Thursday, June 16, 2011

Burning Questions: Fondue and Oven cooking

Two questions from a reader in the UK:
  • I want to know how to make food crispy in an oven that always makes it soggy-but-burned (no matter what).  
    • Unfortunately, you may need a new oven that isn't old and British :) It also depends on what you are trying to make crispy: Veggies- put the oven on broil, toss in a little olive oil, and roast quickly on the top rack.  Oven Fried Chicken, for example- Coat with breadcrumbs, spray with oil from a spray bottle or drizzle lightly with oil, and bake at 350 f.  If you cover anything with aluminum foil, it will obviously get soggy... the burned part could be a mystery...Also, if you have a cast iron skillet or grill pan, getting it good and hot in the oven before laying your food on it can make nice crispy grill marks.
  • How about what kind of cheese or chocolate is the best to melt for fondue?
    • The classic cheese to use for fondue is Gruyere (a Swiss cheese).  Don't use something like cheddar that just sweats when it heats up- and try something creamy like mozzerella mixed in with the Gruyere if its flavor is too strong for you on its own.  Mix in a little white wine to get the conistency you like, and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice.
    • For chocolate, there is no wrong choice.  Use dark, semi-sweet, or milk.  Bars, chips, whatever you like.  Mix in a little cream again, and add a few splashes of raspberry liquor, a scoop of peanut butter, maybe some cayenne pepper, or keep it plain. YUM!!!!

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