cowboyardee's Profile

Title Last Reply

Pre-searing steak before sous vide

1) I only post sear. It works well, and I'm too lazy to pre- and post-sear. There have been a few interesting tests of pre-searing vs post-searing vs both for sous vide meats. Here is one example:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/03/ho...
Generally speaking, pre-searing alone comes in last in these tests for flavor and appearance. OTOH, the biggest disadvantage of post-searing is the possibility of cooking the meat past bath's temperature, so make sure you rest meat for a little bit before searing it and use a pan that's hot enough.

2) No. Dude in the video is plain incorrect. I could see an argument for letting the steak cool enough that it's not making steam before bagging it... maybe. Anything beyond that doesn't make any sense, and should be technically a tiny bit riskier if anything.

3) Yes, I blot dry. Generally, dry meat browns faster. OTOH, a certain marinades - especially those that contain sugar - can sometimes be left on deliberately if you're grilling, and these can caramelize and form a glaze.

about 9 hours ago
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Introducing New Conversation Types

BTW, if you ask me, I still think the site-wide expansion of the Q&A format is a much bigger mistake than the heart icon (though I understand the frustrations of those who recommended against the heart in beta testing and were ignored).

about 10 hours ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk
2

Introducing New Conversation Types

I think something like the image below should have about the same advantages with perhaps less controversy:

about 10 hours ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk

Introducing New Conversation Types

A few thoughts so far:

The links and photo stories utilities are decent additions to the site. But I'm not sure why they are added as new kinds of 'formats.' It seems like it would have made more sense to just integrate those abilities into every thread. They don't seem like new formats in and of themselves as much as improvements to the abilities of thread starters to post pictures or links. As such, a small toolbar in the original post seems like it could allow for the same functions with less clutter. Again, not bad though, all in all.

I don't personally much care either way about the hearts, but if enough people hate em, then why bother sticking with em?

The Q&A format still seems like a trap for newer posters. "Well, I have a more of a question than a discussion, so I may as well use this." Didn't seem like it worked well enough in Food Quests to justify rolling it out site-wide. Could play out differently, I guess. But I'm not optimistic.

about 15 hours ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk
1

"Google it"

I sometimes link to a google search as a non-snarky way (at least not intentionally snarky) of providing some info. Image searches are especially useful. Here's an example of a post where I linked to a google search:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9719...

Sometimes it's apparent that another poster doesn't have especially good internet search skills and you're trying to help them out; sometimes it's apparent that another poster just doesn't know what to search for; sometimes a specific search just illustrates a point well.

Of course, it's also possible to link to google with snark intended.

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk
1

‘Food is Meant to Nourish, Not Entertain’

Did he just imply a raw diet prevents Lyme disease and cures brain cancer?

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

........

2 days ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
2

Chicken Stock - Pressing Pause?

Clostridium bacteria are indeed responsible for producing toxins, and also difficult to kill. But their enterotoxin itself can be denatured by boiling; the endospores (a dormant cell of the bacterium with a kind of shell that makes it hard to kill) are able to survive boiling temperatures. You've got it backwards. B. Cereus is also an endospore former that will not reliably be killed by boiling. It releases three different toxins, which might be more heat-tolerant than clostridium toxins.

Also of note, staph aureus (which is comparatively easy to kill) can release an enterotoxin that is stable at boiling temperature.

Most of this is academic though for one reason - taking something off the heat for just two or three hours before reboiling is simply not enough time for either the release of toxins or the multiplication of bacteria to dangerous levels. If the OP were debating whether to leave the kitchen for 6 or 8 or 12+ hours, heat stable toxins released by b. cereus or staph aureus would be a concern. But anything under 4 hours meets even the most stringent of kitchen safety standards.

Jul 23, 2014
cowboyardee in Home Cooking
1

Veal vs. Beef Demi Glace

probably pressured cooked oxtails, going from belgarath's previous post.

Jul 22, 2014
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Responsibility

On one hand, if people couldn't get bad advice on chowhound, there are a million other online sites where people will get the same bad advice. A lot of times, people are just looking to have their preconceived notions confirmed - if you're looking for that, you'll find it, on CH or elsewhere.

On the other hand, just because bad advice is widespread doesn't mean it should be condoned.

I agree with tcamp's post above - everyone thinks their own advice is sound, whether it is or not. Moderating away bad advice while keeping good advice is problematic - it makes CH moderators the arbiters of good vs bad advice. No offense to CH moderators who are surely about as capable of the job as the next guy, but no thank you.

The only reasonable solution is to allow or disallow certain topics entirely, regardless of whether the advice offered on said topic is good or bad.

Which topics?

I'm not bothered by food safety queries. It's easy and nearly inevitable that someone will post the USDA recommendations in those threads. And people will ignore those recommendations knowingly (which may or may not be a good thing). But the point is that the basic subject is simple enough that i don't feel as though those threads as a whole are particularly misleading, even if some of the advice given is problematic.

I'm also not bothered by discussion of nutrition recommendations. The biggest problem here is that most people think the evidence for their particular beliefs is stronger than it is. Nutrition is inherently an extremely difficult topic to study. But the subject is more or less on-topic for chowhound, and the ambiguity of the subject matter also kind of makes it a wash as to whether the information offered can really be all that dangerous. If you're gonna discuss nutrition in the first place, you're gonna deal with some uncertainty and risk. So be it.

I haven't seen too much in the way of dangerous suggestions about cookware or appliances. Most of the more dangerous procedures I can think of (messing with the self-cleaning cycle of your oven to cook at higher temperatures, deep frying turkeys in the back yard, etc) are usually prefaced with warnings about the danger. No harm, no foul. But I could just be missing the subjects people are talking about.

If anything bothers me, it's discussions of medications. These discussions are relatively off-topic for chowhound. And also, discussions of medications on CH almost always drastically over-simplify the issues surrounding a medication. This area, especially, is where I've seen some of the most dangerous advice. Wouldn't bother me in the least if any discussion of specific medications was banned on the site.

Jul 22, 2014
cowboyardee in Site Talk
3

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

Anything that can be easily and inconspicuously covered is appropriate.

That said, I've been arguing that 'no visible tattoo' policies are dumb for a coffee shop, and also that not enforcing the policy upon hiring or for 5 years afterwards creates an ethical problem when you suddenly decide to fire an employee. I don't really care to split hairs within a policy that I disagree with in the first place.

Jul 22, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
2

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

You haven't said anything smart enough to be patronizing people.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
2

WSJ: Study Finds Elementary Students Like New Healthier Lunches

I'm not claiming that students don't like the changes. But asking school administrators to speculate about student opinions isn't a particularly reliable way to find out.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
2

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

Your example of someone tattooing 'FUCK' across his forehead would have no legal recourse in the event he was fired even if there was no pre-existing policy about tattoos in place. No court would find him a victim of discrimination. It's a non-argument. You don't have to bother scouring the internet. You won't find any examples of that kind of blatantly offensive behavior protected in the workplace without a lot of extenuating circumstances.

Now, admittedly, these policies are less about protecting a company from outright vulgarity, swastikas, etc, than they are about providing guidelines in much grayer circumstances. But if you'll cede that Mr FUCKface is shit out of luck even in the absence of a tattoo policy, then perhaps it would be more helpful to quit appealing to burning crosses, blazing swastikas, or winged penises and discuss the real intention of the policy and whether that intention is justified.

This kind of blanket policy exists to give a company just a little extra leverage in the event that someone stretches a reasonable policy ('no garish tattoos') just a little too far (an arm tat or two slowly becomes a sleeve, then maybe a couple facial tats). It exists to free an employer from the expense of showing that an employee's actions actually hurt the company. In a somewhat unlikely and purely hypothetical lawsuit. That the employer would most likely win anyway.

You may think this is a fine thing for an employer to do. I think it's a poor reason to fire an employee of five years otherwise in good standing (and whose unobtrusive tattoo surely does not hurt the company) and an equally poor reason to exclude a large part of the population from employment. Throwing your employees under the bus when you have little to gain may be legal and it may be common. But it's far from commendable.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Bringing My Own Knife to Restaurants from now on. -_-

Because a sharp knife is just about always more fun to use than a dull one.

That said, a very sharp knife also causes less juice to drip out of the meat (even after resting). And it makes for a smoother surface on the meat which looks a little different and feels different in the mouth - kind of like well cut sashimi.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware
3

Using a steel on Japanese knives?

"If you look at the photo zackly posted, there is indeed an "asian knife" slot on his/her sharpener."
_______
You're right - I hadn't noticed that. Good catch.

It doesn't really change my opinion though. The biggest problem with that kind of sharpener is that it doesn't create a very sharp edge, whether the angle is 15 degrees or 20 or whatever. If you're gonna bother with Japanese knives, you might as well take advantage of their ability to take and hold extra sharp edges. JMHO.

That said, the OP never mentioned which Japanese knives he has. And as others have pointed out, some J knives are much different than others, so it's a bit hard to make generalizations.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

Using a steel on Japanese knives?

"Is there a good commercially available system that can sharpen all my knives, both Asian & European, easily and well and not cost a fortune?"
_______
Unfortunately, just about every sharpening solution involves some compromise between cost, learning curve, effectiveness, and versatility. If there was a cheap way to sharpen all knives very well that was also easy to learn, no one would bother with stones or expensive jigs like the Edgepro.

That said, you might get decent results out of something like the Spyderco Sharpmaker. It's moderately expensive. It's pretty slow to sharpen knives that are especially dull. And it only has a few set angles to choose from (though these should still suit your basic needs, even if they're not exactly matched to your particular knives). But on the upside, it's easier to learn than whetstones, much less expensive than jigs, and creates a pretty sharp edge when used regularly.

Here's a link to an older post comparing different sharpening methods by price, ease of use, speed, effectiveness, and versatility:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7971...
Might help. But there's no magic bullet.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

Someone winning a lawsuit on the basis that their (offensive) tattoo was punished while their coworker's (inoffensive) tattoo was allowed. The law already allows employers to use their judgment in these matters.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

Example please. I asked earlier in the thread for a single documented example of this someone winning a lawsuit on this basis. So far, none have surfaced. Existing employment laws are relatively clear that it is perfectly legal to fire an employee for an offensive act or gesture without a broad workplace policy already in place.

Much like your claim that unionization offers no benefits to employees, repeating a simple argument doesn't make it true.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Chicken Stock - Pressing Pause?

Even using the very conservative food safety standards recommended by the USDA, you would have up to 4 hours for food to pass from 140 degrees to below 40 degrees before there is any considerable danger. If you have a big pot of stock at a simmer, it would take a little while to drop below 140 in the first place... and then you would have several hours to reheat it above 140 with very little risk.

If you're stepping out for 'a couple hours,' cover the pot, reheat it upon returning home, and don't worry about it in the least.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Home Cooking
2

Bringing My Own Knife to Restaurants from now on. -_-

"I think restaurants set out dull knives for liability reasons."
______
I suspect it's more because weekly sharpening of a few hundred steak knives that are used repeatedly on ceramic plates is prohibitively expensive.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware
2

Is this tacky?

It wouldn't bother me to eat a pre-made meal as a guest in someone else's home.

It would bother me to serve a pre-made meal in my home. Why? I'm not really sure.

The takeaway: damned if I know.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics
2

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

Also free to unionize and demand a change to company policy using the leverage of collective bargaining.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
2

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

Managers use their discretion in all kinds of other circumstances, from other aspects of appearance (MGZ's swastika pin example) to personal hygiene to demeanor to job performance. What is it about tattoos specifically that calls for an inflexible policy?

"They would end up with 10,000 different standards."
_______
That's not necessarily a bad thing. A starbucks situated inside a business park or a hospital might have a different standard for employee appearance than a starbucks on a corner in Brooklyn. If you want un-inked employees in Brooklyn, you might have to bus em in.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

Since when is it a problem for employers to fire (most) employees on account of swastika tattoos just because the same employers allow inoffensive body art?

Employers have a great deal of latitude to fire non-unionized at-will employees (I don't know for certain, but I very much doubt a starbucks barista is in a union or has a contract guaranteeing her continued employment). It's perfectly legal to fire someone who gets an offensive tattoo while retaining employees with inoffensive ones.

Likewise, if I had a hand-drawn picture of my family on my office desk ('happy father's day, daddy'), that's no problem. If I had a hand-drawn depiction of some KKK shit on my desk I would be fired. Framed photo of my kid - fine. Photo of my boss pinned on a dartboard - fired. Why isn't anyone clamoring for an 'absolutely no pictures' policy to remove these gray areas? Why does the need to eliminate any possible ambiguity or discretion only apply to pictures you put on your body?

"And in the legal minefield that is today's employment law, you cannot have the orchid, insist the pinup stay covered, but ban the forehead tat and vice versa."
_______
Yes you can, AFAIK. Show me a single case of an American employee winning a lawsuit over action against his forehead swastika on the basis that his coworker's wrist butterfly wasn't likewise punished.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

"the lack of enforcement of a right or rule is not to be considered a waiver of that right or rule."
_____
Legally speaking, I'm not claiming otherwise. My point was that I think it's a little fishy that the company only decides to enforce the rule now, and it makes me wonder if they have some other reason for wanting her gone and are using their employee handbook as leverage.

And FWIW, ethically speaking, I do find this kind of delayed enforcement a little troubling.

Elsewhere in the thread, someone claimed that the issue is a new manager decided to enforce a rule that an prior manager did not. Could be.

Jul 21, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Pureeing the Myth of Sriracha Sauce

"I think quality products do not need to be marketed in this manner. "
______
Just to make sure I understand you correctly, by 'in this manner,' you mean:

In bottles. With a cap ostentatiously colored green rather than a more respectable corpse-gray. Along with a crudely drawn picture of a barnyard animal. And then placed on supermarket shelves.

Right? This is how they crush competitors beneath their marketing blitz?

Jul 20, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics
5

Using a steel on Japanese knives?

They won't do 'irreparable' damage. There are a few problems though.

For one, Japanese knives are often (but not always) made of hard steel and prone to chipping and micro-chipping. Using a grooved steel risks creating micro-chips along the knives' edges. Micro-chips aren't necessarily a big problem; they can even be useful in helping a dull edge continue to cut. But they do wear away metal more quickly than many sharpening methods, shortening the lifespan of the knife. And they don't cut as cleanly or as well as a nicely sharpened edge.

For another, the draw-through sharpener sets the edge angle on your knives at 20 degrees at the primary edge. This is more obtuse than most Japanese edges. This change isn't necessarily permanent and the edge angle can be changed back with a good reprofiling.

Also, since most Japanese knives will not roll their edge very often, especially not most Japanese knives sharpened at 20 degrees per side, it raises the question of why you'd need to use the sharpening steel in the first place. It's possible to use one to deliberately keep the edge of a knife a little jagged, which functionally keeps a dull edge cutting. But if you're not doing that, is all the steeling just done out of habit?

If you're happy with how your knives are working, then it's not much of an issue for you. The bigger question I always have for this kind of thing is why bother using Japanese knives in the first place if you're not going to take advantage of their properties? If Japanese knives are what you happen to have for whatever reason, and you're fine with how they're performing now, then I guess there's nothing to worry about. But if you're interested, you're knives could certainly be performing a lot better. Alternatively, Western-made knives would likely be more durable without many disadvantages given your sharpening methods.

Jul 20, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware
1

Pureeing the Myth of Sriracha Sauce

Well, if three of these guys showed up at my door, I'd probably do whatever they ask me to...

Jul 20, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics
4

Pureeing the Myth of Sriracha Sauce

"...crushing all individuated expressive hot sauces in its marketing path."
_____
You keep on mentioning their marketing.
Have you ever seen an ad for sriracha? On TV or print media? Heard one on the radio?

How do you figure they're a marketing juggernaut? It seems like you're just repeating it because you like the sound of it.

Jul 20, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics
4