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The Back Room => The Diner => Topic started by: Holden on February 08, 2021, 01:02:16 AM

Title: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Holden on February 08, 2021, 01:02:16 AM
How long do I cook a steak for and when do I know that it's done the way I want? How do I make perfect mashed potatoes every time? How do I make home made hamburger patties that are moist, tasty and won't crumble when you cook them?

I'd like to make a thread where we discuss our cooking hacks. For example, I believe that I can teach you to make perfect roast pork crackling every time without playing around with temperature settings? (if you want to know then ask me)

So what cooking hack can you provide but more importantly, what doesn't work well for you? Can a GMG member give you the solution?

To start things off, why, when I roast a cut of beef, does it come out dry and tasteless? What should I do?

I believe that we have enough culinary aficionados on the forum to make this work.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: OrchestralNut on February 08, 2021, 06:25:56 AM
Hmmm, I will give it some thought and try to contribute some of my "tricks" that may be a help to others (hopefully), and also learn some new cooking techniques and tips as well!  :)
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: DavidW on February 08, 2021, 06:33:56 AM
I think I would need some examples to know esoteric we are talking.  I know some good tips that are not super widely known but are not coveted secrets either.  More like the kind of things not in a book but on any vid the chef will say this is really what you should do...
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2021, 10:03:06 AM


To start things off, why, when I roast a cut of beef, does it come out dry and tasteless? What should I do?


Sous vide and then finish off with a blow torch.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Brewski on February 08, 2021, 10:45:57 AM
Interesting thread, which I'll certainly be checking in on, now and then.

As an aside, here's Cookwise, the great book by Shirley Corriher, who (if I recall) was the chef that Julia Child consulted when she had cooking questions. The book goes deep into the chemistry of cooking, and why certain ingredients react in the way they do. 



--Bruce
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Benji on February 08, 2021, 10:46:31 AM
Sous vide and then finish off with a blow torch.

+1 for sous vide! If you cook a lot of meat an immersion cooker is a great investment.

It makes it way easier to get steak or roast correctly done as becomes science where you just plug in 1) doneness preference and 2) weight of meat. Then a simple calculation will tell you the temp to use and exact duration required.

Once it's done you simply have to brown the outside to your liking, either torch it like Mandryka says or, like me, use a insanely hot cast iron skillet (and ladle with butter to be 'extra').

Unfortunately, for me, arguably not for the cows, I'm doing the veggie thing these days. But carrots done sous vide with butter are delightful and you can do very easy ramen style eggs. 👍
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Brewski on February 08, 2021, 10:53:28 AM
Here's a recipe I discovered over the weekend, from Lidia Bastianich: Oregano and Eggs. It's incredibly easy, not to mention, delicious.

What struck me was the very first instruction: "Set a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over a burner that is still off." The idea is to cook the eggs slowly, at a very low heat. It definitely improves the texture.

https://lidiasitaly.com/recipes/oregano-and-eggs/

--Bruce
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Benji on February 08, 2021, 11:07:04 AM
Here are three 'hacks' that have improved my cooking / kitchen game in recent years.

1) Get yourself a bench scraper aka bakers tool - if you're struggling with the back of a knife or trying to cup ingredients from your chopping board into your hands then struggle no more. Such a cheap item but it has way more to offer than dividing dough etc.

2) Season as you go, rather than all at the end. Build layers of flavour - add salt / pepper every time you add anything new to a pan. I know this seems simple but it massively improves the final result - maybe a lot of people already do this but it wasn't obvious to me until I saw someone discussing it on YouTube. And I've been cooking for 20+ years! 😖

3) Check our Jim Lahey's no knead bread technique. I am forever in that man's debt - as are so many. You can have artisan quality bread with no fuss and literally no kneading, it's insanely easy and adaptable - you just need a baking vessel with a lid (casserole / cast iron), flour, yeast, salt and water. First time I made a loaf his way, 2012, I cried a little, I'm not ashamed to admit, and I've been making bread that way since 😎 (well actually over lockdown I found a way to adapt the recipe for a sourdough starter rather than packet yeast so that's an improvement but still no kneading).
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2021, 11:27:55 AM
What's the best way to peel and seed a Butternut Squash please? I need the answer fast.

(https://thirdcoastreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Xmas-butternut-squash-whole-122219-829x1024.jpg)
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2021, 11:29:33 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/Nmr1l5IV9Os&ab_channel=HelenRennie

For those who don't know it this is the way to dice onions.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2021, 11:31:17 AM
A question for the spaniards.

How do you make tortilla? I mean this

(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/qrj6WWCosbQ/maxresdefault.jpg)
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: OrchestralNut on February 08, 2021, 11:31:33 AM

2) Season as you go, rather than all at the end. Build layers of flavour - add salt / pepper every time you add anything new to a pan. I know this seems simple but it massively improves the final result - maybe a lot of people already do this but it wasn't obvious to me until I saw someone discussing it on YouTube. And I've been cooking for 20+ years! 😖


Yes indeed! A fundamental step that seems to be avoided at times, in many recipes.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Holden on February 08, 2021, 01:52:03 PM
OK, perfect pork crackling every time.

1. Wash and score the pork joint anything up to 24 hours before cooking time
2.Boil the kettle and pour the boiling water over the pork skin until the scored parts open up exposing the pork fat.
3. Dry off with a paper towel and sprinkle liberal amounts of salt onto the skin
4. Place uncovered in your refrigerator until it's ready to cook
5. Remove from the fridge and brush off all the excess salt making sure you get it out of the scored parts.
6 Place into a preheated oven (or BBQ) set somewhere between 180C and 200C and cook for the normal time
7 Take out of the oven and voila! Perfect pork crackling.

The science behind this is simple. To get good crackling you need the skin to be as dry as possible. The salt and the almost zero humidity in the fridge helps to dry out the skin. You also need something to crackle up the skin. When you cook the pork the fat comes out of the opened up score marks to cover the skin. This is virtually 'self basting'.

One caveat - do not pour oil on the skin before cooking. Doing this reverses the drying out process. I've seen some  celebrity chef's recommend this and I know from experience it doesn't work anywhere near as well as the method I've described above. Where did I get this method? Thanks Mum.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: DavidW on February 08, 2021, 01:58:22 PM
Many people know this but the best way to peel an avocado is not to peel it.  Slice it in half, and then work the knife around and then it will come right out.

If you're dealing with something very soft like dough or sausage, stick it in the fridge or freezer for a bit to firm it up and then cut.  It is much easier that way.

Plain greek yogurt and flour makes for a very good, quick pizza dough.

If you don't have a bbq searing a steak on the skillet and then finishing it in the broiler can lead to a pretty good medium rare steak.

This is just something I like to do when cooking a burger-- I season it and then fold it up so that seasoning is all throughout the meat and not just on the surface.

Chickpeas are very versatile and they can go into almost anything, always worth having some at hand.

I prefer the flavor of hand-crushed tomatoes over using a can of tomato sauce.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: OrchestralNut on February 08, 2021, 02:22:18 PM

If you're dealing with something very soft like dough or sausage, stick it in the fridge or freezer for a bit to firm it up and then cut.  It is much easier that way.


David, you beat me to this one. I always freeze my Italian sausage, even when I buy it fresh. Once I am ready to use it, I take it out of the freezer and thaw it in warm water for about 5 to 10 minutes. I only want it partially thawed, as it is much easier to slit the sausage to peel off the skin and also much easier to slice into even slices or chunks when still partially frozen.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: OrchestralNut on February 08, 2021, 02:24:19 PM
I've tried this with varying success.

To reduce or eliminate tears when slicing and chopping onions, hold a slice of bread in your mouth while while slicing and dicing your onions.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: OrchestralNut on February 08, 2021, 02:29:48 PM
https://www.youtube.com/v/Nmr1l5IV9Os&ab_channel=HelenRennie

For those who don't know it this is the way to dice onions.

Nice tip there!  :)
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2021, 02:42:27 PM
Nice tip there!  :)

It will feel strange at first, but now I do it really naturally and easily - like a pro! There’s a pleasure in using the geometry of the onion to make the task manageable.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: DavidW on February 08, 2021, 04:27:48 PM
https://www.youtube.com/v/Nmr1l5IV9Os&ab_channel=HelenRennie

For those who don't know it this is the way to dice onions.

Avoiding the root is also the easiest top way to avoid the tears.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on February 09, 2021, 08:43:27 AM
What's the best way to peel and seed a Butternut Squash please? I need the answer fast.

(https://thirdcoastreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Xmas-butternut-squash-whole-122219-829x1024.jpg)
Apologies for the delay in replying to you; trust that things still came out o.k.?

For me, I like to cut off the top and the bottom of the squash.  I then cut off the round bottom.  You can then either stand the bottom on end (since you now have a flat base) and then cut it in half lengthwise.  I then use a sturdy soup spoon to scoop/scrape the seeds and the stringy stuff out (i normally toss it but you could also, if you're patient, clean off and roast the seeds).  I then cut the narrow half down the middle and chunk it up---it depends what all I'm using it for.
Many people know this but the best way to peel an avocado is not to peel it.  Slice it in half, and then work the knife around and then it will come right out.

If you're dealing with something very soft like dough or sausage, stick it in the fridge or freezer for a bit to firm it up and then cut.  It is much easier that way.

Plain greek yogurt and flour makes for a very good, quick pizza dough.

If you don't have a bbq searing a steak on the skillet and then finishing it in the broiler can lead to a pretty good medium rare steak.

This is just something I like to do when cooking a burger-- I season it and then fold it up so that seasoning is all throughout the meat and not just on the surface.

Chickpeas are very versatile and they can go into almost anything, always worth having some at hand.

I prefer the flavor of hand-crushed tomatoes over using a can of tomato sauce.
The freezing trick for a few minutes works for a number of things:  making a carpaccio, grating soft cheeses, etc.

Tip:  When wanting to cook almost any protein, make sure first that it's at or close to room temperature--avoids having a burnt exterior and a raw interior!

And please, oh please, do NOT wash your chicken, beef, etc. before cooking it.  It's not necessary and only spreads bacteria all around your sink and possibly your countertops.  Just pat it dry with paper towels.

PD
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on February 09, 2021, 08:46:43 AM
Interesting thread, which I'll certainly be checking in on, now and then.

As an aside, here's Cookwise, the great book by Shirley Corriher, who (if I recall) was the chef that Julia Child consulted when she had cooking questions. The book goes deep into the chemistry of cooking, and why certain ingredients react in the way they do. 



--Bruce
Oh, neat!  I'll have to keep an eye out for it.  I like checking out this website:  https://www.seriouseats.com/the-food-lab

He's also written a book (which a friend of mine really likes).  Alton Brown used to have a show on the Food Network which was fun to watch too.

PD
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: DavidW on February 09, 2021, 09:37:03 AM
Alton Brown used to have a show on the Food Network which was fun to watch too.

PD

He actually brought it back on YT.  I was shocked to see how much he aged!  I used to watch Good Eats all the time.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on February 09, 2021, 09:48:35 AM
Apologies for the delay in replying to you; trust that things still came out o.k.?

For me, I like to cut off the top and the bottom of the squash.  I then cut off the round bottom.  You can then either stand the bottom on end (since you now have a flat base) and then cut it in half lengthwise.  I then use a sturdy soup spoon to scoop/scrape the seeds and the stringy stuff out (i normally toss it but you could also, if you're patient, clean off and roast the seeds).  I then cut the narrow half down the middle and chunk it up---it depends what all I'm using it for.The freezing trick for a few minutes works for a number of things:  making a carpaccio, grating soft cheeses, etc.

Tip:  When wanting to cook almost any protein, make sure first that it's at or close to room temperature--avoids having a burnt exterior and a raw interior!

And please, oh please, do NOT wash your chicken, beef, etc. before cooking it.  It's not necessary and only spreads bacteria all around your sink and possibly your countertops.  Just pat it dry with paper towels.

PD

It's that stringy stuff which I hate. There must be a better way.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on February 09, 2021, 09:56:02 AM
It's that stringy stuff which I hate. There must be a better way.
You might try an ice-cream scooper?  I would not try it though with one of those types that you squeeze to get it to release the ice cream.

See No. 4 here:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/butternut-squash-hacks_n_55f970d5e4b0d6492d63a733

PD

p.s.  I just peeled a yam...yard to get the skin off, but I did it!  :)
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: DavidW on February 09, 2021, 11:03:51 AM
And please, oh please, do NOT wash your chicken, beef, etc. before cooking it.  It's not necessary and only spreads bacteria all around your sink and possibly your countertops.  Just pat it dry with paper towels.

PD

Oh I didn't know this!
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on February 09, 2021, 11:13:21 AM
Oh I didn't know this!
Here's one article about it from Food & Wine (magazine).  https://www.foodandwine.com/news/raw-poultry-wash-usda-study
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on February 10, 2021, 12:57:10 PM
You might try an ice-cream scooper?  I would not try it though with one of those types that you squeeze to get it to release the ice cream.

See No. 4 here:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/butternut-squash-hacks_n_55f970d5e4b0d6492d63a733

PD

p.s.  I just peeled a yam...yard to get the skin off, but I did it!  :)

Very good! I shall try the scoop forthwith.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Brewski on February 10, 2021, 09:46:00 PM
Oh, neat!  I'll have to keep an eye out for it.  I like checking out this website:  https://www.seriouseats.com/the-food-lab

He's also written a book (which a friend of mine really likes).  Alton Brown used to have a show on the Food Network which was fun to watch too.

PD

And thanks for that site, new to me. "Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science" gets my attention!  8)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Handelian on February 10, 2021, 10:12:48 PM
Discovered a recipe for the good old English cottage pie which makes very well and feeds about six. Absolutely delicious with gravy!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cottage-pie
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: OrchestralNut on February 11, 2021, 05:33:51 AM
Discovered a recipe for the good old English cottage pie which makes very well and feeds about six. Absolutely delicious with gravy!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cottage-pie

That looks tasty. Thanks for sharing!  :)

I might try this one. In Canada, we usually call this "shepherd's pie".
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: OrchestralNut on February 11, 2021, 05:38:03 AM
Another tip that will be obvious to many, but perhaps not everyone:

Rinse your beans (especially canned beans like navy, kidney and black beans) under cold water before cooking. It will greatly reduce the "gas" impact.  :)
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on February 11, 2021, 06:10:16 AM
And thanks for that site, new to me. "Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science" gets my attention!  8)

--Bruce
Bruce,

Do you recall a program that used to be on NPR called "Ask Dr. Science!"? ["Remember, he knows more than you do."].  For those not familiar with it, it was a spoof/comedy science program; alas, they eventually took if off of the air because they were afraid of possible lawsuits from people who took it seriously.

Discovered a recipe for the good old English cottage pie which makes very well and feeds about six. Absolutely delicious with gravy!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cottage-pie

That sounds yummy!  :)
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on February 11, 2021, 06:27:35 AM
Another tip that will be obvious to many, but perhaps not everyone:

Rinse your beans (especially canned beans like navy, kidney and black beans) under cold water before cooking. It will greatly reduce the "gas" impact.  :)
I've been thinking that I should try saving that liquid.  It's called aquafaba and is often used in vegan cooking (to replace eggwhites); I'd still rinse the beans though.
PD

p.s.  I really need to get better at getting used to soaking beans overnight  and cooking them myself.  It can make such a difference in recipes!

Speaking of beans, I love this recipe.  Yes, it takes forever to make, but it is soooo good and makes quite a bit and makes for excellent leftovers.  All you have to do the following day(s) is to poach an egg and slice the bread.  I'm tempted to try making the sauce mixture in a slow cooker and used some tinned peeled tomatoes instead of the plum (particularly this time of the year as it's hard to get ahold of nice ripe tomatoes).  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/oct/18/chickpea-recipes-gondi-yotam-ottolenghi  The recipe is "Slow-cooked tomatoes on toast with poached egg".
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Brewski on February 11, 2021, 10:43:59 AM
Bruce,

Do you recall a program that used to be on NPR called "Ask Dr. Science!"? ["Remember, he knows more than you do."].  For those not familiar with it, it was a spoof/comedy science program; alas, they eventually took if off of the air because they were afraid of possible lawsuits from people who took it seriously.


As an occasional NPR denizen, the show sounds familiar, but I know I never saw it. But of course, as usual, just did a quick YouTube search and...voila!

Thanks, looks like lots of fun.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Benji on February 11, 2021, 02:07:33 PM
That looks tasty. Thanks for sharing!  :)

I might try this one. In Canada, we usually call this "shepherd's pie".

Shepherd's pie is almost identical but it's made with lamb though. In the UK at least. I think I prefer that ... But I've not had either in so long. I don't know what you'd call a fake meat version - food scientist's pie? 😖
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: OrchestralNut on February 11, 2021, 02:54:52 PM
Shepherd's pie is almost identical but it's made with lamb though. In the UK at least.

Ahh, I see. I think in Canada it's all called shepherd's pie, regardless of what type of meat is in it, if I'm not mistaken.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on March 17, 2021, 08:50:49 AM
You might try an ice-cream scooper?  I would not try it though with one of those types that you squeeze to get it to release the ice cream.

See No. 4 here:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/butternut-squash-hacks_n_55f970d5e4b0d6492d63a733

PD

p.s.  I just peeled a yam...yard to get the skin off, but I did it!  :)

The scoop works like a dream. It's a pleasure to deseed a butternut squash.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on March 17, 2021, 02:29:15 PM
The scoop works like a dream. It's a pleasure to deseed a butternut squash.
Glad to hear that it works for you.   :)  Here, I use a large spoon (oblong soup spoon) with good results.

Best wishes,

PD
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Holden on June 21, 2021, 11:42:17 PM
Time to resurrect this thread as I listen to Mahler 1/Walter.

OK, a new cooking hack that I tried that is so easy and produces great results. All you need to do to make it work is think in advance. If you are vegetarian or vegan then read no further.

This is all about getting tender, flavorful meat every time. The process is called dry brining and it works. Many of us will season a beef steak, pork chop, lamb cutlet or a roast with a sprinkling of salt just prior to cooking it. However, what if you did this 24 hours before cooking? The results might surprise you. I came across this method at the beginning of the year. The idea is that you sprinkle on the salt as per normal but then put the meat uncovered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. In those 24 hours the salt is drawn into the meat, effectively tenderising it by breaking down the muscle proteins. The meat doesn't taste salty at all.

When I read about this method and being the skeptic I am I decided to give it the ultimate test - I'd roast a turkey drumstick. We all know how dry and tough roast turkey can get, especially if you decide to roast it in the BBQ which I did. I was gobsmacked by the result. The drummie was moist, tender and had great flavour. I've since done this with small cuts of meat (think chops and steaks) and full roasts.

If you want to give it a go look up 'dry brining'. This is an excellent site.

https://www.seriouseats.com/how-to-dry-brine

I've got a lamb rump roast finishing off as I type this post.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on June 30, 2021, 06:39:07 AM
Time to resurrect this thread as I listen to Mahler 1/Walter.

OK, a new cooking hack that I tried that is so easy and produces great results. All you need to do to make it work is think in advance. If you are vegetarian or vegan then read no further.

This is all about getting tender, flavorful meat every time. The process is called dry brining and it works. Many of us will season a beef steak, pork chop, lamb cutlet or a roast with a sprinkling of salt just prior to cooking it. However, what if you did this 24 hours before cooking? The results might surprise you. I came across this method at the beginning of the year. The idea is that you sprinkle on the salt as per normal but then put the meat uncovered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. In those 24 hours the salt is drawn into the meat, effectively tenderising it by breaking down the muscle proteins. The meat doesn't taste salty at all.

When I read about this method and being the skeptic I am I decided to give it the ultimate test - I'd roast a turkey drumstick. We all know how dry and tough roast turkey can get, especially if you decide to roast it in the BBQ which I did. I was gobsmacked by the result. The drummie was moist, tender and had great flavour. I've since done this with small cuts of meat (think chops and steaks) and full roasts.

If you want to give it a go look up 'dry brining'. This is an excellent site.

https://www.seriouseats.com/how-to-dry-brine

I've got a lamb rump roast finishing off as I type this post.
I haven't tried this technique before but have heard of it.  I seldom cook big cuts of meat, but I see that it also works for smaller pieces of meat and fish too.  I like the idea of really crispy skin.   :)  Part of the issue for me would be in trying to find enough room on the bottom shelf of my fridge (normally fridge is pretty packed with veggies and other things).  Wish that I had a spare fridge--could really use it at times.  Do you ever get concerned about cross-contamination with the meat/fish/chicken not being covered up and with air circulation in the fridge?

And, yes, like you I love that serious eats website!  Been tempted to buy his book.

PD
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Holden on June 30, 2021, 03:50:21 PM
I haven't tried this technique before but have heard of it.  I seldom cook big cuts of meat, but I see that it also works for smaller pieces of meat and fish too.  I like the idea of really crispy skin.   :)  Part of the issue for me would be in trying to find enough room on the bottom shelf of my fridge (normally fridge is pretty packed with veggies and other things).  Wish that I had a spare fridge--could really use it at times.  Do you ever get concerned about cross-contamination with the meat/fish/chicken not being covered up and with air circulation in the fridge?

And, yes, like you I love that serious eats website!  Been tempted to buy his book.

PD

At the temperatures inside a fridge combined with almost zero humidity, cross contamination should never be a problem unless the food is already spoiled. The only food that might concern me is fish, but I have a different way of dealing with that.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 22, 2021, 01:25:00 AM
A couple of suggestions regarding bacon:

1)  In the States, it's normally sold in 1 lb. packages.  If I know that I won't be going through it all quickly (which normally is the case here), I get out some plastic wrap and separate the strips into 3-4 piece packages, wrap them up in the plastic wrap well and then put all of them into a larger ziplock bag, label and date it, squeeze out as much air as possible and then put it into the freezer.

2)  Recently, I purchased some slab bacon from my coop (about 1/2 lb.).  This time, I ended up cooking it all in a skillet as I wanted to have some around during the week for use in sandwiches, salads, etc....plus I had hoped that a friend would be joining me for lunch one day this week.  After putting it on some paper towels on a plate to drain off the fat and it was cool, I then put it into a food safe container with a lid and into the fridge the excess went to use throughout the week.  I gently reheated some the other day in a small frying pan, but if you have a microwave, you can reheat it in there.  I would suggest on a plate and covered with a paper towel.   Plus low heat and a few seconds at a time and keep your eye on it.  Check often.

PD
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: DavidW on July 22, 2021, 07:12:14 AM
I recently bought an egg cooker which really makes great hard boiled eggs!

Also I finally bought a grill.  I bought a small portable gas grill and wow what a difference!
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 22, 2021, 07:20:44 AM
I recently bought an egg cooker which really makes great hard boiled eggs!

Also I finally bought a grill.  I bought a small portable gas grill and wow what a difference!
What is your egg cooker like David?  Sometimes I wish that I had a gas grill; mine's charcoal, so more of a pain to use, but I love the flavor of charcoal grilled food (though these days, I believe, there are also ways to add a special wood packet to a gas grill for more flavor).

PD
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: DavidW on July 22, 2021, 07:29:24 AM
What is your egg cooker like David?  Sometimes I wish that I had a gas grill; mine's charcoal, so more of a pain to use, but I love the flavor of charcoal grilled food (though these days, I believe, there are also ways to add a special wood packet to a gas grill for more flavor).

PD

You put the eggs in a ring, there is a holder for each egg.  You have to pierce the egg shell first.  You add water that amounts to how long they cook with lines for each type of way you cook it.  A chime goes when it is done.  Of course I then put the eggs in an ice bath.  It is small and works well.  I got it off of Amazon.

I agree about the flavor of charcoal, but like you didn't want the pain of it.  Gas grill is just easy.  I didn't know about adding wood packets, I'll have to look into that. 
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on July 22, 2021, 08:00:30 AM
My new project in life is to make perfect soft boiled eggs. Any tips appreciated, and here are some of the questions which I'm wrestling with:



1. To prick or not to prick?

2. What sort of spoon do you use to eat them with? Has anyone got one of these?

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51w0jBe3UKL._AC_SS450_.jpg)

3. What is the best egg buying strategy? I normally chose the free range ones with the use by date the furthest way, but there may be better approaches. Which breeds of chicken produce the tastiest eggs? Does shell colour matter for taste? (I know that the first bite is with the eye, according to that programme where Homer Simpson becomes a Japanese chef.)

4. How do you cook them to ensure a tender white and a runny but viscous yolk?

5. How do you get the top off the eggs?

6. Do you add salt? If so, what sort of salt?

7. Do you add a little bit of butter to the yolk? What sort of butter?

8. Any opinions about egg cups? They're a bugger to clean -- why does nobody make disposable ones?

And of course the question over which wars have been fought:

9. Are you Lilliput or Blefuscu, big end or little end?
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: ultralinear on July 22, 2021, 09:10:56 AM

4. How do you cook them to ensure a tender white and a runny but viscous yolk?


I've given up trying to boil eggs in a pan.  Too hit and miss.  Nowadays I get much more reliable results by steaming them.  Large eggs, in the same steamer I use for green vegetables, 6½ minutes seems about right for a firm but not hard white and a runny yolk.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Mandryka on July 22, 2021, 09:32:05 AM
I've given up trying to boil eggs in a pan.  Too hit and miss.  Nowadays I get much more reliable results by steaming them.  Large eggs, in the same steamer I use for green vegetables, 6½ minutes seems about right for a firm but not hard white and a runny yolk.

I shall try tomorrow at breakfast.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: VonStupp on July 22, 2021, 10:18:16 AM
I've given up trying to boil eggs in a pan.  Too hit and miss.  Nowadays I get much more reliable results by steaming them.  Large eggs, in the same steamer I use for green vegetables, 6½ minutes seems about right for a firm but not hard white and a runny yolk.

We have been using our pressure cooker for hard and soft boiled eggs lately, and it has taken away our variable results from boiling them in the pan.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Holden on July 22, 2021, 12:38:36 PM
My egg cooker is from Aldi

(https://cdn.productreview.com.au/resize/listing-picture/95fdfbde-e13d-312c-89f2-ac381abae564?width=170&height=170&dpr=2&v=2)

It will also poach them.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 22, 2021, 03:10:33 PM
For perfect hard-cooked eggs:
1) Start them in a cold saucepan. For 2-3 eggs, I use an old Le Creuset 14, which I think is about 1 quart US.
2) Bring just to a boil.
3) Cover, turn off heat, and let sit 12-15 minutes.
4) Run under cold water and shell.

I imagine soft-cooked eggs would work equally well if you let them sit for a shorter time.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: DavidW on July 23, 2021, 08:01:26 AM
I've given up trying to boil eggs in a pan.  Too hit and miss.  Nowadays I get much more reliable results by steaming them.  Large eggs, in the same steamer I use for green vegetables, 6½ minutes seems about right for a firm but not hard white and a runny yolk.

That is how my little egg cooker works, it steams the eggs.
Title: Re: Cooking Hacks For Those That Love To Cook
Post by: Iota on August 07, 2021, 06:38:08 AM
My new project in life is to make perfect soft boiled eggs. Any tips appreciated, and here are some of the questions which I'm wrestling with:

[.....]

3.  Does shell colour matter for taste? (I know that the first bite is with the eye, according to that programme where Homer Simpson becomes a Japanese chef.)

[...]

And of course the question over which wars have been fought:

9. Are you Lilliput or Blefuscu, big end or little end?

Putting eggs in cold water, bringing to the boil, turning off heat immediately and letting sit for about 2 mins works for me.

3. As far as shell colour goes, I always assume darker shell implies tastier/more nutritious without actually having any evidence for doing so. Bit like redder apples.

9. I have never, ever even considered a 'big end' approach! And on brief inspection of the state of my amygdala at the mere mention of the idea, I'm not sure I ever could.