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The Quintessential eG Kitchen Tips/Trucs


chefs13
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:shock: when cooking 30 steakes to different tempetures to keep track of the temps make rows of each temp ie always put your med steakes in the middle rare steakes on the left , just a little system for the professional cooks out there . :raz: also ive cooked alot of fish and ive put cold fish in a cold pan on a cold burner turned it on high left it alone till it turns brown around the edges poped it in the oven for 4 min and used a fish spat to bring it up without tearing it works just as well and you dont get that almost burnt oil taste you get when you smoke the pan :wink: does anyone have suggestions on how to add pics to the posts im a computer idiot so speak slow and use little words and your patiants is soothing :wacko::wub::cool:
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I can't count the times I've torn off strips of foil and tediously patched them together to make a length that will fit around a piecrust edge that is browning too fast.

Recently, reading something about foil on another topic, I realized that all you have to do is lay a square of foil on the pie, press down to indicate where the crust starts, fold the square of foil in quarters and cut out a circle in the center. Lay the entire piece-with-the-hole on top of the pie and fold under the edges around the outside of the pie pan. Duh.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I bought three sets of the "pie rings" at Linens 'N Things a year or so ago. makes it too easy

"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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Speaking of pie - crusts - that is.

did you know that you can blind bake pie crust on the outside of an upside-down pie pan on a sheet pan and not have to worry about the sides collapsing.

I run a docker over the rolled dough then drape it over the inverted pie pans and cut around the circumference with a pizza wheel, then use my hands to firm it around the pan.

After baking and it has cooled completely, I invert the pie dish I am going to use for the finished pie over the crust and flip it over. Since these are cream pies and meringue or whipped cream in going to cover the edges, it doesn't matter if the edges are not fancy.

"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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Hmm, speaking of pie crusts a little trick I learned along the way. When baking pie crust alone (no filling) to stop the bottoms from bubbling up line the pie crust bottom with dried beans. Remove beans before filling pie of course :wink:

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A really useful tip I picked up from the Zuni Cafe book, but had forgotten until last night:

When roasting a chicken, don't worry about futzing with racks or anything. Use any oven-safe vessel just large enough to hold the chicken, and pre heat it dry in the oven. Wipe your chicken very very dry and just stick it breast side up in the pan. When you go to turn it, there should be no sticking, and the skin will be beautifully crisp.

Edited by eunny jang (log)
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Speaking of pie - crusts - that is.

did you know that you can blind bake pie crust on the outside of an upside-down pie pan on a sheet pan and not have to worry about the sides collapsing.

I run a docker over the rolled dough then drape it over the inverted pie pans and cut around the circumference with a pizza wheel, then use my hands to firm it around the pan.

After baking and it has cooled completely, I invert the pie dish I am going to use for the finished pie over the crust and flip it over. Since these are cream pies and meringue or whipped cream in going to cover the edges, it doesn't matter if the edges are not fancy.

what a great tip!!

"He could blanch anything in the fryolator and finish it in the microwave or under the salamander. Talented guy."

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Tip #6: When you are making mashed potatoes, or whipped, or whatever you want to call them. Mash the potatoes without anything else in the pot/bowl first, don't add the cream or butter until you have made the potatoes nice and broken down, I don't mind lumps. And heat the cream and butter to boiling. The flavor and texture is a lot better when all the ingredients are as hot as posible.

"He could blanch anything in the fryolator and finish it in the microwave or under the salamander. Talented guy."

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  • 7 months later...

While making a dinner tonight with important timing, I had a thought. We have plenty of counter space- big, white tile counters. We have had them for over15 years, and there isnt a scratch on them. not because we treat it particularly well, but just because its virtually indestructible. Keeping several dishes with complex ingredient lists (or attention to timing) its always good to keep notes, but mine end up somewhere around new jersey by the time I need them. I think i may have come up with a solution. Why not get some of those washable crayola markers and make (and rub out) notes on the counter as I need them? Hard to miss, impossible to lose, and a snap to clean up. Im gonna try that next time...

Anyone have their own original tips or tricks for cooking? Even something as simple as salting pasta water (but, hopefully, something less common. :raz: )

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I don't know how original this is, but I keep a shaker jar of flour by the stove for those dishes that require a flour dredge before sauteeing. It's handy if you have just a few pieces to flour. You sprinkle some on the protein, pat it around to remove the excess, and you don't have to get another pie pan dirty.

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I don't know how original this is, but I keep a shaker jar of flour by the stove for those dishes that require a flour dredge before sauteeing. It's handy if you have just a few pieces to flour. You sprinkle some on the protein, pat it around to remove the excess, and you don't have to get another pie pan dirty.

Actually, that is a fantastic idea! im gonna try that.

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  • 9 months later...

Two things I recently did that I think are useful:

When you have a spill of some thick liquid (mine was chocolate sauce, but molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, thick soup... anything like that), you can slide a piece of wax paper underneath the spill, using a spatula to nudge any stray stuff onto it, and then just pour the stuff into a bowl.

When I cook artichokes, I put three toothpicks into the base of each one so that the buds sit up straight to be steamed. That way, you don't have to worry about cutting the bottom stem end perfectly flat, or use a fancy artichoke steamer.

I really think that this thread could become the repository of lots of good tips and techniques -- that is, if you click "Reply" and add your own!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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My guess is that any reluctance to post would be caused by the worry that maybe my idea isn't all that special . . .

So, here's one:

Cracking eggs, I always crack into a small bowl, then add the contents to the main bowl. This protects the recipe from egg shells, stray yolk, or rotten eggs. A few weeks ago, I was doing that and said to myself, "I've never had a rotten egg" when the next one was rotten. Made a believer out of me.

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Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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My guess is that any reluctance to post would be caused by the worry that maybe my idea isn't all that special . . .

. . . . .

Actually, it is sometimes the most obvious tips that we tend to overlook.

Here is one on reducing stock:

I have my stock making + equipment all figured out. A typical eGCI type stock is made in my 16 quart stock pot. That reliably can be strained into my 12 quart with room to spare. That goes in the fridge for defatting, after cooling with a frozen water bottle or two. (Not my tip, I think we owe andiesenji for that one.)

Now, if I am going to reduce I use my 8 1/2 quart saucier. After I have poured in the defatted stock, I take a chopstick or something similar and mark the depth with a pencil. Then I measure that depth on the stick and divide by 2 or 4. Then I start to gently reduce. When the depth gets to the half or quarter mark on my stick, I know what I have, 2:1 or 4:1. The perpendicular side and broad surface area of that pot works well for this operation.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I own some 25-30 13 inch aluminum serving trays (cost is $1-2) and use them for all prep work, baking items, toasting croutons, roasting veggies etc. They are simple to clean and can be used many times over before tossing in tha garbage.

I use them for so many things around the kitcken, it's scary. Saves time, frees up pots, pans etc. - simply an amazing tool.

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Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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We keep a package of paper plates handy to substitute for cutting boards for small jobs and prep dishes, for dry ingredients and the like. They can often be reused at many points during the same recipe, and many brands are recyclable.

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Leftover wine gets frozen in baggies. Not the good stuff (never any left over!), but the middling stuff that gets a glass or two with dinner but nothing more. Voila, wine in small amounts that can be added to braises and marinades without popping open a brand new bottle.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Leftover wine gets frozen in baggies. Not the good stuff (never any left over!), but the middling stuff that gets a glass or two with dinner but nothing more. Voila, wine in small amounts that can be added to braises and marinades without popping open a brand new bottle.

I like this idea. I might try it but put the wine into ice cube trays first and then put it into a baggie.

I also freeze extra egg whites (after making ice cream, custard, etc) like this.

One really obvious thing is to place a damp towel or paper towel under your cutting board to stop it from sliding all over the place while you're working, but I imagine everyone knows that. I'll see if I can think of any other tricks I use that are more useful....

Jennie

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Instead of the damp towel under cutting boards I use rubberized shelf liner cut to fit the size of the board. I also use it under the stone for knife sharpening. That stuff never moves!

Also, probably obvious, I use post its in conjunction with a master list when timing of meals is crucial. The post-its go on the range hood right in front of me and the master on the fridge at eye level.

I like this thread, lots of great stuff!

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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Look here for Three reasons your cheesecake may crack

Rolling out cookie dough:

My favorite tip of all time is to roll out cookie dough using powdered sugar instead of flour. The re-rolls will get more crisp but not tough.

When my kids were little, I used to make a big batch of dough for them to roll out, cut and decorate to their heart's content at Christmas time. They loved eating their own cookies, and I could seek perfection in my special recipes.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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After I have poured in the defatted stock, I take a chopstick or something similar and mark the depth with a pencil. Then I measure that depth on the stick and divide by 2 or 4. Then I start to gently reduce. When the depth gets to the half or quarter mark on my stick, I know what I have, 2:1 or 4:1.

From Alton Brown, I picked up using a tailor's measure with the sliding crosspiece for measuring depths in reductions

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One of my favorite recent tips that I picked up from Judy Rodgers in "The Zuni Cookbook" is to initially hold off on adding the vegetables and aromatics to the pot when making stock. It is much easier to skim off the scum in this case. After the skimming is complete I add in the herbs, vegetables, peppercorns, etc. for the rest of the cooking.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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