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Everything posted by GlowingGhoul

  1. I used Barilla for years, primarily because I used their sauces (which have much less sugar than other mainstream brands, giving them a more complex flavor), until an Italian friend of mine said Barilla pasta doesn't develop a proper al dente texture. It's either undercooked or slightly mushy. I started trying other imported brands, and to my surprise the texture was much, much better. I currently use DaVinci. It's priced the same as Barilla.
  2. I've seen whole prime rib, rib steaks, t-bone, and NY Strip.
  3. "I found the quality of beef in France to be infinitely better than the American tastes and standards of quality." With all due respect, I find the quality of beef in France and Europe in general to be inferior in taste in texture to American corn finished beef. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the best beef I get while traveling in Europe is imported from Argentina or the US.
  4. I have a Dynamic immersion blender. They're as robust as Robot Coupe (both are made in France), and Dynamic has a much wider array of accessories, and costs less than Robot Coupe. These are no-nonsense commercial grade units. I bought the "Dynashake", which is the same as the "Mini-Pro" but includes a special container and longer shaft for making shakes and smoothies. It comes with 3 different blades, emulsifying, chopping, and whipping. I also have the ricer, whisking, and food processor attachments. Katom restaurant supply seems to have the best prices on Dynamic products in the US. For what it's worth, Dynamic invented the immersion blender.
  5. True, I forgot to mention that, but to be honest, I've rarely heard of Vitamix units breaking down, so the warranty isn't much of a concern to me. I suspect the shorter warranty is due to the assumption that equipment in a commercial environment would be subject to constant use (and abuse), and not because the consumer models are more robust.
  6. IMHO, the Vita-Prep 3 is the best way to go. I've owned multiple VitaMix blenders,, and despite VitaMix's tellling consumers the extra power of the 3 horsepower motor is only to drive a more robust cooling fan, I suspect they're making this claim to avoid cannibalizing sales of their 2hp models. The Vita-Prep 3 will, for instance, make peanut butter without the slightest sign of bogging down. In fact, I don't think I've ever observed my VP3 straining to do anything. The 2HP models are powerful, but can slow down on extremely thick mixtures with large quantities of frozen fruit and ice. The VP3 does everthing effortlessly. The amount of cooling air exiting the vents seems to be double that of my previous 5200 2 horsepower model. That bodes well for longevity. The VP3 also comes with a nice cookbook geared for professional chefs, and a spare blender to container coupling, in case you strip yours out (a $20 part). Other than the motor and cooling system and nifty "Vita-PREP 3" logo, it's indistinguishable in size and appearance from the consumer models. To top it off, it can be found from restaurant supply sites for less than the 2 HP Vita-Mix Turbo VS. JLhufford usually has an offer where they will send you a free 25lb case of BigTrain frozen drink mix powders...5 varieties I think, shakes and frozen coffee drinks as well.
  7. The Volcano is probably the only trouble free vaporizer out there. Also, it's manufactured by a German medical device company which has ensured none of the components introduce toxins into the vapor. I'm not sure I would trust one made in China, given the possibilty of inhaling carcinogens. You can buy them used on Ebay, and they can be thouroughly cleaned pretty easily.
  8. Congratulations Mart, give it a good cleaning, dirt sucked into the vacuum pump will reduce its effectiveness. Try to figure out one or two sizes of bags you'll use the most (one should be the largest your unit can handle), and buy them in bulk.
  9. No reason not to use thicker bags other than cost. If they don't seal well, just program the "seal time" on your Boxer for an additional second or two to compensate for the additional thickness (though the default sealing time was too much for my 3mil bags, causing them to shrink and bunch up as they sealed, so it's probably just right for 4mil). Enjoy the Boxer, we use ours much more frequently than I expected we would. It enjoys a prime position in our kitchen on a nice John Boos cart.
  10. I'd think if it works when you test it, deterioration from storage is probobly not a concern.
  11. For those of you lamenting that your pineapples are picked prior to ripening, frozen pineapple chunks, which are packed at the peak of ripeness, are becoming much more widely available. The texture holds up much better than other frozen fruits. I pour a bowlful out and let it thaw for a few hours before eating them neat. I'm trying to keep my sugar intake down and these don't have the excess sugar canned pineapple does. CostCo has them in 5lb bags for $1.75/lb. Today was my monthly trip to Restaurant Depot, and I picked up 20 pounds for $1.05/lb (and beautiful huge frozen blackberries for $1.49/lb).
  12. Of course I haven't seen these units, but if they are manufactured by Julabo in Germany, I'd expect them to be absolutely top notch. My FusionChef Diamond circulator is an incredibly well built piece of equiptment.
  13. I've had my Boxer 35 for over a year, and the cut seal is the only way to go, in my opinion. The wide "seal" part has never failed, and the "cut" part actually acts as a second, albeit narrower seal. Being able to just rip off the excess part of the bag keeps your sous vide bath or freezer clean, since any food residue comes off with the bag excess. One thing to note is that some bags have a tendancy to shrink a bit under the high heat of the sealing bar. This can cause the teflon tape to be pulled by the shrinking bag making the teflon tape bunch up in spots. You can fix that by removing the tape and reapplying it. Lowering the seal and cut time setting eliminates the problem. I recommend buying a service kit or two to have on hand. It includes a premeasured bottle of hydraulic fluid, teflon tape, lid seal, and seal & cut wires. In over a year and 500 bags or so I've only had to change the oil.
  14. GlowingGhoul is right, Vacuum-packer.com is one of the major Us Distributors for Henkleman they are made in Holland. a fully loaded Boxer35 will run you just under $3,500, and I think they ship for free. Yes, Henkelman covers FedEx shipping and customs fees. They had mine built and delivered from Holland to my front door in NY in 3 days. They did the same with the accessories and maintainance parts I've ordered as well. Top notch customer experience, imho.
  15. My Electrolux induction range also has an element around the convection fan. In addition to heating when using a convection mode, there's a "rapid preheat" function that uses the convection element and fan to preheat very quickly, which shuts off (if not using convection) after temp is reached.
  16. I don't think there are many chamber vacuums sold in general, but the thing about the Boxer is, what are you going to upgrade to? It's already pretty much top of the line, loaded with features, and the only upgrade would be a larger unit or one with label printing(the Lynx). That's why I don't think there are many showing up for sale used.
  17. vacuum-packer.com is the distibuter for Henkelman in the US. You can configure the machine and see a price quote for any of the models. I just saw they're having a sale, looks like 10% the regular prices. The Boxer 35 starts at $2700, but the "vaccum by sensor percentage" and "soft air" features are standard now (Used to be a $600 upgrade).
  18. Just be sure to have the carafe in place before you pour. We had a big double one in my office and I can't tell you how many times someone would use the "working" carafe to fill the tank with water, only to have it begin to instantly start dispensing... I finally had to put up a LARGE sign to READ the directions if one was not familiar with the machine. It had two dispensers and two keep warm plates up top. We went through a lot of coffee when my boss was working full time and we had 10 employees, besides me. It's happened to me a few times when making coffee while half asleep. Still, I love my Bunn for American style coffee, and my Nespresso for everything else (I know I could get better results with a non-capsule machine, but the convienience is unbeatable and the espresso pretty good and consistant).
  19. Bunn A10. Bunns are "pourover" machines, which gives them the advantage of not having to boil water to propel it over the grounds. This lower temperature water extracts fewer undesireable compounds from the grounds, resulting in a better tasting brew. They also brew a pot much more quickly than any regular drip coffee maker. Lastly, Bunns are built to last a lifetime.
  20. I've had it a little over a year (after spending months trying to decide which to buy). Watch the video on Henkelman's site, regarding their engineering and quality philosophy. One very important factor with these high end chamber vacs is parts availability (since one small failed component can make the machine worthless if it's unavailable), and Henkelman maintains a full stock of parts going back to their first model. I recommend the "Cut-Seal" bar option. It makes for a nice, neat bag since you just rip off the cut part, and it prevents food residue from getting into your water bath. The end of the bag that's "cut" serves as a secondary seal as well. I have "gas flush", but haven't set up a tank yet. I use mine more for food storage than Sous Vide. By the way, they built mine and had it on my front steps in New York from the Netherlands in 3 days. Some companies give you confidence in the way the handle things, and Henkelman is one of them, IMHO. Feel free to ask any other questions.
  21. I've had the back of my Boxer 35 open, and the build quality is very impressive. All European made relays and solenoids, impeccable wiring,...it looks like it's made to last a very long time. Henkelman support (I'm in the US), has always been very responsive. Speaking of which, it's time to do the annual hydraulic oil change.
  22. I have a Boxer 35 with H20 sensor, and the 1-2 cut seal. I love it, and use it a dozen times a week, at least. It's gotten much more use than I expected.
  23. Besides the savings, I consider a trip to RD to be a treasure hunt, finding products I haven't seen anywhere else. I'll start by mentioning "Daisy Butt". These are small (under 2 pounds) whole smoked pork shoulders. I have no idea what they're used for in restaurants, but for breakfast I slice them thickly and bake the slices for 15 mintues @ 375. It's like a very flavorful tiny ham. I also like James Farm "Premium" heavy cream, which has 40% butterfat vs the 36% in the grocery store brands here. 7/11 tomatoes, Kronos gyro slices, Gulf shrimp, Canolli Cream and shells,....I could go on and on. What have you found?
  24. The Julabo Pearl and Diamond aren't really "consumer" level devices like the plastic Polyscience SVP's. They are designed for commercial kitchens, very heavy duty, all steel construction. If you get one, I recommend springing for the integrated insulated water bath, which saves a tremendous amount of energy and eliminates evaporation during long cooks. Get the retention grids which hold floating bags under water very nicely. The EH doesn't go low enough in temperature for Sous Vide. I've had Polyscience SVP Chef and now the Julabo Diamond, and there is no comparison in terms of build quality. The Julabo's feel like they'd literally last a lifetime.The Julabo pumps also seem to move much more water than the Polyscience, despite only about a 20% difference in the specifications. The extra $389 for the Pearl vs the SVP Chef is well worth it, IMO, since it's construcuted just like the Diamond. The Diamond is nice if you want to develop new recipes since it supports an external food temperature probe, as well as software monitoring and control.
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