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fendel

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Everything posted by fendel

  1. You guys are great! Thanks so much for all the tips, I am going to pore over these replies some more and make some changes to my omelet technique (sounds like fewer eggs, larger skillet, lower heat, no covering - for starters). (To answer a couple of questions, I was using 2-3 eggs and a moderate amount of filling... and the great snack-bar omelet was at Vassar College in the late 80s.) I knew I could count on eGullet to get me on the right track. thanks again, fendel
  2. The snack bar at my college made what I considered the perfect omelet: delicate, pale, tender, runny in the middle, with a thin flat sheet of egg (as opposed to what I describe below). As I recall, they cooked them on a griddle. My omelets, however, turn out brown, puffy, and tough, with a thick dry layer of egg. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong? 1. I beat cold eggs with a fork and add a little salt. (Should I warm them up first? I don't think I overbeat them, but next time I'll try to incorporate less air...) 2. Then I heat a 10" nonstick skillet over high heat, add butter or oil (I've tried both), turn down the heat to maybe medium; switching to a griddle is not an option for me, but I'd consider a larger pan if that helps. I saw Alton Brown recommended a cheap Teflon pan instead of my All-Clad nonstick, which has a rougher surface and unfortunately holds on to the eggs. 3. I pour in the eggs and usually cover the pan for a moment to let the eggs cook partway through. 4. I add some shredded cheese and sometimes cooked veggies, fold the omelet in half, and cover again to cook through until the cheese melts. By the time I slide the omelet onto a plate, it is overcooked, puffy, dry... ugh! Can any omelet experts advise me... warm up the eggs, bigger pan, different heat setting, avoid covering it...? Thanks! fendel
  3. Chiming in a bit late... I love pot roast, but it's no substitute for roast beef; totally different dish. I've had good luck with the following method: 1. Look for a bottom-round roast that is cone-shaped, with marbling at the pointy end that looks like netting. I had a butcher once point those out to me as the best bottom round cut, and a Cooks Illustrated article some time later confirmed it (I forget what they called it). 2. Unwrap it and stick it on a plate or in a shallow roasting pan, and stick it in your refrigerator for four days. Must be unwrapped, otherwise it just spoils. Make sure your fridge temperature is below 40F - use a thermometer to be sure. 3. Take it out, slice off the dried exterior layer (you may want to buy a bigger roast to start with, to accommodate this loss - I've gotten some pretty dinky roasts this way...). 4. Preheat oven to 500. Coat the roast in a mixture of kosher salt and fresh coarsely ground black pepper. 5. Roast at 500 for 15-20 minutes. Then turn down the temp to 300. When the temp gets down under 350 (use an oven thermometer), stick the probe of a probe thermometer in the thickest part. (The probes tend to get obliterated by heat over 350, that's why you wait...) If you want gravy, I find it helps to baste the roast with a bit of beef broth - I use Better Than Boullion -- somehow this seems to generate better drippings. Also, if you have a little chunk of beef fat available, stick it on top of the roast and let it melt as it roasts. Whenever I trim excess fat from beef, or pour off excess rendered fat, I wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer for this purpose. 6. Take it out when the roast is about 122 degrees. Let rest for 15-20 minutes. Leave the thermometer in to watch the temperature rise as it rests. I aim for about 135 degrees by the end and usually hit the mark. Make gravy from drippings. This produces a roast with a dark crusty exterior and a medium rare interior, and usually it's reasonably tender when sliced thin. The aging really makes a difference. Once I bought a big roast and cut it in two - roasted the first part that day, and aged the other part for four days. The first part was tough, the aged second part was tender.
  4. For the record... I sorta plugged the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet earlier in this thread. I'm having second thoughts about that; I'm concerned about what the carby meal is doing to my blood sugar. They say the diet decreases insulin levels, but what about blood glucose? I bought a blood glucose meter the other day and confirmed my suspicion that I'm basically pre-diabetic. (I highly recommend this to everyone. Um, the meter, not the pre-diabetes.) So I think I'm going to be scaling way back on the carbs now and taking this a little more seriously. We now return to your regularly scheduled thread. Oh yeah, secret ingredient... I don't know yet how this is for cooking, but our local stores have started carrying a low-carb milk substitute called Carb Countdown. So far I've only had the chocolate kind--and it's surprisingly good if you add a little cream to it.
  5. fendel

    coke or pepsi?

    FWIW, I've had a cranial MRI... they are extremely safe as long as you don't have metal clips in your brain. (I have an aunt who does; she had surgery for aneurysms.) Uncomfortable for claustrophobics tho. Anyway... What surprises me is-- that's a thousand-dollar test! I'm amazed anybody would shell out that kind of money for a Pepsi-Challenge-MRI, even Pepsi.
  6. Butter. Beef. Bacon. It may be a regional thing, but out here in flyoverland we have a brand of bread called Village Hearth Lite -- they make very credible Italian (squishy white supermarket bread with sesame seeds, you know, that kind of "Italian"), wheat, and 12-grain breads. Roughly 5g carb per slice and they don't have that rubbery quality that most low-carb breads have. (I have to admit, I'm not doing much low-carb cooking at the moment. I switched to an old version of the "Carbohydrate Addict's Diet": a rather spartan low-carb breakfast and lunch, no snacks, but then whatever the heck you want for dinner within a 60-minute time limit. The authors backpedaled later on and specified a sensible, balanced meal, but I say, hey, if people have lost weight on the old insensible and unbalanced plan, sign me up. Five pounds and counting. I had pizza tonight.)
  7. fendel

    coke or pepsi?

    Diet Rite with fresh lime over lots of ice in a chilled glass. (Or failing that, Diet Pepsi. Or as a last resort, Diet Coke.)
  8. fendel

    Roasted Cauliflower

    OK, I'm a doofus. I searched but couldn't find the standard, basic recipe. Can anyone provide a link or the recipe?
  9. I think the problem is that the prions causing BSE are practically indestructible. If meat-cutting equipment gets contaminated with that stuff, I could see how it would contaminate whatever else that equipment processes. (After chronic wasting disease, a deer version of BSE, was found in Wisconsin, I was glad that my boyfriend the hunter butchers his own venison instead of sending it to a processor.) That said, I'm taking my chances. I love beef. My diet would be pale and sad without steaks and roasts.
  10. fendel

    Aspartame

    For what it's worth - Diet Rite soda is sweetened with Splenda and acesulfame potassium, and does not contain aspartame. It's what we drink at home, (a) just in case and (b) because we prefer the taste.
  11. fendel

    Egg yolks

    But if I'm not in the mood to make ice cream (or whatever) that day, those yolks aren't useful to me. Let's say I think I might need that yolk in a few days. Then I have to choose between either (a) reaching for the egg carton and cracking a fresh egg when I need that yolk, or (b) managing the inconvenience and loss of freshness involved in storing that yolk until I need it, at which point I've worked harder to have a less fresh egg yolk than if I'd just reached for the carton. I can understand the impulse to save useful items, but I guess I'd rather have convenient/fresh stuff than be frugal (whether in the economic sense, or in the philosophical "waste not" sense).
  12. That's our setup too. We have a small kitchen with no dishwasher and very little counter space; the only practical place to put a dish drying rack is in the sink. We have a Kohler enameled cast iron sink with their rack that they design specifically for that model. Fits great. The downside is, that leaves us one rather small bowl to wash things in. Washing a big turkey roasting pan is a royal pain. But it does "encourage" us to wash dishes promptly... because they stack up and render that small sink unusable very fast.
  13. I don't run out of my true staples because I tend to buy in multiples. If I have the slightest suspicion that I'm running out of these things, I buy more because I know I'll use it. These are the items I always have around because they steadily rotate through my pantry or fridge - canned tomatoes flour various sweeteners chicken broth beef base butter, lots of unsalted Land O Lakes butter in those great foil wrappers whole milk half-and-half cream neutral cooking oil (vegetable, canola, or peanut) decent "lite" bread in the freezer cheese fresh lemons I used to try to cook at my friends' house, but eventually gave up in despair when I realized they were out of butter, their cooking oil was rancid, and they didn't know where the salt was.
  14. fendel

    Egg yolks

    I dunno, I'd make ice cream if I had yolks on hand and felt like it... but I don't really understand the impulse to save egg yolks or whites in ice cube trays, little dishes, or whatever-- eggs are cheap. I'd rather break 'em and use 'em fresh, and waste whatever I don't need at the time, rather than wind up with egg parts of questionable freshness and then have to wash the little dish I stored them in.
  15. fendel

    Aspartame

    Some of us like our coffee and tea sweet and/or liberally doused in half-and-half. I don't care how good a cup of coffee is, I can't enjoy it without a couple packets of sweetener. My preference is Splenda, although I'm not worried about aspartame or saccharin either.
  16. I age rib roasts sometimes, although they don't need it as much as cheaper cuts. I find the cuts that really benefit from it are things like bottom round rump roast or top round, the cheap roasts (relatively speaking!) that I tend to buy a few times a month. I put the roast on a plate or in the uncovered roasting pan and set it in the fridge for 4 days or so. I have a fridge thermometer to make sure the temperature is in the right range. We've never gotten sick from this practice, or even encountered a dodgy-tasting roast. (Interesting--I've always noticed that beef left in its plastic wrap goes green and awful very quickly; yet beef left uncovered actually improves, assuming you shave off the dried-up surfaces before cooking.) A couple months back I actually split up a bottom round rump roast: I set aside a big chunk to age for 4 days, and I roasted the remaining portion the day I bought it. The unaged roast was tough and lacking in flavor. Four days later, the aged part (from the same roast, remember) was relatively tender and very tasty. It was a marked improvement. For beef roasts--rib roast or the cheap round roasts--I coat the meat with pepper and kosher salt and put it in a 500 degree oven for fifteen to twenty minutes. Then I lower the heat to 300 or so, stick in the probe thermometer when the oven cools down a bit, and take out the roast when it hits about 120 degrees (or 116 for rib roasts, which I like a touch rarer than round roasts). Let it rest while making gravy from the drippings. By the time it's rested for 15-20 minutes, it's typically a nice medium rare, albeit a little well-done around the edges--the price I'm happy to pay for a good crust.
  17. fendel

    Chuck eye steak

    Having cooked one of these now, I guess I'll answer my own question. Kinda chewy. Decent flavor. Better than a bad piece of sirloin, not as good as a good piece of sirloin (and nowhere near a decent ribeye). Oh well, so much for my bargain steak...
  18. fendel

    Chuck eye steak

    One of the supermarkets in my area has started carrying chuck eye steak, perhaps in an attempt to provide quasi-tender steaks for a price that won't send shoppers fleeing. I picked up a pack, vaguely remembering that these are supposed to be like a continuation of the ribeye muscles into the chuck. Anyone have experiences/recipes to share? I'm planning to panbroil one of these tomorrow night, and I'm not sure what to expect. Normally I buy ribeye.
  19. Personally, I'd rather have the fat. I've known people whose cholesterol profiles (and, of course, weight) have significantly improved on Atkins, even with the higher fat intake. Fat satiates. Without the fat, you wind up eating more protein to fill up; excess protein is basically converted to carbs in the body. Not to mention the fact that fat is tasty, which is a Good Thing. Can't help you with dinner ideas, if you're doing the lowfat thing, but I'm sure somebody will have some suggestions. My idea of dinner is something like a juicy steak with buttered green beans and salad, or roasted chicken (with the skin) and gravy with buttered cauliflower, or... well, you get the idea.
  20. That's an easy one. More chocolate.
  21. Sometimes "not bad for you" is sufficient.
  22. Splenda seems to dissolve readily.
  23. The notable exception is the sugar alcohols, like maltitol, erythritol, or Isomalt (main ingredient in Diabetisweet). Those don't dissolve any better than sugar, and maybe even worse. Erythritol doesn't seem to dissolve well except in hot liquids. I have some rather crunchy brownies and homemade ice cream sitting in front of me. Tasty, but crunchy.
  24. Actually, IIRC, caffeine pills are usually 200 mg each, which they say is roughly equivalent to 2 cups of coffee. I take half a "Jet Alert" (cheapo faux NoDoz) with breakfast because I want the caffeine but don't feel like chugging all that hot liquid.
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