Chat Leftovers: Roasters, "Cloaking," Little Fishies
Roasting pan: I am looking for a good roasting pan, but all the ones I see are very expensive -- over $200. Can you tell me where I can find a good roasting pan that won't bust my budget?
I think I paid about 40 bucks for my 16-inch Calphalon roasting pan a few years ago, and it’s still kicking. Keep an eye on those sales, my dear; in this weak economy, department stores seem to hosting a new sale nearly every week. I recently bought a high-quality enamel-coated cast-iron skillet at Macy’s for nearly 70 percent off.
Don’t underestimate the local thrift shop; I’ve found great cookware bargains over the years, as well as ye olde neighborhood yard sale.
Whatever you do, don’t spend 200 bucks for a roasting pan. I am confident you can spend far less without much effort.
Arlington, Va.: I tried that no-knead bread recipe last weekend and had a horrible time with the "cloaking" concept. Looked on the web for some type of pictures and couldn't locate anything that helped me. Can you offer any more guidance beyond what's in the recipe? Do you hold the dough in one hand and stretch with the other? (And what happens if you don't cloak it -- just put a hunk of dough on the baking stone?) I'm sure this is one of those things that will seem simple once I get the hang of it...At least I hope so. I want to try again this weekend! Thanks so much!
Here’s how Zoe Francois, co-author of “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” describes a “gluten cloak”: “What you are trying to do here is to add enough flour to the surface so that it can be handled and the protein strands in the surface can be aligned, creating a resilient “cloak” around the mass of wet, barely kneaded dough. Resist the temptation to get rid of all stickiness by adding too much flour.”
So you’ve got a piece of dough in your (lightly floured) hands, and you’ve sprinkled surface of dough with flour as well (as Francois describes, above). All you really want to do here is gently stretch the surface of the dough in a circular motion (think quarter turns) while tucking dough underneath. You’ll end up with a loosely-shaped ball. You don’t want to incorporate the flour but you do want to slightly shape dough, set it up for resting at room temperature as well as create a gluten structure which is going to help the loaf keep its shape while baking.
Hempstead, N.Y.: Hi Kim -- I've got several tins of sardines and anchovies but never know the difference as to what I use each of them for! Can you help and give me some ideas? Thanks!
All sardines belong to the herring family (Clupediae), which includes anchovies and shad among its brethren. It is said that the name “sardine” is derived from the Italian isla of Sardinia, where they were also known as pilchards.
Both salt-water fish, the sardine is typically about five inches long, significant longer than its distant cousin, the anchovy. It is difficult to find fresh sardines at the seafood counter, and if you do, they’re likely to be flown in from Portugal. They’re wonderful pan fried or grilled and served over greens, by the way. Fresh anchovies are even more difficult to find in the States; you’ve got a better chance of finding them on a restaurant menu than at your local fish market.
Personally, if I were conducting a blind taste test, I would not be able to distinguish between the fishies, fresh or tinned. Both provide enormous amounts of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which is always a good thing, and if you want to start eating down your supply, consider incorporating them into pizza or into pasta. I love pounding a few tinned fish in a mortar and pestle (or with the force of a large knife) with some garlic. It creates a savory base from which you can build; I’ve taken that mash and heated it in a little olive oil, then add some fresh chopped parsley, lemon and bread crumbs, all of which gets folded into short pasta, such as penne or small shells.
The mash also loves a strong mustard, the smeared onto a slab of crusty toast for a weekend breakfast of champions. Throw in a handful of peppery greens like arugula or watercress, with a spritz of lemon, blood orange or grapefruit, and you’ve got a savory salad fit for a queen
Last but not least, dem little fishies are brain food, so if you’re feeling foggy, they’ll fix you right up.
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