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Syzygies last won the day on June 28 2016

Syzygies had the most liked content!

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About Syzygies

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 11/29/1955


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    New York, NY and Concord, CA
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  1. A number that keeps rising like a tale told in a pub. I've taken various cooking lessons with Rosetta Costantino (My Calabria, Southern Italian Desserts). She's a smart enough engineer to have retired wealthy at an age where most people's careers are just getting going, so I trust her science. She went all over Italy with an infrared thermometer, inspecting these wood fired ovens. Yes, you can measure 900 F in such an oven, but this is never the temperature that the pizza experiences. Hotter than 550 F yes. 900 F no. Of course the first error is the belief that a number describes a fire. We all stick our bare hands into the air of a 450 F oven without incident, but not into 450 F fat. Neapolitan ovens are tuned to not actually incinerate their pizzas; the heat transfer coefficients of the oven floor are crucial. I cooked a steak once at 900 F, and didn't eat it. There are incidents, like watching one's winter shell tear like paper on a mountain top at minus 30 F, that teach us we don't really understand physics outside our narrow experience range. When an Eskimo dies from botulism by fermenting in a plastic pail, after their ancestors used seal skins for centuries, I outwardly bemoan their tragic scientific ignorance. Inwardly I tell myself it would be evolutionary pressure if I did something that stupid. I have no confidence that fat cooked at 900 F is safe for human consumption, after seeing my steak 20 seconds into that fire. It could be just fine, but the truth is that we don't have an experience base to assure us this is safe. Fortunately, this is not what Neapolitans are eating.
  2. After over a decade with push mowers (we have a small lawn) we bought the best electric mower on the market. Didn't exist last year, we waited lawn enough. EGO POWER+ 21" SELF-PROPELLED LAWN MOWER Of course, the real reason was to have an excuse to buy their backback blower using the same charging system, for starting fires in my KK. EGO POWER+ 600 CFM BACKPACK BLOWER Dennis, back at you!
  3. One of Thomas Keller's famous tricks is to cook lobsters just far enough to remove the meat, make stock from the carcasses, and simmer the lobster meat ever so gently in a mixture of mostly butter, some water, very French name. People returned the lobster all the time as undercooked, though it wasn't. The idea didn't actually originate with him. Plenty of words have been written about this. A Chef Invents a Lobster Dish, And Pots Start Boiling All Over As for sealing bags for sous vide, I've MacGyver'd this entire landscape. (You don't think the smoke pot was my first try, do you?) In the 1980's, reading Harold McGee on the arbitrariness of the boiling point of water, and hearing some French chefs used their vacuum packers to help steam fish, I nearly cobbled together sous vide equipment from a chemical supply catalog before I knew it was a thing. I got by for years with PID controllers and modified soup warmers, before mainstream equipment became affordable, and I broke down and bought a chamber vacuum machine. Which everyone should do. So I can make A/B/ comparisons, and you should trust me. Yes, I know all about dunking ziplocks in baths of water while singing Dylan songs, or however you do it. That gets old very fast. Buy a $30 impulse sealer such as Metronic 12" Heat Sealing Hand Impulse Poly Sealer (just an example, search for the one you want) and some chamber vacuum sealer bags. Practicing first with water, figure out how to burp the air out as you seal. For the rest of your life this will be how you freeze stock, even if you own a $8,000 commercial chamber machine and have a staff of twenty. You'll instruct the staff to do it this way. Now, anything with enough liquid can be sealed this way, then sous vide in a Cambro / Anova circulator or your version of same. Stock. Add enough stock, then strain it afterwards. You now have double stock. This is considered a good thing. Olive oil. Add enough olive oil, and compute how much olive oil you can buy with the money you saved by not getting a chamber vacuum machine. Tell yourself you have the money, you just don't have the space. Butter. Ditto. Melt it first. Red cooking Chinese liquid. Go find a recipe. If the Chinese had sous vide machines 5,000 years ago, the recipe would tell you to do exactly this.
  4. Paella pans (lined with foil) make awesome drip pans. They're the right shape, one can tune the diameter. Toss the foil lining rather than a standalone foil pan, less waste.
  5. Pete Wells, the New York Times restaurant critic, reviews Franklin Barbecue: A MacGyver of Slow-Cooked Meats at Franklin Barbecue Spoiler, he likes the brisket. This would be his second bong reference in a review; he can't be unaware of how widely quoted the first reference was: At Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Slips and Stumbles Per Se is his most recent but not most famous take-down; that would be Guy Fieri. As Not Seen on TV
  6. A true race involves a pit stop. Ever try getting a Tesla back from the shop? I hear it can take months.
  7. I'm 11/12 amused and 1/12 concerned.
  8. If you're making up for lost time not being Richard Feynman as a kid, I can see trying for the amusement value. I wouldn't. I grew up on that exact model, camping with my family each summer. I now have the propane version, and it's very handy as an outdoor pair of burners. [1] Griddle for fresh masa tortillas to go with pulled port from the KK. [2] How does that old joke go? "Is seasoning a cast iron pan / griddle / paella pan / wok dirty? It is if you're doing it right!" Or was it "Do you smoke after seasoning?" Either way, better done outdoors.
  9. Yes, I have a firm rule to not use my smoke pot above 275 F (210 F to 240 F is ideal). To further confuse the thread title, a cast iron smoke pot may be the "Firefly 2" of the barbecue world: Half the people who've tried it love it, the other half can't manage to get smoke out of it. I light my low & slow fires with a weed burner, taking special care to heat the underside of the smoke pot itself, and I've never had a problem.
  10. I sometimes go a month, with starters on both coasts. I often bring bread from CA to NY, and my NY starter gets neglected. After a summer in CA, I always bring some of the CA starter to NY, in a very stiff, dry paste in a sealed chamber vacuum pouch. I agree with the above comments. The two issues are acid balance, and rising power. On the second feeding after a hiatus, I leave only a small amount as carry-over, to reduce acid. This is also mostly controlled by the timing of the last feeding before actual use; shorter is less acid, at the possible expense of going under the sweet spot for rising power. As for rising power, I always augment my bread with a tiny bit of yeast, which provides a boost and security. I don't view anything as an authenticity contest; sourdough provides flavor and better shelf life. One can quickly restore rising power by feeding twice a day and observing. I've read something about a float test, but it's pretty obvious if you just eyeball it. There's a view that an authentic starter (I was once offered one "from the California gold rush") is the same idea as the aliens that looked after early life, terraforming our planet. After a month with whatever flours one actually uses for feeding, any sign of the founder aliens are long gone. This extends to yeast; if you've used commercial yeast in your kitchen, it's going to get into the starter no matter what. I've embraced this on occasion, adding a pinch of yeast to my starter itself. In fact, for anyone who's had trouble with starter, recognize that there's a continuum of methods from reusing a bit of yesterday's dough (saves on yeast, back in the day), to biga preferments and such, to actual sourdough starters. A continuum is a math term meaning you can jump in anywhere you like. Follow the procedure for a sourdough starter, but instead of whispering in socks while adding pineapple (or whatever voodoo you've heard for this), just add a half teaspoon of yeast to the flour, water the first day. Now keep feeding this as if starter, while telling yourself it really is starter. It's certainly something that works, and if there are other organisms in your flour feed that stand a chance of joining the chorus, they will. Over time this faux starter will become indistinguishable from anyone else's starter, and it works right from the beginning. Easy to do again.
  11. A magnum is such a difficult size! Too much for one, not enough for two.
  12. Oh wait! That regulator is for my argon tank, for saving part bottles of wine.
  13. Insert for 22" grills I already have various baking steels. I use a round Baking Steel in my KK for various purposes like shown in the video. The advantage of inverting the geometry is not having to reach over flames to work. I'm not sure a patent would hold up, if they are attempting to protect this idea. First, the idea is obvious. What they're doing is committing to this idea and bringing it to practice, always the hard part. Second, I've seen variations on this idea in the Asian cooking world, going back centuries. "Obvious" doesn't seem to matter to patent inspectors, but "Prior Art" does. Dennis could make something like this for us, if it's a good idea. Not having to reach over the flames, grate in center...
  14. Yes. What I don't know is the micron range for espresso, and whether they've actually bracketed it. My Pharos manual talks about 1/2 - 3/4 turn as the adjustment range for espresso, with the most powerful machines best able to handle the finer grinds. I don't know what this is in microns.
  15. Kruve Sifter I grind espresso fairly fine, for a La Pavoni Europiccola with 18g aftermarket baskets. It would be good to know what "Sifter Twelve: 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100" actually means in my context.