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Posts posted by BeJam

  1. Follow up. I returned the new Krupps this morning contributing some serious disappointment to a violence-eager pal excited to drive over things and destroy them.

    I have a French Press and love to use it when I want to sit and really enjoy a cup of coffee. I usually am an espresso/latte brewer on weekends and evenings and use the cold brew toddy maker in the summer and always grind my own beans.

    I know I may be in the minority here, but I like the feel/temperature/taste of a hot drip cup of coffee on those mornings I have to be up. I can't really explain it. There seems to be (for me) a strange balance between acidity (crunch as a Southern friend used to call it) and smooth that sits well on a groggy palate at 7:00 am or 5:00 am depending. In fact, I used to get giddy about going to bed many years ago because when I'd awake, I'd get coffee.

    I exchanged the Krupps for the new Braun design series So far (I'm still on the first cup) it's as easy to use as the flavor select and tastes as good too. The only negative point, here in the second hour of ownership is that the thermal carafe doesn't have an automatic closure when you remove it from the machine. Although the lid drain is small, I understand that this will contribute to premature cooling in the third hour or so. Otherwise, it has the same ease of use/cleaning features as the flavorselect. (It comes with a gold filter basket which the Krupps does not, and costs $50.00 less. It does not, however, have a clock or program function but shuts itself off after 17 minutes.)

  2. Funny you should bring this up today. I just got off the phone with a friend and we made plans to drive over my new Krupps "thermal-pot" machine (with my car). It is the brand new one that I got when I had to return the previous model I had gotten as a Christmas gift just a few weeks ago when the coffee wouldn't drip into the pot. It would overflow into the pot but not drip.

    The new one makes the worst coffee I've ever had and it is sooo poorly designed. For starters it has a hot plate on the bottom. Yes it is a thermal-carafe. Krupps only wanted to make one coffee maker that serves both types of carafes (so I surmised after the customer service rep said that was how they boiled water). So not only did I burn myself touching the pad that shouldn't be hot, but there is also a pervasive smell of burning plastic. Then there's the water level indicator which is a small tube about 1/10" of an inch. The water that goes in never fully drains away or evaporates so you never know how much water is in the machine. Then there are the mystry coffee slicks under the machine that I have no explaination for. Then there's the quality of coffee. I never thought that coffee makers could be so different. But doing the exact same thing yesterday and today I got burnt/dark coffee yesterday and weak thin coffee today. And you have to tip the pot entirely upside down to get the last of the coffee out.

    My motto has always been, don't buy a Krupps. Today the glass carafe Braun is going back home from the office.

  3. Sister, "What would you like for Christmas?"

    Me while pointing to a picture in a catalog, "A good eight inch chef's knife, like this wuesthoff."

    Sister, "Hmmm."

    The next month:

    Me, "What does that say? Faberware? thanks. There sure are a lot of knives in there."

    Sister, "I know. I just couldn't spend that much and only get one knife."

  4. i was just wondering about fluted mushrooms. what is the point? to show off knife skills? to create a surface for sauces to grip onto? (<-- that's not REALLY necessary is it?) i don't get it.

    The answer I got at a CIA boot camp last year to the question why concasse tomatos (I was expecting to hear that the seeds impart a bitterness) was: so you can charge more. Fluting mushrooms is probably similar.

  5. I'd like to join in too but don't have Les Halles and, due to seasonal budgeting, am not planning on acquiring it very soon. I do have "Mastering the Art," however. Maybe a limited number of available recipes from common books for comparison starters. I like the idea of a common preparation of the same recipe. I'd be cool to see what variations occur given the region and available produce.

  6. I've had strange experiences with vermouth, probably because I don't know a lot about it.  We drink vermouth only in martinis, and that very infrequently.  I've tried several, and my own favorite and that of my martini drinking friends is Boissiere Dry.  Makes a very nice vodka or gin martini.  But for some reason, it doesn't come through very well in cooking. 

    I once favored Boissiere for martinis (which are made with gin and vermouth), but I agree that it's not as good in cooking. Because of that and the fact that it's not to be found just anywhere (at least around here), I rarely buy it any more. For both martinis and cooking duty, Noilly Prat is now my vermouth of choice.

    I used to assume that Gallo vermouth from California, which is very cheap indeed, couldn't possibly be any good. Then a few years ago on one of Julia Childs's television programs she said something about a California vermouth that was just awful, but whose name she would not reveal. Well, she had to be talking about Gallo, so I felt my actually uninformed judgment had been validated. Who would know better than Julia?

    Then a couple of years ago, Cook's Illustrated did a blind test of vermouths in cooking (I think they might also have tasted the stuff as is), and surprisingly the two winners were Noilly Prat and Gallo, with M & R and Boissiere down at the bottom of list. So one day when I was in an inferior supermarket in rural Virginia needing some vermouth and all they had was Gallo, I bought a bottle. It's very good! A nice clean taste with the appropriate floral notes, no off flavors at all, and it's good for cooking and martinis. And as I say, it's cheap even for vermouth.

    I've found Gallo jug wines ok for most of my cooking.

  7. Butter and a little sea salt. Sometimes a splash of malt vinegar.

    If you're in B'ham Alabama and looking for a potato, Jim and Nicks BBQ had a full one pound baked potato topped with butter, pork bbq (probably a 1/2lb), bacon, grated cheese, sour cream, and topped with scallions and bbq sauce. I suppose you could order chicken instead of pork if you were watching you diet.

  8. The recipe, as any Texan can tell you, is to open one can of Original Ro-Tel Tomatoes with Chiles and dump it into a saucepan or glass microwaveable dish and chunk up a bunch of Velveeta and heat it until it's all melted and gooey and serve with tortilla chips.

    The Alabama version requires you to serve with Fritos. I believe the scoop variety is now acceptable.

  9. You could be a fruitcake or nuttier than a fruitcake,

    You could get pickled by drinking too much,

    You could throw a pepper game in baseball,

    You could have invented the greatest thing since sliced bread (positive one),

    Did someone say corny yet?

    "But Honey...." (not an insult but at times said just after the perception of one)

    "She's a hot tamale" ("But Honey, I didn't mean it like that. No I don't think she's good looking.")

    Your goose could be cooked,

    You could turn to jelly,

    You could be a Cheese-head,

    You could have a pea-brain or have scrambled eggs for brains,

    You could have had a Pizza-face,

    You could be a melon head,

    You could have garlic breath,

    I've got a couple more for the adult-version of this thread.

  10. If you're exhausted you're fried,

    If you've imbibed certain herbs you're baked,

    If there's no chance of winning you're toast,

    If you get hit with the ball hard you got beaned,

    If you're wimpy your milquetoast,

    You could have chicken legs,

    You could be fruity,

    You could be gamey,

    A bad car is also a lemon,

    "You're nothing but a two dollar piece of meat." (I don't remember where I heard or read that one.)

    Would a cast iron stomach be stretching it?

  11. I wouldn't use it to make more pasta in. Something about it sitting around for a couple of days with water evaporating and concentrating any minerals doesn't sound very good to me. You can use it immediately to thin the sauce you're having with the pasta or probably save it to thin some other sauce that would benefit from a salt/starch combination with little flavor.

  12. Just make sure you don't use fresh peppers.  You don't want too much green in your chilli.  Avoid white onions too.

    BeJam's advice sounds like heresy by eGullet standards.

    Sorry, I was only making a feeble football joke. The chili was for the Michigan/Michigan State game; Green/White are the MSU colors. I'm a Michigan grad. Yes go with fresh chilis and white onions, I do. Really. Sometimes I add corn and eat it over the blue tortilla chips...

    thanks for the help. even if your a wolverine.

    BTW, your joke wasn't feeble but UofM's chance of winning will be. GO SPARTANS. :smile:

    Normally I'd bite and respond but I usually feel bad for doing so after Michigan handily defeats the Spartans once again. :biggrin:

    Good luck with the chili. Don't forget the antacids (for the fourth quarter, not the chili.) :biggrin:

  13. Just make sure you don't use fresh peppers.  You don't want too much green in your chilli.  Avoid white onions too.

    BeJam's advice sounds like heresy by eGullet standards.

    Sorry, I was only making a feeble football joke. The chili was for the Michigan/Michigan State game; Green/White are the MSU colors. I'm a Michigan grad. Yes go with fresh chilis and white onions, I do. Really. Sometimes I add corn and eat it over the blue tortilla chips...

  14. Thanks for the suggestions. I've got a britta and will give that a try while I finish out the rest of the St'bucks. I only use the pods when I need to make alot of cups fast otherwise I prefer tamping myself.

  15. I did a quick search on Coffee topics and couldn't find a specifically related theme. I know there have been postings referencing favorite brands but they’re couched in other topics. Specifically, I’m looking for a new espresso. I’ve got a FrancisFrancis X5 and a krupps burr grinder. Confession time: I actually like Starbucks espresso blend. Well I should say I used to like Starbucks blend. Lately it seems to taste nasty and flat with poor crema. Confession #2: the espresso pods seem to be fine.

    I thoroughly cleaned my machine, tried different pulls, and varied the tamp pressure and grind size all with no noticeable effect. I haven’t, however, tried bottled water yet. I also installed a dishwasher about the same time the espresso started to go down hill but, similar to the bad water possibility, the pods brew okay. My only conclusion is that the beans are probably pretty old by the time I get them. I’m buying them at a store not by mail. I store the beans in the freezer in a mason jar. I don't usually let them come to room temp before grinding like I should, but I let the grinds warm up before I use them.

    I’m not a huge fan of Illy which I had to use for a year while “paying off” the FranFran. I also tried Pete’s a couple of years ago without much excitement. I have ardently followed the discussions on home roasting but am not there yet in terms of counter and storage space. Any recommendations or suggestions?

  16. I'll throw out, as I did on the other thread, John Lanchester's "The Debt to Pleasure." Not a traditional mystery by any means. In fact I didn't even know it was a mystery until I was more than half way through the book. I highly recommed it. It was written somewhat as a memoir based on seasonal menus.

  17. Thanks for the replies. I didn't think about commercial vinegar being pasteurized. The guy at the wine store may have been talking about adding vinegar he'd already made. This makes sense and would explain why my first batch didn't grow. There are several sources for mother in the area but I like the idea of being self-sufficient or at least trying to be at first. Growing up with parents who left opened bottles of wine in the liquor cabinet for months (there are bottles of liquor almost as old as I am still in there, I know there are spices around given to them as wedding presents) and thinking it tasted a lot like vinegar when I snuck some had me thinking I could replicate it pretty easily.

    The bottle I opened yesterday was simply oxidized I think. It tasted as if I'd opened it last week. I could drink it, I just didn't enjoy it very much even after two glasses. It is a bottle I've usually like. I also don't know enough to really determine if there are other problems with it.

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