What is the purpose of heavy cream in a mushroom duxelle?

I’m planning on preparing a beef wellington for the holidays and am following a recipe whose duxelle recipe is defined:

In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until finely chopped. Then, finely chop thyme.
Over medium heat, melt butter in skillet. Add mushrooms and combine with butter. Add thyme. Using a garlic crusher, crush garlic and add
to mushroom mixture. Continue to combine over medium heat for about
10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are caramelized.
Once the mushrooms are caramelized, add a generous splash of Cognac and stir to deglaze the pan. Add heavy cream and cook for several
minutes or until all the moisture is gone. You should be left with a
paté-like mixture.

Most of the ingredients make sense to me in their contribution to flavor and/or texture but I can’t seem to figure out why heavy cream would be added to the duxelle. I thought the mushroom pâté would be thick enough alone, so I can’t imagine the heavy cream contributing to the duxelle in that respect. …read more

Accidentally bought a “butter basted” turkey. Can/should I still brine it?

I was looking forward to trying out brining a turkey this year. But I have ended up in the UK for Thanksgiving and have had to buy a “butter-basted” turkey. I have done a lot of googling, but can’t figure out exactly what this means and whether I can/should still brine it.

While trying to figure out if “butter basting” involves salt, I keep coming across the term “self-basting.” And it is usually associated with advice to avoid brining.

Can anyone out there help? I just began to defrost the turkey and my original plan was to do the defrosting in a brine in the fridge. Given that it’s “butter basted” though, I’m wondering if I should go near it with salt at all. Thanks very much. …read more

How to clean a whetstone?

I prefer a whetstone to a “steel” for knife sharpening. Over the years my whetstone has become loaded with steel particles from the knives. As it is basically 13 % chrome stainless steel it is not easy to dissolve. It is immune to nitric acid and hydrochloric is very slow , if at all . Any ideas for cleaning a whetstone ? …read more

How can I substitute celery (and cream of celery soup) in green bean casserole?

I follow Alton Brown’s Green Bean Casserole for the most part and have had great success making this recipe. My dad always complains about having mushrooms in the dish and he would have to pick them out. But this year I would like to try making without mushrooms.

My goal is to use another vegetable to replace the mushrooms when making the creamy sauce. From what I have heard you can use cream of celery soup but I would still like to make the cream myself. Can I use cut up celery as a replacement in Alton Brown’s recipe? Do I need to alter cooking times? I think I would use 1 cup of chopped up celery. …read more

What is the difference between small vs large loose leaf tea?

I have two oolong teas of the same type (dong fang mei ren). One has long leaves that barely fit in a teaspoon. The other has much smaller leaves that are easily scooped up, and it has a weaker taste. However they seem to expand more when it’s steeped.

Are smaller leaves generally an indication of lower quality? …read more

Browning bones in a skillet

I want to try out some recipes that require a bone stock. Ideally a bone stock should be made with bones that have been roasted for 45 minutes, I just moved and do not posses a oven. Is it possible to get the same roasted bone flavour with just a skillet or any other type of pan? If not, are there any alternatives for getting a proper bone stock? …read more

What is the purpose of the storage beneath an oven?

In most instances, it seems people use these to store cooking sheets, extra pans, and sometimes lids. However, most (all that I have used) of these storage compartments have terrible tracks and don’t seem to support holding heavier items without a lot of strain.

Is there an intended manufacturer use for this storage? If there is no intended use, is there a reason manufacturers neglect making them sturdy (other than the obvious: cost savings)? …read more

Spaghetti sauce too sweet

Trying to make spaghetti sauce and this is too sweet:

2 each 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (low salt)
8 oz can tomato paste
1 red onion diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves
1 lb 97% fat free beef

Brown the beef and simmer everything for 3-4 hours.

It just comes out too sweet.

Salt and sausage (fat) would make it less sweet but also less healthy.

I am thinking about poblano peppers and / or cilantro.

How to make healthy spaghetti sauce less sweet? …read more