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BrandonPHX

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  1. BrandonPHX

    Food Videos on the Web

    I've been watching more food related videos on the internet. I think it's great that more chefs are making videos online. Too many times I feel that Food Network puts chefs on for looks/personality, instead of knowledge or skill. This allows people that have a great deal of knowledge to share their ideas. Some of these videos are starting to get high quality, as well. I found these videos on Youtube when I was reading about a newer Japanese restaurant in town. More ad like than cooking show, but the food photography is easily as good as Food Network. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gav2bl-x2g Also, has anyone checked out iFood.tv or Tastetv.com? They have nothing but food related videos, some of them are pretty good.
  2. BrandonPHX

    Hand Held Smoker

    I'd like to know if you could use this to bacon. Normal cold smoking set-ups are kind of a PITA. I'm wondering if you could just "marinated" a cured pork belly in smoke and have the same effect as a traditional cold smoking set-up. I suppose the smoke would condense if left in the fridge, so I'm guessing you'd have to "marinate" on the counter. Anyone ever tried it? I'd love to know the results.
  3. BrandonPHX

    Molecular Gastronomy

    I think you'd have an easier time figuring out what to do if you laid out some goals. Start with a mission statement, figure out what it is that you are trying to accomplish. It seems to me that several different practices get lumped into the term molecular gastronomy: 1. Gaining an understanding of the science of cooking and flavor and then using that knowledge to do what you've always done, but do it better. 2. Combing flavors that aren't typically associated with each other. 3. Changing the texture of food in unexpected ways. Once you know where you want to go, you can start playing with recipes from there.
  4. Try the Cluizel Grand Noir 85%, it'll be a darker roast than most of their chocolate. Some of the single cru bars can be fruitier, but I don't find any of them as sharp as Valrhona. Bonnat is another French maker that tends to use darker roasts. Some of the Callebaut, and Chocolove bars I've had were pretty fruity and tart. There's a Pierre Marcolini bar that is suppose to be fruitier than their other bars, but I've not tried it. You may want to try Amedei (Italian) as well. They are a middle of the road roaster, but many people feel they make the best chocolate. I've liked the stuff I've had alot, but I haven't tried the Chuao bar that the make, which is suppose to be their best.
  5. I don't find Cluizel fruity at all, it has more of the roasted caramel flavors. It is a much much darker roast than Valrhona or Scharffen-Berger. I don't put alot of stock in what country the chocolate was made in. It's more a matter of how dark or light a maker roasts the chocolate. Light roasted cocoa beans produce a fruity acidic chocolate, a dark roast produces more of a caramel flavor with more bitterness. You find different roasts in all countries. While Valrhona is extremely light, other French makers produce heavily roasted chocolate like Pralus and Cruizel. Same goes for Belgian and American chocolate makers.
  6. After reading this I decided to try a test. I have an ever increasing stash of dark chocolate bars. I tried a 62% dark chocolate bar from See's and a 65% Michel Cruizel single cur (Plantation Mangaro". I took a bite from the See's bar before the Cluizel and I drank some water between bites. Here are the differences that I noticed: I rubbed a bit of each bar to release some aroma. The See's bar had a much more pronounced smell. The Cluizel had very little smell. I then cracked a piece off of each bar. The See's bar was softer and the inner texture was more grainy than the Cluizel. The Cluizel was harder had a nice crisp crack when it was broken off. I'd assume the difference here could be chalked up to differences in tempering technique. I then took a bite. The mouth feel of the See's bar was grainy and a little chalky. The Cluizel was much smoother. I was a bit surprised by this, since Cluizel does not use soy lecithan to emulsify their chocolate. I was expecting the See's to have a smoother texture. I've found Cluizel in the past to be more grainy than other high end chocolate makers that do use soy lecithan. Again, I'd assume this comes from tempering differences or differences in conching. Though I'm just guessing at that. Another note about mouth feel that I found interesting. The Cluizel melted much slower in my mouth and once melted had a heavier feel on my tongue, the See's felt thinner. The Cluizel had a much stronger flavor and you could taste the caramel notes from the dark roasting that Cluizel is known for. The See's bar did not have as much of a pronounced chocolate flavor, I mostly tasted sugar. The See's bar had such a strong sugar taste, that I couldn't really taste any complexity in the chocolate flavor. The difference between the two bars was not subtle in any way. Cluizel had a very strong chocolate flavor that the See's bar just didn't have. Think of the difference between water-downed coffee and a strong dark roast. The See's tasted much like most supermarket brand chocolates, side-by-side I probably couldn't tell the difference between the See's and a Hershey. While I've not had a bar from Rocky Mountain, I have had their chocolates and I would compare them to See's in terms of quality. One other thing to keep in mind is that neither See's nor Rocky Mountain are likely to make their own chocolate. They are probably buying couverture from a 3rd party. So as far as anyone knows, either or both could be using Hershey's to make their bars.
  7. BrandonPHX

    Chocolate

    I found it even cheaper here . I don't have the book, but it looks cool.
  8. We have an old manual cookie press, it must be from the 1950's. It is the only cookie press that will make our family's spritz cookie recipe. We've tried several pump action cookie press guns and they make cookies that are way too large and do not cook correctly. The cookie press broke last year and we were lucky enough to find the same cookie press on ebay, it had never been opened or used. I've been considering buying several more to use as spare parts.
  9. Can anyone suggest a few good ones? I searched through this forum and only saw a few mentioned. Is there a Diana Kennedy type authority on Chinese food?
  10. BrandonPHX

    Washing fruit that most people don't wash

    I don't know that I believe washing meat would wash away flavor. Most of the flavor is the cells of the meat, which I don't think would get damaged from rinsing in cool water. All the juice from those outer cells would be lost by searing the meat anyways. I think a taste test would solve the issue and give you an excuse to eat a couple of steaks.
  11. BrandonPHX

    Thermometer trust issues

    What about something like this? http://www.amazon.com/Bonjour-Laser-Probe-...r/dp/B000JLM6IO Has both a probe and an infrared thermometer. Looks like Fluke also makes something similar and maybe a little more professional. http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-Raytek-FoodPro...r/dp/B0006VHWMC The Bonjour seems to read higher temps, though, which could be nice for grilling situations. I have no idea how quick these are though. Has anyone used either of them?
  12. BrandonPHX

    Washing fruit that most people don't wash

    I wash most fruit, but I don't wash large fruit. I'd never think to wash a watermelon or pineapple. I don't think it's weird to wash them though, I think I probably will from now on. Just never thought of it.
  13. BrandonPHX

    Stupid Chef Tricks

    And if grinding your own is really such a big hassle, couldn't they just get an electric grinder? You just press a button, doesn't get much easier.
  14. Another related option is Dick's Hideaway, owned by the Richardson's people and right around the corner. We went for a late lunch and we were the only people in the place, which is a dramatic contrast to my Richardson's experiences. Food was just as good though, if you stick to the southwestern stuff (avoiding the pizzas, for example, which seems obvious, but...) photos are here because ImageGullet doesn't want to upload my pictures today... mark ← Dick's and Richardon's actually share a kitchen and the menus are the same.
  15. BrandonPHX

    Thermometer trust issues

    I've found that my probe works best if I insert it towards the end of cooking. I think that's because of the heat conductivity that Shalmanese mentioned. For most items, I feel that I can hit center mass most of the time and I haven't had too many issues. Turkey's and chickens are the things that can throw me. It's hard to tell how far the probe has gone, and you have little to no visual reference of where a bone might be. One way to get around this might be to get one of the Polder thermometers that accepts two probes. Then you can have a probe in two different portions of the bird. You can also test the probe for accuracy by placing it boiling water, it should be 212 degrees. You can then mix crushed ice with water in a glass and take them temp, after it has sat for several minutes. The probe should read 32 degrees. Just make sure the probe isn't touching the ice.
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