20 Cooking Questions Answered in 20 Words or Less

Back in my previous job, we used to do a thing called something along the lines of "Crazy Dirty Sex Questions Answered in 20 Words or Less."  I always thought it was a super clever concept to answer a bunch of questions so quickly and succinctly, and so I'm borrowing the idea and creating a food version through which I can answer your cooking questions in 20 words or less. [And yes, I know it should actually be "fewer," not "less," but I'm going with quip-y and recognizable over grammatically correct.]

Want your questions answered pithily in my next article? Email me and I'll add them to the queue!

1. Which side of the foil are you supposed to cook on?
Technically the shiny side, but the difference is negligible so don't worry about it.

2. What's the best way to melt chocolate? Chop it (or use chips) and melt in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring each time until completely smooth.

3.  I purchase eggs from a farmer and they are often irregular sizes. How do I properly weigh or divide them for use in baking? Crack and whisk together, then measure. 1 large egg equals 3 tablespoons or 70g or 2.5oz of beaten egg. 

4. Why does my pound cake deflate when I take it out of the oven? Possible reasons: Over mixing the batter, irregular oven heat, opening the oven door during baking, or expired baking powder. [Ed. Note: Read more about how to prevent collapsing cakes here.]

5. What's the best way to improve knife skills without taking a course? Look up an onion chopping tutorial on YouTube and practice with a full bag of yellow onions. (Freeze the diced onions.)

6. Which herbs and spices are OK to buy dry? Which are better fresh? As a rule, go dry for spices and fresh for herbs. Oregano is the exception. It's better dry.

7.  Which part of the green onion (scallion) is supposed to be used—the green or the white or both? For garnishes use only the green; for cooking use both green & white up to about 1” from the root.

8. If a recipe calls for wine, is it best to choose a dry wine?  Use exactly the same kind of wine you would pair with the meal if drinking it.

9. What’s the best method for cooking a burger indoors at home without a grill? A cast-iron griddle or grill pan. Only flip once and never press. Open the window to air out inevitable smoke.

10. Why do shrimp turn red when cooked? Embarrassment. Just kidding. Actually protein bonds that appear blackish in raw/live shrimp release & reveal natural red carotenoid pigments underneath.

11. Is "wild caught" salmon really healthier than "farm raised"? Yes. More usable omega-3 fats, significantly fewer antibiotics/pesticides, natural carotenoids--no synthetic pigments added for color. More environmentally responsible.

12.  My wife prefers well-done steaks. How do I cook a quality steak to the well-done stage without drying the meat out? Sear it quickly on the stove in a cast-iron skillet; transfer to 400 degree oven w/ meat thermometer until steak hits 145 degrees.

13.  What are good ideas for winter salads that have more than just lettuce and tomatoes? Grain salads (farro, wheatberries, quinoa). Peppery/hearty greens (arugula, watercress, upland cress, kale). Citrus & onion salads. Roasted vegetable salads.

14. Is it true that eggs that have never been refrigerated don't actually need to be? It's true! Fresh, unrefrigerated and unwashed eggs can be stored at cool room temp (around 75 degrees) for a week or two.

15. How do you say hanger steak in Spanish? (I live in Venezuela and would like to know how to buy/order it.) "Solomillo de Pulmon," though local dialects vary. The French word "onglet" is also pretty universal.

16. What is the best way to protect my dried goods from little critters?  Buy fresh, sift, then transfer to large glass jars with tightly-sealing screw-top lids or rubber gaskets. (like Mason/canning jars)

17.  How can I safely defrost my eggs if my bum refrigerator keeps freezing them? Let sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Or place in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for 5-10 minutes. [Ed. Note: My fridge does this too, and I hate it!]

18.  For more delicate baked goods, such as macarons and souffles, what is the best way to adjust for minor altitude (3000 ft in my case)? It's trial-and-error, but try reducing sugar by 1 tablespoon & replacing w/ same amount of flour. Increase baking temp by about 15-25 degrees F. 

19. How long does it take to preheat an oven? All ovens vary, but on average about 15 minutes to preheat to 350 and 20 minutes to preheat to 400.

20. How do I keep hard-boiled eggs from turning green near the yolk? Cook them gradually. Place eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, turn off & let sit for 10 minutes.

No comments

Hi there and thank you for reading! This blog is not currently active, so new questions are not being monitored. Please enjoy the archives.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Back to Top