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Cooking |OT| If you can read, you can cook!

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Hilbert

Deep into his 30th decade
Anyone have any good tips for cooking a whole chicken for the first time?

I generally buy thighs due to getting them cheap but I want to try out a whole chicken, if for no other reason than to get some fresh stock.

Any particular way you want to cook it? You want to roast it whole? Cut it up, and roast or fry it. Turn it into soup?

Edit
Here is a basic way to make stock from a whole chicken.

You can cut it up. It doesn't have to be anything special, if you can identify the legs, thighs, breasts and wings just cut them off the best you can. If you really want to do it right, look up a youtube video, but generally just figuring it out yourself is fine. You can't really screw it up. You can cook those, or freeze them for later. Then in a pot you can put the back, neck, any of the organs that come with the bird, cover with water and simmer for a few hours. You can put a bay leaf, onions, garlic, and salt and pepper in there too if you like.

Few hours later you have stock! Strain it through a sieve if you want it clear and stick it in the fridge, or if you want it to last a while, freeze in an ice cube tray, and when it is frozen put in a ziplock bag.

If you want to get fancy later, you can roast the back and neck before you put it in water.
 

beat

Member
Anyone have any good tips for cooking a whole chicken for the first time?

I generally buy thighs due to getting them cheap but I want to try out a whole chicken, if for no other reason than to get some fresh stock.

To roast whole: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/09/perfect-roasted-chicken-recipe.html

If not prepping overnight (see below), preheat oven to 425F, 450F if you have enough ventilation to deal with smoky smells.

Dry the skin with paper towels, or just sit uncovered in your fridge for overnight.

Season the outside and inside with salt and (the rest is optional) ground black pepper, garlic powder, sugar. You'll want to go pretty strong on the salt (or overall seasoning), maybe a bit less if you do the salt step overnight. Doing it overnight means you have to think ahead -- though you can combine this with the overnight drying step -- but I think it seasons the meat more thoroughly. But feel free to experiment and just do it right before roasting. I know Ruhlman doesn't insist on overnight salting, but I think he's saying that because it's slightly easier not to have to plan for overnight.

Tie the legs together or put a lemon (halved) or onion (halved) into the body cavity. Might as well throw some garlic cloves in there too. You don't have to peel cloves that you're going to roast; they'll practically squish out of their peels afterwards.

Roast 1 hr in an ovenproof skillet, then let rest 15 min (by "rest", I mean transfer it to a cutting board and cover with foil, wait 15 min).

An "ovenproof skillet" means the whole thing can go in a hot oven. Probably it can't have plastic or even wooden handles. At this temp, it shouldn't be a cheap nonstick skillet either; you don't want to burn off the teflon into airborne poison.

Digression: you should have an ovenproof skillet! Cast iron is great esp if you can pick it up and are good at taking care of it. Otherwise, get a three-layer pan, aluminum clad with stainless steel on both sides with a metal handle.


Ruhlman's recipe specifies a skillet because he then makes a pan sauce from the drippings: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/09/pan-sauce-for-roasted-chicken-recipe.html (besides being tasty, deglazing also helps clean the pan.)


To carve a roast chicken, follow one of these guides:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyrkjvr23Qc
http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-carve-roast-chicken.aspx

The carcass of the roasted chicken can then be made into stock. If you're fastidious about cutting the meat off the bones, you could also save the leg bones for stock too. Bones can also be frozen if you want to collect enough for stock.

Then in a pot you can put the back, neck, any of the organs that come with the bird, cover with water and simmer for a few hours. You can put a bay leaf, onions, garlic, and salt and pepper in there too if you like.

Few hours later you have stock! Strain it through a sieve if you want it clear and stick it in the fridge, or if you want it to last a while, freeze in an ice cube tray, and when it is frozen put in a ziplock bag.
I think if you want to make stock from a raw carcass, you may have to skim the gunk more. Or blanch the bones first (bring to a boil in water barely covering the bones, then discard that water as soon as it reaches boiling, rinse the bones, and make stock with a new pot of water.

I think a French stock uses onions, carrots, and celery. A Chinese stock uses green onions and ginger, which tells us that onions are the most universal...

anyways, I wrote all this out and then I searched Serious Eats some more and Ruhlman also talks about making stock. No skimming with his recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/09/easy-chicken-stock-recipe.html
 
Thanks for the tips guys. I've been busy but I want to try it out soon.

Am probably going to be experimenting with some vinaigrettes soon since I just got some olive oil I really enjoy.
 

giga

Member
Do you need to buy a set? Normally you can get more for your money if you do it piecemeal. If you are set on getting a cookware set, then I'd opt for the Tramontina (I have a Tramontina enameled cast iron Dutch oven I've been very please with).
I don't. Main needs:

1 skillet (10")
1 sauce pan (2 quarts?)
1 nonstick pan (for eggs)
 
Pork Loin success!






- Procure a 3lb pork loin w/ a nice fatty top

- Salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, garlic powder direct onto the meat (don't forget the sides)

- Mix 1/3 cup dijon mustard + 1/3 cup honey together and pour over zee meat

- Place meat atop your choice of veg (I used a mix of baby carrots, kale, potatoes, whole garlic and onions. If you salt and pepper lightly then dump the remains of the honey/dijon over them and nestle the meat on top, then all the lovely drippings do the rest as it's cooking.)

- Cook @ 400 degrees (or 415 for an electric oven) fat side up for 15mins

- Turn down to 325 degrees (345ish for elec), add ~1/3 a cup of water and cook another 1hr and 15mins or so

- Stir the veggies around the meat occasionally to make sure they're kept coated in the fat/honey-mustard mix (this kept the kale from burning and really made them soak it up)

- Remove from oven and let rest ~10 mins

- While it's resting, take the liquid/drippings from the roasting pan and make a gravy. If you add a bit more water + a bouillon cube (I used beef) and a bit of corn starch, you'll have a really nice consistency + flavor


BOOM: Pork Roast
 

beat

Member
I don't. Main needs:

1 skillet (10")
1 sauce pan (2 quarts?)
1 nonstick pan (for eggs)

Could try looking at Macy's; sometimes they have good sales. Also, All-Clad makes some weird sizes or special models for the big retailers that are specific so you can't price-match them across retailers.

That said, I think I remember some Cook's Illustrated or Cook's Country tests that put the two clad choices you mentioned as close runners-up to All-Clad.
 

Kamaji

Member
Subscribed to this thread now.

I'm at least decent when it comes to cooking and I would love to become more than that.

I have one main issue though. When making thai, korean and japanese food I have no issues making the flavours seem right. However I can't make decent indian food at all.

No matter what amount of spices (I use whole spices, roast them and grind them) or what top-rated recipe I follow it always taste bland. Any ideas on how to enhance the flavours of indian based stews?
 

beat

Member
No matter what amount of spices (I use whole spices, roast them and grind them) or what top-rated recipe I follow it always taste bland. Any ideas on how to enhance the flavours of indian based stews?

Sorry, I don't cook Indian very much, but here are some general ideas.

Are you using enough salt? If a recipe was written for table salt and you're using kosher salt, you should use more. (same amount by weight, but kosher salt is way less dense so more by volume.)

Is it bland compared to Indian restaurants you like? Maybe cook a dish they do, then get takeout and do a side-by-side taste. Or try a different cookbook or recipe website.

What's missing? Flavor? Balance of basic flavors? (sweet, salty, acid, bitter, umami)? Spicy heat?
 

Kamaji

Member
Sorry, I don't cook Indian very much, but here are some general ideas.

Are you using enough salt? If a recipe was written for table salt and you're using kosher salt, you should use more. (same amount by weight, but kosher salt is way less dense so more by volume.)

Is it bland compared to Indian restaurants you like? Maybe cook a dish they do, then get takeout and do a side-by-side taste. Or try a different cookbook or recipe website.

What's missing? Flavor? Balance of basic flavors? (sweet, salty, acid, bitter, umami)? Spicy heat?

I'm using the prescribed amount of table salt (the term kosher salt does not exist here). Yes, it's basically bland compared to indian restaurants. I've tried making similar dishes as well so the dishes ought to be comparable.

Flavor is basically what's missing. If a curry is based on for example coconut cream, ginger, garlic and onions with spices and meat for example I would mostly taste the other ingredients and not the spices (i.e. the dish wouldn't have any specific indian flavouring). I throw in tons of spices and follow recipes which others succeed with from top blogs on the subject but the spices won't really show in the finished meal no matter what.

I think the issue is how to use ground spices in general. I'm fairly good at making french, japanese and thai dishes but they are mostly based on pastes, fluids and fresh herbs rather than dry spices :-(
 

Zoe

Member
Are you toasting the spices? I haven't tried that myself, but I see it mentioned in most recipes.

Speaking of, I made my first (slow cooker) butter chicken over the weekend! Should have tasted the sauce before adding the pepper though...
 

beat

Member
I think the issue is how to use ground spices in general. I'm fairly good at making french, japanese and thai dishes but they are mostly based on pastes, fluids and fresh herbs rather than dry spices :-(

Are you're blooming the spices in hot oil? You aren't over-roasting them before you grind, right? (sorry, that really is the extent of my help, aside from suggesting that you buy new spices if the ones you're using are old.)
 

Dereck

Member
How fattening is this?

Mushrooms (I don't remember which kind, they're small) rinsed in water
1 baked potato (nothing added), diced with skin
2 handfuls of spinach (don't really know how much), chopped up and rinsed in water
Diced white onions (like half an onion)
Just enough olive oil to cover just about the whole pan
Ms. Dash seasoning + pepper
(stir fry all of this)

2 baked skinless boneless chicken thighs, with Ms. Dash seasoning
 

Peru

Member
Are there any good cookbooks that work sort of like a cooking class?

I'm OK in the kitchen, I can work with recipes fine in general, do a bit of baking etc. But I'm mostly cooking by numbers. What I'd like is a book that, while also delivering recipes, goes through some basic techniques for fine cooking, then lets you try it out.
 

beat

Member
Are there any good cookbooks that work sort of like a cooking class?

I'm OK in the kitchen, I can work with recipes fine in general, do a bit of baking etc. But I'm mostly cooking by numbers. What I'd like is a book that, while also delivering recipes, goes through some basic techniques for fine cooking, then lets you try it out.
Yes.

Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking" explains how various cooking methods work. It's great.

Almost any America's Test Kitchen book, or subscribe to their Cook's Illustrated magazine. They take established dishes, mostly, then cook a bunch of recipes and say "they were disappointing because X,Y,Z. Here's how we fixed all those issues and a few of the ideas we tried that didn't work." And in the same vein, check out the Food Lab posts on SeriousEats.com

Tom Colicchio's "Think Like a Chef".

David Chang's "Momofuku" and Kenny Shopsin's "Eat Me". Different levels of refinement, but both are interesting ways to think about food and to me they share a philosophy of pre-cooking components so dishes can be turned out quickly. I find that philosophy translates well to home cooking: once a week or so I'll cook some components, then I can make a fine dinner in a few minutes of work the other days.

Michael Ruhlman's Ratio (baking), Twenty (mostly cooking) and really, I like any Ruhlman book. Twenty really gets into what a technique is good for, though, so definitely check that one out.
 

DoubleD

Member
Subscribed to this thread now.

I'm at least decent when it comes to cooking and I would love to become more than that.

I have one main issue though. When making thai, korean and japanese food I have no issues making the flavours seem right. However I can't make decent indian food at all.

No matter what amount of spices (I use whole spices, roast them and grind them) or what top-rated recipe I follow it always taste bland. Any ideas on how to enhance the flavours of indian based stews?
Subbed. My wife and I have been trying to cook Tikka Masala at home. Have tried twice. Same issue you are having, we are having. The second dish was much better, though. The difference I found was the freshness of the spices and the brand. Once we get the food tasting right, I'll post what we did.
What dish are you trying to prepare?
 

maxcriden

Member
Yes.

Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking" explains how various cooking methods work. It's great.

Almost any America's Test Kitchen book, or subscribe to their Cook's Illustrated magazine. They take established dishes, mostly, then cook a bunch of recipes and say "they were disappointing because X,Y,Z. Here's how we fixed all those issues and a few of the ideas we tried that didn't work." And in the same vein, check out the Food Lab posts on SeriousEats.com

Tom Colicchio's "Think Like a Chef".

David Chang's "Momofuku" and Kenny Shopsin's "Eat Me". Different levels of refinement, but both are interesting ways to think about food and to me they share a philosophy of pre-cooking components so dishes can be turned out quickly. I find that philosophy translates well to home cooking: once a week or so I'll cook some components, then I can make a fine dinner in a few minutes of work the other days.

Michael Ruhlman's Ratio (baking), Twenty (mostly cooking) and really, I like any Ruhlman book. Twenty really gets into what a technique is good for, though, so definitely check that one out.

Peru, these are some good recs. And if you want the Shopsin book, I'll send it your way. Just let me know.
 

Peru

Member
Yes.

Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking" explains how various cooking methods work. It's great.

Almost any America's Test Kitchen book, or subscribe to their Cook's Illustrated magazine. They take established dishes, mostly, then cook a bunch of recipes and say "they were disappointing because X,Y,Z. Here's how we fixed all those issues and a few of the ideas we tried that didn't work." And in the same vein, check out the Food Lab posts on SeriousEats.com

Tom Colicchio's "Think Like a Chef".

David Chang's "Momofuku" and Kenny Shopsin's "Eat Me". Different levels of refinement, but both are interesting ways to think about food and to me they share a philosophy of pre-cooking components so dishes can be turned out quickly. I find that philosophy translates well to home cooking: once a week or so I'll cook some components, then I can make a fine dinner in a few minutes of work the other days.

Michael Ruhlman's Ratio (baking), Twenty (mostly cooking) and really, I like any Ruhlman book. Twenty really gets into what a technique is good for, though, so definitely check that one out.

Thanks for the reccs! Great stuff. Will definitely try out at least some of these.

edit: Ordered ' THink Like a Chef' to start with.
 

DJ_Lae

Member
You know how to clean it and stuff right? My dad's wife came to my house and scrubbed mine with soap. I was so upset.

My mother in law washed my cast iron pan in the sink with the rest of the dishes once too when I wasn't paying attention. I was devastated, years of seasoning ruined.
 

jwk94

Member
That's awesome! I really recommend it.

You know how to clean it and stuff right? My dad's wife came to my house and scrubbed mine with soap. I was so upset.
Isn't that how you're supposed to do it at least once? I'm not 100% sure and don't feel like looking it up lol.

Also, should I go 10 or 12 inches? I'll mostly be cooking chicken breasts and steaks in mine.
 

Hilbert

Deep into his 30th decade
Isn't that how you're supposed to do it at least once? I'm not 100% sure and don't feel like looking it up lol.

Also, should I go 10 or 12 inches? I'll mostly be cooking chicken breasts and steaks in mine.

I think mine is 12, seems like a good size.

If you scrub it with soap, you lose all the seasoning, which ruins the non-stick properties, opens it up to rust, and made food taste worse.
 

maxcriden

Member
Isn't that how you're supposed to do it at least once? I'm not 100% sure and don't feel like looking it up lol.

Also, should I go 10 or 12 inches? I'll mostly be cooking chicken breasts and steaks in mine.

Personally I find 12'' to be a bit on the big side, I prefer 10'' for a traditional cast iron skillet. If you're going to cook multiple steaks in one pan at once, though, 12'' is a better bet.
 

beat

Member
Isn't that how you're supposed to do it at least once? I'm not 100% sure and don't feel like looking it up lol.
Some seasoning fanatics wash it with soap after first buying it because they want to remove the factory seasoning and do their own from scratch.
 

Blues1990

Member
I've recently tried this recipe that I found, so I'm just sharing the love:


Onion & Beef Stew

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds stew beef, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups sliced onions or 2 cups small pearl onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
1 1/3 cups dry red wine
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce


Instructions:
Brown the meat in hot olive oil in a heavy skillet. Remove the meat from the pan. Brown the onions and garlic. Add the other ingredients and stir well. Add the browned meat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Serve with Macaroni Athenian-Style & a green salad. Makes 4 servings.

(Note: This stew can easily be done in a slow cooker. Brown the meat, combine with other ingredients, and cook on low heat as the manufacture directs for any stew.)
 

MrBig

Member
Current cooking OT is over here, this thread rarely gets bumped.

Also, should I go 10 or 12 inches? I'll mostly be cooking chicken breasts and steaks in mine.

I'd consider looking on ebay for a skillet as well, old Griswolds/Wagners weigh significantly less and respond to heat faster. I got a Lodge a few months ago that's now been replaced by a $30 Griswold, though I still keep the Lodge around for baking.
 

jwk94

Member
I think mine is 12, seems like a good size.

If you scrub it with soap, you lose all the seasoning, which ruins the non-stick properties, opens it up to rust, and made food taste worse.
Think ima go with 10 inches for now. Thanks for the seasoning tips!

Personally I find 12'' to be a bit on the big side, I prefer 10'' for a traditional cast iron skillet. If you're going to cook multiple steaks in one pan at once, though, 12'' is a better bet.
Yeah 10 sounds good for the time being. I don't want to spend too much.

Some seasoning fanatics wash it with soap after first buying it because they want to remove the factory seasoning and do their own from scratch.
That's interesting. Is there a reason to use your own seasoning?

I've recently tried this recipe that I found, so I'm just sharing the love:


Onion & Beef Stew

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds stew beef, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups sliced onions or 2 cups small pearl onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
1 1/3 cups dry red wine
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce


Instructions:
Brown the meat in hot olive oil in a heavy skillet. Remove the meat from the pan. Brown the onions and garlic. Add the other ingredients and stir well. Add the browned meat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Serve with Macaroni Athenian-Style & a green salad. Makes 4 servings.

(Note: This stew can easily be done in a slow cooker. Brown the meat, combine with other ingredients, and cook on low heat as the manufacture directs for any stew.)
Do yourself a favor and pour the stew over some rice. You'll thank me later.
 

Eiolon

Member
Cooking GAF - I need to learn how to cook, but first I need some cookware. Any recommendations of some frying pans that aren't very expensive? Will stuff found in Walmart be good enough? I'm thinking something non-stick. Just going to be cooking chicken and fish for the most part.

Also, any recommendations for a decent instant read meat thermometer? Thanks.
 
I updated my links for my old college's aspiring chef learning cookbooks,

one & two

This is probably your entry to world of gourmet.

Great for learners, takes about 2 1/2 hours to make each recipe if you are any good.
 

zbarron

Member
Cooking GAF - I need to learn how to cook, but first I need some cookware. Any recommendations of some frying pans that aren't very expensive? Will stuff found in Walmart be good enough? I'm thinking something non-stick. Just going to be cooking chicken and fish for the most part.

Also, any recommendations for a decent instant read meat thermometer? Thanks.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Lodge-10-1-4-Cast-Iron-Skillet/5969628
This will put a great sear on anything you want to cook, is rugged and can be used on the stove top or in the oven. After you season it it will be non-stick. Get ready for a relationship though. Treat this pan well and it will return the favor. Neglect or abuse it and you're going to have a bad time. I'm exaggerating, it's really not that hard to take care of but the care you do put in will be rewarded.


For thermometers I just use one like this.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008A78SSQ/?tag=neogaf0e-20
You can find them in most any grocery store or cooking supply store for a few bucks. I think I paid $3 for mine. To test it's accuracy just boil some water and stick the thermometer in. If it's accurate it'll read 212*F. They aren't as fast as expensive ones but for my use it's plenty and is a great starter tool.
 

beat

Member
Cooking GAF - I need to learn how to cook, but first I need some cookware. Any recommendations of some frying pans that aren't very expensive? Will stuff found in Walmart be good enough? I'm thinking something non-stick. Just going to be cooking chicken and fish for the most part.

Also, any recommendations for a decent instant read meat thermometer? Thanks.
Cook's Illustrated recommends the T-Fal "Professional Total" nonstick pan for nonstick, and IMO a good nonstick pan will make your fish and egg cooking easier.

I think a regular steel/aluminum clad skillet (or aluminum disc bottom if you're really determined to get the cheapest you can get away with) will be better for searing chicken and other non-seafood meat, esp if you want to make pan sauces. Also a better choice for cooking vegetables, IMO.

So, really basic: nonstick pan, plastic or silicon-covered spatula, steel-and-aluminum skillet, wooden spoon/paddle for deglazing, maybe tongs (plastic tips?), maybe a 2 qt sauce pan, maybe a ladle. Actually, depending on your budget, get the sauce pan before you get the steel skillet. Also, a colander or strainer would be good too.


A cutting board and chef's knife would be good too. Get a decent size cutting board because a small one is pointless. Non-bendy plastic, wood, and engineered wood are all fine cutting board materials. Don't ever get a glass cutting board.

For knives, a good start would be an 8" chef's knife or 7" santoku, depending on what you prefer. The Victorinox Fibrox line is the most affordable knife line that's still acceptable. You can buy better but this makes a pretty good start. (That said, I've never used their santoku, only chef's knife.)
 

Iph

Banned
Made dom kim out of pork neck, pork tail, pork side ribs and hard boiled eggs (over jasmine rice). Also cooked up some (Chinese) water spinach and made a citrus-style fruit guacamole salsa to go with pork rinds or veggie chips. I made it pretty damn spicy, but kept it balanced with the salt-sugar-chili flakes thai seasoning mix that goes so well with fruit-citrus salsa.


 

Zoe

Member
So apparently through a series of discounts, coupons, and rebates, a KitchenAid Mixer at BedBathandBeyond comes out to about $150.

Is this a steal or is it pretty common around the holidays?
 

Hilbert

Deep into his 30th decade
So apparently through a series of discounts, coupons, and rebates, a KitchenAid Mixer at BedBathandBeyond comes out to about $150.

Is this a steal or is it pretty common around the holidays?

Sounds like a good deal to me, I think I bought mine for 200 dollars and that was on sale.
 
I really want to improve at cooking this year.

I eat a high-protein diet, so that'd probably be where I want to start off, but am open to suggestions, YouTube channels, or books I should be checking out.
 

DietRob

i've been begging for over 5 years.
So apparently through a series of discounts, coupons, and rebates, a KitchenAid Mixer at BedBathandBeyond comes out to about $150.

Is this a steal or is it pretty common around the holidays?

That is a great price. I've been trying to wait out on getting one until I could snag one for around a 150 but closest they ever come is 199.

I hope you got it.

edit: doh, just noticed that post was from a few weeks ago. So did you get it or not? Did you get any attachments. I'm really interested in the meat grinder attachment to make my own sausage.
 
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