"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Cooking Resources > Terms & Techniques
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-31-2005, 03:37 PM   #1
Master Chef
 
Chief Longwind Of The North's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: USA,Michigan
Posts: 9,229
Tailoring Textures

Something we don't talk about much, but bears our attention. When we present foods, we talk about making them look and taste great. But what about the texture. Are the mashed potatoes too dry, or too runny? Is the meat stringy? And what about the beverage? Will it leave your mouth filled with gummy mucous, or will it leave you puckered?

Texture is another part of cooking that requires careful thought and preperation. When presenting a meal, ballance the textures as well as the flavors, nutrients, and colors.

I find that milk has a wonderful flavor that compliments savory dishes, especially foods like pasta with a rich tomato sauce, or a steak that's been lightly salted and peppered. It goes well with deep-green veggies. But it isn't as great with very sweet dishes, like pancakes and syrup. It leaves the mouth filmy. Surprisingly, it does go very well with ice-cream, or even helps cut the powerful flavor of a rich shake.

On the other hand, a dry beverage can help ballance a desert, or a sweet entre. It can enhance delicate textured dish, like a moose or chiffon. But it can also leave you feeling the need for a gallon of water if served with something very tart or dry, like orderves served on crackers.

And what about meat, do you want it stringy like shredded beef, great for tacos, or smooth and tender like a perfect pork roast? And what about ground beef? For pasties and meat pies we tend to use very coarse and lean ground beef, while hamburgers are better with a medium grind, and about 15 to 20% fat.

Clearly, texture is important in our foods. So chime in with your ideas of perfect textures for given meals. Include veggies, mashed veggies, fruits, meats, and things like cakes, quickbreads, puddings, pies, etc. And let us know how you achieve the perfect texture for the dish or ingredient.

To that end, I open this discussion.


I'll start.

Potato chowder.

Coarsely grate one whole medium white rose potato. Dice a second potatoe into 1/4 inch cubes. Place all in a pan with 1/2 tsp. salt. Just bearely cover with water and cook until the grated potato begins to thicken the mixture.

At this point, add just a touch of granulated onion and garlic. The potato cubes are still undercooked and so won't be mushed while stiring the cooked grated potato. Add 1/4 cup of cream, and 1 tbs. coffee creamer. Continue stiring until the graded potato is blended into the liquid. Remove from heat and let sit for about five more minutes. Add two tbs. butter and stir in. Serve as is.

This method gives you a chowder that is thck and satisfying, while retaining a graininess that is not unpleasant. It isn't the classic smooth and creamy chowder we are all used to, but has more of a rough, less refined texture that reminds one of a rustic farmhouse. I added some freshly chopped pork to this soup and peppered it in my bowl, as my wife doesn't like pepper. The result was a wonderfully ballanced but strong potato flavor, with more texture than is normal for this type of chowder. It was really very good. I believe it has the best flavor I've ever made for potato chowder. The experiment was an unqualified success. I will be making this again.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

__________________

__________________
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- http://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
Chief Longwind Of The North is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2005, 04:43 PM   #2
Chef Extraordinaire
 
pdswife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Washington
Posts: 20,308
Send a message via AIM to pdswife Send a message via MSN to pdswife Send a message via Yahoo to pdswife
I'll have to think about that for awhile....


I do have to say though that I love a cold glass
of milk with my pancakes.
__________________

__________________
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. Robert Frost
pdswife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2005, 03:14 AM   #3
Master Chef
 
luvs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: da 'burgh
Posts: 9,673
i love milk too!. i drink whole milk. delicious.
as for textures in foods, that has got to be my biggest thing with food. textures are of the utmost importance to me.
to emphasize a little, i like most of my veggies to be really crisp. just cooked a little bit. (the only exceptions i can think of are canned peas and carrots. taters, too, of course.)
i also like contrasts in texture. like creamy and crunchy all at once (as in an ice cream cone or a bowl of chowder with oyster crackers). i always toss something crunchy into my soup. cheese curls or chips or crackers.
or i like something like crisp lettuce with crunchy pecans, creamy bleu cheese and chewy dried cranberries.
i like the crunchiness of toast with the contrast of yummy,
melty butter.
i love textural differences. i think that's what makes the meal what it is.
__________________
i believe that life would not be complete sans comfy 'ol tee-shirts, the Golden Girls, and the color pink
& rock on, PITTSBURGH-
luvs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2005, 05:30 PM   #4
Assistant Cook
 
TheLemonSong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Athens, OH (via Indiana)
Posts: 39
Send a message via AIM to TheLemonSong
I'm usually not a fan of foods with a lot of crunch to them, but I find that meals combining lots of texture are excellent.

Chips and salsa comes to mind. The salsa is squishy with a bit of solidity and the chips are crispy. Add some beer to that, and you've got squish, crunch, and fizzy all in one easy sampling :)
__________________
TheLemonSong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2005, 09:22 PM   #5
Master Chef
 
Chief Longwind Of The North's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: USA,Michigan
Posts: 9,229
TheLemonSon; Great textural prose. I could almost feel everything in my mouth. Another incredible mouth-feel for me is the combination of hot & cold at the same time. Think hot chocolate with a scoof of ice cream.

What about veggies? How do you make them creamy smooth, or get that just right soft-crunch, or some combinations?

Come on people, give it up. I want all of your ideas. I know what I like. I want to know what you like.

Is your favorite bread moist, light, and soft? Or is it somewhat tough, and a bit chewey, just waiting for a bowl of hot soup or aujus?

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
__________________
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- http://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
Chief Longwind Of The North is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2005, 10:29 PM   #6
Chef Extraordinaire
 
kitchenelf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 19,725
Send a message via MSN to kitchenelf
I love my gazpacho chunky. I just put all my veggies through the big-hole disk of my KA meat grinder attachment - that's the way I like it. If someone prefers theirs smoother I just whip out my blender wand.

Black Bean Soup is kind of a different thing. I like to blend it up really well then hidden under the soup is a layer of monteray jack cheese and spring onions and then under that is well-packed white rice - I top the black bean soup with home made pico di gallo - you dip through all those layers, some smooth, some stringy, and then the soft rice - yum.

As far as bread - I want the soft white that sticks to the roof of your mouth for my tomato/mayo sandwiches - I want a chewy artisan bread, something like ciabatta with some goat cheeese, pesto and red peppers slathered on - or just dipped in oil and balsamic with a finely chopped basil leaves, parm, and kosher salt.

I like my potatoes with a few bites of potatoes in there but at Thanksgiving I want them silky smooth! To get that accomplished I add an egg yolk or two and a spoonful of mayonnaise. The egg yolk really fluffs it up.

But when I have a good ol' bring back the memories deli sandwich I want all sorts of meats, prosciutto, hard salami, mortadella, and some spicy brown mustard on a perfectly cooked kaiser roll - chewey on the outside and tender on the inside - sort of have to fight with it but not too much.

I want my mac and cheese creamy and plenty of cheese. Some recipes call for you to place everything in a casserole dish and them bake - nope, no way, not in our house - that makes the cheese really cheese soak in too much to the noodles - and we WANT that cheese to be plentiful and silky smooth. We've experimented with all sorts of cheeses - combinations of smoked gouda, fontina, sharp cheddar, hoop cheddar, plain gouda, jarlesburg I think - let's just say we have played around with this recipe and we were quite stunned to realize that the BEST is the ALL sharp cheddar with maybe a little fontina thrown in.

Now, after I've wrriten all this I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are asking GW! lol When you say you want creamy vegetables do you want them in a cheesesauce or a cassserole?
__________________
kitchenelf

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
kitchenelf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2005, 01:35 AM   #7
Assistant Cook
 
TheLemonSong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Athens, OH (via Indiana)
Posts: 39
Send a message via AIM to TheLemonSong
My bread machine makes bread that, when toasted, gives a delightful texture.

It gets hard only on the outside but the inside remains soft and chewey. I just made a wheat-beer-chive bread, and it is so delectable for textural reasons.
Pair it toasted with some cottage cheese and you basically get something that is hard to the touch, soft in your mouth but crunchy when you bite and the cottage cheese gives that that silky richness...its great with a really thick drink like for example coffee in the morning...
__________________
TheLemonSong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2005, 08:19 AM   #8
Master Chef
 
Chief Longwind Of The North's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: USA,Michigan
Posts: 9,229
For the "Creamy Smooth" veggies, I was refering to creamed veggies with a smooth sauce, with either soft veggies, or slightly crunchy ones. Or it could also refer to a good cheese sauce that contrasts and compliments the flavor and texture of the veggies.

But what texture are you looking for in say, conrnbread, vs. pancakes? And how do you get that perfect texture.

I guess what I'm trying to do with thread is get everyone thinking about texture. How and why is it important, and more importantly, what is the proper texture for different foods and how do you achieve it? Also, how can we ballance textures on the plate? Is it a combination of textures that we crave, or something more homogenous?

There are a lot of self-proclaimed newbes on this site. Also, this discussion could help all of us plan more interesting meals.

That's what I'm going for. I think for those of us who have been doing it for a while, it becomes almost intuitive. But for our beginning cooks who haven't the years of experience, well let's just say there are no people that are born with all the answers. We all have been taught, or have learned our lessons through personal experience. So I'm thinking we can share some of that hard won cooking wisdom.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
__________________
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- http://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
Chief Longwind Of The North is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2005, 11:39 AM   #9
Chef Extraordinaire
 
kitchenelf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 19,725
Send a message via MSN to kitchenelf
You're right - I really don't think about it - as far as pancakes I never make them - I'll have to give your recipe a try since it comes highly recommended.
__________________
kitchenelf

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
kitchenelf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2005, 12:07 PM   #10
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,558
GW, you propose a very good question for discussion but I think that if people asked for the technique of how to create specific textures for certain dishes, than it would be much easier to discuss, and people would have a better idea of a starting point to go with.

Because texture is all relative according to personal preference, it would be hard to pinpoint exactly what is the "proper" or "perfect" texture or consistency for a dish. What I like and what I think is the best way to do something won't necessarily be the best way for someone else. For example: I like my sauces to be rich in flavor, yet light in texture and composition. Because of that, I loathe (well, maybe "loathe" is too strong of a word) sauces that are thickened artificially, either through cornstarch, arrowroot, flour, etc. I reduce my sauces judiciously until the flavors are concentrated and complex, and I love how they flavor the food but don't take anything away from the meat, fish, etc. in texture because you don't have to smother the dish to get flavor from the sauce. I love how a properly reduced and flavored sauce can just barely coat a piece of food and yet still give off a lot of flavor. In general, I do not like a thick, gooey, gummy, etc. textured sauce at all. Don't get me wrong, there are times and places for those types of sauces but for as much as possible, I personally prefer otherwise.
__________________

__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:36 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.