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Pear desserts

Galley Girl's pear tart is a big winner on this board; I don't have a link but plug the title into the search field and you'll find it. It would be a perfect use for your pears.

about 13 hours ago
janniecooks in Home Cooking

A culinary technique book for the essentials

The Cook's Book: Techniques and Tips from the World' Master Chefs, edited by Jill Norman, is a terrific book, with each chapter from a notable chef. Here is a sample of the chapters: Foams by Ferran Adria, Fish & Shellfish by Charlie Trotter, Poultry & Game Birds by Shaun Hill, Meat by Marcus Wareing, Thai Cooking by David Thompson, Chinese Cooking by Ken Hom, Vegetables by Charlie Trotter, Desserts by Pierre Herme. There's terrific photography, great explanation of the techniques, and delicious recipes. The book is not comprehensive, but covers so much ground and the explanatory text and photos help with understanding the techniques involved and how to apply them in your kitchen.

You can have a look inside the book at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble, which lists the complete table of contents next to a viewing window for a sample look:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-c...

The Time-Life Good Cook series mentioned by other posters is a great series if you can get hold of it; it is out of print but individual volumes are often available in thrift shops and certainly at used bookstores. It is a great sourcebook and I use these volumes often, in addition to The Cook's Book.

about 13 hours ago
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Bolognese pork alternative

Beef and lamb is a good combo for bolognese; there's no substitute for the flavor added by pancetta.

about 19 hours ago
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Demi Glace

4 parts water to one part product. For one cup of the stuff, dissolve 2 ounces/2 tbsp of the concentrate in 8 ounces/one cup hot water, simmer and stir until dissolved. Junk is an apt description of this product.

2 days ago
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Foaming sour soup

Soup needs to cool uncovered before refrigerating. Are you moving it covered into the fridge immediately after cooking it? If so, that is the cause of the souring. Also, though you didn't ask, you really don't need constarch slurry and wondra in the same dish, especially if it includes heavy cream and starchy items like sweet potatoes. I know some recipes include cream plus a starch thickener, but the extra starch shouldn't be necessary, and certainly not both wondra and cornstarch.

Dec 19, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

`Best mail order citrus?

Countryside Citrus and Peterson Groves, both in Vero Beach, sell what they grow/grow what they sell and are small farmers/growers, both of whom I like to support. Plus they're nice people!

http://www.countrysidecitrus.com/
http://petersongroves.com/

I've never had fruit shipped from them, but buy at both throughout the season.

Dec 19, 2014
janniecooks in General Topics

Lots of Parsley

You don't have to allow it to go to seed, just keep cutting back and it will keep growing.

Dec 17, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking
1

Under Cabinet Range Hood Recommendations

We're doing a similar replacement in a new house, there are tons of hoods but we've pretty much settled on a Zephyr, 400 CFM. I'd prefer to go higher, but local building codes require a make-up air vent for anything over 400 CFM. Didn't like the way vent-a-hoods require purchase of separate parts. The zephyr we're planning to install has a choice of baffles or mesh filters, the only one offering that at 400 CFM as far as we can tell.

Good luck with your reno, I'll be interested in what you end up with.

Dec 15, 2014
janniecooks in Cookware

Culling Chinese Cookbook Collection

Dispose of any book you have never cooked from. Dispose of any book you haven't opened in at least a year. Go through the rest of them and realistically assess whether there is anything of interest in any of them. If not more than a few pages or a few recipes, copy the info of interest and dispose of them too.

Need help marinating a whole chicken in lemon

It's too bad that it didn't turn out as you hoped. Have you considered just squeezing fresh lemon juice over the chicken when you serve it or eat it? That may be the best way to get the zing you seek without having to resort to other additives.

Dec 11, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking
1

Skimming Stock - Fat or Gelatin?

The good news is the stock is cooking at a nice low simmer, which is why the fat is forming a skin as the very surface cools a bit. Don't worry about it.

Dec 10, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

How to keep Butter from absorbing refrigerator odors

keep it well wrapped, store the wrapped butter in a covered butter dish, and store the dish in the covered butter shelf in your fridge if it has one (mine has a dedicated space in the door, with its own door). Consume it relatively quickly once opened. Otherwise freeze it, well wrapped.

Dec 10, 2014
janniecooks in General Topics

Not So Pioneer Woman?

If your recent viewing is your first exposure to Ree Drummond, take a look at her website. Her story is well documented on her blog, and she wrote a great story about how she ended up on the ranch. She also documented the construction of the facility where the cooking show is filmed, and she is incredibly generous in sharing practical information: how to be a better photograper, how to use photoshop, for two examples in addition to cooking and other life skills. I admire her success, even if some of her cooking skills and recipes might be less than professional-caliber.

What's your go-to method for roasting a chicken?

Since there's just two of us, the timing is not that important to me. So what if dinner is a bit late? But with a famished family and the importance of routine, it makes a difference. I don't follow a formula other than "cook until done" but one source has a quick roasting method of roasting at 425 for 15 minutes, then finishing at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour (for chickens weighing 2 to 4 pounds) or 1 to 1.5 hours for weight between 4 and 7 pounds. A slow roast (cook at 325 no initial high heat) will take 1 to 1.5 hours for smaller birds and 1.5 to 2 hours for larger birds. For higher temp, say 400 degrees, I'd start checking for doneness at 1 hour. If you plan a generous resting time you can allow a bit more cooking time if it's not done after 1 hour. Really, your takeaway should be that roasting the chicken is a pretty flexible process, precision is really not that important unless you're Gordon Hamersley (or Thomas Keller).

Dec 09, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

What's your go-to method for roasting a chicken?

You can achieve a similar result to Thomas Keller's chicken just by roasting longer at a lower temp - even 400 degrees will still render crisp skin. (N.B. The only time I get smoke in the house is when the oven is dirty from several prior roastings, and Keller's method does create a huge amount of splatter. The oven now gets cleaned every six weeks or so since I started making "my favorite roast chicken" regularly, before I could probably let months pass before cleaning.) Despite the mess we prefer the simple method at 450 degrees over all others.

Dec 09, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking
1

BRINING!? Good, bad or ugly?

I like vanilla, spouse prefers chocolate. There's no accounting for taste. To each his own. Different strokes.... Choose your cliche.

Dec 09, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

BRINING!? Good, bad or ugly?

I think you have to prepare both ways and decide for yourself. I prefer unbrined turkey, and haven't had issues with dryness. I have tried it both ways. There are lots of posts on this board on turkey prep and turkey brining and many posters here rave about brined turkey.

As for pork, while initially against it I now favor brined pork over unbrined (chops, loin and tenderloin). Maybe that's due to the leanness now bred into our commercial pork. Brining pork adds great flavor and moistness to the finished product.

Dec 09, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

One pot cooking. Really?

I use one pot but many bowls and plates. Raw meat in one bowl, seared meat on a plate, vegetables in one or more bowls, depending on when they are added in the cooking process, one bowl for the peelings and other detritus generated in food prep, etc. Doesn't bother me to clean the interim food prep vessels, I want the browned bits in just one pot, the dish needs those browned bits. Each subsequent element adds to the flavors that start building up from that first batch of seared meat.

Need help marinating a whole chicken in lemon

Do you add oil to the marinade? A couple squeezed lemons, a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of nice olive oil, salt and pepper, should give you a good marinade. Add some dijon mustard if you're so inclined, maybe tarragon if that's available to you. Whisk marinade ingredients together, put the chicken in a big plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Then really massage it into the chicken. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Turn the bag every 6 hours or so, massaging the chicken each time you turn it.

But you can still get a nice flavor even without marinating. Dry the chicken, put in a roasting pan. (roast the veggies separately.) Sprinkle the chicken with 4 tablespoons lemon juice, rub with a couple tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you can have garlic, throw in the pan a head of garlic cloves, separated but not peeled. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Roast at 400 degrees, I'd guess about 1.75 hours for a 6 pound bird, basting every 15 minutes. Delicious, but you won't get crispy skin this way. And squeeze out the garlic cloves onto slices of baguette; save the extras for a vinaigrette.

(Have you ever tried a simple roast chicken a la Thomas Keller? Much better IMO)

Good luck.

What can I do with roasted beets??

and put a couple cloves in there too.

Dec 08, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Vent hood for 48" stove

And don't forget about the make-up air. I was sorely disappointed to learn our building code requires a make-up air vent for anything over 400 cfm.

Address our concerns, please

I see where I might have been too vague. I'm saying what Dirtywextraolives is outlining as resentments against TPTB here at CH are the same resentments I have against not only what's happening here but the prevailing ethos in our society. The lack of transparency, rules changing with no good reason/basis, the patronizing attitudes towards the "us (whatever group the "us" represents at any one time), the censoring of ideas and/or people, basically the attitude of just shut up. . . because. Because we don't agree with you, because I might offend, because some delicate flower might take offense, because I don't use language or tone that is the kind of language or tone preferred by TPTB, because . . . There is no possibility of compliance or even coexistence. CH is just a microcosm of what is wrong at large. It is representative, perhaps symptomatic, or possibly even the result of the just shut up ethos. And you can't win in this fight.

Address our concerns, please

I see parallels between this particular discussion and the trends in our society at large - journalism, media, government, education. The behavior decried in this particular reply are the same behaviors that are exercised against any dissenters of the supposedly prevailing "ism". Chowhound is just one more example of the "just shut up" ethos that is poisoning civil discourse.

Carnitas help please

you were correct, I shouldn't have added more fat, it wasn't necessary. thanks!

Dec 07, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Carnitas help please

We liked the flavor of the carnitas very much. Liked the ease in making it - toss everything together a day before, simmer at low till tender, then crisp the pork. However I failed at crisping it.

I suspect the sugar in this recipe is the culprit. After cleaning the dutch oven, and heating it I spooned back the fat that rose to the top of the liquid that remained after draining the pork. The fat sizzled and bubbled just a little from the non-fat components, but no scorching until I added the pork to the pot. The only crispy bits I got were from scraping the burned and scorched layer that stuck stubbornly to the pot. Tried lower heat, higher heat, no difference. I believe the sugar in the pork caused the scorching.

I will make these changes: first, simmer only for two hours. I simmered for 2.5 hours - pork was a little too loose and shredded too easily to maintain cohesive chunks. Second, completely omit any sugar. Now that I think about it, there does not need to be any sugar in pork. Third, after removing the pork from the dutch oven and shredding it I will lay it out in a sheet pan and broil it to achieve a crispy crust.

As Chefj pointed out in his first reply to my query, Carnitas is an easy and forgiving thing to make. Boiled down to the essence, it is pork marinated in citrus, onion, garlic, with oregano, bay, and salt, then simmered til tender, then drained, shredded, and crisped. No mystery, and NO SUGAR!

Oh, and about that fat question. I don't fear fat, I like it, and in the future I won't bother to melt the fat separately. If the pork includes a generous fat cap like this one did I'll just chop it up and add it with the cut-up meat at the outset. And joonjoon is right, there is no need to add any additional fat; shoulder is plenty fatty on its own.

Thanks for your help with this.

Dec 07, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Christmas - Influenced by Thanksgiving or not

first time I've seen them referred to by that term. learn something new every day!

Dec 06, 2014
janniecooks in General Topics

lamb stew using chops

Shoulder of lamb is the preferred cut for stew. If you decide to proceed with chops, I hope they are shoulder chops and not loin/rib chops! Assuming the cut you will use is shoulder chops, there is no reason to adjust the cooking time, certainly do not cook it longer than usual. If anything, cook for less time than usual due to the thinness of the cut.

My favorite lamb stew is a mediterranean style lamb stew served with cooked white beans and braised fennel on the side.

3.5 pounds lamb shoulder, cut in 1.5 inch cubes
1/2 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup each diced leeks, carrots, celery and fresh fennel bulb;
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
Bouquet garni, tied in cheesecloth, of a whole head of peeled garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons dried fennel seed, and a bay leaf
1/4 cup pernod
3 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 325. Dredge lamb in flour, shaking off excess flour. Brown the lamb in batches in the oil on all sides, removing lamb to a plate as it is browned. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, and fennel to the pan and cook covered for about 10 minutes, until tender. Returned the lamb to the pot with any liquid on the plate, and add the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven to cook for about 1/5 hours, until meat is tender.

Remove meat from the casserole, remove excess fat from the liquid and either puree the solids to make a sauce or strain out the solids and reduce the remaining liquid to thicken and intensify the flavor. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.

Dec 06, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

To buy or not to buy Re: Mortar and Pestle

If it's talking to you, later you'll regret not buying it.

Dec 06, 2014
janniecooks in Cookware
1

Carnitas help please

I'm afraid my pot is not quite that big!

Dec 06, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Carnitas help please

That link is most helpful, thanks. Since I'm not all that interested in rendering the excess fat for anything other than this pot of carnitas, I'm going to follow my humble kitchen's rendering instructions more or less, but doing it stove top. Again, thank you!

Dec 06, 2014
janniecooks in Home Cooking