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Baking 101 - What do I need?

In addition to what everyone else has said, get a flour sifter. I sift my flours for recipes that call for measuring cups. It came to my attention a while ago that most recipes were written with sifted flour in mind. Sifted flour takes up more room than unsifted flour. So when measuring by volume (1 cup, 1/2 cup, etc...) you get too much flour if you don't sift. I just get better results when sifting.

Now if the recipe calls for flour by weight, I skip the sifting.

A sifter also makes nice dusting patterns and helps you flour a work surface.

Sep 17, 2013
JohnOort in Cookware

Seeking listing of gas cooktops & wall ovens

Unlikely such a thing exists. The best you are likely to achieve is by going to Sears.com, Homedepot.com and Lowes and running your searches there, then comparing the results. Except for very high end (and you'll NEVER find a site comparing those) you probably will cover about 90-95% of all appliances available. Also, Ikea sells cooktops and ovens not for sale elsewhere (they are made by Whirlpool, and I own one and love it).

Apr 24, 2012
JohnOort in Cookware

Your favorite recipes using chevre / goat cheese

I took a roasted salmon filet and shredded it, mixed it with chevre, added S&P to taste and then stuffed the raviolis with it. I roasted a red bell pepper, minced it and added it to a bottled alfredo sauce. This went over the ravioli and then I completed the dish by sprinlinig crumbled feta over the whole thing.

Jan 13, 2012
JohnOort in Home Cooking

First-timer hosting Christmas dinner - critique my menu?

Uncle Scrooge, is that you?

Dec 19, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

What to do with feta cheese? Help, please

We also do this with herbed chevre`.

Nov 18, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

Need a T'giving potluck dessert that doesn't require baking

Good old dream pie in a store bought graham cracker pie crust. This is my favorite Thanksgiving pie (I know, heresy). But no cooking involved, just a lot of mixing. If you are unfamiliar with this pie, get a box of dream whip and the recipe will be on the package.

Nov 15, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

I bought Malt Extract on Accident...

This would be my recommendation too. One of the two unique-ish ingredients in bagels. I'd be hunting down the special flour by now if I had accidentally bought malt extract.

Nov 14, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

Mini lobster rolls

Here's a bigger picture that's readable.

Nov 14, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

Mini lobster rolls

My mother wrote down all of her recipes in a hard back note book. One day a year or two ago I asked her if I could make a copy. She said that it was destroyed due to pests (they lived in Florida). She just passed away unexpectedly last month, and at the funeral I was telling my brother about the loss of the recipe book. He then tells me that when he went to college in 1989 she handcopied a bunch of her favorite recipes into a spiral bound notebook for him. And he still has it! He photographed every page and sent them to me. I'll be binding them into a recipe book.

Here's her puffs recipe, in her own hand:

Nov 14, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

Mini lobster rolls

How about Cream Puff shells? My mother made them and put cream cheese and green onion mixtures in them for parties. Bet you could stuff lobster salad in there just fine.

Nov 14, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

Surviving without electricity

Sterno is poisonous if you drink it. And then in large quantities. There was a bluesman whose pretty much died of his addiction to drinking a certain cooking fuel....

http://www.answers.com/topic/canned-h...

Oct 31, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

Cleaning INSIDE the two panels of glass on Viking oven door

I recently had to do the same thing to our GE CAFE range. Most oven doors literally lift out. Open the door to 45 degrees (partially open), it usually will hold there. If you then pull the door up, inline with the door it will likely just slide off of the hinges. I mean pull it up at the same 45 degree angle that it is holding steady at.

Once you have it off, lay it down on the table or island on a towel, outside down. You probably will see four screens or so either on the inside side or maybe at the top edge and bottom edge. Carefully remove these screws....watchout, there things the screws or bolts are screwed into might be nuts that are held in with clips, and you don't want to upset those, so don
t move the "front side" or the side that's laying down on the island.

Once the screws are out, the inside panel should lift out. Again, be careful of those nuts on the front or outside panel. Ther might be some pressure from the front panel where it wraps around the sides of the doors.

You ought to be able to reach your glass at this point. Clean. Reverse my instructions, being, again, careful with the nuts(I'm repeating myself here, because you DO NOT want those nuts to move around.). Slide the reassembled door back onto the hinges and you should be done.

Oct 31, 2011
JohnOort in Cookware

Ikea Praktfull Pro 36" Gas Range?

Hey, be a trendsetter - go back and if you really can see yourself cooking on it, grab some pans from the market place and pretend you're cooking with them. If it feels good, why not get it?

Oct 27, 2011
JohnOort in Cookware

Ikea Praktfull Pro 36" Gas Range?

There's no reason to be embarassed- they are name brand appliances with a generous warranty. In fact, I don't think there's any stigma with them at all...they do look stylish and they certainly aren't cheap. You want that, go to ABC Warehouse. Our wall oven is one year old and performing perfectly, as is the range hood. Most of their appliances are built by Whirlpool. Just like Kenmore isn't made by "Kenmore." We're not talking Billy book cases here, and Ikea has been trying very hard to bolster their kitchen remodeling offerings. Good appliances are part of that. In fact, besides oven and hood, all of the cabinetry in our kitchen and the island table are Ikea and we love it. The appliances have worked troublefree the whole time. If it helps you feel better, they don't say "Ikea" anywhere on the front. Tell them you got them from a fancy European design house (true!) over the internet.

As for the depth, 28" is American standard range size. 24" is significantly shallower and thus that's why it's 36" wide, to make up for lost real estate up top. This I think is done with a nod to European design, as well as apartment living where floor space is at a premium but for people that still want a bigger range.

Oct 27, 2011
JohnOort in Cookware

Ikea Praktfull Pro 36" Gas Range?

First, you realize it's counter depth? 24" Maybe all 36" ranges are 24" deep, but thought I'd point it out. Really, a gas range burns gas to create a flame to create heat to cook. Unless you see an obvious thumbs down review for some flaw (my GE Cafe used to come with plastic knobs that would melt!), it's going to do exactly what you want. What you really need to do is make sure you are:

1)aware of the burner sizes and the heat output. Will the combination of burners match your cooking?

2)aware of what a 24" deep oven is like?

We have bought apliances from Ikea, such as a wall oven and range hoods and have been completely satisfied. Given that I spent way less than $3000 on the 30" Cafe range, I don't why you would be worried about spending under that unless it was for commercial use.

Oct 27, 2011
JohnOort in Cookware

HELP!!! My gal D/W'ed my Calphalon sautoir!

You know, don't give up yet. It might just be mineral deposits left from hard water that air dried you your pan in the dishwasher. Try this first before chucking it: wash the pan with white vinegar. Try it several times, if there are mineral stains it may take a while for it to work. Looking up the all knowing expert on everythign, Wikipedia, it indicates that the anodization process and the subsequent usage of you pan results in tiny heat stress cracks. Minerals could get in there during the hot water/heat cycle of your dishwasher, making it cloudy... So I'd get your pan really hot by first washing it with your hottest water, than use the vinegar while still hot.

Of course, you could find an old BMX bike customizer that could reanodize your pan, if that;s the problem, but that'd cost a bit. But you could also choose any color you wanted!

But seriously, I have an old school Calphalon black pot from way back and it gets stuck in the dishwasher every once in a while and it's fine.

Aug 12, 2011
JohnOort in Cookware

Questions from a long time baker, first time bread maker!

And, based upon the Breadbaker's Apprentice, that time in the fridge should also improve the flavor, by a lot, if my experience is any indication.

Get that book if you're really wanting to make bread. It's the bible of the home breadbaker.

Apr 28, 2011
JohnOort in Home Cooking

GE Cafe Gas Range - a review!

See my reply in the other thread: bottom line is that it IS an oven, it IS electric, and it does bake things, but if you peek at them too often you might have uneven heating.

Dec 29, 2010
JohnOort in Cookware

Help! Electrolux or GE Cafe Gas Range

Also important to know is that that heating element takes a lot of current, more than a regular gas oven does just for the electronics and fan. You'll want to check what else you have on that household circuit to make sure you don't trip it while using the oven.

Now, the good news: On Christmas day, we had the gas oven running, and rewarmed baked mac-n-cheese in the lower oven. I set it to 350 and it warmed up the dish just fine, making the cheese nice and bubbly. We also had a wall oven running, making dinner rolls so we had three ovens going at once!!!! Well, anyway. I have found the Cafe to be the best cooking thing I have ever owned and love it to death. You won't be disappointed, if you remember that that lower oven may lose a lot of heat everytime you open it, so time your cooking well, and I'd keep pastry cooking to the big oven. Lasagna should be fine in the lower, as irregular heating won't affect it.

Don't let the naysayers affect you. I have a blast cooking on this stove, with the griddle, the burners, the oven both in bake and convection, and the lower oven too. I'm 100% glad I bought it.

Dec 29, 2010
JohnOort in Cookware

What did Santa bring you?

A digital instant read thermometer
A glass 8 c measuring cup
Batter bowls
A new silicone spatula

We just remodeled the kitchen so most of the gifts to my wife and me were kitchen related.

Dec 29, 2010
JohnOort in Cookware

Yeast?

Agree.

Dec 11, 2010
JohnOort in Home Cooking

Have I made a good choice for a stove?

To get a five burner at that price I would say yes. You appear to want gas and aren't interested in electric or duel fuels not in your budget, so I'd say you got a good deal. In the end, if the cookers work and it has a decent warranty you are fine.

You'll be cooking great stuff for the holidays in no time.

Dec 08, 2010
JohnOort in Cookware

Help! Electrolux or GE Cafe Gas Range

We have had nothing but success with the convection on our Cafe gas oven. You type in the temperature you normally use then it sets it down to the proper temp for convection. The time you cook is therefore the same as for normal bake.

Dec 03, 2010
JohnOort in Cookware

is it possible to change stove burners?

Ok, we just had a new GE Gas stove put in (Cafe, BTW, love it!). But we have LP, so each burner had to have its "orifice" replaced. This is the thing that the gas squirts out of into the burner. Each burner is a different size and each orifice was different too. Sooooo, I'm guessing, unless the internal pipes are all different sizes too, you'd have to change the orifices to the appropriate size to match the burner you're going with. Not to mention, the burners have different sized seats on the cook top. Might just be a too hard problem.

Dec 02, 2010
JohnOort in Cookware

Beer question

How about using it to make batter?

Nov 19, 2010
JohnOort in Home Cooking

Next Iron chef [spoiler]

Ming Tsai was one of the original chef's that made FoodTV the hit it is. Why he has to compete when fellow FoodTV (yes, "FoodTV" is intentional) hosts (Mario, Flay) were simply hired (or put themselves on) is beyond me. Ming deserves better. Actually, we deserve his show to be back on Fook Network

Oct 05, 2010
JohnOort in Food Media & News