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Everything posted by csingley

  1. Actually from what I remember, thermodynamics is beyond Physics 101 - but you've got it pretty well sussed out. The rate of heat transfer for a given substance at a given pressure depends purely on the temperature difference. In the ideal case, the oven temp is a constant, and you'd be right to think that the cooking time should be the same for more eggs. We're dealing here with deviations from the ideal. As you say, it's a small oven; the thermal loading isn't really infinite w/r/t to the coooked food. Also the thermostat on the oven isn't very precise - there's a wide band before it kicks the heat on. Finally, on steam mode the only heat source is the injected steam - when the thermostat kicks off, you're also losing vapor (from condensation, waste, leakage etc. - more significant in that little volume) which also slows down the rate of heat transfer. All told, with more eggs added, I think you're looking at a lower average cooking temp and a lower steam saturation across a full cycle of the thermostat, leading to slower cooking. Corrections from working ChemE's welcome; it's been a lot of years and a lot of hard drugs midget porn sleepless diaper changes since I got down & dirty with the enthalpy. Thanks for sharing the eggs-periments. I think you're right to set the thermostat to max on steam; the more you force it, the more consistent your results should be with different amount of eggs (besides speeding up cooking). I think the user manual says that "super steam" kicks on the bottom heating element as well as injecting steam - so more similar to a rice cooker - they pretty much mention rice as the intended application. Possibly not what you want for eggs, but then again maybe heating the ramekin from the bottom might help with snotty whites. Anyway, the super steam function can't really just blast extra steam all the time, since that's a heat source & it wouldn't hold temp to the thermostat config. And the door seal won't hold overpressure, so it isn't that either.
  2. My $0.02 is to start with a pretty standard roasting protocol, but do it on bake steam - in order to start getting a feel for it. The steam makes things cook faster, so it's helpful to start checking internal temperature with a thermometer - watch out for steam burns when you open the door! So maybe do your pork roast on bake steam 325 degF, start checking temp at the 45 min mark, and pull it when it hits 135-140 degF internal. Then change to steam broil, preheat to max, and put the roast back in for a few minutes to sear the top. This procedure would lend itself nicely to throwing some small potatoes in the pan to cook along with the pork. Or you could do it low & slow, bake steam 225 degF, in which case it'll probably take more like 2 hours plus, I reckon. Check out some of chefmd's posts upthread, like this one: Mind though, that's a shoulder roast (check the scapula peeking out) which needs quite a bit more cooking than your sirloin. I think you'll have a lot of fun with your new toy, I know I have. This weekend I had the kids grind & stuff some beef sausage - they were supposed to be kielbasa, but a little high in fat and aggressively mixed, so they turned out almost emulsified, more like a bratwurst. As such, steamed in the Cuisinart for 18 min and then seared on a griddle, they turned out very nice, although my son overseasoned them a little. Still v. good though - they better be, because we've still got 5 more pounds!
  3. I'm no expert on S China cooking, but I've made good cha-shao several times. Your ShaoXing wine should work fine, rotuts. Honestly I don't thnk the type of wine will really matter all that much in the marinade... I usually use Taiwanese mijiutou cause it's easy for me to source. Here's a good base recipe I like: http://rasamalaysia.com/char-siu/2/ Hardest part is sourcing good bean curd really.
  4. Also I'd be remiss to overlook James Coney Island style tots smothered in Wolf brand chili with shredded cheddar or cheese sauce on top - generous squirt of Tabasco.
  5. Nice tots rotuts! Have to give that a try... I like 'em crunchy too, so I usually just deep fry the suckers... like, say, in the beef cheek fat I just rendered in the pressure cooker. I too like mayo-based sauces for tots (byproduct of boyhood days in holland eating friets). These days I tend to make mayonnaise with VN fish sauce & lemon/lime (sometimes garlic too); mix that as needed with sriracha hot sauce for a nice dip. "Zuo guan jun" (Gen. Joe) sauce is too sweet for me for this application. I like cajun remoulade sauce here too.
  6. Tonight's offering: stuffed mushrooms. Especially craptastic photography, but the product was remarkably good - crunchy & browned on top; juicy & tender mushrooms. Often these dry out & turn a bit leathery in the oven without steam. This is one of the most dramatic improvements I've had with the steam bake method. Preheat 375 degF; steam bake 20 min @ 375 degF. The filling was simple. Ground pork & diced onion parcooked with rosemary / S&P / pinch of crushed red. Mixed with some breadcrumbs (I believe I made them with a bit of Parm & dried herbs), some chopped parsley, and an egg to bind.
  7. Project Brown Bastard has its first positive result. Same batch of dough; similar to Shirley Carrier's high-hydration "touch of grace" drop biscuits. Preheat 425 degF, followed by steam bake 30min @ 425 degF (using a cast iron pan as suggested by KerryBeal - pan not preheated) gave a good rise and crumb straight from frozen. Only problem was poor shape caused by stupidly freezing wet dough balls on a sheet tray - spread flat. Same dough frozen in a muffin pan to crowd the CI pan should strain toward the glorious heights of my dreams.
  8. Thank you - your asparagus looks nice, close to what I had in mind. I think I was working against my own interests by preheating the oven - basically I want as much of the cooking action as possible to come from steam (conduction not convection) to get that crisp/tender texture, while still getting a little superficial browning for some nutty taste. I should probably just steam it and then hit it with a torch, but I will try again in the CSO. For science.
  9. Today I tried steam-broiling the rest of my asparagus. Even preheating the oven, with the cooking tray on the middle position I was unable to get any color on them by the time the asparagus softened. I let some of it go until it did brown, by which time it was savagely overcooked (almost 20 min for medium-thick asparagi; mushy and green color gone to grey-brown). A completely failed result. I will try again with the rack up in the high position, so the asparagi are as close to the heat as possible - but perhaps the heating elements simply aren't powerful enough for this application. I'll also try straight convection broiling asparagus for a control... it's possible the higher thermal conductivity of the steam is undesirable, and I really need to retard cooking the interior until the skin's had a chance to blister. So far I've had zero luck with frozen biscuits. I made a batch of high-hydration drop biscuit dough (a la Shirley Corriher) but it performed very poorly out of the freezer... I think the flour started setting before the ice could heat all the way to vapor. Bad idea to rely on steam for rise. I'm going to try another batch of dough, much drier and shorter (cut biscuits) with a heavy hand on the chemical leaveners, before I give the whole idea up for dead. I want biscuits in the morning dammit!! Agreed. I had excellent results with cornish game hens, salted overnight, butterflied flat, and steam-baked on the lowest rack postion. My family eats a lot of pork; the CSO does equallly well with chops, ribs, etc. It also performs very well for custards - I've made flan & creme brulee; better product than a water bath in the oven and better control than a rice cooker or bamboo steamer basket (although much less capacity than any of these methods). In the early pages of this topic there were posted some damned tasty-looking beets (although I can't get anybody to eat that stuff) and rotuts had some nice meatloaf - I've got that slated for trial myself; sounds like a great fit for the steam bake method. I alternate between accusing my wife of cultural imperialism, and shrugging my shoulders: "more for me!" I'll happily share in the stinky tofu and the century eggs and the pork blood and whatnot, then turn around and hog all the Roquefort and Humboldt Fog. The regrettable part is the pernicious influence on my children, who spent too much time in Asia at an impressionable age. My oldest categorically refuses to eat sandwiches (which causes trouble on school field trips etc.) and my youngest won't eat any cheese or butter that's not melted & incorporated into a dish.
  10. So I made the beef cheeks. As is ofen the case with the sub-$4/lb price point meats, they come with the Xmas toy disclaimer: "some disassembly required". Net yield about 60%, but then I also got a couple stir fries' worth of trimmings and a nice load of beef fat to render. The braising liquid was 3 sweet onions, sweated, and most of a bottle of red wine reduced to syrup with star anise, dried orange peel, and some weird citrusy allspice-sized Thai peppers. Oh yeah, and some soy sauce, anchovies, and a slug of Marmite. For the cook I decided to min-max it a little more... bake/steam @ 225degF for 4 hours, followed by bake/steam @ 425degF for 12 min. The result is what you see here... lots of excess water from the copious steam, so I took out the protein & reduced it on the stovetop. This is being cooled separately from the meat; once defatted I will recombine. This is two meals' worth - one I'll vac-seal & freeze; the other will be Tuesday dinner after kids' martial arts practice. This is fall-apart tender and juicy with good browning - a fantastic result. 3 hours would have been good too, more slice & chew... but I've a mind to take that other half and shred it for ravioli filling, so I took it all the way. PS Shelby, it being Sunday, a gang of other prep went down too. Deboned & seamed out a pork shoulder roast; sliced the muscles into strips that would fit down the food processor tube, down which they went after a half hour in the freezer - pork for stir fry. Some of the pork was ground too, and the bones/trimmings/fat went into the pressure cooker for stock and lard. Put a side of coho salmon on the cure for gravlax. Large amounts of vacuum-sealing was done, most notably several dozen top-notch moon cakes purchased in Taipei, but also ribeyes, dover sole, and tuna... can you tell we went to Costco? Alas I ran out of motivation to process a duck - next weekend. Dinner was nearly 100% from Costco - except the bacon, which is home-cured unsmoked five spice bacon from my next-to-last berkshire belly. Seared tuna over romaine dressed with nuoc cham, with some blanched asparagus & rosted peppers kicking around in there - my daughter loved it. The stinky triple-creme slices were to mark territory for me to eat, since apparently it's like kryptonite for Asians.
  11. Thanks chefmd, that's more like it than my last batch in the Cuisinart... although I don't want 'em quite falling off the bone. Appreciate it. Pretty standard cook/hold prep, a la sous vide. You do the long cook when you have time to do it, cool for storage, then pull it out & reheat for a short time to serve. I'm planning something similar for some beef cheeks I just picked up ($3.59/lb at HEB, word)... braise on the weekend, reheat on a weeknight.
  12. Cuisinart back in service. Scrawny half rack of spareribs, rubbed with fish sauce salt, Japanese 7-spice pepper, and a bunch of seeds (cumin, fennel, sesame, black pepper). Steam baked @ 350degF for 35min, then finished on straight convection 425degF for 15min. Goo results, but could be tenderer. Next time I'd like to try steam baking @ 300degF or 250degF for closer to 2 hours.
  13. Thanks for posting. Straight convection or steam baked? The pan is indeed cute; I've just got little individual tart molds, not fluted, without removable bottoms - for Portuguese egg custard tarts. On the plus side, can fit 8 of them in the Cuisinart.
  14. Sorry Anna. As a companion to the Cuisinart, I just acquired some commercial grade bamboo steamer baskets... They just fit over a 14" wok, and although the specs were given in traditional Chinese chi, I believe that converts to half a metric shit-ton of steamed product. Alas no steam bake function. Off topic I realize; I'll be back on Project Brown Bastard once the jet lag clears.
  15. New steam rig, for occasions when Cuisinart's little baking pan won't cut it.
  16. I'll check out the food blogs; there's some interesting looking stuff in there. Thanks folks.
  17. This might be strange for a forum of food enthusiasts, but I'd probably rather be dipped in dog doo and rolled in crackers than whip out a cell phone at mealtimes and say "Wait a minute everybody, let me just take a picture first... OK one more, the exposure was bad on that one... Son your hand was in front of the food, can you just stay out of the shot?!" I barely even take pictures of my children. Of course, TBH they are less interesting than sushi.
  18. Glad to hear it... but really, "tart"? Can't we just have a simple culinary discussion unsullied by such benighted language? I'll get right on that just as soon as I waddle home from Taipei, 10lbs heavier... and clearly in need of a rigorous comparative matrix of pastry products baked to different protocols. In the meantime, I've got chicken pot pies (leftover meat from roast Cornish hen) to stick into ramekins and thence into the Cuisinart!
  19. But hey, you can go to Cap'n Tom's Oyster Bar and drink micheladas. Yeah the food courts up I-10 are pretty decent, I like them to. We had our American wedding banquet at Fung's Kitchen, actually - the Taipei version was at Pengyuan, where the food was like 100x better, although I was too busy to eat much and rapidly got too f***ed up to taste or remember anything because of all the mandatory whiskey-shot toasts... holy mother of God. I'm pretty sure they do that simply as a disincentive to ever marry again. Mein is good! I don't think they do soup dumplings, but I could be wrong. Honestly, the best xiaolongbao in town are at E-Tao in the Galleria... unfortunately! There's a few other places in town that do them... troll around Dunhuang Plaza in Bellaire Chinatown, there's a few shops there that do them I think (e.g. Fu-Fu Cafe), and there's also this odd duck called Auntie Chang's Dumpling House upstairs from Randall's at Shepherd just north of US-59... been there forever; haven't been there in years; my memory is unremarkable.
  20. What, they won't let me write the Great American Novel on a "Hello New Members" forum thread??? OK TX Dining - do they do cooking there, or is it all fine restaurants? I saw they had a charcuterie thread there - Chris Shepherd does great work, but like hell I'm paying Revival Market's prices. I've got fatback and bellies from heritage pigs curing in the fridge right now, and (possessing a good meat grinder) I regularly grind/stuff/smoke my own andouille, weisswurst, dumpling stuffing, etc. etc. Unless I convert a refrigerator to temp/humidity control, however, needless to say I won't be hanging up salami & prosciutti in Houston! But that kind of scene is much more my speed. We DIY pretty much all the way down; weekends you'll catch me butchering ducks, rendering fat, putting up config, making & freezing stock, all that.
  21. Also I would be remiss not to mention (among the metric shit-ton of good VN restaurants out by Bellaire/Wilcrest) the Crawfish & Noodles, which is a Viet/Cajun fusion restaurant... I mean, doesn't that just sound like a good idea?? United in Francophilia. They do boiled crawfish/crabs etc. alongside fish sauce chicken wings, excellent noodles & fried rice, etc. If you're willing to drive to eat, and you haven't been there, definitely go to Crawfish & Noodles. We recently tried the similar Cajun Kitchen nearby, but the crawfish were clearly frozen & sadly tiny, so no good. Probably impact of the season; might try them again.
  22. Oh yeah - Cafe Lemongrass in Bellaire is more upscale/cheffy/fusion/$$$, but the food is very good. Near Greenway Plaza, Vietopia is surprisingly righteous - I mean, they sell food geared for white people (no tendon or tripe in the pho, for example), and it's marked up like 30% over what you get in yellow-people-cooking-for-yellow-people establishments, but the quality of the food is good, and (as seems to be typical for sit-down Vietnamese places) they serve a broad selection of pretty good Chinese food in the back pages of the menu (usually listed under "beef", "pork", "vegetables", etc.)
  23. I posted on the TX Dining forum about Chinese food in Houston, of which I have the most knowledge. I'm still looking for good Thai. Vieng Thai on Longpoint (behind Ikea) is more authentic than most, but really pretty mediocre. Last time I was out the Beltway (Bellaire/Wilcrest area) I went by a place called Tony Thai on the way to get beignets... it looked somewhat promising. I just think there are like zero Thai people in Houston, unfortunately. Korean BBQ joints along Longpoint - I know many of them by sight; only problem is that their names all sound the same - Korea Garden; Seoul Garden; Seoul House... I can mention Bon Ga and Korea Garden, they're pretty good, and Arirang down on Bellaire is OK too. For Vietnamese you're spoiled for choice, really, especially if you like noodles & banh mi - Les Givrals, Cafe Don, and a zillion holes in the wall have got you covered. For sit-down places, Mai's is like a couple dollars more per dish than Van Loc around the corner for the same quality of food - I go there instead. Better than both of these is the Jasmine restaurant at Bellaire/Highway 8, although the one time I ordered the marquee Beef 7 ways it was pretty terrible. I've always had good meals ordering a la carte, though, and Jasmine has lunch specials even on weekends, so we often stop in and eat there while shopping at the adjacent H-Mart (taken over from the ill-fated Golden Supermarket of yesteryear). There are absolutely are really good Chinese buffets, but they tend to be in 5-star hotels in Asian capital cities... not sure I've seen any in Houston; authentic Chinese food is quite different from American Chinese food, and it's all ordered a la carte or in set menus. On a more down & dirty level, years ago we used to take the kids & head down the V-Star buffet near I-45 and the South Loop... although we quit going there once food price inflation kicked in too hard; I think the thin gross margins they run made them pass it straight through to the customer. This is very different than the kind of Chinese buffet you're talking about though... but the place is a trip; it's like a Vegas casino with slowly-changing LED strip lighting and weird Asian electronic dance music playing pretty loud; the crowd is much more Southside/Port of Houston. Plus I can't get enough all-you-can-eat catfish, steamed flounder, and fried chicken wings doused in Sriracha. What else you got?
  24. Jaymes has suggested a discussion of the finest Chinese restaurants in Houston. Not seeing a thread devoted to this subject, I've taken the liberty of starting one; I'll be happy to merge it if I've overlooked a worthy ancestor. I can't claim an exhaustive knowledge, since we don't eat out that much, but here's my thoughts nevertheless: Cooking Girl, recently opened on Fairview, is the best Sichuanese restaurant in town - much better than the Mala Sichuan Bistro (especially their Montrose location). Little tiny dining room; legit food. Little Sheep Mongolian hot pot is also the real deal - this is actually a popular chain out of PRC; last I checked they were big enough to have their own listing on the HK stock exchange. Food, service, and pricing are better at the Westheimer/Fountainview location than down on Bellaire. The shaved ice place next to the Little Sheep also has the real dope BTW. Fung's Kitchen is pretty well-known as the best Cantonese seafood restaurant in Houston, I believe. They do good dim sum there too, although they don't hire enough waiters so you have to be prepared to get a little aggro to fight for the good stuff fresh-made against some pushy battle-scarred grandmas, rather than letting them pawn off some hour-old char-siu buns to your hapless white face. East Wall in the Dunhuang Plaza off Corporate Drive is where I usually go instead of Fung's Kitchen - good seafood and Peking duck, a little cheaper and not as crowded as Fung's, but I don't think they do dim sum. Shanghai is an authentic family-style Chinese restaurant, not fancy. It's good; we go there fairly often. E-Tao, which has great dumplings and noodles, is surprisingly located inside the Galleria (by Nordstrom's)... so, unsurprisingly, I almost never eat there, but the food is authentic, probably the best dumplings in Houston. Mein is my favorite Chinese noodle house. The decor is upscale (usually a red flag) but the food is good. What am I leaving out? Fat Bao is really Asian fusion a la Momofuku, but I'm gonna go ahead and claim steamed buns for the Chinese, and it's good. Shandong Noodle House is OK, and the price is right - cash only, so you know it's a "Chinese food for Chinese people" type situation - they sell frozen housemade dumplings there, which can be key. Now that Yummy Kitchen and that place that used to be where the Lucky Dragon is (I think) have both closed, I'm not sure if there are any more good places to score good Taiwanese street snacks. Anybody else? Where's my Middle Kingdom peeps at, put a big-nose wise to it.
  25. Well all right Cap'n! Thanks for the signpost... although really most of this Asian food happens within our walls... I cook 3 meals a day 7 days a week for the proverbial family of four; we don't dine out that much. But I do have some poorly-considered and forcefully-expressed opinions on the subject of Asian restaurants in Houston, of which I require little provocation to unburden myself.
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