Open Thread #17
(To All Open Threads)
hi guys! I heard my first real cooking disaster in a while and I thought i would turn to the thread for advice.I guess not really a disaster but here goes:I had this enormous bowl of blood oranges and thought I would serve them on a plate with caramel sauce...ala jaime oliver...SO, since I had never made caramel before i followed his instructions, put sugar and water in a pan and cooked it on medium heat stirring constantly until it became.... a pan full of sugar.All the water evaporated and no caramel... huh?Not one to be discouraged, i put more water in and cooked and stirred and cooked and stirred again until I had, yet another pan of sugar... what did i do wrong?
um, maybe not enough heat? alton brown's recipe calls for lots of boiling.
kristian, between vietnamese savory carmelized food and a craze on chowhound for peanut brittle, your dilema is being repeated all over the amateur cooking world. I myself just got a recipe for a spicy brittle, so I may be joining you soon. I don't have the answer to your question BUTIn the meantime, click on my name for a link to the Amateur Gourmet for a hilarious saga on cooking sugar.
Well, there it is.... A funny poem about my exact same experience.DAMN !Won't some Caramel expert somehow stumble upon this open thread to answer my question?It boiled a lot and was pretty darn hot. I mean, I actually evaporated the water out of the pan.
Definitely cook the sugar longer. Having the water all evaporate away is actually not a problem-- it's possible to melt dry sugar into caramel. When I make flan I melt sugar to put in the bottom of the little flan dishes.Anyhow, looking at the pictures in Guido's link it also looks like it wasn't cooked long enough. The sugar should melt, and then the mixture should BOIL, HARD for about 10 minutes or even as long as 15 minutes. After a while the bubbling, boiling, (insanely hot so don't touch it) sugar mixture will start to turn slightly golden in streaks. Then the whole mixture will gradually become, well, toffee-colored. Caramel colored. That's when it's done, not before. If you keep on cooking it, it will become blackened. If you don't cook it long enough... well, we already know how that turns out. Good luck! Don't be timid with your sugar-melting!
How timely - I am about to go stand over hot bubbling sugar in preparation for a double batch of salted caramel ice cream. The first time I made caramel for that recipe I let it get too dark and it was bitter and burnt.I'm no expert, but from my limited experience I agree with Ruthie; you have to let it cook longer. You want the water to evaporate, after the sugar has been dissolved, and then the caramelization process happens. Often caramel recipes take much longer on the stove than the cooking directions imply. Also, don't stir after the sugar begins to boil. You want to stir as the sugar comes to a boil, to make sure it all gets dissolved. Undissolved sugar can cause problems later. But once it starts boiling, just keep an eye on it and let it bubble. As soon as it turns a little amberish-yellow stand over it and don't walk away! Start stirring again and watch for it to turn a darker amber, the last step in the process. This is where the caramel darkens, very quickly, and you can decide how dark and burnt tasting you like your caramel. But there's a short window - maybe a minute - between light and bitter caramel, so you have to be quick.Also, if you are making a cream caramel sauce, here's one rather important detail that a lot of recipes quite negligently fail to tell you: adding liquid to caramel is going to cause it bubble up like CRAZY. It's like adding a cup of cold wine or water to a panful of hot frying oil. It's easy to burn yourself, so warm the cream ahead of time, have it in a bowl ready to pour, and most importantly, make your caramel in a high pot with a very long spoon by your side!Good luck! Let us know how it turns out!
Last weekend I made creme caramel for the first time & I was worried about getting the caramel righ. I used this recipe & it was a snap. http://foodtv.ca/recipes/recipedetails/recipe%5F6252.aspJust watch it because it goes from amber to burnt in no time (from clear to amber takes a while). You'll see she says No Stirring...I don't know if this answers your caramel question.Good luck!
Even if nobody's getting their sugar to caramelize (don't ask me!!!), can I hang out with you foodies for the rest of the day?!I'm pissing everybody off over at AT today. And, come to think of it, work, too.Somebody pass the Frito Pie. And the vodka.If we can't get caramelized, can we PLEASE get pickled?!
Recently got a few chickens, and they've become, uh, very prolific in their egg laying. In fact, they're currently clocking 15+ eggs a week. We've been giving some away, but I'm running out of ideas for what to cook with them all - done the basics - hard boiled, soft boiled, poached (they're awesome for poaching) baked eggs, devilled eggs, made fresh pasta... my question... What would you make with a surplus of super-fresh eggs?
pickled sounds lovely....And thanks guys for the caramel tipps! I knew you would have the answer.
I am actually a big fan of the humble egg.....Some ideas.Fratatta is one of my favorite foods and probably one of the best left overs around. I always make mine larger then needed to we came have left overs and it is good for using up whatever is in the fridge that needs cooking.Try Nigella Lawson's passion fruit pavlova.... really easy, a stunner at the table and delicious www.nigella.comHow about pasta carbonara?I always wanted chickens.... but they don't go well with apartments.
Pickled! Yes, it's Friday, after all...And fresh eggs! That is so cool. Probably just because this is on my mind right now: custard ice cream uses plenty. This recipe: http://18.104.22.168/artisanal/recipes_tips_detail.cfm?id=49 uses ten yolks. You can use the whites up in a pavlova, or meringue cookies, or these little easy little stunners: http://orangette.blogspot.com/2006/01/when-disappointment-comes-to-dinner.html
i actually sent in a recipe to SaraKate for my grandmother's pickled red beet eggs, but it never got posted (probably b/c i don't have any pictures of them)its at home, so i can post it over the weekend on this thread if you'd like it!
kristian, about the caramel:ok, so there are really two ways to cook sugar, the dry method and the wet method. the dry method is a pain because basically it's just sugar and a hot pan, and some sugar will burn while some remains white - it's a huge annoyance! so, for the wet method, take your sugar and about 30% of the weight of that sugar in water. put it in a saucepan over the highest heat possible and continue to stir to make sure all the sugar dissolves and until it comes to a boil. now here are the tricks:1) add about 1 Tbs of either corn syrup or glucose, or add a few drops of lemon juice. this will stop the sugar from recrystallizing and ruining the whole thing.2) DON'T STIR!! badness happens! (aka, recrystallization)3) take a pastry brush and a little bowl of water and wash down the sides of the saucepan to remove any residue. but, if you do this too frequently, you're just going to add more water to the sugar, and the whole point is to evaporate the water, so it sort of defeats the purpose after awhile!once all the water evaporates, you should (without any, er, mishaps) the sugar will start to turn brown, and get darker rapidly. so, take it to the desired color, but remember that it will continue to cook when you take it off the heat! so use it immediately, or remove from heat just slightly before the desired color. good luck!
i honestly don't even know if this counts as a cooking question, but i recently bought a french press as my first foray into making coffee at home. the rub: the coffee tastes soooo much better when the beans are freshly ground. i think it's time to buy a coffee grinder, the sort that will do a coarse grind good for the press. any recommendations for a good grinder, kitchenettes?
oh another french press er. I love my french press so... I don't even go to star bucks anymore. I have a braun coffee grinder that works great, although I have seen a couple of grinders in the bodum store that have made me have second thoughts.Also, I end up getting my coffee ground in smallish batches about once a week at the store and keeping it in my fridge in an air tight package so that I am not waking my boyfriend up everymorning to a bore grinder.
ann, My mom always made picked red beet eggs at holidays! I forgot about them. I loved them when I was a kid. Would you post your recipe? I want to see how close it is to my mom's.
coffeegeek.com is obsessed with grinders, and has lots of reviews. you can always do each batch the night before (not that I'm that well scheduled)EGGS how about savory custard? there's very simple chinese ones with scallions or shellfish...mmmmmand carbonara for sure must be fun to have chickens!
alright, by popular demand here's my grandmother's red beet egg recipe as printed in the Pitcher Hill Church's ladies cook bookBeatrice Gower's Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Hard Boiled Eggs And Red Beets (aka, pickled red beet eggs)1 can small, whole red beets1/3 c. brown sugar1 c. cider vinegar1 c. cold water3 or 4 whole clovessmall pieces of cinnamon1 doz. hard boiled egsPut all together in a pan and simmer for 10 minutes.Peel eggs and add to liquid and beets.Put all in a jar or container and cover.Allow to pickle for about 2 days before using (aka,EATING!)these are SOOOOOO goregouswhen you cut the eggs open, they look like little reverse sunsets, deeply pink on the outside, fading into a light lilac around the luminus yellow of the yolktraditionally in my family these are made at easter time, but trust me, they are ALWAYS yummy!!!!if someone makes them, let us know how it goes! my gran will be so proud to know her famous eggs live on :-)
I have this Krups grinder (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004SPEU/qid=1139079734/sr=1-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-3561052-8708137?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=284507 ) which I've had for 6 years and still works like new. I use it almost every day. You can get fancier, adjustable ones, but if you're not using an espresso machine I don't know whether that's necessary or not.I have another one of these for spices, btw, and I love it!
I'm re-heating the left-over half of a roasted chicken that I bought at the grocery store (that is, they have a roaster thing there and I bought like that). I kind of put some water in a pot and put the chicken in it, and as I type it's kind of doing it's thing, and I just interrupted this sentence to go turn it.For future reference, does anyone else have a better way to re-heat chicken when it's on the carcass like that? Or is it dangerous to do that and you guys will be the only ones who know why I died once I eat it? (I kinda doubt it.) Or should I have taken it all off the bone and just nuked it?The thing is... the store roasted that thing quite a while and it was a tiny bit dry to start with, and besides not wanting to heat up the apartment with what would be my virgin voyage with this very old stove, it didn't seem to be the answer, and cooking it whole in the microwave just didn't seem dense enough to work.
Well, it tasted pretty good doing what I ended up doing, which was KIND of like steaming it, except that I didn't put a lid on the pot.I think that since I'm basically trying to eat well these days, I may explore some easy, more interesting ways to redo leftover roasted chicken, since buying them that way to start with is just so easy and fast and tastes so good.But if you have to re-heat left-overs, maybe one should have a little fun with them, hunh?
i luuuuuurve store roasted chickens!my way of dealing with them is to take all the meat off the bone as soon as it cools enough once its homei use what i want for that meal, then stick the rest into a tupperware in the fridgeone of the my most common leftover chicken uses is much like yours curtis, to cook it in water, but i usually make soupsjust chuck the chicken, some aromatics and some water in a pot and let it go for an hour or twothen, when ready to eat, pop whatever other stuff you want in there, let it boil a bit more, and voila! goregous chicken soup!you can do italian stylee, asian stylee, moroccan stylee, south american stylee, mexican stylee, heck, just about any stylee you want!its yummerific, and in these "cold" new york city days of "winter" it really adds some heat (and goregous aroma!) to the apartmentenjoy curtis!have a lovely weekend!
Yes! That makes sense! In fact, Ann, it seems to me that instead of just thinking of that chicken as two mirror-image meals, that first meal should probably be, say ... eat both the wings and both the drumsticks first, while they're still hot from the store, since neither of those are as good cold or warmed up. Then have however much else of the meat you're really, truly hungry for at that sitting.THEN then take the rest of that off the bone very easily to store like you're talking about. That's what I just might do one of the next times I do that. I mean seriously, at the Associated over by me, that whole dang roasted chicken was just $5, but to have the option of giving it a little extra oomph the 2nd time around would feel like a fun accomplishment. And I love your soup idea. I should do that, too.
TA DA!I did it I did it! I made caramel sauce. Thanks guys.... This thread proved very useful.I actually made something great. I bought a huge pineapple, cubbed it, and cooked in a carmel sauce that i finished with with a bit of butter and some rum.Then I served it onto some individual sized pavlovas (inspired by all the egg talk) and topped it with whipped cream.YUM
Ann,Thanks for the beets recipe. It makes me so nostalgic for my childhood. The Pennsylvaina Dutch connection makes sense. My mom grew up in central Pennsylvania, and much of the cooking she learned was of the Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish variety. I called her last night, and her recipe is pretty much the same, but she uses equal parts sugar and vinagar. I'm going to make some next weekend. Your recipe was also a good excuse to call my mom!
kevin -- make zabaglione and pour it over fresh berries with cracked black pepper on top.
YAY!so happy to have provided some help this weekend (and enabled a convo with mom!)chrisB, i am so there with you about how these eggs make me wax nostalgic for my youthi just loved them as a kidand it puts me in mind of all the other wonderful penns. dutch dishes my gran would whip upstuffed cabbage, buttery egg noodles tossed with cabbage and baked in a cassarole with kielbasa and smoked pork, hard, salty pretzels dipped in peach ice cream, etc, etc, etci think i need to go hang w my gran sometime soon!and curtis, go wild with your chickens man!they're a gift from god for a busy new yorker!and here's another little tiphold off on eating all the dark meat on the first go round, the dark meat when steeped in the water gives off some of its luscious fat, thus flavoring your soup (or stew!) and imparting some subtle umammi to the brothdelish!man, i could do a whole series on cooking with roasted chickens, they're so flexible, like a blank canvas, upon which you can paint a picture from any culture in the worldto paraphrase emeril, roast chickens rule!
My gf makes a salad with the leftover breast meat, chopped, from a store-bought roasted chicken. It's so good. She made it this weekend- it was composed of spinach, homemade croutons, chopped capers and parmesan with a garlic-y ceasar dressing.Sometimes she makes it with romaine, sliced cucumber, tomatoes & a dijonnaise dressing. Healthy and delicious (and simple)!Kristian-congratulations on your caramel & pineapple preparation! In summer don't forget that you can grill the pineapple, it's good!
Ann,Did you ever have lebanon bologna, or scrapple? That was big time Grandma food. I was always grossed out by that stuff as a kid. My mom always brings it back when she goes back home to visit. The Amish make awsome pies, though!
oh yeah, there was scrapple!i never got it when i was a kid, but i love it now!they sell it at the key foods on ave A, but its not as good as the stuff in paand yes, the amish make incredible piesits hard to get a decent shoo fly pie in this city!!
Well, the chickens keep a layin'...Did the carbonara last night w/ pancetta, fresh from the coop eggs, topped w/ chopped parsley from the garden. It was absolutely delicious, great recommendation!Next up will be the pickled beet eggs. Perhaps I'll get to that this weekend. Thanks for the ideas, everyone.
I received a La Cruset saucier (2 1/4 qt w/ lid) as a gift. What are the best uses for a pan like this?Now I have to scrub and organize my whole kitchen to be worthy of the pan! ;-)
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