Questions about the identification and evaluation of specific ingredients.

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9
votes
4answers
5k views

How to recognize fizzy wine?

I don't have much theoretical knowledge about wine, but I like the taste. So I often get a random bottle from the wide selection at the supermarket, avoiding only the bottom line of TetraPack wine. I ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

What natural ingredient besides honey and fats can I use to bind a mixture of powders together?

So I need to turn super food powders into something more tangible, like a stick form. Honey seems to not be that effective and has a lot of sugar and fats melt quite easily. Water obviously not a good ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Does sugar give moisture?

I have seen a discussion regarding a replacement for sugar in brownies to give moisture. Does sugar give moisture when baking?
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Substitute directory?

Whenever I don't have an ingredient I thought I had, or it is not sold around me, I often find myself running to my old cookbooks which have substitutes in the back of the book(s). I don't always ...
7
votes
1answer
480 views

Mysterious bitter taste from tropical fruits and coconut

I cook every day, and today I had an experience I am at a total loss to explain. I am hoping the combined knowledge of the Internet can help. Today, I decided to make a tropical fruit custard. Being ...
7
votes
2answers
20k views

How do I tell if a cantaloupe is ripe?

I have a tough time telling if my cantaloupe is ripe (without opening it and trying it. Any suggestions?
1
vote
2answers
192 views

Difference between french bread and japanese bread

I live in japan for 1 year now, but i cannot find french bread - Baguette - in tokyo as we have in france They're bread is not crunchy nor crispy at all, and it's chewy, I kind of feel like i am ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

Shelf life and Validation of Coconut Milk?

I use coconut milk for a pasta dishes, then put the carton back in the fridge. I may use some of it for a coffee additive, the use plenty more for another pasta dish or recipe. Alas, I do not cook ...
1
vote
3answers
112 views

How should I prepare the coffee to be used in my tiramisu?

I'm making tiramisu. Coffee is a large component of the recipe, so I imagine that the choice and preparation of the coffee used will have a big impact on the final taste. Or will it? I'm not a coffee ...
14
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the difference between good quality chocolate and cheap chocolate?

There are many types of chocolate out there, some higher quality than others. What are the main differences between good quality chocolate and cheap chocolate? And in practical applications in baking ...
16
votes
4answers
21k views

How can I identify dutch process cocoa?

I have a hard time finding "dutch process cocoa" in the store sometimes. What other names might dutch process cocoa be known as? Is there something else in the ingredients that might identify ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Could I use beer instead of/as well as water in my sourdough?

The sourdough recipe I use calls for 300ml of water to 500g of bread flour (along with the starter). Instead of this water, could I use beer - or a combination of beer and water? The reason I thought ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

What foods can I use to get the maximum volume of cooked food and stay under 600 calories? [closed]

I need to create a meal plan that has very specific restrictions. The meals are for "fast days" in one of those fast and feast diets. The limit for the day is 600 calories. I am aiming to produce a ...
5
votes
7answers
514 views

What kind of onions for dal?

I'm making dal for the first time and have all of the ingredients below, but I can't decide whether to use white, yellow (vidalia), or red onions. I have all three in stock. Here are the other ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

What everyday ingredient will emulsify rapeseed oil?

I'm about to concoct a batch of Falernum (spiced ginger & lime syrup for adding to coctails), and one of the possible ingredients is almond extract which I've just found out is in rapeseed oil. I ...
8
votes
2answers
577 views

How do I choose frozen fish so that it doesn't release so much water?

I bought a package of frozen, individually wrapped, vacuum-sealed pacific cod fillets (about 150-200 grams each) from what I thought was a reputable brand (and not the lowest price) in my nearest ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What to look for when buying good quality loose black tea?

What features should I look for when buying good quality loose black tea?
11
votes
5answers
26k views

What's the difference between masa for tortillas and for tamales?

I often buy fresh prepared masa from Mexican markets in order to make tamales and pupusas. Mexican cookbook authors stress getting the correct masa for the recipe, either masa for tamales or masa for ...
4
votes
2answers
26k views

Differences between haddock versus cod

I saw haddock on sale at our local grocer. It's really cheap this week. It grew my curiosity. Are there any similarities between haddock and cod as in flavor? I often see haddock and cod ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Beans, bacon, and chicken [closed]

I am eating a mix of boiled bacon, broiled chicken, and boiled beans (+ salt & pepper). It tastes awkward. What can I add to improve this flavor within $5 to restaurant quality? (I am not ...
1
vote
2answers
385 views

Key ingredients for classic Sauce Bolognese (Ragù Bolognese)?

What are the ingredients, both main and optional, for a classic Rag├╣ Bolognese? I tried getting an answer to this question. First I looked around this site. I found one question about a "secret ...
2
votes
2answers
324 views

Emulsifying ingredients for vinaigrettes

My weekday vinaigrette recipe goes something like: 1 part olive oil 1.5-2 parts seasoned rice vinegar dollop of Dijon mustard put into sealed container, shake, pour This emulsifies nicely thanks ...
3
votes
3answers
499 views

What is levure equivalant in America?

We have a chocolate cake (brownie) recipe from France and calls for a packet of levure. We have been putting in yeast but not sure if it is wrong or right. Yeast, baking powder, other?
6
votes
2answers
519 views

Is soy milk in America similar to the type in East Asia?

Finding soy milk in the States isn't very difficult - it's generally stocked in supermarkets and used as an alternative to dairy. However, I'm not sure if the flavour of typical American soy milk ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

If a recipe doesn't specify the type of vinegar, is there a standard type implied?

I occasionally come across recipes that call for vinegar, but don't specify which of the many varieties they mean. (A recent example is this recipe for a corn and pepper salad, which just says "2 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Are ripe meyer lemons supposed to be soft?

At the grocery store they were selling meyer lemons in mesh bags, they all seemed to be much softer than an ordinary lemon. Are meyer lemons supposed to be a very soft fruit? just touching them ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

What are the effects of using different types of ground mustard?

I made a cheese souffle recipe that called for 1 tsp of dry mustard. I used ground mustard that was 40% yellow and 60% black.(And it wasn't fine like powder) Everything went perfectly with the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to make frosting very white, fluffy, and shiny?

Given a typical recipe for frosting (preferably cream cheese), what can be done to make it fluffy and shiny -- even in a chilled state? I've noticed that my cream cheese frosting tends to do this if ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Asian toasting seeds

if a recipe says Asian toasting seeds how can I find out what is in the mix? Is there a definite selection of seeds and in what ratio? I have seen pouches for sale on the net but would like to make up ...
3
votes
2answers
155 views

Ingredients for Cocktails

I've recently taken an interest in mixing cocktails - I've never done it before or anything similar and I have a question about sourcing ingredients. I want to try making lots of different cocktails, ...
13
votes
11answers
23k views

How can I choose good avocados at the supermarket?

I've been trying to ignore my burning desire to make some guacamole because every time I go to the supermarket to buy avocados I can't manage to pick out good ones. They always either become too soft ...
6
votes
1answer
106 views

Does the freshness of the ingredient impact the longevity of the cooked dish?

Using ingredients that aren't fresh will generally negatively impact the flavor of the dish, but does it impact how long the cooked dish will last before it goes bad? For example, if I make two pots ...
2
votes
1answer
486 views

Baking or Cooking - why orange and not other sweet citrus fruit?

In most of the recipes that have any sweet citrus flavoring, it is usually Orange (zest and juice). In fact I've hardly seen a recipe that uses a substitute like mandarin, grapefruit, etc. Is there a ...
2
votes
1answer
169 views

Bread-machine recipes: are liquid ingredients fungible?

I've noticed that the recipes that came with my bread machine all have about the same ratio of liquid ingredients to flour: for a 1.5-pound loaf, 3 cups of flour is accompanied by 1 cup of water +2T ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

Which cuts of beef are suitable for slow cooking methods?

If I want to simmer or braise a piece of beef for a few hours, how do I choose suitable meat? Which of the usual cuts are great, which are adequate, and which ones will just turn tough? It would be ...
3
votes
1answer
146 views

Belgian chocolate milk

I've tried a lovely chocolate milk (cold, not to be confused with hot chocolate) from Marks and Spencer (a supermarket in the UK) and I'm trying to emulate it's rich Belgian chocolate taste. My ...
1
vote
2answers
195 views

Which salsa ingredient makes it taste like dirt?

I suppose it could also be considered "earthy". There is an ingredient that is often added to "authentic" salsas that often ends up making it taste too "earthy". Which ingredient is it? Is it ...
1
vote
3answers
261 views

Recipes - Adding up calories and nutritional info?

When cooking, a recipe has a list of ingredients. If I wanted to find the calories in the recipe would I just add up the calories of every ingredient? Same situation with carbs, protein fat ? Or does ...
2
votes
2answers
81 views

Melon buying tips

I've just started buying rockmelons and they were only sweet a couple of times. The other times, they've been very low in sweetness and it felt like a waste of money. Are there any tips when buying ...
2
votes
1answer
453 views

What Tea leaves are used in Kashmiri Pink tea

I want to make Kashmiri pink tea but have not found an exact name in English for those tea leaves used in Kashmiri pink tea. As I am right now in china, here they have varieaty of tea. I would like to ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Which kind of basil should I use?

I'm new to cooking and I was planning to make a recipe I saw on TV with pasta. One ingredient is basil. The chef on the show advised always to use fresh herbs; he used a kind of vasiliko with large ...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

What am I doing wrong with my Kool-Aid pickles?

I'm trying to make Kool-Aid Pickles (koolickles). I've tried with quartered Ba-Tampte pickles and I seem to get it right, but I'm not seeing the results I expect with halved pickles. I want to go ...
1
vote
1answer
148 views

Using cloves in stocks/broths

I have a (somewhat) recently purchased spice jar of cloves in my pantry that isn't getting much attention. I've seen stock/broth recipes that call for whole peppercorns, and am curious if subbing ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

How to pick ripe plantains for maduros?

I'm trying to make sweet fried plantains (maduros) but I'm not having much success. I've tried frying on low, medium, and high heat and with varying amounts of oil. The plantains never come out soft ...
2
votes
1answer
9k views

Corn Starch vs Potato Starch

One of the recipes I am trying out asks me to use Potato starch to help thicken the sauce. A majority of the recipes I found online for it say to use Potato starch but at the store I mainly found corn ...
3
votes
2answers
513 views

What's the difference between Santa Cruz Rum and Jamaican Rum?

Reading through a book of cocktail recipes from the late 1800s, I notice some recipes call specifically for Santa Cruz rum and some call for Jamaican rum. Is this a mere place of origin reference, or ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What might cause a tangy flavor in hummus?

I'm pretty sure that this is an intended flavor; there's a great and authentic middle eastern restaurant nearby and their hummus tastes noticeably tangy. Others in the Yelp reviews have commented on ...
5
votes
6answers
4k views

Is there an official standard vegan packaging symbol designating that a product is vegan?

I'm trying to eat vegan and having a hard time determining (by the packaging) which products are appropriate for me. Are there symbols or certifications I can look for, preferably something backed by ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Shirred eggs elements

I've found a number of recipes online for shirred eggs. Some have a fat (cream, ham) beneath the eggs; others don't (except for a bit to grease the ramekin). Some have a cheese (Parmesan, Cheddar, ...
10
votes
2answers
9k views

How to know whether a coconut is ripe or rancid before buying

Buying the shrink-wrapped coconuts (in shell) at the store is similar to playing Russian Roulette. All this trouble of getting the water out and breaking the shell only to find out the coconut is ...