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Weights & measures, ratios & scales

May 4, 2009

More than other kinds of cooking, baking relies on precise measurements, which is the reason why many baking recipes (particularly European recipes) call for ingredients to be weighed rather than measured out in cups or liters.  This is especially true of flour, which can be an enormous variable depending on how you fill your cup [...]

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Amaranth cookies

April 16, 2009

Yesterday was a milestone day. Not because it was tax day (although I did drink a cup of tea in honor of the sitting president) but because Kim finished developing the last recipe in our cookbook.  It was an amaranth cookie, made with amaranth flour and ground hazelnuts, cut out in bee shapes, baked and [...]

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Flavoring jams

March 31, 2009

This is a picture of Kim’s kitchen counter, with bowls of just-made strawberry jam set out next to her stove.  We were testing her jam recipe and trying to figure out the best flavoring.  She’d put hibiscus in the original recipe, but had switched out the dried flowers to use in a different recipe.  So [...]

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A salt essay

March 20, 2009

(This is a terrific book.  Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky. (Penguin, 2002).

In 15th century Poland, they preserved game by gutting the animal in question (a rabbit, perhaps; a stray deer) and rubbing the cavity with salt and gunpowder.  Gunpowder being a variant salt compound.  In [...]

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