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    •  
      There are definitely quality levels in processed cheese. Kraft Singles, for instance, are processed American "cheese food product". They do not qualify to be called cheese. Velveeta is also a cheese food product. There is also American cheese that does legally qualify to be called cheese. Kraft and Borden make versions that can be found alongside their cheese food product slices. My favorite is American cheese sliced to order at the grocery store deli in front of the customers. It is also processed but retains enough cheese to legally still be called cheese. The processing allows it to become creamy instead of stringy when it melts. At the very bottom of the heap is imitation cheese food product, made with oil. Now we are talking plastic. This stuff is vile. 
       
      I also like good quality American cheese on a burger. Occasionally, I'll be in the mood for cheddar, provolone or a Swiss and mushroom burger, but I keep going back to the American version. I don't like blue cheese, but almost every good burger restaurant around here offers a burger with blue cheese. I always bend the corners off a square slice of cheese and place them up nearer the center of the burger so they don't melt off into the pan or grill. The smoked provolone I'm currently buying is cut from a round log and is already perfectly shaped to melt on a burger.
       
      Sometimes with very good perfectly cooked beef, I will eat it on a bun as a plain burger with nothing else, or if in a really purist mood just eat it as a "steak". It's all good if you stay far away from the imitation cheese food product. I can't believe they can legally sell that drek as food.
    •  
      Asparagus was first blanched for about a minute, then quick chilled in an ice bath; drained and briefly stir-fried, then tossed with Soy Vay’s Teriyaki Sauce to coat. Served with Teriyaki Chicken Donburi, Mushrooms and Pickled Ginger.
       

       
    • This is what they look like today, after air drying for a day. The sweats!! Grrrrr...
       

       
      Recipe: 
       
      2 cups puree (~550g) (I used frozen strawberries, unstrained, with 10% sugar added) 3 cups sugar (675g) 2 - 3oz packs of Certo Liquid Pectin 2 Tablespoons of Lemon juice  
      Heat puree to 140 F Add sugar and heat to 235 F Add liquid pectin and boil for 1 minute Take off heat, add lemon juic Cast in pan
    • Like many who have contributed to this thread over the past decade, I have been nursing a jar of vanilla for several years, started back in the good old days when a pound of perfectly serviceable beans could be had for sub-$20. A few weeks ago I happened on a forgotten stash of those beans, which I was even happier to discover were still vacuum sealed. Recently I came across an article about infusing vanilla in the pressure cooker so I decided to give it a shot. I filled 5 eight-ounce mason jars with 20 grams each of chopped fresh beans and beans fished out of my working bottle, then added 60ml each of cheap vodka and everclear. An hour in the Instant Pot at high pressure, natural release, resulted in a lovely dark, nicely perfumed infusion - has a fairly sharp alcohol aroma and flavor,  but less than I expected. Definitely a great way to jumpstart a batch. For comparison, below is a photo of the bottle into which I dumped a bunch of the  used beans and equal amounts of vodka and everclear just now; the pressure cooked batch; and the bottle that has been brewing in my basement since sometime in the late oughts. The lighting is not the best, but the color of the pressure cooked bottle is virtually indistinguishable from the legacy bottle.
       

       
    • This is an asparagus appetizer dish I did for Easter.  Simple blanched asparagus with sliced cucumber, then some lox-style salmon.  Lemon mayonnaise dressing.  The little pastry in the upper right corner is a savory gougere made with parmesan and then filled with a smoked salmon mouse.  Without the asparagus it would be pretty bland.
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