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I just can't cook __________!


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I think I'm an enthusiastic and, I think, reasonably competent cook. I ain't about to win any Michelin stars or the like, but my friends enjoy my food (or maybe they are just super polite).

 

But there is one thing I  just never get right. I've read more recipes and instructions than you probably know even exist. I've had lessons from great cooks across the world. All to no avail.

 

I wouldn't mind, but it is something I like to eat.

 

Fishcakes

 

Mine taste OK, but look like something the dog happily left behind. They fall apart. They just don't work on any level.

 

Now, I'm not looking for your suggestions on how to escape this sad situation . I'm incurable. I've had every suggestion ever known and some which remain esoteric secrets. One lovely lady in Thailand showed me three times how she made hers, then asked me to try. I precisely followed her instructions and left her behind with a plate of crud and a nervous breakdown.

 

So, I only ever eat them in restaurants where they have managed to employ people less fishcake challenged than me.

 

What I want to know is, among all you talented people, what is it that you can't cook?

Anyone saying "nothing" will be ex-communicated, scorned, reviled and ostracised just for starters!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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 Like you, @liuzhou, I will be ungrateful for any tips or lessons.  There are too many things I can cook to worry about those I can’t. 

 

 Shrimp or lobster bisque

Pastry of any kind

Scalloped potatoes 

 

 I bet there are more. I just can’t think of them. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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20 hours ago, Anna N said:

 I bet there are more. I just can’t think of them. 

 

Same with me. Fish cakes just happened to be on my mind and are a favourite - especially Thai style. Mine are Trashcan style.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Your fishcake frustrations are like mine but only with crab.  They are my downfall and the results look like crab scramble or crab crumbs.  I've  even resorted to mixes that only require the addition of liquid and crab.  Still no luck.  Crab is just too damn expensive to justify my messing it up so I am realistic that mastering  the cakes i is not in my future.  

And I don't do pie crust either.  Why bother when there are perfectly fine ready to bake or unfold ones out there?

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jello.....seriously, folks.  I invented jigglers before the jello people did.  No matter WHAT I do which includes following the instructions scrupiously I can't make jello.  SIGH....no funeral jello casseroles from me.

 

what is wild is during my earlier work in kitchens I routinely made lemon charlotte russe for work with no problem....

Edited by suzilightning (log)
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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

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You probably don't want to make your own since you've tried and failed and are happy with prepared crusts, but, just in case....this is the one I use and it is easy and tastes wonderful (however I do like to use leaf lard in mine when I have it).

 

Foolproof Pie Crust
 
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp table salt
1 Tbs sugar
6 Tbs cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
2 Tbs vodka, cold
2 Tbs cold water
Process 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.
Makes 1 pie crust
 
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46 minutes ago, lindag said:

 

You probably don't want to make your own since you've tried and failed and are happy with prepared crusts, but, just in case.

 

No. No. No.  we don’t want to know.  xDxDxD 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I just can't cook oatmeal that I want to eat.  Not that's it's hard to make, I just don't like how it tastes.

I've tried until I'm 'blue in the face' and now I've given up.

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That's a great pie crust recipe.  I would change the directions just a tad.  Toss everything except the vodka.  Increase the amount of that to at least one cup.   Sip it while watching your Pillsbury crust bake to perfection.  

Edited by IowaDee (log)
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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

Head down, I'm shuffling over to join the pie crust group.  I'm just grateful the doughboy has our backs!

I just put a dulce de leche pumpkin pie in the oven and realized that the doughboy's sister, Tenderflake, also needs to be acknowledged.

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I can make a pie crust, but I never do, because I see no reason why I should when the Doughboy does one that's as good as mine and a helluva lot easier. 

 

I cannot make chicken and dumplings. Comes out like wallpaper paste every...damn...time. I've tried biscuit dumplings, pie crust dumplings, in-between dumplings. I can make something approximating chicken and dumplings...with egg noodles.

 

Could not, for a long time, make a decent milk gravy. I'm about to get that one down. Don't know why I had probs with it; I could make a white sauce just fine.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I am pretty good in figuring out how to cook various recipes.

All except hand pulled noodles.

I am not the only one who has failed many many times. Many have tried. No one has succeeded yet.

 

dcarch

 

 

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Unless I'm taking pictures for some purpose...cough, cough... I tend to use store-bought pie crusts.  (OK, or unless the recipe calls for sweet pastry.)

 

I could never make scrambled eggs till my adult son showed me.  Then I found a really good method with cubes of solid butter.  Now once again I have mostly forgotten how.

 

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8 hours ago, jmacnaughtan said:

Poached eggs.  It doesn't matter how fresh they are, how much I swirl or how much vinegar's in there, I always end up with a sad yolk in a cheap dress drowning in scummy water.

 

I had a breakthrough from I think, Serious Eats IIRC. 

 

Crack the  egg into a fine strainer to get rid of all the thin part of the egg white. Then dump that into swirling hot water.  Much neater result. 

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Mine is cooking beans from dried.  No matter how long I boil them for, no matter whether I use a saucepan, do them in the oven or in my pressure cooker, they always, always come out chalky and unpleasant.  I've managed to find some really good cooked ones in jars now so will never bother again.

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18 hours ago, jmacnaughtan said:

Poached eggs.  It doesn't matter how fresh they are, how much I swirl or how much vinegar's in there, I always end up with a sad yolk in a cheap dress drowning in scummy water.

The answer to that is a dedicated egg poacher, they're inexpensive and work very well.

I have two...poached is my favorite kind of egg.

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On ‎10‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 4:52 AM, liuzhou said:

I think I'm an enthusiastic and, I think, reasonably competent cook. I ain't about to win any Michelin stars or the like, but my friends enjoy my food (or maybe they are just super polite).

 

But there is one thing I  just never get right. I've read more recipes and instructions than you probably know even exist. I've had lessons from great cooks across the world. All to no avail.

 

I wouldn't mind, but it is something I like to eat.

 

Fishcakes

 

Mine taste OK, but look like something the dog happily left behind. They fall apart. They just don't work on any level.

 

Now, I'm not looking for your suggestions on how to escape this sad situation . I'm incurable. I've had every suggestion ever known and some which remain esoteric secrets. One lovely lady in Thailand showed me three times how she made hers, then asked me to try. I precisely followed her instructions and left her behind with a plate of crud and a nervous breakdown.

 

So, I only ever eat them in restaurants where they have managed to employ people less fishcake challenged than me.

 

What I want to know is, among all you talented people, what is it that you can't cook?

Anyone saying "nothing" will be ex-communicated, scorned, reviled and ostracised just for starters!

 

You could try this recipe from Ina Garten (published in the Detroit Free Press).  She really knows her fish!

 

Fish and Shrimp Cakes

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided

1 1/2 cups 1/4- to 1/2-inch diced yellow onion

1 red bell pepper, 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice

1 cup diced celery

1 1/4 pounds skinless cod fillets, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups panko bread crumbs, divided

3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill

2 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, or more if you like

2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 pound cooked lobster or shrimp, 1/2-inch dice

Olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Place the cod fillet on top of the vegetables and pour in the heavy cream. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 6-12 minutes (depending on the thickness of the cod), until the fish is just cooked. Set a side in the pan for 10 minutes, then flake the fish in large pieces with a fork.

Place 2 cups of the panko breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Add the cod mixture with all the cooking liquid, dill, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon zest, eggs, shrimp, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix gently.

Using a large ice cream scoop as measure, shape the mixture into 3-inch cakes. Place the remaining 2 cups of panko on a plate and coat the cakes all over, patting the panko to adhere. Wipe clean the skillet you used to cook the fish. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet until butter is melted. Working in batches, cook the cakes until nicely browned on each side, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the cakes to a sheet pan and keep them warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining cakes, adding butter and oil as needed. Serve hot with remoulade sauce.

Edited by lindag (log)
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Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

 

Which part of 

 

Quote

I'm not looking for your suggestions on how to escape this sad situation "

 

don't you understand?

 

You have been offering suggestions left, right and centre. @Anna N has already told you we don't want to know!

 

 

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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