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Thread: Matchbox's Kitchen - Ask The Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    I have a cast iron question! What do you do if it gets sticky/gummy? I’m pretty sure that happens when you use too much oil or something but I’m not sure how to fix it.
    Yes, that's usually too much oil. It can also mean that the pan wasn't seasoned at a high enough temperature or for long enough, but usually it's too much oil. Normally, what happens is that you oil it and heat it, and the oil "polymerises" - it hardens into something a little like plastic, and slips into all the little imperfections in the surface of the pan to seal them off. If the surface is sticky or gummy, then for one reason or another the polymerisation hasn't finished yet.

    The easiest way to fix this would be to scrub the residue off, rinse the pan off in hot water, dry it...basically clean it as well as you can (soap is okay here, since it's about to be completely redone) and then re-season it. Re-seasoning is your factory reset.

    Less oil (spread the layer of oil around everywhere inside and out, so it's whisper thin, and then wipe any excess off with a cloth while it's still hot), a hotter temperature in the oven to seal it, a longer time. Between all three, you should solve the problem
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    It's that time of year.

    An extremely large easter egg is born. Sadly, there is no giant chicken involved, and anything brown a rabbit leaves behind probably isn't chocolate.

    If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell
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    Partly because I need to teach my son to do it, and partly because caljmw649 asked me...

    The quick and dirty, bash and crack guide to cracking eggs with one hand.

    This is something every working cook on the planet could do in their sleep, because as much as it's nice to be able to slowly, lovingly crack the perfect beautiful egg for yourself, sometimes you really, really need speed. On a busy breakfast shift, when orders for fifteen serves of scrambled eggs (which means thirty to forty eggs) hit the line at once...screw perfect instagram worthy yolks, you just need them to go out! The one handed crack lets you either crack with your dominant hand while your off hand is already reaching for the next one, or else have an egg in each hand, have your hands mirroring each other and crack them both simultaneously before you reach for two more. If your hands are large enough and you're good at coordination, you can even have more than one egg in each hand. My personal best is four at once, though I don't really like doing more than two because it's messy.

    You're going to hold your egg in your dominant hand. The pointed end should be facing towards the front, held by your thumb, your index finger and your middle finger. Your ring finger and your pinky hold the wider end in place cradled against your palm.

    Tap the curve of the egg's side against something - the flat of the bench top or the inner surface of the bowl work better than the rim of the bowl, since a flat surface means a cleaner crack and much less chance of getting little scraps of shell in the bowl - to break it, and then the motion you need to make is a little like what you would do if you were snapping your fingers. Push with your thumb to make the crack wider, and pull the front half of the shell away from the back.



    If you need to practice the movement first, don't use real eggs! You can only use each egg once! Instead, use two small balls (golf balls or ping pong balls are perfect, or you can wad up paper or foil to the right size) like this. Put a coin in the space between them.



    The two balls are the halves of the shell, the coin is the yolk...you want to practice moving the front ball away from the back ball without dropping either of them, so the coin slides out.
    Last edited by Matchbox; 05-13-2018 at 11:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    Partly because I need to teach my son to do it, and partly because caljmw649 asked me...

    The quick and dirty, bash and crack guide to cracking eggs with one hand.

    This is something every working cook on the planet could do in their sleep, because as much as it's nice to be able to slowly, lovingly crack the perfect beautiful egg for yourself, sometimes you really, really need speed. On a busy breakfast shift, when orders for fifteen serves of scrambled eggs (which means thirty to forty eggs) hit the line at once...screw perfect instagram worthy yolks, you just need them to go out! The one handed crack lets you either crack with your dominant hand while your off hand is already reaching for the next one, or else have an egg in each hand, have your hands mirroring each other and crack them both simultaneously before you reach for two more. If your hands are large enough and you're good at coordination, you can even have more than one egg in each hand. My personal best is four at once, though I don't really like doing more than two because it's messy.

    You're going to hold your egg in your dominant hand. The pointed end should be facing towards the front, held by your thumb, your index finger and your middle finger. Your ring finger and your pinky hold the wider end in place cradled against your palm.

    Tap the curve of the egg's side against something - the flat of the bench top or the inner surface of the bowl work better than the rim of the bowl, since a flat surface means a cleaner crack and much less chance of getting little scraps of shell in the bowl - to break it, and then the motion you need to make is a little like what you would do if you were snapping your fingers. Push with your thumb to make the crack wider, and pull the front half of the shell away from the back.



    If you need to practice the movement first, don't use real eggs! You can only use each egg once! Instead, use two small balls (golf balls or ping pong balls are perfect, or you can wad up paper or foil to the right size) like this. Put a coin in the space between them.



    The two balls are the halves of the shell, the coin is the yolk...you want to practice moving the front ball away from the back ball without dropping either of them, so the coin slides out.
    Thank you for this Matchbox! I'll let you know when I've mastered it!
  5. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    Quote Originally Posted by caljmw649 View Post
    Thank you for this Matchbox! I'll let you know when I've mastered it!
    De nada. This is what I'm for.

    When you master it, do I get Fedex-ed eggs?
    If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell
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    Reposted because it made me cackle, and I sorely needed to do that...commentary on the lunch menu at that meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. It's not my commentary, but I think it's pretty accurate.






    STARTERS

    "Traditional prawn's cocktail served with avocado salad"

    The incorrect ownership of "prawn's" is a low-hanging fruit, but gee it's fun to imagine a bunch of fat shrimp sitting around a pool, wearing sunglasses and getting sozzled on margaritas. Shellfish love Jimmy Buffett, it's true.

    Trump friendliness: 7/10.
    There's no way this bloke made it through the '80s without developing a taste for prawn cocktails, no matter how much they don't resemble a cow.

    NB, my note: He loves these. As far as I know, they're still on the menu at Mar-a-Lago. Retro, Donnie, very retro




    "Green mango kerabu with honey lime dressing and fresh octopus"
    A light and simple salad with Peranakan origins. Peranakan people in Singapore come from mixed ethnic Chinese backgrounds but have a Malay-influenced culture and language.

    Trump friendliness: 2/10
    That honey lime dressing might have found its way on to a prawn, however there's no way fresh octopus was going anywhere near his piehole.




    "Oiseon - Korean stuffed cucumber"
    Sliced and quartered cucumbers stuffed with beef and mushrooms and garnished with strips of fried egg. Oiseon is a refreshing, summery dish traditionally served in royal courts.

    Trump friendliness: 4/10
    The President could pick at the beef, and maybe the egg, but cold cucumber would have been a no-go.




    MAINS

    "Beef short rib confit, served with potato dauphinois and steam broccolini, red wine sauce on the side"

    West meets west in one big glorious slab of meat and potatoes you can probably eat without chewing. Especially if you don't touch your greens.

    Trump friendliness: 9/10
    Where's the ketchup?




    "Combination of sweet & sour crispy pork and Yangzhou Fried Rice with homemade XO chili sauce"
    Yangzhou fried rice is also known as "special fried rice" in American Chinese restaurants. You'll find a version of this dish in every suburban Chinese bistro.

    Trump friendliness: 8/10.
    Hold the XO and come on down. The sticky, sweet pork would have Trump's arteries and dopamine receptors on high-alert.

    NB: If he doesn't want the XO sauce, I'll have it!




    "Daegu jorim - Soy Braised cod fish with Radish, Asian Vegetables"
    Cod can be pretty muddy gear if you're not dropping coin on the good stuff and given the appearance of Häagen-Dazs, which costs a few bucks a tub from Woolies, it's hard to know what the budget for this power lunch was. This usually delicious Korean dish could have gone either way.

    Trump friendliness: 3/10
    You could serve Trump the greatest fish our oceans have ever known, but there's no way he's going near it if beef rib is on the table.




    DESSERTS

    "Dark chocolate tartlet ganache"
    A bog-standard chocolate tart for anyone having coffee.

    Trump friendliness: 9/10
    "Pssst, Bolton. How many of these little tarts can you hide under that moustache?"




    "Haagendazs vanilla iced cream with cherry coulis"
    Little is known about Kim's taste in food except that he enjoyed rosti during his Swiss boarding school days and has a penchant for luxury foreign cheese. The North Korean leader sure must have been disappointed to be served supermarket ice-cream instead of unpasteurised comte, then. POTUS, however...

    Trump friendliness: 10/10
    "I feel like such a free spirit, Smithers, and I'm really enjoying this so-called 'iced cream'."

    NB: I don't know why I'm surprised Haagen Dazs is on the menu. I shouldn't be. This is Donald Trump. Honestly though, come on. They've got phenomenal cooks catering this thing, you can trust them to make a better vanilla ice cream!





    "Tropezienne"
    Is it a Beck album? A horse tranquilizer? A French penal colony from the 31st century? No! It's a buttery brioche tarty cake thing full of whipped cream and sugar.

    Trump friendliness: 11/10
    Of course. It was a buttery brioche tarty cake thing full of whipped cream and sugar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    De nada. This is what I'm for.

    When you master it, do I get Fedex-ed eggs?
    I think that can be arranged. Although they may be rotten eggs by the time they get to you!
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    Quote Originally Posted by caljmw649 View Post
    I think that can be arranged. Although they may be rotten eggs by the time they get to you!
    Oh well. It was worth a try.
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    For ALil2Naughty...I finally found the recipe, so let’s talk jam.

    You’ve had your session with Alton Brown, explaining how to sterilise jars correctly? He generally knows what he’s doing, so I’m going to trust that he hasn’t led you astray, but before you do anything else I want you to watch the footage again to refresh your memory. You have to do it right. If you do it wrong, you’ll give yourself a raging case of botulism and die.

    So. Sterilised jars and clean hands, please. Wash your hands properly. I will sit here with a stopwatch and time you if I have to.



    If you’re going to make jam, you need three things.

    1: Fruit. Fresh, ripe or nearly ripe, good quality fruit. The better your fruit is, the better your jam is. Cherries would not be my pick for a first jam, because digging out the cherry pits is time consuming, but you asked...

    2: Sugar. LOTS of sugar. There’s no way to make a jam that won’t make your teeth ache at twenty paces. Accept this now and do it anyway. The sugar really is important - this high sugar content is what’s preserving the fruit.

    3: Pectin. This is the thing that makes it gel, so you get jam instead of fruit soup. There are a couple of different options for pectin. All fruit contains some, so that’s a start - fruit like apples or quinces are packed with it, as is citrus, so making jam or marmalade with those is stupidly easy...if your grandmother or great-grandmother made jam, decades ago, she’d have known to throw a chopped up apple in the pot even if it wasn’t apple jam. If you prefer, you can by specific “jam” sugar, which has pectin already added. Or you can buy packets of ready-to-use pectin and add them as required.

    For this recipe, we’re using lemon juice and peel for pectin. It should be a fairly “loose”, soft set when we’re done.

    Note also that I’m doing this recipe by weight, not volume. I find it much easier to scale it up or down by weight. Have you got a set of kitchen scales?


    You need

    - Sweet cherries, pitted and diced.
    - At least 50% and ideally up to 75% sugar by weight of fruit. A kilo of cherries needs 500-600g sugar at least.
    - 2 lemons per kilo of fruit. Juice and zest.
    - 10-15% red wine by weight of fruit. I used cab sav, because that’s the bottle I had open and on hand, but you could substitute merlot, pinot noir, malbec...any dryish red with some grunt to it. Some for the jam, some for you.
    - Freshly ground black pepper to taste



    The first thing we’re going to do is macerate the fruit for a few hours - macerating means covering the fruit with the sugar and the booze and letting the sugar break it down. This softens the fruit (which reduces the cooking time later), draws out liquid and brings out some of the really dense fruity flavours that we want in the finished jam.

    Come back to it two or three hours later, and tip the whole lot into a fairly wide pot on the stove. An aluminium or copper pot is ideal if you have it - these are good for jam because they allow very precise control over cooking time and temperature. The fruit mixture should rise no more than a third of the way up the pot.

    Bring it up to a medium high heat, stirring constantly. Add in the lemon juice, zest and pepper, then bring it up to a nice rolling boil and let it sit there, stirring it as it cooks down. If you want to mush the fruit with the back of a spoon, go ahead.

    Skim any scum off the top periodically. There’s nothing wrong with it, this is safe enough to eat, but if you leave the scum there you’ll have to look at scum in your jars.

    To check if it’s done, you can either use a thermometer (watch for 105C/220F) or you can have a small plate on standby in the freezer. Drop a spoonful of the jam on the plate, put it back in the cold for a minute or two and then drag your finger through it. If you can leave a trail in the jam on the plate (so the liquid doesn’t move to fill the space where your finger has been), you’ve made jam. I don’t know how thick you like your jam, so that’s up to you, but if you try the cold plate and it hasn’t set enough for you just keep cooking it down and try again in five minutes.

    When you’re happy with it, follow the instructions you already have for safe canning. Remember that the jars should be kept warm or hot while you’re canning - if you drop hot jam into cold glass jars, they’ll break.
    Last edited by Matchbox; 06-21-2018 at 07:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    For ALil2Naughty...I finally found the recipe, so let’s talk jam.

    You’ve had your session with Alton Brown, explaining how to sterilise jars correctly? He generally knows what he’s doing, so I’m going to trust that he hasn’t led you astray, but before you do anything else I want you to watch the footage again to refresh your memory. You have to do it right. If you do it wrong, you’ll give yourself a raging case of botulism and die.

    So. Sterilised jars and clean hands, please. Wash your hands properly. I will sit here with a stopwatch and time you if I have to.



    If you’re going to make jam, you need three things.

    1: Fruit. Fresh, ripe or nearly ripe, good quality fruit. The better your fruit is, the better your jam is. Cherries would not be my pick for a first jam, because digging out the cherry pits is time consuming, but you asked...

    2: Sugar. LOTS of sugar. There’s no way to make a jam that won’t make your teeth ache at twenty paces. Accept this now and do it anyway. The sugar really is important - this high sugar content is what’s preserving the fruit.

    3: Pectin. This is the thing that makes it gel, so you get jam instead of fruit soup. There are a couple of different options for pectin. All fruit contains some, so that’s a start - fruit like apples or quinces are packed with it, as is citrus, so making jam or marmalade with those is stupidly easy...if your grandmother or great-grandmother made jam, decades ago, she’d have known to throw a chopped up apple in the pot even if it wasn’t apple jam. If you prefer, you can by specific “jam” sugar, which has pectin already added. Or you can buy packets of ready-to-use pectin and add them as required.

    For this recipe, we’re using lemon juice and peel for pectin. It should be a fairly “loose”, soft set when we’re done.

    Note also that I’m doing this recipe by weight, not volume. I find it much easier to scale it up or down by weight. Have you got a set of kitchen scales?


    You need

    - Sweet cherries, pitted and diced.
    - At least 50% and ideally up to 75% sugar by weight of fruit. A kilo of cherries needs 500-600g sugar at least.
    - 2 lemons per kilo of fruit. Juice and zest.
    - 10-15% red wine by weight of fruit. I used cab sav, because that’s the bottle I had open and on hand, but you could substitute merlot, pinot noir, malbec...any dryish red with some grunt to it. Some for the jam, some for you.
    - Freshly ground black pepper to taste



    The first thing we’re going to do is macerate the fruit for a few hours - macerating means covering the fruit with the sugar and the booze and letting the sugar break it down. This softens the fruit (which reduces the cooking time later), draws out liquid and brings out some of the really dense fruity flavours that we want in the finished jam.

    Come back to it two or three hours later, and tip the whole lot into a fairly wide pot on the stove. An aluminium or copper pot is ideal if you have it - these are good for jam because they allow very precise control over cooking time and temperature. The fruit mixture should rise no more than a third of the way up the pot.

    Bring it up to a medium high heat, stirring constantly. Add in the lemon juice, zest and pepper, then bring it up to a nice rolling boil and let it sit there, stirring it as it cooks down. If you want to mush the fruit with the back of a spoon, go ahead.

    Skim any scum off the top periodically. There’s nothing wrong with it, this is safe enough to eat, but if you leave the scum there you’ll have to look at scum in your jars.

    To check if it’s done, you can either use a thermometer (watch for 105C/220F) or you can have a small plate on standby in the freezer. Drop a spoonful of the jam on the plate, put it back in the cold for a minute or two and then drag your finger through it. If you can leave a trail in the jam on the plate (so the liquid doesn’t move to fill the space where your finger has been), you’ve made jam. I don’t know how thick you like your jam, so that’s up to you, but if you try the cold plate and it hasn’t set enough for you just keep cooking it down and try again in five minutes.

    When you’re happy with it, follow the instructions you already have for safe canning. Remember that the jars should be kept warm or hot while you’re canning - if you drop hot jam into cold glass jars, they’ll break.
    Thanks, hon! It sounds delicious!

    DH: Thank you. ME: For what, babe? DH: For being you.




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