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Old 12-13-2007, 04:32 PM   #21
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As stated by Andy M, don't let any recipe scare you off. Since I have been on here I have tried things, mostly techniques, that I thought were way above me. But they were not!

Also it does help to have everything prepped and ready. I lay out all needed ingredients and equipment as I get ready.

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Old 12-13-2007, 05:08 PM   #22
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Location: Texas girl living in Kazakhstan
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I have several cooking secrets to share but if it's boiled down to one I would say please invest in good quality knives------you will never regret it. I have a couple of Henckel knives and my favorite of all is a Wusthofff chef's knife. I've owned many other knives over the years and believe me you will always reach for the good quality one. Since it's the time of giving put the word out-- they make great gifts.

The only difference between a "cook" and a "Chef" is who cleans up the kitchen.
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:03 PM   #23
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Location: Small Town Mississippi
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Average Stock = Average Food
Good Stock = Good Food
Excellent Stock = Excellent Food
Great Stock = Great Food

Bonus Secret Cook by Temperature Not by the Clock!!
There is only one Quality worse than Hardness of Heart, and that is Softness of Head.

Kool-Aid...Think Before You Drink
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:14 PM   #24
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Location: ...lala land..............
Posts: 3,669
My Norwegian Gramma was head pastry chef for 25 years
don't overwork your dough.
use almost freezing butter.
try not to use your hands too much when kneading, it warms the butter too fast.
result, flakey/crusty/light pie crust

if you have a t&t recipe that's the bomb just the way it is, no matter how easy and simple it may be, leave it alone and let it stand alone, don't mess with it, it's perfect already, accept that.

spend money where it really counts, ie. a Wusthof Trident chef knife. yep, it's a hundred bucks but well worth it.
a Cuisinart food processor, spend the money on one.
a Kitchenaide mixer, just bite the bullet and buy it.
These 3 must haves last a lifetime.

If you know you're going to use a certain spice a lot, buy the best. ie. vanilla beans, vanilla, nutmeg, etc.
if it's something you'll use only occasionally, buy it at the market on sale. ie. corriander, fenugreek, lemon pepper.

Train your pallet. I make food all the time, I TASTE AS I GO, as suggested by someone on here. If it's too sweet, I add the opposite ingred and taste again. If it's too salty, I add something to counter balance. My husband often asks me, "what did you put in this to cause this flavor." I often times can't remember because I've had to adjust so many things, and none of them make sense to a normal cook but to me, if I add a fruit jam, it may work, if I add a bit of chocolate to savory, it works, if I add ortega chilis to something that shouldn't contain that ingred, it matters not if it works.
...Trials travel best when you're taking the transportation known as prayer...SLRC
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:51 PM   #25
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Location: Boston area
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Time your cookies to come out one minute less than the recipe calls for. Works great (almost) all the time.

People say, "ooo! These are so good! What's your secret?"

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Old 12-13-2007, 07:24 PM   #26
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 3,270
As many have said, understand the basics of a recipe rather than looking at the ingredients and steps and then use your imagination because once you have the components of a recipe, you can substitute, you can experiment, you can push the envelope and develop something new.

Your meals can be as exciting as you want them to be once you let your mind loose on your food!

I treat ingredients as a game of Boggle (you know where you have nine letters and you have to make as many words from those letters). Look at the ingredients you have and let your imagination run!
Too many restaurants, not enough time...
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Old 12-13-2007, 11:22 PM   #27
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If you are doubling a recipe or cutting it in half, rewrite the ingredients with the new measurements before beginning. It is easy to mess up and double some ingredients and not others, which can really mess up something you are baking.

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Old 12-14-2007, 02:27 AM   #28
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
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Everybody has pretty much covered most of the bases .... but one:

Hot Pan - cold oil - food won't stick!

The exception is tin-lined copper - that should never be preheated!
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:38 AM   #29
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Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,558
Technique is the most important thing. An expert cook using cheap, low quality tools can still outcook an average cook using All-Clad, Wustof, etc. Learn how to do things the right way, and practice, practice, practice. Repetition is key.
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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Old 12-14-2007, 04:03 AM   #30
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Making Risotto on an electric cooker.

Heat stock and wine and then add rice. Then turn off the heat and let the risotto cook slowly on the afterheat with the lid on. After around 20 minutes it will be perfect. And if u cook it on the afterheat it wont stick to the bottom of the pot.


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