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Old 04-05-2010, 03:32 PM #1
Jasper24
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Thumbs up Unofficial Aspiring Chefs answer your questions!

As requested by some members we have decided to create a thread were any and all food related questions will be answered!

Robfromabove and myself are both Culinary Arts students. Rob attends the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education and I attend the Culinary Insistute of America. We both have pleanty of experience in the food serivice industry.

We would love to answer any and all questions you have about food. From the "how to's?" to well... anything else you can think of.The only thing we ask is that you ask serious questions and not spam the thread.

We encourage anyone to add any input they may have or question anything Rob or I say, just please be respectful to everyone posting.

About us

Robfromabove- I'm a second year Culinary Arts student at Grand Rapids Community College. It's a two year degree, and once I graduate I'll have an AAS in Culinary Arts (Associates degree). We have one of less than 70 CMC's in the country, as well as one of 13 Certified Master Pastry Chef's in the US. Our school is also ranked in the top 20 Culinary Schools in the US.

I'm 26 years old, originally from Kalamazoo. When I first graduated H.S. I was really into Graphic Design, but after realizing that I'd be stuck behind a computer monitor for the rest of my life, I decided it wasn't for me. After working all kinds of odd jobs, mostly restaurants, I decided that I've always been interested in food, and the rest is history. Moved to GR and haven't looked back since.

Jasper24- I am currently enrolled at the Culinary Insititute of America. It is a three year, two month degree including a six month externship. You can work anywhere in the worlrd for those six months and some of the best restuants. I am planing to do mine at Blue Hill Stone Barns. Its executive chef and owner is Dan Barber. He is currently one of the top chefs America . When I graduate I will have Bachelor’s in culinary arts. The Culinary Institute of America remains to be one of the top rated Culinary schools in the world.

Cooking has always been a passion of mine. I knew from a young age that cooking is what I would want to. I am not the type of person who can sit at a desk. I love what I do and couldn't see myself doing anything else in life. I have been working in resturants ever since I started working, working the front and back of the house. All my experience has shaped me to be who I am today and wouldn't want it any other way.



Enjoy!
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:39 PM #2
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Cool

About myself:

My name is Joe, I do powerlifting and train pretty serious. Part of that is eating a lot of calories and lean is always preferable. Everything needs to be in balance and lots of it. Inevitably, learning to cook is a necessity. My uncle is quite a chef but since its not his profession, he does it practically for the most part and is from East Texas on the Louisiana border so you know some of that rubbed off. Hes the one who taught me what I know about cooking.

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Grill
I would love to hear some of your favorite ways to grill chicken. My uncle usually lets it sit in olive oil and whatever spices the dish its for demands for a day or so beforehand.

Also, I would enjoy hearing how you prepare a good NY strip, which is IMO, one of the best cuts but again, Im not in school or anything. I mean, anyone can grill a steak but its one of those things that if you can do it and do it really well, it stands out and is something to hang your hat on.

I like to grill some veggies. Any suggesstions in that regard?

Also, Id like to hear how you make hamburgers if you "stoop" to that. Again, something so basic anyone can do it but making it really well sets that apart.

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Saute
I dont really have any questions on this but wouldn't mind hearing more on it so that I can find some things to ask.

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Originally Posted by robfromabove View Post
Entremetier (responsible for all of the cooked vegetables/starches for the entrees)
Ditto to above.

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Originally Posted by robfromabove View Post
Pantry (essentially the Garde Manger or salad station, although this station is also responsible for the Lobster Flatbread Pizza)
I would like to hear how you guys go about pizza. Im thinking of getting a bread maker (again, Im a practical guy, not a professional) and part of that would be making dough for all kinds of things. Baking is something I dont delve much into and would like to. Homemade pizza and not just buying a premade crust with store sauce would be exceptional.

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Fish
I work at a BBQ and would love to get some tips of smoking fish. Also, how to go about really making some great salmon, tilapia, catfish, all that. My coonass manager would always try to explain how he did it but all his recipies and such are in his head with no set amounts. I wouldnt mind hearing a good marinade for that salmon either.

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Vegan
Rofl. Never.

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Stocks (since a lot of our sauces are made with vegetable, chicken, or veal stock, we make ~20 gallons of each a week)
Its the little things that make good food. Any advice you have with stocks would be appreciated. I can make it and it comes out fine but again, the little things I probably dont know would help Im sure.

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Hot Appetizer
Some cool easy party dishes are something I would dig. Im a simple guy, Im not into weird stuff but want to do something past chips and a store bought can of salsa. The other night, we were trying to make our own Dr Pepper ribs and did the whole cream cheese in jalapenos with bacon around it thing. Sooo good.

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Soups/Sauces
I would love to hear anything you have to tell here. I know thats broad, but I would really like to hear anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself if you could speak to yourself before you arrived at culinary school.

Also, if you guys are familar with mops for ribs, I have some questions as well. Working at a BBQ, smoking is a favorite of mine. Any suggestions for things to throw on the pit will be tried.

Lastly, what are some of your favorite things to make at home? For breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?

Thanks for your time guys.
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:31 PM #3
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Hey Joe, thanks for asking all your questions!

I will start off with the steak. I too am a huge fan of red meat. First thing you want to do is start off with a good cut of meat. That will make the biggest diffrence. Even in the grocery store you can find prime cuts of meat, they are much harder to come by, but you just have look look at the lables. If you cant find any then just try to find a cut with good marbling. If you cant find any NY strip steaks then try to find a T-bone or porterhouse, also great cuts. Before you grill it make sure you pat the steak dry with a paper towl to get it dry then season both sides with salt and pepper. When you pyut it on the grill dont keep on moving it and touching it, just let it do it's thing. The best this you can invest in is a instantread thermometer. That way you can tell the doneness of the meat without cutting into 20 times. About 130 is rare, 135 MR, 140 M so on and so forth.

With the hambugers I always grind my own meat. I would say that is the best thing you can do. That will make the best tasting burgers you will ever had, as long as you dont cook it into a hockey puck that is lol.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:07 PM #4
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I will do stocks next.

There are three different types of stock, white stock, brown stock, and fume(fish stock). There is also a differnce between a stock and a broth. A stock you only use the bones and the stock is not a finished product. A broth you use bones and meat, and the broth is a finished product. There is also something called a consumme which a a clearified and foritified broth of stock.

Stocks a suspposed to be clear, but when many people make it they do not not follow proper ratio's and technique's. So what ends up happing is their stocks become cloudy and can have a bitter taste to it.

The ratio for stock is -
8 pounds bones
6 quarts water
1 pound mirepiox

Mirepiox is carrots, celery, and onions. There is a ratio for mirepiox as well

Mirepiox-
2 parts onion
1 part celery
1 part carrot

When you get your bones you want to wash them very well to get out all the purge and whatever else might be on there. If you dont do this your stock will be cloudy and have a wierd taste to it. When you put your water in you always want to start with cold water. Do not put your mirepiox in yet. Turn on the heat and after a while you will start to see white stuff floating on top. You want to just skim that off. There will also be fat ontop. You want to go ahead and skim that off as well. After all of the impurites and most of the fat is off your stock should have been cooking for atleast an hour and half. If it was before then that is fine too but you want to wait about close to 2 hours before you throw in your mirepiox. From start to finish it should be about 4-5 hours from start to finish before its done. Contrary to belief you can over cook stocks and broths.
When you over cook it the bones will start to break down and make your stock or broth bitter and cloudy.
When your stock is done you want to strain it through a fine strainer to get out, well, everything. You dont want to have anything in your stock, it should be completely clear.

Consumme is a clearified and fortified stock or broth. You do that by adding egg whites and an acid. I will go into more detail about it if someone would like to know more.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:14 PM #5
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I smoked a turkey for thanksgiving one year and it came out great. Try that, maybe you guys at the BBQ place could smoke turkeys when thanksgiving comes around and market them... there's an idea!

I would have to say that breakfast is my favorite thing to make. I am a huge egg person so I love making myself eggs over easy of something like that.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:08 PM #6
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Way ahead of you. Theyve been doing that for decades. They actually do the full meals where you can heat them up in the oven for the lazy sons of *****s that is society today...rant rant rant. Sometimes people bring in wild ones they killed and we do them too.

Breakfast is something I would love to hear what your favorites are. Scrambled eggs, like steak, is easy but doing them right is really outstanding. Ill let you respond to everything before I continue.

Also, if you could explain the different applications of broth and stock. What situations would make them different or if its personal preference.

You mention cleaning the bones extensively...how extensive exactly. I mean, within reason, are very small bits allowed or do I have to practically skin them. When you say meat is in there, how do you go about that? When you skim the fat, what is the easiest/best way to do that?

Also, as someone who does heavy lifting and training, what are some meals youd recommend? I love learning this stuff about stock, but on the daily, Im going to just get a carton of the stuff at the grocery to be honest. In the real world, I dont have 4-5 hours ya know? But for special occations and wooing of teh wiminz, I love to make it right. Part of the reason I want to get into breakfast foods more...heh. Cajun/Southern and breakfast are something Id really love to get deep into.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:25 PM #7
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Ah alright cool... I love BBQ but down here in New York they are few and far between.

As for the egg's, I pretty much will eat them any style other than over hard. In my skills class we spent 3 days just learning the proper way to make all different styles. I like to make corned beef hash as well. when the grocery store had corned beef. There is nothing like real corned beef hash!

For a broth it is a finished product so you would use in something like a chicken soup or something that is not going to be "cooked" again. For a stock you would use it in something like a fench onion soup because you are cooking and reducing the soup. You would also use your stocks for sauces.

When I say clean them I mean run them under cold water untill you get all the purge out or the water runs clear. They dont have to be skinned, just the carcass of the chicken when you debone it you dont take that off when you make the stock...all of that is flavor. When I say bones I mean dont throw in 20 whole chickens if you are making a stock. I use a spider to take the white crap off.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:14 PM #8
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Ah alright cool... I love BBQ but down here in New York they are few and far between.

As for the egg's, I pretty much will eat them any style other than over hard. In my skills class we spent 3 days just learning the proper way to make all different styles. I like to make corned beef hash as well. when the grocery store had corned beef. There is nothing like real corned beef hash!

For a broth it is a finished product so you would use in something like a chicken soup or something that is not going to be "cooked" again. For a stock you would use it in something like a fench onion soup because you are cooking and reducing the soup. You would also use your stocks for sauces.

When I say clean them I mean run them under cold water untill you get all the purge out or the water runs clear. They dont have to be skinned, just the carcass of the chicken when you debone it you dont take that off when you make the stock...all of that is flavor. When I say bones I mean dont throw in 20 whole chickens if you are making a stock.
Yeah man, I had to deal with some hippie yuppie types from SXSW music festival and some were from NY and they were blown away by the food...I was like..hell yea man, why do you think people here are fat? Haha.

Tell me more about that corned beef hash, sounds good. Also, where would you tell me the best place in a city is to find fresh beef? I run out to the country a lot but not practical on the daily. Ill pay extra to get fresh cow. Luckily, Im in the right place for meat.

I get what youre saying now. Ill typically make a broth but if I want to make something with a stock, Ill certainly holler, hopefully in this thread.

Good stuff on the bones, I just wanted to make sure Id been doing it right haha.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:32 PM #9
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I, much like Joe, am a lifter that likes to cook.

The problem I run into is cooking a decent piece of fish. I mean yea I can cook it and its eatable, but not amazing. Any tips on cooking salmon/steel head? Hell even a nice tuna steak. Thanks for this awesome thread!!

Oh and Joe, any word on cooking a good brisket in my smoker, mine are getting a little better, but still dont come out as tender as id like.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:38 PM #10
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Well for the corned beef hash I will make a corned beef like the night before. In the morning I cube potatos and the corned beef and toos it with some salt pepper and just a little bit of oil. I put it in the oven till the potatos are soft. then when I am ready to eat it I put what I want on the flat top and get it nice a crispy. It is really good.

You can try to find a local butcher shop to get meat.If you can find one that would be your best best bet. They will be very knowledgable and will be able to help if you have any questions. If you dont have one you can go to a grocery store and try to look for from prime cuts. Chances are they will only have choice. But thats alright because there can be some choice meats that can have pretty good marbling. Let me see if I can find a slide from my meat class powerpoint that would be able to help you out.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:46 PM #11
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Here we go,the choice they have in the powerpoint is not very good. They have choice that is much better then that, but you get the point.



And for anyone who is wondering the 12 is kobe beef and about the 8 or 9 is domesticated kobe.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:00 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matrixkid89 View Post
I, much like Joe, am a lifter that likes to cook.

The problem I run into is cooking a decent piece of fish. I mean yea I can cook it and its eatable, but not amazing. Any tips on cooking salmon/steel head? Hell even a nice tuna steak. Thanks for this awesome thread!!
Well for me personaly I will only eat wild fish. I will not eat any farm raised fish becasue they taste like dirty muddy water. That could be one of the problems you are having. You could also be over cooking the fish which will cause it to be rubbery and not taste that good. Try playing around with different seasonings and marinades for the fish as well. For tuna you dont want to cook it,you just want to sear the outside of it. Tuna is very special becasue there are three types of tuna that will not have parisites in them. They are Yellow fin, Blue fin, and Bigeye tuna. That is the reason you can "undercook" that tuna.

Next time you get fish get a wild fish and a farm rasied fish. Just put them in the oven with nothing on them, no seasoning or anything. Try both of them and see if you can taste the difference in wild and farm rasied.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:21 AM #13
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As far as stocks goes, another step that can be added to alter the flavor of it is to roast the bones before you make the stock. Additionally, putting them in ice after they've roasted can help crack the bones, exposing more gelatin, which is the essence and flavor of any meat-based stock. Removing as much stuff as it comes off is important, but any fat that remains will coagulate once the stock has been refrigerated, and can be easily removed.

Also, you mention not having a lot of time to make stock - if you have a big enough stockpot, you can always make a huge batch and then reduce it into glace and freeze it, and when you need it, just add it in equal parts to water (depending on how concentrated it ends up being).


As far as smoking goes, you'd be surprised at how much flavor herbs can impart when they're smoked. We smoke a ton of bacon, sausages, etc., so the equipment is definitely available, but I cheat all the time using any open-flame grill. Essentially, grill whatever it is you'd like to smoke to about 90% done. Then, throw the herb of choice (thyme, oregano, etc. - the "woody" ones work best) on the grill, and the meat next to it and throw a pie tin or hotel pan over the whole thing. As an example I've done it before with a butterflied Cornish Game Hen and thyme, and it was amazing how much the smoke flavor penetrates the meat.

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Old 04-06-2010, 12:36 AM #14
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Also, as someone who does heavy lifting and training, what are some meals youd recommend?
I might be the only one, but I tend to stray away from the whole "consume as much meat as humanly possible when weight training" philosophy. Not trying to sway you to become a vegan, mind you, but why eat meat for the protein when you can get the same thing from something plant-based without the saturated fat and cholesterol?

So, for an example, quinoa, the only grain in the world to be considered a "complete" protein, is something I try to eat fairly often. It's somewhat expensive in grocery stores, but if your town has a health food store, it's relatively cheap in bulk. It cooks like rice, and you can make a huge batch of it, refrigerate it, and use it whenever you'd like. For example, I make whole wheat wraps with cream cheese, quinoa, red onion, some refried black beans, tomato, spinach, etc. for lunch, and it really seems to be more lasting and fulfilling than our generations' standard fare of burgers and whatnot.
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:18 AM #15
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Well for me personaly I will only eat wild fish. I will not eat any farm raised fish becasue they taste like dirty muddy water. That could be one of the problems you are having. You could also be over cooking the fish which will cause it to be rubbery and not taste that good. Try playing around with different seasonings and marinades for the fish as well. For tuna you dont want to cook it,you just want to sear the outside of it. Tuna is very special becasue there are three types of tuna that will not have parisites in them. They are Yellow fin, Blue fin, and Bigeye tuna. That is the reason you can "undercook" that tuna.

Next time you get fish get a wild fish and a farm rasied fish. Just put them in the oven with nothing on them, no seasoning or anything. Try both of them and see if you can taste the difference in wild and farm rasied.
Should have mentioned most of the fish I eat is fresh. My question would be, what would the proper heat be to cook it at?
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:31 AM #16
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It all depends on the fish and how you're cooking it. If it's on a grill, then the hotter the better. If it's in an oven, then 375-400 would be more adequate. And finally, if you're pan-frying it, you want to cook it over medium/medium-high heat, depending if you've breaded it or not.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:22 PM #17
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Does anybody else get their gears really grinded when people say they are going to BBQ some burgers and dogs or something along those lines...i wish people could just call grilling grilling and BBQ BBQ and realize they are vastly different
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:50 PM #18
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This thread is one of my tabs now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by matrixkid89 View Post
I, much like Joe, am a lifter that likes to cook.

The problem I run into is cooking a decent piece of fish. I mean yea I can cook it and its eatable, but not amazing. Any tips on cooking salmon/steel head? Hell even a nice tuna steak. Thanks for this awesome thread!!

Oh and Joe, any word on cooking a good brisket in my smoker, mine are getting a little better, but still dont come out as tender as id like.
Ill holler at you on aim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper24 View Post
Well for the corned beef hash I will make a corned beef like the night before. In the morning I cube potatos and the corned beef and toos it with some salt pepper and just a little bit of oil. I put it in the oven till the potatos are soft. then when I am ready to eat it I put what I want on the flat top and get it nice a crispy. It is really good.

You can try to find a local butcher shop to get meat.If you can find one that would be your best best bet. They will be very knowledgable and will be able to help if you have any questions. If you dont have one you can go to a grocery store and try to look for from prime cuts. Chances are they will only have choice. But thats alright because there can be some choice meats that can have pretty good marbling. Let me see if I can find a slide from my meat class powerpoint that would be able to help you out.
About how long do you let it sit in the oven? Just need a baseline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robfromabove View Post
As far as stocks goes, another step that can be added to alter the flavor of it is to roast the bones before you make the stock. Additionally, putting them in ice after they've roasted can help crack the bones, exposing more gelatin, which is the essence and flavor of any meat-based stock. Removing as much stuff as it comes off is important, but any fat that remains will coagulate once the stock has been refrigerated, and can be easily removed.

Also, you mention not having a lot of time to make stock - if you have a big enough stockpot, you can always make a huge batch and then reduce it into glace and freeze it, and when you need it, just add it in equal parts to water (depending on how concentrated it ends up being).

As far as smoking goes, you'd be surprised at how much flavor herbs can impart when they're smoked. We smoke a ton of bacon, sausages, etc., so the equipment is definitely available, but I cheat all the time using any open-flame grill. Essentially, grill whatever it is you'd like to smoke to about 90% done. Then, throw the herb of choice (thyme, oregano, etc. - the "woody" ones work best) on the grill, and the meat next to it and throw a pie tin or hotel pan over the whole thing. As an example I've done it before with a butterflied Cornish Game Hen and thyme, and it was amazing how much the smoke flavor penetrates the meat.
Ill keep that in mind with the stock. That freezing thing was something I wanted to try with roux. I would love to hear your thoughts etc on that. Making an amazing authentic gumbo is on my lifes to do list.

After we get some other topics out of the way, Id love to learn more on baking (and desserts).

So lets talk rubs. Me and a buddy are working on Dr Pepper ribs. Our rub was:

1 TBSP black pepper (fine)
1 TBSP chipotle powder
2 TBSP Seasoning Salt
1 TSP Garlic powder
1 TBSP Brown Sugar

The Mop

2:1 (cups) Dr Pepper to BBQ Sause

Now from here, we were using a small amount of brown sugar but that wasnt enough to thicken it. We didnt want anything to overwhelm the Dr Pepper flavor. We need it thick to obviously stick and such. I was debating adding ketchup but my concern is thickening it without changing the flavor. Maybe whisking in cornstarch even? Idk. Any suggestions you have are welcome. Again, we are but simple folk with modest ingredients.



Quote:
Originally Posted by robfromabove View Post
I might be the only one, but I tend to stray away from the whole "consume as much meat as humanly possible when weight training" philosophy. Not trying to sway you to become a vegan, mind you, but why eat meat for the protein when you can get the same thing from something plant-based without the saturated fat and cholesterol?

So, for an example, quinoa, the only grain in the world to be considered a "complete" protein, is something I try to eat fairly often. It's somewhat expensive in grocery stores, but if your town has a health food store, it's relatively cheap in bulk. It cooks like rice, and you can make a huge batch of it, refrigerate it, and use it whenever you'd like. For example, I make whole wheat wraps with cream cheese, quinoa, red onion, some refried black beans, tomato, spinach, etc. for lunch, and it really seems to be more lasting and fulfilling than our generations' standard fare of burgers and whatnot.
Did you read the China Study then? Haha, no but you are not alone at all. Only the naive and ignorant think that cramming meat is all there is to it. Lets not downplay that increased protein intake is basically necessary but to not balance it and seek other sources is stupid. Im very excited to hear about this quinoa, I wasnt aware of any grains that were complete. Other preparations are welcome.

Edit:Found it at the grocery in bulk, 3.79/lb.

Edit #2: Doesnt taste bad by itself but def not eating it that way in large quantities. Out of curiosity, why does it say for them to be rinsed thoroughly. Not that I doubt it, just wondering. Also, ideas for integrating them into dishes? IE, I was thinking it would be a great thing to add to meatloaf.

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Originally Posted by yanks914 View Post
Does anybody else get their gears really grinded when people say they are going to BBQ some burgers and dogs or something along those lines...i wish people could just call grilling grilling and BBQ BBQ and realize they are vastly different
Oh my God yes. I hate that **** so much. When I lived up north for a year... dear God, BBQ chicken was grilled chicken with kraft sause on it. I wanted to scream.
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Last edited by 572 : 04-07-2010 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:28 PM #19
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It all depends on how thick you cut your potatos. For me I put it in the over for about 45 minutes or untill the potatos are cooked.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:46 PM #20
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Updated the first post with a little bio from the both of us.
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:06 AM #21
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as a fellow culinary graduate (CSCA-pasadena, ca) and current head chef of a catering company i am glad that you guys started a thread like this. i always thought that the food section need some upstanding posters to answer these types of questions. if your guys don't mind i would like to help you guys out with some of these questions. i also had some other ideas for some stickies, basic culinary terms, methods and recipes (sautee, bbq, grill, roux, stock, etc)

thanks

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