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Everything posted by eugenep

  1. thanks. this is very helpful. I'm going to try this technique. so far it's like I'm seeing a lot of different ways but not sure what actually works. your tip is a good direction to start
  2. thanks Liuzhou. will keep in mind. I watched youtube videos on lamb and chicken biryani and it looks like they parboil the rice separately to almost to 90% doneness and then add the rice on top of the wet braised meat I guess that's how some cooks keep the rice dry and non-soggy? And it looks like some cooks fry the spices in oil with the meat too before adding rice. I'm guessing the cookbooks adding spices later on (with the rice) and not braising the spices with the meat might be some kind of personal preference or something?
  3. Hello, I needed to ask if I can change the normal technique of making a biryani: STANDARD COOKBOOK TECHNIQUE 1. Saute: You saute the meat, garlic/ginger/onions 2. Boil: then you boil this in water for 40 min 3. Add Rice and Spices: you add rice the spices (cardamom, cinnamon stick, etc.) into the water and cook for another 15 min until rice absorbs all water QUESTION: 1. Can I just boil the spices with the meat in step 2 (i.e., braise the meat with the spices) so that the spices get infused in the water and meat more? I read on Cooks Illustrated not to boil the spice more than 30 min (not sure why?) 2. I usually cook rice at 1 cup rice to 1.5 cup water. But this ratio leaves soggy rice with too much water. Is the ratio closer to 1 cup rice to 1.25 cup water? Or less? Does anyone have comments on the right ratio? thank you
  4. I've had my Gaggia for 2.5 years before it broke. I descaled and cleaned the brew group regularly. But the grinder or grind motor got jammed and I couldn't fix it. I bought it on Cooks Illustrated's recommendation. I used a Jura at work and liked it and got the home version Jura A1. The price is similar to Gaggia but with less features - namely, it doesn't have a milk frother. Overall, the Jura A1 is by far the best coffee maker. The engine is quiet and the cleaning requirement is much less - you just change the filter or pop in cleaning tablets without having to take out the brew group and oil it and brush it like changing oil in a car or something. I read the Jura A1 lasts up to 5 years on amazon.com reviews so I'm hoping I could use it for at least that long. The downside of the Jura A1 is that you have to buy a new filter every 2 months at $25 a piece or $150 for a year's supply. You also have to buy cleaning tablets and it looks like there are a lot of fakes being sold on amazon.com (based on amazon reviews). Ultimately, the cleaning materials would equal the cost of the machine $700 - $800 in about 4 years. The work around seems to be to buy non-Jura filters at a lower price but their is the risk of the machine breaking. Overall, I'm glad I got the Jura and will likely use a generic filter to save on cleaning supplies. The cost of the machine will be worth it if it lasts at least 5 years - amazing coffee so far.
  5. I read more on google that high quality beans should be less caffeinated - which is ironic since many drink coffee for the caffeine (and not always the taste). The lower grade robusta has more caffeine than higher quality arabica generally. I guess the "coffee judger-people?" thinks the caffeine should be more mellow - resulting in a better drinking experience?
  6. peaberry coffee bean: when a coffee cherry fruit produces one bean instead of 2. This is supposed to result in more concentrated flavor supposedly. I read online that its just nothing but marketing hype but some bloggers say it does make a difference. I tried some from Invalsa today after roasting at https://invalsacoffee.com/collections/bolivia/products/bol-peaberry It does taste very good but a lot of high grade beans, AAA, 87+ points etc. taste good also from Invalsa. The price is the same for high grade beans so I thought it is worth a try. Available at $9.99 lb with free shipping if you are interested in the link. I hope this supplier survives the Covid-19 recession because their products are great.
  7. I watched some of one of the episodes. It seemed more concerned about the immigrant experience in the US and background political-human stuff alongside food. Here's the link: https://stories.zagat.com/posts/padma-lakshmi-on-her-new-political-food-show-taste-the-nation#:~:text=Padma Lakshmi On Her New Political Food Show%2C,Taste the Nation%2C is now streaming on Hulu. I would have liked more beautiful artsy focus on food - like Chef's Table - but this is a different show to be fair. I remember watching Padma on TopChef once and the chef competitors didn't churn out massive amounts of food for immigrants as guest cooks at this restaurant that offered free food. The immigrants were annoyed (at waiting for a super long time with no food and many left). But when food did come out, Padma did remark how surprised that these people [animals] were so grabby and how the behavior of these people is so shocking. And her voice always seemed mannered and not genuine. So I didn't believe in her sincerity about any "sympathy?" for the immigrant experience in her talks during her show with her mannered tone of voice. I think she was chosen because she was a "woman of color" etc. not based on her past work, personhood, or character etc.
  8. congrats on finishing that 4-5 volume set Modernist cuisine man. I hope you do interesting things with food and share
  9. New Movie documentary about the Bocuse D'Or competition. It was refreshing to watch a new food film but I thought it was kinda boring - though the video quality was very good. The food scenes were interesting but there wasn't enough of it and the movie doc focused more on the logistics of getting to the competition through the headaches of international travel - e.g., issues with customs, bad food, cold showers etc.
  10. welcome - I hope to learn more about Russian food. There aren't enough books about Russian food in the US media - not sure if its from legacy of Cold War era politics where Russia it seen as our geopolitical enemy so nothing about their art, food, culture is seen in the US
  11. I read the headline for this post and got excited at the thought of fermented jam. Like - WOW - it must taste super good with deep complex flavor after fermentation/mold. I wonder if that's what gives it that extra punch and keeps customers coming back for more. Nice article though - interesting to see scandal in the food world (like the equivalent of insider-trading but for restauranteurs) I found the infamous image online:
  12. nice vid. great technique. I usually do ribs at 3.5 hours on a Weber water smoker but I did try 4.5 hours and the ribs came out dry and tough - sticking to 3.5 hours. I should try your new technique
  13. I luuuv biryani chicken that I get from those food carts in NYC. The favorite flavors I like are from the white yogurt sauce and this pickle that is a round sphere ball. I asked about it and the Indian cook told me it's actually Chinese in origin - maybe a pickled plum.
  14. I saw on an episode of Big Dreams Small Gardens with Monty Don: this one man wanted a bbq in his garden. He did purchase one and had it built. It was beautifully integrated into the design of the entire garden. It looked more like an oven and grill. I attached something that kinda looks like it I found in google. If I was super bored had "extra money" and threw a lot of parties in my house, I'd probably get one for entertainment. I think the zio-circo mini that tiled looks nice but I wonder if its only for single use as a pizza oven or something.
  15. eugenep

    Favorite Coffee

    I know a lot of people on this forum buy from Sweet Marias - green coffee beans I did try that seller but I found their beans to be smaller (therefore likely less ripe when picked), less chaff when roasted, and looking more processed. There this yucky acidity or unpleasant taste also. My beans from that seller are from Africa and Indonesia - e.g., Kenya etc - and its supposed to be the higher priced beans on that website. My favorite is from Invalsa still and will be going back to buying from them. Their beans are larger (more ripe when picked), more chaff when roasted, less processed. The taste is really good with great flavor and no detectable unpleasantness.
  16. eugenep


    saw the price tag for a small box - $749 or so and affordable for the common man I am very interested to see if it works: i.e., is it better tasting steak comparable or better than WF? Updates on whether or not it works would be mucho appreciated.
  17. thanks for that info Scott. You have more knowledge and experience about this area. I do want to try a higher quality flour but I got to taste it to believe it. It's been too long since I had high quality restaurant pizza. The last time I had take out pizza was at a work party ordered from an NYC outfit nearby (I'm guessing cheap stuff). The bread lacked this richness of taste that comes from fermentation and time. The tomato sauce tasted too concentrated and similar to artificial flavor - made with added dried basil, garlic, and artificial flavorings maybe? I just make pizza at home now and hesitate to buy it. It tastes different and better (based on my personal bad pizza take out experience). I don't think take out pizzas use real tomatoes and its some kind of concentrate sauce and the bread is not fermented and lacks flavor. I think I'd have to do a lot of research to find the right place to buy proper restaurant pizza. Restaurant profit margins could be very low and its easy to go out of business in that industry. It's like the motive to use cheapest ingredients to give customers the lowest price is there (just for the restaurant to survive). Many consumers might not even really know the taste of high quality pizza and might be unwilling to pay for quality. I read that Americans consumers are more like Germans (practical) and less like the French. But thanks for the RD tip. I might go there for the next BBQ party - covid-19 fear permitting etc.
  18. you mean like Caputo 00 flour (special for pizza)? Hmmm..I see it at Whole Foods for 2x the price of normal flour. I haven't tried it yet. But I'm using a normal home oven and the recipe I'm using is designed for non-professional ovens. It's that book by Ken Forkish actually - with the use of all purpose flour and a small home oven. I live in NJ and there is a Restaurant Depot near me. But I think you need a special card - like Costco? I did go there once with brother-in-law to pick stuff for a family bbq.
  19. I'm sure the pricing is much better to buy in bulk but - as a non-professional home cook - the turnover of that much flour would take like 5 years or something in addition to the risk of rot from summer heat and humidity. But makes sense for professionals. I might just switch to Gold Medal or something to see if the texture is better.
  20. I used the King Arthur AP to make pizza and galette recently. The dough felt like cream cheese smear or something. It was like there was no structure/gluten/protein holding it together to make it stretchy and tough. It was weird. My pizza turned out good or decent enough when baked but my galette felt like crumbles you put onto of a peach crumble. I'm not sure if its the seasonal change to summer (humidity and temp) or if something has changed in their AP flour. I did goggle it and found out the company was in a rush to get more flour to the market since their demand exploded by 3000% or something.
  21. thanks for the info. the content was so neatly and clearly put together. It's too bad Flavor and Fortune ended in 2019. I think I would have been interested as a subscriber. I'm hoping many of the recipes in that book would reproduced by current and future books. With a population of 1.3B+ people in the country and a food culture, I'm sure it won't be lost in history (since it goes back to 5,000 years or so etc.)
  22. I notice Aaron Franklin, in his book, uses higher temperatures than others - like 275F instead of 225F. The meat should tenderizes and gets past the stall at higher temps 300F without needing to wrap. I think it's because it's so hot that the heat races ahead of the evaporation pace going on from inside the meat that it cooks it through and breaks the stall with no wrap
  23. I have read a lot of different advise on wrapping. Some say it needs to be air-tight. Others say you should put a lot of flavorful sauces and liquids in the wrap. I think there's this assumption that you are putting liquid into the meat to keep it moist and pushing it in. But it seems that what's going on is that you don't really need to do either air-tight or add sauces because you just need to create something close to a 100% humidity wet environment to stop evaporation (and hence cooling temperature that causes the stall). The background explanation makes it easy to sort through all this differing advise in some books at least.
  24. I just got a weber smokey mountain water smoker for BBQ from my GF recently. I smoked a pork shoulder over mesquite and charcoal a few days ago over an 8 hour period on low at 220 F or so. My water pan dried out in the middle maybe at the 4 hour mark. The meat was not fall apart tender and was not as moist as I would like either. I'm guessing it didn't reach the 203 F temp that would break down the tough muscles. And the temp likely stalled way below that. I didn't wrap the meat in foil using a Texas crutch. Advise on the technique seems to be wrapping in foil after 3-4 hours vs. different advise on not wrapping and the results will be the same. If you don't wrap, you just wait for the meat to get past the stall temp and the temp will rise if given enough time (so I'm not going to bother wrapping). But the stalling temp will be harder to get past if you don't wrap, which is what happened to me. I never really understood the reasoning for wrapping. Some authors say it's like sweating. When you sweat and your sweat cools, you feel colder because of the wet sweat on your body. So by wrapping, you're stopping your meat from sweating and evaporating that sweat into steam and cooling the meat. I didn't really buy it. I think it's true but I'm not believing i the sweat explanation. But I did remember a passage I read on Modernist Cuisine and reread it again lately. It looks like evaporating water to steam takes energy and this energy expenditure is what cools the meat and causes the temp to stall and not rise (because heat = energy). By using the Texas crutch and foil wrapping, you are trying to create a 100% humidity wet environment. Once the humidity gets this wet, the meat surface won't evaporate. Without evaporation no energy is lost and the meat won't cool and the temp won't stall. So that's why the weber smoker has this water pan in it - it's to encourage that wet humid environment (and also helps smoke adhere to the meat). And that wrapping and creating a wet humid environment isn't to keep the meat moist by pushing water into the meat but stopping water from leaving the meat. The environment is so wet that more water won't leave the meat. And wrapping isn't sealing in the juices or pushing water in etc. So I think I'm going to wrap after 3-4 hours of smoking and finish in a conventional oven since wrapping will stop smoke from further entering the meat. And I'm cheap and don't want to waste further charcoal and mesquite to keep the heat no another 4-5 hours. I just wanted to share owing to my excitement at what seemed like a clear explanation. I think reddit would call it a TIL
  25. blast freezer looks good. i respect and like you more for owning one.
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