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  1. All this talk and I still have no idea what one would do with such a contraption.
  2. btbyrd

    Ugly Delicious on Netflix

    In my view, the third episode (on home cooking) should have been the first of the series, as it introduces us to the notion of "ugly delicious" and sets the tone and context for the rest of the series. That discussion comes about eight and a half minutes into the episode. I found this to the best episode of the series -- at once the most heartwarming and cerebral, the latter without trying to be. Other episodes can end up with somewhat artificial conversation in the form of panel discussions on the nature of ____________. Instead, this one just shows you beautiful people cooking ugly, unpretentious food whose validity and deliciousness is obvious and without question. It invites the haughtier among us to transvaluate their culinary values and realize that there is something incomparably wonderful to be found in simple, coarse, and ugly cooking. The rest of the series looks best through this lens.
  3. btbyrd

    Favorite Food Quotes

    That's an old joke immortalized in Woody Allen's monologue at the beginning of Annie Hall.
  4. As far as ordinary language is concerned, the basic alternative at issue is whether or not we want to apply food categories like "meat" or "mayo" or "milk" by reference to an underlying substance (such as animal flesh or egg yolk emulsions or mammalian secretions) or by reference to the category's characteristic function. If what we mean by "mayo" is "white, tangy, oily stuff that you spread on sandwiches or make tuna salad with" then vegan mayonnaise is possible. But vegan status precludes the possibility of mayonnaise-hood if what we mean by "mayo" is an emulsion made from eggs and oil. The same basic alternative applies in the case of nut milks. If by "milk" we mean "a whitish aqueous emlusion of fat, sugar, and protein that you might put on cereal or drink a glass of or put in your smoothie," then sure... nut milks are possible. But if milk refers to a substance secreted by hairy mammalian teats, then nut milk ain't milk. Neither is soy milk. As Lewis Black puts that argument, "We know there's no soy milk because there's no soy titty." I'm not convinced that's the best way to view things, and am content to make, buy, and use nut and soy "milks" without any sort of linguistic or conceptual shame. It's not like anyone's confused about whether or not these "milks" are real "moo-cow **** milk," as Mr. Black calls it. These distinctions are mostly without a difference in our everyday lives, but they can come to matter in the context of our byzantine regulatory environment. Is mayo essentially an egg-based product? How the law decides could have a multi-million dollar impact. I seem to recall Hellman's trying to use the regulatory baton to badger the makers of "Just Mayo" into changing the name of their product. A lawsuit to burden their much smaller competitor. Kind of a dick move on Hellman's part. But so is putting a picture of a freaking egg in the logo of your egg-free "mayo." (It appears that the makers of Just Mayo have since removed the egg from their logo.) Are hot dogs sandwiches? What about burritos? There are legal rulings on these matters that impact real people's bottom lines. Are tomatoes fruits? Yes, botanically -- they're edible ovaries. But for customs purposes, the feds say they're vegetables. Are the mutants in the fictitious X-Men universe human or are they non-human? Toy Biz, Inc. v USA argued that their X-Men figurines should not be taxed as dolls, but as toys on the grounds that the X-men are "non-human creatures." What's the metaphysical truth about the humanoid status of the X-Men? Are they even men at all? The world may never know. But for the purposes of import tariffs, the X-Men aren't human. But I digress...
  5. btbyrd

    Rice cookers for singletons

    It looks like Amazon has a Prime eligible 2-cup model for $99, They're only for gas burners though. I don't know why a flat top wouldn't work; I just know that every single resource I've found has said not to use them with anything except a gas flame. You can also put them in the oven. But if you're heating it directly, it's gotta be a flame for whatever reason. Anyway, they're a great way to cook rice. If you add a tablespoon or two of oil to the donabe and let it go for a minute or two longer, you can get a wonderfully golden brown and delicious crust on the bottom of the rice. Speaking of golden brown and delicious crusty bottoms, you can see a bit of that in this video for chicken ginger rice: You can check out how they're made in the following video; the donabes made by Iga Mono are featured in the first segment. Here's a link to the best single English-language book on Japanese donabe cookery, Naoko Moore and Kyle Connaughton's "Donabe: Classic and Modern Clay Pot Cooking." Warning: Donabes can be habit forming.
  6. btbyrd

    Rice cookers for singletons

    I've been using a donabe rice cooker for the past couple of months, and the results are pretty spectacular. The one featured in this video is the largest offered -- a 5 cup model. It's definitely overkill for a single person, as is the 3-cup model that I have. But they also offersmaller 1 and 2 cup versions that would be great for singletons. They require a gas flame, but you can get a powerful, portable tabletop Iwatani butane burner for like $35. Those are great for camping/catering/outdoor searing/fish cookery as well as donabe cooking.. But I digress. The ceramic also requires some special care compared to your 30 function electric nonstick multipot rice-cooking thingamabob. It also requires slightly more technique than plug-and-play solutions. But not much. I love cooking with mine.
  7. btbyrd

    Oils in Injection Brining

    I think you may be underestimating how many injection sites there are when properly injection brining. The MC guidelines suggest that you should aim to distribute the shots so that there is no meat more than an inch from an injection site. It's more than just a few interior spots. It's also not really the case that water soluble flavors penetrate meat while fat soluble ones don't. In general, most all flavor molecules are too large to penetrate protein more than a few millimeters. Salt has some ionic activity that will draw it much deeper inside, given enough time. But the idea that marinades are a "surface treatment" holds true regardless of whether the marinade's flavors are based in water or fat. While I have done injection brining with a brining needle, my new method is to Jaccard whole muscle cuts and then seal them in a bag with marinade or brine using a chamber vacuum machine. The needling creates channels in the protein which are then flooded with liquid when the pressure comes back into the chamber. The bag and the atmosphere act as the "injector."
  8. That will do what you want. Korin's non-knife kitchen stuff is 15% off this month with coupon code KW818.
  9. btbyrd

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Chicken ramen 🐓 🍜 🍲
  10. btbyrd

    Pasteurizing Eggs Sous Vide

    Ziplocks aren't recommended for cook->pasteurize->chill->store. And unless you bag one yolk per bag (yikes) then your container will no longer be pasteurized after you open it to get a yolk or two out. Cooking them in the shell is a better way to cook, chill, and store, SV eggs safely. But if you want to cook a bunch of yolks at a time and then retherm them, I separate a bunch of eggs (easier when raw) and cook batches of yolks in Ziplocks in copious amounts of neutral oil. I retherm at 58C because the yolks won't cook or appreciably change in texture even if held for a long time. That's how I banged out two dozen perfect yolks for a dish at an event a while back. It was a "Bacon, Egg, and Cheese" dish made of a big hunk of deep-fried, cured smoked SV pork belly stuffed with cheese and then topped with a SV yolk and Maldon's salt. This was my last bag, but you can see that seven or eight yolks will sit comfortably in a gallon zippie. Chefsteps does a similar technique, but they use a small hotel pan filled with oil and then heat that with a circulator like a bain marie. That seems like a lot of work when you can just use a bag. If I was going to try to pasteurize them and hold them beforehand for some reason, I would have just cooked them in their shell and re-thermed them on site, but I'd have to crack them out a la minute, and that's a pain in the ass. It's much easier to separate a raw egg than it is one that's been cooked SV. My personal favorite yolk texture for a lot of stuff is around 64.2C. It's a "tweener" yolk that's fudgey but still will flow slowly and meltingly form a "sauce." But to get back to pasteurization, eggs are a relatively safe food to begin with and people tend to overestimate their danger. The interior of the egg is more or less sterile, and eggs can survive at room temperature without spoiling. You sort of have to try to make a rotten egg. Many of the food recalls due to salmonella in prepared products that contain eggs (like raw cookie dough from the store, for example) were recalled due to a microbial threat from the eggs, but often from other ingredients like flour or lettuce. All that's to say, I don't bother to pasteurize them. But I don't have a compromised immune system and don't cook for anyone who does. Even still, I feel like eating a runny fried egg yolk that hasn't been pasteurized is extremely safe and I don't know that I'd bother to pasteurize even if I did. That may say more about me than about eggs though.
  11. I, for one, welcome our new microbe overlords.
  12. btbyrd

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Thanks! Beneath the cheese is a heap of Benton's bacon over a a mound of caramelized vidalia onions (and some thinly shaved raw ones).
  13. btbyrd

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Bacon cheeseburger salad. 🥓 🍔 🥗
  14. Zingerman's summer sale is almost over. I always, always, stock up on tinned fish and olive oil during their summer sale.
  15. There are so many ways to go. Almost all "dry and tasteless" complaints are problems with technique. Skewer it. I've never had bad yakitori or souvlaki. Or deep fry it. Or cut it into thin strips and stir-fry it. Or get creative with the pound+stuff method. In any case, brine it (or use a marinade that includes salt). And don't overcook it. If you do overcook it, make a pan sauce.