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ray goud

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Everything posted by ray goud

  1. What's your source on this information? Personal observation; we used to grow it when we first moved to our house and decided to have an "everything" garden. Later learned that not everything grows where one wants it. A neighbor who grows it sees the same thing. The asparagus ideally should be in very loose, "fluffy" soil. He tills very early each year but still gets bent spears, because this IS New England, after all. Ray
  2. When I was a teenager I was trained to be an assistant produce manager because the A-guy had to have a back operation. We were very frugal and tossed out as little as possible. If half of a product was bad, we sold the good part packed in film. I quickly learned what was good and what was bad (or not AS good). Thin asparagus has the same thickness "skin" as thick, so one is getting ripped off buying the thin, unless one accepts cooking it longer to tenderize it (and thus lose flavor). Much better to peel the thick and enjoy the not-overcooked flavor. No physical abuse is necessary for pineapples; simply smell the base for the desired pineapple smell. Cantaloupes, in addition to smelling good, should "give" a little at the stem end when gently pressed by a thumb. Asparagus with bent tips (curled?) simply encountered an obstruction while pushing up through the soil. If the tips are truly dried, don't buy. With citrus, garlic, onions, cabbage, sweet potatoes and others, go for the ones with high density: lots of weight for the size. Use the store scale. Much of the rot in onions (when present) is undetectable. Unless it's so bad that one can smell it. If you do get some bad stuff you refuse to accept (once you got it home and cut it), return it with an indignant air. Let those guys at the store know they are falling down on the job. If they sold it knowing it was bad, don't go back. Ray
  3. ray goud

    Asparagus: thick or thin?

    The thicker the better! Ray
  4. ray goud

    Roasting tomatoes

    I used to roast tomatoes low and slow in the oven. When I tasted them, they didn't taste much different than moistened sun-dried tomatoes. And I can get those really cheap at Restaurant Depot. Now, when ripe tomatoes are available, I cut them lengthwise into sixths or eighths ( depending on size), spray on some olive oil when they are on a foil-lined rimmed cookie tray, and pop them into my blazing hot (600 degrees plus) outdoor pizza oven. Then keep close watch and rotate the trays frequently. Takes about 15 to 30 minutes, and they come out charred and caramelized. The flavor is to die for, they're so good and intense. Then I can use them on almost anything, but they do something magical to sandwiches. Ray
  5. ray goud

    Cold Soups -- Cook-Off 40

    One of the best cold soups my wife and I ever had was a strawberry-and-cream soup at an inn in Vermont. Those were the basics, but it also had mint and some kind of non-chicken base, probably a veggie stock. Ray
  6. Though I might regret it, after looking at the site from your link, I instantly put it in my "favorites" folder, to peruse at leisure. It looks like a lot of pleasurable reading, whether or not I ever make anything from the site. Ray
  7. ray goud

    slow-cooker duck confit

    Whatever temperatures you have observed are completely dependent on how much food was being cooked, and at what initial temp they were, since NO slow cookers have functional thermostats. The knob settings simply switch between several sets of heating elements. Unless some new product has just reached the market, that's how they all work. There are a couple of units which will switch to a "lower" setting once a preset time or temperature has been reached, but they don't maintain any desired temperature. I wish that wasn't true, but it is. Please don't quote temperatures unless you also state the model number of the cooker, the amount of food and liquid, and the initial temps of the materials. To prevent fires, most have a one-shot fuse which blows if they get too hot, and that fuse does not recycle. Ray
  8. ray goud

    slow-cooker duck confit

    I will take this opportunity to again mention Lora Brody's book on slow-cooker cooking. The closest relationship I ever had with her was asking a question at a cooking show in Hartford, CT, so everyone can rest assured there are no ulterior motives in my (again) recommending her book. Duck confit is in there, as is also onion and garlic cooking (really confits). I refuse to quote the recipes because I don't believe in giving away what one should purchase, unless there are no alternatives. Ray
  9. ray goud

    slow-cooker duck confit

    good to hear. what setting/temperature/time? I use the "high" setting on my six-quart slow cooker (made in China with the false GE name on it) for about six hours, starting from cold. Since I am self-employed in my home workshop, I usually warm everything up in the microwave to about 130 degrees before plopping the ceramic insert into the cooker, in which case I then cook for about four hours. A lot depends on the quantity one cooks and the doneness desired. In either case I first melt the frozen duck fat in another pot until it gets to about 160 degrees. This practice brings to my mind the opportunity to kill the possible spores by heating the duck fat to HIGHER than the boiling point for about fifteen minutes, if one was very concerned about a remote threat. Ray
  10. ray goud

    slow-cooker duck confit

    I've been doing my duck confit for at least eight years in my slow cooker, from Lora Brody's book of slow cooker recipes. I mentioned it on eGullet several times; perhaps that's where you saw it. In short, it works wonderfully. Regarding botulism, I have no special concerns mainly because I do not store the cooked duck as the traditional manner of confit dictates: I do not store the meat under oil, but rather drained and in the refrigerator. I then freeze the oil, immediately. This also reduces the demands on my fridge space. And if some food researcher would like, I'd be happy to donate some of the duck oil to be examined for bacterial spores (by now I have several quarts of the rendered stuff). Ray
  11. ray goud

    Duck Tenderloins

    Another great use is stir-fry, if you dice them up a bit. Ray
  12. Since I scratch-built a backyard brick oven for about $400-600, I would certainly say that this topic's way to cook pizza at home is quite frugal. One very important advantage to this "LBE" is the much quicker ramp-up-to-temperature profile. I don't know very much about the Green Egg, except that it's overpriced. Ray
  13. Now that you have a pizza oven, how about some free recipes? See the Brick Oven Cooking topic for a source. Ray
  14. ray goud

    Cooking While on Vacation

    So, what goes with a trip to the beach? Answer: a clambake. Ideally it can be done (for a few people) in a large pot or can on an outdoor heatsource. Less ideally, on that electric stove in a large kettle. Just make sure you can purchase most if not all the ingredients locally (it's worth the search). We did that the last time we went to Acadia National Park, and we'll do it again this year when we return. Ray
  15. ray goud

    Brick Oven Cooking

    Just to add: there is a total of about 250 pages if one takes all four offerings. Some of the pages are redundant, and others try to sell stuff. But in sum, free is good. Ray
  16. ray goud

    Brick Oven Cooking

    Hey, everyone. I just received the June 2010 "Wood-Fired Newsletter" from Forno Bravo, the people who sell brick ovens one can buy and/or assemble. I have never bought anything from them in the past, though that might change a little in the future; I simply signed up for their newsletter, having built my own outdoor pizza/bake oven, from scratch, in 2003. Back then there was precious little about HOW to cook in a brick oven, and I felt a little lost. I bought a couple of books, and winged it from there, finally discovering that the best way to use them is: Just Do It! It seems that Forno Bravo has four FREE e-books available, and I have downloaded all of them. Each is quite good, especially for anyone who has never used a wood-fired brick oven. They are available in their online store, and are described as free. Their site is fornobravo.com. I hope some of you can profit from their largess. Be sure you have some kind of high-speed internet. Ray
  17. ray goud

    Parboiling chicken before grilling?

    I used to do something like you mentioned, but I microwaved them instead of boiling. Uses a whole lot less energy, is very quick, and can be done at the last minute. I marinaded the chicken before the microwaving, which meant I got a bunch of marinated juice after the heating (to use as a "mop"), even though I drained the greater part of the marinade first. Seems to me that too many people ignore the multitude of uses for the ubiquitous microwave. Ray
  18. "Rather it is reflected radiant heat originating from the fire burning on the oven floor. This is the reason wood burning pizza ovens, even after they have been fired and brought up to temperature, still have to have a small fire burning inside to work properly. Take away that fire and you lose that intense top-down radiant heat." Although I think scott123 should try whatever he wants to, slkinsey is absolutely correct in the above quote, something which I confirmed (after being a little unsure) in my own outdoor pizza/bake oven about six years ago. Because of that phenomenom I can roast veggies while the oven is heating up and long before it is near pizza or even focaccia temp. Did it again on Sunday past. Ray
  19. When you're all done and tried it out, please post your results and some pics. Ray
  20. In my opinion, you may get part of what you want, a pizza which cooks more than usual on the top. I don't think it's worth the trouble you will face, though. The steel slab needs to be quite massive (thick) and at least as large as the pizza's diameter. Then you need to support it, ideally from the bottom, on some sort of stilts or side walls, which should be welded to the steel. It shouldn't be situated a large distance from the top of the pizza, giving one less room to slide things in and out. Then, it will take quite a long time to heat up. It will be a user-dangerous contraption. But if you have the money, discount the safety aspects, access to welding or an equivalent support system, and won't be discouraged by less-than-success, then try it. Ray
  21. How are you going to keep the steel at a high temp? Are you heating it from its "backside" (side not facing the food)? If you have a gas burner on that "backside", then why have any steel at all? A flame radiates far better than any other material, assuming you are heating it from "behind". Give us some more info. Ray
  22. You cannot assume that the steel and brick are the same color, because they are NOT. If you paint either one to match the other, the paint will burn off at the temp of a pizza oven (I have one). Steel has much more conductivity than brick, so the surface temp will be more constant ( for as long as it is hot), and the steel will lose heat faster as the heat at the surface is renewed from its (steel) interior reservoir. Long after the steel has cooled off, the brick will still contain much more heat than the steel. For a somewhat silly parallel, consider that the "heat tiles" on the bottom of the Space Shuttle hold their heat for hours, if not days, after protecting the underlying aluminum from the heat of reentry. Those are mineral-based tiles. For your application, any metal ceiling is a non-starter unless you can get nothing else. You would be far better off with brick. And the shape (dome versus arch) is completely unimportant, again from personal experience. You can also check this site: http://web.mit.edu/lienhard/www/ahttv131.pdf It will give you a "heat textbook" you can examine to gain the values for various materials and how heat moves through and to/from them. I have recommended it before. Ray
  23. ray goud

    Cooking on a cast iron chiminea

    I don't have much interest in these devices, but the advice to use "artificial logs" troubles me; in the USA many if not all such logs are treated with chemicals to help them burn. What happens when those chemicals get into the food being cooked? Even a closed pot is not invulnerable, at least during the early part of the cooking process when the pot is significantly cooler and gases can condense onto and into surfaces. If possible one should search for untreated artificial logs. Ray
  24. There already exists such a "device" which does not look "kluge"-y, depending on your viewpoint: a personal chef! Ray
  25. ray goud

    Cilantro

    Harold McGee recently wrote an article in the NYT about cilantro and people who cannot stand it; one can search their archives, or go to his website to read it. Years ago Sara Moulton mentioned it on one of her cooking shows. Yes, there is a sizable minority of people who literally hate the stuff, myself included. The thing is, we can't help it; it's a chemical incompatibility. In my case, our whole family (parents, siblings) hate it and we probably inherited that revulsion. We don't have anything against people who like it, unless they try to force it on us. Ray
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