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What is the one cooking trick


fresco
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll agree with the one about not using table salt for cooking any more. And not using table salt at the table. Kosher flake is my sodium of choice: the crystals are as distinct as good cocaine (she seemed to remember someone saying), though not as expensive.

Also, cooking with unsalted butter most of the time, especially when cooking vegetables. That makes the application of the good salt all the more distinct.

Finally (for now): good knives.

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I went to J. Harding Restaurant Supplies and got a nice soup pot and a mandolin ..

I will never go back to slicing my cucumbers again .. Love that little gadget.

Oh man, be careful with that mandoline . . . them things scare me.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Yes, mandolines deserve your full attention. But they are the only kitchen gadget other than a knife and a cutting board that is essential.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Recipe and Technique:

½ veal bones (knuckles) and ½ chicken bones: do not roast!

Put the bones in a kettle and just cover with water. Bring to the boil, drain and rinse with ice and water.

Refill the kettle to just cover the bones. Add a traditional Mirepoix, un-roasted and with ripe, raw tomatoes instead of tomato paste. Simmer for eight hours while skimming. Strain through cheesecloth and cool.

Reduce the stock (no need to strain) until 1/4 the volume. It is like magic, the stock is a beautiful rich golden brown with lots of texture and body. Absolutely no bitterness and lots of gelatin.

On a daily basis the stock can be refreshed with a small Mirepoix and your choice of carcass (roasted duck, lamb, venison, veal, rabbit, etc). The alcohol and bones used really shine through. The flavour is rich while not being over-powering or of a tacky texture.

I guess I need to go back to Europe for a refresher course. This has truly revolutionized my thoughts on cooking. I hope everyone enjoys the recipe!

Did I miss the alcohol in the recipe?

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Yes, mandolines deserve your full attention. But they are the only kitchen gadget other than a knife and a cutting board that is essential.

Aw, come on, Jinmyo . . . what about the *garlic press*?

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Yes, mandolines deserve your full attention. But they are the only kitchen gadget other than a knife and a cutting board that is essential.

Aw, come on, Jinmyo . . . what about the *garlic press*?

I can't get this image out of my head of a bunch of bored-looking guys in fedoras with a really strong odor about them, shouting "Sweetheart, get me rewrite."

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Yes, mandolines deserve your full attention. But they are the only kitchen gadget other than a knife and a cutting board that is essential.

Aw, come on, Jinmyo . . . what about the *garlic press*?

You're kidding, right?

Nothing more useless. I just use the heel of my hand or if I'm feeling fancy the handle of my chef's knife. And I'm usually doing twenty or so cloves if I'm peeling garlic.

fresco, nice.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Yes, mandolines deserve your full attention. But they are the only kitchen gadget other than a knife and a cutting board that is essential.

Aw, come on, Jinmyo . . . what about the *garlic press*?

You're kidding, right?

Nothing more useless. I just use the heel of my hand or if I'm feeling fancy the handle of my chef's knife. And I'm usually doing twenty or so cloves if I'm peeling garlic.

fresco, nice.

Yes. I'm kidding.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Using a microplate to grate garlic.

And, not a cooking trick, but logic (which I am not hindered by): keep knives, forks, spoons, cooking implements separated by type in the dishwasher. Makes it twice as fast to put away. Duh.

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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But don't you find that the nested utensils (which happens if they are all the same type in the basket) don't get cleaned properly? I love my Miele dishwasher. The flatware goes on its own very shallow tray with tines individually separating each utensil.

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Not exactly a cooking trick, but the taste of my cooking has improved greatly since learning that certain foods lose their flavor after time spent in the freezer (fish, chicken, etc.) or the refrigerator (tomatoes, etc.). This has forced me to shop more frequently but has been more than worth it.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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But don't you find that the nested utensils (which happens if they are all the same type in the basket) don't get cleaned properly? I love my Miele dishwasher. The flatware goes on its own very shallow tray with tines individually separating each utensil.

My circa-1972 Kenmore (? not sure of brand even) has one large basket with 6 compartments. So far everything's been coming out clean. The machine sounds like a space ship, though. :angry:

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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Mine is to clean up as you cook as much as possible. It saves a lot of hassle and makes the whole process as sane as possible -- plus you don't have to deal with a mountain of dishes at the end. It's hard to remember to do sometimes though (especially after a little wine).

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  • 3 weeks later...

About that onion chopping: I never did understand why horizontal+vertical slices were better than just the significantly simpler wheel-spoke arc cuts. If you make them alternatingly deep and shallow, you get an even size, and since you're always slicing perpendicular to the onion layer, every cut counts. Using h+v slices you'll be be slicing along the layer for a large part of each cut.

As for tips:

1) Heat the thai chili-paste and oil over medium heat first, then crank up the heat and add meat before the paste burns. Back down on heat when adding coconut milk. Only tested using gas and a thin-walled wok.

2) heat management in general, actually

3) Tomatoes slice easier drawing the knife towards you. I understand this is the Wrong Way to do it. Haven't sliced my finger off. yet.

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A silly thing really but it has made a big difference - not trying to get away with the smallest bowl possible when mixing something. It's amazing how quickly I can cut butter into flour using a BIG bowl and how well I can toss a salad using the same BIG bowl. Ditto for many other mixing, folding, etc. tasks.

Anna N

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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The small, tiny thing that's made the most difference to me recently (and surprised myself that it did) is breaking an egg into a small bowl and then pouring it onto the griddle (or fry pan) when frying the egg.

For twenty years I'd been breaking eggs directly onto the hot surface, until I read the egg chapter in Alton Brown's book a couple of months ago and decided to try it his way. Haven't broken a yolk since.

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Using fresh herbs. I can't believe how delicious fresh parlsey is! It's so wonderful to be able to go outside get some fresh parsley and basil for whatever I'm making. Next year I hope to grow more herbs. (I tried cilantro this year, but it didn't make it... :sad:)

There are others, like seasoning as you go, using kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, etc. A real biggie is cleaning up during and after cooking, so that the next night I don't have to try to clean before I can cook - which always leads to picking up a pizza instead.

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The single cooking trick that has done me the most good is moving to Asia. What? Yes, really, because the following things have ensued:

(1) Being thrown into a land where finding any given ingredient for western food is a catch-as-catch-can enterprise has forced me to look more at what is in the markets and to work more with fresh, local, seasonal products.

(2) Having to improvise with ingredients has made me a much more thoughtful and -- ultimately -- creative cook.

(3) The whole concept of supermarkets versus specialty markets has sent me to the specialists the same way trips to France do. I (almost) never buy seafood anywhere but Noryangjin, where about half of it is alive when I buy it.

(4) The move itself forced me to throw out much of the useless crap that had accumulated and cluttered up my kitchen over the past decade. Having fewer tools means the genuinely useful ones are easier to find and used more frequently.

(5) Acquiring full-time, live-in help has meant that cleaning is less of a barrier to using the tools I do need. I no longer make a decision about whether to pull out item x, since I know someone else can help deal with the cleanup. At the same time, I still try to clean as I go and leave nothing but the actual tableware dirty.

All of these are things I've long known I should be doing, and have done to some extent, but there's nothing better than having them forced on oneself.

Jim

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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Use a timer for everything, and if I'm going to be out of earshot of the timer, stick it in my pocket. No more burnt stuff while I get side tracked by a good book, playing games with the kids, tending the garden.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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