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Posts posted by KennethT

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. @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!

  5. 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?

  6. @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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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..

  10. @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
  11. Well, maybe not so soon... July.... But my wife and I are headed back to:



    This time, central Vietnam - specifically Hoi An and Hue (and some stuff in between as we go from one to the other).


    We just pulled the trigger after I found tickets from NYC to Saigon, round trip, for about $1000 pp on EVA.  I don't think I've ever seen flights to SEAsia that cheap.... I can't even fly to Europe for that price, and it's a lot closer!


    So, if anyone had been to that area and has any suggestions, I'm all ears (or eyes in this case) :)

    • Like 14
  12. The more I study this book, I realize that I don't really know who its intended reader is...  The dishes seem to be a "greatest hits" of Peranakan dishes - many of which I saw when I was at the Peranakan restaurant on my last trip to SG - check out my blog for photos, etc...  but some ingredients and technique descriptions are so vague....


    I find it interesting that the author does not list the amount of coconut milk used in various recipes - but instead, has the cook make their own coconut milk for each dish! So, instead of using 300ml of coconut milk (for example), the author would have you grate 700g of fresh coconut and squeeze to get the coconut milk (she calls #1 Coconut milk, which I imagine is actually coconut cream).  She'll then have you add water to the grated coconut to make #2 coconut milk (what I guess is coconut milk).


    But, I think the book assumes that the reader already has an intimate knowledge of the cooking techniques associated with this cuisine.  In addition to the chilli/curry powder issues I described above, it uses such vagaries as:

    -an ingredient called Streaky Pork (not defined anywhere)

    -giving directions for deep frying a certain dish, she says "In a heated wok, add cooking oil and heat until very hot"

    -after marinating chicken, "Place chicken in the sun to dry thoroughly"

    -for Satay, the main ingredient is just "Pork" - with no specification as to the cut

    -instructions for making a curry powder for meat: "Wash [whole spices] separately, drain well, and dry in the sun"....  put the ingredients on a tray, "Heat oven slightly" and toast the tray of [spices].....  what is the temperature equivalent of "heat oven slightly"?


    Maddening....  I really want to like this book, and use it, but I wish I could ask questions of someone to help out with the stuff that is vague.


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