Coocking/baking help


#1

Ok, I will admit I was never too creative in a kitchen. But I went on the internet and got some low sodium recipes. Not that I have medical issues. It is just my new 'kick' to watch my sodium.

So for the chefs out there, here are my questions

1-) The first recipe was for curried chicken marinated in non fat yogurt. Well, it turns out that half the yogurt it was marinated in gets lost. I find that a waste of money. If I don't use as much yogurt as called for, will that severly modified the taste?

Second, the chicken turned out rubbery. Is that because it was over coocked?

Thirdly, I found it too spicy. Should I add less curry

2-) The second recipe was for home made protein bars. At this point I was tired and I do not own a '1/3 of a cup' measuring cup. So I estimated 1/3 of my 1 cup measuring cup. I was generouse with the liquid ingredients and strict with the dry ones. The protein bars came out 'soft' in the sense they need to be eaten with a spoon.

Is that because I put too much liquid?

Also, it says to freeze them after cutting them. Will that make them stick together better so it is more like a bar I can eat without a spoon?

Thanks


#2

Not a master chef myself, but what I have found is that I used to be a terrible cook if I strayed from the recipe. If I tried to ad lib at all, I'd ruin the meal. Ten years on, I'm improving.

  1. Yup, use only as much yoghurt as you need to for marinating. You might want to reduce the cooking time if the chicken is rubbery - I like to cut mine very thin and cook it for a very short time. If you find a recipe with an acidic sauce, the chicken will turn out softer because it gets broken down a bit by the acids. As for the curry, it might reduce the flavour if you remove too much curry, but it's worth a shot.

  2. I have tried to make muesli bars and I gave up. I really can't tell you why you would freeze them afterwards, except perhaps to store them. If you are brave enough to try again, see what happens if you are very strict on measurements.

I have found that internet recipes can be great, or they can be terrible. Often other users leave comments about how they modified the recipe to improve it. Maybe the protein bar recipe is just a dud.


#3

Be aware that there is a healthy level of sodium (way lower than most) and the level in a strict low-sodium diet (way way lower than most).

I can't say if the recipe calls for more yogurt than necessary, but that is not unheard of. When I wonder about that, I surf lots of recipes and see what the range is. If you find recipes on epicurious.com, a lot of posters will comment about whether they thought the use of an ingredient was wasteful, which I also find helpful. If you lower the amount of one ingredient in a marinade, of course lower the amount of other ingredients accordingly.

Generally, marinating in yogurt for too long can give chicken a sort of an odd grainy texture, and essentially "cooks" the meat a bit, but I haven't found it to make it rubbery. Rubbery usually means you overcooked it. If you use a brine, the window between safe and rubber is larger, because the proteins are unwound a bit by the brine. Interestingly, Cook's Illustrated just reported (Jul/Aug 2011) that a low-sodium brine had a nearly-undiscernible added bitter taste, which was acceptable to most who could detect it. The salt substitute they used was LoSalt, which is 1/3 sodium chloride and 2/3 potassium chloride. They cautioned to be sure that you use a low salt and not a salt-free (no sodium) brand.

As for the curry, you might try a different curry powder unless you thought all the flavors too pronounced. These blends vary greatly in quality, character, and heat. Also, if the jar has been opened for more than six months, that could be the problem. Just buy what you think you'll use in a relatively short time. Old curry powder is worse than nothing.

In the protein bars, I'd have to guess that you used too much liquid, since you were supposed to cut them up before you froze them. The freezing step may be necessary to get the bars to set up; otherwise, it may just increase the shelf life so they don't all go bad before they can be eaten.

Try not to use new recipes when you're tired, when you have the choice. It is too easy to make a mental error, and just isn't as much fun. Do them the way the recipe author directs the first time, then make your changes on later tries. It is surprising that some steps that seem pointless do make a difference, but you can't know unless you try.

As for creativity, it rarely comes when someone with no background just starts randomly changing things in a recipe. What you want is to learn the principles that make the recipes work. In my experience, that wants guided experience, whether that is via lessons (live or very well-written) or hanging with your Grandma. With that knowledge and some practice, you'll know what kinds of tweaking are likely to yield what result, when measuring can be abandoned in favor of using your senses, and so on. That's when the real fun starts!


#4

I’m going to suggest that you skip internet recipes for a while and get a good, basic cookbook. Make it a low sodium cookbook, if that’s your current kick-but make sure it covers the basics of cooking.

You are asking us several questions about modifying recipes, while you say you aren’t creative in the kitchen. I enjoy being creative in the kitchen, and honestly, I rarely follow recipes exactly as written. However, good cooking starts with good recipes. Unless you know how to cook, you can’t always easily tell if an internet recipe is good–and if you read the reviews you will discover that many of the people reviewing the recipe didn’t follow it exactly. You need to develop an understanding of general pricipals of cooking. Too runny?–add less liquid. Too spicy for your taste?–add less spice. But you need to know what it’s suppose to be like before you start adjusting a recipe. And you need to start with a good recipe.

Get a good, basic cookbook and follow the recipes for a while.


#5

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:243897"]
...The second recipe was for home made protein bars. At this point I was tired and I do not own a '1/3 of a cup' measuring cup. So I estimated 1/3 of my 1 cup measuring cup. I was generouse with the liquid ingredients and strict with the dry ones. The protein bars came out 'soft' in the sense they need to be eaten with a spoon.

Is that because I put too much liquid?...

[/quote]

It could be too much liquid, not enough flour or other dry ingredients, a combination of both, or a bad recipe to start out (which you know if it was because you didn't follow the recipe). For baking, I recommend you measure with measuring cups.


#6

Not much of a baker but as far as the curry goes....yoghurt is a tenderizer so won't make it rubbery and yes it will become grainy if left to long no more than six hours. I am making curry tonight myself:p.


#7

Good for you for trying something new!

Since others have answered your specific questions about the marinade and the soupiness of your bars, I will leave that alone.
I would suggest that you go out and buy yourself a complete set of both liquid and dry measures (cups AND spoons). There is a difference between 1/3 cup in a dry measuring cup vs. 1/3 cup in a liquid measuring cup. Having the proper tools can make all the difference in the texture, volume and moisture of a baked item.
Eyeballing it is not easy, and as you found out, it often leads to a messed up final product.


#8

I’m not sure what you’re doing here. Are you marinating prior to cooking? If that is the case, then it is likely you can get away with less. Use enough to cover the chicken.

Second, the chicken turned out rubbery. Is that because it was over cocked?

My guess would be yes.

Thirdly, I found it too spicy. Should I add less curry.

Curry is basically a mixture of spices. Many people are used to the basic yellow mixture that is seen in the supermarket. There are many different other types that are premixed. They can often be purchased online and at various ethnic groceries fairly inexpensively. Health food stores and specialty shops may also have them, but are likely to be more expensive.

You could also make your own mixture. A good Indian cookbook would have the ingredients listed. The simplest ones are easy; just throw them in a spice grinder. Other may require roasting of the spices.

2-) The second recipe was for home made protein bars. At this point I was tired and I do not own a ‘1/3 of a cup’ measuring cup. So I estimated 1/3 of my 1 cup measuring cup. I was generouse with the liquid ingredients and strict with the dry ones. The protein bars came out ‘soft’ in the sense they need to be eaten with a spoon.

Is that because I put too much liquid?

My guess is too much liquid. If they needed to be cooked, it could also be due to improper cooking.


#9

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:243897"]
Ok, I will admit I was never too creative in a kitchen. But I went on the internet and got some low sodium recipes. Not that I have medical issues. It is just my new 'kick' to watch my sodium.

So for the chefs out there, here are my questions

1-) The first recipe was for curried chicken marinated in non fat yogurt. Well, it turns out that half the yogurt it was marinated in gets lost. I find that a waste of money. If I don't use as much yogurt as called for, will that severly modified the taste?

Second, the chicken turned out rubbery. Is that because it was over coocked?

Thirdly, I found it too spicy. Should I add less curry

2-) The second recipe was for home made protein bars. At this point I was tired and I do not own a '1/3 of a cup' measuring cup. So I estimated 1/3 of my 1 cup measuring cup. I was generouse with the liquid ingredients and strict with the dry ones. The protein bars came out 'soft' in the sense they need to be eaten with a spoon.

Is that because I put too much liquid?

Also, it says to freeze them after cutting them. Will that make them stick together better so it is more like a bar I can eat without a spoon?

Thanks

[/quote]

There is yogurt and then there is yogurt. If you want to save money and get yogurt that really works in breaking down your meat you should try to make it at home. If you want to get really fancy you need to by a thermometer but nothing else. If you buy a cheese cloth (not expensive) you can also make really good yogurt dips instead of sour cream dips.

If you want to tenderize the chicken after you killed it just plug it in the electrical outlet. :D


#10

The last time I tried cooking anything more complicated than Velveeta and hot dogs, a small thermonuclear explosion happend in my kitchen. I called the fire department and they said, “Geez man, order out more often! We’re tired of seeing you!”

:wink:


#11

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:243897"]
Ok, I will admit I was never too creative in a kitchen. But I went on the internet and got some low sodium recipes. Not that I have medical issues. It is just my new 'kick' to watch my sodium.

So for the chefs out there, here are my questions

1-) The first recipe was for curried chicken marinated in non fat yogurt. Well, it turns out that half the yogurt it was marinated in gets lost. I find that a waste of money. If I don't use as much yogurt as called for, will that severly modified the taste?

Second, the chicken turned out rubbery. Is that because it was over coocked?

Thirdly, I found it too spicy. Should I add less curry

2-) The second recipe was for home made protein bars. At this point I was tired and I do not own a '1/3 of a cup' measuring cup. So I estimated 1/3 of my 1 cup measuring cup. I was generouse with the liquid ingredients and strict with the dry ones. The protein bars came out 'soft' in the sense they need to be eaten with a spoon.

Is that because I put too much liquid?

Also, it says to freeze them after cutting them. Will that make them stick together better so it is more like a bar I can eat without a spoon?

Thanks

[/quote]

For low sodium start by buying your spices salt-free or low salt that way you have control of the salt without losing any of the other flavours. If you are not sure or can't get what you need salt-free start with less salt than the recipe calls for (unless you are baking and using yeast) and add more to taste.

Did the recipe specify what kind of yogurt? Greek yogurt which is what most recipes call for is thicker although you can get a similar texture with regular yogurt but you have to strain it over night in cheesecloth and may need to use more.

If a recipe calls for a specific temperature that is important to watch that and if possible set a timer. Never skip the pre-heat step if called for, heat ovens or pots to sizzling (or whatever) because all this affects the final result. I don't know what your recipe called for so I am just throwing everything out there.

Your protein bars was probably the liquid. Now I may have entirely too much time on my hands but once I could find one of my dry measures and I filled a 1 cup and then proceeded to measure out with a spoon in even distribution to get an "accurate" measurement. But if you have a 1/2 cup measure 1/3 is approximately a finger below (depends on the size of your finger I know).

Rascalking

Re: Coocking/baking help
The last time I tried cooking anything more complicated than Velveeta and hot dogs, a small thermonuclear explosion happend in my kitchen. I called the fire department and they said, "Geez man, order out more often! We're tired of seeing you!"

Rascalking we need to get you a restaurant stipend or maybe the military can hire you for explosives R&D.


#12

just be careful with products labeled "low sodium" I can't use most of them for instance because potassium replaces sodium, and that interferes with my BP meds, which are potassium sparing, and the level can get to high.

I prefer to go low sodium by not using processed foods and just not adding salt, except a little sea salt at the table if needed.


#13

So if I need the perfect hot dog recipe I’ll give you a call


#14

Thanks everyone for your help.

I think the first thing id to get myself the proper measuring cups

Also, I took one protein bar out of the freezer and brough it to work. I ate it at around 4 and it actually stuck together nicely. Nonetheless I will follow the recipe next time

CM


closed #15

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