Joe’s Hardware I

You won’t be surprised to discover I have strong opinions on rolling pins. I have lots. But the two I turn to the most are my simple Chinese rolling pin (which looks like this only longer), and my big heavy conventional pin. The big one has a 15-inch cylinder which I really like for rolling […]

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The Home Baking Quality Edge

Much is made in the media of the shortcomings of home cooks, and their increasing inability to compete with the quality of restaurant food. Which in and of itself is a kind of irony, since for most of the last century dining out was what people did when they didn’t have access to the good […]

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Joe’s Soapbox XXVIII

One of my pet peeves is TV chefs throwing the word “carmelization” around everywhere. Sour grapes? Well, yes actually. But just because I’m ticked that Tyler Florence gets to jet around the country making pot-au-feu with pretty single women while I’m sitting at home blogging in my underwear doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to carp […]

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The Italian Cream Cake Conspiracy

I’m constantly struck how neighboring regions have such different culinary traditions. Lousiville is just 5 short hours away from Chicago, yet it is unequivocally part of The South. Here, biscuits rule instead of Italian loaves, and people reminisce about country ham and salt rising bread. The pizza’s terrible but the barbecue kills. And when I […]

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Apples & Honey

I don’t know why the significance of the pairing of apples and honey in this week’s pastry recipe didn’t strike me before. The combination is of course eaten the night of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, to bring blessings in the upcoming year. It was the unusual choice of honey that got me interested […]

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Sweet Home Chicago III

Well, I pulled a mighy fine pie out of the oven last night for the Superbowl. Not quite star quality, but mighty fine nonetheless. The crust, as I’d hoped, was dense (without being too dense), rich (without being too rich), flavorful and flaky. All the qualities one would look for in a biscuit, or as […]

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This Week’s Pastry…

…is simplicity itself: Puff Pastry Apple Tarts with honey glaze. It’s a fantastic illustration of the kind of baking feats that can be achieved with just one or two carefully selected ingredients, and of course an ample stash of puff pastry in the freezer.

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