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Everything posted by rustwood

  1. I still haven't found the site I was thinking of, but I did find another one that was helpful when I was looking for cookware: https://www.centurylife.org/how-to-choose-cookware/ . Of course not everyone will agree with all of their conclusions, but like their approach to reviewing cookware and kitchen gear and they present a lot of information on the site.
  2. We went through this last year and I found a great site for comparing cookware that had loads of objective data and tests, but I can't seem to dredge it up now. I'll respond again if I find it. Have you checked out the recommendations on Wirecutter.com? I've relied on them many times and have no regrets. Of course, like any such site, one needs to read and understand the rationale behind the recommendations to ensure that the issues and features they mention are relevant to your needs. When we bought our induction range we needed to replace few saucepans, a stockpot and a tea kettle. We ended up getting a small Cuisinart Multiclad Pro set, plus a stainless tea kettle from Amazon. Everything works great for us. If you look around, those Cuisinart sets are often listed as a good budget/value choice for induction. They used to be a Wirecutter pick, but they've been demoted because of problems with them warping under high heat. We weren't concerned about that though because we've always used cast iron or carbon steel cookware for high heat applications. Earlier this summer I picked up an inexpensive carbon steel wok with a flat bottom at Home Goods. I'd never heard of the brand, but it was the right size, material, style and it appeared to be well made so I took a chance. I am glad I did because it works amazingly well - especially for the price. The flat part fits perfectly on one of my hobs. I have a bigger wok and a high BTU propane burner out back, but I'll probably only break them out for messy cooks now.
  3. rustwood

    Ramps: The Topic

    Have you tried it yet? I made it yesterday. It smells good, but I tried it on my eggs this morning and I can't say I could taste it. Perhaps I need to be a little more heavy handed with it, or I could still be blown out from the smell that filled the house yesterday. BTW, I ate some sauteed ramps with my eggs yesterday morning, set the ramp salt to dry in the toaster oven, then after a while went out to run an errand. When I got back into my car, it smelled like a bag of everything bagels but I think it was just my lingering odor (or perhaps my clothes). I guess the smell coming off of me at least helped with social distancing. Of course now I want to pick up some poppy or egg bagels and try mixing ramp salt in with the cream cheese.
  4. This is true, although I am sure I am conflating the saltiness and the overall flavor to some extent. That's especially hard to avoid with country ham since the salt is such a big component. Breakfast is over now (yum!), but I should try adding some next time. It seems so obvious now that you've said it, but this is the first time I've had the slightest temptation to add salt to country ham. Thanks.
  5. When I saw this, I wondered if she was the cookbook editor that Dave, and perhaps others, were raving about on a show just couple of months or so ago. I am a little behind on my episodes, but I guess I will find out soon. Then again, it sounds like they had quite an episode this week so I may have to listen out of order.
  6. It varied. I'd say for me, the outside 20% or so of the cut edges weren't salty enough. The inner parts were good though. Of course it is all relative. I am at this moment eating some of the outer edge and while it isn't quite as flavorful what I expect for country ham, it is still a tasty side for my eggs and toast.
  7. Coincidentally, hours before yesterday's posts, I had started soaking a good-sized chunk of country ham (dry cured, not smoked - the hard, super salty ham). It was too late to start cooking it by the time I got back to it, so it stayed in the fridge overnight. This morning I drained it, put it in a bag, set the bag inside my mostly empty SV bath, filled the bag with water, finished filling the bath, then cooked it at 150 degrees for 8 hours. I've had good results cooking city-ham in cryovac packaging, so I thought I'd try a variation of it with country ham. It came out with a very nice texture - much better than another piece of the same ham that I cooked via a more traditional boil/simmer method a while back. The extra long soak might have also helped though. The meat along the cut edges was quite bland, but perhaps no more so than when I had simmered it. I am definitely going to try it with SV again, but with a much shorter (or no) pre-soak. Hopefully the cut edges will retain more flavor and/or the texture will be just as good.
  8. I think it would give some useful perspective if you could share more info on what sizes/types of smokers and grills you already have. I have a standard 18" Vision (similar to the classic Kamado Joe and BGE) and although I've often thought it might be nice to add a smaller kamado, I haven't done it because I just don't see the point. If I am going to do a long smoke, I want plenty of room. If I am just grilling, if anything I tend to wish I had more room - especially with veggies. Most of my grilling is l for just two of us. I start a half chimney of charcoal while I am prepping the food and my only concern is getting back out to it before it gets too hot. As soon as I am done I close the vents and the fire goes out - little to no wasted charcoal. I used to think my gas grill was convenient for quick grills, but I gave it up long ago and I don't miss it. I think it is very easy to clean out the ash even though I don't have an ash drawer. It isn't necessary to get out every last bit of ash. Unless there is a lot of ash built up, I usually don't clean it out for a short grilling session. I have stainless steel grates that are easy enough to clean, but I always use GrillGrates when I grill - flat side up.
  9. They look great. After I asked about the sequence, I saw your post about them in the sous vide thread. So there was no finishing other than the pre-sear?
  10. Like cheese dip or a dipping sauce for ham? Details/recipe please!
  11. Thanks Rotus and Kayb for the feedback. I suspected that was the way to go, but I wasn't sure and didn't want to ruin any of it - nor get sick. Point taken on the meal-sized packages. I may cut it in smaller portions than I initially had in mind.
  12. I recently I found myself within range of Hemp's Meats in Jefferson Maryland. In a moment of unbridled enthusiasm, I bought an 18 lb unsmoked country ham. It is definitely a dry cured country ham, just a very big one. The cut edge is hard and dry as one would expect. In their shop the hams are just hanging on hooks on the wall - no paper, no cloth, no netting. There isn't any packaging or labeling either. It was just put in an open plastic bag for transport. I have it (mostly) wrapped in a tea towel and a paper bag right now. I've never been there before, but I had read at least one enthusiastic recommendation somewhere. While I will be sharing this ham with other family members, that is still a lot of ham so I am not inclined to cook it whole. I've read a lot about country ham here on EG and elsewhere on the internet, but I haven't found much on how to break down a whole ham and store pieces of it. Family members have told me they used to just cut off what they needed, re-wrap the rest and hang it up again. Of course people used to do a lot of things that are no longer recommended. I listen to Cooking Issues and am well aware of Dave Arnold's view that one should just slice it thin and eat it raw. In this case I am reluctant to do that. It is tempting and would probably be safe, but this seems like a worse than usual time to possibly end up very ill (for future reference, due to increasing COVID-19 cases). I have a saw, so I'd like to cut in half, take a few slices/steaks, then use the 2 halves as roasts - or maybe cut one in half again so I can try cooking it various ways (traditional, smoker, and maybe sous vide - possibly before a short spell on the smoker). From a storage perspective, cutting before soaking the whole ham seems best, but I am wondering if soaking pieces with a large cut surface would be problematic in any way. If I cut it up without soaking it, I guess I should still scrub and dry it first? Should I freeze the pieces I won't be using for a while or can/should I just keep them in a refrigerator? I have more room to refrigerate than to freeze. Is there any reason not to vacuum seal them in either case? I've read that you can cover the cuts with lard/shortening and they will be shelf stable, but I am reluctant to do that. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.
  13. Do you mean the iSi slim silicone? If so I totally agree, but I think it may have been discontinued. I've wanted to get another one for a year or so now. It wasn't on their website when I checked a while back.
  14. We finally finished (mostly) our long delayed kitchen renovation at the end of June and had a suite of Bosch appliances installed. Now that we've had them for a few months, I thought I'd post my impressions of them so far. Slide in induction range (HII8056U) - we had long planned to have a gas line run for our range, but we opted for an induction range instead and we have no regrets. It does make some noise in our usually very quiet kitchen, but most of the time it isn't very loud. It is quite loud when using the speed boost setting though, in part because a fan blower sometimes also comes on. Fortunately speed boost will boil a 2-quart kettle of water very quickly and we've gotten used to it. In fact, I am even glad that it hums a little on low because it reminds me that it is on. The markings that denote the locations of the induction hobs could be improved. They are rather subtle, so I often find myself turning on more lights and looking closely to ensure that I have the cookware in the right location. While shopping for appliances I thought the led "flames" on the Samsung induction ranges were a gimmick, but I now understand that they would be helpful. I suspect the markings were a design concession because it wouldn't look as sleek if they were more prominent. Sadly, we haven't used the oven enough to comment on it in any detail. We haven't encountered any shortcomings thus far though. It does have an internal fan that makes some noise when you cook at high temperatures (not the convection fan). I have only used the warming tray to proof bread a few times, but I do frequently pop it open when my foot bumps into it. It is a minor annoyance, but it seems like there is some room for improvement there. Over the range microwave (HMV5053U) - as a microwave, it is great. As with many such devices, the exhaust fan is less than ideal. We knew that would be the case, but we couldn't find a better place to put the microwave. The exhaust fan is annoyingly loud on the higher speed settings and it barely seems to move air unless it is on high. I am going to check the vent cover on the roof to ensure that there isn't an issue with a flap or something, but I think that is unlikely. Another issue is that the LED lighting is not as bright as it should be. I had read this in reviews, but I didn't expect it would bother me as much as it does. There is more expensive model which reportedly has much better lighting. I believe the fan specs on that model are the same, but I wonder if it would be any quieter. Dishwasher (SHP865ZD5N) - given all the praise heaped on Bosch dishwashers, it is not surprising that we love ours. It is super quiet and works great. This is our first dishwasher with a 3rd rack for cutlery. It took a few runs to get the hang of quickly arranging utensils in the rack, but now we really like using it. 36" counter depth refrigerator/freezer (B36CT80SNS) - this has been another winner. I've been using a lot of ice this summer and it keeps cranking it out without issue. I've never been one to carefully close doors, so it is a good thing that there is a warning beep when you haven't completely closed the refrigerator door. You can open either door first, but you must firmly close the last door that is open to seal it. FWIW, our previous refrigerator was built in Sub-Zero that came with our house and our new Bosch hasn't left us wanting in any way so far. I have one additional note on the refrigerator and designing the kitchen. Because the refrigerator is counter depth, it is a bit taller than many. We made the mistake of ordering our cabinets before picking out our exact appliances and it ended up being a much tighter fit than we expected. We considered switching out the 18" cabinet over the refrigerator for a 15" cabinet, but we thought it would fit with enough room to spare - until the cabinet was installed and the ceiling height turned out to be surprisingly uneven in that area. Our carpenter was able to make adjustments though and we are happy to have the extra space in the 18" cabinet. Also note that like other such units, only the main body of the refrigerator is actually counter depth. The doors stick out about 6" - not including the handles. We expected that when we did the initial design, although we had hoped we would find one that wouldn't stick out quite so much. When we started working on the design for our kitchen remodel, I read that you should start by picking out the exact appliances and actually buy them. That seemed a little extreme at the time, but I now think it was good advice. It would be even more important if you were picking out something special that isn't a standard size. At the very least, we could have picked out specific models that were relatively new and thus very likely to be available 3-6 months later. I hope this is of some use to someone in the future. Of course, I would be happy to answer any questions anyone might have.
  15. Glenn, I imagine you have bought something by now but I have an update on our kettle. We have noticed that if we aren't careful to ensure that the lid is firmly in place, steam will escape around the lid and the handle will get hot to the touch. At this point I don't know if we have been a little more careless with the lid or if it is getting harder to make it seal tightly.
  16. It has a rather loud/shrill whistle so I always pick it up as quickly as I possibly can, before I even turn off the burner - so no delay at all. Maybe if you let it go on whistling for a while the handle might start to get warm. It also could depend on how full the pot is. It is plenty big for my needs so I rarely fill it more than 2/3 full.
  17. Glen, I have no idea what the bit about the 30-60 second wait on the handle is about - was that from a review? It whistles, I pick it up bare handed and I've never even noticed it was warm. Yes, the infusers are for loose tea. They don't look bad so I threw them in a drawer instead of the trash.
  18. This is the first whistling kettle we've owned, but we are happy with the $42 Pykal whistling kettle we bought from Amazon at the end of June. It heats up well and is easy to pour. Occasionally it is little difficult to get the lid off, but I guess it has to be snug or it wouldn't whistle. It is also louder on our induction range than our other cookware. I am not sure why that is, but it does heat quickly.
  19. rustwood

    Recipe management

    As I have posted before, I am a Paprika user. I don't think a week goes by that I don't use it for something and I typically use it on at least several occasions throughout a given week. I can understand some reluctance to shell out $30 for the Windows or Mac desktop versions, although I don't think that is an unreasonable amount to charge for a desktop application. They do offer a 30 day free trial. Perhaps even better would be to get started with the iOS or Android version on your phone and/or tablet/Chromebook for $4.99. They also have had a sale at Thanksgiving for at least the past few years with the desktop versions marked down to half price. Although I own the Windows version, since I bought a Chromebook 90+ percent of my use has been on my Chromebook and phone. I do most of my recipe importing/capturing/editing on my Chromebook, but usually refer to my phone while I am cooking and shopping. I often decide to make something while I am shopping and then quickly look up a recipe so that I don't forget to buy something I'll need. To me, one saved trip back to the store is more than worth the cost of the app. The free cloud syncing is one of the best features and a single Android or iOS purchase will allow you to use it on multiple devices (they must be tied to the same app store account, like any app). My version 1 desktop install still syncs with my version 3 devices, which is nice. It may have been fixed in version 3, but I should note that version 1 takes an unusually long time to start up on my Windows desktop. As for being stuck with a cloud service or specific format, Paprika will export either in Paprika format or in html. The html file it produces can be viewed and used in any browser. Any software that can capture recipes from the web should be able to import from the html file. For any users who may not have noticed, Paprika (and likely other programs that capture recipes from the web) can often download a recipe that is hidden behind a paywall. Even if you have a subscription, this allows you to proceed without logging in. You won't be able to see the recipe in the Paprika browser, but if you click the download button the recipe will be captured. I believe that is because most sites utilize a format that includes the recipe details in the "invisible" metadata contained within the page. I have run into one or two sites that cleverly insert metadata for a different recipe with their paywall though (always the same recipe).
  20. We have a solution like that and it works well for us. There ends up being a lot of wasted space, but we use it store large, bulky items that are going to waste a lot of space anyway (a stock pot, dough mixer, slow cooker, food processor & accessories). We can also stash a few infrequently used bits of kit under and in front of the sliding rack (sitting on the base of the cabinet). We put the heavy mixer on the top of the pull out portion because that makes it relatively easy to get it on and off of the counter.
  21. FWIW, our Sharp microwave gets used at least 4-5 times a day and it has also held up well for many years. When the time comes, I will be inclined to go with Sharp again.
  22. FWIW, last week's Cooking Issues podcast discussed "domestic" country hams (Newsom's, Broadbent, Edwards, etc.). Basically, Dave's take is that almost all of the hams that are aged 1-2 years are a good products and they are worth the premium over the stuff that is not aged as long. It made me want to pull the trigger on one of those 'extra' premium hams. IIRC, he also thinks domestic country ham is a totally different category of product than things like Jamón Ibérico and thus the two should not be compared. For those not familiar with Cooking Issues, you may find it is an acquired taste (so to speak). It took me a while to warm up to it, but now I really look forward to the new episodes.
  23. Thanks for this. I don't remember exactly why, but I also was not a fan of the book. I either stopped reading or started seriously skimming not very far into it. Because of that, I hadn't even considered watching the show. Perhaps I will now.
  24. Perhaps there is more than one spelling/translation, but I think you may be referring to penghui. It is an alkali substance for which there are substitutes (see here for one). It can also be omitted. In some regions noodles are traditionally made without out it. There is a very good article about this here.
  25. I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Kaminsky's Pig Perfect. It has loads of info on hams. Some of the info is a bit dated now, but it is still a good read.
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