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Everything posted by csingley

  1. Whoah - loonie ladies represent!! Y'all clearly know how to get it done. Our summer trips are of a different sort. Saturday we're flying off to Taiwan to see family for the rest of the summer - kind of a forced language immersion for the rug rats, since that side of the family speaks nary a word of English. Given all the "foreign" goodies we're bringing back (aged rum, fresh-roasted coffee, prosciutto, a variety of luxe cheeses, etc. etc.) I don't believe we'd be able to cram the Cuisinart into the checked luggage. I won't be doing any cooking anyway... my FIL is almost 90, a cook of the old school who serves killer Sichuanese food out of a kitchen the size of my bedroom closet, whose implements he hardly permits others to touch. The Mrs. and I were just dedicating a rather extravagant budget toward an earnest attempt at burning down every seafood restaurant, hotpot joint, and food stall in Taipei, which is one hell of a food town when you get right down to it. it almost makes it worth enduring the sparsely air-conditioned dog days along the Tropic of Cancer. Hopefully the typhoons will all miss us this time. Upon my return I will resume research into the miraculous effects of steam baking. There's a really great kind of Chinese snack called a shui-jian-bao ("water fried bun") which are kind of like big potstickers with yeasted dough... I've made these successfully in a cast iron pot with a lid... but, you know, surely they could be made less traditionally and with greater fuss in the Cuisinart steam oven! Happy potchky'ing to all.
  2. Yeah that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm thinking about rocking some puff pastry sheets on the steam bake; would be a perfect test I think. The only downside is that then I'd have to make pastry cream and eat the ensuing Napoleons. Stop me, I cannot stop myself!! No doubt, I was poking fun at myself too. I didn't see any <faux_indignation> tags in the forum markup options; I suppose I should have added them manually. The question mark involved my assumption that Kerry Beal was in fact a ma'am; I've known Kerries who were outies rather than innies.
  3. Thanks blue_dolphin! I hadn't noticed the Coffee & Tea board. Sifting through the forums, this is clearly a pretty awesome community. I can't claim any special expertise, but I'm happy to join the conversation.
  4. Madam (?) with all due respect, I am holding a hammer, and by God I am going to drive nails with it. Often a full pan of biscuits is too many. The application I am talking about is tossing individual biscuits from the freezer straight into the toaster oven on a school morning. I'm just looking for ways of improving the quality of the product under those constraints toward the glory of the proper biscuits you recommend. Now that you mention it, I've got a little 6.5" Lodge skillet that fits in the steam oven; I could preheat that in the Cuisinart and cut the biscuits to fit 3 or 4 in that pan. Good idea, thanks! But what I'm really curious about is playing with the steam bake and what I can do with it. I've done plenty of steam cooking in rice cookers - rice, fish, dumplings, chawan-mushi, etc. I've also done my share of straight baking, but the combination of steam and radiant heat is a new technique for me. My SIL runs a retail bakery, and many times I've watched them do the steam injection to keep a skin from forming on the bread and get a superior rise, while still browing into a baked crust by the end. I'm wondering if the same effect would help biscuits. The effect worked pretty dramatically when I tried to steam-bake popovers... which are, granted, much wetter & leaner than biscuits. Nobody's steam-baked pastry? Is it a bad idea?
  5. I'm a man of wealth and taste Use all your well-learned politesse, or I'll lay your soul to waste (woo woo) (woo woo) <ahem> From Houston TX, representing the 713 - so I came up with BBQ, Tex-Mex, and Vietnamese. Deep love for Cajun cuisine, and join our neighbors in serious plunder of the bounty of the Gulf and the bayous. As a young man I spent a lot of time in China and Taiwan, so I'm a fluent Mandarin speaker with blue eyes. Hanging out with the Chinese got me seriously into eating and cooking... but marrying one of them sealed my fate. My wife's idea of feminine liberation involves office work and refusal to cook, but she was raised by a Sichuanese father who's a formidable cook, whose duties I was naturally expected to assume after taking his "money-losing goods" off his hands. This led to a semi-involuntary apprenticeship into the Chinese culinary arts, reinforced by allegedly constructive criticism from a native connoisseur, now joined in chorus by the voices of our two children whose palates are developing as spoiled as their mother's. Anecdote: my 6yo went with his (white) grandfather to neighborhood spaghetti dive; when asked by his server how the food was, he politely replied that there was too much basil in the red sauce. Boys - make better life decisions than I; don't follow my path to ruin! So I cook plenty of real-deal Chinese food and a smattering of Japanese. We're also big fans of Thai food (I took a couple weeks' cooking classes in Chiang Mai) and Korean food, which are in regular rotation. Since I learned to cook out of books, Jacques Pepin and Julia Child are also formative influences... I went to the trouble of tracking down Pepin's "Cooking Techniques" on VHS and ripping it to MP4 - these shows are amazing and it's a crime they're not in distribution; I'd be very happy to share if anyone's got suggestions for an efficient way to do so in bulk. My job is challenging for the attention-span deprived, so I drink large quantities of coffee and prepare it from the green beans - roast, grind, brew espresso. This is fun, interesting, and culinarily rewarding, but probably not really a topic for eGullet I suppose... there are specialist forums available. But enough about me. Let's talk about you!
  6. Hey guys - I'm a new owner of this machine - had it a few weeks now, seeing daily use. I couldn't be happier with it, given its space limitations. Most recent main dish was a whole "cornish" hen (little koshered birds now available at Costco for ~$7). Butterflied, it fit into the stock roasting pan. Separated the skin from the meat, fridge-dried it, and rubbed compound butter above & beneath. Steam baked in the Cuisinart on the lowest rack position; 450 degF for 40 minutes. It turned out very well, nicely browned & juicy. Next time I plan to shave 5min off the cooking time. I'd really recommend butterflying little birds for those roasting whole chickens; it keeps the surface at a better distance from the heating elements. I also had good luck steaming flan and creme brulee, as advertised. Both steamed and steam-baked eggs "en cocotte", and of course plenty of toast. Steam baked pork chops and spare ribs also turn out nicely. I find that I'm having to adjust my methods to account for how fast this thing cooks - the extra heat held in the steam & the higher conductivity really make a significant difference at a given temperature. I'm particularly interested in playing with steam-baking baked goods. I've got a 6-muffin pan that I was able to make fit into the Cuisinart by bending up the edge handles - now very useful accessory for the steam oven. I tried making popovers in it by preheating the pan while resting the batter, then cooking on the bread function on high heat - theorizing that the initial steam injection would help the rise. This worked TOO well; the popovers rose up into the heating elements and scorched. I'll conduct further tests to see if this is worth bothering with. Has anybody tried steam-baking biscuits? American biscuits that is, not British cookies. SOP around our house involves forming and freezing buttermilk biscuits, then baking them for breakfast - a perfect application for the little steam oven. My vision of the Cuisinart bread function yielding big puffy glorious butter-browned bastards was dashed when I tried it, but then that was the fault of the batch not the steam - they were disappointingly flat when I tried regular convection baking; underleavened, apparently. I plan to experiment further, and would be keenly interested in anyone elses' results with biscuits or similar pastries. I'm taking the hint from rotuts and parking a notepad in the kitchen to refine my methods. Thanks to everyone for contributing to this thread - an amazing resource! P.S. rotuts, you sound like my kind of guy. Parked right next to my Cuisinart is my other "mini-commercial" steam appliance - my Rancilio Silvia espresso maker, which I acquired from a friend for $200 when he had to give up caffeine (I have been drinking his share along with my own ever since, in lieu of pouring it on the ground for homies who ain't around). I replaced the stock thermostat with a little PID controller, and have been happy as a clam since I don't need to steam milk. This led to the purchase of a Baratza grinder and eventually a coffee roaster (which already has its own notebook - alas, no graph paper)... but that's a topic for another thread I suppose.
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