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I've Never Roasted a Chicken & Other Kitchen Confessions

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I am periodically overwhelmed by the level of expertise and knowledge on this site, occasionally it gets intimidating but I don't let that stop me from making dumb comments about how great I think some type of store-bought salad dressing is, admitting I'm willing to eat spam in many dishes, always have a couple of cans of cream of mushroom soup on hand - and use them from time to time, that I've never made bread from scratch, or roasted a chicken. Come to think of it I never saw either of my grandmothers roast a chicken or bake bread either, and while mom was a good cook she hasn't either.

Now this doesn't mean I'm not both fascinated and impressed by many of your skills and talents, and I really enjoy reading about them. but when I look at my 5x8 kitchen and think about what baking a loaf of bread in there would entail, I grab a wine glass and come up with other ways to entertain myself.

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  1. I hear you. I'm not a SPAM eater, but I'm afraid of deep frying, or frying in any quantity of oil, and just don't do it. No idea what to do with meat on a bone either, and for potatoes I just bake them (no gratin, charlotte, molded whatsits). A mixture of exasperation, intimidation and "too much damn work and cleanup."

    I love a local gourmet store's blue cheese dip and dressing and have never made my own - why bother?

    1 Reply
    1. re: HillsofBeverly

      I can't fry either. On the few times I try, I make a huge mess, it rarely turns out and I'm cleaning grease forever. That's when I think, "Oh yeah, this is why I never do it."

    2. I've roasted innumerable chickens, baked breadm etc., but I also buy and like lite ranch dressing and use cream-o-mush as a base when making gravy for meat loaf. I think there are a lot more moderate Chowhounds like myself than right-wing/left-wing, by which I mean everything from scratch, or as many shortcuts and convenience foods as possible.

      Dip your toes in the kiddie pool with Sara Moulton's rule of thumb(elina - she's SO tiny!): Oven-safe skillet or baking pan, 4.5# chicken (sprinkle w/salt & pepper), 45 minutes at 450F. Once you are past that hurdle you should feel more confident about investing in a rack, putting aromatic vegetables in the pan to flavor the drippings so as to make gravy, stuffing a bird, etc.

      14 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        A similar temperature, but go Zuni chicken. It will muster your roasted chicken confidence.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          But more steps and more salt than suits some people, especially if they lack roasting experience.

          1. re: greygarious

            For decades, I thought you *couldn't* roast a chicken without stuffing it (hey, Mum always stuffed her birds!) and that seemed like too much work. Then a British friend served us the most delightful unstuffed bird. Then I found Thos Keller's recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Now I roast a chicken (or sometimes two) at least twice a month. Cannot recommend roast chicken with butter and mustard on it enough!

            Still haven't pan fried a whole fish bigger than a petrale sole yet...

            1. re: grayelf

              I love Keller's recipe for roast chicken. So simple and it works every time.

              1. re: amethiste

                Totally! I'm such a fan of failureproof recipes. I don't even bother with gravy anymore. And I love that he gives sensible and easy-to-follow advice on how to portion the bird. Kitchen shears are your friend.

                I do save the bones etc and make stock, which is another thing I once thought had to be a huge hassle involving mirepoix and straining. Now I just do plain ol' chicken bits in water, let rest overnight in fridge after cooling, skim fat and freeze in conveniently sized containers. So much better and cheaper than store bought.

                1. re: grayelf

                  No gravy! <gasp!>

                  That's why I roast chickens at 350º, for the drippings. Best gravy ever, even when I do nothing more than rub some butter or oil on the bird and sprinkle with S&P. It takes longer, sure, but I consider it an investment in perfect gravy.

                  I must have been a southern girl in a past life.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Ha, I must admit I feel guilty when I clean the pan, wasting the drippings. But I find the flavour of chicken gravy a bit thin for my tastes, and the SO doesn't care for it either so not that guilty I guess.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      If its thin you're making it wrong and that can be fixed

                      If you don't like it... That's another issue.

                      I have a family of gravy heads. I have to produce a GALLON of dark and delicious gravy for Thanksgiving.

                      Gravy the sauce is easy to make. Gravy the back prep not so much for a quantity like that.

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Hamsters are wise! And so right. Yummy weeknight gravy can easily be made with the drippings from one chicken. But a crowd?

                        I usually strip the breasts off a whole chicken a week or two before Thanksgiving, poach them, then toss all the rest into the same pot (along with mirepoix) to make about 3 quarts of stock. I've found homemade stock is the only way to make a large quantity of gravy. Of course, on the day, the giblets and neck get simmered all day, then that goes into the gravy, too.

                        My crowd LOVES giblet gravy!

        2. re: greygarious

          I agree....roasted chicken just doesn't have to be the tribulation that a lot of people think it is....a nicely-roasted chicken is still guaranteed to win you oohs and ahhs when you service it to guests.

          I rub mine with olive oil before the s&P, and end up with a moist, golden bird every single time.

          1. re: greygarious

            I'm a dedicated recipe follower and that's how I got the courage to roast a chicken - Zuni. I believe that anything can be tackled with success if you follow a recipe from a trusted source.

            But my irrational phobia is anything with yeast in it!!! I made a commitment to Bob recently that I would make bread as he loves it so much.

            I also have never cooked a whole fish.

            1. re: c oliver

              The problem w/ whole fish for me isn't cooking it but portioning it after. My husband is a pro--removes one side, then the whole skeleton, with spoons. I end up w/ tuna fish like slivers. Not good.

            2. re: greygarious

              I rarely roast whole birds anymore. I take out the backbone and flatten it and it seems to roast in about half the time.

              1. re: John E.

                Easier to cut up as well after roasting

            3. Roasting a chicken is super easy to do. And gives you lots of options about what to do with the meat.

              I bake bread because I think it's fun but it can be an effort.

              1 Reply
              1. re: C. Hamster

                Going with ANKB is so easy and fun!

              2. I also have never roasted a yardbird. The dark meat would be wasted on the Khatessa and I.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  Opposite problem. I have roasted a chicken, but give the breast meat to a friend. I much prefer dark, so most of the time I bypass the whole bird and roast a pan of chicken thighs.

                  1. re: Pwmfan

                    We do the same. In the winter I just season the thighs with salt and pepper and lay them out on a sheet pan and roast them until they're done. In the other months, depending on the weather, I cook them on the grill. My brother's family all seem to want the breast meat but I don't like the texture, even if it isn't dry.

                2. the thing about cooking ... it is a lot like reading...just because you dont read horror and prefer romance doesnt mean you are not reader... people do what makes make them comfortable and works for them... some people are savory cooks who never bake... as long as you get joy out of what you do... then Eat Happy.

                  1. I must ask KaimukiMan, since you have never roasted a chicken am I free to assume that means you have never roasted a turkey either? If so, what do you do for the holidays?

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                      Oh no, I've roasted many turkeys. Most of them have turned out beautifully. Now two years ago an oven I wasn't familiar with somehow ended up on broil rather than bake. The bird looked beautiful, but wasn't cooked. So we cut it up and nuked it then finished it in a fry pan on the stove. And I've roasted other meats (lamb, beef, pork), just never seen the point of roasting a whole chicken. Too much time, too much work. I'm not 'afraid' of doing it, just rather do other things with chicken.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        Ok, that clarifies it.

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          That's funny because I feel the opposite. I can roast a chicken in under an hour but a turkey takes a day! I do the requisite turkey for Thanksgiving when we host but that's pretty grudgingly. And, I'll add not done well. I do a roast chicken much better,

                          1. re: chowser

                            I can do a 12# spatchcocked turkey on the Weber in about an hour and a half.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              It would take me an hour and a half just to spatchcock the turkey!

                              1. re: chowser

                                Naw, it doesn't take that long and it isn't difficult either, unless you're doing a 25# bird. If you have an 8" or 10" chef's knife or a cleaver it is relatively easy. If you are uncomfortable putting the pressure on the knife needed to go through the bone (I sometimes am) then use a rubber mallet to pound on the spine of the cleaver. (A cleaver works best.) The beauty of doing a turkey this way is that you have the backbone, wingtips, neck, and gizzards to make turkey stock for the gravy while the bird is roasting.

                              2. re: c oliver

                                We always cook the Thanksgiving turkey on the Weber, indirect. Not spatchcocked, but I separate the skin from the flesh on top and put salt, pepper, herbs, a little butter or olive oil and a bunch of herbs inside, and no matter how big the turkey is, it cooks in two hours flat. We get rave reviews on it, too. I think. Chickens too, but I'm not such a big fan like I am with turkey. Grilling turkey's like using a really hot convection oven. Do not even THINK about stuffing a bird that you're going to cook on the grill.

                                1. re: EWSflash

                                  Here's what we do. From Sunset magazine a bunch of years ago.

                                  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/turke...

                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                              But the best part is that there is so little time and effort in roasting a chicken. Easier than turkey, IMO!

                          2. Me neither! Never roasted a chicken, turkey, goose, Cornish hen, nada. I do tons of other cooking but the chicken seems intimidating somehow. No idea why...it's a just mental block.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Hobbert

                              I never saw the need. I'd rather have it made into soup, anyhow. I don't like chickenskin...

                              1. re: Hobbert

                                Don't be intimidated!!

                                It's very simple. Get over the hump and it will be your Sunday go-to meal.

                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  and there's nothing like the smell of baking chicken wafting through your home.

                                2. re: Hobbert

                                  Actually, chicken can be tricky because the legs cook more slowly than the breast. Ways to deal, but not necessarily intuitive.

                                3. I roast chickens and bake bread. The bread was a long time coming because I was terrified of the whole yeast thing. I was sure it was a guaranteed failure!

                                  The one thing I've never attempted is a pie crust!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: jbsiegel

                                    Pie crust is easier than bread without giant holes in the crumb!
                                    Just redo it if the first time doesn't work!

                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                      Yes, pie crust is so much easier than bread!

                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                        I feel exactly the opposite.

                                    2. There are plenty of things I haven't tackled either, but I believe baking bread and roasting a chicken are things that can be made hard but can also be very easy. Chicken ... Stick something, just about anything...an onion, a carrot, some celery, an apple...most anything... in it, smear a little margarine on it, and stick it in the oven at 350. It will be good. Melt the margarine and pour in a little wine and drizzle it over the chicken instead of smearing margarine on it, and it will be even better. Use butter in lieu of margarine, better still. You can start adding herbs, jacking around with different cooking methods, but a basic roasted chicken is about three minutes of prep time, seriously. As regards bread, I won't go through the details, but my basic bread recipe is about seven minutes of prep time. One bowl. Easy.

                                      Like I said, there are plenty of things I have never tried, but those two are easy and you ought to give them a try (unless of course you are happy with the roasted chicken and bread in your grocery store and have plenty of other fun stuff to do).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: tim irvine

                                        " Use butter in lieu of margarine, better still."

                                        thank you Tim in Irvine.

                                      2. This thread is so funny to me. The first thing I learned in the kitchen was roasted chicken . . . . so easy. Butter (never margarine), s&p, poultry seasoning, 375 degrees for crispy skin. Voila . . . . 45 minutes and dinner's done.

                                        14 Replies
                                        1. re: gaffk

                                          Exactly!

                                          My mother taught me as a young kid and I roasted chicken when I was like 8 years old. It's the simplest of tasks.

                                          But use a meat thermometer !

                                          1. re: gaffk

                                            The first thing I ever cooked was a yeast coffeecake and that was 65 years ago. All these years since I have baked up a storm but for the life of me I cannot cook a pot of rice. To each his own.

                                            1. re: Querencia

                                              two cups of water, one cup of rice.

                                              Bring the water to a boil, and add the rice. Turn the burner down to a gentle simmer and let it simmer about 20 minutes.

                                              Easier with a glass lid -- when round holes appear all across the surface of the rice (steam escape), it's done.

                                              You'll hear the sizzle of the water on the bottom of the pan -- when you hear the rice whispering, it's done.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                Thanks, but advice from my Mexican friends, Indian friends, Iranian friends, and all kinds of friends hasn't helped. I use an electric rice cooker, otherwise my rice turns to slop.

                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                  Querencia, you're my sole mate! I, too, have roasted many a chicken, baked bread, crafted awesome baklava, produced blue-cheese gougeres by the dozens, and performed many other culinary triumphs. But I CANNOT cook rice on the stove top. Thank heavens for rice cookers!

                                                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                    Same here

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                      Me four. I do have success now with the method from 660 Curries, but only with white basmati rice. Other types of rice, especially brown, still stymie me. I generally use the pasta method for brown rice, which works much better than any other for me, but my rice is still never as good as the Chinese takeout place.

                                                  2. re: Querencia

                                                    I had an electric rice cooker (because rice often defeats me) but it took up a lot of space. Then one day I asked the SO to make rice. Turns out he is The Rice Whisperer. Though there is only one of him so I guess that means y'all will need to stick with rice cookers ;-)

                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                      Sounds to me as if you have the better brand of rice cooker! Does he multi-task?

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        Hmm, he cooks rice and then eats it. Does that count? Washes a mean dish après diner as well :-).

                                                  3. re: sunshine842

                                                    Or get a Zojirushi rice cooker. Heaven in an appliance for us!

                                                  4. re: Querencia

                                                    Get a rice cooker. A friend who tackles everything in the kitchen swears by them and now I do also.

                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                      I use the China Moon cookbook recipe for rice .. turns out perfectly every time; I'd never known about rinsing rice with water before this .. I use basmati.

                                                      Here's a CH thread on China Moon:

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/282532

                                                      Here's the recipe from the book I found on line:

                                                      http://books.google.com/books?id=smQn...

                                                      I use Marcella Hazan's recipe for roasted chicken with 2 lemons .. perfection .. for first 20 min (I do 30 min) you roast breast side down and then turn it right side up for rest of roasting time .. it's not that hard to do.

                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                        I make rice in the oven. I use 1 cup UB's Converted Rice ( I know, but I grew up with it and I like how the grains stay separate), 2 1/4 cups water, a pinch of salt and a T. of butter. Combine in a 2qt. casserole, cover and bake for 1 hour at 350. Comes out nice and fluffy every time. I have added sauteed mushrooms etc . as well.

                                                        This works best for "side dish" rice (ie, faux pilaf).

                                                    2. Mine's fish. never made a fish I've liked.
                                                      Got trout in the freezer, heads still on.
                                                      No clue how to cook 'em.
                                                      (not frying. oh god, no more frying)

                                                      13 Replies
                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                        assuming they're already cleaned.....

                                                        Put flavoring of some sort inside the cavity (parsley, lemon, S&P, garlic, onion slices....your call).

                                                        Lightly score the skin and season the outside with S&P and some oil (vegetable or OO -- again, your call)

                                                        Saute in a big skillet in some OO and butter, fairly low (enough to brown and sizzle a little, but this is not searing!)for about 5 minutes each side -- more for big fish, less for little.

                                                        Flip 'em over and 5 minutes on the other side.

                                                        Serve and enjoy.

                                                        folks do this in a cast-iron skillet over a campfire all the time....

                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                          Not to generalize, but i've never had a trout that didn't suck.

                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            Whole trout pan-fried or grilled is magical.

                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                              Painful after too many campfires, bugs, and smoke in the eyes.

                                                              There is this wild restaurant open weekends in the Putlach Trench of northern Franken. Blue trout. boiled parsley potatoes, asparagus.

                                                              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                I prefer mine grilled or pan-fried. Forelle Blau ain't my thang.

                                                                My first ever trout was a pan-fried, whole trout while on a hike in Austria. Love it.

                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                  On a lucky day during an 8 day raft trip on the Middle Fork in Idaho's wilderness area I caught both a dolly varden and a cutthroat trout, in legal areas with barbless hooks. What a breakfast in the skillet the next morning! The difference between the 2 trout was interesting, and what beautiful fish they are.

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    I know! I probably only have had your run-of-the-mill brook trout grilled, but at Yasuda, I got to try 3 different trout nigiri. Very cool.

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      Dolly Vardens aka bull trout were listed as "threatened" in 1998 in Idaho and other NW states but as of 2011 they have recovered to the point that they're not any more. We actually have a street a few miles from us named "Dolly Varden."

                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        The Middle Fork is a tributary of the Salmon River which is a tributary of the Snake River. I had an uncle who died in an accident while building the Brownlee Dam on the Snake River. He was a construction foreman. He died long before I was born, but was apparently an engineer who could fix anything and weld anything. (He was also shot down three times during WWII, he was quite lucky before the construction accident.) Have you ever seen the trams that hang from cables on ski slopes? My uncle was on a cable car/tram that went out of control and slammed into the side of a mountain along the Snake River. It was his tackle box of flies that my father lost in Alaska. (See the post of mine below) That is why my father never went fly fishing ever again. I will say that my 81 year old father is in good shape and still hunts deer and goes fishing with his sons and grandsons.

                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                          The Middle Fork is also known as "the river of no return".

                                                                    2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                      As a kid I remember camping as a family and my dad was an avid trout fisherman. We had trout cooked in a cast iron pan on a Coleman stove instead of the campfire in the Black Hills, Little Big Horns, and Grand Tetons. Then on a camping trip in Alaska, he was salmon fishing with his fly rod. He ended up leaving his tackle box with all of his flies on the river bank. We did not discover it missing unti it was much too late too late to look for it. I don't think he ever went fly fishing again.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        that is so weird! True story. I was over a friends house( he was teaching us how to clean fish) and his dad told us when he was a little boy he found a box on a bank in Alaska. His dad had never had the time to fish with him or anything and the family was always moving with the dads oil jobs and when he brought that tackle box home his dad promised him he would take time on sunday to take him finishing.And he did! He said it changed the relationship he and his dad had forever. Wouldnt it be cool if it was your dads???

                                                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                          I really like your story. I am not going to tell you when my father lost his fly tackle box. That would ruin your story. Please tell your friend that you think you found the owner of that box of flies on the internet.

                                                              2. I will cook all things savory, including roasting a chicken (and turkey and duck), but baking bread and sweets intimidates me. Anything involving yeast is an automatic no for me, unfortunately. And I'm embarrassingly terrible at icing cakes. I'm pretty sure my 10 year old niece could do better.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: BostonLover

                                                                  i had to make hamburger buns today for "family dinner" where I stage.. I was so afraid! When they turned out I was happy!

                                                                   
                                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                    nice buns you've got there girl. ;-)
                                                                    (somebody had to say it)

                                                                2. Your confession amazes me! Hurry! Quick! Quick! Roast a chicken! It's one of life's simple pleasures and hedonism rocks!

                                                                  1. Kaimuki, Chowhound is a great site but a thing about it that troubles me here is that the perfect is often the enemy of the good, and that sometimes intimidates less experienced cooks. Cooking can be as complicated as you want it to be, but people have been eating food for long years before sous-vide and $800 coffee machines came along. Roasting a chicken consists of putting the chicken in a pan, putting the pan in the oven, and turning on the oven. Anything else you choose to do to the chicken is optional. Please let yourself relax into the pleasures of preparing your food. Would you take a course in how to make love, grade yourself as not sufficiently talented, and not do it? Let cooking be all for love.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                      +1

                                                                    2. KM, try the Lincoln Log chicken that Sam F. and I collaborated on. Build a corral with 3 courses of notched carrots, set 4 lb. roaster on top, add a variety of roasting veggies around the pan, plus small red potatoes doused in OO and rosemary. It comes out so purty.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        sometimes DH and I skip the chicken altogether-- the veggies roasted in the OO and chicken drippings are awesome. (the chicken goes in the fridge for lunch)

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          I REALLY don't like mushy vegetables so that type of prep has always been a nonstarter for me. Too many years of overcooked vegetables growing up in the South.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            I was at Sr la La table and they have a silacone laural leaf wreath that is meant to hold up a chicken to roast it,,,I think we need a sill gadgets thread

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              One can add veggies during the cooking interval so that everything is correctly done at the end. Carrots and red potatoes go the distance with the bird.

                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                I especially don't like mushy carrots. And, IMO, mushy potatoes are for mashed potatoes. I roast vegetables a lot but not til they're super soft. I can see doing that if one then blended the vegetables to make gravy...or maybe soup. Again, too many years of overcooked ones growing up.

                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                I've never, ever had mushy vegetables -- I don't add them until the chicken has already been in the oven for 20-30 minutes -- that way the veg and the bird are all done at the same time. (Indeed, I've had to return the veg to the pan while the chicken rests on a few occasions because they weren't quite done yet)

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  Although, that's a different technique from the log cabin one that Veggo and Sam came up with. I used to use the log cabin technique (love the name) w/ old vegetables. But, I'm with c oliver on the overcooked vegetables. It was a way to keep the chicken elevated and give it some flavor. On occasion, we'd puree it all for a sauce w/ all the dripping but I thought of them as I do the onions/celery/carrots I use for stock--just flavoring agents.

                                                                                  When I make zuni chicken, I do throw in a handful of garlic cloves about 20 minutes before the chicken is done. We fight over those chicken fat garlic cloves. My son likes to put all that over his rice.

                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                    I've used the log-cabin technique with some manky-looking old celery -- not rotten, just wilted and had seen better days. That didn't get eaten.

                                                                                    I have a folding v-rack that is a must-have for roasting meats. The v holds it securely, with plenty of room for veggies.

                                                                                    I've also used a coil of tinfoil as a rack in rental cottages that didn't have a rack.

                                                                              3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Yes and add a nice crusty bread to dip. Ooooh so yummy. I love roast chicken but I admit in the he summer months I buy chicken already roasted in store. Just as yummy. To me any way.

                                                                              4. re: Veggo

                                                                                if Sam said its the way to go, its the way to go (not trying to slight your contribution.) I've not had a motivation to roast a chicken before. Now I want to try. Probably not in July or August in Honolulu, but sometime soon. Thanks Veggo, when I get around to it I promise to report. Also solves the question of what to serve with it. Is there a specific thread for this?

                                                                              5. Pastry is a non-starter for me. Every time I have attempted, it has been less than stellar. Usually less than edible. It is so much easier and tastier to go to a shop and purchase what I need.

                                                                                I cannot see a reason to attain a skill that dollars can attain with so little anguish.

                                                                                And I made scones last night. Let us just say I will not bother sharing them with anybody. Except maybe the fish.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                  much easier to make good pastry in cool dry weather than hot humid.

                                                                                2. I have a hard time making pancakes. Plain pancakes. I can make Swedish pancakes, crepes, German pancakes,but making a nice, plain pancake eludes me.
                                                                                  I can make pie crust, but for me, It's a "why bother" situation. I know how, and can, but if I know ahead of time, I will pick up a rolled pie crust from the refrigerated section.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                    +1

                                                                                    I can make good waffles. Crepes - no problem. But even half decent pancakes elude me. I suspect that if I just worked on em a bit, I'd get em down. But... to hell with pancakes.

                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                      My mom used to make really good pancakes. Then one morning her pancakes were awful. didn't rise, hard as a shingle, burnt on the outside raw in the middle, lumpy. She didn't know what she did wrong. Got all new ingredients and tried again the next weekend. Same results. One more try a month later. No luck. She hasn't made pancakes since - over 40 years.

                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                        Interesting!

                                                                                      2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        the recipe in Joy of Cooking *rocks* - especially if you make the buttermilk/soured milk variation.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          I really don't think it is the recipe for me, I think my problem lies totally with technique and a small cast iron round griddle (that is great for warming tortillas).

                                                                                      3. re: wyogal

                                                                                        My pancakes are fine...except for that first batch! (Although I do have to admit to having trouble maintaining the right griddle temperature...)

                                                                                        1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                          Yes, the first one is usually for the dog.

                                                                                        2. re: wyogal

                                                                                          Same here. On the plus side, it's self limiting. I only get to eat pancakes when my running group goes out for breakfast after long runs.

                                                                                        3. Don't ya think also that if we really want/like/love something, we'll learn to do a decent job of it. For instance, I care nothing about pancakes, haven't eaten one in decades and would probably do a lousy job making them. But I don't care :) And if anyone is visiting and wants them, I'll turn the kitchen over to them.

                                                                                          1. I have never made a deep fried whole turkey or "beer can chicken" on the grill. An acquaintance of mine raves about both.

                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Fowler

                                                                                              Same here. I think our neighbor (across the street a bit) burned down his deck the other night, and one of the neighbors told me they saw a turkey fryer out there and heard an explosion. 3 fire trucks, ambulance (although no one got hurt), police.....

                                                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                yeah -- turkey fryer is the ultimate unitasker...and I'm just not seeing it's worth the risk.

                                                                                                Beer can chicken I've had -- it's good, but not that much better than a plain old roasted chicken, so I don't bother. On the grill, the chicken is spatchcocked - way easier (and faster)

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  Right. The risk/reward ratio seems fairly high to me considering what could potentially go very wrong.

                                                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                    I think there is a youtube montage set to Wagner showing what can go wrong

                                                                                                2. re: wyogal

                                                                                                  If you look up turkey fryer accidents on youtube, you will see some spectacular displays of stupidity. And laugh your ass off :D

                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                    I've seen them! Crazy!

                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                      Ooops, I didn't see gotw's post....

                                                                                                3. Another one here who has never roasted a chicken, baked bread or deep fried anything. To be honest, I like the roast chicken from Costco for $4.99!

                                                                                                  1. Well, KaimukiMan - Thank you for your "confession". I feel the same way as you. I have roasted chicken but am completely overwhelmed by all of the food that is shown / explained / given on this site! Which is why I come here so often!

                                                                                                    I cannot, for the life of me, make decent salad dressing! All I get is a really sad, greasy, small jar of "guck" that sits in the frig until I toss it.

                                                                                                    I haven't read all of the replies, but there is a penance to be done - go forth and roast a whole chicken!

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                      Re: salad dressing .. I make enough just for that one day. 1/2 tsp Maile Dijon mustard, bit of s & p, tiny bit of sugar OR 1 tsp of Brianna's poppyseed dressing (leave out if you don't like sweet), 1 Tbl black raspberry vinegar, squirt of red wine vinegar, squirt of fresh lemon juice, 3 Tbl of good extra virgin olive oil (I like Lucini). Whisk well and add a little at a time to salad.

                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                        I also usually reduce it down to 1 or 2 servings.

                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                          add some soy sauce too

                                                                                                        2. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                          With salad dressing, try this: Per person/
                                                                                                          1 tsp. mustard
                                                                                                          11/2 tsp. wine vinegar
                                                                                                          3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
                                                                                                          salt & pepper

                                                                                                          Whisk hard 15 seconds or so until thickened or emulsified, then pour over salad and toss. You need a smaller whisk for this job. Best for small quantities that you toss yourself rather than bringing the dressing to the table in a container, as you would with the bottled stuff.

                                                                                                          1. re: VitalForce

                                                                                                            I use a smaller whisk or a fork sometimes works well in the right container.

                                                                                                            1. re: VitalForce

                                                                                                              I always whisk the oil in after mixing everything else, to make sure all the taste enhancers are equally dispersed before surrounding them with the oil. But for a crowd, I taste no difference when I toss it all in a bowl and use my immersion blender.

                                                                                                              1. re: VitalForce

                                                                                                                I save old jelly or peanut butter jars for this. I'll add everything but the oil, shake it like crazy, then repeat again with the oil. It always seems to be cleaner than doing it with a whisk and leftovers are already packed up.

                                                                                                            2. I can't cook chicken on the bone. It scares me. I'm afraid it will be raw. I can roast a chicken -- although I do tend to use the oven stuffer roasters.

                                                                                                              I haven't made bread in years. I have a bread machine somewhere and I used to use that upon occasion, but it has been years.

                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                lol why would it scare you? If your nervous cut it to the bone if there is any "pink" just put it back in the oven! The worst case scenario would be you over cook it and make it a little dry, but no reason to fear it.

                                                                                                                1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                  If you think you can work up the nerve to try cooking chicken on the bone, try working with bone-in thighs because they can take a bit of overcooking and still be juicy.
                                                                                                                  To put your mind further at ease, use an instant read thermometer and remove all doubt!

                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                    Yes chicken thighs are a dream to anyone scared by chicken on bone thighs are very forgiving and delish.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                    I used to overcook chicken on the bone (and boneless breasts) until I got a Thermapen thermometer! They are great...

                                                                                                                    http://www.thermoworks.com/

                                                                                                                    1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                      Thermapens are a gift from the cooking gods.

                                                                                                                      It's indispensable for checking liquid temps for yeast breads and for determining when the baked loaf is done. Also a must for seared chicken breasts or roasted whole birds.

                                                                                                                      Dude uses it outside to roast perfect pork tenderloin and tri-tip roasts. He also turns out perfect grilled chicken, on or off the bone.

                                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                        My instant read is from Home Goods or maybe Tues. Morning. It's a CDN (no idea!) and works like a charm for <$10!

                                                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                          I'm with you. Mine are cheap and last forever. Just had to replace a battery and can't even remember when I did that last.

                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                            I actually own both a CDN and a Thermapen. The CDN I had first, as it was affordable and well rated. The Thermapen I got on one of their occasional direct sales (phasing out colors, etc.--as if I cared about the color of my thermometer!).

                                                                                                                            The Thermapen is hands-down better in speed and also in making a smaller hole in whatever you're measuring (which is useful in bread crusts). But the speed difference is, say, the difference between a stable reading at 3 or so seconds (the Thermapen) and a stable reading in 8-10 seconds (the CDN).

                                                                                                                            I'm glad I have the Thermapen, and I don't use the CDN anymore, but both are very capable. Everyone needs to judge how the variables matter to them (cost, speed, thickness of probe).

                                                                                                                          2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                            I went through 4 thermometers before I decided to just get the Thermapen. It's wonderful and I've never regretted it. Thanks for the ideas, I never even pondered to use it for anything other than meat but of course it'd probably be great for checking the temperature of most things in the kitchen. I think SO did use it when he was on a mission to figure out his favorite poached egg temperature.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                          buy yourself an instant-read thermometer They're not expensive, but invaluable for telling you whether stuff is done or not.

                                                                                                                        3. I take the easy route for roast chicken, 350º, S,P, + butter. Delicious every time. Last month I began baking bread, and recently made a multigrain sandwich loaf that's as good as the Oroweat/Arnold's 12-grain my Dude loves. I've perfected my burger/hot dog buns and Neapolitan pizza dough, but still refuse to make some things.

                                                                                                                          I imagine most home cooks have things that just scare the bejeezus out of them. For me it's desserts, especially baked ones, and fried chicken. For the life of me I cannot fry good chicken. I like to pick up some chicken strips from the supermarket and pair them with a nice oak-y Chardonnay. It glams them up, at least in my sick little mind.

                                                                                                                          1. This thread reminds me of a quote by Rita Rudner, “I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and say to myself "well, that's not going to happen.”

                                                                                                                            1. Despite being a great baker overall, I've never baked a loaf of just plain sandwich type bread or french bread or pretty much anything that's a loaf (other than banana bread). I mainly haven't done it because I worry I'd eat it all in one sitting, not because I'm scared of the outcome. My other yeasty things (pizza dough, rolls) turn out great.

                                                                                                                              I've also never deep fried anything.

                                                                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                Baking French bread is a lot of fun! You get to open the oven door and spritz the loaves so they get a nice thick crunchy crust on them. A LOT more fun than baking biscuits! But you're wise. It's VERY difficult not to eat a whole loaf with a half cube of butter when it's still hot from the oven. <sigh> And then it sticks to your hips like Super Glue!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                  wow Caroline, im impressed. You can eat a loaf of bread with only half a cube of butter? awesome!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                    Well, since posting above, I've lost my job, so with my newfound free time, I might try out making loaves of bread. I'll cut them into portions and freeze most of it :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                      juliejulez I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Trust me you aren't the only one suffering with weird lay offs and the like. Luckily bread baking is both inexpensive and very therapeutic! Enjoy the free time and try something new!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                        sorry to hear about that... my dad (we) went through that last year...it was stressfull...but it also brought some opportunity for us to become closer in a way...good luck...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                          So sorry about your job loss, julie, I hope all goes well for you in the end.

                                                                                                                                          I just started baking my own bread 2 months ago, and it's taken a lot of misses to hit on perfect recipes for multigrain bread and pizza crust. It's really been worth the it, though, for the sheer joy of the "Ta-Da!" moment when it all comes together to rave reviews from my family. My retiree wallet appreciates the effort, too!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                            I think you'll find that it not only puts better bread on the table for less, but that you enjoy and look forward to the therapeutic effects of kneading the dough.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                              Best of luck, Julie. Bread is challenging in the Denver area because of the altitude and dry air, but you'll figure it out.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                There's even book on baking at high altitude but here's a link from King Arthur:

                                                                                                                                                http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, but if one does it by feel, it's really not bad. I do add a bit of flour to cake mixes.
                                                                                                                                                  The most difference I've noticed for altitude is boiling potatoes. They take much longer.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                    What's your altitude? I adjusted to Denver's 5200 ft. over 8 years, but baking at my Cuchara cabin @ 9000 ft. was almost impossible. Also, charcoal grilling took forever.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                      The elevation at my house is right at a mile, same as Denver. When my husband goes up to the mountains, they make a biscuit type bread up there.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                  Sorry about your job loss. I've been laid off - not fun.

                                                                                                                                                  Regarding the bread, I suggest making french toast for your SO. Since I became a slave to bread starter and making 3 loaves a week, I've been singing the praises of french toast to my kids. Nothing like a pack of teen boys over to help rid the house of bread carbs so they don't tempt me (carbs, not boys!)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                    whew. . .glad you put that qualifier in :)

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                    Bummer! Or as the saying goes, "When life deals you lemons, make lemonade!" If the bread turns out great, remember; There's a market for that! So... New job or new bakery, here's hoping for GREAT lemonade!!!

                                                                                                                                              2. While I really enjoy trying new recipes and enjoy working on long and involved dishes, the thing most often cranked out of my kitchen is...
                                                                                                                                                Chex mix. Of various recipes from the web. I love it and can't get enough.

                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                  Oooooooh

                                                                                                                                                  I love me that stuff!

                                                                                                                                                  What's your favorite variety?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                    Lately, I've been hooked on this one.
                                                                                                                                                    http://www.food.com/recipe/hot-and-sp...
                                                                                                                                                    Instead of nuking it to cook, though, I spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350, about 8 or 9 minutes total, stirring often.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                    I am a Chex Mix fiend myself, but do not like the results when nuked. I usually roast at low heat in a Graniteware roaster. However, I was intrigued by a post in the "What is your dirty little food secret?" about pan frying buttered Cheerios. Since it is way too hot to turn on the oven, I'm going to try this method with a batch of Chex Mix.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                      oooh, I never saw that - but my mom made those when I was in elementary school! I think they were called (by Cheerios) "Hot O's." DH thinks I'm nuts but I love them. Too bad you can't make them ahead.

                                                                                                                                                      On topic - I am afraid of frying, mostly because of the hot oil and potential for mess and injury.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: truman

                                                                                                                                                        I can't remember if I mentioned this already. If you fry in a DO there's a lot of room between the oil and the top of the pot so less mess and risk of injury. Learned that one here on CH.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                          Totally agree about this one. I also do bacon in a DO. It doesn't make nearly the mess, and it also makes nice curly bacon - just the way I like it!

                                                                                                                                                  3. I love to bake bread all kinds, but I have not ever made a homemade pie crust. Odd yes. I love pie and would prefer it to cake. I have made cake from scratch. But pie crusts no. I think I'm just scared mine won't be as good as others. Who knows.

                                                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: itsmejessica

                                                                                                                                                      <I think I'm just scared mine won't be as good as others. >

                                                                                                                                                      I agree. That's what keeps me from trying it. In many ways, I think earlier cooks had an easier time. Girls were taught by their mothers, who were taught by their mothers, for generations back. Convenience products have broken the cycle.

                                                                                                                                                      No recipes needed for all manner of baked goods, from bread to muffins, biscuits and pies. It was about look and feel when mixing and kneading. They had the benefit of learning by doing in a time when commercially baked goods weren't widely available.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: itsmejessica

                                                                                                                                                        try it three times, and it'll be 100% better than the store.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: itsmejessica

                                                                                                                                                          I'm right there with you on the pie crust (already fessed up to it above). I also never made biscuits (other thank from the mix) until very recently because of the same pastry fear! They turned out to be STUPID easy - mix in food processor, roll out, cut, bake! I'm certain that pie crust would probably end up falling into nearly the same category of stupid easy?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                            I'm reminded of the old adage... "exercise never killed anyone, but why take the chance?"

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, it'll probably be stupid simple, but why risk it when there are any number of good pie shops?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                              Yep -- pie crust is stupid easy.

                                                                                                                                                              My grandmother taught me to make wonderfully flaky pie crust...but I get a lot of compliments when I use Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, too (the ones rolled up in the dairy case) -- so if I'm out of energy, time, or givvadamn, it's storebought crust.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                I go with those Pillsbury ones - the ones that are flat and you put in the pie pan. At least those look more realistic than the frozen ones. (Although, my usual pumpkin pie just wouldn't be right if it weren't baked in one of those frozen crusts.)

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                Pie crust is stupid easy, once you stop worrying AND get the hang of it.
                                                                                                                                                                Lot easier than making bread, seriously!

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: itsmejessica

                                                                                                                                                                Sorry if I am late to the party, but the other reason to make pie crust from scratch is for the scrap "cookies".

                                                                                                                                                                Perhaps a weird thing from my childhood, but I still take the "left over" and make it into pie-crust-men (like gingerbread men?). Simple strips work too.

                                                                                                                                                                Brush on butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and bake.
                                                                                                                                                                Secret? Sometimes I like this better than the actual pie. Sssshhh.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                  My mother was a great pie crust and pie baker. I too especially loved the cinnamon and sugar scraps. She never made them into any shape, just what was left over.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                    My grandmother had a special small tin pie pan just for scraps with butter/cin/sugar. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                    ooh, yes! Best part of making pie crusts from scratch! Reminds me of every Thanksgiving since...I can't remember when. And, while we're on confessions - I loooooove eating the raw scraps from pie dough too!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                                                                                                      Uhm....pedalfaster and I were not eating the pie dough raw. It was topped with cinnamon and sugar and then baked.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm with ItalGrey, I like the leftover crust baked with c&s AND raw. hehe

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, yes, yes! It was always a race in Mom's kitchen... Bro and I hoovering them down while Mom's trying to get them into the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Roasting chicken and making bread came easy to me. I was baking loaves of bread when I was in 5th grade in 4-H making a huge mess of my mom's kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                  However!
                                                                                                                                                                  I confess to just trying to fry chicken (A whole cut up chicken) for the first time this week. (mixed results).
                                                                                                                                                                  Fish. I've never fileted a fish in my life. I've never cooked fish. Closest I have come are scallops and shrimp. I bought the Peterson Fish and Shellfish cookbook and studied it. Nope. Can't make myself do it.
                                                                                                                                                                  And I just made homemade pasta for the first time this year. (Not that intimidating but it did completely trash the kitchen.)
                                                                                                                                                                  Edited to add: I also have not ventured into any Indian, Chinese or Japanese style of cooking. And very little Tex/Mex or Mexican. I read about it a lot :D

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting! I've never actually made fried chicken either - I fry lots of other stuff, but I've never been a huge fan of fried chicken so it never seemed worth the bother. My DH loves it though, so someday I'll do it just for him. I've also never fileted a whole fish, although I cook pre-fileted fish pretty regularly. I just steamed my first lobsters last Christmas, too.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I find it fascinating that so many of us have a blind spot in our repertory.

                                                                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                                      I'd be more surprised if someone didn't.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                                        I really do believe that if it's something we really, really love, we'll learn to make it...if we can't find a good version in a nearby restaurant. That's what got me started on Asian dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                          So true. It's the reason I make bagels and pizza. They're both cheap enough not to bother, if you can get good ones, but I can't.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, you make bagels? I'm impressed.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                              Bagels are kinda fun to make. I was doing it for a while, but stopped when I realized the drive to the local bagel shop and the approx $8 per dozen made it the easier option!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                I've done it too. They come out "weird" compared to the non-poached varieties. Hard on the stand mixer though (stiff dough).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                  "Non-poached" varieties? A bagel that isn't poached? Also, the dough I use is just regular dough, the secret is in the poaching water.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                    I get the impression that a lot of bakeries skip that step.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                      I "poach" mine - don't use lye or whatever they sometimes use, but dunk 'em in boiling water with baking powder in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                        I use baking soda.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not sure what Chowrin means by the "non-poached varieties."
                                                                                                                                                                                        If it's not poached, it's not a bagel, just a round bun with a hole in the middle.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                          You're right...my bad...it's baking soda, not baking powder as I said above. I've also done them with malt syrup and just plain boiling water. Doesn't appear to be a big difference between all of these approaches.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                            :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                        Many of the commercial ones are merely steamed in the oven. Gives a really different feel. It takes a more dedicated baker to actually poach 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                        You're supposed to use a stiffer dough to get a denser crumb.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                          I like mine.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Roast chicken? Sure.
                                                                                                                                                                              Bread and pie crust? Still a work in progress.
                                                                                                                                                                              Homemade pasta. Nope. Making a mountain of flour, then a well in the middle for eggs, slowly bringing flour in...wth? Why can't I just mix it in a bowl?

                                                                                                                                                                              Also pastry creams and wine. Too many different types, not even sure where to begin to learn about them.

                                                                                                                                                                              38 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                I made my homemade pasta in a bowl. I put the flour in and made the well, then put in the eggs in the middle of the well and stirred with a fork. Way easier and way less mess than doing it on the countertop.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thirty five years ago I spent over $200.00 (that was a lot of money back then) for a pasta machine that made the dough, kneaded the dough, then extruded it into any shape I chose. Then I discovered I don't like fresh pasta. Unless you dry it and age it, you cannot achieve "al dente." So for 35 years the pasta machine has lived in a box in the garage. Store bought pasta achieves al dente every time!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                    that's still a lot of money, at least in my kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've read that extruded pasta has "issues," versus rolled pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                        I love Bucatini and can never find it dried in the markets here. I've considered getting a pasta extruder just for that pasta. Then I realize it reminds me of the pasta in Chef Boy r Dee products...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                          Check DiPalo's website. Also I find almost anything on Amazon!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm late responding to a LOT of posts I would have liked to reply to because of stupid COMPUTER PROBLEMS...!!! Do I look different? I'm now a bonafide GEEK...! In the last ten days I have reformatted 3 hard drives, updated the BIOS on two computers (to no avail so I had to return them to the vendor), and I'm sick of it allllllllll.......!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          ANYWAY... I have tried rolling my pasta, cutting it by hand, cutting it on a "guitar," extruding it from my stupidly expensive machine, and even buying "fresh" pasta from a gourmet pasta shop.... I just don't seem to be a big fan of fresh pasta OR skinless wieners... It's gotta be a texture thing. '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                            " I'm now a bonafide GEEK"

                                                                                                                                                                                            Um, just now? You were not in the past? Totally kidding you Caroline. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            In all seriousness, what is a skinless wiener? Is it a wiener sans a natural casing?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes. Sans casing, and in America most "skinless wieners" have the exact same texture as the hot dog bun. Leaves your mouth wondering, "Where's the beef!"

                                                                                                                                                                                              My geekdom persists. Last night I was about to hit "send" for a post in the exotic foods thread when the brand spanking new computer (workstation) decided to reboot without so much as a by-your-leave, and I lost the whole lengthy post! That computer is now repackaged and waiting for a FedEx pick up in the morning! The saga of "The Road to Geekdom" continues. <sigh> It may be another week before I'm up and running. I'm writing this on my notebook computer. We are NOT on good terms. It hates me and the feeling is mutual. |-(

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                      I make my pasta dough in the FP. Turns our perfect every time.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                        Pasta dough is on my bucket list. Along with tortillas. Biscuits are BACK on the list after conquering them years ago, then not baking any for a long time. Now they're sort of meh. A work in progress, like fluffy, soft hot dog buns. But I have lately crossed off perfect Neapolitan pizza dough and multigrain sandwich bread. Boom!

                                                                                                                                                                                        I just realized that everything on my bucket is food related.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                          I've made pasta a few times. Not worth the effort, IMO. Gnocchi, now that is worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                            I did try pasta a few times back in the day, when I had an Atlas pasta machine, the hand crank variety. You're right, it was a bit of a pain.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd really like to try my hand at ravioli. I think that would be a big $$ saver, and wouldn't take forever to make. A little ricotta, some parm, maybe a bit of parsley or spinach, should be pretty easy, yes?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                              Definitely takes one step out - the slicing of it. I have the attachments to my KA stand mixer. You still have to roll it thinner and thinner and thinner. From 1 to 8, I usually can't get past 7. It takes a lot of time and I don't make it nearly as much as I eat pasta but it's a game changer when I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                I love making the super super thin sheets of lasagna noodles with the pasta maker. Makes a heck of a mess in the kitchen but the results are so tasty. Lots of extra layers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It transformed lasagna for me. Bob has helped the process a lot. After the first couple of 'clicks' he's there to take the sheets from me and hand me the next.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It makes a completely different lasagna from what I made before, c.oliver. I used the smitten Kitchen recipe and just was amazed at the results. Prevously I used the store bought noodles, red sauce, ricotta, mozz, meat etc. It is definitely worth the work!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I make Hazan's green lasagna. No ricotta or mozza. Noodles, béchamel and Bolognese sauces and grated Parm. Rich but not heavy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll have to see if I can find the recipe for that online.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is the one that I first used my homemade paper thin lasagna noodles with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2012/0...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for that link, Firegoat. I love all things Bolognese but haven't yet found the sauce recipe that's like Baby Bear, "Just Right". I've come close, but so far, no joy. This looks like it might be just what I'm looking for, it's got all my favorite things, and nothing extra, plus everything is cooked in it's own slow time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't you love Ann Burrell's approach to food? She's got just the right mix of playful (her manner, not the food) and passionate when she's cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ann Burrell's short ribs were just amazing. I have two lamb shanks in the freezer and plan to go back to Anne as far as how to cook them. She can be over the top and have crazy hair, but her food speaks to me. I haven't had a recipe based on one of hers go wrong yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DuffyH I LOVED the way it came out. And I was a huge skeptic. Should I add mozz? Should I add tomatoes? It was a big wonderful leap of faith just to do it exactly as written.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've done that, but really didn't prefer the super thin noodles, I found that they kind of cooked up to gumminess. I think if I were to make lasagne noodles again, I wouldn't take it to the thinnest setting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It worked for me on the Smitten Kitchen recipe. It would NOT have worked had I used my usual recipe with red sauce and more cheese which is much heavier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here's Hazan's recipe:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.crumblycookie.net/2008/01/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      After rolling out the noodles, there are several more pretty critical steps to get rid of some of the starch. Never gummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting, but I will still probably stop a click earlier. The rinsing and drying steps make sense. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I usually stop at 7 instead of 8 but last time I wish I'd done the final one. I actually ran a little short of pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I find that stopping at 6 on the KitchenAid roller and then blanching and drying the noodles before assembling the lasagne gives me the best results. I like Hazan's Bolognese recipe but my go-to is this one from Mario Batali (I cut down the oil/butter and usually use all beef or beef/pork instead of veal/pork): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't have the KA, but may get it, along with the meat grinder. Husband gave me the big pro model for Christmas! yay! I use that countertop atlas(?) model. Which my husband lovingly washed for me. So, I don't use it that much. I think I got all the dried bits of flour/water paste out of it....
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think my lasagne noodles would have been perfect for ravioli, but too thin for my taste for lasagne. Thanks for the link!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have the pasta attachment for KA and like it a lot BUT I do not like the meat grinder and am very sorry I bought it and cannot return it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A while back I started a topic on CH re grey ooze coming from the grinder. It's a good idea to check that out before you buy one. If you have trouble finding it, let me know and I'll try to get it for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have the grinder attachment but haven't used it. My bf used it once and did a horrible job on some pork shoulder. I doubt he followed directions but I would like to find your topic before I go down that road as I am looking forward to making my own grind for hamburger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I've read about that, then just the other day, saw Anne Burrell make some sausage with hers. So, I'm not sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have the grinder attachment and haven't had any problems with it. I do occasionally get some gray ooze, but it's just fat/connective tissue that is getting wrapped around the auger and picking up color/carbon from the metal die/auger. No big deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's the thread:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759360

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think this should happen; I have a real meat grinder, also, that I use to grind chicken w/bones for raw cat food and I have never ever had grey ooze from it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, I saw the thread - in my experience, though, I only get the grey ooze after I've run the die/auger through the dishwasher, which has a tendency to leave a powdery grey residue on certain metal items (and comes off when said items come in contact with fat), and if my meat isn't sufficiently cold. I don't worry about it - it's easy enough to watch as the meat comes out and pick out any gray bits anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I never ever put mine in the dishwasher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We have a KA 300 watt machine and have had no problem with the grinding attachment. It is a 1997 model, so that may be why it works without the gray ooze.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KSM9...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I make egg noodles regularly -- definitely worth the effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I had a pasta extruder and an Atlas, and never used either on of them, so they were sent off to someone else's life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. <sigh> KM, I keep opening this thread to see if there's a happy post from you sharing your joy over your first buttered roast chicken... NOTHING YET...!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        PLEASE get with the program! Pretty please? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                          hope he didnt go with the deep fry a turkey!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                            umm... so in the middle of summer in Honolulu in an 5x8 kitchen with no windows you think im gonna roast a chicken? I appreciate your encouragement, but you will need to wait till at LEAST mid september. Deal?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                              My supermarket a had good price on whole chicken this week, so I'm roasting it in my slow cooker. I build a base of onions and carrots, then place the bird on that. Aluminum foil crumpled into rings works just as well, but I like the extra oomph for my gravy. I often bring the slow cooker outside to the lanai in summer, keeps all the heat out of the kitchen. There's no crispy skin, but I don't eat skin, so I don't care.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              After stripping the carcass, I'll toss the scraps right back in the slow cooker tomorrow for homemade stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A friend of mine lives in Sacramento where it regularly breaks 100 and recently was about 110 IIRC :( He bought an "oven roaster" which he uses on his patio (Y'all call it a lanai!) I haven't seen it but similar to this. He can even bake a pie in it! Looks pretty slick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.nesco.com/products/Roaster...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My mother used one of those for about the last fifty years of her life!! For the same reason: To keep the heat out of the kitchen! She roasted a turkey about six times a year (not always served with cranberry sauce, but one turkey will feed a lot of guests.) Every time I see one of those I get this mental image of my mother's back steps with the roaster sitting on it so she didn't have to travel too far to baste it. Memories!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had kinda the same reaction when I saw the picture. I don't remember exactly who in my family (hot and humid Atlanta summers) had one but I do remember it. I thought my friend was pretty dang smart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those electric roasters are ubiquitous in Minnesota. The cheap models go for about $30 and if they're only going to be used a few times a year, they seem to hold up ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. This discussion made me smile, I think most households have roast chicken dinner at least once a week in the colder months as it is so economic compared to red meats in the uk.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                For something a little different, check out Oprah's version of Jamie Oliver's Lemon Roast chicken in milk, sounds odd, looks odd but is delicious! Enjoy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.oprah.com/food/Lemon-and-M...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lucylockett

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for that link, lucy. I keep eyeing Jamie's chicken and milk recipe (I've had a copy in my files for years) and then demurring because of the basting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lucylockett

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's a recipe written by a real chef.... NOT!!! "Discard the neck and giblets"??? What kind of idiot does that! <sigh> I will look for Jaimie Oliver's own (NON-own) recipe. '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't mean to be bitchy, but the recipe reminded me of the cooking classes I taught years ago for "new" cooks, as in divorced or widowed people (turneddd out to be mostly males) who needed to learn to cook "from scratch," as in "If a recipe calls for two eggs, take them out of the shell first!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Discard the neck and giblets..." mumblemumblemumblegrumblegrumble

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <<< makes a note: find grandma's giblet gravy recipe . . . (did she use a recipe??, probably not)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There's a recipe for that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There are recipes for EVERYTHING

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here's one from Paula Deen herself (sorry, couldn't resist)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Although I prefer the one from Alton Brown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How about Martha Stewart?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.marthastewart.com/343862/g...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or a 'non-celeb' recipe from Epicurious:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now you're just showing off. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I've never made satisfactory basic white rice in a saucepan. Tried a number of times, but that just stopped when I got a rice maker...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Risotto and paella are otherwise, and there I feel confident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    63 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A saucepan is the only way I've done it, except risotto. Sometimes it isn't perfect, but usually it's spot-on. I get the best results with a quasi-pilaf style, slightly toasting the rice with a little butter before adding the liquid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still, I've been debating a rice cooker for several years. I just don't think I want another appliance on my countertop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If I got one it should be programmable, yes? So I can do more varieties of rice with it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've only done plain, long grain white rice, but I've done quinoa and it's turned out fine. Mine is the MOST basic. I've not looked in the 'science' out them. Do they sense when the liquid is gone and then cut off?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In reply both to c oliver and DuffyH: a cheapo rice cooker like a Rival without any programming functions can make great rice. My current one is a step up in quality: a larger (5 cup?) Zojirushi model that I bought from some Koreans who were heading back home after their year in the USA with it. Zojirushi is a GOOD brand for anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But to c oliver: yes, the way these cookers work is with a thermostat. Water cannot go over 211-212 degrees, so the only way for the rice to go above that temperature is when the water has been fully absorbed, and that's when steam and mass can start to go higher and burn the rice. But that's exactly when the rice maker shuts off. So rice makers, without any attention from you, can stop cooking at the precisely correct moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          All the people who say you can or even should cook rice in a saucepan need to acknowledge that a fairly careful degree of watchfulness, as well as experience, is called for there. And all that is for rice that is (IMO) no better that what a cheap set-it-and-forget-it rice maker can do. I'm not into stupid gadgets in any way. But basic rice cookers really rock and let you attend to other things instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you, thank you thank you ! You explained it so well. As I've said, an extraordinarily good cook recommended it to me and I'm now an acolyte (?sp). And, yes, it frees you (and a burner) for other things. And it holds it at a low temp for bout 20 minutes IIRC. Great flexibility.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't often cook white rice. But everytime I did cook it I just put it into a saucepan for 18 minutes and it came out fine everytime that I can recall. I cook brown rice more often than white rice and I can't seem to get it right every time. Of course I seem to use a different brand of brown rice every time I buy it. (The only rice I really like is fried rice. I will make a brown rice/wild rice pilaf once in a while.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was going to hit "recommend" but decided instead to say that i completely agree with what you have said. I lived in Korea for a couple of years and one of the friends I made there grew up in a traditional farmhouse in the country. The kitchen was at one end and had a long concrete counter/shelf along one wall. in one section of the counter there was a perfectly round hole about 16" in diameter with a firebox/hearth under it. When it was time to cook rice mom or grandma would take some hot coals from the main hearth and pile them in this location then drop the rice pot through the hole, the rim of the pot keeping it above the coals. Wow. Talk about a high level of watchfulness. But of course these women had been doing it all their life, and the rice was - of course - perfect. Plus it had the best layer of "koge rice" ive ever seen, something you will never get from a good rice cooker (so sad.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't have trouble making rice on a gas or electric stove, but a rice cooker, even the simple old rival or toshiba that I've had for 25 years sure makes it easier. And yes, the programmable ones are great. A friend has one, but their family makes a minimum of 5 cups of rice every day. I might make 2 or 3 cups once or twice a week (at the end of the 2nd day i turn off the warm setting and the rice goes into the fridge, sooner than that in the summer.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What is "koge rice"? Is that a crusty layer on the bottom, maybe? That is good stuff when it's just right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bada Bing, you're right, in that stovetop rice needs some attention, but it's minimal. Once it reaches the boil, it's left covered and undisturbed for 20 minutes or more, depending on the rice. I usually put the rice on when Dude fires up the grill, or before I start the rest of the meal, based on a typical half-hour dinner prep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Does a rice cooker work in the same amount of time? That would be key for me. I don't tend to plan out my sides in detail, it's more like vaguely thinking about some kind of rice, then making a commitment right before I start cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the deal with stovetop rice is that cooking times will vary from cook to cook, depending on burner output, pan selection, etc... making results less consistent than with a rice cooker. It absolutely helps that I cook our usual white rice in the same pan, on the same burner, every time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rice cookers take the same time. The fact that you generally cook the same rice is definitely a factor in simplifying the situation merely to one of timing. But I cook several types of rice, so that's another way in which the device really helps: whatever the rice, the machine knows when it's done and shuts off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yep, about 20 minutes for me with white rice. I also start it when we start the grill. And when it's done and shuts off, it's still on a warming feature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I suspect that one of the BIG problems here may be that different kinds of rice require different amounts of rice to water ratios, AND different cooking times! If you're only going to make Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, then hey, any old rice cooker will do. However, if you cook different types of rice, then a high end Zojirushi it the way to go... They make a doozie of a model that cooks via induction and has five or six settings for various kinds of rice, including a setting that sprouts brown rice prior to cooking it! Not cheap, so I still cook all of my rices the old fashioned way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But as for preparing rice from scratch in a saucepan, different kinds of rice also require different prepping. Some rice has to be rinsed one or two times, some rice (especially for sushi) has to be rinsed until the rinse water runs clear. Some rice takes as little as 13 minutes to cook while brown rice takes a good 45 minutes. My mother's "two cups of water to one cup of rice, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes" is a good way to ruin a lot of great rice varieties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry if I'm being a curmudgeon tonight, but 10 days of computer miseries has done this to me...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I make basic rice 1X per week....without a rice cooker(aka stovetop).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love the idea though.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 person household.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do we need a rice cooker? Why or why not?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's where I'm at, pedalfaster. 2 people, cooking it at least once per week, double batch. And on the fence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I make rice less often than you or DuffyH, and still I value the rice maker enough that I'd replace it in short order if needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't have the same storage space concerns as some people, but the things are so cheap that it doesn't seem to me like a big-decision issue anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The main thing I value about a rice maker is that it needs no attention and that it holds rice hot, the better ones for quite some time (like, hours). To be able to press a button and then have perfect rice anytime I want after 20 minutes and up to an hour later without doing anything else is a real convenience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, I tend to make rice in double batches (that's why I got the 5-cup), because in order to make great fried rice, you're actually much better off with rice a day or two old. I'm in a two-person household (myself and 13-year-old son). I look forward to a couple of cups of leftover rice, and rarely does it go to waste. Sometimes I actually cook rice with my main intention being to use it the next day or so for a stir-fry fried rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought of this thread cause I just made rice...for my dog :) She's 14 and lately she's been unenthusiastic about breakfast. So she's been getting a little bit of rice and a littler bit of canned food. I just measured 2c water and 1 of rice. Hit the button and left the room. Came back later and it was done and had switched to warm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi pedalfaster,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I make rice frequently without any type of separate "rice cooker" gadget/machine. My Brother gave me one as a present and it does seem to work fine for basic white rices like Jasmine but never seems to work well at all for say harder wild rices or even softer black rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Personally, I love my Zojirushi. Settings for all different types of rice and a keep warm function. I thought I made excellent stove top rice and have been proven wrong by the rice cooker. I got it on sale and because I have a small stovetop and was regularly using it all to cook and having to cook in shifts of food. Love that I can throw the rice in before anything else and don't have to worry about timing issues. I'm not a big gadget person but this was a good purchase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hobbert, if you say it was a good purchase that is an indication I should get one. Do you have a model number/name of the Zojirushi you recommend? Also, how does it differentiate between types of rice? The one I was given simply operates by weight and that never results in perfectly cooked wild rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've got the NS-LAC05. It's got settings for white rice/mixed, quick cooking, sushi, porridge, and brown. I generally do jasmine, basmati, or brown and it turns out perfectly every time. I'd like to try sweet rice but haven't gotten around to it yet. I had a cheapie cooker several years ago and it was useless. Rave reviews of Zojirushis on CH convinced me to buy it and I'm so glad I did!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Hobbert! I will purchase one and see if it also does a good job with wild rice and black rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Let me know how it goes. There are some good rice cooker threads here that I found really helpful. I got mine from Amazon- they had the best prices. The local Asian grocery stores didn't have any Zojirushis unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ho Lee Sheet, Hobbert. I just called the kitchen supply store and that thing costs almost $150!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hope for that price it will not only make my rice, but also make the rest of the dinner and do the dishes as well! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was afraid of that. I've seen rice cookers in large Asian markets for what seem to me VAST sums. Mine cost about $15.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I checked out rice cookers this weekend while at a store here that carries a lot of Japanese products and foods (Don Quijote - yes thats how they spell it - in Honolulu) and they ranged from about $200+ at the high end to as low as $18 for a small one at the low end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And in reference to the comment below, I've done as little as one cup in a 5 cup cooker, but for you a 3 cup sounds right. I did see a very small 1.5 cup cooker for sale, but I'm guessing those aren't easy to find most places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rice cookers are great if you cook rice fairly frequently, and if you have one you will probably find yourself cooking rice more often. But it is certainly not a 'gotta have it' appliance unless you are one of those people who just cant seem to cook a decent pot of rice on the stove. Some of my friends are just amazed that I can do it on the stovetop. Their family has had rice cookers literally for generations and they honestly didn't know rice could be cooked any other way Made their grandmother's laugh. Grandma didn't laugh so much when they found out i like rice with butter and sugar and cinnamon for breakfast, or that my dad likes his with milk. LOL, you should have seen the faces they made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What! I'm definitely doing this butter/sugar/cinnamon concoction. Sounds heavenly. What kind of rice do you use?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've done it with brown, but its best (to me) with plain old white rice, short medium or long grain. Sort of a substitute for rice pudding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We used to have that for suppers (probably at the end of the month), as a take off on a Norwegian dish. We called it grout. Rice cooked in milk, then put on a plate. We'd drizzle it with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. I remember making "rivers" on my dish, dragging the spoon through. We'd also top it with a bit of milk.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mom would use regular white rice. It wasn't as sticky as rice pudding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              <... i like rice with butter and sugar and cinnamon for breakfast, or that my dad likes his with milk.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A childhood breakfast treat in Mom's house. Major yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just had your rice concoction for breakfast and it was amazing! I'm forever in your debt. I'd never thought to sweeten rice but it was absolutely fantastic. Thanks so much!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think I was in my 20's before I realized that everyone didn't eat rice as a hot breakfast cereal. Glad you liked it. Its not what I would serve with dinner, but it makes a great breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Different time zones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So funny that rice with milk & sugar is a new thing! I was raised with that as my breakfast over 50 years ago. Everything old is new again, I reckon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh yeah, it's a racket. Sorry, I kinda figured you knew :) It's worth it for me, but I have a bit of a rice addiction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No need to say sorry, Hobbert. My SO thinks I am looney tunes for the kind of money I spend on knives and copper cookware. You obviously appreciate the rice cooker and use it frequently so $150 is not outrageous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ha. My husband thinks its ridiculous too. Last Christmas, I asked him for a chef's knife and he seemed weirded out that that was all I wanted. He kept asking me if I would really be happy with "just a knife"....it was the best! I like CH because everybody here is just as crazy about food as I am :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When the knife is over a hundred dollars...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Loved your comment about the knife!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I too think it's nice to find a board where folks "get" wanting one great knife...vs. a 12-piece set bought on late-night TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          my coworkers were ready to thump my hubby the year he bought me the big KA for Christmas. They just couldn't understand why I would be so frickin' excited over a MIXER.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So true. We were in Turkey a few months ago and I bought $100 worth of spices. I wouldn't admit that to just anyone. Did share with our two daughters but I kept the "lion's share."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              c oliver--other than jewelry, my biggest expense when we've traveled to India was in spices and other food items. Especially saffron. I think I had 1/2 suitcase of Kashmiri saffron last time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                THATS a lot of saffron :) It was impossible to resist the mountains (small but nonetheless) of spices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most of it was for me, but I did add quite a few to "foodie gift bags" for a bunch of friends for Christmas that year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can completely understand where you are coming from sunshine842. I had been wanting one for years. I'd read about the accessories, making pasta, etc. Seriously, years. I finally got an unexpected bonus at work last summer and after years of being careful with my money, I said screw it! It was KA mixer shopping time! Best gift I've ever bought myself. It sits in a proud spot on the counter taking up way too much room. I really have no idea why I denied myself so long, but it was completely worth it when I did get it. The bf followed up with a gift of the meat grinder attachment. Then I found the pasta attachment on sale. The store only had one of the color I wanted, and they couldn't find the box, so the guys at the store unboxed a different one and boxed her up for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's actually been good for my relationships as well as we've made pasta, bread and sausage together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, Firegoat, I'm still resisting the stand mixer. Every time one goes on sale at CostCo, I read all the reviews all over again. I've been cooking over 50 years, with lots of baking (and bread making), with just a hand mixer (I knead dough by hand). Maybe I'll finally splurge soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you buy it at Costco it's so easy to return it if you end up not liking it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mine was a refurbished one with a full factory warranty from amazon for IIRC about $170.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love having the dough hook.(to make up for years and years of hand kneading) But to be honest, I've had better results when I finish it out kneading by hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That said. I love my KA. I bought the Professional HD in silver. (so it goes with anything). I don't have a color coordinated kitchen. I was used to my mom's Sunbeam being able to lift up the top/motor at an angle, so that took a little big of getting used to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After years of having a dough hook ("well, that's an interesting tool, I wonder what it does") I'm now , at long last, extremely thankful. This novice bread baker finds it indispensable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In 2 short months I've perfected multi-grain bread (thank you, CI), Neapolitan pizza dough (thank you, Mr. Reinhart) and just this week, perfectly soft and fluffy burger and hot dog buns (thank YOU, Georgia Cocolucky and Youtube).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It turns out a dough hook is a wonderful invention! Who knew?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, a VERY special Thank You to the Dude, who critiqued my efforts until he finally said "Perfect! That's a keeper."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BTW - failed bread can still make dandy garlic toast. We've been eating a lot of garlic toast lately. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That dough hook has me making bread a LOT more often than I would without it! It was actually the one feature that made me really really want the mixer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't use it every day, it weighs a fricking ton, and it takes up a lot of space.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But I love it, and have dragged it halfway round the world with me and back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Models at your price point (mid-$100s) usually employ computerized features ("fuzzy logic") to address some pretty precise situations. I use this less advanced 5.5 machine Zoji, currently $92 on Amazon, although I got it for $25 or so off Craigs list:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-NS-RN...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It has done basic white rice, brown, various grades of basmati, jasmine, Calrose, sticky rice, and sushi rice just fine. I have never tried parboiled rice in it, nor yet wild rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The same capacities can be had in Zoji rice makers at the 3-cup size for about $50.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But my first rice maker was a $12, 3-cup Rival, and I never faulted the rice it made. It was just too small for my needs sometimes. Plus it had an aluminum insert, which sometime could be hard to clean, and potentially reactive. When I saw the larger Zoji on Craigslist, and with a quality non-stick insert, then I jumped on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yep, fuzzy logic is what caused the jump in price for mine. Craigslist is a fabulous idea, though. A rice cooker can be sanitized pretty thoroughly so I wouldn't have any concerns about buying it from a stranger. I've been eyeing the Calrose rice at the store recently. Tell me, how does it work for you? What dishes are you using it in? I rarely buy medium grain rice and I'm not sure how I'd put it to use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I should look at craigslist. We have a second home and the other rice cooker is nonstick. The first one isn't and I waste rice which I don't like. Thanks for the tip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've seen those but it seemed like there was a minimum of more rice than I normally cook at one time. I usually do 1 cup of rice. ???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I usually do one cup. I have a 3 cup model since I'm really only cooking rice for myself. Works perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gosh: people and their rice-making methods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's starting here to approach the Baroque complexities of "What's proper chili?" or--dare I say it?--"What's the best BBQ?" That's heady company.... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (raising hand) Ooh, I know! Pick me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The best BBQ is smoky, tender beef, pig or (ok, yes) chicken. How is it made? I don't give a rip. You can cook it in a Crockpot for all I care. Deliver on the smoky and the tender and I'll be your best friend and take you to the circus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And please, don't insist that I drench it in sauce or sog up a bun. Just pile it on my plate and I'll buy the cotton candy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, but if you live in an area with heavy asian influence there is NOTHING more important than having good rice. Many sins can be forgiven, but serving a bad bowl of rice is simply beyond the pale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It appears that you and Fowler have taken me to be cavalier about rice. That's not so, nor borne out in my remarks. And if my remark about "Baroque complexities" was able to inflame such response, then maybe what I meant as a joking aside has more truth than I realized. Want to start a fight in Texas: tell some guy your beef and bean chili beats his. In fact, just tell him it's chili!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think of myself as being quite consistently gracious. It's unusual to feel I've inspired aversion or wrath.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps my response to your comment was too blunt, I didrealize yours was somewhat tongue in cheek, making vague allusions to prevous threads on the subjects you mentioned. I agree with you that that the rice discussion has taken on more energy than I thought it would, especially for a primarily euro-centric group of posters. Not to offend anyone, but most of us here did not grow up in or live in asia for any significant length of time, I was only there for 3 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I appreciate your gracious response--and it bears saying, too, that you are one of those posters whose judgments I've come to respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  'Ae, KM is worth following. He starts these amazing, self-deprecating, always pono threads... We should all be more like...