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Advice wanted: Frosted/Iced Cookies

plllog
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

I've been doing baking/cooking sessions with an honorary niece. I thought she might like to make decorated cut cookies. I've made a bazillion of them, but always decorated with colored sugar and sprinkles/decos. (Over use of slashes! I'm trying to be brief!) But... I think she'd like it more to do icing. Glaze, sure, but I've only piped icing on a cookie once. I'm not really good at icing. Part of it is bag control, but I think the best way to do this, considering baking isn't a thing at her home, would be the sandwich bag with clipped corner, both to fit an 8-year-old's hand, and my own, plus having more different colors.

So, advice please?? I know royal icing is traditional and sets hard, but it doesn't taste very good and, IIRC, it's stiff and harder to pipe. I have a good butter cream recipe that uses half butter, half vegetable shortening, and tastes good, unlike pure shortening, and doesn't melt as much as all butter, but I don't know if it would do well piping on cookies. I've made Italian meringue buttercream, which has a lot more body, and doesn't taste bad, but I don't know if it pipes well or cookies well.

I can follow a recipe! Do you know the best recipes for kids piping cookies? Any procedures you can suggest?

I'm also torn between making natural colors (expensive and pastel), buying natural colors (limited, soft palette and don't keep, but simple) or using grocery store dyes (cheap, easy, bright).

What should I do? Other than hide under the bed until the impulse passes?

Comments (74)

  • Islay Corbel
    2 months ago

    Plllog, the glycerine won't thin the icing it just stops it from going totally solid. I think solid is ok for biscuits. Not so good for, say, a christmas cake.


    Flora, you need to get a sous vide set up! A fun and interesting way of cooking.

    plllog thanked Islay Corbel
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    Mmmm. Having looked these gadgets up, I don’t think it’s for me. I don’t find any cooking particularly fun or interesting. I do it only because I like to eat well. I read some reviews and saw that I could make ’perfect glazed carrots in an hour'. I don't really see the point when I can do that in a pan in 10 minutes. And if you are using the sous vide for the carrots how are you making the rest of the meal? My kitchen doesn't need any more stuff in it, in fact it could probably do with less clutter. I'm a very low tech cook and I don’t have much equipment at all really. My hand mixer was my mother's and dates from the 70s and I only acquired a food processor when my mil died and I nabbed hers.

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  • Islay Corbel
    2 months ago

    You can do extraordinary things with a sous vide cooker but if you're not into new things there's no point. People don't really buy them to cook carrots LOL.


  • bbstx
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    TL;DR. I may be late to the party, but here is the icing recipe my neighbor uses to decorate cookies. Mostly, she makes rosebuds with it. It doesn’t harden like royal icing, but it sets up enough to stack the cookies if need be. I think it is delicious.



    P.S. I’m pretty anti-gadget, but I LOVE my sous vide gizmo. DD and DSIL bought 1/2 a cow. I took one of the chuck roasts, cooked it for 36 hours at 132 degrees, and it was as tender as any filet mignon. Yesterday, I made Sous Vide Egg Bites. They are light, tender, and tasty and don’t have any of the nasty brown bits you get when you try to do the same in a muffin tin in the oven. DH was horrible at grilling steaks. He wasn’t happy until they were overdone. My Sous Vide gadget solved that problem. I cooked his to well-done and mine to medium-rare and both were ready at the same time. (Thanks again to dcarch for teaching me how)

    plllog thanked bbstx
  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Never too late! Welcome back! Thank-you for the recipe. I'm not ready to invest in the ingredients, but will bring it out when we are ready to tackle the piping.

    IC, thanks for the notes on the glycerine. Important knowledge!

    Floral, if you can achieve your aims without a new gizmo, by all means do so! One of the advantages of sous vide cooking is that you don't need to know when dinner will be—the meat, even poultry, can hold for hours at perfect temperature. You can also use it as the ”water oven” in any spare space with a plug. While many of my friends have had fun experimenting with it, it's not a ”fun” way to cook, in and of itself. It does a job.

    I can imagine using it for glazed carrots if I were determined to make them for three dozen at sit down. Glazed carrots for four is an easy task, especially if you're not trying to glaze them in their own sugar. Multiply by nine and the rest of dinner will be ruined. Not that I'd attempt it in a home kitchen, but I could with sous vide. This all by way of explanation, It's only been a thing for a couple hundred years, and only accessible to practical home cooks for less than a decade. Plenty of amazing cookery without it has been achieved in that time!

  • bbstx
    2 months ago

    Floral, I don’t know how this translate to what you can find in the UK, but the New York Times picked the one below as its #1 choice. I bought one of them for DBIL for Christmas. I have an Anova and I had previously bought Anovas for DSIL and DSS (step-son).



    DD and DSIL along with Sister and DBIL bought a cow. DD and DSIL from time to time give me some of the meat from the cow. I’ve sous vide cooked a chuck roast for 36 hours. It is like filet mignon. Soooo tender. DSIL taught me to cook boneless pork chops sous vide. Soooo juicy, even though they are done. DH would only eat meat well-done. Darch (or is it dcarch?) taught me how to cook DH’s steak well-done and mine medium rare with both ready at the same time. This morning I made Starbucks-style egg bites in my sous vide. They are delicious. I’ve never cooked carrots using the sous vide.


  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    Clearly you all love this thing but I don’t see a place for it in my life. Maybe if if I knew anyone who had one and had seen/tasted the results I would change my mind. However, even then I would be concerned with the large plastic usage and the potential for food poisoning. And wouldn’t I also have to have a vacuum gadget ?

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Plastic, yes, but the heat is never high enough to be worried about food grade. There are other ways of wrapping the food, if one just doesn't want to use plastic, but not so easy, though there are some pretty good silicone envelopes which are pretty good with cuts of meat and other flat things, especially. You can use regular plastc bags with the ”water displacement” method—no vacuum sealer. For that, you put the filled bag in water, first, before sealing, so that the force of the water seeking it's level and all that, pushes the air out of around the food, the close the top. That's good enough. Plus people do things like pitting individual servings in jars in a shallow bath, even baking ”cupcakes” that way. Not as good as pressing out the air, so works best on liquidy things that fill to the sides of the jars.


    But you really don't need this, and if you can taste the method of cooking, it's not so good. The difference is that a beef steak, for example will be your desired temperature from edge to edge, with just the sear you do separately to be brown. No well done ring around the medium center. Just sear and medium. So a different texture without the dryer oarts, but the flavor should taste just like the part of the steak that you love most. Poultry often stays pink, which is unnerving, but the texture can be the same of oven roasted at one temperature, or silken soft at another (eew, but some people like it). Turkey done the former way, is moist, even the breast, without trying, and tasted very turkey-sh. People love it. Unless these ideas sound unbearably enticing to you, however, just say ”no”.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    It's not the plastic getting in the food that is my concern. It's the plastic waste going into the environment. The food poisoning reference is to the potential for bacterial growth in foods kept at low temperatures for a long time, not the risk from the plastic.

    I eat a steak once in a blue moon as a treat, always very rare and I never at home, so I'm not enticed by that. It all seems to be a huge amount of faff to cook stuff which I can already do easily and simply with minimal equipment. If you have to sear separately why not just do the extra few minutes to cook thing? And reduce the washing up. There's been a lot of discussion of tenderness, softness and even absence of brown bits. But these attributes don't sell it to me. I like to eat food with lots of texture and to chew it and I love a bit of crunchy brown.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Oh, me too, on the texture! It's one of the selling points, however, for people who cut the brown edges off because they only like the soft pink center. Also, for pregnant women, they can have steaks that are fully well done but have the texture of med-rare or medium.

    That's the thing--there's no worry about food poisoning if one does it right. Y'know how they tell you 20 minutes at boiling, and similar formulae? If you're cooking sous vide it means longer at a lower temperature. With oven cooking you need to get the heat of the air to warm the outside more than you want so it can pass the heat in to cook the interior. With sous vide, you cook at the temperature you want the middle to be when it's done, for long enough that it's fully done and pathogens are killed. There are tables that tell you time and temp.

    Re the plastic waste, that's a trade off type thing where you have to look at all your consumption habits. Food grade plastic films are recyclable here, for instance, whereas we've only this year started municipal composting of food soiled paper. There are reusable sous vide bags. For me, a lot of my reluctance to use it unless it were the best application available, has been the water. Secondary use to prevent "waste" is often still wasteful and non-use is always better, especially, as you said, if you're still going to have the same washing up.

    Anyway, again, I'm just offering this to be informative. I'm not trying to push it on you and think if you don't have a problem there's no need to buy the remedy!

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    I wonder how many of these gadgets will be gathering dust in the backs of cupboards in a few years, along with the garlic presses, fondu sets, spiralizers and soup makers.


    Interesting discussion. We’ve strayed a fair way from icing cookies.


    Talking of gadgets, one I poopooed when DH brought it home was the silicon garlic peeler. I have had to eat my words. The thing is amazing. You can skin garlic four or five cloves at a time in seconds.


  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    What's a soup maker?? Mine is a big enamelled cast iron pot, though I do onion soup in the slowcooker so I can walk away, I use my sous vide circulator. Nothing else does what it does. I much prefer the results from my garlic press than any knife chop strategy. I use it all the time. I only use the spiralizer for company quantities, but I love it! The family adore ribbon ruffles of watermelon radishes, and you've never seen zucchini salad wolfed down like mine. It's just pretty big (not garden huge) zuccini spiralized on the blade that makes it about udon sized, with fresh frim the tree lemon juice and poppy seeds. It's SO good! And the fat spirals of mostly middle are what make it. The texture is the thing that pulls the flavor through. I use the spiralizer for plenty of other things, too, but those are my go-tos. No fondue set. I don't really like fondue, so don't make it. I do have bamboo skewers, and maybe even cocktail forks, and a right sized enamelled pot, and an electric buffet warmer, or a rack and candles, so I could wing it on that one if I had a need.


    Love my silicone garlic peeler too. :) I do have a few gadgets that don't do a good enough job, but they're small enough not to toss while I rethink them, but when it works, nothing can beat the right tool. When I was young, I had a sad knife, a couple of cheap pots—which were also the mixing and serving bowls, a gas ring, and a couple of place settings. I managed. I think we used a coffee cup as a ladle. I know I used a table fork for mixing and stirring. But for time savings when feeding dozens alone, I adore my pineapple cutter and avocado slicer, even though they only do one thing each, and I have good knives.


    And the frosting cookies issue is solved, so no reason not to move on. ;)


  • annie1992
    2 months ago

    Too late to help since the frosting cookies issue is solved, I use the same recipe as Neoktish, and allowing them to set for an hour or two lets them harden or crust over enough to stack them a couple deep without marring the frosting. And, like PM, I'd go for real equipment, I've never been able to use a sandwich bag and make anything even recognizable as anything other than a blob. My sprinkles include colored sugar, mini-M&Ms, various shapes and colors of tiny candies, edible glitter, dragees, candy pearls and some actual sprinkles, LOL. If they are applied right after frosting, before the frosting sets, they stick nicely.


    Floral, I'm going to be the outlier here. I have an Anova sous vide thing and never use it. You would think that someone who raises grassfed beef would get a lot of use out of such a thing, but the texture you were talking about is an issue for me. I tried to use it for steak and pork chops and everything ended up too "mushy" for my taste, I don't think I need to eat steak with a spoon. My stepson uses his to make poached eggs for the weekend, his inlaws live close and are often there, but I don't need to hold eggs for two of us. I know people have said that you can keep a steak for HOURS and not overcook it, but I have not had that experience. The long bath doesn't make it a good texture. It's not well done but it's unpleasantly soft to me. My zoodle maker sits next to it on the high shelf. No matter what you put on it, zucchini is not a noodle and I see very little difference in a "zoodle" or just cutting the zucchini into similar sized strips with a knife, other than washing the blasted gadget, of course. It's keeping company with the YoNana frozen dessert maker which mostly produces chunky frozen banana slime and big stockpot that gets used only during canning season.


    I do have my share of gadgets that I love and others find useless, like my bread machine and slow cooker, both of which get used a couple of times a week. I only use the Atlas pasta maker 6 or 8 times a year, but I wouldn't give it up. Elery loves the Insta-Pot too, but I find it fiddly and annoying. Many others would find no use for a dehydrator or a pressure canner, which I use year round. I also don't think we need TEN separate coffee making devices, but we have them and Elery won't give up any of them, even though I bought him the MoccaMaster for Christmas that he was longing for. I won't give up the Chemex either, and he still uses the expresso maker sometimes and the kids want the Keurig when they are here, and so it goes.


    I think having a "gadget" library where you could check out a gadget for a week or two before deciding whether to buy it would be a great idea, but I haven't found such a library yet. :-) And then we can start on cake pans and cookie cutters!


    Annie







    plllog thanked annie1992
  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks, Annie! i appreciate your advice any time!

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Special thanks to Annie for pointing out the link in Nekotish's post! The link color doesn't really show on my screen and I missed it. Thanks, Nekotish for the alternative recipe, and Annie for pointing it out and endorsing it!

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    Interesting input, Annie. I was thinking the food sounded as if it would be mushy but didn't want to sound rude. I've only been to the US 4 times so don't have huge experience. But we did find a lot of food we had much softer than we're used to.


    I imagine I’d have more use for some of these gadgets. if I ever catered for large groups but I don't. I've never needed to cut up multiple pineapples!

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I haven't done steaks sous vide, but what I have made has never been mushy. Like with any other cooking method, you have to learn how to get the result you like. The common way of doing turkey, for instance, is very soft. I dislike it immensely. I think people who are accostomed to bad, dry, poorly cooked turkey may like it by contrast. Cooked at a higher temperature, it has the same texture as good oven roasted, but very moist, in a pleasant, not mushy, way. Sous vide started in Europe. The home immersion circulator is American, so that probably caught on here first, but it's available everywhere. The USA has five times the population of the UK with any number of regional cuisines besides the adoption and adaptation of world cuisines. We do have a general like of ”gooey”, like melted cheese and what we call ”pudding”, but I don't think there's a particular softness to food in general. Maybe ”fast food”, which may be about the technology they use.

    The pineapple cutter is extremely cool, and I can do three in about five minutes. one does have to choose the right size—average—to fit the cutter, and straight. Most are, but it doesn't work well with the occasional crooked ones. You lop off the crown, line up the toothed bottom of the shaft with the core, and twist. There's an angled flange across the radius that very easily cuts on an angle, creating a spiral, as it cuts the core from the flesh. Then there's a section ring, like an apple wedger, that pushes straight down, creating perfectly sized chunks. With a right sized pineapple, the eyes are out, but with unexpectedly little waste. I suppose if one were talented with knives, one could cut it the same way, even with straight across cuts rather than spiral, but without the rind and core pineapple has little structure and it would be hard not to squish, even with a really sharp knife. And trimming the rind with a knife, for me at least, is either a big waste of pineapple being removed or a big waste of time, cutting out the eyes. I will never use a knife so long as I have my cutter. :D Additional benefit, one doesn't have to touch the pineapple long enough for the enzymes to burn one's hands.

    Again, just being informative. Pineapples are a year round staple fruit here in Southern California.

  • Islay Corbel
    2 months ago

    Flora, I agree with you about crusty bits on a steak...... you wouldn't put an entrecôte in a sous vide setup. But, those really tough parts, you cook for 36 hours in a sous vide setup and you can get a thing of beauty. Chicken breasts are never dry round the edges....... it's great!


  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    When I serve pineapple I cut in half length ways, then quarters. Then cut under the flesh on each segment. Then cut across along the fruit. We usually eat the core as it's seldom particularlly fibrous. I can't say it has ever burned my hands. This video is what I do. serving pineapple slices - Google Search

  • sheesh
    2 months ago

    Floral, my English son-in-law feels the same way about the softness of american foods but says he’s gotten used to it. He’s 36yo. When his mum and granny visit and cook with him, I find the food-well, rather…sturdier. He is over the moon. It’s very interesting, isn’t it. Or maybe we all love what we know, especially when Mum and Granny make the old family recipe.



  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I've been known to gnaw on a pineapple core when I've forgotten to eat while prepping. Plenty of sugary juice to extract, but nothing to actually eat. I expect we get different kinds of pineapple. The video didn’t load, but flashed a still before quitting showing the finished cut. That kind of cutting works best with smaller pineapples with softer rinds. Not everyone is sensitive to the enzymes. It's hard to wear gloves while cutting with a sharp knife, but it's painful not to.


    Sheesh, do you know what foods your SIL consides soft? Or what his family made ”sturdier”? I didn't ask Floral, figuring it was a memorable impression, not a specific dish. I'm wondering if it's regional, or that my own druthers steer me away. I do know that I prefer green beans, if they're cooked, to be blanched but still crisp, and had to cook them an extra couple of minutes to not-soft but a little bendy for my father to think they were cooked enough, And the softness of med-rare beef that Lindac says is the draw skeeves me out.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Hm... Soft American food. I haven't had a lot of cooking time or ability recently, and the weather stinks, so I bought some chicken salad and fancy slaw from the deli, as well as some sourdough. Both the chicken and the bread are very soft! When I make chicken salad and sourdough bread, both are firm and have tooth. Perhaps I'm out of touch....

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    We had pineapple this evening as it happens. DH prepared 2 quarters for us in 1.5 minutes. He must have thought I was nuts timing him. There was no core. They must be a different type.


    We’ve visited California, Florida, Cape Cod and New Hampshire. We found most of the bread we bought in the US to be soft and very sweet. We bought and cooked steaks a few times and, though enormous, they were soft and not very flavourful. On day one on Cape Cod we were excited to buy lobster rolls from a stand but were very disappointed. It was just a slice of the soft sweet bread folded round some pink fishy tasting mayo. No chunky bits at all. I realize that we can hardly be said to have done a fair sample and we didn’t eat any home cooking but we did shop around for self catering and tried quite a few restaurants. Best meal we made was a lobster we bought live and cooked in our cabin and very good sweet corn from a farm stand. Mind you, I’m sure people are sorely disappointed by our food when they come here too.

  • annie1992
    2 months ago

    I don't like the pineapple coring device either, the core never seems to be straight and so the center takes out the good pineapple and leaves the tough and woody core. It also leaves lots of good pineapple on the inside of the "barrel" that's left, so mine went to Goodwill.


    As for the mushy sous vide, maybe it's operator error but I had a sous vide pork chop at a very upscale restaurant before COVID, and it was mushy too, so it's not just me.


    As I said, to each their own when it comes to gadgets.


    That frosting works well for cookies, it crusts over nicely.


    Annie

  • sheesh
    2 months ago

    Yes, Floral, bread! SIL and his mum and gran think it’s dreadful, even bakery whole wheat, so soft and sweet, just dreadful. They brought two loaves of “good” bread in their suitcases at Thanksgiving. We all got a kick out of that.


    Plllog and Floral, i find it impossible to eat the veggies they cook. Hard as rocks, but they love them. At Thanksgiving Mum prepared their specialty-roasted rutabagas and turnips in lovely seasonings but to us they were barely cooked. They were disappointed at all the leftover veggies and were not shy about preferring lamb to turkey.


    Gran made wonderful yorkshire puddings that SIL is getting quite good at. Delicious.


    American coffee is practically undrinkable to them, but i guess that’s true for slmost everyone but americans.


    Now that SIL and dtr have two sons, SIL is fortunate that his mum comes twice a year, and so far the new family goes to london every year, too. Theyre keeping close and its always a joy to visit with them.


  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Thanks for the comments! When I was young and living abroad, I was surprised to hear people complaining about how bad American bread was. And they'd proudly serve me decent but meh bread. I figured out, finally, that they were comparing to cheap, packaged supermarket bread that is used for sack lunch sandwiches, and bland toast. It has to be soft so that when it's staling in the sack, it gets firm, not hard. ;) Or something like that. :D (kidding) There is really good bread to be had where I live. Much better than the meh that's better than ”American bread”. I think Germany still has the crown for overall best bread, but we do have good bread besides the gluey stuff.

    So when I was first in London a long time ago, jet lagged and hungry, I found a nothing fancy, tea and sandwich shop where I got a cup of tea and the sorriest sandwich ever. It was a couple slices of the same kind of sack lunch, poor supermarket bread, buttered (nothing with flavor or seasoning) and a single thin slice of deli meat. I do not judge English food by that, though the best thing I ate in London was lasagna at an Italian restaurant. It was really good. :) Come to think of it, I also had a couple of really bad hamburgers. But I also didn't have much to spend on food and was eating wherever I happened to be for a couple of days before joining my friends. Then there were two local guys who separately invited me out to dinner but didn't feed me. One offered to take me to a pub, which was great, but he wouldn't accept that I didn't want fish and chips (I'm allergic to fish) and ordered it, so ate both of our portions himself (Didn't offer me anything else), and the guy who was supposed to take me to a nice restaurant in a beautiful setting, but it was closed, and the ”I know another place” turned out to be his apartment, like he thought being hungry would be an inducement to that! I didn't judge the food or men in England by it.

    Floral, thank-you for sharing your memories. Here, they've bred and fed the flavor out of a lot of beef. You need to get it labelled grass fed. The domesticated bison, however, tastes like the beef of my youth. I don't know why the steaks you cooked would be soft, though. Maybe Annie does. Lobster rolls traditionally are served in a soft roll split at the top that does look like folded bread, but are supposed to be all chunks of lobster with small bits of other stuff dressed with mayo or other white dressing. With actual lobster.

    Annie, restaurants aren't always experts. You know that. What I'm saying isn't so much that it's operator error as don't follow the herd. Just because making it the mushy way doesn't suit you, don't be convinced that it’s the only way. Not that I think you need to use sous vide! Just that there's more to it than mushy. Re the pineapple, I did say a right sized, straight one was needed to make the cutter work right, without waste. ;) If you only get big, crooked ones, you're right...it's useless!

    Sheesh, thanks for the answers! I love rutabagas! But like potatoes, they need to be cooked tender. I can't imagine hard rutabegas tasting good. Interesting about the coffee. :) Is it the drip? I do have international friends who will only do French press. Excellent that they're embracing trans-Atlantic travel to keep up with the family!

  • sheesh
    2 months ago

    We like rutabagas, too, and turnips, but in stews. I keep thnking i should roast a rutabaga or two to see if they can be roasted to tenderness like all the other roasted veggies we like. Im sure they can be, i just havent done it yet.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Yes, they're lovely. Small dice, oil, roasted to dark corners. Slices work, but aren't as good, IMO. Best with something a bit sharp, like parsnips or turnips, because they eat a bit sweet. Turnips are good roasted sliced or diced.

  • Islay Corbel
    2 months ago

    Plllog, when were you in England ? Today, it's very different. The food is wonderful. I have awful childhood memories of going to restaurants and getting that particularly horrid, bitter orange juice that was served as a first course LOL And soggy spaghetti with a sort of "red" sauce that you couldn't tell what was in it. Wimpy burgers which were very nasty. A lot of English restaurants would serve a mixed grill that was lovely sometimes and other times overcooked and chewy....As you said, awful sandwiches. I think it was a thing that was still dragging on after the war well into the 70s that to make a decent sandwich was somehow decadent HAHAHA.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    As I said, long ago. ;) A really long time ago. Long enough ago that it was normal for your date to choose the place and order, though I was used to being asked what I'd like. And I knew the food wasn't representative, even then (though my date thought the fish and chips were good, and they did look good, and the pub was very clean and nicely decorated). Back then, English food had a terrible reputation— it was a common punchline—but everywhere has hideous food as well as brilliant food, just as they have hideous people, guys who take you out and don't give you food, and really lovely people. Nowadays, London is often called the best city for food in the world, though I bet there is still an overcooked, coarsely ground, oversalted and strange tasting burger to be found if you look hard enough. And I know where bad burgers are near me. :) And the USA has some truly horrendous food along with the good stuff. :)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    Arggghhh ... don’t get me started on the coffee.....

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    LOL! I don't do coffee...

  • sheesh
    2 months ago

    Ah, the coffee. At home we do freshly ground French Press that hub and I think is almost always delicious. SIL has been working at home since Covid, so in search of a decent cup of coffee he has bought a drip pot, an electric drip pot, a French Press, and Nespresso or Keurig machine, I forgot which. Nothing is right. He is currently considering buying an espresso machine.

    He grinds his own beans. He’s bought countless bags of beans, and gives me most of them because they’re not right. I haven’t bought beans in years. For the most part, if I put enough milk in the coffee he makes, it’s pretty good. He’s on a mission to get great coffee at home.


    As for roasting rutabaga, turnip and parsnips, I imagine they take at least an hour?



  • sheesh
    2 months ago

    OMG, Islay, I forgot that he has one of those! He doesnt like it and offered it to me, but i declined because i like the french Press. I’m going to accept it now. That will make my dtr happy - one pot out of the house!


    My grandma had a stove top vacuum pot when i was a child. My dad loved her coffee.

  • sheesh
    2 months ago

    Frankly, i think SIL is too fussy for his own good, but as his mil I try to just smile. What I always wonder is why doesnt he just make coffee the way his mum does. He likes hers!

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    A friend's husband was a coffee snob. He made coffee in water in a saucepan on the stovetop, no boil. I don't know any more details. There's a place in SoCal where they're more of a laboratory than a coffee store, where they use one of those 3’ glass things with their special beans. I had a really, really good cup of coffee at an upscale Greek restaurant which was fantastic but went out of business fast. Nothing compares, so I don't drink coffee.

    When I was hosting group meetings, and serving coffee, I had a reputation for making good coffee. It was Yuban in a $15 drip machine, scrupulously clean (no residue or ”stains”), a Melita paper filter, and distilled water. Dcarch told me that part of the secret is that the cheap machines were worth about 100 uses before they burnt through some bit related to the temperature, IIRC, that then would make the coffee not so good, and I only made coffee a few times per year.

    Weather it's the perfect cup of coffee, the perfect hamburger or the perfect wave, the chase is often the thing. It's like an addiction, The ”high” is rare and elusive, and keeps people strung along on the bad ones, hoping, just hoping, that the next one will be the one. Without the physiological illness part, one really can just say no.

  • bbstx
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    @sheesh, suggest that your son follow James Hoffman. I heard him on the 177 Milk Street podcast talking about making coffee. Christopher Kimball poo-poo’d Hoffman’s technique for making French press coffee. At the end of the podcast, Kimball added a p.s. to say that he had tried Hoffman’s technique and it was the best coffee he had ever drunk.



  • sheesh
    2 months ago

    Thank you, bbstx. ive just watched a few if his videos - That was fun! He is a character and sure knows a lot. And he likes the moka pot!

  • annie1992
    2 months ago

    Islay, we have one of those things. Also an espresso maker, an electric percolator, two French presses, an AeroPress, a Keurig, two Chemex devices, a stove top percolator and at least four various drip type coffee makers, plus the MoccaMaster, LOL. We buy our beans green, I like Costa Rican the best usually, and roast them ourselves, grind them daily before use and I still like the Chemex coffee better than any of them.


    Plllog, I know the restaurants can and do mess up the food, but I was assuming that since restaurants had sous vide before the home version was available, and they certainly used it more than I had, they would at least know something about it. I had the restaurant meal before I bought the sous vide for Elery as a gift, and thought it was just me being weird about texture. Of course, every single piece of meat I put in the thing turned out exactly the same, just like the restaurant. I have ruined a lot of perfectly good steak and wasted a similar amount of time with the thing while simultaneously disappointing various dinner guests. Elery keeps saying he'll find something it does well, I suggested perhaps a foot bath. (grin)


    I do like rutabaga and turnip a lot, and I sometimes dice and roast them. Of course the smaller the dice the more quickly they cook, but I find they cook to a stage where they are tender in about the same amount of time as beets, so I often mix them. The older ones also take longer, but I've never cooked any of them more than an hour and I do like my vegetables done, as in tender. Not "crisp tender", not "blanched", I want them cooked, LOL. Parsnips seem to be done more quickly, more like potatoes, but carrots cook well with rutabaga too.


    Mushy meat other than the sous vide? Americans seem to like very tender meat, for whatever reason. When we still had the bar and grill one of our big sellers was a Sirloin for Two. We bought liquid meat tenderizer in gallons and dispensed it into plastic condiment bottles for use, squirting it directly onto the steak while it cooked on the flat top griddle. People always asked how we got the steak so tender. Since I raise my own beef, I seldom order it in a restaurant or go to a steakhouse, but maybe they experienced the liberal use of meat tenderizer?


    Bread is another thing altogether. When I was a child Grandma lived with us and she baked bread a couple of times a week. Back then I longed for squishy white store bought bread like everyone else had in their school lunches. Now, of course, I shake my head and wonder how I could have ever chosen the squishy stuff over good homemade bread. Of course, now I like it crusty and chewy which certainly does not describe WonderBread!


    Annie

    plllog thanked annie1992
  • Islay Corbel
    2 months ago

    Liquid meat tenderiser??????? That amazes me as you all have such beautiful teeth LOL.

    I think there must be a big difference in our meat. It's not mushy, even after being cooked sous vide.

    Yes, crusty bread is food of the gods.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    "As for roasting rutabaga, turnip and parsnips, I imagine they take at least an hour?" Not that long. The parsnips will roast quicker than the rutabaga. But since they are usually accompanying a roast in our house, and they are quicker to cook than the meat, the time needed is not a restricting factor. If boiling rutabagas fior a mixed mash they need to go in before the potato, carrot or celeriac since they take longer to achieve mashability.


    Coffee in our house is bought as beans from a local independent importer, ground just before use and made in a cafetiere. We drink a lot of coffee!

  • party_music50
    2 months ago

    Annie, a foot bath is funny. lol!


    I am reminded of a story my good friend told me... she was living in Colorado at the time and had made hard-crust dinner rolls to bring to some big function. She said it was a PITA getting them "just right" at altitude. Anyway, when she arrived at the function she handed her rolls over to whoever was handling all the food. Some time later they were brought from the kitchen to be served... someone had decided they were hard, so should be steamed before serving. My friend wanted to cry.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I have to admit it. I don't like crunchy bread. I like my toast golden brown and firm, but yields to the tooth, not tan and crunchy with shards. And I like my crusts chewy with firmness and body, or even leathery for some breads, but not hard and shattery.

    OTOH, the soft ”sourdough” from the store had crust so soft one could only tell by sight that it was crust! I read the ingredients more thiroughly. I had just scanned for cummy chemicals. It's not actually sourdough! It's commercial yeast bread with sourdough started as a flavoring. That's gotta be how they got it so soft. Quicker rise, less gluten... The crunchy, acidy slaw saved the chicken salad sandwiches, which tried hard to be squishy school lunches. :D

    I tend to cut my roots so they'll have similar cooking times, rather than varying the times to the size, but then I just cook until they look done and try a piece. I rarely mash, though. I know veg purees are the new ketchup, and I'll occasionally make one to go with something specific, but generally, I'd prefer an actual sauce, or a veggie side that we can chew.

  • HU-547125811
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    What's up with the cookie project.? 7-8-9 .year olds all have different skill sets and interests. I loved detailed cookie decorating at that age. My neice at that age would roll her eyes and head to the couch to curl up with a book. No interest. Though she did like the knife skill sessions DH taught her. A very good cook now at 30. Worked her summers through college in a good artisan bakery but has never been interested in sweet baking.

    Traveling anywhere i think it is important to ask and research. Not just a random grocery or restaurant. I've not had a soft sweet loaf of bread in probably 50 years. Or mushy meat.

    Even SousVide at home.

    Please do not visit NYC or any country/city without asking for recomendations. I have walking food tours for house guests all over the city. Budget or mid-range. Downtown, the village, midtown, and uptown. Even LIC, Astoria, Greenpoint, Williamsburg...

    My neice, i mentioned above, and her fiance, are visiting next week from Idaho. Downtown Essex street soup dumlings, then the new EssexStreet Market...coffee and dessert. etc.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    We're still working out dates. She wants to do baking and crafts, but also has soccer and, I think, taekwondo.

  • party_music50
    2 months ago

    You could combine baking and crafts by making things like salt dough or cinnamon-applesauce ornaments.…. then taste wouldn’t matter. :)

    plllog thanked party_music50
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    2 months ago

    Mashed vegetables are not the same as a puree. They have texture and are not sauce like. Definitely chewable. Rutabaga alone, rutabaga and carrot, rutabaga and potato (skin on), celeriac, celeriac and potato, parsnip, parsnip and potato ..... all favourites in our house. Well seasoned with pepper and butter.

  • plllog
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    You're right, Floral. I shouldn't have been so glib. But speaking of ”soft”! I'm not a big fan of mash. About 3 times per year, I like mashed potatoes (not the kind that's all butter and cream, but actual potatoes) with thick (not juice-like) gravy, if both the potatoes and gravy are piping hot. Usually alongside American comfort foods like roast turkey or chicken fried steak. I have to be really tired and hungry to eat that kind of thing. It's not pretty or heathy or anything, but warming and replenishing. I'm sure those root mashes taste good, Just not my thing, save for the foregoing.

    PM, I was thinking more crewel and knitting, and layer cake leading into bread, but you have a point.

  • neely
    2 months ago

    Mashed parsnip and carrot ...so good. I have both in the fridge so some coming up for dinner. The last of the parsnips from the garden. Time to sow some more.


    Hope your icing endeavours work out with your niece pilllog.


    Thanks to all the comments about royal icing I have managed to source some pasteurised egg whites. I have made it many years ago before we were concerned about eggs. I remember one episode from one of the many series of Nigella Lawson, icing cupcakes with royal icing because she loved it.

    plllog thanked neely