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btbyrd

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  1. We've made it. We also got almost "one of everything" to go at Milk Bar Vegas as dessert after our meal at Momofuku. I think we also got crack pie soft serve, but it might have just been two servings of cereal milk soft serve. At any rate... It's a sugar pie. It tastes like a sugar pie. It's good. I was actually pleasantly surprised with how balanced it was, since Christina has a reputation for being a sugar freak and I have reputation for never ordering dessert. My favorite dessert is a proper cheese course with a glass of port. And if not that, then a fruit pie with some cheese and maybe some iced cream. And if not that, then an acid-forward berry sorbet. I'm not the kind of person who wants to mow down on a sugar and flour and corn anything. But I'm a fan of Tosi and a fan of the Momo crew. When in Rome... I don't think "Milk Bar Pie" is a very good name for the product, for multiple reasons. And I cannot imagine taking offense to "Crack Pie," even tough anyone with a brain can acknowledge how horrifically destructive that drug has been (and especially so in the African American community, in part because of garbage and prejudicial sentencing laws that treat crack differently from powdered cocaine). Crack Pie is okay in my book. Just okay. It's nothing to write home about. I don't think I'd make it again, or order it again. And maybe I'd try to come up with a different name, but maybe not. But I'm not a sugar head, even if I did once order (basically) one of everything at Milk Bar Vegas on our way back home from the Grand Canyon. Needs acid. But then again, I acid adjust my juice. So....
  2. This isn't really disposal related... but I just wanted to encourage people to get frying.
  3. btbyrd

    Food Safety Question

    No joke! This is a rule I also follow. People should have a thermometer in their oven, but they should also have two in their fridge -- one on the top and one on the bottom shelf. And you should organize it so that perishable foods that can contaminate things (like raw meat) are physically lower in your fridge so that they only "contaminate downwards." It's the "trickle down" theory of fridge safety. Anyway, double check that your fridge is actually cold where you plan to store your food, and keep it as cold as you can without things freezing.
  4. btbyrd

    Food Safety Question

    My immune system is a beast, so I usually just use the "sniff test." I'm very sensitive to off-flavors in poultry, so microbial safety is usually less of a practical issue for me than palatability. So if you're feeling frisky, I'd say give it a sniff and roll with it. But caveat eater. I probably wouldn't serve it to my grandmother or kid sister.
  5. It may be bunk, but the fry oil people have thought to add it in. I'm sure your scientific chops are better than my own. The use of silicones in fry oil might be a bunch of stupid industry nonsense (like vacuum marination of meat) but there's at least a purported rationale at work. I look forward to hearing what you're able to find out. I did a quick glance through what I have available to me, and found a couple things that may be interesting on the topic. Here's a relevant literature review and critical discussion from 2004: Effectiveness of dimethylpolysiloxane during deep frying Author: Márquez-Ruiz, Gloria Journal: European journal of lipid science and technology ISSN: 1438-7697 Date: 11/01/2004 Volume: 106 Issue: 11 Page: 752-758 DOI: 10.1002/ejlt.200400999 And another one purporting to establish the utility of DMPS in continuous frying operations. Polydimethylsiloxane Shows Strong Protective Effects in Continuous Deep-Frying Operations Author: Totani, Nagao Journal: Journal of oleo science ISSN: 1345-8957 Date: 2018 Volume: 67 Issue: 11 Page: 1389-1395 DOI: 10.5650/jos.ess18047 Maybe it's all a ruse by Big Silicone. Or maybe the food science guys just don't understand the mechanism properly. In any event, they're adding silicone to commercial fry oil in minute quantities in an effort to stave off oxidation.
  6. Okay... some nuggets from Shirley. Cookwise is an AWESOME book, and her section on frying is fantastic. "New crops like high oleic sunflower oil and low linolenic soybean oil maximize single double bonds and minmize double and triple double bonds, making for more stable and healthful oils. The more healthful unsaturated fats can be used if the oil is not going to be re-used. Considerations like flavor and smoke point may be more important than saturation." (158) That's basically why I keep HO sunflower oil and tallow on hand. Tallow is super stable (and not terrible for you, if your cow didn't spend the last two months of its life in a concentration camp). But for a vegetable-based option, HO sunflower oil is pretty dang good. She does not recommend re-using fry-oil from home because it does not contain the common additives (like anti-oxidants) that help keep commercial fryer oil from breaking down. I don't fry that hot and I use relatively stable fats, so I don't know that this nugget applies across the board. You can always add some mixed tocopherols to your oil if you want to, and create your own "commercial" fry oil. Commercial fry oils contain trace amounts of certain silicones, which form a film on the surface of the oil, preventing direct contact with oxygen in the air (and thereby limiting oxidative rancidity). Solid vegetable shortenings often contain emulsifiers like mono and diglycerides, which makes them good fats to use in cakes but lowers their smoke point and makes them bad for higher temp frying. I couldn't find anything on polarity and browning, but KennethT is right on the money that you don't need to add much "old" oil to fresh oil to reap the benefits of slightly damaged fry fats. The key is that the damage is *slight*. You don't want to slop back a bunch of burned up fishy-smelling rancid garbage oil into your jug. That's not going to be good for anyone.
  7. There's some surface activity stuff going on there too, for sure. I'll go reread Shirley Corriher, as it's been a while. She doesn't get nearly enough play! I don't know who McGee's agent is... but maybe she should switch over. 🙂
  8. It was on one of the back episodes of Cooking Issues. But the issue of polarity impacting the consistency of fried foods is well documented at the commercial level. Here's an article on monitoring polar compounds in fryer oil. A relevant nugget: "Total Polar Compounds affect the consistency of deep frying by increasing the release of water and the absorption of fats into the product. French fries, for instance, will brown but will be hollow because the moisture has been released too quickly."
  9. btbyrd

    Cooking plain old chips

    There is no "best" or "correct" way to do anything. There are just better and worse paths to specific goals. But I don't think that you fell into that trap. The Platonic metaphysics have corrupted our thinking about value in so many domains... but the quest for the One "best" way to do _________ in the kitchen is one of the most obvious. This is a stupid quest. There is no Platonic form of the French Fry that our methods are failing to live up to. There's just a bunch of techniques to do particular things to achieve some desired result. All of them involve trade-offs. All of them are better and worse in various respects. None are "best." None are "correct." I wish we'd all stop thinking like Platonists about value in the kitchen. It'd take a big weight off our shoulders and free our minds to explore the world of culinary technique free of guilt and shame. Some outlets have built their brand on Platonic "best-mongering." They shell out recipe after recipe for "the best roast chicken" or "the best pumpkin pie." They're hoping that you're afraid in the kitchen. Afraid of not living up to that BS Platonic ideal. Because they've got a solution to sell you. They're counting on your fear. They might not know that's what they're doing, but that's what they're doing. And they need to knock it off. We have enough neurotic cooks as it is.
  10. btbyrd

    Cooking plain old chips

    If you haven't tried the modernist triple cooked chips, you're missing out. Heston invented it, but there are a bunch of variations out there. I started out with the ChefSteps version, but now have my own approach. Start with Russet or Maris Piper potatoes (depending on where you are). The technique begins with an initial blanching step to cook the potato and wake up the starches. You want to cook them until they are almost falling apart (and some will fall apart). Doing this in a water bath is more gentle because there's less agitation and bumping around; you'll break fewer fries if you blanch them sous vide, but if you don't care then that's not really necessary. Half the time, I just boil them on the stovetop. If I'm feeling precious, I'll go all-out. Everything's a trade off. Anyway, after the initial blanch, the fries are drained and allowed to dry. The easiest thing to do is move them to a rack, let them cool down to room temp, and then move them to the fridge to let the surface moisture flash off. Then there's a low-temp fry step. You fry the blanched potatoes at a low temp (like 275F/130C) to start to set the crust and to drive out moisture. Once that's done, you drain the fries, allow them to cool, and then freeze them. From frozen, it's just a quick trip through some hot oil. By the time the outside looks done, the inside will be thawed. And delicious. That freezing step is cool because it allows you to do all this pain-in-the-butt work before hand in a big batch, and then you have fancy modernist fries in your freezer ready to deep fry at your leisure. That's the only way I can justify doing all that work (unless it's for a special occasion or something). There are a lot of variations in this framework. People have put their fries in vacuum chambers, ultrasonic baths, and enzyme solutions to try to produce a maximally crusty and delicious surface. I've tried two of those three, and found the Pectinex SPL pre-soak on the raw potatoes to be the cheapest, easiest way to enhance the surface texture. That's Dave Arnold's trick. But it's not really necessary. None of the fussy Modernist epicycles are really necessary to pull off a delicious triple cooked chip. Just follow the formula: blanch/boil, fry, fry. Examples: 3X Cooked Chips with Methocel F50 battered fish. This was a lard fry, if I recall correctly. . Here are some sliders and fries. I made the slider patties from some freshly ground pastured chuck. Then I froze them. The "pickup" on this meal was to deep fry the fries, then deep fry the burgers. I used my late grandmother's french fry cutter instead of a knife on this one. It is not the best version of that tool, but it keeps the dream alive, so to speak. Here's a ChefSteps iteration doing thin-cut fries. They have a recipe for the thick-cut ones as well. Fry fry fry, agent Starling... Fry fry fry...
  11. Brand new oil is actually not as good as "older" fry oil, as slightly heat-damaged lipids are better at making physical contact with the surface of food (I believe for ionic reasons, if I recall my Dave Arnold correctly). At any rate, brand new fry oil isn't ideal for producing a brown crust as easily. That's not why I save my oil... but it's a good story to tell to myself while I'm filtering the oil and putting it back in the jar. I "backslop" old oil back into the main container, but only if it's been used to fry clean-tasting foods like potatoes. If fish or brassicas or some other such thing got fried in there, I end up disposing it. I use high oleic sunflower oil for most of my deep frying needs. It hits the right balance between having a healthy lipid profile, high smoke point, neutral flavor, and relatively low cost. There's probably something better out there, but I haven't had the time (or the need) to explore the options in depth. Most industrial seed oils used for deep frying are a freaking nightmare on your body from a health perspective (though that's a matter for another forum). I also like to use lard and tallow from pastured pigs and cows. For different reasons, and for different applications. The flavor of french fries made in beef tallow is superb. Apparently, if Steingarten is to be believed, a mixture of half horse fat and half beef fat tastes even better. But that beef fat french fry flavor is the core of the OG McDonald's french fry -- the Original Platonic Form of the French Fry in the American imagination. That was before the damned vegetarians and their health-nut disciples forced an industry-wide switch over from saturated animal fats to hydrogenated vegetable oils. Stupid jerks. How'd that work out for us? Want to ban trans-fats now? Guess who brought those into our dietary system, jerks!!! But I digress.... Lard also makes good french fries. Great onion rings. But it's the bee's knees for fried chicken. Chicken fried in lard? Yes. Throw in some fresh bacon fat and some rendered fatty funk from a country ham? Hell yes. Lard has a lot of monounsaturated fats compared to tallow, which makes it much more fragile from a heat stability standpoint. You can't reuse it over and over like you can with tallow. But if you're making fancy fried chicken for family supper on a Sunday afternoon? Boy howdy, get you some lard and get frying. You may well have to throw the fat away afterwards... but to think of the spent fat as "waste" is to have missed the magical work it did for you.
  12. btbyrd

    Aprons: Do you use one?

    I bought a leather welding apron with no pockets for using LN in the kitchen. And some cryo gloves. Need some new shoes to complete the ensemble...
  13. btbyrd

    End grain chopping boards

    Elastomer/rubber boards are harder on your edge than the polyvinyl acetate in Hi Soft boards, but they are more durable and can stand up longer without needing to be resurfaced. They're both good choices, but Hi Soft is the softest and most forgiving on your edge. Neither are dishwasher safe, so in a home environment where you're not going to be really hammering on your board it makes sense to opt for the softer material. Both are going to be way better than cheap plastic boards that people might be used to. I have an end grain butcher block, but I cut on Hi Softs literally all the time because it's (1) softer and (2) easier to clean. While end grain cutting boards are nice and all, they're mostly expensive art objects. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I have knives that are arguably more "expensive art object" than utilitarian cutting device. But sometimes niceness gets in the way of functionality, and I think that end grain boards are one of those times. Or at least they can often be. To be sufficiently robust, end grain boards need to be over an inch thick, and that kind of weight adds up quick. It's not pleasant to move even medium sized end-grain boards to and from the sink. Maybe I'm just a hater, but I think I'd rather stick with my super soft synthetic boards for actual cutting and save my nice wooden boards as serving boards for cheese, charcuterie, and roast meats.
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