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Thread: Cooking 101 (aka Cooking for Dummies)

  1. #61
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    What kind of pies? If they are fruit like apples or pears, cook until the crust is lightly browned and the fruit bubbles over a bit through the vents (it will be like simmering). Usually that works for me. My apple pies usually take about 40-45 minutes, regardless of how many pies are in the oven. I often cook 2 or 3 at once.
    For the pumpkin pies, start with the least time that the recipe calls for and use the "Jiggle test" that Witch Jezebel suggests. This is perfect for pumpkin pies.

    ~~suzi~~

  2. #62
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    I know exactly what you mean about the student loans - I was terrified when I finished culinary school and the repayment of the loans kicked in.

    As for other aspects of the food industry, what I meant was you don't necessarily have to work in a kitchen. You could do management of the front of the house; work at a distributors' place (maybe produce, meats, anything really). You could work as a caterer; I actually enjoyed catering for awhile, I was at all the cool parties and I ate well! Maybe a party planning place? You could even get a job at a test kitchen for a food magazine, if one is published in your area. You really only have to think about food and then branch out into all the areas of the food industry there are. Just a note though, if you did decide to pursue a culinary career, no matter how good you are in school, no matter if you were at the top of your class (I made top 10 at graduation), you will always, ALWAYS have to start at the bottom. You'll spend your day cutting vegetables, making stocks and sauces and basically being the general prep person. So many chefs (myself included) thought that we'd graduate and go straight on to be this top chef someplace and the reality of it is, IT DOESN'T HAPPEN THAT WAY. Don't be deceived, you WILL be a prep person in the beginning. The arrogance that culinary school instills in it's students will be knocked down and rebuilt in any place you decide to work. The arrogance that is learned doesn't come into play until you really are that good in a kitchen - I learned the hard way and I'm very thankful that I did, it kept me working in some very nice places for a long time. So many of my friends at school got fired from jobs early on because they thought they were good... and many of them were, but when you go into a new job, you must be confident but not cocky - you'll get fired before you can heat the olive oil.

    Hmm, working for a catering place or caterer sounds more like it. Maybe party planning too. (Though I most likely would not go to any of the parties. I'm not a party going person, I don't like parties personally). Although I fear one needs to be really good with certs under one's belt to even get into that, even doing Prep or other help. I don't want to work in a restaurant.
    As for starting on the bottom...I have no problem with that. I'd probably like it. Anyway that holds true with any industry. Anyone whom thinks themselves higher than they ought to or thinks they can start out as a full chef or whatever anywhere is a complete fool. Even the Emerils, Wolfgangs, etc of the world started on the bottom.
    A test kitchen would be great too, but there is nothing like that even remotely close to me.


    Either way, I'm glad you enjoy food as much as I do; and no matter, right now I'm not working in a restaurant, nor do I want to. I applied for a job in a food related industry just yesterday, I'm praying they call.

    Oh, best of luck to you, I hope you get it.
    I'm sure we will be taking more food again soon.

    Cheers,
    Heart of Isis

  3. #63
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    I thought I was at least a competent cook for years until I moved in with my SO. I now find that I am a complete ninny, thanks to back-burner cooking comments. So I have a couple questions. Do you really need to soak pinto beans before cooking them? And what is the purpose behind dredging french fries in batter? (flour and eggs)
    Ziana




  4. #64
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    25,571
    If you are using dry beans, yes, you really do need to soak them to restore moisture to them and decrease cooking time. If you forget (or don't want) to soak them overnight you can put them in a pot, cover with hot tap water, bring to a boil, let them boil for a couple of minutes, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let them soak for one hour.

    Some beans cook in only 30 minutes (after soaking), some take up to 2 hours. Do not add salt until the beans are tender. Salt will toughen the skins and prevent them from tenderizing.

    I've never fixed french fries with a batter like that, they are already so starchy, but I imagine it would be to make them crispy and crunchy. All you really need to do with french fries made from fresh potatoes is to rinse them off (because of the starch), pat them dry, and fry them quickly so they don't absorb a lot of the grease/oil.
    ____________
    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.




  5. #65
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    Do not add salt until the beans are tender. Salt will toughen the skins and prevent them from tenderizing.
    I have heard that sugar will do that too.

  6. #66
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    There is salt in pork, so why is it okay to add ham or bacon to the beans while they're cooking?

    I don't add sugar to beans or spagetti sauce, but my daughter does.
    ____________
    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.




  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunacie
    There is salt in pork, so why is it okay to add ham or bacon to the beans while they're cooking?

    I don't add sugar to beans or spagetti sauce, but my daughter does.

    Good question! I made soup the other day- white beans and bacon..... plenty of salt in that.
    Maybe it is one of those "rules" like adding salt to the water before it boils makes it take longer (or is it shorter) to boil..

    any cooking-scientists out there to help us out?

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faery-Wings

    Good question! I made soup the other day- white beans and bacon..... plenty of salt in that.
    Maybe it is one of those "rules" like adding salt to the water before it boils makes it take longer (or is it shorter) to boil..

    any cooking-scientists out there to help us out?
    Salting the beans before they tenderize will harden the beans and cause them to take more time to tenderize. Don't add any acidic products like vinegar, lemon or tomatoes to the beans before they are tender (or at least almost tender). Acidic products also causes the beans to take longer to soften. I've used salty meats like salt pork or fatback to season the beans and this will also cause the beans to take longer to tenderize. One way to avoid this is to either add them later when the beans have almost finished cooking and just sauteing them separately and adding them later. If I don't have the patience, I'll take my chances and just add them to the sauteed vegetables in the pot beforehand and just wait it out. They will soften, it just takes longer.
    "Knowledge without mileage is bullsh*t"... Henry Rollins

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    "PETA doesn't want stressed animals to be cruelly crowded into sheds, ankle-deep in their own crap, because they don't want any animals to die-ever-and basically think chickens should, in time, gain the right to vote. I don't want animals stressed or crowded or treated cruelly or inhumanely because that makes them probably less delicious"...Anthony Bourdain


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  9. #69
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    woot! that means I was right! (about the beans that is) I was about to make a pot of beans and sausage in my new crockpot, and I had set the beans to soak. After a couple hours he comes in and asks me why I was doing that. According to him I don't have to and they cook better if I don't. But they were packaged dry beans. Even the directions say to soak them. They came out really good too
    Ziana




  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    So, I got out the instruction/recipe book for my "new" crockpot (I've only had it for a year) and looked to see what it says about cooking dry beans in the crockpot. Rival (the folks who manufactured my crockpot) recommend softening the beans by soaking before cooking them in the crockpot. They say that salt, acid or SUGAR will toughen the skin on the beans and prevent them from softening. That's one of the main reasons for soaking/softening the beans first before cooking them with anything else.

    You can cook the beans without pre-softening them, but they should be cooked without anything else added to the pot - for about an hour or until tender.
    ____________
    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.




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