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Everything posted by Teppy

  1. Yes, I had to remove the walls and install two layers of fire rated cementboard. Stainless steel will go on top of that. I checked with the local building inspector who confirmed that this was the correct way to install it. Also, the contractor I'm using has done many installations in restaurants. (Spending more on the exhaust system than all of the cooking equipment.)
  2. I'm installing a new hood now, designed to handle real commercial appliances. First the "before" picture: The new hood and appliances go where that pantry is in the background. Here's the project as of last night: And another view of the hood: Next, the 3-foot diameter exhaust fan will be instaled on the roof: The fan moves 4300 cfm/minute max, somewhat less with the ductwork. (Ductwork isn't installed yet; it will be 14"x14".) Underneath, I'm installing an American Range 60" stove: 6x32k btu burners, 24" raised griddle (40k btu), and 2x35k btu ovens. Also an American Range 35/50 Deep Fryer (120k btu), and a jet wok burner (125k btu). I expect birds flying over the exhaust fan to drop from the sky, fully roasted.
  3. Absolutely - propose a place and time and let's see how many we can get for the first (?) Pittsburgh eGullet get-together. I'm comfortable with anything from ethnic to fine dining - others?
  4. My son has an equally restricted diet due to allergies - I'd suggest looking for styles of meals where an "activity" is as important as the food. For instance, the ingredients you list can be made into various fondues, table-grilled bulgokis, firepots/shabu-shabu, etc. Then, even if there are some side dishes served that the boy can't eat, he'll be participating in the main event, and the side dishes won't be a big deal.
  5. Ah, glad to know I'm not the only one! Let's see - favorite fine dining spots for me include the Steelhead Brasserie, Bona Terra, Umi, La Foret and recently the Alinea-inspired Alchemy Menu at the Bigelow Grille. For casual dining, Taj Mahal on McKnight Road is a favorite, Green Forest in Penn Hills, and Sushi Kim (particularly their upstairs Korean BBQ.) Anyway, we should plan a Pittsburgh get-together some time - anyone else up for one?
  6. Or cut a bunch of slices with the grain, and reassemble them at 90 degree angles, odd and even. Meat plywood
  7. I've recently been using Konjac flour as a thichener, and the stuff is incredible: Zero calories (pure fiber), totally neutral taste, and easy to use. If I had to compare the mouthfeel, I'd say it's closest to cornstarch - if you overdo it, your sauce will have the consistency of overthickened chinese food. I get mine from www.konjacfoods.com. They also sell Konjac based "pasta", a zero-calorie pasta that, while not having the same texture as semolina based pasta, has an appealing texture of it's own. (I believe konjac noodles are a traditional ingredient in sukiyaki.) I started with one of their sampler packs which includes a bunch of "pasta" shapes along with 2 ounces of the pure flour. I find that the angel hair pasta is the most useful because it soaks up sauces the best. Anyone else have experience with this?
  8. It was $1000. Hasn't arrived yet, but should be here this week - I'll give a report. The trays on this are short, just 1.5 inches high. So, no freeze-drying squirrels One idea I that I had was to freeze-dry sorbet. Sort of a twist on astronaut ice cream. I've had freeze dried strawberries, and those have a nice crunchy texture. I've heard thaty freeze-drying watermelon is impossible, so I suspect you need something with some non-sugar non-water "structure" to it. (Fiber?) "Sorbet" chunks sprinkled on normal (non-freeze-dried) ice cream might be be good. I never cared for fruit ice cream where you bite into a hard icy piece of fruit.
  9. It should be here around the end of next week - I'll take pictures. How it's different than just freezer-burning something - I'm not sure actually. A freeze dryer is a big vacuum chamber that gets very cold (-30F), and continues to pump out the water vapor while maintaining the vacuum. I think it takes days to freeze dry food. Fillings for chocolates is a perfect idea! Should be able to get some really intense flavors that way. I'm really curious what it would do to a hard-boiled egg, especially the yolk.
  10. Well, I've been trolling eBay for a while now, and finally found one of these beasts in good condition at a reasonable price. Now the fun starts... I'm brainstorming ideas on what to do with it. Gourmet astronaut ice cream? Crispy cheesecake? Some weird variant on beef jerky? What else?
  11. I cook goose all the time - I've already cooked four this season, so I have some expertise here There is one dish that *must* be served with goose: Potatoes fried in the goose's fat. They are the culinary form of heroin. There are other things you can fry in goose fat, all of which I recommend - red cabbage, fennel root, mushrooms - they're all great, but potatoes are king. As for cooking the goose itself, I buy the largest goose available (these tend to have more fat) prick the skin all over, salt it well, both inside and out, and add 22 oz of water to the roasting pan. I roast the goose uncovered for 5 hours at 250 degrees, then 1 hour at 350 (until the skin crisps.) If this is for a fancy dinner, you'll probably have to carve the goose, which is a shame. The prefered way to eat goose is to rip the meat from the bones so that it comes off in long strands. This is especially true for the breast meat which can be dry and tough when sliced across the grain, but is rich and succulent when pulled off and eaten immediately, goose fat dripping down your arms. Oh, and did I mention how good the fat is?
  12. Teppy

    Green garlic

    When you say "green garlic" do you mean garlic stems? I had these in China, and they were one of the most delicious vegetables I've ever had. I've tried to get them in asian markets here - on a few occasions I've found them, but it must be a real seasonal thing. Stir-fry them with some salt and maybe a bit of rice vinegar.
  13. Ankimo is the only fish liver that is first of all clean enough to use a food preparation. Fish liver is typically ridden with all critters of all sorts that you would never want to come across... ← I've heard this from a number of sources, including a local fishmonger who should know. Yet every episode of Iron Chef that features fish, the Iron Chef makes something from the liver. Anyone have more info?
  14. Roast Goose. I've done this dozens of times, always tweeking the amount of skin-pricking, water, oven temperature, salt and pepper. Perfection is as follows: Pull as much fat from the neck as you can: fat, not skin. Prick the goose all over with a fork. Rub what seems like too much salt and pepper into the goose from the inside and outside. Let it sit in the refrigerator in this state for at least a few hours, sort of a dry brine. Render the neck fat and eat the salted cracklins. Fantasize about buying several dozen geese and making a meal out of nothing but goose-neck-fat cracklins. Add 24 oz. water to the pan and cook uncovered at 300F for about 4 hours. When the skin is crispy it's done. You'll have almost a quart of goose fat between the rendered neck-fat and what drained from the goose during cooking. Shred a bunch of potatoes and fry them in the goose fat. Thinly slice a bunch of red cabbage and cook that in goose fat until it's beyond soft, but not quite burned/crispy. Cook mushrooms in the goose fat (hen-of-the-woods!) Enjoy with Burgundy or other Pinot Noir wine.
  15. Ok, results of my first experiment: This one was a failure, but I have some ideas on how to improve it. I tried to do the shrimp noodles. Pureed a pound of shrimp in a blender along with a bit of water (just enough to make a thick paste.) Added about 1/2 teaspoon of activa to a little bit of water, and then hand-mixed that in to the shrimp paste. (Activa instructions said not to "shear" it when mixing; I assume that means not to use a blender.) I let it sit for about an hour, periodically making little "dumplings" out of the mixture and cooking those. The mixture got somewhat more firm, but the first problem was the dumplings had an odd spongy/watery texture - not appetizing! The second problem, when I tried to push the mixture through a cake decorating tube was that it didn't form into noodles - it just sort of sprayed pink goo all over. I think the main problem was that the shrimp wasn't pureed nearly finely enough. I did let it blend for 2 minutes or so, but maybe something other than a blender is needed. I also suspect I didn't use enough Activa. I think I need to be around 4.5 grams (1% of a pound), and now that I think about it, the stuff seems pretty lightweight - 1/2t of water would weigh 1.75g, and this may be lighter than water. I'll try 2t next time. Interesting item from the package: They say not to get Activa on your skin. Makes sense I suppose - your skin is protein. I couldn't help trying to touch it and getting my fingers wet - I think I felt some stickiness and a strange sensation on my skin, but maybe I imagined that.
  16. Talked to the people at Ajinomoto. It's expensive stuff: $75/kg, Minimum order 1 kg, and a shelf life of just 1 month if it's vacuum saved between uses and stored in a freezer. They have several formulations - the data above is for the pure enzyme. Other formulations include one with about 1/3 milk protein and one with 1/3 gelatin. So, I have some on the way. I wonder if it's possible to make bread from this? Emulsify something protein based, add yeast and a little bit of sugar (tagatose for low-carb), let it rise. The difficulty might be preventing the yeast from working before the Activa has a chance to bind everything together. Both Activa and yeast work best around 100F, but according to the charts on Ajinomoto's website, Activa seems to have a broader range. So, keep the dough at a low temperature for a long time to let the Activa work, then warm it up to 100F to let the yeast work. We really need a food science section.
  17. I've been thinking about what could be done with transglutaminase. Here's one thought I had: when sous vide cooking meat, it sounds like one problem is getting the maillard reactions to occur on the meat, without overcooking the part next to the surface. What if you made a fond using some other scrap meat, or just reduced a demi-glace way down so you have a very thin pancake of the stuff. Then, weld that on to the piece of meat using the transglutaminase. Is this actually a problem? I haven't tried sous vide yet, but now I can't wait. All this talk has inspired my to scrounge around on ebay for some equipment - it should be here in a few days.
  18. Ok, looks like mystery solved. I'm going to have to get some of that stuff to play around with. 646522, if you are Wylie, then thank you for a wonderful meal in October, and for the pointer. Food chemistry is a hobby for me (I design computer games in real life), and I wish there were a section of eGullet that's more appropriate for - well - amature food science. Let me throw out a few of the things I've played with over the years - maybe something will inspire some discussion. My first experiments were in 1989 or so, trying to create a zero-calorie donut. At the time there were three components on the horizon that I thought would do the trick. For the sweetness, "left handed sugars" seemed the ultimate sugar substitute. Full bulk, identical sweetness, and undigestable according to (IIRC) a blurb in Omni Magazine a few years before. For the starch, "fluffy cellulose" seemed to be the trick. The idea was that nonsoluble fiber would be processed down to tiny grains that would have properties identical to wheat flour, but zero calories. For the oil, Olestra, the now infamous Proctor & Gamble fat substitute. Left handed sugars never quite made it as sugar substitutes (they occur very rarely in nature, and last I checked still cost dollars-per-gram), but right-handed Tagatose is now available in small commercial quantities, and functionally is - without a doubt - the ultimate sugar substitute. It does have the same laxative problems common in full-bulk sugar substitutes, but the taste is indistinguishable. "Fluffy Cellulose" is now available, though nobody calls it that anymore. It's marketed as "Snowite" and is made from oat fiber. It has a strange grittiness when replacing 100% of flour, and doesn't seem to bind with gluten, so even zero-starch breads are not yet doable. And Olestra, well, I never got ahold of any. P&G wanted an avalanche of paperwork before they would even send me a sample. (And samples were provided only in 55-gallon drums.) Years later when they did start selling potato chips made with the stuff, I tried to extract some by boiling a few bags of the chips, and running the hot sludge through a juicer. It didn't work, and was hell to clean up. In 1997 or so I set out to create low-carb ice cream. Some of the ingredients I used included Erythritol (an amazing sugar alcohol - no laxative properties at all, 0.2 kcal/g, though with the usual sugar alcohol "cooling effect"). Polydextrose is strange stuff - it's sort of a sugar but with no sweetness. If you eat it plain it's just "there" in your mouth. It melts, but has almost no flavor or sweetness. Sucralose is now well known as Splenda. It's probably the best of the "high intensity" sweeteners, though is even better blended with tiny amounts of aceulfame potassium (not sure if this is marketed commercialy), and aspartame (Nutrasweet). An idea that I've had, but probably requires some heavy-duty materials science is for an everlasting gobstopper, a-la Willy Wonka: There's a new sweetener related to called Neotame that is 6000-10000x the sweetness of sugar. Some lemon and lime flavors are incredibly concentrated, so, what if you were to enclose a few drops of Neotame+Lime flavor in a hollow, slighly porous ceramic ball?
  19. In October I ate at WD-50 in New York. It was a fantastic meal, but one of the most perplexing things was a "pasta" dish. The waiter announced the dish as follows: "The chef has discovered an enzyme that binds protein to protein. These noodles are made of from over 99% shrimp." The noodles had a consistency almost identical to normal pasta, and had a delicious, mild flavor. The ultimate in low-carb pasta, I suppose. I've searched the web, but have found nothing about this mystery enzyme. Does anyone have a clue what it might be?
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