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Messiest Food to Cook

c
chefboyardee Feb 9, 2009 08:48 AM

So after spending the whole weekend making a ton of Duck Confit and Veal Stock, then spending several hours cleaning the mess I made, I was wondering what other messy masterpieces are out there. I usually only do this once (maybe twice, max) a year, and now I remember why.

  1. c
    chefboyardee Feb 16, 2009 10:25 PM

    I'm going to add chocolate to the list. Melted chocolate will find itself into any imaginable corner if you temper and then make little candies or truffles. Incredibly fun to get your hands messy with it, so its a pleasant messy.

    1. s
      salsailsa Feb 14, 2009 04:56 AM

      I'm going to have to say sushi. Whenever I make sushi at home I find sushi rice everywhere. The blasted stuff is stuck on my socks etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: salsailsa
        l
        lcool Feb 14, 2009 06:05 AM

        It's not you.Rice has teeth,only explanation for finding it around.NO MATTER how carefully
        you handle it.I chews it's way out of all sundry of containers and runs.The gospel according to a 7 year old 40years ago.
        The sushi mess is just practice and cold wet hands.

      2. b
        bigfellow Feb 13, 2009 11:11 AM

        Another way to look at the OP's question:

        Poutine: it mean's a mess in Quebecois French.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bigfellow
          l
          LJS Feb 13, 2009 11:56 AM

          Poutine...h-m-m-m, this is one dish I think it is better NOT to know how to cook...it is better for both arteries and waist-line to pretend you can only buy it when visiting Quebec...and then live as far away as possible!

          I absolutely adore poutine, but it is lethal!

        2. j
          jarona Feb 13, 2009 10:34 AM

          Any food is the messiest food for me to cook. I am a cooking slob. Don't know what it is, but everything gets all over. Luckily for me, my fiance is the felix unger of the kitchen so he is always two steps behind me cleaning up my mess--at times it can get annoying and at other times just downright commical!

          1. Candy Feb 13, 2009 09:51 AM

            I spent 2 days and lots of time making Thomas Keller's pork trotters from the Bouchon cookbook with sauce Gribiche. A mess? Definitely. Would I make it again? yeahm but in a couple of years. i still have not recovered from the first time.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Candy
              MMRuth Feb 13, 2009 10:45 AM

              Do you happen to know off hand if that recipe is available on line? My husband would love it ....

              1. re: MMRuth
                Candy Feb 13, 2009 12:08 PM

                You need the book. While looking through it for the recipe I took another look at his tart au citron....hmmm I have some Meyer Lemons. That may be a project for tomorrow and won't be so involved.

                CKG

                1. re: Candy
                  MMRuth Feb 13, 2009 12:09 PM

                  Thanks - I'll see if I can get it from the library - the dish would be a nice birthday gift for him.

            2. k
              karykat Feb 13, 2009 09:45 AM

              I nominate the Zuni chicken. Not because it makes the kitchen a big mess when you prep it but because of the way it smokes up the kitchen. My guy was making this for us the other day and unfortunately he has been slowly getting over a cold. The smoke drove him from the kitchen and I was seriously worried about him being in there and breathing that smoke. It would help if I had a better exhaust system. We had all the windows open on a very cold winter night.

              (But that chicken was as good as everyone said it would be!)

              2 Replies
              1. re: karykat
                JoanN Feb 13, 2009 09:51 AM

                Each time I turn the chicken I pour out the fat in the pan. Practically no smoking at all, and I can now make the dish for company, which I just wouldn't do before.

                1. re: JoanN
                  k
                  karykat Feb 14, 2009 10:30 AM

                  Thanks for this tip. The end result was so good that we do want to do it again.

              2. Caroline1 Feb 12, 2009 08:31 PM

                I was either blocking, or my brain was on "coast" when I answered the first time. But it has now come back to me with a jarring repulsion of the reality. The absolute messiest thing I ever do in my kitchen is decorating cakes or making those peek inside Easter eggs. Depending on how complicated the design is, it can mean weeks of total chaos in my kitchen. The table filled with drying gum paste flowers and/or piped royal icing decorations. Then the mess of making butter cream in massive amounts for both icing the cake, then piping on butter cream decorations in a rainbow of colors. And then the Herculean task of rescuing all of the piping tubes from cones of left over frosting.

                I am ever so grateful that by the time my grandson will be of marriageable age I will be fast approaching my century mark, and who wants to eat wedding cake made by a drooling senile doddering senior citizen, right? Meanwhile, this year I think I'll get my decorated Easter eggs from See's. :-)

                2 Replies
                1. re: Caroline1
                  s
                  SteveG Feb 13, 2009 05:09 PM

                  Make piping tubes from rolled up parchment paper, if all you want is simple lines of frosting. If you have to have a tip, there's no getting around it.

                  You can probably find good instructions with visual aids online, but here's how to do it:
                  1 start with a square of parchment paper
                  2 cut in half diagonally into 2 triangles
                  3 Place a finger on the middle of the long edge, and using the other hand roll a cone with the pointy end where your finger started out.
                  4 give the cone a quick tightening up so the end of the cone is completely closed, and the open end of the cone is as wide as you want it, but with the layers of paper all snug together
                  5 fill the cone with whatever you're piping
                  6 seal the open end (fold, crimp, etc...whatever makes you happy)
                  7 cut the tip off with scissors
                  8 pipe until done
                  9 throw away with great satisfaction

                  1. re: SteveG
                    Caroline1 Feb 13, 2009 10:49 PM

                    Thanks, Steve. Been there, done that. It's sooooooooo much easier to use ready-made disposable frosting bags. You can buy them directly from Wilton, or for larger bags, there are on-line bakers' supply houses that carry them up to really large sizes. When through with them, I just use scissors to clip the bag near the coupling, remove it and toss the bag. Using a bag gives so much more control, as well as allowing me to change piping tip sizes for any "embellishments" I might want to add. Altogether I think I have close to 100 piping tips, and I amaze myself at how many of them I can use on one project. If you've never tried the disposable decorating bags, do give them a try. So much easier than using parchment, or even cloth or plastic pastry bags.

                    My biggest mess comes from all of the specialized tools it takes, from mixer to drying racks for piped decorations and gum paste flowers. The sculpting tools, the decorating tubes, the paste food color, the powdered brush-on food colors, the brushes, the lazy susan decorating pedestal, the... well, the gazillion bits and pieces it takes to do a really good job on a large tiered cake.. After a big wedding cake, it can take a couple of days clearing, cleaning, putting away, reorganizing. It's a mess....!

                2. chef chicklet Feb 12, 2009 03:41 PM

                  hmmmmm. such a fun question. I would have to say, the messiest food I make is a toss up between spaetzle or tamales. The goopy dough that you force through the seive or whatever you use, is a mess. And then when you make tamales, I make both red and green, and I find that I can't make red sauce without having it splattered throughout my kitchen (I wipe for days). oh come to think of it. That sauce for the chicken paprikash, it also is found everywhere and ruins my towels!

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: chef chicklet
                    s
                    Sam D. Feb 12, 2009 05:39 PM

                    I've never done spaetzle. But I can surely agree with you about the tamales.

                    1. re: Sam D.
                      Sam Fujisaka Feb 12, 2009 08:10 PM

                      ???? Spaetzle is mess free.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                        chef chicklet Feb 13, 2009 07:02 AM

                        Are you kidding? Don't make me link a picture.

                        1. re: chef chicklet
                          JoanN Feb 13, 2009 07:16 AM

                          Always a mess for me, too. Sam is going to have to tell us his tricks.

                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                          k
                          Kelli2006 Feb 13, 2009 07:35 AM

                          I grew up in a very German home and speatzel was served once a week in the winter and I agree with you Sam that spaetzel isn't that much of a mess, unless you use a spaetzel maker to form the noodles. I usually form the noodles by forcing the batter through a large slotted spoon with a silicone spatula.

                          The spaetzel maker is a mess to clean, but even that can be minimized by soaking it in hot water while you dine.

                          1. re: Kelli2006
                            Sam Fujisaka Feb 13, 2009 08:26 AM

                            I use an old large metal colander with the right size holes. Just hold the colander over the water, pour in the batter, and sweep back and forth with a spatula and in it all goes. Sehr einfach und keine Verwirrung.

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                              MMRuth Feb 13, 2009 08:29 AM

                              I might have to try that next time - I have a "spaetzle maker" and make a HUGE mess every time I make spaetzle - so much so that I think my husband says he doesn't want them just because of the mess!

                              1. re: MMRuth
                                chef chicklet Feb 13, 2009 11:50 AM

                                My husband complains about the mess as well, but he loves them way too much to be that final. They are so tender and delicious with the sauce.... omg., I could eat a huge bowl of spaetzle with the sauce and be sooooo happy.

                                1. re: chef chicklet
                                  MMRuth Feb 13, 2009 12:08 PM

                                  Me too - Sara Moulton had a nice recipe that incorporated some herbs with the batter, though I usually use the Balthazar recipe.

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    chef chicklet Feb 13, 2009 01:03 PM

                                    Oh how lovely! I usually butter then saute quickly and toss with fresh Italian parsly. I don't know the Balthazar recipe, but adding herbs to the batter does sound divine. I love love spaetzle. It'll take more than a goopey mess to chase me away.ooooo that orange/red sauce is so calling to me right now.

                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                chef chicklet Feb 13, 2009 11:10 AM

                                I can't imagine what it would be like to try to handle a colander with over a steaming pot of water with that goopy batter. I can barely manage the large flat spoon, but I do like the way it puts out just enough batter to make a small amount at a time, turning out wonder tender spaetzle every time.
                                Geez all this talk, I have a chicken defrosting......

                                1. re: chef chicklet
                                  Sam Fujisaka Feb 13, 2009 01:41 PM

                                  One hand for the colander, batter in a pitcher in other hand, pour, put down pitcher, pick up spatula and gently scrape. The diameter of the pot must be > than the swept diameter of the holes.

                                  of course, you're thinking, "Was weiß er? Er ist nicht deutsch."

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                    chef chicklet Feb 13, 2009 02:04 PM

                                    You know I think why I'm classifying spaetzle as one of the most messy etc., is that I make the spaetzle for the chicken paprikash. That whole meal makes a rather big mess, if you cook the way I do anyway. I brown the chicken, blah blah blah... I have to make it difficult you know. I like that it generates more time for me in the kitchen and although I come across as if I'm complaining, this is probably one of my favorite dinners to make. And it always turns out so blasted good, I don't think I've ever screwed it up.

                                    1. re: chef chicklet
                                      Sam Fujisaka Feb 13, 2009 05:51 PM

                                      We can cook together. You make the chicken. I'll make the spaetzle.

                                      Wir können zusammen kochen. Sie bilden das Huhn. Ich bilde das spaetzle.

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                        chef chicklet Feb 18, 2009 08:58 AM

                                        Its a date.

                                2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                  Caroline1 Feb 13, 2009 11:10 AM

                                  hmmmm... I make my spaetzel by putting the batter of the bottom of a cake pan, then "cutting" it off with a straight blade spatula (the kind you use for frosting cakes) directly into the broth. It's a very old traditional method taught to me... well, never mind how many years ago. Clean up is a snap! Mix the spaetzel batter in a 1 quart measuring cup, put it on the back of a cake pan, scrape/cut it into the cooking liquid, then everything goes into the dishwasher, no spattered mess, no flour all over the counter, no mixing bowl and mixer blades. Easy! So now I'm wondering if I'm the last person on planet earth to make spaetzel this way?

                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                    MMRuth Feb 13, 2009 11:49 AM

                                    I've read about that method, but not tried it.

                                3. re: Kelli2006
                                  chef chicklet Feb 13, 2009 11:48 AM

                                  I can't relate in the least to spaetzle batter not being messy, I've used a wide metal spoon for years and I use that spoon because the chef/cook a German woman at her restaurant who made them told me to use a wide spoon since she couldn't help me obtain such a wonder spaetzle maker as she had.
                                  (she had receieved it from her grandmother and so on..) Anyway, she said that on evenings when she wasn't cooking, she took her spaetzle maker home with her, and that her cooks used a wide metal spoon in her absence.

                                  I try not to cook too many at once also. The reason its messy isn't so much that anyway, its the goopy batter and me being a clutz!

                                  1. re: chef chicklet
                                    k
                                    Kelli2006 Feb 13, 2009 01:31 PM

                                    The making of spaetzel was always a area of contention in my family, because my grandmother used a board and a knife and my mother used a big spoon and a spatula. I learned both ways and I bought a spaetzel maker at Lectors after I got married. I usually use the spoon but I will break out the gadget when I have more then 2-3 people, It is faster but it is a pain to clean and it requires a slightly different batter consistency to make it work then the previous method.

                                    I am wondering what kind of sauce that either you or Ruth serve with these noodles? I typically serve them browned in butter w/ breadcrumbs and parsley, but they work well as a side for sauertbraten or paprikash as well.

                                    1. re: Kelli2006
                                      chef chicklet Feb 13, 2009 01:57 PM

                                      Well first I butter them, then saute with fresh chopped Italian parsley.
                                      Then I serve with the most wonder Chicken Paprikash! Using the a combo of paprika, and white wine and a few other goodies, finally add sour cream. Okay keep this talk up, I'm seriously probably making this for dinner.

                          2. porker Feb 12, 2009 03:35 PM

                            Have you seen the Bourdain episode where he sits with an Inuit family in Northern Quebec to prepare and eat a freshly caught seal?
                            Having to spread out an 8x10 sheet of plastic on the kitchen floor should have been some kind of clue that it was going to be messy.

                            As Tony says in The Nasty Bits,
                            "Soon, everyone's faces and hands were smeared with blood. The room was filled with smiles and good cheer in spite of the Night of the Living Dead overtones and the blood (lots of it) running across the plastic."

                            You can see it here
                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d8Eym...
                            The kitchen festivities start around 2 minutes in.

                            Thats slightly messy.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: porker
                              s
                              Sam D. Feb 12, 2009 05:33 PM

                              Definitely not for the squeamish. But for pure messiness,that one far outdoes anything else mentioned in this thread.

                            2. BobB Feb 12, 2009 07:00 AM

                              This question immediately brought to mind my first time making puff pastry, using Julia Child's recipe. The kitchen was COVERED in flour before I was done. Came out great, though.

                              1. c
                                crt Feb 12, 2009 06:32 AM

                                Any food that involves a egg bath & flour coating. Messy messy to the fingers and surrounding counter top/clothers (floor?).

                                1. l
                                  lcool Feb 12, 2009 06:17 AM

                                  sausage and stuffing various salumi,some fish,shellfish pate' and longggggg ingredient
                                  list white or green gazpacho - mis en place down a mile of counter top

                                  1. Caroline1 Feb 12, 2009 05:46 AM

                                    Oh oh. You mean to say cooking isn't always messy?

                                    Okay. Here's what I do when I want the kitchen to stay clean when I cook:
                                    #1: Nuke foods out of the freezer, preferably stuff I made.
                                    #2. Someone else cleans up after. Hey, I did the cooking. It's only fair!

                                    1. alwayscooking Feb 11, 2009 01:25 PM

                                      Definitely veal and beef stocks - grease seems to be everywhere when I'm done (including on me - as if I had rolled in the oil myself). It starts with the roasting and ends 3 days later. I make them 2 times a year - at the beginning and end of winter (so I can use the 'outside' refrigerator).

                                      But so worth it!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: alwayscooking
                                        c
                                        chefboyardee Feb 11, 2009 08:29 PM

                                        Yes, here is my experience with veal stock this time. Got 50 lbs of bones so needed a big enough pot for the job. Borrowed a flintstone sized lobster pot with an insert from a friend. Roasted 8-12 (can't remember) trays of bones (at one point my oven shut down from all the steam that was released), 2 full trays of onions, and a large tray each of celery and carrots. Simmered stock for 1.5 days, (it took almost a hour to just get the temp up on the water). at which point all of the sticky stuff is forming on the sides. Moved the monster pot outside to pull the insert out, at which point I dropped it back in, splattering hot stock all over me and the porch. Strained probably 5 gallons of stock through 3 packages of cheese cloth, and the chinois. Cleaning the pot took about an hour, as it did not fit in my sink. The insert was harder, b/c of all those small holes. Oh well, its only once a year (for a good reason). I then needed to make demi, but that's a whole other story. Thank god its all done.

                                        1. re: chefboyardee
                                          a
                                          aravenel Feb 12, 2009 06:41 AM

                                          That's impressive. Wish I had space to store that much stock.

                                      2. c
                                        ChiliDude Feb 11, 2009 09:47 AM

                                        No Knead Bread as published in the NYTimes more than a year ago. I quit trying to bake bread using that method.

                                        1. sbp Feb 11, 2009 09:16 AM

                                          Any kind of baked good that requires rolling on a floured board. Pie doughs, non-drop cookies. Impossible to really contain the flour dust with all that activity going on.

                                          1. ajs228 Feb 11, 2009 08:42 AM

                                            Soups that require pureeing. You've got all the prep for the soup itself, then you've got to pour it into the blender, in batches, pour the blended soup into a holding container to make room for the next batch, etc, then transfer it all back to the pot.
                                            I made a duo of roasted butternut squash and parsnip soups for Thanksgiving, and all my bitching resulted in a new ladle and immersion blender for Christmas :-)

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ajs228
                                              a
                                              aravenel Feb 11, 2009 08:50 AM

                                              A stick blender is your friend :) So much easier to make soups with one...

                                              1. re: aravenel
                                                bermudagourmetgoddess Feb 11, 2009 09:07 AM

                                                Bermuda Fish Chowder!

                                                My husband starts with boiling the fish, then removing to allow to cool, strain the stock and then in the fridge OVERNIGHT. In the mean time…Pick all the meat off the fish bones...that's fun job...NOT, chop the onions, pepper, carrots and celery, fry the bacon… then the next day sauté the veggies and place all the ingredients in at the “right” time, as he says, now add spicy V-8, Portuguese hot peppers , other “stuff” he puts in…then a another few hours to simmer to let all the flavors come together. It takes 2 days and 4 days to clean !

                                                See why we only make it at Christmas!

                                                1. re: aravenel
                                                  j
                                                  Jeri L Feb 14, 2009 05:22 PM

                                                  But be careful that you don't let it get to close to the surface...see my post above about cooking with beets...beets+immersion blender=magenta polka-dot kitchen!

                                              2. RealMenJulienne Feb 11, 2009 08:03 AM

                                                I once attempted to roast a goose before I really knew how to cook. The pan filled up with so much grease that I had to dump it twice! Several hours, many burns, and one greasy kitchen later, we sat down to a meal of undercooked, fatty goose.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                  Sam Fujisaka Feb 11, 2009 09:24 PM

                                                  What (sincerely) do you do with goose now that you do know how to cook?

                                                  1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                    BobB Feb 12, 2009 06:59 AM

                                                    You dumped goose fat? Oh my god, I'm horrified! Goose fat keeps for months in the fridge and is wonderful for frying potatoes, making confit de canard, and lots of other things. It's one of the main reasons for cooking a goose, to get all that delicious fat!

                                                  2. babette feasts Feb 10, 2009 09:38 PM

                                                    For me, working with chocolate results in chocolate almost everywhere. I try to cover all surfaces with a layer of parchment, but chocolate still manages to get on the floor, the stove, the edges of the work table, me...

                                                    1. Emmmily Feb 10, 2009 06:42 PM

                                                      Juicing beets. Turns my whole kitchen pink, and everything in it too.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: Emmmily
                                                        j
                                                        Jeri L Feb 10, 2009 07:22 PM

                                                        Beets were my first thought, too...no matter how I cook them or what I do with them, my kitchen ends up looking like a crime scene!

                                                        1. re: Jeri L
                                                          Will Owen Feb 11, 2009 11:10 AM

                                                          You just reminded me of a HUGE mess Mrs. O gets into annually: juicing pomegranates. Spreads lots of paper on the folding table out back, puts on ratty old clothes, gets the big butcher knife and the chinois and two big enamelled steel bowls and gets to work. None of this is safe to do indoors; the juice is possibly the most indelibly staining substance we know of. Delicious, though...

                                                          1. re: Jeri L
                                                            chef chicklet Feb 12, 2009 03:46 PM

                                                            oh shoot! this just back my memory of the last time I made pomegrante juice and juiced about 50 of them!

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet
                                                              z
                                                              zamorski Feb 13, 2009 01:24 PM

                                                              OK, you win. Your kitchen must have looked like an abattoir after that!

                                                              I get the seeds out of pomegranates under water. It keeps the spray down and also helps get rid of some of the pith,

                                                              1. re: zamorski
                                                                chef chicklet Feb 13, 2009 01:54 PM

                                                                yes I know... you told me your trick AFTER I had cleaned like 50 of them!!!
                                                                red hands, towels ruined, juice everywhere.

                                                                BUT no crying from me when I made Pomegranate martinis! OMG it's really delicious stuff, I'll do it again this next harvest, only this time, I'll use your method!

                                                                1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                  r
                                                                  rememberme Mar 11, 2009 11:10 AM

                                                                  pitting cherries! Juice on the ceiling, even.

                                                        2. b
                                                          bear Feb 10, 2009 03:50 PM

                                                          Mole poblano from Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican. Man, what a mess, but oh so worth it!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: bear
                                                            z
                                                            zamorski Feb 10, 2009 07:08 PM

                                                            My thought exactly. 26 ingredients, many fried, lots of pureeing, sieving, etc. One time I noticed that I had somehow ven managed to get little orange spots of chile puree on the ceiling.

                                                            1. re: bear
                                                              s
                                                              SteveG Feb 13, 2009 04:55 PM

                                                              That's my #1 mess. For the last batch, we were doing it for a huge group and ran out of time to get fresh lard, and had to use the stuff from the tubs. It's refined in a strange way that produces a film the dishwasher can't clean.

                                                              All our various bowls filled with 26 fried ingredients each had to be washed by hand to get the lard film off. Lets not even talk about the food processor, the stove top, spoons, measuring cups, the act of transporting gallons of mole miles away, etc.

                                                            2. kchurchill5 Feb 10, 2009 02:28 PM

                                                              Deep frying #1 ... and fresh homemade cannellioni. Between the homemade pasda, sauces and the filling ... It is a disaster in the kitchen always!

                                                              1. k
                                                                Kelli2006 Feb 10, 2009 02:21 PM

                                                                Anything that requires the use of a 3 bay breading stations and a deep fat fryer.

                                                                1. c
                                                                  cettlinger Feb 10, 2009 02:01 PM

                                                                  Any time you are flouring a board with a child...as in the doggie treats I make with my daughter. PLUS: Thanksgiving turkey/trimmings.

                                                                  1. mrbigshotno.1 Feb 10, 2009 12:52 PM

                                                                    Pretty much a matter of how much I've had to drink.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                                                                      JerryMe Feb 10, 2009 01:28 PM

                                                                      Astonishing how that works!!

                                                                    2. drewb123 Feb 10, 2009 12:52 PM

                                                                      red velvet cake, the red splatters all over and stains.

                                                                      1. Phoo_d Feb 10, 2009 12:42 PM

                                                                        I'm a pretty messy cook in general, but the kitchen really looks like a disaster zone after a stir fry or making caramel - globs of hot sticky liquid landing on the counter, floor, my shirt, the dog...
                                                                        Phoo-D
                                                                        http://www.phoo-d.com

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Phoo_d
                                                                          krisrishere Feb 12, 2009 06:48 AM

                                                                          Yes to the caramel! I was transfering a plate with some caramel on it and it spilled off and landed on my dogs head. I couldn't get it out for weeks. It probably doesn't help that he's basically stuck to my side the whole time I'm cooking. He seemed to enjoy the tasty treat though.

                                                                          1. re: krisrishere
                                                                            d
                                                                            dmd_kc Feb 13, 2009 07:44 AM

                                                                            My god, you're lucky it didn't burn your poor dog. Caramel is one of the most dangerous foodstuffs we cook. There is no burn worse than a candy burn, because it sticks to the skin.

                                                                            One of my cats is really, really horrible about staying underfoot when I'm at the stove. She's the most adorable and affectionate pet I've ever had, but I am constantly petrified I'm going to hurt her really badly some day. I suppose we've made it through 14 years together at this point, but I still just freak out every time I turn around with a pot of boiling pasta and almost step on her tail. I make triple-sure never to feed the cats near the stove, so they don't start to expect that as a source of food. Still doesn't stop them...

                                                                            1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                              Phoo_d Feb 16, 2009 08:44 AM

                                                                              Oh I know! Luckily he has very long fur and quickly realized that he needed to beat it out of there fast. No harm done other than a few droplets stuck in his fur for a few days. Usually he keeps his distance unless he hears the sound of a vegetable peeler...which must mean I'm rather messy when peeling too!

                                                                        2. a
                                                                          aklein Feb 10, 2009 12:37 PM

                                                                          no matter what I do, when I make red sauce or chili, i find splotches of it hours or even days later ... I can't imagine how it gets to some of those places

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: aklein
                                                                            c
                                                                            ChiliDude Feb 11, 2009 09:53 AM

                                                                            Simmer in a larger stock pot uncovered at a low heat. I use a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven without having a splatter problem. Cast iron evenly distributes heat better than other stock pots made of other metals.

                                                                          2. Will Owen Feb 9, 2009 12:10 PM

                                                                            Chiles rellenos! If you do them right... You beat egg yolks with some flour, then beat the whites with salt until they're well fluffed up, then fold them into the yolks. Then you put the filling - I do cheese - inside the peppers, roll each one in flour, dip it into the egg batter, then into hot oil to fry. Unless you have someone helping, by the time you're on the third or fourth one there's a glob of goopy flour the size of a golf ball on each fingertip... Okay, NOW pick up that spatula to turn them over!

                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Will Owen
                                                                              h
                                                                              hankstramm Feb 10, 2009 12:31 PM

                                                                              Try the wet hand, dry hand techinique for dipping and you won't glob all up...

                                                                              1. re: hankstramm
                                                                                h
                                                                                Hungry Celeste Feb 10, 2009 12:36 PM

                                                                                Or get one of these: http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0021238...
                                                                                It's a cajun batter bowl. Put your seasoned flour in the bottom part, snap on the perforated layer, then put your food to be battered on top & cover with the lid. A few shakes, and everything is evenly coated. They're great if you ever have to crank out lots & lots of battered items.

                                                                                1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                                                  JoanN Feb 10, 2009 02:09 PM

                                                                                  Oh my goodness! What a hoot! I never heard of it. It would never have occurred to me. It looks like something that would be sold on late-night television when you have insomnia. I have no place to store it, and not sure it would really work for fish fillets, which is probably when I'd most often use it, but do you actually have one and use it? It makes me happy just to know that such a thing exists.

                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                    h
                                                                                    Hungry Celeste Feb 11, 2009 06:52 AM

                                                                                    Hell yeah it works for fish fillets, and shrimp, and crawfish, and crab claws, and oysters, and chicken tenders, and onion rings, and just about anything else that won't fall apart if shaken (see WillO's chiles rellenos below for an example of what probably won't work in it). These are sold all over my region, standard stuff at WalMart, the hardware store, other places where you buy ordinary cooking implements.

                                                                                    I've seen it used in festival settings, where the items in question are resting in a batter then floured/coated just before cooking. Works like a charm, and keeps your hands clean.

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                      oakjoan Feb 12, 2009 08:46 PM

                                                                                      This sounds quite amazing, but isn't "batter bowl" a misnomer? What it sounds like is a "dusting with seasoned flour bowl". I am understanding correctly? It doesn't sound like the stuff you put in the bottom part is liquid. Do you dip the chicken in batter before you put it into the bowl? I gotta go look this one up.

                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                        k
                                                                                        karykat Feb 13, 2009 09:50 AM

                                                                                        I have the same question. Can you really put batter in it or just dry stuff like flour?

                                                                                        It looks fun to use.

                                                                                        1. re: karykat
                                                                                          h
                                                                                          Hungry Celeste Feb 14, 2009 05:06 PM

                                                                                          No, you can't use it for wet batter....it's just used to put a dry coating on items to be fried (whether battered, soaked, or just plain).

                                                                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                                                            JoanN Feb 15, 2009 05:09 AM

                                                                                            But it's *called* a batter bowl. And the product description you linked to starts off with "Pour your batter in the bottom . . . ." In fact, I read a review of the gadget on some site and the reviewer said s/he owned two bowls, one for batter and one for flour so s/he didn't have to wash them out between layers.

                                                                                    2. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                                                      Will Owen Feb 10, 2009 02:31 PM

                                                                                      Only real problem with using such an implement for chiles rellenos is that you have to hold the pepper carefully to keep the chunk o' cheese from falling out while simultaneously flouring and then battering it. I guess what I REALLY ought to do is flour all of them and then batter, and perhaps I could use tongs in there, too...

                                                                                  2. re: Will Owen
                                                                                    chef chicklet Feb 12, 2009 03:43 PM

                                                                                    haha!! Yer right!!!

                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                                                                      ideabaker Feb 14, 2009 03:04 AM

                                                                                      Will Owen, do you not roast your poblanos and peel before stuffing, battering and frying? Adds a whole new level of messiness and flavor (Chiles Rellenos are one of my favorite foods!).

                                                                                    2. eLizard Feb 9, 2009 11:47 AM

                                                                                      eggplant parmasan with meatballs.... the breading, frying, and draining are just the tip of the iceberg...

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: eLizard
                                                                                        macca Feb 12, 2009 07:06 AM

                                                                                        with you on eggplant parm. Absolutely love it- will eat it for breakfast if it is in the hosue! But hate making it. Meatballs don't seem as messy to me. Made a batch of meatball this weekend, and was interrupted before I began to fry them, so I popped them into the simmering sauce, and let them cook that way. Had never done that, but the results were fine!

                                                                                        1. re: macca
                                                                                          eLizard Feb 12, 2009 03:45 PM

                                                                                          i usually just cook the meatballs right in the sauce. it's not that they're too messy, but with the whole eggplant rigamarole and making the sauce, it's just another bowl and the another cutting board, if if baking or frying, yet another pan. but i agree, i can have eggplant sandwich for breakfast any day!

                                                                                          1. re: eLizard
                                                                                            z
                                                                                            zamorski Feb 13, 2009 01:21 PM

                                                                                            I roll the meatballs in flour and 'roast' them at 425 or 450 until nice and brown (works best with convection--if no convection, place them towards the top of the oven to enhance even browning)--takes 10 to 25 minutes depending on size. They stay in one piece, much less labour intensive, and less spatter, etc. Use a silicone baking liner to simplify clean up--i generally scrape this into the sauce, if I am using tomato sauce anyway.

                                                                                            Agree that meatballs are fine if cooked directly in the sauce (or in broth), as long as you are gentle about it. But I would miss the flavour of the browned balls in my Italian-American spaghetti and meatballs...

                                                                                      2. h
                                                                                        hankstramm Feb 9, 2009 11:14 AM

                                                                                        I say ditto on the homemade sausage--always has my place in upheaval.

                                                                                        1. h
                                                                                          Hungry Celeste Feb 9, 2009 10:12 AM

                                                                                          Hands down, fried chicken. Second place is homemade sausage.

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                                                            k
                                                                                            KTinNYC Feb 9, 2009 10:31 AM

                                                                                            Deep fried anything!

                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC
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                                                                                              aravenel Feb 9, 2009 11:45 AM

                                                                                              Ditto, deep fried anything. Nothing's worse than trying to pour off a few quarts of oil from the dutch oven after frying. Hence why I never do it anymore, it's just not worth the hassle.

                                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                JungMann Feb 11, 2009 06:52 AM

                                                                                                The inevitable splatter and explosions of deep frying pork belly always make a mess far in excess of the 3 steps in the recipe.

                                                                                                1. re: JungMann
                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                  KTinNYC Feb 11, 2009 07:24 AM

                                                                                                  Two words, splatter screen.

                                                                                                  1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                    MMRuth Feb 11, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                                                                    Yes - makes a huge difference.

                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                      JungMann Feb 11, 2009 07:44 AM

                                                                                                      A splatter screen does help immensely, but the force of the explosions from the frying pork skin still sends oil through the vent holes. And when I take the screen off to remove the finished pieces and add new ones, there is still splatter and some spillage.

                                                                                                      1. re: JungMann
                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                        KTinNYC Feb 11, 2009 08:09 AM

                                                                                                        It's not fool proof but having one, as, you say, helps immensely.

                                                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                          Candy Feb 13, 2009 09:49 AM

                                                                                                          I have a De Longhi fryer. It is closed and has 2 filters. No spatters, no odor, easy clean up.

                                                                                              2. s
                                                                                                somervilleoldtimer Feb 9, 2009 09:59 AM

                                                                                                Chicken marsala. Don't know why it's such a mess, but when I make it, I triple it and freeze for two more meals. That makes it all worthwhile.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: somervilleoldtimer
                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                  Kelli2006 Feb 10, 2009 02:24 PM

                                                                                                  I can cook chick Marsala with 2 pans, a knife plus 3 mise-en-place bowls. You should try making manicotti or lasagna with fresh pasta if you want to see a mess.

                                                                                                  1. re: Kelli2006
                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                    somervilleoldtimer Feb 10, 2009 04:59 PM

                                                                                                    How do you do it?

                                                                                                    1. re: somervilleoldtimer
                                                                                                      k
                                                                                                      Kelli2006 Feb 10, 2009 06:12 PM

                                                                                                      This is my basic recipe, but I use marsala and just a bit of chicken stock instead of sherry. I remove the chicken from the pan after searing while I construct the sauce and return it to the pan just before service.

                                                                                                      http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chicken-...

                                                                                                2. f
                                                                                                  food_eater79 Feb 9, 2009 09:55 AM

                                                                                                  Anytime you cook for a lot of people. Calling out you Holidays here! :)

                                                                                                  1. hotcookinmomma Feb 9, 2009 09:20 AM

                                                                                                    The messiest things I make are breads. I always have the measuring cups, mixing bowls, pans it bakes in, rolling pin, towels to cover while it rises,the table, but then I alway have to sweep and mop the floor. It doesn't matter how careful I am.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: hotcookinmomma
                                                                                                      corneygirl Feb 12, 2009 10:11 PM

                                                                                                      Two words ... digital scale, still have the floor and counter, but it eliminates many dishes, and that, IMO is the worst.

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