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Posts posted by HKDave

  1. On 1/18/2021 at 2:40 PM, Katie Meadow said:

    CA Bay Laurel is harsher. Turkish are better. I think most all dried bay leaves from spice stores are Turkish, no? 


    If a vendor doesn't say otherwise, it's almost always Turkish bay. "Spice Islands" is the only widely-available brand I'm aware of whose bay leaves are California bay laurel, and it would be nice if they clearly labelled it as such, but they don't. I have no problem cooking with either; I just use far less when it's California.

    • Like 1
  2. 11 hours ago, KennethT said:

    Interesting - I had assumed that congee was Cantonese


    Here in Hong Kong, "congee" is the English name. It's "juk" in Cantonese. Here's a good article on the origin of the word:




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  3. 11 hours ago, Joe Wood said:

    Once the desired weight is achieved what do others do at that time?  Is it advisable to continue the cure or is it time to vac-pac? 


    If the product has been hanging long enough to have cured and you're now at the weight you want,  I'd suggest the next step is to taste it. If you're happy with the result, vac-pack.

  4. The recipes in Ruhlman and Polcyn's "Charcuterie", to cite one widely-used beginner book, are in the 2-3 week range for 30% weight loss in hog casings (which I think you're using? hard to tell from the photo), and maybe a week more for something in beef middles. And that agrees with what you've just found.


    In the real world, the time will vary with the amount of moisture in the recipe, the humidity of the cure room, and the diameter of the casings, so that's why we weigh.

    • Like 1
  5. Bumping an old thread... In the end I bought a Braun 600w "Turbo", the made-in-Spain big brother of the one in andiesenji's post here:


    It came with a whisk, a beaker, and a 500ml mini-bowl-chopper thing.

    14 years later, I'm still using it.

    Braun still make similar models, now in Eastern Europe, so parts are available. The top of the mini-bowl-chopper broke a few years ago, and I found the part at ereplacementparts.com for under US$10. Now the main wand thing is getting shaky, so that's the next part I'll need. The all-plastic shaft version I have doesn't seem to be available any more, but a stainless one now is. And I should probably get a new mini-bowl-chopper blade. It's also available.

    Yes, at some point it's cheaper to buy a whole new rig, but I don't like throwing out things that still work, especially when everything newer is invariably junkier.

     - I use the "turbo" speed 90% of the time, "regular" speed 10% of the time, and the variable-speed dial never.
     - I don't regret spending more for a more powerful model.
     - The plastic shaft has held up to blending hundreds of hot soups, and doesn't scratch non-stick. I like.
     - I didn't use the beaker for years. Then I found the 2-minute-immersion-blender-mayo trick. Now I use it regularly.
     - The 500ml chopper bowl is incredibly useful. I don't have a food processor any more.
     - Braun sell these with less-useful 350ml choppers in North America, where they assume everyone owns a food processor. In the rest of of the world, we usually don't. I'd want the 500ml.
     - Braun has been through 3 different owners (currently it's owned by DeLonghi, who also own Kenwood) since my unit was made.

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  6. 1 - assuming your curing chamber wasn't too cold, you fermented your salami; your neighbour dehydrated his (because not much fermentation happening at 4 degrees Celsius). There should be a difference in taste.

    2 - doesn't make much difference. Did you soak your casings in non-chlorinated water, and mix your M-600 with lukewarm non-chlorinated water? That makes a difference.

    3 - I'd say there was no point taking them further. That's at the upper end of weight loss for most formulations.

  7. Joe, did you see my post (from 2011!) above? If you're getting liquid fat, it probably means things got too warm at some point.


    Re moving it to the fridge, what weight loss were you aiming for? For most dry salami, I'd probably bag and fridge at around 33% weight loss. Over 40% will usually give you pretty hard salami.

    Re dark vs light, most people (and I) cure in the dark. Not sure about the science.

    Re vac-bagging, obviously moisture loss stops as soon as you bag it. I don't think you need to worry about further aging in this case. One thing I've noticed with vac-bagging is that if you've got a "case hardened" salami, where the outside is hard from moisture loss but the inside is still a bit soft, vac-bagged for a time lets things even out.

  8. On 7/17/2019 at 12:05 AM, KennethT said:

    I was worried about b. cereus  since it's commonly discussed as a problem with rice, and I had heard that it still grows at refrigerated temps so had always heard not to keep old rice more than a day or two in the fridge.


    B.cereus won't grow in the fridge. It grows between about 4c and 50c (per US CDC), although most health departments say 4c-60c. It reproduces fastest around 28-37c, hence the need for reasonably rapid cooling after cooking.


    The main somewhat-common food pathogens that can grow in the fridge are listeria and yersinia, but both of those are killed by cooking or pasteurization. The problem with b. cereus is that it can survive cooking (and re-heating).

    • Like 3
  9. On 7/13/2019 at 1:03 AM, KennethT said:

    I was thinking about extending this to rice based dishes - but I'm nervous about eating cooked rice that has been in the refrigerator for about 5-6 days.


    Does anyone have any info about the safety of doing something like this? 


    There is no special safety issue with leaving rice in the fridge for a few days. The main safety  issue with rice is that it may contain pathogic spores that can survive cooking, and which could then multiply if the cooked rice were to be held for several hours under 60c/140f, but still warm, like on a buffet. If you have a rice cooker with a "keep warm" function, it's holding the rice above this temperature for safety.


    The solution is to cool cooked rice reasonably quickly. Health Dept. guidelines here, where we eat a lot of rice, say that cooked rice should be cooled from 60c to 20c "as quickly as possible (within 2 hours)", and then to 4c (fridge temp.) in under 4 hours. Personally, I aim for 2 hours from cooked to fridge temperature throughout. Spreading it out on a tray greatly speeds cooling.


    Note that I'm talking about safety here, not esthetics.

    • Like 1
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  10. 11 hours ago, paulraphael said:

    My understanding is that Tellicherry doesn't really signify anything about the variety or origin of the pepper ... it just refers to the size of the peppercorns (big).


    This is pretty much correct. The variety is always piper negrum. "Tellicherry" are the 3 largest grades of Indian black pepper. They are:

    Tellicherry Garbled Special Extra Bold (TGSEB), 97-98% larger than 4.75mm diameter, no more than 0.5% "extraneous matter", no more than 11% moisture,

    Tellicherry Garbled Extra Bold, same other than 4.25mm+
    Tellicherry Garbled , ditto, 4mm+


    Malabar pepper comes from the same plants, but is made up of smaller and/or unsorted peppercorns. "Malabar Garbled Grade 1 (MG-1)" is roughly the same spec as Tellicherry for corns larger than 3.25mm. Lower Malabar grades have no minimum size specs and allow increasingly higher amounts of "extraneous matter".


    With (reasonably fresh; old corns are always garbage) black pepper, size matters. The reason Tellicherry commands a premium is that larger corns have a citrus/floral aroma and milder heat; smaller corns are hotter, but one-dimensional. The aromas in the larger corns are largely lost with cooking, and larger corns are a lot more expensive, so I use them for finishing, and cheaper/smaller corns for cooking. As an aside, the largest sizes don't work in all pepper grinders.


    I have seen (and, sadly, bought) pepper being sold as TGSEB that obviously wasn't, so if you're paying for Tellicherry, knowing which grade and having a trustworthy supplier is essential. I haven't found one here, so these days I'm using Tellicherry-sized, but ungraded, peppercorns from a small domestic supplier in Vietnam. They're at least as good.

    • Like 6
  11. UK retail sausage meat is spiced.


    It's 70-90% fairly fatty pork, plus flour or starch as a binder, sometimes some onion, usually mildly seasoned with pepper, nutmeg and maybe a bit of sage.


    If you're subbing shoulder, I would add fat. Generic US pork shoulder is under 20% fat. UK sausage meat is probably 30-40% fat.

    • Like 2
  12. We had a discussion about the various Larousse editions... was it almost a decade ago already?... here:

    Larousse Gastronomique 1938 (the first edition)


    As for the original question about the 'best' English edition, as I said back then: "There have been 3 'American' (=English language) editions: 1961, 1988 and 2001 [plus, since that post, a 4th English edition in 2009]. They're quite different; I don't know about 'better'. The book grew from 1000 to 1200 to 1350 pages over the 3 editions and certainly became more up to date. For one thing there's now more than a passing mention of 'foreign' (non-French) foods. But if you use it as a French culinary history reference book - which is what I think it's best at - the 1961 edition is the closest to a translation of the 1938 French original."

    • Like 1
  13. If you are used to European knives but want a Japanese-ish shorter knife, take a look at the Australian made Furi knives.  I had one, (santoku) didn't love it, but thought is nice enough.

    Furi's advertising says "Engineered in Australia", but the knives are made in China. I've also used them and not loved them.


    ChrisZ, re your original question - G2 or GF33? - you answered it yourself in the first line of your post: "I have been intending to replace my 25+ year old Wusthof chefs knife with something newer and lighter."


    If you want lighter (and cheaper), choosing between those two, it's the G2. The GF33 is 50% thicker and a lot heavier.

  14. Aside from what the others said, it could have broken from getting too warm during grinding or mixing.

    +1. I think the OP has 2 unrelated issues; the mealiness and the lack of juiciness.

    The former is is most often caused by not keeping the mix cold, as TheTinCook and others suggest. There's some discussion of how this happens here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/79813-sausages-cook-off-17/page-6

    The latter is most likely just not enough fat. Whole commercial pork shoulder is (these days) often about 15% fat. You need at least double that to make a decent juicy sausage. And I agree with EnriqueB's recommendation to use a coarse grind for chorizo, or at least grind the fat coarse.The fat should be visible here. I sometimes add small cubes of fat (sharp knife, almost frozen fat) to my chorizo.

    For more colour, you can add some unsmoked mild paprika.

  15. What do you use it for? Do you use it frequently? Do you have a dedicated grinder for your white pepper? Do you use a different grind than when using black pepper? Do you use it ground or whole? What kind of white pepper do you use - Sarawak, Muntok, Penja, or ... ?

    1- Thai and many Chinese dishes. White pepper is the default kind in Thailand and some other parts of Asia (and even Europe). And also in light-coloured western dishes where I don't want black flecks.

    2 - Yes, frequently.

    3 - Yes, I have a dedicated ginder for white.

    4 - Yes, for western dishes I usually grind it very fine to avoid flecks (it's not really 100% white, so finer is better for hiding flecks)

    5 - Both. Coarse grind and/or whole for Thai cooking, fine grind for western.

    6 - Thai for white pepper. Black pepper from Vietnam or India. Some white pepper can be a bit funky as a result of the frementation used to get the skins off. I avoid those. It's good to find a source where you can smell before you buy... in my case, I'm often buying in markets in Asia, so that's not a problem.

    • Like 1
  16. Capelin must be in season; my usual dim sum place has had them as a special the last couple of weeks. They give them a light coating of what I'd guess is cornstarch and deep fry them whole, bones, eggs and all, and plate with a sprinkle of minced quick-fried garlic and chili pepper. Very yummy.

  17. At the risk of sounding a bit geeky, the Victorinox knife you're talking about has kullens, not grantons. The former are indentations in the side of the blade that do not extend to the cutting edge, the latter are indentations that do extend to the cutting edge. Most knives billed as having a "granton edge" actually have kullens.

    Kullens don't affect sharpening. As far as cutting goes, I've used a lot of Victorinox both with and without kullens as my work knives, and I can't tell much difference. I wouldn't pay one cent extra for a knife with kullens vs one without, let's put it that way.

  18. I've used the countertop Electrolux combi http://tools.professional.electrolux.com/Mirror/Doc/BR/BR_BR-9JDBO_1_34_1_1_9JDBOU.pdf for several years (about 10?) and am less than impressed. It's not very well built for something marketed and priced as a "professional" product, it doesn't steam well at lower temperatures, the oven has worse hot spot problems than some non-convection ovens (and that convection fan can't be turned off, annoying if you're doing things like souffles), the water tray holds enough for barely an hour's worth of steam, and the timer only allows the oven to run for 2 hours before it shuts it off, so it can't do prolonged low-and-slow cooking unattended. And it's not very big; usable interior space is about 22x30cm.

    On the plus side, it works well as a convection oven and holds temperature better than any other countertop oven I've used, even in the 50c-100c range, where most ovens just don't work. And it is quite portable, which combined with its ability to hold low temperatures, makes it useful for catering. And it takes standard 1/2 pans.

    For a while there was a very cheap identical-looking China-made knock-off of this available from a Hong Kong supplier, but it's gone. So if you want a cheap combi, especially one that doesn't require plumbing and wiring, your options are still limited - which is why I ended up with this in the first place. The pretty Miele and Gagganeau home units aren't bigger and are a lot more expensive (at least the last I looked) and proper commercial combis like Rationals are another order of magnitude more expensive.

  19. Quelle horreur! Someone has used a different technique that that mandated by tradition.

    Indeed. That's a nice-looking terrine.

    In fact, pates and terrines are as traditional a use of sous vide as there is. The technique was originally developed for cooking foie pate by Chef Georges Pralus at Troisgros in the mid-1960s. Cooking terrines and the like remains one of its most useful applications.

    Baron Shapiro, your minimum temperatures are correct if one only takes the terrine to that temperature mometarily. But the temperatures Nick used are safe when the length of time the product is held at that internal temperature is factored in.

  20. It's not normal, but it's not necessarily dangerous. Pork fat starts to melt around 30c/85f, so most likely you liquefied some fat during the incubation. The fat pooled just inside the casing and is now leaking out through the holes you made to get rid of air bubbles.

    As long as you followed the usual safety practices, things still smell good, and you're not getting coloured mold or anything else nasty, the salami will probably be usable. But it may end up drier than usual, and if you're using weight loss to estimate when it's lost enough moisture to finish hanging, remember you've also lost some weight from the fat loss.

  21. Is there enough difference in the quality and taste of the generic French green Lentils I buy and the Le Puy (AOC) lentils to justify the expenditure?

    I use 'French green' or 'Speckled green' (which in my case come from Canada) or Puy lentils interchangeably and don't notice any significant difference. They're the same thing (Lens esculenta puyensis, if you want to get geeky about it) grown in different places. If anything, I prefer the Canadian, which also happen to be the cheapest. The key is that they should be small, dark green with dark blue speckles. Here's a photo: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/File:Puy_lentils_wooden_bowl.jpg

    If you've got brown and tan lentils mixed in, they're probably not all the same kind or quality.

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