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> Cooking With Kisah, Ask me all your cooking questions!
kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 12:27 PM
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So... I'm bored and I often chastise myself for not reading the forums often enough. I decided to give this a whirl because even if nobody uses it I still need to come check and see and that will make me read the rest of the stuff on here.

It made sense a moment ago.

Anyway, in case anybody doesn't know- I'm a chef. That is to say, I went to a Culinary University in the US and I graduated, I once owned part of a restaurant that shortly went bankrupt, and I cooked for a major league baseball team for a season (they made it to the 'world series' that year too. I'm sure it was my cooking that did it. Don't ask me why it's called the world series when only the US participate- that's Jonman's area.) That said, I'm not presently working as a professional chef nor do I see myself doing so any time in the near future.

Seems like a waste of a lot of information that I'm still paying for, no?

Prompted by a question about cooking directed at me in Jonman's thread I am officially inviting any cooking queries, recipe requests, and general cooking banter.


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CommieBastard
post Feb 17 2005, 12:42 PM
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O wondrous Kisah:

Steak.

I love it. Unconditionally. Nothing better than a good, bloody steak.

That said, though, steak is steak. What can I do to make it a bit more interesting?


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 01:06 PM
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QUOTE (CommieBastard @ Feb 17 2005, 12:42 PM)
O wondrous Kisah:

Steak.

I love it. Unconditionally. Nothing better than a good, bloody steak.

That said, though, steak is steak. What can I do to make it a bit more interesting?
*


Mmmm. Steak. I have to say that steak is easily one of my favorite foods. One of the primary things to consider when you're cooking steak is the method. Now, obviously if you like your steak on the rare side you probably already know the importance of an incredibly hot pan. Ridged and non-stick is my preference bcause it leaves the nice grill marks on the steak. You *can* do steak under the grille of your oven, or (ofcourse) over an open flame outside. No matter what, make sure that it's really really hot because that is going to sear the flavor into the meat and keep it from stewing in it's own juice.

Ideally, you want to put salt and pepper on your steak as soon as you get it home. This allows the seasoning to get into the meat and the salt also helps the heat sear the meat. Salt makes things retain water, so, if you eat a lot of salt you can feel bloated. This works for the steak so that the salt you added helps the steak stay juicy when you cook it.

I found a few fun steak recipes that might be more interesting:

Tequila Steaks
Steak with Mushroom Sauce

Another way to make steak more interesting is with a marinade. This is usually a combination of a few ingredients to infuse flavor into your steak. Usually I would recommend mixing the marinade in a ziplock plastic bag, putting your steak in the bag and pressing all the air out before sealing it. This will make the marinade stick to your meat. You should marinade for a few hours at least. Ideally, plan ahead and do it overnight. Keep the bag, steak, and marinade in the fridge no matter how long you're leaving it for.

Steak marinade
Black Steak
Somebody's blog entry about steak

You can always throw together a marinade on your own, just make sure that there is something acidic (vinegar, soy sauce, wine) and some sort of oil (olive oil is best, melted butter not recommended). The oil is especially important if you're using dried herbs because oil brings out their flavor.

Hope that helps and happy cooking.


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CommieBastard
post Feb 17 2005, 01:18 PM
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Thanks, kisah!

I'm only just learning how to cook - something of a necessity as I'm going off to university in October - and I'm finding that I rather enjoy it. So I may well be coming back here a few times in the future smile.gif


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Polocrunch
post Feb 17 2005, 02:46 PM
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Kisah, you are my god! I am going to force my parents to use those ideas the very next time we have steak!

Do you have any suggestions for potatoes, O wise chef?
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CommieBastard
post Feb 17 2005, 03:08 PM
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What about sunflower oil in a marinade?

Also, oven chips are frequently bland and boring; do you have a way to improve them?


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the lil' pie...
post Feb 17 2005, 04:00 PM
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Ooo, good idea, I'm off in October too and I'll need to know how to cook...roughly rolleyes.gif
I love pasta. Do you know any pasta dishes as easy as spag bol, but more original??


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Snugglebum the D...
post Feb 17 2005, 04:15 PM
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Dear Kisah,

Are you wearing a frilly apron?

Yours in lip licking anticipation.

wink.gif


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Feyliya
post Feb 17 2005, 04:23 PM
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(I'm guessing that this is supposed to go somewhat along the same lines of Jonman's thread, so I'll stick to the letter format. smile.gif )

Dear Kisah,

Do you think cooking school was worth it? Did you learn more from it than you could have from just picking up lots of cook books? I've often thought about attending, though I have no plans to cook professionally. I just like to cook and want to do it better.

And, on a sidenote, did you ever figure out what's up with the big, white chef's hat? Why do people wear that? Heck, why do people wear white at all when cooking?

Always curious,
-Fey


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Ashbless
post Feb 17 2005, 05:36 PM
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Dear Kisah,

Do you know of a good way to convert those odd english temperature measurements into good old fashioned farenheit? I bought a lovely cookbook with interesting recipes and it sits gathering dust as I've no idea what "set the oven to 4" means.

Yours,
Val


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Polocrunch
post Feb 17 2005, 05:56 PM
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Dear Kisah,

Why am I writing 'Dear Kisah'? Do you and Jonman have some secret technique for turning yourselves into Agony Aunts/Uncles?

Yours hungrily,

Cooky McChef
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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 05:59 PM
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Wow, This took off faster than I expected!


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 06:11 PM
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QUOTE (Polocrunch @ Feb 17 2005, 02:46 PM)
Kisah, you are my god! I am going to force my parents to use those ideas the very next time we have steak!

Do you have any suggestions for potatoes, O wise chef?
*


Wow... what to say about potatoes... Cheese! We're pretty boring about potatoes. They are a great piece of food really. You can either put forth a bunch of energy (Duchess or Dolphine) or you can just throw them in the oven (baked, jacket, roasties).

My favorite is mashed. Sometimes we boil a sweet potato with the whites (maybe one for every four whites) and mash them all together. sweet potato mash all it's own is super yum, especially with pork. Just make sure that the milk/cream and butter that you add to the drained potatoes is warmed up a little (I said a *little*, scalded milk makes icky mashers) for that extra special creamy loveliness.


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 06:19 PM
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QUOTE (CommieBastard @ Feb 17 2005, 03:08 PM)
What about sunflower oil in a marinade?

Also, oven chips are frequently bland and boring; do you have a way to improve them?
*


Sunflower oil will work fine in a marinade.

The only thing I do to liven up oven chips is an americanism... See, there's a salad dressing called 'Ranch' which is a creamy kind of... well, you can't describe it. It's yum! So, some people like to make their own salad dressing at home... without having to have a million ingredients on hand. They sell these packets of dried salad dressing mix. Either, just add oil, or just add mayonaise... you get the picture. ANYWAY... I have a stash of this stuff that my mom sent me from the states and the powder is perfect for sprinkling on oven chips. Yummmy!

Unfortunately, this isn't very helpful advice for those of us living in the UK. A few suggestions came up from my mind and Jonman... He suggests salt, ketchup, or brown sauce... Mmm hmmm. I thought of garlic salt. It's available in the spice section of the store. Jonman also suggests mixing mayo and ketchup into an atomic dressing.

Sorry I can't help more, oven chips are what they are.


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 06:39 PM
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QUOTE (the lil' pie fairy @ Feb 17 2005, 04:00 PM)
Ooo, good idea, I'm off in October too and I'll need to know how to cook...roughly rolleyes.gif
I love pasta. Do you know any pasta dishes as easy as spag bol, but more original??
*


Well, that all depends on how you make your spag bol... ours consists of me spending a few hours rolling out sheets of homemade pasta and Jonman nursing a sauce for a good few hours. I can hardly think of a less easy pasta dish.

Obviously, you're going to have to be a magician to find a dinner easier than dried pasta and a jar of sauce. They are, however, starting to branch out with the pastas and sauces available in stores. They probably have some interesting jarred sauces besides tomato (carbonara perhaps?) and they definately have a huge range of pastas. I highly recommed the wholewheat pasta. It's a little darker in color and the flavor is slightly more round and almost a little nutty. There is also the ever-present rack of sauce sachets available in UK grocery stores. Everything from lasagne cheese sauce (just add milk?) to instant carbonara. Pair any of this stuff up with a nice pasta (that isn't over cooked) and you're in for a treat.

Like sticking with the tomato sauce? Bertoli makes a nice line of yummy sauces (the grilled vegetable one is especially nice on grilled pizza bagels if you have leftovers) and I think they sell ready grilled chicken breasts/tenderloins that you can chop up and toss in the sauce for some umph. We especially like the slices of frozen garlic bread you can toss under the grill for a few minutes to go with our pasta.

Hope this helps and happy cooking.


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Usurper MrTeapot
post Feb 17 2005, 06:40 PM
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Dear Kisah,

I don't know if you would know this but it has baffled me for some time. But what do the numbers on a standard toaster indicate? They don't seem to be values of temperature or number of minutes. Is number 4 twice number 2 on a standard toaster?

Yours in need of a piece of toast.

MrTeapot.


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 06:44 PM
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QUOTE (Snugglebum the Destroyer @ Feb 17 2005, 04:15 PM)
Dear Kisah,

Are you wearing a frilly apron? 

Yours in lip licking anticipation.

wink.gif
*


Nope! I'm wearing a brownish sort of army looking combat apron with loads of pockets however jonman has a frilly little number complete with inflatable boobs! laugh.gif


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 06:54 PM
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QUOTE (Feyliya @ Feb 17 2005, 04:23 PM)
(I'm guessing that this is supposed to go somewhat along the same lines of Jonman's thread, so I'll stick to the letter format. smile.gif )

Dear Kisah,

Do you think cooking school was worth it?  Did you learn more from it than you could have from just picking up lots of cook books?  I've often thought about attending, though I have no plans to cook professionally.  I just like to cook and want to do it better.

And, on a sidenote, did you ever figure out what's up with the big, white chef's hat?  Why do people wear that?  Heck, why do people wear white at all when cooking?

Always curious,
-Fey

*


That's a tough question to answer... I always wanted to be a chef growing up so I think I probably did a lot of cooking along the way. That meant that I already knew not to put metal bowls in the microwave and the like. I'm sure it's one of those cases where you learn more than you notice. I definately learned a lot about sauces and stocks. I learned TONS about pastry (my major) that I would have never learned from a book. There are little tricks that the chefs in culinary school have gained from being professional chefs out in the world that they share with you and you couldn't get from books. I think I definately learned a ton... but it was by no means worth the 30K I paid for it. Especially now that I'm sure I want to be a teacher!

Here's what I can tell you about chef hats and whites. When you're not the head chef you wear a little white cloth hat in the kitchen, it fastens around your head and keeps all your hair away from the food. The tall hats are to show authority and it helps for the boss to wear it because if he/she is short you can still see them coming. There are 101 pleats in a paper chef's hat and they symbolize the 101 ways to cook an egg. (Don't even bother asking what they are because I'll ignore you). Chefs wear white to try to convey their cleanliness. They don't want to hide stains and dirt behind a loud print. Chef's jackets are double breasted so that if you do happen to splatter something on yourself you can switch which side is out.

biggrin.gif


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 06:58 PM
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QUOTE (Ashbless @ Feb 17 2005, 05:36 PM)
Dear Kisah,

Do you know of a good way to convert those odd english temperature measurements into good old fashioned farenheit?  I bought a lovely cookbook with interesting recipes and it sits gathering dust as I've no idea what "set the oven to 4" means.

Yours,
Val
*


I can't teach you a handy way of converting but I can just give you the answers. tongue.gif
These read temp F, temp C, Gas mark... I'd make a handy chart but I cant be bothered.

225 F 110 C 1/4 Very cool
250 F 130 C 1/2
275 F 140 C 1 cool
300 F 150 C 2
325 F 170 C 3 very moderate
350 F 180 C 4 moderate
375 F 190 C 5
400 F 200 C 6 moderately hot
425 F 220 C 7 hot
450 F 230 C 8
475 F 240 C 9 very hot


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 07:02 PM
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QUOTE (Polocrunch @ Feb 17 2005, 05:56 PM)
Dear Kisah,

Why am I writing 'Dear Kisah'? Do you and Jonman have some secret technique for turning yourselves into Agony Aunts/Uncles?

Yours hungrily,

Cooky McChef
*



We're Jedi Masters. wink.gif


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 07:12 PM
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QUOTE (MrTeapot @ Feb 17 2005, 06:40 PM)
Dear Kisah,

I don't know if you would know this but it has baffled me for some time. But what do the numbers on a standard toaster indicate? They don't seem to be values of temperature or number of minutes. Is number 4 twice number 2 on a standard toaster?

Yours in need of a piece of toast.

MrTeapot.
*


It's not a linear scale, that much is for sure. There's also no difference in temperature either. I think you should stick a thermometer in one and time each setting then release the data for the rest of the world. rolleyes.gif


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Sir Psycho Sexy
post Feb 17 2005, 07:24 PM
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QUOTE (kisah @ Feb 17 2005, 07:02 PM)
QUOTE (Polocrunch @ Feb 17 2005, 05:56 PM)
Dear Kisah,

Why am I writing 'Dear Kisah'? Do you and Jonman have some secret technique for turning yourselves into Agony Aunts/Uncles?

Yours hungrily,

Cooky McChef
*



We're Jedi Masters. wink.gif
*



what colour are your light sabres? is jonman's pink and flowery and yours brown with a wooden spoon hilt?

...what? yeah so i've been playing star wars games again....


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kisah
post Feb 17 2005, 07:36 PM
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QUOTE (Sir_Psycho_Sexy @ Feb 17 2005, 07:24 PM)
QUOTE (kisah @ Feb 17 2005, 07:02 PM)
QUOTE (Polocrunch @ Feb 17 2005, 05:56 PM)
Dear Kisah,

Why am I writing 'Dear Kisah'? Do you and Jonman have some secret technique for turning yourselves into Agony Aunts/Uncles?

Yours hungrily,

Cooky McChef
*



We're Jedi Masters. wink.gif
*



what colour are your light sabres? is jonman's pink and flowery and yours brown with a wooden spoon hilt?

...what? yeah so i've been playing star wars games again....
*



Jonman's is cowprint and mine is paisley. What do you think I'd need a wooden spoon for if I had a light sabre?


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Polocrunch
post Feb 17 2005, 10:18 PM
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Maybe it'd give you a little more... you know - flare.
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beleraphon
post Feb 17 2005, 11:11 PM
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Dear Kisah,

I bought Tofu instead of a carton of Passata by mistake the other day, but thought I'd try it.
I followed the suggestion on the back, drain Tofu, marinate in soy for a bit then stir fry till golden and add veg and chilli.
Is it supposed to look and taste like polystyrine with the texture of firm hair-gel or did I mess up? The veg and sauce were really good, but the Tofu was rank and disgusting!

I can usually cook really really well so I was very dissapointed that this went so badly sad.gif

bel.


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