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Stupid Chef Tricks


Kim Shook
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I watch a lot of cooking shows and read a lot of food magazines and sometimes the 'hints' that they give are just dumb or don't make sense. The one that I notice all the time is when they are using a food processor and suggest putting your finger in the bottom to hold in the blade when emptying the bowl. This is just dumb. Its fine if what you have processed is liquid and will actually pour out, but anything any thicker makes no sense. The blade is still in the way, if you use a silicone spatula you'll cut it up. And you can't get everything out!

Any other dumb chef tricks to add?

Kim

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Haley of "Haley's Handy Hints" fame says to save those net-like bags you get with 5 or 10 pound bags of onions because . . . they make a great tote bag for the beach.

I think I would avoid anyone wandering around the beach with an empty onion bag.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I think I would avoid anyone wandering around the beach with an empty onion bag.

Ohh... Uhhh, I'll be right back. I have to, uh... put something in the closet. Way back there. Yeah.

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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When a tv chef tells you how important it is to season food properly, especially when they are preparing a chicken or a roast and then after they've lovingly sprinkled on the proper amount of seasoning: THEY POUR WINE, STOCK AND/OR WATER OVER THE FOOD AND WASH IT ALL OFF!!! :angry:

Always drives me nuts. :wacko:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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hah.. tyler florence, on his food network thanksgiving show this year poured hot stock into hot roux to make his gravy... oh, and he put onion peel in his stock. ever tried onion peel broth? not much fun at all.

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hah.. tyler florence, on his food network thanksgiving show this year poured hot stock into hot roux to make his gravy... oh, and he put onion peel in his stock.  ever tried onion peel broth?  not much fun at all.

I've heard you have to use hot stock/cold roux, cold stock/hot roux, hot stock/hot roux and cold stock/cold roux and it can end up amounting to a holy war in some circles.

Onion skins is a classic stock technique for adding colour without flavour.

PS: I am a guy.

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hot/cold or cold/hot is the proper method. no hot/hot or cold/cold. i have never heard of any debate on this issue. it's pretty fundamental.

onion peel adds a pretty nasty flavor when simmered in liquid. save some onion peels and try it. even in small amounts, why would you want to add that flavor to your food?

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The Professional Chef 8th edition states, "Roux can be combined with liquid in three ways. Cool roux may be added to hot liquid, cool liquid may be added to hot roux, or warm roux may be added to liquid of the sauce temperature."

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This isn't a bad chef trick, it's really more something they DON'T do that drives me nuts..

Virtually every chef show I watch includes a bit where they've used an expensive knife to chop something up on a board, and they then take that board over to the pot or whatever, and scrape the chopped up food into the pot with the knife, blade-side down!! :shock:

Didn't their mothers ever teach them that's a surefire way to dull their knives double-time?? Am I (and obviously my mother) the only ones who turn the knife upside down and uses the TOP of the blade to scrape off the board??

Wait, don't answer that.

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When a tv chef tells you how important it is to season food properly, especially when they are preparing a chicken or a roast and then after they've lovingly sprinkled on the proper amount of seasoning: THEY POUR WINE, STOCK AND/OR WATER OVER THE FOOD AND WASH IT ALL OFF!!! :angry:

Always drives me nuts. :wacko:

Not as bad as shoving the end of the salt/peppermill into the raw cavity to season it!! Filthy.

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The Professional Chef 8th edition states, "Roux can be combined with liquid in three ways. Cool roux may be added to hot liquid, cool liquid may be added to hot roux, or warm roux may be added to liquid of the sauce temperature."

Blamo:

Thanks for this reference... I was always taught by Mama and Grandma... to make roux (made with warm potato water with flour shaken in a mason jar added to roasting juices and fond) over low heat and use gently warmed turkey stock to incorporate it slowly, using a wisk.

Gravy was perfect (no lumps) every time...

Call me untrained and unsophisticated, but it works! :biggrin:

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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hah.. tyler florence, on his food network thanksgiving show this year poured hot stock into hot roux to make his gravy...

In Paul Prudhomme's classic book "Louisianna Kitchen", for all his recipes that use a roux, he pours hot stock into it. The roux is atomically hot if you use his technique.....he gets to dark brown, almost black roux in about 15 minutes, so you know its done over jet-exhaust level heat. Gumbos, etoufees, jambalyas, sauce picantes, all of them use the same basic method, just varied by the color of the roux. I've probably cooked 50% of the recipes in that book and always use his technique, and have never had a problem, or a lump.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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The Professional Chef 8th edition states, "Roux can be combined with liquid in three ways. Cool roux may be added to hot liquid, cool liquid may be added to hot roux, or warm roux may be added to liquid of the sauce temperature."

Hmm.. that's odd. the 6th edition Pro Chef states, "Be sure that the roux and liquid temperatures are different - hot liquid and cold roux or cold liquid and hot roux - to help prevent lumping."

It would seem the CIA now approves of something that it clearly thought was wrong less than ten years ago. I wonder what they understand now about fat, flour, and water that elluded them for so long.

From Larousse, "To avoid lumps forming this must be poured boiling onto the cold roux. Use a whisk and heat gradually while whisking constantly. (Alternatively, the cold liquid may be whisked gradually into the warm roux.)"

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Following rules in your recipe books is a great way to learn how to cook but as you gain more experience, you will find that some of these rules can be bent, if you knew what you were doing. Chef's, like Paul Prudome, are masters of cooking techniques and can easily correct any errors he may have done by not adhering to the rules we find in books. I can certainly make a sauce using hot roux with hot stock, sans lumps. Using a whisk is one way to avoid lumps.

Dumb tips on TV? I seldom see any of these TV Chefs make an omelette that has no colour and most omellettes are now shapped like half moons.

Another unspoken tip that always catch my attention is how TV chefs never wash the vegetables. I understand it is made for TV viewing but I do see them eat their food...Yuck! Ever think what makes organic vegetables, organic? I watched a documentary, organic farming and about GMF by Monsanto, where processed human waste from water treatment plants are broadcast sprayed over a plot of land. This is organic fertilizer? Yuck!

Edited by Fugu (log)
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Squeezing lemons and other citrus through their fingers. This is one wheel that did not need to be reinvented. I guess at some point some chef(s) somewhere thought it looked really cool and now they all do it.

Anyone's grandma's old school lemon reamer like this vintage one here or, even better, one of the new school ones like this one does a way better job at a) getting the maximum juice from the fruit, b) makes less of a mess, and c) eliminates getting seeds into what you're making. One tv chef--can you guess who?--almost always just squeezes lemons right over the bowl, dropping in seeds all the way, smiles at the camera and says, "hey, a few seeds never hurt anybody." Yes, that's true, but I don't want to crunch down on them or fish them out of what I'm eating; not a pleasant taste, at least to me.

Just stop it. Please.

Edited for clarification, additional information.

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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... oh, and he put onion peel in his stock.  ever tried onion peel broth?  not much fun at all.

Fergus Henderson says it is perfectly ok to use your chopped onions with skin on in your stock. Ever since i read that, I've started doing the same. Saves a bit of work and I've never noticed any off flavours. Maybe I have to try the onion peel broth...

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What drives me nuts, is something that happens purely because of TV: when chefs dump an ingredient out of a container, and fail to scrape it ALL out. It's wasteful, and in some situations, can actually ruin the dish because all of the intended ingredients -- such as seasoning or leavening -- don't make it into the finished product.

I know it's done because on TV, time is precious and they don't want to waste it on several seconds of a pretty boring activity. But still, it makes me crazy.

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What drives me nuts, is something that happens purely because of TV:  when chefs dump an ingredient out of a container, and fail to scrape it ALL out.  It's wasteful, and in some situations, can actually ruin the dish because all of the intended ingredients -- such as seasoning or leavening -- don't make it into the finished product.

I know it's done because on TV, time is precious and they don't want to waste it on several seconds of a pretty boring activity.  But still, it makes me crazy.

Me too jgm. I guess I look at it from the point of view of someone (not me! :wink: ) who really doesn't know how to cook and is looking for professional instruction and guidance. To leave one quarter or one third of let's say cake batter in the bowl could indeed ruin the final product.

Another so-called tip is when many, but thankfully not all, tv chefs who are using say a combination of basil and oregano in a dish will say: "but, hey, if you don't have any basil and oregano, just use whatever you like, it really doesn't matter." Well, yes it does. A dish that calls for rosemary could/probably would be ruined by substituting tarragon or sage. Sometimes it really does matter and sometimes it may not; the really good tv chefs take a few extra seconds to teach the audience. The bad ones just wing it.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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... oh, and he put onion peel in his stock.  ever tried onion peel broth?  not much fun at all.

Fergus Henderson says it is perfectly ok to use your chopped onions with skin on in your stock. Ever since i read that, I've started doing the same. Saves a bit of work and I've never noticed any off flavours. Maybe I have to try the onion peel broth...

I generally don't put anything in a stockpot that I wouldn't want in my mouth. Shells and bones are OK but I'll pass on the onion skins and soiled potato skin. Unless I'm really in a rush.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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The onion skin debate is interesting. I've always added onions skin and all to chicken stock. Never noticed anythng off in the taste.

My peeve is when TV chefs (mostly RR) tell you to "poke the yolks" to make the wisking go faster. As if there is any difference between poking the yolk to break it, or runing a wisk/fork through it to break it. I've never had to beat a yolk into submission.

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Haley of "Haley's Handy Hints" fame says to save those net-like bags you get with 5 or 10 pound bags of onions  because . . . they make a great tote bag for the beach.

I think I would avoid anyone wandering around the beach with an empty onion bag.

Well, they may not be too good at the beach.

But they serve well as depositories for Ivory Soap to be hung from your fruit trees to keep the starlings away

Peter
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Haley of "Haley's Handy Hints" fame says to save those net-like bags you get with 5 or 10 pound bags of onions  because . . . they make a great tote bag for the beach.

I think I would avoid anyone wandering around the beach with an empty onion bag.

Well, they may not be too good at the beach.

But they serve well as depositories for Ivory Soap to be hung from your fruit trees to keep the starlings away

OK- I'll bite. Starlings have an aversion to ivory soap?

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....................................I've never had to beat a yolk into submission.

Well now, this has just got to become somone's signature line! :wink:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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