Dear students, readers, family, and friends!
Phew... I can breath a sigh of relief now. The gift certificate rush is over and I can finally wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year. Hope 2009 brings you health, happiness, peace, and delicious meals to share with people you love.
2008 was a great year for Helen's Kitchen. I loved kneading pasta dough, roasting meats, slicing fish for sashimi, flipping crêpes, sharpening knives, and crying over onions with many of you. If we've never met in person, then thank you for reading my blog, asking insightful questions, and putting up with this opinionated and obsessive cook.
A wonderful thing happened to me last thursday. I went to a cooking class and actually learned something. It was a Bûche de Noël class taught by Leslie Wolf. It took me forever to find a baking instructor for Helen's Kitchen, but I am happy to say, I struck gold with Leslie. I find that most classes I've ever attended made people feel good about cooking or baking, but didn't make them good at it. Not so with Leslie. 3 hours in her kitchen actually turned me into a better baker. I didn't just learn a recipe, I learned techniques that I could apply to any cake.
I found the class so inspiring, I've decided to bake a Bûche de Noël for us this Christmas. I've used my Earl Gray Chiffon Cake with Earl Gray Whipped Cream recipe, but baked the cake in a sheet pan instead of a tube pan and rolled it up. To do this, you need to make half the batter recipe and 1.5 times the cream recipe and follow instructions for Chiffon Cake roulades in the Joy of Cooking 1997 Edition. Last time I've tried it, the cake cracked and the final result looked a little scary. But armed with Leslie's tips, I managed to get the cake out of the oven at just the right moment, and roll it up into a beautiful roulade without any trouble. If you use your imagination, it looks like a birch. Thanks for a great class, Leslie.
Happy and Delicious Holidays to all!