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jsolomon

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Everything posted by jsolomon

  1. I just had the funniest conversation of the year today. I'm still trying to get over it. It occurred with two pastry chefs at a local bakery. Here is the situation: I am getting married later this year. I'm catering most of the reception myself, but I don't have time to do the bread-baking, so I'm simply subbing that out to a local bakery. No problem, right? I dial the phone to Bakery X (name deleted to protect the teched) BakeryX Employee 1: Hello, Bakery X, may I help you? Me: Yes. Do you take special orders? Employee 1: Yes, we do. What are you interested in? Me: I'd like about 14-dozen potato rolls. Employee 1: I'm not familiar with those. Let me hand you over to our pastry guy. Pastry Guy: Hello? May I help you? Me: Hi, I'm getting married, and I'd like to know if you can supply 14-dozen potato rolls for my reception dinner. Pastry Guy: I'm not sure I'm familiar with that. I'll ask our general manager. What's a potato? Funniest conversation this year. God bless the pastry chefs.
  2. jsolomon

    Sandwich Dinner

    I'm in the refrigerator pickles camp. Pickled onions, carrots, cucumber (of course), and whatever else fits your fancy are always great sides with a sandwich, hot or cold. Alton Brown's B&B pickles is a good place to start.
  3. Ack! No wonder I don't read Slate. If there wasn't a reasonable wine produced by sauvignon blanc, there wouldn't be a market for it. I drink it. It is a good wine. I generally don't drink spectacular wines, though. My wallet can't afford it. Here's my problem with the article: Simply tearing into the grape because a particular bottle was uninspired is sensationalist for the sake of readership. That, and starting off with the anecdote of how he doesn't like in-the-shell crab and how distracting his four-year-old son was by flipping the bird to fellow diners was the set-up to a I-had-a-bad-day-so-read-my-vented-spleen article. But, I like sauvignon blancs with early spring salads. They go better with a good greens mixture than the German wines that the author says are so much better. Besides, isn't wine like sex and pizza?
  4. Okay, here's the straight poop. We didn't evolve eating pre-packaged food from Paleo-mart or Cost-aceous. Our systems evolved to have a wide variety of foods because there are a wide variety of energy storage options that plants and animals have chosen to make. I have a fair amount of experience as a recreational/commuting cyclist, and as a marathon runner. Here is a short list of what I have found to work for me to recover from a bonk Fresh fruit: apples, oranges, bananas, plums, cherries, pineapple, mangos, peaches, grapefruit dried fruit: prunes, apricots, raisins, peaches Other: Snickers, anything sweet from Juice Stop, jerky, Popeyes Chicken, beer Here is what I have found works best to stave off a bonk PB&J sandwiches, jerky, any sort of dried fruit (with the exception of dried apples, bananas, or pineapple), oatmeal, yogurt, double-servings of fresh fruit, a general high-fiber diet, eating breakfast, eating after exercise (and sometimes during), moderating alcohol intake, drinking 750 ml water or more per hour. Edit to add: There is a lot of personal trial and error to coming up with these lists, and I urge you to do two things: don't be afraid to experiment, and take any commercial glorp with a skeptical eye. Some of them are very good products (I personally like Gu and Accelerade), but I have found that with a little planning and experimentation, I can perform just as well with less outlay.
  5. jsolomon

    Organic Wines

    I'm painfully aware of the further factors that enter into organic farming. I live in a predominantly agricultural state. My parents are farmers. The best man in my wedding has had me assist him in getting information on being certified organic. Many of my family friends are organic farmers. I have much more exposure to this phenomenon than most. So, I think I have a better vantage point to say that it is generally more hype than anything else. With respect to nutrition, there is little difference between an economy grown cut of beef vs an organically grown cut of beef. So, why does one garner so much more price? Well, I can only see part of it as the cost of production. Much more of it comes from hype and marketing. Why else would companies like Whole Foods be able to spring up a whole economy on it? But, it always seems to start a "more organic than thou" war which, as I put previously, reminds me of people with too much ego in what they do instead of why they do it.
  6. I'm firmly in the #2 camp. It's a start, but it still doesn't get people exercising.
  7. Being in the military, this doesn't surprise me at all. You would not believe the lengths gone to to make MRE's more palatable.
  8. I'll live with the shame... And keep in mind that my wife likes how I make it, and her happiness is critical to my well-being
  9. I'm fairly surprised that no one mentions parsley in creating their carbonara. My favorite trick is to add some basil and some mint along with the parsley. Both play well with the smokey cured pork and the sharp cheese.
  10. I grew up farming corn, so that doesn't disturb me at all. But, the description I saw said a fermented pineapple broth. I do not know whether they meant a fermented broth with pineapple added later, or a broth of fermented pineapple juice. I may simply have to start breaking out some mason jars and getting to work.
  11. jsolomon

    Organic Wines

    I hate to draw an analogy like this, but every time someone brings up "organic" pedantism rears up nearly as large as in the United Nations who decide that every time someone says "genocide" a whole new round of debates of what genocide actually is starts. Every time someone talks about "organic blat" we get more responses about organic than blat. That tells me that being organic is generally more about hype than actuality. Now, me being a trained chemist, I will have to take umbrage at JohnL calling arsenic (an element that is not carbon) organic. Potassium cyanide has three elements in it: carbon, potassium, and nitrogen. The presence of carbon makes it organic--in a truly pedantic sense. So, what do I expect? Well, I like the use of things that are poisonous to me at low levels minimized. So, sulfur dioxide and copper sulfate are two things I don't generally like to see. However, when I brew wine, I do add the sodium metabisulfite to kill the yeast--so I'm hypocritical. Copper sulfate, though? Nah. I eat way too many green things to need more copper in my diet. Much more and my blood will turn into Mr. Spock's. For filtration? Actually, I prefer none. I know many people think that an appropriate wine should be crystal clear and boldly sparkling. But, I like to be reminded that some little yeasty-beasties gave their all to make my fine drink. So, if there's a little yeast haze in there, or some sludge in the bottom, so be it. Having a reminder that my food had a long trip from field to table is no sin. Isinglass is an interesting subject. To my knowledge, it is simply gelatin--i.e. collagen that has been hydrolyzed with heat and water. I do not know what the difference in structures between beef gelatin (jello) and fish swim bladder gelatin is. And, even though I have spent a considerable amount of time studying protein chemistry, I find it hard to find the effort to care. Use what works. For cleansing agents, I have a hard time coming down to a small group. Clean rinsers are always a benefit, so we're talking citric cleansers, peroxides, and the like. Hot water is always a benefit. But, there are a number of products out there and this is an area of active research, so I will allow the market to drive this sector, too. But, here's my question: last Saturday, I was at a bar where an educated lady in charge of millions of dollars of accounts with a major bank was arguing with me because she didn't believe that yeast was used in the making of wine. So, don't we still have some foundation-building education yet to do?
  12. You are being quite generous in using the descriptor "nasty". Some are downright foul. Let your nose be the first guide!
  13. jsolomon

    Oily beans

    My experience is that dark-roasted beans tend to exude more oil as they age. Additionally, these oils are not very volatile at room temperature. So, leaving them out would do little, at best, and bring out more oil, at worst. Perhaps fresher beans? Where and when are yours roasted compared to where and when you grind/brew with them?
  14. In regards to siphoning, I do the mouth method directly from the fermentor. I generally don't worry too much, however before I siphon, I swish regular, over-the-counter peroxide in my mouth for a full 60 seconds. Then, I "crazy straw" with abandon.
  15. Being a normally savvy Gooooooooooogle (incidentally, if I ever meet the founder of Google, I'm going to give him a dictionary and tell him to study it so he can learn to spell) I stumbled over those recipes. However, help from people with experience at these recipes, or from someone with a reputable source is what I'm looking for. Too often I've found that randomly found recipes from search engines disappoint.
  16. jsolomon

    Nuts In Honey

    grab a spoon and dig in...
  17. Recently, I was in Perquin, Morazan, El Salvador, and had a local(?) dish named Gallo en Chicha. I think the literal translation was "moonshine rooster". I know that the ingredients contain fermented pineapple, chicken, raisins, and green olives--at least for the version I ate. Does anyone have instructions or a recipe for this? I would love to produce this for my family and friends.
  18. jsolomon

    Giving a Good Knife

    Nice to see you. Devil's Advocate here. I got my mother a 4-star Henckels (I'm pretty sure it was 4-star) 10-inch chef's knife for a Christmas gift a few years back. It's a much higher quality knife than any my mother had before I got it. It only gets used when I visit. I do not regret giving her the gift at all. However, it was not appreciated nearly as much as I thought it deserved.
  19. Ditto on the Wyeast. When I worked for a microbrewery, my boss swore by them. Their products are very high quality, and their people are very knowledgeable and earnest. Although, in a liquid culture, you probably have 1/2 of the cell mass as dead cells, also... sorry to steal your thunder, Brooks...
  20. From my experience, and I have not yet learned AB's lesson of "organization shall set you free", for an extract beer you can plan on Initial Sanitization and wort set-up ~3 hours Pitching the yeast ~10 minutes (standard deviation ~30 minutes) Fermentation 7-10 days Bottling set-up ~1.5 hours Bottling ~1 hour Bottling clean-up ~1 hour Secondary fermentation ~2 weeks General aging to drinkability ~2 more weeks. Keep in mind, these are very rough guesstimates from my hazy college daze.
  21. Sometimes a banana is just a banana...
  22. jsolomon

    Licorice

    My current residence, Lincoln, Nebraska houses Licorice International. They have a great selection. Personally, I like the double salted, ammonia whiffing stuff... it give me chills of delight.
  23. Chanterelle, the natural ebb and flow of body chemistries involves a lot of things happening. There are neurotransmitters that are more prevalent at some times versus others which can affect how you perceive things at those times, and there are chemistries that actually have a scent that may be numbing some of your scent receptors at certain times. If there are scented products you use to *ahem* cover up at certain times, that may also be part of your problem. If it is one of the other two, you may simply want to accept that during certain times, your enjoyment of wine will be different, and plan your wine choices at certain times differently. Best of luck!
  24. jsolomon

    Drained Tomato Juice

    Mix 1 part tomato water with 4-8 parts beer. Great snack.
  25. If we were to create our own investigative-reporting-only wine publication, what would we name it? Oenocrat And what would your dream assignment be? Unfortunately, it would be something that's been done before: correlating styles between countries. I can always find information on French wine, but it's hard to understand how other countries' offerings fit in. What issues or facts would you mercilessly track? Differences in blue laws, of course. Who would you talk to? Rebel Rose, of course! What's your conspiracy theory? France, California, and Australia are trying to muscle everyone out
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