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  1. Thanks, this is very helpful. I have a local friend who I can ask to call for me.
  2. I will be in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, at the end of the month. I am hoping to arrange for some lessons at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, but having a lot of trouble finding somebody to contact to try to make arrangements. The agents who frequently arrange these classes seem to have gone defunct. I have found some other cooking classes, but they seem rather geared to tourists interested in food, rather than to cooks, and rather basic. If anybody can put me in touch with somebody who could help, I would be grateful.
  3. I'm getting 6.25 (but measuring from the end of the burner head and not between orifices).
  4. For Chinese cooking there is no such thing as "hot enough," and there are times when I wouldn't mind even more power, but the 25K BTU works much better than my old Viking, and I think that 25K is near the limit of my ventilation cababilities. I have 8 burners, but find myself cooking mostly on the 25Ks, even for Western food. There are many cooking tasks for which hotter is better, that you don't realize until you have the power to do it.
  5. I have the Bluestar Platinum with the 25K BTU burners, and I now find it difficult to cook on other stoves. I had also considered a Capital range, which as far as I know is the only other range available in the US with 25K BTU burners, but I preferred the Bluestar for the "Garland" shaped burners and the ability to fit a wok into a burner without a ring. While the Platinum burners are excellent, the oven is much less so, and some elements of the range design are ridiculous to the point of un-useability (i.e., I find the griddle absolutely worthless and for aesthetic purposes only because of the lack of real grease traps), and I have found Bluestar's customer service unresponsiveness to be horrible. If I had it to do over again I would consider a Capital range, or if I had enough space just go with the Bluestar cooktop (which is really better for Chinese cooking which I do a lot of), and put in a Rational or other good oven system (i.e., Wolf, Capital).
  6. Australian Steak Question

    That might be true, but particularly given the continuing controversy in the United States and its use of Confederate imagery and the very strong feelings it engenders, I can't help but be shocked by the remaining remnants of the Mao cult that seems to continue unabated. Seeing stuff like that doesn't want to make me eat whatever its trying to sell.
  7. Australian Steak Question

    JBS is Brazilian company, and one of the largest meat processors in the world. They own Swift and Pilgrim's Pride brands in the United States and Australia. They are heavily involved in the ongoing Brazilian bribery scandals, and might fairly be said to be a disreputable corporate citizen. They are very much a mass market industrial producer, and at least in Brazil is not known for high quality products. The Cultural Revolution propaganda themed advertising is a large turn-off to me as well. I would give it all a miss.
  8. Johnsonville Sausages

    I've tried these -- a major brand in the United States -- and I thought they were absolutely horrible, with extremely poor flavor.
  9. Beef for stir fry

    I suspect that the missing step you are looking for is soaking the beef in baking soda and and "washing" it. Try mixing the beef in a bowl with 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder and then add 1/4 cup of water, and leave it for 1 hour. After the hour, you want to "wash" it by leaving the bowl under a faucet, and running a steady but light stream of water into the bowl for 5 minutes so that it dilutes the water, but does not agitate the surface of the meat. Then drain the water, and toss the beef in 2 teaspoons of potato/tapioca starch (or whatever starch you like). By the time you get your mise in place ready, the beef will be ready to cook however you would like it. This will give you a soft, but not too soft, texture.
  10. Celtuce and Its Tops

    Yes, in the US it is often sold as "AA Choy." I make this often when I'm feeling lazy because you really don't need to do much to it and its easy to put something green on the table. I prefer the bottoms, and simply peel it until I reach the "jade-like" inside and either slice it into coins or little bars, and then stir fry and finish with salt and sesame oil. Very simple and very good. I really think that Celtuce is a vegetable which has world conquering potential. It is very easy to cook and to enjoy.
  11. Sous vide Chinese long beans

    I have had mixed success with sous vide Chinese dishes. I have had great success with char siu, Hoi Nam/Hainanese/white cut chicken -- dishes that I make almost exclusively sous vide now because of the superior results -- and various braised pork belly dishes. I've had much less success with vegetable dishes, and have had some really inedible disasters -- I wasted some beautiful spring bamboo shoots a few weeks ago which would have been much better poached or steamed but wound up horribly bitter (maybe from cyanide which won't flash off or dilute like in a wok or boiling water). For beans and greens there is even less reason, as these things cook so quickly. For beans, I "break the rawness" by throwing them in boiling water for a minute or so -- in a restaurant they might do that in hot oil -- before stir frying them. Since you want your beans crisp, I don't see how sous vide could improve the texture of the final dish in any way. If the idea is to do the whole dish sous vide, with the spices and other ingredients in the bag, I don't think there is any way that could work for several reasons, including that the spices would behave in unpredictable ways that are not likely to be good, and also that you would wind up with a watery, unreduced, and unthickened sauce. I'm a big fan of sous vide, and use it also for western simple vegetables (i.e., carrots, potatoes (packed with butter at 90C is a sure winner)) but for Chinese vegetables nothing is easier or better than a wok.
  12. DARTO pans

    I placed my order and have the same problem. It appears that they want to be paid in cash, at their location in Buenos Aires. Apparently they also accept PagoFacil and RapiPago, but I don't know that they are any more usable for people outside of Argentina. I've asked PagoFacil if they have a site in Portuguese or English, and they don't -- (I don't understand Spanish well but it seems you need to fund your purchase locally). Not sure about RapiPago, but I see no English or Portuguese options there either. I sent a message to Darto asking them what can be done.
  13. Searzall--After the Honeymoon?

    Or asking him over Twitter @cookingissues. He answers Twitter questions quickly, but the show has become more of a talk show lately and he doesn't get through too many questions so submitting one might be a slow process. Still the best cooking/food show on any medium, in my opinion. I can add that I still use my Searz-All, although I use my torch generally less since I upgraded my stove to 25K BTU burners and can now get a decent sear on most things. Still, if you use a torch regularly, it will definitely be useful to you.
  14. DARTO pans

    I believe that the sale doesn't go online until 10:00 a.m. Buenos Aires time (9:00 Eastern U.S. Daylight Time). I suspect that once the sale starts, that out of stock stuff will disappear. To answer another question, it seems that shipping is included anywhere in the world for orders over $100. The only question I have is to what extent these pans are imperfect "seconds." The only thing you have to know is that shipping won't happen until August, so you have to be prepared to wait. Presumably they are saving money by being able to fill orders without keeping stock, and having the money in hand to finance the manufacturing (no small thing in Argentina). I will be backing up the truck. The prices are ridiculous.
  15. DARTO pans

    I think Brandon said it very well. I have generally been a DeBuyer person, but the Darto pans are simply more special. Being forged from a single piece of metal, without any rivets, is simply badass. I would like it if they softened the edges on the handle a bit, but I suppose that they assume that you won't be touching them with your bare hands and will be using a towel, and its no big deal. But as far as I'm concerned they are really giving these things away -- ultra premium and unique cookware at a discount to the normal stuff.