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Cim Ryan

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  1. You might find this dense, but if you can wade through it, it's informative: High cholesterol may protect against infections and atherosclerosis Q J Med 2003; 96: 927-934 © Association of Physicians 2003; all rights reserved. http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/96/12/927?ijkey=172mwKXqzgmtE&keytype=ref
  2. I bought the SideSwipe instead of the Beater Blade because it seemed to me that the way the fins alternate would mix better, and their downward angling would push stuff up and out the top less that the straight, continuous fins on the Beater Blade. Of course, I haven't actually used a Beater Blade to compare them; I've been so happy with the SideSwipe that I see no need to ever switch. As others have said, I haven't used the original paddle after using the SideSwipe for the first time.
  3. Tempered chocolate shrinks as it cools, so if you're using tempered chocolate, the caramel might be getting squeezed out. Can you get the chocolate up onto the stick, completely sealing in the caramel?
  4. Thanks for sharing that document, PeterF. I disagree with the recommendation against a hot plate/stock pot solution that Auber makes; I use a hot plate, stock pot, and Sous Vide Magic controller, and am very happy with the results. Even without a circulator running, the temperature in my 16 qt stock pot filled with about 12 qts of water and sitting on a hot plate controlled by a Sous Vide Magic was constant throughout to a tenth of a degree F when I measured it. At my electricity rates, I think that comes to around $0.10, which seems pretty negligible. (Same as leaving a lamp on over night.) I guess the safety concern about evaporating all the water out is reasonable. If I were really concerned about it, I think I'd modify a pot lid to fit tightly with the probe wire in place. I've only cooked protein at less than 150F so far, but I haven't noticed any significant loss due to evaporation, with the lid of the pot slightly open to allow for the power line to the aquarium powerhead and the temperature probe. Since I've never found myself wishing I had a rice cooker, I'm glad to have spent the money on the stock pot rather than the rice cooker.
  5. Whoops, it was actually red cabbage, not beets. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19#howtouse
  6. This has always seemed a bit dubious to me. Especially since most of the hardcore "blender fanatics" out there promulgating this information are pursuing some fairly fringe dietary and health philosophies. Even if it is true, it seems quite clear to me that most people who can afford a high power blender and eat a normal diet are far more likely to be overnourished than undernourished. Middle class people in developed countries don't tend to suffer from undernourishment as a generality. If by "overnourished" you're referring to calories, I'd agree, but "normal diet" in America leaves some pretty significant deficiencies in antioxidants and some vitamins. Steaming vegetables is generally recommended for two reasons: The heat breaks down the cell walls and allows you access to the antioxidants that would otherwise stay hidden or bound within the cells. It also makes the veggies taste better, which means you're more likely to eat more of them. But the heat also deactivates some enzymes, breaks down vitamin C, and otherwise shuts down some other antioxidants. So, if these fancy blenders can mechanically break down the cell walls, it stands to reason that they might provide access to the good stuff without damaging it. For example, I recall reading recently that slicing beats releases an enzyme that somehow makes another antioxidant available, but that the enzyme is shut down by heat. So, in the case of beets, it seemed ideal to blend them up rather than to cook them. (I wish I could find the article...) Unfortunately, I don't know of any studies that have compared the various nutrient levels in finely ground fresh veggies to those in cooked veggies; the research that has been conducted seems to just compare raw, "whole" (i.e. roughly chopped) veggies to cooked, "whole" veggies.
  7. The Aeropress stores in less space than the Keurig, but it has more pieces. Watch this to see how easy it is to clean:
  8. Just cut open the thing and dump the contents into a press. I strongly recommend the AeroPress; it's incredibly easy to clean.
  9. I've been adding vegetables to my smoothies lately. I'm still trying to figure out the acceptable combinations, so I'd love to hear what you all think works. Carrots seem to be acceptable with just about anything. Beets really stand out against mild flavors, but a little beet with a lot of blueberries and blackberries and it's just noticeable. (Agave or fructose really helps, too.) Red cabbage seems to go well with anything except the most mild flavors... If I were making a strawberry-banana smoothie or a pear-banana smoothie I'd skip the cabbage. I haven't made it to kale, swiss chard, or spinach, yet. What works?
  10. The VitaMix is tall enough that you probably ought to measure your over-counter cabinets before picking one up. Blendtecs are shorter.
  11. As I said in the other thread I linked to, I measured the temperature everywhere inside a stockpot on a hot plate controlled by the Sous Vide Magic and didn't find any temperature difference anywhere in the pot. The probe I was using is sensitive to tenths of degrees F. David's identified why I prefer the external controller to the dedicated appliance: Cost: Since I already had a stock pot, my sous vide gear cost me about $175 (controller + hotplate). Storage: It's easier to find room for a hot plate and the sous vide controller than a box the size of a bread machine. Flexibility: If I wanted to cook a bunch of things at once, I'd want a larger than 10 qt capacity to make room for an aquarium powerhead (to keep cold spots from developing between items). My stockpot is 16 qts, which seems about right for two or maybe three items at once, tied up to keep them apart.
  12. You don't even need a to lay out the cash for a rice cooker, a regular stock pot with a cheap hot plate will work fine:
  13. If you put some dough in the oven for a day at 600 degrees, it'll turn to charcoal. But if you put it in for five minutes, it'll have a nice deep brown crust. Why? Because the evaporating water keeps the dough way, way below 600 degrees. That's why the parchment doesn't burn. Direct contact between the dough and the stone isn't necessary; the parchment allows both moisture and heat to pass, like it isn't there. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a pizza baked on parchment and a pizza baked directly on the stone.
  14. Most pizza dough recipes are rather wet, so rather sticky. That's fine, you just dust the outside with flour so there's a barrier of dry between your hands/the counter/the peal and the dough. But when you build the pizza slowly, the moisture saturates the dusting of flour on the outside, turning it to glue. Wooden peals can absorb some of that moisture, so they slow the sticking better than metal peals. And shaking gets some air in to disperse the moisture. But parchment is definitely the most sure-fire way to go. I build my pizza on two plastic cutting boards that I place side-by-side. I first stretch the dough, then cut a piece of parchment, place the parchment on top of the dough, and flip it over so the parchment is on top and the dough is on the bottom. I quickly rearrange the dough, sliding it back into the center and stretching it back into the right shape before it has a chance to stick to the paper. But once I've got it in position, I'm all set: I can take as long as I like to build the pizza and not worry about sticking. Before I transfer the pizza to the oven, I use a razor knife to trim the excess parchment down to about 1/2" around the pizza. In the oven, the parchment won't burn, but it'll brown a little bit in spots. The dough keeps the paper from getting too hot, even in a 600F oven. I don't even use a peal; I just bought a 14" circular aluminum pizza baking disc from the restaurant supply store. It takes up less space than a peal. I wouldn't suggest building the pizza on an aluminum pan, though; the moisture can condense on the metal and make the sliding the paper require a good tug instead of just sliding off.
  15. Fascinating. Does the sensation taper off, or cease abruptly?
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