Fernwood

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About Fernwood

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  1. Potato Salad

    What she said. Adding the vinegar at this point also firms up the cut surfaces of the potatoes. Good if you don't want your salad to resemble smashed potatoes but if you use waxy spuds and leave them with the vinegar too long before completing the dressing they can set into disconcertingly sharp-edged polyhedra.
  2. Meat Blasphemy – Well-done Steak

    I think some cuts and some qualities of beef tolerate more thorough cooking better. Ribeye cap and skirt steak are two cuts that still taste good to me well-done. And the more marbled the meat, the better it will survive. Don't try this with lean sirloin, folks!
  3. Bottom round rump roast

    Market had an extra-special price for "bottom round rump roast" but this particular piece was much better-marbled than most. I buy a lot of chuck but rarely round. Is pot roast the best use? Is there anything else worth considering? [I do not have gear to cook something like this sous vide.]
  4. Shortbread

    Here's a rather detailed treatment (about cakes) from Rose's website: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2010/03/the_power_of_flour_part_one_of.html#.WLClpBiZP6A She generally takes a very empirical approach to questions like this (her master's dissertation was about the effect of sifting on yellow cake), though the explanations could sometimes be clearer. Several statements from the conclusions: "4. bleached flour results in the best flavor.5. bleached flour results in the best volume.6. bleached flour results in the most tender and velvety texture......................................................................................................................7. unbleached flour results in less volume.8. unbleached flour results in a coarser, chewier texture.9. unbleached flour results in a cornbread-like flavor." And from her book The Pie and Pastry Bible: "Although the bleached and unbleached all-purpose flour from the same national brand have essentially the same protein content, the flours will not behave in an identical manner. Bleaching destroys the extensibility, or stretching quality, of the flour, so using bleached flour would result in a strudel dough full of holes. Bleaching also diminishes the strength of the gluten formed, so using an unbleached flour for a pie crust would make a tougher crust." All of that being said, I use King Arthur unbleached AP flour for all my routine baking without much thought. I do make pie crusts per a RLB recipe with a mix of bleached AP flour + cake flour (I make them in batches and freeze) and I will break out the (bleached) cake flour for cake recipes, when Rose tells me to, because I find that following her recipes faithfully yields predictable results..
  5. Shortbread

    Chlorine is one of the agents used to bleach wheat flour. Some relevant info at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flour#Bleached_flour When/where I grew up in the US, bleached AP was the norm and unbleached flour was something of a specialty item, as I recall. Now many brands market both bleached and unbleached products. Rose Levy Beranbaum convinced me that they have different performance characteristics.
  6. Cinnamon sugar stores well. We use so much that we keep it in a jar with a shaker top. It actually seems to clump less than plain sugar. Also, I never measure to mix a batch; I just add cinnamon (or sugar) until the color looks right to me. Don't let that be a barrier!
  7. I tried to buy a CSO from BB&B in mid-December. Not available in my local stores but easy to order online, no problem applying a 20% coupon. On the day when delivery was likely I received an email: "Thank you for your recent order with Bed Bath & Beyond. We regret to inform you that the Cuisinart Steam and Convection Oven has been canceled from your order as it is no longer available for purchase." I gave up on it for the Christmas shopping. This week I tried again. It's still on the BB&B website but I called the customer service # from the email to make sure I wasn't going to have a Groundhog Day experience. The hold music is quite annoying but eventually I was connected to a very helpful human. She was able to to tell me that they are getting some more into their warehouses and I should be able to order one by the end of February. Why does the website say "in stock"? Who knows? "Yes, if you place that order now it will just get canceled again." Once upon a time there was a simple Black and Decker toaster oven that was reasonably priced ($29?--probably less, way less than $200), toasted well enough and served a long time. Eventually it wore out; the next generation didn't work as well and didn't last nearly as long. After that we were seduced by a large, dark and handsome (and expensive) Krups machine that toasted pretty well; unfortunately, there seems to be an inverse relationship between price and lifespan. Then began the era of obeying the (eGullet) voices in my head. The first Breville XL had some early problem (lost to memory) and was replaced by BB&B. The second is still doing its job, once you get it going, but the start button has become flaky. I was going to make the CSO a gift to DH for Christmas, then for his January birthday.... Since that's not going to happen, and the Breville button is hanging on for the time being, I guess I'll sit on my hands and hope that Cuisinart will answer our fantasy/prayers and introduce a model that will accommodate a 9x13 pan. Very frustrated! Fern
  8. I slice cooked breasts across the grain to control the fiber length, if you will, then pull the slices apart by hand to get a somewhat shred-y texture.
  9. I am curious about the contents of the plate in the background, behind the truffles w/ orange peel...?
  10. I couldn't take my eyes off the piece of asparacus that stayed under the hinge of the lid for the duration of the cook. If there was literally a chef at my home, she would clean up that asparacus. Some folks think I'm hyper-critical but I can't take any of it seriously until she ties her hair back.
  11. In a peristaltic pump rotors push on the outside of flexible tubing to move fluid within the tubing; the fluid does not come into contact with anything but the lumen of the tubing and the pump does not need any valves or seals. They are widely used to pump intravenous fluids in modern hospitals and I'm sure there are many industrial uses, as well. Someone else can probably answer your question more directly but I think they can be very reliable and durable.
  12. I also like the MyWeigh 7001DX pretty well. It has real buttons but their action is quite stiff, a little uncomfortable for me. Everything else about it is just right for my purposes. Here is some fairly recent activity on this topic:
  13. Just to clarify the (bio)chemistry here: The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide which produces bubbling can be catalyzed by some metals and various inorganic compounds as well as by the enzyme catalase, which is found in most tissues of most living things (animal, vegetable and bacterial). It sounds as though your cutting boards were nice and clean but if they had bubbled, it could have been an indication of food residue, rather than bacterial contamination. Many pathogenic bacteria make catalase and some important ones do not. When catalase-positive bacteria are exposed to hydrogen peroxide the bubbling means they are breaking it down (into water and oxygen) and these may actually be more resistant to its disinfectant properties than bacteria that are catalase-negative. Take-home message: Hydrogen peroxide is a good disinfectant but the bubbling doesn't have much to do with that.
  14. I have been pretty happy with the My Weigh 7001 http://myweigh.com/product/7001dx/ which weighs up to 7000 g. I believe that My Weigh 3001 is very similar (up to 3000 g). Both have available ac adaptors and the auto-off interval can be changed or disabled. My scale seems very consistent: a certain measuring cup weighs 247 g, over and over again. I like all its features; my biggest gripe is the "action" or touch of the buttons, which is rather stiff. I believe I bought mine from Old Will Knott Scales http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/buy-my-weigh-scales.html They have either one for < $30 US; I don't know if there are Canadian vendors.
  15. Exactly what I was thinking, particularly as I made two versions of the Marian Burros recipe http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/9035-the-original-plum-torte just the other evening. (One was almost the original, the other a slightly denser version that has evolved in my kitchen, good for baking in 9x13" pan, cutting in squares and taking to potluck events.) The annual appearance of those little plums in our market is always cause for celebratory baking. It's a versatile concept. Yours looks great, Franci! There's not much I like better than sour cherries.