So pretty much anything I do I always try to become the best I can at it...its just the way I am. So I've been reading up on cooking and have some really general questions that would help me progress further.
1. When slow cooking meat(such as a stew) how can you cook the meet for hours on end in a liquid without it becoming overcooked? It doesn't make sense to me that I can cook steak in 20 minutes or so by pan roasting but its also possible to chop it up an cook it for hours and not have it be incredibly overcooked.
2. Is brining chicken breasts always a good idea before cooking?
3. I usually try to cook chicken right to 165 and not much if any higher. Is undercooked chicken really easy to discern? I know if its vastly undercooked or was still thawing you can get a gradient from white chicken to raw uncooked chicken. But I am wondering if its safe cooking chicken to 165(read via thermometer) and not any further. I've removed chicken breast at 160 and watched it climb to 165 exactly while sitting in the pan. I don't want to be serving undercooked chicken but its not obvious to me if I am cooking it far enough or not. My wife commented that she thought it was still "a bit pink" but I'm not sure if chicken meat really looks pink when undercooked.
4. Is it a bad idea to use vegatable oil for searing? I've noticed that EVOO has a low smoke point and with a thin piece of meat can cook through before I'm able to actually sear the meat. Vegetable oil gets me a hotter temperature but I'm wondering about the flavor it imparts. Should I be using coconut oil or light olive oil?
Thanks for helping a newbie out!