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Everything posted by emannths

  1. I'm not sure how this manifests itself in baking, but in brewing, the amount of yeast added to the wort is a key factor in the flavors created by the yeast. Generally, if few yeast are added, they tend to create stronger flavors (often unwanted in beer). Perhaps the reason for adding small doses of yeast to leavened breads is to get the little buggers to pump out more yeasty flavor. I'm not sure this is right. I would think that the amount of enzymatic action would be a product of both time and number of cells, i.e., each cell has the same amount of enzymatic action per unit time, so you could either double the amount of time or double the number of cells to get the same effect. Not true?
  2. I'm a little curious about the whole "grocery store beans are years old" thing. This would imply that there are warehouses with multiple years of harvests in them, which seems...unlikely. Are the companies out there that are willing to spend money to house beans for years? I know next-to-nothing about the food/agriculture industry, and that weird pricing/inventory stuff can happen with agricultural products, so I'm curious if this is a problem that goes beyond slowly rotating stock in some grocery stores. If you're buying Goya beans, they have a packaging date code in the format DDDYY, where DDD is the Julian/ordinal day of year YY (beans packed on Dec 31 2010 will have a code of 36510). The "best by" date, at least for my garbanzos, appears to be 3 years from the packaging date.
  3. For the medium grind I use for French press, the $90 Capresso Inifinity grinder I have does a good job (coffeegeek reviews here, click on the names for more detail). It's still blown away by pro-quality machines of course, but the Capresso can be had at a fraction of the cost. When the static gets bad in the winter the grounds have a tendency to leap out of the container, so my grinder lives in a little tray to keep the mess contained. I should also note that I was very confused when I first received it because the thing wouldn't grind--the motor turned on and you could see the beans moving, but nothing came out the chute. Turns out that somehow they'd wired the motor backwards so the grinder was running in reverse! The replacement Capresso sent worked much better!
  4. Citation? "Dramatic increase" is very strong language. I've seen studies that correlate consumption coffee made without paper filters (e.g., french press, espresso) to increased cholesterol levels. I'd think you'd consume at least much "soot" if you ate chocolate or any well-browned food. Here's what a 2006 review has to say. If consumption of unfiltered coffee increased cancer risk, the would have included it in the summary alongside the cholesterol-raising effects:
  5. My favorite bean is cannellini/"white kidney" beans. I think it's the rich, buttery texture and heady aroma that does it. I've never thought about how to describe the flavors of various dried beans before--I'll have to start paying more attention. I love them hot, cooked with garlic and sage and drizzled with good olive oil--preferably with lamb shanks, though even a piece of garlic-rubbed bread would be enough. In the summer, I'll toss cooked-and-cooled bean with diced onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, olive oil, and lemon juice (and/or whatever other fresh vegetables and herbs I might have that day). Great with grilled seafood. For a change of pace, I like to use chick peas for their slightly sweet, nutty flavor. I cook the dried ones. I feel like I read a few books that said they take forever to cook, but for me, they're actually faster than other beans (I find black beans to be the slowest of the ones I cook regularly). I presoak in salted water, which I suppose can't hurt.
  6. I use a french press. My "cleaning" involves rinsing the press with hot tap water daily (and rinsed again with boiling water when I preheat the thing), and soaking in boiling water with Oxiclean weekly. I could wash it with soap and water daily, but this seems to work just as well. Since it hasn't been mentioned yet...if you're going to brew using any method other than a coffee machine, please buy a thermometer. They're cheap, useful throughout the kitchen, and important in coffee brewing since missing your target temp by 5-10F can result in lousy coffee. Good luck trying to hit 93C +/- 2C without one... With some good beans and mediocre technique, you'll be able to at least match your local coffeehouse. With some practice and maybe a small upgrade in equipment (better grinder, scales and thermometers, etc), you'll beat their pants off.
  7. I like the saucier. Add a large fry pan or saute pan and you about at the budget and have a nice combination. I like the MC2 line--slightly thicker aluminum, and I like the brushed finish.
  8. emannths

    Champagne-style beer

    The Globe's beer guy, Steve Greenlee, offers his take: For $20, you can buy nearly any beer and have change leftover. Personally, if I were looking for a beer to share with people that normally drink champagne or wine, I would look toward's Jolly Pumpkin's offerings, particularly ones like Oro de Calabaza and La Luciérnaga. Both are much more interesting and complex, IMHO, and at I usually need an excuse like New Years to spend the $15/bottle that they command. I'm not saying Infinium isn't good, or that you shouldn't buy it, but as a beer-lover, my first thought about $20/bottle beer is not Infinium.
  9. Kitchenaid and third parties now make scraping beaters for the Kitchenaid mixers. You could wrap the mixing bowl with a heating tape. Cooling I suppose could be with a fan, or if you needed faster cooling, you could rig an aquarium pump to spray ice water onto the outside of the bowl, either of which could be controlled using your temp controller. There's also a Kitchenaid water jacket that you could use and control the temp of the water bath instead of the chocolate. It would be slower, but it would probably avoid overshoot issues. You might have to calibrate temperature offsets when you're getting started.
  10. This has got to be the issue. Think of searing a steak or large fillet of fish. It sears perfectly fine even though the center of the cut is totally surrounded by meat. You just need a hot enough stove to be able to keep the juices leaking from meat from cooling the pan too much.
  11. If the Delitainer doesn't win this award, there's something wrong.
  12. I suggest you poke around on Google. This looks like a decent option, and reasonably priced at $25/lb incl shipping. There are plenty more options available. Maybe others have some firsthand experience. There are also sellers on ebay selling the soft shell Nevada/Utah pine nuts for <$20 lb incl shipping.
  13. Here are a couple of Italians saying pasta sfoglia. Google Translate does a good job too. Both sites also do a respectable job with così.
  14. I drink both, but I prefer coffee. Part of it is because of the taste, but I think part of the appeal is the body of the drink and the long-lasting flavor in the mouth. The light body and fleeting taste of most teas always seem to leave me unsatisfied, even if they are tasty! As far as health effect goes...I suspect that choosing coffee or tea won't really make-or-break you. Tea certainly has a number of supposedly healthy compounds, but they're not exclusive to tea--they're found in fruits, vegetables, wine, chocolate, etc. Coffee consumption has also been correlated to a smattering of health benefits too, though the mechanism of these is more of a mystery. Both tea and coffee have potential health drawbacks too. You can read more about the health effects of tea and the health effects of coffee on Wikipedia.
  15. emannths

    Making home fries

    I've been using this recipe for a couple years (diced, mixed with onion, garlic, paprika, oven roasted). The result is very nice, and it's easy to make lots unattended. I usually use diced onion instead of the onion powder though.
  16. I figured the eGullet policy on posting recipes might be of interest: I'd think that the original content in any blog worth reading would go well-beyond the example in that policy. One may or may not agree with its guidance, but it does give some context. The International Association of Culinary Professionals ethics guidelines (pdf, see p. 6-9) for cookbook authors have a similar focus on attribution.
  17. Why include the recipe? Because many readers, and I count myself among them, are probably interested in what the recipe indicated you do--if you said you needed more milk than called for, I want to see how much was called for, how much water, eggs, flour, etc. If it gives me the opportunity to try to emulate what you did, all the better. At the very least, I don't see how including the recipe could be detrimental to a blog post--recipes and good posts certainly are not mutually exclusive. Maybe it's the scientist in me, but when I read about recipes and techniques, I want to be able to think about them independently, question the author's assumptions, experiment on my own, etc, and this means trying to get as much info as possible. Sure, you could say, "well, go buy the book," but why make it harder for your readers than necessary? It seems totally stupid to have a blog with an entry about "Totally Awesome Way to Make Noodles with Xanthan Gum" and then say "you have to try this, just buy the book to find out how." At that point it's a teaser for the nightly news, not something I'd be interested in. The "Cooking with" threads are a little different, because they're organized naturally to appeal mostly to the owners (or probable future owners) of the cookbook being discussed. I suppose a blogger could similarly limit his/her audience, but that seems unnecessary.
  18. During the winter, I place hot pots of beans and soups destined for the fridge outside to cool. Does that count? It always pains me to hear the fridge click on during the winter when it's cold outside. At least it heats the house. I don't worry about my cold water usage. We have more than enough for now here in the Northeast.
  19. Just FYI, it looks like Kitchenaid has finally gotten into the game and now sells one of these guys. They call it the Flex Edge Beater. Amazon link.
  20. US Copyright office: You can write the list of ingredients. You can describe exactly what you did to execute the recipe. But you can't MC's instructions verbatim--you must do it in your own words. Heck, if you simply copied the book, the blog wouldn't be very interesting, would it? But you should feel free to include quotes from the book if it would help you in discussing the recipe (for example, if you discuss altering a technique, or highlighting one that you think is especially effective, you might want to quote a portion of the text, which the Copyright Office allows).
  21. Oooo. I'm in! When you say "steam," do you mean in a steamer basket? Or do you mean "steam" as in "cook in the minimum quantity of water?"
  22. I find that the microwave does a good job if you're going to mash/puree it. It cooks quickly, and doesn't add any extra water. If you need to concentrate it further, you can put the mash in a skillet on high heat (constant stirring!) and cook out some of the water. I too like the addition of curry, garam masala (or even just a couple of its components), salt, butterfat (either butter or cream), a pinch of sugar, dried fruits, and nuts.
  23. Sounds like syneresis, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of literature about it occuring in bread doughs.
  24. What exactly is the appeal of the pull-through things? Is it the price, the intuitive nature of their operation, or something else? What do these things cost, $20-30? I'd take $20-30 from the knife budget and use to to upgrade to a Spyderco sharpener. Unlike freehand sharpening on a whetstone, it's very easy to use, even without any experience.
  25. FWIW, cloth filters are available for the V60 and also for some Chemex-like brewers. I gather that they take a little bit of care (you have to wash them and keep them damp in a ziplock bag), but it is an alternative to paper filters. I gather that the coffee winds up a little fuller-bodied than using a paper filter but cleaner than using a french press. I don't have any firsthand experience however:
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