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Everything posted by slkinsey

  1. Who knows? Could be made of a different kind of aluminum alloy. Different surface treatment. Something else.
  2. Interesting, I haven't had any issues like that at all and regularly use my aluminum WAFCO pressure canner to make stock. I wouldn't think a stock would have enough acidity to make reactivity much of an issue. I'm pretty sensitive to metallic flavors, too.
  3. I use a large freestanding lever-type citrus juicer. I think it's now called the Olympus Citrus Press Juicer. When I bought mine years ago it was called the Orange-X. I love it. Ra Chand makes a similar large freestanding lever-type citrus juicer that others really like. I prefer the Olympus for a number of reasons, not least because it gives a true vertical press which the Ra Chand does not.
  4. slkinsey

    Perfecting Gnocchi

    I may be in the minority, but I prefer potato gnocchi to have a little firmness to them. I once very successfully made gnocchi with practically no flour at all and, while they did hold together, they were so tender that it was like eating little bites of mashed potatoes. I didn't dig it.
  5. A few things about carbon steel: The kind of carbon steel used in cookware is significantly softer than cast iron (it is easily scratched with a Scotch Brite pad, for example). For this reason, the seasoning will never be as durable as the seasoning on a cast iron pan. This is not such a big deal, however, because carbon steel doesn't really need to be seasoned like cast iron. If you scratch away some of the seasoning, all you have to do is a little bit of re-seasoning before the next time you use it. A good habit is to do some pan treatment after each time the pan is cleaned. This can either take the form of a minor reseasoning, or just spreading a thin layer of protective oil onto a warm, dry pan. The best way I have found to season and reseason carbon steel is on the stovetop. Just leave the pan on the heat until it starts smoking, then take a cloth moistened with the barest amount of seasoning fat and quickly swipe all over the inside, then take a clean cloth and wipe out the inside of the pan, wait a few minutes until that layer smokes out and the pan visibly darkens, then repeat a few more times. The oil must be burned a little or it will be sticky rather than glassy. Tongs are useful here for holding the fat-spreading and excess-removing cloths. Unless you like burned fingers. If parts of the pan get rough-looking, they can usually be smoothed out by scrubbing with kosher salt and elbow grease. A "magic eraser" followed by a few layers of reseasoning does well for tougher jobs. Well-seasoned carbon steel is still not nonstick in the sense that PTFE surfaces are nonstick. They require fat and heat. To the extent that we may sometimes be able to see an egg slide around, this is due to the leidenfrost effect. For things like crepe pans and omelette pans, the more you use them the less sticky they will be. These pans should never need to be scrubbed if they are only used for their intended purpose. Don't complain if you fry a hamburger in your crepe pan and crepes stick to it now. These pans are inexpensive enough that you can have a dedicated crepe pan. Getting the temperature just right is important to their non-stickyness, as are the ingredients used. My standard Julia Child crepe batter recipe always flips over in the air with just a jerk of the pan, whereas any crepe recipe using sugar needs to be loosened and flipped with a thin spatula. French-style omelettes need the right amount of eggs, heat and fat for the pan or they will stick and/or brown, and they should be cooked in 90 seconds or less.
  6. The solution to this is to start with a long "tail" on the bag with the "paper towel dam" situated somewhere in the middle. After the bag is sealed, simply reseal the bag below the paper towel dam and cut away the excess.
  7. I think that pronunciation comes from the fact that the rolled type of icing was extremely popular in Australia before it was big in Britain (where it's alternate name used to be Australian Icing) and then finally finding popularity in the US. I think some people (influential television personalities) were simply imitating instructors they had worked with from AU/UK who would naturally pronounce it this way -disregarding the fact that it's exactly the same word as we use for the poured icing we use on petit-fours , napoleons, and in Cadbury Eggs. This seems to be over-thinking a bit. It is a French word.
  8. The tables are approximations that can be affected by variations in density, measurement errors, etc. Usually this is okay because we can just build in some extra time. Cooking a chicken breast an extra 20 minutes won't make much difference. But sometimes with things like fish, you want to know exactly when it reaches the target temperature because even a few minutes will make a difference.
  9. Unfortunately, as you seem to have discovered, this doesn't work particularly well. This is because flour has very poor flavor release. It's the same reason a sodium citrate emulsified cheese sauce tastes so much more cheesy than one made with bechamel. I have made spinach pasta containing so much spinach it could hardly hold together and it still didn't taste much like spinach. Meanwhile, by the time you get enough of a strong spice in there to really taste it, the effect is usually unbalanced and unpleasant (perhaps because certain chemicals are more easily released than others). Your best bet for flavored noodles, as others have suggested, it to use different flours.
  10. You can't really make exceptions for this kind of law. Who is going to decide which places are high-end and scrupulous enough to be exempted? On what criteria? How are they to know a show wasn't just made for the inspection? How will they adjudicate disputes and who will pay for that process? How will they ensure that an establishment still qualifies for an exemption on an ongoing basis? How will it play out politically and legally when this results in gloves only being required at inexpensive places operated, staffed and patronized by immigrants and the economically disadvantaged? Meanwhile, the reality is that if the French Laundry cooks want to continue going barehanded, after a while they will be able to do so, so long as they keep an eye out for inspectors and keep gloves handy. As for whether the establishments most needing to comply are the least likely, the hepatitis results I posted above suggests that glove laws do have an effect on an epidemiological basis. None of the foregoing means that I don't agree it's silly for FL cooks to wear gloves. I am merely pointing out that these laws generally do benefit the public health whether they are silly for some or not.
  11. Glove laws typically don't do much to address dirtiness from general kitchen grunge, cross-contamination from food products or handling money. And, as some may have observed, they may even make things worse. But they aren't really designed for that anyway. What they are designed to do is address the transmission of illnesses that come from poor hand-washing, primarily after using the bathroom. And all the signs in the world can't affect that behavior unless you are willing to post a monitor by the bathroom sink. Here is a good example of what a glove law does: So... Huge hepatitis problem effectively solved with a glove law. If it seems that the problems solved by a glove law are more serious than those it fails to address (and I am guessing that transmission of things from bad bathroom hand-washing is a far more serious problem than transmission of everything else, both in terms of number and degree of severity) the law can make some sense from an epidemiological perspective. The fact that some scrupulous kitchen staff are inconvenienced doesn't really figure into public policy decision making.
  12. I've put an 80 quart pot on my Crapmaster 9000 NYC apartment stove. Covered all four burners. Worked fine. Nothing broke.
  13. If you want to keep the silver from tarnishing, you definitely want to make sure that you wipe it down until it's bone dry every time you use it. I've found that if silver is rubbed with a cloth frequently enough, you shouldn't need to use any tarnish removal chemicals. Or, yanno, you could just let it build up a nice attractive patina.
  14. Tarnish? Stainless steel shouldn't/doesn't tarnish. What are you seeing? Maybe you can post a picture.
  15. For pork loin, I would have gone more like 60C.
  16. Cherry grappa is exactly what it is. The entire family of Ex-Yugoslav beverages, of which šlivovic is the best-known, are mistakenly referred to as brandies. But there, these liquors are known as "rakijas" which is the word for grappa. I've had rakija from carob pods, walnuts (my favorite, Orahovac), pear, quince, and some grassy herbal ones that are considered medicinal. Yea, I'm not so sure about that. Grappa is technically fermented out of the grape pomace (seeds, skins, stems, etc) leftover after the fermented wine is pressed out. Rakia seems to be more like a Balkan style of eau de vie (i.e., unaged fruit brandy). My understanding of the Luxardo process, meanwhile, is that they actually separate the fruit from the pits, etc., ferment/distill the two products separately, and then combine the resulting spirits later on. So it has "grappa like" characteristics due to the distilled pits, but can't really be called a grappa because it is in no way a pomace.
  17. I used a variety of modernist techniques this year, as usual. Started with a duo of fresh pea and caramelized carrot soups, poured into the bowl together so that they each made up one side. Only the carrot soup was really all that modernist. Pro-tip: No matter how cool-looking those red-skinned carrots look in the greenmarket, to not use them for this dish or in any vegetable stock unless you like the idea of eating something with a deep purple color. Luckily my sister was able to visit a nearby grocery and get us a kilo of regular orange carrots, and I juiced those. The next course was more or less a straightforward rendition of this ChefSteps recipe for salmon mi cuit with a variety of garnishes. Using xanthan gum to prevent syneresis in the horseradish cream and watercress puree is a nice, if modest, use of a modernist idea. I also was able to make the watercress puree well in advance but keep it nice and vibrant green by de-aerating it in a vacuum chamber and then vacuum packing it for storage. After that, I did the turkey breast porchetta style, as suggested in SeriousEats. I didn't bother with the skin, as I didn't want to be deep-frying anything in the middle of service. I dusted everything with Activa and bonded it into a single log, which worked great. Overall, however, I was a little underwhelmed and would have liked a bit more aggressive flavoring. Also, for my presentation anyway, it would have been better if I had formed each breast into a single, thinner cylinder. This was served with a variety of vegetables that I prepared sous-vide and reheated for service (charred leeks in evoo, baby artichokes in evoo, baby red carrots in butter, breakfast radishes in butter), modernist "latkes" (really more of a mashed potato croquette), and a finishing drizzle of ChefSteps' thyme oil (which worked well but could have had a stronger flavor). When I'm making potato puree, I like to pressure-steam the retrograded potatoes for 7 minutes or so. The potatoes come out completely soft and, counterintuitively, pretty dry as well. The potato croquettes were a big hit, and could easily be made well ahead of time and frozen. Next, I did cornbread pecan dressing in a bowl topped with shredded turkey leg confit (which I did sous vide) and surrounded with turkey jus gras from MCAH. My jus gras process went something like this: took all the meaty raw turkey bones, plus a jumbo package of turkey wings I picked up for cheap, and ran them all through a heavy duty meat grinder. Thew all of this into a couple of roasting pans and cooked in a high oven, stirring from time to time until it all turned into dark brown sand. Then added water and aromatics and cooked this in my gigantic pressure canner for 1.5 hours to make brown turkey stock. The next day I pressure-cooked a few quarts of the brown turkey stock with an approximately equal weight of some of the browned turkey material I had set aside the day before, plus fino sherry and aromatics. Reduced the jus by 50% and then emulsified with reserved roast turkey fat I had skimmed from the stock and laced with 2% liquified lecithin. Pretty good stuff. So, any number of modernist techniques, but all fairly modest. No spherified gravy or anything like that.
  18. It depends on whether or not you want to store it, and how. If you want to store it, you will want a fat that is solid at storage temperatures. Olive oil is not.
  19. One of the great advantages of making confit using sous vide techniques is that you don't need to use very much fat. If you put a half-tablespoon of fat into the bag, once you evacuate the air and seal the bag the meat is surrounded with a thin layer of fat. And here's the thing: The poultry leg doesn't know whether it's surrounded by an inch-thick layer of fat or a millimeter-thick layer of fat. The reality is that you don't need to use any fat at all if you're either using sous vide techniques or plan on consuming the confit soon after preparing it. I have made a huge batch of duck leg confit simply by chucking a pile of untrimmed duck legs into a Crock-Pot and letting them cook in the fat that renders out of them. The reason it doesn't make much difference in either of these cases is because it won't really impact the flavor of the meat unless you elect to age it traditionally (i.e., surrounded in fat but otherwise unsealed). This allows for a certain amount of "controlled rancidity" that gives traditionally aged confit a special flavor that sous vide confit or confit consumed soon after it is prepared just won't ever have. I like the color, that's all. I think it may make some small difference in the texture/flavor of the finished product, but honestly that's probably confirmation bias.
  20. I will be making sous vide confit turkey legs (I typically buy several extra legs) for Thanksgiving this year. Nothing to it, really. I usually cure poultry legs with pink salt, kosher salt, herbs and spices, then rinse them off, bag then individually with a half tablespoon of fat and perhaps some flavorings, cook them for several hours at 80C, chill them in an ice bath and then either use with a day or two or chuck the bags into the deep freezer for long-term storage.
  21. Martin Doudoroff and I did a series of tests using cognac in cocktails a few years back. Our main result was that proof is king. The higher proof cognacs (Louis Royer Force 53 at 106 proof and Pierre Ferand 1840 at 90 proof) were consistently better in cocktails than any of the lower proof cognacs -- even those at borderline too-expensive-for-cocktails prices. We even did some experiments diluting Force 53 and PF 1840 down to 80 proof and then comparing those versions against the original proofs in cocktails. The higher proof cognacs won every time. These cognacs are not cheap but they're not exactly expensive either, usually coming in around 40 bucks a bottle. Unless I'm making a very large batch of punch, these are the only cognacs I use for cocktails now.
  22. I'm not sure I understand your point here. Glass does have much lower thermal conductivity than metal. But, much more importantly in making cocktails, a typical glass mixing vessel has a much higher thermal capacity than a typical metal mixing vessel. This is a disadvantage if the vessel will be used at room temperature because glass will transfer more thermal energy into the drink, or an advantage if the vessel will be frozen because the glass will absorb thermal energy from the drink. Typically, stirring pitchers are frozen and shakers are used at room temperature. This is among the many good reasons not to use a glass shaker.
  23. I think this is builds on the idea of a "cold chain," which refers to the practice of maintaining a foodstuff from producer through storage and distribution to user under an unbroken chain of cold storage. In this case, "heat chain" would appear to mean that once the foodstuff is brought to temperature it is not allowed to cool down until it is served -- which is to say that it is maintained in an unbroken chain of hot "storage" from initial cooking to the plate. The term "hot chain" would be more apropos than "heat chain" IMO.
  24. The two parts fit together. The small tin fits inside the larger tin. One advantage of this design is that you can use the large tin for stirred cocktails if you don't have a separate stirring vessel. You will need a separate strainer. You might rather use a cobbler shaker, however, which has a built-in strainer. This kind of shaker used to be a bit of a joke in the cocktailian community, but that is before Japanese-style cobbler shakers started making the rounds. Now they are very much au courant. If you are planning on usually making drinks for two, I would recommend the 800ml Usagi Cobbler Shaker. I have too many, according to Mrs. slkinsey many different kinds of cocktail shakers at home, and have found myself most frequently using this one when making drinks around the house.
  25. And yet, quite a few people say the concept works well and is an improvement over the standard All-Clad tri ply. I don't know. On the face of it, it seems counterintuitive, but maybe the layer of steel between the two layers of aluminum acts like a "flame tamer," smoothing out hot spots and helping to get a more even heat to the contents. Confirmation bias, maybe?
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