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Everything posted by Smithy

  1. I think it looks like an interesting concept. The name troubles me slightly because of the word "Nest". At first glance I thought it was somehow to interface wirelessly with the nest system of house monitoring and management. Is it possible that the name will confuse other potential buyers, or (worse yet) draw unwelcome attention from the Nest company? (So far I haven't thought of a better name. )
  2. I have a series of old recipes for Hachiya persimmons. I'm getting ready to use a windfall of those persimmons in a few baking projects. The suite of spices called for in the cake and cookie recipes is cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. I like cinnamon. I like nutmeg and allspice in small touches but they can be overdone for my taste. Cloves I detest, and I'm going to leave them out. That makes me wonder, however, whether I can take this recipe in another sweet direction altogether. What other spice combination might I use with persimmons to make a nice baked product - sweet but not jarringly so? Suggestions, anyone?
  3. Melamine

    Is this what you mean? I bought this last year; it's made in China by tagRlivingTM. It has the weight and feel of decent ceramics: heavier than Corelle or fine china, lighter than stoneware. The back side doesn't have the luster look, and it looks like melamine then, but the front is visually convincing. (Audio purists like me will also object to the plastic 'clack', but many folks don't seem to notice sound.) I find it much better than most melamine in terms of heft and appearance. I've seen it in off-white and deep burnt orange as well as this aqua color. It's very sturdy. It's supposed to be dishwasher safe; I haven't tried it. It is not microwave safe.
  4. Thanks for the reminder!
  5. I made a half-recipe of this in my Instant Pot Mini for our Christmas gathering. It was a hit. For the record, I used Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese, and it worked well. Also for the record, my 25-year-old nephew informed me that I need to make two cheesecakes next time. I think it's so he'll be able to take one home with him.
  6. Why would an iPad be better as a recipe stand than an Android-based tablet? Wouldn't any tablet dedicated for kitchen use work as well as another?
  7. Pickled herring is quite definitely something that "took" with me when I moved up north! Great stuff! Lutefisk...well, not so much. I have my limits.
  8. I have indeed. Gjetost is easy to come by in the Duluth area, and a very dear friend who's quite proud of her Norwegian heritage made it a point to introduce me to it. I thought it was okay - the sort of thing that I enjoy in the proper context (as in, skiing and picnicking with her) - but haven't been drawn to it on my own. I did not know it was made from whey! Thanks for those links.
  9. Breakfast, a couple of days ago: grilled cheese sandwiches on the last slices of herb bread. Because sometimes you just have to kick over the traces. This is comfort food, and I've been needing it. Thanks to this topic about preferred cookware, I decided that I needed to use one of my clay pots. I bought this in Egypt, thanks to Paula Wolfert's discussions in these forums about cooking in clay, and because I am crazy about Egyptian moussaka - which is made in pots like this. They may excellent braisers: they provide even heat and somehow provide a more moist product than many of my metal pots. (The background discussion is scattered around in the forums - Paula was one of the original eGullet enablers - but some of it can be seen here and here.) They can be used on stovetop, provided the heat changes aren't extreme, and they are oven safe. In Egypt I saw them sitting in coals as the moussaka cooked. Chicken, seasoned and browned.... then smothered in mild Hatch chiles and their juice... and cooked in the oven until done. Meanwhile, green beans were being cooked with bacon and a number of vegetables on the stove top. I tend to forget about this chicken treatment when we're camping, because we so often cook chicken over the campfire. But it's been windy, and it gets dark early, and I've had quite a few reasons to wimp out on campfire cookery the last few days. This is a stellar way to treat chicken. These thighs come out fork-tender and juicy, and the chiles add a nice seasoning. There were two thighs apiece, but we restrained ourselves and saved some for the next day's lunch.
  10. I was intrigued by the suggestion of bathing in it for soft skin. In this desert climate it might do wonders for me. There are two problems, though: no bathtub, and no place to store that liquid until I have enough. (If we had that kind of storage capability, my darling would have a beer keg refrigerator.) And actually, I'm not sure I'd want to get into a vat of whey.
  11. That's fascinating. I blush to admit it, but I'd never wondered where "whey protein" came from before now. It looks like I should be able to use all the whey I generate in the future. I used some of it as a marinade for chicken yesterday. The broth is simmering away now; too bad I didn't think to try the rest of the whey as a broth additive! One of our cocktail folks might like to try the martini idea under the "Booze It Up" section.
  12. I've wondered about that. In Minnesota, relatively small quantities (5 gallons? I don't remember) of milk spilled from a commercial operation must be reported to the Minnesota Duty Officer and treated for cleanup. We in the mining business, who had to worry about non-food spills, thought it sounded very silly, but the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency noted that the Biological Oxygen Demand was quite high for breaking down even such a benign substance. So where should the whey go? My darling said his parents would have slopped the hogs with it. Are there pig farming operations in or near the Mohawk Valley?
  13. I forgot to mention earlier that I think tsatsiki is a fine condiment that I enjoy eating but have never made successfully. Would your DW care to share her recipe?
  14. I always drain it. The bottom picture in the collage above is of the yogurt draining in my Euro Cuisine Greek Yogurt strainer, recommended by @kayb (and others). I tried cheesecloth in a colander at first, but find the very fine mesh in this strainer to be more effective than cheesecloth and easier to clean. When I remember, I use the whey to make bread. I can't tell that it makes a difference in the bread quality, but it feels less wasteful. eta I'll post a better photo of the draining process if it seems useful.
  15. I managed to make yoghurt without the Instant Pot, thanks to the helpful information given here. Once I'm back on the grid I'll resume the IP, but it's nice to be able to do without it. Thanks, Anna N, ElsieD and Tropicalsenior!
  16. Glory be, I've had my first success at making yogurt without electricity. I know that yogurt-making predates household electricity by centuries. No doubt many (most?) folks still make it the old-fashioned way. However, my attempts at making yogurt have been such failures that I resorted to store-bought for years - until the advent of the Instant Pot. That little beauty has been wonderful as, among other things, a yogurt maker. Where we are presently camped, we rely on the generator for electricity. That precludes the long run times needed, say, to incubate yogurt or do sous vide cookery. I asked over here about the temperature that the Instant Pot uses to incubate the yogurt culture. Thanks to @Anna N and @ElsieD, with additional information from @Tropicalsenior, I picked up the information that I needed: the incubation temperature should be around 107F and ElsieD's Instant Pot maintains between 105 and 106F. My oven, with the pilot light on, registers 107F according to my meat thermometer. I brought my half-gallon of milk to a low boil, let it cool to around 110F, added some of my precious culture and whisked it all thoroughly. Wrapped it in a towel and stuck it in the oven. Periodically I'd reassure myself about the temperature: open the door, quickly turn on the thermometer (which goes to sleep after a few minutes), shut the door, then recheck the temp. 106 or 107F every time. This morning, I had yogurt. Hooray! I don't have to go back to store-bought!
  17. There's a certain pride in that, isn't there? I was frantic during our packing-up: the large batches of kraut fermenting in our kitchen still needed to be dealt with one way or the other, and I had (grr) no time. I got it done anyway, and what we have here is about half of what I'd made. What method did you use for your kraut? Have you written about it in the Sauerkraut topic, or in the less specific What Are You Preserving, and How Are You Doing It? topic? If not, we're missing out.
  18. My bread-baking is improving again. My latest loaf, from a few days ago, looks pretty good: ...at least, until you see the bottom ... Still, it's better than its predecessor. I used the screen you see in the top picture and no cast iron. It still got a bit too warm on the bottom. Next try I'll use the middle oven rack. The crumb shot will be at the end. During our last trip to town, we succumbed to the promise of this label: As we suspected, it was a "t" and not a comma that was missing. The label looks messy because the butcher was good enough to split a package and wrap the halves separately for us. A 3-pound roast is as much as we care to cook at once. We wanted a pork roast for cool-weather cooking and to use some of the sauerkraut I made last fall. 5 of these 1-quart containers take up a lot of fridge space! This is usually a slow-cooker recipe for us. Since we're on generator power only, we opted for the oven. Here's the roast, sprinkled generously with cumin and nestled in its bed of potatoes, carrots and onions, just before going in for a low and slow oven cook. When the potatoes were soft and the roast was nearly done (somewhere around 160 - 165F), we added the kraut and let it come up to temperature. We think this also helps slow the temperature rise of the meat and holds it at that magic collegen-stall temperature a bit longer, but don't have rigorous tests to prove it. We do know that if the kraut goes in too soon it's difficult to get the spuds cooked. This is a different form of simple cooking altogether than the hash and microwaved asparagus, and we don't find it compatible with troubleshooting mechanical problems - but when it comes together, we're happy. The leftovers make us doubly so.
  19. To be fair, MW asparagus can be good and we've had some success with it. Unfortunately it can also be overcooked in an inattentive heartbeat, and we've had limp army drab bits often enough that I tend to think of microwaving it as last-ditch expedience. I generally prefer it roasted, grilled or otherwise browned, or else used as one of many elements in some dish like pasta primavera. I'll try Kenji's method, with the proviso that it must not be left whole unless I'm cooking for myself (another point of contention in our household ). Thanks for that link!
  20. Yesterday morning started off with a bang, literally: it sounded like the contents of 3 kitchen drawers all falling to the floor at once. Up from the kitchen there rose such a clatter, we bounced out of bed to see what was the matter. Nothing looked out of place. The sound was coming from the heater vent. Oh, dear. Further investigation and dismantling, several hours' worth, led to the picking out of dozens of itty bitty plastic pieces from inside the works. That clatter and bang had been the sound of the furnace fan disintegrating and spitting vanes all over the heating element (oh, the odor!). We'll need a new furnace motor. We'll need to go to a service place. We're miles from any repair facility, and don't want to break camp. We'll make it until we're closer to a repair place, after Christmas; we intend to have outside electrical power in a couple of weeks, and we can tough it out without heat until then. It isn't very cold here. ... Nonetheless... ... I'm really quite put out about yet another mechanical problem. It could be worse: it could be the generator and wiring (as last year) or a glide motor breaking (ditto) or a wheel bearing failure (previous trailer, at least twice). We're safe, dry, healthy and mobile. Still, it takes time we'd rather use for other things, and saps the energy needed for my intended cooking. We went the easy way. Last night was my darling's basic comfort food, almost as easy as it gets: sausage, onion and potato hash cooked over the campfire, and asparagus cooked in the microwave with butter. I don't have a picture of the asparagus; I think it's an insult to the poor vegetable but at least it was edible. The blurry photo probably reflects my mood when I snapped the picture. There had been better cookery in previous days. I'll write about that in another post.
  21. I understand that, and most of our trailer stuff is plastic or metal to minimize potential for breakage. There are, however, some things for which I prefer glass because of its nonreactive properties or, to be honest, its heft and feel. Wine glasses, for instance - and he has his beer mug and scotch glass. He uses a plastic coffee cup but I insist on my china mugs that don't change the flavor of the coffee. We certainly didn't need glass for mixing or storing that spice blend, but household habit took over that evening, and in the end a glass pint jar was all we had for storage. The winds that have fanned the flames of Southern California have been fanning us as well. It isn't much fun for being outside, so we chose one day to go to town and run errands. With these winds we're upwind of the dusty areas, but the farther south we drove the dustier it got. That blur isn't just due to a lousy focus. Fry's Grocery has a monthly deal for people, er, over a certain age, and we took advantage of it along with half the winter population. All my good work at emptying out the freezer is undone. One of the bulky packages we've been carrying around, that had come out of the freezer for a cook-inside day, was a whole chicken. I love roast chicken, and I love to roast it myself. As an experiment I lined the bottom of the roasting pan with a layer of thinly sliced onion, along with a bit of sliced celery and a Meyer lemon wedge, and set the chicken atop it. (My usual procedure is to use a few sticks of celery as the 'roasting rack' and add a few wedges of onion.) The chicken I coated with more of that berbere spice mix - which turns out to be an Ethiopian blend, by the way - and added another Meyer lemon wedge to its cavity. It all roasted , with occasional turning of the chicken, until the chicken was done. Meanwhile, I did green beans with peppers, mushrooms, and other must-use-it vegetables on the stove top. The onion layer, which had been an experiment, was a revelation: the onions had melted down and caramelized with no effort on my part, and made a delicious accompaniment to the chicken. The lemon wedges and berbere spice produced excellent flavoring. We had some breast meat (not dried out!) and the hind quarters for dinner. The next day more of the breast meat was sliced up for sandwiches, with the remainder of the caramelized onion adding an extra layer of flavor. The carcass has since been stripped and put in what was the few free cubic inches of freezer space, and the rest of the meat has become a chicken salad. Chicken salad sandwiches are in our future!
  22. A Small NYC Kitchen Reno 2017

    That. Is. Gorgeous! I hope it gives you a lifetime of pleasure. I'm not an authority on this, but as far as I know you cannot over-oil a board. The excess will simply sit on the surface until you wipe it off. You'll have wasted a little oil doing that, but you'll know that the wood has enough oil if there's a slight sheen of excess 5 - 10 minutes after oiling.
  23. Thank you for that information! I didn't know that could be done with yogurt culture. Is there a minimum amount you'd recommend in order to reseed the next culture?
  24. Beautiful, thank you! Now I have an idea what temperature to shoot for during my yogurt incubation. In the oven, with the pilot light on, may work well here. I'll have the pot wrapped for insulation as well.