Unsorted wisdom from a mongolian chicken scratching forum
Oolong stem tea is really good, has a hint of a malty taste.
When cutting potatoes to make chips, slice a few slivers off of the long side
so you have a flat base.
Tempura ingredients will impart their flavor on the next thing that is being fried.
Herbs like parsley add flavor to the oil and cook fast.
This sounds obvious, but old meats, such as beef that is starting to change color, will taste worse.
Don't boil high quality mirin or soy sauce, heat it at about 85 deg. celcius instead.
When cooking eggs or anything that needs to be cooked evenly, you can move the pan in order to change the heat distribution.
Reccomended chinese vegetables:
chinese leaf cabbage
not exotic, it just tastes like cabbage, but you usually get a lot of cabbage for your buck
Artemisia selengensis, longan, jujube and sweet potato leaves.
I like the yardlong green beans sauteed with lots of garlic, some unusual harder to find (fresh) mushrooms if you see them and baby eggplants.
Chinese supermarket can be good for some grandma who supplies the place with canned goods/pickles, like green onion kimchee. There could be good stuff frozen or in the back, so ask for tropical fruits. Don't expect the treasured stuff to be out front on display, but just for good customers.
jie lan (gai lan)
Tong hao is great in hot pots. Fragrant herby taste.
Sesame leaves are really tasty. Use it like basil, tastes awesome.
Burdock. It's good for your dick.
Green onion kimchi is the shit.
Burdock/ gobo is fantastic. Kinpira gobo.
>jie lan (gai lan)
this, pretty much all their leafy green vegetables are good. high in micronutrients and much better than bok choi.
I normally just buy whichever one is freshest when i'm there. They're easy to cook. Either fry some garlic & ginger and saute it , then add some cooking wine, or steam it and season with sesame oil or oyster sauce.
Jujubes should be ripe to the point of bletting. They should taste like a cross between dates and apples and not at all sour.
Also, lotus leaves are great for tea.
I love using Chinese broccoli for beef & broccoli. It tastes the same, but cooks far faster and more evenly.
Advanced cooking techniques:
as for the flavored oils: don't use them for deep-frying or shallow frying food in oil. You use them in situations where the oil itself will be consumed, like dressings or as finishing oils for stir-fries. think of flavored oils like a sauce not a "cooking oil".
I always leave some change in the car to purchase a McChicken
If you mean to improve your cooking, any observations you have are useful to someone. Here are some questions to get your noggin joggin:
(1) What was the last dish you made? Did you notice any peculiarities in its texture or taste? If you made it next time, what would you do differently, and why do you believe you'd do it that way?
(2) Do you have a favorite restaurant? How would you describe their food as different from what you are able to make? Are there limitations in its replication? How do you make it at home?
(3) You hear of an interesting ingredient, but are not sure how to properly source it. What's the best way to buy it? What's the best way to use it?
I used to think you needed neutral oil, but frying with seasoned oil honestly made a huge improvement to my cooking. You need to pick the right things, and you end up having a few jars hanging around, but if you get it right it's just extra flavour.
Here's an old recipe that adds a piece of ham and some butter to the lard for frying chicken. Chinese and Indian restaurants make batches of oil flavoured by deep frying vegetables and spices, then use it for cooking. I save the oil from making crispy onions to make things like grilled cheese, stir fries, or starting some pasta sauces.
If you're making a quesadilla, you want to start with a mostly dry pan. evenly rub whatever fat you're using (lard, bacon fat, etc.) on either side of the quesadilla. Some tongs and a paper towel is usually enough to clean if you want to use one pan.
If you are having trouble getting even browning, use a heavier bottom pan, something like cast iron. There should be no need to rotate it.
I've never heard of deglazing mushrooms with lime juice, and to be quite honest I have no idea what you'd use that in.
here. I'm all in favor of cooking with flavored oil, but not in the case of fried chicken. It's not that it doesn't taste good, but rather the problems are:
1) if you've flavored your entire batch of deep fry oil, you either have to throw it out (Wasteful) or everythign you cook is going to taste the same. It's less wasteful and more flexible to keep your deep fry oil neutral flavored.
2) There are nearly always better methods of introducing that other flavor to your food anyway. I find that marinading meats before cooking them adds more flavor than using flavored oil does. It also doesn't have the disadvantage listed above. Likewise you can add those other flavors via toppings or sauces rather than the oil.
That said there's certainly nothing wrong with using flavored oils. I reserve duck fat, bacon dripping, etc to cook with. But for my deep frying oil? No, I'm not going to flavor that.
Mayo is a great example of a good place for flavored oils. So is making roux for gumbo or sauces, and dressing.
The 'ol rule of "use booze that's good enough to drink straight" has never done me wrong. I tend to default to the following:
gosling's black seal rum, wild turkey 101 bourbon, "devil's cellar" (Chile) for red wine. Schmitt Sone (german) or chicken run for white wine. There's nothing special about these, they're just the best I've found of the readily available cheaper brands in my area. I use 7-year shaoxing wine, and for sake I'm totally at the mercy of whatever my local asian market stocks. For mirin the best I can find is Takara. Real mirin must be purchased like alcohol. The fake shit you don't need ID to buy is indeed shit. For port I buy "Messias". Oh, and Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry. Yeah yeah, I know sherry lovers look down on it but it's perfect for cooking with.
For vodka in batters the cheap stuff works fine, I've always used bottom shelf and have never been able to taste anything "off" about it.
A few beginner things that tripped me up:
Baking cookies, they'll be surprisingly soft when you take them out, they firm up as they cool.
Making mayonnaise, it gets thicker the more oil you add, so don't worry if it seems too loose at first. Also it helps to "activate" the egg yolk first by whisking it a bit.
Whisking cream, it seems like nothing much is happening for a long time, but it changes very rapidly at the end, so slow down as soon as it does.
Kneading bread, it might seem stupidly sticky at first, but it really becomes more manageable if you keep at it. Giving up and letting it sit for an hour or so helps too.
I'm trained in classical Japanese cooking (Tokyo). I can share a few specialized techniques that is used almost exclusively in traditional-style restaurants.
So I guess in response to >>10768209, I would say that "advanced" can mean techniques with more applicability in a commercial/professional kitchen?
1. Use sake liberally to give your soup or braised dishes a distinctly "authentic Japanese" flavor profile. It functions to give the dish more body, and to mask any impurities much more subtly than adding ginger or green onions. One of the most advanced dishes in the Japanese soup repertoire is "ushio," which is a clear broth made from fish bones and sea kelp, traditionally seasoned only with sea salt and sake. The difficulty of the dish comes from finding the perfect balance between saltiness (sea salt), savoriness (sea kelp), and body (sake, fish broth).
2. When preparing a simmered or braised dish that consists of multiple ingredients, always pre-cook (steaming, braising, simmering, blanching) the ingredients separately before putting them together. This is done mainly for 3 reasons-- the ingredients with longer cook times are less likely to crumble (ex. peeled potatoes), you can exercise a higher degree of control over how much of the "sauce" the ingredients absorb, and it'll be easier to plate.
3. Many types of common Japanese fish tastes better when rested. Unless you're serving "ike-jime" (live flesh, brain dead) where texture is prioritized over flavor, sashimi should never be "fresh off the boat." Notable exceptions are the faster fish like skipjack tuna (katsuo), saury (sanma), mackerel (saba), and eels (which should be butchered live). When resting whole fish, make sure you remove the head, guts, and clean out the blood without cutting into the flesh. When resting fillets/loins, wrap it in a sturdy paper towel, a clean cotton towel, then a saran wrap, and pack it with shaved ice in an icebox with drainage.
4. If you're interested in adding "umami" to your dishes without resorting to MSG, try using sea kelp stock, as opposed to katsuobushi (bonito flake) stock. The reason is that sea kelp keeps indefinitely (in fact, it "ages" well), while katsuobushi is much more expensive, and goes off in a little as a day once exposed to air. Sea kelp is also more neutral and therefore universally compatible with any cuisine. However, if you're planning to use sea kelp commercially, never follow a random recipe, and always experiment with it first. Sea kelp vastly differs between the countries of origin. Cheap sea kelp has very little "umami," and it can imbue off-putting flavors and colors to your stock (over extracting) in less than an hour of room temperature steeping, while the most expensive Japanese sea kelp (ma-konbu) needs to be soaked overnight before its flavor comes out.
5. Always have a stainless steel knife sharp and ready. You never know when you have to cut white onions, tomatoes, or citrus. (I guess this only applies to traditional Japanese cooking >.>)
6. Homemade "panko" tastes better than the commercially available dried panko. Just put a loaf of Wonderbread in a food processor until you reach your desired fineness.
7. If you want to make your tempura batter extra crispy without resorting to frying powder, add soda to your batter. This is especially useful for take-out tempura.
8. Braised dishes should be cooled in an icebath, and then re-heated before serving.
More a basic bitch technique than "advanced" but this helped me:
When I first started in a kitchen, I had problems with temperature control. We used butter in our pans but because I kept my pans rocket hot for quick turn around on eggs, I'd always burn the goddamn milk solids, and the little black bits would get stuck to said eggs, which obviously wasn't ideal ("it's pepper" only worked like, once. Yes this was a very shitty kitchen)
So I learned to make a ghee, or cook down my butter. I'd drop my block for the day in the pan on medium high heat, and let it melt down. Then, you let it foam and brown, but just keep cooking. The milk solids will begin to break down and blacken, and the butter will foam again. But just keep cooking.
Finally, you'll be left with a pan of amber-gold oil with little black bits in it. Take it off the heat and strain into a container of your choice, with cheese cloth (or coffee filters). Discard the solids, you're left with this golden oil which has a nutty, buttery taste; all the flavor of melted butter and a MUCH higher smoke point. What you've essentially done is cooked out everything in the butter that wasn't lipid, and the resulting substance (which can be called a ghee, depending on how long you cook it) won't burn on high heat, tastes like toasted butter, and keeps for much longer.
You can use this to fry... well, basically anything you'd cook in a pan with butter
When flavoring with soy sauce (regular koikuchi Kikkoman or Yamasa), these are the most commonly used ratios:
Soy sauce : mirin : stock
1:1:5 (tempura dipping sauce)
1:1:8 (braising seasonal dishes)
3:5:7 (braising toppings for rice dishes)
The point I'm making here is that straight soy sauce is almost never used to season anything. There will always be some mixture of mirin (or sugar) and stock. If you look at the ingredients list of any commercial "liquid tsuyu / all purpose Japanese seasoning," the second ingredient is usually corn syrup or sugar of some sort.
One extremely useful soy sauce based seasoning is "happoudashi."
1000 cc soy sauce : 1000 cc mirin : 50 g katsuobushi
De-alcoholize the mirin by bringing it to a simmer and lighting it. When the flame is gone, add the soy sauce, bring it to a simmer, add the katsuobushi, remove from heat, let it rest for 5-8 minutes, strain, and let it rest in the fridge for a couple days.
The resting in the fridge step is essential in removing the sharpness of the soy sauce. I know some soba shops in Japan would let their sauce rest for up to half a year!
You can add sake for more umami, or sugar for mellowness.
If you're using fake mirin, you can skip the de-alcoholize part.
As far as earning power goes in the states, you'd definitely make more money as a sushi artisan, than as a traditional cook. Sushi is much more specialized, but it also means that you work with an much more narrow range of ingredients. Yes, sushi restaurants do have "fish of the day" types of menus, but traditional Japanese restaurants are expected to have weekly menus with 8-12 courses.
An inside joke amongst traditional cooks is that a sushi itamae (chef) is good at sushi, but a washoku itamae has to be good at everything. Or how sushi itamae only needs two knives (yanagi, deba), while we need a dozen different knives (2 yanagi for sashimi, tessa for pufferfish, deba for large fish, mioroshi deba for special fish, ko-deba for smaller fish, unagi-saki for eel, honekiri for Pike conger scoring, kiritsuke for steamed cakes, usuba for katsuramuki and chopping, mukimono for garnishing and carving, gyuto for kabocha, etc.)
Of course, modern sushi itamae in Japan are becoming multidisciplined and are proficient in multiple knives, and purists like Ono Jiro are becoming increasingly rare.
Back on topic though, one tip to making brown rice sushi is to let it fully sprout before cooking, and mixing in glutinous rice.
Mixing different types of rice is a very common technique for making edomae sushi. Most famous sushi restaurants in Japan use a blend of old crop/new crop, while non-sushi traditional restaurants rarely blend their rice.
Honestly this is a good thread like that guy from Houston that did regular cookalongs with his cat it is actually informative content and good for discussion. Best advice I can give the people starting to cook or even get better at cooking is to start a small journal of what you made and keep as good notes as you feel but in higher end kitchens the adage is taste everything and write everything down. The ones that have a small pad them are always the ones that eventually advance to sous chef or leave for better opportunities the ones that don't typically stay line cooks for their careers as for home kitchens it's pretty much the same, writing down notes helps alot, I got good just by writing down shit as I went along or right afterwards.
If you're making regular miso soup where you're only using one kind of miso paste, the single most important factor is perfecting the dashi. Once you nail down your dashi, you can treat your miso merely as seasoning.
In upscale restaurants miso soup is made to order. We always keep "dissolved miso," which is miso paste mixed with a little dashi and pushed through a sieve. Using dissolved miso allows us to make minute adjustments to the dish, as opposed to whisking clumps of miso every time.
Miso soup gets much more complicated when you have to serve "akadashi," which is a blend of red miso (haccho, Sendai) and white miso (kuge/saikyo), in addition to nikiri mirin or sake. Akadashi is served at the end of a meal with rice, and this is where the chef truly shines.
Iriko is definitely a better option than katsuobushi, but do keep in mind that iriko too, can go-off rather quickly for a dried product. Removing the head and guts is good practice, but it's not quite necessary if you're "cold brewing" your dashi. I find that the safest way to make easy dashi is to let the ingredients steep in cold water overnight in the fridge, almost in the same method as cold brewing coffee. This is especially true if you're not using katsuobushi, where bringing it to at least 90C is necessary to fully bring out the aroma.
A good ratio for miso soup is 1 miso : 15 dashi.
For dashi, I prefer to think in terms of percentages... for example:
1000 cc water : 40 g konbu : 3 g iriko
would translate to dashi with 4% konbu and 3% iriko.
The point I made in an earlier post is pretty important... about how you need to experiment with the konbu that's available to you. Cheap sea kelp barely gives out any flavor while turning your stock instantly green, while aged, grade 1 ma-konbu or rishiri-konbu must be soaked for hours to fully extract its flavor. A somewhat simplified indication of good quality konbu is how thick it is. If you can rip it apart with your hands, you can probably get away with soaking it for less than an hour in room temperature.
If you really want to be the aficionado to experiment with truly authentic Japanese flavors (or if you have a food blog and want to attract views >.>), you can buy a katsuobushi shaving box "kezuribako," or "katsuobushi kanna," and shave the flakes from whole dried bonito loins. Aged bonito loins last indefinitely in cool, dry conditions, while non-aged bonito loins last a few months in similar conditions. Very few restaurants in Japan do this, and they usually do this only for select customers (less than 15 a day). You can buy all of these in various Rakuten websites, and they do ship it internationally.
This is a great book that has pretty much everything you need to know about dashi.
It contains both anecdotes from the top restaurants in Japan, as well as research done by major companies like Ajinomoto (inventor of MSG).
If your Japanese is more advanced, 手前板前 is a great blog/informational site for both basic, and the more obscure, archaic techniques in classical Japanese cooking.
don't use cheap wine, especially with dishes that have fewer ingredients or rely on the wine as a major component. the most expensive part of a dish for a restaurant would've been the wine. many modern cheap wines are mechanically produced which will leave a very peculiar and often awful taste behind after cooking. it's ruined a few sauces i've done and made a massive difference. the "cook with the wine you drink" rule would work i guess, but people have different tastes so i wouldn't commit to that and the reduction of the wine alters the flavor and can bring out shit you wouldn't normally taste.
1.) You can cut an energy drink into 3~ separate drinks with the use of a water filter.
2.) An emptied teabag can work well if you want to season a braise or whatever without getting your seasoning and herbs all over whatever it is you're trying to cook.
3.) Use a wooden utensil in lieu of elbow grease. Wood won't scratch your shit nearly as bad as metal, and is much sturdier than plastic.
4.) Heat is better than hot water at cleaning.
5.) The purpose of using water and heat with your noodles is to heat up the noodles and hydrate them at the same time, but you can just hydrate your noodles without using heat by leaving them in water. If you're going somewhere for sometime and you want to eat as soon as you get home and you're living on a budget then you can just leave your noodles in some water and they'll soften up over time.
6.) Coffee makers really can boil ramen, hotdogs, and make tea. Probably eggs as well, haven't tried.
7.) Place your finger over the mouth of the pour top of your bottle of oil to better control the amount of oil you're using without being Walter White or spilling to much.
8.) Beer at any temperature is good for braising, but spirits are a much more concentrated amount of pure alcohol and are thus more volatile so keep that in mind in respect to cooking for extended periods of time with it.
9.) Try not to waste anything you don't have to. Scraps of any vegetables or meats you clean and use can be frozen for making a broth/stock at a later time that can be used for a completely different flavor of noodles or soup that you make next time around that will come with an entirely new level of vitamins and nutrients to boot.
10.) If your produce is about to go bad in the fridge just freeze them. They'll last you more than a month.
11.) Fruit and bread, if stored appropriately, can last you more than a month without hardly any noticeable changes.
12.) 'Rotten' bananas are perfectly suitable for breads, pies, mug-cakes, or pancakes.
Velveting is a useful trick. Marinating in a mild alkali, like egg white or baking soda, tenderises meat, which is how you get that particular texture from Chinese restaurants.
It was a whole chicken, just completely wrecked with salt for 48 hours, but then I thoroughly washed it for 10 !minutes, then cooked it fully. Maybe cure was the wrong word?
With this method, you have a stable salinity throughout, it tastes different then well seasoned meat. It is just a perfect saltiness.
Calling the chicken "cured" was maybe a mistake, but really this produces the best chicken I have ever had, just don't add salt again at any point and it will be perfectly seasoned.
I just made hash browns for the first time this morning, I got a russet potato and shredded it using the largest holes on my grater. I took a palmful and pressed it between paper towels until it felt dry and dropped it into a medium-high heat pan with plenty of oil. I seasoned with salt and pepper and flipped it once, only when the top layer of potato shreds was clear.
I did encounter your problem of simultaneously burnt AND uncooked potato but I found that adding oil between hash browns did the trick. I also may have lowered the heat I can't remember. But they came out near perfect, I was surprised since it was my first time making them. They were nicely browned, crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside.
start by cutting organic oranges into thin slices
layer them into a relatively flat but wide container
pour over boiling sugarwater (ratio of 1:1 sugar/water)
cover with foil so the oranges are completely covered in liquid
let it sit for at least a week, longer is good
bring to a boil portwine/ any red wine, add lots of christmas-y spices like piment, cinnamon, bayleaf
add oranges and mainly orange infused sugar liquid
put foil again so its covered nicely, no air get in
let sit for weeks, in fridge for instance
bring to boil again
sieve very thoroughly, put in disposable plastic container
after frozen, somehow make it smooth (put in blender or something, when i made this i had special machine to turn frozen stuff into creamy stuff by blending
this is by far the tastiest sorbet/ ice i've ever had, incredibly flavorful
trying to recreate this right now, last time i made this was at work 3 years ago so its maybe not exactly like this but yea
To get something crispy in general, you need to use very high heat for a short amount of time. Think searing cooked meat with a blowtorch. The reason for this is:
high heat, long time => burnt.
low heat, long time => the water content of food is boiling and breaks it down (mush)
low heat, short time => are you even cooking?
Pat the zucc dry with a paper towel first (the less water that can boil the better, same with making hash browns). Then you want as little oil as possible. A light rub. Your oil, which is hydrophobic and has a higher boiling point, is there to separate the flame from the water, to basically ebb the heat. If you want more oil to taste, add it after not before.
Not sure if that's strictly true scientifically but it makes sense to me. Stir fries follow these principles.
I don't know how advanced a technique it is, but I have some rudimentary advise for meat, specifically porkchop and steak type cuts of meat. It's helpful to let the meat come to room temperature before seasoning, and adding a small dab of olive oil or some other oil before seasoning will help it stick to the meat. Then after you've cooked it for however long you prefer, let your meat rest about 5 or 10 minutes. This is to let the muscle that was opened up by the heat contract more and thus hold in more of the fat/moisture. If you've ever cut into a steak straight off the grill and hit a huge blood pocket, letting your meat rest will help prevent that. Again, this is hardly advanced level stuff, but I still think it could be helpful.
1) If you don't have poultry shears to butterfly/spatchcock your chicken, garden shears will work.
2) Washing rice in separate container then transferring to the rice cooker pot will prolong the teflon coating's lifespan.
3) I don't know if this actually makes much of a difference, but I make some deep cuts in chicken/fish I marinate for faster/deeper flavor.
>3) I don't know if this actually makes much of a difference, but I make some deep cuts in chicken/fish I marinate for faster/deeper flavor.
Legit technique, especially in Japanese cooking. We call it 隠し包丁, or "hidden cutting."
The secret to perfect grill stripes
>put oil in a little bowl
>dip folded paper towel into oil
>stroke the metal with towel, it must be full of oil but not dripping
>put meat on direct heat, leave a free equally big space on grill
>the stripes will need around 30 seconds or less to form
>turn meat 90 degrees on the spot and wait another 30 second period
>oil the free spot in the meantime time
>flip and repeat process
>enjoy perfect X commercial grade stripes
Use the method on all slow cooked meats after they are cooked, like ribs. If using on raw meats you need to wait longer for the meat to let go off the metal before turning it 90 degrees
This is basic as fuck, but I can divide my grilling history into the time before I started butterflying my chicken breasts and the time after I started butterflying my chicken breasts
Look up how to make anglottis (they are like mini ravilois). Make them with fresh pasta dough assuming you have a pasta press that's all that's needed for angos. Stuff the angos with homemade ricotta (all you need is milk, buttermilk and a lemon for juice)protip: if you keep the temp low for the milk it won't scortch and you ricotta cheese will be lighter it will take longer but just let it be at low-med heat until the whey under the curd looks like discolored light gray cloudy color that's when you know you got all the curd the milk will give you. Mix in a little boursin cheese too for flavor/seasonings and richness. Look up on YouTube a sauce called a burre monte practice it a little bit as it takes a little experience to be able make, it is an emulsion of water (usually pasta water) and butter and is easy enough to do at the right temperature (getting that proper takes some practice but it can be mastered within an hour or so). For the pasta sauce do that sauce except switch out the pasta water with carrot juice (bought or self juiced) that's been reduced to concentrate the flavors (reduce to 25% or so of it's original contents for the sauce). Serve it with razor thin carrot slices (long ways so you have ribbons) that are dressed with lemon juice, salt and olive oil with some oniony green like pea shoots or arugula over the top. It is a light but filling dish of fresh ingredients (for meit is a staple of spring/early summer) the angos can be made and frozen off well ahead of time (filling freezes well by itself too) so the prep isn't intense and has a balance of flavors. In your position that I'd what o would serve as none of the steps involved in making it are all that complicated to explain and some of it can be prebought (like the carrot juice and the ricotta) but beyond the pasta press it doesn't require any massively special equipment and even then a rolling pin would suffice if needed.
i'm italian and my favorite pasta dish is "aglio, olio e peperoncino" (garlic, oil and chili pepper). it's a traditional recipe here in rome, it's very quick and it's perfect as a late night/early morning meal after a night out partying or drinking. it's a simple dish, but since it only has 4 ingredients (parsley is not included in the name for some reason) it leaves no room for mistakes and the line between a good aop and a bad one is thin. i've been making myself this dish at least once per week for the last two years and i think i've gotten to a point where i can't improve it anymore without betraying the traditional recipe (italians are bitchy about traditions, you already know that).
1 clove of garlic every 2 people. peel it and slice it in half. remove the green sprout if present. pour oil in a pan, roughly a tablespoon per person. if you have a pan specifically made for sautéing pasta it'd better, if you don't it's fine. a wok would do too. now put the garlic in the oil and make sure it is completely covered by it. the more oil above the garlic the better, so if by adding more oil you think you're bout to pass the 1 tb oil per person quota, find a way to tilt the pan so that the garlic is covered. now turn the heat on on the minimum and let it sit for about 20ish minutes. meanwhile, start taking care of the pasta. put some water in a pot. as soon as the first tiny little bubbles start to form, toss in a couple of parsley branches. when you see the water is getting a greenish shade, remove it. be aware that the essential oils of parsley may be toxic if assumed in large quantities and may cause abortion in pregnant women. chop some other non cooked parsley leaves as finely as you can and put them aside.
about the chili peppers: if you have them fresh it’s fine, but dried ones are better. in any case, do the old “hot water/cold water trick” for extra color and then chop it roughly. now go back to the garlic and try crushing it with a wooden spoon, it should turn into puree pretty easily. if it does, turn the heat off and throw the peppers in the pan. if it doesn’t, let it cook some more. if it crushes and sticks to the spoon, either the heat wasn’t low enough, or you didn’t cover the garlic the right way, or the garlic you used is just shit. at this point the water in the pot should’ve been boiling for a while, you should have salted it generously and actually you should have already put the pasta in. spaghetti are highly recommended, if not mandatory. you should cook it for 3/4 of the time it says on the box. when you’re just about to reach that point, take some pasta water and put it in the pan with the oil and the garlic and the peppers, turn the heat all the way on and when it starts to boil and sizzle, toss in some of that parsley you chopped earlier. tilt the pan and stir vigorously until the garlic is completely melted and formed a cream with the oil and the water. now take the pasta out of the pot, put it in the pan and start stirring and sautéing, while adding small amounts of pasta water regularly when you feel it’s drying up, and until the pasta is cooked (al dente obviously). plate the pasta and sprinkle some more parsley. serve piping hot.
You can logic this out in your head. The problem with freezing is that if bursts the cells in meat and in produce which makes the juices leak out (this is called "drip loss") and fucks up the texture. Ideally, you would never freeze meat, poultry, or produce that will be served in a situation where the texture matters. However if those foods would be used in a stew, soup, etc, freezing is OK. If you intend to juice fruit or veggies you should freeze and thaw them beforehand; the freezing will actually help you get higher yields.
It sounds like you're already doing what you can. The best you can do to approximate the higher power of gas is to preheat the fuck out of a thick-bottomed pan and rely on the stored-up heat. A few things I can think of:
-replace the coils on electric ranges. Over time they will warp, and that means they won't sit flat against your pan. This makes them less effiicent. New coils can help. Also make sure that the drip pans underneath the coils are clean. they should be bright and shiny chrome. If not, clean or replace them. Shiny wil reflect heat back into your cookware. Dirty will not. you might also consider buying a portable gas burner, or portable induction hob.
put a thin layer of mayo on one side of two slices of bread and slap those bad boys down on the skillet
wait until they get nice and golden brown then flip them over and put a thin layer of basil pesto on one slice then put your cheese on
put them together and dunk them in tomato soup for a 10/10 grilled cheese experience
added bonus: make some beans to put in your canned tomato soup along with a little garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, etc. for some faux-chili tasting tomato soup
Mayo is certainly overlooked as a butter sub for grilled cheese. Id encourage anyone to just make it homemade, it's not that hard once you understand the emulsification.
Separate note, I had an idea for making better stir fry. First off, proper stir fry has a crunchy texture to it. It is unmistakeable. The key to this is high heat, which means smoke. Western kitchens are generally not designed to ventilate smoke, and densely populated areas will usually have electric coils over gas stoves because of the fire hazard. I've heated cast iron skillets indoors to no avail. There is still too much moisture in my stir fry.
So my idea is this. I also own a dehydrator, and if I leave my stir fry ingredients in there for some time before I cook, I'm sure that I'll have a much easier time making stir fry with the lower heat. I can accomplish the char on my meats, but I cant get it hot enough without choking and setting off the fire alarm. I think this will fix that problem. I'll update with details when I try it.
I'll post my favorite technical bits in a second, but my real hobby is trying to figure out how to translate restaurant foods to a home cooking format. A lot of times we see our favorite chain foods using ingredients and tools we don't have readily available in our kitchen, and often times certain chain recipes have nasty ingredients you can do away with. A couple favorites of my discoveries include:
-Diner toast. The secret is that the line chef is probably not using real butter, it's probably margarine, you're probably not buying whole sale brand bread, nor do you have a salamander or industrial toaster with professional heat control. The closest I've come to authentic diner toast is to get a standard white bread and coat it in a VERY thin layer of mayo before toasting. Mayo is a combo of whipped oil (much like margarine) but the addition of eggs helps give the toast that crispy outside, chewy inside feel.
-Fried rice. Really good fried rice requires 3 things; butter, aged rice, starch. Don't use incredibly fresh, wet, hot rice. You'll burn yourself and the rice will be mushy. Instead, use either left over rice or pre-make the day before. It'll dry out a little and it won't over cook. Mix in about a half tablespoon of corn starch per cup of rice and coat before pan frying in garlic butter. It's the best way to ensure you have max flavor without mushy, unpleasant granules.
-The best fried chickens are only lightly battered. All this talk about buttermilk and corn flakes really can't compare to a pot of hot peanut oil and proper seasonings. Leave the skin on, and pat the pieces down to dry thoroughly. Your one and only coating should be one part seasoning to three parts flour to one part potato starch. 375º oil for 10 minutes and you're golden. Make sure to stay between 300-325 while frying.
Best technical advice I can give:
-Get a good set of knives and take care of them. Sharpen as needed and hone before each use.
-Cast iron is your friend, and everyone saying it's not is a stupid git using theirs incorrectly. A good cast iron will last you forever and will always provide even, consistent heat without lasting damage.
-Joy of Cooking is a 100% necessity for any chef. It's got everything you need to know about how to work your way around a kitchen and prepare just about anything. Master chefs and amateurs alike use it, so don't think you're "above it" because it's been in print for almost 100 years.
-America's Test Kitchen is an amazing resource, so use it.
-Don't buy one trick pony items. A knife can do everything an avocado cutter can. A pot can cook rice just as good as a rice cooker. You don't need clutter in your kitchen from things that have a job another thing can do better.
-Salt cure your steak. Trust me, it's better. 48 hours is fine but 72 is better.
I'm not speaking from an elitist standpoint when I say this, but from a practical perspective. These 2 posts show why it's necessary (if it's not already implied) to State the context of these techniques, whether it's a technique for home cooks or professional cooks.
An authentic Chinese restaurant, at least the ones I have staged at in Tokyo, do not adulterate the rice before putting it on the wok. It's not even necessary to dry it out. I've made perfectly good fried rice that isn't starchy, separating grain by grain from hot Japanese rice that's been sitting in a warmer for 2 hours.
There are a few key factors, but the most important is wok size and heat. And it's very hard to use and heat a sufficiently large wok in a home kitchen.
Example of what a SMALL wok station would look like at a Chinese restaurant.
(video starts at 0:54)
The best home kitchen method is to fry 1 bowl of rice (200-250 cc) at a time so that your product remains sufficiently dry thoughout the cooking process, in my experience.
Here's a good demonstration of cooking fried rice on a GRIDDLE (med-high temperature) that should give you an idea of why you don't necessarily need HIGH heat (these griddles typically operate at 400- 450F in Asian cuisines), as long as you can expel the moisture quickly.
Please don't misunderstand me when I say that home kitchen and commercial kitchen techniques are different. I'm not saying one is better than the other. I'm merely stating that as professional cooks, we should be aware that some techniques mentioned in this thread, like adding corn starch to your rice or dehydrating your fried rice toppings, are 'original' techniques, and not commonly used traditionally/professionally.
You can't, really. Slicing the onions really thin helps, as does using a large pan and spreading them in a thin layer. If you're diligent about stirring them in the pan you can start out with higher heat while the moisture is still cooking off. But it's not really possible to do it a whole lot faster than about 40-45 min or so.
Caramelize in the oven you retards. No one has time to stir a pot for hours. Just fill a big-ass oven dish with sliced onions, mix in 1% salt and 3% melted butter by weight, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F / 175 C for around 4 hours. There's no need to stir. Then remove the foil and let it brown for another hour or so, stirring every 15 minutes. Make this in large batches and freeze it.