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Everything posted by Chad

  1. This is a very cool knife. Kershaw has a good reputation and the Kai/Shun line is the coolest thing to come out of Seki in a long, long time. I've long felt that VG10 would be the ultimate kitchen steel. It takes an insanely sharp edge, holds that edge for quite while, even under heavy use, is relatively easy to resharpen and keeps a "toothy" profile. Nifty. Damn nifty. I've had custom kitchen knives in ATS-34, BG42 and several other exotic steels, but nothing has sliced and diced as well as my VG-10 pocket knives. Sad but true. Until now, no one made a good kitchen knife in VG-10, except Falkniven's "Blue Whale" and I hate the design. Needless to say I have a serious lust for the Kai/Shun 10 incher. Dunno why they just used VG-10 as the core. It wouldn't have been any more expensive to use it for the whole blade. But then you wouldn't get the cool Damascus steel look that they've gone for. That's something, I suppose. Nice score. Chad
  2. Thank you! I'm glad you got something out of it. The EdgePro, like everything else, does take some practice. That's why I recommend starting off with a cheap knife or two before attacking your pricey cutlery. It does take two or three knives before you get really proficient with it. If you did a 15/18 double bevel, that's fine. There's no magic or mystery to the 15/20 I recommended. The 15/20 is simply easier to maintain on a Spyderco system. The Spyderco Sharpmaker has angle settings at 30 and 40 degrees (or 15 and 20 per side). In writing the article I wanted to show how the double bevel worked and picked settings common to every system. That and the fact that the 20 degree burr pops up pretty quickly after you've set a 15 degree edge. Quick results are always a good thing. As for the stones, you're absolutely fine with what you have. The 180 and 220 grit stones will work for anything in your kitchen. The 220 will leave a medium fine edge. I don't generally go any more polished than that unless I'm playing around to see how sharp I can get something. You can get up to 3000 grit with the EdgePro. But you've got to remember, the EdgePro grit labeling system is a little weird. The 220 is going to be pretty close to a 1000X Japanese water stone in the level of finish it leaves on the edge. If you want to add to your stones, get the coarse stone -- that's the one I use most often. It'll cut metal like crazy! Perfect for quickly resetting an edge. I have to admit, I sprang for the whole stone upgrade kit, but I'm nuts. I rarely use anything higher than the 220 or 600 (extra fine). Take care, Chad
  3. Hmm, I'm not sure what the factory edge on the Global line is. I'll look into it and get back to you. I do know that one of the Japanese knife makers -- either Global or Mac -- has a special sharpener/jig thing designed specifically to maintain the factory edge. Chad
  4. Sorry for the delayed reply, my ISP's been a bit wonky the last couple of days. Congrats on your purchases. Both the Spyderco sharpener and Lee Valley knife will serve you well. The angle on the Lee Valley knife is a little odd and doesn't lend itself to maintenance on the Spyderco unless you want to rebevel it. I wouldn't recommend it just yet. It'll be fine for a while. What I do with mine is use the "Mousepad Trick" or a simple hard-backed strop loaded with CrO2 paste (both available from Lee Valley). That lets you maintain the factory angle for quite a while before having to do any serious sharpening. Do not use a grooved steel on the knife, you'll just chip out the knife. The carbon steel sandwiched into the soft stainless is very hard by Western kitchen knife standards. It'll stay sharp for a long time if you rinse and dry it thoroughly every time you use it -- maybe even during cutting if you're going through a lot of acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits or onions. The acids will attack the edge and degrade it far more than cutting will. You've got to keep this knife clean and dry. If you've dented the edge, you can use a smooth steel or a very fine grit ceramic rod (700 grit+) to roll the edge back into position. It'll take a while, but it's better than sharpening away the impacted area. If it's a major dent, lay the knife flat on a work surface and use the steel or rod as a file, stroking toward the edge with light to moderate force to slowly fix the dent. The really nice thing about this knife is that if you completely screw it up, it's only $16 to replace it . Take care, Chad
  5. After the 2001 Florida ballot troubles, I'm surprised no one has used my name yet. "Will the profligate 'swinging chad' ever do right by the lovelorn 'pregnant chad?' Tune in next week to find out." Chad (neither swinging nor pregnant)
  6. Chad

    Dinner! 2003

    Last night: grilled pork chops with tomato/basil vinegrette relish, wild rice and broccoli with cheese. Wednesday night: Sesame-soy chicken (sauted with sesame oil & garlic) on salad. Dressing made from sesame oil, soy sauce, ground mustard, red wine vinegar, etc. A big hit with the kids surprisingly enough. My daughter has asked for the leftovers for her school lunch for the last two days . Tonight: Chicken, mushroom & riccota ravioli -- or something approximating ravioli, depending on how well I'm able to form them. I may try Keller's anglotti shape. It looks a little easier. Chad
  7. How 'bout halving a recipe (mentally) then forgetting that you're supposed to be halving it half-way through adding the ingredients? And then not remembering which you did half of and which were full strength. That happened with the sesame-soy vinagrette last night. Luckily I caught myself before dumping a 1/2 cup of vinegar into the bowl. Chad
  8. Two more for me, both birthday presents. French Laundry cookbook and Robert St. John's "A Southern Palate." The boy can write! Great anecdotes between sections. Chad
  9. Chad

    NeroW Needs Your Help

    I'll second the Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay recommendation and add our new favorite Summer Swill: Morande Sauvignon Blanc. This is a Chilean wine that we get for about $7 a bottle. Very nice. Crisp, citrusy and with some real depth -- a true surprise at this price point. It seems to be much harder to find a good, inexpensive red than it does inexpensive whites. Maybe I'm just pickier about reds and take them more seriously. My favorite is a little out of the range at $12 a bottle, but the E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone is wonderful. I like even better than Guigal's $30-40 wines. Parallel 45 is another decent Cotes du Rhone, but I don't like it as well as the Guigal. A treasure that just a couple of years ago was $9 a bottle is Marques de Caceres Rioja, but it's been discovered and is now at $14 or so. Damn. Chad
  10. We needed to replace some wine glasses. Last year, in a real "Gift of the Magi" moment, my wife and I got each other Riedel wine glasses for Christmas. Sauvignon Blanc for her Bordeaux for me. Both from the Vinum series (machine cut crystal). After breaking four of hers and two of mine in various washing, drunken stupor and cat-related accidents, we decided it was time for new stems. Much research followed. Based on recommendations here and other places, most notably the Babbo cookbook, we decided to save a little and go with Spiegelau rather than replace the Riedel. So I ordered up a set of the Authentis White Wine glasses for Lisa. Same machine cut crystal, a little sturdier construction and $30 bucks cheaper. We're pragmatic folks. They arrived yesterday. They seem well made and I like the more tulip-shaped bowl of the glasses. They look like they'll hold up well. Inaugural toast was with Morande sauvignon blanc, an inexpensive Chilean wine that we've really fallen in love with. Hey, at $67 a case (including tax) it's hard to go wrong . This stuff is good. Anyway, the wine tasted a little flat, lacking the sparkle and depth that we've come to associate with it. Weird. I attributed it to the bottle having been opened the day before, even though it was recorked and refrigerated overnight. We opened another bottle. Same thing. On a lark I pulled down one of the remaining Riedel sauvignon blanc glasses for a side by side comparison. Bingo. The crispness, sparkle and depth was back. Not an overwhelming difference, but certainly noticeable. Just to be sure, we tried it blind, me handing her a glass by the base rather than the stem so you couldn't tell by the difference in stem length which glass she was holding. She did the same for me. After a couple of repeats it was obvious, we could definitely taste a difference. The wine in the Riedel glass was more citrusy, crisper and more complex. The wine in the Spiegelau glass was a little flatter and more vegetal. I don't know that it's a big enough difference to justify sending the glasses back and getting another set of Riedel, but it's a little disappointing. Keep in mind that this is a single tasting of a single, inexpensive wine. We have noticed in the past that cheaper wines exhibit more sensitivity to glass construction, i.e. you can taste a bigger difference between a cheaper wine in a better glass versus a cheap glass than you can a better wine in a better glass compared to a cheaper glass. We'll do some more tasting with other wines -- all in the name of science, mind you -- and let you know what we discover. Chad
  11. Nice work, Mark! One thing I'd like to see, if you have the time, is a rundown of the most popular chile types, their distinctive flavors and their potential uses. This would be pretty helpful to those just getting into fiery foods. I, for one, will never use jalapenos when serranos are available. I find jalapenos to be heat without flavor while the serrano has both heat and flavor, greatly enhancing dishes and salsas that usually call for jalapenos. Another example would be the pairing of Habaneros or Scotch Bonnets with tropical fruits because of their own fruity flavor. By the way, I've always wondered, is it haban-air-o or haban-yer-o? Chad
  12. Thanks, Dave! I generally trust AB on this kind of stuff, but this seemed a little weird. Covered, yes. I was thinking more about keeping my cat, Chester, out of the mayo than airborne contagions, but Alton don't say nothin' 'bout no cover. Seemed an odd omission, so I thought I'd double check. Rationale 1. the fundamental reasons, or rational basis, for something. 2. a statement, exposition or explanation of reasons or principles. Didn't occur to me that there would be a negative connotation to the word. Chad
  13. I whipped up a batch of cayenne mayonnaise this morning. I had some leftover roast turkey and wanted a sammich. I was out of mayo. So I thought, "what the hell?" Can't be that hard can it? Nope. It's a little thin, but damn tasty. Now for the question. Every book I've checked says to refrigerate immediately. Makes sense to me. A raw egg emulsion at room temperature seems to be a one-way ticket to a lengthy survey of the bathroom decor. But Alton Brown in "I'm Just Here for the Food" has a sidebar in the food safety section that says to leave fresh mayo out for 8-12 hours. Covered, I assume. His rationale is that the acids in the lemon juice and vinegar work best at room temperature and that they'll be more effective than refrigeration at doing in any nasty bugs that might be lurking. At best, he says, if you refrigerate, bacteria will stop reproducing but won't be wiped out like they will by the acids. Collective minds, what say you? Chad
  14. Chad

    Dinner! 2003

    Tuesday Dinner: Roast turkey (cavity stuffed with apples, onions & garlic) Arborio rice cooked in my own stock Green beans Chocolate sheet cake that my daughter made as a school project (not bad!) Chad
  15. Chad

    Dinner! 2003

    Last night: Shrimp & pasta. Shrimp sprinkled with my secrect spice mix (kosher salt, garlic powder, cayenne and a couple of other things I can't remember at the moment -- I usually use it as a chicken rub), sauted in duck fat and butter with minced garlic and shallots. Served over spaghetti noodles with a reduced pan sauce. Asparagus & julienned carrots. Homemade french-style bread. Not bad at all. Chad
  16. Chad

    Dinner! 2003

    Dinner tonight was homemade soup made with stock following FG's lesson in eGCI. Much better than my usual stock. Much richer and with a fuller mouthfeel. Augmented with corn, carrots, rice and chicken chunks sauted with shallots & garlic. Tasty. Also had homemade french bread from Shirley Corhier's recipe in Cookwise. This is a bread that never fails. Absolutely wonderful. Eaten while watching Bridge over the River Kwai and the Good Eats "Down and Out in Paradise" special. Wine was a Chilean sauvignon blanc called Morande. Damn tasty, especially at $7.00 per bottle. Really. This is a genuine surprise that we discovered while bargain hunting after spending too much on our vacation this year. It easily beats out sauvignon blancs at $20/bottle. Pretty much the ultimate summer swilling wine as far as we're concerned. We have a standing order for a case every Tuesday (25% off day) at our local wine place. Chad
  17. Yes, very true. My biases are showing. However, my bias is not pro-smoking. I applaud anyone who quits. They've done themselves a great service. I am, however, deeply annoyed by zealous ex-smokers. You know, the ones with pictures of diseased lungs in their wallets and a mission to convert all and sundry now that they've found the true light. So annoyance was a partial prompt for my response. The bigger reason, though, was the flawed logic. That bugs me even more. If you follow the logic just a couple of steps further, we could conclude that people with asthma, allergies or sinus problems shouldn't be allowed to be chefs or restaurant reviewers either because their "compromised" palates would preclude them from tasting all the subtle nuances in the food. An interesting anecdote: When I was reading "Soul of a Chef" not long ago, Michael Ruhlman recounts a conversation with Thomas Keller about his signature dish "oysters and pearls." Keller admits, sheepishly, that he's never tried it. Like Beethoven composing after deafness had set in, Keller simply knew that the flavor combination would work. Should he not be allowed to serve the dish? After all, not tasting the food would be the biggest compromise of one's palate there is, short of having one's tongue cut off. As we venture further and further into absurdity, the reasoning breaks down and reveals itself as specious. That's my point. Chad
  18. This is such complete and utter bullshit that I can't let it stand unchallenged. Your experience that your palate improved after quitting does not lead invevitably to the generalization that all palates would improve. It's probably true to some extent, but that doesn't mean that the chef or reviewer's palate wasn't more sensitive and advanced than yours in the first place. It also does not mean that the reviewer is in any way unfit to review a restaurant because he or she smokes. I smoke. My palate is fine. I quit for eight years and didn't notice any improvement in my ability to taste things. The one advantage to quitting was that I didn't get winded during sex anymore, but that certainly wouldn't improve my abilities as a restaurant reviewer (except under very special circumstances ). Your premise is flawed. Your conclusions are flawed. And your biases are showing. It ain't pretty. Chad edited for spelling
  19. I taught myself the pan flip trick thingy. I refer to it as my cool chef move . I have discovered, however, that some pans are much better than others for the trick. A 12" Lodge cast iron pan, for instance, will nearly break your wrist trying it one-handed. Sloped sides help some, too. I've found that the high, straight sides of a 5qt saute pan don't help as much as the sloped sides of a similarly sized fry pan. Alton Brown in his book recommends putting 10 black beans and one white bean in a pan and practicing flipping until you can control exactly where in the pan the white bean will land. I have not progressed that far yet. Chad
  20. Hmm, depends on how much they've shrunk, how big the crack is and how long it's been there. Dry wood handles can sometimes be revived with a mineral oil bath. Sometimes the damage is too extensive. It's worth a try, though. If that doesn't work, you can have the knife re-handled. This is really not that difficult and there are hundreds of knifemakers out there who can do the job for you. You may even have one nearby. If the knife is worth it, having it re-handled is certainly something to consider. You can go with a nicer wood (like coccobolo), micarta or just about anything else. I once had a custom kitchen knife with carbon fiber handle slabs. That was really nifty. If you need some help finding a knifemaker, let me know and I'll see if I can put you in touch with someone. Chad
  21. Chad

    Dinner! 2003

    Tonight: homemade breaded chicken strips. The kids loved 'em. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed & sliced on the bias into 3/4" strips, lightly floured, dipped in a spiced egg wash and rolled in panko bread crumbs. Damn tasty, he said, looking quickly left and right to make sure the kids aren't reading . . . the flour was spiked with my own toasted cumin, cayenne, garlic powder rub and the egg wash was lightly enhanced with sriracha. Pan fried in 350 degree veggie oil. Light, juicy, non-greasy and pretty dang good for a weeknight. Served with broccoli & cheese, foccacia (with peanut butter for the kids ) and a good Chilean sauvignon blanc. Not bad at all. Chad
  22. Chad, what brand and kind of cutting board are you using? End-grain boards are obscenely expensive but, as I'm sure you know, they are the only way to go. Of course I could make one in my spare time if I had any. PJ Well, I'm a firm believer in the idea that you should use the biggest cutting board that you can stand upright in your sink. Unfortunately, my sinks suck. So right now I've got a standard edge-grain board, but an end-grain board is in my sights. I kind of like the Boos boards, but there may be other gems out there that I don't know about. I'm sure slkinsey has a couple of sources we could tap. Sam? Chad
  23. I, too, am going to try the consomme. I've never really had any interest in it before. I've considered making consomme from my stocks before, but only as an experiment to see if I could do it. This reluctance is probably because I don't have a lot of experience with consomme as a diner. I was served a chilled consomme once when I was a kid. At that point I was not ready for a chilled soup. Soups were supposed to be hot. It was just too weird for me to enjoy. Now that I'm a witty, urbane sophisticate I'm ready to try my hand at consomme. Then I'll inflict it on my kids! Bwahahahaha!!! Chad
  24. Well, about as often as you'd recondition a cutting board. I do my cutting board about every month or two. If your knives are in really bad shape it might be more frequent than that until they're saturated and the gaps/cracks seal. Another idea is to take all of your wooden-handled knives & put them in a plastic container then cover with the food grade mineral oil overnight. That way they'll soak up everything they can. You can drain the oil back into the bottle when you're done. That's a little drastic, but it would probably work. Good luck! Chad
  25. Never too late m'dear. Even when the thread gets locked and archived I'll answer questions in the general forums. I suspect the other instructers would be willing to do the same. As for wooden-handled knives, I've had much better luck with food grade mineral oil than with citrus oils, furniture oils or polishes. You can pick up the right kind of mineral oil just about anyplace that sells good cutting boards (Linens & Things; Bed, Bath & Beyond; etc.). Just give them a good wipedown with the oil, let them dry for a while to soak in the oil then remove the excess oil with a paper towel. Oilier, less porous woods like coccobolo and rosewood won't need as much as the more porous woods used for, say, Chicago knives. Water, dishsoap and heat will dry those out pretty quickly. But the food grade mineral oil should make a big difference. Hope this helps, Chad
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