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Everything posted by lauraf

  1. If you don't want to do a lot of butchering of a raw chicken, then the way I get the most out of a good chicken is to roast it whole first. Slow roasted or high heat for crispy chicken skin, with or without stuffing, different seasonings, whatever your pleasure. Use the drippings to either add to a roux and some stock for a traditional gravy, or de-fat and deglaze the pan with wine for a thinner sauce. Enjoy the whole roast chicken experience with your mashed potatoes and vegs or other sides of choice. Take the rest of the cooked chicken meat off the bones, and if you can use it over the following few days, save it in the fridge for chicken salads, pasta dishes, pizza topping, etc. If not, then use it to make a dish that can be frozen like chicken pot pies. I do what paulraphael does, and save the remaining carcass in a large freezer bag until I have accumulated enough carcasses to make a decent stock.
  2. lauraf

    Cooking With Yogurt

    I despise yogurt, unfortunately, but can on occasion use it in place of low-fat sour cream (which is a bit of an anathema to me itself) in my cold avocado soup. Blend the flesh of two ripe avocadoes with half a cup of yogurt, a cup or more chicken/vegetable stock, lime/lemon juice, spoonful of cayenne, S&P to taste. Chill well before serving. Great garnished with salted croutons, fresh chives, baby shrimp, or fish roe. Truffle oil never hurt either.
  3. Cool, thanks. I couldn't see any problem either, but am a souffle newbie
  4. So I'm going to have some friends for dinner, and they are very forgiving friends so I will attempt a souffle recipe again! Is it a problem to double Julia Child's recipe to feed the six of us? Or should I prepare two separate souffle batches? Maybe this question belongs in the Stupid Questions thread . . .
  5. I've read through this whole thread tonight my eyes hurt, but I want latkes! One of the reasons I've never made them is the daunting prospect of hand-grating the potatoes. It seems so labour-intensive, and grating has to be one of my least favourite prep activities. But I always hear from my Jewish relatives that grating potatoes in the processor makes for second-rate latkes. Any input? And, we'd probably eat them with creme fraiche and smoked salmon. Since I don't keep kosher (I'm a mixed breed ) I don't mind using some animal fat to fry them. Is duck fat better than bacon drippings? Do they fry differently? BTW - I am probably going to follow Pam R's recipe, with eggs and flour. If I want to add some gruyere and chopped scallions, any portion adjustments needed?
  6. Don't! Just slice the stem end off the head, like a little hat. Drizzle a little oil in, maybe throw in a sprig of herb, pop the hat back on and place the head into a foil packet. Depending on the width of your foil you might get the whole lot into three foil bundles, like garlic bread [without the bread] to look at, if you follow me. Once the garlic is baked the individual cloves will pop out of the papery shell at the merest poke with the handle end of a teaspoon or similar implement. ← Thanks! I'll try it. I seem to remember the last time I baked the garlic whole, I lost a lot of the clove pulp when I squeezed them out. Has anyone frozen whole roasted garlic cloves? Are they really soggy/mushy when thawed?
  7. So my local grocer is selling off packs of about 30 heads of garlic for, like, two bucks. It's still good, but has to be used pretty soon. I figured I'd roast the lot of it, and keep it handy for adding to soups, sauces, or to smear on bread. Two questions: what is the fastest way to peel that much garlic? Secondly, if I refrigerate the roasted cloves in a bit of olive oil, how long will they last?
  8. Ummm, how do the goats die? Do they get bonged on the head and then have their throats slit?
  9. I find asparagus is much better you keep it away from water in the cooking process. How I cook it partially depends on how big (diameter) it is. The small very young asparagus I just sauté in butter and olive oil and then add a little salt and pepper at the end. For larger stalks I steam a little prior to sautéing them. No matter what don't overcook asparagus! ← Curious: why do you recommend avoiding any water in the cooking process? The reason I asked about poaching asparagus is that my mum often microwaves the stalks in a shallow dish of water.
  10. And since I am loving a thread devoted to stupid questions, here's another: if I buy a cooked ham, I just need to add a glaze of some sort and heat it through, yes? When one buys a ham, does it usually have the bone in? What different kinds of hams and flavour profiles are there? I've never bought or served one before, but love a 'real' Easter ham. My next stupid question: what is the best way to cook asparagus, if offering as a side dish? I usually pan-sautee them with olive oil and cracked pepper, but wonder if poaching isn't a better service to the vegetable?
  11. I think the main reason is that the extremely high concentrations at the bottom of the pot before the salt has fully dissolved can cause some surface pitting on the stockpot, which might degrade performance for certain uses. I don't worry about it, personally, because I buy cheap stockpots. ← That makes sense. Thanks. Most people tell me not to rinse pasta after cooking, as the starch helps the sauce cling better. When - if ever- should you rinse your cooked pasta?
  12. i agree!! (french toast being my all-time favorite breakfast). even more decadent: replace some portion (larger is more decadent) of the milk with CREAM. omg it's heaven. (cooked in cast iron, of course....) ← Yay! A great idea, thanks! As is using it for stuffing, but I don't make bread stuffing so much anymore - my husband prefers my mushroom stuffing, the ingrate. Re: adding salt to pasta water - Why should you wait to add it just before the water boils? I've always added it at the beginning . . . .
  13. I have no idea why I'm lurking in this thread today... I'm sure I should be writing my dissertation or some nonsense... Yes, definitely. The difference between "fresh" and "not-fresh" when it comes to breadcrumbs is whether the bread has been dried or not. Fresh breadcrumbs have a much higher moisture content, so absorb less oil, etc. Frozen bread should work fine, though for whatever reason I generally thaw it first. Probably not actually necessary... ← Thanks Chris. And here's another dumb question: other than making bread crumbs or croutons, what the heck else can I do with frozen leftover bread? We never eat a whole baguette between the two of us, and I usually end up composting the stale leftovers - whatever they say, bread bags suck! - or throwing it in the freezer waiting for a good idea about what to do with it. And its usually making more dang croutons.
  14. Ummm, can I use frozen bread to make 'fresh' bread crumbs?
  15. Good call, Parkside is amazing as is Chambar. Don't know why I don't think of those places when out-of-towners ask for rec's. Maybe they seem less, I don't know, Vancouver-centric than others?
  16. Yes, way closer to Gastown, and a very nice hotel, if the lobby is any barometer - haven't been inside their rooms. Their hotel restaurant cuisine is an unfortunate blend of East Indian and generic Pacific Westcoast fare - not so great, IMO. Eat well, dine well, and if you want other advice or referrals, I'd be happy to help! I love our restaurants and the people who run them. Cheers, Laura
  17. One of my favourite things to do is take out-of-towners out for a meal or two, as I was lucky enough to do with JasonTrue. PM me, I'd love to show off some of our great restaurants! Trust Canucklehead on the Chinese food rec's, for sure, he's an absolute expert. Granville Island is touristy, but also popular with the local consumers and restaurant chefs for its incredible year-round culinary bounty - I think you'd find it worth a visit. Do get a car, unless you make very good friends with someone local to drive you around . If you want to try some of the best Chinese, you will need to get out of the downtown area, and the drive to Whistler isn't all that bad despite the construction. Whistler is very cool to see, and ski at - the debate between doing Blackcomb or Whistler is a long one, and since I haven't skiied for awhile, I leave that to others. If you are dining at Whistler, your best blow-me-away dinner options are Araxi or Bearfoot Bistro, both outstanding, frequent winners of local restaurant awards. For casual? There's a handful of cafes that are pretty good, but if you are skiing all day, you won't be coming down to the village for lunch - it'll shave some precious time off your ski day - so pack a snack, or grab something at the restaurant(s) up the hill, and save your time and energy for an exemplary dinner experience. You'll find more dining diversity in Vancouver, so drive up to Whister early one morning, ski the hell out of you, have reservations for a great dinner, and come back the next morning. By the time you've done that, you won't care what hotel you are staying at - all you will want is a hot shower after skiing and a warm bed after eating! In Vancouver, wow, aside from Chinese options, Vij's (South Granville) is definitely unique and worthwhile; Tojo's (mid-town) I find overrated for what you will spend; Boneta (Gastown) is a great choice for not only innovative cocktails but killer food at a pretty decent value; Salt (Gastown) is a hip space for the best charcuterie and cheeses with excellent beer, whiskey and wine pairings; an old stalwart like Ciopinno's (Yaletown) is the best high-end Italian in town, in my mind, though Cincin (Robson St) plays a close fiddle; C and Blue Water are excellent high-end seafood places; and Go Fish! (near Granville Island) is an experience in truly fresh-off-the-boat seaside kiosk lunching. I have at least a dozen other spots to recommend, but you only have five days! Cheers, Laura
  18. Canucklehead introduced me to Ningdu, at 2130 Kingsway. Loved the bang-bang ( or was it bam-bam?) chicken - a cold salad with poached chicken and cucumber, if I am remembering correctly. I've been meaning to go back . . . . And vanmag.com has a few suggestions on Kingsway here: http://www.vancouvermagazine.com/restauran.../Kingsway.shtml
  19. Thanks, I guess - they didn't really look all that great, but they did taste wonderful. I will try again with only three ramekins to see if the proportions work better, or just go buy myself a large souffle dish. And meanwhile I am enjoying reading through The Way to Cook - a wonderful resource for my very middling level of expertise vs. ambitious culinary aspirations!
  20. So last weekend I made my first souffle! It's taken me a week-long guided tutorial from Pam R to figure out how to post pictures (I am embarrassed at my total lack of ability, but thanks Pam - I did it!) And the pictures are crap to boot, but I'm into lots of first-evers right now. And thanks to all for their comments in this forum. I went out and bought Julia's The Way to Cook - the bookstore didn't have the Mastering books, but this one had her souffle recipe, and is a fabulous read, with great pictures. I'm in love. Making souffle is actually ridiculously easy if you have good instructions! I prepped four individual ramekins with butter and good parmesan finely shaved with my microplane (I love my new zester). Then carefully separated the eggs, made my bechamel sauce and egg base: I heeded advice and went very light on additions - just some very finely chopped sauteed shallots - but heavy on the seasoning, with plenty of paprika, white pepper and kosher salt. Then whipped my egg whites - wiping the bowl with vinegar was a great tip - my egg whites were so airy! Added some to the base, then slowly folded in the rest of the whites along with a cup of grated gruyere: Then filled the prepped ramekins, which were chilling in the freezer, put them into a 400F oven and turned down to 375F. Because I was baking individual ramekins, I changed my mind and turned the heat down to 350F after five minutes, but when I checked through the window after fifteen minutes and didn't see much rising, I turned it up to 375F again, convinced that now I was ruining everything! But after 25 minutes, the souffles had significantly risen: And I figured that was as much as they should cook. Well, I misjudged the size of the ramekins - I think if I had only filled three of them, I would have three nice-looking puffed souffles with the recipe proportions I used. But they were delicious! Rich with flavour, light yet cheesy. Perfect with a little salad and some bread. I could have eaten them all myself, and my husband loved them too. I don't know why I was so intimidated before, the hardest part really was separating the eggs. Thanks for everyone's advice. I heart souffles.
  21. Have you tried the pork crackling chocolate bar from Monde? Tastes a lot like good chocolate with a crunchy caramel/nougat sprinkling inside. Bacony stuff plus chocolate = goodness
  22. Okay, my husband just gave me the go-ahead to try a souffle for dinner tomorrow night. He's not a huge fan of eggs for dinner, purely for (his) health reasons, but I suggested that instead of having eggs for breakfast tomorrow, he could 'offset' his cholesterol load. So I WILL buy Julia's Mastering Vol.1 tomorrow, and will plan to follow her basic recipe, but I am also preparing our shopping list tonight. I couldn't find her souffle recipe online, so I'm just wondering if a bunch of eggs, cheese, and milk are all the fresh ingredients I will need? Do I need breadcrumbs as well? And also, I can't eat Swiss cheese, which I think is the one Julia uses, but I am assuming that cheddar or havarti would work? Finally, I need to 'put stuff' in the souffle, according to my husband, like vegetables and meat. Best suggestions for savoury 'stuff' to include that will be easy for My First Souffle? I'm usually really good at improvising on recipes, but when egg whites or phyllo are involved . . . . well, they're often 'handle-with-care'. Thanks!
  23. Poach some quartered pears in butter and ice wine beforehand. Keep warm. Serve over really good vanilla ice cream. Simple, slippery, slightly alcoholic, definitely sexy. (I know someone just like that ) ← Oh that sounds even better than sex did I say that? I love ice wine, but can never find it around here. I need to see if I can get some shipped here to Kansas--last time I tried, it was illegal ← You could use a French or German dessert wine instead, or even a liquer like Poire Williams. If I could slip you some BC ice wine I would - I've got a cabinet full!
  24. Poach some quartered pears in butter and ice wine beforehand. Keep warm. Serve over really good vanilla ice cream. Simple, slippery, slightly alcoholic, definitely sexy. (I know someone just like that )
  25. Wow - thanks everyone! That eGCI class was really helpful to review, plus everyone's advice about the importance of the egg prep technique for whites and the incorporation of the fats. I am going to try this at some point over the next couple of weeks, and will keep you all posted. And I am going to confess a big secret. I don't actually have any of Julia Child's cookbooks myself. Mum has them all, and I used to cook from them when at home with her, but don't have any in my own house. I suppose I should buy my own, right?
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