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Posts posted by Bernie

  1. The saline is just a salt. There are lots of other salts, at least calcium, potassium in various configurations. I guess it depends on whether they are present in the various  sauces/ingredients and insufficient quantities to effect the transfer of water, thats why I think a chemist might be able to give us some answers. They obviously do other things as well to change the flavor profile but do they make the meat juicier? Osmotic pressure is also a function of temperature so even very week solutions may have some effect at higher temperature.

    Garlic is an interesting one. You can "infuse" roast beef by adding garlic just in slits in the meat prior to cooking and the garlic flavor will permeate through the whole meat. This suggests that the garlic compound is using some method to move through the meat. Perhaps its just evaporation and cooking at lower temperatures (SV?)doesn't do the job much better than just resting the meat with the garlic inserted for a few hours before cooking. Perhaps it is that the garlic compounds are soluble in fats or oils and the elevated temperature allows them to dissolve more.

    Is garlic salty? My impression is that for roasted garlic it is, but it is subtle.

  2. On 2/16/2021 at 11:00 PM, gfweb said:


    Are you proposing to have the braising liquid be the same saltiness as the brine so that no water is drawn out of the meat?


    Meat drying has a couple of mechanisms that I'm not sure how to factor-in.


    There's the effect of  heat that denatures protein and squeezes water out when the protein contracts. Sous vide and braising minimize this


    There's also the effect of evaporation that makes meat lose water.  Steam ovens and sous vide minimize this


    I can't predict what happens to the water brought into the meat by brining.  Probably the same thing.



    It was more a question for the chemist out there. It need not necessarily be salt/brine. I assume there are other salts and chemical combinations that do the same thing (MSG?). By adjusting some of the ingredients or sauces (like soy sauce fish sauce etc) would it be possible to get the same effect as brine?


    • Like 1
  3. Have had a few thoughts recently on how dry various meats become with various method/forms of cooking.

    I have become intrigued by the difference in lean meats in SV. Now I know there are various chemical reactions with the fats & connective tissues, that is fine I sort of can muddle through that.

    When I brine a chicken the results can be spectacular. I believe the same happens with other meats. I am talking in particular about lean meats.


    I believe Brining works by a difference in the internal tissues of the meat and the brine. The brine needs to be salty enough for the liquid to work itself inside, but not so salty that the liquid inside becomes too salty.


    If that is so should the cooking medium used (example in a slow braise or even stews and the like) and the sauces we are cooking the meat in be adjusted to actually take advantage of this chemical process, so the meat never dries out, in fact it should become juicier?

    • Like 1
  4. 6 hours ago, TicTac said:


    Salad not shown.  You don’t make friends with salad! 

    Yep if i was meant to eat salad i would have been born as a cow.....

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  5. unctuosity: meaning the state of being unctuous


    I cannot believe, someone (well lots actually) actually put this on the net as a meaning.


    • Haha 1
  6. The thermal mass matters...BUT

    Consider a brick lined oven. The bricks will retain the heat but they will also transfer the heat to the air in the oven and with a big surface area it will do it nicely.

    But heat travels relatively slowly through the bricks.

    You put your pizza in the oven on the bricks and the hot air starts the cooking but the that you are getting quite a bit of radiation from the bricks.

    The part of the pizza in contact with the bricks initially gets its heat from the bricks but it cools the surface of the bricks and the slow transfer of heat means it cooks the pizza relatively slowly, there is little heat radiation involved.


    Now replace the bricks with steel (with a decent thickness).

    The same processes happens. The steel gives up its heat to the air a much quicker, the radiation is about the same.

    The part of the pizza in contact with the steel initially gets the heat from the steel and cools it, but because heat transfer through steel is much faster than the brick, the steel rapidly heats back up and you are likely to burn the base of the pizza. But the cooking of the rest was much quicker because the air is heating up much faster, so the whole may cook before the base burns.


    A steel plate alone in a normal oven does the same sort of thing, but it provides almost no radiation to the top of the pizza, you are relying on the radiation of the normal oven, but the air heats up quicker from the steel.


    So its all sort of confusing. The steel plate means you probably need to run the oven cooler, at least initially. Perhaps its better to run 2 steel plates one at the top of the oven one at the bottom to put the pizza on, or just have a single (substantial plate) to provide thermal mass but don't put the pizza on it directly.


    What I use is a round pizza stone (from Aldi). I tried heating it much hotter over gas and then putting the hot stone in the preheated oven (Don't drink if you are going to attempt this!). The pizza burned on the base before it was cooked like I like it.

    Now I just use the stone preheated to ~230 C then turn the oven flat out when I put the pizza directly on it. Works OK, better than the pizza in a normal tray in the normal oven which cooks the top before the bottom and I end up with a soggy bottom.

    I think it is all trial and error, because it depends as much on your oven, dough and toppings. Ideal is a brick lined wood fired oven. That way the air is really really  hot and the bricks are not as hot but uniform and have a good heat mass. It also carries away the moisture as it cooks.


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  7. 16 hours ago, chromedome said:

    I always worked from the other end, starting at the ankles of the hind legs and working my way to the head. No particular reason, that's just how my father did it and therefore how he taught me.


    I doubt it makes much difference, really.



    Yep that's the way we always did it.

    You don't use a knife you break the back leg down low and push the jagged bone through the skin, then use your finger to part the skin from the leg, work up to the back down the other leg. Now grasp the legs and take hold of the skin and pull towards the head. The skin will generally tear across under the tail and come off in one piece. You end up with the skin inside out over the head. You twist the neck to break it and it the head will come away (with a bit of pulling pressure) with the inside out skin.

    You then use the jagged keg bone on the rear foot still attached to the skin to pierce the abdomen at the back, enlarge the cut with your fingers, the swing/toss the rabbit by the back legs without letting it go and the intestines will all be cleanly thrown out. (You may have to use a bit of force to part the intestine from the rear end)

    All you need is a green stick and you can spit the beast over the camp fire.

    No washing, no knife only need some water to wash your hands.

    It does work!


    I have another story on cleaning ducks and drinking beer and a method to clean your hands without water but it's somewhat disgusting and not for genteel company.

    • Like 1
  8. well actually the way to use the fruit mentos is to show the kids (to get their hopes up), then throw them (the mentos, not the kid...although...)onto the back lawn and tell the kids to go find them. If the lawn is long enough it will take them long enough for you to enjoy the Malbec.

    You want the after taste of the wine to linger as long as you can so rather than drink the water and dilute the taste, wash your feet.


    • Haha 4
  9. 7 minutes ago, MetsFan5 said:

    A bottle of Malbec, 5 bottles of water and two fruit mentos. 

    Sounds about right....2 fruit mentos to keep the kids busy and 5 bottles of water to wash your feet....😁

    • Haha 3
  10. Pretty sure dry ice is not going to do it.


    The idea with freezing it down to very low temperatures is to stop any deterioration, but it is not what causes "normal" deterioration in fish used in sushi or sashimi..


    Fish like Tuna are warm blooded , sort of. When the muscles need to function in cold environments, the blood needs to be very efficient. To improve its efficiency it is heated a few degrees or so above the surrounding body temperature.

    This is achieved by chemical reactions involving various enzymes present in the tissue. This chemical reaction is actually triggered by the nervous system.

    If you rapidly cool a tuna without first "bleeding" it you may trigger this reaction if the nervous system is intact, even if the fish itself is dead. Under theses circumstances the reaction is uncontrolled and the process will actually cook the fish particularly around backbone (where there are an abundance of nerves)


    To prevent this happening in tuna, there are a few techniques where the fish is bled almost completely, using the fishes heart and circulatory system to pump the blood out. Then the brain is usually destroyed (by removal using a coring tool) and then a fiber/nylon/stainless wire is fed down the backbone from the hole left in the coring operation.. Then the fish can be cooled in an ice slurry then put in a blast freezer.


    Sorry to be so long winded, but it is NOT just the cooling that does the trick of preserving the fish. A fish treated this way will keep at ice temperatures for 30 days without any discernible deterioration To keep it longer you need to freeze down to perhaps -80c. Remember, the enzymes still exist its just that they aren't activated in mass and the lower temperatures just absorb the heat they produce.

    This is for tuna.

    For sharks and the like (generally) there is a different reaction, again involving enzymes but the result is not to produce heat, but a bi product is ammonia. And that reaction occurs even at lower temperatures, though the temperatures do slow the process. (this is the reason not to process sharks into frozen goods, because they may well develop a ammonia smell after long time freezing).


    Some fish have "delicate" texture and readily soften with time even when kept cool. (Albacore is one example, it has a fine solid texture for sushi or sashimi when fresh but its texture will tend towards "mushy" within a few days, even if treated well. That would be a case where liquid nitrogen would be a good choice.


    So back to the original post. Unless the fish is already "sushi" grade, freezing will not do anything. The choice of fish will though. You want high oil/fat content fish but these oils/fats must have at least pleasant taste/smell or no taste/smell at all. Very strong smelling fish are usually ruled out unless you deliberately choose the strong smell to enhance some other aspect of the sushi. Some of the smaller mackerels and the like may also become soft with a day or so and that makes them unsuitable for sushi. Again liquid nitrogen would help but again they need to be gutted/bled cooled (in ice slurry) like the albacore. 


    It is more important to have processed the fish correctly in the first place. Trawl fish are usually not suitable as they are usually killed in the actually fishing and if not may die on the deck of the ship and not placed on ice for an hour or so.

    Your local fishmonger may sell fantastic product, and it may be suitable for sushi immediately, but generally it has not been processed specifically for sushi.


    Unless you know the fish has been processed correctly when it is caught, freezing will only extend its freezer/shelf life for normal use and it will not prevent it from deteriorating in ways that make it less suitable for Sushi/sashimi. If you are going to consume within a few days keeping the fish dry (cling wrap?) and on ice is sufficient.

    (not uncovered in a fridge, that just means it will dehydrate). But just putting in cling wrap in the fridge to cool is not enough either. Best to cool it in an ice slurry, then dry and cling wrap then in the fridge to maintain the cold temperature.


    Sushi & sashimi is as much about looks, texture, feel, smell as taste.


    • Like 1
  11. 21 minutes ago, Alex said:

    True. But sadly, our wfi signal wouldn't be able to escape, so we'd never be able to confirm that phenomenon here on eG. 

    Not so. The latest mathematics/physics advances suggest information MUST get out of black holes. It may be delayed for a few billion years (I think it depends how old the hole is)

    So take heart everyone making caramelized onions, if Anna's hypothesis is right (i suspect it is) then we are all stinking up the universe😂

    • Haha 3
  12. 4 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

    I think nowadays it's pretty common to give babies rice cereal and not wheat at first, no? 

    I agree. It used to be you selected what veges and fruit you first started babies on (bland, bland, bland...) but it actually made a bit of sense. It gave time for the immune system (the babies) to develop. Initially babies got their immunity from breast milk and then from slowly introducing other foods. Rice was usually part of the early childhood food because it is fairly benign.

    Wheat was given as "rusks" or "crust" because the gluten was mostly transformed with baking.

    As a side note if your dog has digestive upsets its normal to feed him boiled chicken & rice because the chicken is easy to digest and is usually free of bacteria, and the rice is quite benign.


    (and no you cannot infer that I like dogs rather then babies.... though a baby can't fetch and love you unreservedly only if you feed them....)😃

    • Like 1
  13. 1 hour ago, SarahPorta said:

    Diced onion, olive oil, chopped kale, diced pepper



     reckon eating Kale is the vegetarian  equivalent of religious self flagellation!



    • Like 1
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  14. 1 minute ago, MokaPot said:


    @Bernie, I don't know about "explosive" or sinus-clearing, but I do think the vinegar taste should be present in nigiri. I like the vinegar flavor, probably more than most people do.

    I think in sushi, there should be almost no taste or smell of vinegar. Its all about what it does to the mouth. Like a lot of Japanese cuisine, there are lots of subtle aspects, like presentation, beauty, even mood (relaxation or excitement).

    The very first time I experienced this "pop" (its actually hard to put into words) it was so different to what I had experienced/tasted before, I was amazed that a chef could actually do that sort of thing. Then I started to understand why there is such a concentration on technique.

    Even when particular flavors are felt during eating is important, the order the ingredients actually hit the taste buds is important. The order of eating and drinking all change the experience.

    • Like 2
  15. Isn't the vinegar (of whatever version) meant to give the 'explosive" feel in the mouth.  That's why its served in single bite size pieces, so it can be put in the mouth whole. (the whole thing should fill the mouth completely)  It is about the experience of the slight acidic hit in the sinuses and why it needs to be very mild vinegar, but then the other flavors actually are enhanced because the sinus are clear.

    (Sort of like wasabi without the tears)

  16. 21 hours ago, robirdstx said:

    Terrible Photo ~ Great Burger!




    Two 2 oz. patties smashed on our steel (heated to 600F on the grill) with cheese, tomato, onion, mayo and mustard on a toasted Ciabatta Roll.


    But its on a square Bun!

    Everyone knows its supposed to be on a round bun!

    Patties are round, tomatoes are round onions are round. You should not be giving in to the demands of cheese.


    Seriously I do agree with the Ciabatta roll as the best choice for burgers,

    • Haha 5
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