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Oct 29, 2010 04:52 PM

What would you like to learn to make from scratch but are intimidated by the thought of trying?

For me, it's hand-made spring roll (popiah) skins. I think this is definitely a skill to master!

Another is pastry, but I think that's just because I haven't tried it yet.

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  1. I'd love to try making cured sausage....salami-type sausage. I'm intimidated by the thought of messing up the curing process, and killing us with some sort of exotic food poisoning. I've ordered the Ruhlman book though, and I'm hoping that it will inspire me with some confidence.

    Aside from that, I'm more or less fearless. (Well, okay, puff pastry. I've made it, but it sucked. Feh. I buy it now, like a philistine.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: SherBel

      Ooh yes, that's a good one - I agree, I'd be too scared to try and cure anything. I bought Darina Allen's "Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best - Over 700 Recipes Show You Why" which I just love, and really enjoyed the chapters on making ham and bacon from scratch, but I can't see myself giving it a go.

      1. re: steve h.

        I've made a few dim sum dishes on occasion. It's rather time consuming cause obviously you have to have more than one dish and more than one filling. After making xiao long bao earlier this year, I'm inspired to do more "wrappers." Those were a real snap to make. Even the pleating went well. I've made har gow but they looked not so lovely. XLB photo attached.
        PS: I do know that XLB is not technically dim sum. I mention that because of the wrapper.

        1. Re: Dim Sum, there are hundreds (at least) kinds of dim sum, and some are really easy to make. I've made sui mai (or "shumai", spellings vary!) with shrimp and pork a few times, although I purchased the wrappers. They are a bit fussy, but not really difficult.

          . Steamed buns with sweet red bean paste are also easy and delicious.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SherBel

            I made won ton skins for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Not as difficult as I thought they would be :)

          2. There are things I would love to do but am foiled by facilities - I'd like to try making sausages and smoked meats, but I live in an apartment with minimal storage space. I'd also like to try things like puff pasty from scratch, but live in a hot humid climate.

            I'd love to get into beer brewing, but unfortunately making alcohol at home is illegal.

            Of things I would like to try but haven't gotten around to are gnocci and consumme. For the latter, it's partially the thought of wasting food in the clarifying process.

            6 Replies
            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

              If you ever moved to Australia or New Zealand, you'd be able to do home brewing. One of my friends loves it, does all sorts of experiments!

              Gnocchi is on my "want to make" list too.

              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                Home brew is legal in many places, as is home made wine, depending on local laws. As far as I know the only thing that's totally illegal to make at home is actual distilled spirits. I had relatives who used to make apple cider, then set it out in winter and let it freeze - scrape the ice off the top, do it again. They got "concentrated" apple cider this way without actually distilling anything. It was like a poor man's apple brandy. I'm sure that was technically illegal as well, but how would they ever catch you? There's no paraphernalia, no mash, no muss no fuss no bother. As long as you weren't selling it, this type of home made spirits would be invisible to the revenooers.

                1. re: ZenSojourner

                  Both #1 & #2 sons make their own brewski, legally here. This Fall's experimental "Let's just see what happens" beer was pumpkin-raisin beer, recipe and concept courtesy of Daniel (#2 son.) Now he wants to try fig beer, with figs from my tree.
                  The pumpkin-raisin, by the way, was quite unsuccessful. Darling Daughter said, "It tastes and smells like a pumpkin does after some prankster throws it in the street and it's been there about three weeks." Pretty apt description, if you ask me. Ugh.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    I'm pretty sure I would not be able to get that close enough to my face to actually drink it, LOL!

                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                      My dad made root beer once upon a time, and first while it was curing, we kids got into it and it had turned alcoholic and it was nasty but for some reason we kept drinking it anyway. Then dad tightened the caps before they were fully ready, and kaboom!! Ever tried cleaning up spilt, congealed, beery soda and 6 dozen bottles worth of glass?

                      1. re: mamachef

                        LOL! One of those things that is definitely not funny at the time but (hopefully) seems much funnier the more time passes.

                        Fermentation is controlled rotting (or at least we HOPE it's controlled). It smells pretty much the same as uncontrolled rotting, so I imagine it smelled pretty awful.

              2. I conquered the fear and made something pastry-ish yesterday. I think it turned out ok but it was a bit tough. Maybe I overworked it - will have to do some research.