Good morning. We interrupt the RGIII finger-pointing to bring you this bulletin: Next time you’re at a restaurant, you might find “gems” on your plate. That’s what one creative chef is calling the food he make from ingredients once destined for the scrap heap. As restaurants feel the financial squeeze, they’re making use of tendons, marrow and fish tails. Tim Carman tells the story.
Also in Food today, Maggie Fazeli Fard introduces us to a District woman whose son’s illness inspired her to create a culinary program and a new cookbook aimed at families with kids who have cancer. Anne Applebaum writes about the ongoing food renaissance in Poland. And Zofia Smardz, who tested Anne’s recipes for this week’s section, tells us how that experience evoked fragrant childhood memories.
Tim, Zofia and the usual suspects will be on hand for today’s Free Range chat, our weekly hour of give-and-take. It starts at noon; hope you can be there. Even if you don’t have a question to ask, it’s time well spent.
Meanwhile, to tide you over until then, here’s a leftover question from a previous chat:
What is the secret to successful cookie press cookies? It seems the dough is always too cold to go through the press, or too soft -- rarely is it just right. What is the correct dough temperature, and what’s the best way to get the dough to the right temperature if it’s been made ahead and refrigerated or frozen?
I know this one! The correct temperature is room temperature. Every ingredient you use — butter, shortening, cream cheese, egg, etc. — should be at room temperature, unless your recipe specifies otherwise. (Speaking of the recipe, it should be one specifically meant for a cookie press; other doughs just don’t seem to work as well.)
If you must make the dough ahead and chill it, leave it out on the counter for about an hour before you plan to use it, and it should warm up enough to go through the press.
Cook ie presses are great; in addition to making cookies the, the ones with the right attachments can also be used like a pastry bag to frost cakes and cupcakes. They are also the classic vehicle for making cheese straws — you can turn out dozens in record time. In fact, this question has tempted me to do just that. Off I go.