CHEESECAKE STRUCTURE

CHEESECAKE STRUCTURE

Cheesecake Factory creamy-rich frosty glass box

Cheesecake Factory changing skylines: creamy-rich frosty glass box

The perfect cheesecake is an art form built upon a structure of physics, architecture and technology. Granted, your grace with a spatula and deft sense of flavorings can mean the difference between a run-of-the-mill cheesecake and an ethereally light monument to decadence. But first you need to master the basic skills — proper ratios of ingredients, the role of a fine crust, the importance of the right pan, correct timing in the oven, proper cooling and all the rest.

You have last week’s recipe . . . now here’s ‘how to’ techniques from a variety of sources:

* Use the best ingredients: Cheesecake is, by nature, a rich and lavish dessert. It also is fairly time-consuming and on the expensive side. Resist the urge to cut corners: Use only ingredients you know and trust, experiment with other brands only when time permits and you can risk less-than-stellar desserts.

* Choose the right equipment. Here are some of the more important items:

Springform pans provide the best mold for cheesecake. The tender, sticky cake is less apt to remain adhered to the edges of this pan.

Paddle-type beaters are better for making cheesecakes because they tend to incorporate less air into the batter than the “balloon whisk” variety. (If you have conventional beaters, don’t overbeat; see tip below.)

A jellyroll pan with a lip placed underneath the springform in the oven will help minimize the cleanup from an occasional leak, says Susan G. Purdy, in her book, A Piece of Cake (Atheneum,1989).

A long, thin spatula (from a cake-baking store or kitchenware shop) is useful both for loosening the cake from the edges and removing the chilled cake from the base.

* Work with proper temperatures: Cream cheese should be at room temperature for more complete blending and silken results. Remove eggs from the refrigerator just long enough in advance to remove the chill. Let mixtures cool as directed (usually to room temperature if no other specific temperature is noted.)

Invest in an oven thermometer to double-check your range.

You can soften cream cheese in your microwave, according to Kraft/General Foods. Place a single unwrapped (8-ounce) package in a microwave-safe container. Then microwave on high about 15 seconds. You may need to give the container a quarter-turn, then microwave for another few seconds. Add 15 seconds for each additional package. (Timing will vary, depending upon the power of your machine.)

* Prepare the pan: You’ll get nicer slices of finished (baked and chilled) cheesecake from the pan — and leave less of the crust on the springform base — if you follow this advice from Kraft/General Foods:

Turn the bottom section of the pan (the base) rim-side-down before inserting it into the springform pan (the side mold). Secure the latch, making certain the base is securely inserted. Grease and flour the pan (check the recipe to see if this is required).

Did this advice mean anything to you, or did you already know the delicacy of cheesecake preparation?

Next week we talk about cheesecake and changing skylines!

 

 

 

IDEAL MAN

IDEAL MAN

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand

I picked up a copy of Ayn Rand’s epic novel, “The Fountainhead” because she had a reputation as an excellent, even brilliant, writer. I knew she was a philosopher and an intellect. I just wanted to read a well-written book. I wasn’t aware, though, of her obsession with her idea of the ideal man. If the introduction were any indication of her writing, I would not have bothered to read her book. Eager, I forged ahead, and was pleasantly surprised.

She started writing it in 1935, but it was several years before it would be published in 1943. Wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948. Would you believe me if I told you that the book had twelve rejections before finally being published by The Bobbs-Merrill Company? There were issues—too intellectual, too controversial—and would not sell because no audience existed for it. She says, That was the difficult part of its history; difficult for me to bear. I mention it here for the sake of any other writer of my kind who might have to face the same battle—as a reminder of the fact that it can be done.

Twenty-five years later, when she wrote the introduction that addressed the mainstay of her book, no one, not even her, believed the number of years it had been in print. Now, in 2013, it is still being reprinted and read by untold numbers.

Rand’s basic premise, is man is an entity unto himself. Her exalted view of man as a heroic being that pervades her fiction is underpinned by her revolutionary moral code of rational egoism. Her distinctive view that moral values are objective—as objective as the laws of science—has its root in her discoveries about how man acquires and validates his knowledge.

In this introduction she quotes from The Goal of My Writing, an address she gave at Lewis and Clark College, on October 1, 1963: This is the motive and purpose of my writing: the projection of an ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my ultimate literary goal, as an end in itself—to which any didactic, intellectual or philosophical values contained in a novel are only the means.

She says, I have been asked whether I have changed in these past twenty-five years. No, I am the same—only more so. Have my ideas changed? No, my fundamental convictions, my view of life and of man, have never changed, from as far back as I can remember, but my knowledge of their applications has grown, in scope and in precision. What is my present evaluation of “The Fountainhead?” I am as proud of it as I was on the day when I finished writing it.

In an overview of The Fountainhead, possibly the most influential and controversial novel of ideas in American history, presents a philosophy of vital interest to anyone seeking an understanding of our present-day culture. As relevant and exciting now as it was for those who clamored to read it when it first burst upon the scene, this book continues to focus worldwide attention on its brilliant author, who pointedly asks, “Is it possible to be an individual in today’s world?”

A phenomenal bestseller, The Fountainhead brought Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism to a worldwide audience. As original today as it was when it was written, this novel reinvents the modern-day hero. There is a 75th anniversary edition which includes a special afterword by Leonard Peikoff and excerpts from Rand’s own notes about the book.

http://www.amazon.com/We-Living-75th-Anniversary-Edition/dp/045123359X.

Cover of Rand's first published work, a 2,500-word monograph on femme fatale Pola Negri published in 1925.

Cover of Rand’s first published work, a 2,500-word monograph on femme fatale Pola Negri published in 1925.

Born: Alisa Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum
February 2, 1905
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
United States Citizen 1931
Died: March 6, 1982 (aged 77)
New York City, New York
Pen Name: Ayn Rand
Alma Mater: Petrograd State University
Subjects: Philosophy
Notable work(s): The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged
Notable award (s): Prometheus Award – Hall of fame
1983 Atlas Shrugged
1987 Anthem
Spouse: Frank O’Connor Married April 15, 1929 – November 7, 1979 (his death)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

Have you read this epic novel? What did you think about the young, twenty-two at the time, Howard Roark, almost architect?

LIPSTICK BUILDING (REALLY?)

LIPSTICK BUILDING (REALLY?)

Architect: Philip Johnson, John Burgee Year(s) of construction: 1986 Height: 143 m Floors: 36 Location: New York, New York, United States

Architect: Philip Johnson, John Burgee
Year(s) of construction: 1986
Height: 143 m
Floors: 34
Location: New York, New York, United States

Its official name is 53rd at Third, but is popularly known as the Lipstick Building  (the lipstick). The elegant elliptical shape of the building is different from its surroundings.

This is the second post-modern contribution of Philip Johnson to the Manhattan skyline, after the AT & T building with its unusual pediment, built two years earlier.

lipstick unusual uglyConsidered by some to be one of the ugliest buildings in Manhattan, it has held a special place in my heart since first seeing it with my design students on an architectural field trip, post construction. We were all excited to see a building that resembles a tube of lipstick. It’s an unusual reddish/purplish color, like a deep red lipstick,1986ness (it’s made of enameled Imperial granite and steel). It stands on columns (not visible from this photo, but columns can be seen in the first image above), which are two stories high and separate the street from the nine-meter high lobby, a lobby almost as tall as a two-story building. Today, I find it hilarious, amazing and set apart from the square 1960’s glass boxes. It definitely connects to the nostalgia of the 1980s Johnson buildings in New York.

Lipstick Building fun facts:

  • The building was designed by John Burgee/Philip Johnson Architects in 1986.
  • It is 453 foot (138 meters) tall in four oval cylinders placed one on the other, from highest to lowest, with 34 floors, creating a building that is tilted away from the crowded third avenue.
  • Bernie Madoff’s offices were there – his investment company leased the 17th through 19th floors.
  • New York rates it as one of the eight worst buildings to have blighted our skyline. (“One of Phillip Johnson’s (many) failures”)
  • The elliptical shape makes no difference between offices located around the perimeter where top executives usually have the corner office. Here, there are no corners.
  • The Ramones second single (1976) is about the intersection of 53rd & 3rd being a notorious spot for male prostitutes to hustle. Dee Dee wrote it and sings the bridge. The area was a section of what was known as “the Loop,” which also boasted gay bars such as Rounds and Red. In 1994, a crackdown by police with heavy support from the neighborhood saw an end to the area’s nighttime activities, and despite protests by gay advocate groups, many arrests were made and the bars were shuttered.
53 street & 3 avenue

53 street & 3 avenue

The exact address is 885   Third Avenue, New York City, the streets between 53rd and 54th, only two blocks from the famous PJ Clarke’s on 55th street.

The company that owned the building filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

What do you think of a building that resembles a tube of lipstick–a red one at that?

 

 

23 SKIDOO

23 SKIDOO

Flatiron Building New York City

Flatiron Building New York City

Twenty-three skidoo was a happening at a triangular site where Broadway and Fifth Avenue meet. The juxtaposition of the streets and a nearby park caused a wind-tunnel effect   In the early twentieth century, men would hang out on the corner of Twenty-third Street and watch the wind blowing women’s dresses up, so that they could catch a little bit of ankle. This entered into popular culture and there are hundreds of postcards and illustrations of women with their dresses blowing up in front of the Flatiron Building. And it supposedly is where the slang expression “23 skidoo” comes from because the police would come and give the voyeurs the 23 skidoo to get them out of the area.

Flatiron drawing by James Gulliver Hancock

Flatiron drawing by Illustrator James Gulliver Hancock

The now familiar distinctive triangular shape of the Flatiron Building, designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and built in 1902, fills the wedge-shaped property. The 22-story iconic office building has been one of New York City’s most dramatic enduring symbols of the city since its birth. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 1966 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. It is popular with photographers, artists and illustrators.

View looking south (downtown) from the Empire State Building at part of the Flatiron District. The Flatiron Building is the triangular building at right center. To the left is the Met Life Tower, with Madison Square Park in front. Between the park and the tower, at street level, Madison Avenue begins at 23rd Street and runs uptown (toward bottom of image). Madison Square is the intersection in front of the Flatiron, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway cross. (Fifth goes to the right, Broadway to the left.) The trees of Union Square Park can be seen in the top left of the image.

View looking south (downtown) from the Empire State Building at part of the Flatiron District. The Flatiron Building is the triangular building at right center. To the left is the Met Life Tower, with Madison Square Park in front. Between the park and the tower, at street level, Madison Avenue begins at 23rd Street and runs uptown (toward bottom of image). Madison Square is the intersection in front of the Flatiron, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway cross. (Fifth goes to the right, Broadway to the left.) The trees of Union Square Park can be seen in the top left of the image.

The neighborhood around it is called the Flatiron District . The designation is of relatively recent vintage, dating from around 1985, and came about because of its increasingly residential character and the influx of many restaurants into the area. Before that, the area was commercial, with numerous small clothing and toy manufacturers, and was sometimes called the Toy District. Later, the toy businesses moved outside the U.S. and then the area began to be referred to as the Photo District—because of the large number of photographers’ studios and associated businesses located there, the photographers having come because of the relatively cheap rents.

Flatiron photo by Steichen

Flatiron photo by Steichen

Popular photographers like Stieglitz and Steichen photographed the building, along with artists and illustrators who all took the Flatiron as the subject of their work.

As of the 2000’s, many publishers have their offices in the district, as well as advertising agencies. The number of computer- and web-related start up companies in the area caused it to be considered part of “Silicon Alley” or “Multimedia Gulch”, along with TriBeCa and SoHo, although this usage declined considerably after the dot.com bubble burst.

Flatiron by photographer Stieglitz

Flatiron by photographer Stieglitz

Today, the Flatiron Building is frequently used on television commercials and documentaries as an easily recognizable symbol of the city, and in scenes of New York City that are shown during scene transitions in TV sitcoms and other shows and publications.

What is your favorite place in NYC? Have you visited the Flatiron District? Quite interesting with its museums, restaurants and shoppes.

 

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