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Question(s) for all you pie and canning mavens re: Clearjel

Clear Jel requires heat to thicken, Instant does not. Since Clear Jel does not break down during heating, using Instant Clear Jel in an amount equivalent to Clear Jel and then cooking it is likely why your filling is too thick. You might want to add more liquid. According to the apple pie filling recipe sidebar tip on page 170 of the same book, "making mixtures too thick can interfere with required heat penetration during heat processing." Your canned filling may not be shelf stable (I am assuming that when you use the term "can" you do mean in a water bath).

Also, that same sidebar tip refers you to page 431 for more information but I didn't see anything of help on that page.

It was the substitution of Instant for regular clear jel that caused your issue, not the halving of the recipe.

about 10 hours ago
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Super thin frozen fish fillets

I agree with babette feasts that weighing with a book is overkill. I frequently buy frozen fish, including flounder. For any of the frozen fillets once they are thawed I drain them on double thickness paper towels, place a paper towel or two on top and press down gently to squeeze out the retained water. Then move them to a dry plate lined with paper towel.

Pan frying these is probably not going to work very well, but you could try with a nonstick pan. I have had success with frozen flounder made in a nonstick skillet, quickly sauteed in butter and finished with lemon juice, or toasted almonds.

Another treatment that is really perfect for these frozen fillets is one I found in Roy Finnamore's book "Tasty", Flounder Baked with tomatoes. It is very simple and produces a delicious result. Here's my take on it:
Flounder Baked with tomatoes (for 2 servings)
Prepare the crumb crust: Tear apart two slices of Pepperidge Farm sandiwch white bread ( or some other soft, close-textured white bread). Buzz them in a mini-chopper to make fine crumbs, then mix the crumbs with a half cup or so of parmesan cheese. ( I use romano, our cheese of choice). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Oil a casserole dish that is just large enough to hold the fish in one layer, or only slightly overlapping (I use an oval gratin dish). Put into the dish a pint of halved cherry tomatoes, one small onion thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and two bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Bake the tomatoes for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes start to collapse. Remove from oven and turn on the broiler.

Lay the flounder on top of the tomatoes, strew the breadcrumb/cheese mixture over the fish and drizzle with olive oil. Once the broiler is good and hot, put the fish under the broiler about 6 inches away from the heat, and broil about 5 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and bubbling. Let sit for a couple minutes after removing from oven to allow the fish to finish cooking. Serve hot.

You may need to modify the timing a bit for your ultra thin fillets, but I think you will find that if you stop compressing them with book weights they will not be so thin, and their texture will improve.

Good luck.

May 18, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

A no-knead bread question

Have you tried using bottled water in your bread? If you are using well water, it might contain minerals that affect the rise or the texture; if your water is conditioned it might contain enough salt to have an effect on the bread. Here's an interesting article from Baker's Journal about the effects of hard and soft water in breads:

http://www.triangularwave.com/bakerye...

May 08, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Best Salad Dressing You've Ever Had

Have you tried varying the oils? Walnut and hazelnut oils both make a nice dressing, as long as you use mild acid and mild greens so their flavors don't overpower the flavor of the oil. Try either of these nut oils with sherry vinegar, or fig or pear balsamic vinegar. Or use lemon juice judiciously instead of vinegar. Pair with spring mix, or boston (butter) lettuce, or baby kale. Add a fruit like apple, or pear, or roasted or pickled beets. Finish off with some delicious cheese like blue, gorgonzola, roquefort, manchego, aged goat cheese. Top off with a sprinkle of nuts: pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, whatever.

Apr 28, 2015
janniecooks in General Topics
1

Are cows in Ireland raised in factory farms are they all free range?l

Fortunately, you can be connected to real living people in Ireland by heading over to the UK/Ireland Board; many who post there actually live in the UK or Ireland. You might get more reliable answers by posting there.

http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/42

Is there a better hamburger bun than Publix's Onion Schnecken?

I last purchased them a month or two ago, at the Publix at Barber Street in Sebastian. The onion schnecken had been sold by the piece like bagels - you selected them yourself from the bakery bins/case - but the last time I looked for them they were packaged in a bag of four with the other Publix "bakery" breads display. Good luck!

Apr 17, 2015
janniecooks in Chains

Help! I need to Convert 10 inch cake to sheet pan

The volume of your round pan is about 12 cups. You need to determine the volume of the 1/2 sheet pan. If it truly is a half sheet pan, that will make a mighty shallow cake, since half sheet pans are just 1-inch deep. The only change you will need to make for the recipe is to cook it for a considerably shorter period of time, since a half sheet pan, with dimensions of 12.5" x 17.5" x 1", has a volume of 12 cups. Bookmark this page for future reference:

http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html

Apr 17, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

When is Loquat season?

Here in mid-coastal florida they should be ripening now. I posted a question on using loquats several years ago, dated April 27, when the trees were loaded with fruit. Depending on your market sources you might see them soon.

Apr 13, 2015
janniecooks in General Topics

Washington Post Khubz

Apr 12, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Marco Pierre White's 1990 cookook White Heat, 20th Anniversary Edition

The original bad boy celebrity chef's cookbook has been reissued. He may have taught Gordon Ramsey everything he knows! (Ramsey was brought to tears while working in White's kitchen as a 19-year old.) Interesting as culinary history, maybe not so much for the recipes.

http://freebeacon.com/culture/the-ori...

Apr 10, 2015
janniecooks in Food Media & News

Care for baker's half sheet and What does Ina use?

When I need to scrub the aluminum sheet pans I always use Bon Ami, I believe I read somewhere that Barkeeper's Friend shouldn't be used on aluminum. Over time the pans lose their shine, I don't believe it is possible to restore back to their original state. The patina acquired by a well-used pan doesn't bother me.

Apr 04, 2015
janniecooks in Cookware

ELECTRIC OR INDUCTION RANGE FOR CONDO and venting questions

I have spent a lot of time recently researching Florida building codes relative to venting, and I don't believe the code permits venting into an enclosed space like an attic or enclosed crawl space. If you can't vent through the attic and out the roof, you will have to use a recirculating vent hood, which is no more effective than no vent hood at all. We just finished replacing the OTR recirculating microwave, but had to use that for about a month. It does nothing to eliminate cooking odors (e.g. from fish and onions), in fact it may circulate them more widely than no hood, and is completely ineffective in dealing with the steam and vapors from cooking things in water like pasta. The upper cabinets next to the cooktop and hood end up covered in steam and water vapors. It ought to be a crime to build kitchens with no external venting.

Apr 01, 2015
janniecooks in Cookware

More thoughts on moralistic culinary elites

Very thoughtful and well reasoned argument against the article. I'll have to remember this one for all those balanced articles from such sources as vox, salon, slate, puffho, and the like.

Apr 01, 2015
janniecooks in Food Media & News

More thoughts on moralistic culinary elites

Another point of view on the subject:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article...

Mar 31, 2015
janniecooks in Food Media & News

Dinner with a side of self-righteousness

A mild rant about eating local, out of touch food writers and web sites telling people what they should and should not eat.

A brief quote from the article: "asking people to "eat local" who live in northern climes where "local" means "nothing green" for six or seven months out of the year, and do not get to spend a few months each winter in Sicily teaching a cooking class, is pretty rich. A food writer who is telling other people how they could eat, if they wanted to, is doing a great public service. A food writer who is telling other people how they should eat (just like me, except without my access to ingredients) is just obnoxious. You can't possibly know how they should eat, unless you have spent some time living their lives.

Mark Bittman, are you reading this?

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles...

Brunch potluck where all the brunch basics are covered...

Yeah, there are a number of keepers in that issue. Everyone loves the asparagus salad.

Mar 26, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Brunch potluck where all the brunch basics are covered...

This Catalan Asparagus salad was devoured at the last gathering I brought it to, it would be a very nice addition to a potluck brunch table:

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

Mar 25, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Need help tweaking a pancake recipe

It's one of Chow's own recipes:

http://www.chow.com/recipes/30468-spi...

I omit the ginger and increase the cinnamon and cloves, and did find that separating the eggs and whipping the egg whites made a much fluffier pancake. These are very good.

Mar 25, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

souffle-like quiche?

It's Betty Crocker's Quiche Lorraine. Here's a link to the specific recipe, hope it works for you:

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/q...

BTW, while the recipe now calls for heavy cream or half and half, it specified heavy cream in the original printing, and I have only ever made it with heavy cream.

Mar 21, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Swapping cake pans - risky or foolproof?

Here's a great resource with a list of cake pan dimensions and capacities and an excerpt from the intro: " Different size pans hold different capacities (volumes) of batters and this must be taken into account when substituting one pan size for another in a recipe. If you use a larger pan than asked for in a recipe this will change the depth of the batter (shallower) and therefore the batter will bake much more quickly. Likewise, if you use a smaller pan than asked for in a recipe this will also change the depth of the batter (deeper) and therefore the batter will take longer to bake."

http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html

Mar 21, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking
1

Laurie Colwin’s Baked Mustard Chicken???

I'm not surprised people begged her to stop making it. They probably would have begged her to never serve it again right off the bat if they weren't so polite. Cant imagine serving this at a dinner party.

Mar 17, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Spinach seeding hints

Start early - 6 weeks before last frost. Direct seed, don't try to transplant seedlings, sew seed deeply. Take a look here:

http://www.almanac.com/plant/spinach

Mar 17, 2015
janniecooks in Gardening

Laurie Colwin’s Baked Mustard Chicken???

I made this last night after reading this revived thread, couldn't agree with you more. I cooked the chicken for 2 hours, against my better judgment, but the raves here and the intro to the recipe on the NYT website led me to follow the directions. It was grossly overcooked, the chicken not juicy or moist, and the mustard flavor completely disappeared into the pan drippings, which also overcooked to a tarry sludge that couldn't be spooned over the chicken. The basic concept of dredging in seasoned mustard, coating with bread crumbs and drizzling with fat (or as in the recipe, dots of butter) is a good one, but two hours for chicken parts at 350 degrees is way too much time. I wil try this again, tweaking it but follow my instincts and pull it sooner. I also question the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon for 3/4 cup of mustard. Seriously, what is that supposed to add?

Mar 17, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Is it difficult to convert from 32" to 36" cooktop?

Before you get too far along you might want to check the feasibility of enlarging the opening with granite installers in your area. We recently replaced a cooktop and were told that it is not advisable to cut the opening to make it larger - that risks ruining the granite counter itself and may cost more that it would cost to replace the entire granite piece. We ended up lifting up the existing cooktop, measuring the opening dimensions precisely, and finding a replacement that worked in the existing opening by reading installation specs on candidate replacement cooktops.

Mar 14, 2015
janniecooks in Cookware

Does flour go bad?

Yes flour can go bad, it becomes rancid which can be detected if you smell it. And if you use rancid flour anything made with it will taste bad. Learn how fresh flour smells and compare that to your several year old flour.

Mar 07, 2015
janniecooks in General Topics

Old Brownie recipe, bad results lately?

Well then, let's hope you'll get better results with better quality chocolate.

Mar 04, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Old Brownie recipe, bad results lately?

Another perhaps obvious thing is to check the freshness of your ingredients. Flour does go rancid, and unless you give it a good sniff before using it you might not realize that it has gone off. Same for the butter. I always give ingredients like these the smell test if they've been in my pantry for a while.

Mar 04, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Old Brownie recipe, bad results lately?

Yeah, Baker's chocolate is not good. Ghiradelli or Scharffen Berger are better and pretty widely available, Valrhona may be harder to find but is excellent. Better chocolate equals better brownies.

Mar 03, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking
1

A really stupid question...

Your question is not stupid, but you're reallying asking for an education, not a simple answer. You can look up the difference between perennials and annuals in any gardening book or on any gardening website (first link below provides definition). Seed packets and plant identification labels on purchased seedlings/starter plants will define whether the flower is a perennial or an annual. In SoCal, many annuals last for several years, behaving almost as perennials. Some flowers need to be deadheaded - removing spent blossoms - for increased bloom, but some do not. Impatiens, for example, shed their flowers on their own and continually produce new blooms, therefore deadheading is not necessary. Here are a couple of links about annuals/perennials and deadheading, from sites that can be explored for a wealth of gardening information:

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/wi...
http://www.finegardening.com/their-he...
http://www.dundeenursery.com/FactShee...
https://www.provenwinners.com/learn/c...
http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/gar...
http://www.hgtvgardens.com/garden-bas...

Feb 25, 2015
janniecooks in Gardening

ISO Reference Cookbook(s) - Good and Bad?

One cookbook alone is not likely to meet your requirements. Get one good book for techniques, and another for the seasoning/flavor combinations or variations.

Take a serious look at "The Cook's Book". I've touted this book before on the HC board, with its great photographs of basic prep steps and chapters by top chefs. It is a wonderful resource.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/81454662/Th...
http://books.google.com/books/about/T...
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/91...

You might consider "The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity" for your second objective. I don't have this book yet, but the comments/blurbs about it make me want it:

http://www.karenandandrew.com/books/t...
http://www.becomingachef.com/flavor_b...

Feb 20, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking