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  1. I just cut the cucumber in half and pull the wrap off each side. Works well enough for me... your mileage may vary. Sounds like the OP is suffering from a case of dull knife syndrome. This malady is shockingly common. There is a cure, but you can also invest in a cheap letter opener or bag opener like the ones mentioned above.
  2. Perhaps the best essay I've ever read on chic salts is Jeffrey Steingarten's "Salt Chic" in "It Must've Been Something I Ate." The essay explores the impact that different trace minerals have on the perception of salt flavors. The gist is that not all "sea salts" are created equal; some are indistinguishable in flavor from inexpensive and pure Diamond Crystal, while others have detectable flavor differences -- not always for the better. McGee joins in to drop some science knowledge. If you've never read Steingarten, you're in for a treat.
  3. The Mirage Pro is the way to go.
  4. The farming practices that go along with glyphosate are in many ways more destructive.
  5. I was going to suggest incomplete combustion as well. This is strange and is not something that should happen with gas burners, even the side-burners on grills. If you dial back the gas flow and double check that there's proper ventilation, that should solve the problem. As Okanagancook points out, there's probably a simple adjustment you can make on your grill that will get things working; check out the grill's manual, as it likely has instructions on how to do exactly this. Side burners on grills are often used infrequently, and often get neglected. I know that's the case on my family's grill. Over the seasons, they can go from functioning well to in need of a servicing. Pollen and spiders like to clog things up, and hot-cold-hot seasonal cycles can make connectors and regulators wiggle ever so subtly. We must be forever vigilant in our battles with entropy. Also, if anyone's looking for a cheap gas burner for outdoor searing, I highly recommend the Iwatani 35FW butane powered stove. It is the most powerful portable gas burner on the market, and the fact that you can take it anywhere is a real game-changer -- even for those of us lucky enough to have outdoor grills with side-burners. If it's raining outside, I can sear on my front porch instead! And if I ever need to go to someone's house and don't trust their stove... or go to a picnic or camping... or start a catering business... or...
  6. btbyrd

    Dinner 2019

    Had another poulet rouge in the fridge and decided to cut it up and get grilling. One leg was lost to the tare-making cause, as was the rest of the carcass. This weekend is yakitori time.
  7. It's on the back of the packaging, but you have to zoom in on the image on their product to read it.
  8. Modernist Pantry sells a powdered glucose with a DE of 95+. I don't know if that's what you're looking for though. Modernist Pantry also sells N -Zorbit in retail quantities, if that's the type of maltodextrin you're looking for.
  9. btbyrd

    Best chicken?

    Not that I know of, but if I was trying to track down heritage meats in NYC, I'd get in touch with Heritage Foods USA. They have a mail-order business, but a brick-and-mortar storefront in the city. The founder got his start selling heritage turkeys, and though chicken isn't their primary business I'm sure that if you called and expressed an interest in finding high quality, humanely raised heritage chickens they'd be able to help you out. Heritage Foods runs a non-profit radio network dedicated to food education, and they're an organization I like to support in whatever ways I can. If Heritage Meats is out of chicken, I bet they'd be able to direct you to a quality purveyor. It probably won't be poulet rouge, but you probably won't be disappointed. And you'll probably end up making me jealous of whatever you're able to source there in the city. 😊 Bell & Evans is my default chicken as well. But in the event that there's a special occasion.... Finding these birds offered regularly for sale at my local Whole Foods was about the only wonderful surprise I've had in my supermarket grocery-buying experience in North Carolina. Apologies if I'm crowing a bit too much about this product, but it's a good one. It's rare for us to eat chicken that's over a month old in this country, and that's a shame for everyone (including the chickens).
  10. In Chicago there's a fraternal organization of beer and meat called "Man-B-Que." Being a fan of meat, beer, and Tocqueville's view of American civil society, I joined the organization with much enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I lived an hour outside the city when I lived there, and now live 13 hours from the city. So my time there was brief and fleeting, but I think my ManBQue piece on MSG was pretty good. I took some photos of my own glutamate stores, but they didn't survive the migration to the new website. The formatting is now also a disaster. Oh well... that's creative destruction for you, I guess. Anyway, here's a link: MSG: Meaty Savory Goodness I'll leave it for others to decide if there were any choice quotes. I provide a lot of references, which are sorely lacking in what passes for most "science journalism" these days. I use less MSG now than I used to, as I have many more non-synthetic sources of free glutamic acid in my pantry now. I still add a dash of Accent to my stir fry. It's so necessary!
  11. btbyrd

    Best chicken?

    Chicken flavor is down to genetics, feed, and lifestyle. Most chicken at the grocery store fails in one or more of these categories. Bell and Evans make a quality air-chilled product, but achieving excellent flavor is not their goal. They still use fast-growing birds slaughtered early before they could live a bird-life, walking around and foraging on land. Living a bird life that's longer than 6 weeks or so is crucial to developing good chicken flavor. In America, we grow breeds that were selected to pack on white meat as fast as possible so the birds can be killed as early as possible. These are the "chickens of tomorrow," and they're why Americans think chicken doesn't taste like anything. The best chicken I can find in my local grocery are the poulet rouge birds on offer from Joyce Farms. To get anything "better," I have to go to the farmer's market. Which I do, sometimes. It isn't often that I get to crow about industrialized animal agriculture, but I am happy to have Joyce Farms in my community bringing quality product to demanding consumers and chefs at a scale most small farmers cannot hope to deliver. They're a North Carolina brand I am proud to represent in my kitchen, and I know many local chefs who are just as proud to represent them on their menus. And apparently their product is in demand in New York City, which pleases me greatly. Here's an overview of their program: And here's a closer look at a particular farm who is producing in the Joyce Farms program. This farm is just under an hour drive from my house, not that I've been there myself. I don't know if this chicken is the best, but it's certainly the best thing I've ever been fortunate enough to find in a grocery store. Bell and Evans and Smart Chicken (or anything else air-chilled, frankly) are a step down, but an acceptable substitute. And sometimes, I admit, I buy the freakshow modern chicken because I am weak willed and/or weak budgeted. It's hard to feed a huge crowd on heritage birds, but maybe that's how it should be.
  12. Made a dream come true this Mother’s Day with Benton’s finest. Admittedly, it was my dream... but the crowd seemed to like it too. Carving the ham Spanish style, because why not?
  13. I don't think Don Quixote would care much about how his food processor looked. If my Cuisinart ever dies, which it probably won't, I'm investing in a commercial Robot Coupe. I care more about the look of my product than the look of the capital, ya dig? But I understand the desire to make your kitchen look good. Maybe keep it in a cabinet, if you can?
  14. I like cucumbers vacuum-infused with lime juice. If you want to turn it into a full "dish" you can just marinade cucumbers and thinly sliced red onion in lime juice with some sugar and a dash of fish sauce. Throw in some mixed herbs like cilantro or mint or thai basil or whatever at the end. You can do that with or without a chamber vacuum, but it sure looks prettier if you compress it. Cucumber and short ribs. There was a lime-zest and herb infused macadameia nut oil on the plate too. Citrus oils aren't acidic, but their aromatic qualities can help balance a dish. Also the Modernist Cuisine oxtail demi that has asian infusions. There's a lot of tamarind paste in the glaze to brighten up what is a quite thick and protein-rich glaze. That sauce is freaking magic, but it's a lot of work. If you make it in double quantity, you can freeze what you don't use. And here's a vacuum infused cucumber, red onion, and cilantro salad with that dressing I was talking about. Sometimes I use honey instead of sugar. And I usually use a less refined sugar if I don't have Thai rock on hand. That stuff can be hard to dissolve if you don't bang it out in a mortar first, and who has the time for all that?! Good god compressed cucumber is beautiful. Anyway, with wagyu you need to punch people in the face: Wasabi. Horseradish. Mustard. Acid. Fermented vegetables. In a 4-5oz portion, there is a lot of fat, especially if it's one of the higher grades. Give people big piles of different salts on their plate, and grind some fresh cracked pepper on the side for them. Allow them to season as they go (but season the meat when you cook it, obviously...). Let people be their own Salt Bae. And Pepper Bae. Some boutique soy sauces would be good too. I have a few on hand that would be bangers, including a smoked soy sauce I got from Toiro kitchen. I might also try curing the wagyu between kombu and/or using seaweed salt in your prep work. I have some Japanese ayu fish sauce that's amazing and very hammy -- one of Dave Arnold's favorites. It would probably be even better than Red Boat. Speaking of, Blis makes a barrel aged Red Boat fish sauce that would be great for dipping. Make some nuoc cham, in whatever form or fashion you want. The point is, there are options.
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