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heichmanron

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  1. heichmanron

    Bubble Tea

    I might ask on the blog itself then, thanks for the link! I looks promising.
  2. heichmanron

    Bubble Tea

    Hey, a lot of food falls into that category! haha
  3. heichmanron

    Bubble Tea

    It's been a while since this post was active, but what a great addition! Mixing the tapioca flour with silken tofu seems to be a be a good method for getting a texture/consistency that is stable and wont break apart when cooked. What gave you the idea to do that? When I've used tapioca and water in the past, it didn't work out as well, and any boba (not boobs, I promise) I made would break apart. I've had some success with microwaving the mixture before boiling or steaming them. Seems like the microwave the wet mixture enough to maybe gelatinize it or make it tacky enough to survive cooking in water. Before that I would attempt to add boiling water to it, then knead it, but my hands didn't like that very much...
  4. heichmanron

    Bubble Tea

    OK, so I know this is something for a drink, but the process does involve cooking, so I was kind of conflicted as to where I should put this post... oh well, hope no one minds. Either way, for those of you that are unfamiliar with what boba are (is?), boba are basically pearls (think pie weight size) of tapioca starch which are added to tea drinks that include fruit nectar, milk (or not) and other flavorings. Now, although I can order these online, how would that be fun? I've bought them before and found the texture to be much chewier and denser than what I had from vendors, and some brands just break apart as you're cooking them, which is definitely not helpful. As I mentioned, typically, boba are made out of tapioca starch. Boba are soft yet chewy and slightly sweet. They serve the purpose of being fun to chew on when you're drinking the tea (from very wide straws too!) and make the drink more filling too. So, the question is: is it possible to create boba or some boba style alternative at home? I've thought about it a bit, and consulted the "Modernist Cuisine" book's chapter on gels (although I don't have much experience with them). As far as I can tell, what I'm looking for here is a gel which is stable at cold to room temperatures, acid stable, is very stiff (MC uses gummy bears as an example, that seems about right) and mildly elastic. Tapioca starch falls into the category of a tuber hydrocolloid, possibly other hydrocolloids would work, but they would need to be easy enough to work with to shape into balls, cut into disks, pipe out of bags or pour into spherical molds (I don't have those, but I'm not ruling it out). Since Earth gravity is too high, unfortunately we can't just make drops large enough just by dripping into water... Expanding the definition of boba beyond just tapioca pearls gives a lot of flexibility too. Think: Boba that are fruit flavoredCreative uses, like, bloody mary boba in bloody maryBoba in soupAside from tapioca starch, I was thinking that mochi have a very similar texture to the pearls as well (due to the glutinous rice), but I'm not sure how it would react to being in liquid for a bit of time. I'll try to make pearls out of mochi flour and see how it goes, any other ideas?
  5. heichmanron

    The make-your-own vanilla extract experiment

    Ah, good point! I didn't notice the date on his post, it's interesting that the price went up so much, if you only account for inflation it should be $11.04, but who knows what's going on in the vanilla market...
  6. heichmanron

    Inexpensive/Cheap Homemade Meals

    Frittatas sound like a good idea too, definitely easy, I was thinking of doing that, but setting it like you set a custard (baine marie in the oven). I agree about the bread machine, although it seems like a lot of people get added value from them, most of the bread I consume I grill on the spot. I make several batches of dough every week in my food processor, freeze most of them after they rise and I deflate them, keep one in the fridge. Every morning I tear a piece off of the dough, flatten it out and grill it over my stove until it puffs up like a pita, when I run out of dough I just defrost another batch. The freezing doesn't seem to have any ill effects on the dough and fresh baked pita every morning always beats loaf bread in my mind (it also takes me only about 5 minutes to make two pitas, so fast too). I'll think about getting a pressure cooker, right now I definitely can't afford to spend the $100 it would take to get, but with a little smart planning I'm sure I can save up some, that way I'll have some more time to do my work. Speaking of my work, I'm doing my degree in aerospace engineering and I have to say, the science based books on cooking make so much sense to me, I love "Modernist Cuisine" as well as the associated science movement in the culinary arts.
  7. heichmanron

    Inexpensive/Cheap Homemade Meals

    The garden idea I've done when I lived in Israel as a kid haha, but I live in a city not, there is no "garden" now. I've done sous-vide using a vacuum sealer and a heated water bath in my oven (the oven temp range starts at 100 F), although its a hassle in the oven, and making a sous vide machine would cost me about $90, I've thought about it, but right now I don't have time. I'm more interested in pressure cookers due to the speed, since the cheap cuts of meat is what I already cook with (I just pot roast them in my oven), maybe as soon as I have extra money I will get one, it's really a time/cost trade off. If I can cook the same thing faster, saving time is saving money. Thankfully I live near many local stores and am pretty savvy about where to get what I actually buy to eat. I don't buy much beans, but I think it's a good idea to start expanding in that direction.
  8. heichmanron

    Inexpensive/Cheap Homemade Meals

    Those gardens are very interesting, very similar to what I want to make. Milk is fairly cheap where I am ($2/gal), so I use that to make a lot of cheeses, yogurt (drinkable or greek) as well as labne, cream is also not too bad ($5/qt), so I use that to make butter, buttermilk, creme bulgare and mascarpone.
  9. heichmanron

    Inexpensive/Cheap Homemade Meals

    I've thought of getting a pressure cooker, but I'm afraid of spending money on one that might not be as good as I need it to be, or spending too much on one, although the fact is speeds up cooking so much might just convince me to get it, many people I know rave about how simple it is. I've tried growing herbs but my cats always seem to knock them down or eat them haha, so I need to figure out something to remedy that, this is a bit outside the scope of the question, but I've been thinking of making an Arduino controlled kind of indoor greenhouse for my living room, it would automatically water and provide full spectrum light for the plants and cost me about $70, but I haven't had time recently, so maybe when I do. Indian food is also definitely a good one! I make chicken tikka and chicken makhani pretty often, as well as a saag paneer (making the paneer is fun too) and navratan korma, all of them are great. I'll look into the author you mentioned, I've never heard of her.
  10. heichmanron

    Inexpensive/Cheap Homemade Meals

    Beans are a great one, but for some reason my girlfriend doesn't really like them, I think she doesn't find them to be substantive enough and if I serve them to her she usually just picks at her food haha, they need to be in a soup for her to eat them, minestrone and black bean soup are good ideas though. Lentils are also great, I don't use them often either, but they are good price and very tasty! I agree, legumes are a natural go-to for cheap and easy. The turkey idea is a good one, I always saw them around November, but since I don't do anything for thanksgiving, I didn't think of buying them, although making stock out of them o grilling them is a good one, no reason I can't keep them in the fridge for a couple of months either (same with the stock I might make out of them) The recipe you linked is very similar to something I've done in the past, I've done spinach and chickpeas, some olive oil, lemon, garlic, but I also add quinoa so I have some additional grain-like addition. Lentils seem to be a running theme here, so it looks like I should definitely give them a try
  11. heichmanron

    The make-your-own vanilla extract experiment

    How did you get a pound for less than $10? The 1 lb. packages I see on the website are ~$30.
  12. heichmanron

    Pickled Beets: ideas for using them

    In Israel its common to see them in spreads, if you like the taste enough that you wouldn't mind eating a paste of them, you can process them with labne (yogurt cheese), cream cheese, or whatever spread you like and spread them on bread.
  13. heichmanron

    Inexpensive/Cheap Homemade Meals

    That sounds like a good idea, I might think about making the nachos myself, maybe come up with a creative way to quickly press tortillas (or hit them with a cutting board? haha), it seems as long as you have a kind of starchy "substrate" for flavor, you can do a lot. You say potato I say... potato? (I don't think that translates to well to text...) But either way, by cheap, I don't mean lesser quality. I just made some risotto, quiche is also definitely a good one, its basically a savory custard pie, you can toss any combination of things in there that go well together, I've made them a bunch of times in the past, my favorite was one I made with cabbage, onion and some homemade pastrami and jarlsberg.
  14. heichmanron

    Inexpensive/Cheap Homemade Meals

    Let me start by saying that this is my first post on here, so if I'm breaking some forum rule (I looked for a section, but there didn't seem to be one...) I'm apologizing in advance. I looked through the forums for a related topic but I didn't seem to find anything relating to cooking on a budget or cooking good food when you don't have much money. Although this forum might not be related to saving money per se, who doesn't think about how to save money when they are cooking? I'm currently a PhD student, so most of my time revolves around doing my research and cooking, when I'm not doing one, I'm doing the other, so I also look for ways to make food that doesn't involve much attention/time at attention while it's heating, but at the same time I look for a balance between variety/cost, also the ability to reheat/store the food easily is important. It's really like an optimization problem! You can't always have it all, but you can try. I don't have money for special equipment, so almost everything I make is limited to using a rolling pin, knives, standard cookware/bakeware, and (my only real cooking equipment) a food processor. So, that brings me to my question, what do you like to cook when you don't want to spend much? I love cooking good food, but I spend about $50/5 days (that's my budgeted amount), so that leaves certain ingredients off the table. I'll start things off with what I've been making recently (I'm not sure how to attach pictures, so if anyone is interested, those are forthcoming, I post the pictures on imgur here: http://roncooking.imgur.com/): tuna arancinitomago sushipizza margheritanot a recipe, but saves money: cultured butter/buttermilkroasting my own coffeecreme fraichegrilled pita on the stove every morningchicken liver patevegetable galettesrisotto (Parmesan is expensive, but for the amount of risotto you can make, its worth it for sure)simple broiled chicken thighs with garlic, thyme, lemon, olive oilhomemade sausage (several applications, goes in pasta, good for breakfast, good on pizza, ravioli)mochihomemade dulce de lechecrepespiroshki (if soviet times taught Russians anything its how to make good cheap food...)shui jiao dumplingshummus/falafel pitas with israeli saladlabneflanravioli (I actually made a ravioli maker from a wooden board for this)bread puddingbeef pot roastas well as making a lot of broth for different applicationsMy philosophy is mainly to make as many of the ingredients of a recipe as possible on my own and to turn the unneeded parts of one recipe into the ingredients in another one (i.e leek stems can be used in broth, bones from deboning a chicken be used to make tare, etc)
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