Ask a Chef

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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Sun Oct 25, 23:52 2015

The trick to winter squash is to steam it whole for like 10 minutes before you fabricate it. Makes it just a little bit soft on the outside so you can skin it easily. From there I use my French knife. Cut the ends off and stand it up on your cutting board, and peel it from top to bottom using long straight cuts, following the contour of the squash. This guy does it like I do: https://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=S0z9PJpNRqA I like to cut the butternut squash in half like he does, too. If you're doing an acorn squash a little paring knife can be good to get into the grooves. I fucking hate doing acorn squash because of those grooves.

If you want to avoid the hassle, depending on what you're making, you can also just whack it in half, pull the seeds out and roast it with a little olive oil until it's tender, then just scoop the flesh out with a spoon. If you're doing something with a puree this works well but obviously if you want little diced pieces this won't work. I did a recipe at work a couple weeks ago that called for melon balling the squash. Serious pain in the ass.

Also, seeds are totally edible, you can toast them just like pumpkin seeds. I like to throw the seeds in a little corner of the baking sheet while it's roasting, it'll be done in like 15 minutes, then you have a little snack while you are cooking.

You ever tried delicata squash? The skins are edible and they are very pretty!
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Bork » Mon Oct 26, 9:03 2015

Oh what, you steam them first??? That makes it so much easier. I'm always so worried about breaking my knife on the squash!


Ok, I need more details on the steaming part. Acorn squash seems easy, because that can be little. What about butternut squash? Do I just toss that in the pot on top of my steamer, put the lid on as best I can, and call it good? Are there special instructions for steaming things that are possibly too big for your pot and will likely squish your silicon steamer insert?
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Mon Oct 26, 22:01 2015

I do it in the microwave. I have a Tupperware thing that goes in the microwave, like this one: https://www.etsy.com/listing/125894914/ ... ve-steamer I got it at a yard sale. I guess you could just blanch it in boiling water for a few minutes for the same result. Or honestly if you just microwaved it for a few minutes it'd probably work, you could put a bowl of hot water in there with it to make steam.

Just putting it on your stove like you said might work ok too. Pro tip: use other metal things in your kitchen as a pot lid. Got a metal mixing bowl? That might work good because it has a dome. Just make sure you use a towel when you touch it, that bitch is going to be hot.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by rowan » Tue Oct 27, 19:05 2015

Delicata are my faaaaaaavorite mmmmm
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Bork » Fri Nov 20, 19:59 2015

Does sprinkling salt on your cutting board before chopping herbs really keep your herbs from flying everywhere? I keep seeing a Hulu commercial about that.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Aum » Fri Nov 20, 20:33 2015

RD!

I'm celiac (for real, not just one of those fad foodies). How do I make gluten free bread that is dense and nutritious, and holds together? There's a brand I buy called Glutnull... their amaranth loaf is to die for, but it's like $7 for a small loaf. Here is the product: http://glutenull.com/home/gluten-free-p ... h-bread-2/

Every other GF loaf I've tried sucks. It has no calories or it squishes when you take a knife to it. So I want to know what this company's secret is. Their loaves are dense and filling. Any thoughts? I'm thinking it either has to do with something they add to the baking process, the sprouted aspect of the amaranth, or just all the seeds they add... but I really don't know.

If I knew their secret I would just make huge loaves at home and save myself the money. Brown rice flour can be pricey but I'd surely still save a bundle.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Bork » Sat Nov 21, 1:30 2015

Aum, do you have Manini's where you are? They're a GF pasta/bread/flour company that sells flour mixes (which is what you need, rather than just a certain type of flour) to use for bread, pasta... other flour-based things. Super delicious IMO, and very highly recommend in the celiac population I used to work with.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Sat Nov 21, 16:22 2015

Yeah, you need to buy a WFGF flour blend, just using brown rice flour isn't a good replacement for wheat flour (as far as baking goes, I think it does ok for pasta?). I am not really a baker but I have heard good things about Bob's red mill brand flour blends. I believe you can sub it 1:1 for wheat flour in recipes. From there I would look up some recipes, try it out and you might need to play with the fat and leavening, etc to get the texture you want.

I don't think the sprouted seeds would make a difference, but if there's lots of seeds in it I bet that helps it feel more filling, and would help with flavour. See if you can find a WFGF seed blend, or you might be able to just buy grains of your choice out of the bulk bins at your health food store. The trick to getting seeds and whole grains to work in your bread is to soak them in water and hydrate them before mixing into the dough- you may want to do this overnight in cold water (pretend like you're cooking dried beans). Otherwise the grains will soak up the moisture in your bread and it will be dry, which seems to be a particular problem with WFGF bread. I was looking for a percentage of the total dough you could add as grains, but it's not in my baking book. You may have to experiment to find a recipe that meets your standard. The supplies will be expensive, but certainly less expensive than buying a ready made product.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Aum » Sat Nov 21, 21:39 2015

^ Brilliant! You're amazing, thank you :)

One other question. My favorite bread brand seems to use no yeast at all. I've never made bread in the past without yeast. How does that work? Do you just use some kind of leavening agent, and if so what kind?

For someone who doesn't know much about baking you sure know more than I do :)
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by rowan » Sat Nov 21, 23:15 2015

I haven't done a price comparison but King Arthur Flour also makes a gluten free flour mix that I've used and works pretty well. Here's their gluten free section: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/spe ... luten-free Even if you don't buy from them you might get some ideas. :)

Baking: other leavening agents are things like baking soda and/or baking powder, or sometimes (rarely) just use the steam from the liquids in the substance. I bake a lot. :)
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Sun Nov 22, 0:08 2015

^I have definitely heard good things about King Arthur flour as well.

There are three basic categories of bread doughs: lean yeast doughs, rich yeast doughs, and quick breads. Quick breads are breads without any yeast in the dough. Like rowan said, they use baking powder or baking soda or steam (like a popover) for leavening. Muffins and things like zucchini bread are quick breads. These are also the only kinds of breads I am any good at making! I fail at yeast doughs of any kind pretty hard.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Bork » Mon Nov 23, 21:49 2015

psst what about my very important herb question??? I keep seeing this commercial and it's driving me crazy.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by ladyhawk » Mon Nov 23, 22:44 2015

Aum, I do a decent amount of GF baking for a nephew with celiac disease. Part of the textural difference is, of course, the lack of gluten. Typically, I use the King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill GF mixes at a 1:1 ratio, and add xanthan gum to all my GF recipes in the amount recommended on the packaging and make the recipes as normal. Occasionally, I have to adjust baking times/temps, but that's about it. I have noticed the breads are slightly more dense and a little cakey. I think maybe I could knead them a bit longer than my normal breads, but thst woukd be difficult since the dough doesn't hold together the same way, or maybe add an egg to add some structural protein into the dough or something, but I haven't tried either yet.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Wed Nov 25, 1:39 2015

Bork, I honestly don't know, I've never tried it. When I chop herbs I just use a sharp as fuck knife and I don't have an issue. I don't think I would want the extra salt in my dish, I am pretty picky about oversalting.
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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by monkeypoop » Sat Nov 28, 23:13 2015

I made turkey stock, strained out the solid parts from the liquid, and removed all the big bones. Now I have a big pile of turkey bits that got strained out - how do I separate the good parts I want to put in soup/eat from the gross bits I don't want to eat, like tiny bone pieces and weird slimy things? Is there any easy way to do this or do I just have to pick through it all and separate it by hand?

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Re: Ask a Chef

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Sun Nov 29, 2:26 2015

I do it by hand. I don't know of a better way.
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