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Everything posted by emannths

  1. For those looking for aluminum "stones," and you've exhausted your local options, you might want to check ebay. Here's 2 18" diameter, .5" thick Al pizza "stones" for $45 shipped, for example. ETA: And here's a vendor that has 3/4" x 12" x 12" plates for $48 before shipping, and also offers custom sizes. If you buy the "bar," it's $10 cheaper, presumably because one dimension is limited to 12", whereas the plate is cut from larger stock?
  2. MC/Nathan is saying that the plate is an analogue for the stone--as Chris says, try using it like you'd use a stone. The main idea, at least for pizza, is that the plate stores heat and conducts it to the bottom crust of the pizza. Aluminum can store more heat per unit volume than stone, so for retrofitting an standard oven, it's more convenient to use. Could you line your oven with bricks? Sure. But a pizza "stone" made out of aluminum will be more effective than an equivalently-sized pizza stone made out of stone. Without a copy of the book, I can't tell you how the added conductivity of Al affects pizza baking, however, though presumably it can only help in replicating high-temperature cooking.
  3. It depends on if you're talking about equal masses or equal volumes. Aluminum has a higher cp on a mass basis, but iron has a higher cp on a volume basis. Wikipedia has a sortable table of heat capacities. Those thinking about this problem should definitely reread the eGCI topic on cookware if you haven't read it recently. The treatment of the various thermal properties of iron/steel, aluminum, and copper is very thorough and nicely explained. Just out of curiosity, how fast can a pizza suck heat out of an aluminum "stone?" Ignoring issues of practicality, would putting heat xfer fins on the underside help, or does the preheated "stone" already contain enough heat at ~550F to achieve the desired results? Nathan/MC-people, did you monitor the temperature of your metal "stone" during baking?
  4. So I've started thinking about St. Patrick's Day so that I don't miss my brisket curing window. I'm curious how MC deals with corned beef (3.169, it looks like) and cured meats in general. The execution of curing meats seems to be pretty straightforward, and in the duck confit recipe, there didn't seem to be any curveballs until the cooking. I guess I don't know what to expect--maybe a treatment of wet vs dry cures, curing time, and cure salinity? Or commentary on the appropriate timing of when to introduce spices (a la the marinade debate)? Or is their advice simply a more parametic-version of the Ruhlman/Polcyn treatment? More selfishly, I was planning on using the Ruhlman recipe, but if MC says it can be done better, and one of you can give me a general idea of their recommendations, I'll give it a go.
  5. Lard? Of course, whether you consider leaf lard and the shelf-stable partially hydrogenated stuff to be the same thing is a debate for another topic...
  6. I think what you are seeing there is a "parboiling" not a completed dish. No, taking the arborio rice example, it looks like it says parboil for 6 minutes, and then finish on the stove for 3 minutes (unless I'm reading that page wrong). And in the instructions, it says that you can hold the parboiled rice, or you can continue straight to the stovetop finishing, with no mention of any associated changes in time or technique.
  7. Almost all of the discussions relating to this book, and "modernist cuisine" in general, relate to the creation of food/dishes. However, little regarding the characterization of such creations is discussed. How did your team marry perception, which is very qualitative, which quantitative measurements? One example is in trying to determine when something is "done." For steak, maybe you can use a temperature measurement. But if you cook using sous vide, what counts as "done?" Similarly, when cooking something like risotto, what is "done," and how do you evaluate the differences in the "sauce" characteristics to validate your methods--taste, viscosity, density, uv/vis, mass spec, etc? Which of these methods are useful in recreating a recipe, and which are useful in creating a new recipe?
  8. Update (now appears official): Season to end Feb 28.
  9. They had them at the Costco in Danvers, MA, so this looks like it's a nationwide product.
  10. These little guys are excellent eaten raw, ama-ebi style. Just peel a bunch of them and eat them with a little vinegared rice, nori, shoyu, and wasabi. For those who can't watch the video at work, here's what the AP says: Full story here.
  11. As far as the plastic goes, we tried as best we could in this thread. Conclusion: inconclusive. One thing to keep in mind--if you're avoiding water bottles because they may contain BPA, you might want to avoid most canned products too, as the cans are lined with at BPA-derived resin.
  12. I use a Nalgene for my water bottle needs (which not too frequent). Works fine, taste-free. And it doesn't hold onto flavors too long, especially for plastic. I stored leftover mulled wine in it and after a quick washing it was flavor-free. For those looking to clean SS containers--you might want to try Oxiclean + boiling water. It works a wonder at getting rid of coffee residue in my thermos. Of course, I'm about the opposite of a germophobe, so I question whether there is any safety problem from "old" water. I understand cleaning for the sake of making the water taste good, but are any of the things that grow in old water dangerous?
  13. I believe they clone the genes from the organisms and then probably use bacteria to create the protein. Their LinkedIn page says So there would be little impact on the populations from which these compounds originate. ETA: Here's a kit that basically does the same thing except with the gene from a firefly. What this company does is probably similar, except with a jellyfish gene. Then they just grind up the bacteria and separate out the glowing protein and stick it in your ice cream.
  14. Someone is trying to commercialize it.
  15. What do you use it for? Not prime rib PCR, I hope. You can buy a rotor-stator homogenizer probe that affixes to a Dremel tool. Too bad they cost $500+. Maybe Harbor Freight can make a $10 knock-off.
  16. Can someone explain this? It can't be true, right? Any extra heat that is inputed into the pressure cooker after it's reached the max pressure is going to make steam, which must be vented to prevent overpressure, right? Does anyone use the low-pressure setting on the dual-pressure models? What for?
  17. Drink ideas allowed? How about a "black and tan gold" with Guiness and Harp? I assume you've googled something like "black foods?"
  18. I've got the Forte series too. Works fine, but I wish that the rims were a little sharper/thinner. I haven't broken one, but I can't remember any close calls either. Also, it looks like Amazon has them for $70/6, not $62/stem.
  19. I've been thinking a lot about beer recently (who hasn't been!), so in that vein... You can smoke malt or buy smoked malt. I've never seen it used in anything besides beer or spirits made with the stuff, but maybe some creative people could come up with some applications. Smoked wort ice cream? Smoked wort glaze for ham or ribs? Maybe some hull-free smoked wheat malt (this one used have to smoke yourself, probably) could be ground into flour for a dredge or to make a smoked roux-based sauce? Or you could buy oak-smoked wheat flour. I suppose there's no need to stop a malts. You could buy smoked rice, smoke unpopped popcorn (not too hot please!)... Unrelated: could you play a little game where instead of serving a smoked sausage with sauerkraut, you serve smoked sauerkraut with an unsmoked sausage? I wonder if the easiest way to a smoked ice cream or custard is by using smoked sugar? The Spice House also sells hickory and mesquite flavored starches, though they may not play nice with the texture of a custard.
  20. There are plenty of pictures of exploded potatoes on Google image search. I'm partial to this one.
  21. emannths

    Salt Cod Diary

    How frequently did you change the water during those two days? Maybe more frequent changes would help too.
  22. I was over perusing the Sur La Table sale, and came across the GarlicZoom! It looks like the car from hell: you put the garlic in the "passenger compartment" and roll it across the counter. The wheels spin blades inside the passenger compartment and dice the garlic. I don't know what's more surprising: that is exists, that is costs <$10, or that it seems to actually operate as advertised (at least according to some blogs). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU3MMm756NY&feature=player_embedded
  23. emannths

    Crystal Clear Ice

    I don't have a silicone ice cube tray, so the next thing I thought of for freezing water in a stretchy container: water balloons. Of course,Camper did that too, though not with degassed water. However, some photos of people freezing balloon about half-way (meaning, fill the balloon and remove when half the water is frozen) suggest that this might work.
  24. Maybe it would help to document exactly what the problems are. Depending on the toaster, it seems like there are a few different ones: 1) Toast comes out too light or too dark--impossible to find the "Goldilocks" setting. 2) Toast is browned unevenly. 3) Toaster is very slow. 4) Toaster browns the outside too fast or too slow relative to how it cooks the inside. Problem 1 seems like a design issue with the timer or thermostat. Why this would have gotten worse in newer toasters, who knows? This also may be a problem due to poorly-designed wide slots that may place the bimetallic strip too far from a narrow piece of toast. Problem 2 could be caused by a few different things. Maybe in an attempt to accommodate bagel-width items, the baskets have become so large that they do a poor job of aligning the bread with the heating elements. Maybe the design of the heating and reflecting elements has changed, and now the balance of direct and reflected heat is no longer correct. Maybe the composition or location of the heating or reflecting elements has changed, so now one is too dominant. Maybe toasters are calibrated for additive-filled grocery store breads and are simply bad at toasting water-flour-yeast-salt breads. Problem 3 seems to be mainly associated with toaster ovens, where the heating elements are further from the bread. These probably need to preheat the reflectors/reradiatiors before they really get to work. Problem 4 is probably just a temperature issue. The toaster goes too hot or too cool for your liking. This may be due to a calibrating the toaster to different breads or different preferences. I'd be curious to know if preheating the toaster/toaster oven solves some of the uniformity and slowness problems. I also wonder how some of them compare in toasting Lender's Bagels, real bagels, grocery store bread (i.e., bread with additives to lengthen shelf life), and homemade bread. Maybe some toasters are better at some of these, and this will give some insight into what QC test they presumably passed in the design process. Oh, and for those with problems with your toaster either over- or under-toasting your bread, am I correct in assuming that if you watched it like a hawk, it would be possible to pop the toast at the desired doneness? I know this isn't what one looks for in a toaster, but I just want to make sure I'm not missing something. For the record, I just use an el-cheapo toaster oven and resign myself to watching, flipping, rotating, etc my toast as it cooks. But I only make toast a few times a month, so I just deal with it.
  25. emannths

    Crystal Clear Ice

    So I quickly boiled some tap water [analysis--PDF] and used it to make ice in my standard ice cube tray and also a pint-sized delitainer. I filled the containers right out of the pot while the water was essentially still boiling in order to minimize oxygen uptake due to agitation. And what do you know--neither produced anything like perfectly-clear ice! I guess even at the ice-cube size, the stress of freezing from the outside in causes fractures in the center of the cube. What was interesting, though, is that the boiled-water ice cubes essentially removed themselves from the ice cube tray--no twisting required. Since it seems like unidirectional freezing (keeping the bottom of the freezing vessel warmer than the top) is important, has anyone tried floating an ice cube tray in a second tray of water while freezing (like a water bath, similar to making custards)? Maybe that could give the same effect as the cooler, except without the need for a cooler. This is definitely a fun problem!
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