Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

Help I can't stop.... again

One more sweater finished! This too was partially hand knit and machine knit the rest of the way. The yarn is a very very light weight pure wool and silk bucle. Soft light and very warm.

I plan to wear it with my Einstein cashmere vest and this bakelite pin I've had for many years.

Dobos Torta Part Deux

We are glutten for punishment! After the last episode with the Cake and how I hated the cake I went and got another one. This time I went to

B & L Gourmet Pastries
8556 W 3rd Street - Los Angeles, CA

After major traffic and horrible parking hunt (after I found out they had parking in the back...duh) I finally parked in the Beverly Shopping center and walked over. I need the excercise so I did not mind. Of course the fabulous escalator is under construction so I had to take the STAIRS! Yes I needed the stairmaster time too....

I walk in and see the exact cake that I bought from Otto. Oh no I don't want those I say I just bought one of those cakes from Otto and it was horrible! Yes Otto buys his cakes from us but he has not bought any Dobos Tortas for over 2 YEARS! The cake you had was 2 years old! At least! What?

NO... I say... yes... she says. We are the only bakery in Los Angeles making Dobos Tortas and Otto ordered 50 cakes over 2 years ago. He freezes them and you had a frozen 2 year old cake!

When I told my husband this, he said it's a wonder we are still alive.

I was still skeptical who is telling me the truth. The 50 cakes did sound familiar and this was a bakery but I was still kind of doubtful. The young lady then asked me to sit down at the little table with a cup of coffee and asked me to try the cake and if I liked it to buy it and if it did not meet up to my standards I did not have to buy it.

Well that was very fair and very nice of her and I did sit down and what a difference a couple of years in the freezer makes!

This cake was delicious! So if you want a Dobos Torta in Los Angeles get one at
B & L Gourmet Pastries
8556 W 3rd Street - Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Zero Calories but delicous.....

I was grocery shopping at Whole Foods and as I was getting my low fat dairy I saw this woman putting a case of this Cappucino Foam in her cart. I asked what is this stuff, she said whatever it is I love it. No calories and no fat! My kind of food.

I asked the stock boy if there was any more I'd like to try this No calories No fat delicious foam. He tells me that she just took all that they had of the "natural" flavor. So I asked her if she would let me have one can so I could try it. She promply said NO and got away from me as fast as she could.

Well next time I was at the market I beelined over to the dairy section looking for this wonder new food item. I got one! I loved it! It's just like whipped cream and you can make a Cappucino with no fuss no muss and NO Calories. As you can see the Calories part is big issue for me.

Natural: Fat free milk, sugar, whey protein concentrate, carrageenan

The mystery is the carrageenan? I wonder what that is!

I love this stuff..... far too much ..... I may have to research this it's too good to be true. Usually when something is too delicious it's not good for me or very fattening.

I looked up carrageenan:

Carrageenans or carrageenins (pronounced [ˌkærəˈgiːnəns]) are a family of linear sulphated polysaccharides extracted from red seaweeds. The name is derived from a type of seaweed that is abundant along the Irish coastline near the village of Carragheen. Gelatinous extracts of carrageen seaweed (also known as Irish moss) have been used as food additives for hundreds of years [1]. Research has raised concerns about the health implications of carrageenan consumption.
Well there you have it, there may be health implication of carrageenan consumption. Just as I suspected, it seems everything I like is either fatning or bad for me.

The wonderful world of chemicals in our foods.

When my son was very young he was about 3 and I took him with me to the market and of course he was asking for foods that he had seen on television. I told him that we can not get those cookies because it had too many chemicals in it. Expecting him to say oh thank you Mommy for looking out for me. Instead he turned around and told me that sometimes he likes chemicals they taste really good.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mixing it up...

Machine knit, hand knit and crochet....

This is a sweater that I started last Saturday after the Machine Knitters Group meeting I went to. I belong to the LA/SF Machine Knitters, this is mainly ladies who have loved and continued the art of machine knitting. There are a few of us who are new to machine knitting but mostly more experienced machine knitters. I always like to see what others are doing and each time I come home with some idea for a new project.

I originally wanted to get into machine knitting a couple of years ago and by now the popularity of machine knitting is long gone so they don't make too many different brands anymore. I found an older machine on Ebay and am pretty happy with it, the Brother KH 260 "Bulky". I thought that I would knit parts of projects by hand and transfer it over to the machine for those boring long backs etc. then I would finish it by hand. Well there is a major learning curve so finally it worked exactly the way I imagined. A sweater finished in a few days.

I used Red Heart acrylic yarn. I usually don't like this yarn but I thought I would try this pattern just for practice. Now I kind of wish it was done with nicer wool. I guess I can make another. It will be ok for those early morning dog walking trips.

I knit it "sideways" on the machine, starting on the left sleeve and ending up on the right sleeve. Then I took it off the machine and hand knit ribbing around the edges. I don't have a ribber and the machine won't knit in the round anyway.

I'm quite happy with it and now I'm ready to use nicer yarn and make another maybe Noro Silk Garden would be nice.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I hate the CAKE!

I hate this cake! I've gained at least 5 pounds and it wasn't even "oh well it was worth it" five pounds! The cake is in the trash!

Last Saturday I was in the San Fernando Valley at my machine knitters meeting
I decided to go over to Otto's Hungarian Delicatessen and check out the Dobos Torta. I spoke to Otto on Friday morning and he assured me that he just ordered 50 cakes and they were fresh and wonderful.

We were speaking Hungarian and I thought surely I misunderstood him with the numbers. Maybe he meant just 5 so I asked in English Fifty or Five? NO Fifty you heard me right. I have been to Otto's before and I could not imagine having the need for 50 Dobos Tortas in that sleepy little neighborhood he is in. Otto explained to me that he mail orders these cakes all over the world.

My first reaction was well how good could this cake be if he has ordered 50? Sounds like a big operation to me. Otto is a real character I wish they would have let me photograph the store and Otto and his obviously much younger "trophy" wife. Otto is not a young man I first thought the young lady there with him was his daughter but no she was his wife. Ok.

I find the store and as Otto proudly told me that he has been there for 50 years! Basically it is corner house converted to a shop. I parked and my first sight is Otto's handy work his advertising sign.
Otto and his family live next door, no commute here.

They would not let me take any pictures inside but what a vision! Every shelf packed to the rafters. Chuck full of Hungarian food stuff including a few Hungarian cook books some Herend porcelan figurenes endless amounts of Hungarian Paprika and on and on like that. Salami, kolbasz, szalonna you name it he has it.

The prices and not cheap so as I was finishing with all my purchases I say to Otto "take it easy with those numbers"

Otto: Oh I'm not here to make money!
me: You're not? Why are you here?
Otto: I love it! I don't need any more money!
me: Really?
Otto: Yes I won $3 million dollars on the lottery a couple of years ago! See I have a picture.

He shows me a picture of himself with the big wheel California Lottery, yup it was him.

My husband and I both got sick from the rich cake, we are not used to eating such buttery sweet things so we decided that the best place for the rest of the cake would be the trash. There will be no cake for his birthday. I hope I will remember this next time I get such a bright idea.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I love the Web...

How did we ever manage before the Internet? Searching for something must have taken me endless amounts of time. I've always been an "instant gratification" sort of person and now I can even get up in the middle of the night and buy something, look up something, the latest news and the list is endless.

My latest search is this, my dear husband is having a birthday in a few days and he has requested a "Dobos Torta" for his birthday cake. I'm not the greatest baker, mind you I could be but I'm far too fat for that, (I love what I bake and would be eating myself to oblivion) so baking this cake is out of the question.

This cake is too tedious and for me to even attept it and too difficult, even in Hungary only the most dedicated make their own. Best when professionally done. If you don't believe me take a look at one version of the recipe translated from a Hungarian.

Now where to find it?

Dobos torta is a traditional Hungarian many layered cake with melted hard sugar/caramel topping. I'm not sure how many layers is the "official" count but it varies from 4 or 8, most of the time I've only seen the 8 layer version. Vanilla sponge cake lathered in chocolate butter cream... oh I can just feel the pounds adding on even just writing about it. It is very delicious but rich. When done well it is Divine but it can be very dry if not fresh.

I just "googled" it and found all kinds of leads even a discussion

B & L Gourmet Pastries
8556 W 3rd Street - Los Angeles, CA

And there is Otto's Famous Deli in Burbank, California.
Alpine Village, and the hunt goes on....

Now I've done it too too much information there are so many variations of this very famous pastry cake that it boggles the mind. Funny how somethings just catch on ..... Tune in again if you are curious about what I find in the Los Angeles area.

And here is a story I found about the history of this cake which I've never thought about but now this little tid bit lives in my brain. You see what I mean about the web now this story may or may not be accurate but it was entertaining for me. I'm easily entertained what can I tell you.

History of the Dobos Torte:

Joszef Dobos was the Auguste Escoffier of Hungary, creating his culinary extravaganzas during the same period as the French master. And like Escoffier, his name became known well beyond his country's borders.

Dobos came from a family of cooks. He prided himself on the quality and variety of his offerings at his fancy-food shop, which catered to the well heeled. In time when shipping was expensive and unreliable, he offered more then sixty cheeses and twenty-two champagnes. Budapest loved big World's Fair-like exhibitions, which of course, gave the citizens ample opportunity to sample their other favorite indulgences, food and wine. In 1885, at the first General National Exhibition, Dobos had a pavilion selling his delicacies. His most famous customers were the emperor and empress themselves (also styled king and queen of Hungary), who heartily approved of their meal. Elizabeth was unpopular in Vienna for promoting Hungarian independence, which, of course, made her a heroine in Budapest, so her endorsement of Dobos's products ensured his position as a super-chef.

A few years later, Dobos introduced his most famous invention, the Dobos torta. The amazingly thin cake layers and caramel crown were impressive indeed, but it was the cake's profuse use of chocolate buttercream -- a recipe only recently imported from France -- that literally put Dobos torta on everyone's lips. Dobos devised a special package that allowed the cake to be shipped, and soon the cake appeared in other European capitals. Of course, other Budapest bakeries wanted the recipe so they could sell their own version, but Dobos shrewdly kept it a secret -- for a time. During the 1896 Millenium Exposition, celebrating one thousand years of Hungarian nationality, Dobos opened another pavilion, selling thousands and thousands of his cakes. Dobos torta mania had taken hold.

When Dobos finally retired in 1906, he made a well-publicized gift of the recipe to the Budapest Trade Association, preserving it (and his name) for prosperity. The legend was further enhanced by an operetta detailing Dobo's intrigues.

By coincidence, dob in Hungarian means "drum". As the caramel-glazed top of a Dobos torte looks somewhat like the stretched skin of a drum, some sources mistakenly believe that the name of the cake is derived from dob. Could his choice of a hard caramel topping have been intentional? After all, could his surname come from dob, as well?

More recipe links:
This one looks kind of weak but it claims to be a Kosher recipe.