Cooking Questions Answered

This week on What's for Dinner Joe answers some of our listeners burning cooking questions.

What does it mean to cut meat across the grain and why is it important?

Cutting meat across the grain is when you slice the meat across the muscle fibers. Steaks such as flank and skirt are tough cuts of meat and if you do not cut across the grain the meat will be chewy. Use a very straight carving knife and make sure it is sharp.

Why should you allow meat to rest?

Without resting you will loose a lot of the juices. When you cut the meat right away all the juices will bleed from the meat. The juices in the meat contain all the flavor.

How do you prevent the grey ring in a hard boiled egg?

Put the eggs in cold water, covering by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil and then cover the pot and remove from the heat. Allow the eggs to sit in the pot for 10 minutes, then remove the eggs and run them under cold water.

How do I substitute dry herbs for fresh ones?

Dried herbs are much more concentrated in flavor. When using dried herbs you will use less than the fresh herbs.

My recipe says to reserve some of the pasta water for the recipe. Can I use regular water?

No, you really should use the pasta water. The pasta water has the flavor and starch from the pasta and will add to the recipe.

I usually cook boneless chicken breasts, but I have heard that bone in chicken breasts are better?

Bone in chicken tends to be more flavorful and juicy than boneless chicken. It often takes longer to cook, but its worth it.

Meat always sticks to the pan when I sear it. What am I doing wrong?

Your pan probably isn't hot enough. You should use a cast-iron pan, heat it over medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Once the pan is nice and hot add a small amount of oil and sear the meat.

How do I keep from crying when chopping onions?

Run water in the sink while chopping or set a bowl of ice water next to the cutting board while you are chopping.

My recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, can I use the stuff from the bottle?

Lemon juice is lemon juice. However, fresh is always better.

How do I make crispy pizza crust?

Use brown sugar in the dough, the molasses in the brown sugar will caramelize and crisp the crust. Its also a good idea to sprinkle a little breadcrumbs on the pan you will be cooking the pizza on.

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