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Thread: Matchbox's Kitchen - Ask The Pro

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    #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    oh man i looooove risotto. i like shrimp risotto with seared scallops. and truffle oil. i made a recipe like that probably two years ago and still think about it all the time lmao
    I bet DH would like that but I can't really eat shellfish (recently discovered iodine allergy) Maybe I could do like a seared filet mignon on top?
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    #72
    Let me know if you've already answered this and I'll look for it What material and brands of cookware, utensils, and knives are your favorite without breaking the bank? What specific tools are essential even for a beginner? What things would you say to steer away from at all costs (again talking about brands/materials)?
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    #73
    Quote Originally Posted by rocket_lizz View Post
    I have a question! I made broccoli parmesan risotto last night and it was my new favorite food so what other flavors of risotto should I try? Do you know any good recipes?
    Oh, lots. Risotto is such a versatile base dish, you can put almost anything in it.

    - Mixed mushroom. Portobello, porcini, oyster...get as many different kinds of mushroom as you can and cook them ALL, with spinach, bacon and tarragon. On the rare occasions I get to go out foraging (don't do this unless you really know your way around your local fungus, since if you can't ID it you may accidentally poison yourself!) this is what I often do with the mushrooms.

    - Seafood, fennel and lemon. You said you can't do shellfish, so that's out, but try subbing in salmon. Sea bass would also be interesting. Fish stock for this one.

    - Risotto alla milanese. Simple, but very lush. Onions, white wine, parmesan, butter and saffron (I love saffron so much, if it didn't cost the proverbial earth I'd use it all the time) to dye it that beautiful rich gold. This is usually paired with osso buco, or I roast beef bones and dig the marrow out with a spoon.

    - Zucchini, roasted bell pepper and goat's cheese.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    oh man i looooove risotto. i like shrimp risotto with seared scallops. and truffle oil. i made a recipe like that probably two years ago and still think about it all the time lmao
    Can I come and eat with you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sassycat View Post
    Let me know if you've already answered this and I'll look for it What material and brands of cookware, utensils, and knives are your favorite without breaking the bank? What specific tools are essential even for a beginner? What things would you say to steer away from at all costs (again talking about brands/materials)?
    Give me a chance to think about this, and I'll get back to you. All three that you've asked are quite broad questions. Watch this space?
    Last edited by Matchbox; 09-14-2017 at 08:08 PM.
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    #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    Oh, lots. Risotto is such a versatile base dish, you can put almost anything in it.

    - Mixed mushroom. Portobello, porcini, oyster...get as many different kinds of mushroom as you can and cook them ALL, with spinach, bacon and tarragon. On the rare occasions I get to go out foraging (don't do this unless you really know your way around your local fungus, since if you can't ID it you may accidentally poison yourself!) this is what I often do with the mushrooms.

    - Seafood, fennel and lemon. You said you can't do shellfish, so that's out, but try subbing in salmon. Sea bass would also be interesting. Fish stock for this one.

    - Risotto alla milanese. Simple, but very lush. Onions, white wine, parmesan, butter and saffron (I love saffron so much, if it didn't cost the proverbial earth I'd use it all the time) to dye it that beautiful rich gold. This is usually paired with osso buco, or I roast beef bones and dig the marrow out with a spoon.

    - Zucchini, roasted bell pepper and goat's cheese.
    Thanks for the ideas these sound yummy! and YES SEA BASS I LOVE SEA BASS. Also can get it fresh & still wiggling here, so thanks for that idea, I will have to try it. For mushrooms, the only one I know how to safely ID is morels, which grow at my parents house, so next spring maybe I can make a morel risotto.
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    #75
    Quote Originally Posted by Sassycat View Post
    Let me know if you've already answered this and I'll look for it What material and brands of cookware, utensils, and knives are your favorite without breaking the bank? What specific tools are essential even for a beginner? What things would you say to steer away from at all costs (again talking about brands/materials)?
    Just my amatuer opinion:
    Cast iron or carbon steel skillets. Cheap, non stick and will last a lifetime.
    Long tongs. Cheap and very useful. Either silicone or steel.
    Wood/bamboo cutting board.
    1 good chefs knife. Spend the money. Treat it well. Send it out to be sharpened once a year. Learn to use a honing steel. It will last almost at as long as cast iron.
    Digital instant read thermometer.
    If you bake, digital kitchen scale.
    Wood and silicone one piece spatula.

    Avoid: Teflon coated anything.
    Sets. Pots and pans sets, knife sets, etc.
    Anything "seen on TV"
    If you want my opinion on your relationship or life issues, just ask Villanelle!
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
    "RIP Blackie, and Whitey, New Whitey. Goodbye Poopers and Momma Beige and Lady Grey. New Blackie and the Whitey Sisters rule the roost now!"
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    #76
    Quote Originally Posted by Sassycat View Post
    Let me know if you've already answered this and I'll look for it What material and brands of cookware, utensils, and knives are your favorite without breaking the bank?
    I spoke a little about materials in pots and pans back here. Different materials have different strengths and weaknesses, and being made of a certain material isn't in itself enough to guarantee a good pan. Better to look for specific features - a thick base to spread heat evenly, weight that's not too much for you to manage comfortably (you WILL get "trigger finger" if you're not very big but you insist on throwing heavy cast iron around!), a handle that attaches well - rather than specific materials.

    In terms of brands, I've found Tramontina fairly reliable on a budget. My cheap skillet at home (the one I don't care if Child One destroys by mistake) is one of theirs. If you really want cast iron, Lodge is generally good quality, and should last for a very long time if you care for it.

    I don't often recommend knives, as they're very personal to the individual cook (it has to fit YOUR hand, not mine!) but if you must have a rec then you could do worse than Forschner/Victrinox. The people who make Swiss army knives also make quite good kitchen knives, and the price point isn't bad. The Wusthof Pro line (specifically the Pro line, some of their other options can get a lot more pricy!) is also worth consideration.

    Take your time choosing a knife. This is the blue chip stock of your kitchen, you'll use it every day, so make sure the one you buy feels comfortable.

    What specific tools are essential even for a beginner?
    When my sister left home, this is the list I gave her.

    - Two knives. One chef's, one paring. Between the two of them, they'll do almost everything most home cooks want to do. Look after them. Keep them somewhere safe, not just knocking around in the drawer (a knife block, a magnetic strip, the box they came in when you bought them), wash them by hand rather than throwing them in the dishwasher and take them to be sharpened regularly - Guy says once a year, I say every few months. Knives that are blunt are dangerous to use, and when you do inevitably cut yourself the cut will be deeper and more ragged than it would have been if you'd kept it sharp.

    - Two chopping boards, one for raw protein and one for everything else. This is the simplified version of the system I have to use by law; in professional kitchens there are usually about nine, all colour coded for specific things. Timber or bamboo is good, or good-quality, solid plastic or rubber for the meat one. If you notice the plastic getting scratched or scarred, throw it out and replace it, you'll never get bacteria out of the scratches.

    - A healthy selection of kitchen towels. You clean up messes with these, you protect your hands with these...I've never used an oven mitt or pot holder in my life, just piles and piles of towels. Professionals hoard these like squirrels do nuts. At the very least, have one at your hip and one hanging off the oven door, and swap them over when your hip towel is too damp to use. They'll save you a lot of scars.

    - Pots and pans. I say three pots - one small (for when you just want to boil an egg or make a little sauce or something) one middling and, if you have somewhere to put it, one big five or six litre stock pot for bulk cooking. The pot of soup, the chilli...the stockpot is for those. All three should have lids that fit them. Two skillets too - one big deep one, one smaller.

    - Measurement tools. Measuring cups, measuring spoons and an accurate set of kitchen scales. A probe thermometer would also be good.

    - Spatula, wooden spoons, tongs.

    - Ice cube tray. Even if you don't use much ice, you can freeze leftover things (herbs, for instance, or stock) in it, and the cubes control portions.

    - Mixing bowl. More than one, if you spot a nesting set. You can use this for the obvious and mix things in it, it can be a serving bowl, it can hold leftovers.

    - Plastic tubs, for storing leftovers. You can do this with dry ingredients in your pantry too - instead of having oddly sized and shaped boxes and bags open all over the pantry, have resealable tubs or canisters that stack. Far easier to find things this way, no?

    - Roll of painter's tape and a sharpie. For LABELLING all your stuff. Write labels and dates on a strip of tape so you know how long it's been there, and when the container is empty just peel the tape off. Painters tape won't break down if it gets wet, but also peels away without leaving marks, so it's perfect.

    - Clingwrap, tinfoil, baking paper and a spool (not a ball, balls tangle) of kitchen twine

    - Tube of aloe-vera gel (or a plant; I have a plant named Lorenzo at home!) and a box of very brightly coloured band aids. No matter how good a cook you are, eventually you will hurt yourself. You'll cut yourself or burn yourself, and you'll need to deal with that. We all do it. Ask me about some of my more gruesome accidents some time! Keep the supplies you need to fix an injury somewhere where you can get at them quickly. Brightly coloured band aids are better than plain ones because it's easier to find them if you lose one - the ones often sold to working kitchens are bright blue and slightly magnetic, specifically because there's no food that's naturally bright blue.


    What things would you say to steer away from at all costs (again talking about brands/materials)?
    Buy individually if you can, not in sets. They're YOUR tools, they should be just right for you.

    Don't buy anything you haven't had the chance to pick up and see how it feels in your hands.




    Quote Originally Posted by rocket_lizz View Post
    Thanks for the ideas these sound yummy! and YES SEA BASS I LOVE SEA BASS. Also can get it fresh & still wiggling here, so thanks for that idea, I will have to try it. For mushrooms, the only one I know how to safely ID is morels, which grow at my parents house, so next spring maybe I can make a morel risotto.
    I thought it was you who had the good access to fresh fish

    Buy the mushrooms, grow them (mushroom boxes are kind of fun, my kids are unreasonably excited at the thought of living things in our closet) find them...it doesn't matter how you get them. Just arrange to have a few different kinds and play with them.
    Last edited by Matchbox; 09-15-2017 at 09:47 PM.
    If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell
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    #77
    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    I spoke a little about materials in pots and pans back here. Different materials have different strengths and weaknesses, and being made of a certain material isn't in itself enough to guarantee a good pan. Better to look for specific features - a thick base to spread heat evenly, weight that's not too much for you to manage comfortably (you WILL get "trigger finger" if you're not very big but you insist on throwing heavy cast iron around!), a handle that attaches well - rather than specific materials.

    In terms of brands, I've found Tramontina fairly reliable on a budget. My cheap skillet at home (the one I don't care if Child One destroys by mistake) is one of theirs. If you really want cast iron, Lodge is generally good quality, and should last for a very long time if you care for it.

    I don't often recommend knives, as they're very personal to the individual cook (it has to fit YOUR hand, not mine!) but if you must have a rec then you could do worse than Forschner/Victrinox. The people who make Swiss army knives also make quite good kitchen knives, and the price point isn't bad. The Wusthof Pro line (specifically the Pro line, some of their other options can get a lot more pricy!) is also worth consideration.

    Take your time choosing a knife. This is the blue chip stock of your kitchen, you'll use it every day, so make sure the one you buy feels comfortable.



    When my sister left home, this is the list I gave her.

    - Two knives. One chef's, one paring. Between the two of them, they'll do almost everything most home cooks want to do. Look after them. Keep them somewhere safe, not just knocking around in the drawer (a knife block, a magnetic strip, the box they came in when you bought them), wash them by hand rather than throwing them in the dishwasher and take them to be sharpened regularly - Guy says once a year, I say every few months. Knives that are blunt are dangerous to use, and when you do inevitably cut yourself the cut will be deeper and more ragged than it would have been if you'd kept it sharp.

    - Two chopping boards, one for raw protein and one for everything else. This is the simplified version of the system I have to use by law; in professional kitchens there are usually about nine, all colour coded for specific things. Timber or bamboo is good, or good-quality, solid plastic or rubber for the meat one. If you notice the plastic getting scratched or scarred, throw it out and replace it, you'll never get bacteria out of the scratches.

    - A healthy selection of kitchen towels. You clean up messes with these, you protect your hands with these...I've never used an oven mitt or pot holder in my life, just piles and piles of towels. Professionals hoard these like squirrels do nuts. At the very least, have one at your hip and one hanging off the oven door, and swap them over when your hip towel is too damp to use. They'll save you a lot of scars.

    - Pots and pans. I say three pots - one small (for when you just want to boil an egg or make a little sauce or something) one middling and, if you have somewhere to put it, one big five or six litre stock pot for bulk cooking. The pot of soup, the chilli...the stockpot is for those. All three should have lids that fit them. Two skillets too - one big deep one, one smaller.

    - Measurement tools. Measuring cups, measuring spoons and an accurate set of kitchen scales. A probe thermometer would also be good.

    - Spatula, wooden spoons, tongs.

    - Ice cube tray. Even if you don't use much ice, you can freeze leftover things (herbs, for instance, or stock) in it, and the cubes control portions.

    - Mixing bowl. More than one, if you spot a nesting set. You can use this for the obvious and mix things in it, it can be a serving bowl, it can hold leftovers.

    - Plastic tubs, for storing leftovers. You can do this with dry ingredients in your pantry too - instead of having oddly sized and shaped boxes and bags open all over the pantry, have resealable tubs or canisters that stack. Far easier to find things this way, no?

    - Roll of painter's tape and a sharpie. For LABELLING all your stuff. Write labels and dates on a strip of tape so you know how long it's been there, and when the container is empty just peel the tape off. Painters tape won't break down if it gets wet, but also peels away without leaving marks, so it's perfect.

    - Clingwrap, tinfoil, baking paper and a spool (not a ball, balls tangle) of kitchen twine

    - Tube of aloe-vera gel (or a plant; I have a plant named Lorenzo at home!) and a box of very brightly coloured band aids. No matter how good a cook you are, eventually you will hurt yourself. You'll cut yourself or burn yourself, and you'll need to deal with that. We all do it. Ask me about some of my more gruesome accidents some time! Keep the supplies you need to fix an injury somewhere where you can get at them quickly. Brightly coloured band aids are better than plain ones because it's easier to find them if you lose one - the ones often sold to working kitchens are bright blue and slightly magnetic, specifically because there's no food that's naturally bright blue.




    Buy individually if you can, not in sets. They're YOUR tools, they should be just right for you.

    Don't buy anything you haven't had the chance to pick up and see how it feels in your hands.






    I thought it was you who had the good access to fresh fish

    Buy the mushrooms, grow them (mushroom boxes are kind of fun, my kids are unreasonably excited at the thought of living things in our closet) find them...it doesn't matter how you get them. Just arrange to have a few different kinds and play with them.
    Yes, sharpen, as in grind a new edge...once a year. Hone with the steel? Every few times. And remember, she's not putting the miles on it that you or I might.
    If you want my opinion on your relationship or life issues, just ask Villanelle!
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
    "RIP Blackie, and Whitey, New Whitey. Goodbye Poopers and Momma Beige and Lady Grey. New Blackie and the Whitey Sisters rule the roost now!"
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    #78
    Quote Originally Posted by Guynavywife View Post
    Yes, sharpen, as in grind a new edge...once a year. Hone with the steel? Every few times. And remember, she's not putting the miles on it that you or I might.
    That's exactly what I meant. New edge, every few months. Once every six months would be a good starting estimate for a not particularly busy home cook. Honing with the steel to work out the burrs on the existing edge is every one to two hundred strokes.

    The miles I put on mine, I usually have the full set of waterstones out to put a new edge on once a month, and do ten minutes with the finest grit one every day or two. I notice some fairly clear degradation in edge by the end of a month, and I want mine fit to shave with.

    I know other working cooks who are even more anal than I am.

    I think very highly of you, you know that, but...git gud.
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    #79
    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    That's exactly what I meant. New edge, every few months. Once every six months would be a good starting estimate for a not particularly busy home cook. Honing with the steel to work out the burrs on the existing edge is every one to two hundred strokes.

    The miles I put on mine, I usually have the full set of waterstones out to put a new edge on once a month, and do ten minutes with the finest grit one every day or two. I notice some fairly clear degradation in edge by the end of a month, and I want mine fit to shave with.

    I know other working cooks who are even more anal than I am.

    I think very highly of you, you know that, but...git gud.
    Damned, you won't have any steel (carbon I am guessing?) Left to sharpen at that rate!

    Ps, if you like old knives, I still have my dad's "set" of German kitchen knives which must be 60 or 70 years old by now. Wooden handles, two rivits, full tang. Beautiful things. Not the same quality you can get these days, but still slice and filet like they were newborn knives.
    If you want my opinion on your relationship or life issues, just ask Villanelle!
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
    "RIP Blackie, and Whitey, New Whitey. Goodbye Poopers and Momma Beige and Lady Grey. New Blackie and the Whitey Sisters rule the roost now!"
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    #80
    Quote Originally Posted by Guynavywife View Post
    Damned, you won't have any steel (carbon I am guessing?) Left to sharpen at that rate!

    Ps, if you like old knives, I still have my dad's "set" of German kitchen knives which must be 60 or 70 years old by now. Wooden handles, two rivits, full tang. Beautiful things. Not the same quality you can get these days, but still slice and filet like they were newborn knives.
    Either carbon steel or high-carbon stainless, depending on the knife.

    I do it that often because I NEED to do it that often. By the end of a month, the edge on my favourite work knives is noticeably more blunt than I like, even with the daily touch ups. You mentioned that Sassycat likely isn't putting the miles on her knives that someone like you would...but Guy my love, you're still a lawyer. You clearly love cooking, you're interested and knowledgeable, we'll call you a gifted amateur. I strongly suspect you have hospitality work somewhere in your past, and probably that you liked it, though I don't know how long ago or what you did. Am I right?

    You do heavy work by gifted amateur standards. Not so much by mine. As an estimate, when I'm at work I'm putting as much wear on my best work knives in a day as a home cook (even a passionate and skilled one like you seem to be) might in a week. There's just...exponentially more to do. So much more.

    Part of being able to use the stones so often is also that I do it myself. Most professional knife sharpening services, to deal with the volume of customers they see in a day, they have two grades of grit that they're using. They have the very rough one, to take a lot of steel off quickly and get actual physical chipping and damage out of the blade - the "fuck me sideways, what did you do to your knife?!" problem solver. Then they have a much finer one to actually shape the edge and make it sharp. They're also often using machines for speed, though some machines are more aggressive than others; at worst, a grinder at the mall might actually damage your blade permanently by overheating the steel. A good sharpening service will be a lot more careful than that, and a really good one will use three grades of grit - one to repair damage, one to sharpen, one to make it smooth and sharp.

    Personally, I was taught to tend my knives myself; very specifically, I was taught to sit down with a bowl of water and my various stones (I have four grades of grit I use, though the roughest is only for real damage), set the angle up myself for each specific knife and do it by hand. The finest grit stone that I use every day is taking very, very little away, more almost polishing it. As an apprentice, my boss used to make me sit on the kitchen stairs every night at the end of service and care for my knives before I could go home.

    This is a ritual a lot of us - especially as you move into fine dining establishments - maintain, as a sort of meditative way down from the madness of service. Check your knives every night. We can and do abuse ourselves, but never the knives.
    If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell
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