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On 1 Mar 2005 21:01:01 -0800, wrote:
>Maverick wrote:

<keep things super hot>

>Thanks for the info, I'll keep my eye out on Alton's show. I did have
>all my prep done in advance this time. Last night I learned that
>lesson as I put the garlic and in turned around to finish some prep and
>when I turned back around the garlic was burned.

As mentioned earlier, garlic should go in later as it only needs a
minute or two in the pan. Add it at the very end of the alliums.

>What you said about Alton using the gas burner make sense and was what
>made me wonder why I thought med-high was the right temp. I looked at
>some gas burners and they were all rated around 100k btu so I figured
>an electric must be much lower


> and therefore even a setting on high
>shouldn't pose a problem.

As mentioned upthread, have all your prep done, and the ingredients
standing ready to go in quickly. I cook with my traditional style wok
on my electric stove and do the following:

a) flip the support upsidedown (larger circle on top) to get the wok
down and in direct contact with the element.

b) only cook with the wok on high, unless deliberately simmering.

There is an adaptive electric element available that curves around the
bottom of the traditional wok. I purchased one... unfortunately it
didn't fit my stove. A better piece of equipment for NorAm
inhabitants is a flat-bottomed wok. This pan is designed for both a)
our home stoves and b) asian cooking.

>The particular recipe I had tonight involved asparagus. I had that
>cooking on med-high for a few minutes when I noticed the oil smoking a
>bit. It seemed like the asparagus wasn't enough mass to absorb the
>heat present so the oil was taking the brunt of the energy. This
>doesn't seem like it would be a problem with meat or bigger veggies. I
>did notice the dish ended up having a pleasant smoky smell, different
>than what burned oil normally tastes like. Maybe peanut oil can take
>the higher heat when it comes to its flavor being affected.

Yes it can. Peanut oil has one of the higher smoke points of the
commercial oils, other than lard itself. Look halfway down this page: for a list.

> As it was
>the asparagus was a bit on the crunchy side for what I prefer so I'm
>wondering how I'll be able to cook it long enough without burning the

You're going to need to do it a couple of times to get the timing
down. (Hardship? Asparagus?) Then, you'll be able to time your cooking
so that you add your spices at the right point to avoid burning.
As long as there is a substance at a cooler temp than the oil itself
in the pan (the object being cooked) it shouldn't smoke.

Do you have a stove hood? If so, crank that baby up to high, or open a

> Any ideas om how I could have approached this differently
>or am I just being too cautious again?

Keep experimenting. It takes several shots to get a firm grip on a new
cooking technique, so keep going!

Shirley Hicks
Toronto, Ontario