Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
b

bkling's Profile

Title Last Reply

GE cafe induction cooktop: semi emergency decision

We've had a GE induction range for about 9 months and I really love it. Not precisely the same product as the cooktop but for what it's worth we'd buy it again.

May 21, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Help me shop for a Nakiri!

Try this one:

http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?i...

I have one and it's excellent. Also reasonably priced.

Mar 09, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Kitchen towels - am I just being OCD about this?

Funny how people don't seem to have much faith any more in the effectiveness of soap and water to sanitize things. I work in public health, and some of the most persistent and drug-resistant microbes are resistant to most chemicals used in hand sanitizers -- and what CDC recommends instead is lots of hot soapy water. So you're just fine.

Hottest home oven available?

You are very sure of yourself but completely wrong. It works very well. I'm not saying it matches a pizza oven in every way, but with a typical pizza stone on my 3-burner Weber gas grill, preheated for about 15 min, a thin crust pizza is done in 6-8 minutes (depending what's on it). The crust is nicely toasted but not burned, and the topping is nicely browned. Works every time. In cold or windy weather sometimes it takes a couple minutes longer, but it still works well. You have nice theories, but I have the nice pizzas.

And yes I have had wood-fired pizzas and know what they're like.

Mar 05, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Advice on knife sharpening

You can believe what Chem tells you, he knows what he is talking about.

I have stones in several grits but for normal kitchen use I've settled on using a 1000 or 2000 grit stone for primary sharpening, and a very fine black rod to polish the edge. (I like using the rod, but a $K or 5K stone would work just as well.) The rod is probably the equivalent of about 5000 or 6000 grit. This produces a really razor sharp edge. I know it is possible to get an even sharper edge, but I've found that when I do that the really really fine sharpness doesn't last that long in real world use. And the edge I can get with the simpler approach is truly excellent -- not perceptibly different than what I'd have even if I started with the finer edge, after I'd used it a bit.

Feb 26, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Probe thermometer not as foolproof as I thought. Huge temp variations.

Hard to tell if the results you're getting are that out of line without knowing more. For example, grilling a steak that started out frozen can produce a lot of variation in readings in my experience. So I'd suggest you test yours to get some idea of its accuracy. Fill a bowl with ice, barely cover with cold water and agitate for half a minute, then the water should read 32 or 33 degrees F. Then boil some water and see if the temp is about 212 F. If those are about right you'll know you're at least in the ballpark. Maybe you can wiggle the sensor around a bit (pressing against the side of the vessel perhaps) to see if you get any odd spikes.

Feb 10, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Most non-toxic cookware: Unglazed clay pan or 100% titanium coated pan?

Yes and don't forget choking hazards while eating. The truth is that if you're going to worry about trace element contamination from stainless cookware, you should recognize the much greater risk of choking and immediately assure that all food entering your mouth is in pieces no larger than a pea. Trouble is, how are you going to cut that up without using a tool to do so -- and what tool is 100% pure? What about a sliver of frozen 100% pure water? But what cutting surface? Anything made of wood is a swamp of horrible organics, not to mention bacteria.

And what about the risk of lung infection from inhaled food particles or fluids? It's true! Unlikely, but not nearly as unlikely as having any meaningful effects from stainless steel leaching. Really, the only way around that is IV feeding. But damn, the risks of infection at the IV puncture site are just horrible...

Feb 06, 2015
bkling in Cookware
1

What are you baking these days? Happy Valentine's Day February 2015 edition! [OLD]

I just made Madeleines for the first time, using the recipe allegedly from Bolud in the latest Bon Appetit. They are slightly over done and perhaps for that reason a bit dry. But even so it's hard to see what the big deal is about Madeleines. Anybody have a different opinion, perhaps a better recipe?

Feb 01, 2015
bkling in Home Cooking
1

Where to purchase Mattarello (Italian pasta rolling pin) preferably in the NYC area?

I have the cherry wood version.

Further on surfaces -- I do notice a difference between hand made and machine rolled pasta, so I guess the surface makes some difference. But all the hand-rolled pasta I've made, whatever surface I used, had more surface texture than the machine-rolled noodles.

Jan 29, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Where to purchase Mattarello (Italian pasta rolling pin) preferably in the NYC area?

It's not local, but Vermont Rolling Pins (http://www.vermontrollingpins.com/) has great ones. I have one and it's not only beautiful but just the right diameter and perfectly straight.

I've rolled pasta out on various surfaces including wood, formica, marble and now a textured granite (leather-like surface)counter top we got recently. It all works well and I haven't noticed much difference in the surface of the pasta. My impression is that as it gets thin and stretches further the dough doesn't really pick up direct impressions from the surface (or the rolling pin) to any great degree. If you thinned it mainly by leaning hard on the pin that might not be true. But I mainly use the technique of gradually stretching it horizontally along the rolling pin, which doesn't involve much downward pressure.

Have fun!

Jan 28, 2015
bkling in Cookware

What cooking gadgets changed your life?... Well at least your cooking?

My fine-point digital thermometer. Makes it so muck easier to cook meat just right, and has lots of other uses too like checking refrigerator temp (got a new one, wanted to make sure it was cooling to safe temp).

Jan 27, 2015
bkling in Cookware

induction vs electric stove top

Some have mentioned the glass top of induction ranges as a drawback because of cleaning/scratching. We use one of those thin silicon oven-bottom liners on the glass, and put the pots on that. The liner protects the glass and it's easy to clean. Stands up to the heat without problems.

Thin non-magnetic material of that sort does not interfere with the induction effect.

Induction is great. Also has been used in Europe for decades, so it's not really new or untested.

Jan 27, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Shun Knives - Cutting Bones

Here's another vote for those Tojiro-DP knives. Also available from chefknivestogo.com (no connection, just have ordered from them in the past). I have some very nice hand-made Japanese knives but also some T-DPs, and have also given the Tojiros to friends as gifts. They are really excellent, not difficult to sharpen, and priced right.

Jan 27, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Induction Hob at Costco

kaleokahu, I know you suspect this induction stuff is a scam but I hope you go ahead and use it for a while. You're right that fancier hobs have better controls but you can still get the idea for a pretty low price. And I think you'll find that induction is just a good way to make pots and pans hot and then let them cool when you want them to. A little different from gas but not much, and nothing to which one can't readily adapt. On a hot summer day, or if you can't get gas, a pretty good deal. Not the answer for everyone but a really valid option and not overkill any more than your legendary ancient microwave oven.

Jan 06, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Slow Cookers

This is not exactly on point, but I've wondered what the advantage of a slow cooker really is, maybe you folks know. I can't understand what the difference is between a slow cooker and a covered dutch oven in a 180 or 200 degree oven. Seems identical to me, except for adding one more appliance to my kitchen. But am I missing something?

Jan 02, 2015
bkling in Cookware

The myth of marble pastry boards

So if marble "wants to absorb" heat, the longer you keep your dough in contact with it, the colder it will get, right? Eventually absolute zero perhaps?

Actually, heat will flow from the warmer to the cooler object. Various factors dictate how rapidly that happens, but basic thermodynamics tell you this is true. If the dough is colder than room temp, any room-temp object in contact with it will tend to make it warmer. If the object has a relatively porous surface like wood, the heat transfer will be relatively inefficient. If smooth like marble, heat transfer will be more efficient. If the object is, like marble, relatively dense, that will also favor heat transfer. So if you have a piece of dough that is cooler than room temp, and you want it to stay cool, wood is a better surface from the point of view of temperature.

Jan 02, 2015
bkling in Cookware

Sous vide -- what should I cook first?!

In earlier posts she also minimized (incorrectly) the prevalence of botulism organisms and otherwise suggested food safety concerns are not a serious consideration in sous vide.

I totally get the point of accepting some risk to get something you value. When I was younger I did a lot of mountaineering that certainly increased my risks but produced experiences I valued. Just hate to see people get hurt from misinformation or carelessness. Have fun!

Dec 30, 2014
bkling in Cookware

Sous vide -- what should I cook first?!

Zero concern about food safety...

As others have said, you have every right to do whatever you want to yourself (and perhaps to your family, though perhaps that is a bit more complicated...) but no one should conclude that your point of view has any basis in science or statistics. I'm a public health practitioner and I can tell you botulism and other forms of food borne illness are not all that rare considering the fact that most people do most of the things needed to avoid it. I've known people who died from it, some children maimed for life (permanent kidney damage), and many people who at various points wished they had died it was so nasty. As another poster has pointed out, population-wide statistics systematically underestimate the risk to an individual doing a relatively high risk procedure like sous vide. Don't get me wrong, I think sous vide is great. But this idea that it is risk free is just another example of the Darwin effect at work. I suppose the rest of us should not complain about that...

Dec 29, 2014
bkling in Cookware

Raw Milk

Listeria

Dec 28, 2014
bkling in Home Cooking
1

No knead bread - large loaves and dutch oven size

You don't need to guess at baking time, especially if you have a fine probe thermometer. Just bake until internal temp in thickest part is about 200F.

Dec 24, 2014
bkling in Home Cooking

Help with osso buco recipe

If your large pot is about twice the size of the regular pot, and roughly similar in proportions (hiehgt-to-width) you'll be fine. I've done it. Once you have reached your target braising temp (e.g. very slow simmer) timing should be about the same.

Dec 23, 2014
bkling in Home Cooking

Help me! My pizza stone got covered with grease!

I left my stained stone in the oven when running the self-cleaning cycle, even though the oven directions said not to. It was on a middle shelf. Worked very well, no problems. Just a little gray ash to brush off.

Dec 03, 2014
bkling in Cookware
1

Am I the only one bothered by stuff like this?

No apology needed for being an info junkie. Though I'd say what you have here is data rather than information (which suggests data that has been meaningfully interpreted).

As to perspective, you are the one raising the issue and saying it bothers you. That's the issue of perspective and that's why it seemed relevant to me. You put those words in your mouth, not me.

Sorry if I sounded a bit frustrated but I hear a lot of this kind of thing in my work (in public health, not the stainless steel industry!). So many important issues (like the health effects of social determinants like poverty and childhood trauma) and so many well funded individuals obsessing about trace elements, discredited vaccine resistance, imaginary gluten effects, etc. So I do apologize for sounding intolerant. Sometimes, I am!

Dec 03, 2014
bkling in Cookware

Am I the only one bothered by stuff like this?

I doubt you're the only one because it is a source of ongoing wonder to see the health issues people obsess about. Only a minority of the population gets flu vaccine though over 30,000 people die from flu annually. That's 10 times the 9/11 mortality, every year. Increasing numbers of parents choose to believe celebrities and discredited hack researchers over massive scientific evidence by failing to immunize their children. A nurse returning from Africa, without any symptoms of Ebola, goes home to Maine and many people stop using the local hospital just in case the Ebola Nurse goes there.

If you read the article you cited you'll see that many foods naturally convey significant amounts of the trace metals involved. This very small study showed that transmission from SS pots is reduced after several uses but did not conduct enough tests to know whether there are also reductions after several dozen repetitions -- which is what really matters unless you use disposable stainless steel pots.

Be sure to stop eating all the foods which already contain these metals (peanuts, peas, oatmeal, milk chocolate...).

And be sure to read the toxicological and epidemiological journals for more small studies on speculative dangers that can inspire exaggerated concerns about things that sound bad but on which we don't really have much clear information. Have fun! And don't forget to ignore the really important things that do have health consequences.

And finally, continue to operate on the vague feeling that there must be something really wrong with whatever we're eating and drinking now -- in spite of record life expectancy outside of disadvantaged minorities. Don't have a balanced view that although the obesity epidemic tells us we need to change some important things about the way we eat, obsessing over speculative toxicological trivia really misses the point.

Have fun!

Dec 03, 2014
bkling in Cookware

cooked chicken left out

I've worked in public health, including food safety, for over 30 years. The comment below that you should be more concerned about pre-cooking than post-cooking handling is off the mark. Both can be a problem. The scenario you described is a perfect setup for bacterial growth in the chicken no matter what the red stuff is. The fact that you cook only to 140 degrees, instead of a higher temp like the recommended 165, increases the possibility of a problem.

It's funny how people think about risk. Of course you may be fine, but it's like crossing the street without looking very carefully. You'll get away with it sometimes but that doesn't make it smart -- especially since it's other people's wellbeing involved in this case, not just your own. Or like seatbelts for your kids -- most of the time you don't get into an accident. But someone who thinks they're not a good idea over the course of a driving career just isn't thinking. Same with this.

What are you baking these days? May, 2014 edition, part two! [Through May 31, 2014]

These days I'm baking bread on my gas grill. The bread isn't unusual, but my oven is out and using the grill as a substitute bread oven is new for me. It's been working out surprisingly well. When my new oven comes I may still use the grill during the heat of the summer.

I use a pizza stone on the grate, and a 9" by 13" pan upright (not upside down) on top of the pizza stone. I put the bread dough on a cookie sheet and, after the grill is partly preheated, put the cookie sheet on top of the pan and close the grill. The pan provides some insulation so that the hot stone doesn't burn the bottom of the loaf. Baking time is about 50 min for a peasant loaf made from ~6.5 cups flour. I cook it until the internal temp of the loaf is about 200F, monitoring the temp and adjusting as needed to stay below about 425F. The crust is good even though I don't spray it with water or take other measures to humidify during baking.

May 19, 2014
bkling in Home Cooking
2

Can you identify this rolling pin's purpose in Life?

Reminds me of a roller I have for putting lots of little indentations in pizza dough to reduce formation of big bubbles in the pizza as it cooks.

Jan 03, 2013
bkling in Cookware

Long Pasta Rolling Pins

For a long time I never understood why Italians used such long (~ 3-4 foot) rolling pins for pasta. I looked online for videos and saw chefs using shorter pins and leaning hard on them as they rolled out the dough. So I also wondered how the little old Italian ladies I had seen in pictures, holding rolling pins nearly as tall as they were, could muster the strength to roll out thin pasta dough. Then I finally saw a video -- it happened to be on the Vermont Rolling Pins site -- showing the real thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfGzuA...

To give credit where due, the link came from:

http://vermontrollingpins.com/shop/pa...

This method involves little downward pressure and the gradual stretching of the dough horizontally along the pin as it is rolled and unrolled -- thus the need for a longer pin. It's easy once you've done it a few times. Sometimes a little supplemental rolling with pressure is needed at the end, but not much.

Once I saw this I went to Home Depot and got a 3' length of 1.25" dowel to try it out. Worked fine but then of course I wanted a really nice pin and ended up getting the cherry wood pin from Vermont. Very very nice, and about 1.75" in diameter, which helps. But the main point is, this revolutionized my pasta making (yes, I know, big news...) It's much quicker than doing the same amount with a pasta rolling machine, and you don't have to clean/store a machine when you're done. The pasta has a slightly rougher texture and holds sauce a bit better, too. Finally, because I was used to the output of a pasta machine I used to trim the hand rolled dough into rectagles, wasting some. Then I realized it does no harm to just fold up the circular dough (or half of it, if it's a large piece) and slice it up. Little or no waste.

Anyhow, I wonder how many others are avoiding hand-rolling of pasta because they are as misinformed as I was about how it's really done.

Dec 24, 2012
bkling in Cookware

Why won't my bread rise?

I bake bread regularly, too, and once in a while have a yeast failure. I have found if that happens I can knead some rapid-rising yeast into the dough, and it will then rise normally and things will be fine. Takes a bit longer, but you can save the batch that way.

Are you using rapid-rising yeast or active dry yeast? Only the former works reliably when mixed in with the dry ingredients before the water is added. Active dry yeast must be hydrated first in warm (not hot) water. Also, either kind can be killed if the water is too hot. You don't want it warmer than body temp. But cold water definitely will not hurt the yeast. Some very excellent recipes actually use ice water to no ill effect.

In past decades (makes me sound old...) when I thought packaged yeast was less reliable I'd always proof it with a little warm (not hot) water and enough of the flour to make a batter. Then I'd wait a few minutes until I saw some bubbles, and throw it in with the rest of the ingredients. Once you see that the yeast is alive, you'll be fine.

None of the ingredients mentioned in other posts, when used in edible concentrations, will kill yeast. Salt can slow it down but you'd have to put in way too much salt to actually kill it. The only caveat with salt is to be sure you don't happen to put the yeast right next to the salt in the bowl, exposing the yeast to very high salt concentrations when water is first added. Mix the salt into the flour before adding the yeast to avoid that.

Dec 24, 2012
bkling in Home Cooking

Turkey Left Out Overnight or Longer - Would YOU Eat It?

I run a local health department and am up to date on food safety issues, and agree that home kitchens need not do everything required of commercial ones. At the same time, some of the posts here are based on ignorance. Once cooked anything is exposed to bacteria in the environment. A turkey that has been served has also been exposed to all those who touched or sneezed on it -- some common nasty GI diseases are very readily spread in this way, and your guests may be contagious but not yet sick. None of these are going to get you every time, or even half the time. But if you do this every year you just need to ask yourself if you want to be remembered in your family as the one who made everyone so sick.Those who feel immune are kidding themselves.

In commercial settings they are (at least in this state) allowed to keep adequately cooked meats (for poultry, cooked to internal temp of 165F or higher) at room temp for up to 4 hours but then must discard it. That's not a bad guideline for home, though you could stretch it a bit. 48 hours is asking for trouble.

One other point. I agree that life cannot be risk free. In fact, some of my best experiences have involved interesting risks. But the risk was balanced by some benefit like a good experience. Letting food sit out for hours is not interesting, just lazy. Put it in the fridge, or out in the garage if it's cold and your fridge is full. Or cut the meat off the carcass and bag it -- any fridge has room for that. It's one think to savor risky but valuable experiences. It's another thing to get sick from laziness or ignorance.

Dec 24, 2012
bkling in General Topics