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PoV
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There, jump bumped to a new page ('cause that last one was too long).

* * *

Alright, so it's the weekend, and I think I have a new regularly scheduled thing: Friday's or Sunday's, make a pasta sauce.

The weather outside is dreadful. The first real snow of the winter. Not bad, we made it to the 20th of November without a real snowfall.

Last night I cleaned out my pantry, throwing away a variety of things that had long expired, some as much as a decade ago (yikes). So going in to this, I had a better idea of what I had.


I started out chopping the usual ingredients (carrot, onion, garlic, celery), but I also included a shallot.

I dug through my freezer looking for what meats I had. Found an OLD ground chicken roll, and a pack of frozen stir-fry pork. So with that in mind, I decided I should make something to use them up.

I remember finding cans of cheap canned tomatoes when I cleaned the pantry, so I decided to use that as my theme. Old meat, inexpensive ingredients.

But that said, I had some pancetta in the fridge, and the correct Milk (I like 2% for Ragu Bolognese, casual 1% for drinking), as well as a Papardelle noodle of questionable quality, so I decided to make this a low-quality batch of Ragu Bolognese.



As it turns out, the noodles are actually imported from Italy, but I included the beef stock for reference because it comes from the same company, but is made in Canada.


Now, I didn't both making a full photo log of this, but I began by cooking the frozen meats (big chunks of Chicken and Pork), just to make it a better ingredient for adding later. I set the meat aside as I finished each one, then began a Ragu Bolognese sauce (Soffritto, Pancetta, deglaze with wine, add Meat, little more wine, add tomatoes, crush them in the pan, add 1 cup of stock, 2 cups of milk).

I did change the recipe ever so slightly, adding a bit of Tomato Paste from a tube. I wasn't particularly happy with how the cheap canned tomato looked by itself, so that was my "enhancement" to get around not using a good tomato.



Simmer simmer.

I'm not too concerned about this being the perfect batch, so I'll probably shoot for 2-3 hours instead of 4+. The photos above are roughly 1 hour apart, and after a mere 30 minutes since then it's reduced quite a lot. I'm still waiting for the 2 hour mark before my next photo though.

The taste is different. That's Chicken vs Beef for ya. I'm trying to convince myself I'm not tasting an old-ness in the chicken. It tastes fine, just different. Fresher of course would have been best, but it's could outside. ;)

* * *

I'm pretty happy with this whole "slow cooked meal" concept, for days like today. I need to see about making a nice slow cooked Indian Curry sometime. :)
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



2 hours, and roughly 30 minutes after that.

And the result.



Delicious. The recipe just can't fail. :)


The noodles were really good. Arguably, exactly the same as the De Cecco Egg Pappardelle noodles I cooked with last time. Both are imported Italian Egg Noodles (which is a very specific process). If I was paying attention, they probably looked the same uncooked too. Not bad. They're cheaper than the De Cecco Egg Noodle too.

So Aurora, nice work. I can't be sure about the rest of their noodle, but when it comes to the Egg Pappardelle, they don't mess around.


I didn't salt at all. All the salt it got from the broth (or maybe a tiny bit from the butter).


So yeah, it turned out great. Like I said in the last post, I was a bit worried the odd taste of the (old) ground chicken. But after everything had reduced, that unpleasant taste was gone, and it was all goodness.

I think the addition of the Tomato Paste really helped the lackluster canned Tomatoes. It is Italian Tomato Paste, but I'm sure in this situation any Tomato Paste would have worked. So yeah, that would be my recommendation if you're unable to get Italian or San Marzano tomatoes: Add some Tomato Paste.

The big chunks of meat (the result of how the ground chicken was prepared, and the the type of pork used) was totally fine. After 2 hours, all meats seem to get super-tender in the sauce, and every bite with a big chunk of meat was very much an "OMG, I got a big chunk of meat". Great.


So there we go. I will concede that you don't need San Marzano tomatoes, but I think it's good to grasp what it should look and taste like (to know if you need to add paste as I did).

* * *

Okay, and just one side thing: I finished off my bottle of Adobo today (salting the noodle water).



Fortunately, I knew I was low, and bought a giant replacement. :D

This stuff is definitely my go-to "Salt+" now. :)
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Air Fryer!



It's pretty big.

As promised, first thing I did was throw some potatoes in it.

I made two batches, and in each batch I used two potatoes: a Yukon Gold and a White potato. They look similar, but the Yukon's have a slightly more yellow tinge.



According to the law, the way to make good fries is to soak them first, to remove the surface starchyness.



This batch I gave about 30 minutes in water, occasionally stirring around (by submerging my hand). As you can see, the water got starchy.

Then I dried them with paper towels.



It's not a vigorous drying, mainly rolling them around in paper towels to absorb the surface moisture. And of course, using paper towel so I can just throw them away when done.

Unfortunately, here's where I got stupid.

I mistakenly thought the Air Fryer worked by throwing oil around like a small hurricane, and just poured some oil in to the bottom.

NOPE!

Turns out, the name Fryer might be a misnomer. It's more like a convection oven with a lot of extra airflow.

I started with a 3 minute preheat, poured my oil in, then tossed in the sliced potato as is (bare).

After the first 10 or so minutes, I couldn't yet tell it wasn't going very well.



After a few more.



Uh oh.



Dry and rather unappetizing.

That said, it wasn't bad, it just wasn't good.

It tasted like a sort of crispy baked potato piece, but without the greasy flavour you'd come to expect from fries.



Tossed with some salt, and what little bit of oil poured out of the tray from when it cooked.

Dry. Very dry.

To make it more palatable, I poured in some Piri Piri hotsauce, and tossed again. It made them better, but clearly, I cooked these wrong.

...
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Edited by PoV on Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:03 pm; edited 1 time
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ROUND 2!

This time I decided to make wedges. Superfat whole potato half wide wedges.



Gave them a soak for about an hour, and changed the water partway through.



I dried them as before (paper towel), but this time I pre-coated them in oil.



In hindsight, I realized after doing it that I had converted the recipe in to a roast-potato recipe. I think that might be how you should think of Air Frying: as a fast roaster.

The results were like night-and-day. Far better than my 1st batch.



A roast potato in a fraction of the time (maybe 20 minutes).

It wasn't perfect though. As you can probably see, some pieces are whiter (and that's not just Yukon Gold vs White potatoes). The wedge shape I chose was probably a bad decision. It meant that slices of potato could lay flat on eachother, hiding the surfaces from the moving air. A standard French Fry cut would have worked better, as there would have been more natural space for the air to flow.



After cooking, I tossed them in salt and pepper, and they turned out really nice. The undercooked ones were okay, not terrible (still better than batch 1). The cooked ones were really good.

From this batch, I think I see why people say the taste of the Air Fryer is comparable to Deep Fried. My wedges reminded me of the hot-food wedges I get from the store (alongside roast chicken and other yummy hot grocery store food). But they also remind me of what good roast potatoes in the oven taste like. I imagine most people don't make oven roasted potatoes. My lemon roast potatoes are really good, but they take an hour+ to cook (I wait for them to become crispy). That's what they Air Fryer food reminds me of most: good oven roast potatoes, just way faster to crisp up.

Now there are caveats: Air Frying needs airflow.

Anything you want to be crispy needs exposure to the air. If there's no air touching, then it's not going to crisp. It'll cook, but not crisp. So that either means you make smaller batches (which is fine by me, since I'm only cooking for myself), or you need to cook something that lends itself to good airflow (crinkle cut?).

I would like to try my lemon potato in the air fryer. That said, I've eaten way too much potato for one day, so not today. ;)

Yeah, I'm going to need a little more time with it.

The Air Fryer definitely requires a slightly different thought process. Or maybe it doesn't. My roast lemon potatoes are a single layer of potato on a cookie sheet, so air/heat flow isn't a concern. They're submerged in the marinade (until it boils off), and then they finally start crisping. Hmm. Well either way, it requires thought.

Pre-coating the potato in oil: a good thought. :)


Cleanup was easy. There's a button for separating the tray from the pot (slightly cut off by the frame). There are holes in the main tray surface (airflow), so most of the oil and crud dripped in to the pot below.



There actually wasn't much of it. A quick blast of soap and water, and both cleaned up easily.


Also, funny story: Before I even used it, I pushed the release button on the tray and the dropped the pot on my kitchen floor. OOPS! Fortunately, I only chipped the cosmetic plastic on the front. No damage to the main pot.


So yeah, Air Fryer.

It's too early for me to recommend one yet, but it does have promise. It's not the Deep Fryer killer by any stretch, but like a Rice Maker, it seems it could be a nice Potato Maker (and other food maker).

I definitely need to try some marinated things in it (Potato, Chicken).


I'd like to revisit the "Food Cart Chicken and Rice" with this bad-boy on Chicken duty, and the Rice Maker on Rice. Double Bucket Cookers! :)

Yeah, I like that. "Bucket Cookers". :)
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh right. I forgot about Fried Chicken.

https://recipethis.com/how-to-make-kfc-chicken-in-the-airfryer/
https://recipethis.com/how-to-make-the-kfc-secret-chicken-rub/

I need to give that a try.

I don't exactly trust the lack of oil to get that same look, but hey. Potatoes aren't greasy enough, but meat should be. :)

I might try rubbing some oil on the tray (paper towel) before preheating.

* * *

Apparently Frozen Foods work well too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFdC7oNLVbQ

Frozen Chicken Wings for example. If they're made properly, there is already oil in the frozen breading. Just drop them in to bake, shake, then bake again.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ho ho!



I started with frozen precooked breaded chicken (Pinty's). Basically it's a giant Chicken Nugget. Preheated for 3 minutes, and dropped it right in the tray.



Maybe 10 minutes later. Flipped it, put it back in for another 5-6 minutes.



It browned up nicely along the sides. Middle breading was still a little moist, but the middle was hot and most certainly done.


Damn! It turned out way better than the oven, and it cooked in half the time.

It was so good, I had to have another.



It's not quite Deep Fried Chicken, but it was moist and crispy.

This one I cooked longer, just to try and eliminate the moistness. One side was perfect, but the other still had a soft spot. I worry cooking it too much longer will crisp the outsides too much. They're fully cooked anyway, so it's no big deal. I'm never able to get these to cook perferctly in the oven either (blame the frozen centers).

Now, I do know these chickens are better than most. I suspect the maker (Pinty's) deep fries them ahead of time as the pre-cooking process, so it's the oils that stick to them that give them their great flavor. The Air Fryer is just refrying them in their oils.


So yeah, Air Fryer. I will say it does Freezer Food quite well. It cooks way faster too, but you have limited surface space for the food items.

Really makes me curious about fresh. :)


EDIT: Ha! I didn't think to take an inside photo after I tore it in half. I was too busy eating. ;)

Just looking at these photos again makes me want to heat up another. I could be eating it in a mere 20 minutes... :D
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've started prepping the next batch of fries. To jazz it up, I made a BBQ Potato Chip rub.

https://www.wired.com/2013/03/bbq-potato-chips/

I didn't have Smoked Paprika, just regular, so I used that. I also used Cayene Pepper instead of/as a Chilli Powder. I also didn't have Onion Powder, just garlic powder (and I'm nearly out of it).

Anyway, it turned out fine. Good enough for my experiment.

Fries are cut and soaking now.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Air Fryer Fries, take 3.



This time, coated in Olive Oil. That said, I'm not sure I noticed a flavour improvement versus the Canola Oil. Legends say Duck Fat is the best French Fry Oil, but I'm not gonna get that crazy.



The spice mix. I didn't need to mortar them. I just mixed them in the mortar.



They cooked pretty well. There were still some white fries, but they were cooked, just not crispy.

At this point, I'm ready to say that's what you pay for. The Phillips Air Fryer costs at least twice what I paid for my Air Fryer. They have their patented "starfish" airflow design that should work a lot better. This cheapo Air Fryer does work though, and I'm loving that it can cook things faster than the oven (and do a good job of it).



Seasoned with my BBQ spice mix. I still need to work on the mix, but actually it was very nice.


Conclusions

The Air Fryer: Yeah, it's a keeper. :)

I'm going to continue to use it. Trying new things in it at a more casual pace.

What it does well: Reheating frozen chicken "nuggets", and cooking fresh French Fries (if prepared properly). Other foods TBD.

Would I recommend one: If you want one, yes. It's more a convenience though. IMO an oven can cook everything the Air Fryer can cook, just slower with a bit more management (flipping with tongs versus just shaking a basket). You might be able to get similar speed results if your oven is a convection oven. The "deep fried" flavour is submerging a food in oil. Cooking with oil in a pan, the oven, or in an Air Fryer has the same effect, and they all tend to be less greasy than a deep fryer.

I don't regret buying the cheaper one (I did buy one of the better cheaper ones). If/when I break it, I will probably upgrade to the Philips. For now it's fine. I'm sure I'll appreciate the Philips more once I know more about cooking in the cheap one.


The other conclusion, Yukon Gold vs White potato: ... TBH, I couldn't really tell a difference. I'm going to have to pick a potato, and make batches solely with that potato, get used to the flavour, then outright switch to the other one and see if I like the change. Or just, you know, when I'm shopping buy whichever of the two looks better.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick post (before another post). Just wanted to share this.

Air Fryer continues to be useful as a way to quickly make frozen pre-fried foods. No oil required (as the frozen pre-fried foods already contain oils).



My breakfast the past couple days has me cooking a few slices of bacon, draining the fat, dropping toast, cooking a scrambled egg in the remaining fat, all while I have one of those hash browns cooking in the Air Fryer (flipping after about 5 minutes).

So at the very least, the Air Fryer has become complimentary.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I've been super busy crunching on Ludum Dare for... I can't even remember how many days.

I finally have a bit of a lull, so I'm taking advantage of it to prepare some yummy food.

Another Ragu Bolognese, but this time I'm mixing it up: Bacon and Fancy Onions.



Chopped up a pack of frozen bacon, and pan fried it until it reduced and started to crisp. Set aside, drained the fat (but left a little in the pan).



This time the Soffritto featured a wider variety of onion-likes. White onion, green onion (scallions), a shallot, some leek, and garlic. Plus Celery and Carrot (not shown).



A touch of butter in the vegetables, then re-added the bacon, and browned some Ground Beef and Ground Pork in the pan.



Add tomatoes, stock, and milk, then we simmer for many hours.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just adding this for reference.

http://twistedfood.co.uk/slow-cooker-butter-chicken/

A pretty nice looking slow cooker Butter Chicken. A friend tried it and recommended it.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been super busy the past couple weeks, so I haven't been cooking much (at least not cooking anything fancy).

That said, I have got some really good use out of the Air Fryer, and I think it may officially have become a staple of my Kitchen, but just not for what I was expecting it to be.



These McDonalds-like Hash Browns have been in my freezer for a while. I intended to start making them alongside breakfast (whenever I made breakfast), but they never fit well in to my order of how I cook breakfast.

Enter the Air Fryer.

My full-breakfast routine now starts by pre-heating the air fryer for 3 minutes, then dropping pair of hash brown rectangles in for 5 minutes. After the ding, flip them and put them in for another 3.

While that's happening, I'm cooking a few slices of Bacon in a pan. Once finished, bacon is plated on some paper tower (to absorb surface grease), bacon fat is drained, toast is dropped in the toaster, and (scrambled) egg is dropped in the pan (cooking in the leftover bacon fat after draining).

Everything is basically finished around the same time. The egg is the worst at keeping warm, so it's cooked last.

It's so convenient for things like these hash browns, that I've started skipping the whole breakfast, and just dropping a pair of hash brown in as a snack/meal. ;)


But yeah, the thing the air fryer does a really good job of is with pre-fried food. These hash browns, clearly pre-fried, and they don't even need defrosting.

Just today I heated up some frozen Samosas. The Samosas were quite large. First try was, a little iffy, but 2nd try I got it. Nuked them in the microwave for ~1 minute to defrost (I wanted to be sure, so I did 90 seconds), THEN dropped them in the pre-heated air fryer for 5 minutes. Turned out good (as good as you could expect a frozen Samosa to be).

I've already raved about the frozen (pre-fried) breaded chicken. :)


So yeah, it's really been nice to have around. It's no deep fryer, but I'm finding it to be a great way to bake small portions of food quickly. And because many of things are breaded + lightly greasy, aside from a few crumbs it's not making much mess. Admittedly, I haven't even been washing it after making the Hash Browns. ;). It does clean really well, but depending on what you're cooking in it, I think you can get away with not washing it between certain foods. I don't know about going full-toaster (i.e. never cleaning), but as long as it's potato or some previously deep fried breading, I think you can get away being a little lazy. And heck, you save yourself from a messy cleanup with parchment paper. :D

I need to try reheating Pizza in it.

But yeah, Air Fryer. I'm finding it to be a really good lazy cooking device (after all, it's basically a mini convection oven). :)
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay! Cooking time!

Today's challenge: Butter Chicken, from scratch.



At the moment I'm simmering it, but it's more done than what you see above. I'm just waiting for the rice to finish, so I can plate it.

The recipes I'd found were too random, so I decided to try to use this one, recommended by a friend, as a starting place.

http://twistedfood.co.uk/slow-cooker-butter-chicken/

I didn't slow cook it, but rather, used it to guide what ingredients I used.

- Two large frozen chicken breasts, defrosted for a few hours so it could cut
- browned with oil in the saucepan, salted with some Adobo (<3)
- crushed several cloves of garlic, added it
- finely chopped a bit of ginger, added it
- Bottle of stirred italian tomatoes (I wanted a better quality tomato, and I stocked up on these at ~$1 a bottle. slightly less than a can, but not much)
- salted with some Adobo
- heaping teaspoon of Garam Masala powder (a fuck-ton of spices including cinamon in a mix)
- a bunch of paprika
- a bunch of cayenne pepper
- a bunch of coriander seeds crushed in to a powder
- In a separate pan, sauteed some onions in butter. Ended up with these lovely buttery onions. Totally worth doing separate as they have a ton of flavor
- Added 'butter' onions
- Added a big heaping tablespoon of Creme Fraiche, as my alternative to cream. This really added a nice creamy flavour
- Added a bit of butter (maybe a table spoon, I was nearly out of it)
- Added a couple squirts of Honey! Sweetness!

And I've been letting it simmer ever since, as the rice cooked. Rice is about down, so it's time to take some follow up photos.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote





The result was really nice. Not authentic, but definitely something that tastes like a Butter Chicken. It made 4 generous portions (could probably have squeezed a 5th lesser portion out).

I wouldn't change much.

- Whenever I've had Butter Chicken, there's usually larger chunks of chicken. Mine were small, which had the benefit of going further in the meaty chicken sauce.
- I'm pretty happy that I found another use for Creme Fraiche.
- Interestingly, this Butter Chicken recipe isn't that different from an Italian Tomato sauce. I'd be curious to try going with a full Italian base (Neapolitan).
- I'm also curious if Ghee should be used instead of butter, but Ghee would lack the creaminess of milk or Creme Fraiche (even butter). Probably not worth it though.
- I'd be curious to learn what makes it more authentic. I do have dried Curry leaves (and a metric fuck-ton of Garam Masala powder). I did add Garam Masala, but a controlled amount so not to overpower it.
- My friends batch was yellow. Mine was red (tomato). *shrug*
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD9O-L2Xvzo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eMgECPDbAo

So I've learned a bit more about how authentic Butter Chicken works (Murgh Makhani).

The difference between what I did and what they do is they tend to make a sort of soup-stock out of it. But unlike soup stock, the large ingredients get blended together at the end. That partially explains how authentic Indian curries tend to have a thinner sauce, since the thickness of the chunks of tomato end up getting blended away. My choice of Stirred Tomatoes was probably a perfect substitute, as I think that's what the stirred means (blended).

Also the chicken is supposed to be marinated. I skipped this, as my reference recipe was simpler. The Chicken was noticeably less exciting, but I still did salt it with some Adobo while browning, so it wasn't flavourless.

Fresh Garlic+Ginger seems pretty common (sometimes sold as a combo mixture). Always both. Of note, I found I stopped using Ginger in my Tandoori Chicken, since I couldn't taste the impact it was making. I should start using it again though.

Garam Masala is more of a finisher, like cream. You add it for the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, and you don't add much (2 teaspoons'ish, actually pretty close to what I did by accident). It can also be used as an impromptu marinade spice.

Authentic does call for a touch of sweet (sugar). The honey in my reference recipe was a good alternative. Secret ingredient in some Butter Chickens is a squirt of ketchup (my late polish grandmother would be proud).

Yes, the recipe itself doesn't actually call for much butter. Butter is used as a way of suggesting it's creamy. Unsurprisingly Ghee (refined butter) tends to be used in authentic cooking, but given that it's a creamy dish that you should be adding 'heavy cream' to, unless you're avoiding an allergy (such as my mom), I don't see much need to go Ghee. Maybe for the slight nuttyness (or you could just add nuts, as buddy in the recipes above does).

I've seen it a few times, some recipes calling for Tandoori Masala as a substitute for other spices. One could make some easy Indian food by using common ingredients (salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, coriander) with Tandoori Masala. I have both Tandoori and Garam Masala's on hand. I was super-close to running out to get ingredients to make Tandoori Chicken yesterday (Yogurt, Chicken)... I might today.

I forgot to use Lemon in the reference recipe. Didn't hurt. Was probably good to try without, as I think I'm trying to gauge what ingredients make things actually taste Indian.

The dish I ended up making, aside from the Garam Masala, didn't really require any Indian ingredients. Everything was normal. Because of the use of Butter and Cream, there's little reason Butter Chicken had to be an Indian dish at all. It could have been conceived as a a hybrid French (butter) and Italian dish (tomato). Authentic Butter Chicken is just bragging, check out all these crazy spices in your smooth creamy tomato sauce. No wonder Butter Chicken tends to be what brings people in to Indian food. It's essentially familiar flavours, with a few new things to make it interesting.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha. Realized today I've never made pancakes... from scratch at least.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/21014/good-old-fashioned-pancakes/

As it turns out, pancakes-from-scratch are stupid easy:

- Flour (lots)
- Baking Powder (some)
- Salt (pinch)
- Sugar (:D)
- an Egg
- Butter (melt it)
- Milk (Mmm)

All things you'd typically find in a kitchen. And you're going to make a mess anyways mixing pancake mix. I'm really starting to wonder, why bother with the boxed stuff at all?

Whisk together the dry ingredients, then whist in the wet ones. Milk lets you control your batter thickness ratio (I started with 2 cups instead of 2 1/4, but added a bit more after mixing).

The difference between a pancake and a crepe seems to be the thinness of the batter (more milk), and crepe tends to use more egg (3 instead of 1).





Pretty much perfect.

- Used margarine instead of butter (ran out last night making the Butter Chicken)
- The trick seems to be waiting for the pan to get hot. I thought 140 C was enough, but no. First pancake (not shown) was whiter. It was still tasty though. Every other pancake was like the above.
- Tinfoil works great. Keeps them warm. I had to make them one-at-a-time, since I was using my Wok.
- Taste wise, I could actually go sweeter. I think I added 4 teaspoons of sugar (recipe was 3.5). Go slightly more sweet, and they might be even nicer without syrup.
- I lightly oiled the pan (wok), whiping it around with a paper towel. The butter in the pancake mix was probably what made them not stick though.
- Made about 8 large pancakes.
- Would have been best if the container I mixed in had a spout. The metal bowl wasn't ideal.
- Oh right, I used 1% milk just fine. A higher fat milk might have made them nicer. Oh hey... That suddenly explains Buttermilk Pancakes (Pancakes made with higher fat milk).

* * *

To my dad, the Denny's pancake is the gold-standard. So I thought I'd check in to them.

http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/denny_s_inspired_fluffy_pancakes.htm

According to that recipe, they added vinegar to the milk to make it sour. 5 minutes or so, then mix with other ingredients.

I say added, 'cause apparently the recipe changed earlier this year.

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/dennys-says-its-new-pancakes-are-probably-better-ones-you-make-home-172462

According to a new ad campaign, they weren't using fresh eggs before, and now they use buttermilk, plus a touch of (artificial) vanilla.

Challenge accepted. :)

I probably wont use Buttermilk, but it gives me something else to buy 2% milk for (Ragu Bolognese and Pancakes, but 1% does fine for pancakes).

So, tweaks I'd like to try:

- 6 teaspoons of sugar (instead of ~4)
- some (artificial) vanilla
- *maybe* souring the milk with some vinegar

For now, I have 5 perfectly delicious pancakes sitting in tinfoil that need eating. :)

* * *

http://www.inspiredtaste.net/24593/essential-pancake-recipe/

Some other interesting pancake advice there. Whisking wet ingredients separately, and mixing wet+dry with a fork, so not to over-mix the batter (less mixing should be necessary anyway due to the wet ingredients already being mixed). Once there is no more clumps of flour, it's ready.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. More pancake science.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bring-science-home-gluten-pancakes/

Apparently they conclude it's actually recommended that you minimize mixing of batter, even that your batter should have lumps.

http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/griddledspecialties/fl/Is-it-OK-to-Have-Lumps-in-Pancake-Batter.htm

More lumpy batter supporters!

From another random article.

Quote:
Once you've mixed up your batter, let it sit for 15 minutes. Either in the fridge or on the counter is fine. This allows the glutens time to relax, which will make the pancakes more tender, but it also gives those lumps a chance to dissolve on their own.

Essentially, it sounds like you should treat pancake batter like you treat bread dough: i.e. give it time to rise (even if it doesn't actually rise, due to how liquidy it is). The gluten needs time to do its thing.

Huh.

I have 1 pancake left. I think I may just eat it to force myself to make another batch. ;)

Really, this "how to make a good pancake" stuff really surprises me. I thought my batch first was pretty good. Nicer than I remember generic pancake mix being. *shrug*

Huh.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never in my life have i eaten pancakes done on pancake mix. Not sure why it exists really, its not like it takes long to make the real thing.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah my go-to has been frozen waffles in the toaster, but damn, I'm really impressed at how easy it is to make fresh.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay! Pancakes Round 2!

Starting with a lumpy batter, as suggested by pancake scientists from around the internet:



http://allrecipes.com/recipe/21014/good-old-fashioned-pancakes/

Reference recipe was the same one as last time, but I converted everything to teaspoons (from tablespoons), doubled the sugar, soured the milk with lemon, and added vanilla.

- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder (no idea why it's 1/2, but hey)
- 1 teaspoon salt (I just used a salt grinder and eyeballed it, 12 twists)
- 6 teaspoons sugar (was 1 tablespoon, i.e. ~3 teaspoons)
- 1 1/4 cups of milk
- some lemon juice or white vinegar (to sour the milk)
- 4 heaping teaspoons of butter or margarine, melted (Again, this was 3 tablespoons (i.e. 3:1) but I didn't want to waste another spoon to measure it)
- (artificial) vanilla (I used 2 'droops', which added a tiny bit of color, but to be honest I'm not entirely sure I tasted it)
- some oil (lightly coating the pan, rub it on to coat thinly)

Wet and dry ingredients were combined separately.

Milk with the juice from half (quarter?) a lemon was set aside for a few minutes (internet recommends 5 minutes). I should have done this first, but I was eager to mix dry ingredients.

The whisk was only used for distributing the dry ingredients, not for combining (switched to the fork used to combine the wet ingredients).

Heated the butter (margarine) in the microwave to melt it. After the milk had time to sour, added the warm butter, an egg, and some drops of vanilla, and stirred with a fork until the egg was decently dissolved in to the mixture.

Combined wet ingredients with the dry using a fork. Stirred until all the flour/dry ingredients from the sides were mixed in, but it still had lumps (see above).

Let sit for 15 minutes, to give time for the gluten to do its thing (including dissolve some of those lumps).

Lightly oiled the pan, whiping the oil around with a paper towel. Let heat up to over 200 C, but I did find that 250 C was too hot, so I pulled the heat closer to medium (instead of medium-high). This did take longer, but I didn't burn any more pancakes.

Bubbling was less prominent that my original batch. The trick here was to wait until the bubbles started becoming solid. With the thicker batter, many bubbles would pop and fill in. But eventually they would start popping and staying. That was the sign it was time to flip.

When the timing was just right, they got a nice light browning on the top (with a slightly darker side, due to the poor heat distribution of my elements).



The results were nice, thick, and fluffy.



The taste was as I hoped, just slightly sweeter when eaten without toppings (my extra sugar in action).

It's hard to tell exactly what impact the souring of the milk and the vanilla had. But overall, these pancakes were absolutely fantastic.



With a square of real butter on top, and some Canadian Maple Syrup, easily the best pancakes to come out of my kitchen.

Maybe the best pancakes I've ever had? It's definitely up there. Pancakes are not usually my breakfast of choice, but when they're this good, :D.

Success!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, despite how tasty the pancakes were, I just found out my baking powder is dead.

Baking Powder, when added to hot water, should fizz. Baking Powder is basically Baking Soda with an Acid. If you put vinegar in hot water, add Baking Soda, it should fizz.

Well, I did this experiment and got no reaction. Repeated it using vinegar and an unopened baking soda, and got some serious fizz.

So these pancakes, they could have been better (fluffier).

* * *

More homework, I think I have an idea why it's recommended you sour the milk (with an Acid): because soured milk is similar to buttermilk (which despite the name is actually milk plus an acid, and not necessarily a buttery milk).

Store bought buttermilk is still its own thing, but the substitute you get from aciding milk is similar.

Now when I tried to acid my milk, I didn't get serious curdling. According to an image of soured milk (not sour milk) on Wikipedia, I should have seen curdling. If I was to warm the milk, adding acid might have had an effect sooner.

I guess at this point I don't yet know what baking powder does to a pancake. That said, the floury things I've been eating weren't bad. Weird.

Seems my job here isn't done.

* * *

Yep. My Baking Powder was dead. Brand new bottle fizzes just fine in hot water.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just leaving myself a reminder.

Hey me! Try making Cubano Sandwiches, like in the Jon Favreau movie Chef.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From yesterday, I decided to make my Tandoori Chicken again.

I bought a new Tandoori Masala mix sometime ago, but up until now I've never tried it. It's EXTREMELY spicy.



Marinating.



On the tray.



After nearly 90 minutes of cooking.



Meat is super-tender, just falls off the bone.

- Skinned the chicken, scored, and let soak for an hour in vinegar (recommendation is 30 minutes, and much more than that and it starts to discolor).
- Used 2/3rds of the Yogurt container. Ended up with enough extra masala to top the chicken before baking.
- Used peach yogurt, because it's my favorite kind of yogurt to eat. ;)
- Used 6 rounded tablespoons of National Brand Tandoori Mix.. HOLY SHIT... TOO SPICY. Flatten them, or use less.
- Finally used ginger again. I haven't been using ginger in this for a while.
- Garlic, what I had handy (was enough).
- About a lemon of juice.
- Coated chickens, and let marinate for 2 hours
- Baked for 25 minutes, then shifted each piece a bit using tongs. Repeated every 15 minutes until I was happy with how baked they were (I like mine a little dry, as the insides are going to be moist).
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I made a new batch of Pancakes this morning, this time *WITH* actually-not-dead baking powder.



They ended up HUGE!

I did a slightly better job curdling my milk, but stirring the curdled milk kind-of appears to defeat the purpose (curds break down).

In the future I probably wont use fresh lemon, but rather one of those squeeze lemons. Not worth the effort/waste.


* * *

A friend sent me a crepe recipe

Quote:
Sweet CrÍpe Batter
★★★★★
Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Servings: 30 to 40 crepes (Scaled) | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

8 eggs
dash salt
2 cup flour
2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
butter


Directions:

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
2. Beat eggs in with milk and vanilla in a small bowl.
3. Combine mixtures, and mix well until uniform. I usually use a hand mixer.
4. Refrigerate batter for at least 1 hour to let the bubbles settle out, or if you're impatient, pass a fork very lightly and slowly through the batter to break the bubbles.
5. To cook, pour batter into a greased non-stick pan, tilt pan to spread batter to coat as thinly as possible. When edges brown, flip crepe, and keep the pan moving until the crepe unsticks from the pan. Flip it onto a plate, and continue.
6. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup and/or Drunken Fruit Syrup (see below)


Drunken Fruit Syrup
★★★★★
Cook Time: 20 minutes | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

Butter
Powdered Sugar
Strong alcohol (see below)
Fruit (see below)


Directions:

1. Melt butter in small saucepan
2. Add sugar, and stir until mostly dissolved
3. Add alcohol, and stir until more dissolved
4. Add fruit, and cook until it looks freaking awesome (about 20 mins)

Ideas for alcohol & fruit pairings: - Strawberries & Irish Creme - Oranges & Orange Liqueur - Figs & Sherry - Lime & Tequila - Mixed Berries & Vodka

Note: frozen fruit works well in this sauce, as it breaks down anyways, but I suggest defrosting it in a microwave first.
Also note: icing sugar has corn starch in it, I find I get better results from caster sugar (very fine granulated sugar). Make your own caster sugar by putting regular sugar in a food processor for a few seconds.


Interestingly, the recipe is basically the same as my pancake recipe, except you use lots and lots of eggs, and no baking powder (so they end up flat, like my dead baking powder batch, and flatter).
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I typically use pancake mix, but only as a quick flour substitute.

Then I mix it up with eggs, oil, buttermilk (milk + vinegar), a few pinches of baking soda and salt. I try to keep the mix from getting too thick before I put it on the griddle.
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