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jsolomon

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Everything posted by jsolomon

  1. jsolomon

    The physics of bacon

    jackal10, I agree with you for most of what you said with a few minor variations: Point a: You're right on the money. Point b: Remember that the cell walls are also fat. By the time you get to 100C, they have long been melted and denatured. This is different for plants, but they have a different cellular structure, relying on cellulose enclosures around cells, so you need higher temperatures to rupture those structures. You are disrupting a supercellular structure when you get to the point that water is actively vaporizing "deep" inside the tissue. point c: Maillard reactions are right on the money, but these are mainly anhydrous reactions. They don't happen quickly in the presence of water, and don't happen with much speed until you get to a screeching hot temperature of 300+ Farhenheit. This is why you sear at such a hot temperature. You can get these to happen in bacon earlier and more quickly if you really crank up the temperature, but then you'll scorch the bacon and have it done in an un-even manner. What is happening more are nitrate and nitrite reactions occuring with the myoglobin in the cells which give it the reddish color. Those happen at lower temperatures than the Maillard reactions. These start gaining appreciable speed at about 60 C, or a decent smoking temperature for... bacon and ham. I personally think that as you increase the temperature, more of the fat leaves the structures and the proteins in the connective tissues are able to denature into tighter and tighter structures which is why the fatty areas shrink so much. It is well-known that meat shrinks during the cooking process, and it shrinks for several reasons: water loss, fat loss, dissolution of essential parts, and denaturation of proteins into tighter packed and less-ordered structures (which is why you can tell a cooked piece of meat from a fresh one by jabbing it with your finger... aside from the burns). The maillard reaction explains the brown and the crispy, but there are many other things going on during that stage. [OT] When I apply for entry into a food science graduate program, should I go into oenology, or something else? Anyone have suggestions, since this is the 'geek' thread? I'm applying to the University of Nebraska. Edited with more information on Maillard.
  2. jsolomon

    Staryucks

    Apparently, you never came to the starbucks I used to work at at 5 minutes til close when I had the smoothie machine all broken down and cleaned begging for a strawberry banana smoothie because it would just help you study so much better. Mediocre product and damned surly service. I was nearly as bad as the Soup Nazi when there was less than 10 minutes til I had to be up stairs to count my drawer.
  3. Wow, these stories are much better than my brussels shots which occurred when I got the rock-dumb idea to flambe some brussels sprouts in tequila. I think we got about 40 proof brussels sprouts out of that... and I was the only one of age at that dinner
  4. Zilla, Great job! I'm forwarding your lesson to my gf who keeps telling me that my smallish 6" chef's knife is scary. On the wrist fulcrum, do you find that as something that works well with a sharp knife, or is thinness also indicated? I have never had success on that technique with anything more substantial than a mushroom, never with anything that has the structure of a carrot. But, the tip-fulcrum method works fine for me (if a little slower). I'm curious, because about 1/3 of my blade is always dreadfully less sharp than the rest due to my tip-fulcrum use And, anything to keep it sharper longer is a good thing since I am lacking time to sharpen things often... err, maybe will instead of time. (edited to insert a purchased antecedent for a dangling pronoun)
  5. Wow... talk about making me feel like a neophyte. I purchased an Oxo good grips (about US$15) 5 years ago and I love it. Granted, it looks chintzy, but I am quite satisfied with it. It grinds good volumes per crank turn, has reasonable cracking and grinding ability and is "infinitely" adjustable for grind fine-ness. Where can I find things like the peugeot and others? I am in Nebraska, USA which is somewhat of a wasteland where it comes to finding decent cooking utensils.
  6. Definitely Spilker Ales Hopalleuia Spilker Ales Nebraska
  7. jsolomon

    The ideal chef jacket

    How about BDU's from the army surplus? The things are dirt cheap (usually) and the camouflage pattern makes most stains completely invisible. Also, they are impregnated with fire retardent material so those pesky flaming poptarts don't cause a conflagration, just localized scarring.
  8. Frosted flakes, grilled cheese sandwich, and a bud light. If i'm lucky, I might have some shiraz instead of the bud light.
  9. Currently I rarely eat desserts. It seems, at least for me, to be a function of what the people I'm cooking for expect (read girlfriends). The last girlfriend really liked desserts. The think she really liked was some mixed berries made into a sauce with some wine and sugar stirred into some plain yogurt with some uncooked fruit as well. Think simple syrup with wine instead of water. Other treats we would have were roasted fruits or grilled fruits. Everything topped off later with a nightcap of hot chocolate and hand-whipped whipped cream. Current girlfriend: not so much into food. It's disappointing, really. But, this girlfriend really knows how to cook well. Meat and potatoes cooking, but good cooking. Makes her own bread (like me) and really likes ice cream. Best recent dessert: ice cream with macerated blackberries. She doesn't yet believe me about the yummy goodness of roasted fruit, but my current apartment doesn't take having the oven on as well as my old apartment, so cooking is relegated to the grill during the summer in the interests of low electric bills. My issue with cooking desserts is I have not mastered pie dough yet. The fastest way to make me swear is to hand me flour, ice water, salt, and grease and say "make a pie dough". Breads, I can do til the cows come home. Pastries, cakes, and pies, I'm not so hot at. The other thing is time/presentation. I don't have a proper place to eat, and I don't feel like I have a proper occasion to eat dessert. It doesn't seem to make culinary sense to have dessert when you're eating, sitting cross-legged on the floor, or on the couch, glued to the tv.
  10. Office coffee (blech) in a tin cup right next to the HPLC grade solvents
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