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Everything posted by Shalmanese

  1. Shalmanese

    The June Intelligent Oven

    The June Intelligent Oven is a new countertop device from a Bay Area startup (disclaimer: I know people who worked on it) that is like an oven on steroids. It just launched today so the details are a little bit unclear but it seems like they really tried to re-engineer the oven from the ground up with modern technology. Most exciting to me is, instead of the standard on-off controllers that can give an oven temperature swings of 50F or more, June appears to use variable heating to keep the oven temperature rock solid. Right now, cooking in an oven is essentially guess work since the variables swing so widely. If you can precisely control all the variables, then you can consistently and reliably, for example, brown the top of a casserole at the exact moment the inside becomes cooked and not have to fiddle with aluminum foil. Also, I'd be interested in it's stability at low temperatures. Sous vide is great but you're inherently cooking foods at 100% humidity. Devices like combi ovens let you both cook and dehydrate the surface (for better browning on the post-sear) but they're expensive. If this can bring combi-oven like performance to an affordable price, it may be a way more accessible low temp cooking device with no plastic bag waste. One thing that's disappointing about the June announcement is there's no mention of humidity control. Myhrvold showed that humidity was a huge factor because dry bulb and wet bulb temperatures vary based on humidity. I guess for the average consumer, humidity control still means nothing but being able to programmatically control humidity would push this even closer to combi-oven territory. Along with Nomiku, Anova, Cinder & Meld, we're starting to see a serious interest from the technology industry in smarter cooking devices. It seems like an exciting, albeit expensive time to be a cooking geek. edit: Jesus christ, this thing is $3000. I love ovens but I don't think I $3000 love any oven. They need to cut the price by a factor of 10 before this thing is viable. No restaurant is going to buy this, the volume of food produced is way too low for it to be justified. What's the target market for this? People who have combi-ovens in their home and want to upgrade?
  2. Shalmanese

    Tovala Smart Oven

    The Tovala is a smart oven that can bake, boil and steam meals at up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 to 30 minutes. The meals come prepackaged from Tovala or can be made using a crowdsourced recipe platform.. Unlike the ridiculous June oven, this one is priced at a much more reasonable $349, $199 if you buy during the kickstarter and comes with steam. The whole meal delivery service idea seems kind of far fetched and idealistic. The truth is, oven heating alone is only an appropriate technique for a very small number of meals. However, the tech seems cool and the price is on point. Will this be able to pull market share away from the Cuisinart Steam Oven and other high end toaster ovens?
  3. Shalmanese

    Chef's Table by Netflix

    Netflix has release it's first original food programming with Chef's table. For people who have watched it, what are your thoughts?
  4. The oldest comdiment in your fridge thread has revealed a number of frighteningly old bottles that are sitting around in benign neglect but I'm more curious about the ingredients we're still "using", even if it may be only once in a blue moon. I have a packet of hickory smoked salt I bought 5 years ago which I'm only now working through. I rarely use ketchup so I have a bottle of ketchup which I think is 3 years old at this point which is still half full. I have some chinese chilli sauce that I only use for one particular dish so it's also at least 3 years old but it still tastes the same. What sorts of crazy old stuff do others have?
  5. Shalmanese

    Yuzu crémeux - boil or not?

    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.
  6. Shalmanese

    Using koji to "age" steaks

    This bon appetit recipe claims that rubbing Koji rice over the outside of a steak and letting it sit for 2 days will replicate a lot of the flavor notes of dry ageing. On the surface, it doesn't seem implausible, a lot of similar enzymatic reactions are going on between koji and dry ageing. Sounds interesting enough for me to experiment with. There seems to be a lot of variables to tweak that might produce better or worse results. For example, I wonder what would happen if you made a koji brine for the meat to sit in? Would the brine draw the flavors more into the interior? Also, would applying a meat tenderizing brush help draw more flavor into the interior? I wonder what a koji corned beef recipe would taste like? Anyone willing to experiment and report back?
  7. Shalmanese

    Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

    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.
  8. Shalmanese

    Vietnam Victuals

    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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Shalmanese

    eG Down the Rabbit Hole

    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.
  13. Shalmanese

    How much of an effect do stocks really have?

    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.
  14. 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?
  15. Shalmanese

    Frying sous vide wings from frozen

    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.
  16. Anybody got any big plans for Australia Day? Some friends of mine are coming up from Canberra and we're going to have this for lunch: Should be fun.
  17. Shalmanese

    Panasonic Steam Oven

    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.
  18. Are you guys going to visit Dandelion Chocolate?
  19. Shalmanese

    Food funnies

    Mitchell and Webb: Animal Clinic
  20. Shalmanese

    Food funnies

    Less "funny haha" and more "funny oh" but blogger Geraldine DeRuiter makes the cinnamon rolls from Mario Batali's sexual misconduct apology letter.
  21. Shalmanese

    When is a baguette a PITA?

    I think if your Baguette ends up looking like a Pita, something has gone horribly wrong somewhere in your recipe.
  22. Commercial brown sugar is refined white sugar sprayed with refined molasses and has a rather one note brown sugar flavor. Raw sugars are closer to the natural, unprocessed state and have a more complex, mellow flavor. It's not better or worse, it's just a different end product. Something like Demerara or Turbinado is closer to 50/50 white/brown than all brown. Something like Mexican Piloncillo is closer to 100% brown sugar.
  23. Shalmanese

    "Top Chef" Season 15

    Wow, the person who posted that video is a real hero! He must be really handsome and suave.
  24. Shalmanese

    Garlic in Infused Oil and Ghee

    Cook, strain, then heat to 250F for 5 minutes with a thermometer to verify.
  25. Shalmanese

    Searching for EVOO!

    I like the Trader Joe's California Estate Olive Oil. I like mine a bit more peppery than you but it's a fine oil and reasonable priced.