paulraphael

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About paulraphael

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  1. I'll use whatever's handy, but since a pie is usually in a glass or metal pan, I won't use a sharp knife (like a chef or slicing knife). I don't ever use that kind of cutlery on plates or hard surfaces. Probably my favorite thing for pie is a palette knife ... not even a real knife. But super thin, and it can then be used as a spatula to serve the slice. They're useful for a million other things; I always keep a straight one and an offset one around. And they cost around $5 . image by Ateco USA
  2. Anova bluetooth version

    I haven't used this model, but the wheel sounded like a good idea. Do you hate the wheel in principle or just in its implementation? I remember the Anova rep who used to hang out here talking about the tradeoffs with the touchpad. One was durability. I haven't heard of specific problems with it, but Anova's warranty on v.1 doesn't include the touch screen if the circulator is used commercially. Generally I'm ok with the touch screen, but would much rather have a keypad version that doesn't force you to cycle through all the digits. Reminds me of a digital watch, circa 1980. Or the infamous clock on the VCR.
  3. I'm going to take the position that aircraft engineering takes, which is that every pound of weight takes energy both to take off from earth and to maintain airspeed. Even if the road you were on were perfectly flat you still have to expend energy to combat air drag. Add in even minor changes in elevation as you travel and that adds to fuel consumption. It does add to the fuel costs to carry extra weight in vehicles. This isn't an accurate analogy, because it takes a ton of energy to keep mass in the air in an airplane. But the efficiency of a refrigerator's insulation (and the energy losses) have basically nothing to do with the mass of the contents. It does take significant energy to cool the contents in the beginning, for sure. But the mass just stops being an important factor after that. You open the door and cold air flows out and warm air flows in. If I have just one bottle of water in the fridge the temperature change from the warm air would be more than one bottle of water can absorb. This is still presuming that the amount of energy that goes into cooling the warm air that's come in is significant. It's in fact hardly anything compared with the heat absorbed through the insulation on all sides that has to be pumped out. If you opened the fridge door every 5 minutes in perpetuity, it would only make a small difference in energy used, regardless of the fridge being full or empty. But the bottom line may be that it really doesn't make much of a difference either way. This.
  4. Meat Blasphemy – Well-done Steak

    Dave Arnold addressed a related topic on a recent Cooking Issues podcast. He was addressing steak cooked sous-vide, in vacuum bags (like me, D.A. almost always uses ziplocs; this only applies to vacuum-sealed meat). Meat cooked in a vacuum bag, especially if it's purchased in cryovac packaging and cooked in that same bag, of if it's transferred directly from the store-bought cryovac to your own vacuum bags, tends to appear more rare than it is. He points out a number of ways in which color is an imperfect indicator of doneness, because factors besides temperature affect the color. He suggests letting the meat breath ... ideally, pre-sear it, and let it sit out for a while before vacuum bagging it. You'll lose a shade or two of blood-red with a medium-rare steak. It's about the reactions of oxygen with myoglobin. When meat is its normal raw-red, you're looking at oxymyoglobin. When it turns the ruby-purple-tinged, Tarantino crime-scene red of vacuum-packed meat, that's deoxymyoglobin. And when you're looking at the grey-brown of overcooked (or overoxidized) meat, that's metmyoglobin. We can probably come up with other ways to exploit this phenomenon.
  5. Crowd-pleasing desserts

    This is adapted from Gilles Bajolle's chocolate marquise, which was his signature dessert at Taillevent in Paris in the 1980s and 90s. I make a different version now with a more intense chocolate flavor ... I've eliminated the eggs entirely and use more modern ingredients to get the texture. But this version is more classical, and everyone's always loved it. I'm not including the sauce recipe. It's just a creme anglaise. Bajolle always flavored it with a pistachio paste. I've used different things, but especially fruit / herbs. My favorite is probably peach and basil. My preference is for a lighter creme anglaise (mix of milk and cream, not too many eggs) since the marquise itself is so rich. But you can go in whatever direction you like. 1 Quart feeds 8 to 10 pan that holds 1 quart--anything that's about the right size, wider than it is tall. Ideally use a 6" round cheesecake or springform pan. Bajolle used a loaf pan. 250g / 9oz chocolate:* 150g / 5 oz bittersweet 100g / 3 oz unsweetened 125g / 4-1/2 oz (1 stick plus 1 TB) butter 310g / 1-1/3 cup heavy cream 6 large egg yolks / 108g 2 large whole eggs** / 100g 85g / 1/4 cup plus 3TB sugar 25g / 1/4 cup cocoa, sifted 1.5g / 1/4 tsp salt (752g) *Use good stuff. My standard for this recipe was 100g / 3.5 oz Valrhona Guanaja (excellent, dark, bittersweet), 50g / 2 oz Valrhona Manjari ( brighter bittersweet with more aroma) 100g / 3.5 oz / Valrhona Cacao pur Pate (unsweetened). I've mostly switched to Cluizel chocolates, like Vila Gracinda and Le Noir Infini. **Ideally, use pasteurized eggs. You're serving them uncooked. ***** -chill pan in fridge while preparing the ingredients -melt the chololate and butter together in a bowl over hot water. ideally, melt chocolate first, then, with heat very low, stir in butter. when butter is almost melted, remove from heat and allow residual heat to complete the melt. you should have a glass-smooth ganache. -whip the cream to soft peaks and set it aside, keeping it cold -beat egg, yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth. do not incorporate enough air to significantly increase volume. Use a stiff whisk, a hand mixer, or the flat beater of a stand mixer on medium speed. -when chocolate has cooled a bit, beat it with the egg mxture for one minute -beat in cocoa for 5 minutes by hand, or 3 minutes by machine. goal is smoothness and some thickening, not increased volume. final texture should be like a ganache icing. this is where you earn your dessert if you're not using a mixer. -fold in cream, gently. make it homogenous, but work it as little as possible to keep it from deflating -If it deflates too much, or if there are lumps from unincorporated cocoa, scoop the whole mess into a mixer a whip on high speed with the wire whip. It should fluff up and smooth out. Don't go longer than needed. -fill pan -thump it hard on counter to remove air bubbles. cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; preferably overnight. -to remove from cheesecake pan, warm sides with hair dryer or a towel soaked in hot water. set bottom on a sturdy glass or bowl, and push sides down. -to remove from a solid pan, partially immerse in warm water to loosen it. Wipe of all the water from the outside of the pan, and flip it over onto a plate. if you're lucky, it will come out. if you're like me, you will do a lot of pounding and yelling, and maybe even resort to running a knife around the outside edge (and repairing the damage later--think stucco. yes, I prefer a cheesecake or springform pan) To serve, slice the marquise. a round pan gives wedge shaped slices that i set upright like pieces of cake. I like to ladle the sauce onto the plate first, and set the marquise slice in the middle of this.
  6. Specifically what's going on is that when you have a lot of thermal mass, losing X amount of energy results in a small temperature loss. If you have less thermal mass, losing that same amount of energy results in a larger temperature loss. Which is why the full fridge stays cold longer when the power goes out. But it's the same amount of energy being lost in either case. Since it's temperature and not energy that triggers the thermostat, the only real difference you'd expect is the frequency of the compressor cycling on and off. Theoretically you might see differences in efficiency due to longer / shorter compressor cycles, but in practice this doesn't seem to make much difference. Anyone have tips on how to clean a decade of cat hair off a fridge that has coils on the bottom? I think this will make a difference ...
  7. Anova bluetooth version

    In general, how does everyone like the Anova bluetooth compared with the Anova One?
  8. This makes sense, but doesn't have anything to do with efficiency or with the amount of air in the fridge. You've just got more thermal mass in there in the form of food, adding to the total thermal mass (which includes the interior of the fridge itself). This will absolutely keep things cold longer when the power goes out, but it won't affect efficiency at all. As far as how this affects the defrost cycle in the freezer, I have no idea. And I never get a chance to observe changes to this, because my freezer is always too full. But it shouldn't be an influence on efficiency. Defrost cycles are usually just follow a timer.
  9. Homemade Pesto

    Here's my rejiggering of Hazan's recipe (with some input from the CIA textbook). This is converted to weights, because seriously, wtf is a cup of basil? Your measure could be off from mine by 200%. You might as well measure by fistfull. 100g basil leaves 50g toasted pine nuts 10g garlic cloves, minced 125g olive oil 100g grated parmesan Toast the pine nuts in a pan (I've also used almonds). Grind everything but the cheese in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Grate the cheese and stir it in. I haven't experimented with blanched basil, but read an article based on a single test. It concluded that the blanched version looked much better, tasted much worse. If I were to repeat this experiment I'd steam the basil instead of immersing in boiling water. I've found this affects the flavor less, while deactivating the enzymes just as well. But I'm not optimistic that it's a good idea.
  10. The key to saving energy with a fridge is to buy an efficient fridge. And keep coils etc. clean (this thread reminded me about point #2 ... I'm almost scared to look).
  11. That's the folk wisdom, but it doesn't turn out to be a big deal. The amount of thermal mass of the air in the fridge is minute ... it takes very little energy to chill a few cubic feet of air from room temperature to 30-something. If you calculate the thermal mass, of say, 20 cubic feet of air, and look at the amount of energy it takes to raise it from 4°C to 22°C, it's equal to 0.0004 kilowatt hours. If you assume a refrigerator isn't that efficient, and takes twice as much energy to cool that air back the other way, you've got .0008 kwh. At our current price of 19.2 cents per kwh in NYC, this is 0.015¢ to open the door and let out every molecule of cold air. So it should go without saying that it makes no difference if you open the door for 5 seconds or half a minute. You use more energy putting in a jug of room temperature water and letting the fridge cool it.
  12. Crowd-pleasing desserts

    Chocolate marquise with a fruit or herb or booze creme anglaise. Always kills.
  13. Espresso in chocolate donuts

    Jeni's method sounds pretty close to mine, although I seal it up before chilling it, and don't find the cheesecloth to be necessary (but it might help you squeeze some of the last drops of coffee out of the grounds). IME 5 minutes is slightly long, and extracts more bitterness than I'm after. But this is the kind of thing that you have to experiment to find where your tastes are, and it's going to be dependent on the coffee itself to some degree. Boiling the whole beans is a new one to me. Some people do overnight cold extractions with whole beans. I'm not a big fan of cold extraction generally, because along with reducing bitterness it reduces acidity and some of the fruitier aromatics. I think the results are bland (but it's probably a great bet if you're forced to use lousy, over-roasted beans). Getting good acidity requires coffee beans that have plenty of that flavor to begin with, and even so, it's probably going to be muted by the sugar and the dairy. In my last few batches of coffee ice cream I've compensated by adding a few ml of sherry vinegar.
  14. Espresso in chocolate donuts

    Coarse, like for French Press, or even coarser. I don't think it has to be precise with longer extractions like this, but a fine grind would probably overextract and be bitter, and you'd have a much harder time straining the grinds out. If you use the coarsest setting on a non-espresso burr grinder, you should be able to strain it all out with a chinois.
  15. Espresso in chocolate donuts

    I'm a little suspicious of this product called espresso powder. Espresso is almost uniquely unsuited for being powdered, since so much of what distinguishes it from regular coffee is the intense dose of aromatic compounds. These are the exact compounds that get lost during freeze drying, which is why even the best instant coffees taste relatively bland and indistinct. The marketing copy says it's more concentrated than regular instant coffee ... but how can something be more concentrated than instant coffee? The stuff is 100% concentrated. Is it made from a much darker roast? That just reflects a misunderstanding of espresso. Coffee beans roasted black do not make espresso. They make ruined coffee beans. I've never been sold on using coffee to enhance chocolate flavor. But I like coffee. The best way I've found to get great coffee flavor is to infuse freshly ground beans into the dairy. For donuts, I assume there's butter; you could infuse the coffee into the butter sous-vide (chefsteps has a recipe). You get all the aromatics and all the acids, but none of the bitterness (the alkaloids aren't fat-soluble). If you're infusing into milk or cream, do it in a sealable container (like a ziploc). Use 93°C milk/cream, shake it up, seal, and after 4 minutes plunge into icewater. Don't unseal until it's room-temperature or cooler. This gets all the good flavors, including the usually elusive acidity.