British wanted to colonize Indonesia. This also meant that while they were there, they all have influenced Indonesian cuisine a lot as well in reverse cross pollination. The Dutch wanted a monopoly on the spice trade and conquered Indonesia for more than 300 years, exporting nutmeg, cloves, mace, ginger, and black pepper back to Europe.

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The Queen of Fragrance Rice In Your Kitchen

Just ten years ago, Indian-grown basmati white rice was virtually a culinary secret to American cooks unless they had traveled in India or had a palate for ethnic world cuisine. Basmati rice is the preferred choice of Indians everywhere in the world.

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The Culinary Traveler: La Piadina-Italian Bakestone Bread

An Italian version of a flour tortilla or Indian chapati, piadine is one of the oldest hearth breads made in the world today. It hails from the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy on the Adriatic Sea, the site of old Etruscan cities, and the most fertile wheat-growing area in the country. This was a staple of the tenant farmer’s diet.

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