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Newbe question...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am not one to follow recipes when not at work. I am not really practiced at cooking techniques so I am not sure how to do this. But there have been times when I was able to make a vegetable soup and keep the vege firm and delicious long after they should have broke down. I am referring to zucchini, crookneck squash, and others commonly found in vege soups.

post #2 of 22

I put them in the soup bowl just before ladling the soup.

 

The only ones cooked in the soup are those that will withstand the cooking, i.e. potatoes, carrots, celery, turnips, anything like squashes go in at the very last.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #3 of 22

I've read that anything cooked in salted water/broth will cuagulate at the surface and not break down as much as in unsalted water.  Perhaps salting a vegetable soup at the start rather than when completing is part of the reason that your vegetables are sometimes more firm.

California Cook

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post #4 of 22

Salt ???  Listen to what Pete says.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 22

Salt makes legumes take longer to soften and keeps meat from loosing its juices so it probably has similar effects on other vegetables in the same reguard.

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California Cook

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post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustaroad View Post

Salt makes legumes take longer to soften and keeps meat from loosing its juices so it probably has similar effects on other vegetables in the same reguard.



You're a culinary student? Get your money back dude. :)

 

Seriously, salt actually draws juices from meat, so I don't know where you got that from (how we do curing, charcuterie, etc---less water creates a more difficult medium for bacteria to grow, hence extending shelf life). And as far as I know, the salting beans thing is largely a myth...think about how many recipes you see with long cooking beans that contain products like bacon, salt pork, etc. Now, ACID, on the other hand, will certainly have an effect on beans and greatly increases both the toughness and time needed to cook beans. 

 

Salt also has a softening effect on vegetables. It tends to pull out moisture and break the cell walls that hold the "crisp" aspect of veg. Easily tested by slicing up an onion, salting it, then letting is sit for a couple of hours in a bowl. You'd be surprised at how much water comes out and how limp the onion feels. 

 

As far as the OP question goes...there are a lot of factors. The best thing to do, if you don't have much technique, is actually TO FOLLOW recipes. This is a great way to learn technique...and once you master some stuff, you will feel free to loose the recipes and use the knowledge you have gained from years of practice to create dishes through sight, smell, touch, taste, etc. The reason your vegetables turn out different each time is because you don't know what the variables are in your cooking, hence you don't know where you went wrong and what needs to be fixed. 

post #7 of 22

What school, or where did you derive all this misinformation.??

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

@Someday- I agree, I do not know all the variables. That is why I am asking the questions I am. I do not have a recipe I like for most of my stuff. I am currently working on techniques and trying understand what I am doing. I am writing down everything when I am cooking, but I HATE having to reinvent the wheel. That's why I am asking for input lol.gif

post #9 of 22

Well, the biggest problem is that not only do you not have much of an idea of what's going on, you've also failed to communicate what it is that you've done and you're asking us to explain the interaction of the unknown with the unexpressed.  

 

Alas, it's quite impossible.

 

There are a lot of maybes.  Maybe the vegetables aren't cut the same, maybe some are fresher than others, maybe some are more mature, maybe some are more watery before they're cooked, maybe some vegetables are pre-cooked, maybe there's more acid on one stock than another, mayber more salt (although it would have to be a lot more salt), maybe some stocks are boiling, maybe some are simmering, and that's just the first few things I thought of which could make a marked difference -- everything else being equal. 

 

Also, I think you're getting the point that quite often everything else is not equal. 

 

You can count on these two things: 

  1.  If you do everything the same way, you'll always get the same results;
  2. When it comes to cooking, things -- lots of things -- change from effort to effort.  There's just no way they can always be the same.  So, you have to do what you can to control the variables.

 

Even though it doesn't explain why some soups held better than others, Pete's technique adding pieces to the bowl before the rest of the broth, which are small and thin enough to cook with residual heat, is just such a method. 

 

Next time do everyone a favor and offer a sufficient description of what you've observed before asking for an explanation.  Sounds blunt and harsh, doesn't it?  Don't take that as a criticism, we're all glad to help.  It's just that if you think it through so you can write it down, you may well be favored with a glimpse of the answer sought.

 

BDL

post #10 of 22

Here's a little thing I make my students do to familiarize themselves with ingredients. Eat it. LOL. I wasn't joking. Cut yourself some pieces the size you would use for the soup, then eat them raw. Feel the texture, hardness, flavor, anything else you get, then think about where you want to go from there. Think about it. What profile does a small piece of potato give you? carrot? eggplant? There are some considerably different things going on here. You should be able to learn about what's gonna happen when you cook this stuff up. Don't worry about the wheel. It gets reinvented every day. I'll give you an example here.  

 

 

*** WARNING ..... NOT FOR THE WEAK HEARTED, OR THOSE w/ CHOLESTEROL DIFFICULTIES.

 

http://gawker.com/5829686/deep+fried-butter-on-a-stick-a-real-thing-you-can-eat-in-iowa

Deep-Fried Butter on a Stick

 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #11 of 22

And the key word there is "re-invent." From Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, first published in 1745, we find:

 

To Roast a Pound of Butter

 

Lay it in salt and water two or three hours, then spit it and rub it all over with crumbs of bread, with a little grated nutmeg, lay it to the fire, and, as it roasts, baste it with the yolks of two eggs and then with brumbs of bread all the time it is roasting; but have ready a pint of oysters stewed in their own liquor, and lay in the dish under the butter; when the bread has taked up all the butter, brown the outside, and lay it on your oysters. Your fire must be very slow.


Edited by KYHeirloomer - 8/12/11 at 4:21am
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 22

KYH, that roasted butter recipe does ring a bell over here! I saw a recipe executed by a famous chef who re-invented northsea shrimp croquettes using a very similar method as you just mentioned. He made the casing of the croquette seperately to fill it later and serve the whole thing in a sort of a new "deconstructed" composition. He used a thin slice of butter (maybe max. 10 mm thick) and coated it traditionally with beaten egg and breadcrumbs. It went into... a deepfryer. Then he simply cut the slice of butter lenghtwise to let the now melted butter flow away. He now had a very thin and brittle casing made of butter, egg and breadcrumbs.

Stunning ressemblance with your 1745 recipe, isn't it? 

post #13 of 22

[Someday & DB]

I didnt hear these things in school but in a molecular gastronomy book that uses alot of chemical explinations that are over my head (most likely yours too). Sometimes it simply eleucidates practices into simple understandings though. One thing it mentioned clearly is that when making a broth (bullion), if you put meat (boulli) into salted water or acidic water, the meats surface will cuagulate and loose less fluids into the broth. Where unslated water is good for making sauces or broths (with meat) because osmosis will pull the juices right out of it.

 

So it makes sence that vegetables aren't the same because they dont really have so much proteins to cuagulate at their surfaces.

 

Also (in this book) It is said to be tested and proved that beans take much longer to soften (cook) in salted/acidified water, and are softened at a much reduced rate when cooked in water of a basic solution (like with baking powder).

California Cook

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California Cook

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post #14 of 22

Either you read your book wrong or it was wrong. That description of osmosis is exactly backwards. What makes osmosis cool is that it works backward to normal diffusion pumping solvent from low solute concentration to high solute concentration.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #15 of 22

Have you got the receipt for that book still? It's hard to return things without a receipt. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #16 of 22

Not so keen on practical knowlege? Thats fine, just don't be so hard on the book. Its not the books fault.

California Cook

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California Cook

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post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustaroad View Post

Not so keen on practical knowlege? Thats fine, just don't be so hard on the book. Its not the books fault.



How does brining work then? The reason brining works is because the area of high concentration of salt (the brine) is pulled into the area with less concentration of salt (the meat). Eventually equalibrium is reached and you get protein that has absorbed both salt and water.

 

What book was this? 

post #18 of 22

Herve This -molecular gast. (his first translated book fro French)

 

 

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post #19 of 22

Diffusion doesn't work in any particular direction, it works in all of them.  It's another one of those "Zeroth Law" things.

 

Osmosis is diffusion across a semi-permeable membrane.  It works in both directions.  The more concentrated side becomes less concentrated and vice-versa.  If molecules only went one way, you'd end up with one side of your container dry.

 

If you're talking about the migration of a single type of molecule (or single whatever) then we can talk about direction.

 

Whether or not brining actually involves osmosis across cell walls or merely diffusion into interstitial spaces is still pretty much up in the air ... or at least it was the last time I looked a couple of years ago. 

 

Mustaroad -- with respect, your explanation makes no sense.  Whether that's a problem with your use of English or something else is difficult to say.

 

Speaking very generally, stocks are made without salt because the stocks are used as components in other things, and no salt is the easiest concentration to control.  Broths, stews and soups meant for service are made with salt, so that they will taste good.

 

BDL

post #20 of 22

You must thus proceed according to the spirit of the dish that you are preparing. If you want to enrich the bouillon, add salt only at the end of cooking. If you want to retain the full flavor of the meat, add salt right away. And if you want a good chicken stew, with a flavorful sauce, add salt a little before the end, so the juices are harmoniously divided between the two components of the dish." (This, Herve. Kitchen Mysteries. Columbia University Press, New York, 2007. p 76)

 

Is this the relavant passage?

 

I don't see anything regarding coagulation of proteins or anything like that. 

 

However, I think I understand what you and This were saying. I think the idea is that if you season a broth (stew, braise, soup) in the beginning, the the some liquids in the meat will be retained since they are unlikely to leave the meat due to the higher concentration of salt. Some juices will leave the meat, due to the cooking process, but the meat will retain more juice with a salted liquid. Is that the idea?

 

Keep in mind that this is a specific example, and I would stay away from blanket statements like "salt prevents meat from losing its juices" because that is simply inaccurate. And the coagulation of proteins somehow being used to "seal in juices" is proven as complete bunk by Harold McGee, among others. 

 

But hey, I learned something today, so thanks for that. Your idea wasn't completely out of left field, as I previously thought. 

 

 

post #21 of 22

Roasted Butter reminds me of a grocery company named Monarch in upstate NY . When the salesman came to visit you he left you a sample #303 can of Dehydrated Water  as gift ????????  It even gave directions on the can of how to reconstitute it.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #22 of 22

That's it. I thought it would be in the section entitled "The Boiled and the Bouillon" but I cant find that passage there.

 

About the protein coagulation, there's another section in the book on cooking eggs. It says poaching eggs in salted or acidulated water cuagulates the protiens in the egg and keeps it from spreading out so much. I thought that this was related to the reason why meat holds more of its juices when boiled in salted water.

 

Another support for this idea is how when salt curing meats the proteins are brought to the surface of the meat making a microbial safe barrier.

 

Sorry for the carelessness in my posts, Im only 2 years into the profession.

 

 

 

California Cook

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California Cook

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