Posts tagged as:

tools

3 ways of looking at vanilla sugar

May 15, 2009

Vanilla beans are pricey, but they’re well worth it. Especially if you consider what they are: the hand-pollinated, hand-picked, cured, dried and fermented fruit of an orchid.  One of the ways to get the most out of every Mexican, Tahitian or Bourbon-Madagascar bean is to save the pods–after you’ve scraped the seeds from them or [...]

Read the full article →

Turkish coffee & spice grinders

May 11, 2009

These utterly gorgeous contraptions are brass grinders, made for pepper or other spices, or for the grinding of Turkish coffee. They’re both from Turkey: the smaller of the two I bought at the spice bazaar in Istanbul a few years ago; the larger is from Turkish Coffee World, a fantastic online site that sells Turkish [...]

Read the full article →

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 [...]

Read the full article →

My favorite pastry brush

April 23, 2009

 
This is a picture of my favorite pastry brush from cooking school, which I bought not at the over-priced store conveniently attached to the school but at Home Depot.  (Where I get most of my cooking gear.) It’s a 2-inch brush that we used for glazing tarts, basting roasts or birds, brushing egg wash over [...]

Read the full article →

The plastic bag tree

April 12, 2009

My mother recycled long before it was fashionable: thirty-five years ago, going all green and sustainable was called being practical or, perhaps more accurately, being poor.  She washed out tin cans and glass jars and reused them, patched clothes and redistributed them; she even–to my abject horror–insisted on saving the wrapping paper from Christmasses and [...]

Read the full article →

Ode to a copper bowl

April 5, 2009

For dessert last night, I made a very simple thing: whipped cream, served with a bowl of strawberries.  The cream was very slightly sweetened with vanilla sugar (sugar ground in a food processor with an old vanilla bean husk).  The strawberries were Chandlers from the farmers market, hulled but otherwise untouched.  This was all very [...]

Read the full article →

My favorite pan

March 27, 2009

I had a wok in college, one of those big ones that sat on a separate base and was impossibly round; it was like trying to stir-fry with a bowl. Okay, maybe I just didn’t get the technique down, but still.  Not fun.  So a few years ago Vicki Fan (of Beacon in Culver City) [...]

Read the full article →

String theory

March 5, 2009

 

 
My last article for the Los Angeles Times was about string.  A well-wrapped cone, actually. Which I thought was kind of hilarious, since the Keats bit actually made it past the copy editors (copy editors like to edit out all literary references, and don’t even try theological references; at least none of mine ever made [...]

Read the full article →