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About MelissaH

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    Central New York via NEO, CO, Pittsburgh

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  1. I enjoy the magazine, or at least bits and pieces thereof. But some of the articles I find nearly unreadable—it's as though attitude or ego or something gets in the way of what they're trying to say, and I get so turned off by the way they're saying it that I quit reading. However, I'm saddened that we're likely to lose a unique voice in the world of food journalism.
  2. @chromedome, I'm sorry about the loss of your father. It sounds like you're finding a happy and productive way to stay busy and keep your mother well fed for the near future.
  3. @Franci, could you tell us more about those cookies, and possibly even share the recipe? Are they a sugar cookie, or do they have any additional flavoring? I love how cookies made with ammonium carbonate get so crisp.
  4. Definitely early for upstate NY. Our market won't even start until May, and for the first month they won't have much beyond plants that those with greener thumbs can put in the ground and watch grow.
  5. Fruit

    I am envious of those of you who live somewhere that fruit (other than storage apples) is in season.
  6. Definitely use the cream of tartar and baking soda. (Together, they make a homemade baking powder, and one of the defining features of a snickerdoodle IMHO.) My current favorite recipe is Joanne Chang's, and I always make and portion the dough into balls the day before. They stay in the fridge overnight, and then get coated in cinnamon sugar and baked the next day.
  7. 2017 releases

    And no Kindle edition listed, either, at least not yet.
  8. That beet salad looks amazing.
  9. Books on Cooking Sous Vide

    So I'm into the meat chapters of the McDonald book, and I have alarm bells clanging in my head. In the early part of the book, he spends abundant time discussing food safety, which I applaud. He especially makes a point of saying that meat that's been tenderized with a jaccard can have internal contamination, brought in from the surface in the process of making the tenderizing cuts, and talking about time at some temperature to pasteurize and make rarer meat safe to eat. Great! Then, though, in the "tough cuts" meat chapter, he calls for long cook times in some of the recipes. One of these is the "Franken Flanken" recipe on page 72. In this recipe, a flank steak is cut crosswise into three pieces, which are reassembled into a thicker piece of steak with meat glue before getting bagged, refrigerated overnight, and cooked. To cook, he has you heat the water bath to 145 °F (62.8 °C) and then as soon as the meat goes in, reduce the temp to 130 °F (54.4 °C), where it stays for 24–26 hours. You can probably see where my concern comes from, given the abundant documentation elsewhere on eG of meat that goes off during a long cooking time, not to mention the potential contamination issues that could occur from cutting the steak into sandwichable pieces. There is a sidebar to this recipe, which claims that putting the meat into a slightly hotter temperature bath than you ideally want will help reduce the bacterial risk. This may be true, but will the meat actually get hot enough for long enough to quickly kill the bacteria? He also gives the option of blanching the steak first in boiling water before you cut it into pieces and reassemble, although he warns that this will result in striped meat when you cut it into serving pieces. But nowhere does he say that it might be a good idea to dip the whole bag into boiling water, to kill anything on the surface that might give you off odors or a floating bag from gas production. (And I'm not sure if the boiling water dip would be enough to take care of any surface bacteria that get sandwiched between meat layers. In fact, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be enough.) Obviously, this wouldn't be a concern if you could get a hold of an irradiated flank steak and had a sterilized cutting board and knife and everything else to use when you make the beef stack. However, that doesn't seem likely, especially in a home environment. Am I thinking overly cautiously? Would his technique pass muster for a government food safety inspector?
  10. Kerry did a workshop for the university's chemistry club a few years back. Some of the students (now all long graduated) still talk about it.
  11. When my copy of the book arrived, this was the first recipe that really jumped out to me, with the egg salad. I might need to have friends over for lunch.
  12. Books on Cooking Sous Vide

    Much to my surprise, our library had a copy of Chris McDonald's book! I of course snagged it, and am in the very early stages of reading it (as in I just cracked it open yesterday for the first time). I might need to renew this one, to have adequate time to try it out.
  13. That looks luscious. Did you find the time to actually sit and enjoy it?
  14. How disappointing! But please tell us: what was Plan B and did it taste good even if it didn't look like your initial vision?
  15. Chipotle's Mexican Grill

    My usual is a barbacoa burrito, black beans (well drained), brown rice, corn salsa, lettuce, cheese, and just a touch of sour cream. I never saw the sense of adding guac when you have sour cream, as their role seems pretty similar.