Jump to content


participating member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by IEATRIO

  1. I don't know. It struck a chord in me because I also hate passing potatoes through a tamis. Its messy and tedious, and its easy to burn your hands, and then a pain to clean the tamis. I find myself too often just chucking the potatoes in a Kitchen Aid -- I have a Vitamix too but that makes them terribly gummy -- but the loss of quality is very noticeable (even to my kids) and I think I'd make mashed potatoes much more frequently if I could automate the process. I figure it would be good for hummous too, which I also make a lot of. I've had a series of $30-$50 immersion blenders and now that my latest Cuisinart -- which is a horrible machine with a misplaced "safety" button that requires the use of two hands -- is failing, thought I would invest in something nicer to use and that will last.
  2. Dave Arnold mentioned on his show how he hates to make mashed potatoes in a tamis because it's such tedious work, and that he used the ricer/food-mill attachment on a Dynamic immersion blender and liked it. I'm looking to buy one, but have a bit of sticker shock to overcome. The basic blender is about $160 (which doesn't seem too out of whack for the quality) but the Ricer/Food Mill attachment, which has no motor of its own, is around $150 (and full list is much higher). As is often my trick for European products, I checked out Amazon.fr and Amazon.co.uk which often lead to half price Euro cooking gear for North Americans, but no joy . . . worse prices than in the USA. Anyway, before I buy it I thought I would ask for the experiences of others who have tried it. I'm also curious about the differences between the standard Mini-Pro and the Dynashake model, which looks nearly identical but comes with a slightly longer barrel and a shake cup which looks perfect for making mayonnaise which I'll be using this for often. Thanks.
  3. FYI, before anybody runs to buy the Breville, there is a new precision induction cooker on the imminent horizon. I think I saw it on Chefsteps packaged with a Joule, (but can't find it at the moment, so maybe it was someplace else. I think it's roughly $500. I love the aesthetic and functional design of Breville stuff, but I feel very burned with my two malfunctioning SmartOvens with the identical start button defect and would think carefully before spending so much money on another one of their products.
  4. I highly recommend the pow single handled woks from the Wok Shop. I have many woks, most of them schlepped back from China and much more expensive, but I return time and again to my Wok Shop wok as my favorite to use day to day. They are incredible bargains. Incidentally, the single handled wok is more of a northern style (and also frequently used in Taiwan), and the short dual handled woks more from the south and east and Sichuan. I have both, but the single handled wok is much easier to use, particularly on a western burner. Chinese professional burners do a much better job of aiming the heat at the bottom of the wok, but the western burners have much more distributed heat, and will heat your handles to the point at which they can't be handled with a dishtowel and require serious heat protection for your hands.
  5. In my opinion, the biggest challenge for kosher cooking -- regardless of cooking style -- is that meat and poultry must be "soaked and salted" prior to cooking in order to be kosher. As a result, proteins in beef are denatured and poultry is waterlogged. I think that this process does much less damage to poultry than it does to meat (which is basically ruined by the koshering process). If I were going to try and make kosher BBQ (or kosher food generally) as good as it could possibly get, I would be trying to find a way to satisfy the minimal kosher requirements, while soaking and salting the meat only to the extent necessary to make it kosher, but no more than that. I suspect that much of the quality of the meat could be preserved if the soaking and salting were done with more care, and without overkill.
  6. Putting aside the "why" you are going about this the way you are, the Wondra would seem to be your best choice here. Wondra is pre-gelatinized, so there is no need to cook it or bloom it to make it work, as you would need to do with corn starch (or raw flour). Gelatin seems wrong for this, as it will gel when cooled, and fall apart when re-heated.

    Satay from scratch

    A bit late to this topic, but maybe I can help. I make a Javanese Satay, almost always with chicken and sometimes with beef or lamb/goat, but not with shrimp. I suppose no reason it couldn't be made with shrimp, except for the fact that the flavor is likely to be overwhelmed by the cacophony of flavors and the susceptibility to overcooking. Anyway, first step is to marinate the protein, in a mixture of blended shallot (.25kg-.5kg), garlic, and ground coriander seed (2 tblsp, whole), black pepper (1tsp), salt, oil, mixed with "kecap manis," which is a thick soy sauce condiment made with palm molasses (I prefer the Bango brand, but the more easily available outside of Indonesia "ABC" brand is fine). If you can't get "kecap manis" you can try to use dark soy and dope it with palm sugar and molasses, but I consider this to be a critical ingredient for real Indonesian satay. Let it marinate for at least an hour and grill on soaked skewers (preferably over charcoal). The topping sauce is made by stir-frying copious amounts of shallots (.25-.5kg) with some garlic, salt, pepper, ground coriander, and chili in oil. Once that is browned off, stir in roasted peanuts pounded/blended into a near paste with water (thinned out natural style peanut butter can be subbed) and some coconut sugar/gula melaka (brown sugar can be subbed). After that is fried for a few minutes add in coconut cream and kecap manis. I like to also finish with some fried shallot for texture. I don't use a recipe, but everything is really to taste, and as thick or thin as you prefer.
  8. Can you please explain the issue with the thermal fuse? Is that part of the issue with the defective switch? Or is that a separate issue?
  9. Both of them are at least a few years old, but certainly not old enough that I would expect them to both be failing (and potentially dangerous) due to the same faulty part. Nothing lasts forever, but I would expect domestic kitchen products, particularly solid state bits on supposedly premium products that cost several hundreds of percent more than the average toaster oven, to last for a reasonable amount of time. I'm pretty disappointed and my experience has definitely dissuaded me from purchasing other Breville products with the same circular buttons (although I don't know whether they have the same problem or not or if its just the SmartOven).
  10. I own two Breville Smart Ovens, and I have generally been happy with them, and find that they have extremely even heating which can be handy for baking (I make toast in a toaster so don't care too much about how it handles toast). I have begun to experience a big problem on both of my SmartOvens though, in that the fancy circular power buttons no longer function reliably. They beep as if they've been activated when pressed, but most of the time the on/off switch has not actually been activated. This is an annoying problem when turning the machines on, as sometimes you think the machine is on and preheating, only to return to a cold "off" oven. Its a much worse and potentially dangerous problem though when the oven is on, and you think its been turned off, but in fact remains on. It sometimes takes 10 presses or more to work the switch. Since this is happening on both of my units, both bought at different places and at different times, I'm wondering if this is a widespread defect. Has anybody else experienced this problem with their Breville Smart Oven? I think that Breville uses this circular button-switch design in lots of their products, and perhaps these have an issue too. In any case, users should be on guard to make sure that their devices are actually switched off when the button is pressed.

    DARTO pans

    Of course, if you are happy with the Lodges, that's great, but anybody considering the Darto should understand that they are in a completely different class than the Lodge. The Dartos are seamless pieces of thick carbon steel and practically unique in the market, at any price. They will last forever and will likely be the nicest pan you will ever use. For many people the difference in price between the Dartos and something more conventional, will be very well worth the price. I think anybody on the fence about these won't regret pulling the trigger.
  12. Sorry to return so late to this topic that I started. Unfortunately, since posting this I learned that the SHIC has been integrated with the Sichuan Tourism University, and classes moved from Chengdu to a town about 2.5 hour drive north of Chengdu and that they no longer accept short term students. Instead, we arranged to take private classes at the New Asia Culinary Academy in Western Chengdu, easily reached by Metro from downtown Chengdu, and separately arranged for a translator to translate for us. This is a huge privately run culinary academy, with several hundred mostly young students there for a multi year course. We were the first foreign students to take classes like this, and while they weren't really set up for it, they were very accommodating of our requests. It was a magnificent experience, and I recommend it most highly and intend to go back as soon as I can. I would be happy to share the contact information with anybody interested if you send me a message.
  13. I believe that the Viking mixer was a rebranded Kenwood mixer. I bet you could buy the whip for the equivalent size Kenwood (you might have to buy it from a UK website) and it will fit fine.
  14. But this is no less a problem with conventionally cooked eggs. The unfortunate reality is that egg white, and egg yolk, each denature at different temperatures. Conventional cooking's solution to this (and to cooking many other ingredients made up of different components) is to simply overcook everything -- but that approach has its own problems, even if the textures it produces are more familiar to us. In the end, we are left with compromises and need to make the best choice for our application, preferences, and logistics. Personally, I love sous vide eggs, and think that the compromises that method offers are often worth the trade-offs . . . but not always, which is why we all still have stoves to cook them conventionally too.
  15. I think that an important variable is the quality of the eggs, especially if you are in the United States. Eggs in the USA are generally of very low quality compared to most of the rest of the world. In general in the US, eggs are sold mostly based upon the conditions under which the chickens are kept (i.e., free range, cage-free, commodity, etc.), but in reality all of these are of materially identical quality -- so called "USDA Grade A." The problem is that although A is the first letter of the alphabet, it is a scale borne out of marketing concerns of the agricultural product industry, and Grade A eggs are actually second rate, with the truly premium eggs being classified as "USDA Grade AA". Quite tricky. The US egg industry and their government promotors in the US Dept. of Agriculture try to maintain the fiction that there is little difference between the A and AA grades, but I think that the difference is very obvious. It is a challenge to find Grade AA eggs, especially from large chains (i.e., Whole Foods sells a variety of eggs, including some at very high prices, but they are all second rate Grade A), and in certain parts of the country, but it is well worth the effort, particularly for applications like SV. A commodity Grade AA egg is always of better quality than the most expensive free range Grade A egg. In comparing the two grades, you can easily see that Grade AA eggs have much more cohesiveness between the different parts of the egg white, so that you get almost none of the loose white junk that causes so many problems in poached and SV eggs. I think you will like your results much more with the Grade AA eggs, and unless you have access to non-commercial fresh eggs, these are the best you will find in the USA.
  16. Brilliant. Will do this. I make Vietnamese style chicken chops marinated and basted in 50/50 fish-sauce/sugar (and garlic and/or lemongrass) and grill them (and serve topped with chopped cilantro/mint/fried shallots/chopped scallion/crushed peanut). The Searzall allows me to caramelize (burn) the sugar in a way that would be impossible to do just with the grill, without drying out the chicken. Really improves the dish.
  17. I had the original first generation Anova until it crapped out a few months ago. I replaced it with the Joule, which is much more nicely built and engineered is much easier to store, and more cool generally. But, while I have no complaints at all about it, I think I'm starting to realize that I don't enjoy using the Joule as much as I enjoyed using my Anova, because of the fiddly-ness of needing to use it through my iPhone. Don't get me wrong, it absolutely works, and I would not dissuade anybody from buying it, but there is something about having to control it that way which I'm not really digging. There are times that I want two simultaneous cooks, and I think I'll buy the new Anova as well, and will probably make that my main unit.
  18. This is like a Thermo-Mix. I wonder if their patent expired. I've never owned one, but this looks a bit nicer. I think that these sorts of things are best for people who enjoy home cooked meals, but have no interest in spending any time cooking (or learning how to cook).
  19. I have always considered this a high quality product and the one I have seen most commonly in Germany. Curious what you find substandard about it.
  20. You are mixing up your physical properties. The same amount of air molecules are not still in the pot -- they have been reduced to an amount approaching (but not reaching) zero. Saturation is not at play because we are not forcing the air into the liquid, and the process of expansion is non-linear so that the air can escape before it has an opportunity to be forced into solution. We know this, because if it were not so, we would have bubbles in our stock as the air comes out of solution -- which from all of our observations just doesn't happen. First the atmosphere is reduced, and with the new expansion space, the water can undergo phase transition and occupy the empty pot. Given the nature of water molecules to expand 1600 times its space at room temperature, less than a thimble full will occupy the entirety of what is likely to be less than 5 liters of headspace. Also, we haven't yet discussed that this less than a thimble full of vapor is just that -- gaseous H20 -- and any solid contaminants will not sublimate (so that the temps can render them safe). If you doubt it, you should make two batches of stock, conventionally and in a pressure cooker. I guarantee that the pressure cooker stock will last quite a bit longer.
  21. If you want to try another local neighborhood chocolatier, I suggest my favorite from when I lived nearbyy, Irsi, Rue du Bailli 15, off of Avenue Louise.
  22. As an aside, I think a lot of the Bittman recipes from the New York Times just don't work, or are simplified to the point where the results are no longer worth the effort. That bothers me a lot less than the authoritarian streak. Currently however, I think Anthony Bourdain is giving Bittman a run for his money on the food authoritarian front. His current crusade -- complete with high minded documentary -- seeks to convince us not only that the world is growing too much food (rather a shockingly stupid proposition), but also seeks to tell us how we should be eating and cooking so as to reduce "waste." I think that cheap and plentiful food (and these things are directly related) could be humanity's single greatest achievement, and his arguing that we ought to reduce the supply and thereby make it more expensive is gravely misdirected. But I also don't appreciate his seeking to lecture others and seek to impose his own (rather poorly informed, in my opinion) economic doctrines as well as his aesthetic values and food preferences on others. Bourdain came to fame as a sort of libertine who rightly clucked at self-appointed anti-pleasure puritans (from Vegetarians to the religious right), but he has now devolved into a celebrity spokesperson for preachy austerity. As unseemly a spectacle as he has become, he is simply too powerful (sort of a non-rapey Harvey Weinstein of the food world) for anybody to take on. And don't even get me started on his CNN show.
  23. It is true, and especially facilitated by the design of the Fissler. As the water temperature rises, a one way valve in the handle mechanism allows the air in the pot to escape. Once the air in the pot escapes, the valve closes. Many users on the Amazon site reviewing the unit are actually alarmed at the escape of this air, and think that they have a bad valve, but this is by design. If one were to press the release at this point, air would "whoosh" back into the valve to fill the vacuum. With the air (or almost all of it) out of the pot, higher temperatures are possible. For illustrative purposes, another device which operates under the same principles is an iSi siphon, which blows the air out of a filled unit (that is half filled with liquid) with the first cartridge, so that the pressure on the second cartridge can be applied to the liquid, and not to the air. gfweb's observation that water vapor is released from the "boiling" of the liquid in the pressure cooker misses that the high pressure prevents a real rolling boil (even at temps which are above the boiling point at sea level), and more importantly that water vapor increases approximately 1600 times its density at sea level (.96 grams/cm2) so only a tiny amount fills the empty head space in a 5 or so liter pot when the unit is at pressure. This is not technically an anti-septic process, but it leaves very much less exposure to atmospheric contaminants than an open pot, leaving less to grow as the stock ages.
  24. The implications of Bittman's writings are quite troubling. He has tremendously authoritarian tendencies, and has little or no respect for people who don't share his values or choices -- and would over rule those choices if he was able. I'm afraid that there is no shortage of these sorts of attitudes in the food world.
  25. As it creates pressure the cooker first forces all of the air out of the vessel, then those valves close and the unit goes to 15psi. So at full pressure there is no air in the vessel, and the stock is sterilized from the temperature. Unlike an open pot, there is no way for contaminants to find their way into a locked pressure cooker. In my experience, pressure cooked stock lasts much longer than conventionally cooked stock.
  • Create New...