Monday, April 2, 2018

Around the Kitchen Table: What's on your cooking "bucket" list?


Welcome to our monthly Kitchen table talk, where we all chinwag on a chosen topic, and we look forward to your own thoughts in the comments. For our April giveaway, one lucky commenter will be showered ☂ with great reads from many of our mystery writing cooks. Find out more at the end of our post. And now we're off and chatting with this month's topic...

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PEG: I've tried tons and tons of recipes over the years. I've made my own bread, I've made naan, I've made pate, I've completely boned and stuffed a chicken and I've even cooked in a tagine. But the one thing I've always wanted to try making is puff pastry or pate feuilletee. I know you can buy it in the grocery store and it works fine, but just once I’d like to try to make my own. I remember watching Julia Child whipping it up on her cooking show. She made it look so easy although everyone shudders when you mention trying it yourself. If I can master it, I’d like to make some Napoleons and maybe a pithiviers—a puff pastry creation that can be savory or sweet. 

What’s on your cooking or baking “bucket” list? Something you want to try to make that you’ve never made before but that maybe scares you a little?  


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SHEILA: My daughter is now making puff pastry professionally, and I am insanely jealous. And I happily remember Julia Child's Pithiviers episode. (You don't really think it's a coincidence that I named my daughter Julia?)

But for myself, I think there are some recipes I should try, if I want to call myself a real cook, but I've never done it. Sweetbreads (my grandmother loved them). Tripe. A host of other internal organs. Octopus. And, oddly, my family's standby Sunday dinner: the standing rib roast. While I happily eat roast beef (rare, please), I cower at the idea of ruining a very expensive chunk of meat.


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KRISTA: I have had some true kitchen disasters. I have to admit that I felt much, much better about failing at baking macarons when I read that the editor of Cook's Magazine had been just as unsuccessful. And I have decided that Danish (hmm, there's a theme here, isn't there?) are really best bought in a store. However, since real croissants are next to impossible to find where I live, I would like to try my hand at making them. And I really ought to use that pasta gizmo that I bought for my KitchenAid mixer a few years ago.


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DARYL: Before I was diagnosed celiac (gluten-free), I tried my hand at homemade pasta. I failed miserably. Do you have to be Italian to do it? I'd like to make beautiful cakes with whipped frosting and using a piping tool so I could make roses and all sorts of fancy frostings, but for some reason I know I will be horrible at it. I can make  gluten-free cake no problem. Oh, how I love looking in bakery windows at  beautiful pastries. Sheila, I will never cook sweetbreads. I had them way back when and got very ill. Sigh. Tripe? No way. Octopus? Too chewy. I do make a killer rib roast. I'll be glad to talk you through the steps. The Gourmet Cookbook: Volume 1 is my guardian angel in this regard. Never fail recipe within its beautiful pages. FYI, I love going to a restaurant and trying to figure out one of their recipes. This one, a Chocolate Decadent Cake from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, is one of my greatest achievements. I got the recipe that served over 40! And tweaked for 8-12. Yay. I shared it on MLK a couple of years ago.




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LUCYI never really thought of a cooking bucket list, Peg, but now you've reminded me that I paid for online course on puff pastry--it's a matter of finding the link and having the time! Gesine Bullock-Prado, Sandra Bullock's sister, was the pastry chef/teacher. I also must make lobster mac and cheese for the book I'm writing now. And here's my Pinterest board where I stick everything and anything I might want to cook...

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LESLIE: We seem to all be agreed on puff pastry! I asked my cooking companion, aka Mr. Right, his answer and immediately he popped off with Confit de Canard, aka Duck Confit, which he discovered on our month-long trip to France a few years ago. (The month in which he ate duck so often, I started feeding the ducks on the Sorgue River as an apology.) Then he suggested we try it this weekend, but alas, no local source for duck fat. Like Daryl, I thought of homemade pasta. And then there's macarons, and cannoli, and eclairs, and ... Maybe I should just go back to France!


CLEO: In all my 18 years of marriage to my husband (and partner in culinary crime writing), I never asked him about his cooking fantasies. For this post, I did. 

Marc surprised me with a wish to one day have his own smoker. This, of course, poses a problem in urban areas like New York City, where we live, but Marc would dearly love to smoke his own brisket. His wish reminded me of my own. 

During the Great Depression, my father's mother baked bread every morning in an outdoor coal-fired oven (old-time Italian style). I'd love to do the same, not only with bread but also pizza. And while we're on the subject of fire and smoke, roasting my own coffee has been a bucket list wish for years. I'm finally close to doing it. Watch for a blog on home roasting in the near future! ~ Cleo Coyle, author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries




☂ ☂ ☂

APRIL SHOWERS GIVEAWAY!

IT'S RAINING GREAT READS...


Leave a comment with your email
address or tell us how to find you on
Facebook, and here is what you'll win...


Congrats to our winner,
by random draw:

"Deb P."





TART OF DARKNESS by Denise Swanson (click to learn more)

SHOT IN THE DARK by Cleo Coyle (click to learn more)

BERRIED AT SEA by Peg Cochran (click to learn more)



DEAD COLD BREW by Cleo Coyle (click to learn more)

COLOR ME MURDER  by Krista Davis (click to learn more)

PRESSING THE ISSUE by Daryl Wood Gerber (click to learn more)

MURDER AT THE MANSION by Sheila Connolly (click to learn more)


Congrats to our drawing winner:

DEB P.!

She is now "showered" 
with some great reads! 



66 comments:

  1. Up early this morning after making an airport run! I've always wished I could fry chicken, southern style. My mom and grandma could. My few efforts have been a total failure but at this point I'd rather go buy it somewhere.
    patdupuy@yahoo.com

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  2. I don’t really have a bucket list. One of the things I’d always wanted to try making was a standing rib roast. I made one back in December and fortunately it came out fine. I was always worried about ruining such an expensive piece of meat.

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  3. My Dad made bread . . .wonderful, delicious bread. All kinds. Me - not so much. So I can bake the hell out of all kinds of other things and want to make good bread consistently.

    pjcoldren(at)tm.net

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  4. At my "advanced" age I have no bucket list! I'd rather eat - and read about - someone else's cooking!!
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  5. I keep telling myself that one day I should try to make my own pie crust but I keep buying them at the store instead. People say it's easy but it looks so hard. Love your recipes. Thanks for the contest. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Oh, now that one I can see really is easy! Use a butter crust recipe your first time out -- easier to work with than an oil crust. I love the Williams Sonoma basic recipe, though I'm sure Joy of Cooking and other classic cookbooks have a similar recipe.

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  6. FYI - the April Baking Challenge at sallysbakingaddiction.com is croissants . . . just saying . . .

    pjcoldren(at)tm.net

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  7. I know it sounds easy, but I would like to make Yorkshire Puddings. I made it as far as purchasing a pan, just not brave enough to take the next step!
    debprice60@gmail.com

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    1. I've made them and they're not that hard. They turned out great! Give it a try!

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    2. Deb - I'm delighted to inform you that you have won our random drawing! We hope to hear from you by Tuesday (4/10) at midnight or we'll have to randomly draw a new winner. Check your email box for details. Good luck!

      ~ Cleo and the Mystery Writing Cooks at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

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  8. One item that was on my bucket list for a long time was baklava. I finally got the courage to make it, and it actually was not very hard at all -- just labor intensive. I would love to make a perfect chocolate soufflé some day with crème Anglaise to die for! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Ooh, baklava -- good one! The local French restaurant closed a few years ago -- I recreated it in my Village series -- and they served a fab chocolate souffle with creme Anglais. Now you have me craving it!

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  9. On my baking bucket list = cinnamon rolls. I'm just so intimidated to make them from scratch! I will get the courage soon, haha. EMS591@aol.com

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  10. I would love to learn to make French Macarons and to conquer pie crust. I generally buy both of them, but I have seen the kids on those baking contest make both of them successfully - if a kid can do it, why can't I??!! sharonquiltsatyahoodotcom

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  11. Cleo you can make Marc's dream come true by visiting Lowe's or Home Depot and just buying a smoker. They come in many sizes. Son #2 has one in his back yard and he'll "smoke" any cut of meat or fowl he gets his hands on. Your wish might take a bit more work. You'd have to hire someone to build that oven for you.

    Ellen and I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

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    1. Alas, urban living precludes outdoor grills and smokers, right, Cleo?

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    2. Nora - Belated good wishes to you and Ellen!

      Libby - Outdoor grilling is still legal in NYC, if the grill complies with certain restrictions, but we'd be worried about using a smoker. Close quarters with neighbors would mean lots of apologizing (and explaining if one of them calls the fire department)!

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  12. I have never thought about a cooking bucket list, but if I had one I suppose tiramisu would be at the top. It looks so complicated but tastes so good! mbradeen@yahoo.com

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  13. I use to help my mother make a German Chocolate cake for my father's birthday every April. She would use the largest round from a wedding cake pan set and would make 4 layers, splitting each layer. Between the layers she would slather homemade coconut pecan frosting and then on the top. This year I vow to make one for my family.

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    1. I forgot to add my e-mail. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  14. I don't really cook much, but would like to learn to make more desserts. mcastor07(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. I would like to try making my Grandmother's cinnamon rolls but get totally overwhelmed reading the recipe. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Do you have a bread machine? I use mine to make the dough, then take it out to form the rolls and bake them. Easy-peasy!

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  16. Oh boy this is how I like to wake up with some awesome books I might win. A late Easter present. I saw this on fb and fell in love with these books. I do not have these. My email is judymckay552@yahoo.com. I will keep my fingers crossed.

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  17. I would love to make birthday cake the way my mother did. It was from scratch choc chiffon cake. Ice with 7 minute icing and melted chocolate dribbled on it.