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Everything posted by HungryC

  1. A few suggestions: --spray the paper liners with cooking spray (yes, plenty of muffins and cupcakes will stick to the liner) --heaviness is not due to applesauce, it's because you're not using buttermilk. The leavening in this recipe is provided by the baking soda, which needs to react with an acid to provide the bubbling that lifts the batter. Buttermilk is acid--your plain milk is not. Stir some vinegar into the milk, making an acidy sour milk to substitute for the buttermilk. Or use the buttermilk. --use unsweetened applesauce You will never have a small-bubble, ultra tender crumb using applesauce in place of oil. But you should get a decent cupcake, though it will be a little closer in texture to a muffin.
  2. Ah, distance is relative. I routinely drive 40 minutes to shop for various foods, but I commute abt 40 miles a day, so it's no big deal. And it's well worth the drive to get artisanal sausage from non-CAFO animals. I don't mind paying a premium price for a quality product, especially when I know the animals were humanely raised.
  3. Dunno what part of the world you're in, but pretty much any independent butcher in my neck of the woods will have a better bulk breakfast sausage than the mass-market roll kind. Or do some people live in sausage deserts? LOL. Hell, even Whole Foods' too-lean bulk breakfast sausage is better than the roll stuff. It needs more pepper, but it's not half bad. I always like Owens (hot) better than Jimmy Dean...if you're GOT to have it in the roll.
  4. HungryC


    The recent issue of Breadlines, the magazine of the Breadbakers Guild of America, had a very detailed recipe accompanying a story on a Guild sponsored Italian holiday pastries class.
  5. If I linked to a 600 CFM, I linked the wrong one. I have the 42" 1200 CFM Broan w/internal blower motor.
  6. When you do bake, it is easy to avoid leaving cracked eggs laying around. Put your whole, in-shell eggs into a bowl of hot tap water. The chill will be off in just a few minutes. No risk, no mess.
  7. Dunno if it is indeed a hyacinth bean, but hyacinth beands are widely grown as ornamentals. You can get seeds for the vines in standard spring seed in-store displays from Burpee and Ferry-Morse.
  8. Back to the recipe: I have watched a local restaurant's employees assemble a chicken schwarma "stack" in person. Sections of deboned, seasoned, fatty chicken were layered around the spit's central spike. The guy seemed to stagger the thick and thin sections of alternating layers as he built up the stack. I have no idea if the stack was chilled or compressed before using, or whether it went immediately onto the roaster....but if you see the photo below, it is clearly deboned chicken (still with some significant fat and maybe a little skin) in layers. Hope this helps you toward your culinary goal.
  9. Ugh, we had a vaccuum stovetop pot (can't recall the mfgr). The glass was very thin & fragile, it was a PITA to clean, and I thought the resulting coffee was thin and insipid (though some might term it "clean"). Boy, was I happy when it broke.
  10. I bought from a local dealer and picked it up myself from the distributor. After meeting them, I feel certain I'd get excellent service. And when I called BS directly about the slight flaking on the grate, the nice person on the phone gave me her email address and asked me to send a pic. I snapped a pic w/my phone, off the email went, and less than a week later, I had the brand-new part. No need to send the old one back or fax a copy of my receipt or go through the local dealer. I read beaucoup online reviews, and it does seem there were quality assurance issues a few years ago. Others who've posted negative reviews can't seem to distinguish between BS's customer service and the varying levels of competency evidenced by local repairmen. Anyway, I've had exactly the opposite experience---my unit has been fine aside from the cosmetic issue w/the grate. Do know that the control knobs get warm to the touch when the oven is on. I have no small children in my household, so the heat buildup doesn't bother me. RE:exhaust, there are plenty of high-end choices out there. I went with a relatively affordable 42" hood--the Broan Elite E64000 series--over my 30" stove. It produces 1200 CFM of "suck" and has commercial-style baffles and a removable grease rail. It is externally vented thru the roof. It was far far less expensive than comparable CFM hoods from BS or other "luxury" models that allowed for external appearance customization. Broan's brushed stainless exterior was fine for my kitchen. Here it is: http://www.broan.com/products/series/broan-elite-e64000-series-dbcefb50-4eaa-47e5-9170-848f8f190a9a
  11. I love the idea of minimal circuitry. Does BS have enough electronics to tell you what the oven temp is? Nope. BS has a little blue indicator light on front near the oven knob--it comes on when you turn the oven on, then the light goes out when the oven comes up to temp. No annoying beeps or displays to fail. LIke I said, no printed circuit boards anywhere in the damn thing. Just wires, LOL. I can fix wires my own self. The BS even includes a couple of spare igniters w/purchase. I got TWO 22k btu burners on front, 1 15k on back, and one 10k simmer. You can configure as you'd like. Local cost was around $4500 without delivery or installation. I will never need to buy another stove, ever. I bought the all-gas model b/c I live where gas is cheap & the norm. You might like the electric oven version, depending on your regional gas prices.
  12. I bought a BlueStar in October, and I'm loving it. Had a small problem w/coating flaking from one grate, and BS replaced it with no problems. Plenty BTUs, no superfluous electronics, easy to keep the cast iron top clean (IOW, it's not so shiny that every droplet shows, so you don't have to polish), and an oven big enough to fit a full sheet pan in a 30" stove. It was several thou cheaper than a Wolf or Dacor, but both are loaded with circuitry. BlueStar's IR broiler is light years better than my old Amana gas oven's weak output.
  13. Okay, I finally broke down and bought one. My new BlueStar range has a huge oven that takes a looonggg time to preheat, and my decade-old Black n Decker $40 TO finally gave up the ghost. Its temporary replacement ($60) was a hunk'a'junk, so I freecycled it to the office. Enter the Breville: even toasting, nice baking, big enough for a quarter sheet pan. It heats up to temp in a jif, and it produces even enough heat to bake muffins, cornbread, etc. Count me as a fan.....
  14. My better half is coffee obsessed; we have an entire cabinet full of coffee devices, from an Aeropress to a Chemex, with far too many stops in between. But I had an espresso from a Nespresso machine for the first time last week, and it was better than decent. I didn't expect to like it, but I did. (I think it was an Arpeggio pod). LIght years better than the K-cup stuff I drink at work.
  15. Washing a large silicone sheet is a huge pain in the posterior. I use parchment over SilPat for lining pans because scrubbing fats/oils off of silicone is such a bothersome task.
  16. My new kitchen has marble countertops. I've used the surface for kneading, and it cleans up easily with a dough scraper. BUT, I'm trying to figure out how best to clean off fats/oils. (The surface was treated with a penetrating sealer.) When you roll piecrust or other fat-enriched doughs on marble, how do you clean the surface when you're done? TIA.
  17. I don't think citrus greening has anything to do with flavorless fruit. Greening can kill a tree, and everyone's so freaked about greening, infected trees are being destroyed as soon as they're identified. So I doubt any fruit from greening sickness trees are making it to market. Many factors (rainfall/irrigation amounts, tree health, hours of sunshine, cold weather near time of harvest, soil/terroir, etc) determine the fruit's flavor. Some oranges have colored peels before the fruit is fully ripe, other varieties have greenish peels yet the fruit is at peak quality. It's agriculture, not manufacturing, ya know?
  18. Remod costs vary widely across the country. I had custom cabs built for less than medium-high manufactured ones, and didn't spend much more than Ikea would have cost. Hardware is the killer--but you can go as high or as low end as you'd like. The previously mentioned suggestion--architectural salvage/surplus stores--is a great one. Habitat often operates such stores, and I've seen everything from sinks to ceramic tiles to paint to cabinet pulls in my area. Also check out restaurant supply houses for fixtures and sinks. The "commercial" sprayer faucet costs way way way less than a Hansgrohe version. Ditto for stand-alone sinks, stainless apron sinks, and pot-filler faucets.
  19. Even a "seedless" variety of citrus can have seeds, if it is grown in close proximity with different varieties of other citrus. Satsumas are usually seedless, but in my little orchard, they're mixed with lemons, limes, and oranges. So they're terribly seedy, thanks to the cross pollination. C'est la vie....you can buy a hand press that catches seeds, or you can get the little cheesecloth lemon covers to keep seeds out of your drinks, food, etc. Like this: http://www.amazon.com/Regency-Stretch-Wraps-Halves-Wedges/dp/B0000VLIUA
  20. I stored my skillets in the below-oven storage drawer for years with no ill effects.
  21. I will say that the Chemex filters (or probably any other multi layer paper coffee filter) do deliver an exceptionally clear filtered result. They definitely trap smaller particles than multi-thickness cheesecloth or muslin. But again, I don't think "Chemex" brand matters--three Melitta cone filters, stacked, probably deliver the same results.
  22. Sugar precipitated because the solution was supersaturated: more sugar was dissolved in the liquid at a heated temp than can remain in solution at room temp. The pineapple may have encouraged nucleation, as it changes the pH of the sugar syrup. Invert sugar (mix of glucose & fructose) is typically used to reduce crystallization.
  23. Count me as a person who doesn't much like transfer decorations on chocolate and who absolutely loathes luster dust. I'll eat the transfer decorated ones...but luster dust looks like cheap frosted eyeshadow, not food. Granted, if the chocolate is drop dead awesome, I'll eat it anyway. Sadly, I've encountered FAR too many molded/filled chocs created by someone who confused pretty with delicious. Thick shells, too-sturdy coverture, tasteless fillings that purported to be green tea, lychee, tobacco, etc (yet tasted merely of sugar)....somehow the less stellar chocolates always seem to look "fanciest". A locally well-regarded chocolatier's products command a premium price, are nice to look at and are conceptually interesting, but no better tasting than your average mall Godiva.
  24. I love brioche...especially for making bostock. It's the single best use of brioche, IMHO.
  25. Google "pineapple juice starter" and you can read reams of info about the recent tendency of certain yeast inhibiting bacteria to immediately take over a sourdough culture. Typically, a sourdough culture's acidity keeps the bad bacteria out and the yeast thriving, but if the bad stuff takes hold, it can inhibit the yeast. In the initial days, the culture is neutral ph (or even basic, if you use milk or alkaline tap water). It will indeed bubble and look as though it's taking off, but it won't ever double because no yeast colony is thriving. Apparently, the leuconostoc (an otherwise okay bacillus that is responsible for sauerkraut) gets in the way--the jury's still out on why it's so readily taking over in contemporary attempts to make sourdough cultures. I failed to create my own starter multiple times, then discovered that I wasn't the only one. American baking instructor and author Peter Reinhart popularized the pineapple juice method, but it was pioneered by home baker and chemist Debra Wink. She examined her initially bubbly cultures and identified exactly what was growing in them, then figured out how to manipulate the ph to exclude the unwanted and promote the yeast growth.
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