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Random Food Questions Thread

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by kwilkinson, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. ChicagoRon

    ChicagoRon Senior member

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    Well, poach just means to cook in hot water. You really shouldn't be boiling meats... ever. Remember, also, that poaching in oil at the same temp as water, say 180, will take longer than in water since oil is less dense and doesn't conduct heat as well.
    That's good advice... I always poach my eggs in boiling water... they come out okay, but maybe they would be better if I went down to a simmer. Meanwhile, I thought a stock or soup could be boiled... vs. an actual meat like a brisket or rabbit that you would braise - or is this technically another term that depends heavily on level of submersion rather than temperature?
     
  2. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    That's good advice... I always poach my eggs in boiling water... they come out okay, but maybe they would be better if I went down to a simmer.

    we do ours in a low simmer and they come out superb. Also, we boil the eggs in shell for 30 seconds, shock, and then crack into the water.
     
  3. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    That's good advice... I always poach my eggs in boiling water... they come out okay, but maybe they would be better if I went down to a simmer. Meanwhile, I thought a stock or soup could be boiled... vs. an actual meat like a brisket or rabbit that you would braise - or is this technically another term that depends heavily on level of submersion rather than temperature?
    Boiled stock will be less clear than simmered, but I cook stock in a pressure cooker because the flavor and gelatin extraction is about a thousand times better. It clouds a little, but not too much. Basically, meat is protein, and protein molecules react certain ways at certain temperatures. When you are braising, what you are trying to do is to convert collagen into gelatin, which softens the meat, but as the internal temperature gets higher, the meat proteins squeeze out more liquid. On the other hand, collagen turns into gelatin faster at a higher temp. That is why people have cooked things like 7-hour lamb, or cooked slowly in the fireplace for days. It gives the time for collagen transformation, but without massive drying like in a boiling liquid. It is also the theory behind sous-vide... if you cook at 140 for 2 days, you convert all of the collagen to gelatin, but the meat doesn't gray and dry out. So, all things equal, braise at the lowest temp possible, but realize that it will take longer. A 200 degree oven is great, because the meat probably will never get over 160 with air being such a poor conductor of heat. Poaching is similar. You don't boil sausages because they get grainy. You put them in hot water for a longer time. The same problem arises when you add water to a sausage pan, as discussed earlier in the thread. Temp of the meat gets too high, and texture is compromised. Fish and meat are the same. Of course, this is just my opinion, at least some of it.
     
  4. why

    why Senior member

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    Remember, also, that poaching in oil at the same temp as water, say 180, will take longer than in water since oil is less dense and doesn't conduct heat as well.

    Thermodynamics are a bit off here...
     
  5. HORNS

    HORNS Senior member

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    Thermodynamics are a bit off here...

    How so? Unless the oil circulates to allow a maximum temperature difference between the food and the oil, transmission of energy from the heat source to the food being cooked can be slowed.
     
  6. why

    why Senior member

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    How so? Unless the oil circulates to allow a maximum temperature difference between the food and the oil, transmission of energy from the heat source to the food being cooked can be slowed.
    When the environment is at a fixed temperature? If anything, increased diffusion through permeation while submerged in water would decrease cooking time, but I don't think the different properties of density alone between water and oil is any more than negligible in this context.
     
  7. ChicagoRon

    ChicagoRon Senior member

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    When the environment is at a fixed temperature? If anything, increased diffusion through permeation while submerged in water would decrease cooking time, but I don't think the different properties of diffusion alone between water and oil is any more than negligible in this context.
    Shall we consult Harald McGee?
     
  8. why

    why Senior member

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    Shall we consult Harald McGee?
    Not really. I mean, I realize the difference in density will affect conductivity within water itself, but I'm not sure if overall heat transfer would decrease very much due to density difference between water and oil at such low temperatures. I think oil also has viscosity and molecular size working against it in terms of overall heat transfer. That's not to say that density isn't a factor at all, but I'm just saying that there are other factors involved, especially in regards heat transfer between miscible and inmiscible substances.
     
  9. why

    why Senior member

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    I just thought of water's higher thermal expansion coefficient than lipids, so I wonder really how much difference there is in density between water and oil at 180 degrees. I'm going to drop some butter in 180 degree water and see what happens compared to when it's dropped in chilled water. [​IMG]
     
  10. Johnny_5

    Johnny_5 Senior member

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    we do ours in a low simmer and they come out superb. Also, we boil the eggs in shell for 30 seconds, shock, and then crack into the water.

    Interesting, I've never thought of trying that even though it seems so simple. Does it maintain the shape of the egg, or just keep the egg in one piece instead of it dissipating throughout the water? Poached eggs are a beautiful thing....
     
  11. why

    why Senior member

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    180 degrees is too low of a temperature to change the density of water much. [​IMG]
     
  12. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Much confusion over cooking sausages.

    Fat breaks at about 160-165. As Kyle said, a good sausage is a careful mixture of meat with fat suspended in it. So the goal is to cook the meat and brown the casing while not rendering much of the fat out. In fact, something like a thuringer, you should still see little pieces of backfat suspended in the meat. [​IMG]

    Medium-low saute in a covered pan for me. Don't let the skin burst but I will stick a Thermapen in to check temps. Natural casings will quickly seal a little pin hole like that. I bring to internal temp of 155 with the natural casings nicely browned. Nothing like the perfect texture of a sausage you stuffed with the snap of a well cooked natural casing when you bite into it.
     
  13. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    This is a dumb question, but think of it as a free bump. I'm making scallops from Ad Hoc this weekend. However, I don't have a steel fry pan like he suggests using (it's on my purchase list). Should I use either my Le Creuset cast iron fry pan or an All-Clad stainless sauce pan (would obviously not crowd them while cooking)?
     
  14. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    This is a dumb question, but think of it as a free bump. I'm making scallops from Ad Hoc this weekend. However, I don't have a steel fry pan like he suggests using (it's on my purchase list). Should I use either my Le Creuset cast iron fry pan or an All-Clad stainless sauce pan (would obviously not crowd them while cooking)?

    I would pick the stainless as I've noticed my sole Le Creuset doesn't seem to like to quickly sear/brown things. I don't know if that recipe calls for doing the scallops like that, but if so, there's my advice.
     
  15. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This is a dumb question, but think of it as a free bump. I'm making scallops from Ad Hoc this weekend. However, I don't have a steel fry pan like he suggests using (it's on my purchase list). Should I use either my Le Creuset cast iron fry pan or an All-Clad stainless sauce pan (would obviously not crowd them while cooking)?
    Cast iron. What kind of steel does he suggest? Black steel is pretty much the same as cast iron. Stainless is different. Stainless also kind of sucks. I use black steel for almost everything. Love it.
     
  16. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Senior member

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    I would pick the stainless as I've noticed my sole Le Creuset doesn't seem to like to quickly sear/brown things. I don't know if that recipe calls for doing the scallops like that, but if so, there's my advice.
    If your cast iron pan can't sear, that's pretty fuckin lame.
     
  17. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    I would pick the stainless as I've noticed my sole Le Creuset doesn't seem to like to quickly sear/brown things.

    really? Are you sure it's hot enough? It does take longer to reach a higher temperature. I find my Le Creuset to be fantastic for a quick sear/brown and use it routinely for anything braised.

    Cast iron. What kind of steel does he suggest? Black steel is pretty much the same as cast iron. Stainless is different. Stainless also kind of sucks. I use black steel for almost everything. Love it.

    he suggests to NOT use non-stick for a good sear/crisp outside, and instead stainless. I believe the picture is just an All-Clad fry pan.



    I'm just curious since I don't want the high sides of the stainless pan to change the way they cook or anything. My initial plan was the cast iron.
     
  18. HORNS

    HORNS Senior member

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    If your cast iron pan can't sear, that's pretty fuckin lame.

    Yeah, Lame-o!!!

    Seriously, though, Pio, is the inside of the Le Cruset enameled? My unenameled Lodge is the most nonstick pan I have when it's preheated. I also have a classic steel pan, but like what Matt said, they behave the same.
     
  19. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Senior member

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    really? Are you sure it's hot enough? It does take longer to reach a higher temperature. I find my Le Creuset to be fantastic for a quick sear/brown and use it routinely for anything braised.



    he suggests to NOT use non-stick for a good sear/crisp outside, and instead stainless. I believe the picture is just an All-Clad fry pan.



    I'm just curious since I don't want the high sides of the stainless pan to change the way they cook or anything. My initial plan was the cast iron.


    Black steel =! nonstick. They are usually made of carbon/steel alloy. They are truly ideal for searing but don't get washed like regular pans. Instead, they get seasoned the same way a cast iron pan does. They are generally inexpensive, you might look into one.
     
  20. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    Black steel =! nonstick. They are usually made of carbon/steel alloy. They are truly ideal for searing but don't get washed like regular pans. Instead, they get seasoned the same way a cast iron pan does. They are generally inexpensive, you might look into one.

    sounds interesting. I'll take a look sometime, but I need a bigger Le Creuset and a bigger stock pot first.
     

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