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technophile50

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  1. technophile50

    Best way to sharpen a knife

    I also have found that the two times I'm most likely to cut myself are when I'm forcing a dull knife; and when I've gotten used to the feel of a dull knife, then sharpen it, and it slices smoothly and quickly through the food and into my finger. If I keep my knives sharp, it's safer.
  2. technophile50

    Best way to sharpen a knife

    http://www.cadenceinc.com/services/electro-chemical-edge-enhancement/ I worked with Grieshaber engineers to develop retinal surgical instruments, and we used this process to sharpen trocar and MVR eye surgery blades. If you are comfortable working with acids and low voltage electrochemistry, you could do this at home - a mix of battery acid(sulfuric), naval jelly rust remover(phosphoric acid), laxative (polyethylene glycol viscosity enhancer), with a DC power supply(battery charger), a pyrex tray and some heavy solder wire(electrochemical cell and negative electrode) can give a smooth, polished, molecularly sharp edge on stainless steel. I'm just crazy enough to try it - if anybody is interested, I can share my results. Seriously, a diamond "stone" and a ceramic "steel",(what Dougal & Country said) and a little practice will suffice for most applications.
  3. "And this, I feel, is the key point. It's about education. Give people the knowledge to make good choices." The problem is, people choose their education they same way they choose their diets. They think that the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Science, and all the people who actually spent ten college years studying food, nutrition, and health are just a bunch of pointy head hippy intellectuals bent on taking away our rights. "What have I told you about diet and exercise? Exercise is irrelevant…. "How do you know all this?" One of the reasons I know what I know is that I know liberals, and I know liberals lie, and if Michelle Obama’s gonna be out there ripping into "food desserts" and saying, "This is why people are fat," I know it’s not true. "Rush, do you really believe that? It’s that simple to you, liberals lie?" Yes, it is, folks. Once you learn that, once you come to grips with that, once you accept that, the rest is easy. Very, very simple. Now, my doctor has never told me to restrict any intake of salt, but if he did, I wouldn’t. I’d just spend more time in the steam or the sauna sweating it out." - Rush Limbaugh. Thirty million listeners eat his stuff up every day. ~35% of the US population is obese. That's more than the ~33% who are "merely" overweight. Throw in the 6% who are morbidly obese(BMI greater than 40) and that only leaves about 1/4 of Americans whose diet matches their caloric needs. Our society has grown up on a continuous sugar(actually HFCS) high watching thousands of hours of cartoons deliberately packaged with Ronald McDonald and a ton of other carefully researched social engineering cues designed to sell sizzle as steak. We are as conditioned as Pavlov's dogs to accept commercial messages. We think "infotainment" actually means something, and have collectively lost the ability to recognize other such oxymorons - "Happy Meals", everyone.
  4. I use a plain steel drywall knife as a pastry knife - just be sure to wash & dry it so it doesn't rust, & put a little oil on the blade.
  5. technophile50

    DIY microwave popcorn

    Katie I have a Paula Deen SS pot with a copper disk bottom(that I suspect is actually a copper plated aluminum disk, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth). I use a dollop of Olive oil, and a dollop of butter melted in it. I put a few kernels in while its heating, and dump in 1/3 cup of Orville's when they start to pop. I put a spatter screen on top and the lid on top of that. The spatter screen catches most, but not all the oil, but it lets the steam out. the lid stops the rest of the oil splatters. When the popping is done, I put the pot in a large bowl of cool water to stop the cooking and cool the pot enough that I can put it in my lap.
  6. technophile50

    Lemon on your Fish: Dry, not Wet

    I've got a jar of Kroger "Lemon Pepper" seasoning - salt, pepper, citric acid, lemon peel, natural and artificial flavors, plus the usual anticaking antioxidation additives. Lemony, peppery, salty, in that order. Mrs Dash "lemon pepper" - and I use the term advisedly - Lemon Pepper Ingredients: Onion, spices (black pepper, basil, oregano, celery seed, bay, savory, thyme, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, mustard, rosemary, marjoram) garlic, lemon juice powder, carrot, citric acid, lemon peel, natural lemon flavor, oil of lemon, turmeric color, chili pepper. "Hey, what do we do with these spice factory floor sweepings?" "Put a little lemon flavor in it and call it Lemon pepper - it'll make good cheap filler"
  7. technophile50

    Taking kids to the liquor store

    When I was a kid, my parents would give me small quantities of beer and wine for special occasions, but neither one of them drank distilled spirits. In Florida, where I grew up, grocery and drug stores can carry liquor - it's a big part of Walgreen's cash flow in some stores. There's a private liquor store chain called ABC liquor stores, that take advantage of tourists from states where there is a gummint run liquor store, and don't know that booze is cheaper at Walgreen's. The first 15 or so years that I lived in North Carolina, they didn't even let adults in state ABC liquor stores; they had glass fronts with a window, where you had to walk up and ask the clerk "please sir, can I have a bottle of Bushmill's?" He would fetch it from the back, ring it up, and pass it through a security port in the wall after you paid. Restaurants didn't have liquor by the drink, but you could brown bag your own bottle; a policy that was generally called "liquor by the drunk." This started to change around 1980. Highlands NC, which is a mountain resort town with 5 golf courses, ~3000 permanent residents, and more Floridians than natives during the summer - I once counted 10 FL, 2 GA, 1 SC, and 1 NC license plate at the local market there - was the first place to have self service at the ABC store. According to http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics-north-carolina.html "In North Carolina, the percentage of traffic fatalities that were alcohol related was at the highest level in 1982, with 63%. The percentage has dropped significantly, reaching the lowest levels in 2006, with 31%." I would argue that responsible adult behavior setting an example rather than making liquor special "forbidden fruit" is demonstrably better policy. More important for 6-16 year olds than toddlers.
  8. technophile50

    Mise en place

    I always check to make sure I have the ingredients, but rarely set them out in premeasured amounts - for instance, what's the point in getting eggs out and putting them in a separate container(if I don't put them in something, I'm practically guaranteed to roll one off the counter)? Wasted motion in getting a bowl/tray/whatever, and washing it afterwards. My spice rack is one step from the stove, it's easy to use the measuring spoon hanging on a rack over the stove as a scoop, and I adjust the spice by taste anyway. I use a plate or two to stage stir fry - fewer dishes to wash and I can carry all ingredients from the counter by the fridge to the stove in one trip. I'm more likely to have mushrooms sauteeing gently in butter in a 6"(15cm) frying pan while I'm sauteeing carrots/onions/celery/garlic, prepped on the fly and added in that order in another larger pan, while the tomato sauce is reducing in a pot on the back of the stove.
  9. technophile50

    From Cutting Board to Stove

    Me too, except I usually scrape or lift with the knife - Mise en Plate . Small quantities - garlic, herbs - get scraped directly from the cutting board into the pan, usually a 6 X 13 X 2 inch (15 X 33 X 5 cm) slab of oak with a handle/hanging extension. It's thick enough that I can directly scrape from it onto a plate sitting behind it on the counter. I've got a thinner 12 X 18 (30 X 45 cm) polyethylene board that I use for chicken or turkey.
  10. As for the timing aspect, it would depend on the temperature of the "cold" water as well as the amount of noodles/water in the pot - longer in winter, shorter in summer, unless one had heat/air conditioning set to the same temperature year round, and let the cold water equilibrate to room temps.
  11. technophile50

    Telling time in the kitchen

    I have a nice analog wall clock hanging above the microwave. I'm not sure when the battery went dead in the wall clock. After a nearby lightning strike 4 years ago, the digital display in the microwave went into what I call "Klingon mode", with a bunch of intermittently dead segments - if you know about what time it is, you can decode it. My GF got me a nice wrist watch which keeps good time. I periodically set it(5 minutes ahead, but that's another story) using an internet time server.
  12. technophile50

    Broccoli stems

    My neighbors brought over some broccoli and shrimp Sunday night. We cut the broccoli into chunks, peeled the stems, marinated it in soy, balsamic, olive oil, and garlic. We put the broccoli and shrimp(separately marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, hot pepper & tomato) on skewers, and smoked them over applewood in my Walmart charcoal grill. No leftovers.
  13. I just got a "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book" at a local thrift store for $0.50 - anybody have any opinions? Cheap at half the price? I also got a Cuisinart for $9.99 complete including manual.
  14. technophile50

    The "scorch method" in Pressure cooking

    When I'm trying to make risotto, I don't have any problems. I follow the Marcella Hazan "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". I use equal amounts of olive oil and butter, saute some diced onion, then add the rice and some garlic to "stir fry". When the rice starts to color, I add about a cup of warm stock, maybe less, depending on the amount of rice - just enough to cover the rice. I keep stirring as the liquid reduces by absorption/evaporation, and add more aliquots of stock as each one disappears. I stir til the rice is done. Depending on what I'm adding - mushrooms, spinach, squash, sweet pepper, asparagus, meat, fish - I'll add them along the way. Earlier if they need to cook with the rice - e.g., I usually start sliced carrots before the onions, so they get well carmelized; mixed in at the end of they are already cooked, like leftover smoked turkey from my charcoal grill(this used drippins from the turkey, a little leftover gravy, and water for the stock - it was really yummy). I usually reheat additions in the microwave, and add them at the very end, so I don't have to worry about adding them too soon and overcooking, or too late and have the rice done before the meat is reheated. I also make grits in a similar way; sauteeing in oil until they start to toast, then adding room temperature water to halt the toasting and start the simmering. I add all the water at once, and then cook like regular grits, over lowered heat, with just an occasional stir. Grits will go from nicely toasted to burnt very quickly, so I keep the water in a mason jar by the stove. Once it reaches the toast stage, there isn't time to futz around getting water from the faucet. I only use enough oil to barely saturate about 1/4 - 1/3 of the grits. Mixing as it toasts will distribute the oil throughout the grits, so they are all slightly oily but still grainy and not clumpy. Start skimpy on the oil/butter, and add more if needed. I think the increased thermal coupling from the oil is important to get the more uniform toasting through the grains of rice or grits. I think that without the oil, the bits in contact with the pan would overcook without developing a nice toasty flavor.
  15. technophile50

    The customer is NOT always right

    ""David Chang, whose small empire of Momofuku restaurants is known for refusing to make substitutions or provide vegetarian options." He must not be all that great at preparing vegetable dishes.
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