Questions about selecting desirable ingredients (e.g. checking fruit ripeness). Please do not use for "which ingredient should I use in my dish" - this kind of question is subjective and will be closed.

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5
votes
2answers
3k 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
58 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 ...
14
votes
11answers
28k 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
116 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
1k 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
307 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
190 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
283 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
369 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
93 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
546 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
168 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
409 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
189 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
6k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
5k 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
139 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, ...
11
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How common are worms in dried mushrooms?

I was excited to try cooking with dried mushrooms until I saw some comments from people who found (many) dried worms mixed in with their dried mushrooms. How common is this?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How do Crispbread manufacturers use so few ingredients?

I'm curious if anyone is familiar with how the major Swedish crispbread manufacturers like Ryvita, Wasa, Finn Crisp, etc., manage to produce those crackers with ingredients lists as short as "rye ...
4
votes
3answers
227 views

Domestic, fresh taste-alike for an Italian coffee

My wife is from Italy, and she got me hooked on this absolutely gorgeous coffee called Lavazza Qualita Oro. I love it, but unfortunately getting a fresh bag here in the United States is really hit or ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it true that good pistachio nuts should have yellowish shell, purplish skin and greenish flesh?

In China, where I live, most pistachio nuts sold on the market have very white shell, and yellowish skin and flesh, like this: Today I read some articles claiming that these pistachio nuts were so ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Kimchi / Mo-Chu Ka-roo?

I have been looking for this ingredient called ko-chu Ka-roo to make kimchi. I checked in a local asian grocery and I didn't find something with that name. But I found Maesri Chilli Powder. Is this ...
1
vote
4answers
5k views

How does “Brownulated” light brown sugar compare with regular light brown sugar?

I'm assuming that the granulated sugar in the bag is easier to work with and won't turn into a hard block. It's also more expensive than the boxed kind. Are there any other differences, e.g. in the ...
4
votes
3answers
684 views

small, medium or large eggs

When I buy eggs, I have trouble deciding which size is the best value. Does any one have any tips?
2
votes
1answer
930 views

What would cause heartburn in marinara sauce?

So there's this pizza place in Rhode Island which makes some of the best pizza I've ever had. I tend to order the "plain" pizza, which is just sauce. It's that kind of pizza where the sauce is thick ...
3
votes
2answers
296 views

Where to buy food chemicals

So I want to experiment with making a food product, and I'm wondering where I acquire the chemical ingredients? Things like vitamin chemicals and caffeine. Thanks.
1
vote
3answers
102 views

Looking for meat ingredient suggestions for a Yoghurt Cake recipe

I know the flavours of "meat" and "sweet" can sometimes go together well. There's a sausage and fennel (licorice sensation) pastry that I very much enjoy. That's the concept this question is based in. ...
3
votes
2answers
383 views

What is the name of this dish involving fruit & sugar - blended and baked thin and flat?

I don't know what it is I'm doing (IE, the name of the technique or dish) I can't research it. I cook either rhubarb or passion fruit with a few tablespoons of sugar, blend until very smooth, ...
5
votes
1answer
7k views

When a recipe calls for a can of condensed soup, is the water implied?

There are many recipes that will use a can of cream of mushroom soup, for example, not as soup, but as flavoring or sauce. When this is the case, and the recipe does not mention the "add water" ...
0
votes
2answers
192 views

Salad ingredients: how to pick them at the market?

I often make salads with lettuce and a few vegetables (perhaps some of carrot, celery, bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, green beans, snap peas). I can plan the ingredients before I go to the grocery ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

How to choose fresh, ripe (hot) jalapeños?

When shopping at a supermarket or a farmers market, how can I tell which jalapeƱos to take home? I want them hot and ready rock that very day. Do they get hotter off the vine? Is a ripe jalapeƱo a hot ...
11
votes
3answers
336 views

How can I use these new findings on tomatoes to my advantage?

A new study appears to suggest that the characteristics that make a tomato most appealing when choosing one at the store also make it the least appealing when biting into it. Apparently, it is the ...
3
votes
2answers
29k views

When to use chicken thigh versus breast?

The America's Test Kitchen recipe for Chinese Orange Chicken calls for chicken thigh, explaining that it has a better taste and texture for the recipe. It does not explain why, however. So that has ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Is there a difference in the taste/seeds of egg-sized eggplants, and long and slim eggplants?

Is there a difference in the taste/seeds of egg sized eggplants or brinjals, and long and slim eggplants or brinjals? They are different in shapes. Is there any other "known/visible" difference?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to compare the strength of commercial natural vanilla extracts?

Vanilla extracts usually don't give details on the content of vanilla. Only the main ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration. On the Kirkland brand I saw a figure of 2000ppm ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Yellowness of egg yolk

Related question: Why are Italian eggs so yellow? Occasionally I get served a fried / poached egg with a deep yellow/orange yolk. I find it extremely appetising and visually attractive. Sometimes ...
2
votes
1answer
970 views

What makes a good quality pasta brand?

When I browse the pasta aisle I see a number of different brands (De Cecco, Rummo, etc.). Are there any notable differences between these brands? If I have a choice between different brands of the ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

What differences, practical and aesthetic, are there between egg washes?

An egg wash can be done in six major variations: [with | out egg white] mixed with [water | milk | cream]. My first hit when searching 'egg wash ratio' My Persian Kitchen where the use was for ...
1
vote
1answer
306 views

How can I detect bad-fed or fast-fed chicken eggs before buying?

I have traveled in Eastern Europe and I am annoyed to find out supermarkets seem offer only stale eggs (like white inside, no A -vitamin, tastes bad), they cost in the range of 7-12 cents per egg. My ...
5
votes
1answer
568 views

Fresh mussels, or are they?

I bought and cooked these mussels today. I'd like to know if there is anything wrong with the left hand mussel. Is the color, size an indicator for freshness? I'm guessing it was 'captured' (OK, ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I tell if a balsamic vinegar is good?

I bought a bottle of balsamic vinegar, and it smells so sour when I put my nose over the bottle. Is it supposed to be like that?
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between various cuts of steak?

I'm sure each has their own differences in texture (and cost) but don't really know exactly what they are or what they are best used for. I like bone in ribeyes so I haven't bothered to try ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I pick the best potatoes at the supermarket?

I was picking potatoes randomly from the supermarket without much thinking, and some potatoes take more time to bake properly. So on what basis should I pick potatoes, potatoes for baking? I'm not ...
5
votes
2answers
254 views

Flavor notes of olive oil varietals?

I prefer extra-virgin olive oils with fruit and grassy notes, rather than the peppery back-of-the-throat flavors that some folks enjoy. Are there particular olive varietals that are more likely to be ...