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~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (10/05/13) ~

Culinary Q & A #2October has arrived.  For those of us who reside in a four-season area of the USA, each season brings a change in lifestyle.  I love the transition from the bold foods of Summer (quickly cooked fresh garden vegetables, grilled meats and frosty desserts) to the comforting foods of Fall (slow roasted vegetables, braised meats and baked desserts).  I also love the transition from short sleeves to sweatshirts, and, watching college football instead of playing tennis!  

I love the Fall!!!

As you regular readers of KE know, I always answer and post any Culinary Q&A's on Friday afternoons, but, when I checked my e-mails early this morning (Saturday) I received such a great question from a reader, I couldn't resist reponding immediately.  It has Fall written all over it!  

6a0120a8551282970b019aff52d2b5970b-800wiQ.  Steve says and asks:  Melanie, I want you to know your recipe for ~ E-Z "Real" Roasted Chicken Breasts & Gravy ~ has been a life changer for me.  I never learned to cook, which I have always regretted, and now that I am in my 50's, I am tired of eating fast food.  I make your chicken every week, and, I made ~ GrandMa Ann's Easy Chicken Vegetable Soup ~ this week too.  You are teaching me to cook and I thank you!

6a0120a8551282970b0147e17039a3970b-800wi[Note to readers from Mel:  Both of these recipes can be found in Category 20 of this blog.]

I want to try my hand at making a dessert next, probably a cake so I can have a slice for dessert all week long, and I was wondering:

What is the difference between roasting and baking?

Aren't they the same thing?

IMG_3707A.  Kitchen Encounters:  Steve, you made my day today.  Nothing makes me happier than to know I am teaching people to learn to love to cook!  It is why I write this blog!!!

In terms of a method of cooking, roasting and baking are the same thing because both techniques cook food via dry heat in the oven. To a food and recipe writer, like myself, there are distinctions:

Roasting is a dry heat method of cooking that applies to:  solid or whole types of food (like meat, poultry and vegetables) that maintain their structure before, during and after roasting.

Baking is a dry heat method of cooking that applies to:  loose or mixed together food like breads, desserts and casseroles, which rely upon and emerge from the baking process with one common structure.

There's more:  Though often used interchangeably, many chefs distinguish between the two based on temprerature, with roasting implying greater heat resulting in faster and more pronounced browning than baking.  Other chefs prefer to use the word "roasting" in reference to meats, poultry and vegetables, reserving the word "baking" to reference fish or seafood.

Exceptions:  "baked" ham, "baked" fish, "baked" potatoes?  Here's my take on why:

Prime Rib Roast #2 (Whole Roast)Roasting got its name in reference to cooking a whole bird or a whole piece of meat on a spit over an open flame.  The food came off the spit caramelized and crispy on the outside, and, moist and juicy on the inside.  Baking got its name in reference to foods that were covered and buried in the hot coals or ashes because (for whatever reasons) they couldn't be cooked on a spit.  They emerged perfectly cooked from the PICT1864outside through to the center. When box ovens appeared in modern kitchens, foods like ham and fish, which needed to be cooked through to the center for food-safety reasons, dried out during the long open-roasting process.  Educated modern day cooks did what their predecessors didn't know to do to avoid making people sick (or worse). They covered the food -- first with domed lids, later with aluminum foil. This produced a safe-to-eat meal with a moist, palatable texture!  

So, in a nutshell:  When the food being roasted gets covered for all of or a portion of the cooking process, we refer to it as being baked.  You can find my recipes (both pictured above) for ~ Perfect "Prime" Rib Roast (Standing Rib Roast) ~, and, ~ "A, B, C" That's as Easy as Baked Easter Ham Can Be! ~ in Categories 3 or 11.  It's Fall folks -- preheat your ovens!!!


IMG_3627Enjoy your weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away... or e-mail me directly!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013) 


Once again Marilyn, you made my day. Check out my newest post. You are mentioned in it and I think you will enjoy it! Enjoy the rest of your weekend too! ~ Mel.

Thank you! Just fed my boys the soup! They want second's!
My son helped me ladle the extra in Pyrex bowls (like yours), for freezing.
I am such a copy cat, but why not do what you say. You have never steered me wrong. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Hi Marilyn! Me here again! You're correct, I don't include parsley much in my cooking. It's not because I don't like it. Here is why: like cilantro, parsley is a delicate herb that looses its flavor within moments of simmering. It is for that reason, when I do add it, I'd rather add minced fresh parsley leaves to garnish a finished dish, rather than cook with it. That being said, when I do add it, just like cilantro, I do not add the leafy tops. I add the stems and/or rinsed off roots. Why? That is the part of those two plants that contain and add the most flavor to dishes that require simmering!

PS: I really don't have a preference between curly-leaf or flat parsley. One is prettier than the other!!!

Enjoy your dinner,

Hi Mel! Me here again! I have just spent the day making your chicken stock - and your Baba's Chicken Soup is steeping! My kitchen smells amazing! I have a 12 qt. stock pot, so it was helpful to halve the recipe. I have enough for a large pot of soup and for some risotto I'm making for dinner! My son, Frank, is coming home for about 24 hours, so he will come home to smell's of home cooking. I have noticed that you do not include parsley many times in your cooking. Do you feel that it does not add enough flavor to the dish? I think it is underrated, but I did not add it to the soup. Could you please share your thoughts about this, and if you prefer Italian flat leaf or curly parsley? Can't wait to eat tonight! Oh, wait, I always look forward to eating!! Thanks so much Mel! Hugs, Marilyn

PSU in BOSSton!!! It is great to hear from you again! I've missed you!!!

Leftover steak, and probably burgers too, lend themselves well to Tex-Mex fare. For instance, saute some peppers & onions, add thinly sliced steak and wrap it up in a flour tortilla for great fajita. Burgers can be chopped, reheated and put into a warm taco shell with some lettuce, tomatoes and cheese -- add some salsa: Cha! Cha! Cha! ~ Mel.

Neat question.

Here's one from me. Recently when faced with not knowing what to do with some Chicken Apple Sausage leftover from the grill I made fried rice with them. Super, super, super east and delicious. Faced with the same question and some protein (chicken) heavy stir fry remains and no more rice I added them to a chili oil ramen. Same result. Super easy and delightful.

I have had great success with this in poultry and related proteins. When faced with leftover burgers, steak tips etc. what are some really fast and painless conversion uses?


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