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Gluten Free... Overblown, by a lot?

Gluten free baked goods can be quite to get right since gluten is what forms the structure of most bread items.

Oftentimes they come out looking a bit flatter and don't always taste the same, so I doubt that does anything to improve the chances of someone wanting it.

Feb 27, 2013
Bryson in General Topics

Dipping bread in olive oil

THIS

I don't go out to restaurants every day, nor do I have bread dipped in oil or covered in butter every day (boy would that get dull). The extra calories every now and then aren't going to kill me.

Feb 26, 2013
Bryson in General Topics

Dipping bread in olive oil

They don't expect you to drink a glass of olive oil, so they provided a more suitable vehicle for tasting it.

Feb 26, 2013
Bryson in General Topics

Dipping bread in olive oil

I think the important issue here is in cholesterol and saturated vs unsaturated fat (the latter posing less of a health risk, though overconsumption is always an issue).

Not being derived from animal sources, olive oil doesn't have any appreciable amounts of cholesterol, and it also contains much less saturated fat than butter.

Feb 26, 2013
Bryson in General Topics

Gluten Free... Overblown, by a lot?

That also goes along with anyone with a seafood allergy; not all places have shellfish free fryer. Beyond that, I have been in more than one kitchen where everybody (cooks, chef, front of the house, etc.) pretty much stops giving a shit once they get in the weeds. A busy restaurant is unfortunately, not the place you want to be if you have dietary concerns.

There's also a lot of ignorance on both sides, unfortunately. The example I like to use for this is white sugar: I have seen white sugar added to 'vegan' food and even used by vegans, because most people don't know that some refineries use bone char in their refinement processes (not all of them, but there's no requirement to state either way). It's a similar matter with gluten free stuff, a lot of people don't know what gluten is or what it's in, so cross contamination happens all the time.

Also, it is important to state that you have an allergy or other such condition that makes consuming something hazardous. If you simply say you don't want X in something the kitchen simply won't put that in your food, but the other ingredients my have touched it. When the kitchen is busy, it's not worth our time to make sure something hasn't touched your food that you just don't like the taste of, so you often need to specifically bring up that eating that ingredient could have health consequences so care is actually taken to avoid cross contamination.

Feb 26, 2013
Bryson in General Topics
1

Gluten Free... Overblown, by a lot?

There's a lot of that because many people don't bother to educate themselves as to what is in their food, so when a fad diet of x or health warning about y comes around, they don't know any better making it easy to use that sort of trick marketing.

Think of how often you see breakfast cereal marketed as fat free.

it's also a reasonably easy matter to lie on your label, I've seen stuff that says no trans fat when the nutrition facts said it did have trans fats, they got around that because you can put that label on it as long as the trans fat is below a certain amount per serving (more to the point, though, the serving size was unrealistically small which lets them abuse that)

Feb 26, 2013
Bryson in General Topics

Bolognese vs marinara sauce?

Well ragù is the generic name for any sort of meat sauce (Bolognese sauce's full name being ragù alla Bolognese), so I usually just refer to marinara with meat in it as ragù.

The names don't mean anything to most people anyways; I often have to refer to marinara as spaghetti sauce s people know what I am talking about.

Feb 26, 2013
Bryson in General Topics

Tricks you figured out in the kitchen and thought 'good one'!!!

I don't really wash my non-stick pans. As long as the coating is intact, wiping them out with a paper towel should get them clean.

For something without a non-stick coating, baking soda with just enough soap and water to moisten it makes a good scouring paste.

May 28, 2012
Bryson in Home Cooking

Tricks you figured out in the kitchen and thought 'good one'!!!

Proper knife care is probably the most important. Always store knives in a knofe block (I have one that's got what is essentially a plastic brush inside a box, so I can store any random knife I've got in there rather than having the traditional wooden block with slots in it), or invest in some knifeguards to protect the edges of your blades. Get a steel and get in the habit of honing it before usethen handwashing and drying it immediately after use. Sharpen regularly.

Learn your spices. Stocks should have thyme and bay. A pinch of nutmeg makes cream sauces better and a bit of sage does the same for cheesy sauces. Tomato sauces are begging to have some oregano in them. Get whole spices and grind as needed when possibe You can use a coffee grinder for this; grind up some white rice when switchig between coffee and spices (and vice-versa) to clean out the grinder and keep flavors from transfering. Beware ciniamon, there's a few different kinds, the darker kind made of the thick bark will break your grinder.

Individual cloves of garlic can be pealed easily by cutting off the root end and rolling between your palms (optionally, giving a quick whack with the side of a knife first to losten it up. For wnole heads of garlic, cut off the bottom and drop in a hard plastic container with a lid and shake violently. For many things garlic paste is better than minced garlic, mince the garlic, then sprinkle salt over it and crush it with the side of your blade (bonus points ylu can make onion paste the same way). Cut the top off a couple heads of garlic and drizzle with olive oil and put in a 350 degree oven till mushy (about 30 minutes) to make roasted garlic paste.

When you get home, take the rubber bands and twist ties off your produce. Leafy greens and herbs should get wrapped in slightly damp paper towels. Crispy vegetables like romaine lettuce and celery will stay that way longer if you cut off the bottom and store underwater. Tomatoes should stay on the stem until needed (get the kind that comes with bunches still on the vine).

Season meat before cooking, but go light on the salt. If you are using ground meat, mix the seasonings in with the meat before forming it for meatballs, burgers, etc. Save your fats; strain them into jars and set aside (I keep bacon fat in the fridge). Use the right fat for the job (there's not much of a point in sweating onions in vegetable oil if the dish is getting bacon later), and you add a bit of fat to a pan before rendering meat or cooking bacon to help start the process.

If you're up to it, grow an herb garden. Herbs are much better fresh, and even if you later dry skme of the herbs, you can literally taste the love you put into it. To dry herbs, tie a bunch of herbs by the bottom of the stems and hang somewhere.

May 25, 2012
Bryson in Home Cooking

What makes a good french onion soup?

The secret to good onion soup is time. Lots and lots of time.

You have to caramelize the onions, slowly. Most people say 30 minutes, but I prefer to cook mine for an hour. melt some butter in your pan and then add a bit of garlic and enough onions to fill your pot to the top, they will cook down after a few eye burning minutes to the point where you will be asking "that's all?" Keep stirring for 30 - 60 minutes till the onions are nicely caramelized and then deglaze the pan with your alcohol of choice.

Once the onions are done, fill your pot with broth/consume` and add herbs. Then let it simmer for an hour or two. While it simmers, take some bread and toast it in butter and garlic for your croutons.

THe thing to remember is that if you rush any step of the process you will end up with an inferior soup so it's best to start it in the mid afternoon (most likely on an off day)

Dec 30, 2008
Bryson in Home Cooking

When to Sift Flour

bread, multipurpose and cake flour have different levels of protein so there will be a difference depending on which you use

Nov 14, 2008
Bryson in Features

Stock versus Broth

Broth is generally made by boiling meat while stock is made by boiling the bones and has to be coocked longer.

Sep 12, 2008
Bryson in Home Cooking

Need your best french onion soup recipe!

There is no recipe. There is a procedure. Grab a bunch of onions half red half white (two medium sized per person should work) and drop them in a pan with some butter (not margarine) and brown them on medium medium high. It will take a few hours to caramelize but it is worth it. I have to warn you though. The amount of onions will fill the pot TO THE TOP and the out-gassing is quite horrid but after a few minutes (preferably with the exhaust fan on) the onions will shrink down a lot and stop smelling anything but tasty.

After they have caramelized add beef broth/consume (its better with homemade) add salt, pepper and spices to taste. I use some thyme and parsley and never measure; just drop it in. Simmer that for about an hour for the flavors to mingle.

In the mean time get a loaf of french bread and slice it then toast the slices in butter (not margarine) and garlic in a pan and drop in a ramekin or other oven safe dish. When the bread is done and the soup has been simmering for a while pour the soup in the bowls over the bread and then grate a good melting cheese on top (Mozzarella, Swiss and Gruyere work great). Once cheesed turn your oven on broil and put the dishes in the oven till the cheese melts and starts to bubble.

Serve and enjoy

Sep 12, 2008
Bryson in Home Cooking

Pizza Stone Advice?

You shouldn;t have to spin it. The whole point of a pizza stone is to evenly distribute heat so if you let it sit in the oven long enough it should bake everything evnly without you having to touch it.

Sep 12, 2008
Bryson in Home Cooking

Pizza Stone Advice?

That would be the reason yes.

Just scrape the cheese off. If you try to bake the cheese off the fat just melts into the stone and you'll never get it out.

Sep 12, 2008
Bryson in Home Cooking

Pizza Stone Advice?

Usually the best way of making the Pizza not stick is a bit of cornmeal sprinkled on the stone before you drop the pizza on.

As for cooking the pizza crank up the oven as high as it goes and let it sit 45 minutes to a hour. THe stone is a heat mass which is the point so it is not all that usefull before it reaches the right temperature

Sep 12, 2008
Bryson in Home Cooking

Help - Bread Kneading Question

Using a timer is for machines and can lead to inferior bread anyways since the time required varies by the environment of the kitchen.

Kneed by feel on a floured surface (your counter will do). If the dough needs more flour it will quickly take it off the counter, if it does this just add more. Also make sure you flour your hands or bad things happen.

It might take a few tries to know what the right consistency is but generally it needs to be smooth and elastic and not sticky. Sticky means too much water. If it likes to crack into pieces it needs more water (ditto if its a brick)

Sep 12, 2008
Bryson in Home Cooking

pink or green peppercorns?

Pepper is like olives, it changes color over its lifespan before it is picked so many peppercorns of different colors are the same thing picked at different stages of maturity and will have nearly the same taste (in a dish with many ingredients any differences will probably go unnoticed)

The major use of having different colored peppercorns is for different colored foods, for instance white pepper is often used in creme sauces so they stay white whereas black pepper would be noticeably visible. In a similar way red pepper could be used in a tomato sauce, and green could be stealthily added to a pesto.

Sep 11, 2008
Bryson in Home Cooking

Slow Food Nation's Victory Garden

It's mostly luck.

We used to have an Artichoke plant that had decent yield and it died very suddenly one year.

It also helps if your dirt is devoid of clay but you can't find that on any of the houses built in the last decade since it takes a while to remove clay. Not like they have yards big enough to grow anything in anyways.

Sep 11, 2008
Bryson in Features

How Long Can You Keep Dry Spices?

Hear hear.

I don't need a giant can of spices I only use a dash of every 3 months

Sep 11, 2008
Bryson in Features

Truck-Side Dining

That whole thing about limiting taco trucks because they draw people away from local restaurants is crap because that's the whole point of business is to get customers.

You should complain to the city, you should figure out why people like the truck and meet their demands, maybe get your own trucks, Not only would it capture that clients but it would serve as advertisement for your restaurant.

Sep 11, 2008
Bryson in Features

10 Organic Liquors

Can something made from corn even be called vodka?
Where's the stuff made from potatoes?

Sep 11, 2008
Bryson in Features

Breast Practices

I don't have any problem with women breast feeding in public. Kid has to eat too.

I do however think that if the child is too young to eat solid food, then it's probably a bad idea to be taking him or her out to resteraunts. If the kid is too young to be left at home with a stranger then why would you take him/her to a place with lots of stragners?

Sep 11, 2008
Bryson in Features

Better Chocolate Through Supercomputing

Might I remind them that Africanized bees were made to be more hearty to help the Amazon rainforest. They now kill a bunch of people each year as far north as California and are active in most of the southwestern US.

While I like chocolate please oh please try not o get half the planet taken over by these mutant plats

Jun 29, 2008
Bryson in Features

The New Stealth Vegetarian Restaurant

Those sound like interesting places that I will be sure to go to once I find my way out of suburbia. Its comforting o know not all vegans want to force their food on me.

One thing I HAVE to know though is why in god's name would someone who has sworn off meat want to eat a facsimile of it.?

Jun 29, 2008
Bryson in Features