Come all ye self-styled chefs and kitchen users, we must talk.

IMHO chicken thighs are superior in every way. They don't dry out. They taste better. And they come in a more convenient size. Some of the chicken breasts you buy these days are ludicrously large.

wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Yeah, chicken thighs are denser, taste differently, and tend to be a bit chewier.

Guess why.

Because, see, wordsmythe is a jerk?

psu_13 wrote:

IMHO chicken thighs are superior in every way. They don't dry out. They taste better. And they come in a more convenient size. Some of the chicken breasts you buy these days are ludicrously large.

I was going to post this, but you beat me to it. In general, thighs tend to have far more flavor IMO, and generally do nothing but improve the flavor in dishes I've used them in. If it tasted off, then that could certainly be why, but I can't imagine it tasting worse.

I keep some thighs in the freezer for when I need to cook the chicken twice, since the higher fat content keeps it going. Baked pasta, curry, etc. really benefit from this, and from the stronger flavor that the thigh meat has. White meat would just get lost in more flavorful sauces and surroundings.

ETA: Jonman, your sandwich made me hungry as I was eating my dinner. Now I have to make sure that I have bacon to make one in the morning.

AnimeJ wrote:
psu_13 wrote:

IMHO chicken thighs are superior in every way. They don't dry out. They taste better. And they come in a more convenient size. Some of the chicken breasts you buy these days are ludicrously large.

I was going to post this, but you beat me to it. In general, thighs tend to have far more flavor IMO, and generally do nothing but improve the flavor in dishes I've used them in. If it tasted off, then that could certainly be why, but I can't imagine it tasting worse.

Strange thing is that some/lots of people prefer breast meat specifically because it has no flavor. Probably has to do something with a perception of tasteless meat being "healthy". As Heston Blumenthal pointed out, some people simply prefer tasteless chicken out of habit and would even chose it over free-range, gamey-tasting "real" chicken.

Did you cook it in an aluminium pan?

Maq wrote:

Did you cook it in an aluminium pan?

Not an aluminium one, I have a nice set of Stainless Steel.

I'd suggest, then, that the simplest explanation is the best and that the chicken was a bit suspect.

psu_13 wrote:

IMHO chicken thighs are superior in every way. They don't dry out. They taste better.

I am not disagreeing with you, but I have an experiment for you. In fact, it is my litmus test for any restaurant dish. Unseasoned, plain, steamed breast of chicken. I don't thin you can over do it. So toss the chicken in the steam for about 10 minutes, put on the plate, cut a piece and try. Let me know what you think.

MoonDragon wrote:
psu_13 wrote:

IMHO chicken thighs are superior in every way. They don't dry out. They taste better.

I am not disagreeing with you, but I have an experiment for you. In fact, it is my litmus test for any restaurant dish. Unseasoned, plain, steamed breast of chicken. I don't thin you can over do it. So toss the chicken in the steam for about 10 minutes, put on the plate, cut a piece and try. Let me know what you think.

I see what you did there. I'd say that you can get even better results through poaching than steaming.

Can I put some soy sauce on it so it has taste?

Actually, I have made my share of poached chicken, white and dark meat... and there is the fantastic traditional Chinese dish where you steam/poach the whole chicken and then cut it up and serve it whole with a dipping sauce.

But why would you cook/eat it unseasoned on purpose? I can't get behind that.

The only point of my ranty opinion is that all things being equal, thighs give you a bit more wiggle room.

But then I like the dark meat on turkey better too.

wanderingtaoist wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:
psu_13 wrote:

IMHO chicken thighs are superior in every way. They don't dry out. They taste better. And they come in a more convenient size. Some of the chicken breasts you buy these days are ludicrously large.

I was going to post this, but you beat me to it. In general, thighs tend to have far more flavor IMO, and generally do nothing but improve the flavor in dishes I've used them in. If it tasted off, then that could certainly be why, but I can't imagine it tasting worse.

Strange thing is that some/lots of people prefer breast meat specifically because it has no flavor. Probably has to do something with a perception of tasteless meat being "healthy". As Heston Blumenthal pointed out, some people simply prefer tasteless chicken out of habit and would even chose it over free-range, gamey-tasting "real" chicken.

Yea, my wife is from the south and her mother is very much a southern cook: Cook the flavor out of it and don't season with anything but salt. Blows my mind, so when we got married and I started cooking and using spices, my(her) kids complained(and still do) that stuff is too spicy. It's a cultural thing, really.

psu_13 wrote:

IMHO chicken thighs are superior in every way. They don't dry out. They taste better. And they come in a more convenient size. Some of the chicken breasts you buy these days are ludicrously large.

+1.

I totally forget what this is called but it's delicious.

6 chicken thighs, skin still on
half pint of double (heavy) cream
125ml of white wine (half a cup)
1 large onion.
half a lemon
couple of teaspoons of paprika
Some oil for frying

Finely dice the onion and in a frying/saute pan fry until browning in some of the oil, once brown remove from the pan and add the chicken thighs. Cook the chicken thighs until about 70-80% done then put the the cooked onion back in and add the paprika. Once the chicken is covered in the paprika add the cream and the wine and allow to reduce a little while the chicken cooks through. Don't reduce it too hard or far or the sauce goes a bit tacky. Squeeze in a bit of lemon to lighten the sauce at the end. That's it. You can substitute a small amount of the paprika for cayenne or smoked paprika.

e2a: added the lemon.

psu_13 wrote:

The only point of my ranty opinion is that all things being equal, thighs give you a bit more wiggle room.

AnimeJ wrote:

my wife is from the south and her mother is very much a southern cook: Cook the flavor out of it and don't season with anything but salt.

I like the other South better.

Currently I'm reading Heston Blumenthal's In Search of Total Perfection and it's a blast. You may have seen the BBC series: he basically chooses 16 foods that are Britain's favorites (like spaghetti bolognese, hamburger, pizza, roast chicken, chicken tikka masala etc.), looks for their origins and history, travels around the world in search of the most perfect iteration of the recipe, tries to identify the substance of the dish and then - at the end - recreate the perfect iteration according to him. It's totally geeky (lots of food science is included as expected from Blumenthal), funny and at the same time serious and focused on food. Heston would actually make a great food journalist. His recipes may be laborious (roast chicken at low temperature for 8 hours, brine it 24 hours before that) but are actually doable in a normal kitchen.

Weekend in the office to get some thesis pages filled. Wait a second, none of the cafeterias will be open. What will I have for lunch? Hm, that awesome french cheese leek sausage soup? Nah, to heavy for the warm days of spring. Oh, I know, how about a stew?

I introduce you to tonight's cast...

IMAGE(http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/1132/stew1.jpg)
Top (Left to right): Potatoes, dried parsley (fresh would be better), cauliflower
Bottom: Kasseler (pronounced like "hustler" with a "k" at the beginning; it's basically lightly smoked pork loin), vegetable stock (no time for fresh self-made stock today), Brussels sprouts (frozen, since even the more exclusive supermarkets don't carry them on a regular basis -_-)

IMAGE(http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/1210/stew2.jpg)
After dicing the cauliflower, potatoes and Kassler, we put some oil in a pot and sauté the Kasseler chunks.

IMAGE(http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/2373/stew3.jpg)
A few minutes later, we fill the pot with the vegetable stock and throw in all three kinds of diced veggies. New we let it simmer for about fifteen minutes.

IMAGE(http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/6053/stew4.jpg)
Last, we throw in a few dashes of nutmeg, salt and pepper after our fancy and top it off with one or two table spoons of parsley.

Enjoy!

PS: Sorry for the poor picture quality. My old Nokia's camera is the only one I have right now.

PPS: You know something is wrong when something like this - straight from grandma's cookbook - cost me more than serving escalope with fries and ice cream for desert.

For Mother's Day I made a light Angel Food cake with a strawberry reduction with fresh strawberry and whipped topping.

IMAGE(http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs516.ash1/30397_1300688838835_1278847760_2682695_5840520_n.jpg)
IMAGE(http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs516.ash1/30397_1300688878836_1278847760_2682696_3962838_n.jpg)
IMAGE(http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs536.snc3/30397_1300688918837_1278847760_2682697_4092668_n.jpg)

Started my first sourdough last night. I am kinda excited - never again will I have to eat all that tasteless crap they pass for "fresh bread" around where I live. If all goes according to plan, I can bake my first loaf of bread next wednesday. Any hints how to take care of "the thing"? Other than giving it a name for good luck? Took some coarser version of rye flour, which should help kick-start the bacterial growth and should make for a more tasty bread.

the production of sour dough bread scarers me... wait, horrifies me

Luggage wrote:

Started my first sourdough last night. I am kinda excited - never again will I have to eat all that tasteless crap they pass for "fresh bread" around where I live.

How did you make/acquire your "starter"?

Rye flour type 1050, water, go. Over here two pounds of organic flour cost about a buck to a buck fifty. And the more coarse flour types contain enough bacteria to start the growth of the sourdough "ecosystem" by itself.

I always suspected this would work, even though it's kinda wrong on a lot of levels...

Hot and sour soup, with matzoh balls (the bacon bits are gratuitous, I know).

http://yfrog.com/jy6mkj

psu_13 wrote:

Can I put some soy sauce on it so it has taste?

Actually no. The whole point is that it is unseasoned and unmodified in every sense.

psu_13 wrote:

Actually, I have made my share of poached chicken, white and dark meat...

Poaching/boiling the chicken breast does not equal steaming it. Day and night really. You should try it sometime. Once you taste it and understand the difference, season to you heart's content.

psu_13 wrote:

But why would you cook/eat it unseasoned on purpose? I can't get behind that.

You would not. But it is perfect for establishing a baseline for taste quality. No meal cooked by a professional should ever taste worse than an unseasoned steamed breast of chicken. That is my yardstick by which I measure.

Luggage wrote:

Started my first sourdough last night. I am kinda excited - never again will I have to eat all that tasteless crap they pass for "fresh bread" around where I live. If all goes according to plan, I can bake my first loaf of bread next wednesday. Any hints how to take care of "the thing"? Other than giving it a name for good luck? Took some coarser version of rye flour, which should help kick-start the bacterial growth and should make for a more tasty bread.

I've written about sourdough to some extent in this thread before. Basically, read and listen to this and this and you'll know more than you actually need. People are scared of sourdough, but it's really easy to maintain and use. Basically just feed and use it regularly and it'll live a long and productive life. Mine is now about a year old and going strong. And it started just as yours - flour and water.

Yeah, I read your posts and they are basically what tipped me over the edge to actually trying it. I love good bread and the stuff they sell as the product of the proud bakery tradition here in central Europe is pure garbage. Tastes like cardboard and after half a week the loaf is either hard or moldy.

Luggage wrote:

Yeah, I read your posts and they are basically what tipped me over the edge to actually trying it. I love good bread and the stuff they sell as the product of the proud bakery tradition here in central Europe is pure garbage. Tastes like cardboard and after half a week the loaf is either hard or moldy.

Quite right. One thing that shocked me (in a positive way) is that sourdough bread can keep for a week in an edible state - no mold, it doesn't even get stale. Then I got to reading that they mix old bread into the new-baked one with all the special enzymes etc. and I never looked back.

One thing to ensure a good starter: use water that has been boiled over, you'll get rid of the chlorine compounds (that can kill bacteria which you want to grow). You'll also get rid of impurities in this way which could spoil your starter. After that the normal tap water is OK to feed your starter, provided your water isn't too crappy, otherwise use a filter (or boiled water).

I found the epicurious app and while browsing recipes I was inspired by this one:

Epicurious wrote:

Green Beans and Zucchini with Sauce Verte
Sauce verte:
1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 green onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons (packed) fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Vegetables:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound green beans, stem end trimmed
12 ounces zucchini, halved lengthwise, each half cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide strips
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves (for garnish)

For sauce verte: Blend first 7 ingredients in processor until finely chopped. With machine running, gradually add olive oil. Process until coarse puree forms. Season sauce verte to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

For vegetables: Heat oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetables; stir until coated. Sprinkle with salt and 3 tablespoons water. Cover; cook vegetables until almost crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Uncover; cook until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in enough sauce verte to coat vegetables generously. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Garnish with parsley and serve.

I used snow peas and asparagus with an assortment of mushrooms. Quite good.
IMAGE(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4056/4662086434_dc68d1b2d0.jpg)

Looky yummy. And I like your illuminated lunch tray...

Further great cooking apps to have around (both a bit on the costly side appwise): Michael Ruhlman's Ratio and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I use them both quite frequently as a reference (Bittman) and as a handy tool (Ratio has a calculator that helps you to get your measurements just right - you input any weight of any ingredient, it calculates the rest for basic sauces, doughs, batters, even brine). Anyone has any other useful tools in their iP*s?

Is it wrong to be tempted by overpriced cookie cutters / pancake molds from Williams Sonoma?

IMAGE(http://www.williams-sonoma.com/wsimgs/ab/images/dp/wcm/201022/0013/img9m.jpg)

IMAGE(http://www.williams-sonoma.com/wsimgs/ab/images/dp/wcm/201023/0014/img2m.jpg)