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The Quintessential eG Kitchen Tips/Trucs


chefs13
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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

I use it for anything I want to clarify. I use the agar version for things I feel safe allowing to drain out at room temp because it's faster. I've done a caramel apple consomme, the Ideas in Food white chocolate consomme and bacon broth, Sam Mason's chocolate consomme which I modified slightly to use with syneresis filtering instead of the raft he used, tons of fruit and veg juices. I do all of my protein consommes this way now. The results are well worth the necessary planning ahead.

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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That's really neat, Tri2Cook. The only drawback I've found with the procedure is the yield -- I typically get 60% - 70% by weight. I know that the solids account for a percentage of that, but it seems that there is a lot of product loss going on, even at a conservative 0.05% w/w gelatin ratio. Do you find that? Have you ever weighed your start and end product? Same thing?

Also, when you're doing protein consommes this way, do you account for the gelatin already in the product? I have stayed away from syneresis for this because I keep thinking I will get a yield of like 30-40%.

(sorry if this is hugely off-topic)

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Yeah, the natural gelatin can throw a wrench in things. Sometimes it's higher than optimum without adding any additional gelatin. I enjoy duscussing this stuff but we should probably take it to the "gelatin filtration" thread or PM at this point, we're kinda hijacking the topic here.

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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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.

I usually wash, zest, then freeze. Some reason, I feel it works better... HTH!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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  • 6 months later...

Yesterday, I had two pots going on the stove and something in the oven and I was looking for a piece of paper to note finishing times - then it occured to me -- mark the times on the SS pot lids with a sharpie. I also noted on the porcelain stove top the oven finish time. This would also help to remind you know why the timer is ringing.

Worked perfectly and cleaned up with a drop of oil. Why this hadn't occured to me before eludes me.

Does anyone else do this?

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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  ... mark the times on the SS pot lids with a sharpie.  I also noted on the porcelain stove top the oven finish time ...
What a loony wonderful idea!

I've started using a couple of darkroom style timers in the kitchen, GraLab 300 model, and find they help enormously. The darkroom items going up for sale have made many available. Their big face and minute and second hands are easy to read from across the room. They can be set in a moment; much faster than using my oven's timer which is what I did before.

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I often end up with photocopied recipes or even recipes that I have copied and printed out.  I slip them into plastic sleeves when I cook and tack them to my stove hood using a little magnet.

If you use the plastic 'sheet protectors' from an office supply store, you can store them in 3-ring binders. These are also great for using recipe cards that have info on both sides, as you can flip them with sticky fingers. :wink:

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If, like me, you keep often used recipe sheets and cards in plastic ziplock bags, you can punch a hole in one of the top corners, where the bag is reinforced, and slide it onto a shower curtain ring - then you can hang the thing up and it is very easy to flip through them and even hang the ring at your eye level to make it easy to see and keep it off the counter.

I also hang little baggies of dry stuff on one of the rings and the ring from a hook so the little bags do not get lost in a drawer or cabinet.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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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When a recipe calls for a tablespoon of butter, I weigh it using this website for conversion from volume measure to weight, http://www.ochef.com/837.htm.

For example, rather than waiting for your butter to be soft enough to jam into a tablespoon measure, I just weigh out 14 grams of it.

I also keep conversion information like this on a sheet of paper taped to the inside of a cupboard, then when I need to know something, I just open the cupboard door and there it is. Other information I put on there is salt to water quantities for different brines I use, etc.

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When a recipe calls for a tablespoon of butter, I weigh it using this website for conversion from volume measure to weight, http://www.ochef.com/837.htm.

For example, rather than waiting for your butter to be soft enough to jam into a tablespoon measure, I just weigh out 14 grams of it.

I also keep conversion information like this on a sheet of paper taped to the inside of a cupboard, then when I need to know something, I just open the cupboard door and there it is.  Other information I put on there is salt to water quantities for different brines I use, etc.

Oh, I do like this idea. It will be a great day when all recipes are given by weights. I have a set of bowls which all weigh the same, and so they can be interchanged with my knowing that they are all the same.

However, I will make a cheat sheet with the weights of common ingredients and hang it up.

One thing I found at our local Dollarama...bought them for all my friends...and of course haven't seen one since...is a 2 Tablespoon/ 1/8 cup measure.

ps. love this topic. Keep 'em comin' . :wub:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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One thing I found at our local Dollarama...bought them for all my friends...and of course haven't seen one since...is a 2 Tablespoon/ 1/8 cup measure.

ps.  love this topic.  Keep 'em comin' . :wub:

Just buy a coffee measure - the "regular" coffee measures, from the cheapies that are still included in some cans of ground coffee, to the expensive, long-handled stainless ones from Starbucks, hold two tablespoons.

"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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One thing I found at our local Dollarama...bought them for all my friends...and of course haven't seen one since...is a 2 Tablespoon/ 1/8 cup measure.

ps.  love this topic.  Keep 'em comin' . :wub:

Just buy a coffee measure - the "regular" coffee measures, from the cheapies that are still included in some cans of ground coffee, to the expensive, long-handled stainless ones from Starbucks, hold two tablespoons.

Interesting because all my coffee measures (Melitta) are just one tablespoon! So check to be sure.

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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For sauce/stock reduction, if you don't feel like pre-marking your wooden spoons or buying a tailor's rule, you can just dip a wooden spoon handle into the pot and then roll a rubber band around the handle where the stock comes up to. Then just re-dip every now and then until it's reduced by half, 2/3, whatever you like. Might not be mathematically precise, but it sure is easy.

"Degenerates. Degenerates. They'll all turn into monkeys." --Zizek on vegetarians

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Hi

Great idea but someone has a better design. Ikea has pepper mills with ceramic grinders that are adjustable for coarseness. They have to be inverted to grind the pepper (or spice) and then when you set them back on the table no remnants fall out. The grinder is on the top, not the bottom. Around $11.00

Cheers

Malcolm

Another I just remembered: place your peppermill in a small measuring cup when grinding more than a dash or so. This contains the pepper in one small place, makes it easier to measure, and eliminates escaped pepper grains.

Oh, and in that vein, when my peppermill is sitting on the counter I place it in an upside-down lid from a Penzey's spice jar, I think it's the B size? The squat one, it's not too huge. Just big enough to fit the pepper mill neatly. This keeps stray bits that are left on the blades from getting all over the counter, and I like to think it helps keep the pepper mill clean too.

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I use a new, unglazed clay flower pot (run through dishwasher before using) to keep mushrooms in the fridge, put a paper plate over top. Seems to keep them fresh longer than in a paper sack and definitely longer than styrofoam cartons wrapped in plastic.

When baking rolled cookies I put the dough between sheets of parchment paper, therefore using no extra flour.

Edited by Marigene (log)
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I use a new, unglazed clay flower pot (run through dishwasher before using) to keep mushrooms in the fridge, put a paper plate over top. Seems to keep them fresh longer than in a paper sack and definitely longer than styrofoam cartons wrapped in plastic.

The unglazed flower pot makes sense since the clay absorbs moisture and would keep them from getting slimy. Inexpensive as well. I will give it a try.

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Why do cookbook authors always have you measure a teaspoon of sugar right after you've measured out two teaspoons of oil? I now use my oval measuring spoons for wet ingredients and my oblong spoons (the ones that fit into a spice jar) for dry. No need to stop and wipe one clean before measuring the next ingredient.

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When I'm baking, I use coffee filters for weighing ingredients. Works great, and keeps the dishes to a minimum.

Of course this only works if you use the flat coffeemaker filters, not the conical drip filters. I had a hard time imagining how this worked out when I first read your post. :rolleyes:

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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One thing I found at our local Dollarama...bought them for all my friends...and of course haven't seen one since...is a 2 Tablespoon/ 1/8 cup measure.

ps.  love this topic.  Keep 'em comin' . :wub:

Just buy a coffee measure - the "regular" coffee measures, from the cheapies that are still included in some cans of ground coffee, to the expensive, long-handled stainless ones from Starbucks, hold two tablespoons.

Interesting because all my coffee measures (Melitta) are just one tablespoon! So check to be sure.

The "standard" coffee measure is two tablespoons per 6 oz water:

As noted here.

However they do include a caveat that some measures are as little as one tablespoon.

I have several, and spent a while earlier today determining how much they hold and except for one that was a freebie, they are all close to two tablespoons. The Tupperware one (ca. 1965) is slightly more generous - (possibly an Australian tablespoon measurement :rolleyes: )

Anyway, it was just a thought. I routinely use the long-handled Starbucks one for cocoa and it is exactly 1/8 cup.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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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  • 2 years later...

Hi Guys, I'm brand new to egullet, but not cooking, and the first post I read and (bravely) replied to is the soft-boiled egg question. But there aren't enough hours in three lifetimes to read all the fantastic posts and amazing replies posted over the past few years. I was wondering if any of you would be interested in sharing, here, your best-ever cooking or foodie tip, maybe some obscure or common sense secret, something simple that you've known for years or just found out? I've got a few of my own to get the ball rolling....

If you're going to stuff hard boiled eggs and want the yolks to be in the centre, tip your eggs on their sides for at least a day before cooking.

If you're making ricotta or feta gnocchi, adding a pinch of Bicarb soda to the dough gives them an amazingly lighter, softer texture without effecting the taste.

Adding oil to pasta cooking water is a waste of time and money and stops your sauce sticking to it.

Seasoning raw meats with salt before cooking dries them out and hardens them, great for pork crackling but tough on steak.

BiCarb soda + cream of tartar = carbon dioxide bubbles = fluffier & lighter pancakes, doughs, cakes and bread.

........Love to see anything you've got stashed away in your Culinary arsenals if you're willing to share..........

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Frozen butter + coarse box grater = nice, uniform bits of butter for flaky pie crust or biscuits.

Whisking dry ingredients together for baking works as well or better than sifting for many things, and you probably already have a whisk even if you don't have a sifter.

The metal blade of the food processor works great for kneading bread dough described in more detail on my web site (here) (lesson learned from The Best Bread Ever by Charles Van Over).

And a touch of rice flour makes for crisper cookies (tip originally from Marion Cunningham in the Fannie Farmer Baking Book).

The internal temperature of a loaf of bread should be 195-210 degrees (195 for soft rolls, 210 for a baguette)--so much easier than 'tap on the bottom' and more accurate for those of us who don't bake daily (don't remember which book this came from, but I'd read dozens of bread books by then, without ever encountering this tip).

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