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Everything posted by fiftydollars

  1. fiftydollars

    broiling steak.

    I agree with scubadoo and I would not finish the steaks under the broiler. I think it's just too likely to burn them. An oven at 500 or so will finish the steaks nicely once you have seared them on the stovetop. With filets I sometimes sear them only on one side and then I finish them in a hot oven without flipping. They get a nice crust on the business-end while keeping the rest of the steak quite tender and rare.
  2. anything with the word "wiener" in it... although the only example I can think of is wiener schnitzel uh, huh... wiener
  3. I have a roll of Saran: The Original Premium Wrap, which I'm not sure is the same thing you are talking about. Anyway, I think it really sucks... I dislike its lack of elasticity, but am particularly angry about its almost complete inability to cling to any type of surface.
  4. fiftydollars


    Whenever I make demi glace I reuse the bones and make a glace de viande. Jaques Pepin instructs this in his Complete Techniques. I start with 10lbs of veal bones and simmer them for 12 hours to make demi glace. Then I take the bones and simmer them for another 12-16 hours and reduce the 24qts of liquid down to just over a cup of glace. It's pretty good and, as Pepin says, it's free.
  5. Get some dungeness crab while it's still in season and be sure to get some oysters, too. Than Long and Crustacean do a great roasted garlic crab, which I highly recommend. Other places around town also do a good whole roasted crab. Some of these are Yuet Lee at Stockton and Broadway (they are open until 3am, which is a good thing if you happen to be around enjoying some of the neighborhood's many diverse entertainment options), a place at Balboa and 42nd who's name escapes me but that also serves some dynamite greens and a delicious soy sauce egg custard, and various other places too numerous to mention. Basically, when it's in season just about every mom and pop Chinese restaurant has a whole roasted garlic or salt and pepper crab on the menu and you should be sure to try it. I really love oysters and now is the time. We have some great local purveyors. Don't miss Hog Island Oyster company if you're in the Ferry Building, but if you really want to do it right trek out to Hog Island.
  6. I've done ok with bread on my KA 6qt mixer. My only complaint was/is the hook that my mixer came with. The dough just wrapped itself around it and didn't really get much of a knead. But I got a different hook and it seems to work pretty well. I still think my old bread machine is better at kneading, but I don't have the space for it and the KA works just fine. However, I once tried to make bread using my sister's KA 4qt while I was visiting for the holidays. I had a plan to make croissants and was using the KA to mix up the yeasted dough. A few minutes into mixing it I saw some "stuff" in the dough. I stopped the machine and saw that the stuff seemed to be some streaks of motor grease. Puzzled, I continued to watch as the machine then started making a grinding/shrieking noise and soon I saw metal shavings drop onto the dough. The volume of dough yielded by the recipe had been just at the mixer's capacity, but I had ignored the warning to keep it at speed 2. Apparently, that’s really important with a machine of that size. On my machine at home, I run it at whatever speed I want and have never had a problem. (Although, I checked and my mixer also says to keep it on speed 2 when using the hook, which I had not noticed earlier because, well, I had never before opened the instruction manual.) Luckily my sister had only had the machine for a few months and KA replaced it with no questions asked. But I won't be making any more bread at my sister's house…
  7. Yes he does!! I first saw "heirloom" tomatoes with his label then I started seeing all manner of questionable produce with his face on it. The heirlooms were from Mexico, if I recall correctly, and they were the saddest, fugliest little tomatoes ever to be offered at $3.99/lb.
  8. I have a cheap food mill (Norpro) that I purchased for just a few bucks (less than $10) and I've definitely not gotten my money's worth. It just sort of spins things around and whenever I use it, it just really pisses me off. It's not just that the pusher doesn't get much of a grip, but it also doesn't have one of those wire things that sweep stuff off the screen, so whenever I use it there is a lot of spatula work and mess involved. If you have a Kitchenaid mixer you might want to buy the food mill (they call it a strainer, I think) attachment. It's only $50 or so and works very well for my purposes. The good food mills seem to be about $60-$100 and while I'm sure they are great, my experiences with the one I have have not been great. Plus, the KA saves a lot of elbow grease when you're trying to pass through 50lbs of tomatoes or whatnot.
  9. Lately I have heard a lot of servers complain about people that calculate the tip before the tax. They argue that since they have to pay taxes on their tips the customer should tip based on the total after tax. Does everyone/anyone agree?
  10. I would certainly not be one to claim that I bake all of my bread and I definitely do not make all of my pasta (just the fresh pasta. dry pasta is a far more complicated affair and one that I will happily leave to the right Italians). But I make most of it. Baking bread is a lot about waiting for things... like proofing, retarding, etc., so it's easy to work it into my schedule. I'm not a great bread baker, yet, so I need all the practice I can get.The more you do it, the better and faster you get at it. At least that's what I hope anyway... Fresh pasta, on the other hand, is just way too easy to make and the results are superior to anything I can get at even the better Italian delis or pasta places in this area. Once you have it down you can make a pound or two of linguine or tagliatelle in under an hour. That's fast enough for me. You just have to love it and want to do it. Equipment doesn't hurt, either.
  11. I finally caught an ad yesterday and I'm really looking forward to seeing the show. When are you coming to San Francisco? I'd love to go watch and whatnot.
  12. I made a box using a fish heater and an ice chest. The heater is submerged in water, which encourages some moisture and the ice chest helps keep a steady temperature. It's very simple, cheap, and pretty effective.
  13. I don't often feel like food is oversalted, but I've been to restaurants where the food had an across-the-board cloying sweetness that exhausted my palate to the point of discomfort within bites. The tongue-searing sweetness of the sauce imposed on a rib-eye at one particular restaurant (now closed) required me to scrape it off and, only a few bites later, to seriously consider rinsing out the meat in my glass of water.
  14. I've had the same problem with both pyrex and metal and the pyrex is just harder to clean. Cook's Illustrated has a recipe for blasted chicken that calls for adding a few potatoes under the rack (they use a broiling pan) and this does a pretty good job of absorbing the fat and keeping it from burning.
  15. I love those things. I use them to freeze my super concentrated veal stocks. Once frozen I unmold the stock and pack it in FoodSaver bags. It's great.
  16. I have also generally favored cooler proofing temperatures because I believe this makes for tastier bread. However, Ed Wood says 90-93 degrees will favor the bacteria that produce the lactic acid and I find he is right. For the most part I still like to use a slower, colder rise because I like the flavor, which is not really that sour but has a nice complexity and texture. I often don’t bake for many weeks at a time, so when I start up again I feed and activate the starter at 80-85 degrees for a day or so (maybe more depending on how long it’s been). This brings out some acidity, but not as much as I find in most commercially baked sourdough. However, if you raise the temperature to 93 degrees, the acidity really takes off. This also makes the yeast really active, which then makes it hard to catch the yeast at just the right point so that upon baking they will make the bread rise. The really sour breads come out kind of flat. I suspect some of the commercial sourdough producers enhance the acidity of their product without sacrificing texture by either adding lactic acid to the dough or by adding other strains of yeast to a starter that has mostly lactic acid producing bacteria and not much viable yeast (or some other method… although I would hope they’re not adding rotten milk).
  17. It's all about temperature and the ying and yang of bacteria and yeast that make up typical sourdough starter. Sourdough starter contains yeast, which doesn't really like heat very much, and bacteria, which needs a certain amount of heat to become active. While at temperatures under75 degrees your yeast will be nice and happy at that temperature you won't get much acidity because the bacteria will not be producing much lactic acid. At temperatures over 90 degrees, your yeast will be somewhat inhibited and possibly start to die off rapidly while the bacteria will be hummin' away happily acidifying the mix. Dough proofed at this temperature (90-93) will be definitely sour, but may not rise all that well. A good way to strike a balance between the two types of critters is to activate your starter and proof your dough at a temperature between 85-90 degrees. This temperature must be carefully controlled and just a couple degrees can make a big difference. I made a simple proofing box using a cooler and a fish heater submerged in a glass of water (goddamit I'm a clever sonofabitch), but I'm sure you can buy this sort of thing, use your oven, or maybe you can proof your bread in a yoga studio. You can learn more than anyone needs to know about sourdough bread by reading Dr. Ed Wood's, Classic Sourdoughs. You should also take at look at his website: http://www.sourdo.com. I bought his book and a starter from his site and when I ran into some trouble I emailed him. I was surprised that he answered personally. The doctor (I believe he is an actual medical doctor) diagnosed the problem and I was happily making sourdough in a very short time. (However, it did take me a while to get the acidity just right.)
  18. Great show. I'll have to start paying some serious attention to rice crispies...
  19. I'll cop to it. It's a perfectly useful horizontal surface and being in San Francisco those can be hard to come by.
  20. fiftydollars


    Its mostly osmotic dehydration - the salt draws water out of the meat, maybe concentrating the flavour some. Don't cook your meat over 58C/135F internal temperature is the secret, unless its stews or BBQ in which case its 85C/185F. Brining has its place, if you like that sort of thing, but its not a substitute for quality meat, not overcooked. ← With presalting the salt also works its way deep into the tissues making for some very nicely seasoned meat. I presalt most things, including barbecue if you include rubs as a way of presalting, but I brine pork belly. The cut lends itself nicely to the addition of some moisture and spicing that you can't achieve by mere salting.
  21. Yes! I agree! Ino uses way too much wasabi in his nigiri. I was there last week and the wasabi really caught me by surprise. I probably had not noticed this before because I usually stick to sashimi, but that day I was looking for some rice. The worst part was that just as I moved into the nigiri I ran out of beer, so all I had to quench the wasabi was hot tea. Anyway, Ino is still pretty good.
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