Yogurt Making Updated

I have been making yogurt at home for more than five years, avoiding countless plastic containers and saving a good bit of money.  Over that time I have made some improvements to my process, such as switching from 1 quart canning jars to the Luminarc Working Glass (easier to use, easier to clean).  To account for […]

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The Weigh Everything Project

When I make a 2-layer cake, a batch of dough that makes 2 loaves, or anything else that requires even division (like last night’s Tofu-Tofu Burgers from Elizabeth Andoh’s Kansha), I often have a moment of regret when I reach the division point.  “I wish I knew the weight of the bowl I’m using,” I […]

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Cracking the Coconut (Oil) for Pie Crust

The famous vodka-containing pie crust recipe from Cooks Illustrated has been my “go to” crust recipe for a few years (you can find it at Serious Eats). The free form galettes that use it have been crispy and flaky on many occasions, thanks in part to techniques and recipes I learned from books like Lindsey […]

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Plum-apolooza 2012

A family of ravenous house finches nesting on a nearby building and quirky weather in Berkeley were two big blows against my plans to make jam in 2011, and the plum trees in my backyard didn’t produce enough fruit to make even a small batch of jam.  But in 2012, the trees were quite productive, […]

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In Which My Kitchen Scale Helps Me Reduce a Sauce

A scale is an essential tool in my kitchen.  It makes ingredient measurement easier, more accurate (especially for flour), and less messy (especially for oily and sticky ingredients).  Last weekend, I found another use: monitoring reductions. I was making the utterly delicious “Spicy Chipotle Toltec Barbeque Glaze” from Coyote’s Pantry (by Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin […]

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The Home-Made Yogurt Routine

yogurt container pattern

(Major update, 4/2/17:  revised the instructions, added a diagram showing the basic steps.) My plastic container bin used to be loaded with 1-quart yogurt containers, and I felt packaging guilt whenever buying a new tub, even when it was local and organic. I knew that it wasn’t too hard to make yogurt at home — […]

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The Temper-Spoon, a Device for Temperature Measurement While Stirring

(Updated, June 4, 2016) Buying a Thermapen to handle temperature measurement in the kitchen was a bit of an extravagance, but since I’ve spent much of my professional career concerned with accurate temperature measurement (e.g., combustion products above a glowing ceramic tile, diesel engine exhaust), I’m very picky about temperature measurement.  Particularly, I like to […]

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Building a Great Galette, Piece by Piece

After a few posts on creepy-crawlies, it’s time to give my readers something more universally appreciated: pie. This situation reminds me of something in Paul Bertolli’s Chez Panisse Cooking. The restaurant (a.k.a. “downstairs”) at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse has a prix fixe menu, so your dining fate is out of your control. Bertolli writes that whenever […]

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