29 Comments
Mar 9, 2023Liked by Caroline Chambers

Unrelated Q, but something I always wonder about... When a recipe calls for adding reserved pasta water, should I NOT cook said pasta in salted water to avoid oversalting the dish???

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ALWAYS cook your pasta in salted water :) :) If it's a good recipe developer, they have accounted for that extra salt. This is one of those moments where, since I don't know exactly how much salt everyone's pasta absorbed through the water, I will provide a LOW salt amount in the recipe. Say, only 1/2 teaspoon of salt will be in the recipe. Then I always include a "taste and adjust seasonings as needed" note to remind you that everyone's dish will come out slightly different for various reasons, and we all have to season to our own preferences!

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Mar 9, 2023Liked by Caroline Chambers

I thought you mentioned recently to get a dutch oven that was circular? I am about to purchase my first one and was wondering what are the benefits of a circular versus oval dutch oven? I am torn because of the two I’m looking at the oval is larger and I do a decent amount of batch cooking.

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what Robin said -- the circular is much better for even cooking on a stovetop!! You can get a circular the same quart size as all of the ovular ones, I think!

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Thank you both!! It’s a big investment and wanted to make sure that I made the right choice long term. Appreciate your expertise 😊

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Mar 9, 2023Liked by Caroline Chambers

Circular would be more versatile (IMO) as it will fit on a burner (and heat more evenly) versus an oval, which would “hang off” the sides of a burner. Both would work in the oven, so if you mostly use it in the oven, the larger oval might suit your purposes better.

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EXACTLY.

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First let me say how much I love your recipes! I have been cooking supper for over 40 years and have hated every minute of it until now-you have inspired me! 😘

Now to my problem….I recently made your No-stir Mushroom risotto with walnut-chili crunch. When I took it from the oven it was extremely runny but being a rule follower I went ahead and added the wine etc. Bad move. I cranked up the heat and stirred and stirred for probably 15 more minutes-it thickened a little but not much and my hand was getting burned from the steam so I finally dumped it in a colander. It was yummy:). My obvious question is: What happened? Could the problem have been an issue with my oven temp?

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Loved this and your pantry staples post! Wondering if you’d consider sharing some tricks/hacks for reducing waste in the kitchen like paper towels, ziplock bags, parchment etc... I use these a lot to save time and mess but trying to gradually cut back. Eg: are silicone baking mats as good as parchment, are stasher bags worth the $$$, that sort of thing :)

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love this idea

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Why do recipes say to bring something to a boil and then immediately turn the heat down to simmer? Why isn't staying at a simmer the whole time ok?

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LOVE THIS QUESTION. this might get it's own email. because if you tried to get 12 cups of water hot over medium-low heat (standard "simmer" heat) it would take FOREVER! so we rip it over high heat to get it hot in half the time, then reduce the heat down to a simmer.

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That makes sense. But what do I do if it's already at a simmer and the instructions say to bring to a boil, then down to a simmer? That's what I don't understand.

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If it's already at a simmer you can just keep it there. The author of the recipe probably was working faster than you or something, so their pot wasn't simmering yet by that step.

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Ah, ok! Thank you! That makes sense!

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Wonderful tip!

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Already a huge fan of this mini series!

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This was really helpful info, thank you!!

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Ahhhhhh I see now!

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Unrelated Q please. When a recipe calls for brown sugar but doesn’t specify light or dark which is the standard? I tend to go with the dark and only use the light when it’s specified. I’d really like to know the proper assumption.

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THERE IS SO MUCH I DONT KNOW!!! Love this can’t wait to learn more 🤍

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I learned this from an Italian cook - When reducing the meal or sauce in the pot, put the lid on the pot. Occasionally, lift off the lid and let the water run off the lid into another bowl. Thereby, the food reduces in 'water' or condensation, not in flavour.

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Never heard that one. I'm not sure why it would make a difference. One way or another it's steam rising and leaving the pot. With the chef's method it's just collecting on the top of the lid and then being poured off?

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This is a lab technique called refluxing and is used to keep a chemical solution from boiling dry before a reaction is complete. Some of that water condensing on the lid will drip back in and have to be cooked off again and again. Perhaps in cooking it is useful to keep overall liquid volume low but still simmer long enough for flavor to develop.

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I have been using lids like this forever. But never put much thought into why I do it that way. Thanks for the lesson!

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Love these helpful little factoids!

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Love this new series!! Thank you!

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