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Dave the Cook

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About Dave the Cook

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  1. Though some folks have been here since 2001, perhaps many don't know that eGullet was born in the shadow of another catastrophe, that of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the US. Today, we face another challenge. I won't indulge in the fashionable series of dark superlatives that describe the situation that confronts the world today. Instead, we'd like to start a topic that highlights the efforts of individuals and organizations that propose to support our membership with extraordinary offerings. That membership includes cooks, for both sweet and savory concoctions; chefs, for both sweet and savory productions; the polymathic food-adventurous; and above all, advanced amateur cooks, who have always been the heart of our community. If you or your organization are making such an offer, or if you know of such an offer, please post it here, keeping in mind that eG remains a politics-free zone. We will do what we can, but we cannot guarantee that any particular offer is legitimate, so buyer beware; this is the internet, after all. Our thanks go out to all of you. Oh look! @blue_dolphin has already posted something related:
  2. Congratulations on your rodeo! I agree with your reconsideration of SubZero. The initial cost is steep, and if it breaks (not a lot of "if," really; they seem to be very touchy), its going to be a pain to repair. I have three direct experiences. 1) We have a friend in Raleigh, North Carolina who "inherited" (with the house) a SZ fridge and SZ freezer, both full-sized. He likes them fine until something breaks, and then he has to wait for really expensive and slow-to-arrive parts to be installed by an expensive technician. 2) the kitchen where we used to teach (in an affluent suburb of Atlanta) had two fridges and a freezer. (Now that I think about it, they may have all been counter-depth units.) The fridges, especially, were always in need of adjustment for one thing or another (usually having to do with programming), and really didn't have a lot of space, partly because the layouts were odd and (to me) irritating. For example, the butter compartment was at the top of the door, which is fine, but if you forgot to close the lid to the butter compartment, it would bounce the fridge door back open. 3) My brother and SIL have one in their kitchen. They are people who do not need to worry about the cost of anything, and yet my SIL was appalled at the price tag, especially when she compared it to the French-door Frigidaire in their butler's pantry. The Frigidaire did the same job -- kept things cold. but at a much lower price. And if it breaks, she can buy three or four more before she's spent as much as the SubZero cost. When we remodeled our kitchen, we got the same Frigidaire. Yes, we hooked up the icemaker, and it has performed flawlessly, except for occasionally flinging cubes across the floor when we've left the icemaker on too long (so admittedly, the auto shut-off isn't perfect). Thumbs up for the Bosch d/w. I wasn't sure about this purchase, but it's been great. I'm not dismissing @paulraphael's observation that it seems like the tines, especially on the bottom racks, seem to be too close together, but after a few months of exceptional results, I've given up trying to second-guess the designer, and cram those plates as close together as the racks allow. I have yet to be disappointed. One tip: before placing your order, compare the 800 and 300 series. The latter is about $250 cheaper, so if you don't need the bells and whistles of the 800 (not that the 300 series doesn't have a few of its own), save your money for something else, (like using detergent pods as Bosch recommends. Pods are more expensive, as @weinoo implies, but the difference is less than 10 cents per load, and pods are way more convenient. If you run your dishwasher once a day, the $250 you saved on the 300-series Bosch will let you use six years' worth of pods before you come close to making up the difference.) I once did a lot of research on range hoods, "once" meaning 16 years ago, when I wrote this article for the Daily Gullet. The illustrations were lost in an upgrade, and many of the links are outdated, but --IMO -- it's still worth a read. tl;dr: 1) think (and plan) hard before just slapping in a high-capacity fan; 2) consult an HVAC person, rather than relying on the suspect expertise of a kitchen designer or appliance salesman. You can spend a lot of money for poor (and sometimes dangerous) results. I've used a Thermador cooktop once in my life (at a vacation rental), and I loved it. But I think gas is overrated as a culinary fuel, so we have an electric range.
  3. Sure. Here's a recipe. Of course, just because you can doesn't mean you should. Seems like more trouble than it's worth, but YMMV.
  4. Are you seasoning the beans with anything during the cook? Salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, epazote, chiles?
  5. Sadly, we must report that long-time member (she joined in 2005) and Society donor Lisa Shock has died. A few of us had been wondering about her, not having seen her post since December, 2018. Recently, one of our members came across an announcement regarding her: https://www.alcor.org/blog/2019/01/. (I'll let the notifier out themselves, if they wish; in any case, thank you.) Lisa posted on a wide variety of topics; her curious intellect and eagerness to assist were easily discerned. Her competence, intelligence and integrity were constantly at the fore in the few interactions I personally had with her. I will miss her, as I imagine many here will.
  6. Yeah, but could you do it more efficiently than Lay's? I don't think I could. Phew.
  7. Potatoes themselves have very little fat or sodium, so almost all of those that are in the nutritional info linked to above are coming from the frying and salting. There's an entry in that same database for just "Potato Chips," but no details about how they're made. It might even just be an average of manufactured products. If I had to guess, I'd say that homemade would probably be higher in fat and salt, if for no other reason than manufacturers, for cost reasons, are not going to waste a microgram of any ingredient. I guess you could do your own analysis (weigh the potato, weigh the oil before and after), or send a batch of your own for a lab to do it (have your wallet handy, though they'd give you a breakdown of fat, fiber and vitamin content). I don't think it's worth it, because these days, chips for me are a rare treat, and thus exempted from close scrutiny. I am second to no one in my love of potatoes, but seriously, no salt? What would be the point?
  8. I'm not sure how helpful that distinction is, though. In comparing the nutrition facts for Pringles and Lay's Potato Chips, one finds that, while they aren't identical, they are awfully similar.
  9. We've been steaming since reading Kenji's 2014 article, mostly on the same subject, in Serious Eats. Now that he has a larger group of test subjects available, he has statistics to back up the (to us) persuasive but largely anecdotal assertions he made in 2014. From the NYT article: Then he outlines his testing techniques, which are pretty sound. He follows those with his findings: Steam! On pressure cookers (including the Instant Pot): Age: There's quite a bit more -- enough to make the entire article worth reading -- including his final sentence:
  10. Funny: after trying the handle style for the first time, I disposed of my bowl-style juicers. I've used these in teaching situations, and they are generally very decent, as long as you don't stress them. Those gears are plastic, and when you run into a really stiff, pithy lemon, they collaborate with the plastic body to temporarily deform and fail. I'll put it another way: the additional leverage that the added length and gearing provide make the squeezer (in some cases) too strong for its own good.
  11. Until Royal Dock became scarce around here, we employed it in a Martini made 2:1 with Lillet Blanc, garnished with an orange twist, a ratio we picked up from a bartender at Holeman & Finch. If citrus in a Martini puts you off, maybe there's too much orange, but we like it. These days, we pour Plymouth Navy Strength as a substitute. It's not the same, but it packs the punch, proof-wise, that the ratio requires. We also put the Plymouth to work in gimlets, where it's perfectly at home. Gin is supposed to be juniper-forward isn't it? Having said that, we found Junipero took that a little too seriously. It's decently-made, but doesn't seem to play well with others. Also, it's on the expensive side. the same was true of several small northwest US offerings: lots of pine. I don't remember the names of any of them. We quite liked Citadelle, until it priced itself out of our range. It is, or was, made by the same company that makes Landy cognac. I met the MD of Landy a few years back, and he told me that they started making gin just to employ their stills in the months when, by law, they weren't allowed to make cognac. Aviation is another that's well-made but not to our taste. Too much -- coriander, IIRC. Ford's is a good gin, and having been concocted by bartenders, is good for mixing. I'm looking forward to trying the higher-proof version, if it makes it here. When money is tight, Gordon's is surprisingly good. We tried Seagram's, but it got a big no, even in the higher-proof version.
  12. I was disappointed in the first episode, on chicken parm (I haven't watched the second yet). I have a pretty high tolerance for AB's schtick, but that San Marzano/gangster bit was a waste of time, along with the explanation of DOP certification -- as if the certification alone makes them better. Are they? We don't know, because he didn't spend any time on that. Brown is a clever guy, as @rotuts has observed. Surely he could have come up with an entertaining presentation. Likewise, the sketch with W begged the question about mortar and pestles -- why use one of those instead of a food processor? Not to mention Mister No-Unitaskers has twelve mortar and pestles? Given that there were visible fragments in the browning phase, I'm not buying his lower-pH justification for including the salt-and-vinegar chips. Need more crunch? I'm with @ElsieD, panko is the way to go. And if you want a hit of acid, squeeze a little lemon juice at the table, or over the cheese prior to baking (which might have mitigated the stringy cheese issue). He just wanted to include something different -- a seemingly irresistible impulse he's unfortunately brought forward from the earlier version of the show. I did like the take-down of the chicken breast half (though he was inconsistent with his terminology, sometimes using "half," and other times not). It's nice to see the fridge- and oven-cams still in use, and I still like the informative interstitials, even if the calcium chloride warning was probably confusing to many (if you're buying real San Marzanos, do you need to worry about it?) I also like that he's gone to mostly weight measurements where appropriate (though inconsistently accompanied by volume equivalents). Personally, I can get past most of these nits, but if you're trying to teach people cooking basics, you can't afford to be blasé about small things.
  13. We have both hemostats and forceps; both are handy. A tip we give our students (because it's both true and fun) is that you can save a few bucks by heading to your local pet store and buying "feeding tongs," rather than something called "forceps."
  14. Here's another take on the challenge of roasting a chicken: from the Daily Gullet ( and Best Food Writing 2010), @JAZ's "All That Glitters."
  15. We had a Capresso for quite a while, and were quite happy with it. However, years of use had worn the printing off. Muscle memory was usually sufficient to set the timer properly, but we got tired of the guesswork required for odd-sized batches. Finally, we replaced it with an Oxo Conical Burr Grinder. So far, it's been great. It delivers a consistent grind size for our purposes (almost always just plain-old drip coffee), and has quite a wide range. Having said that, I'm not sure what you need for stove-top moka "espressso," and I should warn you that it can't quite make it to what I would consider a grind suitable for an espresso maker.
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