11-13-2009 12:16 PM - edited 11-15-2009 04:22 PM
I am thrilled to announce that James Beard-Award winning cookbook author James Peterson will be visiting our boards for TEN days prior to Thanksgiving.
He will be available to discuss his newest book:
He'll be happy to answer questions about any of his other books as well, including (and this is just a small sample, there's many more!):
On a personal note I want to mention that James offered me one of my first real kitchen jobs after culinary school as a recipe tester on:
He is a gifted teacher, generous and kind mentor, and talented chef. His books are bibles -- they are culinary school quality cooking classes for the home cook. They are fun to read, with plenty of anecdotes and hundreds of photographs, all taken by James in his home as he prepares the recipes.
Please feel free to ask questions, and remember there are no stupid questions. James is very eager to help ensure your holiday cooking is a success.
11-15-2009 04:16 PM
I've been making my way through Baking, and I must thank you for your pie crust recipe. Your standing mixer method has changed the way I feel about my pie crust making abilities. Going with 1/2 cake flour and 1/2 AP is a revelation, as is using whole eggs in place of ice water. My crust is now light and flaky -- I'm proud of it, and eager to show others your method.
I've made your Apple Pie, Banana Cream Pie (the butterscotchy brown butter is a fantastic idea!), Sticky Buns and Challah -- everything has worked out very well. Are there other recipes you'd recommend, do you have a favorite beginning, intermediate and advanced cake, for example?
Also, out of curiosity, anything special that you're baking this Thanksgiving?
11-15-2009 07:35 PM
First of all let me tell you that I am thrilled to be able to ask you a question.
I love Thanksgiving...the whole family coming in from across the country thing to celebrate the beginnings of our country and our ties to each other.
That aside, I'm always vexed by culinary questions regarding the turkey:
frozen or fresh killed,
free range or organic or both,
stuffed or not,
brined or not,
breast up or breast down or flipped midway through
and I'm sure I'm omitting other choices.
The rest of the meal seems to be free from trepidation.
Can you help me feel confident and enjoyed the entire meal with my guests?
11-17-2009 12:24 PM
None of the cakes are difficult in themselves--the butter-enriched sponge cake is my favorite--but only some of the decorating techniques. A good all round technique for decorating a cake is to cover it with a layer of rolled-out marzipan. More complicated are roses, chocolate strips that wrap around the cake, glazes, and other more elaborate decorations. Hope this helps.
11-17-2009 12:27 PM
I don't bother with brining and I never stuff. Brining helps but if you don't overcook the turkey, should be unnecessary. Stuffing causes the turkey to end up overcooked because extra heat is needed to cook the stuffing. My main secret is that I cover the breast loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil for the first 30 minutes of cooking. This slows down the cooking of the breast meat. Hope this helps.
11-17-2009 05:47 PM
Hi James! Sometimes children learn from their mothers, sometimes mothers learn from their children. I grew up in a family of seven, where dinner usually involved anything that could be stretched into a casserole. While I learned to prepare a meal, you couldn't really say I ever really learned how to "cook."
Lucky for my son, his girlfriend also grew up in a family of seven, but in her case it inspired her to learn how to cook the way professionals do. I willingly donated my shelves of cookbooks to the cause, and have been picking up new ones for their collection. My son, who lived on salads for years, is now hooked on cooking -- even baking! I am so help to him, but I'm awed by his enthusiasm.
I'm so glad I stopped by here, because now I know what cookbooks to put under their Christmas tree -- yours! Your cookbooks will be a great addition to their library, and the rest of us will enjoy the fruits of their labors!
11-17-2009 06:29 PM
11-19-2009 02:30 PM
Hi James. I'm attending a cookie exchange party this season, and I want to bake some butter cookies. I aspire to make them as well as my grandmother used to! Do you have any tips for making my butter cookies as delicious as possible?
11-19-2009 04:40 PM
I love Baking, and I am writing a review of it for The Daring Kitchen.
I want to make several different flavors of mousse for a recipe I'm working on, but most of the recipes I find online and in cookbooks use gelatin. I'm a vegetarian and can not eat it. Are there any alternatives?
11-20-2009 02:19 PM
That's great. Thanks for your flattering e-mail. I hope Baking inspires you!
11-20-2009 02:21 PM
I like KitchenAid mixers. They come in at least 2 sizes, one more powerful than the other. The more powerful one is essential if you make a lot of bread, otherwise you can make do with the smaller model. The one reason I prefer my smaller model is that I was able to buy a copper bowl insert for beating egg whites.
11-20-2009 02:24 PM
The trick with making anything with butter is not to let the butter melt. Keep everything cool.
11-20-2009 02:25 PM
I've been asking around and have come up with 2 possibilities. Kosher gelatin is made with fish, so if you eat fish, that's ok. The other alternative is agar agar which is derived from sea weed. I haven't worked with it since biochemistry so it probably would require some experimentation. Good luck.
11-23-2009 01:37 PM
Thanks Jim! I do not eat fish but I will try the agar-agar. I made the pecan pie from the book and it was outstanding--by far the best pecan pie I've ever had.
I found the most gorgeous Brussels sprouts at the grocery store--they are still on the stalk. Do you have any favorite Brussels sprouts recipes?