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Tips from the commercial kitchen for the home kitchen

How about some tips on how you reinvent the leftovers?

about 22 hours ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Tips from the commercial kitchen for the home kitchen

This is what I've been waiting for. Can't wait to try it! I always toast nuts but I had never heard of blanching them first.

about 22 hours ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Use for macadamia crumbs?

Yup, the lack of room. And I'm in a damp climate so they take a long time to dry so I'm tiptoeing around a kitchen and dining room *full* of cookies for the best part of a day.

Yes, an icing or a drizzle can add a lot both to appearance and flavor but, for me, best reserved for a couple dozen for the family or a smaller occasion. ; >

1 day ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Use for macadamia crumbs?

How do you bread with it? Does the coating stay intact without special handling?

Macadamias have so much fat. Is special care needed to fully cook the meat or fish while keeping the nuts from burning?

1 day ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Use for macadamia crumbs?

Oooo! Love the idea of using them with veggies.

I suspect I could freeze it and use a tablespoon at a time.

1 day ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Use for macadamia crumbs?

I once made the mistake of doing a cookie with a drizzle on the top when I made these big batch cookies. Sounded good but when you have to lay out 10 or 12 dozen in a small kitchen to let everything dry before you can pack them up it really slows things down. =o

No more drizzles or glazes or icings thanks!

Though, of course, that would be a fine suggestion for a couple dozen. ; >

1 day ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Surprisingly simple ingredients you make, never buy

Once a year I get the humongous Kirkland vodka and throw in 10 vanilla pods from which I've snipped the tip. My local Costco sells these at Christmas time as well. I put it in a dark cabinet and let it brew while I empty the one I made the previous year.

When the bottle's empty I put the vanilla beans, cut side down, in a smaller jar with about 1" of the vanilla in the bottom (the glass tubes they come in are ideal for this if you held onto them). When I want vanilla seeds I just grab one and squeeze down the length like taking toothpaste from a tube.

I save the pods, rinse them, dry them and grind them up. I put them in epsom salt with some lavender and a bit of dried thyme. Makes a great soak in a hot bath. You could sew it up in a little bag and put it in your lingerie drawer as well.

Surprisingly simple ingredients you make, never buy

Peel and core your apples. Cut halves into thirds. Throw them in a buttered shallow casserole. Cover and roast at about 375˚ until they're soft.

Turn the heat up to about 450˚. Uncover and continue roasting until they've developed a deep brown.

Remove from the oven. Throw in a knob of butter, a very small handful of brown sugar, some cinnamon and, if you like, a bit of nutmeg, and a splash of vinegar. Be choosey about the vinegar. If you wouldn't sip it, it isn't right for this. I use Katz' CabSauv -- it's nectar of the gods! Break up the apples and combine all the ingredients with a potato masher. I don't break up mine more than a bit; I like it chunky. Sometimes, if there's a lot of free liquid, I put it back in the warm oven to evaporate more of the water.

I do 6 large apples at a time. That will make about a quart of applesauce. It keeps a really long time in the fridge. And you'll be at it on a regular basis. It tastes like apple pie minus the crust.

1 day ago
rainey in Home Cooking
2

Use for macadamia crumbs?

I just made a big batch of cookies and I've got about 1/2 a cup of macadamia crumbs left over from chopping them.

Too good to waste but I can't say I know how to use them.

2 days ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Surprisingly simple ingredients you make, never buy

I need to try cultured butter. When I lived in Los Angeles it was so easy to find but now that I'm in Vancouver I'm only finding it unsalted.

2 days ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Surprisingly simple ingredients you make, never buy

I make many of my own spice blends such as apple and pumpkin pie seasoning and the spice portion of favorite recipes. Speeds things up and reduces the number of spices I have to buy and keep on hand.

I make my own mustard. I did it once for curiosity's sake and it was so easy and so perfect for my family's tastes that I haven't bought any in several years.

I make my own applesauce -- a version of Judy Roger's roasted applesauce. There is NOTHING in a store remotely like it!

I make flour blends like cake and self-rising flour when I need them and always keep a blend of flours I whip up for country-style French bread.

I make my own yogurt.

I make and always have on hand roasted garlic cloves and sun-dried tomato pesto. They enhance all kinds of things and the pesto makes a great wintertime substitute for fresh tomato on sandwiches.

I'd like to say I make my own vanilla but it's sooooo easy that I can hardly claim anything as active as "making".

I make my own granola. The ATK recipe that is easy, delicious and incredibly cheap compared to anything commercial.

That's what I can think of anyway.

2 days ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Tips from the commercial kitchen for the home kitchen

I bet there are some wonderful things that some folks know that would enrich cooking for the rest of us or simplify them or add a real spark.

So. Who's gonna tell us what we're missing and what we do the hard way?

2 days ago
rainey in Home Cooking

Salted vs Unsalted butter

Yup. I probably belong at the kids' table at some Denny's but, as you say, chacun à son gout.

Oct 18, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking

Why use evaporated milk instead of cream in fish/clam chowder?

All I can say is I hate the flavor of evaporated milk and would never even consider using it. ...except for one old recipe I have for corn chowder that specifies evaporated milk. We LOVE this soup. It's perfection. So I use evaporated milk.

Could be that's what could be stored and kept available when chowder recipes were written 3 or 4 or who-knows-how-many generations ago. Or out on fishing vessels that went out for months at a time. :: shrug ::

Oct 18, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking

Salted vs Unsalted butter

I am a salt person too. I never use unsalted butter -- not even in candy. I don't think it has any flavor and so no one can make me use it. When I use it in addition to the salt called for in the recipe I never find the results too salty. And I bake for a LOT of people. If they can't tell the difference then I can see no reason to keep 2 types of butter and be slavish about following a recipe.

But that's *my* experience. No reason anyone else should do anything than what seems right to them.

I think the intent of specifying unsalted has to do with the fact that, traditionally, the butter that could be sold unsalted was fresher. Once unsalted butter aged it was inedible while salted butter could be kept longer and eaten even when it was past its prime so people thought they were safer getting unsalted. Since butter turns over in modern markets at a brisk pace I'm not concerned about getting bad butter, salted or unsalted.

Oct 18, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking
2

How to re-heat a whole smoked turkey?

My b-i-l always used to send us a smoked turkey at Christmas. It was wonderful sliced up into sandwiches. I never tried to warm it. I don't think I would.

I have also smoked my own on the BBQ. That, of course, came off the grill hot. It was also good. And easy enough to do -- just use a low, indirect fire with lots of damp fragrant wood added at frequent intervals. But I don't think I'd, personally, do it for T-day. We couldn't stuff it or make gravy from it.

I don't have a real strong memory of the skin. It may have been an unattractive color from all the smoke. And there was that thin red color on the surface of the meat but I think that's unavoidable and, really, that wasn't objectionable in any way. Wish I could remember the skin but I just can't.

But good luck with yours. Have you asked the folks at the smokehouse for ideas?

Oct 18, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking

Sauerbraten screw up

I use Alton Brown's recipe for the brine. And I always do 2 roasts at the same time -- it's such a generous amount of brine it's plenty for 2. I marinate them in vacuum sealed bags so all the surface is in contact with the brine all the time. No flipping required.

When they've marinated in the fridge for 3 days or so, I braise one (AB's method is to sear the roast *before* brining) (unconventional but it works!) and put the other one in the freezer.

I've had the second roast in the freezer for at least 6 months, possibly much longer, and still had nicely flavored sauerbraten and fabulous gravy.

Oct 15, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking

Searing salmon

What I do is season the flesh of my salmon and heat a cast iron grill pan in the oven at about 450˚ and 6" or 7" from the broiling element. You can leave it in there until it gets blazing hot or for an hour or more until you're ready to do your fish. Make sure it's clean and dry, now, so it won't smoke.

When you're ready to go, oil the bottom of your salmon (I use skin on and just run my oiled hands under it). Pat the flesh dry -- only dry surfaces sear -- and drizzle a little more oil on top. Lay it on your nicely seasoned grill pan (be careful to restrain any impulse to touch that handle!!!!!) skin down. Immediately turn the oven to "Broil" to heat the flesh side.

It will take 7 or 8 or 10 minutes or so. Just watch to see when the top is seared as much as you'd like.

It's a different approach but it will take minutes of your time when company's there.

Remove it from the oven. Again, DO NOT touch that handle!!!! Let it sit for 5 minutes or so so it will release the skin. The skin will not be crisp but the top will be seared and the flesh will be nice and moist and you won't be monopolized in the kitchen.

Oct 15, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking

Sonic Drive-In Is it worth seeking out?

God, NO!!! They have greasy food and genuinely *disgusting* drinks whose technicolors don't come from any food ingredient.

Oct 15, 2014
rainey in Chains

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

When I'm in LA I think I'm between Costcos that are each about 7 - 9 miles away from me. I think I'm at one or the other of them about every week.

Here in Vancouver I'm probably only a little farther from the Costco that's downtown (and across a bridge). But the parking and traffic is a b**ch so I don't think I go more than every 8 - 10 weeks. I always find things I'm happy with but if I don't get there, I get what I need elsewhere.

I have the same relationship with Trader Joe's. When I'm near one I go all the time. But more than a 10 minute drive and I find I can live very nicely with it.

All that said, I am a big supporter of Costco. Their customer service is next to no one and I genuinely like shopping where I know the employees are treated with respect, paid decently and given appropriate benefits. I really think you can feel it in the atmosphere there. Very good morale; very responsive; never a problem that can't be solved for a reasonable customer.

Oct 15, 2014
rainey in Chains
2

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

I am living in Vancouver, BC and in the last few years the large Costco warehouse was moved from an industrial area with lots of parking to dead center downtown Vancouver. It's now surrounded by multi-story apartment buildings with pay parking in the nether regions of a big sports complex.

People in those apartments access the Costco warehouse via elevators from the street and haul their Waiting-for-Armeggedon size containers of rice and cornflakes to their postage size apartment kitchens.

Seemed comical to me but my husband was reading that the suburban Costcos may go the way of the dinosaurs and these urban hub warehouses may well be the future.

Oct 15, 2014
rainey in Chains

Tips for cooking turkey in an oven bag and still getting crisp skin?

Absolutely!

Oct 11, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

But they have to be frames. They won't drill lenses for frameless applications.

I guess maybe they'd do half frames if the lens could be inserted without drilling. I dunno. But they will not drill lenses.

Oct 08, 2014
rainey in Chains

I want the best and simple way to cook corn soup.

Not sure if this would fit your definition of "simplest" but mole de olla is a traditional Mexican soup with rounds of corn on the cob. http://www.soupchick.com/2012/08/mole...

Oct 08, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking
1

C restaurant gone?

Brilliant! Loblaw's is not far from me and I'm scheduled to go to the olive oil tasting at Gourmet Warehouse next week. I'll even get a $10 gift cert from WG that I can use on the salt!

I'll be sooo delighted to have a source again. I doled out *flakes* of that salt every summer on my garden tomatoes. Nothing was as worthy of one of those sun-ripened babies and it was how I looked forward to celebrating the first one each year.

Oct 08, 2014
rainey in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

C restaurant gone?

Thanks! I'll check that out. It was GREAT salt! I'll be very grateful if I can find some more.

Oct 07, 2014
rainey in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

C restaurant gone?

Is that the place that once (about 10 years ago) marketed its own flavored salts?

They made a smoked salt that I've been trying to find again ever since I got it at Capers way back then. The smoked flavor was lighter than any other I've tried and lacked the "oily" flavor that makes so many of them too strong to be really useable.

The one I got -- I believe from C -- was perfect on a slice of fresh tomato or atop melty cheese.

I'm so sorry if that means I'll never find it again...

Oct 07, 2014
rainey in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

What else can I do with Steel Cut Oats?

Have you tried a savory version as a pilaf for dinner? Toast the oats in some fat -- olive oil, bacon fat, butter, whatever's your preference. Add some aromatics and sauté until they're soft. Use whatever stock or broth works. Toss some fresh herbs in when you take it off the heat.

Put a handful in soup and use it like barley.

Add them like bread crumbs to a meatloaf mixture. In this case I'd probably pop it in the fridge so they can soften up prior to baking. If the exterior of your meatloaf dries out in the process it will probably improve the browning.

Oct 06, 2014
rainey in Home Cooking

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

Actually, I think of that as a plus. When my kids were in college they had Costco affiliated AmEx cards with their pictures on them. I thought that gave them an additional measure of security since it's more effective than matching signatures on a stolen card. ...as if anyone ever does. =o

Oct 06, 2014
rainey in Chains

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

I think this varies. At the Los Angeles Costcos (all I'm familiar with, that is) the milk comes 2 one-gallon jugs to a box.

Oct 02, 2014
rainey in Chains