Friday Things

Time for an installment of Friday Things:

1. Cook’s Illustrated tasted real white chocolate alongside “fake” supermarket brands to determine if real white chocolate was worth it.

Image from King Arthur’s Merckens White Chocolate Bars

The Results – “Our winner turned out to be not real white chocolate at all but an artificial white chip: Guittard Choc-Au-Lait White Chips. Tasters raved over a creamy texture akin to “crème fraîche” and a strong vanilla flavor. In mousse it was “not too sweet” and “remarkably smooth.”

MY OTHER RECIPES

It was the second-cheapest brand in the lineup, costing just 27 cents per ounce, and beat out a real white chocolate from the same manufacturer.” It’s also interesting to see who came in dead last.

2. Lori created this post Food Bloggers: 150+ Links for Everything You Need to Know and truly it is, everything you need to know. She did not miss a trick from working with brands, monetizing your blog, food photography and styling, dealing with copyright infringement, to blog conferences; there is truly not a stone unturned. Bravo to Lori for compiling it and to all those whom she linked for writing their posts and sharing their expertise.

3. Pie Carrier from Vonny, $64. I love the print and although I have no need for a pie carrier, the retro chic of it speaks loudly to me.

4. Dear Chefs, Are You Trying to Kill Me? from Bon Appetit – Are high end restaurants serving too much fat?

“Look, I love bacon, lard, butter, duck fat. They make bad food taste good, and good food taste great. I was an early supporter of the bacon boom. But now we’ve reached Baconageddon: bacon on brussels sprouts, bacon on steak, bacon on dessert, and in (and on) pretty much everything. It’s become a culinary crutch. Don’t know how to make that chicken dish thrill? Add bacon! Next you topped everything with a fried egg. Then pork belly became your meat…”

This is an interesting discussion because patrons vote with their wallet and clearly, fat has been winning. If it wasn’t winning, menu options would change nearly immediately. Restaurants exist to make money, not lose it, and adapt their menus quickly to accommodate what’s working and what’s not.

I notice the same thing on my blog. In general, the more ooey-gooey, decadent, and indulgent recipes outperform healthier ones. Sometimes by a decent margin; and sometimes by twice the views, and sometimes by ten and twenty times the views. I want to give my readers what they want and you all vote with your clicks. And it’s not the healthier options that are as popular.

5. I think this idea could be down-sized to even fit an interior cabinet door half the size in case you don’t have a tall pantry or cabinet door. I think hanging my measuring cups and spoons, or other utensils, would be handy and keep my drawers less cluttered.

6. Mason Jar Salt & Pepper Shaker Set, $16 at Terrain

7. As of July 1, 2013 Google Reader is no longer going to be available. I’ve been using Google Reader as my feed-organizing go-to for 5 years and although it’s not perfect, it’s been what I had been used to. I had never tried BlogLovin’ or any of the other services out there.

Ali posted a Tutorial on How to Move From Google Reader to Feedly. Amanda mentioned it and so did Heidi in item 4. It’s very easy to migrate and takes just minutes, but don’t love it. There was just too much going on and although I dismantled incoming Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and incoming news feeds coming, it just wasn’t for me.

I’ve also heard that RSSOwl is a good one and that Feeddler (for iPads and Macs) is also good. If you’d like to read what others are doing, The Kitchn has dozens of people chiming in the comments of this post. But I am loving Reeder and have found my solution to the Reader disappearing act.

I decided to give Mac’s Reeder a shot and although it’s a $4.99 app and for Mac users only, it’s hands down the best thing I’ve tried and I even like it better than Google Reader. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now and love it. I wish I would have switched ages ago to it but I didn’t even know about it.

There’s the option to view feeds within the Reeder, as well as an option to shows what the person’s post looks like on their actual blog (because someone what Google Reader shows you and what you see on that person’s actual site are very different).

Reeder takes the guess work out and you can seamlessly click off to comment, totally effortlessly, and much less cumbersome and clunky than clicking off Google Reader to comment. I highly recommended if you are a Mac user and need a Google Reader replacement.

And if you’re a BlogLovin’ user, I set up my blog and you can Follow Me on BlogLovin’

8. I think Christopher Kimball, founder of America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated, and Cook’s Country, is one of the most fabulous people in the whole wide world.

I would love to meet him one day, but for now, this interview was excellent

My favorite Q & A was this:

Q: What’s your best time saving trick?  A: Have over 4,000 unopened emails. Ignoring email saves a lot of time.

And he shares his personal fluffy pancakes recipe, called Cloudcakes, in the interview. I wonder if he would approve of mine?

9. Strawberry and Sprinkles Buttermilk Pancakes

10. Cake Enhancer, $7.95 from King Arthur – We discovered this “miracle ingredient” in Europe. And 2 to 4 tablespoons added to our cakes and soft sandwich breads – including gluten-free – haven’t been the same since.

And what IS Cake Enhancer, exactly?

It’s rice starch, polyglycerol ester, and mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids – complicated looking words, but nothing to be afraid of. These fatty acids come from vegetable fats, and act as emulsifiers, allowing fats and liquids to combine more easily. They also serve as stabilizers and texture enhancers. Widely used in commercial baked products, they keep baked goods fresh and soft, and help cakes stay light and fluffy.

In my opinion, it’s probably not that far off from adding a couple tablespoons of cornstarch and reinforces why ‘Pudding Cookies’ and ‘Cake Mix Cookies‘ always turn out so soft and stay fresh for a long time. One of the first ingredients in pudding mix is ‘modified food starch’, generally either corn or rice.

And it’s why cornstarch does wonders for these cookies Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies

And cornstarch in Soft and Chewy M&Ms Cookies. But I’d still like to give the Cake Enhancer a try to see if it’s that much different than cornstarch because I’m very intrigued.

What are your Friday Things?

If you’ve made anything, done, seen, or bought anything fabulous recently, feel free to link it up in the comments.

What are you doing for your feed reader service if you currently use Google Reader?

Thoughts on fatty restaurant food?

Cake enhancer or using cornstarch in recipes? White Chocolate brand that you swear by?

Thanks for the entries in the Canon Rebel T3i Camera Giveaway {$580 value}

Have a great weekend and check back for two great giveaways!

50 comments on “Friday Things”

  1. I have seen the Choc-Au-Lait White Chips at Ocean State Job Lot. I almost bought them a few times, but I always want to try everything new in the baking aisle. Thank you for posting this! Please let us know about the cake enhancer…I have had that on my “To-Buy” list as well.

  2. That’s so interesting about the white chocolate, I wouldn’t have guessed it!

  3. Dude, I really need those strawberry and sprinkles buttermilk pancakes as a midnight snack!

  4. Loooooooove Christopher Kimball! Fabulous Fridee thangs.

  5. Averie, I love everything you put on here! But, I especially love how you put all the white chocolates on. Because, my hubs think I’m crazy for purchasing all different kinds of white chocolate for every and any kind of recipe I do. (you should see my baking pantry…yes, one pantry JUST for baking stuff! Another for regular food!) Now I can prove to him that I’m (always) right …especially when it comes to my addiction to buying sweet things like this! Happy monday, Averie!

    • White chocolate is so finnicky that yes, from chips to bars to blocks of coating/candiquik…depending on the recipe dictates what’s needed! I understand. And what I wouldn’t give for a baking pantry. I literally keep baking stuff in the coat closets. I have a small urban condo and we are maxed out!! with storage space here!

  6. I love this! Especially the blackboard cupboard!

  7. Pingback: Friday Things

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