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Everything posted by BeJam

  1. Has anyone either installed a new thermostat or upgraded one on a Francisfrancis X5? Or, for that matter, know of anyone who has? Mine is going, the boiler is cycling on and off every second in the espresso mode, and taking about three times greater than normal to reach steam temperature. I searched the net this afternoon with little luck specific to this model and learned after calling Illy, that the minimum charge will be $100 just to look at it. And that doesn't include the parts that they won't sell to individuals. I found a posting online that refered to a group of finatic X5ers that live for parts failures so they can modify their machines. Unfortunately, the site gave me no way to contact the person. I posted a similar topic on coffeegeek this afternoon, but have not gotten any replies back yet.
  2. Right, I added mustard powder, not a prepared mustard. But I did add molassas in the begining. So maybe I'll try again and add the sugars at the end as they finish up.
  3. I had a disappointing failure last night. Well, not really disappointing because the beans came out alright, it just took about three hours. I added bacon, a pork chop, an onion, a little molasses, some mustard powder, salt, pepper, and water. I brought the whole thing to a boil, then into a 250 degree oven with the lid on. Nothing happened quickly however. After 75 minutes, the beans were still hard, but softening. It took two more hours for them to get just right. So what went wrong? I may have put in too much water because I never had to add more and I took the lid off for the last half hour to let some of the water evaporate and the meat on the top crisp a little. But I don't see how too much water would affect anything. I did but the beans yesterday, but didn't check the pack-date. So they may have been old. Should I have added a little baking soda?
  4. I spent a few evenings in the Beacon Muddy Cup last summer. I wasnt' very impressed with the espresso roast or coffees (over roasted, bitter) but the staff was very friendly and they had ac.
  5. BeJam

    All about tomato paste

    A couple of years ago, a midst a bumper crop, I decided to make my own tomato paste. I skinned and seeded, than just cooked down, and down, and down, and down. It took about four hours and a pot full of tomatos cooked to about a cup of tomato paste. I also added a little olive oil at the end to give it a better consistiency. Given how many tomatos are needed to make paste, the price is almost reasonable. It turned out great, but too time and tomato consuming.
  6. BeJam

    What is this

    Don't waste your money on the peeler attachement. Send me your strawberries and I will peel them for only a few dollars per berry.
  7. How about eliminating fiber from our diets and holding our breath. Mutually exclusive I mean.
  8. I now remember my mom buying margarine (Elgin-size) in the side by side by side by side four packs, but don't remember butter ever coming that way. You may still be able to get margarine quad-wide. Although i haven't bought any in a while, I have a memory that's a little too strong for that long ago and may suggest I saw them in the store recently.
  9. I agree with the Traffic Jam and Snug rec. Not that great, but decent baked goods and some desserts are worth it. If you're venturing out, don't forget Dearborn and its great selection of Lebanese food. In East Dearborn try Al Amir on Warren east of Schaffer. In West Dearborn its La Pita on Michigan east of Telegraph. La Shish is good, especially their kabobs, but, as I learned during the trial of the original owners wife, many restaurants are franchises and the quality has slipped. There are also some political issues with the La Shish original owner, a murder, terroist accusations, tax fraud, and a fugitive. His wife went to jail for accessory to many things.
  10. New Hellas. They DON"T accept casino comps. Pegasus is still good, but too close the slot machines for my taste. There are some newer restaurants like fishbones and blue nile, neither of which are really great. Sweet Georgia Brown is close by and a few years ago, I had the best meal I've had in Detroit there. Haven't been there since though and there have been management changes. Be forewarned, the DIA is still undergoing renovation and only a few galleries are open.
  11. lets not forget pate a choux. It has both flour and hot liquids and beaten eggs.
  12. Strange. The worst meal I ever had was at a place called John's Diner in Cleveland. Re-fried meatloaf with the entire staff (cook, waiter, hostess, owner) looking on, watching their only customers. When asked if I wanted it boxed, I said sure, I guess I wasn't very hungry. When I went to pay I said a little discombobulated, that I guessed I was too hungry to eat. I guess I was really discombobulated because I took the boxed meal with me and threw it away at a rest area on the Ohio turnpike. I can still taste it even though my one bite lasted less than one second in my mouth. But in the last year, searching for a less expensive taco meal near Poughkeepsie we ate at a place called Tacoland. It looked festive enough and since I'd had part of some really great nachos at Cafe Maya in Cold Spring a few days earlier, I ordered them at TL. As we discovered later, TL doesn't have an oven. They may have a microwave but everything was pre made and arrived in a bag. Anyway the nacho chips came out of a bag (no surprise) but the worst thing I put in my mouth this year was the, I kid you not, mustard yellow pump cheese topping. While I don't remember how long it lasted in my mouth, that bright yellow is forever etched on my brain.
  13. Love the green bean casserole too. One year, I decided to make it from scratch. Mushroom cream soup, fresh beans, my own fried onion topping. It was terrible! Maybe it was missing msg and phophates.
  14. Try a restaurant supply company or an on-line one. I picked up a 12 piece set, wide rolled edge, off-white (similar to Buffalo China design) with 12" and 8" plates, 9" soup bowls, and mugs for about $70. They are restaurant ware, so they're very durable. Try central restaurant supply or ace mart. I've used neither but they seem to have similar products and prices to my favorite store: Peoples Restaurant Supply in Detroit. Plus, all three sell retail. The only downside is that you usually have to purchase in case-quantities although Peoples will break up cases of popular items so might other local supply stores. Ten minutes later: I apparently haven't looked at those websites in a while. Their prices, while good, are not great especially if you add shipping costs. I'd look for a local store first.
  15. I've tried to let my parent know what I prefer when I visit, but it doesn't usually help. My most recent week-long visit was distinctly carnivorous. My Mom, whom I love, was born during the depression and her parents, remembering the bad times, would always serve meat to guests as a sign of love/respect/whatever. Somehow, that notion was reborn in my parents after I turned 30, or they 60 about ten years ago. Now, despite my suggestions for healthier dishes, we ate red meat at EVERY meal. Bacon or sausage for breakfast, ham/hamburgers for lunch, then steak/porkloin/lamb/hamburgers for dinner. I would say, "Mom this is too much red meat." She would reply, "it's very lean..." My last short stay, last week, was capped off with a chicken pasta dish. Very light, very lean, very good. But just after serving everyone, she jumped up and said, "Oh, I forgot the topping" and came back a poured a quarter cup of chopped bacon bits on top of everyone's dish.
  16. Wow. Thanks for the replies. I suspected as much but not the number of eggs. If the flies come from areas of rotting fruit, I can't see how any store-bought fruit can not be infected especially given the conditions at some markets or producers.
  17. So I'm into week 8 of red wine vinegar production and despite having read to expect flies, I didn't think it would happen to me because I'm in the UP close to Lake Superior and we've already had about a foot of snow. Denial maybe? Likely. I even had a small tear in the paper towel cover that I didn't bother to replace it because I wasn't going to get flies. Of course you know where this story is going. Two days ago I had no flies, then yesterday about 30. They were all over the cover, inside the jar, and just buzzing around. And they are quick as if they know I'm going to kill them. I got a few and stopped short of spraying the top of the jar with raid that would have probably affected the flavor of the final vinegar. So then I got to thinking about where they come from. They didn't come from outside because it’s been well below freezing several times and I was gone for a few days if that matters. So where? Are ff eggs in fruit already just waiting for some rotting matter to draw them out? Are the eggs in my clothes or in the wood work waiting in hibernation? Maybe those thirty flies are laying eggs right now all over the place waiting for the next smorgasbord of decaying fruit flesh. Now that I think about it, fruit flies don't seem to have a season. Maybe this will make a good Halloween story. UP is Upper Peninsula of Michigan for you trolls below the bridge.
  18. Any dense bread will work, no packaged sandwich bread i.e. wonder. Just remember to butter or spread a little oil/fat on each side before grilling otherwise you'll get dry toast.
  19. I love brushetta on the grill. Not too complicated because you have to flip it but just some good olive oil and sea salt. Maybe brush with a garlic clove after. Actually I especially like this over an open camp fire, but charcoal is pretty close.
  20. Last spring I had a deep fried roast beef sandwich at Jacques-Imo's in NOLA. They made the sandwich, battered the whole thing and fried it. Unfortunately it wasn't as exciting or tasty as I'd expected.
  21. Pasties actually spread with the Cornish primarily as they populated newly industrialized areas around the globe in the 19th century. If you look at those places, you will still find pasties on many menus. In the UP of Michigan, Cornish miners populated the copper mines from the 1850s and Wednesday is 'pasty day' at Mich. Tech University. The same can be said for other areas of the country, especially as new mining areas in the West were developed. Also several mining towns of Austraila also serve them.
  22. Jerrad is from Indiana. So I guess they have Subway stores.
  23. Last spring I posted a confessional about my dear parents coffee. It was really undrinkable. Several people suggested I bring my own press pot and grounds to their house, or volunteer to make the coffee. Unfortunately feelings would be hurt which would be much worse than a bad cup of coffee. So instead, I thought some suggestions and a few gifts might help effect a reasonable solution. But one new coffee maker, burr grinder, one initial pound of beans, and almost a year of practice later, the coffee is worse. I should never have intervened in the first place. They only either got confused or, more likely were just never into improving their coffee beyond trying to make their son a little happier. Last year wasn't so bad. I lived in the area and only had coffee after family dinners. Now that I've moved away and stay with them on holidays such as the one just past, I'm subject to the coffee on a regular and constant basis. (Thank god for the new laptop that's allowing me to write this as I sip a latte at the Panera bread shop; no local coffee shops in this part of town. But at this point the 7-11 would have worked too. They just don't have free wi-fi.) The problem as it stands today: 1) the coffee maker is a little more sophisticated than their old one. It's a cuisinart thermal caraffe and, because the lid and cone are more complicated, they don't get cleaned very often. 2) somehow, they got the notion that any coffee that starts as whole beans at the point of purchase is good. That means Dunkin Donuts, which tells people how good its coffee is, and any other non-canned, unground, bean. 3) the grinder has never been used since that first pound. They just grind it at the store or the donut shop, then stick it on the shelf in the cupboard often times for months. My mother even talked about a friend who has a small refridgerator and whose husband insists on keeping a full pound of coffee in there. "What a shame, taking up so much space." 4) Blending. I was told on arriving that the "Folgers" can in the cupboard didn't have any folgers in it, so I shouldn't fear. Inside instead was a combination of, all whole-bean, store-ground, coffees including Duncan Donuts, Eight OClock, Tim Hortons, and some other supermarket kind. It's really really awful. Much worse than before I intervened. I think this is a problem without a solution. Since this is probably the worst crisis in my family right now, I just may have to let it rest and hope the coffee someday gets back to its old just bad self.
  24. BeJam

    Fat-Free Roux

    John Folse's recent "encylopedia of cajun and creole cooking" has a recipie for an oil-less roux made in the oven. It is simply baked as you suggest but stirred to ensure even browning. Unfornunately I'm not near my copy of the book to refer to it first hand, but a google search for oil-less roux turned up a couple of recipies. In fact his recipie's here The only difference I've hear is that you loose the flavor of the fat.
  25. I'm not allowed to use the word "tuna" in reference to tuna steaks with my niece. She wouldn't eat it if she knew. My sister says she won't lie to her kids, but its ok if Uncle Bode does. And for some reason my friends dad used to tell us as 8 year olds that pickle brine was made with sheep pee. To keep us from drinking it, maybe??? We weren't tricked. I don't think I was being tricked, but my 80 year old neighbor who was bordering on dimentia at the time used to bring me plates of spagetti with thin, very wierd bones still in the sauce. They weren't chicken, they weren't beef, they weren't fish. ??? She told me one time that she would substitute canned tuna for beef when she cooked spagetti for her nephew and older brother because they would never know. They were tricked, but those small bones? Luckily she just gave me the plate and instructed me to return it empty later.
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