How to re­quest a restau­rant’s recipe and other ques­tions

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD -

Q: What is the eti­quette for ask­ing restau­rants for recipes? For ex­am­ple, I loved the kale at a lo­cal restau­rant, but it’s not on the menu right now. I’d love to make it at home. I know there are dif­fer­ences in large- and small-scale cook­ing, but I think if I could get a list of in­gre­di­ents and the process, I could come up with some­thing. Is it OK to ask? How does that work?

A: Chefs and restau­rants are used to get­ting recipe re­quests these days and will typ­i­cally comply with plea­sure. It will help if you can be spe­cific, per­haps in a fol­lowup email, with how many serv­ings you’re in­ter­ested in. Be aware that mea­sure­ments will most likely will be listed by weight (grams) and that you can as­sume things like salt is kosher, but­ter is un­salted, and there might be some in­gre­di­ent that may be dif­fi­cult to find. If the last bit is true, a re­quest for a sub­sti­tute in­gre­di­ent may be in or­der.

•Bon­nie S. Ben­wick

Q: I re­ceived a sous-vide cooker as a present and have been look­ing at recipes to try out. Most that I have seen tell you the tem­per­a­ture you need to set, as well as the cook­ing time. How­ever, it is not clear whether you have to let the wa­ter reach that tem­per­a­ture be­fore plac­ing the food into the wa­ter, or if the cook­ing time in­cludes the warm up. Is there a gen­eral rule for this, or does it de­pend on the recipe?

A: When you’re cook­ing sous vide, you shouldn’t start the clock on your cook time un­til the wa­ter is up to tem­per­a­ture. Many sous-vide recipes give you a wide range for tim­ing — say, one to five hours for a steak. You have to hit the min­i­mum amount of time at the in­di­cated tem­per­a­ture for the food to be cooked. Another thing: The food must be com­pletely sub­merged. Af­ter you hit the tem­per­a­ture and min­i­mum time, your food is done, though you can leave it in longer. It can’t over­cook as long as the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture re­mains the same.

•Maura Jud­kis

Q: We have a neigh­bour­hood potluck din­ner com­ing up where the host has planned an Ital­ian main course. We have vol­un­teered to bring an ap­pe­tizer and a dessert. Both need to be gluten-free. Do you have any sug­ges­tions? For the ap­pe­tizer, we were think­ing maybe a prosciutto-and-melon com­bi­na­tion. But we aren’t sure about a gluten-free Ital­ian dessert. Are gelati dif­fi­cult to make?

A: Prosciutto and melon sounds nice for an ap­pe­tizer — easy to make a lot, hand-held and should last pretty well. Gelati aren’t hard to make if you have ba­sic ice cream skills and equip­ment. But it might be a chal­lenge to make enough and to keep it from melt­ing. I think a gluten-free Ital­ian cookie would be great. Some to look for: Sar­dinian Al­mond Cook­ies, Amaretti Cook­ies and Anna Stel­lato’s Pig­noli.

•Becky Krys­tal

Q: I got grape­fruit bit­ters as a gift. I love grape­fruit in cock­tails but have no idea how to use this! Any ideas?

A: Oh yes! They go great with gin — throw a dash or two in a stan­dard gin and tonic or a mar­tini (not the dirty kind, but the crisp, but the bit­ters will add a nice note to the clean vari­a­tion with ver­mouth and a twist of lemon). You could also use them to take an Old Fash­ioned in a more sum­mery di­rec­tion.

•M. Car­rie Al­lan

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.