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Thread: Ask a chef

  1. - Top - End - #31
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Any ideas on what to do with tons of fresh milk? I was given several bottles by a local farmer that would have gone to waste otherwise. I'm not much of a milk drinker, and I can't get the ingredients to make my own cheese under the current circumstances, so maybe some kind of soup? Sauce? Desert?
    "Après la vie - le mort, après le mort, la vie de noveau.
    Après le monde - le gris; après le gris - le monde de nouveau.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    I'm partial to milk bread

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Any ideas on what to do with tons of fresh milk? I was given several bottles by a local farmer that would have gone to waste otherwise. I'm not much of a milk drinker, and I can't get the ingredients to make my own cheese under the current circumstances, so maybe some kind of soup? Sauce? Desert?
    Fresh Ricotta cheese should be doable with household ingredients (whole milk, salt, lemon juice or vinegar). Fanciest equipment you need is a thermometer and a fine sieve (or cheesecloth). Fresh mozzarella only needs milk, salt and rennet; dunno how hard rennet is to get where you're at.

    Check out the mac and cheese recipe I posted.
    Its basically a Mornay sauce - a bechamel w/cheese, theres lots of French dishes (and americanized Italian ones) that use a bechamel.
    Old school Italians use cubes of stale bread, dipped in milk, in their meatballs instead of breadcrumbs.


    As far as desserts, Pot de Creme, Creme Brulee, handmade ice cream (if you have a way to churn while it starts to freeze), Arroz Dulce (Portuguese rice pudding). Ille Flotante is an old school fancy French dessert that’s a baked meringue floating in a bowl of creme anglais (cooked milk thickened with eggs yolks and sugar).
    I'm assuming whole milk since you said its from a local farmer, most creme recipes are probably going to call for a combo of milk and cream, but thats assuming store bought processed milk. Can use just milk in recipes calling for milk and cream, just need to add corn starch or more eggs depending on what you’re doing.

    Anything else comes to mind ill edit it in. Haven't had my coffee yet today, my sleep schedules all messed up.

    Edit: Cream of broccoli soup!! One of my favorites, I like to toss roughly cubed broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic then roast it until it starts to brown. Meanwhile on the stove sauté a roughly puréed mirepoix and some more minced garlic until browned, deglaze with white wine, then build a light roux in the same pan with more olive oil, butter and flour. Add veggie stock and milk and simmer until thickened; then add your broccoli and finish with shredded cheddar cheese. I can try to give actual portions on ingredients, I’d have to break it down, don’t have it written, usually make 3 gallons at a time.......

    For those wishing me well, thank you. I haven't had it that bad, but the duration is the worst part, honestly. Had a week of intense sinus congestion; followed by total loss of sense of smell, extreme fatigue and muscle aches (felt like a lead xray apron on my chest for a week), now I'm coughing and sneezing. Going on about 3 weeks of feeling like garbage, no end in sight. Local board of health said to quarantine through Monday or 72 hours symptom free, whichever takes longer. Doubt ill be symptom free tomorrow.

    Thankfully I have family in the area dropping supplies off when I need them.
    Last edited by DwarvenWarCorgi; 2020-12-11 at 11:11 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Get well soon, DwarvenWarCorgi! I have a somewhat weird question.

    I live in a small apartment, and my kitchen is really tiny. For that reason, I don't have an oven. I do have a microwave with an "Oven" setting, but it kind of sucks - it doesn't really get hot enough, and feels like it's drying the food more than anything - which is why I don't really use it, and opt to only use the stove for cooking 99% of the time.

    Do you have any suggestions for vegetables (or other vegan options) that would work with a low-quality oven?

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Thanks for the well wishes. I'm definitely feeling better, hopefully past the worst of it.

    I had a job a couple years ago where it was standard practice to toss vegetables in a light coat of olive oil, add a dash of kosher salt +pepper, arrange them in an even layer in a sautee pan, let them sit on low heat until browned, flip them and brown them again. Don't stir, don't toss, just let them sit and brown. I still love it for green beans, Brussels sprouts, broccolini and other hearty vegetables if I'm looking to take it easy on myself in the kitchen.

    And truthfully its a go to in my house to Sautee broccoli, green beans, zuccini, or Brussels sprouts in olive oil with fresh garlic, kosher salt, black pepper and chili flake.

    Agra Dolce is Italian sweet and sour, Sautee a mix of green and yellow squash with some sweet onion until just barely cooked, then sprinkle with sugar and quickly deglaze the pan with red wine vinegar.

    I really enjoy broccolini and broccoli tempura with a balsamic vinegar reduction drizzle. If rice flour is not in your budget/not available, I've done all purpose flour, soda water and stiffly beaten egg whites as faux tempura, it doesn't brown the same, but the texture is good. In Italy they do Fritto Misto which is basically assorted, lightly battered, fried vegetables.

    Fried Zucchini and fried green tomatoes are usually done with a more traditional breading.

    Green peas in a sage brown butter are another favorite. If you have powdered milk around, add some to the butter before you brown it, having the extra dairy solids in there adds more flavor.

    I don't remember the name off the top of my head, but in Sweden they do potato pancakes by layering thinly sliced potatoes in a skillet and slow cooking until it basically congeals, doesn't sound appealing but its delicious, I've never actually gotten one to stay together and be pretty, but that doesn't matter at home.

    I've gotta get some sleep, I have a few more ideas I'll add tomorrow
    Last edited by DwarvenWarCorgi; 2020-12-13 at 02:58 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    What's the trick to making a nice soft thick pizza crust?

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Quote Originally Posted by zarionofarabel View Post
    What's the trick to making a nice soft thick pizza crust?
    I have said in the past, not really jokingly, that pizza is my spirit animal.

    I have professionally made American style, Greek style, Neapolitan, Chicago, and grilled pizzas.

    Thickness is just a factor of pan size, dough weight and rise. Texture is determined by the amount of gluten in your dough.
    Being able to control texture is understanding the science of gluten production.

    Regardless of anything you’ve ever heard; gluten is an organic protein that is NOT found in nature. Gluten is formed when you rehydrate dried Glutein, Glutenin, and Protease and either allow molecular movement the time to autolyse, or use mechanical agitation (kneading) to build complex gluten chains from the simple proteins found in your flour.

    I like a combination of autolyse and kneading personally.
    This type of dough production uses what’s called a Poolish; poolish production is simple, and it eliminates an outlying factor in flavor production that most people don’t think about when making dough: oxygen is caustic. The more air you mix into your dough, the less flavor you will have. Before I get into actual dough production, other outlying flavor factors are water, flour and leavening.
    Everyone says New York pizza is special because of the water; they’re wrong. All these famous NYC places use a Sourdough starter instead of yeast, this makes a huge difference in your flavor. As far as water, it is absolutely true that it makes a difference, but quite the opposite one from the nyc water is better; municipal water supplies tend to have chlorine and fluorine, 2 caustic gasses that hinder flavor production, just as oxygen does.
    (Easiest way to counter this is to either filter your water, or just let it rest for an hour after it comes out of the tap. Some of the gasses will evaporate.)

    Flour has 2 qualities we want to be aware of: protein level and production method. Only recently in the US have manufacturers begun putting protein levels on the front of their flour packaging; in general for pizza, higher protein is better, but you can overcome that with more kneading, or a longer autolyse period.
    I find it’s more important to use an organically processed, or Unbleached Non-Bromated flour. Potassium Bromate and other bleaching agents began being used in the US in the 1920’s because demand for flour exceeded supply. These chemical agents make flour usable quickly, but it destroys the flavor compared to flour that has been allowed to age naturally for use, also the flour tends to have less protein when chemically aged than when naturally aged. Usually about 20% less protein when chemically aged.


    As for method. Quick tips for better rising, have your dough at room temperature before you bake it, preferably starting to rise after being stretched into your pan; and don’t put sauce on your dough unless it’s going in the oven in under a minute, the liquid soaking into your dough is counterproductive to lift. Adding the salt as late as possible in your process also provides more lift by hindering the yeast less early on.

    To make a poolish: take a dough recipe you enjoy, divide the flour in half, add all the salt to half of the flour and set it aside. Take all your other ingredients, except for the unsalted flour, and add them to the bowl of a stand mixer. Run the mixer on medium speed for a minute with a dough hook to dissolve your sugar and yeast, then turn the speed to low and slowly add the unsalted flour. Once fully combined, turn the speed up to medium/low and mix for 3 minutes. Remove the dough hook, press plastic wrap against the poolish and allow it to rest. I like about a half hour at room temperature (but this is your autolyse period, longer time=more texture and vice versa). Add the salted flour, about half at a time, and mix on low speed until combined, then turn the mixer up to knead it (5 minutes for really tender, up to 15 minutes of kneading for leathery NYC style crust).

    I’ve said it before, but to reiterate, the lengths of your autolyse period and kneading times are your texture factors if you don’t change anything else. Change one at a time to get your desired texture. If you expirement enough to get your perfect texture, then you can change the size of your dough ball to get your perfect thickness. In general I start with 1.25oz of dough for each inch of pan diameter and go up or down from there.
    Last edited by DwarvenWarCorgi; 2020-12-14 at 02:15 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    tyckspoon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Quote Originally Posted by DwarvenWarCorgi View Post
    Thanks for the well wishes. I'm definitely feeling better, hopefully past the worst of it.

    I had a job a couple years ago where it was standard practice to toss vegetables in a light coat of olive oil, add a dash of kosher salt +pepper, arrange them in an even layer in a sautee pan, let them sit on low heat until browned, flip them and brown them again. Don't stir, don't toss, just let them sit and brown. I still love it for green beans, Brussels sprouts, broccolini and other hearty vegetables if I'm looking to take it easy on myself in the kitchen.
    Reminds me of an America's Test Kitchen treatment I like for green beans. It would probably work for most other vegetables that have a similar texture - I haven't tried it on anything else but it should just involve modifying the cook times to tenderize stuff like broccoli if you have stems in, or I would bet it works pretty much the same for florets only.

    Heat a pan with a very light amount of oil. Saute your vegetable until the color brightens and it just begins to show browning. Throw a small amount of water in (it should immediately boil into steam) and clap a lid over it as fast as you can - the idea is to basically flash-steam the contents of the pan. Modify the amount of water here to control how thoroughly cooked the end product is.

    Once all the water is converted to steam/after a couple minutes letting the steam run around the lidded pan, carefully take the lid off. Add some oil or butter into the hot pan and saute for another minute or so/until the vegetable is browned to your liking. Add your desired seasonings or a sauce/dressing/marinade instead of the fat during this step, and it will pretty much absorb directly into the beans for sauces or adhere very well as your cooking fat is taken up. Works wonderfully with things like soy sauce or teriyaki.

    (Works best on fresh vegetables, can be done with good frozen ones as well - thaw them/deliberately undercook them from the bag first, then finish in the pan.)
    Last edited by tyckspoon; 2020-12-14 at 02:57 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Dragon in the Playground Moderator
     
    Peelee's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    So, as I mentioned earlier, I love making kaesespaetzle the way my mom used to. However, in Austrian restaurants, they top it with fried onions, and it's amazing. I've never been able to figure out the trick to that. Pre-made fried onions don't do it for me. The restaurants always seemed like they were made in-house that day. How can I create this dish topper?
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-12-14 at 07:19 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #40
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    So, as I mentioned earlier, I love making kaesespaetzle the way my mom used to. However, in Austrian restaurants, they top it with fried onions, and it's amazing. I've never been able to figure out the trick to that. Pre-made fried onions don't do it for me. The restaurants always seemed like they were made in-house that day. How can I create this dish topper?
    2nding this, but I need to know how in order to make mujadara.

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    We do fried onions daily where I work. Couldn't be easier.

    Thinly sliced your onions, then toss them in salt and whatever other seasonings you like. Let them rest for at least a half hour; the salt will draw some water out of the onions. Drain the excess water and toss them with all purpose flour, cornflour, or a mix of the 2 and deep fry at about 330F until golden brown.
    I recommend a seive over a bowl to mix the onions and flour. Keep breaking them up and reapplying flour until they look dry.
    Last edited by DwarvenWarCorgi; 2020-12-14 at 08:16 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Dragon in the Playground Moderator
     
    Peelee's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Quote Originally Posted by DwarvenWarCorgi View Post
    We do fried onions daily where I work. Couldn't be easier.

    Thinly sliced your onions, then toss them in salt and whatever other seasonings you like. Let them rest for at least a half hour; the salt will draw some water out of the onions. Drain the excess water and toss them with all purpose flour, cornflour, or a mix of the 2 and deep fry at about 330F until golden brown.
    I recommend a seive over a bowl to mix the onions and flour. Keep breaking them up and reapplying flour until they look dry.
    You rock. Also, i got a meat slicer. Believe you me, I can slice some onions thin.
    Spoiler: Avatar by always-awesome Cuthalion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    We're from Europe, not a mirror dimension.

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Ask a chef

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    You rock. Also, i got a meat slicer. Believe you me, I can slice some onions thin.
    Thanks.
    And thats exactly how we do it in the restaurant. At home I use a Mandoline slicer. Benriner Super is my go to, have had a few over the years, like them better than all the commercial ones.

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