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What do you do when you can't stand the heat but can't get out of the kitchen?
I'm a small-scale hobbyist candymaker (making things for myself and friends, not for sale), and I'm interested in learning more about sugar panning (mostly soft sugar panning, but also interested in hard panning). I recently made myself a panning machine, and understand the very basics of the process, but I'm finding it difficult to find thorough information on the process that is useful for home candymaking - most of the information I have found so far has been of the sort "here is how to use this product that you can only buy in 100-lb quantities", or "this $200 industry manual has a section on panning techniques that may or may not be useful, but you can't tell until after you buy it". Is there a good book/website/other source that thoroughly explains all parts of the panning process with enough detail to figure out how to do things with the materials at hand, and more importantly how to know at each step if things are going right? I have access to the book "Confectionary Science and Technology", which has been a HUGE help, but there's still quite a bit that it doesn't talk about.
I also have a couple of specific questions, and would appreciate any info:
1. How do I add color? Adding gel food color to the syrup only provides slight coloration, and I have food color powder but am not sure if I should add it to the syrup, to the sugar, or just it to replace the sugar.
2. I have some carnauba wax to use for polishing, but I can't find any info on how to use it - do I just pour a small quantity of melted wax to the centers in the pan? Do I need to mix it with anything?
Huge thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
I like to make roasted eggplant/aubergine for baba gahanouj, bharta (etc.) on coals that impart a wonderful smoky flavour. I've had good success doing it in a barbecue (actually a Big Green Egg). So, now that it's winter, I thought "why not try it in the fireplace, after the fire has burnt down to glowing coals?" I cut a few slits in the eggplant so that it wouldn't explode, did NOT wrap it in foil, thinking that would just seal out the smoky flavour, and popped it into the fireplace (with glass doors) for 15 min. It came out looking good, perhaps a little under-cooked, but basically OK. The taste was TERRIBLE - very strong flavour of fire place ash. I only had a couple of bites, despite my Methodist ancestors looking disapprovingly over my shoulder, because it really was bad. So has anyone else tried this? I'd like to make it work. Should the eggplant be wrapped in foil? Should I wait until the coals have died down further? Does it depend on the type of wood? This was mainly aspen - crappy firewood at best, but it was free (Methodist ancestors won this time.).
I take great pride in that knowing the fact that I can replicate recipes on my own. I've had some pretty good success with coming up with flavors and foods that remind me of my youth, specifically, takeout items. I think I do a pretty good job of burgers, fried chicken, pizza, a multitude of a Chinese food dishes, etc. One item that I cannot seem to figure out, which should be so simple to do, but it's frustratingly and deceptively difficult, is Asian broth.
I'm talking wonton soup and phö broth. I can't figure it out and I need help. I've scoured the forums here and tried everything. But I can't get a clear broth and I can't get the right flavour. I need to know what I'm doing wrong, I've spent a decade trying to figure this out.
To me, there is nothing in this world like good soup broth. Can someone find it in them to help me, please? I would be forever grateful.
At Groundhog's Day each year I start hunting for a good piece of meat to make corned beef for Saint Patrick's Day. I found the perfect piece yesterday and I have the perfect recipe (I found it 20 years ago on Food Network).
I'm all set except that I have a small problem. My recipe calls for saltpeter and my supply is running low. I'm all set for now but saltpeter is impossible to find in Costa Rica. I usually have my grandson bring some when he comes but he almost always has a panic attack when he does it. I just can't imagine why he gets so nervous just bringing a little white bag of powder through customs. However, I can buy curing salt here. I've been on Google trying to find a pundit who can give me an amount substitution for curing salt and saltpeter. They all said that it can be done but no one seems to have a clear idea of how much to use and by how much I need to adjust the salt in the recipe. Because we have some real experts among our members I'm hoping someone can give me an idea about how to do this. Please, I need your help.
Homemade Corned Beef
I started my Saint Patrick's dinner yesterday. I used a homemade corned beef recipe that I have had a lot of success with. Corned beef is totally unheard of in Costa Rica so it is homemade or nothing. I love it so much that I make it at least two or three times a year.
My biggest problem has been finding the meat that I need. The only type of cattle raised here are a big Brahma cross and they are all pasture-raised. The meat is lean and stringy and they always cut the brisket into small strips to be used for soup. To get a brisket you have to go to a slaughterhouse and buy the full brisket. Recently, I found a cut of meat that is not sold in the supermarkets or in the 'boutique butcher' shops. It is considered peasant food and it is wonderful. It is called giba (HEE-bah) and it is the hump of the Brahma bull. It's nice and marbled and very tender. They only sell it in the small local butcher shops and usually they have to order it for you.
My two pound piece of meat ready to go.
In the brine.
Two weeks to go but it's going to be worth it.
If anyone would like the recipe, I will post it on Recipe Gullet.
Update: The recipe is here.
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