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Posts posted by MGLloyd

  1. I macerate the vanilla beans in the alcohol for a few weeks and the end product is superb, and usually better than anything I buy.

    How exactly do you do this? What ratio of beans to alcohol do you recommend? Do you crush the beans or use them whole? Do you use already scraped beans? Do you remove the beans after a few weeks, or leave them in?

    My typical recipe is to use two sliced and roughly chopped vanilla beans into 500 ml of alcohol. I put this into a 750 ml brown glass bottle with a tightly fitting cap. I let the solution macerate for at least three weeks, and I give the bottle a vigorous shake every two days.

    Depending on the quality of the vanilla bean (which can vary), this produces a strongly-flavored vanilla extract which is to my personal taste. There can be some fine particles in the extract, so if I am making a recipe that would not benefit from the particles, I pour a little bit of the solution through a paper coffee filter to catch the particulates.

  2. Does anyone else make their own vanilla extract? I have a small bottle I keep in the spice cupboard. I take my leftover scraped pods and store them in the bottle covered with rum. Works well for me, the vanilla flavor comes through pretty quickly. I try to use white rum to avoid too much of a rum flavor and also that way I can seel when the liquid takes on a more brown vanilla color.

    Speaking as a former analytical chemist (MSc from the U of W), I have made several flavor extracts over the years, including vanilla. I take care not to use any flavored alcohols since I want the pure flavor of the substance being extracted.

    The closest you can get to absolute ethyl alcohol, the better. I preferentially use Everclear, which is not sold in Washington state. I pick up a few bottles at a time when I go to Portland on business. I also use it as a sanitizing agent for certain pieces of my homebrew equipment. If you cannot find Everclear, then any cheap high-proof non-flavored vodka would work well. I macerate the vanilla beans in the alcohol for a few weeks and the end product is superb, and usually better than anything I buy.

    When I don't make my own, I am partial to the tahitian vanilla from Trader Joe's and a vanilla bean paste I pick up from Sur La Table.

  3. There are several internet sites. One offers the product at a very high price. If you tell me where your located i'll try to find where it's available reasonably in your area. In "Seattle" the prices varies by as much as $2.00 per can from different markets. Irwin

    I am in south Snohomish County and work in downtown Seattle. This tuna sounds interesting. Do you know of any markets from Snohomish County to downtown Seattle that carry this?

    Thanks for any help.

  4. My 17 year old son has a fascination with using the powdered sauce packets from boxes of macaroni and cheese. He uses them as a seasoning for all types of food. In the Seattle area, a very few stores used to sell canisters of the Kraft mac & cheese sauce mix, right next to the canisters of dried Parmesan cheese. But alas, I have not found any in ages.

    He would be thrilled if I could find a large bulk container of this as a Christmas gift. Some heavy Googling using the terms 'dried cheese powder', 'powdered cheese sauce mix' and the like did not reveal any very good sources except for small foil packets. I did find a lot of number 10 cans of dried cheese sold by the survivalist-type stores, but this was not exactly what I am looking for. I also tried looking under 'popcorn cheese seasoning' and found that most such products are primarily salt.

    Ideally, I would like to find a gallon jar of a dried cheese powder. Does anyone have any sources or suggestions. Thanks for your help.

  5. Is there an echo in here?  :biggrin:

    Not so much an echo, as confirmation. There are several bars locally that also meet this description, but Pike Place was the only brewpub I am familiar with with the cigar criteria. I am not at all sure about the appeal of mixing cigars and beer, but I am not a smoker myself.

  6. Of course, one of the fine characteristics of French-press coffee is the beauty of the apparatus itself at work.  A nice French press pot is a thing of great aesthetic value

    Insulated presses are about as sexy as a percolator pot.

    Absolutely correct. I still dig out the Bodums when I make press coffee for company. The unbreakable steel press is for my everyday use, since I no longer try to impress myself.

  7. For those posters addressing the factor of equipment replacement costs, Bodum does make an 8-cup, all-plastic pot called Thermia, which has the added benefit of an insulating layer, keeping the coffee hotter for longer.  I bought it after breaking my upteenth glass beaker, and I have been using it for more than six months with no detectable leaching of plastic flavors into the coffee.  I have also dropped it on a couple of occasions, and I can vouch for the plastic's strength.

    Bodum products

    Another alternative in the realm of unbreakable french presses can be found at your local Target. In the sporting goods section, next to the travel mugs and thermoses, you will find a one quart insulated stainless steel french press made by Eddie Bauer. If I recall correctly, it sells for around $ 25.

    It works well for me and keeps the coffee hot for some time. After having broken many Bodum presses over the years, I now use this as my primary press, although I still have some Bodums out in the garage.

  8. Of course, this was anything but a controlled experiment. The canned was somewhat darker--was it cooked further? Maybe somehow the method of cooking it in the can caramelizes the milk without reducing it as much, therefore accounting for the textural difference?

    I wonder if the difference in color and texture between canned and scratch can be accounted for the pastuerization or other heat processing that the canned product undergoes after sealing. So from that perspective, is the canned product already very slightly cooked or the proteins heat denatured as compared to the scratch made product?

    But as you say, there are already so many variables in the experiment, it is difficult to say with certainty.

  9. Bring up to pressure (15 lb) and depending on the desired consistency:

    15 minutes is enough for a soft, spreadable consistency.

    25 minutes will give you a thicker, darker product.

    Any longer and you'll be able to slice it.

    That sounds interesting with the pressure cooker insofar as I imagine the cooker is strong enough to contain any problems with ruptured cans.

    Also of note was the cooking of the milk until it reaches slicing consistency. I have seen people do this, and then cut off both ends of the can and use one lid to slide the firm caramel out onto a plate whole, much like a can of jellied cranberry sauce. Then thinly slice the caramel, plate, garnish and serve.

    I wonder if anyone has any data on time to either boil or pressure cook the can until it reliably reaches a slicing consistency yet without being burned or scorched.


    Michael Lloyd

    Mill Creek, Washington USA

  10. I have been homeroasting for about 18 months now. I started off with a Caffe Rosto and just loved the results. In order to increase my throughput, I recently bought another Rosto, and now roast 9-11 oz. coffee per session. This allows me to roast more coffee at a sitting than the HotTop, the latest coffee roasting contender, that sells for $ 600.

    The reason I got into homeroasting was not so much for my drip coffee, but to improve my espresso. If anyone here is into espresso, you will be surprised at the difference freshly-roasted coffee makes, when ground to order in a burr grinder just moments before pulling the shot. Of course, in order for me to get to that point, I have invested about $ 2000 in coffee/espresso toys.... I keep telling myself that the payback point is actually quite short, when you consider spending $ 5-8 per day on espresso drinks from the stand.


    Michael Lloyd

    Mill Creek, Washington USA

    PS: And I heartily second the earlier comments recommending www.coffeegeek.com as a resource.

  11. I used to make caramel by boiling the cans, as mentioned earlier in this topic. Then I found an easier way.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees

    Pour one 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk into a 9 inch glass pie plate

    Place the pie plate into a bain marie (larger pan filled with hot water to the level of the milk in the pie plate)

    Put bain marie into oven and bake for approximately 90 -120 minutes or until very thick and caramel colored. Color and consistency, as opposed to baking time, is the key to figuring out when it is done.

    Stir a couple of times during baking if you wish.

    Turn out of the pie plate while still warm into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

    Variations I have heard of:

    Some people crank the oven up to 450 degrees and finish it in approximately 60 minutes

    Some people cover the top with foil to prevent scorching

    In my experience, setting the oven at 400 degrees and cooking for the longer time prevents scorching. Your mileage may vary, and feel free to experiment.

    This method has worked well for me, and I cannot tell a difference in the finished product whether made by oven caramelizing vs. boiling the closed submerged can.


    Michael Lloyd

    Mill Creek, Washington USA

  12. I'm not aware of any Restaurant offering "Fried Turkey's" for sale. There was some promotion last year thru a Radio and Television station that, if i'm not mistaken some local politician was preparing, or teaching others how do prepare them safely, contributing all proceeds to charity.

    That was actually being done by my state representative, John Lovick. Mr. Lovick represents the 44th legislative district in the Bothell/Mill Creek area. Mr. Lovick periodically hosts Democratic fundraisers for which he makes southern food (he is from Mississippi originally, IIRC).

    I have been to a couple events at his house, and I can attest that the deep-fried turkey is superb. It is not that hard to make if you have the right equipment. Key elements are setting up the cooker outside on a flame-proof surface, monitoring the oil temperature (most people get it too hot), and most importantly, leaving enough expansion room in the pot to allow for submergence of the turkey and bubbling of the oil. Many people fill the kettle too full, and the oil overflows right down the side of the pot onto the open flame of the burner. Very, very impressive when that happens.

    I have thought about doing this, but given that I would do it maybe once or twice a year, the equipment setup would cost around $ 100-150 for something used infrequently, and more to the point, exactly what am I going to do with five gallons of hot used peanut oil? Strain and reuse it? Pour it into the sewers? I wonder what the people who do this at home do with the oil.


    Michael Lloyd

    Mill Creek, Washington USA

  13. Kimo, thanks for the post, this sounds very intriguing.  My only question is why hasn't girl chow, our south-end dining oracle told us about this place before?? Slacker!  :raz:

    I will make an effort to get there sometime this fall.


    I can't believe this, but I don't think I've ever eaten in Gig Harbor. This will explain it: I avoid Hwy 16/Tacoma Narrows Bridge like the plague. It's a traffic nightmare. I prefer to just stay in Tacoma and avoid the nightmare that is westbound to GH.

    Oh, lately, I've been eating my way up and down "Koreatown" on South Tacoma Way. That area rocks.

    I can't blame you for avoiding Highway 16. Back when my fiance (now my wife) and I were dating, I would drive from my house in Mill Creek, to her house in Port Orchard. I became very familiar with the backup on Highway 16.

    But this restaurant sounds interesting. And it would be nice for Purdy as a place name to known for more than the location of the state women's prison (right off Highway 16, as it happens).


    Michael Lloyd

    Mill Creek, Washington USA

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