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  1. Dipping soft centers in chocolate

    Oh, this is a good idea, thank you. I'll pour off the peanut oil if I'm using purchased peanut butter, and replace with cacao butter I have on hand. I wasn't looking forward to using more powdered sugar, it's already so sweet and has that weird texture from the starch.
  2. Dipping soft centers in chocolate

    Thanks, Kerry. I just eyeballed it until I got a peanut butter that was workable and met my tastes. I'd say about 1/2 cup PB, 1/3-1/4c powdered sugar, a 1/2t vanilla paste, pinch of salt. The PB was pretty oily, and hard to work with, probably should have used more powdered sugar or added some starch.
  3. Hi: I'm making some homemade peanut butter cups, but shaping them like bon bons instead. I don't have bon bon molds, so instead I'm dipping the peanut butter centers into tempered chocolate. As the chocolate coating sets, it contracts and my soft peanut butter center squirts out a little. Is there a way to prevent this, or do I need to do a second dipping? I've tried with both frozen and room temp centers (although peanut butter with a little vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar doesn't seem to freeze at all).
  4. japanese cooking - dashi

    Hi there: Short version: I don't get all the hubbub with dashi. It's nice, and makes my miso soup taste great. Rant: I don't see many recipes on the internet that highlight "ichiban dashi" (first one), other than simmering some veggies. Everything I read about dashi suggests the first is magical and amazing, and not to be used in regular cooking like rice, miso, etc. I decided to ignore it and use it in miso soup. Haters gonna hate. Long version: While browsing a nearby grocery store, I came across "dried matsutake" mushrooms. Never heard of them. $128/lb price tag (this is a small handful, cost $8). Had to try it. They are sitting here in front of me. Reading up on recipes, the most common I find for this mushroom is a simple rice dish. They make dashi, then use that with the soy/sake/mirin to make rice. I'll be trying that. What pushed me over the edge to post this, however, is that I see this alot: dashi, then mix with that trio in a lot of recipes.. I don't get it? I find soy, mirin/sake to be so overpowering, there's no way the dashi will even come through. What's it's purpose here? Simply tradition? Hopefully all this makes sense Thanks for your time! PS: as many of you know, there are multiple variations of dashi, and I've played with many of them, using both quality and crappy ingredients, sous vide, chanting in reverse gregorian while grating petrified fish blocks on wood soaked in logs, even some vegan variations. My intent here is not how to make dashi, but rather, find a use for it other than miso soup.
  5. Asparagus soup raw flavor

    Hi: I have heard of a few diet restrictions in certain indian regions, including no foods like onions/garlic since they come from inside the ground. I looked up the Iskon standards. Bummer that it excludes mushrooms, because mushroom soup would be a great idea. Can you have potatos? I don't see them included or excluded. I was also going to suggest miso soup without the bonito (fish flakes), but it appears soy beans are prohibited. It also appears lentils are prohibited? Oh boy, that's tough because lentil soup can be delicious. If potatoes can be included, consider potato soup. Also, how about various squash soups, such as zucchini? My central-euro culture has a wonderful squash/zuccini soup that's made with a little fresh dill. These are the soft squashes, similar to bitter melon, but, not so bitter. You can explore other squash varieties, too, they may be called "gourd" in some areas (think pumpkin, butternut squash, etc). What about carrots, or celery? Other soups to consider: green bean, split pea soup, watercress, cabbage, cauliflower. You can do these like plain soup, like a stew, or even "cream of..". You might also consider multiple vegetable in one soup; for example, green bean with caulflower, or tomato with watercress. Or put them all together and make a chili As far as raw-tasting, are you allowed to broil the veggies first? Maybe do that with the asparagus, broil it to pre-cook, instead of sauteeing. Then put that into water and continue your regular cooking, blending to make it a cream of roasted asparagus soup :)!
  6. Meat Blasphemy – Well-done Steak

    Hi: how about mimicking left overs? First cook/grill it near blue/rare level, cool it down in the freezer/fridge, then slice thin and fry on some butter to get it well done? The chill/reheat process then is something akin to stew meat (you know how it gets super tough the next day, and you have to reheat it hotter than it was before you first cooked it to make it tender again), so you'll still end up with tender meat. Additionally, if it's a sufficiently fatty steak, this will give it some tasty maillards. Perhaps a variation here is to slice it up, maybe the broadside, and fry that up to maximize the maillards... Or ask the butcher to run through a tenderizer...?
  7. Maintaining crisp/crunch of fried items?

    Oh, I totally forgot about this. FeChef, thanks, I didn't mention in my original post, but I've done the double fry method, and results are same, things do get soggy (I tried it a few times actually, things like french fries, chicken karaage, and schnitzel). After the recent cauliflower experiments, it's likely the moisture causing my problems, with batter/technique second. That said, I'm going to give double fry a second try next time, and, I'll throw potato flour into the mix of experiments.
  8. Maintaining crisp/crunch of fried items?

    Hi: just reporting back a modicum of success. First attempt was cauliflower. Baked under just tender, then dipped into a fairly runny batter mix of cornstarch, rice flower, baking powder, vodka, and bubbly water - starch, flour, and liquids all same volume. This went immediately into oil near 400F. Although a lot of the batter came off in the oil, the texture was exactly what I was looking for, with a very very light battering, crispy. It retained the crisp for at least five minutes, while I finished the rest of the batch, then into oven for about 20 minutes. It was still good out of the oven, but didn't have quite the same crackle. No big, best ever! Clearly removing the moisture was the key here. We tried raw sweet onion rings in the same batter, this was the bomb. Because of the runny batter, it left a lot of "open space" on the onion so it creating this neat structure of exposed onion, batter interlinked with some batter and onion, and then batter. Doing this one again for sure, the open structure allowed any steam to escape. Finally, tried a small piece of fish. Immediate results were great, but after about 3-4 minutes, the crispy batter became soft. Into the oven for 20 minutes, and meh, didn't help much. Took it back to the oven after overnight fridge, and the crispy returns. Going to try with chicken thighs and tenders next time - I plan on sous-vide + karaage style marinade, then chill, remove the excess marinade, let "dry" overnight in fridge, then try frying in same batter as above. Or, perhaps I'll use vodka instead of sake+mirin in the marinade, then just mix that with katakuriko powder. Hmmm. Thanks again for the help everyone.
  9. Maintaining crisp/crunch of fried items?

    Thank you TC, I have a few large liquor stores around or simply order online, so I'll put that Kentucky distiller on the list. If I can fry up something that stays crispy or crunchy for more than a couple minutes, maybe I'll try a fry off between a high priced one and a cheap one another day. So much to do, so little time. I'm beginning to wonder, maybe with something like veggies: would roasting first be helpful, reduce a bit of moisture? Get them sort of al-dente, especially the tougher ones, before frying? Low and slow, vs fast and hot? Or perhaps a few days in the freezer, sort of a half-arsed freeze dry might be interesting tactic <- this might be better alternate for proteins. Freeze some sous vided chicken or pork?
  10. Maintaining crisp/crunch of fried items?

    This is just my style, excellent!
  11. Maintaining crisp/crunch of fried items?

    Would you consider cauliflower to be a low moisture food? I'm kind of torn whether or not it is, can justify it either way. Last time I tried these, they were soggy within a couple minutes out of the oil. On using high-proof alcohol, does price tag make a difference? I don't drink (although do use wine or sherry or sake in cooking), so it's always a little overwhelming for me. Maybe a recommendation on a brand would be helpful? Will be experimenting this weekend or next!
  12. Maintaining crisp/crunch of fried items?

    Thank you. I'll give it a try!
  13. I've been playing with rice flour or various starches (corn, tapioca, potato) for frying batter, excluding apf due to various reasons. The batter is always perfect as it comes out of the oil, but after sitting a couple minutes before I get a chance to get them to the table, the food becomes soggy. I don't know why. However, if I reheat leftovers in the oven, the batter turns into something awesome. Recipes have varied from only a dusting to full on gooey booze-drenched batters. Frying has been tested between 350 and 400 F, small batches at a time. Food items are everything from veggies to meats. Any ideas?
  14. If you use the bulk foods section in your evaluation, make sure to actually compare pricing to pre-packaged. Most of the bulk foods prices are the same as the package prices at all three WFs near me, just FYI - almonds, walnuts, quinoa, oats, etc.
  15. Final follow up: turned out better than expected. My palate must've been screwed up from all the sugar on Sunday, after an overnight rest, they tasted good. Recipient thoroughly enjoyed it Now I need to research other sweets with coconut or peanuts. Something unusual. Thank you all for the help!