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Cooking Vegetables: The Discussion


JoNorvelleWalker
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Staff note: this discussion has been split from the Dinner 2022 topic to maintain focus.

 

On 6/27/2022 at 3:38 AM, SusieQ said:

image.thumb.jpeg.0ec9b68a816a913f462a22e40cd67d24.jpeg

 

I'm no good at editing photos. With regard to recent pork/beef discussion: Rarely can I afford beef anymore. This pork steak was yummy, but then I cook with lots of garlic. 😄 My first time cooking broccolini. I boiled it for a few minutes then stir-fried it with some chopped shallots. Tasty but I didn't cook it long enough. 

 

 

In my experience blanching broccolini a few minutes* should have been sufficient.  Or possibly more so.  Then again my green vegetable preference is for a bit of crunch.  Think 30 second green beans.

 

 

*about 3-4

 

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8 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

In my experience blanching broccolini a few minutes* should have been sufficient.  Or possibly more so.  Then again my green vegetable preference is for a bit of crunch.  Think 30 second green beans

 

30 second green beans are raw.

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3 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

Exactly - otherwise, at least to my taste, they are a little "grassy."

I don't mind "grassy," but I hate the way they squeak on my teeth.

 

With most veg I'm okay with anything from raw to tender-crisp to fully cooked, but beans - as Rotuts said - are a category of their own.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

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11 minutes ago, rotuts said:

green beans are in  cooking category all their own.

 

4 minutes ago, chromedome said:

I don't mind "grassy," but I hate the way they squeak on my teeth.

 

With most veg I'm okay with anything from raw to tender-crisp to fully cooked, but beans - as Rotuts said - are a category of their own.

 

Don't show Jo...

 

 

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6 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

 

Don't show Jo...

 

 

 

And no doubt Jacques melts his ice cream.

 

But I think I may try the idea of sauteing my green beans with shallots.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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55 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

And no doubt Jacques melts his ice cream.

 

But I think I may try the idea of sauteing my green beans with shallots.

 

Oh you will never forgive him his HoJo time ;) 

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2 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

And no doubt Jacques melts his ice cream.

 

But I think I may try the idea of sauteing my green beans with shallots.

 

 

I guess it's not just Jacques and me...

 

Why You're Probably Undercooking Your Green Beans (and Pretty Much All Your Vegetables)

 

Quote

“People get it wrong with green beans, and it’s the greatest offense of summer,” says Clare de Boer, a chef at King in Manhattan. “They blanch them so they’re still squeaky in the mouth when you eat them, but if you cook them longer, if you cook them properly, they become a deeper version of themselves.” 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/30/magazine/long-cooked-vegetables-recipe.html

 

Etc.

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18 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

One more restaurant where I probably won't dine.

 

If 30 second green beans bother you and Jacques, my barely blanched Brussels sprouts would probably offend.  I use a small Wusthof kitchen knife at the table to slice the sprouts so I can slowly savor them.

 

But so no one is confused:  the beans I use are very small.  The 30 seconds are 30 seconds at full pressure in a Fissler pressure cooker, followed by a quick release.  Sometimes steaming might go for 40.

 

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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10 hours ago, weinoo said:

30 second green beans are raw.

Depends how they spend that 30 seconds. Pressure cooked they could be perfect. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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4 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

One more restaurant where I probably won't dine.

 

If 30 second green beans bother you and Jacques, my barely blanched Brussels sprouts would probably offend.  I use a small Wusthof kitchen knife at the table to slice the sprouts so I can slowly savor them.

 

But so no one is confused:  the beans I use are very small.  The 30 seconds are 30 seconds at full pressure in a Fissler pressure cooker, followed by a quick release.  Sometimes steaming might go for 40.

 

 

 

Well, that is a difference, obviously.  King happens to be quite good, not that it matters. All women in the kitchen, not that it matters.

 

Just don't go dropping that Fissler on your foot

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2 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Depends how they spend that 30 seconds. Pressure cooked they could be perfect. 

Looks like I cross-posted!  

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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)

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I grew up on undercooked green beans. My mother, early in her marriage, rebelled against canned or overcooked green beans. Her vengeance was to only serve them as a salad and always far too crunchy. I love hot green beans that still have some bright color but absolutely no crunch. I also like long-cooked southern style green beans with bacon,  and green beans oven-roasted until starting to blacken.

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44 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

Well, that is a difference, obviously.  King happens to be quite good, not that it matters. All women in the kitchen, not that it matters.

 

All women in the dining room and they might get me there.

 

I forgot to mention, I was intrigued by Jacques' suggestion to cook beans in copper.

 

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4 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

I grew up on undercooked green beans. My mother, early in her marriage, rebelled against canned or overcooked green beans. Her vengeance was to only serve them as a salad and always far too crunchy. I love hot green beans that still have some bright color but absolutely no crunch. I also like long-cooked southern style green beans with bacon,  and green beans oven-roasted until starting to blacken.

 

I also enjoy dry fried green beans.  Or I'll take my leftover 30 second green beans and use them in a stir fry.

 

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16 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I also enjoy dry fried green beans.

Perhaps my favourite way to enjoy green beans. My local “Chinese” does not do much well but I love their dry-fried green beans.  

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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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Not dry fried, but I frequently glisten a non-stick pan and scorch green beans.   Splotchy blackened outside, half-cooked inside.    Maldon salt and yum.1342488015_ScreenShot2022-06-28at7_54_50AM.thumb.png.976d926faf363d10e940f98ac14c4a23.png

Edited by Margaret Pilgrim (log)
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eGullet member #80.

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On 6/27/2022 at 11:06 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

One more restaurant where I probably won't dine.

 

If 30 second green beans bother you and Jacques, my barely blanched Brussels sprouts would probably offend.  I use a small Wusthof kitchen knife at the table to slice the sprouts so I can slowly savor them.

 

But so no one is confused:  the beans I use are very small.  The 30 seconds are 30 seconds at full pressure in a Fissler pressure cooker, followed by a quick release.  Sometimes steaming might go for 40.

 

 


I do not know about the dimensions and the thermal mass of the Fissler pressure cooker. Assuming it is like the cheapo Amazon Basics one I am using it will take a certain timeframe (and significantly longer than the 30 seconds at peak temperature you are envisioning) to reach said peak temperature. How do you factor that cooking time (even at ambient pressure it’ll cook those beans) into your equation ? And how long is it (usually) ? How is the decompression (“release”) time factored in ? Maybe those beans get a lot more cooking time than advertised …

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23 minutes ago, Duvel said:


I do not know about the dimensions and the thermal mass of the Fissler pressure cooker. Assuming it is like the cheapo Amazon Basics one I am using it will take a certain timeframe (and significantly longer than the 30 seconds at peak temperature you are envisioning) to reach said peak temperature. How do you factor that cooking time (even at ambient pressure it’ll cook those beans) into your equation ? And how long is it (usually) ? How is the decompression (“release”) time factored in ? Maybe those beans get a lot more cooking time than advertised …

 

With lid the weight of the Fissler (actually I have three Fissler pressure cookers, but the Fissler in question) is 4.5 kg.  I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of beans.*  The shape of the pot (in Fissler's wisdom) is a conical frustrum, and I'm not up to calculating the volume before breakfast.  I could measure the volume easily enough by weighing the water necessary to fill the vessel if you believe it is relevant to the discussion.

 

From room temperature it takes about a minute for the pot to come to full pressure.  I use little water, sorry I don't measure, about a half a cup.  The beans are on a steaming tray well above the water.  Before the water boils the beans are not experiencing much cooking.  Maybe some convection from the residual air in the pot.

 

Decompression under cold running water takes very few seconds, much less than 30, more like 10.

 

 

*actual American idiom

 

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1 hour ago, Duvel said:

Maybe those beans get a lot more cooking time than advertised …

I wanted to be certain that @JoNorvelleWalkerhad a chance to answer the question that was directed at her before saying anything. But I still feel the need to chime in. (Incidentally the expression in my part of the world is, “What has that got to do with the cost of tea in China?”)*. But back to the beans. I have done them in the InstaPot (electric pressure cooker) for 30 seconds which I consider to be the time at pressure. No doubt there is additional cooking that takes place as pressure builds and as the pressure releases. In the end the beans turn out to be perfect for my taste. 
But I wonder if it’s any different than when directed to blanch a vegetable for let us say two minutes. I bring the water to a boil and then add the vegetable and then start timing only once the water has returned to the boil. So they are blanched for somewhat longer than the two minutes. 
One has to start somewhere just this side of quantum physics. 

*Actual British idiom. 

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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 fully subscribe to the description that the beans spend 30 sec at the peak temperature/peak pressure of the system, and that they are fully cooked to the liking of the individual consumer.

 

What I try to figure out is what is the actual cooking time. @Anna N: you’ve made an excellent point on comparing the results with a blanch. That is submerging the beans into boiling water and keeping them there for some time to cook, before (likely) shocking them and serving. Cooking time will most likely be longer.

 

@JoNorvelleWalker: my apologies - I have a very simplistic view on the world, and it based on thermodynamics: your cooking set-up will need to heat up. For me the best way to judge this is to know how much thermal mass has to be heated up before the cooking process starts. If your 4.5 kg Fissler heats up in just one minute to sustain a humid ~120oC cooking environment, I salute you on your heat source. I’d calculate also that time partially into the cooking time. If your Fissler is ok with shocking it under cold water to decrease the temperature rapudly and release the pressure within 10 sec I salute you and Fissler on a very sturdy piece of equipment. And I calculate that time into the cooking time as well.

 

With that ~ 90 sec overall cooking time and the translation from a >100 oC pressure cook environment to a regular blanch (with better heat transfer) I’d think the 3-4 min I give green beans will usually end them up with a very similar bite & texture, which - as you asked for “what this had to do with the price of beans” - is all I tried to figure out. 
 

Many roads lead to Rome and I can now place your 30 sec beans into “my” cooking world. Thanks for that 🤗

Edited by Duvel (log)
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The luddite's road to Rome: Bring water to a boil up to the level of your basket steamer. Throw in beans. Start tasting after about five minutes until beans are the way you like them. Dump into a colander. When it comes to green beans I am resigned to expect disappointment. At least half the time we buy them they are woody or fibrous or blah. Even farmers' market beans in summer are not a guarantee. I'm guessing @Shelby's garden beans are delicious, a true thermal mess o'beans. I wouldn't know a thermal mass if it hit me over the head.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/29/2022 at 3:17 PM, Duvel said:

I fully subscribe to the description that the beans spend 30 sec at the peak temperature/peak pressure of the system, and that they are fully cooked to the liking of the individual consumer.

 

What I try to figure out is what is the actual cooking time. @Anna N: you’ve made an excellent point on comparing the results with a blanch. That is submerging the beans into boiling water and keeping them there for some time to cook, before (likely) shocking them and serving. Cooking time will most likely be longer.

 

@JoNorvelleWalker: my apologies - I have a very simplistic view on the world, and it based on thermodynamics: your cooking set-up will need to heat up. For me the best way to judge this is to know how much thermal mass has to be heated up before the cooking process starts. If your 4.5 kg Fissler heats up in just one minute to sustain a humid ~120oC cooking environment, I salute you on your heat source. I’d calculate also that time partially into the cooking time. If your Fissler is ok with shocking it under cold water to decrease the temperature rapudly and release the pressure within 10 sec I salute you and Fissler on a very sturdy piece of equipment. And I calculate that time into the cooking time as well.

 

With that ~ 90 sec overall cooking time and the translation from a >100 oC pressure cook environment to a regular blanch (with better heat transfer) I’d think the 3-4 min I give green beans will usually end them up with a very similar bite & texture, which - as you asked for “what this had to do with the price of beans” - is all I tried to figure out. 
 

Many roads lead to Rome and I can now place your 30 sec beans into “my” cooking world. Thanks for that 🤗

 

I cast my mind back to my beloved thermodynamics professor Walter Kauzmann.  Kauzmann was a nice guy and he gave me a passing grade.  Anything to do with math or arithmetic is not my thing, which may explain much.  Kauzmann once assigned us homework requiring solution of simultaneous equations.  The problem could either be done by hand or by computer.  But if by computer he required an impossibly long number of decimal places.

 

While I can scarcely add 1 and the square root of -3 together, I was known for a knack of making experiments work and of bending computers to my will.  The difficulty was as a grad student I was allowed only 1 CPU second of computer time.  I had to break my beautiful program, which solved the equations and graphed the results, down into parts and run them over several days.

 

Recently I found my printout with Kauzmann's note:  "Worth waiting for even if two weeks late.  I have kept a copy of your program."

 

Anyhow, I purchased some nice looking green beans.  I put 160 grams of water in the Fissler, and 150 grams of beans in the steamer basket.  I was wrong about 1 minute.  From putting the Fissler on the heat to the first safety valve releasing was just under 2 minutes.  After 30 seconds at pressure I quenched the pot under cold running water.  15 seconds after removing from the stove the Fissler lid was open.  Timers traceable to NIST.  Total elapsed time under heat was 2 minutes 45 seconds.  I maintain that until the water was boiling the beans were experiencing little or no cooking, even if the pot were hot.  Likewise once the pot was open and the beans could be picked up by hand.

 

Baked potato, Berkshire pork chop, and 30 second green beans not shown.

 

 

P.S.  Why should a blanch in boiling water have better heat transfer than steam?

 

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker
duh, I meant "simultaneous" equations... (log)
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