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Everything posted by Tri2Cook

  1. There are lot of tools that make the job easier for the beginner/home bartender but as far as actually necessary, not much at all. You can easily get the juice out of a citrus half with a fork. Stick it in the middle of the cut side and move it around while squeezing the fruit. If you have strong enough hands, it's actually pretty quick and efficient. You can stir in anything large enough to hold the ingredients plus ice and stir with pretty much anything that will fit in the stirring vessel and reach the bottom. You can shake in anything with a tight fitting lid that's strong enough to not be broken by the ice. And while it's not much fun at all, you can measure with measuring spoons for the smaller measures. A well-marked measuring cup works fine for larger measures. All of that is from personal experience. I used what was handy while I gathered the tools I wanted over time. The only thing in your kit I would consider an actual essential at home is the strainer. But the rest of the stuff certainly makes it easier, more fun and looks cooler when you have guests. Disclaimer: everything I said above can be completely discarded when you start talking professional or high volume... but I'm not a professional or even a particularly well-versed amateur..
  2. Tri2Cook

    Meeting-friendly snacks to bake

    I may have to give them a try anyway. I'm thinking half and half salted and unsalted nuts. The nutty, sweet and salty combination is the reason I still buy Payday bars when I can find them. I'd probably scatter the salted nuts on the base and then pour the topping with the unsalted nuts over it just to try to keep as much of the salt as possible on the nuts instead of dissolved into the syrup.
  3. Tri2Cook

    St.Patrick and his Corned Beef

    I put the end result in the dinner thread... seemed more appropriate since it wasn't really what this thread is about in the end.
  4. Tri2Cook

    Dinner 2019

    St. Patrick's Day corned beef, cabbage and potatoes... with a twist. Corned beef burger with smoked cheddar, lettuce, tomato, sweet onion, garlic dill pickles, dijon mustard and mayo. Crispy smashed potatoes and a mustard-based hot slaw.
  5. Tri2Cook

    Dinner 2019

    But rutabagas are what all good turnips want to grow up to be.
  6. Tri2Cook

    Dinner 2019

    It's pretty much the only canned tuna I buy now, the tuna with Thai chiles. I don't buy canned tuna often but every now and then I get in the mood for a sandwich and that's the tuna I grab. Expensive little cans (relative to some of the other tunas) where I live but, like you mentioned in another post, it's not an every day item so I don't really worry about the extra cost at that end of the scale. It's not like the cost difference between a Ferrari and a Schwinn.
  7. Then I personally wouldn't change a thing in that area. It looks like a normal cake texture in their photo, is it possible you underbaked it a bit? An easy fix, add more sugar. You can get a good general idea of how sweet the result will be by tasting the batter. Although, 1 cup sugar to 1 1/2 cups flour doesn't seem particularly low to me so I'm not sure what you mean by "lack of sugar"... unless you overlooked the 1 cup of sugar in the cake part of the recipe and are wondering why a cake wouldn't have sugar. Got nothing for that one other than try something more ripe. It's a banana upside down cake, try working some really ripe mashed bananas into the batter if the plain cake is too bland for your taste. Are you comparing it to pineapple upside-down cake? Because pineapple will release much more liquid than the bananas will. You could increase the amount of topping, 1 1/2 - 2x the amount of butter and brown sugar called for. That might help with your sweetness issue as well. A syrup always works for adding moisture to cakes after baking so your idea to do that would work too.
  8. Tri2Cook

    St.Patrick and his Corned Beef

    A few months ago, I cured beef chuck in the Ruhlman 5% brine, cooked it sous vide to get it nice and tender and tucked it away in the freezer. I took it out of the freezer yesterday before work. Today, I cut it into cubes and ran it through my meat grinder. The non-traditional twist on St. Patrick's Day dinner has begun. And the final mix... 2 lbs ground corned beef, 2 lbs fresh ground chuck, 6 oz grated butter and some black pepper.
  9. I generally use unsweetened shredded coconut for most things. The one available where I live is called "medium shred" but it's fairly small and would easily be made smaller by a trip through a processor.
  10. Definitely going to have to give it a try then. I wasn't hopeful about being able to actually pipe it so that's awesome even if I do have to grind the coconut a bit.
  11. Tri2Cook

    Peeps: Marshmallowly Goodness

    I kinda felt the same way about Peeps until I read the ingredients. Sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, a tiny bit (in proportion to the main ingredients) of color, preservative and flavoring. So not much different (as far as the ingredient list is concerned) than a homemade marshmallow if you choose to add color and/or flavor to them. They're not the greatest candy ever sold but there's nothing scary going on in them that would make them a sideshow freak. The fumes would be no different than toasting any other marshmallow.
  12. I've been meaning to check out Greweling's coconut filling he uses for his Cocomels. I'm wondering if it's soft enough to be able to get it into shelled molds without a fight. I like the idea of the coconut caramel combo but I like my caramel for chocolates softer than what can be formed in a frame.
  13. Vanilla marshmallow with a layer of caramel. Dirty little secret... I look forward every year to a couple of the Russell Stover caramel marshmallow eggs. They'd have to be even better homemade and with better chocolate.
  14. I'd want to use some type of orange inclusion like candied zest or slices or something along that line just for the textural fun if I were doing it but if you're wanting to avoid that, a pure orange oil is probably what you're going to need for a solid chocolate bar. You won't be able to use extracts like the one you linked, they contain water. I've seen freeze dried orange and mandarin pieces online that would probably make a really nice inclusion but not where I could get them and any freeze dried fruit tends to be pretty costly.
  15. Tri2Cook

    Melanger experimentation

    I never got around to ordering it. I decided it's kinda right in the middle of what I would want. The large bowl is perfect for the batch size I usually do, the small bowl isn't as small as I'd like for testing purposes. But that's not a negative towards the small bowl, I assume there must be a lower limit where the mass would still be sufficient to do the job properly. If I decide to add anything to the melanger, it will probably be a second large bowl. That way I can start a batch of something different immediately after finishing a batch instead of having to wash and wait for it to dry thoroughly.
  16. Tri2Cook

    Happy Pi Day!!

    I'm glad that counts... that's what I had for lunch. Otherwise, Pi Day would have to be happy without my participation. I don't foresee me making or purchasing a pie tonight.
  17. Tri2Cook

    Melanger experimentation

    The machine makes some nice powdered sugar though, doesn't it?
  18. So that lines up with what I remember from the ML lesson/recipe. They're saying optimal for curdling at 70 C in the link. I remember reading that above that temp, the protease that causes the curdling begins to rapidly be destroyed. I also remember reading that the curdling effect is increased when using juice instead of the whole pieces of ginger. So maybe manipulating temp and ingredient state is the secret.
  19. There's a Michael Laiskonis recipe where he does a blend. It involves cream cold infused with slices of fresh ginger for 24 hours and cream hot infused with slices of fresh ginger. I'd have to dig up the recipe from my backup hard drive to be sure, it's been a long time since I used it, but I think I remember the ginger being pre-blanched. At least for the cold infusion, anyway. I definitely remember that the cream was heated to boiling before the ginger was added for the hot infusion. Apparently temps above 70 C quickly destroy the thing in ginger that causes the curdling. The recipe was a panna cotta, the sugar and gelatin were dissolved in the hot infusion then the cold infusion was added. The flavor was amazing but I've never attempted to figure out a way to use the hot and cold infusion combination in a ganache. I'd actually forgotten about it until I saw this discussion.
  20. This is awesome... you just made my life easier as well.
  21. Tri2Cook

    St.Patrick and his Corned Beef

    I almost always use eye of round or top sirloin and follow the exact same process. Sous vide keeps it from being dry and I don't have the waste of all the fat I'm just going to carve out and throw away. But I won't be corning anything this year. At least, not for St. Patrick's Day. I have another plan in mind for that dinner.
  22. Nope, it does not mean that. Anything you do with chocolate or cocoa butter that requires tempering will be done more easily via the EZtemper with at least equally good results. The silk from the EZtemper may seed the same way as using callets but there's no waiting for it to melt or fishing out what doesn't melt. It saves time, it's foolproof (unless somebody can convince me otherwise, I've never experienced a tempering failure using it and I've become so confident with it that I quite often don't even bother with a temper check anymore) and you always have silk ready to work with so last minute projects are easy. Having one isn't essential to doing chocolate work (very few of the tools we use are actually essential, the point of having them is they make the job easier or give better results) but I'd argue that, once you have one and start using it on a regular basis, it will become essential to you. You won't want to go back to working without one.
  23. Tri2Cook

    Chefsteps gummies

    Most places that sell the extracts for making root beer and other sodas usually carry a cola extract as well. Not sweetened at all and very concentrated (a 2 oz, bottle is used with 4 lbs. of sugar and 4 gallons of water). I've never tried the cola extracts but some of the root beer extracts are good so maybe there's a cola version that is too.
  24. Tri2Cook

    Freezing bonbons

    I'm thinking no new air getting in is the key here. Things last a pretty long time without issue in the freezer even when not vacuum sealed. Not as long as things that are vacuum sealed but Jim was talking about a no more than 2 month freezer time in his example and I'm pretty sure Melissa Coppel has sufficient turnover for things to not spend too much time in storage. I've had things in the freezer for a lot longer than 2 months where I took no extra care at all in packaging (personal stuff at home, not at work or for my chocolate work) that held up perfectly fine so I suspect as long as they're closed up well enough to not let the freezer air in during storage, they're probably gonna be just fine for a pretty good amount of time.
  25. Tri2Cook

    Luster Dust

    It took me a while to dig up the post but this is the result I got from mixing the luster dust with melted cocoa butter and painting it in the molds. The somewhat muted look is not due to the method, it's due to the only colors I had on hand at the time being old gold and satin white, neither of which have a lot of pop to them. They were leftovers from a cake I had to do so I decided to play around with the technique before deciding to invest in more vibrant colors. But you can still see the basic idea of how it worked.