Chestnut Flour Quick, Chestnut Flour Slow

With so many bakers exploring gluten-free options, here’s one to try: chestnut flour.  When this traditional Italian ingredient turned up in local markets recently (fall is the best season for the new crop of chestnut flour), it seemed an interesting alternative for cookies or pastries, like the crescents (a.k.a. Russian tea cookies, Mexican wedding cookies) in which chestnut pieces substitute so gloriously for pecans or … Continue reading Chestnut Flour Quick, Chestnut Flour Slow

Flipping the Bird

For some oddball reason, we managed to roast the Thanksgiving turkey upside down, without anyone even noticing until the master carver of the house, preparing to slice up the bird, asked why it was placed breast down on the presentation platter. We still can’t explain that one, but the surprise result was a turkey that yielded exquisitely moist white meat. True, it could be thanks also … Continue reading Flipping the Bird

Ah, the Forbidden Fruit

Pomelos were prevalent in local markets during the winter. And so, after seeing them in Chinatown groceries over the years, and hearing that they were something like a less-acidic grapefruit, I finally got around to picking up a couple. Looking much like an overgrown grapefruit, the pomelo is indeed like a milder version of that citrus. A little research on the fruit and its uses … Continue reading Ah, the Forbidden Fruit

Little Jewels

We were dubbed The Macaroon Gang by one of the husbands of our little group, incredulous as he was that his wife and her food-obsessed buddies would devote an entire day to tracking down macaroons on the Lower East Side. But by then we had our route plotted out, starting at the little shop that stocked barrels of fresh, moist, densely sweet coconut macaroons for Passover —  in plain, chocolate-dipped, chocolate chip, and chocolate … Continue reading Little Jewels

Chocolate Kissed by a Rose

The signboard outside a neighborhood sweets shop offered the enticing promise of rose-flavored hot chocolate. A promise that, as is so often is the case with rose-flavored/scented foods, did not quite stand up in the bargain. The Valrhona hot chocolate was indeed luscious and lovingly prepared, but a bit heavy-handed in the addition of rose flavoring. It’s a problem encountered a lot in recipes that attempt … Continue reading Chocolate Kissed by a Rose