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Stupid Chef Tricks


Kim Shook
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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.

We always used to keep some roux on hand near the stove. It was very thick, not liquid at all. We'd then whisk it into a hot liquid. This way we could estimate when we have added the right amount of roux without adding too much. Never got any lumps. I have always had much better results this way then other methods.

The best restaurants in the world are, of course, in Kansas City. Not all of them; only the top four or five. Anyone who has visited Kansas City and still doubts that statement has my sympathy" Calvin Trillin

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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.

We always used to keep some roux on hand near the stove. It was very thick, not liquid at all. We'd then whisk it into a hot liquid. This way we could estimate when we have added the right amount of roux without adding too much. Never got any lumps. I have always had much better results this way then other methods.

Roux or Beurre Manier?

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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?

Herve This did a test in his book Molecular Gastronomy and made roux with all combinations of hot and cold liquid/roux. He found that the temp didn't matter at all, lumping was actually a function of how fast the the roux and liquid were combined. Combine slowly and continuously whisk and you won't get lumps.

Stupid chef tricks that drive me crazy are:

- "Searing meat to seal in the juices", it's not true. You sear for flavor, juices are lost during searing.

- Some tv chefs have really terrible knife skills, I'm amazed I've never seen one lop a finger tip off.

- Dropping lemon seeds in food, it just seems lazy.

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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.

you are not alone

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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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.

I turn my knife upside down, but interestingly, I think I learned that trick from a TV chef. I can't remember which one, though--maybe Sara Moulton?

Someone on FoodTV once suggested hanging freshly-made pasta or egg noodles over your kitchen faucet. I don't know how clean your kitchen faucet is, but I certainly wouldn't want any food hanging off mine, even if I had just cleaned it.

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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

Starlings!

I think I need a recipe for starlings, maybe a variation on blackbird pie (as in four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie . . . I assume its a UK thing). If I recall correctly from my bird book, somebody released a dozen or so European starlings in Central Park, NY in the mid 1800's. Now they number in the bazillions across North America.

If the pie thing doesn't happen I'll give the soap tree a try.

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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It's petty, but I abhor the "trick" a certain network cooking star does with salt... everytime she seasons, it's "over the shoulder for luck" with a pinch of the supposed salt.

When questioned, she states that she does it everytime because the tradittion is that if you spill salt, you must toss a pinch over your shoulder to avoid bad luck. Said "star" reasoned that if you're tossing salt by hand into your cooking vessel, there's a good chance you've spilled a bit, so why risk "bad luck"? :hmmm:

There was a priceless moment a bit ago where she added salt - "toss over the shoulder for luck" and then she added a pinch of pepper... and tossed it over her shoulder! She caught herself before before she delivered the signature line, but it was funny all the same! :laugh:

Also... I have a hard enough time keeping my floors clean of accidental spills... why in God's name would I throw gritty kosher salt on my floors on purpose????

(AND before you ask, I watch said network "star" because right now, I don't get FN, TLC, or any other cable channel with food cooking shows - pathetic as one may find them - and I'm jonesin'. I'm in bed alot, and TV is my distraction.)

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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Someone on FoodTV once suggested hanging freshly-made pasta or egg noodles over your kitchen faucet.  I don't know how clean your kitchen faucet is, but I certainly wouldn't want any food hanging off mine, even if I had just cleaned it.

Well, puke !

Pasta ala dishrag?

I improvised many years ago and still like my solution best.

Cheapo white plastic tension shower rod. Rested on the tops of 2 dining room chair backs. :laugh:

Lots of room. If you don't find it pleasing to look at while the pasta dries, move it to the guest bedroom.

I have been told by a friend who adopted this method that's it's not a really good idea if you have cats..Something about a pasta piniata.

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I turn my knife upside down, but interestingly, I think I learned that trick from a TV chef. I can't remember which one, though--maybe Sara Moulton?

I might be dating myself, but I think it was Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, that started me doing that... :laugh:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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It's petty, but I abhor the "trick" a certain network cooking star does with salt... everytime she seasons, it's "over the shoulder for luck" with a pinch of the supposed salt.

When questioned, she states that she does it everytime because the tradittion is that if you spill salt, you must toss a pinch over your shoulder to avoid bad luck.  Said "star" reasoned that if you're tossing salt by hand into your cooking vessel, there's a good chance you've spilled a bit, so why risk "bad luck"?  :hmmm:

There was a priceless moment a bit ago where she added salt - "toss over the shoulder for luck" and then she added a pinch of pepper... and tossed it over her shoulder!  She caught herself before before she delivered the signature line, but it was funny all the same!  :laugh:

Also... I have a hard enough time keeping my floors clean of accidental spills... why in God's name would I throw gritty kosher salt on my floors on purpose????

(AND before you ask, I watch said network "star" because right now, I don't get FN, TLC, or any other cable channel with food cooking shows - pathetic as one may find them - and I'm jonesin'.  I'm in bed alot, and TV is my distraction.)

On a related note - EVOO is the most ridiculous acronym to have ever been created.

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ahah yes! I also love how Rachael Ray says EVOO then immediately follows by saying extra virgin olive oil to explain to her viewers the abbreviation. WHAT IN THE HELL WAS THE POINT OF SAYING EVOO IN THE FIRST PLACE!

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WHAT IN THE HELL WAS THE POINT OF SAYING EVOO IN THE FIRST PLACE!

To sound "smart". :hmmm:

Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

"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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I suspect Giada reads E-gullet. Yesterday I was watching her show when she seasoned the fish stew she was cooking and as usual stuck her fingers in the salt and pepper bowls after she had been handling a lot of fish.....BUT...she went on to explain that she had previously put a small amount of S & P aside for this very purpose to avoid cross-contamination!

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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.

I have always done my roux/gravy/sauce this way - Nary a lump! Seems like I have added cold to hot and had to whisk the *$#@ out of it to smooth things out!

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What I want to know is how come all of their cooking equipment always looks brand new?  The interiors and exteriors of my pans don't look nearly that nice and shiny...

Mine do. :raz: except for the scratches of course. But then I work at keeping them clean because I'm sort of anal that way. :rolleyes:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I suspect Giada reads E-gullet.  Yesterday I was watching her show when she seasoned the fish stew she was cooking and as usual stuck her fingers in the salt and pepper bowls after she had been handling a lot of fish.....BUT...she went on to explain that she had previously put a small amount of S & P aside for this very purpose to avoid cross-contamination!

I think you're right and I think this isn't the first time with her. Does anyone else remember that when she first started her show, she'd load her creation on a platter and then grab a fork and dig into the platter. After extolling it's extrodinary taste, she'd dig in for a second mouthful using the same fork. It was kind of disgusting. About half way through her first season she started putting a small portion on a plate to taste it.

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What I want to know is how come all of their cooking equipment always looks brand new?  The interiors and exteriors of my pans don't look nearly that nice and shiny...

Endorsements.

(Or else lots of poor schlubs being paid minimum wage to scrub furiously in the back.)

"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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I think the rule is, if the host believes they are more important than the food, then the show has something wrong with it.

For those (mostly pbs, almost never Food Network) who think the food is the star, the usually are better about technique, logic, and showcasing the food rather than the host.

Of course this is subject to some pretty broad generalizations. :blush:

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What I want to know is how come all of their cooking equipment always looks brand new?  The interiors and exteriors of my pans don't look nearly that nice and shiny...

Endorsements.

(Or else lots of poor schlubs being paid minimum wage to scrub furiously in the back.)

Yeah, I always get a kick out of watching the credits to see what kind of use-one-time cookware they used.

I'm such a nerd.

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