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Jose Nieves

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Everything posted by Jose Nieves

  1. I give my cooks the option of using one spoon (they have a second container for the "dirties" where the spoon goes in handle-first) or using the 2-spoon method (use the stirring spoon/spatula to spoon into their tasting spoon, which they carry with them)
  2. I agree with you that simple bitching, even when it's directed to someone who in my opinion deserves it, is not worth it. One honest question I have is whether you all think that this book is that well perceived in the field. I'm asking because I have a fairly decent selection of books in this particular area but never thought that Ruhlman's book as one to purchase.. partially because of my opinion of the guy.
  3. I do feel bad for Polcyn for writing a book with Ruhlman. Although, I should point out that while visiting some family in Ann Arbor, we drove to Five Lakes Grill and I spent a nice chunk of cash on some charcuterie (smoked pheasant sausage, bratwurst, etc) that could only be described as inedible since it had been "over-smoked" and the texture was completely wrong. I was told that they had been made by the sous since Mr. Polcyn was out of town..
  4. I'm not sure if you could label a tagine a "pressure cooker" since it doesn't increase the pressure inside the vessel. It is a slow-cooker which allows you to add everything in one dish, cover it and then add to hot embers the same way that some people use cast-iron dutch ovens.
  5. Todd, Yours is their "Top" model and Andrew has a regular one. Any chance you could take some pictures of the knob when pressure has been achieved? Is the quick release as easy to use as they mention?
  6. Looks like watercress to me but taste is the deciding factor.. Peppery? Lemony?
  7. One of the problems I see with using cast-iron is it's porousness, which might lead to the product getting stuck. Porcelain coated cast iron might work better or even putting the stainless steel pan on top of the cast iron so you can get some heat transfer. Sorrel says lemon to me, while mustard greens say mustard and watercress and arugula say pepper. Changing the dish might create a combination that is more appealing to you so I'd go for it. You can find fresh pink peppercorns (not a "true" peppercorn by the way) but they tend to be very expensive and he uses not only the skins but a whole one in the dish.
  8. I just did medium boiled eggs using Laura's recommendations and was very impressed on how easy it was to peel my fresh (still warm from Ms. Cluck Cluck) eggs.
  9. No, it is not normal. Constant hissing means that it is operating over-pressure and it is releasing the excess pressure. Make sure to turn the heat down ALOT after the pan reaches the ring of the desired pressure (just when the ring appears out of the hole). I have a gas stove-top and even the lowest setting is not low enough, I have to turn the handle it past Max to minimize the flame even more. Another trick (especially if you have an electric range), is to simply move the pan over to a smaller burner with less heat. It will take a few recipes to get the hang of it and hit the "sweet spot" of heat that is as low as it can go without loosing pressure (the signal going down) or kicking-in the over pressure safety (release steam that hisses). Ciao! L I must have a defective unit then. Mine gives off the hiss as soon as the pressure valve starts to rise and never stops. I've had it balanced with just the second barely showing and it still hissed. I will call Kuhn today to work out the problem. Have you given the valve a looksie? Mine gets stuck ever so often even though I clean it quite regularly. A little twist or pull when it's starting to build pressure and it's back to normal.
  10. I see this ALL the time. Their day starts with "My bus ride to get to school is 45 mins long and I wake up at 6am to get to school so I just eat some poptarts for breakfast" and then moves to a brown bag of chips, cold sandwhich and "fruit" juice. At one school I worked at there was a kid who came in with a huge lunch bag that had a soda, a couple different kind of cookies, some M&Ms, all rounded off with a variety of chip snacks. The mother saw me looking at this "food" one day and explained that the kid was a picky eater and that she had given up on fighting with him over food choices. It was absolutely appalling -- this family would have benefited from the policy. On the other hand, if the school had told ME I couldn't send a bag lunch with MY kid, I would have gone ballistic. How would the kid have benefitted? He wouldn't have eaten anything at school almost guaranteed. A great deal of districts realize this and are starting to move towards creating menus that deal with this nutritional "void". I create menus based on healthier items (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole grains, etc) while marketing the program to students, parents and the community as a whole. I go into classrooms and talk about the importance of a "good" breakfast and introduce the students to different vegetables, grains and fruits while showcasing "ethnic" dishes. I keep a very tight rein on my food and labor costs while looking for grants to help me offset my losses. I spend time clipping fresh herbs from the greenhouse in one of the schools. It helps that I worked in the restaurant business for many years and that I have 2 school-age children that test out my recipes and serve as a constant reminder of why I do what I do. A while back, someone mentioned a news special on school lunch in France and how "nutritious and healthy" their food was. They somehow skimmed over the fact that school lunch there runs at around $6 per student while we charge $2.10 for a lunch of milk, fresh fruits and vegetables and a choice of entree. I don't even know what I would do if I could get that much per plate.. Hand-made pasta, increase the amount of local produce and meats, fully train each and every one of my employees so they can become "defenders" of the program..
  11. I've personally seen cases where the allergy is so severe that it affects kids that are in the same room as someone who ate a PB&J some hours before and either forgot to wash their hands or brush their teeth afterwards. A lot of schools are using a "Peanut Aware" policy, meaning that FS doesn't purchase nuts or nut butters but are not promising a "Peanut Free" enviroment. I see this ALL the time. Their day starts with "My bus ride to get to school is 45 mins long and I wake up at 6am to get to school so I just eat some poptarts for breakfast" and then moves to a brown bag of chips, cold sandwhich and "fruit" juice.
  12. If you allow for the difference between wholesale and retail costs, I have doubts as to the accuracy of this. Whether or not parents will is another story I'm just wondering whether requiring kids to eat school food is entirely legal. It's not only an issue of food cost but also overhead in the form of labor (meal prep, clean up of dishes and dining room, clean up of equipment, etc), utility costs and equipment usage/replacement. Just like at home, the food needs to be made and dishes need to be washed so people are "paying" for the convenience and my ovens and dishwashing machines need to get fixed and replaced just like everybody else. When it comes down to it, a lot of FS operations run in the red and those of us who make a "profit", only get pennies for each meal. The principals are not requiring the kids to eat school food; they're just not allowing them to bring food from home, which I certainly don't agree with.
  13. I currently work as Exec Chef & Food Service Director for a school district so my view may be a tad biased.. Forcing students not to bring lunch from home is not the way to go but for every parent that complains about policies of this kind, there are two or three students that show up with a brown bag of cheetos and soda. I would venture to guess that a lot of those parents are not the kind that read about food here or on the NYT columns. The students in my district are offered Whole Wheat pasta with meat sauce or Alfredo made from scratch, fresh fruits and vegetables and chili made from scratch (using real ground beef) and many other choices. And to all those who say "I can certainly feed my child better food for what you charge me", my answer is "not really".
  14. It all depends on your definition of home version.. I purchased two brand new Rational combis for a kosher kitchen about 5 years ago and each one was about $20,000 (equipment and set-up cost) and they didn't have ALL the bells and whistles. With some practice, you can use one as an oven, a steamer, a smoker, a proofer and much more. As Pam mentioned, you can start your product the day before and not have to worry about it because they are very good at maintaining temperature and you can create a temp log for that amount of time (which some health inspectors require). You can program them to cook at a certain temp for a certain time and then switch to a different temp for another length of time, etc, etc Combi means "combination" which is a mix of the hot, dry air of an oven and the "wet" heat of a steamer. This is particularly good for minimizing loss from expensive cuts of meat while allowing the end-user to cook at a faster speed than regular convection ovens.
  15. http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0982761007/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new Check out the "signed" copy price.. You'd think that for that price, they would give you free shipping..
  16. How long did you dehydrate the honey four and at what temp and fan speed?
  17. I presoak my coats with Dawn Plus (Bleach Alternative and Oxi are good) and then add a little commercial dry powder to the wash. Once a year or so, I use Rit Dye Whitener or White Wash to get them back to "normal".
  18. I've been looking around to buy a Vitavit Edition but have been unable to find it online. I'm gonna have to call my sister in Berlin and have her ship me one..
  19. I've had a 7-3/8Q Kuhn for a number of years (I just found an old receipt for $100) that has served me very well. When I bought it, the choice for "good" PCs was either Kuhn or Fagor and I got the Kuhn because of it's size and advanced safety-features (I believe that they were the only ones with spring-loaded valves at the time). Cook's Illustrated recommends the Fagor on a 2005 article but I fail to understand the 2 issues (lack of a locking mechanism and the quick release) they had with the Kuhn. At the same time, buying 2 Fagors for the price of one Kuhn is a plus.. The only small tiny issue with it was finding gaskets for it (the only part I've had to replace on this) and now I can easily find them online. I'm almost certain that I've seen Fagor gaskets and parts at major retailers. Cleaning-wise, the Kuhn is so easy it's ridiculous.
  20. Very true. I've used hand-cranked extruders too and they're a great workout With that said, I still love being able to flavor my dough and extruding different shapes.
  21. They do. I have an electric Marcato that I found at a garage sale for about $5 a number of years ago that has served me well. When I use it, I make an abundance of pasta just to offset the amount of time I'll spend cleaning it. I have seen them on eBay ever so often simply because people get tired of them and sell them off..
  22. On top of it all, Dr. Ryan and his wife are all-around good people. With all the things to do, see and eat and such a short span of time, don't you think an assistant might be in order?
  23. Early 1980's in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.. The store was called something like "Naturopata de San Juan" and my mom gave me a bar of carob and told me it was chocolate and brought home a large bag of granola (I swear that it came with twigs and assorted greenery).. Just remembering it makes me break into a cold cold sweat.. I need to go sit in a corner and think of churros and thick spanish hot chocolate now..
  24. Congrats.. I would give up an odd assortment of body parts for a chance like this.
  25. I got my copy yesterday and promptly canceled my amazon.ca order. I may have creeped out the UPS guy when I hugged him as he dropped off the box marked "HEAVY" (which apparently they won't relinquish until it's at your doorstep and they won't let you run into the back of the truck and remove, who knew??) It wasn't so much the hugging, but the tears and "I love you" afterwards.. Was screaming "CALL ME!!!!" as he walked away a bit much?
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