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    Shenzhen, China

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  1. certain coagulation inhibitors can cause eggs to remain fluid even at boiling temperatures. Pastry cream, for example, uses cornstarch to keep eggs from scrambling even after being boiled for several minutes (which is required to deactivate the amylase enzyme). Sugar, water, starches & acids all inhibit coagulation and require you to bring the mixture to a higher temperature before gelling compared to plain eggs.
  2. Standard table salt is not "garbage". It's table salt, meant to be used at the table in a salt shaker. It performs that role perfectly. If you want a cooking salt which you dose by hand, use Kosher. But there's no harmful additives in table salt or lower quality ingredients or anything that would merit the adjective of garbage.
  3. There's a good specialty food supermarket at the bottom of Saigon Center. It's a Japanese department store chain so they have a Japanese food hall in the basement with a supermarket adjacent.
  4. Cooking beans sous vide is potentially DANGEROUS and should not be attempted unless you have a very good understanding of the chemistry behind it! Many beans contain a compound called Phytohaemagglutinin which is toxic in humans and causes vomiting and diarrhea. This protein is denatured after 10 minutes at a high boil but NOT at the 85C temperature typically used to soften pectins in vegetables. Eating beans that have been only been cooked sous vide is a recipe for a bad few nights on the toilet (ask me how I know this!). In order to safely sous vide cook beans, you should first boil them conventionally for at least 30 minutes and then switch to sous vide. But, given the time and effort required to do this, it doesn't seem like much of a gain from just cooking them conventionally.
  5. According to Yelp, there's currently 10 different Indian places in the 2x8 block Valencia/Mission corridor where Curry Up Now was located so there was an embarrassment of choice for authentic Indian of all stripes. I can see how it would be a different story in a town with much more limited options.
  6. The original Valencia St location was just a few blocks from my house. I think I ate there maybe 3 or 4 times in the 3 years when I lived around there. There was much tastier, more authentic Indian food within just a few blocks walk and there were much tastier, cheaper options right next door so it was rare that I had a specific hankering for Curry Up Now. Most of the times I went there was because I was meeting a friend and they proposed that location. It definitely felt like dumbed down Indian food to suit a white palate. The basic flavors were there but it didn't have the punch of my favorite places in the Mission (shoutout to Pakwan!). From a quick glance at their website, they seem to have considerably expanded their menu and included several menu items that I would actually want to eat. I wish them all the best but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to try them.
  7. I don't think any of us tagged felt worthy either. I believe pretty much everyone nominated had a holy shit moment when they were first notified.
  8. I've taken to making very simple, minimalist stocks. The standard mirepoix style stock was a good choice back in the day when people were cooking 99% European food but we now live in a more multicultural world. In general, if I'm cooking some western dish, I'm already adding carrots and celery and herbs so the flavor is already present and doesn't need to be reinforced with a stock. I keep my stock to 4 simple ingredients: chicken, onions, garlic, salt. I buy whole chickens and when I break them down, I toss all the carcass and trimmings with salt and then throw them into a pressure cooker and saute over medium heat until the fat has rendered out and the chicken is starting to lightly brown. Then I add one onion and 3 or 4 crushed cloves of garlic with more salt to soften and lightly brown before adding the lid and pressure cooking for 1 hour. I used to make unsalted stocks but adding salt afterwards always produced a one dimensional salt flavor compared to the more mellow flavor of salting throughout. At the end, the stock is mildly seasoned but could easily stand a 2x reduction without seeming too salty. The stock is versatile enough to pair with most any cuisine and is a good middle of the road that's halfway between a white stock and brown stock. That's pretty much the only stock I make nowadays, I no longer make beef stock as I've found chicken stock works acceptably well even in beef dishes. I do make a pork stock occasionally for certain Asian soups and I find it baffling that pork stock isn't at all a part of the Western canon as pork bones provide far more flavor to a stock than beef bones. Electric pressure cookers are a godsend to stock making. The convenience of just being able to throw a bunch of stuff into a pot and get a perfectly clear stock at the push of a button has totally changed my stock game.
  9. I don't understand, it seems like you both value the solid stuff more than the brothy stuff. So shouldn't the solution just be to make a soup with more solid stuff and less brothy stuff?
  10. How are you drying your wings post-SV? I've always found it difficult to get SV wings dry since the bag liquid is so full of gelatin it will thicken at room temp. Usually, what happens is there will still be liquid on the outside of your wings when you freeze which will explode in the oil. I always just keep my SV wings in the fridge uncovered, flipping every day. They last up to a week and they get better as they sit since the outside dries out and causes a crispier wing. If you're doing this in a restaurant context, maybe "washing" the wings in warm fat before freezing would help with the splattering. The oil will displace the water and, once you drop them in the fryer, there should be significantly less splattering. Maybe set a deep fryer up at 120C, then just get a few wings in a spider and swish them around in the oil for 10 seconds or so before laying them out on a sheet tray and freezing.
  11. I recently bought the Panasonic NN-DS581M, the Chinese localized version of the Steam Microwave Oven. Price was 2200RMB, about $350 USD. Unboxing: Size snugly fits a quarter sheet pan. My 2qt pyrex pan fits in there but not my 3qt pan. Water tray for steam injector: Overall impressions: It's designed much more for microwave reheating than serious baking. It has nifty features where you can "IR reheat" to a specified temperature and "steam reheat" until something is cooked. Although the maximum specced temperature is 250C/480F, when I attempted to set it to that temperature, the oven never left the preheating phase. Overall heating is also less than even, when I roasted a chicken with potatoes, the potatoes in the back right corner browned significantly less than the front left. Annoying, although this device has the capability to inject steam in while baking, it's not directly exposed in the user interface. Instead, it's only available via 3 of the preset "auto menus", steaming eggs, baking cream puffs and baking cheesecake. The oven also has a "feature" where it will turn itself off every time you open the oven door and you must manually turn it back on by pressing start. The oven also doesn't have the feature where you can both microwave and grill although I care far less about this. Bizarrely, this version of the oven doesn't come with a clock (foreign versions do)! However, the UI design of the device is pretty good. The wheel style interface makes most common tasks pretty easy although I'm annoyed this doesn't allow you to push the start button to instantly start the microwave and add 30s cooking each time. Still, it appears that Panasonic is selling the same "guts" of the oven all around the world with different UIs localized for each market and, at $350USD, the Chinese version is significantly cheaper than overseas versions. If you have a Western kitchen with built in ovens, it's questionable whether this is worth buying. But living in a Chinese kitchen with limited counter space, it's a compact unit that lets you get something that's 80% good at 3 different things.
  12. Mitchell and Webb: Animal Clinic
  13. Less "funny haha" and more "funny oh" but blogger Geraldine DeRuiter makes the cinnamon rolls from Mario Batali's sexual misconduct apology letter.
  14. I think if your Baguette ends up looking like a Pita, something has gone horribly wrong somewhere in your recipe.
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