"parchment paper" news and stories
Recently, I mentioned to my mom that I had an eggplant in my fridge that needed to be used. She started telling me about a recipe that a friend had given her back when she was first married for broiled eggplant. She remembered it being delicious. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention when she told me about it, because if it had been that good, why was it not part of the menu rotation when I was growing up?
The original eggplant got put to other purposes, but this weekend I picked up two nice, firm, white eggplants this weekend at the farmers market, and so this recipe started niggling away at my consciousness again. I put it together tonight and nearly wept at my first bite as it was tender and sweet and crunchy and wonderful. I called my mother up as soon as my plate was clean to ask her how it was possible that she had known of this preparation for nearly 40 years and I was only eating it tonight. In some sense, I'm grateful for her recipe amnesia, if only because it contributed to a fun recipe discovery tonight. If you like eggplant, don't wait 40 years to make this dish.
The LA Times conducted a test that pitted a silpat against parchment paper in a holiday cookie bakeoff. (I'm not going to get into the fact that the article also states that "traditionally, careful home bakers have used clarified butter when greasing is required," though I have yet to meet a home baker who "traditionally" has done this.) They concluded that, while both parchment paper and silpats performed better than "untreated" pan in terms of spread and even cooking, the silpat performed better than the parchment paper in two out of three trials.
This is not a very fair test for the simple reason that the two things, although they share some of the same functionality, are designed to do different things. Would you compare a fork and a spoon, both useful utensils, and declare the fork to be superior because it is more proficient at stabbing food with its prongs?
It is a relatively simple matter to grease and flour a cake pan. Jus spray it with cooking spray (rub with butter), sprinkle some flour on top, turning the pan to coat it evenly, and you're ready to go. Lining a cake pan with parchment paper can pose a problem for some, especially if you try to draw a circle out on the paper and ever-so-carefully cut around it because it is easy to screw up, not to mention that it is tedious work. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get a piece of paper to fit exactly inside of the circular pan. It's as easy as following the photos above and will take no longer than reading this post:
- Take a piece of parchment paper larger than your pan and fold it into quarters. Fold that piece in half, then in half again until it is quite slim.
- Place the point of the paper in the center of the upside down pan.
- Use scissors to cut a straight line just inside the outer edge of the pan.
- Unfold and place in pan, if necessary, fold back up and trim a corner to make it fit better.