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The Quintessential eG Kitchen Tips/Trucs


chefs13
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As an adjunct to this topic, I thought I might start a new one that recognizes the cooking tips that we have learned from eGullet and that have since become part of our arsenal of skills in the kitchen.

Let’s make the topic broad enough to include:

Shopping

Storing

Organizing

Planning

Prepping

Cooking

And??

But let’s keep each entry brief – just a line or two to explain the trick(s) and a link to the originator if we can remember! :biggrin:

Let’s confine it to cooking so that the pastry and baking and other forums can start a similar topic that relates directly to their interests if any members are so inclined.

Here’s just one of mine to start the ball rolling:

Hack off the knuckle end of chicken drumsticks to turn a sinewy, stringy, hopeless piece of protein into a chubby, succulent morsel of meat. (I do wish I could remember the name of the eG member who first posted this one.)

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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eGullet Roasted Cauliflower! Try it if you haven't.

All of the eGCI courses are fantastic. Especially the stocks, sauces, and plating courses.

Most recently, Chad Ward convinced me to get a cow sword (gyuto), and forever changed the way I sharpen my knives (I bought an Apex pro sharpening system).

You guys totally rock!

-anthony

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Hack off the knuckle end of chicken drumsticks to turn a sinewy, stringy, hopeless piece of protein into a chubby, succulent morsel of meat.  (I do wish I could remember the name of the eG member who first posted this one.)

With modestly downcast last, I must admit it was a posting of my own. :smile:

... You then have boneless/skinless chicken breasts to sauté, skinless thighs to sauté or braise and skinless drumsticks to braise (cut off the knuckle first, as this improves the texture of the meat) and bones you can freeze for later stockmaking....

What is the "knuckle" and how does removing it improve the texture of the flesh?

The knuckle is the joint at the skinny end of the drumstick (the end not connected to the thigh). If you cut this off (chop the end of the bone off at that end), it allows the meat to naturally contract a little as it cooks. If you braise it, you end up with something like a little chicken "ossobuco." This seems to have the effect of making the texture of drumstick meat more thigh-like rather than that characteristic (and unpleasant, to me) drumstick texture I think it may have to do with the way the muscles and tendons are arranged, kind of stretched out over the length of the drumstick. If you don't cut the tendons down by the knuckle, the meat stays stretched out and is not able to contract (which is meat's natural reaction to heat), with the result being that slightly dry, mealy texture.

Try it some time. Make a braised chicken dish using just drumsticks where you leave some drumsticks whole and chop the knuckle off others. I bet you'll notice a difference.

--

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gallery_8505_0_19729.jpg

Nowadays I don't usually cut off the whole knuckle end. I'm more likely to run my knife around the knuckle end of the drumstick, severing all the tendons and removing the skin from the knuckle end, but leading the actual bone intact. I don't have any good pictures of it, but you can sort of see the effect on the drumstick below on the left.

gallery_8505_1883_2344.jpg

--

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Thanks I get it, I yank the tendons out as well with pliers.

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Hack off the knuckle end of chicken drumsticks to turn a sinewy, stringy, hopeless piece of protein into a chubby, succulent morsel of meat.  (I do wish I could remember the name of the eG member who first posted this one.)

With modestly downcast last, I must admit it was a posting of my own. :smile:

. . .

Well THANK YOU! It's a great technique that I use often. :wub:

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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One storage tip that has saved my bacon numerous times is freezing lemons (courtesy of Peter the Eater). I would never have thought of this.

Now I buy bags of organic lemons and freeze them for grating or juicing when I'm out of lemons.

My version of the Lepard sourdough in one of the tutorials is also now my daily bread. Thank you Dan.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I can't remember who's post got me started but the gelatin syneresis filtering technique is something I use more than anything else I've picked up here.

I've also latched on to dejaq's mirror glazing technique.

There are a huge number of things I've picked up here but those are the two I seem to use the most.

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Nowadays I don't usually cut off the whole knuckle end.  I'm more likely to run my knife around the knuckle end of the drumstick, severing all the tendons and removing the skin from the knuckle end, but leading the actual bone intact.  I don't have any good pictures of it, but you can sort of see the effect on the drumstick below on the left.

I also quit cutting off the knob because the "handle" created by severing the tendons but not the knob make a nice handle for the legs.

I can't begin to tell you, Sam, how many folks I know have benefited from this technique.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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One storage tip that has saved my bacon numerous times is freezing lemons (courtesy of Peter the Eater). I would never have thought of this.

Now I buy bags of organic lemons and freeze them for grating or juicing when I'm out of lemons.

Would you elaborate a little? What an intriguing idea! How do you thaw them (nuke, leave them out, etc.)?

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Would you elaborate a little?  What an intriguing idea!  How do you thaw them (nuke, leave them out, etc.)?

I nuke 'em for 30-60 seconds. They are very easy to microplane at that point. The juice is still slushy but easy to extract and strain. No worries about juice flying during juicing.

In fact, I think I need to stock on another bag of organic lemons this week...

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Freezing lemons!?!?!?! Excellent! I forever have lemons and limes going bad on me!

For me, someone here said you could freeze garlic--given that it takes me about 6 months to go through a head of garlic (or more), this tip has proven invaluable.

And actually watching Kerry temper chocolate was also an eye-opener for me. I always avoided anything that needed tempered chocolate, but now that I know it's painless, I'm planning to make more things with tempered chocolate as soon as it cools down!

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General Egullet inspiration: I really, really miss Wendy DeBord's posts. I would say she was a huge inspiration when I started getting seriously into baking. So many demos and tips along the way.

We miss you Wendy. :sad:

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Not all that unique, but I freeze all kinds of ingredients for later use - pesto, tomato paste, chipotle, grated ginger, kaffir lime leaves, chile puree, citrus juice and zest, small packages of bacon and piquillo peppers, etc. It reduces waste and ensures you have a lot of good ingredients at hand.

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I can't remember who's post got me started but the gelatin syneresis filtering technique is something I use more than anything else I've picked up here.

I've used it a few times, and like it quite a bit. I filtered some tomato juice for a clear bloody mary. I'm curious, what do you use it for?

-anthony

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I can't remember who's post got me started but the gelatin syneresis filtering technique is something I use more than anything else I've picked up here.

I've also latched on to dejaq's mirror glazing technique.

There are a huge number of things I've picked up here but those are the two I seem to use the most.

can you explain or talk a bit more about these techniques. what does it all mean? i haven't a clue to what you are referring :huh:

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Would you elaborate a little?  What an intriguing idea!  How do you thaw them (nuke, leave them out, etc.)?

I nuke 'em for 30-60 seconds. They are very easy to microplane at that point. The juice is still slushy but easy to extract and strain. No worries about juice flying during juicing.

In fact, I think I need to stock on another bag of organic lemons this week...

Since the price of citrus can vary so much, it'll be nice to stock up when prices are down. Not to mention the convenience. No more moldy fruit! Yaaaay!

Thanks!

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I can't remember who's post got me started but the gelatin syneresis filtering technique is something I use more than anything else I've picked up here.

I've also latched on to dejaq's mirror glazing technique.

There are a huge number of things I've picked up here but those are the two I seem to use the most.

can you explain or talk a bit more about these techniques. what does it all mean? i haven't a clue to what you are referring :huh:

Check out this topic for explanation of gelatin syneresis technique. (I didn't have a clue either!)

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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Would you elaborate a little?  What an intriguing idea!  How do you thaw them (nuke, leave them out, etc.)?

I nuke 'em for 30-60 seconds. They are very easy to microplane at that point. The juice is still slushy but easy to extract and strain. No worries about juice flying during juicing.

In fact, I think I need to stock on another bag of organic lemons this week...

Since the price of citrus can vary so much, it'll be nice to stock up when prices are down. Not to mention the convenience. No more moldy fruit! Yaaaay!

Thanks!

Must have missed this totally! Found myself without lime juice/zest a couple of days ago but this tip will save me from frustration in the future. Thanks a lot.

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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