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Everything posted by technophile50

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. ""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.
  16. I've got a Sharp 1kw microwave. It has a pushbutton door opener - no handle to break off. When somebody comes out with a 220 volt convection toaster oven inverter microwave for less than $500, I'll replace my microwave. I've considered getting a used microwave and toaster oven at goodwill, and hacking my own. If I could score a $5 induction cooktop like Chris, I'd throw that in too.
  17. I've accidently made rice this way. If you catch it when the bottom starts to caramelize and stick, but isn't quite burnt, and add water to halt the process, it adds a toasty flavor. Don't scrape the very bottom layer in with the rest of the rice. Since it's always been the unintentional consequence of my neglect, I've more often burnt the rice beyond edibility. It's sorta like making risotto backwards.
  18. I just read this whole thread and noticed that this question hadn't been answered - They are an excellent way to add protein, as well as vitamins and minerals.
  19. There is also no explicit requirement that the pigs used be raised in Cumbria, just that their origin be traced, and that "The production, processing and preparation of Traditional Cumberland Sausage must take place in the county of Cumbria, this includes preparation of the raw materials as follows: • Mincing of meat • Addition of salt and other ingredients including seasonings • Mixing and kneading of ingredients • Filling the natural pork casings • Shaping ." Minimum meat content is 80%, minimum hole diameter on sausage grinder is specified as 4.5 mm to preserve coarse texture, diameter must be 20 mm minimum, and spices are restricted to - • White pepper • Black pepper • Salt • Thyme • Sage • Nutmeg • Mace • Cayenne see http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/food/industry/regional/foodname/products/documents/cumberland-sausage-pgi.pdf To bad the Cumberland pig went extinct in the 1960's. I expect this will benefit producers more than farmers.
  20. The quality and variety of the food items in Walmart or Kroger is inversely proportional to the distance to the nearest Whole Foods or Weaver Street Market (...community owned cooperative grocery store). Before Walmart, the only seafood I could get locally (Hillsborough, population ~7k, 15 miles from Durham, pop ~100k) was frozen breaded fish sticks. Walmart started carrying farmed salmon, and frozen tilapia, shrimp, and occasionally other things like scallops and oysters, and the local Food Lion followed suit. When Weaver Street opened, they started carrying fresh NC/SC shrimp, flounder, scallops etc, and the quality of fresh produce stepped up a notch. Food Lion replaced some of their fresh produce space with a more extensive Mexican product selection. Competition has been good. Interestingly, the Kroger near the wealthiest part of Durham, Hope Valley, has the worst fresh produce. However, their wine selection is double what others have, and the prices are 1-2$ higher for the same brands.
  21. Occasionally I get a craving for a McDonalds "vanilla" milkshake Vanilla Triple Thick® Shake: Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream: Milk, sugar, cream, nonfat milk solids, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial vanilla flavor, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, disodium phosphate, cellulose gum, vitamin A palmitate. 1100 calories, 26 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat; YUM! - but definitely not real vanilla.
  22. I have a half dozen heavy plastic gallon containers with ~4" dia wide mouth screw lids - They are ~6X6X8 rectangular with rounded corners, and fit efficiently on my pantry shelves. I think they started life as food service mayo containers - my wife scrounged them in Michigan before I met her. I sometimes remember to take them to Whole Foods or Weaver Street Mkt to refill with dry bulk goods. Since they are waterproof, I can freeze them with new stuff in them to limit grain moth infestations - if you throw a paper bag of flour in the freezer, it will condense and absorb moisture, especially in humid NC.
  23. If Archer Daniels Midland secretly replaced their High Fructose Corn Syrup with carboxymethylcellulose gum and stevia in water, it would probably reduce the growing prevalence of obesity in the US. According to the CDC August 2010, "Among states, the prevalence of adult obesity ranged from 18.6% in Colorado to 34.4% in Mississippi. Only Colorado and DC (19.7%) had prevalences of <20%. A total of 33 states had obesity prevalences of ≥25%; nine of those states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia) had prevalences of ≥30%..." "...no state had met the Healthy People 2010 objective to reduce the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults to 15%." A 2004 CDC study "...finds U.S. women increased their daily calorie consumption 22 percent between 1971 and 2000, from 1542 calories per day to 1877 calories. During the same period the calorie intake for men increased 7 percent from 2450 calories per day to 2618 calories." and "...the actual number of fat grams consumed per day has changed little since 1971 due to the increase in overall calories consumed daily. Protein consumption for both men and women remained about the same from 1971 to 2000." I have eaten products with "wood flour" as one of the ingredients, but I checked a few of the items in that story and all had CMC, and the position on the list indicated only a small percentage. My lab experience with gel forming agents (agarose, PEG, collagen(jello), CMC, and the vitreous gel in the eye) is that one to two percent in water causes large changes in viscosity. I read food labels, and for me it's more about how much protein($$$), micronutrients/vitamins($$), complex carbs($) are in the food, and what their proportion is compared to simple sugars(often cheap HFCS), and how much it costs. I'll choose a cheap food with a good balance of protein to carb and fat made with texturized vegetable protein and wood flour from Wal-Mart over an expensive high calorie low protein food made with organic cane sugar, organic white grape juice concentrate, and organic oat rice and corn flours from Whole Foods. Farmer's market local produce, and fresh local meat, gives me a large bang for the buck, and a nutritious diet. "Artisanal" cheese at $25 per pound versus New Zealand cheddar at $4.99/lb, not so much.
  24. technophile50

    Prague Powder

    According to wikipedia, Morton Tender Quick is formulated differently, and cannot be substituted. You would get wrong amounts of sodium nitrite, which could be dangerous. Also, it says both Prague#1 and Prague#2 have 6.25% sodium nitrite; prague#2 also has 6.25% sodium nitrate. The balance in both is sodium chloride(table salt). see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausage_making Saltpetre is sodium nitrate, which is used in dry cured meat products in addition to sodium nitrite, but is not a substitute either. see also http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/nutrition/DJ0974.html According to Morton, http://www.mortonsalt.com/products/meatcuring/tenderquick.html, their product contains both nitrite and nitrate salts, and there are links to recipes for using this. If it were me, I'd use the Tenderquick and follow their recipes accurately. Be safe.
  25. I recycle the rectangular airtight plastic snap lid buckets that kitty litter comes in for compost and cleaning out the litterbox - the contents go into separate compost piles for food garden and ornamental plants. I have a cheap plastic garbage pail under the sink for trash, which is lidless. I have a town provided lidless recycling bin on a low shelf in the pantry. I let the cats lick out the occasional take out box or food container before putting it in the trash or recycling, and rinse food that they won't eat off the items, so they don't get into the trash or recycling and it doesn't smell. I find that meat scraps and bones if broken/chopped into thumb size chunks and mixed into the vegetable scraps quickly lose their smell and varmint attracting ability and are compostable, but that's with a large ratio of plant to meat waste - I'd guess 50 or 100 to 1.
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