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AUGUST '08 DISCUSSION: Recipe Deal Breakers
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clotilde
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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 443
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: AUGUST '08 DISCUSSION: Recipe Deal Breakers Reply with quote

Starting this August, the Chocolate & Zucchini forums will host a monthly discussion thread around a food-related topic.

The first question refers to an article (free registration required) that appeared in the New York Times recently about recipe deal breakers: "those ingredients or instructions that make [cooks] throw down the whisk and walk away."

My personal nemesis is the eggplant. I adore eggplants, but aside from roasting them, I rarely manage to turn them into anything edible, so I've given up years ago.

I should also mention the sugar thermometer: I do own one, but it is bulky and menacing, and I've never really made friends with it, so I mentally cross off any recipe that calls for one. And I also shy away from recipes that involve deep-frying because 1) I have an open kitchen, so strong smells are a problem, and 2) large amounts of piping hot oil scare me.

What about you, what's your recipe deal breaker? Please chime in!


Last edited by clotilde on Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:51 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"deep frying" is my recipe deal breaker
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deep frying is it for me too. But I am happy to stir-fry and do that a lot!

Anything that looks complicated, scares the hell out of me. Like Clotilde, I find eggplant/aubergine utterly tasteless and therefore of no use whatsoever. Unlike okra/ladies fingers. Which are just horrid. Unlike actual ladies fingers which are lovely... tho' possibly not to eat!!

Anything that requires me to get too precious over what I'm cooking is likely to make me ignore the whole recipe. Likewise, anything that requires me to go out and get an expensive piece of equipment that I will use once and never again.
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely - food that requires deep frying is off the menu in our household. And we think twice before making fish here. We love fish, but don't always love the fishy odors that linger afterward, even with a thorough cleaning up.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the one or two occasions a year I do deep fry in my home I use olive oil blended with canola. It raises the smoking point and lowers the risk of a terrible scent lingering. I used to shy away because of the smell as well.

I don't often use recipes, but a total deal breaker with me is a wordy, overwritten recipe. A recipe no matter how involved, should be streamlined and no nonsense. Recipes by a certain US tv star are the worst, star "X" takes the simplest recipe and boggs it down. It makes me want to scream. That is the kind of thing that makes people afraid of their frying pan.
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Last edited by Erin on Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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nouper



Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 1
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me it's anchovies (or anchovy paste) - I just can't stand the taste.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me there ain't no such animal.

I can't think of anything that would stop me from cooking a dish; neither technique nor ingredient.

Even not-high-on-my-list ingredients rate an "it depends." For instance, somebody mentioned anchovies. Anchovy filets piled on a pizze don't turn me on, and I'd avoid them. But anchovies in a Ceasar dressing, or as part of Worchestershire are something else again.

I'm really surprised about the deep frying bug-a-boo. Maybe those who listed it could expand on why they feel that way.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, hooray hooray for this new topic! A reason to gather @ C&Z! --I hope it brings many interested parties (I didn't say foodies, Clotilde!) to each discussion.

I have a deep fryer which brings the oil to the right temperature and keeps it there, so it's easy for me. I don't think deep frying causes food to absorb more oil than pan frying (or roasting in its own fat) ? And O Tempura! I love certain deep fried foods *deeply* so this method doesn't phase me.

Deal breakers:

Recipes that call for cooking a live animal -- can't do it. (I'll eat it, I just won't cook it.)

Recipes using meats or fish (and sometimes eggs) that, when served, are still raw.

Recipes that produce dishes meant to be very hot (peppery) "5 Alarm Chili" etc. Food shouldn't hurt!

Mostly, I'll turn the page and keep looking when a recipe is simply too close, too similar, to one that I already make and like. Slight-variation-from-existing-favorite is a deal breaker--there are lots of these, yes?

I don't mind explicit, involved or (within reason) expensive recipes or tools. This is my recreation/entertainment so I'll spend time/money that for other people might go toward...golfing/golf clubs or something.
Of course if you don't like a certain food you'll avoid it. (But Griffin, Clotilde *likes* eggplant, she just has not had success preparing it. That's different from you finding it tasteless!)

Maybe another time we can discuss deal MAKERS--recipes we want to try right now, drop everything for trip to store for pricey items!
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Rachel



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 296
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clotilde, this is a fantastic idea - thanks!

I must add my voice to the chorus of deep-frying-phobes. It's a pity, because there are a few deep-fried foods I adore (falafel, tempura, fried courgette blossoms), but I'd sooner go to a restaurant to eat them than face all that smoking oil... the very thought makes me feel like a medieval martyr!

My other deal-breaker is anything that involved making custard, except that thanks to one of my favourite food bloggers I have theoretically conquered the fear (she posted a recipe several months back for creme caramel that gave very precise instructions for avoiding the dreaded curdling). Only theoretically, mind you - I haven't actually tried the recipe yet!

Gingerpale, it's interesting you mention the 'slight-variation-on-a-favourite' problem. That's usually one of mine, but sometimes I make an exception and more often than not, I'm glad I did. For example, I already have two recipes for aubergine caviar that I like very much - then I bought a Spanish cookbook a few weeks ago that had a recipe for something similar, the only difference being that it was seasoned with coriander and pimenton instead of parsley and lemon. I tried it and am glad I did, as despite the similarity of the ingredients and the process, it's a completely different (and delicious) beast.

Oddly enough, though I'm a vegetarian, a small amount of bacon or the like (used as seasoning) doesn't usually deter me. I leave it out and either substitute nothing, or I up the salt a tiny bit, or if it's a soup, I throw in a parmesan rind or two instead. I'm sure this would seem like sacrilege to omnivores, but I don't know what I'm missing!
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Claudia



Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 5
Location: White Bear Lake, MN USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:50 pm    Post subject: Deal Breakers Reply with quote

I am in complete agreement with deep frying. And of course - being a cook who does not wish to incur bodily harm, there is another:

"add wine; watch the flames carefully" That would be a "no" as I like my kitchen as is.

I smile at the: "Separate 14 eggs. Put away fourteen egg yolks for another use." I know that as soon as I put 14 egg yolks in my fridge, the fates will intervene and I will have no need of them for six months.
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HannahLister



Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 1
Location: Cardiff

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:04 pm    Post subject: Like minds! Reply with quote

I agree entirely. I love the crispyness of deep fried food, but not if I have to cook it. I do have a deep fat frier, but I've never used it!

The other thing that puts me off is a great big long list of ingredients! Usually full of items you will buy for that one recipe and will then sit and clutter up your cupboards.
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mlcarv



Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 1
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:28 pm    Post subject: DISCUSSION OF THE MONTH: Recipe Deal Breakers Reply with quote

This is an interesting topic. I usually don't shy away from complicated recipes or new techniques (even deep frying if that were something I'd enjoy eating). I recently started making my own bread for example. I think this is challenging and that's what make it fun (if time allows...).
To me the deal breakers are:
- Ingredients are too difficult to find (I am a French living in Texas... I really can't make all the great food I am used to even if things have improved A LOT in the past 10 years)
- Barbecue: I'll let my boyfriend take care of this. I won't get even close to a bbq pit
- Anything using shortening: sorry, I can't get used to that ingredient
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Ninilovestoeat



Joined: 01 Aug 2008
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Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:44 pm    Post subject: Re: DISCUSSION OF THE MONTH: Recipe Deal Breakers Reply with quote

I don't typically shy away from techniques or ingredients, however I must admit that I occasionally lose interest in recipes that require a multi-day investment of my time... that said, I once turned out a cake that weighed 20 pounds and took three days to complete: it took my husband and I months to finish (though on the plus side it froze beautifully)...
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Claudia



Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 5
Location: White Bear Lake, MN USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:57 pm    Post subject: Re: DISCUSSION OF THE MONTH: Recipe Deal Breakers Reply with quote

Quote:
(I am a French living in Texas... I really can't make all the great food I am used to even if things have improved A LOT in the past 10 years)


Laughing - I am a New Yorker living in Minnesota (many years) and things have improved. I only need one shopping bag filled with ingredients when I leave NYC. I used to have three.

SHortening? No! That stuff doesn't melt. Weird.
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2newfs



Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 1
Location: northeastern Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:07 pm    Post subject: Recipes that are just too pompous for their own good! Reply with quote

I got an email recipe from another website (nameless here, of course!) for Mexican chocolate ice cream. We love Mexican chocolate and ice cream so I clicked, and was ready to print and try ---- but then my eyes fell on one of the ingredients: "1 (4-inch) canela stick"
Huuum, at first glance, I'd never heard of canela, and there was no note or explanation. A quick google showed me that canela is Spanish for cinnamon. Duh, I should have just read my jar of cinnamon sticks!
But I was so irritated I haven't tried the recipe yet. If an entire recipe for pilaf is in English, I don't expect to see 'arroz' as one of the ingredients!

Sorry - must go cool down with come nice Mexican chocolate ice cream!
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