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Really basic cooking questions you've had for ages

a
aventinus Jun 11, 2010 03:07 PM

Here a couple of basic ones:

1) How do you go about pulling a strand of pasta out of a boiling pot to taste it for doneness? I have tried tongs, a fork, and a spoon, but inevitably I have to use my fingers to separate one strand from the others, scalding my finger with boiling water.

2) What do you do with the oil after you deep fry? I know many of you store it for later frying, but what storage process do you use? Today, I poured the hot oil into a glass container. That turned out to be a mistake -- it shattered in two -- but I really needed to get the skillet off the stove so I could continue cooking. And I can't just pour it down the drain I don't suppose?

  1. chowser Jun 11, 2010 04:58 PM

    1) chopsticks, or tongs

    2) I don't deep fry, in part because of your question. But, don't pour it down the drain unless you're renting.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser
      d
      dmd_kc Jun 11, 2010 05:19 PM

      "unless you're renting" -- EVIL! And hilarious!

      And this is why I declined to rent out my old house when moving to the new one a couple of years ago.

      aventinus, I bet you'll eventually get to the point where you don't burn yourself. Work quickly and you'll get the hang of it. I used to have an ingenious combination pasta fork/spatula/spoon thingee. It was cheap plastic and disintegrated a few months ago. It had deep teeth on one edge, but was shaped like an oblong spoon otherwise. I miss it and haven't been able to find a replacement.

    2. Chemicalkinetics Jun 11, 2010 04:31 PM

      Hi avenitnus,

      I usually pick a few pasta strands up with a pasta fork and then use hand, so it is much like your method.

      I see. In the case you described, I pour the hot oil from one cookware to another. Let's say pour the hot oil from your saute pan to a sauce pan. Put the sauce pan on another stove or on a trivet. Meanwhile you can continue to cook in your saute pan while waiting for the hot oil to cool in the sauce pan. That is how I usually do it.

      1. boyzoma Jun 11, 2010 04:01 PM

        I use a pasta fork. If you don't have one, I highly recommend it.

         
        1. jenscats5 Jun 11, 2010 03:50 PM

          1) I also use a pasta fork.....but I've become a bit accustomed to handling hot foods thru repeated finger-dipping

          2) I also let the oil cool & keep in a plastic container on the counter...

          1. eight_inch_pestle Jun 11, 2010 03:22 PM

            1. The classic big pasta fork has always worked well for me. If need be, briefly run the strand or piece of cut pasta under cold water before handling.

            1. ipsedixit Jun 11, 2010 03:11 PM

              1. Chopsticks. Never fail.

              2. Your mistake was not letting the oil cool. First, let it cool to room temp. Strain it, then just put it back in the original container and store at room temperature.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit
                todao Jun 11, 2010 03:53 PM

                Used oil can be stored at room temperature if hasn't been used to cook protein. If you deep fry meat, refrigerate it after cooling and straining. You may also find it prudent to strain it again, after storing it for a time, before using it a second time. Save a small amount of your used oil in the freezer and use it to "season" fresh oil - helps starches brown better than dropping them into fresh oil.
                I believe the error most cooks make with spaghetti is trying to get a single strand to taste. Use a wire strainer, pick up a pile and pull one or two out with your fingers when it's drained.

                1. re: todao
                  ipsedixit Jun 11, 2010 03:56 PM

                  Yup, agree on all counts.

                  By the way, todao, how often do you deep-fry (again) with used oil?

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