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chefs13

The Quintessential eG Kitchen Tips/Trucs

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Being short of time and long on ideas, I thought I’d start up a series of quick tips I’ve picked up over the years.

First tip: When you’ve been making pastry, dough, bread – anything like that – it can be difficult to wash your hands and get rid of all the dough sticking to your fingers.

Instead of washing your hands with soap and warm water, try soap and COLD water. Works like a charm. The warm water livens up the dough and makes it stickier; cold water calms it down and allows you to rub it off more easily.

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Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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I learned this from lots of experience making bread.

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Actually, I was taught to wash hands without water. You take a small amount of flour between your hands and rub them together -generally while standing over the food scraps bin or trash. The dough will roll off quickly, no time is needed to dry the hands, and you can keep working faster -all without getting the sink clogged.

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I wear gloves, change them often. I have found that invariably, as soon as I get into really sticky dough - or other food item, THE PHONE RINGS OR SOMEONE BANGS ON THE DOOR. 

It is much easier to strip off a glove to pick up the phone than try to get one hand clean enough and then have to wash after handling the phone or doorknob, etc.

Gloves are relatively cheap and save me a lot of time and frustration.  

 

60 years ago I learned NEVER put hot water on yeast dough, it turns it into glue.

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"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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@Lisa Shock exactly what I was going to say - "wash" with flour first to get the excess dough off

 

@andiesenji unfortunately some sticky things are too sticky to handle with gloves on, they stick to the gloves and pull on them, can even pull them off.  I was making something recently where gloves just made it a huge pain - rum balls, I think it was.

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14 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

@Lisa Shock exactly what I was going to say - "wash" with flour first to get the excess dough off

 

@andiesenji unfortunately some sticky things are too sticky to handle with gloves on, they stick to the gloves and pull on them, can even pull them off.  I was making something recently where gloves just made it a huge pain - rum balls, I think it was.

I oil my gloves for tasks like that.  I have one of the motion-activated (with food safe inner container) made to dispense liquid soaps. It works fine with a neutral vegetable oil.  A couple of drops solves the sticky problem - I make "sugarplums" with various dried fruits, including dates and figs which are extremely sticky.  And then there are the boiled honey-coated candies that are both hot and sticky.  

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"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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This one may stir up a little controversy; we live in hope!

Titchy vegetables can be difficult, or even impossible, to peel correctly - let alone the New Wisdom which tells us not to peel to take best advantage of the nutrients available.We used to peel veg in order to ensure they were thoroughly cleaned of the animal excrement used as fertiliser; this is less of a problem now. So instead of peeling try soaking your vegetables in cold water for a few minutes and then washing them using a washing up sponge ('A bit of green', as my mother used to call it). You may want to keep one just for this purpose; you can also use a washing up brush, or even a nail brush, to the same effect.

A bit of green also works wonders when you have a rack of lamb where you want to scrape the bones clean to impress your visitors/chef.


Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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I'm not sure what "Titchy vegetables" are but after reading a satirical mention of Williams Sonoma's potato scrubbing gloves, I went out and picked up a cheap ($2-3) pair of those exfoliating bath gloves and found they're just the thing for cleaning carrots that don't need peeling.  They might work on titchy vegetables, too :)!

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Nail brushes are great for carrots, potatoes & squash!

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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

I went out and picked up a cheap ($2-3) pair of those exfoliating bath gloves and found they're just the thing for cleaning carrots that don't need peeling.

 

This is brilliant, thanks for the idea!

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3 hours ago, Beebs said:

Nail brushes are great for carrots, potatoes & squash!

So is an (unused) denture brush. Not at all the same thing as a toothbrush for those who may doubt. 


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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I use a vegetable brush. Crazy huh? 

A green, 3M scouring pads work great for things like new potatoes. Is that "a bit of green?"

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A vegetable brush?  How horribly main stream. :)

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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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Yeah, we have a boring Oxo vegetable brush, too. I have to keep an eye on it, though, because it is comfortable in the hand so people keep wanting to make off for it for other things.

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I don't know how clean you can get vegetable by washing and brushing. Yes, you can get a lot of visible dirt rubbed away, but plenty of germs will still be there. 

 

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

 

How many bacteria can fit on the pointy end of a pin? about 150,000.

 

An ultrasonic vegetable washer can be a lot more effective.

 

dcarch

Bacteria on a sharp pin

https://mrbarlow.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/bacteria-on-a-pin.jpg

 


Edited by dcarch (log)
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Are we headed to germ phobia?

We've had e coli in tomatoes. Not on, in.

We even had a e coil  outbreak  in lettuce.

 

No amount of pealing, scrubbing, or ultrasonic cleaning will eliminate such problems 

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16 minutes ago, Paul Fink said:

Are we headed to germ phobia?

We've had e coli in tomatoes. Not on, in.

We even had a e coil  outbreak  in lettuce.

 

No amount of pealing, scrubbing, or ultrasonic cleaning will eliminate such problems 

 

Which is why my mom (immune compromised) basically doesn't eat uncooked vegetables anymore. She's gotten sick one too many times from what seemed to be the salad or fresh vegetables or fruit. :(

 

(She will take the risk with stuff you can peel thoroughly, like citrus and bananas, but that is still a calculated risk.)

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So if you follow any sort of online cookery page, you'll see people recommending how to heat up a frying pan and add oil - which to do first and why. This is the definitive answer: heat up your pan to the approved temperature for a few minutes, then add the oil/butter/fat, then immediately add the ingredients you want to cook.

Why? If you add the oil at the start it will heat up at the same time as the pan and burn before the pan itself is up to the correct temperature all over. The bottom of the frying pan will heat up quickly, with the sides taking a while to heat up. You want the whole pan up to temperature to ensure even cooking of your ingredients. If part of it is still cool, it won't sear your ingredients in the approved way. Instead, being cool, it will allow the water in the ingredients to boil and steam in place, cooking your ingredients at 100°C instead of 200°C+. They won't look pretty, there will be no Maillard Reactions, and it won't taste as good.

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Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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Hi Chris, thanks for that simple but wonderful explanation of how heat works on a pan. A small note -- I prefer to wait a few seconds for the oil/butter/fat to bubble up and then add the ingredients. 

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It is standard practice in Chinese wok cookery. There is a Chinese saying which translates as "Hot Wok, Cold Oil" to remind people. I'd guess pretty much every Chinese cook, pro or home cook, knows it.


Edited by liuzhou Removed comment about France. Post now moved to correct topic. (log)
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2 hours ago, Chris Ward said:

So if you follow any sort of online cookery page, you'll see people recommending how to heat up a frying pan and add oil - which to do first and why. This is the definitive answer: heat up your pan to the approved temperature for a few minutes, then add the oil/butter/fat, then immediately add the ingredients you want to cook.

Why? If you add the oil at the start it will heat up at the same time as the pan and burn before the pan itself is up to the correct temperature all over. The bottom of the frying pan will heat up quickly, with the sides taking a while to heat up. You want the whole pan up to temperature to ensure even cooking of your ingredients. If part of it is still cool, it won't sear your ingredients in the approved way. Instead, being cool, it will allow the water in the ingredients to boil and steam in place, cooking your ingredients at 100°C instead of 200°C+. They won't look pretty, there will be no Maillard Reactions, and it won't taste as good.

If you're using butter my received wisdom is to let it bubble up and then when they die down, now's the time; with other oils you will generally find that just a smidgen of oil will heat up instantly; more will take a few seconds, usually not very long. You want to catch it just before the smoking point.


Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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