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Posts posted by KennethT

  1. I used to do that when I wanted the Robuchon style potato puree (but I used about half the butter as the Rx dictated).  It was a lot of work.  A lot.  I would take the riced potatoes and then dry them in a pan over low heat to remove any extra moisture, then I'd whip in the butter....  Take that paste and run it through a tamis a couple of times, then back into a pot over low heat and add back some of the potato cooking water to get to the proper consistency and season.  A lot of work, and a lot of cleanup.  But the results are fantastic.  I actually learned the technique at a cooking class run by David Bouley about 10 years ago when he ran classes a few times a month at his test kitchen.  It's great if you have a staff to do it and all the cleanup...

  2. 29 minutes ago, djyee100 said:


    How hot is too hot? Some parts of my back deck get blasted with afternoon sun (I live on a ridge). Rosemary and Greek oregano do well there. Think harsh, hot Greek hills.

    Since the windowsill garden is only a few inches from the window, on a sunny day, the plants can feel like it is over 90 degrees.  In fact, even in winter, on a sunny day, we have to turn on the A/C otherwise the living room turns into an oven.


    29 minutes ago, djyee100 said:


    I saw this rosemary at the nursery and thought it could do well in a pot.


    This rosemary also sounds pot-friendly. I don't remember seeing it at the nursery, though.


    I don't know about these particular rosemarys, but years ago, I used to grow rosemary and it did quite well.  But I find that I almost never used it!


    29 minutes ago, djyee100 said:


    I tried this Greek oregano at the nursery (yes, I ate a bit of leaf), and it was so peppery I hesitated to buy it. But it intrigues me. I may grow it this year to satisfy my curiosity. Also, any deer that tries to eat this plant will be sorry.


    I also used to grow oregano, but again, barely used it...  so that the plants became huge, even when I would wind up throwing out or giving away the clippings since I got so much and used so little.


    29 minutes ago, djyee100 said:


    Do you grow mint? It has to be grown in a pot because of its invasiveness, and it thrives in heat and sun. It does grow fast, though, so it has to be repotted regularly. I love the flavor of Moroccan mint.


    I grew mint (a few varieties that I got from Wellsweep herb farm) in my windowsill garden, and you're right - it's invasive!  The roots spread up and down the entire trough!  I will actually be growing Vietnamese mint in the new garden, coming soon...  That garden is going to be a hydroponic flood table, with separate containers to contain the roots from spreading to each other, since a few of the other herbs I grow do similar things as the mint.


  3. Just wait... I've gotten clearance from my wife to create even more spaceship garden in our living room/dining room area!  I'm planning on 2 plants each of 7 different cultivars of alpine strawberries, to get an idea of yield, flavor, etc.  I'm also going to move a lot of the plants I keep for a long time (like basil and other herbs which I never harvest completely) into a different type of garden which I think may work better for long term care...  I have to think of what to do with the windowsill garden now.  There's pluses and minuses to it.  In winter, it doesn't get enough light, but on sunny days, it can get really hot... in summer, it gets plenty of light, but it definitely gets too hot... cilantro will bolt in a week...  the problem is that I have very little temp control there....  maybe I'll just put some ornamental flowering plants there - some that may be more heat tolerant...

    • Like 2
  4. Personally, I thought the glass floor idea was awesome... to me, it is much more dramatic than having video, images, etc...  Plus, I love the idea of an enclosed walkway leading from the entryway to the dining room - it's very ummm dramatic.  I've seen this done very well in some places in NYC - there was a fancy Thai restaurant Kittichai (maybe it's still around?) that had a very dramatic dining room and a cool walkway from the entrance leading to it.  It was almost as if the walkway was suspended over a small stream.  Also, Bouley had a great entryway that was filled with fragrant apples - the second you walked through it, you were transported to a french-country type setting in the Northeast somewhere... like Connecticut or Massachusetts, or somewhere in NorthWest France...


    So, if it's not possible to have your guests walk "through" the forest while entering the restaurant, to me, walking directly above it is pretty cool too.....

    • Like 2
  5. When I started doing SV, I did it with plastic wrap and a pot with lid on the stove top with a thermometer.  I had done a lot of reading on this site about how great it was, but at the time, circulators were really expensive, so before I invested any money, I wanted to try it.  My first experiment was with a chicken breast - I wrapped it with a couple layers of plastic wrap and used a thermometer to manually adjust the temperature of the water in the pot on the stovetop to about 145degF, using a wooden spoon to stir once in a while.  The results came out great, and I was sold.


    Nowadays, I use a circulator for convenience, but don't have a bag sealer or any other paraphenalia.... I use zip lock bags, and a big stockpot that I've had forever....  and I've done everything from simple chicken breasts to 72 hour beef cheeks, or duck confit with fantastic results.

    • Like 1
  6. I find the duck skin best if you've cooked it low and slow for a long time to soften the collagen.  Also make sure that it's salted...  So you can either simmer in salted water (but then it likes to curl up and shrink)... another way is to season, then seal and cook SV at like 135 for 24 hours.  This will cook the collagen but it won't shrink like a shrinky-dink.  Chill, then scrap the fat with the back of a knife.  At this point, I put in a 375 oven between 2 silpats and 2 cookie sheets to keep flat... I usually do it until brown - I think about 20 minutes but I'm not sure about the timing... wasn't too long...  When finished, the skin is a little puffy and crisp - and melts in your mouth.  But it is important to season first, because it doesn't taste so good without the salt.

    • Like 4
  7. @heidihhmmmm... interesting.  Maybe I'm just not letting it go long enough?  That's what happened with the mexican coriander - they took forever to sprout - 6-8 weeks I think - but I wasn't surprised at that since it said on the packet that the germination time can be really long.    The chive seed packet doesn't really mention a long germination time, but it does mention a long time to maturity - 80-120 days!

  8. I'm having a problem getting one of my seeds to germinate.  I bought a pack of Chinese Leek (Chinese chives) - #107 Tender Leaf allium tuberosum Rottler from Evergreen Seeds several months ago.  I have tried germinating them several times over the past several months with no success whatsoever... I emailed Evergreen a while ago, but have not received a reply, and by now am not expecting one.


    In the same purchase, I also bought some cilantro, yu choi, and culantro (mexican cilantro) and had no problems germinating any of them.


    I am germinating in rockwool cubes soaked in pH 5.5 water...  this is usually good to germinate just about anything...


    Any thoughts?

  9. @shain You have much more citrus growing experience than I do, but in my experience, most citrus problems are caused by the soil being too moist and causing root rot.  This is a major cause of leaf drop and twig dieback....  Do you have a moisture meter where you can check moisture at the root level?  I would also check for pests - my lime tree is a magnet for spidermites, which can also cause leaf drop.

    • Like 1
  10. In the past, I have used aged trimmings in a "mini-stock"...  I minced, sauteed in a bit of grapeseed oil until nicely browned (doesn't take long since the water had already been removed) then added some cold water and simmered for about an hour....  made a very intensely beefy broth which I then added other stuff to make the final sauce.


    As @paulraphael mentioned, I wouldn't do it if the trimmings were moldy, but if they're just dessicated, it worked fine.

    • Like 3
  11. Another idea is to heat up the Searzall before trying to remove the screw.  If the hole gets hotter than the screw, it will expand more and make screw removal easier.... you may not have to get it ridiculously hot though...


    I think the vice grip idea is a good one, other than drilling a pilot hole into the screw and using an E-Z Out....  I also like the idea of replacing the philips head screw - I haven't seen it, but if the screw is small, another option if you can't find a small hex head screw is to use one with a socket head...  Also, I would coat the screw with a high temperature anti-seize lubricant that will aid in removal later.

    • Like 2
  12. I assume you put the pot with the chicken stock into the fridge to cool?  I do the same thing, and I find that the fat floats to the surface and solidifies on the chicken jelly.  I just scrape it off with a spoon, knife, or palette knife - whatever is easier..

  13. @sartoricWe're still looking into the order of destinations... as of now, it looks like we will need to go to Hoi An first, then go to Hue because of intra-Vietnam flight times to/from Saigon.  I have been debating taking the train from Da Nang to Hue versus hiring a car/driver.  While it costs a bit more, the car/driver is still not expensive and would provide much more flexibility.  Also, we can make stops along the way - there seem to be a few interesting things that would be worth a slight detour... and we can also take the pass as we get near Hue for great vistas....   Thank you for your thoughts!

    • Like 1
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