How you doin’? No one would ever accuse me of being a shrinking violet, but back in baking school when I heard that we were going to make puff pastry again, I would quake in my clogs. For some reason this was one of the more difficult things for me to get right.
Puff pastry is just a simple laminated base dough like the doughs used in croissants—only without yeast. The butter is actually put inside the dough, making a paton which is repeatedly folded and rolled out before baking—alternating layers of dough and very cold butter, rolled, batted and folded over to create 68 flaky layers—count ‘em 68.
The ingredients are simple… the technique, not so easy. My friend Henry (Bavarian Specialties) found a way to automate the process with a quarter mile production line with over 400 motors. That may give you an idea of the complexity of puff pastry dough.
Fear not! I have a simple solution for you! Puff pastry, also known as pâte feuilleté, is a flaky light pastry with 101 uses, but why spend 2 days making it yourself when Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry is available (Trader Joe’s has an all-butter variety, as well). A box of this, ready-to-go frozen puff pastry is something of a miracle. If you’ve ever baked with it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It puffs into delicate, buttery layers (probably more than 68), turning even the most basic recipes into something that feels totally fancy.
It’s also super easy to use… all you need to do is pull the box out of the freezer and pop it in the oven. Well, not quite that easy, although I promise it’s almost that simple. Just remember to read the tips in the ChefSecret below and you’ll be on your way to light and flaky breakfast turnovers, bite-sized appetizers, savory tarts and Palmiers.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: 30 to 40 cookies
1 cup of unsalted melted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted, but still chilled (I use Pepperidge Farm)
ChefSecret: Follow these tips for baking with frozen puff pastry:
Covid19 Quip of the Day: Remember all those times when you wished the weekend would last forever. Well, Wish granted. Happy Now?
Do you have a question or comment? Do you want to share a favorite recipe or pictures with our readers? Send your thoughts to email@example.com. All recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind—that’s the American way. If you have a little extra in your pocket to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America. Thanks for reading.
#Dessert #Brunch #Palmiers #ElephantEars #PigEars #PuffPastry #PepperidgeFarms #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #FeedingAmerica
©PERSPECTIVES/The Consulting Group, Inc., 2020
How you doin’? It’s that magic day of the week and the best hour of the day—Happy Hour. Joan asked me to make a cocktail named after her—so here is, The Joan. Wait a minute, I think she had a Polish Princess Cocktail in mind. Everyone thinks of Joan as the Polish Princess. She has a sweatshirt with Polish Princess emblazoned across the front. So, I looked hard and far to find a suitable beverage for an exceptional lady.
I first had to find a Polish liquor—that was easy—Sobieski Vodka. Sobieski Poland is known as the birthplace of vodka and one of the great vodka-producing countries of the world. While Poland may be better known for its potato vodkas, Sobieski Vodka will show you how great Polish rye vodka can be. Their claim, Just Water, Rye and no BS.
There are few vodkas that have a premium taste and remain within a budget-friendly price range—just about $12 a bottle. This Polish vodka is relatively new to the U.S. market (2007). However, Sobieski claims to be the number one vodka in Poland. Now, if people in the country known for its vodka like it, you know it must be good and it is!
The story of Sobieski (Sobi) Vodka itself is rather short but its roots are deep in the Polish heritage of vodka. The brand name is taken from King Jan III Sobieski, a 17th-century ruler who is regarded by some as "the last great King of Poland." Sobi has been distilled in Poland since 1864. It uses Dankowski rye from Poland's Mazowse fields as the base. The vodka's water is naturally filtered from Oligocene epoch springs. The vodka is distilled in a continuous column still.
This is "real vodka," a pure form of distilled spirit that is relatively tasteless while leaving your palate clean and refreshed. It does not have the heavy alcohol notes found in many of the cheaper brands. Sobi is not afraid to call itself the premium vodka, a moniker typically reserved for those in the $25 to $50 price range, but that description is fitting. Just because it costs less does not mean that it should taste like it.
2 ounces Sobieski Vodka
2 ounces coconut water
2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce cranberry juice
Garnish: a wedge of pineapple dipped in toasted minced coconut
Do you have a question or comment? Do you want to share a favorite recipe or pictures with our readers? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. All recipes and cooking tips are also being posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe, be kind and always give thanks to our many first responders on the front lines who risk their lives for us every day. If you have a little extra in your pocket to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America. Thanks for reading.
#PolishPrincess #SobieskiVodka #Vodka #Cocktails #HappyHour #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #FeedingAmerica
©PERSPECTIVES/The Consulting Group, Inc. 2020
The origins of crumb-topped coffee cakes appear to come from Central and Eastern Europe. The Germans and Austrians use a yeast-raised dough while Polish and Jewish bakers use baking powder and soda for leavening. Communities in the Mediterranean will use plain yogurt instead of sour cream to interact with the baking powder to leaven their coffee cakes. Despite the name, this coffee cake it is not made with coffee but is meant to be enjoyed with a cup of joe, tea or a tall glass of milk—morning, noon or night. You’ll love it anytime.
To my taste the best parts of this cake are the crispy, crunchy, nutty, buttery crumb topping and the chocolate filling. The topping does double duty as the cinnamon streusel topping and the center filling with added chocolate. So carefully read the recipe to make sure you don’t add chocolate to the top or it will burn when baking. Baking times will vary according to pan size and your oven. Always use a cake tester to check the doneness of the bake.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake time: 30 to 35 minutes (for the square springform pan pictured)
Cooling time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 serving
For the crumb streusel topping and filling
1 cup pecans, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup dark chocolate chips (to be used when layering the filling, not for the topping)
For the butter cake
1-7/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (dusted in a little flour)
ChefSecret: This cake can also be baked in a couple of well-buttered loaf pans. Eat one today and freeze the other to enjoy later. I’ve made this recipe in fluted pans with removeable bottoms. I have tried Bundt pans with debatable results—you really must make sure you both butter and flour the Bundt pan to prevent the cake from sticking in the crevasses. If you decide to use a Bundt pan, use one with a very simple design.
To keep the mini chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom of the cake, dust them lightly with a little flour. This works for most inclusions in baked goods like blueberries and cranberries—a quick dusting or dredge in flour will keep everything suspended in the cake batter.
#Dessert #CoffeeCake #Pecan #SourCreamCoffeeCake #Baking #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19
How you doin’? I was feeling a little nostalgic today… thinking about the good old days in NorCal. Perspectives offices were in San Francisco at California and Sansome Streets right across the street from Tadich’s Grill. The food at Tadich’s was so damn good my partners and I wound up there almost 3 times a week for lunch and nightly for drinks.
The original Tadich’s opened in 1849 as a coffee stand on Clay Street in San Francisco. It is the oldest restaurant in California and the third oldest in the United States. Can you imagine the history with this restaurant, from the Gold Rush to the current pandemic?
In 1928 the Buich family purchased the restaurant from John Tadich; they continue to own the restaurant today. In 1967 the restaurant moved to its present location at 240 California Street; this was after Wells Fargo bought the Clay Street location for redevelopment. They have been open for business at that location ever since.
On a sad note, they had to close their doors in mid-March by order of Mayor London Breed, but on a happier note, they’ve recently re-opened with curbside pickup and delivery. We all hope they will be able to reopen the dining room soon.
I had three everyday menu favorites… Petrale Sole, Sand Dabs and The Crab Louie. The Cioppino and Lobster Thermidor are also spectacular, but not for every day. Louies are a great spring and summer salad.
The Shrimp Louie was invented in San Francisco in the early 1900’s. It’s made with large chilled shrimp, lettuce, hard cooked egg, sliced avocado and tomato wedges. The Louie dressing is similar to Thousand Island dressing and is made with mayonnaise, ketchup, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, salt and pepper. A variation on the salad is cracked local Dungeness crab and is known as Crab Louie—my favorite.
You should only use the freshest local Dungeness crab possible. Crab season usually begins in mid-November and, technically, runs to June or July, depending on the location. It takes a little time to put this salad together, but for an elegant meal it’s a showstopper!
Prep time: 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 people
For the dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the salad
12 asparagus spears, trimmed
Two 6-ounce romaine hearts, torn crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 6-ounce seedless cucumber, cut into spears
4 large red radishes, shredded
4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 hard-cooked eggs, cut into wedges
1 avocado, quartered and sliced
1-pound crabmeat, preferably Dungeness (1/4-pound per plate)
How to assemble the Crab Louie
#Crab #LouieSalad #CrabLouie #ShrimpLouie #Entrees #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19
How you doin’? It has been suggested that I lighten up a bit. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that suggestion, but I think this time they are referring to the recipes. After all it is really getting warm in Los Angeles and people just want to eat a little lighter. Also, it’s time we starting losing the “Covid-19”… the number of pounds many of us gained during the lock down. So, I’ve decided to share with you one of my favorite salads that was inspired by Houston’s Restaurant.
The original date on this recipe was 1992. I had just lunched at Houston’s and my entrée came with a couscous side salad—it was delicious. I asked our server if he could get a copy of the recipe from the chef. He took down my address (we didn’t have email in those days) and about a week later I got a handwritten recipe in the mail. Over the years I added two ingredients—chopped peanuts and lemon zest. The peanuts added a little texture and the lemon zest gave it a vibrant citrus halo. Yummmm!
What is couscous, you ask? Couscous is a word that comes from the classical Arabic word0 “kouscous” (pronounced in English as /kuskus/) and from the Berber word “kseksu,” that designates both the durum wheat semolina and the traditional dish of which it is the main ingredient. However, some think that the word “couscous” could be derived from the classical Arabic word “kaskash” (to pound small), that means crushing and grinding.
Actually, couscous is a Berber word and pasta dish. As such, it’s funny to hear several rumors about couscous history and how it might have originated in China—it didn’t.
Utensils required to make the delicious semolina-based dish date back to the 7th century. The first written evidence of its existence was found in an Andalucian-Moroccan cookbook from the 13th century (thank you Wiki). While some think the origin of couscous is unclear, there is archaeological evidence its origins are in well-rooted in eastern to northern Africa, and that Berbers ate couscous by packing the it in the tips of their fingers. If you want to be invited back, use a fork.
For the couscous salad dressing
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1-1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
1-3/4 cups yogurt, low fat or no fat
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups lite olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the couscous salad
2 cups prepared (cooked) traditional couscous
1/2 cup grated red radish
3 tablespoons confetti-cut carrot
2 tablespoons scallions tops, circles
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 to 3/4 cups couscous dressing
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the couscous salad dressing
ChefSecret: When making a salad dressing or marinade always add the oil in last. That gives the herbs and spices a chance to blossom before being sealed by the oil. The leftover salad dressing works well on any green salad as well.
#Couscous #Houstons #Salads #Entrees #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #ComfortFoods
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