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Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions (Part 1)


jhlurie
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Awnser to question #1,use more water and stir the pasta(of course have your boiling water with oil and salt in it). Rinse and shock ? If necessary and used for cold salads for sure. Also if retaining for later use I like to coat mine with salad oil.

Sorry if this has been replied to; I just started reading this thread. Never rinse pasta for hot pasta, the starch helps the sauce cling to the pasta. Toss the sauce with the pasta as soon as the pasta is done cooking. Per Giuliano Hazan, son of Marcella, in The Pasta Bible.And I have heard that if you toss the pasta with oil and let it sit, the pasta will absorb the oil and become gummy/gross, but not sure about that.

Frau Farbissma: "It's a television commercial! With this cartoon leprechaun! And all of these children are trying to chase him...Hey leprechaun! Leprechaun! We want to get your lucky charms! Haha! Oh, and there's all these little tiny bits of marshmallow just stuck right in the cereal so that when the kids eat them, they think, 'Oh this is candy! I'm having fun!'"
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Eh. On the other hand, I once saw a show where one guy said you should grind salt right when you use it so it is fresh. As far as I know, salt is a mineral with no oils to go stale. Would somebody please send these people to a science class?

According to the good folks at Unicorn Peppermills, this is malarky. Salt grinders are for pretty, as they used to say. But if you use one, don't use a peppermill; the salt will corrode the grinding burr. Buy a salt mill that has nylon or ceramic burrs.

Frau Farbissma: "It's a television commercial! With this cartoon leprechaun! And all of these children are trying to chase him...Hey leprechaun! Leprechaun! We want to get your lucky charms! Haha! Oh, and there's all these little tiny bits of marshmallow just stuck right in the cereal so that when the kids eat them, they think, 'Oh this is candy! I'm having fun!'"
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Oooh, oooh, my turn!  I thought of this while reading Nose to Tail Eating - what's "double cream", translated to North American?

think that would be heavy cream for you guys..

Nope. :raz: Double cream is 48% milkfat, heavy cream is 36%. Check here.

Cheers.

edit: Oops, already been replied to, sorry. Still, a darn good link.

Edited by afn33282 (log)
Frau Farbissma: "It's a television commercial! With this cartoon leprechaun! And all of these children are trying to chase him...Hey leprechaun! Leprechaun! We want to get your lucky charms! Haha! Oh, and there's all these little tiny bits of marshmallow just stuck right in the cereal so that when the kids eat them, they think, 'Oh this is candy! I'm having fun!'"
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1) Olives. I usually buy them loose, which means that they are no longer covered in brine once they were scooped out by the salesperson. I keep them in the same container I've brought them home in, which is usually either a small plastic tub or a plastic bag. Within a couple of days in the fridge they are often covered with small whitish specks and/or a sticky brinelike substance seems to be surrounding the oilves, but is way stickier than brine.

Are my olives going bad? If so, is there some better way I could be storing them to stop or retard the process?

5) Left over wine that I'd like to use at some later point in cooking. Is it okay to freeze it?

If I get bulk olives without brine, I only get enough for a week or so's use, 'cuz mine also get that white stuff which I consider mold....I'm wondering if we could make up our own brine the way I do for pieces of feta: I make up a solution of salt water that is about 2-3 tsp salt dissolved in 6-8 ounces of water.

I freeze wine for cooking - not for drinking - never noticed any problem.

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I love this thread. Finally, the place to ask things I've been unsure about.

These are embarassing, since they reveal not only my ignorance but most of them also make it sound as if I would fail food hygiene 101 and that my house is teaming with contagion and rotting food.  :sad: Really, it's not. These questions have been building up over a long time!

Deep breath. Here goes:

1) Olives. I usually buy them loose, which means that they are no longer covered in brine once they were scooped out by the salesperson. I keep them in the same container I've brought them home in, which is usually either a small plastic tub or a plastic bag. Within a couple of days in the fridge they are often covered with small whitish specks and/or a sticky brinelike substance seems to be surrounding the oilves, but is way stickier than brine.

Are my olives going bad? If so, is there some better way I could be storing them to stop or retard the process?

2) Anchovy paste in a tube. How long can it be kept safely after opening? No tube I've ever bought says this, but surely its life must be limited? I know it's filled with heaps of salt, but it is still fish after all.

3) Dried kidney beans. Even though I buy these from places with a fast turnover, buy the newest stuff possible, and they also get consumed very quickly at our place, the dried beans often have a faint whitish powdery coating on them which appears to disappear when I wash them. Is it mold and should I be worried about it?

4) Fresh bay leaves. My tree is about two feet high. Is there an optimal place I should be picking the leaves from off the tree, so that growth will be stimulated and the tree not be damaged? Or are laurel trees not so sensitive to such things?

5) Left over wine that I'd like to use at some later point in cooking. Is it okay to freeze it?

6) Indian carrot pickle. My mother in law makes a traditional North Indian black carrot pickle every winter. This involves black carrots, about 8 cups of water, 1 teaspoon crushed mustard seeds, and 2 tablespoons salt. You put the lot in a big jar and leave it in the sun for about 4-5 days. This is during winter in Delhi, so temperatures are very roughly comparable with the temperatures in California. One is meant to drink the liquid and eat the carrot pieces.

I have NEVER dared eat any of this pickle - I've got bad food poisoning from my mother in law's food a couple of times and now always err on the side of caution. But, should it actually be okay?? Are the quantities of salt and mustard in this much water enough to make this stuff safe, or is it just sitting there and breeding up a whole bunch of bacteria?

I would keep staying out of this carrot pickle. I don't think it is enough salt and mastard to prevent bacteria growing. Unless carrots itself produce some preservative like cabbidge when you shred it and put salt in it

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I love this thread. Finally, the place to ask things I've been unsure about.

These are embarassing, since they reveal not only my ignorance but most of them also make it sound as if I would fail food hygiene 101 and that my house is teaming with contagion and rotting food.  :sad: Really, it's not. These questions have been building up over a long time!

Deep breath. Here goes:

4) Fresh bay leaves. My tree is about two feet high. Is there an optimal place I should be picking the leaves from off the tree, so that growth will be stimulated and the tree not be damaged? Or are laurel trees not so sensitive to such things?

5) Left over wine that I'd like to use at some later point in cooking. Is it okay to freeze it?

I can answer these two:

when picking your bay leaves, pull them gently downward and a new leaf will grow from that spot--i removed maybe half my bay tree's leaves a month ago (we moved last fall and it's getting reestablished) and it's now covered with tiny little budding leaves... also, i have found that the older leaves are more flavorful than the tiny new ones, so i pick based on size and health of the leaves...

i reduce my leftover wine (to about 25% of original volume) and then freeze--i have yogurt cups full of several kinds of very concentrated wine ready to scrape a bit out of when i need it for sauce... i've only kept it in the freezer for 2-3 months, but that's plenty of time to go through it...

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I love this thread. Finally, the place to ask things I've been unsure about.

These are embarassing, since they reveal not only my ignorance but most of them also make it sound as if I would fail food hygiene 101 and that my house is teaming with contagion and rotting food.  :sad: Really, it's not. These questions have been building up over a long time!

So do we all love this thread, for the same reasons! Fear not!

2) Anchovy paste in a tube. How long can it be kept safely after opening? No tube I've ever bought says this, but surely its life must be limited? I know it's filled with heaps of salt, but it is still fish after all.

3) Dried kidney beans. Even though I buy these from places with a fast turnover, buy the newest stuff possible, and they also get consumed very quickly at our place, the dried beans often have a faint whitish powdery coating on them which appears to disappear when I wash them. Is it mold and should I be worried about it?

That anchovy paste, being sealed in the tube, should keep for a long time capped. I'd keep it in the refrigerator. The tube has a very small hole, which is plugged with the cap; there's no way that I can see for the oxygen to get to the paste. I've kept tubes of tomato sauce and pesto for months on end, with no ill effect.

If the kidney beans are really dry, I can't imagine their growing mold. I don't know what that whitish powder is, but if it washes off and doesn't taste strange - and if you haven't noticed any ill effects yet - I wouldn't worry about it. I'd be interested in knowing what it is, but only to please my curiosity.

Others have answered - yes, you can freeze wine (I wish I'd thought to reduce it). I'm learning about the other things, like the bay leaves. Thanks for asking the questions!

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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I have a question that I have never been able to get an answer:

How do you make store bought spaghetti sauce not so sour?? Everytime I cook with the jar spaghetti sauce, it's really sour....

Thanks!!

My first thought would be to add sugar, which would help combat the acidity of the tomatoes which is what you're tasting. Don't overdo it though.

Of course the first response is "make your own sauce" but it's not always tomato season. :wink: You can go halfway and use the whole peeled stuff (run it through a food mill or the like to get the seeds out and mash it up a bit) and make your own -- it really doesn't need to cook for all that long.

Rico

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I have a question that I have never been able to get an answer:

How do you make store bought spaghetti sauce not so sour?? Everytime I cook with the jar spaghetti sauce, it's really sour....

Thanks!!

My first thought would be to add sugar, which would help combat the acidity of the tomatoes which is what you're tasting. Don't overdo it though.

Of course the first response is "make your own sauce" but it's not always tomato season. :wink: You can go halfway and use the whole peeled stuff (run it through a food mill or the like to get the seeds out and mash it up a bit) and make your own -- it really doesn't need to cook for all that long.

Giada De Laurentiis (Everyday Italian on the Food Network) has a simple tomato sauce based on crushed tomatoes that I've made a few times and really liked. At the end of the cooking time if the sauce seems too acidic, she suggests adding a tablespoon or two of unsalted butter to mellow it out. It actually works. I think it might do the trick with bottled sauce as well.

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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I have a question that I have never been able to get an answer:

How do you make store bought spaghetti sauce not so sour?? Everytime I cook with the jar spaghetti sauce, it's really sour....

Thanks!!

My first thought would be to add sugar, which would help combat the acidity of the tomatoes which is what you're tasting. Don't overdo it though.

Of course the first response is "make your own sauce" but it's not always tomato season. :wink: You can go halfway and use the whole peeled stuff (run it through a food mill or the like to get the seeds out and mash it up a bit) and make your own -- it really doesn't need to cook for all that long.

Add grated carrot not sugar, Works every time.

:biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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t some onions and carrot (both sweet) to ofset the acidity. You'll also be adding more flavor not just a sweetness. Wine reduced to a thick syrup will keep even in a refridgerator for months before souring. I like the ice cube tray for frozen liquids (to be used in random small amounts) especially well reduced stocks or jello shots. Okay the jello shot was a few years ago.

M

NYC

"Get mad at them eggs!"

in Cool Hand Luke

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, I'm truly embarrassed to be asking this, but it's been driving me crazy!

I have a problem...with tossing pasta. :shock::wacko: Specifically, long pasta tossed with small chunks of things (vegetables, bacon, etc.). The problem doesn't occur with cut pastas. Say I'm throwing together a dish with some jarred roasted peppers. No matter what I do, the peppers end up at the bottom of the bowl, rather than dispursed throughout.

What the heck am I doing wrong? Can this be remedied? Can someone give me a good description of how I should be tossing pasta to avoid this? Or should I just give up on this and make chunky pasta dishes with cut pastas from now on?

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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1) Olives. I usually buy them loose, which means that they are no longer covered in brine once they were scooped out by the salesperson. I keep them in the same container I've brought them home in, which is usually either a small plastic tub or a plastic bag. Within a couple of days in the fridge they are often covered with small whitish specks and/or a sticky brinelike substance seems to be surrounding the oilves, but is way stickier than brine.

Are my olives going bad? If so, is there some better way I could be storing them to stop or retard the process?

Has anyone else commented on the olive question?

I have seen whitish specks on the olives that I have taken for salt crystallizing on the surface. I think it looks unappetizing to put them in a bowl that way, but it disappears with a quick rinse.

Fern

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So I'm standing over a pot of ravioli waiting for them to start floating. And I suddenly wondered - WHY? Why do they float? These are frozen cheese-filled ravioli, but in general, there's several types of pasta that "they're done when they float." That's what Mom told me anyway....

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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I have a question that I have never been able to get an answer:

How do you make store bought spaghetti sauce not so sour?? Everytime I cook with the jar spaghetti sauce, it's really sour....

Thanks!!

I absolutely DETEST sweet spaghetti sauce, always look for ' no sugar added ' when I am looking for ones to use as a base for a quick sauce.....

So, I use a drizzle of HONEY , not sugar, in the sauce, if it is too acidic. For some reason it mellows, but doesn't sweeten.

Kathy

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I have a question that I have never been able to get an answer:

How do you make store bought spaghetti sauce not so sour?? Everytime I cook with the jar spaghetti sauce, it's really sour....

Thanks!!

I absolutely DETEST sweet spaghetti sauce, always look for ' no sugar added ' when I am looking for ones to use as a base for a quick sauce.....

So, I use a drizzle of HONEY , not sugar, in the sauce, if it is too acidic. For some reason it mellows, but doesn't sweeten.

Kathy

You can also try adding some sweetish red wine and letting it simmer for a bit. A little olive oil will also help balance out the sweet/acid thing.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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This is a new one for me: The young and beautiful wait person at our favorite Mexican restaurant was telling two old lady friends that she and her boy friend were having a terrible disagreement because he loves to barbeque and she cannot stand the sight of raw meat!

This from a girl who works in a restaraunt and is around food all day! She says she can eat it after it's cooked but she can't stand the sight of raw meat, nor can she touch it. She was quite emotional about the whole argument with her boy friend because he was completely not understanding it. She thinks they are headed for a break-up over it.

P.S. She says he's ugly and she got over THAT .. so shethinks he could accept her meat averson. I had to admit, this was one of the wierdest things I've ever heard. She EATS it .. but can't stand to feel it or look at it raw ??

I also think he must be an insensitve lout.

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Not sure exactly what your question is, but my answer is he needs to dump her.

I can’t say whether that ugly s.o.b. is an insensitive lout or not, but she is completely out of line and unreasonable for asking him to stop barbecuing.

Sure she’s young and beautiful, but I need to cook, grill, barbecue… and I can’t be around a woman who won’t let me.

She’s also asking for trouble…

Doesn’t she know she is pushing him right into the arms of another woman (a woman who may very well be lurking about these forums)? Or at the very least turning him into a closet barbecuer?

He needs to dump her and find someone who understands his predilections. She should try to find a guy at a Sandra Lee fan club meeting or a support group for carnivores with guilt issues. I'm sure there are plenty of ladies interested in an ugly guy who can barbecue and there is more than one guy out there that will put up with some crazy woman given that she is young and beautiful.

Next?

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Okay, I'm truly embarrassed to be asking this, but it's been driving me crazy!

I have a problem...with tossing pasta. :shock::wacko: Specifically, long pasta tossed with small chunks of things (vegetables, bacon, etc.). The problem doesn't occur with cut pastas. Say I'm throwing together a dish with some jarred roasted peppers. No matter what I do, the peppers end up at the bottom of the bowl, rather than dispursed throughout.

What the heck am I doing wrong? Can this be remedied? Can someone give me a good description of how I should be tossing pasta to avoid this? Or should I just give up on this and make chunky pasta dishes with cut pastas from now on?

You're not alone! I have the same problem, also with asian-style noodlle dishes: unless there's a fair bit of sauce/soup/liquid involved, I can never get long pasta to mix properly. I've tried adding more butter or oil, but it doesn't seem to help a whole lot unless I add a lot (and then the dish is overwhelmed by it).

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Also, does ketchup expire?

Do you mean properly refrigerated bottles or those little packets?

Don't ask me how I managed to stumble on this, but this guy says that Heinz has told him that the "lifetime" of those packets is supposedly a mere 15 months.

But overall, ketchup, being vinegar based and somewhat acidy, is on the hearty side. And I imagine that as with a lot of other foods, refrigeration helps--even sealed packets would probably benefit.

Your other two questions? I'll leave those to someone smarter than me. :raz:

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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OK, might as well grab my chance to add my stupid question to the bunch....lol! When a recipe calls for 1 oz. of a liquid or dry ingredient, is it 1 oz. by weight, or one oz. as measured in a measuring cup? Thanks!

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1) Olives. I usually buy them loose, which means that they are no longer covered in brine once they were scooped out by the salesperson. I keep them in the same container I've brought them home in, which is usually either a small plastic tub or a plastic bag. Within a couple of days in the fridge they are often covered with small whitish specks and/or a sticky brinelike substance seems to be surrounding the oilves, but is way stickier than brine.

Are my olives going bad? If so, is there some better way I could be storing them to stop or retard the process?

Has anyone else commented on the olive question?

I have seen whitish specks on the olives that I have taken for salt crystallizing on the surface. I think it looks unappetizing to put them in a bowl that way, but it disappears with a quick rinse.

Fern

hm, how about that. i always assumed it was the oil on the surface of the olive kind of solidifying and going cloudy, like olive oil does in the fridge.

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OK, might as well grab my chance to add my stupid question to the bunch....lol! When a recipe calls for 1 oz. of a liquid or dry ingredient, is it 1 oz. by weight, or one oz. as measured in a measuring cup? Thanks!

I usually assume that when Xozs of a liquid is referred to in a recipe, that this means fluid ounces, which is a measure of volume, whereas when Xozs of a dry ingredient is called for, this can only mean weight. But if the whole recipe is in weights, I will assume that the liquid measures are weights too.

Its awkward having a unit measure for weight and a measure for volume both called ounces.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"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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