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View Full Version : Question: How to time dishes to be finished at the same time



Shinob1
09-21-2012, 10:50 AM
So as I've been teaching myself to cook one thing I'm struggling with is finishing multiple things at the same time. I can multi-task a bit, but am having a hard time, timing everything.

Here's an example where I run into this issue for breakfast. I'll make the following:


Hashbrowns
Fried eggs
Bacon


Here's how I do it:

Warm up iron skillet with oil, put the hashbrowns in first. Let them brown for a bit
Start frying up bacon in another iron skillet or de buyer, I cut the pieces in half so they cook evenly in the skillet
Final skillet is on standby for the eggs, might be non-stick, but usually it's cast iron or de buyer

While my hashbrowns cook, I'm frying up the bacon a bit at a time, I cannot fit a whole pound in so I do it in waves. What I find is while I'm frying up the bacon, my hashbrowns will start to brown and I'll flip them over once.

Then as time goes on, things get 'out of sync'. My hashbrowns will basically finish before the bacon is fried. My eggs haven't been started yet, because I'm waiting on the bacon to finish and by this point I'm not on my last "wave" of bacon. So I turn down the hashbrowns to low, trying to keep them warm, but not over cook.

The final result will be the hashbrowns stay in the skillet off heat as I'll get to the point where cooking them on the heat will just burn them, the bacon will be done and I'll be in the process of frying up eggs, usually around 4 or 5 if I'm cooking for my wife and I. When I do the eggs it's maybe 2 to 3 at a time. I'll get everything cooked and what I'll be left is room temp or warm hashbrowns, bacon, eggs and the last eggs I cooked will be nice and warm.

What I want to have happen is everything is warm and done at the same time. How do I do it? Or, should I start using my oven to keep things warm so while I'm finishcooking the remaining food, the food I finished doesn't get cold? If I should do that, what is the temp to set the oven at and should I pull the food a little bit before it is done so it will finish in the oven?

Sorry for the long post and as always I appreciate your feedback! :D

Zwiefel
09-21-2012, 10:58 AM
I use the oven a lot to hold food. Also time myself to see how long things take.....and over time get a sense of the variability of different ingredients/techniques.

stevenStefano
09-21-2012, 11:20 AM
Use the oven down very low. If I'm cooking for myself I don't really care if half the stuff is cold to be honest. You could also use warm plates perhaps

SpikeC
09-21-2012, 04:39 PM
I always cook the bacon or sausage first, then the drippings can be used to cook the other things, and cold meat reheats very quickly and easily. Cook the spuds and when about done shove them to the side and cook the eggs in the same pan, or if using 2 pans no worries.
You cook a pound of bacon for breakfast???

Eamon Burke
09-21-2012, 04:43 PM
The bacon can sit, but if you want the hashbrowns to be fresh out of the pan on the plate, you are going to have to cook them at the same time as the eggs. No two ways about it.

I always cook the eggs dead last in anything. I don't like eggs to sit around.

oh and :plus1:, a pound of bacon??

hax9215
09-21-2012, 05:53 PM
I always cook the bacon or sausage first, then the drippings can be used to cook the other things, and cold meat reheats very quickly and easily. Cook the spuds and when about done shove them to the side and cook the eggs in the same pan, or if using 2 pans no worries.
You cook a pound of bacon for breakfast???

+1

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

kalaeb
09-21-2012, 06:18 PM
Bacon first, leave a little grease in the pan for the hashbrowns, then do the eggs. Eggs should not take much time to cook, the shaved spuds will still be hot if you cover with a lid.

ajhuff
09-21-2012, 06:31 PM
It takes practice practice practice. I still see people at work screw it up. Example: Put your burger on first. Don't drop your fries until you flip the burger. Time and time again they drop the fries first.

First things first, stop killing yourself if you're doing that much bacon and do it in the oven!

Personally I would start my hashbrowns first. I like mine extra crispy and they seem to take the longest.
Next, if you aren't going to take my advice, on another burner I'd start my bacon/sausage.
When I flip my hashbrowns, I'd start my eggs on a third burner. If I'm doing scrambled though I'd wait until I pulled both my meat and potatoes as scrambled cook very fast and most people overcook scrambled eggs.

After breakfast I would save my bacon grease for the next time I cook hashbrowns.

-AJ

Shinob1
09-21-2012, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the tips so far. As for the bacon, doesn't everyone make bacon by the pound? :D

Tomorrow I'll cook the bacon first and use the grease for the taters. Then I'll see if I can finish the hash browns anfeggs at the same time while keeping the bacon warm in the oven on low.

Lucretia
09-21-2012, 10:23 PM
The warm oven really helps. It's also good if you can put your plates in the warm oven while you're cooking, so the food doesn't get cooled off when you put it on the plate. Just remember your plates will be hot when you grab them. And don't use plastic plates in the oven. :biggrin:

mhlee
09-21-2012, 10:37 PM
Timing how long each item takes is critical; also, cook consistently, paying attention to the level of the flame, pan, how hot the pan is, quantity of oil, quantity of product, etc.

If you roughly know how long each item takes, make a graph/diagram/sheet with the time that it takes each item to cook, like an x/y graph with the x (horizontal) being zero (or time to be done) and the y (vertical) going upwards being the amount of time it takes to cook. Then you'll see which food takes the longest, then after how many minutes you need to start the next, and then the next and so on.

Or just write a list down of the estimated times, go from longest to shortest, and the difference between each is how long you need to cook the longer item before starting the next item. Flipping, turning, etc. can all be noted in these lists as well. Then get a timer and start.

And a warm oven is invaluable. +1 to no plastic if the oven is over 250 ish. I've used plastic wrap in the oven around 200. It has a higher melting temperature than 200, but I haven't used it in an oven above 250 out of fear of it melting.

Cutty Sharp
09-22-2012, 04:12 PM
... If you roughly know how long each item takes, make a graph/diagram/sheet with the time that it takes each item to cook, like an x/y graph with the x (horizontal) being zero (or time to be done) and the y (vertical) going upwards being the amount of time it takes to cook. ... Or just write a list down of the estimated times, go from longest to shortest, and the difference between each is how long you need to cook the longer item before starting the next item. Flipping, turning, etc. can all be noted in these lists as well. Then get a timer and start.

Whoa, timing can be so difficult even when cooking at home and I remember how in a resto you need an absurd amount of concentration to get it right. With this, I like the time-line idea too. You can draw these out if you want, as just said. I've never done it, but I visualise finishing points for dishes this way, and when to start things so it all synchs together. It's fun and great when it works out.

But I'm another one who has to say - good god! - what was it? 4-5 eggs and pound of bacon for two people for breakfast! A pound? Sorry, but that's insane, a health emergency, and I hope you're exaggerating. Why don't you drastically cut back and do one single 'wave' of bacon? (You mentioned you fry in waves; I'm picturing a tsunami of bacon at the moment.) Also, you said you do 5 eggs but only 2-3 at a time. Much easier to cook this: 1 bacon wave, 1 egg wave of 2-3 eggs, your hash browns, and then have a salad already prepped to go with it all, vegs cut and kept crisp in the fridge, and when all hot food ready just toss with your dressing. Seriously, my wife is pregnant and eating plenty now, and I eat enough too, and I would only use 2 eggs for our shared omelette for breakfast, 1-2 potatoes and a fraction of the bacon, maybe 3 or 4 strips/person (though she doesn't eat bacon anyway).

bikehunter
09-22-2012, 04:31 PM
How 'bout a Power Point presentation? LOL

Cutty Sharp
09-22-2012, 04:36 PM
:lol2: Why not?

bikehunter
09-22-2012, 04:55 PM
Well, it's not much more trouble than some of the gyrations being suggested for frying some potatoes, bacon and eggs, so....why not? ;-)

Cutty Sharp
09-22-2012, 05:06 PM
Still can't shake this image of 'waves of bacon' for breakfast. Though maybe this isn't what was meant, it should simply some of our timeline issues.


10168

bikehunter
09-22-2012, 05:11 PM
Oh boy. I'm gonna rush out and buy several of those bacon gadgets. <g>

Cutty Sharp
09-22-2012, 05:13 PM
Do it. But you'll need more than one if you want waves of bacon.

Carl
09-24-2012, 07:12 PM
A pound of bacon doesn't sound like a lot, and 4-5 eggs doesn't either, but maybe it's where I'm from and what I grew up eating. For 2 folks that's 8oz of bacon, about 3-4oz cooked, and 2-2 1/2 eggs. Sounds about right to me. Add a pound of potatos, half a pound each, don't forget the white pepper gravy. Yeah, sounds like a meal to me.

Cutty Sharp
09-25-2012, 12:59 AM
A pound of bacon doesn't sound like a lot, and 4-5 eggs doesn't either, but maybe it's where I'm from and what I grew up eating. For 2 folks that's 8oz of bacon, about 3-4oz cooked, and 2-2 1/2 eggs. Sounds about right to me. Add a pound of potatos, half a pound each, don't forget the white pepper gravy. Yeah, sounds like a meal to me.

You're right, I think, about how much 'sounds like a meal' and about it having to do with where you are. My first time in Asia lasted about 3-4 years, and then I returned home and went to a Vietnamese restaurant and was kind of shocked - why have they given us double? - must be some mistake and I don't want to pay for a double order ... oh, well I guess that's their normal portion, how can we eat all this? It seemed funny and a bit obscene all that food, even though of course it was no surprise.

Anyway, it wasn't that the normal Asian portions were too small, it was that the Canadian portions were too big. First, I don't know about others but I wouldn't think of eating as much bacon as I would, say, beef. Just 3 or 4 strips maybe; don't know how many ounces that is. Bacon's about flavour not about filling you up, to me at least, and not the healthiest thing if you want to eat more. Anyway, the American Cancer Society says, 'the amount of meat recommended as part of a healthy meal is 3 to 4 ounces it will look about the same size as a deck of cards,' so a half pound of bacon for 2 people would probably be tops. However, if you're eating eggs with it you don't need that much, and I think you also don't need a normal portion of eggs, which is 2 per person. If you're doubling all these portions it sounds like the supersize syndrome.

Keep in mind I'm currently writing this from Korea, and so all that protein with potato (1 pound?) sounds like a lot. If you go to a Korean BBQ resto here the standard portion size per person is 150g or about 5oz, so a bit excessive, but it's considered a 'special night out' kind of meal. A normal meal type of dish might have 1 egg in it for protein or a small amount of tofu in most cases. People fill up on vegs and rice, of course.

ajhuff
09-25-2012, 01:15 AM
I call 10 oz rib eyes "snack size." :D

-AJ

Cutty Sharp
09-25-2012, 01:24 AM
I call 10 oz rib eyes "snack size." :D -AJ

:curse:

Carl
09-25-2012, 07:09 PM
^^^ You're ordering off the Kids' Menu again...

Shinob1
09-26-2012, 01:30 AM
For me recently I have been eating a low carb diet. I have lost over thirty pounds. This is something we do mostly on Sundays. Other then that I don't eat bacon or eggs during the week.

I was reallying hoping to use my example to kick off some discussion on cooking techniques as it pertains to timing. I think ill try using the oven to keep things warm and see how that goes.

Pabloz
09-26-2012, 02:06 AM
I call 10 oz rib eyes "snack size." :D

-AJ

ROFLMAO....That's barely enough for a burrito snack at bedtime...like now...think I'll have one...thanks for the suggestion AJ.

PZ

ajhuff
09-26-2012, 09:02 AM
Lots of love for frying the Bacon first here but I'm telling you, do it all at once in the oven.


That's what the pros do. :D

-AJ

DeepCSweede
09-26-2012, 10:27 AM
Lots of love for frying the Bacon first here but I'm telling you, do it all at once in the oven.


That's what the pros do. :D

-AJ

:plus1: Did that for the first time recently and a whole sheet of bacon cooked up perfectly. I still like the cast iron pan for small batches, but for a big batch the oven works great.