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Everything posted by slkinsey

  1. slkinsey


    I've being developing a growing appreciation of Swizzles, and thought to start a thread where we can discuss our favorites. A Swizzle is loosely defined as a (tall?) drink (usually but not always rum) with crushed ice in which a swizzle stick is rotated so as to aerate and chill the drink (forming a layer of ice on the outside of the glass). Common secondary ingredients include lime juice, bitters (especially Angostura), Falernum and mint. Here is a fairly common recipe for a Rum Swizzle: 1.50 oz : white rum 0.75 oz : fresh lime juice 0.50 oz : Velvet Falernum Dash : Angostura bitters Build in highball glass with crushed ice. Swizzle until frost forms. Top with more crushed ice. Here's a picture of a rum based swizzle I made with Barbancourt white rum (which is very much not traditional for this drink) and mint. Any favorite swizzle recipes out there?
  2. slkinsey

    Batavia Arrack

    So, lately some Batavia arrak has been showing up again in NYC stores. It's been Batavia-Arrack van Oosten. A few bottles have come my way lately, and I'm looking for some ideas. Anyone who has read Jerry Thomas's book will know that Batavia arrack is featured prominently in the punch recipes. For example, we have the Arrack Punch. JT's recipe for three tumblers of puch goes something like this: So, it's 6:3:2:1 water to Jamaica rum to Batavia arrack to lemon juice, sweetened to taste. Leaving out the water, you could do something like this for a single serving: Anyway, what I'm looking for are good recipes for Batavia arrack, and secondarily advice as to how to adapt large volume punch recipes such as those in JT to single servings.
  3. slkinsey

    Aquavit Cocktails

    I've been thinking a bit about aquavit lately. Gin is my favorite cocktail liquor. And what is gin? It's more or less juniper-plus-other-stuff-flavored neutral spirits. Well, what is aquavit? It's more or less caraway-plus-other-stuff-flavored neutral spirits. So, I thought, why aren't we making lots of cool cocktails with aquavit? In fact, wouldn't a lot of gin formulae work fairly interestingly with aquavit? Say, for example, aquavit, maraschino and lemon juice. CocktailDB has a mere 18 cocktails with aquavit, which is a good place to start but we ought to be able to do better than that. I have to do some experimenting, but would love to hear other thoughts on this.
  4. slkinsey


    Vya Vermouth, both red and white. Hands down. Nothing else even comes close. The only vermouth I like to have just on the rocks with a twist. This may be a little difficult to get, so for "easy availability" you're down to the mid-level vermouths. Noilly Prat for white, Cinzano Rosso for red. These are available everywhere. Since the mid-range vermouths only cost around 8 bucks a bottle, and Vya is only about twice that... why get anything cheaper? It's already cheap. Because most bars/restaurants use 95% of their vermouth in vodka "martinis" that include a miniscule amount of vermouth only as a nod to tradition. Since no one can detect the presence of vermouth -- never mind tell the difference betwen good and bad vermouth -- in a 50:1 vodka martini, why bother using the good stuff?
  5. slkinsey

    Clay Pot-Cooked Legumes

    Yum! One of my favorite bean preparations is to simmer dried beans until barely al dente in copious amounts of water, then drain them well + let them cool. Just before dinner, I'd put an unhealthy amount of strong-flavored good quality evoo in a saute pan, drop in the beans with two whole cloves of garlic and let the whole thing slowly come up to temperature. At the last minute, on goes a handfull of chopped parsley, a generous pinch of flaked red pepper, some Maldon sea salt and a glug of raw evoo. You can really taste the difference between different bean varietals.
  6. slkinsey

    The Aviation

    [Editors Note: The side discussion on the "Original Gin" thread on aviations reached the point where it seemed to cry out for its own thread, so here it is.] Any brands you recommend?
  7. slkinsey

    Fun with a centrifuge

    It's not the RPM that is important, but rather the g-force it can produce. You can have two centrifuges running at 4,000 rpm, but the one with a larger diameter rotor will be generating more g-force. The Centurions you're interested in have a maximum force of 4,800g. By way of comparison, Modernist Cuisine recommends a 30,000g centrifuge and many of their recipes specify 27,500g. This probably means that there are certain effects that would not be possible with the Centurion centrifuges you're looking at. That said, most everything will be possible. The difference is that it will take longer. Let's say that the Modernist Cuisine recipe says that you should spin something at 27,500g for an hour. You would need to spin it for around six hours to get a similar effect at 4,500g. Good discussion here.
  8. slkinsey

    How to make ultra creamy polenta?

    Grits are not nixtamalized. That is a misapprehension deriving from the custom in some regions to refer to them as "homimy grits." But this usage of homimy does not refer to nixtamalized corn. To test he hypothesis that this effect comes from using super-fine cornmeal, I would recommend putting it in a high-power blender like a VitaPrep before cooking, not after. The VitaPrep should be able to turn it into a powder-fine texture.
  9. slkinsey

    Mixing with Cognac

    Once upon a time Martin Doudoroff and I did a series of experiments using Louis Royer Force 53 and Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognacs. These are both "high proof" cognacs, with Force 54 coming in at 106 proof and 1840 at 90 proof. We diluted samples of each cognac down to 80 proof, the usual strength of cognac, and prepared cocktails with each of the four base spirits. The results were dramatic and obvious, with the higher proof cognacs consistently producing significantly better cocktails. I've often been underwhelmed by cognac cocktails, but began to realize that this may have been due to the fact that I was using 80 proof spirits. Nowadays, I just don't mix with anything but high proof cognacs if I'm making a cognac cocktail.
  10. I'm in the gradual process of scaling back some things in Thanksgiving dinner, which I have used in the past to experiment with multiple course tasting menu concepts. Going in very different directions from what I have done previously with the meat courses (I do separate courses of white and dark meat). Old: starter of salmon three ways -- tartare, gravlax and mi cuit. New: small white meat slices with cornbread dressing späetzle, Brussels sprout petals and herb-infused butter; shredded dark meat confit with mushrooms, roasted potato gnocchi and jus gras.
  11. There are also light copper pans that are made to be used for tableside service rather than cooking. So, for example, if the idea is that the server will spoon freshly sauteed mushrooms over the risotto tableside, the mushrooms will be sauteed in the kitchen and then dumped into a small "table service" saucepan which is carried to the table. Looking at the size of these, I'm guessing that is not the case. They may be "display pans" for decoration purposes only. But we shouldn't ignore the extent to which companies will slap a tiny layer of copper on the outside of an otherwise crappy piece of cookware in the hope of duping someone into overpaying for it.
  12. slkinsey

    THE BEST: NYC Pizza Favorites

    I read your thoughts with interest. What more can you say about the "fermented tomatoes"?
  13. slkinsey

    The high-power blender topic

    What may or may not happen with PTFE coatings on frypans as a result of high temperatures is also not relevant to the flaking-off of minute particles as a result of friction.
  14. Smithy, I microwave the seeds and gelatinous membrane just long enough to get the gelatinous membrane to break down so it can be strained off the seeds. This has the added effect of stopping any enzymatic activity that may be going on. Really all I do is jam it in the microwave and hit the "reheat" button, so it's likely that it doesn't even come to a boil. I agree that tomato seeds can impart bitterness, and I also just don't like them aesthetically. My procedure is designed to remove the seeds from the canned tomato product while retaining as much tomato flavor as possible from the gelatinous membrane material (plus any trimmings). I suppose I could just as easily pass the raw tomatoes through a fine sieve that would hold back the seeds and skins and give me a fine puree. That would certainly be a lot faster and easier, and many of my Italian friends do exactly this. But I like the ability to decide what texture the tomato product will have depending on what I'm making.
  15. I recently canned 50 pounds of outstanding plum tomatoes from Stokes Farm, which IMO has the best tomatoes at the NYC Greenmarkets. Every last one of them was fully ripe and deep red throughout, which hasn't been the case when I've bought tomatoes by the case from other area farms. I have kind of a weird procedure. Since I don't like seeds in my tomato sauce, after I peel and core the tomatoes I cut them in half and pull out all the seeds and seed goo. These go into a large corningware that I chuck into the microwave to bring to a quick and momentary boil, and then I pour it into a fine sieve that holds back the seeds but lets all the liquid through. I then put this liquid together with the tomato halves into the chamber machine and pull a hard vacuum to get all the air out of the tomato pieces. With this done, I bring everything up to a quick simmer, pack it into pint jars, top up as needed with the tomato juice and process in a pressure canner. I don't like the flavor of added acid, so I use an extremely conservative processing protocol instead of adding lemon juice. Because of my weird procedure, I can get about as many tomatoes in a pint jar as the standard procedure gets into a quart jar.
  16. slkinsey

    The high-power blender topic

    Yea, no. Anything that is inert enough to be permanently implanted in the body is inert enough to pass through the digestive system in tiny little particles with little concern. Needless to say, there would be nothing wrong with occasionally ingesting minute particles of titanium. In fact, they make cookware with an interior lining of titanium.
  17. slkinsey

    The high-power blender topic

    Why not add some cashew oil?
  18. slkinsey

    The high-power blender topic

    Um. Surgeons have been permanently implanting teflon in human bodies as part of things like replacement heart valves, stents and artificial tendons for a very, very long time. If that's not a strong indication of its safety in the human organism I don't know what is.
  19. Most guidance for canning tomatoes is for acidulated tomatoes in a water bath. I don't particularly care for that flavor and it strikes me that one ought to be able to pressure-can non-acidulated tomatoes just as safely. Does anyone have any guidance on pressure-canning hot-packed tomatoes with no added acidity?
  20. This actually works pretty terribly, because most of the cooling power of ice is comes from melting because of the heat of fusion.
  21. Who knows how much of the stuff they put in there. Could just be to make whatever vinegar they're using more like the one used in Japan.
  22. What's so bad about putting sugar in there? According to their web site, it looks like Kewpie has quite a few subsidiaries and affiliates.
  23. For me the hierarchy of mayonnaise goes: homemade > Kewpie > Duke's > Hellman's/Cain's > everything else
  24. I have often used trim of all kinds in making sauces. Typically I grind it up and brown it aggressively, then add aromatics and liquid, then pressure cook for an hour or so, then strain, reduce (if needed) and use. Works great.