Home Cooking Without Going Crackers
March 30, 2020 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Eater at Home is the source for anyone who wants to feel deeply engaged with food and dining culture, which now, more than ever, is in our homes. Of course, dining culture has never been limited to restaurant spaces and restaurant food; it’s about feeding our curiosity toward new experiences (including, for some of us, consistently cooking at home for the first time).“ How To Stock A Pantry - Pantry Cooking 101 - Getting Started With Sourdough - How A Recipe Developer Organizes Her Fridge - and more.
posted by The Whelk (20 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
Turns out a recipe developer organizes her fridge by first buying a bunch of crap from affiliate links and then follows it up by buying more.
posted by ixipkcams at 9:09 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


I have started doing sous vide. I use a portable induction cooktop with a temperature control and a timer. I cooked a bone-in brisket at 140 F for two days, then smoked it for a couple of hours. Very nice.
posted by No Robots at 9:21 AM on March 30


(Cooking with crackers.)
posted by carter at 9:27 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


My HUGE pet peeve with sourdough starter recipes is that they start with too much flour and require you to throw too much away. You don't need more than a couple tablespoons of flour to start with (and the same amount of water by weight). Why does the King Arthur recipe start with a cup of flour? It's so wasteful.

After your sourdough starter is established, you can use the discard for other recipes.

I will get off my soapbox now.
posted by shoesietart at 9:50 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


they start with too much flour and require you to throw too much away

One of the Cooks Illustrated wonks set up a blog to show how to do a minimalist starter - the quarantiny starter. It's a tablespoon of flour per day. I started one a few days ago and it's happily making more and more interesting smells.

As for pantry cooking, we are incredibly fortunate for two reasons - we get a local grain CSA at the end of winter and we have a chest freezer with a bunch of meat from hog slaughtering and a guy I know that raises lamb. Fresh veggies are the bottleneck right now, but our local liquor store just announced that they're partnering with a nearby wholesaler and will deliver boxes of produce along with your booze purchase.

I decided to do some inventory of the freezer when it became clear we were going to be home for a while, and I was startled to learn how many bones I'd been storing away. I finished my third batch of stock last night, and have enough to do maybe three more. We stocked up on jar lids a while ago, so I think I have enough material to make and jar a few gallons of stock.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:01 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Samin Nosrat, who I like to pretend is my personal friend who tells me to add more salt to things, has started a lovely podcast with Hrishikesh Hirway called Home Cooking. Lots of good lentil and bean info on the first episode, and you can write in with questions!
posted by ChuraChura at 10:02 AM on March 30 [8 favorites]


Oh, thanks for the link to the minimalist starter. One of the reasons I didn't start one was that most of them required ridiculous amounts of flour, which is fairly scarce right now.
posted by tavella at 10:10 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]




[Psst, we’ve got a whole baking thread in which I’m also discussing the tiny starter over here]
posted by fedward at 10:21 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


One of the reasons I didn't start one was that most of them required ridiculous amounts of flour, which is fairly scarce right now.

I've learned from playing with my own starter that you may need what looks like a lot to maintain your starter once it's gotten going. The little critters need a certain amount of food to get by, and if you don't give them enough they start smelling bad in protest (kind of like nail polish remover). I only give my starter about 80 grams of flour at each feeding, but I have to take out all but a tablespoon or so of the starter as "discard".

Fortunately, the amount I take out is exactly enough to make a serving pancakes with the "discard", and fortunately I keep my starter in the fridge so it slows down to the point that I only have to feed it once a week. There are a ton of other recipes for "things you can do with the discard from your starter", so it's more like you've gotten a head start on things like pancakes or crackers or something.

I use the maintenance method discussed here; it uses a lowish level of flour and is pretty achievable. And that pancake recipe, in case anyone else out there has sourdough starter they're looking out with new eyes now, is:

* Next time you go to feed your starter, save a half a cup of the discarded starter. Add a tablespoon or so of flour if you like fluffy pancakes (or none if you don't). Beat in an egg, then stir in a pinch of baking soda and let it rest a couple minutes; then it's ready to be turned into pancakes.

I usually get two big ones or about three smaller ones out of that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Samin Nosrat, who I like to pretend is my personal friend who tells me to add more salt to things,

I'm sure I am a weird case but I find so much professionally food is wildly oversalted. My wife and I cook most of our own meals and we use very little salt. I think a lot of restaurant food seems to be seasoned by people who have burnt out their salt receptors or something and they have passed that on to their customers.
posted by srboisvert at 10:48 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


and if you don't give them enough they start smelling bad in protest (kind of like nail polish remover).

This smell is actually what I aim for right before I make bread (about every third day) to give my bread a good sour tang. I get it by not discarding the day before I make bread. That way there is a lot of slightly starved yeast and a generally moister starter.

I find the 'discard all of your starter except a tiny bit' technique leads to substantially less flavorful sourdough.

But I am also not a r/sourdough style "crumb" chaser. I don't want huge oven spring and airy bread because I like to toast my bread and put spreads on it and an airy crumb spells disaster for my beard and clothing when molten pb seeps through. I'm very happy with a more dense crumb.

I'm also finding my lidded pullman pan makes a nice toaster sourdough bread. Not as dramatic as a dutch oven boule but way more convenient shape and much denser crumb.
posted by srboisvert at 11:00 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


backseatpilot - if you're concerned about storage space, once the stock is done and you've strained out all the ingredients, put the liquid back on the stove and let it simmer for another (hour? maybe more, maybe less) until a lot of the water has evaporated and left you with super-concentrated stock. Pour that into a plastic storage container and pop it into the fridge to set overnight, then pull it back out, cut it into your preferred cube size, and bag and freeze. Takes up way less space in the freezer and lasts for ages! You can just throw a cube or two into water and heat it up to get your desired broth strength and amount.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:30 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Bonus: The cubes are (or should be) gelatinous enough to be a little squishy even when frozen, which is kinda fun!
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:22 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Re the super reduced squishy cubes of demi glace, if you happen to leave those in a freezer and don't seal the bag and you forget about them for an indeterminate length of time, and then discover them again but they're so freezer-burned that they're essentially dried out completely - do NOT throw them out. You have freeze dried your cubes and they will still work! Ask me how I know!
posted by ninazer0 at 8:20 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: An indeterminate length of time
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:07 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


ninazer0, are you secretly an astronaut with your magic freeze-dried squishy cubes?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:09 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]




if you're concerned about storage space

I actually pressure can everything and store the jars in the basement, so storage isn't much of an issue. I was more surprised at how many bones I had forgotten about in the freezer.

I did have my very first jar break while canning, though, so that was exciting.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:54 AM on March 31


You have freeze dried your cubes and they will still work!

In fact, what you have made is portable soup, and you can feel all nautical when using it.
posted by tavella at 9:11 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


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