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  1. #1

    Measurments and some Kitchen Safety

    Hello FC.

    I was away for a bit last week, so i never got the chance to post anything.

    I thought id share with you a bit on measurments and a few other kitchen facts.

    Lets start with our measurements. Im sorry all you european friends, i know an ounce is used everywhere, so maybe you can make the connection from there.
    The two basic measurement types are by weight and by volume. This can be the difference between a successfull attempt at a recipe and a monstrous failure!
    Obviously measuring by weight is determined by what it would weigh on a scale, and volume is measured by the amount of space a substance takes up. However, did you know that eggs, milk and water can be measured both ways for the same result? Its useful for not dirtying so many measuring cups. Liquid ingredients are usually measured by volume, while dry ingredients are usually measured by weight.

    Lets go back to the interchangable items for a second. Ill use water as the example. A cup of liquid measure consists of 8 ounces. A pint is made up of 16 ounces, or two cups. Heres where the interchange is easiest. There are 16 ounces in 1 pount of weight. So a pint of water is also a pound of water! From there you can go to two pounds, or half a pound, etc. Now sticking to the amounts, there are two pints in one quart(32 ounces) and there are 4 quarts in one gallon(128 ounces). Going backwards from a cup(8 ounces), there are two tablespoons in an ounce, and there are three teaspoons in a tablespoon.

    Heres an example of how weight and volume differ. When i make pizza dough, i need 3 of those little store bought yeast packets, which each contain 1/4 of an ounce of yeast, which all together is....... very good, 3/4ths of an ounce! So if we took our measuring spoons and tried to get 3/4ths of an ounce by volume, theoretically we would need 1 and a half tablespoons. For fun, lets get the scale out and measure by weight 1 and a half tablespoons of yeast. It doesnt come out to 3/4ths of an ounce, does it? Probably comes out to about a third of an ounce. So lets start over. With an empty scale, put three tablespoons of yeast on it. comes out to 3/4ths of an ounce, right? So if we got technical, three tablespoons of yeast(3/4ths of an ounce) weighs 1 and a half ounces by volume.

    Heres where im not 100% sure, but ill try for our UK friends. A liter is roughly similar to a quart. 1 us quart is about 95% of a liter. And according to the internet, theres a UK quart thats about 1.37 litres. And i think a liter is 1 kilogram. when I was in england, i do remember using ounces to help me convert some of my recipes, so I used an ounce scale to measure my things.

    Now for things by weight, such as flour or sugar, some recipes call for cups or tablespoons(tablespoons usually for those minute amounts), but weight things in professional environments are all "scaled out". Which means they always use a scale and just pour flour in until it gets to the desired weight. From there if one so desired, they could see how many cups that turned out to be for quicker measurements in the future(they make 16 cup measures and sometimes bigger!).

    Here are some quick tips for measuring some basic ingredients incase you are without a scale or measuring cups.

    One pound of flour is a little less than 4 cups.

    There are rougly 2 cups of sugar in one pound.

    One pound of brown sugar is roughly 2/4 cups

    Butter usually is clearly marked, but a pound of butter is 2 cups. Each stick is a half of a cup.

    Everyones pinch is unique, but a pinch of salt or something is usually about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half.

    How about a few other tips?

    Heres an important one. Lets say we are getting ready to fry us up some chicken in a pan. The safe chef would keep a close eye on his oil when there is no way to tell temperature of it. Lets say, god forbid, our oil got way too hot, and caught fire. Oil has what we call a "smoke point". Extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point(doesnt have to reach a higher temperature before igniting) where as canola oil has a higher smoke point(can reach higher temperatures before igniting). So were standing there like deer in headlights, but we need to act fast. Some might think to grab the nearest source of water to douse the fire. But this is wrong! NEVER USE WATER TO PUT OUT A GREASE FIRE! Since water and oil dont get along, the water will only help spread the fire and make matters ten times worse. Remember in our first lesson, how water boils at 211 degrees? Well that flaming oil way hotter than that. So when water is added to the mix, it instantly boils, and violently erupts all over the place, spreading that flaming oil. What we will want to do if possible, is cover the pan and shut the heat. You want to use a metal cover. Glass will probably shatter, and a wood or plastic cutting board will obviously melt/burn. Fire cant live without oxigen, right?

    The second option, is baking soda, if its handy. This will only work if the fire is small, because it takes alot of baking soda to do the trick. You may also be thinking, "but spotty, flour is almost the consistency of baking soda, cant we use that instead?". A valid question, but baking soda has a few components that flour does not. Aside from being dry and able to smother the fire, it also contains sodium carbonate. The release of carbon dioxide keeps oxigen away from the fire, starving it. Hence the reason our baked goods rise, by the way. We call that a leavener.
    Salt also works for grease fire, in that it doesnt really burn. and can cover the fire. Salt also chemically breaks down oil. This is also a reason why you never season your food over the frying oil, but we will get into that in another lesson.

    If your fire is in an oven, then the smartest thing to do is shut the oven and leave the door closed. Let the fire starve itself. If you open the door, you're just introducing more oxigen to the mix.
    In the worst case scenario, just flee the house! Dont be a hero. Grease fires spread very quickly, and if uncontrollable, then cannot be extinguished without the fire department.

    Now that weve covered that dark section of safety, how about something a little more forgiving? Foodbourne illness can be a serious problem, but one that is easily avoided. Most of the time food spoils is because of age, or because of its holding temperature. Health departments current safe zone for refridgeration is 40 degrees Fareinheight or less. If your cooking food and not eating it right away, they reccomend hot food be kept at 140 degrees, although it used to be lower than that at around 125, so sometimes the health department is full of shit. I mean you really only need to keep food held at that temperature in a commercial establishment. Who keeps hot food regulated at home anyways? You cook burgers and dogs on the grill for a barbeque, and you let people take what they want. Pshh. 140. But refridgeration is actually important. Food will spoil. Speaking of food spoiling, items can go bad even when temperature control is observed. If it smells bad, it probably is bad! You shouldnt cook with it. Milk and things have "sell by" dates, but i follow the scent rule with those too. If it doesnt smell sour, then i still use it. That doesnt mean it is still good, however, and if your gut tells you(sometiems literally) to throw it out, then play it safe and toss it. When you grow up in my family you eat enough to give you a hardy stomach, so dont go by me.

    Speaking of temperatures, there are a few things you should know about cooking certain meats.

    Poultry items, like chicken or turkey, should be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees throughout. Salmonella is nasty, and you dont want to get hit with that shit if your chicken is raw or spoiled.

    Pork should be cooked to a minimum of 155 degrees. Pork isnt as risky as chicken is, but with things like ribs and pork shoulders(pulled pork) you cant really overcook it. Those cuts usualy braise for a long time anyway so they pull apart effortlessly.

    Red meats are a bit tricky. People sometimes order there meat as rare as possible, and some people order their steaks burnt to a crisp cause they dont like the "blood". Yes i say "blood" cause the animal is dead and there isnt really any blood left. Most of it is water. Certain cuts should be eaten rarer, like filet mignon, or prime rib. Overcooking those cuts makes them like leather and tasteless. Again, thats personal preference how you like it. Other things like beef brisket and short ribs(again, those tougher, slow cooking meats) are cooked for a long time so they become fall-off-the-bone tender. Ground beef however is a different story. With steaks and cuts the bacteria will usually reside on the outside. But when you grind that meat, you mix it into the interior of the meat. I order my steaks and chops medium rare, and my burgers medium. Gound beef is less pleasant to eat raw then a steak would be. But again, some folks like their meat dead, and ive seen a hand full of people literally order a burger that was cooked for a minute on each side. Thats just crazy. He was asking for trouble there.

    Sometimes in the kitchen we use certain products that we would cook to higher temperatures just because of the quality of the product. Like frozen ground beef patties were too thin to cook to temperature, and too mass produced to be safe to cook rarer. Besides if your going to be using that stuff, your making a ton and you just want to get them all cooked in as little time as possible. No time for variations.

    Fish products all depend on the fish. There is sashimi grade tuna, for example, that they clearly eat raw. but then theres things like shrimp and crab and while you dont want to over cook it, you shouldnt eat undercooked. Things like salmon, some people like a little under, and then there is fish like grouper or seabass that you should not undercook.
    The Health department will tell you to cook your fish to a minimum of 145 degrees.

    After knowing all of that about cooking temperatures, you should store your meat products accordingly. Red meats should go above pork products, while pork products should be stored above chicken products. I like to keep fish seperate, with shellfish allergies and all. The theory behind this is if anything should leak or drip down to a lower shelf, you wouldnt have to cook that product more than you have to.

    As always, i could go on forever. But i think we will end it here.

    Stay thirsty my friends.

  2. #2

    Re: Measurments and some Kitchen Safetey

    Most of the measurement stuff went straight over my head but I'm sure it's useful for all you imperialists!

    Good lesson.

    Australia: Where 90% of animals are trying to kill you. The other 10% just do it by accident.

    [8:10:37 AM] riphelix: Nova I need too borrow your accent tomorrow please, I got a date and I wanna impress her
    [8:11:07 AM] Nervy: Sex guaranteed!!

  3. #3

    Re: Measurments and some Kitchen Safetey

    yaaaaaa i stopped reading after the first paragraph or so when i decided this wasnt going anywhere but down the line that it literally meant..............also kids, throw water on grease fires, it makes everything allllllllllll better

  4. #4

    Re: Measurments and some Kitchen Safetey

    Well i dont know what you already know. I had requested feedback so we could get to the stuff people want to learn...

  5. #5

    Re: Measurments and some Kitchen Safetey

    I wanna learn to make da best................SCONE S!!!!!!!

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