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ladyamylynn

Ask a professional

33 posts in this topic

Hey guys! I'm a professional chef. Have questions? Need ideas or advice? I can help! 

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I will be asking a lot of questions! 

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9 hours ago, DaniLouisiana said:

I will be asking a lot of questions! 

Get to it please! I don't even know where to start, but I am super interested.

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When a recipe calls for caramelizing onions, do you recommend using one of the sweet varieties of onions? Do you have a favorite variety for this purpose?

Thanks! 

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Okay, dearling, you got it! I can not eat pepper-any kind at all. It starts a fire in my mouth and continues to my stomach!  How do I deal with these recipes with 5 different kinds of hot? What can I sub in for pepper, paprika and cayenne? 

I do like horseradishes-different type of hot.

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I've got another one, @ladyamylynn! I have a wonderful, fantastic shrimp salad recipe with one problem-it has mangoes in it. This recipe is how I discovered that I have a horrible allergy to mangoes! If you could please find a substitute it would be fantastic! The recipe also has red onions, avocados,  water chesnuts, shrimp and soy sauce +a touch of oyster sauce as a sub for fish sauce. Shrimp are chopped up with other ingredients and you use romaine leaves to scoop up the salad. 

I really really really miss this salad! Hope that's enough info to fix it! Oh, nectarines and peaches aren't quite "right"...SIL tried that...and added nasty peppers(:annoyed:).

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On 2/21/2017 at 11:39 PM, DaniLouisiana said:

I've got another one, @ladyamylynn! I have a wonderful, fantastic shrimp salad recipe with one problem-it has mangoes in it. This recipe is how I discovered that I have a horrible allergy to mangoes! If you could please find a substitute it would be fantastic! The recipe also has red onions, avocados,  water chesnuts, shrimp and soy sauce +a touch of oyster sauce as a sub for fish sauce. Shrimp are chopped up with other ingredients and you use romaine leaves to scoop up the salad. 

I really really really miss this salad! Hope that's enough info to fix it! Oh, nectarines and peaches aren't quite "right"...SIL tried that...and added nasty peppers(:annoyed:).

I'm obviously not @ladyamylynn, nor am I a professional chef. But I'd try papaya!

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48 minutes ago, JillyO said:

I'm obviously not @ladyamylynn, nor am I a professional chef. But I'd try papaya!

Papaya would work! Otherwise I would say a really fresh, in-season tomato. It's not going to replicate the flavor but you'll get the juicy, sweet, and acidic components. Otherwise add more avocado and a squeeze of lime juice?

On 2/21/2017 at 10:14 AM, Cartmann99 said:

When a recipe calls for caramelizing onions, do you recommend using one of the sweet varieties of onions? Do you have a favorite variety for this purpose?

Thanks! 

I'm in the PNW, so we have Walla Walla sweet onions that I'm partial to. But your standard yellow onion works just fine. To get true caramelization, keep in mind it will take upwards of 20 minutes at medium-low temperatures!

On 2/21/2017 at 0:10 PM, DaniLouisiana said:

Okay, dearling, you got it! I can not eat pepper-any kind at all. It starts a fire in my mouth and continues to my stomach!  How do I deal with these recipes with 5 different kinds of hot? What can I sub in for pepper, paprika and cayenne? 

I do like horseradishes-different type of hot.

This is a tricky one. You're never going to replicate the flavors (sweet, smoky) or the heat that peppers get. I would look for ways to amp up the flavor in other ways. Think garlic, lemon zest, or fresh herbs instead of hot pepper. A little tomato paste might replicate the sweetness. Horseradish does indeed work with meat dishes. Maybe I could be more helpful if you had a specific recipe?  Also, have you ever tried szechuan peppercorns? They're not in the chili or black pepper family, so might not bother you.

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I'd call myself a professional amateur in the kitchen, not a trained chef but I cook and bake with great passion. I'm terrible with meats and meat cuts, though. I never really know how long to cook my meat unless it's either chicken or really red beef in some kind of stew and takes a long time until tender. Could you maybe explain how to prepare veal? When would you recommend veal over beef and vice versa? What is to be avoided when prepping meat (concerning the way it's prepared, not the hygienic aspect) etc. I could really need a little help in the meat department. 

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I'm looking to get my first 'big girl' set of pots and pans, and I am overwhelmed with the options--copper, stainless steel, various other materials. I mostly do fairly typical American food, which will occasionally get a bit fancy, so I'm looking for something fairly middle of the road. Any suggestions?

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52 minutes ago, ViolaSebastian said:

I'm looking to get my first 'big girl' set of pots and pans, and I am overwhelmed with the options--copper, stainless steel, various other materials. I mostly do fairly typical American food, which will occasionally get a bit fancy, so I'm looking for something fairly middle of the road. Any suggestions?

What kind of stove top do you have? I used copper on gas and loved it. If you have induction you need to make sure the pans have a magnetic bottom and are high-quality, i.e. the bottoms don't contain too much entrapped air otherwise the pans will make a screeching sound). If you consider buying stainless steel make sure it really is high quality and actually stainless, 'cause mine came in a packaging that said stainless steel and they still get rusty stains esp. after having been put in the dishwasher. If you cook meats like steak, a non-sealed i.e. no teflon, no ceramics (you seal by burning them in) stainless steel or copper pan is key to get all the roasting flavors and make sure the handles are fire-proof so you can put the pan into the oven. For other stuff like veggies, eggs sunny-side-up etc. I have found a teflon-sealed pan to be the most convenient. I never use metal cookware to scrape in it, so scratching the teflon is a non-issue. I really like that I can put my teflon pans in the dishwasher. I couldn't do that with another pan that was coated with some super special ceramic lining and I fucked it up by putting it in the dishwasher anyway. As regards pots, my totally biased opinion is, the taller the better. I like a small in diameter but tall in height pot more than I do like short and wide ones. I do think that my stuff is less likely to boil over. I love a good 10-quart pot for massive amounts of soup or chili (it's great for canning, too!), a solid 5-quart for all kinds of pasta, soups, etc. and one or several 3-quart pots for sauces, relishes, smaller amounts of food and one or two 1-quart pots for sauces, melted butter, heating up milk etc. For my use, stainless steel does have to suffice as I don't have the money for copper, but I do like the clean looks of stainless steel anyway (copper may change colors from time to time). 

Edited by Pretzel
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@ladyamylynn, I make spaghetti sauce with my garden tomatoes. I'm not much of a cook and my dirty secret is that I take short cuts--I don't peel or de-seed the tomatoes. My sauce is always kind of thin and doesn't stick to the spaghetti.  What am I doing wrong? 

Is it that I'm not de-seeding?  Or do I need to cook them longer? I usually simmer them for about 25 minutes. I always end up adding tomato paste to thicken it. 

Thanks!

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5 minutes ago, catlady said:

@ladyamylynn, I make spaghetti sauce with my garden tomatoes. I'm not much of a cook and my dirty secret is that I take short cuts--I don't peel or de-seed the tomatoes. My sauce is always kind of thin and doesn't stick to the spaghetti.  What am I doing wrong? 

Is it that I'm not de-seeding?  Or do I need to cook them longer? I usually simmer them for about 25 minutes. I always end up adding tomato paste to thicken it. 

Thanks!

Not ladyamylynn but my guess is that your garden tomatoes are high in water content, which isn't bad. Mine are too but their flavor can't be beat, though. I don't think that thickening with tomato paste is bad either, though it messes with the flavor a bit. You can try de-seeding, but I just let the sauce reduce at a very low heat for hours. It's the best. Don't rinse your Spaghetti after cooking, the starch will help the sauce to stick to the Spaghetti, too. 

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11 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

Don't rinse your Spaghetti after cooking, the starch will help the sauce to stick to the Spaghetti, too. 

Wait what? This is a thing? Have I been lied to all my life, or is this specific advice for @catlady?

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5 minutes ago, Destiny said:

Wait what? This is a thing? Have I been lied to all my life, or is this specific advice for @catlady?

Usually, I like my Spaghetti al dente and rinsed, i.e. non-sticky. If you want your sauce to stick to the Spaghetti, just put them in the colander after cooking and don't rinse. It's that easy. Heard that many years ago, don't know if that is a popular thing :pb_lol:

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1 minute ago, Pretzel said:

Usually, I like my Spaghetti al dente and rinsed, i.e. non-sticky. If you want your sauce to stick to the Spaghetti, just put them in the colander after cooking and don't rinse. It's that easy. Heard that many years ago, don't know if that is a popular thing :pb_lol:

I do too re: al dente and rinsed, but I had no idea this was true. Mind BLOWN. O.O!

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I would second the thought that your tomatoes are probably high in water content. You can definitely simmer for longer to evaporate the water, but I would suggest you need to choose a tomato variety bred for cooking, e.g. San Marzano or another "paste" tomato. Think romas. They have the added side benefit of having fewer seeds too! A way I like to preserve tomatoes during the height of the season is to chop them, put onto a foil-lined baking sheet with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a minced clove of garlic or shallot and roast them at a really low temp until they basically melt. Scoop them into a freezer bag and toss in the freezer or make them into a quick sauce. 

@Destiny please stop rinsing pasta! For the majority of pasta dishes, cook the pasta 95% of the way to al dente, then quickly drain it and finish cooking in a pan with the hot sauce. Your pasta will actually have a flavor! And please tell me you salt the water! One exception, cold pasta preparations like pasta salad, go ahead and rinse with cold water quickly and then give it a little olive oil. Sorry, pasta gets me fired up. :pb_lol:

Edited by ladyamylynn
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1 minute ago, ladyamylynn said:

@Destiny please stop rinsing pasta! For the majority of pasta dishes, cook the pasta 95% of the way to al dente, then quickly drain it and finish cooking in a pan with the hot sauce. Your pasta will actually have a flavor! And please tell me you salt the water! One exception, cold pasta preparations like pasta salad, go ahead and rinse with cold water quickly and then give it a little olive oil. Sorry, pasta gets me fired up. :pb_lol:

WAIT! You are blowing my mind again. I was always told that combining the pasta and the sauce wasn't how it's to be done. O.O (I do use salt though).

I wasn't joking about fundie kitchen educations being lacking when I made that comment. 

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1 minute ago, Destiny said:

WAIT! You are blowing my mind again. I was always told that combining the pasta and the sauce wasn't how it's to be done. O.O (I do use salt though).

I wasn't joking about fundie kitchen educations being lacking when I made that comment. 

Here's a good visual of what pasta and red sauce should look like. Pasta and sauce are well-integrated and larger chunks (meat, veg, whatever) on top. 

food-john-alberti-pasta-with-italian-sausage-001-tease-today-160920_9b8aa0b0acd6748cd631dfa1e85f1a2f.today-inline-large.jpg

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Hubby is an executive chef, I second all the pasta advice!! 

On pots/pans..gotta have at least one good, well-seasoned cast iron. 

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1 hour ago, Shadoewolf said:

Hubby is an executive chef, I second all the pasta advice!! 

On pots/pans..gotta have at least one good, well-seasoned cast iron

You and I are going to be very good friends! :pb_lol: 

My two cast iron skillets "live" on the back of my stove because I use them so much.

1 hour ago, ladyamylynn said:

I like to preserve tomatoes during the height of the season is to chop them, put onto a foil-lined baking sheet with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a minced clove of garlic or shallot and roast them at a really low temp until they basically melt. Scoop them into a freezer bag and toss in the freezer or make them into a quick sauce.

I've got my fingers crossed that this is the year our garden produces enough tomatoes for eating fresh and for sauce. Thanks for sharing your recipe! :pb_smile:

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Why does my buttercream frosting melt so easily when I decorate cakes using piping? I thought at first it was the butter so I substituted crisco and used a butter flavored extract. It helps a little but is still melting when I try to do detailed work. Also any tips on getting my buttercream frosting to be as smooth and creamy looking as in tutorials I see on YouTube 

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On 25.7.2017 at 3:22 AM, Knight of Ni said:

Why does my buttercream frosting melt so easily when I decorate cakes using piping? I thought at first it was the butter so I substituted crisco and used a butter flavored extract. It helps a little but is still melting when I try to do detailed work. Also any tips on getting my buttercream frosting to be as smooth and creamy looking as in tutorials I see on YouTube 

I assume you are talking American buttercream, i.e. butter and powdered sugar? Please don't ever use anything but real butter for buttercream. I shudder thinking about beaten crisco and sugar on a cake. Smooth and creamy: butter should be at room temperature. Sift the powdered sugar twice. Then you gotta beat it right. As in, beat the shit out of it. Do you have a stand mixer like a Kitchen Aid, Kenwood, Bosch, Breville etc? Beat the butter on medium to high, add the sifted flour gradually beating only on low, when combined beat on high for several minutes until really, really fluffy. My guess is that you don't use enough powdered sugar if your buttercream can't be piped without melting. Also, once the buttercream is beaten to desired fluffiness, flavored or colored, and put in the piping bags...put your bag back into the fridge for a couple of minutes before piping and make sure you wash your hands with really cold water before piping. Always put the bag back into the fridge, or if in a hurry, into the freezer for a few minutes in between piping. 

That said, I hate American butter cream with the white hot passion of a thousand blazing suns. But I keep repeating myself. 

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On 27/2/2017 at 3:29 AM, catlady said:

@ladyamylynn, I make spaghetti sauce with my garden tomatoes. I'm not much of a cook and my dirty secret is that I take short cuts--I don't peel or de-seed the tomatoes. My sauce is always kind of thin and doesn't stick to the spaghetti.  What am I doing wrong? 

Is it that I'm not de-seeding?  Or do I need to cook them longer? I usually simmer them for about 25 minutes. I always end up adding tomato paste to thicken it. 

Thanks!

If you have tomatoes high on water and want to use them for sauce to avoid waste you can squeeze them woth uour hands very well before cooking, this will rid them of much of the water (and seeds). Then when they are cooking at the beginning a clear water-like fluid will surface, take it away as much as possible with a spoon. Another good tip is mixing watery tomatoes with firm paste ones as the ones@ladyamylynn suggested.

On 27/2/2017 at 3:53 AM, Destiny said:

Wait what? This is a thing? Have I been lied to all my life, or is this specific advice for @catlady?

Aaaargh! I really have to do you a favor, come to California to visit and teach you a couple things! I can't think of you eating rinsed pasta! Lol

If spaghetti are starchy after draining either you cooked them too much, or you cooked them with not enough water or you need to buy better quality pasta.

 

On 27/2/2017 at 4:29 AM, Destiny said:

WAIT! You are blowing my mind again. I was always told that combining the pasta and the sauce wasn't how it's to be done. O.O (I do use salt though).

Lately there's this trend among some chefs here of making "pasta risottata". Basically you cook pasta together with its sauce adding liquid (boiling water, broth or what's in the recipe) when needed without draining at the end of course, much like you do with a risotto. It doesn't convince me very much but I need to try it once, people swear it's amazing.

@ladyamylynn I second @Pretzel questions re meat cooking but I can see they are too broad so I'd just be happy if you share a couple of tricks for cooking roastbeef. O love it but mine ends up being either too cooked (no pinky juicy interior) or not enough (bloody).

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4 hours ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

Lately there's this trend among some chefs here of making "pasta risottata". Basically you cook pasta together with its sauce adding liquid (boiling water, broth or what's in the recipe) when needed without draining at the end of course, much like you do with a risotto. It doesn't convince me very much but I need to try it once, people swear it's amazing.

Here in the US, we have a line of boxed dinners called Hamburger Helper. Inside the box is some dry pasta and a packet of powdered seasoning. You brown a pound of hamburger, drain off the grease, and then put the seasoning packet, pasta, and water in your skillet. Bring it to a boil, turn down to simmer, and then slap a lid on it until the pasta and hamburger are cooked through. 

I'm sure whatever your chefs in Italy are making is miles above Hamburger Helper, but whenever I hear about cooking pasta in a sauce, that's where my mind goes. :pb_lol:

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