Techniques Tag

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How to adjust pan size in baking

What's happening to me? The minute I went to photograph this dessert I thought, "Rats! I should have made the cobbler in a cast iron frying pan. It would have looked so much more rustic." Great. It's not enough that I'm criticized for being a food...

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How to make perfect cake

  If you read my 2012 Culinary Bucket List, you'll see I have a lot of baking to do. In case a from-scratch cake is on your list, I thought I'd start the new year off with some baking tips I learned from Camilla V. Saulsbury,...

How to table chocolate for truffles - The Messy Baker
How to Table Chocolate Ganache for Truffles

Last week I had the pleasure of taking a truffle and bon bon making course in Toronto with Marissa Scibetta at Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts. For two glorious evenings I was the proverbial kid in the candy shop, weighing, heating, mixing, spooning and...

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Happy Thanksgiving: How to Carve Poultry
Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! Since I can't join you in person and help out  with dinner, I thought I'd share a video that could make your holiday meal run a bit more smoothly -- or at least save your good table cloth from some unnecessary grease spots. While the turkey roasts, take 3 minutes and learn how to carve the bird like a pro. The poultry-phobic might want to bookmark this post since the instructions work perfectly for Christmas, birthdays, Sunday family dinners or any time you serve roasted poultry -- be it duck, turkey, goose, chicken or itty-bitty Cornish hens. So sharpen those knives and have a safe and very happy Thanksgiving! PS: For those who shun Black Friday, stay warm and cozy inside and take advantage of  Rouxbe Online Cooking School's Cyber Monday Deal. See below for details.
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Orange and Carrot Salad
Winter has returned with a vengeance, Dumping great soggy clumps of slush on our heads. In the face of this penetrating cold, I don't want hot soup. I don't want great steaming mounds of comfort food. I want warm temperatures and sunshine. And I want it now. So I'm pretending they dishwater gray sky is brilliant blue and eating something that tastes like summer. Oranges. While I love oranges, I hate peeling them. Not only does it hurt my wonky thumb, somehow I always manage to squirt juice all over myself or anyone unlucky enough to be within spraying range. Sure, I can tackle tiny, loose-skinned clementines, but when faced with large navel oranges that might as well be bound in duct tape, I haul out the chef's knife and cut them into wedges. So, what do I do when faced with a fruit salad?
Decorative chocolate drizzles - The Messy Baker
How to make decorative chocolate drizzle

During the chocolate demonstration, Derrick made this decorative chocolate drizzle for Emily. As in Emily Richards. I'm not jealous. Really. After all, my name's too long. And too hard to spell. So demonstrating chocolate script with "Emily" makes sense. I guess. After Derrick showed off demonstrated, he...

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Recipe: Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Mousse
I know that when I see a recipe calling for basically three desserts rolled into one, I skip it in favour of something simpler, like cookies. But if you think about it, pie is two desserts in one. The crust and then the filling. And many squares -- say a classic Canadian Nanaimo -- require two or three steps. So don't let this multi-part recipe scare you. It's actually no harder than pie and beyond delicious. In fact, during the 2-hour chocolate demonstration we not only witnessed Derrick Tu Tan Pho make ganache-filled macarons, he whipped up these beauties as well. And topped them with drizzled chocolate. Granted, we had no interruptions and a pro at the helm, but if you're busy, you can make the brownies ahead of time. Or the mousse. Or just the mousse. As an incentive, here are two of Master Chocolatier Derrick Tu Tan Pho's best tricks.
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How to Temper Chocolate in a Microwave & a Give Away
Shocked to learn you can put metal in a microwave to temper chocolate - The Messy Baker   This is me at chocolate class. While Elizabeth Baird looks mildly curious, I look like I'm about to have the "full bore lateral panic" my mother so often threatened. From my expression you'd think the macarons had started to dance about like extras in a scene from Fantasia. Or perhaps Master Chocolatier Derrick Tu Tan Pho was juggling knives blindfolded. But no. He's just showing us how to temper chocolate. This is me reacting as I see Derrick put a metal bowl in the microwave. Ever since my mom bought her first microwave in 1972  "Don't put metal in the microwave!" has been drilled into me. Of course, that hasn't stopped me from starting a small fire with a foil wrapper or showering the interior of the appliance with sparks from a gold-rimmed tea cup. But in all my years of melting butter and reheating cold beverages, I have never once zapped a piece of metal flatware or nuked a shiny silver mixing bowl. And there, in front of  half a dozen seasoned food writers, Derrik, who is also the Technical Consultant & Director of the Barry Callebaut Canada Chocolate Academy, put a big metal bowl of chocolate pistoles in the microwave and hit "Start." As you can see, it took all my self-control not to launch across the table and stop him.
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Knife Skills – Top 3 Mistakes and 3 Essentials Knives
You wouldn't know from my sleek bob cut, but I'm a rocker. A die-hard rocker, through and through. Don't get me wrong. I'm not the head-banging, metal-thrashing, ear-destroying kind. I'm the chop 'em, mince 'em, dice 'em kind. I know this because Jeffrey Elliot, coauthor of The Complete Book of Knife Skills, told me so. I interviewed him recently, and when I sheepishly confessed that I couldn't figure out how to use those ultra-popular, uber-chic Japanese knives, instead of telling me to just keep at it, he shrugged and said, "You're either a rocker or a chopper. Few people are both." Turns out Japanese knives are for choppers. Which I'm not. So my classic Western-style chef's knife can stay. Last month, I listed Complete Book of Knife Skills as one of my top picks for 2010, partially because it's the best book I've seen on this topic, but mostly because I actually use it. I keep it in the kitchen, next to the phone book, just inches from the butcher block island and my knife block. Why? Even though I have perfected my knife grip and keep the fingers of my guide hand well out of the way, I still make a lot of mistakes.
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Chocolate Macarons
Macaron with chocolate ganache Remember my resolution to espouse joy, accept my weakness for sugary treats and let the professionals worry about the camera work? Well, today I share with you one of the highlights of my food writing career and a few less than stellar pictures. Recently, I spent an afternoon at Bonnie Gordon College with Master Chocolatier Derrick Tu Tan Pho. Not only did I learn a lot about one of my favourite edible culinary inspirations, I got to make impossibly shiny macarons and near-nebulous mousse alongside some of my favourite human culinary inspirations. Forgive me if I name drop or two but wouldn't you get a little excited if you sat beside the iconic Elizabeth Baird for two glorious uninterrupted hours, watched the talented Emily Richards drizzle her name in chocolate, piped batter alongside the all-knowing Susan Sampson and talked muffins with prolific author/editor Jennifer Mackenzie? In between mouthfuls of macarons and potentially addictive chocolate pearls, I scribbled enough notes to fill a small binder.  So I'm breaking my afternoon of chocolate nirvana into a few of posts, which I'll share with you over the next little while. After all, too much chocolate in one seating will spoil your dinner. Plus, I get to relive the joy a few more times. Did I mention I sat beside Elizabeth Baird?

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