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Posts posted by emannths

  1. I have the mini oven, and it too has "only" two top elements.  However, broiling has not been an issue.  The key, perhaps, is to place the rack at the proper height for the task - there are markers that show you where to place the rack.  Have you properly placed your rack?  It's easy to overlook that step.

    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. my limited time at this house won't make wood or charcoal fuel practical. 


    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)

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  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. Part of the problem of a chamber vacuum is designing a "box" that will withstand the high pressure of a decently strong vacuum. Materials significantly strong/thick enough to withstand this pressure at a decent size is not that cheap.

    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. I actually haven't found lentils (French green lentils, anyway) to be that easy to cook normally: I find them to nearly always wind up overcooked and mushy, whereas these still had some bite. Cooking sous vide is also a great way of getting tons of flavor out of those veggies and into the lentils, since there is not that much water involved.

    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. As to why, because many of us already have too many gadgets to store or remember where they are stored. So why have a PID for the Sous Vide rig, another for the smoker, and another and another...

    As to whether this will work, it should work fine, provided you write down or otherwise store the P, I, and D values for each device you control (whether the values come from autotuning or your own experimenting), and set the PID to those values when you connect it to the device.

    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.

  12. 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?

  13. WoW

    you have inspired me to look into SV lentils


    here green (FR.) are hard to find in 'bulk"

    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.

  14. I usually make apple butter from whatever apples are left around this time of year. Since applesauce is basically an intermediate step to making apple butter, you could reduce some down to apple butter as long as you didn't doctor up the applesauce too much. I like it on toast, pancakes, and ice cream (with lots of toasted walnuts!).

  15. It's hard to go wrong with olive oil, garlic, hot pepper, tuna, and parsley tossed with pasta. I like to add some capers and a huge pile of parsley. Breadcrumbs, olives, sundried tomates, and pine nuts would also be worthy additions.

    A pasta salad with tuna, broccoli, sliced onions, hot pepper, olive oil, and vinegar is also nice.

  16. I was making Bradley Ogden's buttermilk lemon souffle pancakes yesterday (excellent, esp w/homemade meyer lemon curd) and I thought it was strange that a batter with buttermilk and lemon juice would use 100% baking powder for leavening. Is there any rationale for this? Is it because of the double-action that acid + baking soda can't replicate? Would there be any advantage in subbing some baking soda for some of the baking powder in a recipe like this?

    Ingredients list:

    1/2 c AP Flour

    2 tsp baking powder

    3 tsp superfine sugar

    1/4 tsp salt

    3/4 c buttermilk

    1 egg yolk

    2 tbsp lemon juice

    zest of 2 lemons

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    2 tbsp melted unsalted butter

    2 egg whites (beaten)

    From this book.

  17. Weinoo (et al) - How long does it take your stone to get up to temp? My upskirts don't come anywhere near that level of browning, even with ~8min bake times and minimum 30 minute preheat at about 550-600F. Is 30 minutes really insufficient? I'm not trying to replicate Neapolitan style pizza obviously, but I'd love more color underneath.

    On the wishlist is a 3/4" aluminum slab...

  18. This looks like a reasonable site for getting nutrition data for various cuts of meat. They claim their data comes from the USDA.

    I don't think skimming the fat off of a braise or soup hurts the flavor too much, and it does help the mouthfeel (keeps it from being greasy). If you measure how much you take off, you can get an idea of how effective this is in reducing the fat/calorie content (1 cup of rendered fat is about 210g). I'm guessing it's not huge on a per-serving basis, but I haven't measured.

    It should be pretty easy to find calorie counts for commercial products on the manufacturers' websites. You'll have do the math though.

    Two things I think help in terms of limiting your portions (they help me at least). One: just don't cook as much, or wrap up "leftovers" before serving. If I stick those two extra chicken thighs right in the fridge before I sit down to dinner, I'm much less liable to take seconds. Also, if you're making something like a short rib braise, make more vegetables that can go well with the braise sauce. When you devour the short rib and want more, sauce your veggies. But I'm not the type of person who gets wide-eyed at big chunks of red meat though (usually I like the salty, savory sauce just as much as the meat in a braise), so maybe this isn't something that works for many people.

    Good luck--you're fighting an honorable uphill battle.

  19. I'm all for control, but what control exactly do you want to keep while making pasta? How fast the crank turns? That's controlled by the KA motor speed. What else does a manual crank give you?

    Actually, that's a good point in favor, IMO, of the KA model. The motor give you a nice constant speed and leaves you both hands free to feed dough. It's been a long time since I used an Atlas machine, but if I recall, trying to juggle the dough and crank at the same time led to more uneven cranking or feeding, resulting in more uneven dough. The Atlas is a perfectly capable machine, but the KA one has no drawbacks (other than price) and some significant benefits.

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