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    Somerville, MA

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  1. I've definitely been using the rack at the topmost level. I kinda want to buy another, move the bottom elements to the top, and short out the thermal fuse. Unfortunately the 800 will be too large for our kitchen.
  2. Recently got the midsize 650XL version of this to replace a dead el-cheapo toaster oven. Does anyone else have this model? It's only got two elements on the ceiling, and thus 900W for "high" broil. This is pretty wimpy, it seems--wimpier than my cheap toaster ovens. I was trying to broil asparagus and wound up with baked asparagus with no browning at all. Same with some saikyo-miso marinated salmon. Toasting and baking are nice, but I love using my toaster oven as a mini boiler/salamander, and this is a bit disappointing.
  3. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this, but if it's a matter of tending to the fire, technology has you covered. Just buy a stoker, bbqguru, or auber temperature controller and you'll be about as fire-and-forget as gas. These devices hook up to the air intake and control the airflow with a fan to maintain your setpoint. The all-in price will be higher than that Lowe's smoker though... For example: http://tvwbb.com/showthread.php?49444-WiFi-Stoker-Kit-Automatic-Temperature-Control-System (lots more on info on that board regarding auto temp control)
  4. dcarch, I'm with you. You can't beat thermodynamics. I like looking to wort-chilling for inspiration. You can hook up two of them together with a pump and stick one in the soup and one in an ice-water bath. You'll still need a couple hundred pounds of ice (or lots of cold water). The nice thing about this setup is that you can easily switch from ice-chilled to compressor-chilled in the future if you want. Just make sure you stay clear of wort chillers that have you pumping the wort (soup) instead of just the cold water. Another alternative? Use liquid nitrogen and a big mixer. Your hot soup will splatter everywhere, your employees will asphyxiate, but the youtube video will get tons of hits. And your soup will get cold.
  5. I've been a weekly visitor from Boston for a few weeks now. I like the tacos as Tacos Apson (get the razurado tacos), Taqueria Pico de Gallo (get tacos with corn tortillas), and Taco Fish (don't bother with the marlin, but get one of the soups). If you're at Pico de Gallo, get a raspado (think snow cone, but with fruit juice instead of artificial stuff) at the place across the parking lot (same owners). The best beer list in town is at 1702. You can get an awesome espresso at Sparkroot (they use Blue Bottle beans and are skilled on the machine). The Wednesday posole at El Sur, along with a $2 Negra Modelo, is a regular stop for me. The hand-made flour tortillas from the St Mary's Tortilla Factory (also a restaurant) are the best I've eaten. The apple fritters from the Donut Wheel are pretty good. The New Mexican food at Poco & Mom's is very good--how can anything not be when smothered in green chili sauce? Sorry for the brain-dump. Hopefully it'll be useful for others!
  6. We often make cornmeal pancakes loosely based on a Cook's Illustrated recipe. Except that we often sub in whole wheat flour for the AP, skip all the lemon business, and use buttermilk. Sometimes we beat the egg white, sometimes we don't--I don't think it makes much of a difference. We use Indian Head cornmeal and King Arthur WW flour--the resulting cakes have the slightest bit of grit, but only very very slight. Oh and do they ever go well with maple syrup. We could singlehandedly support a sugar house, I think.
  7. Mentioned above, mine might be bluefish. Also, most fish that stand up to acid marinades/pickling, like anchovies, sardines, herring, and mackerel. My understanding is that these get lumped together under the Japanese term aozakana, or blue fish, and I'll take pretty much any of them at any time.
  8. Really? A vacuum is at most 1atm/14 psi. It's pretty easy to withstand that, especially in compression, isn't it? I'm sure the polycarbonate of a Nalgene bottle could do it. I think the challenge is to create reliable, low-maintenance pumps and seals.
  9. Legal Seafoods is good for their $1 oysters (M-Th, something like 3-6 at the bar), and the plain grilled fish can be acceptable, but it's definitely not a destination IMO. If you want seafood, I'd make a beeline towards Island Creek Oyster Bar, which is a 20 minute walk or two T stops from your hotel. You can get very good cocktails at the adjacent Hawthorne or Eastern Standard. Not to cross the streams, but the Boston Chowhound board tends to be more active--a quick search should turn up a number of other suggestions.
  10. Weird. I have no trouble cooking them "al dente" on the stove (I cook them like beans, in excess salted water). Isn't it just a matter of when you drain them? Are you saying the Goldilocks period is too short to hit al dente without being underdone? I don't know if it matters, but I think my "French" lentils aren't imported from France.
  11. Alton Brown suggests peeling the skin with a vegetable peeler and then just using the food processor. It worked well for me, but I'm not sure I'd want to peel a coconut like that frequently. It can take some...dexterity around the edges.
  12. I haven't been able to find any controllers with memory to store multiple sets of parameters (other than expensive, overkill multiloop ones). Too bad. Almost makes me want to build a little Arduino project that handles the temp control and can save parameters. But I think a piece of paper should work just fine.
  13. Sorry for a n00b-ish question, but I don't think this has been covered here. I'd like to go the DIY route for a flexible temperature controller setup that I can use to control a number of appliances (not simultaneously). I'd like to control a simple SV setup and a water heater for coffee/tea for starters. If I throw together an inexpensive PID controller with a SSR and just plug the appliance-of-the-moment into the control box outlet, will this get the job done? Or will I run into tuning problems when switching appliances that will make this more trouble than it's worth? For example, I'd like to have one device that combines both the Auber french press controller and Sous Vide Magic. Is this doable in a DIY setup using a controller like this?
  14. Assuming "here" is the Boston area, they're in the bulk bins at the Harvest Coop (Central Sq Cambridge and JP). Whole Foods also has them, either in the bulk bins or with the rest of the dried beans. I think they're under $3/lb at both places. They're not du Puy, but they're good enough IMHO.
  15. The Modernist Cuisine team has published some recipes on their blog, including a few that make use of the pressure cooker. There are others that have been published in other media, like the caramelized carrot soup recipe that appeared in Food & Wine. I'd also look into using the jar-inside-a-pressure-cooker method used to make dense, moist things like caramelized onions and polenta.
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