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The Quintessential eG Kitchen Tips/Trucs

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It works, but it is discouraged because it leeches vitamins from the veg.

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A "trick" to grilling steaks or chops in a cast iron skillet so as to not lose the seasoning, is to heat the skillet with water, about 1/2 to 1 inch deep.

When the water boils away completely, toss in some salt and pepper and drop in the steak.

I don't know who originated this process but I saw it done many times at The Green Shack in Las Vegas, my ex knew the owners and every time we were in town we had at least one meal there (during the 1960s, early '70s). They used a lot of cast iron skillets, both for grilling and for frying chicken, etc.

I have never heard of this, and it puzzles me. Since I don't even wash my ancient cast iron, let alone boil water in it, I can't imagine that boiling water in it would do anything other than remove its aged seasoning, please explain. I'm prepared to learn--but skeptical.

highly heating a dry cast iron will do more damage to the seasoning than a bit of boiling water. On the flip side though , I see no real benefit to this practice except that the pan will be at almost the exact same starting temp each time you cook a steak.. Somewhere just above 212 F and rising quickly . The water in the pan will not let it rise much above that until it is completely gone.

Personally , I just keep a cheapie (taiwan) cast iron pan for high heat searing. When the seasoning gets too beat up I just burn it clean on the Q , scrub out and reseason. probably 2 or 3 times a yr.

I treat my wagner ware and findlay with a lot more respect though, and they are what I take camping for cooking on the campfire.


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Just looking at Richards, Adzuki Bean, post and it reminded me.....

A good tip for cooking all pulses and beans is to know that minerals and salts toughen both the bean and its skin, so instead of adding salt to your soaking or cooking water add a pinch of Bi-carb instead, which will not only shorten the cooking time but also give you more volume with a plumper, softer bean.

A better tip is to cook beans (not necessarily split pulses such as dal though as they cook quickly and can easily be overcooked) in a pressure cooker. I always salt before sealing the pressure cooker and it doesn't stop them from cooking properly at all. Never used bicarb, don't see the point.


Edited by Jenni (log)

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Nigel Slater's take on seasoning:

"When to season.This is something that cooks love to argue about. I have found that if you salt meat before you grill it the juices seem to pour out and you get a dry chop."

"Rub your steak all over with olive oil, not too much, just enough to give it a good gloss, then grind a little black pepper over both sides. I put salt on later."

Appetite, Nigel Slater, Cookbook of the Year, Andre Simon Award, 2001.

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I always season just before I cook the meat. Seasoning way early doesn't yield good results, and seasoning after just tastes salty.

Try experimenting, and find the technique that works best for you. Don't rely on some cooking God on Mt. Olympus making proclamations from on high. After all, at the end of the day, it's your food.

But if you're in a restaurant, do whatever the chef who signs your paycheck tells you to do. That's the right way for you boss, and ipso facto the right way for you.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I always season just before I cook the meat. Seasoning way early doesn't yield good results, and seasoning after just tastes salty.

Try experimenting, and find the technique that works best for you. Don't rely on some cooking God on Mt. Olympus making proclamations from on high. After all, at the end of the day, it's your food.

But if you're in a restaurant, do whatever the chef who signs your paycheck tells you to do. That's the right way for you boss, and ipso facto the right way for you.

One of the wonderful things about the gulli , to me as a new member, seems to be the wonderful passion and variety of knowledge members are willing to share. So thank you ScoopKW and everyone else interested in this question. I can see I will have to be on my toes, not be defensive, or get my culinary feelings hurt when faced with contrary views and evidence, and just enjoy the ride. But thank god we all have an abundance of salt and all our other wonderful ingredients to experiment with. Has the world of Cooking ever been so attractive to the psyche as it is today? I think so. Feeding ourselves with joy and creativity has stood the test of time, through thousands of years and with the benefit of technology has only got better. The culinary world lets us forget the mortgage, the rising price of oil, world peace, if only for a while, when we are preparing the next meal.

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I've been looking at the writings on salting food and cannot find any consensus. It seems there are two opposing views, one stating that you should salt well in advance, the other supporting salting just before cooking. This well-written article covers the topic in a relatively neutral fashion.

The author tested the salt well before and salt just before methods with some friends as tasters. It is not a definitive study as it did not use double blind testing (where neither the experimenter nor the tasters know which sample is which) but did indicate that some meats benefit from salting well before while others were deemed to taste better when salted immediately before cooking. This finding gives a good indication of why people vary in their opinions.


Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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This is more of a baking tip than a cooking tip, and I can't remember where I even picked it up, but when I'm making a cream the butter/sugar and add the flour/liquid alternately type cake recipe, I add the leavening agent (baking powder or soda) with the butter and sugar. This assures that it's fully incorporated into the mix, since quite a few of those recipes stress not overmixing once the flour is added. At least with the yellow cake that I make, using this technique makes a visible difference in the height of the resulting cake.


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Has any one heard the saying "hot pan, cold grease, food won't stick" ....I heard that years ago somewhere. I think it is a stir fry thing...back in the day when stir-fry was the in thing (as opposd to sautéing).

The Frugal Gourmet used that line all the time.


Dwight

If at first you succeed, try not to act surprised.

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This is more of a baking tip than a cooking tip, and I can't remember where I even picked it up, but when I'm making a cream the butter/sugar and add the flour/liquid alternately type cake recipe, I add the leavening agent (baking powder or soda) with the butter and sugar. This assures that it's fully incorporated into the mix, since quite a few of those recipes stress not overmixing once the flour is added. At least with the yellow cake that I make, using this technique makes a visible difference in the height of the resulting cake.

I do that when I am not sifting the dry ingredients and it has always worked well for me.

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You can use a coffee/spice grinder/food processor to grind salt into an ultra-fine powder which can be useful to help with adhesion. For example, I use it when I need to sprinkle salt on popcorn or roasted nuts. I imagine it would also be useful for brines.


PS: I am a guy.

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I've been looking at the writings on salting food and cannot find any consensus. It seems there are two opposing views, one stating that you should salt well in advance, the other supporting salting just before cooking. This well-written article covers the topic in a relatively neutral fashion.

The author tested the salt well before and salt just before methods with some friends as tasters. It is not a definitive study as it did not use double blind testing (where neither the experimenter nor the tasters know which sample is which) but did indicate that some meats benefit from salting well before while others were deemed to taste better when salted immediately before cooking. This finding gives a good indication of why people vary in their opinions.

I just read it and it's excellent reading. Thanks.

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More baking: I cut in cold butter finely to my dry waffle mix, store it in the freezer. i think it lightens it up alot, and if I'm lazy or don't have time to fold in the eggs whites that day it's pretty much as easy as shake and pour. But much better.


Edited by butterscotch (log)

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Hard boiled eggs should never be boiled as it encourages toughness (boiling rubberizes the protein)and the formation of the greenish-purple ring around the yolk(the iron in the yolk and sulphur in the whites form ferrous sulphide). They should only be simmered. (between 85-91degreesC or 185-195degrees F is best)

Fried eggs if cooked on high will also go tough....but cooking them too low makes the white spread out too much. To get a bunched up white and tender fried egg, 65-75 degreesC or 149-158F is best.

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I've been looking at the writings on salting food and cannot find any consensus. It seems there are two opposing views, one stating that you should salt well in advance, the other supporting salting just before cooking. This well-written article covers the topic in a relatively neutral fashion... This finding gives a good indication of why people vary in their opinions.

I'm left wondering if Oliver Schwaner-Albright ensured his pork racks were from the same animal ? (I'm guessing he wouldn't have ensured his roast chickens were. Are you on eG, Oliver ?). My own long-pre-salted roast loin of pork is exquisitely juicy cooked to 63C internal at 170C; nastily dry to the same at 180C. So I'm not swayed at all by the "pork for roasting = salt late or it'll be dry" argument at all.

People's opinions vary because they've had different experience, don't they ? As well as because, well, they're different people. As for this article at least, the scientific method has a lot of value but experimental results won't lead to valuable conclusions without due thoroughness.


Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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I've been looking at the writings on salting food and cannot find any consensus. It seems there are two opposing views, one stating that you should salt well in advance, the other supporting salting just before cooking. This well-written article covers the topic in a relatively neutral fashion... This finding gives a good indication of why people vary in their opinions.

I'm left wondering if Oliver Schwaner-Albright ensured his pork racks were from the same animal ? (I'm guessing he wouldn't have ensured his roast chickens were. Are you on eG, Oliver ?). My own long-pre-salted roast loin of pork is exquisitely juicy cooked to 63C internal at 170C; nastily dry to the same at 180C. So I'm not swayed at all by the "pork for roasting = salt late or it'll be dry" argument at all.

People's opinions vary because they've had different experience, don't they ? As well as because, well, they're different people. As for this article at least, the scientific method has a lot of value but experimental results won't lead to valuable conclusions without due thoroughness.

you left out this bit when quoting me:

The author tested the salt well before and salt just before methods with some friends as tasters. It is not a definitive study as it did not use double blind testing (where neither the experimenter nor the tasters know which sample is which) but did indicate that some meats benefit from salting well before while others were deemed to taste better when salted immediately before cooking.

It was an important part of my comment. The word 'indicate' does not mean 'prove.'

Let's add your criticisms of the method to mine. Perhaps someone will do a study that controls all the variables. Even then I'm sure we'll find something to quibble about.

The point was that "salt before" or "salt after" is meaningless as a blanket statement without exploration of other factors, including the type of meat and method of preparation. I suspect we agree on this.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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... you left out this bit when quoting me...

I sure did, and I've seen your thoughtful and skilled approach in the kitchen - I'm picking no fight. I cut down the quote for brevity - everyone can seen it further up the thread, and it's even at the top of this page, for now at least. And hey... I've done it again !


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Hard boiled eggs should never be boiled as it encourages toughness (boiling rubberizes the protein)and the formation of the greenish-purple ring around the yolk(the iron in the yolk and sulphur in the whites form ferrous sulphide). They should only be simmered. (between 85-91degreesC or 185-195degrees F is best)

Fried eggs if cooked on high will also go tough....but cooking them too low makes the white spread out too much. To get a bunched up white and tender fried egg, 65-75 degreesC or 149-158F is best.

I fry eggs at a fairly low temp as I want a very tender white and to keep them from spreading, I use egg rings and have done so since I started cooking.


"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

 

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Having bought 2 pineapples recently, that smelled sweet but not overripe at the stem cut, I was peeved to find that both had extensive brown spoilage to their interiors, making them almost unusable. McGee says they don't sweeten or improve in flavor once picked, they only soften and that brown interiors is caused by chilling injury during shipment or storage. Does anyone have a good tip for selecting a good pineapple in the shop?

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Perhaps there is something going on with the Hawaiian pineapples these days. I have been disappointed in nearly every pineapple I have purchased this summer. Twice last month I experienced a spoiled (one brownish, one not) interior while the pineapple in the store appeared firm, and definitely not over-ripe; I barely had enough useable fruit for the dessert I planned. I'm going to start buying what appear to be under-ripe pineapples and see if that improves the odds. I particularly like my pineapple on the tart side, but I don't remember having this problem before this year.

I usually try to pull out a couple of inner leaves, the theory being that they should come out fairly easily. Don't know if there's any real science behind that, but I usually was able to pick a decent pineapple if the fruit also seemed firm but not greenish. Now I just don't have a clue.

In my opinion, Mexican pineapple is far better than fruit grown in Hawaii, but it is very hard to come by. When I lived in New Mexico it seemed easier to find than here in CA, and when I first moved to west coast it seemed possible to find some from south of the border. No more--I never see them.

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A good pineapple has a good balance of green and gold/yellow/brown on its scales, the scales are tight together (not separating to show the surface of the flesh), is firm in texture, has a pleasant and slightly acid pineapple smell (as Jenni says), and when you turn it over you should see no mold or blotching on the stem end. If it's still got its crown, the leaves should come out cleanly with a gentle tug. If it doesn't have its crown, don't buy it (unless the vendor has just removed the crown for you).

Ecuadorian pineapples are far superior to Hawaiians, IMHO, and these are the criteria for selecting them at market.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Regarding the comments about salting and preheating of pans.

I've always salted meat well beforehand and let it come to room temp before cooking it. Now that I am doing more SV cooking, I frequently season the meat, vacuum pack and refrigerate it the day before I intend to cook it, even if I don't intend to cook it SV. If not cooking SV, I still let the meat come to room temp before cooking. Of course, I use less seasoning with this method.

If I am pan searing/sautéing/stir-frying, etc, I always preheat the pan to cooking temp, add oil, then whatever it is that I am cooking... Different temps for different things, but always for sautéing and variations thereof... Heating the oil with the pan tends to degrade the quality of the oil, especially good olive oil. And, the notion of searing 'sealing in the juices', well, I won't even comment on that one. :rolleyes: A decent IR thermometer is indispensable in my kitchen.

Just my opinion as a person that been obsessed with trying to cook good food for more than 30 years... :smile:


Michael Harp

CopperPans.com

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A good pineapple has a good balance of green and gold/yellow/brown on its scales, the scales are tight together (not separating to show the surface of the flesh), is firm in texture, has a pleasant and slightly acid pineapple smell (as Jenni says), and when you turn it over you should see no mold or blotching on the stem end. If it's still got its crown, the leaves should come out cleanly with a gentle tug. If it doesn't have its crown, don't buy it (unless the vendor has just removed the crown for you).

Ecuadorian pineapples are far superior to Hawaiians, IMHO, and these are the criteria for selecting them at market.

At certain seasons we get "Golden" pineapples from Maui that are much sweeter than the common variety - and also more expensive.

Starting next month, we should begin seeing Mexican pineapples in the local Mexican supermarkets and I like these because they have thinner and flatter skins so less loss of flesh when cutting away the skins and "eyes" of the fruit. While most of these are medium sized, some are quite large, more round than the longer ones most commonly seen.

Last year I got a whole box of the Mexican pineapples, cut most into rings and dried them. They produced more surface sugar than I had seen in the regular varieties.


"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

 

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I'm not one to admit defeat or the inability to select good produce in its prime , but more and more I'm tempted just to buy the pre-peeled, sliced, pre-packaged, fresh pineapples, because at least I can see what I'm getting.

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