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browniebaker

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    Chevy Chase, MD
  1. browniebaker

    "Velveting"

    This method does require half-cooking the meat, not cooking it all the way before removing the meat from the pan. All other ingredients are added, in sequence. Just minutes later, near the end, the meat is returned to the pan and the heat of the pan and of the surrounding ingredients finishes the cooking of the meat. Half-cooking prevents keep the meat from toughening from overcooking. Holding half-cooked meat for such a short time is not dangerous.
  2. browniebaker

    Food gifts from America

    Old Bay Seasoning, from Maryland!
  3. browniebaker

    I'm a fraud

    Do they freeze well enough to use as one would use never-frozen-garlic? I always have trouble with rotting garlic, since I can never use up an entire head before it goes bad (and I have to buy garlic in bags of three heads!). If it works, I'm freezing mine! ← Well, it works for me. [insert shame-faced emoticon here.] The appearance and texture does change: the garlic looks a little waxen and transparent, and it loses its crispness. It's fine in dishes where the garlic is cooked. In dishes where the garlic is used raw, the difference in texture would be palpable. Some people say the flavor of the garlic deteriorates in the freezer, and some say the flavor gets harsher in the freezer, but some say there is no noticeable change in flavor. Another option is to freeze it chopped up in some oil. There is said to be less change in flavor this way. But frozen cloves are good enough for me, the fraud. Hey, no more rotting or sprouting garlic!
  4. browniebaker

    I'm a fraud

    I feel like a fraud for keeping my garlic cloves in the freezer, where they keep forever. They are not fresh!
  5. I'm in the clean-cookbook camp. If I open a cookbook for use, I place it on the dining-room table just outside the kitchen doorway, away from splatters. I walk back and forth between kitchen and dining room. Do I ever touch a cookbook without wiping my hands utterly dry first? No. Neurotic? Yes. Sometimes, I'll copy the basic list of ingredients and amounts and take that into the kitchen with me.
  6. browniebaker

    Chinese wasting food?

    The dry bread from the pineapple bun would go right into the "crumb bin" I keep in my oven (when oven's not in use). The crumbs reach a critical mass and get put into meatballs and meatloaf. The potsticker skin would have been cut up and thrown into the container marked "garbage" in my freezer. Once a month or so I make "garbage soup." Bad food can be transformed. I like saving money, which I can then spend on good food.
  7. browniebaker

    Pie Bake-a-Thon

    If you have not baked two or more pies side by side in your oven, I would give it a trial run to make sure you can do that successfully. I found that I cannot bake two custard pies (e.g., pumpkin pie, chess pie, pecan pie, or sweet-potato pie) on the same rack in my oven; the filling at the edge that is next to the other pie buckles, maybe because of the heat given off by the other pie. To get a smooth, evenly baked custard, I have to bake one at a time.
  8. browniebaker

    Your favorite spices

    Ground ancho chili pepper! I use so much of this, once, Penzey's customer service telephoned me to confirm that I really wanted to buy *10* pounds, as I had ordered on-line the day before. To their credit, they didn't want to sell me more of the stuff than I had meant to order or than I really needed. Big vats of chili. Big skillets of taco filling. I freeze tubs and tubs of refried beans and sauce for enchiladas and tacos.
  9. browniebaker

    Dining Room Tables

    This is pretty much what I do. cover it with a pad and tablecloth for use, and leave it uncovered all other times. ← Uncovered when not in use. When in use, a felt-backed vinyl pad, then a tablecloth. Sometime a runner or two on or three on top of all that. I can't imagine ever using just place mats on the bare, unprotected table. So why did I buy 12 place mats? I guess so that my daughter will have them in the same tablecloth pattern in case she's more brave than I am.
  10. Has anyone frozen some canned tuna? How is it after freezing?
  11. Oh, but pork stock is big in Chinese cooking, has been for a long, long time.
  12. Maybe Todd English should say, "Never trust a pizza that is consistently round."
  13. browniebaker

    Looks good but tastes bad

    Brownies routinely look good but disappoint! it's so hard to tell by the looks of them, I've gotten to the point where I take from the buffet table just a crumb off one brownie, to taste before I commit to an entire brownie.
  14. browniebaker

    The Quintessential eG Kitchen Tips/Trucs

    What might be a better way? I have some older silver-plated forks, knives & spoons that accidentally (I had nothing to do with this, trust me!) went into the dishwasher one Thanksgiving and came out, for want of a better word, cloudy. They might not have much monetary value, but they have enormous sentimental value. Can they be saved? pat w. ← I've read that cloudiness results from the heat and/or detergent of the dishwasher. How deep is the cloudy layer, I do not know. I'd consult an expert to see whether any other polishing method might help. Certainly a set of such great sentimental value is worth the effort, and I hope you have good luck. Most certainly silverplate should not be put into any electrolytic solution; else you'll have to re-plate sooner than you'd otherwise have to.
  15. browniebaker

    The Quintessential eG Kitchen Tips/Trucs

    I do this too. A lot of times I will make a shrimp stock the same day I peel the shrimp but if not the shells go into a bag in the freezer. I do the same with bones for other stocks. Use a sheet of aluminum foil to line the bottom of your sink or any other large vessel that you want to dip your silver into. Add hot water and baking soda. When you dip your silver item into the water and it touches the aluminum foil the tarnish will be liberated from the silver. The baking soda/aluminum combo pulls sulfur off the silver by a small electrolytic current set up through the "salt bridge". The heat of the water is just a catalyst and makes the reaction occur faster ← Please don't do this to any valuable silver! It's a quick way to clean, but it's also a quick way to erode the silver. Your silver will lose weight each time you do this. With erosion, details in the design will blur.
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