New Here, Not a Chef, Just a Family Cook

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LizAbbott
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New Here, Not a Chef, Just a Family Cook

Hi All,

My name is Liz Abbott and I am here because I have spent the last 8 years in college for a Masters in Criminal Justice only to find out that I can never do the job. Two years ago I went through Heart Failure and now I am lucky to be able to much of anything, so here I am working on my second passion......FOOD!!!!! 

 

I am 32 years old and I love food. I have tried to give my family the best food I can offer and I want to get better so all my food is the best. I am from Cleveland, Ohio; but now live in NC and I am taking my NC country boy husband and giving him a taste of different cultures. In fact before he met me he never had anything but southern cooking. When we got pregnant with out first child it was the first time he had ever had Chinese food (WOW). In the 12 years we have been married he has tried more food being with me than he had in the 24 years before he met me. I love to cook and when I was younger I had won a full scholarship to a Culinary Arts Institute in NYC and dummy I was I gave it up for a guy (surprisingly enough I won it with my 14 hour spaghetti sauce that mixes Italian and Polish influences). 

 

However, had I gone I probably would have never met my husband, the LOVE of my life. We have 5 wonderful children and cooking in this house often feels like cooking in a restaurant. I love to watch all the cooking shows on T.V. and even have day dreamed about being on one of them, but I have no formal training, and that is why I am here to learn everything I can. 

 

For example, I have seen several videos online on how to break down a whole chicken and it always takes such a long time to do and yet the less that 5 minute video on here has really showed me the proper way to do it and my husband watched it with me and his first response was to say cheater with regard to the disarticulation of the thighs from the bird. I am a scientist and this is a great aid when it comes to the science of cooking. So, I do have something to start with as far as a base of knowledge, but I need help with many aspects of my cooking.

 

So, please forgive me if I ask a lot of questions or come back with errors I may have made with different techniques and or recipes. I have never really been good at following recipes I have always used my tongue and or nose to cook with so please bear with any ridiculous questions I may ask. Oh, I also ramble even when I type (LOL) so, I will do my best to keep my posts short and to the point. Again, it is nice to be here and I look forward to learning a lot from all those willing to share and I will share any ideas I may have on here as well.

 

Thank You All

 

Liz Abbott 

GreenBake
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Welcome!

 

Knowing how to cook well will help you prepare food that is tailored to your and your family’s health needs.

 

Plus knowing how to cook and involving your children will enable them to take better care of themselves later on with wise choices. Plus it *can* help them save money if they choose wisely... that’s the difficult part :)

 

You couldn’t have found a better place to get started learning!

LizAbbott
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GreenBake,

 

Thank you for the Welcome and I agree with you about getting them to make better choices when it comes to food. I am just still scared to let them cook in my kitchen, I have lost a lot of good cooking utensils that way......lol.

 

Thank You

Liz Abbott

GreenBake
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There are some good buys out there. Some of those good buys (like cast iron) take extra care, but they can last several lifetimes if cared for properly.

 

As Chef Jacob has said, you don’t need to have many knives (just smart choices) and they don’t have to be expensive. Just don’t order your knives at 3 AM in the morning from crazy “Chef” who says you can a (useless) set for only $19.99 (plus $hipping & handling and future marking spam)

 

Get a honing steel that keep your knife edges straight (never a sharping steel for this purpose). And learn when to recognize it needs real sharpening.

LizAbbott
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GreenBake,

 

It is so funny you mentioned the 3 am knife thing. My husband actually did that a few years back and I have been trying to get rid of them ever sense. Not only did he buy the entire knife set (more than 19.99) but he got the God awful flat wear set to go with it as well. I was asleep when he made this bone head purchase and the worst part it was a gift for me. I am now on the hunt for a great set of cookware, some great knives, and a great set of bake ware. I have been recently sent to the disability list and as a result I have a lot of time on my hands and a disability check coming in soon, so I am getting my kitchen in TRUE order. I think I may keep some of my older pans for the kids to use (and my husband), this way they don't destroy my stainless again.....lol. I also plan on getting a knife case or roll of some kind so I can lock up my knives from people that cut the bottoms off of live Christmas trees with them (that would be my husband yet again) and ruin the blades completely. I am just soooooooooooooooooooooo picking in the kitchen it is not even funny. Oh and I hate a dishwasher, I think it was the worst invention in the world. I think hand washing is safer and makes the dishes and utensils last longer. My husband's dishwasher has clamed the lives of many of my dishes and cooking utensils. I have had to revamp my cast iron more than once from him or my kids putting in the dishwasher......ARGGGGGG.........drives me insane......lol. Oh that is the only TRUE thing I have in my kitchen that is not getting replaced, my cast iron. I have a complete and full 12 piece set of cast iron and I love it, when its not being put in the dishwasher....lol.  

Jacobite
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Welcome to Stella, Liz.  Don't worry about ridiculous questions: the only ridiculous question is the one you don't ask because you think it may be ridiculous. 

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Brian. I'll eat anything that doesn't eat me first.

LizAbbott
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LOL you got a point there. There is so much I have discovered that I don't know I have already asked so many questions. There are so many things running through my mind it's not even funny.

 

Thank You

Liz Abbott

Wisconsin Limey

Welcome Liz, it's all kinds o' crazy around here!  :)

Zalbar
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Hey Liz, welcome to the forums!

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New Guy: "I thought you weren't supposed to cut towards yourself?"

 

Me: " No, YOU aren't supposed to cut towards yourself. I know what I'm doing"

Nina
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Welcome Liz, you have found a great site.

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Julia Child  

labradors
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Welcome, Liz!

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"Cooking is three things: passion, passion and passion." -- Samantha Vallejo-Nágera - MasterChef España

Zalbar
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Welcome to the forums Liz. The more questions the better!

LizAbbott
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Thank You everyone for the warm welcomes. I am already enjoying the site and I am sure I will enjoy it even more as I start producing more and more food.

 

Thank You

Liz Abbott

LizAbbott
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Hi All,

 

I was just sitting here with the baby watching "Little Bear" and then the two year old asked me to make an apple pie. I have a great apple pie recipe, but my hiccup is the crust. I am trying to figure out what I am doing wrong with my pie crust.. At times it comes out like bread and sometimes it comes out like gum. I have done the ice water and taken my time, but for some reason the crust never comes out right. I have resorted to buying pie crusts and taking the dough out of one pan to make my top crust. Please help me with a recipe and the proper technique to make the perfect pie crust. Am I kneading  it too much or rolling it out wrong? I am just not sure. To put it mildly I am better with phillo dough than I am with pie crust....lol.

 

Liz

Jacob Burton
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The secret to pie crust is you want to keep the butter (or fat) in large chunks and not knead at all. I use the standard ratio of:

  • 3 Parts Flour
  • 2 Parts Fat (Usually Butter)
  • 1 Part Water
  • Pinch Salt

This ratio is done by weight. Cut the butter up into 1" cubes and mix, by hand, with the flour, just until the butter is "crumbled" into the flour.

 

Add cold water and mix again by hand until all the water is absorbed. It will look like your dough is a little dry, but that's OK, it hasn't fully hydrated yet. Do your best the gently form the dough into a loose ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

 

After 30 minutes, the dough will be fully hydrated and ready to go. Roll out the dough, dusting your work surface with a generous amount of flour so it won't stick. If using a super moist pie filling, I recommend first "false baking" the bottom shell, which will keep it from sogging out once the filing is placed inside.

 

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Cook With Passion!
 

LizAbbott
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Chef,

 

Thank you, I will be making some pies and this week and I will post some pics of them so please let me know what you think when they are done. Oh, and I finally have some chicken carcus' to make my chicken stock with and I will send some pics of that in too when I get it done. I plan on reducing it down and using the ice cube trays like you suggested.

 

Liz

labradors
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Or, if it's a snack for a tot, you could do what I've done for myself a few times when I wanted a something quick and sweet after a spicy meal:

  1. Melt some butter in a small pan.
  2. Add thin slices from about 1/3 to 1/2 of an apple.
  3. After a short while, add a little brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Then cook until the apples are the consistency you like.
  5. Remove the apples from the pan, but leave most of the sugar mixture.
  6. Add a flour tortilla and stir and flip it until coated with the sugar mixture.
  7. Let the tortilla heat on one side for about 30 seconds.
  8. Flip the tortilla and heat for about another 30 seconds or until the sugar mixture starts to caramelise but the tortilla is still flexible enough to fold without breaking.
  9. Place the apples in a line down the middle of the tortilla.
  10. Fold one side of the tortilla over the apples.
  11. Fold the other side of the tortilla over the apples (i.e. the apples are in the centre third and each of the outer thirds fold to centre).
  12. Serve it up as an "apple-pie burrito," topped or garnished as you wish.

 

esavitzky
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Welcome Liz,

 

My suggestion is that you start by listening to the podcasts in order.  You'll get a lot of great tips about many different topics, techniques, knives, ingredients and a good smattering of food science geek stuff.  Supplement with the videos and browse through topics on the forum.  I've actually listened to the podcasts several times and find new tidbits each time I listen.

 

Slow and steady.

 

Elliot

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Jacobite
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G'day Liz.

 

I have a delightful apple pie recipe which uses an exquisite "shortcake" recipe for the pastry. I got this recipe from "The Australian Women's Weekly" but the writer stated that the pastry is American in origin. I suppose it's only fair that I give it back. So here you are:

 

125g  butter

105g  castor sugar *

     1   egg

125g  self-raising flour

125g  plain flour **

         extra castor sugar

 

1. Lightly cream the butter and sugar;

2. Add the egg and beat well;

3. Beat in the sifted flours;

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and gently knead (only until smooth);

5. Divide pastry into two equal portions;

6. Roll out each piece between plastic cling wrap to fit a 20cm sandwich tin.

 

You now have the top and bottom for your apple pie. Before baking, brush the top with a little water, and sprinkle with the extra sugar.

 

I'm not completely sure, but from what I've picked up from Stella, I'm confident you call these:

 

  * superfine sugar;

** all-purpose flour.

 

Give this pastry a try, Liz, I'm sure you'll love it. 

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