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Posts posted by cdh

  1. I think that the one-off nature of this challenge makes it unworkable.  The idea of starting from zero and cooking something on a budget is totally unrealistic for most people.  We all have a pantry/freezer of stuff we've built up.  Dipping into that stuff is just a part of how cooking happens for most people.   Nobody pretends they have a bare cupboard and a $5 bill to put dinner on the table.  


    As for challenges, I've seen people talking about the "SNAP challenge", e.g. live for a month on a food stamps budget.  I think seeing how people in various places face that could be interesting.  We'd get to see what various  localities' cheap eats are... Setting the challenge to a bunch of foodies, and allowing dipping into the pantry, would be a fascinating read and perhaps some inspiration.  Watching somebody go shopping with a $5 bill and make a single meal is not so interesting.

    • Like 4

  2. 1 hour ago, nickrey said:

    It's even better if you gently heat the juices so that the proteins coagulate and then strain. It gives an extremely pure flavour.


    Giving that a try right now.  Had s-v lamb chops for dinner... mixed bag juice about 1:1 with boiling water and heated on the stove until crystal clear.    Now in ice cube tray for my next batch of scotch broth.  

  3. This conversation just brought to mind a thought-- now that we live in a world with such technological wonders as juicers in it, is there a point to making vegetable stock, when instead, you could weigh out 2:1:1 onions, carrots, celery  and a sprig of parsley and run them through the juicer?  If the aromatic flavors are the objective, why not have an ice cube tray of aromatics juice to use on demand?  I should do the experiment myself... but has anybody thought along these lines and done any investigation in that direction?  Juice, clarify, freeze, drop into recipes as needed?

    • Like 2

  4. I think that the "stock" that people get all rapturous about and say how much it improves things is not the vegetable stock you're working with.  It is the long simmered animal bones.  That extracts gelatin and really does have a nice effect on mouthfeel that boxed broths don't match.  Recipes often suggest that water is OK to substitute for vegetable stock...

    • Like 3

  5. On 3/14/2018 at 11:31 PM, paulraphael said:


    I'm one of the bathwater-complainers. It ruins drinks for me. You'll have no idea where you stand on the issue until you taste it. I'd suggest that if it's the only brand you can find locally, try the smallest bottle they have.

    I agree 100%.  M&R red is not something I'm happy to encounter.

  6. When you say your boozery has nothing fussy or exotic, just how basic are we talking?  Do they have rum from anybody but Bacardi?  What percentage of the shelf space is devoted to vodka? If you're in a just-the-big-brands-and-lots-of-vodka zone, you're not going have much luck making cocktails that are interesting until you can get some herbs and make your own syrups to add flavor to the neutral booze.  That's more of a summer project.  Tho, anybody can mail order bitters, which add interest to some of the blander stuff.    

  7. You need to figure out what mode you want to be drinking in... quick and boozy, like a Manhattan or Martini; tall and fizzy like a Gin and Tonic; dry; sweet; wine-like; bitter; slushy; booze-soaked fruit... there's lots of directions you could go in.  "I want a cocktail" is a lot like "I want some food".  You've gotta be a bit specific, or you might get escargot instead of creme brulee... 

    • Like 1

  8. Saw this article in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/grandmas-food-how-changing-tastes-are-killing-german-restaurants/2018/03/19/de4c4994-0b93-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html?tid=sm_fb.


    I wonder if the issue is that German restaurants that had the social cache to be big money fine dining venues have lost that advantage.  I've never been to any of the spots mentioned in the article.  The best German food I've found in my corner of the USA is adjacent to Fort Dix in NJ, obviously aimed at folks who had been stationed in Germany and gained an appreciation of the local food there. Not a fine dining joint by any means.  Looks like its building began life as a fast food joint and got retrofitted into what it is now. Excellent schnitzels and spaetzles. 


    What is your experience of German food in the USA (or where you are) lately?

  9. You've gotta take into account waste and leakage, so I'd say that $.20/l is more reasonable an approximation in my own case... but the minimal cost difference for a 10lb and a 20lb fill might make up the difference... I'm now wondering if I want to retire my 10lb tank.. but I just don't think I want to do that.  

  10. 19 hours ago, Dave the Cook said:

     We definitely recommend their Blanco Rojo cocktail (basically a Jasmine made with tequila as the base spirit).



    The Jasmine is one of my favorite cocktails...must give this variant or your riff on it a try.  I've been using Ikea's elderflower syrup instead of orange liqueurs, so will probably add that spin of my own to it. 

    • Like 2

  11. 9 hours ago, paulraphael said:


    I'm a big fan of iSi generally, just not for carbonating drinks. Even at 42 cents it's wildly more expensive than the other options. And slower, and less controllable, and more of a nuissance. Ideally I'd like a big tank under the sink that holds 20 lbs of CO2, with a regulator and an attachment to carbonate things in regular 2L bottles. 

    What you're looking for is:

    1) a tank: https://www.amazon.com/Aluminum-Cylinder-Handle-CGA320-Valve/dp/B0088P10OO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1521297900&sr=8-2&keywords=20+lb+co2+tank&dpID=31zyh6yydfL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

    2) a regulator: https://www.amazon.com/Taprite-Primary-Regulator-3741-BR-Draft/dp/B00PZM6H7S/ref=sr_1_11?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1521297972&sr=1-11&keywords=co2+regulator

    3) a gas line: https://www.amazon.com/16-Gas-Line-Assembly-Ball/dp/B0064OI77Y/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1521298041&sr=1-3&keywords=ball+lock+gas+line&dpID=419E02PgkoL&preST=_SX342_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

    and 4) a carbonator cap: https://www.amazon.com/16-Gas-Line-Assembly-Ball/dp/B0064OI77Y/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1521298041&sr=1-3&keywords=ball+lock+gas+line&dpID=419E02PgkoL&preST=_SX342_QL70_&dpSrc=srch


    If you wanted to get crazy fancy you might get a diffusion stone like this, to help the gas get into the liquid faster by virtue of much larger surface area of zillions of tiny bubbles: https://www.amazon.com/Diffusion-MRbrew-Micron-Kegging-Homebrew/dp/B0728DY9P7/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1521298188&sr=1-1&keywords=diffusion+stone&dpID=41cQ61Gfa%2BL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch


    That whole lot comes in at right around $200... You can carbonate anything in a bottle that takes a standard soda cap.  Stay away from glass bottles, as most modern glass is designed to contain pre-existing carbonation, but not beefy enough to reliably take a carbonation charge without going all glass grenade.

    • Like 1

  12. Forcing CO2 into solution is easy... you don't need anything more than a good source of CO2, and a pressurized vessel.  A 10lb CO2 refill at my local welding shop (where I've become a regular over the past decade or more) costs $22... That provides me with about 6 months worth of all the carbonated beverages I might desire.  Since I'm a homebrewer, I've got a heap of 5 gallon kegs, two of which are dedicated to seltzer duty and reserve seltzer duty.  I've also got a few "carbonator caps", widgets that have the same connector as the kegs do, but then screw onto 1 or 2L soda bottles.  Put whatever you want into the soda bottle (I use plain seltzer bottles because soda flavors can cling), chill it down to 33F,  hit it with 50PSI of CO2 and shake for a minute, and you've got a lovely bottle of  fizzy stuff.  

    • Like 1

  13. 6 hours ago, lindag said:

    I remember my Mom having a fondness for Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple though I've never eaten it.  Wouldn't Spam be quite similar to scrapple?

    The TV ads are running in this area as well.


    Nothing close.  Spam is ground ham and ham-adjacent stuff reshaped into a loaf.  Basically the salty cured meat analog to American cheese.  Scrapple is uncured porky bits (both offal and meat/skin kinda stuff), pork broth, and cornmeal made into a loaf. Only similarity is processing into a loaf shape.

    • Like 1
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  14. Thanks for the rigorous testing regime!  Hope Tasty addresses the issue.  I wonder at the oil discrepancies... have they been too smart by half and built in the overshoot to compensate for the temp drop when the stuff to be fried gets dumped into the oil.  I wonder if you'd get the right results were you to deep fry something... 

  15. Forgive the ignorance, but can a "coarse-grooved steel" actually do any damage to your knives?  Have you observed blatant misuse of the offending steel in such a way that damage to the blades is inevitable? If having this thing around your knives can actually degrade them, then hell yes, tell him to take it home and not bring it back.  Otherwise, your ceramic is harder than his steel... you can finish what he's started after he's done.

    • Like 1

  16. I concur that vacuum sealed freezer storage keeps this stuff lively.  I've had some in the freezer for at least 2 years and it still works.  I keep a working amount in a salt shaker, which gets vac sealed and frozen when not in use, and the remains of the bag are vac sealed in the freezer.  Just used it the other day and it is still fully functional.

    • Like 3

  17. Made the run all the way to Princeton to visit a booze-slingin' Trader Joe's, and came back with their annual Belgian-ish strong dark from Canada, the Belgian-ish blonde (also Canadian, I think) and the Belgian Petrus with Blueberry. 


    Today I tried the strong dark (I'll be damned if I can recall exactly how they label it... something to remind people that it only comes once a year... and I'm not going digging in my recycle bin to read the label in the dark by flashlight).  Very nice beer.  Unibroue did good this year.  Lots of dark fruit nuances, no obnoxious yeast overexpressions, and a bit of coriander hanging out in the background to nudge those dark fruit nuances into a citrus-y kind of experience.  Very tasty and an excellent deal.

    • Like 1

  18. With the deer overpopulation only increasing, anything that gets people eating them is only going to lessen the burden on the roadkill pickup crews.  They've got no predators other than cars nowadays.  Will have to see where the nearest Arbys is and pay them a visit.

    • Like 1
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