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Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions (Part 2)


Pontormo
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How come you don't make pork stock?  You make beef stock, chicken stock, fish stock, vegetable stock, why not pork?  Why doesn't that porky goodness translate to stock?

I make pork stock all the time, and it's probably my second most used stock, next to veal. I use it for baked beans, braised pork, pork gravy etc.

Marlene

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How come you don't make pork stock?  You make beef stock, chicken stock, fish stock, vegetable stock, why not pork?  Why doesn't that porky goodness translate to stock?

Oh, but pork stock is big in Chinese cooking, has been for a long, long time.

Cool. I'll look for advice/recipes there then. Wonder why western cookbooks don't mention it...

Most general books stick to beef & chicken, true. However, cf. The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I would imagine Mexican cookbooks would be another source, though pozole, for example, involves preparing a broth w pig parts that are also eaten in the finished dish vs. listing pork stock as an ingredient.
... I figure...beautiful, fresh eggplant from the market yesterday [don't] have to go through the whole pre-salting & rinsing stage that was developed to deal w old bitter fruits w lots of big seeds. 

I thought the pre-salting was just to get rid of the excess water, so that you didn't wind up with lots of water in the finished dish.

BTW, I don't rinse. But, I back off on salt elsewhere in the recipe.

Both. The rusty brown liquid that seeps out during the process is supposedly bitter. Ridding the eggplant of all that water is supposed to prevent the slices from soaking up excess oil during the frying process. From what I understand, it's just the large, bulbous eggplants that get treated this way.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Can I use panko breadcrumbs in lieu of regular Western breadcrumbs as a topping for my mac & cheese? I have that in my pantry instead of bread. Is that ok?

ETA: Also, I have some marscapone in my fridge. Can I use it in the mac & cheese?

I sound like a noob! :blink:

Edited by Gastro888 (log)
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Here is one I have. I have a stainless steel fry pan of decent quality (Revere-ware). I have some troubles with proteins sticking. Even with a decent amount of oil, I can't seem to get a good browning without leaving a decent amount on the bottom of the pan. Do I need a non-stick skillet, or am I just doing something wrong.

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Here is one I have.  I have a stainless steel fry pan of decent quality (Revere-ware).  I have some troubles with proteins sticking.  Even with a decent amount of oil, I can't seem to get a good browning without leaving a decent amount on the bottom of the pan.  Do I need a non-stick skillet, or am I just doing something wrong.

You need to get the pan screaming hot. Additionally, don't move the piece of meat/fish/chicken for a few minutes. You want at least enough time to get a nice crust. After the crust is formed, you'll be able to move/flip the piece no problem.

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Here is one I have.  I have a stainless steel fry pan of decent quality (Revere-ware).  I have some troubles with proteins sticking.  Even with a decent amount of oil, I can't seem to get a good browning without leaving a decent amount on the bottom of the pan.  Do I need a non-stick skillet, or am I just doing something wrong.

You need to get the pan screaming hot. Additionally, don't move the piece of meat/fish/chicken for a few minutes. You want at least enough time to get a nice crust. After the crust is formed, you'll be able to move/flip the piece no problem.

Thanks, I'll give that a try.

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Last year when I made a small batch of apple jelly it was cloudy instead of clear.

I strained it through a colander lined with cheese cloth like the recipe said. What should I do different?

Edited by Susie Q (log)
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Last year when I made a small batch of apple jelly it was cloudy instead of clear.

I strained it through a colander lined with cheese cloth like the recipe said. What should I do different?

I don't claim to be an expert in apple jelly but I used to make a fair bit of it. If by cheesecloth you mean that extremely open weave stuff in the grocery store you need to look at either buying some muslin or a jelly bag. I always found it important to give lots of time for the jelly to drip through - no squeezing, no rushing - let it drip naturally and discard whatever is left without trying to squeeze out the last drops. I think this will help a lot towards a clear jelly.

Edited to add link.

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Thanks Anna! I was using regular cheese cloth. I don't remember squeezing the last bit of jelly out of the cloth, it was just plain cloudy, but I know now for sure not to do that. I'll try the muslin or a jelly bag.

Thanks again.

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What do you find to be the best method for searing meats on the stove?

I used to heat oil in a saute pan or skillet and then put the meat in, with poor results, but today I oiled the meat and placed it into a preheated cast-iron skillet. The crust was fantastic and very flavorful. Is there any real fundamental difference between oiling the meat or the pan? Is one way better than the other?

"In a perfect world, cooks who abuse fine cutlery would be locked in a pillory and pelted with McNuggets."

- Anthony Bourdain

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Thanks Anna!  I was using regular cheese cloth. I don't remember squeezing the last bit of jelly out of the cloth, it was just plain cloudy, but I know now for sure not to do that.  I'll try the muslin or a jelly bag.

Thanks again.

Also, because often it is assumed by the sellers that you already know this, wash the jelly bag (or muslin) well in hot water, to remove all of the starch which stiffens the fabric, and rinse in a basin of cold water to remove any small loose fibers.

When ready to use, wet the jelly bag with cold water and wring to remove as much water as possible, but leave it damp.

Real cheesecloth, also known as "butter muslin" is much more tightly woven than the gauze-type cheesecloth found in grocery stores. Fine butter muslin can be used over and over again, simply wash by hand, hang to dry and roll it, instead of folding.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Yes to the Panko and I'd say Yes to the mascarpone, but I wouldnt do it.  Mascarpone is very rich and expensive( at least here anyway).  Its also bland so I'm not sure why you'd want it in the Mac and Cheese.

I have some lying around and wanted to use it. I'm more of a savory person than a sweet person and thought that the mascarpone would add a nice smoothness to the sauce.

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Yes to the Panko and I'd say Yes to the mascarpone, but I wouldnt do it.  Mascarpone is very rich and expensive( at least here anyway).  Its also bland so I'm not sure why you'd want it in the Mac and Cheese.

I have some lying around and wanted to use it. I'm more of a savory person than a sweet person and thought that the mascarpone would add a nice smoothness to the sauce.

hey lucky :smile: (you must be with 3 8's after yr name)...I use mascarpone in bechamels etc, eg. for lasagne, and find it gives a great result, also use it in some risottos at the very end, so I would definitely try it in mac and cheese altho I've never made that particuar dish (it's not expensive here :smile: )

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Here is one I have.  I have a stainless steel fry pan of decent quality (Revere-ware).  I have some troubles with proteins sticking.  Even with a decent amount of oil, I can't seem to get a good browning without leaving a decent amount on the bottom of the pan.  Do I need a non-stick skillet, or am I just doing something wrong.

You need to get the pan screaming hot. Additionally, don't move the piece of meat/fish/chicken for a few minutes. You want at least enough time to get a nice crust. After the crust is formed, you'll be able to move/flip the piece no problem.

Or, just make a pan sauce. Deglaze with a little cognac, flame it, reduce it with some cream, add a shot of raw cognac right at the end, and you've got just about the yummiest sauce known to man: the classic sauce for steak au poivre. As stolen from Alton.

"Degenerates. Degenerates. They'll all turn into monkeys." --Zizek on vegetarians

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The first pancake usually goes onto a cold pan.

So once its good, turn the heat down a bit. I usually get an undercooked or very very slow first pancake, when the stove is set right for the subsequent ones.

I cook pancakes on one side only, 'til the bubbles pop. Then I flip it just long enough to tan the other side.  One side ends up a nice even tan, the other is a bit blotchy looking, but tastes fine.

You put your first one in a cold pan? I've always heard you should heat the pan 'til water dances on it, then do the cooking. Eliminates the problem.

And, he sheepishly admits, I spray Pam on the pan between each pancake. Works like a charm.

"Degenerates. Degenerates. They'll all turn into monkeys." --Zizek on vegetarians

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Colder than the rest of 'em. I use a nonstick pan for pancakes and I dont give it much of a preheat. Just enough to melt a little butter. Plus, I prefer to work my way up to the perfect temp using the first pancake, instead of working my way down to it.

On my old stove, I knew where to set it and all the pancakes were good. I havent made pancakes often on the SIH I have in this house.

(SIH = stove I hate)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Here is one I have.  I have a stainless steel fry pan of decent quality (Revere-ware).  I have some troubles with proteins sticking.  Even with a decent amount of oil, I can't seem to get a good browning without leaving a decent amount on the bottom of the pan.  Do I need a non-stick skillet, or am I just doing something wrong.

You need to get the pan screaming hot. Additionally, don't move the piece of meat/fish/chicken for a few minutes. You want at least enough time to get a nice crust. After the crust is formed, you'll be able to move/flip the piece no problem.

Or, just make a pan sauce. Deglaze with a little cognac, flame it, reduce it with some cream, add a shot of raw cognac right at the end, and you've got just about the yummiest sauce known to man: the classic sauce for steak au poivre. As stolen from Alton.

For sure. I don't mind the little bits that get stuck for sauce, but I don't want that at the expense of the protein - which tends to get a bit mangled when its sticking in my pan.

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One simple question: why do you have to cook duck breast medium rare or rare in the middle? Isn't there a concern for bacteria or viruses or something?

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

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Is there a secret to keeping strawberries fresher longer in the fridge? I buy mine and store them in the fridge (in the original plastic case) and by day two they are beginning to look "wilted."

Thank you.

1) Yes. Do not wash them, but take them out of the plastic clam shell. Line a wide, shallow bowl w paper towels to hold them covered loosely w a produce bag that "breathes".

2) Strawberries are always better when they're in season, though ripe, local berries don't glisten for many days, either. It's past their time in August. The type you'll find in supermarkets has been developed to endure shipping and longer periods of storage. You don't know how long yours were sitting around before you bought them.

3) Read Russ Parsons. Cf. The Daily Gullet for relevant excerpt of his book.

Thank you for that! I haven't been here in awhile and didn't know you replied. I appreciate the help. I agree that the strawberries sit around way too long. Some of them even start to grow mold... yuck!

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Food Safety: Meatloaf

In the United States there are a lot of urban legends regarding the dangers of stuffing a raw turkey in advance of roasting it for Thanksgiving, allowing harmful bacteria to flourish in the cavity.

What about mixing a meatloaf in advance? One that involves raw egg, milk, bread, herbs, grated cheese, ground turkey and pork and vegetables that are either raw and chopped or previously cooked and cooled?

Might one do this in the morning, pop it in the fridge and then slide it into a hot oven in the evening worry-free, or can you only freeze an uncooked meatloaf in advance to avoid food poisoning?

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I say Loaf - On...

the turkey thing is that while in the oven the stuffing warms so slowly and may never hit a safe temp before the turkey itself is done.

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

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I like stuffing/dressing in the turkey. Many, many years ago I solved the problem of getting it to heat quickly in the center of the stuffing/dressing mass by using something I had in my kitchen junk drawer.

I have told other people about it, they have tried it and found it works and some used other, but similar items to good effect.

It is extremely simple.

Buy an aluminum turkey baster like this one

Remove the rubber bulb! This is extremely important! :rolleyes:

After stuffing your turkey (or goose or whatever - works also with a large, stuffed, rolled pork roast and for an extra-large crown roast)

Shove the pointy end into the center of the stuffing/dressing at a slight downward angle to be sure it is centered in the mass.

Roast.

Remove the baster with tongs as it will be very hot.

Transfer all the stuffing/dressing from the bird to an ovenproof serving bowl - cover with foil and place in the still warm oven (temp above 150 degrees) while you mangle the turkey - er, portion or slice into serving-sized pieces.

I have used this method with smaller birds and even with a 34-pound turkey, that had an enormous cavity, using two basters, and it worked beautifully. I also used two in "stuffing" that was under a saddle of boar. By this time, I found that the ones I used for stuffing were never used for anything else, so I drilled holes near the top and ran a "string" of braided picture wire through it and formed a large ring so they can be hooked and pulled out with less effort.

I got the idea when I was using "potato nails" to assist in baking huge baking potatoes, the supersized ones that had a propensity to be overdone on the outside and still hard in the center, without the use of the aluminum "nails." I thought, if these transfer heat to the interior of a potato, a hollow aluminum tube should do a bang-up job of transferring heat to the center of a mass of stuffing/dressing inside a bird.

I was correct!

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Food Safety: Meatloaf

In the United States there are a lot of urban legends regarding the dangers of stuffing a raw turkey in advance of roasting it for Thanksgiving, allowing harmful bacteria to flourish in the cavity.

What about mixing a meatloaf in advance?  One that involves raw egg, milk, bread, herbs, grated cheese, ground turkey and pork and vegetables that are either raw and chopped or previously cooked and cooled? 

Might one do this in the morning, pop it in the fridge and then slide it into a hot oven in the evening worry-free, or can you only freeze an uncooked meatloaf in advance to avoid food poisoning?

I specifically make my meatloaf and meatballs a day in advance to develop the flavors. But then, I'm no food safety specialist.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

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