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Dave the Cook

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About Dave the Cook

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    Executive Director

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    Atlanta

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  1. Dave the Cook

    Good Eats: Reloaded

    Over the years, I've watched reruns of Good Eats, partly because I find that I still enjoy the show, and partly because I often picked up something that I missed the first (or second or third) time around, even after I realized that Brown was often just simplifying techniques and information from sources that were less accessible to the typical TV viewer. Almost as often, I'd notice that the show would misstate something, or that its source material had been superseded by more recent findings or technology. So I was actually looking forward to seeing this show, with its promise of corrected and/or updated material, even if it seems to be mostly a promotion for the new show, due out next year. Unfortunately, although some of that happens (along with, yes, several wardrobe/hair/technology snippets), a lot of shortcomings were missed, and a few new errors were introduced: The implication that the flatiron steak was "invented." I suppose that's technically true, but it's not like cattle breeders engineered steers to create a new cut of meat. It was always there. As rancher Coleman says near the beginning of the episode, "There are good steaks all over the cow." Maybe this is nitpicking on my part, but the use of "invented" struck me as peculiar. More time could have been taken to explain cast iron, though the new instructions for seasoning are refreshingly sensible. Still, the implication that cast iron heats evenly is simply wrong. And while I know that a lot of people swear by using nothing but salt and a paper towel to "clean" cast iron, Brown's embrace of the technique runs contrary to his "work clean" ethos. That is to say, if you aren't washing your pans, they remain dirty. He should -- probably does -- know this. He stops the replay to "correct" himself on the definition of "prime rib." This leads to an explanation of grading, which leads to a bit about the cast members who played the "inspectors" in the original episodes. The latter was mildly amusing (as were the inspectors, no matter who played them), but "prime" rib is not called that because of grading. It's called "prime" because of the cut. It was disappointing to have Brown bypass a chance to clarify this point (which confuses many people), just for the sake of entertainment trivia. Brown missed a chance to explain why meat changes color, leaving in place the implication that it has something to do with how the meat is cut, rather than discuss oxidation. The steak Brown cuts into at the end of the episode was obviously cold. What the heck, man. People on eG. for the most part, probably wouldn't benefit from these clarifications, but years of teaching people how to cook has convinced me that many folks would. Alton Brown made his reputation by making food science accessible -- even popular -- and I for one am grateful for that. I'll probably continue to watch the "reloaded" episodes, but I won't be able to completely suppress the notion that I'm a (mostly willing) participant in a cynical exercise.
  2. Dave the Cook

    Gluten -free meatloaf

    I haven't personally tested the option, but the recipe in CI's The Best Recipe suggests bread crumbs, crushed saltines (my choice), or oatmeal. Oats are a little bit controversial as a gluten-free food, but the Celiac Disease Foundation says they're okay in reasonable amounts, as long as you're careful about processing-related cross-contamination.
  3. Dave the Cook

    NYT pay to play recipes

    The New York Times doesn't need me to defend them, and I have an all-access subscription, so Cooking isn't costing me anything extra. However -- If all you want is a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich or a wedge salad, an NYT cooking subscription is probably not a smart investment. Just post a question here in the Cooking forum, if you really can't figure it out. @Anna N asked a similar question yesterday about macaroni and cheese, and in a matter of minutes, she had at least three-and-a-half intelligent answers. On the other hand, if you're looking for a recipe, and all you can remember is it was by Pierre Franey, using chicken breasts, about five seconds in the NYT recipe archives will yield more than 60 possibilities. Among major US newspapers, very few don't charge you for archive searches these days. Rather than carping about what the Times has done, maybe we should be a tiny bit grateful that they've split off their recipes, so you don't have to pay to be able to search parts of the paper you don't care about. Last I checked, a subscription to Cooking cost $40/year. It's not cheap, but aside from the bargains @Toliver tempts us with regularly, it's not much more than the regular price of a cookbook. Having said all that, I think the subscription model is a bad one in this case. I think they'd make more money by instituting a per-recipe fee. You sign up once, give them a credit card number, and agree to pay 50 cents or a buck (or whatever) per recipe, following a reasonable preview. After that, the micropayment could be automatic, or confirmed with a checkbox at each instance.
  4. Hard to believe, and something we should rectify. This is dead-simple (none of that bechamel or emulsifying-salts stuff), and kids like it: 3-Ingredient Mac & Cheese.
  5. So probably not fresh enough?
  6. Dave the Cook

    Pasteurizing Eggs Sous Vide

    Per the USDA, the white from a large egg contains less than 1/10 gram of fat. Most of the fat is in the yolk: for a large egg, 4.51 g.
  7. Yes, more or less.
  8. Dave the Cook

    Have a good recipe for Dirty Rice?

    As with many things Cajun, Chef Paul is a good place to start. Edit: @Okanagancook beat me to it. I'd only add that if you're new to Prudhomme, be aware that he is, let's say, assertive in his seasoning. Personally I love it, but some might find it to be a bit much. When I'm cooking for such diners, I start with half the amount of cayenne and black pepper called for, reserving the rest to add later, if desired.
  9. Dave the Cook

    Problem with BBQ/Sous Vide.. is it safe to eat?

    In addition to what everyone else has posted, which has the benefit of being true, this ought to be addressed: This is ignorant, if you really care about salt levels. Regardless of whether you like the end result of the technique or not, brining -- especially equilibrium brining -- is pretty much the only way to precisely control the amount of salt in a finished product.
  10. Dave the Cook

    Best Hand Mixers

    Oh yeah. They're not as common as whisk attachments, but lots of models come with them: here, here and here, for example. I'm pretty certain that I'd never use them (if I'm making something that requires a dough hook, I'm breaking out the stand mixer), or that whisk, either (if I've picked up the hand mixer, it's because a whisk can't do the job). For sure, I don't want to be paying extra for them.
  11. Dave the Cook

    Best Hand Mixers

    What do we think about whisks and dough hooks? Ease of storage? Wattage? Number of speeds? Warranty? Parts availability? Reputation?
  12. Dave the Cook

    Best Hand Mixers

    The handle on our GE hand mixer just cracked, so after 40 or 50 years (this was my mom's hand mixer), we're in the market for a replacement. Anything new in the way of products or advice since the community last (February 2014, I see; btw, @ElsieD: did you ever get a replacement?) visited the issue?
  13. Dave the Cook

    Favorite diet soft drinks?

    This is exactly what you should do. Please report back, including price, observations as to color/carbonation level,etc., and of course tasting notes.
  14. Dave the Cook

    Under counter ice makers

    I haven't worked in a restaurant kitchen or bar in many years; however, I've spent a great deal of time in teaching kitchens (adjuncts to kitchen retailers), all of which have had built-in under-counter ice makers. They've all been broken at one time or another, a few times for weeks while waiting for parts. Admittedly, these machines probably get worked harder than they would be in a typical household, but you'd still expect them to have a better track record than that. I would, anyway. You might want to check out an earlier topic here. I don't think much has changed since then.
  15. Dave the Cook

    Hand-held citrus juicers

    Citrus juicers are pretty small. I think what you want for spinach is a potato ricer.
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