Oct 12, 20173582 views

[Ongoing] Cooking: Community Questions & Answers

Your questions. Expert answers.
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• Q: “What’s the best way to peel a mango?”
• Q: “Which knife should I use for carving turkey?”
• Q: “How do I make fresh pasta?”
• Q: “What’s a good recipe for vegan, gluten-free cookies?”
• Q: “How do I properly use a sous vide?"
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ltopper, evan.kahn, and 11 others

My favorite is lamb shanks in a pressure cooker.
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red wine chicken stock ..tomato paste lots of garlic and rosemary.. Cooks super fast. 30 min! cook down n finish sauce with balsamic n butter....mmmmm
Pressure cooked lamb shanks are great. If you have a sous vide, try 48 hours at 140. It is easily amongst the best meat I've ever eaten.
Anyone have some good NON-tomato sauce based pasta recipes?
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Brown butter makes a delicious and simple sauce to coat pasta. Brown butter in a pan, add cooked pasta, toss, and enjoy.
Midnight Pasta! Olive oil, chopped garlic, chopped anchovies, chopped capers, some red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, and some grated parmesan on top.
Creamy smoked salmon and dill pasta: http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/pappardelle-with-creamy-smoked-salmon-caper-and-dill-sauce
What are some good recipe for ramen broth?
Start with any stock or broth you want (chicken, beef, veggie) You can use powdered base but, the box liquid type is much better. Add copped carrots, celery, and onion. A few whole garlic cloves. A couple bay leaves. A few whole peppercorns. Maybe a sprig of thyme. Then add any other flavors you want (hot chilis, mushrooms, ginger, fennel, whatever) simmer for at least an hour. Strain everything out. Now you have a very flavorful broth for noodles.
What is the easiest way to cook food or a large amount of food? And any cooking tips for undergraduates and recent graduates?
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A good book for this is The Professional Chef.
Most of the recipes are for 10 servings, making it very very easy to scale up and down.
However, you will need a scale, because most recipes are given by weight, not volume. More consistent, and allows for better scaling.
It is a very broad ranging book, and covers all aspects of a kitchen, on how to buy, store and prep food, equipment, techniques, etc.
My two go to methods for large format cooking is sous vide and pressure cooking. While slow cooking (like a crock pot) kind of accomplishes the same thing, I think sous vide and pressure cooking do it better by providing better texture (sous vide), better flavor (both), and quicker cooking (pressure cooking). I've made food for 50+ people many times and love how these two devices help me out. Oh, and a good food processor and blender is helpful if your tasks are appropriate for them.
How much sugar do you actually need in your bread?
I love making bread, but much prefer it to be less sweet than many recipes seem to leave it. I want to know what the minimum amount of sugar is that is required to successfully fuel a tbsp of yeast. Is there any real metric on that?
My current favorite uses 2tsp sugar for 2tbsp of yeast in 3 (4 by the time I get done kneading it) of flour. Can I get away with less?
I've got nothing against sugar, I just like my bread savory.
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You know, when I see the same person post the same plug for the same book about 40 times in 1 discussion it makes me think that person is a paid advertiser and I shouldn't listen to them.
AND I like my bread nice and yeasty. It gives it a good flavor.
I just love the book, and it is a really good one.
My only prejudice is that he is a former IBMer, and I am a current IBMer. He approaches it with a very precise and logical method that I appreciate and recognize as a product of the IBM culture.
You do end up with yeasty bread, because you are giving it 12 to 36 hours to ferment.
And in my defense, this is one SUBJECT area, cooking not one discussion, and many people are asking similar questions.
Finally, more bread porn...
I've always been unsuccessful using my Lodge cast iron... whatever I'm trying to cook always sticks, and I might have caught it on fire once. Now it's just collecting dust in my pan rack.
What's the best way to re-season a cast iron pan? Also, any tips for starting out with cast-iron cooking for a total newb?
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Here is what works for me, my cast iron pan has been in use for 6 years, now it is a total non stick. Seasoning the pan in the oven never worked for me, what really works is using it daily. Any food you fry with oil, just use the pan, get it very hot first, use oil and fry, do that every time and it is going to get better and better. When you are done, drop some salt and rub the pan with a paper, wash it with cold water only, put back on heat till it gets dry then rub some oil till it start smoking. Let me know if you have any questions :)
alexp was a total champ with his cast iron pot when I was staying with him
What's the best way to make poached egg?
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Using cling film is the best and easiest. cut a big piece, run a drop of oil on top, carefully break your egg inside, close it making a package with the egg in the middle with no air inside, use a piece of cling film to wrap the end and tie it to close. you can do this the day before ready for the morning. Cook in simmering water for four and half minutes. Here is a picture: http://splodzblogz.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/poachedegg05.jpg Let me know if you any any questions :)
I like poaching eggs in marinara sauce. The thicker sauce holds the shape better and it picks up the flavor of the sauce too, of course.
I've been trying to make Miso Black Cod for the longest time, but everytime I make it, I could never achieve the charred effect. I've tried it with cod and salmon, but it just ends up overcooking (overcooked meat) but no char. The miso paste mixture does not undergo any Maillard reaction. What am I doing wrong?
I've attached a picture of my cousin-in-law's beautiful final product which I never seem to be able to produce.
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I agree that the heat may not be high enough. Also, from my experience in Japanese cooking, a lot of the marinades and sauces I've made include sugar. This will enhance the caramelization and give it the appearance like your included picture.
When im looking for a good char on something delicate like fish, ill go straight to my trust chimney charcoal starter, load it up, light it and once the coals are hot white ill slap the BBQ grill grate directly on the chimney starter and cook the food that way. its A LOT hotter than almost anything you can use in the kitchen, only downside is the cooking area is small.
But if you Sous Vide the fish then toss it on just for the char it works perfectly.
in recommendation,what's the best knife to cut a fish? like mackerel and salmon
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And Dexters are very inexpensive. Find a restaurant supply house and pick some up.
Great value for $50 for the basic 3 knives you need: chef, boning, paring, and includes a bread knife, which is handy but not necessary.
To be fair, all new german-style blades also come at 12-17 degrees per side. A new Victorinox or Wusthof pro is actually more acute than a Tojiro or Misono out of the box. There's just not much reason to go any wider than 15; 12 degrees is pretty fragile but if you have the skill to keep it sharp the increase in cutting performance is well worth it.
I just got a dutch oven. What are some of y'alls favorite recipes?
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Love versatile recipes like this one! I made this for dinner last week, served it with rice and beans that night. A few days later, I used the leftovers to make enchiladas. The first meal was yummy, and the flavor improved over the next few days, and made for wonderfully savory enchiladas! "Canned" was not an issue for me. I'll definitely be making this one again!
When will Massdrop start dropping actual food items? :D
Jokes aside, if rice was of abundance for you, what... a.)Main dish b.) Desert c.) Random dish would you make/recommend?
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If you're working with glutinous rice, it makes the best sticky rice for Thai coconut sticky rice. You can also grind up a white rice (or glutinous rice, even better) to make mochi desserts.
I already have a Chinese Cleaver, should I then go for a Santoku or Chef knife?
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It depends what you want it for. A Chef's knife is generally better for heavy-duty tasks and is also better for rock chopping. A Santoku at least for me is better for precision work but I don't use my (nice) Santoku for anything with bones or sturdy vegetables such as butternut squash, which I wouldn't hesitate to take my (cheap) Chinese cleaver or chef's knife to.
Though I do agree that a paring or utility knife might be a better complement if that is your only other knife.
I wouldn't recommend using a Chinese cleaver as a paring knife... And it's definitely very different than a chef's knife or santoku.
Why does adding kiwi to a soufflé custard cause it to be so bitter? Seems like the seeds are extremely bitter and they add a lot of fuzziness that scratches your throat as you eat it, is there a way to add kiwi to soufflé without it getting bitter?
If you feel itchy in your throat, are you sure you aren't allergic to it?
As for bitterness, yes it's the seeds. You can use a spoon to scoop them out first.
What gives fried chicken a better crisp? Flour + baking powder or flour + baking soda?
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the cornstarch is critical, it helps adsorb that excess moisture and helps keep the flour from clumping.
absolutely! It also works well with frying tofu!
How do I get crunchy, crusty bread at home? I've been toying with a few different recipes and cooking methods, but have not been able to achieve a nice, crusty, peasant-stye bread.
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I do something kind of like that article that you linked to. I place a large casserole dish in the oven near the bottom and fill it 3/4 full of water prior to preheating the oven. Once it preheats, make sure that you give it enough time for that water to be letting off a good bit of steam. Once it is, place the bread in the oven to bake. I've had good results doing it this way.
Throw a handful of ice in the oven. It will create steam and give you a really good crust.
How do you keep the centre of rösti from getting soggy?
For those who haven't tried it, give it a go some time!: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%B6sti
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I parboil the potatoes the day before, then grate them (with peel on). I grate onto paper towel and sprinkle a bit of salt. I fry with clarified butter. The outside is nice and crispy, but I haven't figured out how to make the clarified butter + frying heat reach the centre to crisp it!
For sure! Paper towel just as you say :)
What kind of fish keeps best when frozen?
I've vac-sealed tuna very successfully.
Salmon and halibut hold up great frozen for me .
What is the best cut of steak to reverse sear? I make a steak meal where I reverse sear steaks then deglaze with sweet red and add butter for a sauce but I'm not consistent with the steaks. Sometimes it's new york strip and sometimes whatever is on sale. Porterhouse was pretty good but I overcooked it. also what's the best cut for grilling?
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There are several factors that may affect your cook time: how thick the steak is, whether it's frozen or fresh, how your oven regulates temperature, the quality of your tray/roaster, etc. I have had steaks that took less than an hour to reach my desired temperature and I have also had those that took up to almost 3 hours. Because of such reasons, I highly recommend a thermometer if you are serious about your steaks. There are those that can stay in the oven facing out so you can check the internal temperature at anytime, and those are quite inexpensive to get. If you can spend more you can get those digital thermometer with heat-resistant cable. Also, since you are cooking at low temperature, please be aware of the thickness. If the steak is very thick, it won't have enough heat to continue cooking outside of the oven, thus you may want to leave them inside until they reach closer to your desired temperature. A quick sear will not affect doneness of those, as the heat won't have enough time to reach the center. Best of luck!!!
Thank you all for the help, I'm looking forward to applying these tips to my next round of steaks with the wife!
What is the best non-stick frying pan?
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While not instantly non-stick, I have started to use cast iron and carbon steel for this purpose. They will build a natural non-stick finish over time, far superior to the manufactured finishes. If you need a non-stick pan, buy an inexpensive one at a restaurant supply store or the like because it will wear out in a year.
I like my Anolon Advanced pan. I wouldn't spend much more than that because as many commenters have correctly pointed out they wear out and need to be replaced every so often.
What is the best way to sharpen a knife without getting out my sharpening stone?
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I generally do agree with you but the trick is to make sure the buttom is unglazed and has some texture. It actually removes a fair bit of steel and you can see the swarf on the rim. I have used this in a pinch at friends houses when a honing steel fails to make a difference But I would never do this on my knives ! Here is where I first saw it, cheers! http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/09/how-to-sharpen-a-knife-on-a-mug.html
If we're being pedantic, honing is sharpening is whetting is honing. It all means the same thing, and if you look at micrographs even a steel is actually removing material: https://scienceofsharp.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/what-does-steeling-do-part-1/ If you've got a severely rolled edge and you use pressure to straighten it, sure, that's a different process than setting a bevel with abrasives. Burnishing is a word that's meaningfully different from hone/sharpen, but we're probably well past the point where we can get it adopted. The maintenance steps we take on slightly worn edge to get it back to a refined apex are all accomplishing the same thing. Certainly the difference between the bottom of a ceramic mug and a sharpmaker rod or a crock stick is minimal.
What are your favorite recipes for fish tacos? Reccomend types offish to use?
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Thank you for the reply! This is basically dinner for tomorrow, since I have been drawing blanks on seasoning, and cannot wait to take this for a spin. Given the fact that living in the desert doesn't exactly leave me with excellent fish to eat, I'll probably just throw on some tilapia.
Cilantro Lime aoli with fresh garlic---ah-mazing. Takes simple tacos to the next level with minimal effort!!
How can I upscale my steak recipe? I like AAA or aged rib steak 1.75in thick, I season it with a bit of Knorr concentrated beef stock mixed with grape seed oil on both sides, one side sprinkle with pepper, other side Montreal steak spice mix from Webber. I let it stand at room temperature for an hour. Then to the preheated grill medium-high heat, 7 minutes per side Rotating at half time to get the diamond grill marks.
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Thanks for your comment, when I have some, I put a slice of goat cheese (because I don't like blue cheese) on top of my steaks, herbed butter is a good alternative.
I forgot to mention that I love your "smoked salt" ideas. I have to get my hand on those.
What's the best protein to use in Lemon Spaghetti?
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Oohhh. Chicken breast? Sounds good.
I'd say sardines and capers
Any recipe suggestions for squash? I've only recently started roasting butternut and acorn squash, normally with butter and brown sugar. I'm looking for some options more on the savory side.
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Yes!!!!! I sauté onions & garlic in butter before pureeing them in and that curry you suggested. I do like a little splash of cream (or coconut cream) to finish it. Definitely a great savory base for a soup
Kabocha squash simmered in a light dashi broth. Serve as an accompaniment to a short/medium grain white rice. Drizzle a little soy & sesame oil if you like.
What's your favorite way to dress up ramen noodles?
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Just a touch of sesame oil, sambal olmbek, a bit of peanut butter, and whatever veggie I have in the freezer.
Poached egg, slices of pork belly (Steamy Kitchen recipe), leftover bok choy or other Chinese vegetable, chopped scallions, hot sesame oil.
I have friends over about once or twice a month. We play eat then play board games. I'm looking for some relatively inexpensive meals to serve that don't take up a lot of time and feed 3-5 people.
I'm good with stir fry, soups/stews, and stove top stuff. I don't generally use my oven unless its a prepared meal (IE the frozen isle at Walmart). Though im not afraid of using it.
I prefer chicken to pork or beef, but anything is good as long as its inexpensive. And spice is always welcome.
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Our D&D group usually does crock pot sloppy joes, it's low brow, but easy to graze on over a several hour gaming session.
Pork Chile Verde: 2 to 3 lbs pork sirloin, cubed to 1/2 inch 1 28 can of green chile sauce 1 28 can of crushed tomatillos 1 8 oz can of diced green chiles 1 large diced onion. 2 Tbsp Ancho Chili powder (or to taste) 1 tbsp of ground cumin (or to taste) 1 tbsp granulated garlic (or to taste) Salt to taste
Sour cream as a garnish.
Brown the sirloin in a large pot, remove and saute onions in the pot until they start to caramelize . Add pork and remaining ingredients back to pot and let simmer low and slow for several hours until pork is very tender and sauce has thickened. A TBL of cornstarch in cold water added to the mix will thicken it up.
Now, it sounds like it might be a little "canned" for most people. But, so long as the spices are fresh after hours of simmering there is not a lot of taste difference between starting from scratch and doing it from canned. Adding fresh tomatillos is perfectly fine, when they are super cheap in the stores/farmers market I add some in for a little freshness. Really want to kick it up? Smoke the pork if you have a smoker.
Once you have this as a base, you can use it for a lot of things: Right out of the bowl as chili Over Mexican rice and/or beans Nachos Tacos Burritos
Can someone give me a webson recipes for using a sous vide . What other equipment is recommended?
https://recipes.anovaculinary.com/ not really much is needed for sous vide other than your sous vide machine, a pot of water if you dont have an all enclosed sous vide machine, vaccum sealer with vaccum bags, thermometer, and a timer
I have an Anova sous vide and a big ol' pot but if you want to get all pro you can get a special container and lid (links below) but I prefer not to have a ton of single purpose stuff. Another item that could help would be a vacuum sealer but it's not necessary for most sous vide recipes (that I've done, anyways). I just use ziploc bags and this method: http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/08/how-to-seal-food-airtight-without-vacuum-sealer-water-displacement-method.html
http://a.co/4NVxpqx http://a.co/dh49C8K
Recipes: https://recipes.anovaculinary.com/
What's your best mac and cheese recipe?
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Modernist cheese sauce (sodium citrate) using a very sharp cheddar cheese I run through my food processor grate plate (don't use pre-grated, it's dusted with stuff that interferes with the emulsion). Applewood smoked bacon, crumbled. Cavatappi al dente. Smoked paprika, chili powder.
I like to start with a bechamel, then add salt, pepper, mustard, and a pinch of cayenne to season. Then add a heap of freshly grated sharp white cheddar (never use the pre-grated stuff), and a handful of grated gruyere to make the cheese sauce.
Pour it over elbow macaronis that are cooked just under al dente, and mix it all before placing it in a casserole. Sprinkle more grated white cheddar and gruyere on top. Cut little cubes of bread, then pour melted butter on the bread, mix it up, and put them on top of the casserole before baking. Bake for half an hour. They turn into these little crispy croutons and make a nice texture contrast to the creamy gooey mac and cheese below it.
Mmmm I need to make this again soon now.
What do you like to use your instant pot for? So far I've only made a whole chicken, which turned out very good. Also how in the heck do you figure out what time to set it for? I followed a recipe, but there must be an intuitive way to know, right? Like if I want to go freestyle and throw in some meat. Thanks!
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Any time. It's a great time saver. As well as being awesome for good food.
I've been using it for making chicken stock. I save all my chicken scraps/ bones and then add aromatics (carrots, onion, celery, leeks, bay leaf, etc.). Then I divvy it out into 2 cup containers and freeze. It's nice because then I always have really good, low sodium, chicken stock in the freezer to kick up my dishes a little bit. Way better than store bought and doesn't take all day like it would in a stock pot on the range.
Do you PUSH or PULL when you sharpen/hone a knife on a whetstone? Or does it even matter?
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Both when sharpening, but only pull when honing. I use a strop with 1 micron diamond paste to touch up in between sharpening.
I only push, but it doesn't matter, you just need to be consistent, I think a lot of professionals do push only, because the idea is it pushes the knofe away from you, rather than jerking the knife towards you, ultimately I think push only gets you the highest speeds.