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Everything posted by cbread

  1. Weinoo, I'm sure you're absolutely right about plenty of wannabe chefs. But, for me, I have no imaginary life in a commercial kitchen. I'm just a geek who likes cooking with tools that fit me and who's at best a middling cook. It's true, but irrelevant to me, that a pro could get a great deal more than I out of the tools I use. That would be true of any set of tools, low end or high end, that one could assemble. A pro or highly accomplished amateur will get better results than I virtually every single time and I'm fine with that. Over time, I get to be a little better and a little better yet as a cook, but ultimately, for me the kitchen is for making food and having fun. I get to play with food and make some really good food (and lots less than good). But, more than anything else, I have fun, and that's the point. Most of my tools are middle of the road, but all are carefully chosen to fit me. I have everything from many utterly pedestrian (but absolutely useful) items rescued from yard sales and flea markets to a few good stainless aluminum laminate pots and pans. I have no Japanese knives, no vacuum sealer, no rotovap, no copper pans. There are vast numbers of fancy tools I don't have. I could buy many such things but I don't have the room, would make too little use of them, and really just don't want them. Perhaps we just think differently about whether residential cook-tops are a bit heat limited or not. For me, I'd just really love to be able to bring up the temperature in a heavy pan one heck of a lot faster. In terms of pure physics that just means I want access to a lot more heat. A couple of people offered ideas on induction cookers and outdoor gas heaters for which I'm very grateful, and which I will try out.
  2. I'm fascinated by what people do to modify their cooking tools. Example: I filed down the front edge of my aluminum pizza peel to sharpen it so it now slides under pies much more smoothly. But I'm hesitant of a much bigger hack that nonetheless tantalizes me... I read in a wonderful old New Yorker story that Kenny Shopsin, of "Shopsin's", drilled out the jets in his gas cooktop to get more heat in his old restaurant location. Probably a seriously bad idea for a home kitchen, but darn it, I'd like to get more heat, a lot more heat. I feel like too often I'm just kinda warming stuff when what I really want is immediate access to massive, volcanic, huge, heat. Has it been done? Does it even work? Am I an idiot for thinking such thoughts? I'm assuming this is a "don't try this at home" Darwin Award level stunt, that there are big big issues with safety and insurance - but - that's just assumptions. Does anyone have actual facts they could pass along?
  3. Beautiful veggies. Beautiful photographs.
  4. I bought a hand orange juicer at Penneys of all places, with the horrible name chef'n FreshForce. Despite the name, It's amazingly effective. It uses a simple gear mechanism to squeeze oranges very easily and very completely. It's so powerful that I have to deliberately use it very gently to avoid practically exploding the oranges. About my only complaint is that it is, for a hand tool, somewhat large and bulky, and a bit expensive. $35. But if I lost this one I buy another in a second.
  5. Another strategy; put in a really large single sink and use a plastic tub when you want a separate bath of, say, soapy water? I can't see the point of forever and irreversibly making a sink into two small ones when it is easy to have a forever large sink that it is easy to wash really large items in,that can also be home to a second volulme of liquid when wanted. Why ruin a sink for big stuff for no net gain?
  6. Very good idea there. I'd add a couple of notions. 1. Teach him to spiff up prepared items, like making a packaged soup a lot better. That's a good way for some people to learn their way round a kitchen with less stress than trying to make stuff from scratch. Lots of prepared foods can be made better by simple additions. Add canned broth rather than water to prepared soups, Make your own croutons. Add stuff like veggies and barley to soups. A couple of spices added... 2. Keep it drop dead simple until or unless he asks for more.
  7. In case folks don't know - the included credit card sized thingie is actually a USB flash drive with a pdf manual on it. And to answer jmasur - the firmware version is shown on the splash screen when powered on. And here I was, thinking it was just a clever promotional item, a freeby memory stick with the Anova logo on it.
  8. Life has been hectic and tonight is the first opportunity I've had to start up the Anova. I'm happy to say it's so easy to use that the fact that no instruction book etc were included made no difference at all. It would have taken longer to read the instructions than to simply poke at the screen and see what's happened. Child's play. Makes the process almost boring, which is exactly what I want. No difficulties, no surprises. As easy to use as the side kic and with greater height, better designed than the side kic with respect to not having to fill the cooking bath so full. VERY pleased. PS Edit Impressed with the cord. It's beefy and long enough without being in the way.
  9. Just ordered one a few days ago and it arrived today. I haven't yet powered it up but already impressed. It appears very well built. It dod not feel like I had to wait very long for delivery, so they get good marks from me for promptness. I can't wait to fire it up.
  10. I'm with andiesenji above. But I will go further. I can't see the point of Shun's oddball designs. They seem "show off" and useless. Designed to wow the easily wowed.
  11. MOV???? You electronics guys... I have to ask, what's a MOV?
  12. Well, just getting over a cold which took me out of the game for a while. Now firing up the SideKic once again. This time with a bagged piece of beef rather than a food-less trial run. Just a zip lock bag. Seems to be working fine. It will be a while till I could justify a chamber vac. Once again I'm impressed with how easy it is to use and find my earlier critique a bit too sharp. It seems to run a couple of degrees below my thermometer readings, but it's steady and I can adjust with no difficulty. The controller unit is easy to comprehend and dead simple. I like it. The whole thing is reassuringly undramatic to use. Temps seem very stable and consistent all over the cooking vessel. It's just plain easy to use. I can't wait to do a long slow tough tasty cut for the first time. Tonight is just a tender quick cooking steak and since it has the oddball title of "Sirloin Junior" at the bucher's I really don't know the proper time so I'm just winging it two hours 135F and then I will sear it. Off to do veggies...
  13. I'd be asking a restaurant supply place I trust whether induction hobs were any good for commercial kitchen use. That is if you have a supplier you can trust. Maybe I'm just lucky.
  14. I just waste a lot and slab sides off with a knife. Wasteful as heck, shame on me, but I decided I hate peeling them. And ten pounds??? Out comes the knife.
  15. It's far easier to select the few good shows, than to enumerate the many lousy and awful.
  16. On the natural market for the SideKic - My guess is that sous vide is going to gradually work it's way into the mainstream household kitchen. I wish I could tell Duncan I believe that a good unit at low price alone will quickly make it mainstream but I think the idea will require time for the diffusion of knowledge about sous vide technique and theory. I think that the cooking fanatics, hobbiests, and early adopters to be found in places like this forum are the real market for now.
  17. Well, I haven't cooked with it yet, but I heated up a couple of gallons of water last night in a mock cooking run to 135 F. and am impressed. It did everything it should and nothing it shouldn't. It sat against the side of the cooking vessel with better stability than I had expected and just seems quite solid. I am less inclined to insist on clamps than I had previously. I'd still like them, but the design decision seems more valid than I had thought. The control set up is extremely simple and very user friendly. I can't complement Duncan enough for that. Bravo. Easy as heck to set up. I liked the continuous temperature read out. I'd like to see a slightly longer tether between the heating unit and the control unit. I found myself wanting to have strain relief at each end of the tether. I still want to see any future iteration of the design go deeper into the vessel and have more wiggle room between lowest and highest acceptable water levels. Overall, though, it's a surprisingly rugged, solid feeling unit and not a toy. Chris, I like your insulating top. Prompted by your fine example, I'm going to get a beer cooler very soon.
  18. Mine arrived today too. Well, Chris beat me to an initial review, and with his thorough photos, and testing in water, has given a better review than I could so far. Duncan should be commended for impressively fast shipping! I haven't even put mine into water yet, so I can't comment yet on operational aspects, but my responses so far: I was immediately impressed by the shipping, simple and effective packaging and by the forthrightness of the instruction manual. I really want to see some sort of clamping mechanism so that it will remain level. The substantial width of the "hook" that hangs it from the side of a cooking vessel is a mixed blessing. That's one of those design decisions that no maker can ever satisfy everyone with. Too narrow and people won't be able to hang it off the thick rim of a beer cooler. Too wide, and the unit won't set level on a narrow rim. If it is hooked on the rim of a narrow edged vessel, the unit hangs down so that it is quite a bit off level. Since there is only a modest difference between the too empty and too full indications, and since it is important not to run it too full or too dry, on a slant it becomes more difficult to determine what would be the correct water level. Regardless I discovered that if I hang it on the corner of a 8 Qt Cambro, it sets quite well. Maybe I need to get a small beer cooler so I can see how it works hung on a cooler. Photos will follow as soon as I can make them. I'm posting my immediate responses in a brief window of opportunity. Anyway, so far I am impressed. I believe I have received a very good value. I will have more to say soon.
  19. Hmmmm.... A pro version? I don't know about "pro" but the things that come to mind that I'd be looking for are: 1. A clamp to secure the tool to the edge of the vessel. 2. 195 F capability. 3. Have the bottom reach deeper into the water so that it would be less likely to run dry during prolonged operation; a greater waterline differential between too full and too empty. You see where this is heading? My first circulator hasn't yet arrived, and here I am specifying details for the next one, a device as yet not even in production... Oh, Duncan, this site is like quicksand. You were just trying to be helpful and here I am working up a scheme that will cost you tens of thousands in tooling etc... Others soon will be chiming in with requests for chamber vacuum sealers for $300 and rotovaps for $500. Next will be the chorus of those seeking an affordable centrifuge. The gadget quest never ends. You're in deeper than you knew. Seriously, thanks for producing the SideKic! I'm looking forward to it's arrival.
  20. Duncan, Thanks so much for coming on to our forum here with good information! Could you give any estimate of max capacity of one of your units if water is pre-heated before going into the cooking vessel, and assuming the cooking vessel would be well insulated on sides and bottom, and partially insulated at the top? I know those descriptors are pretty wooly, but I'm looking for a ballpark volume. I'm thinking of a stainless tank with 1 1/2 or 2" foam insulation added to the sides and bottom, and a floating foam lid covering maybe 90% of the water surface to reduce thermal and evaporative losses. Would you recommend any different max capacities at the 175-195 F temperatures used with vegetables?
  21. I'm pleasantly surprised by their web site. At their product's price, the website could have been really cheesy, but they answered the questions most people would be asking quite well. Now I really have to think about taking the plunge with this.
  22. Everyone's listed all the same concerns I have. It's so darn cheap. I'm tempted to buy it just to try it out even if it may turn out to be disappointing. But then, unhappy memories of earlier "value priced" tool purchases sneak up on me, and I think maybe I should wait till I can justify a professional grade tool.
  23. I fell across this just now: SideKIC Kitchen Immersion Circulator I have never heard of them and I'm wondering if anyone has any knowledge of them? There is almost no data on wattage, capacities, how tight the temperature control is, thermal protection? All a mystery. No surprise given the low price.
  24. Haven't got a sealer yet. But, I'm thinking that when/if I do, I might get a dedicated cart for the sealer so there would be no manhandling needed.
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