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Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble


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Syzygies last won the day on April 30

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. Kay. Actually, "The Kay" as grammatical cue that we're not talking about a person. This is common in many languages. Her nickname, in the rare event that something goes wrong, is "Oh Shuck!".
  2. NYTimes - Biryanis With Something Extra
  3. Wow. Particularly as I've settled on a 3:4 ratio closer to my dough hydration, for a different flavor profile and easier mixing. That would be perfect for sealing smoke pot lids!!!!!
  4. Yup. There's some flexibility here. Why did I go with three 1/8" holes on the first smoke pot? Too many holes, and more air gets in, the wood starts burning normally which we're trying to avoid. On the other hand, a single hole could get blocked by an unlucky arrangement of the wood chunks inside; the pressure would then lift the lid, and we'd again have the wood burning normally. Three holes is like NASA flying with redundant systems. It seemed a good balance, and it's worked out for many of us over the years. I seal my lid with flour paste. Much easier than it looks, and of debatable necessity. I did have other versions of lids come loose (stainless steel containers) ruining my cook. So I'm being cautious. And the flour paste has the romance of the Fez Medina; that's how they improve seals in Morocco. Above 275 F or 300 F the smoke pot can get out of hand. I have a picture somewhere of a six inch stream of flames coming out the bottom, from the gases igniting. This isn't our goal for normal cooks.
  5. Thanks. Only "for some reason" my next posts won't include the Vermicular Kamado base.
  6. Cosmetic! If you're cooking anything that could boil over, stay in the kitchen and don't let it happen. For example, don't let beans boil over and make a mess everywhere, just because you're worried about Phytohaemagglutinin. You're supposed to be in a Zoom meeting? Not a good excuse. Actually, a great excuse, but it won't affect the outcome. What you don't want to do is get liquid through the outer side vents into the electronics, while it's plugged in. This could trip your house circuit breaker, and kill the Kamado's power supply. There isn't a warranty seal on the Phillips head screws holding the base together. The base comes off easily. The electronics inside are very solidly built, with several submodules that Vermicular could easily swap out for an easy repair. There's no circuit breaker or fuse visible inside the unit. The coin lithium battery looks to be more easily changed than the battery in a Zojirushi rice cooker. At this price, one can imagine that if someone was this incredibly, inexcusably, "can't even fog a mirror" stupid, they'd find that Vermicular has exceptional customer service. This is all hypothetical, of course. I have an active imagination. I just wanted to take a look inside. However, I think I'll hold back on posting for a week or two, to let Mac have her day.
  7. My wood experiments long ago were too much for me, but they lead me to briefly making my own charcoal, then devising the smoke pot. It is worth studying how one traditionally makes charcoal. Wood is enclosed in a barrel over a small fire. As the wood heats, it starts off-gassing flammable volatiles through holes in the bottom, facing the fire. They ignite, and the fire is no longer needed. When these flames go out and the barrel cools, one has charcoal inside the barrel. In contrast, it is very hard to avoid nasty flavors while burning wood in the open. One ideally has two fires, one to prepare logs by initial burning, the second to burn "mature" logs for the actual barbecue. A truly advanced technique is to also use green wood in the barbecue pit itself, but that requires the correct equipment and experience. I have often wondered about creating chambers heated by natural gas, whose purpose was to heat wood until it off-gases these flammable volatiles. Now pipe this "wood gas" into a conventional oven with conventional controls. For example, Danny Meyers spent a small fortune outfitting the NYC barbecue restaurant Blue Smoke; the approach I'm suggesting would be well within his budget. It could perhaps even save money, as handling the smoke is a tricky part of getting permits for such a restaurant in a major city. The smoke pot is a more subtle, refined smoke but a definite flavor enhancement. Smoke becomes a spice to balance in harmony with other flavors. Once I showed my wife this choice, it was always barbecue this way or sleep on the couch! I believe that what I propose would work well in a restaurant.
  8. Tonight was Paula Wolfert's Tangier-style Harira, with Rancho Gordo chickpeas, and brown lentils. The fava beans are from our garden.
  9. Nothing comes close to a chamber vacuum sealer. Though were I doing it again I'd get an oil pump model, despite the higher routine maintenance and the increased weight. We keep ours in a middle shed, renovated to more "room" than "garage" status. The one issue is that these things don't work well cold; the chamber doesn't reach as full a vacuum. When I bought my first argon tank for preserving wine, the guy at AirGas politely called me an idiot seven times for not going to double the size tank. The costs were all the same. I kept explaining that it wasn't the money, I wanted to stay married. Then the tank ended up outside, near the chamber machine. When the tank ran out after a few years, I upgraded to the larger size.
  10. I have a good electric power washer, that I bought for maintaining an IPE deck. It revolutionizes BBQ grate cleanup. There's a bit of setup and teardown, but I'm outside puttering, I don't even notice. What I don't like is getting my hands greasy while scrubbing haphazardly at nooks and crannies, to poor effect. The power washer gets it done, better than I ever could by hand. We gave away our rotisserie long ago because it wasn't worth the cleanup. I'd consider one now.
  11. I bought 592 in September, 2009. Of course, they enter and leave the warehouse at random.
  12. When I Photoshop, I try to Photoshop with a wink. I guess I've stared at too many cold war photos with a shadow going the wrong way. Laurie thinks my Photoshop was too subtle. I very nearly bought one of the first Dennis KKs. I didn't understand the very interesting lineage, and misread them as copies. One can actually listen to Manfred Mann's Mighty Quinn. Dylan's original is wretched. Nevertheless, I think of the original as single malt scotch, the copy as Dewars. Boy did I get this wrong, but I made this right later.
  13. More on the "Men cook with fire" gender stereotype: I used to have a beach house share on Kismet, Fire Island. Each town is known for its excesses, and one can question my motives for needing to reveal the town. Cherry Grove had the best partying, and all were welcome as long as they weren't too insecure in clutching an opposite-sex partner's hand. Passion consumes everything on Fire Island. The best club alas burned down. This story is about fire. One Fall night I found myself alone in the house with a prominent motivational speaker; she traveled too much to make it out to the house much, but was finally free. A strong personality would be understating the situation. It was cold, we needed a fire. I assumed a bit too much control, setting the fire. It wasn't that I didn't believe women could light a fire as well as me. I didn't believe anyone could light a fire as well as me. Rather than protesting directly, she proceeded to describe the importance of fire in pottery. How in Japanese lore, a potter struggled for years to replicate a glaze desired by the emperor. He finally gave up, and threw himself into the fire. Oxygen restriction is now recognized as an important technique in developing glazes. As the story goes, the pots he died for came out exactly as he sought. Huh. I guess women do understand something about fire. I relayed this story to a Chinese scholar. She promptly corrected me that the original legend was from China. Of course.
  14. "Men cook with fire" gender stereotypes aside, women are a key presence here on this forum. The partner debate can go either way. I had to work on Laurie to get our first off-brand "Richard" K, which fell apart. Dekes can work. I had Laurie believing that I wanted to build a wood-fired pizza oven in the middle of our lawn. After a few years of kamado outdoor cooking, it was Laurie's idea to upgrade to a KK. We were both thrilled to speak with Dennis. I projected bonding with a kindred spirit who exemplifies OCD as a life force, a positive expression of the species. What else could explain the beauty of a KK? What did Laurie project? Um, err, um, let's just say Dennis has a gift best left unexplored. I was so happy to get the KK, I just watched Laurie's reaction with amusement.
  15. At one point I learned the classification of Parisian bread types. At one extreme there's the white flour, yeast-raised baguette that one really should snack on during the walk home, for it will already be stale on arrival. At the other extreme are higher extraction breads featuring rye and natural leavening, and they have the longest shelf life, even in the same form factor as a baguette. There's a similar continuum of sourdough effects. In San Francisco one expects sourdough to be sour. Not the Kaffir lime juice the Thais would use to clean engine parts, but sour. The French consider that a failing, mishandled sourdough. Sourdough should impart a more complex flavor, but by managing hydration and timing it need only be somewhat sour. Like smoke or breasts; if one is insecure about misidentifying objects of lust on the search for good BBQ, one wants obvious confirmation. The French are more subtle. I find that with some rye and some sourdough levain, my breads keep longer, even if I also add a bit of yeast. And the yeast offers insurance.
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