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Improving my cooking skills (2003)


MatthewB
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My mother-in-law is here for the week, so I'll have someone to keep the kids out of the kitchen.  :smile:

Sounds like you have the perfect opportunity for some labor intensive recipes!

Where are you on the home-selling front?

Well, you would think so but that's not the way it's playing out. :hmmm:

Home is sold. We had a contract within 6 days of putting it on the market. Quite a relief considering all the work we've put into this place. We have a contract on a smaller, older house...that needs work. So, I get to design another kitchen! This one won't be quite as fancy as our current kitchen.

I'm shopping today for some extra fancy seafood for the seafood stew, and I will be making the rouille this time to go with it.

Seth, that sounds lovely. I will make the salmon and pilaf along with you, but not the artichokes because Emma is allergic to mushrooms, and no soup with dairy. She's already on prednisone from a bout of hives last week and I don't feel like pushing my luck. :smile:

What did you want to know about the papillote technique? I probably don't have the answers but will try.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I will make the salmon and pilaf along with you, but not the artichokes because Emma is allergic to mushrooms, and no soup with dairy.  She's already on prednisone from a bout of hives last week and I don't feel like pushing my luck.  :smile:

What did you want to know about the papillote technique?  I probably don't have the answers but will try.

If you want to try the artichokes without mushrooms, Heather, there's at least one other stuffing (and maybe more) with no mushrooms in the book.

I tried the papillote thing once before, and I had two issues:

1) The parchment paper got a little soggy under one of my fillets and ripped; and

2) Although I followed the cooking times in the book, my fish came out underdone and had to be popped back in the oven sans parchment.

Despite these two issues, the fish was easy and delicious. But I ask you, should I just use foil? And how can one test for doneness using this method? Maybe I just have to rigorously check the weight of my fillets against the recipe and do a little adjusting.

Edited to add: mmmmm, rouille. And congrats on the home, if I haven't congratulated you already!

Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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First... yay, Shorters!

I'm in with the salmon menu; sounds yummy!

Seth, you could try increasing the layers of parchment or reducing the amount of moisture in the packets to minimize the chance of ripping. I've also used a double layer of foil with great success and have just set the pouch up so that I could easily open it to check. I don't think the timing is going to be much different, though, assuming the same ingredients... if you know your oven's ability with different thicknesses of fish you'll be fine. Hope that makes sense/helps.

Erin
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Okay, I made the salmon etc. last night. Everything came out reasonably well.

I made Julia's leek & potato soup-- it was wonderful, and so simple. I opted to just mash the big pieces of potato with a fork in the soup pot, keeping the soup chunky and rustic. I served it with sprinkled-on parsley and a dollop of sour cream in each bowl. I think it was the most satisfying part of the meal and it was literally a half-hour's work.

The artichokes took more time, but I was able to do the prep on the artichokes and make the mushroom stuffing in the afternoon. Jacques says you can stuff them and set them in the fridge until you're ready to heat them, but I liked the taste of both the artichokes and the mushrooms better before they were stored. They were only stored for a couple hours, but I thought they lost something. Or am I crazy? I got compliments on the artichokes, but I was disappointed in them. I also thought they gave the meal an air of stodginess-- sort of like what I imagine our parents' French cuisine was, long ago. And I'm not so sure what you get out of artichokes is worth the effort you have to invest.

The fish was fine, but I think I prefer to broil salmon. I made snapper en papillote a couple months ago, and I think I preferred it to salmon done with this technique. Also, I don't know what's wrong with me, but I had to keep popping it back in the oven-- I think I had to cook the fillets for 20 minutes before they were cooked through.

And I made a simple loaf of "batard" bread. I realized when it was time to put it in the oven that I'd forgotten to leave time for a second rise. But it was too late, so I just shaped it and baked it, and it was probably squatter and denser than it should have been, but it was still very nice. It was a reminder that, as Laurie Colwin says, you can make bread conform to your schedule rather than letting it control you, and it will still enrich your life!

How about you guys?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I didn't do the dinner over the weekend. Things got too crazy around here. Maybe I will do it this week, but with another kind of fish. Jacques' method of cooking salmon on its skin is good. Have you tried that?

I got ANWTC for Christmas. :smile: We could do another menu from that this week.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Jacques' method of cooking salmon on its skin is good. Have you tried that?

I haven't. But I did try the salmon cooked in a "potato case," and it was great. I would've done that yesterday if I weren't making the soup with potatoes.

 

[Moderator note: The original Improving my cooking skills topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the following part of this discussion is here: Improving my cooking skills (2004)]

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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