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About paulraphael

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    Brooklyn, NY USA

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  1. 2. To avoid extra trips to the store, keep your pantry stocked with staples like olive oil, flour, salt, soy sauce, saffron, pepper flakes, Iberico ham, an airtight canister of white truffles, and a coop full of Cornish game hens. 5. Refrain from letting the children choose Christian names for the lambs.
  2. I was just about to suggest this, without having tried it. Makes sense. Surprising they don't make a fine-powdered isomalt.
  3. Starter Question

    I don't think you can generalize about all starters. The different strains of yeast and lactobacilli behave differently. I use an Italian starter (Ischia Island) which is robust in most ways, but not when it comes to cold. It goes dormant very quickly at fridge temperatures, and takes hours to wake up. So this method wouldn't work for me. I'd tell you how I do it, but I have no way of knowing if it would be relevant to your starter.
  4. Cooking for 100+...ideas anyone?

    I'd find a couple of 30 quart stock pots and make chili. One with pork shoulder (or something else that's not sensitive to overcooking), one with beans and veggies. Then some dessert that can be baked by the sheet pan. Done.
  5. Does pectin only work if it's boiled?

    High-methoxyl pectin (the more common, elastic type) hydrates at 85°C. Low-methoxyl pectin (the brittle type) hydrates at 40–85°C, depending on acidity, sugar level, and the methoxyl level. As others have said, yogurt probably isn't the best place for this. Natural acidity does a good job thickening yogurt. If you wanted to alter the texture in other ways, carrageenans would probably make the most sense.
  6. Tabasco Sauce Alternatives

    Marie Sharps. It's the brand that used to be Melinda's. The new Melinda's is fake, the branding stolen from Ms. Sharp, who makes my very favorite hot sauce. Previous rant available here.
  7. Help with ice cream

    Ice cream is just about the most complex creation in the food universe. There are dozens of variables, and they're all interactive. It's difficult to answer your questions without knowing all the details of what you're doing. Many things can lead to graininess, many different things can lead to iciness. If you're cooking the mix sous-vide and getting scrambled eggs, that sounds like the temperature is too high. Many different time/temperature combinations work. I'd suggest 75°C for 30 minutes as a starting point. The blog I linked above will answer all these questions, but it won't be a quick read!
  8. Anova Nano --- New

    A dealbreaker for me is the size of the clamp. Won't open wide enough for the sides of a standard cooler. I wish they'd make a full-featured, no-compromise circulator, with the small form factor and and improved interface. No reason they couldn't couple the body size and heating element design of the Joule, the clamp design of the regular Anovas, and an improved interface.
  9. Help with ice cream

    No need to vacuum seal at all; just pour into a ziploc bag and evacuate the air by immersing into a container of water. I keep the water in the container so I can add ice to it and use it to rapidly chill the bag before aging the mix. On sugar, Alleguede's information is mostly right, although invert syrup doesn't have quite that much freezing point depression. Here's a chart I put together: You don't absolutely need to use trimoline; it's just a helpful option for tweaking the texture and sweetness. I like my ice creams to be on the low end of sweetness, but without sacrificing scoopability. So I use around 12–14% sugar by weight of the mix, in a ratio that's usually around 60% sucrose, 26% dextrose, 13% invert syrup. Increasing the ratio of sucrose to the other sugars will make the ice cream harder. Increasing the ratio of dextrose to trimoline will make it less sweet. Increase the ration of trimoline to dextrose will make it sweeter. I wrote a pretty detailed post on sugars in ice cream here.
  10. With the chuck, there's going to be a wider range of good answers, depending on how much you want it to be like a braise vs. a prime rib. No matter what, I think the answer with a cut like that is to butcher it to steaks. 1-1/2" thick is ideal, both from a searing perspective and a time/temperature perspective. If you want it like medium rare prime rib or rib steaks, you're looking at 55°C for 36 to 48 hours. Less time=juicier, more time = more tender.
  11. What everyone else said. For reference, I cook chicken breasts at 60°c, thighs at 64.5°c. breasts until core reaches temperature (around 40 mins); thighs for 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Juice for miles. I don't think a whole chicken is a good candidate for sv cooking—different parts have different requirements.
  12. Sherry Vinegar

    Ok, I'll bite ... what happens at 11:45? Jamón giveaway?
  13. Sherry Vinegar

    I'll report back when I get a chance to try the Gran Gusto. I'm hoping it's at least as nice as the Columela.
  14. Knife Sharpening Dilemma

    Just warn her. People figure it out. She'll probably cut herself a couple of times by bumping against the edge, but these cuts from "too sharp knives" are usually minor league. Dull knives cut people by forcing them to use a lot of force ... and then if something slips, the knife is moving with a lot of speed and can cause really nasty and deep cut. I think the bigger issue is the longevity of the edges. There's no use handing someone a very sharp edge that's going to get damaged after 5 minutes of use. If you're sharpening for someone who has neither excellent knife skills nor excellent sharpening skills, the emphasis should be on a functional, durable edge that's easy to maintain. This can mean a relatively obtuse bevel angle, or a thin angle with very obtuse microbevel on one side. In either case, how you choose to set the bevel will determine how you teach her to maintain the edge. I see zero benefit in just dong a bad job (or sabotaging a good job) in the name of safety.
  15. Sherry Vinegar

    I've been on a bit of a bender. After discovering Despaña here in NYC, I can't stop. It's become my acid of choice for most dishes, and also a savoriness enhancer. And in some cases a sweetener. And not a bad stocking-stuffer. Left to right: 1) Columela Solera 30. This isn't from Despaña. It's a brand you can get on Amazon and at a decent number of specialty grocers. The grape variety is unnamed, which almost always means it's a palomino vinegar, which is the most common and least sweet. It claims to be 30-years old, but is tastes like (and is priced like) the youngest among these here. About $14 for a 375ml bottle. This is my everyday basic vinegar. When it runs out, I'm going to try a Bodega Paez Morilla version, called "Gran Gusto." This is available from Despaña and costs $7 for the same size. 2) Montegrato Pedro Ximénez XVI years. This is my favorite. Deep, dark, woody, nutty, savory, sweet, syrupy awesome. For whenever this more complex and assertive flavor profile is called for. As with Amarone wines, Pedro Ximinez sherry is made from grapes that are sun-dried, taking on the depth and savor of raisins. About $17 for a 375ml bottle. 3) Bodega Paez Morilla Moscatel. I just got this and haven't had much chance to use it. Moscatel is the 3rd standard sherry vinegar type. This is sweeter than the palominos, less complex than the pedro ximenez. The sweetness has more of a pear / grape quality than the PX's raisin quality. Pretty expensive: about $15 for a 250ml bottle. Probably only worth using if a dish really features its flavor. I doubt I'll buy again. But delicious. 4) Montegrato Fino Reserva XVI years. I just bought this a 2nd time ... had stumbled onto it at Whole Foods years ago and bought out of curiosity without knowing what it was. It's a palomino vinegar made with the Fino process, and aged long enough to earn the 'Reserva' designation. Tastes very different from other palomino vinegars I've had. Very light, bright, and fruity, but completely smooth. Apple-like acidity. This is the most expensive one here: $20 for 250ml. As good as it is, I doubt I'll buy again. Delicious, just not the best value for me. 5) Bodega Paez Morilla Reserva 25 years. Another higher-end palomino vinegar. Definitely tastes more complex and smoother than the Columela, but once it's in a dish the difference is pretty insignificant. $11 for 250 ml. I probably won't buy again. 6) L'Estornell grenache vinegar. Not really a sherry vinegar, but Spanish, and has been a staple of mine for a long time. Available from Amazon and Whole foods. Lighter and less complex than the sherry vinegars, and has a bright, raspberry-like sweetness that brings a lot of things to life, including simple vinaigrettes. $10 for 250ml. A note on the ages: Sherry vinegar uses a complex aging system called "solera," in which younger vinegars are added to older vinegars in stages. So any sherry vinegar is a mix of young, medium, and old. The age on the label is determined by some kind of average, which I'm guessing isn't rigorously standardized (you can't count on one company's 30 year-old tasting more aged than another company's 15 year-old). But in general, it explains how something with such a long bottle age can be so reasonably priced. It also probably contributes to the unique complexity of this stuff.