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Gifted Gourmet

Which type of a cook are you?

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I see Chris has weighed in while I was writing.  OK, I confess, needing an excuse at the yard sales and cool kitchen shops was the other reason I stopped saving yogurt cups.  Why save plastic yogurt cups when you've always wanted an excuse for cute little ramekins?  :raz:

Assuming that that is not a rhetorical question -- and of course it should not be! -- the answer is that one can never have enough 1 c containers with lids that snap shut. Think of the uses!

Which is to say, ought you not collect both yogurt cups and cute little ramekins? Yogurt cups for daily use, and ramekins for company!


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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it just seemed so much more spontaneous! Like great sex should be ...  :laugh:

Huh?

You mean great sex shouldn't involve hand-written instructions with step-by-step diagrams?

No, nor should it require a mis en place. Well, actually, it might. :raz:

Come again...?

Not even gonna go there.

I got my dozen little glass bowls from Sur La Table (I think) and they are perfect for a tablespoon or two of whatever. They were cheap, and a little smaller than the Pyrex ramekins. I bring out the 4 and 6 oz. ramekins for larger amounts.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I fall into both categories I guess, I am a mis en place guy because I have a relatively small work space at home and so advance prep is important. When making a new recipe or simply creating a new dish I will make the meticulous shopping list but many nights it's just open the fridge and have at it.

My meal planning is pretty regimented as I work 4 nights a week but cook for my family 7 nights a week. On the nights I work dinner must be 90% finished by 3pm. my wife can then finish the main and cook the prepped vegetables. I shop for vegetables and fruit daily and generally make 3-4 visits to butcher/poultry man/fishmonger weekly.

On the nights I am home it is generally 1 night "comfort" food, 1 night "something new" and 1 night fish (comfort or new). On these three nights I prep a little less as I have more time to spend in the kitchen so I can free wheel it a bit more but even then my mis is usually done well ahead of time, I generally blanch or steam veg and then finish in the last 2-3 minutes while I montee a sauce and let the protein rest (25 years in restaurants rub off) - all the while with a glass nearby.


''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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I once watched my finance(now husband) cook for me thinking I hope to hell he doesnt expect ME to wash all those damn little bowls!

My best attempt at organization is cut things and put them back into the little plastic bags they came home from the store in ...unless I already used them for the garbage, because having a LID on the garbage can drives me nuts, although some scraps I shove on the floor and call a dog in to clean up. If I were to remove the onion basket and potato basket and toaster oven and fruit bowl from the counter then I would have more than the 8 inches to right of the cutting board but the cabinets are full :blink:

Every extra dish used here is one step closer to the septic system acutally exploding and sucking the house down the hole so another option is to prep onto paper towels that I can use to clean up with later anyway.

Did I answer the question no I dont think so, does the fact that I accidentally left 3/4 of a can of tomato puree on the counter since last night answer it :wacko:

I am very good at work though...but there we have more work surface than I have floor at home.

T


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

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I see Chris has weighed in while I was writing.  OK, I confess, needing an excuse at the yard sales and cool kitchen shops was the other reason I stopped saving yogurt cups.  Why save plastic yogurt cups when you've always wanted an excuse for cute little ramekins?  :raz:

Assuming that that is not a rhetorical question -- and of course it should not be! -- the answer is that one can never have enough 1 c containers with lids that snap shut. Think of the uses!

Which is to say, ought you not collect both yogurt cups and cute little ramekins? Yogurt cups for daily use, and ramekins for company!

I like the way you think. :biggrin:

If I could figure out a good hiding place for the yogurt cups that might work, but right now there's no place for them without dislodging the ramekins from their hiding spot. Our usual plastic reusable container cupboard is already overflowing with the larger, generally more useful sized containers. Throwing out the occasional yogurt cup seems a small price to pay for domestic tranquility. :raz:

I should add that the brand of yogurt I generally has a flimsy lid that falls apart at the drop of a lemon, so they aren't that great for refrigerator and freezer storage. I learned this the hard way.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'm somewhere inbetween too. I like: reading cookbooks, but mostly for ideas. I don't like: religiously following a recipe. Or if I do follow one, usually it’s once or twice to get a quasi-grasp on a technique, then I’m back to winging it. I am impatient, and the damned book takes up so much space, and I hate measuring... Basically, I cannot bake.

That said, I like to have most or all of my chopping done beforehand. The exceptions are when (1) I’ve forgotten something, (2) I think I have time to chop before additions. No small glass bowls though, because I hate the cleanup portion of the evening so I absolutely minimize things that need to be washed. To a point where it's probably actually working against me! (me to wife: ack, why are you using that extra plate, I can fit a tiny bit more stuff on this corner of the chopping board!)

So is there a category for “winging it with mise”?

PS: I assume everyone considers a glass of wine or a beer an integral part of mise.

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Oh dear . . . I fear that I have more than one personality.

In a complex recipe or one not so complex that I am doing the first time, I am a mise en place type all the way. I actually enjoy seeing all of the little glass bowls lined up in order of need. And, of course, there are some types of cooking that demand it, such as gumbos and stir fries.

I also find that doing things in order like that gives me those few extra minutes to indulge in my clean-as-you-go mania.

Now, there is no way in hell I could go so far as to plan menus for a week. I rarely plan more than one day ahead and that may be because I have to brine or marinate something overnight. I like to sit down with a recipe, read it through a few times. I visualize how I will execute it while making my shopping list. If I am doing several dishes/courses I actually have to have a timeline to pull it off.

Then there are soups, stews, curries, pasta dishes and such that are a spur of the moment thing 'cause I am cleaning out the fridge. Not a cute little bowl in sight. :laugh:


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'm a mise person BUT without the little bowls. I roll out a piece of waxed paper and everything gets put in a row according to when it goes in the pan. The liquid stuff gets measured in cups (have lots of those) and also place "en rang"... Easy cleanup. I'm organized because I have a very short memory span.... That way I KNOW I've put in the spices etc. Plus, my counter space is restricted and needs to be used efficiently.

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Every extra dish used here is one step closer to the septic system acutally exploding and sucking the house down the hole so another option is to prep onto paper towels that I can use to clean up with later anyway.

So, let me get this straight: you're saying that the structural integrity of your home shouldn't be compromised because of a fetish for small bowls?

Huh. Interesting perspective. Can't quite see it, though....


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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If I could figure out a good hiding place for the yogurt cups that might work, but right now there's no place for them without dislodging the ramekins from their hiding spot.  Our usual plastic reusable container cupboard is already overflowing with the larger, generally more useful sized containers.  Throwing out the occasional yogurt cup seems a small price to pay for domestic tranquility.  :raz:

Now that's pretty pessimistic, my friend! Surely you have some old linens, clothing, or children that you could move for more storage space!

I should add that the brand of yogurt I generally has a flimsy lid that falls apart at the drop of a lemon, so they aren't that great for refrigerator and freezer storage.  I learned this the hard way.

Why you'd still buy that brand is beyond me. Yogurt taste? Texture? Quality? Some silly reason like that? You probably would even buy the topless Yoplait, with those insane inverted cone cups, if it tasted good, wouldn't you?

Fanatic.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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My meal planning and production method gives new meaning to Anal Retentiveness! On weekends I plan the entire week of menus, taking into account evening commitments (kids sports, yoga, etc) that will be influencing my meal plans. I make a complete, typed store list for my husband. The items are separated by category and  the categories are in the same order as they appear in the store When he brings the groceries home, I prep all my greens per Rachel Ray.

Each evening, after work, I take great pleasure in laying out all of my ingredients that I know are going to be there, preparing everything, then cooking. All items are assembled on my cutting board, chopped, sliced, diced, schpliced, whatever. To the left of the board is my recipe and my garbage bowl (idea from RR again).

Oh, you're funny :biggrin: . Of course, you also leave me without my kids-preclude-organization argument. :hmmm:

I'm modified in organization -- occasionally I write up a weekly menu and accompanying grocery list (typed? ha!). I definitely don't do a full out mis en place prep, but generally read through my recipe to gauge whether some prep is a must before I start. On the stovetop, I don't get into much trouble, but when I'm baking...

Oh boy. I could never be a professional pastry chef. I would get fired in a heartbeat. This weekend I made a frittata. Recipe called for a broiler-safe nonstick skillet. Not knowing if mine was broiler safe, I thought I'd just go for the indestructible cast iron. When I tried to take it out of the skillet, it peeled off in about three pieces. The frittata quickly became frittata bites cut around the rough edges. For the same event (a picnic), I made a chocolate hazelnut tart, and I suppose I just flaked -- used unsweetened chocolate instead of the called for semi-sweet. Even though I discovered the error before pouring the filling into the shell, I just couldn't salvage it with added sugar. Had to throw the whole thing away. :huh:

Maybe all the cheerleading for tiny glass dishes will convince me that they're worth all the cleanup later...


Bridget Avila

My Blog

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Our menu planning usually involves a several email exchange between me and husband along the lines of what sounds good? Do we have that? Whats in the freezer? We both love to cook and most nights cook together.

I was taught to cook at my grandmothers knee and she did not even own any measuring spoons. My philosophy is that we spend so much of lives regimented by work, traffic, societal constraints etc... that I am sure as hell not going to place further restrictions by ruling I "HAVE" to prepare a certain way in one of the most enjoyable and relaxing activities in my daily life.


If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

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Maybe all the cheerleading for tiny glass dishes will convince me that they're worth all the cleanup later...

Dishwashers are wonderful things. :raz:

I will say, however, that most of those prep bowls get rinsed and set on a rack - or a kitchen towel when I'm really lazy - to drain until dry. It's not much of a cleanup problem.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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But I also cheat a bit. I've got ziplock bags of onion, celery, carrot, and bell pepper already chopped sitting in the freezer. That would probably be my secret weapon in the kitchen. Just grab and go...

I've wondered if it was possible to prep and freeze trinity ingredients. Do you defrost them a bit or do they go mushy? Or can you just bung 'em into the hot oil straight from the freezer.

I'm a kinda mise person as I've often watched my Dad, a retired chef, work that way cooking at home. After breakfast, he would often prep everything for the day's meals. He will then relax in front of the telly until it's time to cook. My Mom also does mise but they can't mise together - too many cooks, etc. They also take turns cooking as the kitchen is too small to have both of them moving about. My Dad also complains that my Mom doesn't clean up after herself as she cooks - Dad is a "clean as he goes" type of guy, so there is very little cleanup afterwards.

I may do a full prep if it's a new recipe but I tend to be lazy if I can get away with it and only prep things that need a lot of chopping - I will wing the rest of it. I also don't tend to clean too much as I cook so there is always a bit of chaos with little mise bowls and plates strewn about as I am cooking.


Edited by Degustation (log)

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How I fcook depend on my mood, if I really want something home made, there's usually enough in my fridge to create something decent. If I am exploring a recipe, however, I'd get everything ready and organized before I start.


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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maybe I ought to start reallly slowly .. you know, buy those little glass dishes ...  :huh:

There's alread something in your kitchen that works great -- saucers for teacups.

I have a collection of little glass bowls, but I rarely use them. My saucers are in a cabinet right above my prep area so I can pull them down with eases.

BTW, i'm a big fan of mis-en-place. I've made the mistake of jumping in without checking that I have all the ingredients and realized partway through I was sunk. Once you're made your husband run out to the market at 11:30 pm you learn your lesson.


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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My Dad also complains that my Mom doesn't clean up after herself as she cooks - Dad is a "clean as he goes" type of guy, so there is very little cleanup afterwards.

I also don't tend to clean too much as I cook so there is always a bit of chaos with little mise bowls and plates strewn about as I am cooking.

:huh: New, but related, question begging to be asked here:

Are you a clean-as-you-go chef or do you do it all after the food is off to be cooked? :rolleyes:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I supposed that 97% of the time I am an organized cook/baker, especially with the baking.

In fact I mentioned last fall about my routine for holiday baking when I weigh and measure all the dry ingredients for cookies/cakes and etc., and place those in their little plastic bags in a bus tub or on trays along with a copy of the recipe and list of perishable ingredients that need to be added to each and if special baking pans are needed, those go in there also so everything is together when I am ready to bake.

With most recipes, I gather and prepare all the ingredients before starting to cook, just to make sure that I do have everything.

I don't plan days in advance, except for very special occasions. But I do need some plan, so I can use up things that are perishable before they expire.

Occasionally I just throw stuff together and if I don't have something in the recipe I substitute something else.

Little glass dishes??

Yes, I have a bunch of little glass dishes, different sizes. Also little SS dishes, little silicone dishes, little pottery dishes, little porcelain dishes and disposable nut cups for use outside.

Am I organized. Yessss. Those little dishes are placed in an antique shallow muffin tin to keep them from getting lost on the counter or being knocked over. This is so easy to do and saves a lot of mess. (if you have ever jostled one of these little dishes holding an egg, or honey, or oil, or ?????? you know what I mean. (Or, as I did one memorable time, pushing a cutting board too far and knocking several little dishes containing an egg, paprika, chopped bacon, olive oil, pepper and dry mustard onto the floor.

Broken glass in a gooey mess was not fun to clean up, particularly when the dry mustard poofed up in a cloud and caused me to sneeze for 10 minutes.


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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I'm kinda half-and-half: for baking, I learned long ago after missing the oil to have all my ingredients on the counter. I don't go insane with it, but I make sure it's all there, and then put away each ingredient as I use it.

For regular cooking...not so much. For a complicated recipe, sometimes I will have things ready before I start. Mostly I just have it all out, ready to be prepped. For a lot of my other cooking I'm not following a recipe anyways, just tossing things in a pan from time to time. I do my recipe-looking before, usually, to make sure I have ingredients and whatnot, but maybe it's just the type of cooking I do (i.e., not v complicated!!)

Out of sight = out of mind, so it's important for me to have things on the counter, but I would lose it if I had to wash all those mise bowls etc., except in very specific circumstances. Seems like a waste of clean dishes for my level of cooking.


Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I tend to be on the organized side, although I've still started recipes only to discover I was out of something I thought I had..

I've done this myself far too often . I have to do my mise now, especially if it's something a bit more complicated. If I'm cooking a full-on meal for "J" or friends (or both) I'll even plan out my timing ... when to start the noodles, when to take out the roast to let it rest. Les Halles Cookbook was a big help for me in that department.

A.

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I'm with Deborah on this one... I'm very organized when it comes to baking, but anything else is only organized if you consider having everything out on the counter (not chopped or prepped, just out.) as being organized. Unfortunately for him, the man of the house usually has to step out to the market to pick up something that I've forgotten. :raz: (Love you Sweetie!!!)

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There are only two times I'm all mise'd before cooking:

1. it's a new recipe to me, and I am not familiar with the timing - and you cannot trust recipe times worth a darn

or

2. it's a recipe I've done many times and know that I do not have time to chop/wash/whatever from when I start cooking to when it's finished (e.g. chicken piccata or stir fry)

The rest of the time I prep what I know I have to before starting, but prep the rest as I go. In fast, a lot of times I'm not even certain what the final seasoning components will be. This is why we have a saying around here of enjoy it now, because it'll never be the same again.

I used to be a lot better about prepping things all before I started cooking. The problem was that during the cooking I'd get bored, like if I had to let things pan fry for 5 minutes: I'd either stand there and keep moving or adjusting it, so it wouldn't brown properly, or I'd wander off and do something else, resulting in burned food. I'm better about setting timers now.

Marcia.


Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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I most often assemble all the parts to the puzzle before hand. Andie's suggestion about the muffin tin was fantastic! It got me thinking about assembling my recipes for the different masala blends I've been doing. How simple is it to plop the cupcake papers in there, portion out the spices (even different colors for the different recipes!) and then get on with heating, grinding, cooling. WOW! Thanks!

And I am an obsessive clean as you go-er. Makes it very nice to finish the chore and the pleasure at the same time.

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:huh:  New, but related, question begging to be asked here:

Are you a clean-as-you-go chef or do you do it all after the food is off to be cooked?   :rolleyes:

Clean as you go. Not enough space in my effete urbanite shoebox to leave piles of anything around, especially in the kitchen.

Though the majority of dishes still get done in the end. I (heart) my dishwasher.

Pat


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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It just depends on the menu -- if I can get away with winging it, I will. Can't do it with stir-fry, since everything needs to be chopped and lined up -- and can't wing a new recipe either, unless it's very simple.

Winging it requires a certain level of skill and experience. It's like music or martial arts -- you can only start experimenting, once you've built a solid foundation of the basic skills.

I like to clean as I go, and as far as it is physically possible, I try to have everything cleaned by the time the meal is cooked -- to the extent that I'll resort to using paper towels or tinfoil for mise en place, rather than ramikens, for things that go in the dish at the last moment...

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