Never tried the homemade Worcestershire; have to admit lost steam as our use of it has diminished a great deal, for whatever reason. Oyster sauce, same story. Mirin, I'm still hoping to work a local angle, but haven't yet. Like you, all come in glass, so that's what I purchase.
Not perfect, but some things, like Worcestershire or Oyster sauce, might be best to leave to the pros.
I am so frustrated not finding Tamari/soy sauce... WF used to have it locally, but now gone. Phooey. That we still use a fair amount, so bulk would be nice.
Oyster crackers worked out surprisingly well. Just had to remember to add less salt since the crackers were mighty salty on their own. Next time, I'll have to try your suggestion of using chicken fat instead of oil for a lighter texture.
Argh, I share your frustration at losing a staple bulk item (cane sugar, in my case). Hope you're able to find an alternate source for the soy sauce. I hear what you're saying about leaving it to the pros when it comes to making certain items from scratch. I guess it's a reduce and recycle situation here.
What cookbook/website/app would you recommend for their in depth instructions on cooking techniques? At the top of my list of things I'd like to learn are better knife skills and how to make a proper omelet. Any suggestions?
Gosh, what an excellent question regarding cooking techniques! Omelets and crepes, both tough for me. I've watched so many cooking shows, read so many cookbooks, I can't even remember any favorites for techniques, except Alton Brown. He was pretty good at basics, and parts of many of his shows are out there on YouTube and elsewhere. What I have liked, too, was his insistence early on that all tools be multitaskers. Hearing that was a huge light bulb going off in my head.
A fun book that goes [a bit deeply] into the science behind cooking is CookWise. Its author was a frequent visitor on Good Eats. Don't know if I would spend retail on it, but borrowed from the library, pretty good read.
I've also learned a fair amount, especially cutting up a chicken, just by watching the butcher at work.
I am no expert, but I have found the key *for me* in making good omelets is to lower the heat and be patient. I use unrefined coconut oil and let it heat slowly in the pan while I crack and fork-whip the eggs and milk. I pour it into the very warm pan and then prepare my filling ingredients. By the time I am ready to add them, the egg is setting up. I put them on one side of the egg in the pan and set the table and prepare any "extras", etc. At that point, I flip the "empty" side of the omelet on top of the filled side and clean the kitchen. Flip the whole thing over and turn off the heat and wait a few minutes. Slide it out of the pan onto the plate(s) and enjoy!
Mmmm...now I am going to fix an omelet for breakfast with kale and other greens from our CSA. I've been reading the computer and forgot to eat after my morning walk!
Thanks, all, for your suggestions! I've been waiting for my library to carry the new Ruhlman book, very excited to hear that it's worth the read. Will have to check out CookWise as well. Thanks for your omelet advice, I will give your version a try soon. I'm always so tempted to flip the omelet before it has set properly; prepping the filling during this time will help distract me;)
I just checked out a book called Knife Skills Illustrated by Peter Hertzmann. The instructions are offered in both right and left-handed versions, which is nice. No pictures, but there are lots of detailed line drawings of each step.
As for knife skills there are several places that offer classes, Sur la Table comes to mind (you can just try some out there too - they'll let you chop things to try out knives), but the best advice after getting a good knife (and one that feels balanced in your hand) is to learn to hold it properly. It's not held by the handle alone, you should "choke up" on it. Your thumb should be on one side of the blade and you index finger on the other. Like this. It makes a big difference and once you hold and move you hand you'll see how the knife now feels like an extension of your hand. This is the telling tale on if the knife is a good fit for you. Many knives are made for male chefs, and I have small female hands, so some don't fit me very well (Global for example is way off for me).
Thanks, Maria. Ah, yes. I love Julia Child's show but have never been able to replicate her French omelet technique at home. She definitely makes it all look easy! Maybe I'll try using a lower heat setting until I figure out the pan flipping movements?
Great idea about the knife skills class. I will look into it. I'm looking for a new kitchen knife. Any brands you would recommend?