kitchen noobitude

i’ve been cooking a lot the past week because i didn’t really get to cook at all in cornell and i missed cooking. there were hits and misses, and here are the few things i’ve picked up, and that has to be recorded since they don’t appear in recipes and can only be gleaned from experience.

On emperor chicken.
– Use the whole spice satchet even if it looks like it’s more than enough.
– Use dates/wolfberries as stuffing.
– You do not have to skin the wings. and most of the skin will sorta melt upon steaming into a disgusting, greasy mess.
– The satchet says to steam (on low fire – not specified) for 2.5 hrs, 2 hrs is enough.
– Removing bits from inside the chicken is disgusting. You can always use a spoon and hope no one notices there’s stuff still in there.
On scallops.
– You boil them, and then you cool them. Do NOT leave them in the saucepan and then go for a bath. Yeah i guess this is rather obvious I just wasn’t thinking. scallops are difficult! Also, most dishes with scallops are boiled first, before lopping the sauce on later.
On steamed fish
– Removing the innards means removing all the red bits inside the fish. Most of it should have been removed by the fishmonger. or the pescivendolo (awesome italian vocab!). Make sure he removes the scales too! don’t be a noobcake like my mum.
– Cut a few slits on both sides of the body of the fish so it can be steamed thoroughly and the sauce can make its way in.
On waffles
– Always grease the waffle machine! Just because the dining halls do it for you does not mean your personal waffle machine will be automatically greased!
– Pour the batter to cover about 70% of the mould, obviously not the whole thing because self raising flour expands, as the name indicates.
– When the recipe says ½ tsp of salt, it means a pinch of salt. Then again what kind of noob puts ½ tsp of salt in a waffle batter recipe? Obviously it’s too much.
On soufflé
– Ramekins are difficult to find.
– The egg whites must be thoroughly beaten. Until there are stiff peaks.
On random stir-fry dishes
– Do not mix chinese sauces with western sauces. Or chinese sauces with western condiments.
– Nearly the only pepper that goes with chinese food is white pepper.

Ok more will be added as and when I try new things. This week I did a lot of chinese cooking, but monday i’ll be doing shepherd’s pie with yuanjun, which i shld already be fluent at but you never know with the lack of practice.

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