Top 10 Food Questions From The Internet

I have spent the last week searching the internet for the most asked questions about food and cooking. The list below is what I found to be the top ten most asked out of all of those questions. I hope that the below information is useful to you and if you have a question about food or cooking feel free to leave it in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer it. So here are my answers to the…

Top 10 Food Questions From The Internet

wpid-dsc_0260.jpg1. What is braising? –  Braising is a cooking technique using liquid and low heat to break down or tenderize tougher cuts of meat. If you have ever made a stew you have braised meat. When braising it is good to brown your meat before adding the liquid, this adds depth to the overall flavour. Once your meat has become fork tender (you can easily stick a fork in it) it is a good idea to cool it in the braising liquid over night. While the meat is cooling it will actually absorb some of the liquid lost while cooking. This is why stew tastes better the next day.

2. How do you cook a perfect pork chop? – This is a subjective question. What you determine is the perfect pork chop may not be the same as what I would say. I can say that brining your pork chop is always a good idea. Brining imparts flavour and allows the pork to retain more of it’s juices. If you want a nice browned exterior on the pork dust it with flour before searing it in a hot pan. Pork chops are one of those cuts that can be cooked with almost any technique. You can braise them, pan fry them, broil them, grill them, really anything. For me I prefer to brine them for 24 hours, pan sear them to develop good caramelization, and then finish them under a broiler to crisp up the fat. As for what to serve with and on your pork chops, almost anything will work. Pork has a fairly neutral flavour and because of that will go with almost anything.

3. What is duck confit? – Confit is a cooking technique were an ingredient (most commonly duck legs) is cooked at low heat completely submerged in fat. In the case of duck legs they are usually cooked in duck fat. This technique was originally used as a preservation technique. Once the duck is cooked it would be left in the fat and cooled. If stored in a cool dry place, the duck completely submerged in fat would keep for a few months. Usually when making duck confit the legs are cured in a salt and sugar mixture for a day or two prior to the cooking process. This draws a lot of moisture out of the duck which aids in the preservation. Luckily as the duck is slow cooked in the fat it becomes so tender that it will literally melt in you mouth. This technique is now used for a lot of different ingredients. Everything from garlic, to pork neck is being cooked with the confit method. All this means is that the ingredient is being slow cooked in fat for a long period of time.

4. What is the best way to peel and chop garlic? – The easiest way to peel garlic is to chop off the root end of the clove, then crush the clove with the flat edge of your knife. Once the clove is crushed you can easily remove the skin. The easiest way to chop garlic is to just give it a rough chop with your knife. Once you have roughly chopped garlic sprinkle some salt on it. Now, use the flat side of your knife and rub the garlic and salt together. The salt will act as an abrasive and will essentially puree the garlic. The salt will also absorb all the juice that is coming out of the garlic so it is not lost.

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5. What does browning meat mean and how do you do it? – Browning meat is exactly what it sounds like. You are taking meat be it in cubes, strips, steaks, or ground and adding it to a hot pan with a little oil. Browning caramelizes the natural sugars in the meat and will add a deeper richness to the flavour of the final dish. A way to aid this process is to dredge your meat in flour before adding it to the pan.

6. What is blanching and shocking? – Blanching and shocking is a technique in which an ingredient, usually a vegetable is plunged into boiling water and then into ice cold water. This technique is great for keeping green beans green if you are going to freeze them. It also works great for peeling tomatoes, just make a little cross cut on the bottom of the tomato, blanch and shock it and the peel will come right off.

7. What is tempering? – Tempering is a technique used when adding hot liquid to another ingredient that may curdle or over cook if too much heat is applied too fast. An example of this would be if you were adding hot butter to egg yolks to make hollandaise sauce. You would only add a few drops of the butter at a time to begin with. This allows the temperature of the egg yolks to slowly rise. If this was done too quickly you would end up with very buttery scrambled egg yolks. Tempering is also a term used when dealing with chocolate. In the context of chocolate it can mean the same as the above description but the term can also be used for adding solid chocolate to melted chocolate. This lowers the temperature of the melted chocolate, raises the temperature of the solid chocolate to the point of melting, and it will give the chocolate a nice snap and shine when it has cooled.

8. How do you know when meat is done? – There is a fool proof way to tell if meat is done and that is to stick a thermometer in it. What temperature you want the meat cooked to depends on the meat you are using and your personal preference. With experience you can tell what temperature meat is cooked to simply by touching it. If the meat is very firm it is probably well done. If it has a little spring to it it is likely medium to medium well, if it is very squishy when you touch it it is rare. If you are going to use a thermometer, chicken pieces should be cooked to 165°F  and whole chicken to 180°F. Beef temperatures are 145°F for rare, 160°F for medium, and 170°F for well done. Pork should usually be cooked to 160°F.

wpid-dsc_0944.jpg9. What is the difference between bread flour, pastry flour, and all purpose flour? – Flour is not all the same. All purpose flour can act as a substitute in most recipes but usually if a recipe specifies the type of the flour to use there is a reason. What it all boils down to is the type and amount of protein in the flour. Bread flour generally has a high concentration of strong gluten proteins. This is important in bread making so the loaf will be strong enough to support itself once risen. Cake and pastry flour have lower protein counts which gives cakes and pastry a much nicer crumb than bread or all purpose flour would. All purpose flour is kind of right in the middle.

10. What can I do with an unripened avocado? – If you have an unripened avocado you can either leave it at room temperature for a few days and let it naturally ripen, or you can place the whole avocado in a bowl of flour. There is an enzyme in the flour which causes the avocado to ripen faster. This technique will ripen an avocado in 6 – 12 hours as opposed to a few days when allowing the avocado to ripen naturally. Other than that you don’t really want eat an unripened avocado they are pretty gross.

There it is my answers to the top 10 questions about food on the internet. I hope this was helpful and again if you have anything questions that didn’t make the list feel free to ask in the comments section below.

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About Chef Benjamin Kelly

I have spent the last fifteen years cooking professionally and gaining an education in kitchens all across the country culminating in achieving my "Red Seal Cook" status. I have cooked for the governor general, a lieutenant governor, heads of major political parties, actors, musicians, professional athletes, and countless satisfied customers. Through all this the most important lessons I have learned are to be prepared and to keep it simple. My love of food comes from my mother. Some of the first and fondest memories I have are of cooking at my mothers side. She and I, would spend snowy winter days making tea biscuits and corn chowder, shepherd's pie, goulash, baked beans and oatmeal bread, or any number of other things. In the fall we would make pickles and preserves and forage for wild berries and mushrooms in the woods around our house. Our little farm supplied us with vegetables, herbs and meat in the form of chicken and turkey as well as their eggs. Most of the food we ate that we didn't grow came from other farms in our area, farmers who we knew by name. Growing up so close to where my food was coming from I gained a deep respect for the things we eat. That respect is something that I still carry with me. The lessons I learned at my mothers side, and on our little farm have stayed with me. I hold on to the memories, beliefs, and values. It is those things that have made me who I am today.
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One Response to Top 10 Food Questions From The Internet

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Ways To Change Your Burger Game Forever | Chef's Notes

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