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Everything posted by Mikels

  1. Mikels

    Crunchy Rice

    It might be the amount of water available. When you make just rice, all the water is available to cook the rice. This will be true when you use stocks, etc. However, when you cook the rice with other ingredients, some of the water might be unavailable, either because it is in a thick sauce or because the water is bound or absorbed by the other ingredients. To test this, I would all additional water or water substitute to the mixture. Or, cook the rice with less water than you normally use and see if this crunchy rice results. Just an idea.
  2. I agree with gfweb. For starters, she can look / modify vegan dishes. It should remove animal protein, but she will need to adjust the flavors in order to do without salt.
  3. Mikels

    Making Schmaltz ...

    Throughout the year I place skin and fat into a bag and freeze it. I have used the water approach for many years. It should be noted, I do this twice a year, so it works best and the safest way to render large amounts. The real danger of doing it in a pan over an open flame is the possibility of a fire. This method does not require keeping a watch over it. I place the skin and fat in a pan, bring it to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 hours. I place the pan in the refrigerator until the fat hardens. I remove the disk, place it in an oven proof dish and place in a 250F oven. At the same time, I put the skin on a tray to crisp it up (sometimes, I need to raise the heat at the end after the water has been driven off the schmaltz).
  4. I always render fat (either chicken or duck) in water. The skin, once the fat has been rendered and roasted is great; I usually use it as a garnish - if it lasts that long. I understand why Dan wants to use as much of the meat as possible. Frozen kosher duck can sometimes be found. But, this is the first time I have heard of fresh duck in Connecticut. Even a butcher I sometimes use in Brooklyn has never had fresh duck. I plan to stop in Stamford in the next week or so to get a few - should prove to be interesting with Passover coming up.
  5. I have had some off tastes when SV garlic. Either I use granulated garlic if I am rushed or, preferably, cook the garlic a bit, either with the other vegetables sometimes I roast it for a different flavor. I also cook any vegetables prior to SVing them, since the SV temperature is too low to cookthem. While talking about garlic, I remembered wine. I always boil the wine before using it for SV, since I have detected a metallic taste if I haven't done so before. Usually, I boil the wine until is has reduced in volume by at least half. Then I freeze the wine as small ice cubes which are about 1T in volume. When I SV whatever I am cooking, I know that liquid is released from the meat. By having a concentrated wine (the freezing helps keep it solid wben sealing the pouch) it imparts additional flavor when diluted. Needless to say herbs and spices behave differently when SVing for a long time. Since I usually SV for long times (24-36 hours), I don't know how they behave for shorter times.
  6. When over or undercharged, I tell them about it. Sometimes it is a mistake of the computer and others it is the cashier's. There are even times when I am not charged for an item at all. I remember one case when I stayed at a small hotel and they forgot to put a meal on my bill. In all these cases I will tell them - I don't want to mischarge them just as I don't want them to mischarge me.
  7. If I remember correctly, the final temperature determines if the meat is rare, etc. If the temperature can not get above that for rare meat, it will be rare if left in the water bath 3 hours or 30 hours. The consistency is a function of how long it is left in the water bath. The longer it stays in, the more connective tissue is converted into gelatin. So, when I cook brisket at 131F for 48 hours, it is rare and tender.
  8. I make a kosher fish chowder using the following general recipe: Saute 1 medium onion chopped in butter in the pot you will use for the chowder Cut 1lb baking potatoes into 1/2" cubes, add to the pot and add 2 1/2c water Add 1 bay leaf and 1T thyme Bring to a boil until potatoes are just soft on the outside but firm in the middle (about 10 min) Mash the potatoes to thicken the soup. (If I am making a large quantity, I will use instant potatoes - some are OU) My son likes corn, so I will add 1C frozen corn unless fresh is available Season - I usually over season since I want to keep stirring to a minimum after adding the fish Cut either 1 1/2 lb cod, haddock or pollack into 1/2" to 1" pieces When cooked (about 5 min) add 1C heavy cream Mound the chunks of fish, the onions, and potatoes in the center of soup plates and ladle the broth around. I usually garnish with chives Prep time 10 min Cooking time 15min 4 main course servings The chowder should be eaten within an hour. It does not keep in a crock pot for lunch on Shabbat, although you might add the fish and keep it on warm, then add to the cream before serving (I have never tried this for Shabbat lunch).
  9. I make rice in the oven, usually when I make pilaf. I boil the stock with spices, then add the rice, put on a cover and place in the oven to steam. I can't say how long, but it should be a bit longer than on the stove top. The reason I did it that way was because I didn't have enough burners on the stove and it freed up one. By the way, the rice isn't sticky, but comes out fluffy. Come to think about it, I have a Corning ware bowl that I always use.
  10. While we are on the topic of thermodynamics, there will be a marginal effect of having significant water vapor (steam)in the oven. The phase transformation of liquid water to steam requires more than raising the temperature above 212F (100C). The additional energy required to do this is called the heat of vaporization, which is 2,270 kJ/kg. It is sometimes called latent heat. When cooking, this heat is released when the water condenses. That is why steaming foods is faster than boiling them. Will this extra heat change cooking time? A bit, but I doubt if it will be significant. I may be wrong, but this extra heat in baking bread, may be the reason why you get a good crust when you inject steam.
  11. I have never roasted chicken with water in the oven. But, in the past, I have used it for grilling in an oven. Placing the grill rack in a roasting pan with about 1/2 inch (1cm)of water in the bottom keeps the fat from catching fire, reduces smoking and splattering. Since the heat comes from the top, the water does not appear to have any effect on the end result.
  12. To save time cooking, I know that you can prep and prepare days (in the refrigerator), weeks and months (in the freezer) before. I am interested in the preparation of raw ingredients as well as cooked items (both finished dishes as well as components). I am not interested in what you can do before, but what you can’t or shouldn’t do, since I assume this will be a much shorter list. For example, freezing some fruits and vegetables will damage the cell walls, turning them into mush. Are there general rules that I can use?
  13. It seems to me that the size and cut of the meat is a critical element in the gel/no gel issue. Because cooking SV at lower temperatures, the further the distance of the surface of the meat from the center the less likely the juices will gel since the gelatin must migrate from the collagen matrix to the liquid. At lower temperatures, more of the gelatin remains in place. At higher temperatures it can migrate further. Thus the total surface area is increased and the distance to the surface is reduced. Just a thought.
  14. Mikels

    chicken skin

    I add the chicken skins to bags I keep in the freezer. Because of the work involved, I do the following only a few times a year and process about 10-20 pounds of skin. I semi-thaw the clumps of chicken skins to make cutting easier, then cut them into 1/2" cubes. I boil them in water for a few hours to extract the fat and collagen. Then, I remove the bits of skin and slowly roast them in the oven until crisp (placing them on paper towels helps wick away the fat. I skim off as much of the fat as possible and further reduce the water. Then I add back the fat and cool until I have a solid fat layer. I pack the water layer, which contains gelatin, into small containers and freeze, adding it to soups and sometimes stews for an improved mouth feel. Usually, there is some junk attached to the lower part of the frozen block of fat, so I reboil the fat to clean it up, then chill it. I drive off the excess water from the fat layer and use for cooking. Because the fat is almost flavorless, you may want to flavor it with some garlic and onion. The crisped bits of skin are added to dishes to add crunch. To add additional flavor to them, I will fry some garlic in some of the fat and fry the skins before roasting. You can also add onions at the same time. While the skins will keep for weeks in the fridge (if they last that long) you can increase their shelf life if you pour some of the melted fat over them. Although it seems like quite a bit of work, the active part is usually quite small.
  15. I usually use gin. However, I have used tequila and replaced the dill with coriander.
  16. When, every Thanksgiving, I get a few fresh turkeys, as I am cutting them up, I think butchering. When I attack one chicken, I may think dissembling. When giving someone a recipe I use cut up. Usually, I just do it without a name. Plating and serving, in my opinion, are two separate activities. Usually, I serve food family style. But, sometimes I serve a plate with a layout, then the word plate comes to mind. Many times, I will serve an appetizer that is carefully "plated." Only rarely do I prepare individual servings of a main course. Just my two cents.
  17. If there were no gluten products in the plant, then either it must have gotten in somewhere after you packaged them. Or, more likely, with such a small amount it could be a false positive. I would ask her to return the package with some beans so you could check other beans for gluten. And, I would ask her for the name of the test, its manufacturer and the batch number in case it was a problem with the batch of the test. By the way, all tests have false positives and false negatives. I would send the beans to a lab that uses a carefully controlled tests to see if you get the same result. If you do, then an unopened bag to the lab to see if it came from your plant. I would send her the lab tests. If it were found in both samples, I would start a witch hunt to see where the gluten was introduced. And, I would thank her for identifying the problem. If it were a false positive, I would notify the maker of the test so, it can be corrected at their end. I would also notify the consumer that it was a false positive. Tell her that a false positive gives an extra level of protection and you were working with the manufacturer of the test to see why you got a false positive. However, from what you say, I doubt she will be of any help. I don't know the physiological effect of such a small amount would be; a medical specialist could give you an answer. Good luck!
  18. Hi Duncan -- There was some discussion on this last year but as I recall, the advice was to do a quick dunk (30 sec) in 180 deg F water to quickly kill off any surface pathogens. I did that with some short ribs that were suspect and did end up tossing them in the trash after cooking as the smell lingered, but that was mostly my fault for keeping the meat far longer than I should have before bagging it. Mostly now I try to bag quickly, and always do a smell test before bagging. Keep experimenting! I was the one who had the same problem last November. I was trying to make a roulade and think the pounding coupled with the stuffing and bagging it the day before contributed to the problem. I plan to repeat it in the next week. My plan is to do a quick dunk in boiling water, place the stuffing on the meat while it is still hot, tie it up with string dunked in boiling water, then bag it and toss it in. Wow, sounds like what I did when making wine and beer. I'll let you know how it comes out.
  19. This may be too late, but it will be useful in the future.... Get a probe thermometer. You will be able to read the temp with the door closed. In fact, most of them ave an alarm that goes off when it hits a predetermined temp. I can't live without it.
  20. I suggest a simple solution. Brine the breast, add aromatics in the body cavity, oil well, then use an external probe thermometer and remove it from the oven at 165F - 170F depending upon your preference. Although I have not done this for a breast, it works quite well with or without brining for a whole turkey or chicken. If you are able, instead of roasting it, use a turkey frier; the oil seals in the moisture. Using the external probe thermometer, the turkey does not overcook, which leads to dryness.
  21. I'm trying short ribs for the first time this week and am thinking about the anti-pathogen dunk -- but would it also work to give the short ribs a quick sear with a blowtorch prior to bagging? ...might want to do both unless you are incredibly thorough blowtorching the surface. Cooking Issues recommends searing meat before and after sv'ing, and I can certainly taste the difference. Below is a quote from an email I recently sent to one of my readers about this: I smelled the meat before I cooked it and it seemed ok. But maybe my nose is not working as well as it should. I will try the dunk approach on the pounded meat before I roll it up. Thanks to everyone for the help. I will try it and let you know; I have an identical piece of meat bought at the same time from the same place (it was sealed and frozen).
  22. Since it was a roulade, I don't thing the quick dunk g would work since the meat at the center would remain untouched. I may try a quick sear to kill the surface bacteria. I was wondering if the pounded meat is something like hamburger. We usually treat the center of the meat as sterile. Since the meat was pounded to a 1/4", the bacteria are spread throughout the meat. Or, is only the surface a problem?
  23. What setup are you using? Is it possible that it's a couple degrees off and 133F was actually under 130F? I am using an Auber PID controller with a tabletop roaster. I have been using this setup for the last year and never had a problem. I usually use it at 131F-132F.
  24. I had a sous vide go bad. I created a 2” roulade using a top of the rib pounded 1/4" thick with a mushroom filling. It was placed in the foodsaver pouch with some tomato paste and sealed. It was stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The next day, I placed it in a 133F bath. The next morning, over 12 hours later, everything looked fine. I went away for a day and upon my return, the bag was inflated and the contents had obviously gone off (one sniff told me the rest of the story). I know what happened, but don’t know how. Twelve hours at 133F should have pasteurized the contents. It didn’t. Does anyone have any ideas?
  25. I think it depends upon what else is being served and, to some extent, how the turkey is cooked. The larger the number of additional dishes and the number of courses will determine how important the turkey is in the entire meal. Once, I fried (not for Thanksgiving) an 11lb bird with four side dishes as part of a five course meal for four people, well beyond the 2lb per person. There was no meat left. Guess things fried are simply better. Just my experience
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