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Everything posted by emannths

  1. I actually think these types of packaging may be better from a functional standpoint. Cans are opaque, preventing the skunking of even poorly-stored beer, and they're lighter and easier to stack and store. They're probably the most oxygen-resistant packaging, helping to keep beer fresher longer. And they don't break if dropped. The downsides seem to be limited to aesthetics and the fact that they don't contribute to your supply of bottles for homebrew. Wine in tetra bricks is nice because I can close the pack and eliminate most of the oxygen in the process by squeezing the pack as I tighten the top. For someone that rarely finished a bottle in a single day, I like having this option. It also tends to be lighter and more efficient from a storage perspective. Aesthetics stink though, and I know nothing one way or the other on the merits of wine aged in tetra bricks.
  2. Is there any indication that anyone is actually mislabeling meat? If so, the blame lies with the labeler, not the gluer. If someone sold a hamburger and called it a ribeye steak, getting angry at the meat grinder is a little misguided.
  3. I transfer unused tomato paste to a quart freezer bag and freeze it in a flat sheet (like this). There's enough non-water stuff in there that it's easy to just break off chunks of the sheet without having to defrost it. Chipotles just sit in the can with a sheet of plastic wrap rubber-banded over the top. They seem to last forever that way in the fridge. For jalapenos, the first batch I bought was in a glass jar. Now I just save the jar and the brine and add to it from cans that I buy.
  4. Official press release from the USDA. I'm still going to cook my tenderloins no hotter than the 130s.
  5. This question (the history of sauce thickeners in Chinese cuisine) might be a good one for these guys.
  6. You could use a multimeter, if you've got one. You'll want to build a test cell though, and you'll probably want to calibrate your setup. More info on using a multimeter as a salinometer here.
  7. Source Of course, cornstarch dates only to the 1840s.
  8. I think you need to pulse the vacuum pressure to have any appreciable affect on the brine time. Pulling vacuum removed air from the pores of the meat, but you need to release the vacuum to allow the brine to fill the (now void) pores. Here's an interesting paper on the topic.
  9. Jenni--with respect to other alcoholic drinks (and presumably nonalcoholic ones too), the functional role of the glass seems to be primarily to control how the aromas from the beverage are captured. And when it comes to beer, for all the fuss that is sometimes made over glassware selection, the usual practice of filling the glass to the top essentially negates any hypothetical differences between glasses. Think about it this way: aromas evaporate from the surface of the beer. If you fill the beer to the brim, the space between the top of the beer and the drinker's face is independent of the glass because there's no actual glass there! I think beer drinkers would find many of their beers have more intense aromas when served in a glass (not completely full please!) that helps to capture these aromas. Wine-type glasses are good for this, but even a half-full pint/tumbler glass probably gets you most of the way there. I bet that you could try this with nonalcoholic beverages too--serve a fruit juice out of a half-full wine glass and a full-to-the-brim tumbler, and see if one has a more intense aroma. Who knows, maybe it's all in my head!
  10. Chris--I was thinking about the same thing. I'd also like to see the effect of time in addition to temperature--what does a short rib cooked for 24, 48, 72 hours look/taste like? I think "modernist cuisine" has two somewhat independent concepts associated with it. Sure, there's the ooo-aaah, can we make A look like B and B look like A part. But the other, which I tend to feel is more relevant, is the concept that the chef should choose the technique and ingredients that allow the food to reflect the goal as closely as possible. This is why we use sous vide--it's because we can get good browning and NOT overcook the food in the process. It's why "modernist" thickeners are used instead of flour or cornstarch--they allow things like cheese sauces to be cheesier. This part of modernist cooking is not about "hey--we have a SV bath, what can we do with it?" It's about "hey, we have this piece of beef, how can we cook is best, even if we have to build a machine to do it?" It's about wanting a beer sauce that actually tastes like beer and figuring out how to make it. By teaching this way of thinking, you don't even have to teach someone that sous vide or carrageenan even exists. They'll probably discover it on their own! Of course, when teaching this part, there are plenty of excuses for breaking out the fancy techniques and fun equipment.
  11. emannths

    All About Beer

    I tend to think of beers as having three "dimensions" of flavor. There's the hops, which give bitterness and flavors/aromas in the flowery, pine-y, citrus-y, or "tropical fruit" ranges. There's the malt, which gives sweetness (which the bitterness from the hops is designed to offset), and flavors of caramel, roast, biscuit, and cereal. But there's also the yeast. In most American-style ales and lagers, the yeast contributes little to the final flavor of the beer. But in Belgian-style beers and German hefeweizens, yeasts are responsible for many of the flavors that define these beers. They create fruity and spicy flavors, like banana and clove. In some manifestations, you might pick up black pepper, or honey, or melon. So like Benny says, try some malty beers like Scotch ales, old ales/barleywines, and bocks. But also look for some of the yeast-driven beers, like hefeweizens (Weihenstephan is maybe the gold standard, and is readily available in the US) and Belgians. Belgian beers are about as diverse as the rest of the world's beers combined, but you might consider Ommegang's Hennepin (an American-made Saison), anything from Chimay or St Bernadus, or Delerium (all of these should be fairly widely available). If you've got a store with a decent selection and a staff that knows their stuff, you could just ask them for an example of a dubbel (darker in color, medium alcohol and flavor), a tripel (light in color, medium to high alcohol, flavor may be more delicate), a quadrupel ('quad,' dark, flavors of plums and raisins, high in alcohol), and a saison (often very dry with more subdued, peppery rather than fruity yeast, lower in alcohol). Since most Belgian breweries use their own strain of yeast, and since Belgian brewers don't usually brew with a strict "style" in mind, you'll find a wide variation in flavor profiles, bitterness, and residual sweetness within each of these "styles." One question that will help guide you is how much you like or dislike sweetness in a beverage. Some brewers make very dry beer, some make quite sweet ones, and of course there's everything in between. If you prefer drier or sweeter, let the guy at the beer store know. Finally, don't write off hoppy beers forever. You may find that, after you start developing a taste for beers, a well-made IPA with plenty of aromatic hops is really tasty. And if you love sour foods, you may like sour beers. The Rodenbach Grand Cru is a decent example, and is inexpensive (for a sour beer) at about $11/750mL.
  12. emannths

    All About Beer

    [duplicate post deleted]
  13. I'd like something that can stir stuff in the microwave. It can be an impeller lowered from the ceiling. It could be a high-torque magnetic stirrer. I don't care. I just want to be able to microwave stuff without having to open it every 60 seconds to give the food a stir. As a bonus, the effective power of the microwave would be much higher, as the energy would go into heating the food instead of just boiling the water from the edge of the container.
  14. I think it's two reasons: 1) because restaurants don't use restaurant websites (which is why so many menus are outdated pdfs), and 2) because their marketing person/instinct or web designer told them that they need to start marketing the restaurant as soon as someone lands on the page. Which means if you're a trendy place, you put trendy music and flashy graphics, and if you're a tapas place, you put Spanish guitar music and a slideshow of tapas, etc. Every restaurant's site should have the hours and address/phone on the homepage, along with clear links to how to make a reservation and a link to a reasonably up-to-date menu with price (once a quarter is fine). If they want to put a 3D movie of their food somewhere, fine, as long as I can easily get the info that's actually useful.
  15. Hoping to take advantage of the favorable forecast to grill some lamb (butterflied leg or rack, not sure yet) and a mess of vegetables (asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, potatoes). Sunny and 65F counts as summer after the winter/spring we had this year!
  16. I certainly don't think that AB is infallible. But in this particular case of the reheating of braised meats, I think he's right, based on a combination of personal experience and the absence of contradictory evidence (though unfortunately, outside of AB, there seems to be a lack of supporting evidence as well). Does MC say anything about reheating braises for service?
  17. I wouldn't be surprised if the chilling/reheating affected the texture too. Most high-gelatin braised meats (think short ribs, for example) that are cooled and reheated do not soften to the falling-of-the-bone texture when reheated. For example, see the Good Eats video below, starting at 4:45 where he pulls the braised short ribs from the oven and compares the pre- and post-cooling texture. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96y1qv8voZA
  18. Garlic greening is a major industrial problem that plagues garlic processors (seriously--google "garlic greening"). One way to prevent it is to store your garlic at room temperature--many weeks of RT storage may be necessary to reverse the effects of cold storage. This article indicates that higher temperatures (they test 70-90C) lead to a blanching of an already-green garlic puree and that room temperature storage of the same puree makes it less green. So I'm guessing that higher temperature processing during dehydrating doesn't promote the greening. ETA: and your green garlic turned brown proves them right! One more addition: This paper (sorry, subscr. required) states that "degradation temperature of garlic green pigment was 70 °C."
  19. Hmm. No idea then. 160F does tend to be a magic number for heating milk in guides for milk foams and other heated milk stuff.
  20. Chris: check the coffee chapter. I'm guessing that 160F has to do with the milk. ETA: McGee, p. 26: "Heat around 160F does unfold the whey proteins..."
  21. Capsaicin isn't soluble in water, but it is soluble in ethanol and oils. Since you want to make a foam, extracting it into vegetable oil isn't the best idea. So I'd buy some of the hottest (or maybe cheapest) peppers you can find and discard the colored flesh and the seed--you want to keep just the white placental tissue which holds the seeds. Take that white tissue and add some ethanol to it to dissolve the capsaicin. You can then either dilute the alcohol with water to your desired concentration, or you can rotovap the ethanol away to leave a very high capcaicin-containing substance behind. You could perform this extraction with ether, acetone, or benzene too, but I'm guessing it's easier to obtain food-safe ethanol than it is other organic solvents. Edit to add this awesome youtube video of how to do this via soxhlet extraction.
  22. I've seen that one on Amazon, I just have a problem spending $10 shipping on a $6 item. I ordered from sausagemaker.com because you can get a $10 off coupon for signing up for their catalog if you are a new customer. Wound up only costing $9 shipped. You can also get it on ebay, 4oz for $4.75 incl shipping. Just search for curing salt or prague powder or pink salt, etc.
  23. Ooo speaking of smoked meat, some chopped smoked meat/pastrami on top of poutine is really tasty. It would also be a nice component of choucroute garnie. Maybe served with a slice of rye toast. Come to think of it, if you piled the choucroute and pastrami on top of the rye, maybe add a little cheese... Gah! It's so easy to get sucked in!
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