Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Syzygies last won the day on November 12

Syzygies had the most liked content!


1,522 Excellent


About Syzygies

  • Rank
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 11/29/1955


  • Location
    New York, NY and Concord, CA
  • Occupation

Profile Information

  • Gender:

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. I'm back to playing with my bigolaro for Italian pasta. (Past experiments have been mostly Asian, such as fermented rice noodles for Thai Kanom Jeen Nahmyah Bpak Dtai, or alkaline noodles for ramen.) There's a narrow dough hydration window, dry enough to extrude yet wet enough to knead. Kneading helps develop gluten, if possible. I'm well on the way to breaking my Atlas 150 pasta maker, as I've long wanted to do in order to justify an upgrade. Dough for extruding can be that stiff. Looking at upgrades, I saw hand cranked dough sheeters aimed at pasta. David: Would a truly stiff dough break your machine?
  2. After years wondering if I'd ever find fatalii peppers again, I stumbled on the mother lode at a new participant in my local farmers market. New batch of my favorite Caribbean hot sauce recipe. Garlic, onions, carrots, lime juice, rice vinegar, and more chile heat than many people can handle. Think habanero, only more heat and a more complex flavor.
  3. Oh, he's ahead of all of us. This will be his second masa grinder!
  4. I'm emptying my New York apartment so I can retire to California. I have the standard version of this grinder in New York, upgraded with chocolatier hardware to the equivalent of my preferred model in California. This thread gives a good idea as to how one would use this to grind masa. Does anyone want it? It's yours for the shipping from New York. I'm retiring so I can spend more time with this Corgi / Border Collie lovable monster.
  5. I'm credited with devising the smoke pot. I see it as a matter of personal choice, though my advice would be if you want to make sure it's your choice, don't let your spouse taste the results till you've made up your mind. I must always use a smoke pot if I want to stay married. A nice neutral analogy would be garlic presses. Carefully mincing garlic with a really sharp knife yields tiny undisturbed bits. The Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker is a wonderful tool that quickly minces garlic with less damage than a garlic press. The MÄNNKITCHEN garlic press (makers of my favorite pepper grinder) is awesome but mashes the garlic. A microplane, more so. The Toiro Kitchen Suribachi Set is the best set of suribachis I've ever laid hands on, and purees garlic. So what's the difference? Serious Eats makes a careful analysis of the chemistry here: Disturbing garlic creates a chemical reaction that makes garlic more aggressive. I view this as a choice, day by day, like which sherry to cook with. Others have strong opinions. Same with smoking wood. When wood is allowed to burn, it creates more aggressive flavors. A smoke pot keeps the wood from actually burning. Use more wood, but get a more refined flavor, none of the creosote that open flames can create. Various of us on the commercial barbecue trail have had our hearts repeatedly broken. This can lead to an obsession with unmistakable smoke. I prefer to use smoke as a spice, but not the only spice, it needs to blend in with the rub and the meat. Speaking of "only spice", in college I bought "pumpkin pie spice" so I could make my Mom's pumpkin bread recipe. The women in my dorm staged an intervention, gently letting me know that one could buy the individual spices. While I now make pilgrimages to Kalustyan's, at the time I was horrified. "Have you seen what those spices cost? That's a semester's pot!" Which is another good analogy: Smoking a joint is a different experience from using a vaporizer, and reasonable people differ on which provides a better flavor experience. If you know which way you lean on that question, I've got a good guess which way you'll lean on a smoke pot. As the first photo reveals, getting a smoke pot going takes some practice. I like to light the charcoal under the pot while I heat the pot, with a pair of weed burners positioned using hose clamps. (This pork butt was for an "intimate" wedding rehearsal dinner for my stepdaughter.)
  6. A penguin and a mechanic
  7. Then you're fine. It can be hard to tell with a pan or rack bought years ago whether it was meant for oven temps. One shouldn't put random metal in a fire; galvanized was an example not an accusation. You asked about possible concerns and I answered.
  8. I routinely shop at restaurant supply stores for this sort of thing. Not all wire racks are intended to be used in an oven. A further complication for barbecue is the uneven heat distribution from intense radiant heat. Ideally, find stainless steel oven-safe pans and wire racks. The real risk is in the other direction, as one improvises barbecue equipment: Galvanized metal offgases toxins when heated sufficiently. As a rule, one should always be keenly aware, stepping outside long-tested traditions. True intelligence is knowing what one doesn't know. The poster stiffs for this would be Alaskans who defied an ancestral tradition of fermenting in seal skins, because Homer buckets from Home Depot were so readily available. Some of them died of botulism. I'm now fermenting by vacuum packing my chiles with a starter. Do I test pH? You betcha!
  9. I managed to disassemble and reassemble without directions; I recall it was tricky. Believing it is meant to come apart is half the battle. Only once it is apart does one see how everything fits together. My favorite version of this: Thirty years ago I had a Pelican fountain pen, and unscrewing it to add ink I accidentally took it apart further than intended. I was stumped for part of an hour how it went back together, till I made the assumption that it was supposed to be reassembled "wrong" in a way that made the ink reservoir a third smaller. It went together in seconds. I decided to "fix" it, but I wanted a spare of the part I was about to possibly demolish. I called a dozen pen shops around the country (how did one even learn who to call before the internet?). I finally called Fahrney's Pens in Washington D.C., and was put on hold, then their repair guru they normally protect from the public answered: "You won't figure it out. It took me three weeks to make the tool. Just send your pen to me!" She hadn't even been able to convice Pelican there was a problem. She routinely "upgraded" any Pelican pen she worked on, but I was the first person in the known universe that had noticed this issue, besides her. We were ecstatic to talk with each other.
  10. There's a classic book from the early days of aviation that all pilots read: Fate is the Hunter The author was on a final flight before a long-awaited fishing vacation. The plane was making awful noises. He finally crawled into a wing cavity to explore, telling his copilot to do nothing. He then ignored the issue, and flew cautiously to a safe landing. There was a welcoming party. The other two planes of his type, same service history, had crashed while he was airborne. A long investigation concluded that the only way to avoid crashing was to do nothing. He took this as an omen, and retired. I believe that you're oversteering. Perhaps you're also starting with too much fire; always light just enough charcoal to pass command to the temp controller. See how close to sealed you can close the upper damper without putting your fire out. Partially close the valve on the bellows, if necessary. Wait twenty minutes between reactions. I like to file things into psychological categories. Controlling a fire, like some but not all cooking tasks, gets better when one stops "caring so much". I tend to place my controller temperature probe through the top lid hole that normally holds the analog thermometer, with an alligator clip (roach clip) as stop. This can read cold at first, and hot later, but I've had better luck controlling fires this way than with the standard advice to position the probe an inch away from the meat. It eventually doesn't matter; for low & slow the entire cooker converges on the same temperature, after this initial imbalance.
  11. I came to KK from a POSK which dropped all its tiles. I liked my repair, I gifted it to my neighbor, but it "disassembled" when he then tried to gift it to our gardener. The Kamado Fraud Forum featured my POSK then took it down out of misguided "respect" for my feelings. I was proud of that repair. I figured I knew how to cook ceramic. Aside from all the superlatives that a KK is simply the best, it was a bit like learning to land a jet after flying Cesna prop planes. One learns, and it's all for the good, but don't kid yourself. Moving to something that "just works" is always an adjustment. On a parallel note, there's this idea in the tool world that one earns the right to the best tools. I disagree. An expert can make any tool work. A beginner really benefits from the best tools they can find, particularly in woodworking. For ceramic cookers, one "earns" the right to the best tool if one can come up with the scratch. End of story. No regrets.
  12. I used to use chimneys, dating to before my ceramic cooker days. I'd buy a basic one and remove both the handle and the inside floor, so it was basically a cylinder with holes. I'd set it down on the charcoal grates, add paper and/or wax starters then charcoal, and light it in place. When the fire had developed I'd lift up with channel lock plyers, freeing the charcoal. The two advantages of a chimney are restricted airflow and additional height. Dennis is clear that our fireboxes are designed to restrict airflow (focus airflow on the charcoal) without help. I like to "design" my fire, so I want to set the charcoal in place before lighting it. This is crucial lighting extruded lump under a smoke pot for low & slow, and a mere personality quirk for hot fires. Pouring the chimney jumbles the fire. Lifting it out with channel lock plyers is less disruptive. Nevertheless, I had to adopt the weed burner approach for low & slow fires, and somehow they took over for everything (with the gas burner assembly being an experimental alternative). I don't know what happened to my modified chimney.
  13. My overall favorite way is a pair of propane weed burners. I put hose clamps where I want the necks to rest on the KK edge, and trap the heads in the charcoal basket handles. This is especially effective for lighting the charcoal underneath a cast iron smoke pot. I have the gas burner assembly, despite fairly universal advice that this is a poor idea. The trouble is that it lights from the bottom, leading to an intense fire that burns out too quickly. Fogo for example sells giant lump as one option; big pieces work well e.g. for pizza (tonight's menu). I'm a huge fan of 99% isopropyl alcohol; I buy it in gallon jugs. That's routinely how I light a Solo Stove for quick grilling e.g. of salsa vegetables: A few wood chunks, more lump charcoal, pour on too much iso (oops) and light with a long match. Enjoy the sonic boom as the area birds decide to migrate! However one lights a fire, it needs oxygen more than additional flame, once it has started. Dennis used to use a hairdryer. I've convinced him and others to switch to a battery-powered leaf blower. The Ego leaf blower is too powerful for this application. If one already has joined the Milkwaukee battery cinematic universe, the Milwaukee leaf blower is perfect for fires, though anemic for other uses.
  14. Komodo Kamado Grill Basics -- The Secrets Of Kamado Cooking (As Dennis shared in the KK forum thread KK Videos)
  • Create New...