Cookin again

the Jester

Legend
Mom's got a bad tooth right now, so I'm working on a soup that is overcooked, so everything is soft. The broth is a mix of beef broth, coconut milk, orange juice, and apple cider vinegar, with a little soy sauce. Other ingredients include baby bok choy, bean sprouts, carrots, and meat balls (beef with green onions and tomatoes diced up and mixed in with them).
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Got an immersion blender? You can use those to partially or completely puree stuff in the pot as it cooks.

Not only would that minimize the possibility of pain, I’ve seen a few nutritional studies that show that- for reasons still not fully understood- thick soups like that are processed more slowly by the body, leading to more complete and longer lasting satiation.*





* the studies in question served people identical meals, except that one group’s meal had been pureed into a thick soup. Those who had the unaltered meals reported not feeling as full and got hungrier sooner.
 

the Jester

Legend
Got an immersion blender? You can use those to partially or completely puree stuff in the pot as it cooks.
I don't, but my girlfriend may- she has a bunch of blender related things.

Not only would that minimize the possibility of pain, I’ve seen a few nutritional studies that show that- for reasons still not fully understood- thick soups like that are processed more slowly by the body, leading to more complete and longer lasting satiation.*
That's interesting! Well, tonight's soup came out pretty thick, between the fat from the meat balls, the coconut milk, and the long cooking of veggies. But I'll have to ask about an immersion blender.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
As an option a regular blender can do the same job.
It just makes the logistics more challenging, especially if the soup is hot while you are pouring it back and forth between the pan and the blender. That said, especially if you want the meatballs to retain some integrity, it might be the better option. I think if you use an immersion blender, you'll want to pull anything out that you want to remain chunky.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
It just makes the logistics more challenging, especially if the soup is hot while you are pouring it back and forth between the pan and the blender. That said, especially if you want the meatballs to retain some integrity, it might be the better option. I think if you use an immersion blender, you'll want to pull anything out that you want to remain chunky.
True, but only one with a really big head will blend meatballs. I have decent Cuisenart one and it doesn't pull bigger stuff into the blade. I have to drop it on top of bigger bits to get them to blend. That said, they do blend.

As a though, and here's an odd one that I've used, if you have any left over french fries (oven or fast food) toss a hand full into a soup as it cooks, especially if it will be blended. The extra starch is good as a thickener, and the worst they'll do is add a bit of potato flavour.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
True, but only one with a really big head will blend meatballs. I have decent Cuisenart one and it doesn't pull bigger stuff into the blade. I have to drop it on top of bigger bits to get them to blend. That said, they do blend.

As a though, and here's an odd one that I've used, if you have any left over french fries (oven or fast food) toss a hand full into a soup as it cooks, especially if it will be blended. The extra starch is good as a thickener, and the worst they'll do is add a bit of potato flavour.
That's a good thought with French fries.

My immersion blender is a pretty beefy (so to speak) Breville. I don't think I'd be surprised if it blended the pan. :cool:
 

Vael

Adventurer
Chai spiced cinnamon rolls, baby. My wife is a genius.
If only others in my family liked Chai.

So, work has been nuts, haven't cooked much, but I do want to talk toys, I mean tools of the trade. What are everyone's favourites, how many do you have?

Since I'm more a baker than a cook, my Kitchen Aid stand mixer is a life-saver. I mentioned I make homemade marshmallows, I wouldn't attempt such a thing without one, as you have to beat the hot sugar syrup for a good 15+ minutes.

But the one that has changed my cooking the most has to be the Instant Pot, an all-in-one rice cooker, slow cooker and most importantly, a pressure cooker. I tried stove-top pressure cooking, and it was a challenge, regulating the temperature and timing. I make stock, hummus from dried chickpeas, ribs so tender they literally do fall off the bones ... it's also my preferred method of making risotto, it's faster and less labour intensive.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The kitchen tool that I use the most is probably my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It's got so many attachments and functions that I really don't know how I cooked anything before I got one. (I got the pasta extruder attachment for Christmas.)

Also for Christmas, I got a spice grinder. I don't think I can ever go back to pre-ground spices now.

Other favorites that I've had for years are my food processor (it gets used 2-3 times a week), my immersion blender (easy to make my own soups, sauces, and mayo), and my 5-gallon boil kettle (not just for beer, it is also great for making broth and jam, and for canning.)
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
So, work has been nuts, haven't cooked much, but I do want to talk toys, I mean tools of the trade. What are everyone's favourites, how many do you have?
Man...That’s a tough question for me to answer. I have a lot of gear. I’ll have to think about this.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
Man...That’s a tough question for me to answer. I have a lot of gear. I’ll have to think about this.
I'm in kinda the same boat, but offhand my favorites run from simple (good sharp knives) through specific (double oven is good) through idiosyncratic (I have had nothing but bad experiences with "seasoned" cast iron). Probably my favorite cooking tool, though, is room to work. We moved last spring, and the new place has a kitchen about twice the size of the old one, and it's glorious to work in.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Let me see...

I have a lot of gizmos I have a big ass Kitchen Aidstand mixer with all the attachments, but I seldom use it. i don’t bake seriously, and the main reason we got it was to use the sausage-casing stuffer attachment. But we stopped stuffing sausage casings, and now we just make the meat into chubs- much easier to work with for SO many reasons.

Mom bought me a Masterbuilt electric smoker, but I’ve barely used it. Mom also just bought a Cuisinart multifunction toaster oven that I have to admit is pretty nice. Easy to use and does the job well.

But I have to say, some of the stuff that gets the heaviest use are the ”basic” things- knives, pots, etc.

One of the biggest surprises was our acquisition of a few Cutco paring knives. Not exactly a premium name in knives, nonetheless, these are some of the best I’ve handled. Why? The handle is a full-sized, ergonomic grip that nearly anyone- even my Mom whose hands are starting to give her fits- can get a secure grasp on. MIT looks funny, but it’s SO functional.

Another surprise was my 30qt. stock pot (Hamilton Beach?) that I use primarily on holidays. (See post #299.)

i have a couple of really good seasoned cast iron pans that I love, but I also got a Matfer Cougat carbon steel pan as a gif a little while ago. I’m loving it, but I’m also having problems getting and maintaining a proper season on it- not sure if my seasoning method isn‘t right or if I have a defective pan. But when it works? Damn it’s good! Think of a good cast iron pan...but with something like half the weight. They’re sometimes as cheap as $50 on Amazon.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I'm in kinda the same boat, but offhand my favorites run from simple (good sharp knives) through specific (double oven is good) through idiosyncratic (I have had nothing but bad experiences with "seasoned" cast iron). Probably my favorite cooking tool, though, is room to work. We moved last spring, and the new place has a kitchen about twice the size of the old one, and it's glorious to work in.
Space is indeed a factor! Not just amount, but arrangement.

A couple years ago, we replaced our kitchen sink and everything in it. To explain:

First, we bought an asymmetrical sink that had a large side and a small side, similar to, but not quite as radically asymmetrical as one we had 20 years ago in a different house. (They just don’t make them like that anymore.) For the first time in this house, I was able to place all but my biggest pots in the sink FLAT. That made a huge difference in ease of cleaning them. For the first month after that, I was as enthusiastic as a stereotypical 1950s housewife. :D

To go with that, we added a taller faucet with an integrated sprayer. This also makes dishwashing much easier.

We also added a big ole water filter with its own faucet.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But I have to say, some of the stuff that gets the heaviest use are the ”basic” things- knives, pots, etc.
Yeah, same here. The basics are key...

Big old Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Unlike some of you folks, we use it a lot, as my wife loves to bake. I think, shortly after we got it, I stripped a gear in the attachment hookup - so it is fine as a mixer, but I don't think any attachment as worked since. Mind you, we almost never need the attachments, so we don't care. It has been around for 13+ years (got it as a wedding present) and it shows no sign of stopping.

Food processor - also 13+ years old, but clearly showing its age. Will be buying a new one soon.

Decent knives - Victorinox sells some wonderful wonderful kitchen knives for cheap. Excellent recent investment.

Cast Iron... what the heck are you guys doing with your cast iron that you have problems? I don't want to explain things to people who already know stuff, but... if you are having issues, maybe we can work them out here?

Recipe holder. Nobody ever talks about how important these are. They are key to good kitchen performance.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Cast Iron... what the heck are you guys doing with your cast iron that you have problems? I don't want to explain things to people who already know stuff, but... if you are having issues, maybe we can work them out here?
I can't believe I forgot to mention my cast iron skillet! I got this one (a 12" Lodge brand) from my mom as a housewarming gift when I moved away from home in 1993. For the longest time, it was my only cooking vessel and I used it for everything: it was my skillet, wok, cake pan, saucepan, baking dish, and serving platter. I still use it almost daily.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Love my KitchenAid as some have already mentioned. Also love my cast iron pans/Dutch oven, and my carbon steel pan. As umbran said, if anyone's having problems, let us know. Once you get the seasoning down, there isn't anything better.

But I have to say my best and oft used item is my freeze dryer. Food waste is down to almost zero, and the food lasts for 25 years stored properly. And it's super lightweight. And many things rehydrate back to fresh. Spendy, bit I love it.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
Cast Iron... what the heck are you guys doing with your cast iron that you have problems? I don't want to explain things to people who already know stuff, but... if you are having issues, maybe we can work them out here?
I managed to (accidentally) remove the seasoning from my cast iron skillet three times in six months by, as best I could tell, cooking in it and cleaning it. I followed the instructions I could find as precisely as I could, and it still happened. I was never willing to do anything in it that involved any time, because I was convinced that anything with any acid would pull the seasoning off. I stopped cooking in it, and I ended up donating it to a thrift shop.

I have a couple Le Creuset Dutch ovens (3-qt and 7-qt) and they're built like tanks, and I use them at every opportunity (the little one is my secret weapon for mac-cheese). Enameled cast iron is a marvelous thing; I've given up on seasoned cast iron.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Recipe holder. Nobody ever talks about how important these are. They are key to good kitchen performance.
We have a 6’ tall Metro shelf of cook books, and on one shelf, the venerable plastic box of 3x5 index cards with recipes. Here’s an earlier picture of it:

But my Mom’s old iPad 2 is also hanging off of that rack, and on IT are bookmarks of important cooking sites (like the Cook’s Illustrated family of sites, Food Network, etc.), as well as our family “Recipedia” of recipes we’ve worked out and entered into the Notes app.

But I have to say my best and oft used item is my freeze dryer. Food waste is down to almost zero, and the food lasts for 25 years stored properly. And it's super lightweight. And many things rehydrate back to fresh. Spendy, bit I love it.
We don’t have a freeze dryer, but we did get a Food Saver.

It’s a little awkward at times, but it definitely does reduce the amount of freezer burn.

Also learned a trick recently that is so freaking obvious that I’m kicking myself. When you have to use a freezer bag and are trying to get all the air out, submerge it. It will get all the air out without fuss or risk of puncture.
 

Advertisement

Top