Learning As I Chop

Did You Know: Frying Edition

Posted in Did You Know by R @ Learning As I Chop on May 11, 2011

On Sunday night, I was frying chicken schnitzels when H entered the kitchen.  I had just laid the chicken onto the pan and nothing was happening. No sizzle, no crackle, no pop. Nada. Here’s a secret – I lack patience. I can never wait for the pan to warm-up before throwing my protein onto the fire. I just want to start and often trick myself into thinking things are ready when they’re clearly not. At the same, I am a contradiction and often prefer the slow and steady method – a low fire for more minutes rather than a quick flash in the pan. That way I prevent burning.

H realized things weren’t ready and decided to show me a small trick. So we waited until the first batch of schnitzels were done and started again. First we cleaned and re-oiled the pan, and placed it onto a medium fire. Then, after a minutes, H splashed a few drops of water onto the pan and magic happened – sizzling, cracking, steam. I was excited. That’s how you know that you’re ready to go. If a few drops of water create that sizzling effect, you can start frying. Enjoy!

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Did You Know: Buttermilk

Posted in Did You Know, Tips by R @ Learning As I Chop on April 28, 2011

When I saw some leeks in the Farmers Market this past Saturday, I decided to make my potato leek soup for Sunday dinner. A quick meal, this soup always satisfies. I read the recipe and prepared to venture out to the market. However when I came upon the need for buttermilk, I was struck with an idea. Rather than purchase a quart, and only use a cup, I remembered Sari’s advice from our first edition of “Did You Know” – I could make my own. And that, my friends, is what I did.

1 tbsp white vinegar + 1 cup of milk + 10 minutes = 1 cup of buttermilk

So how did it turn out? 4 bowls, and a few days later, I’d say quite the success. Enjoy!

Did You Know: Flour Edition

Posted in Did You Know, Uncategorized by R @ Learning As I Chop on April 15, 2011

After my friend C read the first installment of LAIC’s new “Did You Know?” series, she quickly gave me this tip:

Did you know that you can create pastry flour by combining cake and all-purpose flour?

C wasn’t sure of the exact measurements, so I did a quick google and found this formula:

To make two cups of pastry flour, combine 1 1/3 cups (185 grams) all-purpose flour with 2/3 cup (90 grams) cake flour. Good for making pastry, pies and cookies. (source)

While walking to work this morning (lucky me, I’m well aware), I also began thinking about bleached versus unbleached flour. For obvious reasons – who wants to willingly add bleach to their food? – I always buy unbleached flour. But am I doing myself a disservice by omitting the bleach? Does it really add to baking? Well, according to Wikipedia:

Bleached flour is a white flour treated with flour bleaching agents to whiten it (freshly milled flour is yellowish) and to give it more gluten-producing potential. Oxidizing agents are usually employed, most commonly organic peroxides like acetone peroxide or benzoyl peroxide, nitrogen dioxide, or chlorine. A similar effect can be achieved by letting the flour oxidize with oxygen in the air (“natural aging”) for approximately 10 days; however, this process is more expensive due to the time required.

I am going to guess the answer is no, and unbleached is fine. Do I really need more gluten in my food? The unbleached variety tends to work well and peroxides don’t sound so great to me.

Lastly, a Spring-related tibdit of knowledge – flour used to be spelled flower. This fact automatically makes me think of this little guy. One of my childhood favorites.

Have a great weekend and enjoy!