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    21 through 31 of 30 postings.

Q:My grandmother, in my childhood, made what she called "charlots pudding". This was made from stale White/yellow cake chunks,a pudding of some fashion and I think meringue sort of folded together. Can you help me out as I would like to made it for the family.

Victor Waggoner,
A:The charlotte is a molded dessert. The mold is first lined with cake crumbs, cookies, biscuits, sponge cake, or lady fingers (although in the past, butter-dipped stale bread crumbs were also used). The mold is then filled with fruit pur?e, custard (you can use your imagination, but some popular fillings include apple, pear, or chocolate mousse), or layers of fruit and custard, all set with gelatin. The dessert is then unmolded and usually served chilled, and topped with meringue or whipped cream. Variations on the charlotte include the icebox cake and charlotte russe (which comes in sizes befitting Sunday dinner as well as a miniature, mobile version), and even banana pudding. A version of the charlotte russe was a deli favorite in mid-century America and used stale crumbs to keep costs down and conserve waste: a paper cone filled with white or yellow cake crumbs was topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherries. Good luck in recreating your grandmother's recipe.

Posted February 21, 2011

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:I want to use a bottle of Reserve Gauze (Cottilion Brewery, Brussels)beer at a dinner party. The inital taste of gauze is quite sour, then it kind of settles pleasantly in your mouth/stomach. Please send me some food suggestions; I can use it either during cocktail hour with nibbles, with a starter or with an entree. Thank you!

Karen Vartan,

A: The Cantillon brewery, founded in 1900 in Brussels, produces a variety of gueuze known for its "Barnyard-like" sourness and tart fruit notes, especially sour apple. All gueuze beer is bottled with the combination of both young and old lambic beers (aged one to two or three years, respectively). This combination stimulates a second fermentation in the bottle, which is aged for a period of one to three years. It is sometimes referred to as "Brussels Champagne" for the "sparkling" nature of its carbonation. When pairing, it's always a good idea to seek out dishes that complement a beverage's flavor profile. To go along with the Cantillon Gueuze Reserve, we'd recommend a charcuterie plate for starters. We notice that some of our favorite beer sommeliers around the country are doing the same with Flemish style ales, lambics, and gueuzes. The gueuze will help cut through the fattiness of the cured meats and will complement tart pickles and tangy mustard. Geueze beer has also been paired successfully with certain rich, buttery cheeses, such as Brie or even a Spanish Zamorano, with its buttery richness and caramel notes (think caramel apples). The beer tips we got from a very well-respected beer sommelier out of Washington DC, Greg Engert, can be found here:

Beer Tips

And we've got content featuring other tops pairing tips, too:

Beer Pairing

Beer Pairing - Belgian Style

Beer and Food

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:My husband and I will be visiting Napa for the first time for 3 nights in April. We are foodies. Restaurant choices all look good. We can't decide. Can you please recommend where to go? Thank you so much-Jan

Jan Warmund,
A:Hi Jan:
Be sure to check out the page for Rising Stars in Napa Sonoma: []. Follow the link to find the best restaurants, chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists in the area!

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:Hi I am going to "perform" the Crispy Pork Belly Rillette wiht Foie Gras Sauce and Peach Chutney (yum) but am slightly confused regarding the part that talks about melting hte pork fat until warm and then putting the pork belly in the fat (submerging it). Is the fat from the piece of pork belly or do i need to cook some bacon and then use that fat to cook the pork belly in. To render it i would think i would have to heat it up which it doesn't talk about. Perhaps i am to carve some off but it states that the skin is to be taken off and reserved so I am confused.

thank you

Tracy Tribbett,
A:Hi Tracy: Looks like you'll need excess pork fat for this recipe (its listed as a separate ingredient so it's additional to the pork belly). As the recipe says, you can get it at a butcher's shop already rendered, and if not, you can render a piece yourself. Bacon fat is a bit different as it's smoked and cured, so you don't want to use that. Good luck!

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:If I butterfly my turkey and glaze it, is the temperature and cooking time different from a regular recipe for roasting a turkey? Also, what if I cooked the turkey at 275? Would it be more moist?

Suzie Hunt,
A:Hi Suzie,

Well, first hats off to you for the novel approach to preparing Thanksgiving turkey! Basically, you can keep your rack at 350˚F, with the rack set at the lowest position in the oven. Since the butterflied flesh will be exposed, it's important to add a liquid component to the pan, such as stock or broth. Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160˚F to 165˚F, roughly 2 to 2? hours. Don't let the pan under your gobbler dry out- continue to add stock (at least once or twice will be necessary) during the cooking time. For more Turkey Tips, check out our feature this week:

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:My name is Craig Whitney, I am seeking an accomplished Pastry Chef capable of overseeing a large commercial pastry company focused on Diabetic, gluton free pastries for distibution to restaurants, hospitals and other large food establishments for south Florida. Someone with honesty, integrety, and loyalty to oversee this operation. Thank You

Craig Whitney,
A:Hi Craig,

Here's a link to the Job Finders portion of our website: We're pretty sure you'll find exactly what you're looking for there. Of course, you can also check out the winners to our Vita Mix Prep Competition. South Florida really represented!


the StarChefs team

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:I am embarrased even asking this question because I am 57 year old female who has been in the food arena as a food stylist/recipe developer/personal chef for 30 years with an old BS degree in Food and Nutrition. I would love to be classically trained as a chef so I could apply for jobs, but I feel at my age, it is too late to get a decent paying job. I really can't afford to live on minimum wage and work my way up and I can't afford the price of culinary school. Any honest feedback would be greatly appreciated, so I could put my longing to this lifetime anyway!! Thanks

A:It's always hard to start at the bottom of a field and work your way up when you're older, financially and psychologically, but if you've got the drive and you keep your goals realistic, you might be able to find a professional place in the kitchen well within this lifetime. You have a foundation of knowledge, and that puts you at an advantage. Some culinary schools offer scholarships for women especially, so look into that before you give up that kind of training. If grants or loans aren't an option, choose a culinary school program that meets on weekends or at night, enabling you to work. Also, remember that many chefs got their start without culinary school, literally working their way through the ranks of the kitchen. This might take some time and penny-pinching, but if you choose the right venue and you have the drive, you might learn more (while getting paid) and see more immediate results. Training like this is classical in its own sense, so if there is a restaurant near you that seems like a possibility, don't be afraid to go for it. Last but certainly not least, keep up with our JobFinder site. New job postings go up every day for work in the culinary field that might help you get your foot in the door without financial sacrifice. The sooner you start researching your options, the sooner you will narrow them down to one realistic, reasonable course of action.

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:What should a base salary for a chef of an independent restaurant be?

Josh Taggart,
A:It's going to depend on everything from the ground up, from the restaurant concept to the restaurants net profits, which will vary from year to year as the restaurant grows. Check out our Salary Survey Results from 2007 and 2008 to get a better sense of what professionals in the industry had to say about it:
Results from the 2007 Salary Survey

Results from the 2008 Salary Survey

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:I need to come up with a dessert based on tamarind. I'm not too familiar with this ingredient. Do you have any suggestions for tamarind as a dessert component?

A:Hi Zoe,

Below are a few suggestions for desserts which incorporate tamarind:

1.Chocolate-Covered Foie mousse with Tamarind ice:

2.Caramelized Bananas with Whipped Cream, Thai Black Sticky Rice, and Clarified Tamarind Fluid Gel:

3.Passion Fruit Chevre Cake with Hibiscus-Tamarind Molasses:

4.Thai Tea Ice Cream Sandwich with Tamarind Sherbert:

Hopefully these recipes will get the ball rolling. We would also suggest looking through Pan Asian influenced cookbooks as tamarind is a signature ingredient in Asian and Indian cuisines.

-by StarChefs Editors

--by StarChefs Editors

Q:I am looking for a source of edible flowers in the St. Louis, MO area. My source has dried up and am needing some for a food demo this Saturday. Help!

A:Farmer Lee Jones of The Chef's Garden in St. Louis, MO carries a full selection of edible flowers and should be able to help you out. You can browse The Chef's Garden's website by pasting the following link in your browser's address bar:

--by StarChefs Editors

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Knowing that you have a Portuguese background, I am wondering what your favorite Portuguese dish is. – Dale Brown, Springfield MO

Kale soup, I use lots of fresh kale, chorizo or andouille sausage, potatoes and chicken stock. My mom (who is Portuguese) used to make it. Mom ran the house so we grew up eating Portuguese food. – Emeril

I have a basic question: I cannot seem to get the right taste for my beef taco filling. I like a really spicy flavor, but nothing overpowering. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance! – Charlotte Stevens, Santa Barbara CA

Start with onions and garlic. Then add ground cumin, ground coriander, ancho chile powder, jalapeno or Serrano peppers, and chopped tomatoes. At the very end, add some chopped fresh cilantro. You can also experiment with some other dried chile powders such as pasilla, cascabel or chipotle. – Bobby

What are your favorite food combinations?

Peanut butter and Jelly still works for me! Especially on a Ritz cracker… I’m only kidding – a little. Plantains and pork is another great one. It is in the contrast of combinations that I am most consistently drawn to. I love limejuice, sugar and fish sauce. I love passion fruit, honey and sesame oil. I love roasted beef and lamb with caramelized onions and root vegetables. My dessert interests are chocolate and mandarin orange, as well as curry and pineapple – Norman

What are staple ingredients in your kitchen?

It’s not ingredients, it’s a brush. It’s something I’ve had forever, since I was a kid. I paint on plates, for example. Anything is a vehicle for me to serve food on. I use tiles or glass bricks. I don’t buy the most expensive china, I design my own and use stuff [that exists] in everyday culture and I put it in my restaurant. –Marcus

What tips can you give on the best way to shop in farmer’s markets for someone who’s only shopped in supermarkets. – Harry Gaulke, Pensacola FL

Most vendors at farmer’s markets will let you taste their produce. Tasting the food is a great part of the market. Also buy small amounts of lots of different things. This way you can see how to cook with them and work with a variety of foods, instead of getting a lot of one thing. I would go to the market without any expectations about what I want to eat and cook that day. See what is ripe and best and buy that. Then go back and look in cookbooks to see what you can do with it. - Alice

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