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Pontormo

Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions (Part 2)

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Not really a simple cooking question, but can't find a thread for more complicated recipe requests.

During a trip to a wonderful restaurant in London, I ate a Pithivier of Wood Pigeon with glazed chestnuts. It was a fantastic recipe with wonderfully tender and flavoursome pigeon cooked perfectly.

Any ideas for a recipe, or can someone point me in the direction of a more suitable thread?

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Not really a simple cooking question, but can't find a thread for more complicated recipe requests.

During a trip to a wonderful restaurant in London, I ate a Pithivier of Wood Pigeon with glazed chestnuts. It was a fantastic recipe with wonderfully tender and flavoursome pigeon cooked perfectly.

Any ideas for a recipe, or can someone point me in the direction of a more suitable thread?

First of all, welcome to eGullet!

Now, as to where this could be posted, there isn't really a thread for more complicated recipe requests. Usually, someone just starts a new thread about a particular dish unless there's already a thread started on a similar dish or ingredient. I don't think anyone's asked about cooking wood pigeon before, though. It surely doesn't sound like a stupid question. :biggrin:

The other choice would be to post your question in the United Kingdom and Ireland subforum, especially if you remember the name of the restaurant.

Sorry I can't help with a recipe idea. I hope someone else comes through so I can read about it.

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I'm having people over tomorrow and making lasagne with asparagus and pesto as one of the courses. I won't have time to complete the entire recipe in one day so I need to do some prep today. Is it better to:

A) Assemble the lasagna today and bake it tomorrow

B) Bake the lasagna today and reheat tomorrow

C) Get as much done today (make the sauce, pasta dough, blanch asparagus etc...) as possible and assemble and bake tomorrow?

Go with A or C. If you're using a beschamel and NOT ricotta go ahead and assemble it. If you're using ricotta, the tomato sauce may toughen it up and make it less creamy and soft, so use option C. Tell us how it turns out!

I ended up assembling and baking the lasagna on the final day (I was afraid to lose the crispiness of the breadcrumb topping and the browned fresh pasta), it turned out great: thanks!

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Is well-marbled beef considered less healthful because it presumably has more fat? From what I know, beef with well-marbled fat causes more of the fat to be distributed to (and retained in) the meat during cooking -- ergo the meat will contain more fat. How about Waygu? Does that have even more fat when it makes it to the table?

Well-marbled beef seems to be the preferred choice by fine restaurants, but then there's also a movement now for grass-fed (in pastures as opposed to grain in feed lots) beef which contains less fat (and, I presume, less well-marbled). Here's a recent story about the increasing demand for grass-fed beef and those switching to it (notably Whole Foods and Alice Waters).

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Yes, Wagyu has a lot more fat that other types of beef but the fat is of a healthier kind. More polyunsaturated fats and less saturated.

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I found this page on which there's this:

But what about completely grass-fed cattle? They have leaner carcasses, he said.

"The problem with (grass-fed cattle) is the U.S. consumer isn't accustomed to the flavor," Smith said. "It's very strong, and it's something we're just not accustomed to. And the other is that the fat that's produced from grass-fed cattle is higher in saturated fats and trans fatty acids."

Cattle fed longer on corn will have a better flavor, more marbling and monounsaturated fats. But there is a trade-off.

"There are more calories there," he said. "There's no question about that, and if you're watching your calories, grass-fed beef is lower in fat. And I can't argue with that."

Wow, so the lower-fat beef WF, AW, and others are switching to has more of the bad fats?

That page also has an interesting study using Angus and Wagyu steers. Apparently we (US beef) can make our beef have healthier fats by letting them live a bit longer and changing their diet to that used in raising Wagyu (corn early, grass later).

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Has anybody come up with some "rules" for combining flavors? e.g. what spices, herbs, etc. go well together and with what types of foods, and also what makes for bad combinations. Some examples:

Good

basil and/or garlic and/or oregano and/or pepper + tomatoes

dill + fish

lemon + fish

cayenne + chocolate

salt + just about anything

chives + sour cream and/or potato

Bad

cumin and/or garlic and/or pepper + dessert

Hmm, I can't think of any other bad ones. :shock: When I pick spices and herbs to put in food, I just add what I think will taste good, imagining the combined flavors. But I can't think of any "rules." I'm sure there are books written about it.

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Bad

cumin and/or garlic and/or pepper + dessert

I put pepper in cookies and on strawberries, and cumin in my hot cross buns. I make garlic jelly, too, but that's not really dessert.

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I've got this lovely bit of blue cheese that I've had for uh -- well, a long time (I shudder to think how long -- it seems I've been coming across this thread for eons now, always thinking, "Ah great, I've got a really stupid question!" but I could never remember what it was...).

Can blue cheese go moldy? If so, will it look -- or be -- the same as the blue bits in the cheese (ie., will I even be able to see if it has happened?) And would it be harmful to eat?

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Can blue cheese go moldy? If so, will it look -- or be -- the same as the blue bits in the cheese (ie., will I even be able to see if it has happened?) And would it be harmful to eat?

Mouldy cheeses can get other, icky moulds, but usually they look different. I don't think cheese moulds are terribly dangerous, so it shouldn't hurt to taste a little and see if it's still good.

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I finally found out what cornbread is.

(Hey, go easy on me - I'm in Australia and had absolutely no idea. I thought it was some kind of wheat bread with sweet corn added to the dough. How wrong I was..)

Now I want to make some. Can I use fine polenta (which I have a lot of) or do I have to go and specially buy maize meal/flour?

Cheers. *ducks head sheepishly*

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you can totally use fine polenta. i know some people will kill me for this, but polenta and cornmeal for cornbread and whatnot are all various grinds of the same basic thing--the only thing that will be affected by the grind size is the texture.

just don't use something that's totally flour-like, or corn starch or something crazy like that. cornbread isn't about that. it's gotta have some texture.

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Can blue cheese go moldy? If so, will it look -- or be -- the same as the blue bits in the cheese (ie., will I even be able to see if it has happened?) And would it be harmful to eat?

Mouldy cheeses can get other, icky moulds, but usually they look different. I don't think cheese moulds are terribly dangerous, so it shouldn't hurt to taste a little and see if it's still good.

I find when I save a little chunk of blue cheese for more than a week it begins to take on the taste of a brie rind. A bit strong for my salad needs and in general too strong for my enjoyment. definetly a different mold than the blue variety or maybe it's just a lot more of the blue since I can't actually see other forms of mold growing. The taste changes none the less.

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Any idea how to tell when a yellow passionfruit (granadilla) is ripe? It was rather expensive at the local supermarket and I'm leery of just opening it up to see if it's ready.

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Has anybody come up with some "rules" for combining flavors? e.g. what spices, herbs, etc. go well together and with what types of foods, and also what makes for bad combinations. Some examples:

Good

basil and/or garlic and/or oregano and/or pepper + tomatoes

dill + fish

lemon + fish

cayenne + chocolate

salt + just about anything

chives + sour cream and/or potato

Bad

cumin and/or garlic and/or pepper + dessert

Hmm, I can't think of any other bad ones.  :shock: When I pick spices and herbs to put in food, I just add what I think will taste good, imagining the combined flavors. But I can't think of any "rules." I'm sure there are books written about it.

Rules are made to be broken. Follow your tongue.

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When frying french fries, my dad always would drop the fries into the hot oil and stir them up so they didn't stick together. Then, after a short while, he would lift the fries up out of the oil with his wide metal slotted spoon and then drop them back in. He said "airing the fries" made them crisp better.

Is this just a bunch of hooey (nonsense)? Afterall, fast food joints don't do this...though their fries are never as crisp as our fries made at home.

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When frying french fries, my dad always would drop the fries into the hot oil and stir them up so they didn't stick together. Then, after a short while, he would lift the fries up out of the oil with his wide metal slotted spoon and then drop them back in. He said "airing the fries" made them crisp better.

Is this just a bunch of hooey (nonsense)? Afterall, fast food joints don't do this...though their fries are never as crisp as our fries made at home.

Don't know about 'airing' them, but the CI version has you fry them to a blond colour at 325 degrees then again at 350 degrees to crisp them.

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When frying french fries, my dad always would drop the fries into the hot oil and stir them up so they didn't stick together. Then, after a short while, he would lift the fries up out of the oil with his wide metal slotted spoon and then drop them back in. He said "airing the fries" made them crisp better.

Is this just a bunch of hooey (nonsense)? Afterall, fast food joints don't do this...though their fries are never as crisp as our fries made at home.

I think if you scroll down to half-way down Holly Moore's excellent ECI course on Drive-In Cooking you will find that there is a good reason to do double frying. The difference is that Holly gives the fries a rest in the fridge after the first frying.

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I just did the experiment---though with no "control" to give any input. And by accident, at that. I scrubbed and quartered about eight fingerlings, dusted them with leftover chicken dredge (doesn't THAT sound appetizing). It was a bag of flour, salt, pepper, ground thyme, powdered garlic, etc., left after frying some drumsticks the other day, and socked away in the freezer for another time.

Immersed them in 3/4 inch oil in fairly hot non-stick skillet, and they all were completely covered as they sizzled...no turning necessary. THEN Chris called in from the patio, "I'm gonna re-do these coals---they didn't catch like they shouda."

So, almost brown and crisp, I scooped the potatoes out, laid them on the ready PT-covered plate, and stuck them in the microwave to keep warm. Ten minutes later, the steak went on, and I put the fries back into re-heated oil. Brown and very crisp, perfectly cooked all through, with little crispins of sizzled breading hanging enticingly all around.

Delicious. Tasted just like they were made by the MIL who taught me.

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Last month I made some tomato "confit". It's basically oven roasted roma tomatoes seasoned with olive oil garlic and fresh herbs. I have it stored in the fridge.

My question is : is it still safe to eat? I'm concerned about the possible anaerobic- ness of it.

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Last month I made some tomato "confit". It's basically oven roasted roma tomatoes seasoned with olive oil garlic and fresh herbs. I have it stored in the fridge.

My question is : is it still safe to eat? I'm concerned about the possible anaerobic- ness of it.

If the tomatoes are just seasoned with olive oil, garlic and herbs I think you'd see they were going off by the fuzz starting to grow. If they're packed in olive oil with garlic then I suppose there's a chance of anaerobic reactions happening, but it seems unlikely over this short time. Despite the warnings about not storing garlic in olive oil I do so, in the fridge, for a month or so. So far no superbug has hit the household. Disclaimer: I'm neither a microbiologist nor a food scientist.

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I finally found out what cornbread is.

(Hey, go easy on me - I'm in Australia and had absolutely no idea. I thought it was some kind of wheat bread with sweet corn added to the dough. How wrong I was..)

Now I want to make some. Can I use fine polenta (which I have a lot of) or do I have to go and specially buy maize meal/flour?

Cheers. *ducks head sheepishly*

Polenta should work okay, however you will get a better texture if the size of the particles varies just a bit as stone ground cornmeal is not uniform in size. You can take a little of your polenta, half a cup will be enough, and put it into a blender (if you have one) and pulse it once or twice and mix it back into the polenta. This little bit of finer stuff will give you a texture that is closer to the "real" stuff.

I did an instructional photo essay on cornbread in This thread.

This is of course taking it to extremes but the recipe is for "southern" type cornbread which is very different from the cake-like cornbread common in other parts of the US.

There are many variations to the basic cornbread. Adding crisp bacon bits to the batter gives it a wonderful flavor. I often add both bacon bits and chopped mild green chiles (sometimes the hotter ones) to the batter. A little grated hard cheese will not change the texture too much - Asiago is excellent.

Some people do like a sweeter cornbread and add sugar - one can also add honey or maple syrup but not too much or the cooking time will be off as this also adds moisture. Up to 2 tablespoons is okay.

Baking in a deeper, narrower pan will require a bit longer cooking time, baking in a shallower, wider pan needs less time and you do get more crust, which is often desirable.

Do experiment, I don't think you will be disappointed.

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please don't laugh

Why is milk/cheese only from cows, sheep, goats, and water buffalos?

Why not horse milk, llama cheese, camel cheese, etc?

I'm guessing milking an omnivore/carnivore would make funning tasting milk...or would it? Bacony flavored cheese anyone?

If I made anyone vomit, sorry

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please don't laugh

Why is milk/cheese only from cows, sheep, goats, and water buffalos? 

Why not horse milk, llama cheese, camel cheese, etc?

I read once that, of the commonly drunk milks, donkey's milk is the closest nutritionally to human milk, i.e. fat/sugar/protein amounts. So some people must drink donkey milk! And humans are omnivores and babies like their milk. It's probably just that herbivores are more placid, thus easier to milk.

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