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Everything posted by technophile50

  1. Water in the bottom of the pan that catches the drippings from the roast would maintain its temperature at boiling, whereas the fat by itself from a roast can get much hotter, and cause rapid superheating and splattery expansion of watery juicy drips. BTW, I saw a pot roast on sale yesterday that had 35% mostly water "self basting liquid" added - not such a bargain. On the plus side, it probably wouldn't spatter much left on its own. Hey, I just invented a new advertising gimmick more convenient prepared meat - "Try our new and improved low spatter pot roast, with 35% more carefully formulated and tasty anti-spatter BAM! Au Jus, developed with and approved by chef Emeril Lagasse."
  2. I have an ancient 2 speed Waring Aristocrat blender; I always wondered if it was invented in France as an adjunct to the Aristocrat chopper, (guillotine ).
  3. "Just what lengths does one go to to put in propane? " In my case, about 17 feet - 4 feet down from the regulator on the top of the tank to the hole in the foundation wall to get the copper pipe into the crawl space; 10 feet across and three feet up through a 3/4" diameter hole in the floor to the back of the stove. When the gas company ran lines to my neighborhood, I converted the stove to natural gas, and replaced my oil furnace and electric water heater with a 100,000 BTU 95% efficient gas water heater that provides infinite amounts of hot water for showers and heats the house. Converting the stove only required unscrewing a cover and flipping over a spacer/spring that pushes on the regulator diaphragm; adjusting the orifices by unscrewing them a fixed amount from the stop which sets them for propane; and adjusting the air shutters so there's no yellow in the flame. I ran wire from the original electric stove circuit breaker to an outlet for my arc welder.
  4. 3200 watts = 10883 btu/hr From the description of a randomly chosen sears gas range ~$900 - "Enjoy a high performance cooking center with 5 cooking zones - versatile cooktop provides high power to low simmer operations. Cooking zones include a 17,200 and 12,000 BTU power burner, one 9,500 BTU burner, one 10,000 BTU oval burner perfect for griddles and longer pans, and one 500-5,000 BTU simmer burner ideal to prepare delicate foods and sauces" So a 3200 watt electric element is sorta in the middle. A low end ~$350 Sears range like I use has 4 9000 BTU burners. Their $350 electric has 2 2100 watt/7140 BTU elements, and 2 1250 watt elements. A $5000 Viking pro stove will get you 4 15000 btu burners. To get that from an electric stove would require 80 amps at 220 volts - but home cooking would almost never need all 4 burners on high. The seafood restaurant I worked at in junior high school had a 3kw Amana "Radarange", which was amazing; the chef would put a tray of "baked" potatoes in for 5 minutes, and they'd be done - kept hot in a warming oven above the gas broiler which ran continuously All of them will burn food; higher output will just do it faster &:>) The low effective mass of the air/gas flame allows near instant response, while the mass of an electric element takes a while to change temperature - although the radiant element that Steven describes sounds pretty low mass and responsive. A wood or charcoal fire is even less responsive, but they have been used to prepare many more meals since the dawn of cooking; one in twenty people who have ever lived is alive today, and a majority of them still cook with wood or charcoal. Whatever you use, learning its characteristics is a small part of learning to cook.
  5. Chicken feed often contains supplements that are high in carotenoids - marigold flowers, or algae (such as Haematococcus Pluvialis, high in astaxanthin) - which add color, and possibly flavor, to eggs and meat. They also make the food healthier - "dietary astaxanthin decreases a DNA damage biomarker and acute phase protein, and enhances immune response in young healthy females." http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/18 If you consume a mirepoix which has carrots, the additional carotenoids in strongly colored eggs, chicken, or salmon fed supplements probably isn't significant, but it won't hurt, and the animals will be healthier, and that may be important. Chickens fed algae have been shown to have reduced caecal colonization of Clostridium perfringens - a pathogen responsible for ~ 80,000 cases of food born illness each year according to the FDA.
  6. I forgot to mention that a common complaint for lesser reviews was that the exterior of microwave/convection combos gets a lot hotter in oven mode than people are used to. Most of the other bad reviews were for early failures - but if you're the one in a thousand that get a lemon, its going to tick you off, and you are more likely to publicly complain.
  7. If you're really cramped for space, I'd second the recommendation for a convection/microwave combo, with qualifications. You'll make some tradeoffs - size, whether or not it broils, microwave power, price. Since I'm a member, I checked out CR. The Kenmore Elite 6790 convection/microwave oven gets a "very good" rating from Consumer Reports(68 pts), and fairly high marks from most user reviews at various sites. 1000 watt microwave, 1500 watt convection oven, 1.5 cu ft capacity(1.2 usable per CR), but no grill capacity. ~$330 "midsized" 23"w 20"d 15"h The Cuisinart CMW-200 is 1000 watts microwave, 1500 watts convection, grills, but has only 1.2 cu ft capacity(0.7 per CR), and a good (58 pt) rating (dinged for ease of use & defrosting performance). ~$245 "compact" 21.20" x 19.00" x 12.20" The Haier MWM12001SCG[sS] is 1000 watts microwave, 1500 watts convection, grills, 1.2 cu ft capacity(0.7 per CR), a very good(64 pt) CR rating (dinged for ease & defrosting, quieter than the Cuisinart microwaving), ~$140. "compact" 20" X 15" x 13"
  8. The short answer is that higher g forces will separate smaller particles, and particles with less density difference from the liquid. Lower g's for longer times won't do the same thing. I've read that lime juice clarified at 48,000 g tastes much better than at 27,000 g, the threshold for clarification. Time will make a difference, but it's more important for very fine particles at high g's. Runs for separating out retrovirus particles may take hundreds of thousands of g's for 24 hours The long answer is a bit more complicated, and if your not interested in the details, feel free to skip the following - I'm used to people's eyes glazing over when I start to ramble on about nerdy details of technology. As particles get smaller, the variation in force with the variation in the number and velocity of water molecules hitting it becomes larger, because the total number of hits per unit time decreases. When the particles get small enough, the variation is large enough to cause Brownian motion. If you drop a large ball bearing, and a bb into a deep container of water, the bb will take a perceptibly longer time to reach the bottom. This is because the force of gravity pulling the objects through the water is proportional to their mass, which varies with the cube of their diameter; but the drag from moving through the water varies as their cross sectional area, which is proportional to the square of their diameter. So all other things being equal, a particle ten times smaller will have 1/1000 the mass but 1/100 the area, and fall - terminal velocity - 1/10 as fast(approximately, because all other things aren't exactly equal). The force fluctuations that cause Brownian motion will make the particles vary a little bit in speed; the smaller the particle, the larger the variation, and it will be unmeasurable on the ball bearing or bb. As the particle size approaches ~2 micron, the Brownian motion will approach the magnitude of the sinking motion at one g. For even smaller particles, or less dense particles, the effect of the Brownian motion will overcome gravity, keeping them in suspension as a colloid or emulsion. A surface layer of surfactant (soap) will keep fine particles from coalescing into larger particles that can sink (or float, in the case of low density particles like fat). Higher accelerations in a centrifuge will overcome the forces of Brownian motion for smaller particles, or particles with lower density differences from water. There's probably something in lime juice that's too small to scatter light and cause cloudiness, that won't separate out at 27,000 g's but will at 48,000 g, that alters the taste.
  9. Here's a discussion of some alternate/adjunct clarification methods. http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/07/20/simple-agar-clarification-1-year-anniversary-plus-a-rundown-of-current-clarification-techniques/ You're right - tinkering is fun. And a little forethought, like you clearly have done, to rule out hazards like broken glass, will make it safe. If you are washerfuging liquids that can gel or be frozen, you might try putting them in hot, and adding crushed CO2 to the bottom. With the correct ratio of dry ice to the liquid you're separating, the hot liquid could separate, then cool, gel/freeze so it wouldn't remix. Since water won't hurt the washing machine, ice could be used. There are old tinkerers; There are bold tinkerers- "Let me just say this: BAD IDEA. We call it the dangerfuge. It has no protective casing at all – just a 50 year old aluminum rotor spinning like a bat-out-of-hell in the middle of the room. It doesn’t even have a switch, just a plug. It is the scariest piece of equipment I have ever fired up (and that’s saying A LOT) and I never intend on firing it up again." Unfortunately, there are a few old bold tinkerers, which can give a false sense of security to the rest of us. I once had to replace the power cord on a centrifuge like the one pictured, with a hospital grade plug and 3 wire ground, to comply with new safety regs . The 80 year old emeritus professor whose lab used it found that amusing. He plugged it into a timer, retreated to his office until it shut down, and didn't allow others into the lab while it ran.
  10. I think what Dr. Myrhvold's lab has is one of these. There are various heads available; the one here, the 4th pic down looks like a GSA rotor, 3 L capacity, 13000 rpm, 27500 g's. There aren't any rotors which will hold 3 liters and run at 30,000 RPM. The higher speeds (and g forces) are only for smaller volume rotors made from titanium or carbon fiber ($$$$). These machines, if improperly used, are MUCH more dangerous than your average kitchen equipment. If you are thinking about buying one of these, or building your own, PLEASE read this. "Rotor Failure is much less common than the kind of incidents listed above, but can present extraordinary safety risks." "During rotor failure the entire centrifuge can move with enough force to crack concrete walls." They weigh about 700 pounds. Consider the energy required to accelerate something of that weight, to a speed that would crack a wall, in only a few feet. I used to work in research at Duke University, and was involved in analyzing the cause of failure and rebuilding a centrifuge after a rotor failure at 30,000 rpm. Because of the number of hours on the rotor, it was supposed to be de-rated to lower RPM; the user chose to run it at higher speed to save time, and thought that since it worked for a while, it would continue to do so. The stainless steel refrigeration liner (which you can see surrounding the rotor in the pic from Dr. Myrhvold's lab) was shredded into confetti. The titanium rotor was disintegrated into thousands of pieces, the largest of which about half the size of my fist. The lid, sides, and bottom of the tub are armored with 1/2-3/4" thick steel which contained the explosion, but it took two of us leaning on a serious crowbar to pry the lid open because of severe deformation. If you mount a couple of jars on the shaft of a 2 HP industrial router, without a full understanding of the forces it will create, you're gonna make shrapnel. "You can get killed if it breaks." Absolutely. (This rotor was likely running at 65k rpm, but with much smaller volume. YMMV) Be safe.
  11. Pecan, apple, and pear wood chips or prunings. I've never used a stovetop smoker, just a charcoal grill. I use Felco pruners to cut small branches into inch long pieces, and soak them in water for half an hour or so before adding them to the coals.
  12. In my not so humble opinion, the precooking of the dry rice in oil is essential to develop the proper risotto. The light toasting at higher than boiling modifies the flavor, and I suspect changes the way that the starches react with the water from the stock. The cooking down of the stock as its added in small aliquots, especially at the beginning, also affects the flavor profile. There's not much difference if the last half of the liquid is added in one shot(less a little bit to allow final adjustment) Starting with rice in water, or a pressure cooker ain't gonna be the same. I've successfully used Arborio, short grain brown rice, and Jasmine; I would generally use Arborio with chicken stock & mushrooms, brown rice with beef stock and diced meat or sausage, and jasmine with asparagus or spinach, but I'm not compulsive. Mix & match would give different, but not better/worse results. I do a similar thing with yellow grits - precook them dry in a butter-oil mix, like making a roux. The ratio of grits to fat is much higher than a roux; a dollop of oil and a thumb sized lump of butter(~1/8 cup total?), per 3/4 cup of grits. The grits absorb all the fat and stay dry-ish, and I stir the grits continuously until they start to toast, then immediately add water from a jar standing by. If you try to run a cup of water after it starts to toast, or even pull it off the stove and carry it to the sink, it will burn before you get the water in. Err on the side of adding the water early - its amazing how fast grits go from tasty-toasty to burned.
  13. I read the wrong chart. The partition coefficient for ethanol in oil/water is 0.05, so most of the ethanol will stay in the water phase.
  14. All the water doesn't have to be removed. An important parameter for the growth of spoilage and pathogenic organisms is "water activity", Aw, the ratio of the water vapor partial pressure of pure water to that of the food.[1] Various solutes lower the vapor pressure - salt(s), sugars, free amino acids(e.g. fish sauce), and drying foods concentrates these things and decreases Aw. Botulism requires an Aw of 0.85 or above. I found a reference which said that carrots dried to 39% moisture had an Aw of 0.81. The solutes available in garlic would concentrate and lower the vapor pressure in a similar fashion, but to be safe Aw would have to be measured. 250 F for 15 minutes in hot convecting oil at atmospheric pressure like andiesenji does is likely drying the garlic to safe levels, as well as inactivating the spores. It would be interesting to weigh the garlic plus the oil before & after, to see how much water was lost and oil taken up by the garlic. Note: the Aw is a function of temperature, so something that is partly dried and safe in the fridge may not be safe in the pantry. Ethanol at 6% will prohibit c. botulinum[2]; Ironically if the unfortunate Italian gentleman hadn't boiled off the alcohol, he might have been safe. The partition coefficient for ethanol in olive oil/water is 2.46, so storing vodka soaked garlic under oil would tend to reduce the EtOH concentration in the garlic. A mix of 50% 192 proof rum and olive oil would likely be safe, (depending on the volume of garic, and whether it started with EtOH or just raw) and interesting tasting. Acidification below ph 4.6 is safe, but a little tricky[3] - "acidifying garlic in vinegar is a lengthy and highly variable process; a whole clove of garlic covered with vinegar can take from 3 days to more than 1 week to sufficiently acidify." [1]http://extension.psu.edu/food-safety/food-preservation/issues/water-activity-of-foods/water-activity-of-foods-table [2]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12696684 [3]http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/7231.pdf
  15. Hydrobiologia 451: 11–17, 2001. Jellyfish as food Y-H. Peggy Hsieh1, Fui-Ming Leong2 & Jack Rudloe3 "Jellyfish have been exploited commercially by Chinese as an important food for more than a thousand years. Semidried jellyfish represent a multi-million dollar seafood business in Asia. Traditional processing methods involve a multi-phase processing procedure using a mixture of salt (NaCl) and alum (AlK[sO4]2 · 12 H2O) to reduce the water content, decrease the pH, and firm the texture. Processed jellyfish have a special crunchy and crispy texture." "Extensive liquidation of the tissue occurs in the absence of salt, while disagreeable odors develop in the absence of alum."
  16. fabricate: 2. To construct by combining or assembling diverse, typically standardized parts: A more pedantically accurate use of the (somewhat) interchangeable words "make" and "fabricate" - I MAKE soup, I FABRICATE lobster bisque. When I take my knife/cleaver to a chicken, I defabricate it. Chef de cuisine = chief, or person in charge, of the kitchen. Kitchen is the room where food is prepared - in colonial US, often a separate building because of fire danger and the heat, humidity, and unsightly mess (feathers, guts, blood) created by food preparation. Insider slang shorthand use of "kitchen" to refer to "kitchen staff" has lead to its acceptance as an alternate definition. When Gordon Ramsay says "This #$%^&*@ kitchen is so filthy there's mold growing everywhere" he's not talking about the personal hygiene of the staff, and when he says "this kitchen's at war with itself" he's not talking about the stove plotting against the refrigerator. Like the Red Queen, "it means what he chooses it to mean, neither more nor less.” Cook refers to the process of heating food in a sometimes successful attempt to make it more edible, or the person of generally lesser skill who performs this task on the order of chef by e.g., boiling water. Insider slang use has morphed this term in two ways; first, there is an implied diminutive or even pejorative use regarding skill, and it also is generically used to refer to any lesser skilled food preparer. This has led to some hilarious oxymorons - pastry "chefs" who are only in charge of donuts, or "salad cook" job openings at The Roadhouse Grill. (cook me a nice fresh green salad, eh &:>) "Chef" covers a lot of ground from amateur to internationally famous - so use a modifier - home, professional, modernist, potty mouth(you know who I'm talkin' 'bout &;>)
  17. I'd go with the Taylor Salter Aquatronics High Capacity Kitchen Scale - apparently, it's not only a cool looking digital scale, but according to one 5 star review, "It worked great shredding cheese. "
  18. At the end of summer last year, I cleaned out the last of the tomatoes from a friends garden, cut off the bad parts from them - they were dead ripe and beyond - cut them into chunks, and cooked them down. While they were cooking I took a few carrots and used a potato peeler to shave them into strips which I sauteed with onions, and garlic added after the carrots were soft and the onions lightly browned. I strained the seeds and skins from the tomatoes, added the sauteed stuff, and buzzed it smooth with an immersion blender. Served with black pepper ground over it. I usually puree some of the potatoes & leeks to thicken the base for potato leek soup. It would probably be good fully creamed if you need it with no lumps.
  19. What about making wine balls - http://www.mylifeasafoodie.com/2009/01/10/molecular-cooking-my-new-true-passion/ - using wine instead of apple juice. I saw Jose Andres serve Anderson Cooper a margarita ball, so the alcohol shouldn't be a problem. The contrast between red wine "berries" and cheese would look way cool.
  20. "... if water sits overly long, it becomes the perfect environment for bacteria, mold, or algae." Not if it's just water - nothing for bacteria or molds to metabolize, and not enough minerals(fixed nitrogen - nitrates, ammonia, protein; phosphorus - usually phosphates; or potassium salts) to sustain the growth of algae. A simple rinse with clean water every time you refill it will reduce any bacteria that have accumulated from contamination by a couple of orders of magnitude. If you are using it for juices, or coffee, or other things that might sustain bacterial growth or leave behind minerals, an occasional cleaning with soap (probably a high pH - Dawn is reportedly ~9 - YMMV - will inactivate some acid loving bacteria; will also remove schmutz which could supply nutrients that may have accumulated) followed by a vinegar rinse (dissolves minerals, low pH will kill/inactivate more bacteria) should suffice. There's a lot of stuff that could be in there - "A recent experiment that used 16S RNA probes to survey the diversity of bacteria in dental plaque revealed that only one percent of the total species found have ever been cultivated." http://www.textbookofbacteriology.net/normalflora.html but you've adapted to your bacteria, so they are unlikely to cause problems. But others will have a different oral ecosystem; don't share your bottle except with your wife or girlfriend.
  21. Bell peppers, Hungarian Wax peppers, Poblano peppers, Jalapeno peppers, and Owen's peppers(a slightly hot but strongly flavored pepper that resembles a Jalapeno, grown from seed that my friend Owen collects each year; I think he calls them Miz Philips peppers &;>). Stemmed seeded, and sliced/diced; they fit better into the containers, and I rarely make any kind of stuffed pepper dish.
  22. It's a myth. http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.food.drink.tea/2007-12/msg00150.html
  23. I use one of these, and an ancient(well, 45 year old) 3M silicon carbide whetstone. My 90% go to knife is a carbon steel "Old Hickory" 8" chef's knife. The two notches 1/3 up the blade are from when I dropped it on an appliance cord and it cut through the conductors - made a pretty spectacular shower of sparks. You can see how the whetstone has worn. The tomato slices on the molasses label were cut from a soft old Roma that was in the fridge. I occasionally clean & resurface the ceramic rod with 400 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper, stroking along the rod so that the sanding marks are perpendicular to the edge of the knife blade when sharpening. The silicon carbide of the sandpaper is harder than the alumina of the rod, and I figure the fine scratches along the rod make it work like a classic sharpening steel, only finer.
  24. Edible wax (aka canning wax, highly refined nontoxic but indigestible paraffin) is added to chocolate to raise its melting point, and should do the same for cake frosting. You'd have to mix and apply the icing at a high enough temperature to keep it spreadable, and the content would have to be low enough that the icing wasn't brittle. I'd try a basic white frosting with 25% of the butter replaced by wax. and see if it was too hard, and use a hair blower & thermometer to see what the upper temperature limit is, then adjust the wax/butter ratio up or down.
  25. I've had success using the microwave to blanch peppers for freezing. Beats working over a pot of boiling water in the summertime when the crop is coming in. This time of year, the broiler charring method looks good - it's 35F and raining outside. I remove the stems & seeds - I use quart freezer containers, and if I only need a cup or so, I can slice a chunk off the frozen mass and keep the rest frozen. Vacuum packing & freezing seeded peppers with the stem on would work for chiles rellenos.
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