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Kevin Liu

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Everything posted by Kevin Liu

  1. howdy! just discovered this topic, watching it now. Please put me down as a "maybe". I'll definitely come if I'm not away on work. Kevin
  2. Alright folks, I could use some help on this project. I've perused through the existing Food Dehydrators topic and found some useful nuggets, but nothing approaching the scope of what I'm interested in. I would like to build a simple dehydrator that is able to control both temperature and end humidity (the two most important variables in dehydrating) precisely. For temperature control, I would like to use a hairdryer or similar heating element hooked up to a PID controller, with an appropriate thermocouple to measure temperature. For humidity control, I doubt it would be feasible to set up so
  3. [shameless plug] Hey, you can also check out my blog for a list of ingredients and a link to where you can find out how to use them: http://www.whycook.org/ingredients-scientific-cooking/ And check out the blogroll while you're there, there are tons of sites out there with great resources.
  4. I've tested a lot of the cocktails mentioned in this thread, but most of them are still pretty high proof for my friends who are afraid to taste too much alcohol in their drinks. Here's a recipe I found that a bunch of beginners loved, and which I think was made with enough care to classify it as "craft". Sofia's Swizzle 1 3/4 oz. Reposado Tequila 1 1/4 oz. Apple Juice 1/4 oz. Lime Juice 1/4 oz. Velvet Falernum 2 dashes Angostura Bitters 2 oz Ginger Beer Shake the first five ingredients with ice, then strain over fresh ice. Top with ginger beer. Every component in this cocktail played nicel
  5. Hey - someone answered my quora question on the topic and did a stand-up job with it. I can't really summarize it because it's already a summary of lots of interesting research. Full answer here: http://www.quora.com/Tastes-of-Alcohols/What-is-the-chemical-physiological-explanation-for-the-burning-taste-of-hard-alcohol
  6. I think the salt thing has to do with water activity. I dug up a paper today titled "Use of humectants for the stabilization of pesto sauce." by Severini et al that seems to indicate the availability of water in pesto has a direct relationship with preserving green color. This is also probably why you're supposed to squeeze all the water out of blanched pesto. and by the way the article mentions that commercial food processors will pack pesto in artificial atmospheres that are low in oxygen to further prevent oxidation.
  7. I did some more reading on this, and it looks like I was wrong. It appears the main reason pesto turns brown is due to enzymatic browning, which is why blanching (which deactivates enzymes) and acids (lowering pH, plus antioxidant properties) can help keep pesto green.
  8. Here's the answer from the Reynolds Website: On the same page, they write: I would say if you do have Non-Stick aluminum foil, use the dull side in contact with the food to reduce reaction as much as possible. Or wrap first in something nonreactive, before finishing with foil.
  9. I'd add that The Wisdom the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young is pretty authentic, and I've lately been reading the recipes at www.foodcanon.com - the blogger there combines modern techniques with traditional recipes.
  10. By quickly blanching the basil, you deactivate chlorophyllase, the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of chlorophyll, so that definitely contributes to preserving color. Unfortunately, I don't think acid should help preserve the green color. Rather, high acidity replaces the Magnesium in chlorophyll with H+ ions, resulting in the production of olive-drab and yellowish pheophytin compounds. This is my best guess at what is happening: basil's color is preserved by a quick blanch. The resulting chlorophyll then leaches into the olive oil (chlorophyll is oil soluble), giving the oil itself a b
  11. Kevin Liu

    Celery leaves

    1.5 oz Plymouth Gin .5 oz Elderflower Liquer, .5 oz Lemon Juice 3-4 Celery Leaves (slap it, don't muddle it). Top with soda. Delicious cocktail, one of the few I've tried that works with both plymouth and Hendrick's. Not sure if this sucker is named already. If it isn't, I'm open to suggestions :-)
  12. I'm a regular follower of Dave Arnold's on the cooking issues radio show. He delves into a lot of topics on the show that he doesn't cover in the blog. You can search the archives of the show at Heritage Radio Network. They tag all the episodes with keywords. All the previous posters' suggestions are spot on, but I'd like to add my own neat trick: I follow a ton of blogs and sites that do a little molecular gastronomy/modernist cuisine here and there. I save them all to my google reader as rss feeds. I then go into google reader and use the search function to search every post each of tho
  13. Not sure if anyone is still interested in a list of molecular gastronomy ingredients, but I've been working on one for a few weeks and it's now up on my blog here. Would greatly appreciate any input from the crowd. Tell me I'm an idiot, I'm a glutton for punishment! (and just kind of a glutton overall, actually...)
  14. Take a look at some of the things I posted here. The basic gist is that alcohol in high concentrations can cause a burning sensation in the mouth that is similar to the burning caused by menthol or capsaicin. However, if you dilute the alcohol, you get less burning and so are more able to experience subtle flavors. If you dilute alcohol a lot (to something like the levels found in wine), the flavor starts tasting sweet rather than "burn". I think Dave Arnold also has tried rotovapping whisky (separating the alcohol from the water content) and tasting only the remaining booze-less result. H
  15. has anyone had experience adding baking soda, calcium hydroxide, or cream of tartar to blanching waters to keep vegetables green? I've done some experiments and it seems like it works, but I've only tried using green peppers.
  16. Try a Santo Libre - a spin on the Cuba Libre that substitutes Sprite for Coke 2 oz Dominican Rum (Brugal Anejo/Extra Viejo or Ron Barcelo Imperial) 2 lime quarters, muddled add rocks, top with Sprite I prefer a rum with good age for this drink. Personally, I prefer Ron Barcelo for its sweet, caramel character, but Ron Brugal Extra Viejo makes the drink complex and special.
  17. I've made a few runs to Corridor Wine & Spirits near Baltimore, MD recently. The take: Appleton Estate Reserve Punt e Mes Lillet Blanc Jagermeister Benedictine And also to a Montgomery County Liquor Store: Old Overholt Rye Absolut Wild Tea Vodka Laird's Applejack Pimm's Next up - DC...
  18. I visited B&O Brasserie this past week and tried out the "el Oso" by Brendan Dorr. It was absolutely fantastic. He served it neat, not with an ice cube as called for in the book. At first, I was thrown off because it was sweeter than I'm used to, but the flavors play really well together. Don't be thrown off by the sweetness - I'm usually a fan of strong, spicy cocktails, and I loved this one. Will be picking up a bottle of barenjager soon to make these at home for sure! 1.75 oz Partida añejo tequila .75 oz Barenjager honey liqueur .5 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur 2 dashes The Bitter
  19. Thanks for the thoughtful responses. I think both chemesthesis and thermoception are really important. I especially like the example of the low-alcohol fruit tasting strong. I did a little more research into vanilloid receptors and found some interesting reading: source So it looks like the jury may still be out on specifically how the burn we associate with alcohol actually works, but I'd be willing to bet its some combination of all these factors.
  20. I did a few hours of testing this morning (hooray for off days!) and found that it doesn't take much CaOH to make a saturated solution. I added about a 2 tbsp to maybe a pint of water, and there was plenty of sediment at the bottom, even after vigorous shaking. While the CaOH had a noticeable effect on blanched green peppers, I wouldn't call the result... "desirable". I'll be trying more experiments over the weekend. @dcarch: I have been toying with the idea of simply adding green food coloring to blanching water. I know most food-enthusiasts would probably be against food coloring due to
  21. When people describe a liquor as "harsh" or "smooth", they are typically referring to the presence of that characteristic "burning" taste of ethanol. What is the physiological or chemical explanation for this sensation? It should be clear that the taste isn't strictly bound to alcohol content, since many higher-proof spirits are consistently known to be smoother than lower-proof varieties. I'd like to better understand the mechanism in order to better control the taste of cocktails, infusions, etc. Here are some theories I've come across, any elaboration would be really helpful: - ion chan
  22. I think dave didn't post more specific instructions because he hasn't done controlled testing. I posted on the site with a related question and here's what he said: "Howdy Kevin, I never measured the concentration, but it is small. CaOH is only weakly soluble in water. The easiest way to get a constant dosage would be to make lime water (by saturating CaOH in water and letting the residue settle). Lime water is stable and easy to store, then you can add that to cooking water. Much easier is to add CaOH straigt to the pot. Start with a couple of grams per liter and see how it goes. With number
  23. Got some peaches today from the farmer's market; folks there said they sourced them from South Carolina. Best yellow peach I've ever eaten!
  24. Todd - I actually wok-deep-fried a 1.5-lb catfish July 3rd as a test run and did a chile-based sweet and sour sauce. It was much better than the grilled version texturally, but I still didn't feel like it the flavors really got into the fish. I'll definitely post a recipe if I do manage to triangulate on something worth sharing. HungryC - good points. Maybe next time if I have such a big fish I'll ask for it be cut into steaks and grill them that way...
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