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Everything posted by bhsimon

  1. The stainless series are definitely dishwasher safe. And they have recently come out with some dishwasher safe non-stick, too.
  2. It's not really about low and slow. My induction cannot do temps below boiling. On it's lowest setting it pulses between a temperature which makes the liquid boil, and completely off. This means you cannot thicken a custard or simmer a dish that should not be boiled. Other units may be more useful at these lower temps, but mine certainly is not and anyone who is purchasing one should be aware this is possible. Pans will do little to mitigate this problem. There have been many times when I've required a heat setting between the ones available on my induction. Contrast this to the virtually infinite number of settings available with a gas burner. Maybe we don't need the 100 settings available on the Volraith, but for me, ten settings is definitely not enough.
  3. I've bee doing a bit of research on induction lately, after using a portable benchtop unit in my kitchen for more than a year. The main drawback I've found is the limited number of levels. Ten levels is simply not enough. Another drawback is that my unit simulates lower levels of power by turning the power on for a second, then off for a second, and so on. It is not actually a lower power setting, but a pulse of a higher setting. These two limitations are, in my opinion, significant. Many recipes are written with just a few power settings such as low, medium-low, medium, medium-high and high. That might give the impression that five power settings would be enough, and perhaps they would be if those power settings were distributed across a wide range of heat. They are not. The low settings are unusable and the high settings are beyond what is required except to bring water to a boil very rapidly. When setting power by temperature, the settings are 20°C apart. I cannot use it with my pressure cooker because one setting is too low and the next is too high. One of the few units I've found with more than 10 or 15 power levels is the Volraith Mirage Pro range, which are portable units. I haven't tried them, so I can't comment directly on how good they are, but they have 100 levels of power and temperature settings which are only 5°C apart. This nicely addresses the issue of the number of power levels. It would be interesting to see how they handle low power modes. Based on these specs, I started looking for built-in cooktops which offered similar levels of power and, as yet, I've been unable to find anything. Even the highly regarded Miele have only 15 levels, which may be enough but I haven't tested them. I think it would be nice to see the technology evolve so that we have power levels which are equivalent across brands and models. Wouldn't it be interesting to have power levels specified as something absolute, so the setting was equivalent between manufacturers? It seems like the induction technology is more capable of this than any other. Then a recipe could be written for an absolute power level rather than some baseless setting like 'medium-low'. (That always makes me smirk because medium-low on my big burner is nothing like medium-low on my small burner.) I'm lucky to have gas so I don't feel a strong urgency to move to induction. I do find that my portable unit is much faster at bringing water to the boil and can hold it there while blanching a big batch of vegetables or cooking a lot of pasta. So I'm surviving with a portable unit for now which I may update to one of the Volraith units, but I'll be keeping my gas cooktop until the technology matures.
  4. That's a pretty general statement. Can you be specific about brands and models? I've used a lot of pots and pans, and my All-Clad stuff in arguably better than anything else I've used. Evenly-distributed heating, with handles that are strong and stay cool. Using Barkeeper's Friend, they are easy to clean and all my pans look new. These are my criteria for a good pan. I don't use non-stick stuff because I actually find them harder to keep clean. I use the stainless range and love them crazy. That being said, Modernist Cuisine found that the quality of cookware was not a huge factor in effectiveness. Sizing the burner to the pan size is more important. Buy cheap flat-bottom pans and use a very thick piece of solid aluminum between burner and pan and you will get even heating.
  5. Ooooh, looks nice. Great accuracy at 0.01°C. Really like to try one of those, but I'll have to wait until they come to Australia.
  6. ...Thinking about a restaurant situation or any time consistency and volume are called for, I wondered whether either of these two approaches may work to have an egg whose white was firm with yolk at desired consistency: 1. Eggs into a 55°C bath to equalise. Hold there until required. This brings the egg to a known internal temperature closer to the final temp without setting either yolk or white. If held long enough, they will be pasteurised. Then, in a separate bath at, say, 90–95°C, drop egg for required time (depends on size) for the yolk to reach desired consistency. The time would range between 5 and 7 minutes, depending on final yolk temp and egg size (which would need to be established before calculations could be done; I use SousVide Dash). 2. Egg is first in a 62–64°C bath (depending on desired yolk consistency) and held until equilibrium is reached, then moved to 55°C bath to be held until needed. This should halt the cooking of the yolk and stabilise the internal temp. When required, the egg goes into 90°C bath for just long enough to set the white. The idea is to use the 62–64°C water bath to set the yolks, which are then cooled a little and held before being moved to the hotter bath to set the whites. Is there any practical limit to how long an egg can be held at 55°C? Say, for example, you were cooking breakfast eggs for a bunch of guests, could you put them into the bath the night before to be held for 8–12 hours? We need some fabulous eGulleter with 2 or 3 water baths to try out these approaches. The timing is critical because the internal temp of the egg will be rising rapidly at the moment of completion because of the temperature difference between core and water bath. The best way would be to directly transfer them back to the 55°C water bath so they don't cool down completely but the temp will be below both yolk and white setting temps. (Oh my, 3 water baths for eggs. Sometimes I wonder...)
  7. I think this is excellent advice, though the authors of Modernist Cuisine found that there were errors in the FDA resources. In addition, they are likely to present fairly conservative handling guidelines which may actually make someone more paranoid. Whilst I have read Modernist Cuisine in entirety, I cannot say that I have completely digested all the information, so I cannot comment authoritatively. Others here on eGullet should be able to help because they understand the health issues very well. But my thinking is that what you are doing, FeChef, is totally fine. After all, you are pasteurizing the meat during the sous vide process. That doesn't totally sterilize the food, but it should render it safe enough for general consumption.
  8. Plans for the moment: Dried peels for tea and cookingCandied peelsMandarincelloMandarin sorbet with mandarin jelly (jello)Mandarin-chocolate sauce to pour over mandarin orange ice-creamBraised duck legs with mandarin peel in the braising liquidThank you for the inspiration. My partner’s solution to this delectable problem was to give away a huge portion our glut. Still enough to try some interesting recipes, and I’m glad to be able to share the mandarin joy. The fruit comes from my cooking buddy’s mum’s tree. I’m going to try a modernist technique for the sorbet and remove all the membrane with Pectinex Ultra Sperse SPL to achieve a really clean mandarin flavour. Mmmmm, I love sorbet.
  9. Thank you for all the cool ideas. I’ll contemplate these while I sip on a glass of fresh juice.
  10. My cooking buddy has just dropped off a huge supply of mandarin fruit and, besides peeling and eating, I’m not sure what to do with them. I’m in Sydney, Australia, and they have just ripened so they are lovely and sweet. I’d love to hear any ideas you might have. I’m not that creative in the kitchen, so my ideas so far are pretty basic: Jelly (jello) Chocolate sauce Ice cream (is that possible?) Duck a la mandarin? I’m open to all applications, sweet and savoury.
  11. Panna cotta is something I’ve been contemplating, too. Modernist Cuisine at Home uses 4.3 g of 225-bloom powdered gelatin (Knox brand) for 530 g of liquid (milk, cream and fruit purée). Modernist Cuisine at Home lists silver sheet gelatin at exactly 160 bloom and Modernist Pantry has two different types of sheet gelatin which are listed as 160 bloom. There is an equation to convert from the 225-bloom to a new amount for 160-bloom. So, if you need 4.3 g of 225-bloom for 530 g of liquid, then you will need 6 g of 160-bloom sheet gelatin for the same amount of liquid. This is what I’m going to try.
  12. An induction cooktop that can also weigh. ‘Reduce by half’ would be so much easier.
  13. For the cassoulet of the region Castelnaudary, I found this cool reference some time ago. You might find it interesting. It does mention duck or goose confit, going as far back as the 1929 recipe quoted in the right-hand column. These guys seem pretty serious; they’d probably be happy to remove your head if you don’t comply. Great Brotherhood of Cassoulet of Castelnaudary
  14. Wow, that is really helpful. Thank you. Combined with Mjx’s ideas, I have a much clearer vision of how to get started. I’ll post my progress.
  15. Awesome ideas. Thank you.
  16. My active little nephew has a thing for ice blocks. Sugary lemonade-flavoured treats on a stick which his mother, my sister, allows him to consume by the dozens. It has me concerned about the health implications of so much sugar for a five-year-old. I've started to wonder whether it would be possible to do home-made versions which were somewhat more healthy in terms of sugar content. My current thinking is to use natural lemon juice with a bit of ascorbic acid (flavour), xanthan gum (texture) and stevia (sweetness), but after that I'm at a loss; especially when it comes to proportions. When I try to simply freeze lemon juice the result is rock hard, as should be expected. I have guessed that the xanthan gum would help to reduce this effect and make it more like commercial product which manages to be slightly softer, even when completely frozen. I'd love to hear if anyone has any insights to help me work out a formula for a child-friendly frozen treat.
  17. On the discussion of scales, and this is most likely the wrong topic, but I thought this might be helpful for those considering buying scales for cooking with Modernist Cuisine at Home. The biggest problem I've found with most scales is the auto-off ‘feature’. On many scales this cannot be disabled, and this can be a real problem when cooking. This seems to be even more of a problem with the cheaper low capacity precision scales, such as the 100 g / 0.01 g versions. They turn off very quickly, and some of them have a fixed off period, rather than turning off after a period of inactivity. Even if they do turn off after inactivity, the duration is often very low—too low. In my experience this can be very frustrating. The best scales will allow you to turn this feature off. My preference is the Ohaus Scout Pro SP2101. There’s no doubt that it’s expensive, but as far as kitchen scales go, this is a good one. It satisfies the desire to have one scale which covers most kitchen needs. It’s ‘only’ accurate to 0.1 g, with a 2 kg limit, but this more than good enough for 99% of tasks. One other thing to consider with scales is calibration. Heavy calibration masses are expensive. The 500 g ones are cheap, though, and four of them will do the job for a scale such as the SP2101. Scales with larger capacity may not have the tray space to support a bunch of 500 g masses, so you are forced to get the more expensive 1 kg or 2 kg masses. I previously used two different scales in the kitchen. One was accurate to 1 g up to 3 kg, which turned off after 3 minutes of inactivity, which was okay. The other was one of those small, inexpensive 500 g / 0.01 g scales which turned off too quickly. I got quite tired of pulling out two different scales, especially when I needed to weigh lots of spices and other light ingredients in the middle of a recipe. This made me take the leap to research a suitable replacement, which is how I discovered the SP2101. I hope this helps.
  18. bhsimon

    Sous Vide Halibut

    Oh, damn that looks good. Nice job, ScottyBoy. I'm always hungry after reading eGullet, and photos like this are surely the reason.
  19. That's a very cool idea. Has anyone tried this? Is the pasta damaged during the sealing process?
  20. I don't think this really needs explanation. Anyone can be a blogger; there's no barrier to entry. There's no mandated qualification. Of course, the same thing could be said about someone who cooks food for others. At least chefs have to obey by local food handling and preparation laws; there are some minimum standards. A blogger just needs a keyboard. Marco was referring to Michelin Star judges, not ordinary diners. I thought the quote was totally relevant when it comes to food bloggers, too. I think you make some great points and, actually, I agree with you. Chefs must consider the diners. Nobody will eat sand, regardless of how many awards the chef has earned. All these things aside, it is hard to argue that the chef was out of line with their response and they language they used. They just failed to realise that the opinions of one meaningless little blogger are not worth getting upset about.
  21. 'Opinions are like a?%£holes; everybody has one.' (Unknown) 'What chefs have to realize is that the people judging them know less about food than they do.' (Marco Pierre White)
  22. So it would be necessary to pasteurize the finished pasta. They do that in Italy, so I've read. It might not be worth the effort in a domestic situation; just make some more!
  23. Would pasteurizing the eggs sous vide have any impact on how long the fresh pasta can be stored in the fridge?
  24. Awesome, Chris. You've inspired me to give Modernist Cuisine at Home risotto a try.
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