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  1. I live in a rural area where mice are prevalent. Each year, they seek out our warm house as winter approaches. Years of experience have taught me as follows: Exclusion is the first, essential step. If you don't plug the holes where they enter, you can trap for weeks and others will simply replace the dead ones within a short time. Get steel wool, caulk, etc., and plug every little hole where they can enter. If you don't exclude, all else is naught. Keeping things clean inside is also key. Conventional snap traps (e.g., Victor traps) do
  2. <<Does the 10 piece set have lids that are all stainless or are they glass with stainless trim and handle?>> -Mine came with stainless steel lids. They fit well. <<Are there any trouble spots....like between the handle and the rim....that are a pain in the butt to clean?>> --Generally easy to clean. A bit of more work near rivets and where handles meet the body. I have a similar set of Gourmet Standard (no longer in business I'm told) and the Gourmet Standard are harder to clean and are coming loose near the rivets on the 12" fry pan. The newer Tramontina set seem
  3. I have the Tramontina set and like it a lot. The pieces heat and sear/brown evenly. Handles stay cool and are comfortable to hold--even the huge frying pan. Lids fit tight. All clean-up well and easily--if not, a bit of Barkeeper's Friend powder does the trick. I have used All-Clad in the past and think the Tramontina is almost, but not quite as good. The All-Clad pieces heat a bit more evenly and seem to have a bit more hefty construction (e.g., larger rivets holding the handles). The price difference, however, his huge and for the money, the Tramontina strikes me as a very good value.
  4. I recently bought a Clever Coffee drip cone ( http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmarias/coffee-brewers/filtercones/clever-coffee-dripper-large.html). It's like a regular coffee cone, except it has a valve at the bottom that allows me to control how long it steeps before running into my cup(s). I prefer french press, but don't care for cleaning it and taking the screen assembly apart. This cone gets me close to french press with the ease of tossing filters rather than the cleaning associated with a french press. My french press works well too--it has a stainless steel thermos-like build and mai
  5. I got the 8-inch (just over 20 cm) version from a thai importer (http://importfood.com/mortarpestle.html) and am very happy with it, though it isn't attractive. It is very heavy--so I keep a mat underneath it so that it doesn't scratch the countertop. I use it primarly to grind spices for curries and similar purposes. It grinds them up in a hurry with relatively little effort. A quick rinse seems to do away with residuals. I also have a much smaller white marble one--the small pestle hurts my hand for all but the smallest tasks.
  6. Yet another vote for Tramontina's 18/10 stainless tri-ply. I bought their 10-piece set for my second home from Wal-Mart. I don't live near Wal-Mart, so had it shipped to me and both the price and shipping were economical (less than half of most comparable quality products). The quality and finish is first-rate--I like them nearly as well as All-Clad. The saute pans are excellent and yield a strong, even heat on my gas (propane) range. Ditto for the pots. They clean very easily--especially if properly heated, so I haven't put them in my dishwasher yet (though directions say doing so is O
  7. I've "gone primitave" and went back to a big bowl, super-stiff wire dough whisk, and huge wooden spoon for much of my everyday baking. Good for arm muscles and gives a much better feel for the dough. Though KA mixers went through a bad patch of models with plastic gear housings a few years back, it appears that the metal ones are back. Mine (Professional 600 with metal gears) cranks through dense whole grain and similar doughs with no problem, but is rather noisy. I like the newer style "corkscrew" dough hook. The price of KA mixers is much lower than any of the other apparent alternatives,
  8. Another vote for Cambro containers. Square ones are more space-efficient than the round ones.
  9. I never proof. I use SAF Instant and buy it in 1-lb vacuum-packed bags. When I buy it, it usually has an expiration date one or two years out. After I open it, I keep it in a jar in the fridge or freezer and it seems to last well beyond its expiration date (e.g. over a year past) with little or no appreciable loss in rise.
  10. I have the same smoker and use is a few times each year to serve larger gatherings (25+ people). It's a very nice unit and if kept out of the wind, it holds a steady temperature for a few hours at a shot. It seems best suited for smoking pork ribs and pork shoulder (some call it Boston butt). I second the recommendation on the www.virtualweberbullet.com web site. In particular, see the videos on how to prepare ribs, the basic recipes, and the instructions on the so-called "Minion method" for firing the unit up. Stock-up on Kingsford charcoal when it goes on sale and get some Hickory chunks
  11. I live at high altitude (6,200 feet/1,889 meters) and am very disappointed in the way that rice, pasta, and especially legumes/beans cook at high altitide in a conventional pot. Undercooked or mushy seem to be the only options. I like my pasta "al dente." I both make fresh pasta and, when lazy, used boxed pasta. Would a pressure cooker remedy this? If "yes," any practical tips on how to handle the timing? I often taste-test rice/risoto and pasta as they cook to check doneness and texture and wonder if this is at all possible when pressure cooking? Or does one simply have to time things
  12. I use both frequently, the KA at my house in town, the Atlas at my ski house. Pasta is the same from both (very good). The only differences are (1) noise (the KA is noisier than the hand cranked Atlast) and (2) time (the KA is much faster).
  13. I'm a fan of classic modern lines. For dinnerware, Heath's Coupe line is at once functional and sensuous. http://www.heathceramics.com/go/heath/tableware/coupe-line/ For flatware, Gense's Focus Deluxe line is wonderful and the feel in hand is flawless. http://www.gense.se/index.php?id=442 Both are rather pricey, so I have built a collection through their factory outlets, ebay, and thrift stores.
  14. ericthered

    Smoking a Turkey

    I've used both my Weber kettle (22") and bullet smoker and both work well. It's easier to manage the temperature with the smoker. I use the standard recipe approach on the virtualweberbullet.com web site, but use no sugar in the brine and use no spice rub. Big birds don't always fit. Birds in the 12-13 lb range seem to work well. When using the kettle, it helps to use the version of the Weber top grate that has the folding sides that allow you to add coals without removing the grate. Spread the coals on either side of the kettle (not underneath bird), with a chimney full of hot coals sp
  15. Another vote for Barkeeper's Friend cleanser. Also excellent for cleaning stainless pots/pans as well as copper.
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