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sith

Help me start cooking! (chicken breast first)

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42 minutes ago, stephen129 said:

 

Yeah you definitely still want to use fat when cooking.

 

Fat or olive oil? Or are they similar?

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9 hours ago, sith said:

 

Fat or olive oil? Or are they similar?

 

As in oil or butter (or whatever other myriad of fats there are to cook with). 

 

Fat = flavour

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All (food) oils are fat. 

 

Fat is not bad for you. 

 

Do not be scared of fat.

 

Olive oil is a good staple fat. Butter is good if you want it to taste richer.

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17 hours ago, sith said:

Pans and knife ordered :)

 

since I'm not using a cast iron pan, I shouldn't follow the guys advice in the video in my original post right?

 

Do I need olive oil before you start cooking the chicken? And I should use medium heat for how long roughly?

 

I'm so dumb!

You're not dumb - you just don't know some stuff. I know nothing about crochet. Does not make me dumb.

 

As to the cooking - I'm a veggie, so no expert. I do watch a lot of cooking programmes though. I reckon the advice in the video is sound, and should work pretty well with your pan. The key difference would be that a lighter pan will lose more heat as the chicken goes in. The more chicken the more heat it will lose. But I'm guessing it wouldn't make a significant difference, because it will soon heat back up again. The thing to learn from the video is to use your eyes - when he's cooking it on the first side and he says the breast has gone white about half way up - that's what you're looking for. If it takes a little longer than 4 minutes then so be it. A lot of recipes are general guidelines, and you should be prepared to stray a little to get the best results. Seems scary at first, but the more you do it, the better you'll get. So if your chicken breast is thicker or thinner than in the video it'll need more or less time accordingly - again just look for it being white, and therefore cooked-through.

 

That's the really important thing with chicken - it needs to be cooked through otherwise it's not safe. If you slice it and the inside is pink - chuck it back in the pan again until it's white. Better to be on the safe side and overcook it slightly at first than risk it being undercooked.

 

As I said - I'm a veggie and have never cooked a chicken breast before, so I'm happy to be corrected, but the main point was just that times in recipes are guidelines, and experience will give you confidence. No-one gets it perfect first time, so make sure it's safe to eat first and foremost, and then you'll learn every time you do it, and get better and better.

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3 hours ago, MarkN said:

You're not dumb - you just don't know some stuff. I know nothing about crochet. Does not make me dumb.

 

As to the cooking - I'm a veggie, so no expert. I do watch a lot of cooking programmes though. I reckon the advice in the video is sound, and should work pretty well with your pan. The key difference would be that a lighter pan will lose more heat as the chicken goes in. The more chicken the more heat it will lose. But I'm guessing it wouldn't make a significant difference, because it will soon heat back up again. The thing to learn from the video is to use your eyes - when he's cooking it on the first side and he says the breast has gone white about half way up - that's what you're looking for. If it takes a little longer than 4 minutes then so be it. A lot of recipes are general guidelines, and you should be prepared to stray a little to get the best results. Seems scary at first, but the more you do it, the better you'll get. So if your chicken breast is thicker or thinner than in the video it'll need more or less time accordingly - again just look for it being white, and therefore cooked-through.

 

That's the really important thing with chicken - it needs to be cooked through otherwise it's not safe. If you slice it and the inside is pink - chuck it back in the pan again until it's white. Better to be on the safe side and overcook it slightly at first than risk it being undercooked.

 

As I said - I'm a veggie and have never cooked a chicken breast before, so I'm happy to be corrected, but the main point was just that times in recipes are guidelines, and experience will give you confidence. No-one gets it perfect first time, so make sure it's safe to eat first and foremost, and then you'll learn every time you do it, and get better and better.

 

Yeah this is a good point. When they say "cook x for five minutes", they don't mean exactly five minutes. You're looking for signs that things are ready. E.g. Browning in the meat. Everyone's oven is different, everyone's pan is different, everyone's heat source is different etc etc. Also taste your food regularly.

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Yeah recipes always lie about how long onions will take to colour and stuff like that. 

 

Thankfully it's usually overestimated. 

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My biggest thing I've learned is definitely taste as you're cooking. You'll develop good instinct for how flavours work and get ideas to change things. 

 

 

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On 13/05/2020 at 04:37, Horribleman said:

If you're a novice don't get a stainless or cast iron pan. They are a pain in the arse.

 

Get a decent non - stick like a circulon.

 

I never use my cast iron and people I know have given up on theirs at home despite using professionally at work. 


YMMV I guess, I use my cast iron for literally everything except eggs. I can cook eggs in it, but I prefer to use a non-stick with the method I employ. The thing I like about my cast iron is that unless my gf locks it in the oven on a self-clean cycle there’s almost zero maintenance and it just improves with age. I can also do a one handed toss with it, but I am an extraordinarily masculine character of Herculean strength and immense sexual prowess

 

I agree that non-stick pans are an absolute must for any novice cook, or person who prefers not to spend the evening scrubbing their fucking pans. 
 

 

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@sith once you're a bit further along and are comfortable with cooking a couple of dishes, I'd heartily recommend the book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat. The first half (~200 pages) is all about what cooking and seasoning physically does to ingredients, why this results in the various tastes and textures of food, and how to harness and combine them. It's really well written, Nosrat says her intention is to enable you to look at whatever's in the cupboard or fridge and be able to create dishes from it, rather than just slavishly sticking to recipes. This is from the foreword:

 

Quote

As you discover the secrets of Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat, you'll find yourself improvising more and more in the kitchen. Liberated from recipes and precise shopping lists, you'll feel comfortable buying what looks best at the farmer's market or butcher's counter, confident in your ability to transform it into a balanced meal. You'll be better equipped to trust your own palate, to make substitutions in recipes, and cook with what's on hand. This book will change the way you think about cooking and eating, and help you find your bearings in any kitchen, with any ingredients, while cooking any meal. You'll start using recipes, including the ones in the book, like professional cooks do - for the inspiration, context, and general guidance they offer, rather than following them to the letter.

 

I promise this can happen. You can become not only a good cook, but a great one. I know, because it happened to me.

 

It's a really wonderful book.

 

There's also a Netflix series based on it which I've not seen but am told is very good too.

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The netflix series is great, but it's not instructional in terms of how to cook as much as an exploration of what food would taste like if capitalism hadn't sucked the joy out of it through mass production techniques and corner cutting.

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Thomas Keller is currently doing a techniques masterclass. I bought masterclass already for Gabrielle Camara’s Mexican classes and dipped into the Keller stuff, it’s excellent. 
 

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Re: pans. 
 

It’s probably worth picking up a cheap cast iron at some point for cooking at high heat. 
 

We have both a circulon and a Jamie Oliver non stick. The latter is basically a souped up Tefal but is very good. Circulon have quite a thick base so getting the temperature right can be tricky and their ridged surface can be annoying to clean. 
 

I’m convinced my wife keeps ruining our non stick pans by cooking things at high heat and will either be buying another and telling her to keep her mucky paws off it or go stainless steel. Thanks for the advice @stephen129

 

 

Oh and @sith Buy yourself a cooking thermometer. They’re not very expensive and make life so much easier. I always used to overdo everything when I was starting out because I was scared of having raw meat in the middle and food poisoning myself. 
 

And generally, I think cooking chicken breasts in the over is significantly easier

than frying them.

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4 hours ago, HarryBizzle said:

Re: pans. 
 

It’s probably worth picking up a cheap cast iron at some point for cooking at high heat. 
 

We have both a circulon and a Jamie Oliver non stick. The latter is basically a souped up Tefal but is very good. Circulon have quite a thick base so getting the temperature right can be tricky and their ridged surface can be annoying to clean. 
 

I’m convinced my wife keeps ruining our non stick pans by cooking things at high heat and will either be buying another and telling her to keep her mucky paws off it or go stainless steel. Thanks for the advice @stephen129

 

 

Oh and @sith Buy yourself a cooking thermometer. They’re not very expensive and make life so much easier. I always used to overdo everything when I was starting out because I was scared of having raw meat in the middle and food poisoning myself. 
 

And generally, I think cooking chicken breasts in the over is significantly easier

than frying them.

 

Honestly that stainless steel pan I mentioned is really really nice and should last forever. 5 ply, rivetless, super smooth. Thick, but not too heavy.

 

Pick the size and shape you want from here. Bear in mind a sauteuse will have higher sides so the flat cooking area will be more than a frying pan. Definitely useful in some applications. Frying pans are better if you want to toss or get a spatula underneath things.

 

If it gets too dirty, just a lump of bicarbonate of soda (what the Americans call baking soda), some water, and heat it up on high, then scrape it all off with the harsh side of a sponge.

 

https://www.havens.co.uk/spring-brigade-premium-pot-series-2052l.html

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Cooking chicken breast gently and slowly in some chicken stock is a way to get them to come out well. The stock adds flavour and keeps it moist. 

 

When they're done (this is where a thermapen is good) or just before you can remove the stock and brown off the breasts on a high heat. 

 

If you add a bit of stock at the frying bit and it reduces it can become like a bit of a coating, which helps the browning and flavour. 

 

Just another way to do it really, that's the fun of cooking. 

 

I use Lodge cast iron for everything on the hob, unless I need the depth of a sauce pan. 

 

I love them. I even do fried eggs in without sticking problems. I got sick of replacing non stick or the period in between when it is very-much-stick. 

 

With cast iron I get why people say there's a learning curve but cleaning isn't hard considering you're not worried about ruining them all the time like non stick. Or using metal utensils. For all the ideas that they're difficult I just think of how bloody precious you have to be over a non stick thing. And once you watch a few YouTube videos and get into it it's all part of the fun. Appreciate that maybe I've become a nerd about it and it's different for me. 

 

Lodge supposedly come pre seasoned so you can get going straight away but they do improve over time. I think I probably couldn't do fried eggs in them from day one. It's definitely something to think about getting if you start to enjoy cooking more. 

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What kind of oil do you use on your cast iron for seasoning, out of interest? I use vegetable oil because it’s the stuff we’ve got with the highest smoke point. It seems to work well enough, but I only really use the cast iron for burgers and steaks, so I don’t really know how non stick it really is. 

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On 18/05/2020 at 10:53, HarryBizzle said:

Re: pans. 
 

It’s probably worth picking up a cheap cast iron at some point for cooking at high heat. 
 

We have both a circulon and a Jamie Oliver non stick. The latter is basically a souped up Tefal but is very good. Circulon have quite a thick base so getting the temperature right can be tricky and their ridged surface can be annoying to clean. 
 

I’m convinced my wife keeps ruining our non stick pans by cooking things at high heat and will either be buying another and telling her to keep her mucky paws off it or go stainless steel. Thanks for the advice @stephen129

 

 

Oh and @sith Buy yourself a cooking thermometer. They’re not very expensive and make life so much easier. I always used to overdo everything when I was starting out because I was scared of having raw meat in the middle and food poisoning myself. 
 

And generally, I think cooking chicken breasts in the over is significantly easier

than frying them.

I've not found an issue with really hot cooking in my circulon. The only time they are hard to clean is where my wife used a stainless wand blender and scraped the surface in the massive one. 

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8 minutes ago, Horribleman said:

I've not found an issue with really hot cooking in my circulon. The only time they are hard to clean is where my wife used a stainless wand blender and scraped the surface in the massive one. 

 

It’s mainly scrambled eggs that go wrong, they end up getting stuck between the ridges. I make them a lot so I find it annoying, but generally it’s a pretty good pan for every day frying. I wouldn’t cook with it on high heat though - damages the pans, releases the non-stick coating into your food.

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3 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:

 

It’s mainly scrambled eggs that go wrong, they end up getting stuck between the ridges. I make them a lot so I find it annoying, but generally it’s a pretty good pan for every day frying. I wouldn’t cook with it on high heat though - damages the pans, releases the non-stick coating into your food.

A crappy Tefal is probably better for scrambled eggs as it's completely smooth. 

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On 19/05/2020 at 11:09, HarryBizzle said:

 

It’s mainly scrambled eggs that go wrong, they end up getting stuck between the ridges. I make them a lot so I find it annoying, but generally it’s a pretty good pan for every day frying. I wouldn’t cook with it on high heat though - damages the pans, releases the non-stick coating into your food.

 

I wouldn't actually recommend a ridged cast iron pan. I'm not quite sure what the ridges are useful for, other than to make it harder to clean, or for neat grill lines (pointless / cosmetic). Maybe there's some science that proves me wrong though. We've got a Le Creuset one collecting grease & dead flies on top of the cupboards.

 

I've got other lodge pans, but this is what I use for almost everything I cook on the hob (or maybe mine is a 10" one, I can't remember...)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lodge-30-48-Pre-Seasoned-Skillet-Frying/dp/B00006JSUB/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=12"+lodge&qid=1589983835&s=kitchen&sr=1-5

 

Were it not a violation of God's law, I'd make it my wife

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1 hour ago, cowfields said:

 

I wouldn't actually recommend a ridged cast iron pan. I'm not quite sure what the ridges are useful for, other than to make it harder to clean, or for neat grill lines (pointless / cosmetic). Maybe there's some science that proves me wrong though. We've got a Le Creuset one collecting grease & dead flies on top of the cupboards.

 

I've got other lodge pans, but this is what I use for almost everything I cook on the hob (or maybe mine is a 10" one, I can't remember...)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lodge-30-48-Pre-Seasoned-Skillet-Frying/dp/B00006JSUB/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=12"+lodge&qid=1589983835&s=kitchen&sr=1-5

 

Were it not a violation of God's law, I'd make it my wife


Yeah, I have no intention of getting any more ridged pans. The only reason the circulon has it is because it’s part of their non stick technology. 
 

I’ve just got a cheap cast iron - £15 at TK Maxx or something, but it does the job just fine. I just re-seasoned it the other day and it looks great. Am thinking of trying to cook an egg on it oil free to see if the seasoning is as good as it looks. 
 

How often do you season yours? I can’t imagine using mine for everything if I did it every time I used it. It’d drive me mad. 

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2 hours ago, HarryBizzle said:


Yeah, I have no intention of getting any more ridged pans. The only reason the circulon has it is because it’s part of their non stick technology. 
 

I’ve just got a cheap cast iron - £15 at TK Maxx or something, but it does the job just fine. I just re-seasoned it the other day and it looks great. Am thinking of trying to cook an egg on it oil free to see if the seasoning is as good as it looks. 
 

How often do you season yours? I can’t imagine using mine for everything if I did it every time I used it. It’d drive me mad. 

 

I season mine before or after I cook. Sometimes I don't even bother as I'm putting oil in the pan anyway. If you want to season properly, warm up the pan then pour a tbsp or two of oil (personally not found much difference with whatever I use, some people swear by flaxseed) then wipe it completely clean with a lint free cloth and heat it for a bit. There shouldn't be any sticky residue or leftover oil. This is a mistake I made in my early days of attempting to season.

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19 minutes ago, stephen129 said:

 

I season mine before or after I cook. Sometimes I don't even bother as I'm putting oil in the pan anyway. If you want to season properly, warm up the pan then pour a tbsp or two of oil (personally not found much difference with whatever I use, some people swear by flaxseed) then wipe it completely clean with a lint free cloth and heat it for a bit. There shouldn't be any sticky residue or leftover oil. This is a mistake I made in my early days of attempting to season.


This is pretty much what I do. I usually give the pan a scrub with a soap free sponge and some course salt if really necessary and then check the seasoning when I heat it dry and go from there. But as I say, I use the pan fairly rarely. 
 

I seasoned it twice the other day and it’s looking pretty good. 

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I don't ever season mine in the sense of baking it for an hour but maybe once a week after cleaning (I only use a bit of washing up liquid if there's a lot of crud on there, but sometimes just a brush and a brush. I rinse pretty thoroughly either way)

 

After cleaning I will dry it quickly with a tea towel, stick it on the hob on a high heat, wait for it to be totally dry then rub on either rice Bran oil or canola oil. The former because we have it, the latter because I heard it was good. 

 

I'll make sure it's got an even but thin coat with a bit of kitchen roll. I'll close the kitchen door, open the back door and turn our pointless extractor fan on because I don't want every smoke alarm in the house going off. 

 

I'll wait for it to be smoking for a bit so the oil sort of looks a bit less "wet". 

 

Really I might be doing it wrong... This isn't what I think is correct just what I do. but the pans are staying great. Sometimes I don't heat the oil for long, sometimes I feel like I should be better as causing the chemical reaction so I do for longer, but basically I'm never letting it sit for days without use or without getting more oil and heat because its getting regular use. 

 

Maybe some people think cast iron is hard because they see it as an occasional thing but if it's daily use I think it just builds its own seasoning. 

 

I'm also sitting safe in the knowledge that with a good scouring and an hour in the oven in theory I can do a reset. 

 

Something I'm mindful of is that things like vinegar and tomatoes... Anything acidic will erode the coating. So I might be more diligent about an oiling if I've been cooking those sorts of things. 

 

If I've been cooking a steak I might not do anything after a bit of a brush because the fatty steak probably did it good... Again this is far from scientific. 

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