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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by gsquared

  1. Having an ice cream machine, it is just plain crazy to allow the summer to wilt away without making fruit ices, given the abundance of soft fruit. Here is one (courtesy of Hal McGee's tables) Sweet Mango fruit ice: Cut up ripe mangos into smallish pieces and put in a blender. Blend, adding a tablespoon or two water to get the process going. To each 1.5 cups of mango, add 9 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. The sugar may seem excessive, but trust the HM table- the ice will seem much less sweet on the palate once frozen, and will remain beautifully scoopable even after days in the freezer. Churn. This was the first fruit ice I tried in my Gelato, and since then I have been hooked. Winter down here, though, so we wait........
  2. gsquared

    Wine glasses

    Thanks, FG - great link.
  3. Do you think it would be fun to put together an online tasting of "new world" wines? Something along the following lines: 1. Decide on a cultivar 2. Select one Californian, one Australian, one Chilean, one South African example of that cultivar. 3. Allow sufficient time for everybody to source the wines. 4. Post and discuss tasting notes over a period of 24 hours.
  4. gsquared

    Wine glasses

    Here is a pic of the tasting glass I use. I have, of course, used various styles and grades of glass, but have to confess that I have not found much advantage to using larger glasses. Maybe I am missing something here? My argument has been that, if the tasting glasses are what is best used when tasting wine, surely the same is best for actually drinking it....
  5. gsquared

    Wine glasses

    We hosted a dinner party the other day, and the discussion turned to wine glasses. I have been using tasting glasses for yonks as my wine glass of preference. One of the guests,somehat pretentiously, I thought, maintained that Riedel are the only glasses he uses. I have two questions: 1. How does one justify laying out for Riedel, given that my tasting glasses comes in at (loacl currency converted) $3 each? 2. How on earth does one maintain (i.e. clean) Riedel? With a prayer?
  6. Michael - you are correct, Splanda is equal measure with sugar. This therefore means, HungryChris, that you probably did not use enough of hit - here are Harold McGee numbers for strawberries: Sweet fruit ice: 1.5 cup of strawberry puree, 11 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons water Medium-sweet fruit ice: 1.75 cup of strawberry puree, 6 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons water
  7. The difference, FG, between bricklayers and chefs is that very few bricklayers, I would think, regard their blue collar profession as a calling deserving special protection, whereas an appreciable number of chefs seem to.
  8. Michael, given that you can only use an artificial swetener, what would you use as a dry extract in a sorbet/fruit ice?
  9. I fail to understand why a for-profit organisation should go to such lengths to discourage people who have both the qualifications and the means to attend their classes. I am afraid that the argument that the "hobbyists" annoy the other, "serious" students, simply does not hold as a general premise. Certainly not in my experience. The most annoying guy in my law classes is now a respected high court judge! And one of the class favourites is now a journalist. It seems to me that this has something to do with the (subconscious) desire to protect the high piesthood of professional chefs. To become one, you have to suffer, you have to pass through some sort of ritual (reminds me of the circumcision ceremonies the traditional Xhosa men in my country have to endure before being accepted into the tribe as a man). I find it all rather amusing.
  10. It sure has. The only way that I know to keep a sorbet scoopable after freezing, is to add sufficient sugar to keep the sorbet from freezing completeley - the process is admirably explained by Harold McGee in his "The Curious Cook". He states that the sugar molecules are the most prevelant substance in an ice mix other than water. These molecules prevent, by their sheer number, the water molecules from joining up in a solid frozen mass. This is the same principle used by antifreeze substances in your car. He goes on to provide tables for the sugar and acid required for medium-sweet fruit ices, sweet water ices nd sweet fruit ices for just about any soft fruit you can think of. The interesting thing is that he also states that the fact that sugar has this effect, is simply because it it happens to be so prevalent in an ice mix - the same result could theoretically be achieved by adding a largish quantity of any other "foreign" (i.e. other than water) substance. I would assume that the quantity of "foreign" molecules added by your Splenda is relatively small. The question therefore is, using any artificial sweetener in an ice, what could one add to provide the required "buffering" and yet not influence the taste? We need something that, even in a relatively large quantity of, say, 8 or 9 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of fruit puree, would be totally taste-neutral. Hmmmm........
  11. Fresh orange juice, two fried eggs with pancetta, a salad with roasted courgette and brinjals with tomato sauce, roasted tomato slices with mozarella, two slices of toast with jam and a double espresso.
  12. gsquared

    Jerky: The Topic

    The jerky I have seen suffers from being too thin. Down here we make a variant called "biltong" which resembles jerky about as much as foie gras resembles chicken livers. Cut strips from a lean chunk of meat - more or less rectangular in shape, around 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches. Some local recipes call for a flatter shape - around 2 inches by 1 inch, but I prefer the rectangular - you will, of course not be able to produce strips that are the same shape along the entire length, but it does not matter if the ends are thinner. Layer in a container, sprinkling each layer liberally with a mixture of 10 part coarse sea salt, one part demerera sugar and as much white pepper as takes your fancy. Leave overnight. In the morning, prepare a mixture of lukewarm water and vinegar - around 1/2 bottle of vinegar to a 1/2 pail of water. Dunk the strips in the water, and strip off the excess moisture with your hand. This process serves two purposes - it removes excess surface salt and provides a bacteria-resistant outer layer. Insert an S-shaped hook in the end of the meat (a paper clip works fine) and hang in a cool, dry place. If the humidity is high, put a fan on the meat. Hang for 7 days, remove and freeze to stop the dehydration process. At around 7 days you should have a firm, black outside layer, and a soft, red inside. You should be able to cut off the bottom pieces to test at around 5 days. To use, simply defrost at room temperature- because of the low moisture content, no ice crystals are formed and defrosting should only take 1/2 hour. The result is something like this:
  13. Is the habit of mixing food on the fork somehow tied into this? Down here we use the "European" style, but most people mix bits of the various food on the plate on the fork. I seem to remember that the fork swapping style goes with forking a piece at a time.
  14. gsquared

    Dinner! 2003

    Pan seared ostrich fillet served on sage polenta with a salad of greens, stir fried mange tout, parmesan chips and an avocado foam.
  15. gsquared

    Espresso Machines

    I have had a Saeco for 2 years. Great machine. Nothing beats simply pressing a button.
  16. To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making. Otto von Bismarck
  17. Perhaps you miss the distinction that your definition only holds good within the profession. And even then only loosely so. The griller who command two sub-grillers (?) would therefore be a chef? Right? From outside the profession, a chef is anybody who cooks well, professionally or not. By all means, apply whatever esoteric criteria you 'insiders' want - in the bigger scheme of things it really matters very little.
  18. Legally use the title - nope. At least not down here, and to the best of my knowledge not in the USA. The use of the title is limited to those who have passed the criteria (bar exam) and have not been disbarred. Once disbarred, you are not entitled to use the title.
  19. Best I can do, C/W Spencer, is to accept your posts as your (biased and emotional) subjective opinion. As fact? No. As honest emotion springing from the not unnatural desire to confer some form of cachet on your profession? Maybe.
  20. The previous posts relating to lawyers and doctors miss the point. You are entitled to call yourself a lawyer when you pass a professional exam prescribed by law. Ditto a doctor. I.e. the title is one for which very specific criteria are prescribed by law. It follows that the title of chef, having no such criteria, must of necessity be a subjective award.
  21. I guess this depends on your perspective. To people in the industry, the title seems to be an emotive one, earned through hard work, knowledge and experience. To me, an 'outsider', it is quite simple- I will call a cook a chef if I think he/she deserves it. There is after all no objective criterium. I ate at a local eatery the other night - my meal was prepared by someone who, according to CW/Spencer's criteria, deserves to be called a chef. The food qualified him merely as a cook, and in my book, that is what he is. If you prefer to imbue the term with almost mystical properties, bully to you. I prefer not to. So, in your world, you define whom you wish to call a chef. In my world, and in the absence of objective criteria, I will decide whom I wish to call a chef. Or a cook. Or a grill guy. Or a fool.
  22. Urquell with CHOCOLATE? Puhlease!!
  23. blue cheese and sweet fruit tomato and basil oats and whisky gin and tonic mango and chilli
  24. A favourite over here is a form of fritter - prepare a basic, fairly stiff yeast-based bread dough (flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt) and add a good dollop of dried chillies to the flour before mixing. Allow one rise. Deflate, heat oil (about 190C), form golf-ball sized portions from the dough, flatten a little and deep-fry. If you fry until really crisp, they keep well and can be served cold - do not try to keep for longer than 3-4 hours, though.
  25. gsquared

    Chicken Stock

    For normal day-to-day use, I have given up making stock after discovering the products of the Famous Stock Company.
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