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Old 27.03.2012, 22:36
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Ask a chef!

Here’s a similar idea to the “Ask a Scientist” thread. Any “burning” cooking-related questions, chuck them on here and hopefully someone will know the answer. There are a lot of people out there who are good cooks, and a lot who are not. So let’s spread the love…

I’ll start by asking/answering a question:

Why can’t you buy turkeys with giblets in German-speaking Switzerland?
A French-Swiss guy told me that Germans have a real aversion to offal as a food. Coop and the other big supermarkets remove the giblets from imported turkeys, before selling them in the German part. They are available in the French and Italian parts of Switzerland. Dunno if this is true, but it sounds plausible. Giblets are also available in separated packets, eg 100% chicken hearts/livers, but it’s up to you to decide whether you need a half kilo of chicken hearts.

Two questions from me:

1. Why are scallops in Europe always sold/served with no coral? I think that the coral is the most interesting and best tasting part of scallops; the “foot” seems fairly neutral and just absorbs flavour from whatever you cook it with. It seems a real pity to open a fresh scallop and then to immediately discard the coral…

2. Are copper saucepans any good to cook with? I know they are quite photogenic. But it seems that you can’t cook tomato-based sauces in them, as they are too acidic and eat into the pan. And you can’t scour them too much in case the lining gets scratched, because you might then absorb too much copper in the food. And they’re horrendously expensive. But then again, commercial kitchens seem to use them a lot, so they must have some advantages…

Does anyone know the answers?
ps - I'm not a chef - I'm just someone that loves cooking.
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Old 27.03.2012, 22:46
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Re: Ask a chef!

Only time I`ve ever seen a chef using a copper pot, well it was actually a copper bowl ... was to whisk egg whites in. She said (she was a french chef) ... that the copper bowl somehow made the whites whisk up more frothy. I dunno, never tried it.

I have a question. How does one make a beer and mustard sauce, to go with fried pork fillet medallions? I`ve searched the internet but can`t seem to find the right one. It was a german menu I ordered this from ...... "Bier und Senf"........was SO delicious!
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Old 29.03.2012, 20:49
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Re: Ask a chef!

There's lots of beer-mustard sauces for pork dishes on google; just search for 'recipe mustard beer sauce pork'. For example:

pork schnitzel with a mustard-beer sauce

pork chops in beer mustard sauce

sausage in beer mustard sauce

beer-brined pork chops in beer mustard sauce

roasted pork loin with beer mustard sauce

mustard beer sauce

pork chops with a mustard beer caraway glaze


Hope that helps...
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Old 30.03.2012, 00:19
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Re: Ask a chef!

Oh. I though you were offering to answer the questions, not asking some. LOL.

Copper sauces pans are good for jams, marmalades, candy, egg whites, when you need a bit of the acidity. And sauces for the fact that they heat up evenly but more importantly (I think) is that they cool down quickly. So you have more control of the heat. This is important for sauces so you can pull them off exactly at the right moment and they won't split with the residual heat.

Don't know about the scallops. I don't eat them in Switzerland so I never noticed.


I have a question:

Why does my mayonnaise set up only half the time?! I do the same thing every time and 1/2 the time it won't set up. Grr!
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Old 30.03.2012, 00:35
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Re: Ask a chef!

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Oh. I though you were offering to answer the questions, not asking some. LOL.

Copper sauces pans are good for jams, marmalades, candy, egg whites, when you need a bit of the acidity. And sauces for the fact that they heat up evenly but more importantly (I think) is that they cool down quickly. So you have more control of the heat. This is important for sauces so you can pull them off exactly at the right moment and they won't split with the residual heat.

Don't know about the scallops. I don't eat them in Switzerland so I never noticed.


I have a question:

Why does my mayonnaise set up only half the time?! I do the same thing every time and 1/2 the time it won't set up. Grr!
Copper pans do distribute the heat faster. They can't be used on induction ranges, that's why you don't see them being used here(in Switzerland). They are much easier to use when making sugars that have to be exact heat specific, and sauces that also should be perfect. Scouring isn't necessary, just a good soaking as you shouldn't be burning in your copper pans. If you are you aren't ready for copper, and should stick with steel. Also cleaning the exterior is a bit of a shore, but after a few times it get's a lot easier. Especially if you have an apprenti in your cupboard.

European Scallops do have the coral, the nice name for the semen. Like Roe is a nice name for the same thing. If you want to guarantee coral in your scallops buy them in the shell from a country where they have them off their shores, like France, in the Shell. More work, but better results. In fact France has many species of Scallops. Only when they are deep frozen I see them without the orange.

They do use offal for a great deal of dishes, and what they are probably doing is by removing the offal/innards is selling the turkey and then profiting off the insides separately. Migros often sells those parts in the their meat section.

The mayo is your technique. It could also be the quality and temperature of your ingredients, are you whisking enough air or blending it, there by cutting the air bubbles? Are your eggs still fresh? What is the room temperature you are working in? When you are putting it back into the fridge, have you left the fridge door open often? If it's the last one the fridge might not be up to the coldest possible temp and more like a room temp interior.

I can't comment on all the practices of the Metzgers of Switzerland, but I have a good idea, and, I am Chef and common food addict.
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Old 30.03.2012, 00:58
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Re: Ask a chef!

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Copper pans do distribute the heat faster. They can't be used on induction ranges, that's why you don't see them being used here(in Switzerland). They are much easier to use when making sugars that have to be exact heat specific, and sauces that also should be perfect. Scouring isn't necessary, just a good soaking as you shouldn't be burning in your copper pans. If you are you aren't ready for copper, and should stick with steel. Also cleaning the exterior is a bit of a shore, but after a few times it get's a lot easier. Especially if you have an apprenti in your cupboard.
What I wouldn't give for a gas stove!
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The mayo is your technique. It could also be the quality and temperature of your ingredients, are you whisking enough air or blending it, there by cutting the air bubbles? Are your eggs still fresh? What is the room temperature you are working in? When you are putting it back into the fridge, have you left the fridge door open often? If it's the last one the fridge might not be up to the coldest possible temp and more like a room temp interior.

I take the eggs out of the fridge at least and hour before I make the mayo or I make it with eggs right from the store which are room temperature.

Room temps are within the "normal" range.

I guess it could be that I'm using older eggs. It's very possible that one day I use the last egg. Then when the mayo goes wrong a couple days later I'll buy new eggs and try again.

Are you saying they need to be super fresh or it won't work? Or is it the egg temperature?
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Old 30.03.2012, 09:45
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Re: Ask a chef!

What a great idea for a thread! I'm always looking for 30 minutes recipes, but not burgers, tacos, hot dogs, enchiladas and the like, which is what you basically find on google.
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Old 30.03.2012, 15:14
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Re: Ask a chef!

Mayonnaise is also affected by the oil. It's more likely to work if you use a fresh bottle than one that's been opened for a while. Also if you've any water in your blender (or whisk if you've strong arms!) then that will stop the emulsion forming.

So basically; fresh eggs & fresh oil, and totally dry bowl/whisk/blender and you should be fine every time
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Old 30.03.2012, 15:15
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Re: Ask a chef!

Oh and I find it all works best if everything is at room temp - your eggs, oil & equipment
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Old 30.03.2012, 16:33
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Re: Ask a chef!

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Mayonnaise is also affected by the oil. It's more likely to work if you use a fresh bottle than one that's been opened for a while. Also if you've any water in your blender (or whisk if you've strong arms!) then that will stop the emulsion forming.

So basically; fresh eggs & fresh oil, and totally dry bowl/whisk/blender and you should be fine every time

Oh and I find it all works best if everything is at room temp - your eggs, oil & equipment
Ah! I'm guessing it's the water in the container!

I'm generally good about all the other stuff; room temp, fresh ingredients, etc. But I didn't know about the water thing. Since I use the same container for mayo, it's possible some times I have to throw out the old mayo then wash the container and started again without making sure the contain is perfectly dry. Where as other times the container is already dry and in the cupboard.

That could well be it..... I'll keep that in mind.

Thanks!

(This thread IS brilliant!)
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Old 30.03.2012, 16:59
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Re: Ask a chef!

Plus one for the brilliant thread!

As for copper pots and pans...the traditional way to make polenta, as done by our grandmas, is with a copper pot, called in Italian "paiolo".

Nom...polenta...
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Old 30.03.2012, 19:25
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Re: Ask a chef!

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Mayonnaise is also affected by the oil. It's more likely to work if you use a fresh bottle than one that's been opened for a while. Also if you've any water in your blender (or whisk if you've strong arms!) then that will stop the emulsion forming.

So basically; fresh eggs & fresh oil, and totally dry bowl/whisk/blender and you should be fine every time
But isn't using your blender a short term use? It would seem not to hold very longer being cut.
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Old 03.04.2012, 13:59
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Re: Ask a chef!

Thanks for the answers everyone!

Another question from me

What's the fastest possible way of making a risotto? If you follow standard recipes, then it seems to take 20 minutes of regularly/carefully adding small amounts of liquid and stirring. However in some restaurants you can order a risotto and they can serve it seemingly 10 minutes later. It can't because they have made it in bulk, as it doesn't seem to keep very well; it seems to dry out very quickly...
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Old 03.04.2012, 14:12
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Re: Ask a chef!

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Thanks for the answers everyone!

Another question from me

What's the fastest possible way of making a risotto? If you follow standard recipes, then it seems to take 20 minutes of regularly/carefully adding small amounts of liquid and stirring. However in some restaurants you can order a risotto and they can serve it seemingly 10 minutes later. It can't because they have made it in bulk, as it doesn't seem to keep very well; it seems to dry out very quickly...
And which rice exactly? I was taught "arborio" rice but have found it not so easy to find here .. I have tried numerous different packets of "risotto rice" (no given rice variety mind you) and am not so satisfied with the results.

So please name of rice and (if possibly ) source for purchasing for a midweek risotto meal (ie. not super expensive: I am feeding not very discerning small children).
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Old 03.04.2012, 14:23
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Pastry is very damp, almost wet

I make English meat pies using a tradiotional light brown porcelain pie dish, or an Ikea white porcelain dish.

I cook the meat and vegetable ingredients until just soft, I make the sauce. I put the ingredients in the dish to fill it, and pour the sauce, up to a quarter to a third full.

Next I cover the dish with a Coop good quality pastry, pre rolled into flat pieces, and press the edges to the dish. I make several holes in the pastry to let out the steam and brush with milk. (Would it be better now to put the uncooked pie in the fridge for 15 minutes to let the pastry settle?) I bake it in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes, then brush with beaten egg and finish baking at 200 deg C for about another 15 minutes. I heat the remainding sauce and serve separately.

My problem is when I serve the pastry cover, the top is perfect, but the underside of the pastry tends to be very damp and rather under cooked. I am sure the sauce is not touching the pastry, but it is of course steamed. I am thinking of putting aluminium foil loosely across the pie filling, and loosely placing the pastry on top of the foil.

Any ideas where I might be going wrong please? Or am I striving for the impossible?
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Old 03.04.2012, 14:34
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Re: Ask a chef!

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Thanks for the answers everyone!

Another question from me

What's the fastest possible way of making a risotto? If you follow standard recipes, then it seems to take 20 minutes of regularly/carefully adding small amounts of liquid and stirring. However in some restaurants you can order a risotto and they can serve it seemingly 10 minutes later. It can't because they have made it in bulk, as it doesn't seem to keep very well; it seems to dry out very quickly...
No short cuts - you need the 15 to 20 minutes. Restaurants part-cook the risotto - what comes to the table only needs (roughly) the second half of the process thus about 10 minutes.


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And which rice exactly? I was taught "arborio" rice but have found it not so easy to find here .. I have tried numerous different packets of "risotto rice" (no given rice variety mind you) and am not so satisfied with the results.

So please name of rice and (if possibly ) source for purchasing for a midweek risotto meal (ie. not super expensive: I am feeding not very discerning small children).
You can easily find arborio in Migros or Coop, however it has gone somewhat out of fashion. Carnaroli (particularly) and Vialone Nano are preferred now.
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Old 03.04.2012, 14:37
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Re: Ask a chef!

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Thanks for the answers everyone!

Another question from me

What's the fastest possible way of making a risotto? If you follow standard recipes, then it seems to take 20 minutes of regularly/carefully adding small amounts of liquid and stirring. However in some restaurants you can order a risotto and they can serve it seemingly 10 minutes later. It can't because they have made it in bulk, as it doesn't seem to keep very well; it seems to dry out very quickly...
This is the ONLY way to make risotto!! It takes the time it takes.
In restaurants they cook it twice, blanching/precooking first then finishing off to order.

Having said that, you could bake it in the oven. But it's just never the same.

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And which rice exactly? I was taught "arborio" rice but have found it not so easy to find here .. I have tried numerous different packets of "risotto rice" (no given rice variety mind you) and am not so satisfied with the results.

So please name of rice and (if possibly ) source for purchasing for a midweek risotto meal (ie. not super expensive: I am feeding not very discerning small children).

arborio or carnaroli rice

"They" say carnaroli is better. But really I can't tell the difference. You should be able to find them at the migros/coop/manor. I'm really surprised you are having trouble finding it. I'd go to the Jemoli/Globus place then or an Italian specialty store.
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Old 03.04.2012, 14:49
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Re: Ask a chef!

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And which rice exactly? I was taught "arborio" rice but have found it not so easy to find here .. I have tried numerous different packets of "risotto rice" (no given rice variety mind you) and am not so satisfied with the results.

So please name of rice and (if possibly ) source for purchasing for a midweek risotto meal (ie. not super expensive: I am feeding not very discerning small children).
I really like carnaroli for risotto. You can get it at most Co-ops



My kids love risotto and they don't seem to mind what I put in it.
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Old 03.04.2012, 14:54
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Re: Ask a chef!

One way to reduce the "add-stock-and-stir, add-stock-and-stir, add-stock-and-stir" of making risotto is to use a very good non-stick pan, prep the rice as usual (sweat the vegetables in oil and butter, then add the rice which you sweat in oil and butter) then add a few ladles of chicken [or other] stock in the traditional manner, when the rice is about half-cooked add enough stock to cover the rice and let simmer, stirring every so often (the non-stick pan will prevent the rice from catching or sticking as the stock is taken up) and adding more stock to cover if drying out too much. About 2 minutes or so before serving stir, add parmesan (if using) and finish the cooking using the add-stock-and-stir method.

The rice should be al-dente and although this method does take a little practice (and does not speed up the cooking time), it does allow you to do other things in the kitchen for part of the risotto cooking time. It isn't, however, quite as good as the traditional method.

FYI There are two ways of serving risotto - the wet way (most usually associated with Risotto outside of Italy), where the rice remains in a little creamy liquid, or the dry way (used by the Italian part of my family who are from Northern Italy, more like a pilau) - where all the stock is absorbed. I prefer the dry version.

TD
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Old 03.04.2012, 14:59
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Re: Ask a chef!

Sprinz, you need a "Pie Bird".
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