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Ask a Chef/cooking help

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posted on Aug, 23 2007 @ 12:04 PM
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I don't know why I have ignored BTS for so long. This is really my first visit to the board so I thought I would put up this thread to offer any help I can to the great members of the ATS network.

I am a chef with ten years of experience in many types of cooking. French, Italian,Canadian,Thai to name few. I am also a single parent of a 7 year old daughter so I can help with kid friendly cooking as well. Although mine eats a lot of stuff that your average seven year old wouldn't but no matter.

I'll try to check in at least once a day to answer any questions/ offer advice to the best of my ability.




posted on Aug, 23 2007 @ 03:16 PM
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Hi, that's really nice of you to offer to be helpful like that. I like cooking, baking too but I'm not particularly talented at it, especially with the baking.

Something I've been wanting for a long time actually is a good cookie recipe. Choco chip or any kind really as long as they're good. It seems like whenever I try to make some, they never really come out right. Either the texture's all wrong, or they have no taste or else just aren't good.

If you have a good cookie recipe to share that I can try, that'd be great.



posted on Aug, 23 2007 @ 08:01 PM
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I was debating starting up a 'Cookie Monster!!!' thread to ask that very question, fweshcawfee!

I've a question. (And, echoing fweshcawfee, Thank You!! for offering your advice and expertise, Gaotu!)

I just made a batch of cookies, and it called for crisco. Is crisco an alternate to butter? (frankly, crisco looks just disgusting, and if there weren't chocolate in the cookies, I'd have given them away already.)

Does crisco melt (even work) the same as butter? (my cookies were more lumps and bumps than a proper cookie shape... Tasted okay, a little hard/dry tho.)

Any advice/suggestions?



posted on Aug, 25 2007 @ 09:26 AM
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reply to post by fweshcawfee
 

Great name. This is the chocolate chip cookie recipe I always use. It's the original Nestle Tollhouse cookie recipe and has never failed me yet.

This recipe yields about 3-4 dozen cookies depending on how big ya make them. And I'll put the recipe in cups and spoons instead of lbs and ounces

1 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of softened butter
6 TBSP sugar
6 TBSP packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanila extract
1/4 tsp water
1 egg
1 package(6oz or 1c.) of choc chips( any brand is good, It calls for toll house but that doesn't matter) I usually put in about a cup and a half maybe a little less but I like my chocolate.
You can also add some chopped nuts of your choice if ya want. I don't as one of my daughters friends has a nut allergy.

preheat oven to 375 F

1. Sift flour,baking soda,and salt together and set aside

2. Combine butter, sugars, vanilla, water and beat till creammy. beat uin the egg than add the flour mixture. Stir in Chocolate chips.

3. Drop approx. half teaspoon of dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden and not burnt on bottom.

Hope that helps your cookie w



posted on Aug, 25 2007 @ 09:39 AM
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reply to post by Diseria
 


You know I haven't used shortening( I am assuming its Crisco shortening) in making cookies before always butter.


Does crisco melt (even work) the same as butter? (my cookies were more lumps and bumps than a proper cookie shape... Tasted okay, a little hard/dry tho.)


Crisco melts at a alot higher temperature than butter but they both act the same. There role in baking is to shorten the gluten strands and makes the product tender. Your cookies may have come out lumpy because the shortening hadn't had enough time to melt properly due to it's high melting point. I would say that the recipe was just an add for Crisco basically and any time you see that in a cookie recipe, substitute butter. Maybe some one else has better experience using it but thats my opinion on it.



posted on Aug, 25 2007 @ 02:39 PM
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reply to post by GAOTU789
 



Well, here's $0.02. My late sainted mother (God rest her soul) was as good a baker as I've ever seen. She made pies that I've never had the equal of. Ever. And almost everyone who'd been fortunate enough to have one agreed. It was the crust, primarily, which she always made with Crisco shortening. (Unless it was a pie calling for a graham cracker crust, like a sugar cream pie -yum-).

She also used the Nestle's toll house recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but Mom typically used margarine in baking recipes (cookies) that called for butter. And generally Blue Bonnet. I don't think it was a health thing as much as it's just what she thought produced the best results.



posted on Aug, 25 2007 @ 03:23 PM
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reply to post by GAOTU789
 


Thanks!

I'm saving that to a notepad doc. and will try it soon. How important is the "sifting" part though, I don't have a sifter... but if it really makes a difference I can pick one up.



posted on Aug, 25 2007 @ 03:26 PM
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reply to post by yeahright
 


I was going to ask if real butter makes any significant difference, you read my mind.

(Darn tin foil hat keeps falling off leaving me unprotected!)

We always use Blue Bonnet too, it's cheap and tastes pretty good.



posted on Aug, 25 2007 @ 04:28 PM
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Ya maragrine is a great sub for butter. Really doesn't affect the outcome at all in cookies. I use it for making cookies alot because I don't always have butter or it's to hard to use at the time.


How important is the "sifting" part though, I don't have a sifter... but if it really makes a difference I can pick one up.


Sifting is good for getting the clumps of flour broken up. If you use cake flour it usually comes pre sifted now days. Or a cheap mesh strainer would work just as well.

reply to yeah right

Well, here's $0.02. My late sainted mother (God rest her soul) was as good a baker as I've ever seen. She made pies that I've never had the equal of. Ever. And almost everyone who'd been fortunate enough to have one agreed. It was the crust, primarily, which she always made with Crisco shortening. (Unless it was a pie calling for a graham cracker crust, like a sugar cream pie -yum-).


My grandma always used shortening when making pies and stuff to and they were always fantastic. Me I'm no baker, I stick to cookies and quick breads mostly. Baking is to exact for me. Too much of one ingredient or the other can completely screw up a recipe whereas with cooking it is no where near exact. Recipes are more guidelines than anything when it comes to cooking.



posted on Aug, 27 2007 @ 01:09 PM
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Hi can I get another recipe with tips?

I want a hands down, mouth watering, palate hammering, make you jump and holler "damn that's good!" meatloaf recipe.

Thanks



posted on Aug, 27 2007 @ 04:00 PM
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I notice you mentioned Thai food, so I have a question.

My Pad Thai never comes out the same as what I get at a restaurant, so I was wondering if you had any tips or a good recipe.

I may be overdoing my noodles or something, but mine never seems to have the right consistency or flavour.



posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 03:36 PM
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Originally posted by fweshcawfee
How important is the "sifting" part though, I don't have a sifter... but if it really makes a difference I can pick one up.


Depends on the kind of flour. Anything that's been bleached will need to be sifted. I always had little iddy biddy balls left over -- don't know what they were, but I've never needed to sift non-bleached flour. (tried, nothing left over)

HOWEVER!!!!

If you're using self-rising flour, don't bother sifting. I made bread once, sifted the self-rising flour, and got half as much yeast (and piddly rising) in the dough.




Gaotu,

I tried the same cookie recipe and exchanged butter for the crisco (shortening)... worked and tasted much better! I don't recall why I picked up the crisco in the first place, but it's almost the same price as butter...

With regards to margarine -- my mom refused to bake with margarine because she said that it separated and changed the final product. And yet, I see here that you (and others) have used margarine with no problems...

When would I absolutely NOT want to use margarine?



posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 07:18 PM
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Diseria thanks for the sifting info.

Got a good meatloaf recipe?



posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by fweshcawfee
Diseria thanks for the sifting info.

Got a good meatloaf recipe?


I got recipes, but I've never tried them. (I'm not a big fan of meatloaf -- I'd rather use the hamburger to make spaghetti or lasagna...)

My mom used to put in bread crumbs, ketchup, and random spices. (Which, by the way, I never understood: Is the bread crumbs and ketchup added for filler?)

If I had the meat and decided to make one, I'd mix in rosemary, garlic, some cheese (probably horseradish cheddar), and *thinks* maybe some paprika... oh, and I guess bread crumbs and ketchup, if they are, indeed, necessary.

I live by spices. Anything can be made reasonably edible with spices. As to what proportions -- no clue. I go by dashes and sprinkles, using my sniffer to determine what else should be added.


!!!! I just had an idea. Don't know if it'll work, but it sounds neat. (Ideas always sound neat...) You know those spiral cakes? Lay the dough out, spread the jelly, and roll it up, and bake. Would that work with hamburger? that might be yummy... a spiral meatloaf... (best appreciated during football season, I imagine...)

[edit on 28-8-2007 by Diseria]



posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 08:28 PM
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how do you feel about andrew zimmern and anthony bordain?!? i watch them every week, i love those guys.



posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by anxietydisorder
 


Sorry all, I have been really busy so I haven't been here in a couple of days.

My current pad thai Recipe:

for the sauce
1 small onion diced fine.
1 small piece of fresh ginger, grated or diced fine
minced garlic
1 jar tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup soy sauce(light)
1/4 fish sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup packed palm sugar or brown sugar

Saute onions garlic ginger till soft and slightly caramelized in some veg oil.
Add rest of ingredients and stir together. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes

for the recipe

1 8 oz pack of rice stick noodles
2 oz of tofu
chicken or pork or shrimp or veggies or all of them
1 egg
bean sprouts
peanuts
green onion
coriander, fresh
lime wedges

Soak the noodles in very hot water till tender but not overly soft( el dente is good) about 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of the noodles.( I always use 3mm) Drain when soft and set aside
Stir fry your choice of protein or veggies and tofu till cooked through.
Add the egg and scramble it( if the peanuts aren't roasted, add them about a minute before you add the egg if they are add them with the egg)
Add your drained noodles and fry for another minute or so.
Add sauce( I usually add 4 oz to a dish at work, you could add more or less if you like) and stir fry for another minute or so.
Put it on your plate and garnish with the sprouts, green onion, lime wedges and some more peanuts if you like.

You can also add some smooth peanut butter to the sauce to give it a bit more thickness and peanutty taste.



posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 04:51 PM
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I want a hands down, mouth watering, palate hammering, make you jump and holler "damn that's good!" meatloaf recipe.


Ya know, I don't think I have ever made meat loaf. My mom used to make it all the time when we were kids but I can't recall doing it myself. I am with Diseria on this one. I would rather make a nice pasta dish or even some burgers for the BBQ. But the quick recipe thats is in his/her post sounds ok to me. Add some salt and pepper to that and I would say you would be fine. The bread crumbs are the binder, in response to Diseria's question. They would keep the whole thing together. I would use an egg also just to add some more moisture into it. And My mom used to put a mixture of ketchup, bbq sauce,brown sugar and mustard powder on top.



!!!! I just had an idea. Don't know if it'll work, but it sounds neat. (Ideas always sound neat...) You know those spiral cakes? Lay the dough out, spread the jelly, and roll it up, and bake. Would that work with hamburger? that might be yummy... a spiral meatloaf... (best appreciated during football season, I imagine...)


(In my best Homer voice)
mmmm...... a meaty jelly roll

I don't know it would probably work as long as the burger was cooked first and drained well top keep the dough from getting soggy. Maybe a Sunday experiment this season.



posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 05:00 PM
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reply to post by hikix
 


I love Bourdain and his dry sense of humor. He really tells what the underside of the business is really like in Kitchen Confidential. I don't really know who Zimmern is but I have heard about his show. Sounds really interesting. I may have to download some of them now and check them out.



posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 07:20 PM
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Originally posted by GAOTU789
Ya know, I don't think I have ever made meat loaf.


Hmmm a chef that's never made a common dish like meatloaf... This is educational for me, I always thought professional chefs knew how to make pretty much everything but I guess not. Even when I asked you about cookies you gave me a recipe off a bag of choco chips.

So I guess Chefs are more about real fancy styles of cooking rather than common at-home type stuff? I honestly wouldn't know, I've never known a chef.



posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 07:41 PM
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!!!! I just had an idea. Don't know if it'll work, but it sounds neat. (Ideas always sound neat...) You know those spiral cakes? Lay the dough out, spread the jelly, and roll it up, and bake. Would that work with hamburger? that might be yummy... a spiral meatloaf... (best appreciated during football season, I imagine...)


(In my best Homer voice)
mmmm...... a meaty jelly roll

I don't know it would probably work as long as the burger was cooked first and drained well top keep the dough from getting soggy. Maybe a Sunday experiment this season.


I hadn't even thought of that... I imagined using the hamburger instead of the dough... (that's how you could get away with calling it a meatloaf.)

But now that you mention it... *wheels turning*

Hafta pat the cooked meat to get as much of the grease out, but the heat would help the dough rise... (I have sourdough in my head -- might a different bread work better? Maybe potato? ........throw some green beans in and that's a full meal right there!)

Mixing the meat into the dough might be interesting... not quite a roll, but with some cheddar it'd be yummy...

Would a pizza dough work better? hrm...

I might hafta try this. A good excuse to go grocery shopping!



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