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Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions (Part 1)


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592 replies to this topic

#571 JAZ

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 06:26 PM

For some reason I'm suddenly having trouble roasting zucchini.  I have a hot oven, dry vegetables, olive oil, cut side down.  But only some of them caramelize, the rest just steam no matter how long they're in.  Are vegetables more watery at certain times of the year?  I don't have a grill pan but I suppose I could get one.

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A trick I learned from (I think) Dave the Cook's blog was to slice the zucchini, then salt them and let them drain for a half hour or so -- it helps to dry them out, I think. Then blot and roast as usual.

#572 ingridsf

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 07:15 PM

For some reason I'm suddenly having trouble roasting zucchini.  I have a hot oven, dry vegetables, olive oil, cut side down.  But only some of them caramelize, the rest just steam no matter how long they're in.  Are vegetables more watery at certain times of the year?  I don't have a grill pan but I suppose I could get one.

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A trick I learned from (I think) Dave the Cook's blog was to slice the zucchini, then salt them and let them drain for a half hour or so -- it helps to dry them out, I think. Then blot and roast as usual.

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Thank you! Weird, it hasn't been a problem before.
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#573 Patrick S

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:19 AM

Here's a silly question about seasoning raw meat before cooking it.  I wash my hands, then I sprinkle with salt, pepper, etc., rub it around, turn the meat over to season the second side.  Now I wash hands again, before grabbing the pepper mill with my raw-meat-hands.  Then season the second side, and wash again when I'm done.  Any way to avoid that middle step hand-washing without getting gunk on the pepper mill???

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I've also wondered about this, especially when watching cooking shows where they don't wash their hands (or lightly rinse their hands without soap) between touching raw meat and touching things like pepper grinders.

Do the bacteria left on pepper grinders and other surfaces die when the moisture on the surface dries?

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It depends on the bacterium, among other things. Some will die within minutes, others can form semi-dormant spores that might remain viable for weeks or even longer.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#574 McAuliflower

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 03:09 PM

What is the appropriate and safe way to heat plates at home? Do you just stick them in the oven at a low temperature?

I have both heavy-duty pottery plates and more delicate china with a platinum ring. and I'd hate to break either by getting a heat fracture.

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The microwave is fabululous at heating plates, except for those with a metal rings. I was given a Salton Hot tray as a wediing gift (are they still made ?) and they warmed up my newlywed plates. If you are warming plates for plenty of folks, run them through the quickest dishwasher cycle . Or: Just throw them in the oven at 250.

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If your microwave is heating up your plates- your ceramicware is cracked. This microwave treatment is used by pottermakers to test their ware for defects (glaze fit /microscopic cracks). If it heats up in the microwave it is defective :sad:
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#575 jmcgrath

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 03:59 PM

Here's a silly question about seasoning raw meat before cooking it.  I wash my hands, then I sprinkle with salt, pepper, etc., rub it around, turn the meat over to season the second side.  Now I wash hands again, before grabbing the pepper mill with my raw-meat-hands.  Then season the second side, and wash again when I'm done.  Any way to avoid that middle step hand-washing without getting gunk on the pepper mill???

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Grind the pepper into a small bowl in advance, then season both sides of the meat in a single step. It would be even better if you used food handling gloves. Latex is more common, but vinyl is available if you have a latex allergy. The gloves are very inexpensive compared to the increase in food safety they provide.

Jim

#576 Mistinguett

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 08:57 PM

Is there any way to "fix" a chocolate mousse that fell flat? I made the Pierre Herme recipe and all went well up to the last moments of folding the egg whites, when it just deflated. It's in the fridge - should it go down the drain? :(

edited to add that it set somewhat but it's no mousse, it has more of a pudding consistency. I still wonder how this happened - whites too cold, chocolate too warm?

Edited by Mistinguett, 16 April 2006 - 11:51 PM.

The human mouth is called a pie hole. The human being is called a couch potato... They drive the food, they wear the food... That keeps the food hot, that keeps the food cold. That is the altar where they worship the food, that's what they eat when they've eaten too much food, that gets rid of the guilt triggered by eating more food. Food, food, food... Over the Hedge

#577 Meez

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 09:27 PM

Here's a silly question about seasoning raw meat before cooking it.  I wash my hands, then I sprinkle with salt, pepper, etc., rub it around, turn the meat over to season the second side.  Now I wash hands again, before grabbing the pepper mill with my raw-meat-hands.  Then season the second side, and wash again when I'm done.  Any way to avoid that middle step hand-washing without getting gunk on the pepper mill???

View Post

Grind the pepper into a small bowl in advance, then season both sides of the meat in a single step. It would be even better if you used food handling gloves. Latex is more common, but vinyl is available if you have a latex allergy. The gloves are very inexpensive compared to the increase in food safety they provide.

Jim

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I agree with Jim, and I also do a "clean hand / dirty hand" thing where I handle the meat with one hand and season with the other; works well if you have to get through a bunch of things that you want seasoned on both sides.

#578 Patrick S

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 07:20 AM

Is there any way to "fix" a chocolate mousse that fell flat? I made the Pierre Herme recipe and all went well up to the last moments of folding the egg whites, when it just deflated. It's in the fridge - should it go down the drain? :(

edited to add that it set somewhat but it's no mousse, it has more of a pudding consistency. I still wonder how this happened - whites too cold, chocolate too warm?

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You can chill the mousse and then beat it, like a whipped ganache. It won't be nearly as light as it should have been, but it will be a little lighter.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#579 Mistinguett

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 12:52 AM

Strangely, it got even more liquidy. Just right to drink with small sips, like a cold hot chocolate. It's been delicious, just still not a mousse. Oh well, I'll try again.
Thank you for your advice, Patrick, much appreciated.
The human mouth is called a pie hole. The human being is called a couch potato... They drive the food, they wear the food... That keeps the food hot, that keeps the food cold. That is the altar where they worship the food, that's what they eat when they've eaten too much food, that gets rid of the guilt triggered by eating more food. Food, food, food... Over the Hedge

#580 Pat W

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 10:32 AM

Can soft cheeses like Saga Blue & Mascarpone be frozen for future use?

It's often hit or miss finding these cheeses locally. It would be great to stock up when the opportunity presents itself.

Sigh, still yearning for a real cheese shop out here on the great plains...

pat w.
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Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

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#581 Patrick S

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 08:33 AM

Strangely, it got even more liquidy. Just right to drink with small sips, like a cold hot chocolate. It's been delicious, just still not a mousse. Oh well, I'll try again.
Thank you for your advice, Patrick, much appreciated.

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You weren't by any chance using a pasteurized liquid egg white were you? Some of them will whip up and look fine, but the foam is not very stable. Cream of tartar will make the foam a little more stable, so if you didn't use it, you may want to try that next time. I didn't think about it before, but the chilling and whipping would probably only help with mousses that have lots of cream in them, and wouldn't work with mousses based on egg white foam only.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#582 LoveToEatATL

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 09:15 AM

I made a stock with the leftover Easter lamb.

Now what can I do with it?
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#583 Betts

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 09:27 AM

In the last few months I have made French dishes that had salt pork lardons. First sauteed to render the fat and then removed so that the next ingredient could be sauteed in the flavorful fat.

Are these crispy bits discarded? added later?

The recipe for the beef bourguinon and the chicken with prunes did not specify either way.

#584 bleudauvergne

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 09:38 AM

Can soft cheeses like Saga Blue & Mascarpone be frozen for future use?

Give it a try. Many high fat items freeze very well. I freeze Reblochon when we get it in volume at the source and does quite nicely. Butter also freezes well.

I made a stock with the leftover Easter lamb.

Now what can I do with it?

Why don't you make a tuscan white bean soup with it? You won't be sorry.

In the last few months I have made French dishes that had salt pork lardons. First sauteed to render the fat and then removed so that the next ingredient could be sauteed in the flavorful fat.

Are these crispy bits discarded? added later?

The recipe for the beef bourguinon and the chicken with prunes did not specify either way.

Put the lardons back in with your meat at the time you add the liquid for slow cooking.

#585 bleudauvergne

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 09:43 AM

What is the appropriate and safe way to heat plates at home? Do you just stick them in the oven at a low temperature?

I have both heavy-duty pottery plates and more delicate china with a platinum ring. and I'd hate to break either by getting a heat fracture.

View Post


The microwave is fabululous at heating plates, except for those with a metal rings. I was given a Salton Hot tray as a wediing gift (are they still made ?) and they warmed up my newlywed plates. If you are warming plates for plenty of folks, run them through the quickest dishwasher cycle . Or: Just throw them in the oven at 250.

View Post


If your microwave is heating up your plates- your ceramicware is cracked. This microwave treatment is used by pottermakers to test their ware for defects (glaze fit /microscopic cracks). If it heats up in the microwave it is defective :sad:

View Post


What I learned was to take a pile of plates and lightly spray water along the sides of the stack, then microwave the stack. The heated water heats the plates. It works really well.

#586 LoveToEatATL

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 10:37 AM

Can soft cheeses like Saga Blue & Mascarpone be frozen for future use?

Give it a try. Many high fat items freeze very well. I freeze Reblochon when we get it in volume at the source and does quite nicely. Butter also freezes well.

I made a stock with the leftover Easter lamb.

Now what can I do with it?

Why don't you make a tuscan white bean soup with it? You won't be sorry.

In the last few months I have made French dishes that had salt pork lardons. First sauteed to render the fat and then removed so that the next ingredient could be sauteed in the flavorful fat.

Are these crispy bits discarded? added later?

The recipe for the beef bourguinon and the chicken with prunes did not specify either way.

Put the lardons back in with your meat at the time you add the liquid for slow cooking.

View Post



Thank you - that sounds divine!
Patti Davis
www.anatomyofadinnerparty.com

#587 mrbigjas

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 10:40 AM

What I learned was to take a pile of plates and lightly spray water along the sides of the stack, then microwave the stack.  The heated water heats the plates.  It works really well.

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this is what i do. well, i don't spray, i just run some water in the plates. microwave for a minute, and it'll heat a stack of four to the "pretty damn warm" level.

#588 digigirl

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 06:58 AM

I don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but.... here goes.

How do you pronounce "au poivre?"

I'm sooo not French!

Edited by digigirl, 21 April 2006 - 06:58 AM.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body...but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

#589 Lori in PA

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 07:05 AM

au poivre = oh pwahv

Can anybody do a better phonetic spelling?
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#590 curlywurlyfi

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 07:06 AM

How do you pronounce "au poivre?" 


"oh pwahv-r" - kind of just tack the r on at the end like an afterthought.

edited because, if you put an 'r' in brackets, it turns into an ®

Edited by curlywurlyfi, 21 April 2006 - 07:08 AM.

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#591 dockhl

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 07:43 AM

You can actually hear Alain or Juliette SPEAK it here, in French...........


AT&T Text to Speech

#592 ChefCrash

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 08:51 AM

You can actually hear Alain or Juliette SPEAK it here, in French...........



That was funny. Got the "au" ok but really butchered the "poivre" smething like: pwayver. :biggrin:

#593 Pat W

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 12:36 PM

I have another embarrassingly dumb question. When you measure chopped fresh herbs, do you just lightly pile them in the cup or spoon or do you pack them down? I usually do something in the middle, but I always wonder.


Also, several months ago there was a great tutorial on sharpening knives. I can't find it now & it's driving me nuts. Can anyone help?

Thank you for this thread! I've been learning a lot from it.

pat w.

 

 

 

 

[Moderator note: This topic continues here, Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions (Part 2)]


Edited by Mjx, 25 February 2014 - 01:10 PM.
Moderator note added.

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance
Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/