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#63226 - 09/09/06 09:54 PM Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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Got questions on how long to roast a turkey, why you would want to brine pork chops, or what to do with that extra zucchini? Post them here. This thread inspired by LaSalleUGirl's question in the baking thread, which can be our first one to answer:

 Quote:
I had planned to make tuna steaks for dinner. We bought the steaks frozen from Trader Joe's and I just defrosted them in the fridge.

The steaks have this funky iridescent sheen to them, and I'm not sure if that's normal. I did a Google search, which told me that live tuna have iridescent skins, which is neat but, you know, not especially helpful right now. Are tuna steaks supposed to be iridescent? Or is this a sign that we'll die a horrible death if we eat the steaks? (I'm asking mostly for future reference -- this isn't the first time I've noticed this, even in restaurants, and I want to make sure it's OK.) Merci!
Have at it, and come back with questions of your own!

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#63227 - 09/13/06 06:08 PM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
Exxie
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 147
Loc: Chicago, IL

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LaSalleUGirl, I just saw Alton Brown explain that the iridescence has to do with the moisture in the tuna and how it reflects light. Didn't get all the technicalities on it, but the basic implication was that this is okay.
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#63228 - 09/14/06 08:41 AM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Thanks, Exxie! I love Alton Brown, so I'm especially thrilled that the go-ahead comes from him. In the other thread, Cat also mentioned to trust your nose when it comes to fish. Between those two pieces of advice, I feel a lot more comfortable!
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#63229 - 10/10/06 08:09 PM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
orlando2
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 79
Loc: Western Australia

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Could anyone tell me what groundnut oil is - is it a specific product, or is it just a generic term for any oil made from groundnuts?

I was making a chicken and mango salad from Nigella's Forever Summerand the nut oils I already had were peanut and walnut. I ended up using peanut oil as the dressing had a decidedly Thai feel, with lime, coriander and chilli. It was delicious, but I would like to know whether I made the right choice

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#63230 - 10/10/06 08:19 PM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

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According to Cook's Thesaurus, here , groundnuts = peanuts, apparently because they grow underground. So you made the right choice!

Interestingly enough, peanuts also = monkey nuts and goober peas.

I love the Cook's Thesaurus site for general "what the hell is this recipe calling for?" kind of questions.

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#63231 - 10/10/06 08:19 PM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
voiceofreason
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/27/02
Posts: 1257
Loc: Brookline, MA, USA

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Apparently groundnut oil is just another way of saying peanut oil -- one online dictionary says it's a British usage, which would explain why Nigella uses it. I love peanut oil so much. And with lime, coriander, and chili, that sounds lovely.
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#63232 - 10/11/06 02:50 AM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
orlando2
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 79
Loc: Western Australia

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Thanks for your prompt replies. Nice to know that I unintentionally used exactly the right thing!
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#63233 - 10/30/06 10:06 AM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
ken_m
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/25/02
Posts: 503

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Well I have just cooked (and served) my second absolutely disastrous batch of Yorkshire puddings. I think I'm doing what the recipe says, but both times I got things that tasted and smelled like Yorkshire puddings but looked like little brown hockey pucks.

It's very simple batter. Then the recipe says "put a little oil into a muffin tin and put them in the oven to get hot". OK. Then it says "Spoon a little batter into the hot oil and return to oven for 15-20 minutes". The instructions make it seem like a chimpanzee could do it.

Is there a trick that I'm missing?

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#63234 - 10/30/06 01:42 PM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
Sylver
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 248
Loc: Lexington, KY

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ken_m, I can think of two things that might be affecting it.

One, your oil is not hot enough. I flick a couple drops of water on it, and if it sizzles and spits back at me that means it's ready (that scary sizzle sound that makes me leap back at least 5 feet for fear of being burned).

Two, (and this might be your problem) if the ingredients are not room temp it will not puff, even if you're doing everything else perfectly. Try that, and let me know how it goes. \:\)

ETA: Here is my mom's recipe, which always works perfectly for me (and is a bit different from the one you're using.

Preheat oven to 400.

Ingredients MUST be at room temp or it will not puff.

Sift into a bowl: 7/8 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Make a well in the center and pour 1/2 cup milk into it and stir it in.

Beat 2 eggs until fluffy, then beat them into the batter.

Add 1/2 cup water.

Beat the batter well until large bubbles rise to the surface. You may permit it to stand covered and refrigerated for 1 hour, then beat again. Have ready a hot ovenproof dish, 9x12, or hot muffin tins, containing about 1/4 inch hot beef drippings or melted butter. Pour in the batter to a depth of about 5/8 inch. Bake for around 20 min, reduce heat to 350 and bake 10-15 min longer.
Serve at once

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#63235 - 10/30/06 01:58 PM Re: Kitchen confidential: general cooking questions & advice
ken_m
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/25/02
Posts: 503

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Sylver:
ken_m, I can think of two things that might be affecting it.

One, your oil is not hot enough. I flick a couple drops of water on it, and if it sizzles and spits back at me that means it's ready (that scary sizzle sound that makes me leap back at least 5 feet for fear of being burned).

Two, (and this might be your problem) if the ingredients are not room temp it will not puff, even if you're doing everything else perfectly. Try that, and let me know how it goes. \:\)
Thank you for your insights. Your recipe is very similar to the one I used. I think mine is halved, though, because it is one egg and 1/2 cup of flour and...I will check the proportions to make sure there is enough egg.

When you say "beat" the eggs, do you mean "whip", as with an electric mixer? I kind of stirred the crap out of it with a whisk, which is usually what I do when I see instructions to "beat" an egg, but it occurs to me that I might not thereby introduce enough air into the mix. Certainly, there were bubbles, but not "large" bubbles.

When you say "room temperature"...how precise is that? I did let the batter stand on the counter for around 45 minutes (the recipe said half an hour), but my house tends to be kind of cold. If it was more than 65 degrees Farenheit where the bowl was sitting, I'd be surprised. If "room temperature" in this case means 72-75 degrees Farenheit, would that be enough to cause the problem?

I definitely notice that the quantities you are using to make the puddings are different. 1/4" of melted butter and 5/8" of batter is a lot more of both than I used. (My recipe book says "a few drops" of oil, butter or fat droppings" and "spoon some batter". It is not always given to precision.) Maybe the problem is simply that I didn't have enough oil or enough batter to get them to puff.

If Ms._m ever lets me try again, I will certainly use your measurements. Thanks again.

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