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jhlurie

Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions (Part 1)

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Just tasting straight salt on your tongue is difficult.

I have found that the best way to taste a salt is to spread some plain bread with unsalted butter, cut it into squares, then sprinkle a bit of one type salt on one piece of bread and butter.

Aha! That clears up yet another mystery. I've tried the tasting on the tip of the tongue method with limited success. The bread & butter method never occurred to me. Thanks very much for the suggestion. It wil be fun to try this.

Pat W.


I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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How much is a "pinch"? Is there some standard? I grab as much salt as possible with 3 fingers for a "pinch" of salt.

Supposedly it is a little less than 1/8 of a tsp. but I like the three finger method better.

what about a bunch?

so how much is a bunch?

small bunch? large bunch? of herbs? :unsure:


"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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Just tasting straight salt on your tongue is difficult.

I have found that the best way to taste a salt is to spread some plain bread with unsalted butter, cut it into squares, then sprinkle a bit of one type salt on one piece of bread and butter.

Aha! That clears up yet another mystery. I've tried the tasting on the tip of the tongue method with limited success. The bread & butter method never occurred to me. Thanks very much for the suggestion. It wil be fun to try this.

Pat W.

This is especially true because the texture/shape of the crystal really does make a difference in the flavor experience, and you can get that much better in the bread-and-butter scenario.

PS. Maldon salt is my favorite!


"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

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Baked potatoes are a fun way to taste salts also...if I have a great salt I can actually skip the butter....not that I would

but a big ol' pinch of Malden sea salt (williams sonoma) on baked potato...MMMmmm you can feel it and taste it too

I gave the staff at my chiropractors office a 7 salt tasting one day

they thought I was slightly less insane than before it


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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2) How do I effectively thicken stew gravy. I make a really flavorful boeuf bourgognone but the sauce is always runny and I can never thicken it (I have tried lots of stuff).

Same way you'd thicken gravy itself. Use a roux. Mix equal parts flour and butter (oil or crisco if you prefer) and brown in a little pan. Lighter colored rouxs give you thicker gravies and sauces.

A roux is equal parts butter and flour? Who knew? Apparently everyone but me :blink::biggrin:

To be utterly technical, a roux is the cooked version. The uncooked version of equal parts butter and flour, uncooked, is a beurre manie.

another way to thicken the sauce in stews that doesn't resort to rouxs or slurries (or reduction, if reducing too much will make the sauce bitter), is to take out some of the vegetables (you may wish to add a few more to begin with), puree them in a blender, then add the puree back into the stew.

ok, then here's another stupid question. Do you melt the butter first and add the flour to it and mix together, or do you add each part to the sauce separately?

If you mix the flour with softened butter, you've got "beurre manié." You pinch off bits of it and stir it well into the sauce to be thickened. You can add it little by little, letting each addition cook, before adding the next bit.

This is different from a roux, for which you melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook it to the desired color, and then add the liquid (or if you're making gumbo, adding the cooked roux to the liquid). Beurre manié is easier to use, IMO, when thickening sauces that are already there in the pot. And you can made up a batch of it to keep in the fridge or freezer in small balls, for whenever you need it.

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I've eaten rare chicken before, but that was only because I can't grill worth a damn (I thought the chicken was done). That was before I discovered the joys of cooking thermometry. 

To be honest, I don't really know of any hard data on prevalence of Salmonella etc in duck versus chicken, but I would suspect that the incidence is similar. Ducks and chickens are closely related species and both are typically raised in large-scale farms with plenty of oppurtunity for contact with pathogen-carrying droppings.

I googled around a bit on this, because I found the question interesting. I found a couple references to duck eggs having far lower instances of salmonella than chicken eggs, but no references to the animals themselves. I imagine what is true for the egg is likely true for the animal though. Perhaps ducks just have some natural immune defense against salmonella?

Duck and chicken farms are also quite a bit different. Ducks are generally allowed to roam about in pins, while chickens are often locked in small cages, one on top of another, such that their fecal matter can rain down, easily spreading more disease.

I also found that even cows can apparently carry salmonella, yet we never worry about salmonella from beef. There is no reason to fear the meat of an animal just because it is capable of carrying a pathogen, perhaps ducks are similar to cows in that they can carry it, but just do so so rarely that it isn't worth thinking about.

Then again, a chicken breast and a duck breast are two very different pieces of meat. A duck breast is more like a steak, a chicken breast, more like a piece of incredibly firm tofu. Perhaps there is no reason to cook chicken rare just because it tastes better fully cooked.


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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2) How do I effectively thicken stew gravy. I make a really flavorful boeuf bourgognone but the sauce is always runny and I can never thicken it (I have tried lots of stuff).

Same way you'd thicken gravy itself. Use a roux. Mix equal parts flour and butter (oil or crisco if you prefer) and brown in a little pan. Lighter colored rouxs give you thicker gravies and sauces.

A roux is equal parts butter and flour? Who knew? Apparently everyone but me :blink::biggrin:

To be utterly technical, a roux is the cooked version. The uncooked version of equal parts butter and flour, uncooked, is a beurre manie.

another way to thicken the sauce in stews that doesn't resort to rouxs or slurries (or reduction, if reducing too much will make the sauce bitter), is to take out some of the vegetables (you may wish to add a few more to begin with), puree them in a blender, then add the puree back into the stew.

ok, then here's another stupid question. Do you melt the butter first and add the flour to it and mix together, or do you add each part to the sauce separately?

If you mix the flour with softened butter, you've got "beurre manié." You pinch off bits of it and stir it well into the sauce to be thickened. You can add it little by little, letting each addition cook, before adding the next bit.

This is different from a roux, for which you melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook it to the desired color, and then add the liquid (or if you're making gumbo, adding the cooked roux to the liquid). Beurre manié is easier to use, IMO, when thickening sauces that are already there in the pot. And you can made up a batch of it to keep in the fridge or freezer in small balls, for whenever you need it.

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One thing that may make a difference is that duck egg shells are not a porus as chicken eggs.

We used to mark eggs with an indelible marker and I often noticed that the color would have penetrated to the interior of chicken eggs, but not to the interior of duck eggs.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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I've eaten rare chicken before, but that was only because I can't grill worth a damn (I thought the chicken was done). That was before I discovered the joys of cooking thermometry. 

To be honest, I don't really know of any hard data on prevalence of Salmonella etc in duck versus chicken, but I would suspect that the incidence is similar. Ducks and chickens are closely related species and both are typically raised in large-scale farms with plenty of oppurtunity for contact with pathogen-carrying droppings.

I googled around a bit on this, because I found the question interesting. I found a couple references to duck eggs having far lower instances of salmonella than chicken eggs, but no references to the animals themselves. I imagine what is true for the egg is likely true for the animal though. Perhaps ducks just have some natural immune defense against salmonella?

Did you happen to save the link, Nullo? If so, please share it with me. I looked briefly, but couldn't find any actual data. I did see a variety of opinions -- some saying duck eggs are far less likely to carry salmonella, some saying the they are as likely to carry salmonella as chicken eggs, and some saying they are more likely to carry salmonella because their shells are more porous than chicken eggs. Everybody seems to agree that duck eggs can carry Salmonella, but none of them are citing any actual surveys. Come to think of it, I never went and checked PubMed, which probably has journal articles on the subject. I'll go check.

Okay, there are a few articles on the subject, though none of them compare the incidence of Salmonella in chicken versus ducks, and some of them are looking at Salmonella on shell rather than inside the egg. And many of them don't include abstracts. And most of them are either very old or based on research in other countries, which may have different rearing conditions. But for what its worth, here are some of the references.

2: Saitanu K, Jerngklinchan J, Koowatananukul C. Related Articles, Links

Abstract Incidence of salmonellae in duck eggs in Thailand.

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 1994 Jun;25(2):328-31.

PMID: 7855651 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

3: Baker RC, Qureshi RA, Sandhu TS, Timoney JF. Related Articles, Links

Abstract The frequency of salmonellae on duck eggs.

Poult Sci. 1985 Apr;64(4):646-52.

PMID: 4001051 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

5: Ozek O, Cetin ET, Ang O, Toreci K, Yurdakul S. Related Articles, Links

No abstract [salmonella muenchen strains isolated from duck eggs]

Tip Fak Mecm. 1965;28(4):407-13. Turkish. No abstract available.

PMID: 5895719 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

6: DROBINSKII IR. Related Articles, Links

No abstract [An outbreak of Salmonella breslau infection connected with the use of duck eggs.]

Gig Sanit. 1960 Mar;25:93-6. Russian. No abstract available.

PMID: 13818157 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

7: STOKES R. Related Articles, Links

No abstract Salmonella food poisoning traced to duck eggs.

Ir J Med Sci. 1959 Nov;407:481-501. No abstract available.

PMID: 13834844 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

8: ROHNE K. Related Articles, Links

No abstract [Duck eggs as a cause of epidemic.]

Z Arztl Fortbild (Jena). 1957 Sep 1;51(17):728-30. German. No abstract available.

PMID: 13496836 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

9: SCHMITH O. Related Articles, Links

No abstract [Danger of transmitting Salmonella infections through duck eggs.]

Offentl Gesundheitsdienst. 1955 Nov;17(8):293-5. German. No abstract available.

PMID: 13288995 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

10: HIRSCH W, SAPIRO-HIRSCH R, SYMAN S. Related Articles, Links

No abstract [Outbreak of salmonella food poisoning due to duck eggs.]

Harefuah. 1955 Jul 1;49(1):1-3. Hebrew. No abstract available.

PMID: 13251653 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

11: ARTIUKH IA, OSTASHEVSKII AG, KALMYKOV KV, GUROVA EI. Related Articles, Links

No abstract [Methods of sterilization of duck eggs obtained from farms suspected of the presence of Salmonella infection.]

Gig Sanit. 1954 Mar;3:49-50. Undetermined Language. No abstract available.

PMID: 13162152 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

12: [No authors listed] Related Articles, Links

No abstract SALMONELLA in duck eggs.

Mon Bull Minist Health Public Health Lab Serv. 1954 Feb;13:38-43. No abstract available.

PMID: 13132814 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

13: MILLER AA. Related Articles, Links

No abstract Human Salmonella typhi murium infection due to duck eggs, with special reference to flocks of ducks.

Br Med J. 1952 Jul 19;2(4776):125-7. No abstract available.

PMID: 14935345 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

14: NEELY RA, NELSON MG. Related Articles, Links

No abstract Salmonella food poisoning due to duck eggs with a trial of chloramphenicol on the carrier state.

Mon Bull Minist Health Public Health Lab Serv. 1951 May;10:96-101. No abstract available.

PMID: 14843030 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

15: BLAXLAND JD, BLOWERS AJ. Related Articles, Links

No abstract Salmonella typhimurium infection in duck eggs as a cause of human food poisoning.

Vet Rec. 1951 Jan 27;63(4):56-9. No abstract available.

PMID: 14817968 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

Nastasi A, Mammina C, Piersante GP, Robertazzo M, Caruso P. Related Articles, Links Abstract A foodborne outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis vehicled by duck and hen eggs in southern Italy.

New Microbiol. 1998 Jan;21(1):93-6.

DROBINSKII IR. Related Articles, Links No abstract [An outbreak of Salmonella breslau infection connected with the use of duck eggs.]

Gig Sanit. 1960 Mar;25:93-6. Russian. No abstract available.

PMID: 13818157 [PubMed - OLDMEDLINE for Pre1966]

Those were the results from the search on salmonella+"duck eggs." A did a broader search for salmonella+duck, and this returned more results, some of which report human bacterial illness resulting from eating duck. Kessel et al (2001. General outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease linked with poultry, England and Wales, 1992-1999. Commun Dis Public Health. 4(3):171-7.) reported the following:

Between 1992 and 1999, 1426 foodborne general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease (IID) were reported to the Public Health Laboratory Service Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre. A fifth were associated with the consumption of poultry. Chicken was implicated in almost three quarters of these outbreaks, turkey in over a fifth and duck in 2% of outbreaks. The organisms most frequently reported were Salmonella (30% of outbreaks), Clostridium perfringens (21%) and Campylobacter (6%). Over 7000 people were affected, with 258 hospital admissions and 17 deaths.

That would seem to suggest that duck (2% of IID) is far less likely to cause IID than chicken (75% of IID). But of course, far more chicken is consumed than duck, so its not entirely clear from this if the greater IID from chicken than duck reflects greater consumption of chicken, a lower incidence of infected duck, or a combination of both.


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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One of the films shown to my class included the workings of a conventional chicken processing plant, where rows and rows of chicken corpses were strung up conveyor style, into a machine with scoop-shaped knives which went into the chicken's back end and out again, thus scraping out most, but not all, of the innards. But for the part where workers snapped the chicken bodies up into the belts by their legs, the entire process was automated.

Then all of the birds were plunged into gigantic vats of water, for cleaning. Except the water was hardly changed throughout the day, which meant the chicken was basically swimming in fecal soup. Hence, salmonella.

Pat


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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My simple-stupid question is about aromatics. Sometimes I want to prepare something that I have done before and I remember the main ingredients(eg. spinach, lentil, tomatoes,chicken, whatever) BUT, I dont remember how much onions, carrots, celery, garlic, or whatever, was used for flavoring. I guess mosttimes one can adjust seasonings like salt and pepper at the end but you cant go back and saute additional onions, garlic or otherwise that would add depth of flavor.Could someone provide some guideline for me on how to determine a reasonable amount of aromatics to be used given a certain quantity of main ingredient to be used? I can't seem to gauge this from different recipes, it seems so random, you know?

CM

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My simple-stupid question is about aromatics. Sometimes I want to prepare something that I have done before and I remember the main ingredients(eg. spinach, lentil, tomatoes,chicken, whatever) BUT, I dont remember how much onions, carrots, celery, garlic, or whatever, was used for flavoring. I guess mosttimes one can adjust seasonings like salt and pepper at the end but you cant go back and saute additional onions, garlic or otherwise that would add depth of flavor.Could someone provide some guideline for me on how to determine a reasonable amount of aromatics to be used given a certain quantity of main ingredient to be used? I can't seem to gauge this from different recipes, it seems so random, you know?

CM

Hard to answer without knowing the original recipe, not to mention personal taste, but fwiw caramelized onions can be frozen in ice cube trays for use as needed. Unless the dish relied on texture as much as body, of course. Probably the same applies to sauted garlic, though I haven't tried that.

Also, based on my own experience, a certain amount of making peace with the occasional unreliable onion is necessary, due to variability in their water content. Well, that's probably true of all ingredients, but onions just come up a lot by dint of usage frequency. :biggrin:

Pat


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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very quick one, is there any particular you should score the skin on a snapper fillet to stop the blooming thing from curling into a fishy swiss roll. any help very much appreciated.

Alex.


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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How about this: I want to make fennel infused olive oil. So, I chopped up some raw fennel and thew it into the olive oil. The result is truly spectacular fermantation. Why? The lemon olive oil is fine. The aromatic herb oil is fine. The fennel oil is perculating away....

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How about this: I want  to make fennel infused olive oil. So, I chopped up some raw fennel and thew it into the olive oil. The result is truly spectacular fermantation. Why?  The lemon olive oil is fine. The aromatic herb oil is fine. The fennel oil is perculating away....

I see an new source of side income: "Hathor's Infused Oils and Housemade Botox". :raz:

Did you use the green part of the fennel, or the bulb? (I have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm just curious.)

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No idea why this is happening. Sorry.

Could you not try fennel seeds? Those might work better.


Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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Does anyone have a recipe for "Pain L'ancienne?" I keep seeing this bread recipe's name, but I can't seem to find the actual ingredient list...

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Does anyone have a recipe for "Pain L'ancienne?" I keep seeing this bread recipe's name, but I can't seem to find the actual ingredient list...

It is a recipe from Peter Reinhardt's Bread Baker's Apprentice. The ingredients are flour, water, salt and yeast. It is the technique that makes the difference...and also makes it damned hard to type up and PM you. If you buy one bread book in your life, make it this one. Seriously, it is life changing. (Check out the thread in Pastry and Baking to see pics -- note that 6 months ago I had never baked a loaf, ever.)

edit: looking through the thread I just realized that the first time I baked out of that book was on February 15. So starting basically from zero, 2.5 months later I am doing this:

gallery_17531_173_10076.jpggallery_17531_173_4633.jpg

Have I sold it enough?? Sorry, don't mean to show off, but I can hardly believe it myself.


Edited by Behemoth (log)

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Behemoth, that is one impressive sales pitch. Your bread looks gorgeous! :smile:


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Behemoth, you are now a BAKER!!!


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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How about this: I want to make fennel infused olive oil. So, I chopped up some raw fennel and thew it into the olive oil. The result is truly spectacular fermantation. Why? The lemon olive oil is fine. The aromatic herb oil is fine. The fennel oil is perculating away....

I see an new source of side income: "Hathor's Infused Oils and Housemade Botox". :raz:

Did you use the green part of the fennel, or the bulb? (I have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm just curious.)

/quote]

I don't know about botox, but it certainly is fermenting away. I used the bulb and a little bit of the green. I washed everything. I just don't know. One of life's mysteries.

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very quick one, is there any particular you should score the skin on a snapper fillet to stop the blooming thing from curling into a fishy swiss roll. any help very much appreciated.

Alex.

alex, i think you're missing a word in your post and i can't quite figure out how to respond.

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Alex, think your missing the word "way" from your post.

Also sounds like your grill is on a too high temp?


I went into a French restaraunt and asked the waiter, 'Have you got frog's legs?' He said, 'Yes,' so I said, 'Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich.'

Tommy Cooper

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Does anyone have a recipe for "Pain L'ancienne?" I keep seeing this bread recipe's name, but I can't seem to find the actual ingredient list...

Grub,

It isn't exactly the recipe from the book but I made some breadsticks using a minor variation on this recipe and blogged about it. It's certainly close enough to Brother Peter's recipe to give you a feel for what you are after while you wait for your copy of the book to arrive. :biggrin:

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Alex, think your missing the word "way" from your post.

Also sounds like your grill is on a too high temp?

yes i am missing the word "way", however fish is being pan fried not grilled, any ideas.


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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