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Everything posted by mklynch

  1. I had an employee who called in sick almost every other Friday. So I just changed her schedule so she had every other Friday off. She didn't like it very much, but it was easier to manage a planned absence than the 5AM phone calls.
  2. I just have to wonder what other practices are going on behind the counter if the employee defends an unsanitary practice such as placing fish directly on a scale that who knows how long ago was cleaned. There are fish toxins that aren't destroyed by cooking and are easily spread by cross contamination. The lack of concern by the employee about your sanitation question is disturbing and I'd be writing or calling her supervisor. I also agree that gloves are overrated. Hands that are washed frequently can be much cleaner than gloves that have been worn for hours. I saw someone go out for a smoke once wearing gloves, and went back to work with the same gloves on. Now that's gross. My expectaion is that if I raise a concern about food safety with someone, that it be taken seriously and acted upon.
  3. mklynch

    Confit Duck

    I like cracklins in spinach salads. Or warm cabbage salad - toss shredded cabbage in red wine vinegar, saute in olive oil (or your fat mix) , add walnuts, cracklins and goat cheese - pretty yummy!
  4. I've been teaching cooking classes for the Oregon Food Bank for the last year. We teach basic cooking skills, nutrition, shopping and menu planning as well as sanitation. The program has been developed by Share Our Strength and is targeted at several different groups. The first class I was involved in was 3 - 5th graders and was taught in their school lunch kitchen after school. I'm now teaching 17 - 24 yr old women involved in a JobCorps program, and it's held at the food bank. There are even programs for seniors. I believe the food bank here holds 60 classes a year. We cook a meal together, talking about the lesson plan as we go, eat together and each participant gets a grocery bag with the ingredients for the entree to go home and cook with. The next week, we talk about what everyone did and changes they made and cook again. One of the women in a class came in saying she only knew how to open a cereal bag and at the end was recounting all the things she learned. She was really affected by the class and I was too! We focus on affordable (often vegetarian) nutritious, low fat foods with good leftover potential, but also teach how to cut up and cook a chicken. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I would suggest people interested in this contact Share Our Strength about the program and see if it makes sense in your case.
  5. I'd like to be sure I never hire the architect that designed your maze. Great pictures! Tomorrow is the final inspection on our kitchen, dining room, basement remodel. You will be so happy when it's done. All told, I was only without use of the kitchen 2 days. (OK, we cheated and took a 3 week vacation for the kitchen part) Best wishes, have fun and looking forward to watching your progress. MK
  6. mklynch


    I've done a fair amount of beer brewing with lots of flavor experiments. In one batch, at the end of the brew, I added half a Cohiba cuban cigar. It infused for about 5 minutes and did add a tobacco flavor. Very manly beer! No one got sick or had any ill effects, but I also don't think anyone drank more than a couple pints at a time.
  7. Here's the place with the plates with the wine glass holder cut out: www.cateringsupplies.com Reasonable prices on real glasses as well.
  8. At the local Share our Strength fundraiser, they use these cool plastic plates with a cut out for your wine glass, making walking while eating and drinking easy. I found a catering supply place that will sell these in incriments of 10. They are top rack dishwasher safe and I plan on purchasing some soon. As long as I have a real glass for wine, I'll make do with a plastic plate. At the Cornucopia event in Whistler, they passed out clips for your plate that will hold a wine glass, but I've only found these in packs of a thousand at a buck a piece and I don't want them that badly!
  9. I ordered 1/4# of beans from these folks last fall and they are very nice. I also got an ounce of saffron, and it's the best I've ever had. Great service, I put my order in on a Friday and had the product early the next week.
  10. I've made the hazelnut chocolate sables, the nutella tart and last night the simple chocolate mousse. All were greated with rave reviews. I haven't taken any pictures as nothing looks notably different than those already posted (and I'm lame) I made the sables as part of my Christmas cookies and ended up freezing some. Later I chopped them in my Cuisinart and used them as a crust for a chocolate cheesecake and also sprinkled on ice cream. Both were great. I found an error in the recipe for the nutella tart. I always weigh my ingredients and my scale does either grams or ounces. The butter is speced at 3 1/2 oz and should read 97 grams not 200. (of course I could be wrong and my scale is off) The mousse was wonderful and my guests couldn't believe it was so light. Last summer I pitted a gallon of cherries and put them up in cognac, sugar and vanilla bean. I dusted some with cocoa and dipped them in chocolate as a garnish for the mousse, served a bit of the cognac on the side and the whole table moaned with pleasure. I also couldn't resist and got "La Patisserie". Beautiful book. CDBPH is certainly more accessable, however. It is quite inspiring reading this thread! I'm very lucky to live in Portland, OR - home of Bob's Red Mill - as their store is really fun to shop at. There is also a Bernard C chocolate shop fairly close and I buy 5# blocks of semi sweet and bittersweet from them. Supposedly it's one of the Callebaut sons who's product is of higher quality than regular Callebaut. I've found it melts smoother and I prefer the flavor.
  11. I got to use the induction burners at Greystone - they are useful for delicate sauces, although you don't sound like a delicate guy!
  12. There is a right lane exit now that loops under the bridge, much safer. Rogue also has a pub on the bayfront, but the big brewery is more fun. The Oregon Aquarium is also a fun place to visit, but I probably wouldn't eat there unless I brought my own snack.
  13. We had a great breakfast at the Whale's Tail in Newport on the old bayfront. There's another place on the west end of the bayfront who's menu looked great, but we had reservations up at the Bay House in Lincoln City. Have fun and Happy Birthday!
  14. mklynch

    Confit Duck

    I've been using the seasonings from "Foie Gras, Magret, and Other Good Food From Gascony" by Daguin for many years and this time as well. I like the combintion of flavors and would rather have the freedom to use adjuncts in sauces. I weight the legs during the seasoning. The food danger zone is a good point - especially with the addition of the whole garlic cloves possible contamination. But at 180' F for so long I felt OK with the safety issue. In my food safety book, it lists heat sanitizing temps as 165' - 180' depending on the local health dept. I did not quick chill, thinking that with the vacuum pack, no new badness could be intoduced. Is that counter to my concerns about the juices for long term storage? I also notice that with my home vacuum seal that there are still air pockets in the pack. After the plane ride, even though I carried on the packs, they blew up like a pillow. And did not compress later, but I was staying at 8,000 ft. elevation. Room temperature storage is scary to me as well. I have lots of refrigerator space. Choose not to take the chance. Duck confit does not usually hang around too long at my house anyway. I do have some of an older batch that I did traditonaly stored in fat in my grandmother's bean crock and look forward to doing a comparison with the legs I saved from the vacuum method. More later.....MKLynch
  15. mklynch

    Confit Duck

    Back from the Utah ski trip and the confit was a huge success. I've cooked for this group for a few years and although they were skeptical when I suggested duck, everyone's plates and duck bones were clean at the end of the meal. I warmed them in a 200' oven for an hour and then broiled them to crisp the skin. Served with soft polenta with aged manchego cheese and 7 hour caramelized onion "jam" with my last block of demi and the gell from the duck. The duck's texture was as silky as I'd hoped. Great flavor as well. I used about half the usual amount of fat with this method. I was concerned about leaving it in the bags for very long (like weeks) because of the juices still being in there. The legs I didn't take with me, I repacked off the juices. Any thoughts on the safety or "shelf life" of storing it in the vacuum bags with the juices in there? edsel, I noticed you vacuum packed the salt and seasonings. I was afraid to do that for fear of overcuring the duck. I use my vacuum sealer when marinating to shorten the time. How did it turn out? I was wondering how security would react to my carry on cooler with 18 duck legs and a 6.5# beef tenderloin, but I just got blank stares. Was happy they didn't make me open the cryovac - would have been a mess!
  16. mklynch

    Confit Duck

    It was a total of 13 hours at 180'. I took a piece out this evening and warmed it up and finished it under the broiler to crisp the skin. Delicious. It wasn't falling apart, which is fine with me, as I want it to have structure when I plate it, but the conective tendons seemed to have disolved. I'm leaving 2 of the legs home in vacuum pack but the rest will be eaten next week. It will be interesting to see how the aging affects the texture further. More later..........MK
  17. mklynch

    Confit Duck

    I think the texture does change as it ages. After a few more hours of cooking, I pulled out another leg and it had more of what I was looking for in tenderness. I let them cool in the bags and they are in the refrigerator now. I used quite a bit of fat as I'm skeptical of the vacuum packaging taking the place of storing in the fat. There's also more "juice" than I expected. Usually I remove this for storage, but I'm using these in a week, so I don't think it will hurt to leave it in there. I need to remember to bring containers of some sort so I can bring the fat home!
  18. mklynch

    Confit Duck

    It's been 10 1/2 hours at a fairly constant 180' and I just had my first taste. Good flavor, but the texture isn't as melt in the mouth silky as I'd like. Going to go watch a movie and check back. May turn it down a notch and leave it overnight if it hasn't changed much. I remember tasting a prime rib cooked overnight slowly in an Alto-sham years back that was wonderful. Doesn't seem like it would hurt the duck..............more later.
  19. mklynch

    Confit Duck

    I have 2 dozen duck legs vacuum packed with duck fat in a water bath at 180' right now. I'm taking them for dinner one night for a group on a ski trip in Utah next week. I've done alot of confit the usual way, this is the first time with this method. I've been curious about it since I read the sous vide thread and decided it was time. I did a couple singles so I can pull them out at intervals to check the progress..............more later!
  20. mklynch

    Smoked salmon

    I've been smoking salmon with a Little Chief for years. I do a dry brine of half brown sugar, half kosher salt with a bit of bay leaf, black pepper, garlic, onion, allspice and a little clove. Cover the salmon with the brine, put it on a rack over a sheetpan and refrigerate for 4 - 6 hours. Rinse it well, dry it and put it back on the rack overnight in the fridge to dry. Smoke the next day. I like a mixture of cherry and apple. If it's small fish, one round of smoke will do it, larger fish take two. The Little Chief usually doesn't cook it all the way through, so take it out and finish it in the oven at 350' for about 5 minutes. You can also do an overnight brine with half soy and mollasses. This will result in a dryer fish. Try smoking tomatoes, then using them in pasta dishes or in a vinaigrette - tasty!
  21. We went to the Beaverton demo yesterday and it was pretty cool to watch. They gave out samples when he was done. They were from the previous batch that had been chilled, so the sensation of melting in the mouth was heightened. The piece looked big, but they instructed you to put the whole thing in your mouth. Then it just melts and leaves you wanting more. Seems like it would get boring to make it all day long, however!
  22. I use olive oil on my hands while working with food. Not the XVO however. For burns, I've read that if you can take asprin when they happen, it will help reduce the damage somehow. Eventually you'll learn to just tough them out. The backs of my arms always seemed to have welts on them. I was tasting wines at Ravenswood on vacation once with my arms propped on the tasting bar. The guy on the other side noticed the marks and said, "Let me guess, you're a chef, right?" I was amazed and asked how he knew. Then he held up his arms and fessed up that he was a cook as well.
  23. Sunday morning Bacon Fest 1. Gave my brother Bacon of the Month club for Christmas last year. When the June shipment came, it had 4 months worth in it. What could we do but have a bacon fest (with waffles) His kitchen is small, but we figured it out. We added 2 more kinds of bacon just to be sure. My tasting notes were worthless after the euphoria of eating all that bacon. It was all good! We prefered the bacon cooked in the oven, however.
  24. mklynch

    Pommes Anna

    Don't forget salt and pepper! I've used my french steel saute pan and it's worked fine. I wash and peel the potatoes but don't wash the slices. I don't dip each slice, just layer and then brush on the butter. I'm sure there are about a hundred different ways people make them, just like everything else.
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