scott123

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  1. There's no free lunch when it comes to indigestible foods. Anything we consume is going to be attempted to be digested by our digestive system. That's what digestive systems do. And when it fails to digest, there will always be repercussions. If the quantity is minimal, then those repercussions might go unnoticed, but making entire dishes out of fiber isn't going to just be uncomfortable, it could very well be dangerous. We are not cows There's a reason why we don't consume large amounts of fiber- and why our bodies are so noticeably unhappy with very high fiber food. The human digestive system just isn't made to handle it. The idea that some types of fiber can be tolerated while some can't is garbage. If you eat large amounts of anything that can't be digested, you will pay the price. Trust me, I've tried. It's possible that you might be able to develop a tolerance over time so that your body doesn't react so violently, but not with the quantities you're discussing.
  2. i have a family member who is sensitive to phlalates. With our hard water, none of the phlalate-free detergents will get our dishes clean. When I wash dishes, the detergent I use forces me to take a lot of extra steps to minimize exposure. Because of this, I have to wash dishes very infrequently, so I'm hyper aware of the dirty dishes I create and go to great lengths to minimize them. Part Artist/Part Engineer To be a good cook, you have to be part artist, part engineer. Most people are comfortable with the artistry, but the engineering, for some, can be a struggle. There's a reason why top chefs are renowned for being overbearing control freaks. Everything you do in a kitchen has ramifications. An extra pinch of a particular spice may not be a huge deal, but, if you're making a waffle that takes 4 minutes to cook, you can't leave and come back in 8. Dishes are unbelievably unforgiving. If you dirty a dish, it's not going to wash itself. Mise En Place Never Ends Most people can understand the necessity of having your ingredients prepped and in place before you start cooking. But that concept of thinking ahead, of planning at least 4 chess moves in advance, is applicable to everything you do in the kitchen. You grab a spoon to stir a sauce- "how many times will I be stirring this sauce? I better not put the spoon in the sink until I know I'm done with it" "Can I use this spoon to eat the meal with?" "Can I stir the sauce with a utensil that I've already dirtied making something else?" From the moment you walk into the kitchen to start cooking, until the last dish has been put away, you need to be planning ahead, and streamlining the process. Disposables I couldn't survive without disposable kitchen wares. I go through probably 10 pairs of plastic gloves a day. I handle meat and cheese with gloves, put away and dispense cooked pasta and rice with gloves. When I'm done with a glove, I'll turn it inside out and use it as a counter protector. Almost every meat that I cook gets baked on foil- including bacon. Dry-ish foods, like cooked rice and pasta go into gallon plastic bags. In addition to re-using plastic gloves as counter protectors, I'll use plastic sandwich bags with a paper towel on top as a stove protector. I drain every meat that I bake on plastic grocery bags with a layer of paper towel. If I'm cutting a lot of things, I'll break out the cutting board, but if it's something small, I'll cut it on two layers of paper plates. If I'm serving a sandwich for lunch, it's going on a paper plate. If the sandwich doesn't soil the plate, I'll save it for use as the bottom layer when cutting. Are paper plates, paper towels, plastic bags and plastic gloves the most environmentally conscious choices? No. I try to make up for it in other areas of my life, and I try to re-use my disposables as much as possible, but it's an impact that I'm still not completely comfortable with. The alternative- forgoing these products, that's not an option, though. Engineer Your Dishwasher Space I used to use beautiful china that had been handed down for generations- but it was large and inefficient and took up too much dishwasher space. I'm pretty much 100% cheap Corelle dishes now. Light, thin and efficient. I also wouldn't be exaggerating to say that I've spent more than 10 hours testing various stacking arrangements to get the most dishes I possibly can into a load while not having them touch/potentially chip and maximizing cleanliness. I've replaced pots with odd handles that haven't played well with my dishwasher My dishwasher is 35 years old. When the motor went, I spent countless hours figuring out how to fix it rather than replace the whole machine because I didn't want to have to start over the arranging process with a new unit. My dishes, right now, fit like a glove. It's amazing. I've sat there thinking "this absolutely has to be it, I can't fit anything else in here," but, then I rearrange the puzzle one more time and squeeze in one more thing. Look at everything you're putting into your dishwasher. I guarantee you that you'll find a few things that are space hogs- and that, if replaced, could use space much more efficiently. Besides replacing pots, pans and dishes that didn't fit well into my dishwasher schematic, I also replaced quite a few hand washable items- and am in the process of replacing more. As we speak, I'm looking for a cheap good machine washable steak knife. For instance, cast iron is wonderful, but you can pretty much match the baking properties with clad stainless- and clad stainless can be put in the washer. Beyond replacing, there's also re-sizing. I've cut down acrylic cutting boards so they don't hog so much dishwasher space. Sometimes Re-use/Sometimes Wash/Sometimes Rinse Know your soils. If you're, say, rinsing broccoli in the colander, you don't need to wash the colander with soap and water. Just a good rinse with very hot water will suffice. If you're measuring dried herbs with measuring spoons, a rinse is fine. A cutting board used for onions or peppers only gets a rinse. A glass used to drink water can be re-used through the day. Soda glasses can be rinsed- a couple of times until the fingerprints start adding up. Weigh As Much As You Can If you don't have a digital scale, get one, and use it for everything. The only time I use my measuring cups these days is to scoop and spread pizza sauce. That's pretty much it. Can I Do This With a Smaller Pan? I boil a 1 lb. box of macaroni in a Revereware 3 quart covered saucepan. Pasta purists are probably pulling their hair out at such a thought, but I'm happy with my results. I apply this way of thinking to everything. Sometimes my frugality backfires on me, and my pot ends up being too small, and I have to transfer the contents/dirty something else, but, if I write pot sizes down in the recipe, I have less of these mishaps. Spoons are a major pita to load in the dishwasher in such a way to prevent nestling, so if I can achieve the same thing with a knife instead of a spoon, I will. Bottom line, you always have to maintain a situational awareness as to the current actions you're taking and how they will effect you down the line. I'm not going to lie, maintaining this awareness can be exhausting. But food, no matter which way you cut it, is hard work- mentally and physically. The more thought you give to your kitchen management, though, the less physically back breaking it becomes.
  3. Meat Blasphemy – Well-done Steak

    So you're copping to being the steak police, huh? As long as your body cam doesn't mysteriously malfunction, I think we'll be fine Seriously, though, if you really want to split this many hairs, okay... let's start splitting First of all, you're overlooking an absolutely critical aspect of the protein denaturation equation. Fat. In lean meat, sure, protein molecules will latch on to each other and squeeze the liquid out, but, just like wheat protein molecules have trouble latching onto each other in fatty pastry crust, muscle fibers have issues latching on to each other in fatty meat. Less cross linking = weaker bonds = less water loss. Well marbled steak, when cooked until well done, is still very tender, succulent and juicy. Secondly, how, exactly, did you become the arbiter of 'normal' marbling? Was that part of your training at the academy? I would think, that, within these walls, when the topic of steak is brought it up, unless cost is specifically mentioned, it's in the context of 'good' steak, the context of well marbled steak. Is well marbled steak hard to find? Absolutely. But just because it's difficult to source doesn't mean that all steak related discussions should only focus on typically inferior supermarket fare. Third, the ribeye cap that I linked to wasn't Wagyu. Just about all ribeye caps have that level of marbling, even in choice meat. In your typical ribeye, the cap will only be a small fraction of the entire steak. I'm not presenting ribeye cap as being typical or in the slightest bit common. I'm only using it as an example to show how incredibly delicious well done extremely well marbled steak can be. Once someone has tasted well done cap, any stigma they might attach to well done well marbled steak will be obliterated, as it was for me. Fourth, this isn't about my own personal taste. Cook a ribeye cap, any ribeye cap, well done, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn't do backflips after tasting it. When you move towards the leaner end of the spectrum, towards well marbled rather than extremely well marbled, the appeal will be less universal in comparison to medium rare, but it will still have it's adherents. And this group will consist of far more food aficionados than one or two odd ducks. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see 3 out 10 people prefer well done well marbled meat in a double blind setting. Fifth, have you ever pan fried brisket? If it's fatty enough, it fries up beautifully. Does connective tissue/collagen play a part in the burnt end equation? Of course. But I guarantee you that the lion's share of what makes people go so incredibly nuts over burnt ends relates directly to the fact that the ends of brisket tend to be the fattiest. When all is said and done, none of this hair splitting is all that relevant. I'm not the one looking down my nose at fellow food lovers. I'm not the one calling anyone names- in seriousness or in jest. To make my case, I don't have to prove that well done steak is always comparable to less cooked steak. It obviously isn't in every instance. All I have to prove is that, depending on the fat content, well done steak can be phenomenal, and that, if the food snobs could actually taste a well done well marbled steak, I'm not saying that they'd prefer it, but they'd see enough value in it to end the derision.
  4. Meat Blasphemy – Well-done Steak

    The stigma of well cooked steak is culinary bigotry, plain and simple, and the celebrity chefs that have perpetuated this prejudice will not be remembered fondly by history (I'm looking at you, Mr. Bourdain). These self appointed steak police just need to f off already. I'm uncouth for enjoying well cooked meat, am I? A 'barbarian?' Who are you to tell me what tastes good? Do these pompous elitist a holes point their fingers at burnt end worshipers and say "OMG! BBQ ruins meat!" Hell no! But cook a steak to a fraction of the wellness of burnt ends and the steak nazis go ballistic. From the moment our ancestors made their first animal kill on the savannas of Africa to the inevitable end of this planet, great tasting meat has always and will always be about one thing. Fat. Sure, take a garbage lean steak and cook the crap out of it, and you'll have leather. But singing the praises of this same inferior meat cooked to reddish pink? Please. Garbage in, garbage out. You took crap meat and, by cooking it less, you made it the tiniest bit less crappy. Good for you. Alert the Nobel committee. Fat changes the equation entirely. In a sufficiently marbled steak, with extended cooking you get juiciness, you get succulence, while, at the same time, achieving a greater penetration of Maillard compounds. This is why you can take a well marbled brisket, smoke it for hours, and end up with something orgasmic. Don't believe me? Take out a second mortgage on your house and get yourself one of these. http://amazingribs.com/images/beef/rib_cap.jpg Cook it until it's well done, and, if it doesn't make your eyes roll back into your head, then come back and call me a barbarian. I dare you
  5. Pork loin ground with fat (60/40) stays nice and moist But that's the only way I'll eat it.
  6. Avocado Recipes

    When it comes to fragility, avocados are just like bananas. Unripe, they can handle getting banged around a bit- especially if they're very unripe. Once ripe though, it's kid's gloves only. And you're not going to find gentle treatment in a grocery store bin- just the mere weight of other avocados on top of a ripe avocado will cause it to be bruised- and that's just sitting in a pile. Once you add the potential injury from handling - produce dept. workers and checkout people, being able to walk into a grocer and purchase a ripe unblemished avocado is pretty much impossible. I don't go as crazy as I used to, but I used to make little pillows out of paper towels for my ripening avocados. And, of course, 'unblemished' is relative. I've been to plenty of parties where hosts made guac from hideously brown fleshed avocados without blinking an eye. But, for me, If the brown parts can be cut away, I'll try, but if it's more than half brown, off to the garbage it goes, with a pour of my forty for my dearly departed homie Speaking of things that make you want to cry, avocados were $2.50 a pop this week in my local grocer. They were a dollar a couple weeks ago, so hopefully they'll drop again soon, because, as much joy as they bring me, it'll be a cold day in hell when I spend $2.50 on an avocado.
  7. Avocado Recipes

    You couldn't pick a better time, imo. This is right smack dab in the middle of one of the best avocado seasons I've ever witnessed (on the East Coast). The only downside is that avocados aren't as inexpensive at they were last year this time. But the quality is through the roof- at least, so far.
  8. Avocado Recipes

    None of these combinations are the least bit out of the ordinary, but each brings an unbelievable amount of joy into my life (when avocados are in season). 1. With anything that you'd have ketchup with. A burger is the obvious choice, but don't forget other ketchup adorned foods like egg sandwiches. 2. With anything you'd have soy sauce with (see sushi comment above). Also, alone, with a drizzle of soy sauce. 3. Any Tex-Mex dish you'd have sour cream with. I know, no surprises, but there's good reason why avocados have become so closely associated with these foods.
  9. In all seriousness, these new cakes you're pointing out are a bit of a thorn in my side. With a greater level of automation, cheaper ingredients, and a far larger profit margin, these herald the end of the classic crumb cake of my youth. It's only a matter of time. If you enjoy them, that's great, but, for me, they mark the incredibly sad end of a much loved childhood staple, that, unlike many childhood staples, has stood the test of time, and, for the most part, continues to be as good as it always was..
  10. One would have to assume that crumbled cake would most likely, at one point or another, be visible in the end product. Maybe not all the time, but, in my 40 years of eating crumb cake, I've never seen a visible morsel of cake. That being said, there's a dryness to the real thing and a slight crunchiness that I've never seen in a home version. I've always assumed it was the dryness of shortening/later palm oil as opposed to the butter based home versions, but I'll concede that there might be cake in there. If they were taking this router, for ingredients purposes, it would have to be leftover cake from crumb cake.
  11. I'm sorry, but your cut rate pound cakes (cheaper to manufacturer) with nutless crumbs (again, cost cutting)- these crumb cake wannabes aren't welcome here I don't care how they label it, a pound cake with crumb is still a pound cake
  12. Well, the calcium propionate, as an anti-bacterial, prolongs shelf life, obviously. And then you've got the xanthan and cellulose gums, which I'm sure act as humectants, prolonging staling. Other than those, it's just your average mega-bakery juju (mixing aids, emulsifiers, etc.) For the record, I don't care about the cake component. I'm not worried about the cake. The crumb is the hard part, imo.
  13. I'm floating the idea of making an Entenmann's crumb cake knockoff. I spent a few minutes googling it, and it's amateur city. None of the attempts that I came across actually took the time to read the ingredients, which, imo, is copycatting 101. http://www.shoprite.com/pd/Entenmanns/Crumb-Coffee-Cake/17-oz/072030002255/ The two major standouts that I can see is no butter, and the present of nuts. Has anyone come across a crumb recipe that's palm oil and/or hydrogenated soybean oil based and that contains nuts? I'm not looking for something similar. I want the real deal.
  14. Shortbread

    Rice flour, in a recipe with some water, might produce a crispier and product, but, in this recipe, it's not going to lend the shortbread any structural integrity. Some form of liquid (water, egg, etc.) would be the most sure fire way of gaining handling ability, but it would also risk toughness, and also perhaps stray from authenticity. I would bet you any amount of money that Walker's get's an end product capable of being shipped by pressing their cookies. If your baking pan is stackable, you might try pressing down on the shortbread very hard with another pan. You could also find something rigid, square and flat that you could use to tamp the shortbread in the pan. That might give you the structural integrity you're looking for. Or, you could try water- perhaps with a very fine sprayer. But, like I said, be careful.
  15. Shortbread

    Less mixing = less gluten development = weaker shortbread, not stronger. The amount of water in butter is minimal, so less or more mixing isn't going to make that much of a difference to texture, but if the OP wants strength, less mixing is the wrong direction, imo.