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When you cook, what things do you NEVER compromise on?

Be it an ingredient or a cooking technique, are there things that you NEVER comprise on?

For me, it's dumpling skins. They have to hand-rolled. Never will I "settle" for those pre-manufactured, pre-packaged, pre-cut skins found in supermarkets.

I guess it's an "acquired" trait from my mother who always insisted that we roll our own dumpling skins -- be they for dumplings (boiled or steamed), pan-fried dumplings, or even won tons. They all had to homemade.

I still have these calluses on my palms from rocking the rolling pins over little mounds of dough literally thousands of times during each Chinese (Lunar) New Year.

And you? What do you never compromise on?

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  1. Tomatoes. For eating raw, from my back yard or the farmer's market. I'll cook with supermarket tomatoes, but actually, canned are even better for that. I only buy dairy that doesn't have hormones in it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: vickib

      That's great - before I even scrolled down to read the posts, the first things that popped into my mind were tomatoes and dairy! Nothing like a good ole summertime black brandywine tomato! I won't even touch a tomato in the winter.

       
    2. Fat.
      I never go against what a recipie calls for, if it says a pound of full fat butter than dammit, it's going in there!
      If a recipy calls for low fat milk, or something similar, usually I'll go with the recipy, just because I know that it's called for, for a reason this is especially true in baking where full fat or non fat have different properties.

      1. Oil (high quality olive)

        1. Butter. :) Never, ever compromise on that one! Pie crusts are never store bought, although it has taken me a long, long time to (almost) perfect my own. I don't skimp on any dairy either - whether it be cheese, milk, etc. Last but not least, you can never underestimate a good onion.

          7 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              ipsedixit - Onion - You know when you're at a farmer's market or a grocery store that has *really* fresh produce and you see the big onions that are 5x the price of the small, yellow onions... I buy the good onions, no matter the price. :) I love Walla Walla sweets and am spoiled by those being from in-state. Also, I could expand the statement to say I love, if at all possible, to use shallots and will splurge on those sometimes.

              1. re: luvsseattle

                We disagree here. I hate the Walla Walla onions. I hate Vidalia onions. I don't know why people want to go to the trouble to breed and grow onions without flavor or bite but thank goodness those people are such a small minority.

                1. re: inuksuk

                  I hate overly sweet vegetables too. Like the red peppers that have been grown as "sweet." They're sweeter than dessert.

                  1. re: inuksuk

                    I only use Vidalia Onions for raw applications, and they are great for that. If it's going to be cooked, I want a strong onion

              2. re: luvsseattle

                I'm with you, Butter, the best I can find and and good lard from an area farm. Corn meal and grits. I cannot afford Anson Mills Grits every day, that is special occasion stuff, but I can get some from a local farmer and can order Callayway Gardens grits. Quaker and the like will never cross my threshold

                1. re: Candy

                  Butter absolutely. And steel cut oats - never instant (rolled are acceptable when we're pressed for time, but it's a substitution I always regret).

              3. Ditto on tomatoes. I pine for panzanella, gazpacho, and caprese salad all winter and spring, but I refuse to eat those horrible plastic supermarket tomatoes.

                It's almost tomato time in Minnesota, hooray! I plan to stuff myself until late September.

                Anne