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  1. From what I gather, aging with an espresso machine is just hard work. Breville has great customer service, but once the thing is out of warranty, it may be difficult to find parts. They're all proprietary. If you go with an E61 machine, you have the promise of eternal life (high-quality, industry-standard parts that will be available forever). But people tell me it can be almost impossible to get service. There are so few people in this country who know how to work on these things, they're perpetually backed up, and they give priority to restaurants and cafés who have service contracts. My friend's Profitec machine has been out of service for over a year while he waits for an opening from the one guy in the midwest who works on them. His wife has started to go down youtube rabbit holes and attempted to replace parts, with very mixed results. Edited to add: this all stacks up in the Breville's favor, if you want to be completely rational about it. You can probably replace the thing for the price of overhauling an E61.
  2. Stick blenders also do a good job. The whipping attachment for our Bamix is just a smooth flat disk. Looks like it wouldn't do anything but is fast almost to a fault. I like it for whipping small amounts of cream.
  3. Dave Arnold implores everyone to only buy Isi. There have been cases of off-brand siphons blowing up in people's faces. I don't know how serious a deal this is, but considering that Dave is usually a "safety third!" kind of adventurer (and is not sponsored by Isi) this caught my attention. You say you're only interested in whipped cream. But who knows what you'll want to experiment with once you get the thing in your hands. They're super versatile. And fun. I recommend the 1/2 liter Isi ... the one that can do either hot or cold. But not the insulated model. This one is the most versatile for most uses. My one rant about Isi is that they don't sell the containers separately. You should be able to get a separate containers in various without buying whole additional siphons.
  4. Skimming this thread, I thought for a minute that the bullet list was your Thanksgiving menu. Mind blown.
  5. Anyone have this? Comparisons with earlier editions? The 2nd edition is my all-time favorite cookbook. But it predates all the good stuff of the 21st century ... pressure cooker and sous-vide extractions, modern hydrocolloids, whipping siphons, etc.
  6. The Janka hardness is within the usual range for cutting board woods, but I've heard that it has a high silica content, which quickly dulls blades through abrasion. Some species of Acacia are also skin irritants.
  7. Chana Masala. I'm a bit of a one-trick pony ... if vegan friends are coming over, this is what they get. It sits alone at the intersection of "vegan," "things I know how to make," and "insanely delicious." I've even made it for Indians.
  8. I don't use enough eggs to taste them (I don't like the flavor) but definitely use for binding and moisture. The stuffings I make are basically forcemeats with bread and a bit of egg binder. I use the duck meat left over from making duck coulis for the sauce, and a bit of pork shoulder. Then something for character (wild mushrooms, chestnuts, dried fruit, etc.)
  9. Studies have gone back and forth on this over the years. Most of them have been poorly funded, and so far from definitive. The closest thing to a consensus I can tease out: wood, plastic, and rubber are all fine. They all need to be maintained, and if they get to a point of having grooves in them that you can't get out, they're no longer safe. Wood doesn't really have magical antibacterial properties, nor does it have pro-bacterial properties. It can draw bacteria down away from the surface where it dies on its own, but this isn't something you want to rely on. You want to keep the surface smooth, and wash well with hot soapy water. Just like any board. Plastic has the advantage of the dishwasher, the disadvantage of being much harder to refinish.
  10. The assumption used to be that the best coffee (espresso or brewed) would come from a perfectly uniform grind. This idea persisted because there was no accurate way to measure grind distribution, and very few people who cared enough to figure it out. Now the coffee science community has the drive and the budget, and all kinds of tools, including laser interferometry and statistical image analysis. One of the first things these newly-equipped, over-caffeinated scientists did was measure the grind distribution from the most respected and beloved high-end grinders. They did not find what they expected. In all cases they found a widely ranging particle distribution, with a peak at the selected grind size, but a slope in the histogram extending far in both directions—toward fines and boulders. And in grinders with certain bur designs, they discovered what they call bimodal distribution—2 peaks, indicating high quantities of grinds at two different sizes, along with the same slope into boulders and fines. The conclusions to be drawn from this are complex and evolving. The especially tricky part has been trying to map these various distributions to predictable flavor profiles. The only thing that really holds up from the conventional wisdom is that the good grinders do produce a tighter distribution than bad grinders. But none produce a very tight distribution. TL;DR: There are more things in heaven and earth and your coffee cup, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.
  11. I've thought about this. It's helped discourage me from this particular flaming rabbit hole. One approach would be to get community involvement. How many people can you meet who would bring their own dough to your place on fire day? What about bread bakers and other bakers who could use the residual heat? You could be a local hero. Designing an oven that excels at all these things ... you'll need a serious kung fu master to help with that.
  12. Any decent hood can handle smoke. Most domestic hoods have a hard time with plumes of atomized grease. Then there's the problem with what happens to the grease after it's ingested. The centrifugal theory used by ventahood works poorly in practice and makes a mess. The standard restaurant-style baffles can work well if there's enough air flow (in linear feet per minute ... cfm by itself won't tell you enough here).
  13. I think most boards are polyethylene. Not sure which would be softer. Subjectively, not all polyethylene boards even feel the same, so you probably just need to trust what it feels like (and if your knife seems to dull faster).
  14. Ventahoods are fundamentally useless; the technology doesn't work. I'd suggest looking up threads on Houz (formerly Garden Web). There are couple of engineers who post there who have cracked the code on hoods, and explain pretty well how and why most consumer hoods fail. The answers have more to do with creating a large boxed-in space above the range ("capture area") than with cfm. But also, standard restaurant-style baffles do the job for removing grease as long there's adequate air speed going over them. The centrifugal ventahood method is a mess. Edited to add: I've been planning a kitchen renovation for a year now; the hardest part (besides coming up with the money) has been figuring out how to get decent ventilation. The consumer options are mostly terrible. And it's hard to find a commercial installer who will talk to a homeowner. The best solutions I've seen are by people who hired an HVAC engineer and had a custom installation, but I'm hoping not to spend my life savings on a vent.
  15. Getting rid of fossil fuels is a great idea, and I look forward to the day I can replace my gas boiler and hot water heater with heat pump models. The gas use of a range is negligible in comparison. I like to cook; I don't believe my gas stove use contributes to my Big American Carbon Footprint by much more than a rounding error. Indoor pollution is still a big deal. But pointing the finger at gas ranges is just plain stupid. The real problem is that we don't require effective range hoods. We barely even make them available for residential installations. Almost all the range hoods designed for homes are terribly designed compared with real restaurant hoods, and the differences aren't even expensive. Hoods are THE solution to the indoor pollution problem. Because all high-heat cooking, even on an induction range, produces smoke and particulates you shouldn't breathe. If you sauté or stir fry, you're sending plumes of irritants and carcinogens into the air. It's absurd that building codes don't require real hoods. In NYC, in most buildings, you're not even allowed to have them.
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