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Possible for very rich stock to over thicken a gravy?

I just made a stock that is literally like jello in the fridge. Before cooling it was of course very thin. I'm concerned that if I follow the amount of starch thickener I might get too thick of a gravy once it cools just a little bit. Is that possible? Should I cut back on thickener a tad or keep it the same? Thanks!

Nov 25, 2013
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving cocoa beach restaurants

Hope it's not too late to chime in. I highly recommend Pineda Crossing. I've had many a holiday meal there and it's always been quite good.

Nov 24, 2013
slopfrog in Florida

Do you shop at Aldi's?

We moved a couple years ago to a location where there isn't an Aldi anywhere close, and I miss it terribly. I saved at least $100 a month shopping there, and although some items were hit and miss, some are surprisingly very good. They have pretty good German candies and chocolates, for example. Most of all I miss the dairy prices - for awhile they were selling a gallon of milk for $1.79! And I think the heavy cream was about a third of the price of publix.

Nov 24, 2013
slopfrog in Chains

Olive Garden's "Buy one - take one" promotion

I'm embarrassed to say that at one time of my life I actually did occasionally eat there, and what struck me about the leftovers was that any sauce they had would instantly break upon reheating. It would literally become pools of grease upon glops of curdled cheese upon heaps of the most tasteless, mushy pasta. It was disgusting. I can't imagine someone actually wanting a whole separate meal "to go."

Nov 24, 2013
slopfrog in Chains

Papa John's... Is it a cultural thing?

To me it's the best of the corporate pizza chains, which isn't saying much. At least it actually tastes like something, unlike dominos whose cheese especially tastes like nothing. Pizza Hut has flavor but i find them to be all the wrong ones. The crust reminds me of greasy crumbs pressed together and it's terribly oversauced with that acrid and off flavor red goo.

I prefer smaller places, but even those are often terrible too. You know, the places where the grease just pools up on the slices and the whole thing is limp like a wet noodle.

Anymore, I just order pizza to feed a lot of people cheaply or when we are very lazy and don't want to go anywhere or cook.

Nov 24, 2013
slopfrog in Chains

Blow Torches and Turkey Skin

Don't let the naysayers get to you. I guarantee I could go to any of their birds and find a place where the skin isn't crispy. between the leg and body, the elbow crook, etc. It's inevitable given the geometry of the bird.

I would be very careful about going too far with the blowtorch, it'll go from nice and golden crisp to singed in an instant. Go for it but err on the side of conservatism.

For what it's worth, I'm going to be using a 1500F heat gun to touch up my bird. I used to use a blowtorch on all kinds of stuff, but when they quit making the special fuel canister mine needed I got ticked off and haven't bought another since I ran out.

Nov 24, 2013
slopfrog in Home Cooking

The mystery of (common) whelks: how long to cook them?

I gotta give you credit, I've lived along the Indian River my entire life and never have I seen someone come up with a decent way to use hardheads, whelks, or sting rays. Pretty darn creative and I applaud you for thinking outside the common belief that these items are inedible.

Nov 24, 2013
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Capon - spatchcocked and dry cured?

I've only ever cooked turkey by spatchcocking and dry curing for three days in the fridge. Then I tuck the wings under and slice the leg tendons so the leg meat doesn't get "cooked tight."

I don't see why this wouldn't work for capons, but I can't find reference on the Internet to anybody actually having done it this way.

Am I off my rocker for wanting to do it this way?

Nov 23, 2013
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Restaurant Quality Steak (ribeye)

I always hear about getting a cast iron skillet super hot, like as hot as you can possibly get it, and then searing the steak in it. But every time I've tried this, I end up with a crust that is straight up BURNT and raw just an 1/8" deep. So obviously the skillet was way too hot. I've never understood why this is recommended.

Feb 26, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Tempering Chocolate

What vessel are you using to temper the chocolate in? If you heated it up in a big earthenware or glass bowl, that may be retaining a bunch of heat.

Feb 26, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Using a wok on an electric stove -- is this truly doable?

If it is a carbon steel wok then it should work fine.

Feb 18, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Why isn't my SS cookware magnetic?

I couldn't say one way or the other. I would assume that the percent of heat coming from hysteresis vs. inducted currents is a complex function of the appliance's metallic makeup, geometry, and also of the frequency and intensity of the AC inductor. To determine how they all play together to make what percentage of heat would require a specialized engineer.

Feb 18, 2011
slopfrog in Cookware

Why isn't my SS cookware magnetic?

I'll also try to answer a little bit about the induction heating issues. I am not an electrical engineer either, but this is it as I understand it:

An induction "burner" creates a rapidly changing electromagnetic field. The changing back and forth of this field induces an electric current in conductors like metal. This is the principle by which generators work. You spin a magnet within a coil of wire, and you get electricity out of it.

When have an electric current flowing, you will create heat. If you've ever felt the cord of your vacuum cleaner after using it a while, you will notice it is warm. The electricity flowing through the metal in the wire is making heat because the wire has resistance to the current. This is also how an electric burner element works, except it has a very high resistance intentionally to make heat -- your vacuum cleaner's manufacturer was just cheap and used a thin wire.

So any metal will get warm from the rapid changing of an electromagnetic field around it. But that's not the whole story either. A magnetic field forming, collapsing, and reforming within the metal creates heat by something called magnetic hysteresis. This can only occur in materials with a high magnetic permeability (to keep it simple for us, that just means a magnet will stick to it.)

So a pan that has a lot of martensite, ferrite, or other magnetic material in it will get heated both by the current and by the hysteresis -- creating a pan that heats quickly and gets hot on an induction range. An aluminum pan, on the other hand, will only be heated by the current, so it won't get as hot as fast. Of course, a manufacturer could put a layer of carbon steel surrounded by an austenitic stainless steel to get the corrosion resistance of austenite while still getting a pan that heated very nicely over an induction range.

Feb 17, 2011
slopfrog in Cookware

Why isn't my SS cookware magnetic?

Magnetism in stainless steels is often misunderstood by most people. I am not a metallurgist, but I will do my best to explain the reason for the various magnetic behaviors in stainless steels.

All stainless steel may look pretty much the same to the naked eye. However, on a microscopic level they are quite different. There are lots of little crystals, each with their own structure of how they are put together. There are three main types of these structures in stainless steel. They are called austenite, ferrite, and martensite.

By far the most common stainless steel is "austenitic." This just means it has mostly austenite in it. When you see 18/8 or 18/10 listed for the steel, it is telling you how much Chromium / Nickel is in the steel. The first number means 18% chromium, and the second means 8% or 10% nickel. The nickel is the key to making austenite. Both of those common steels are therefore austenitic. (You may have heard of types 304 and 316 steel... they are pretty much the same thing as 18/8 and 18/10.)

Austenite is quite soft, at least as far as steels go, and is paramagnetic. That just means it doesn't get magnetized or a magnet won't stick to it. On the plus side, austenite is very tough (hard to break, it doesn't shatter, it bends and smooshes) and is extremely resistant to corrosion.

Ferrite isn't really all that important when worrying about stainless steels found in the kitchen. But it is stronger than austenite, less corrosion resistant, and is ferromagnetic. That just means it gets magnetized and a magnet will stick to it.

Martensite is an extremely hard phase of stainless steel. It is very hard, but also very brittle and not very tough. (Think of it sort of like glass. It is very hard -- thats why it dulls your knives on a glass cutting board -- but will shatter if you hit it.) It is very susceptible to corrosion. Most kitchen knives are made from martensitic stainless steel. They do this so that the knife gets sharp and stays sharp. If you were to try to make an austenitic kitchen knife, it would never get very sharp and would be dull after a short while. But as you probably know, a kitchen knife rusts much easier than an 18/10 stainless pot. Martensite is ferromagnetic, so the magnet sticks to it.

So that explains why a magnet will stick to your stainless steel knife but not to your stainless steel pot.

That begs the question: why do some austenitic steels have a magnet weakly get attracted to them? It's because the metal is never made up of just one phase. It's a mix of different ones. The more ferrite and martensite that is present, the more the magnet will stick. You can also form ferrite and martensite from "cold working" austenite. If you sat and hammered on your 18/8 pot for a long time, you would notice that your magnet sticks to the hammered area better than it first did. You would also notice that the area you hammered would be more susceptible to corrosion. Since nickel is what stabilizes austenite, it would be harder to do with an 18/10 pot than your 18/8 pot.

Since the more magnetic the stainless steel is, the more susceptible to corrosion it is, if you go shopping for pots you can see what is attracted to a magnet and what's not. Even amongst pots that claim to be of the same alloy, you will see that some are more magnetic. That is because they were cold worked when they were made. They are more likely to get corroded over time.

Feb 17, 2011
slopfrog in Cookware

Using a wok on an electric stove -- is this truly doable?

A flat bottomed wok will work, but it never gets quite hot enough. I cook with mine on the highest setting.

One day I will have a house with gas dang it!

Feb 17, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

What to do with Quinoa?

Broth instead of water. Use butter and some salt too (if the broth doesn't have it) as you would for rice. A lot of the quinoa boxes don't say to use any fat or salt in the preparation, but that's omitted because of the food weirdos who seem to be oddly attracted to quinoa.

Red quinoa is a lot different from brown quinoa. Brown gets light and fluffy, but red stays more dense and firm. I like both.

Feb 15, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Favourite vegetarian main dish?

I'm sure that real Parmigiano Reggiano is made with animal rennet, but there are vegetable/microbial rennets available on the market. I bet there are hard grating cheeses similar to it that are made with them instead. I'm not a strict vegetarian so I am not sure though.

Feb 12, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Favourite vegetarian main dish?

For me the problem with most vegetarian meals is that they leave me hungry and then craving meat two or three hours later. There are a couple meals that absolutely fill me up and satisfy:

Paneer Tikka Masala is one. This stuff is really hearty. I like the Raghavan Iyer recipe in "660 Curries" but there are lots on the internet. It's really not that hard to make.

"Lisa's Mushroom Burgers" are really good too. The trick is the chopped mushroom that is then made like a meatball/meatloaf. Those grilled portobello mushroom caps passed off as burgers are disgusting to me because they always get soggy and slide off the bun. You can see the recipe at http://www.weheartfood.com/2008/10/li...

Feb 12, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

best soft drink ever

Am I the only one who enjoys the cloyingly sweet taste of HFCS vs. sucrose? I love how the sweetness sticks to my tongue, almost like honey.

Come to think of it, honey sweetened sodas would be very interesting, and also very expensive. Has anyone ever seen one of these?

Feb 12, 2011
slopfrog in General Topics

GMO [split from Home Cooking]

I didn't have time to read all the posts, but nothing about GMO keeps me away. People have been breeding plants and animals to select for desirable genetics for millenia.

GMO has nothing to do with unhealthy food additives (not that all FAs are unhealthy), or carcinogenic pesticides, unsustainable farming, raw food movements, or anything like that. Somehow, probably through scientific illiteracy, it has all been grouped together.

Feb 08, 2011
slopfrog in Food Media & News

Hungry Girl Show on the Cooking Channel

It's not that bad of a show. Don't get me wrong, it's not the food that I want to eat in my house, but I'm not dieting either.

I think that most people on a diet don't care about general health. They want to lose weight. And the only way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you expend. So for people who are not very good at cooking or are rather uncreative, the show teaches them some very easy recipes to potentially satisfy a craving at home rather than trying to repress it, eventually losing the battle, and running out to the store. And if it's really easy to make, then it means the dieter is more likely to comply.

So I see the niche. It's one part diet food and one part Sandra Lee.

Feb 08, 2011
slopfrog in Food Media & News

Creme Brulee- need flavor options. Never made before, need suggestions!

Go with vanilla. And not some lame soft-serve vanilla flavor. Use the bean -- the good stuff is arguably the most complex and wonderful flavor known to man.

My advice would be to use the water bath method. Do not use any egg whites, only yolks. Temper the eggs way more slowly than you think you need to. Strain the mixture before you bake it. Don't put the sugar on too thick or it will stay grainy on the bottom while the top burns.

It's really not hard and tastes amazing.

Feb 08, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Friday work breakfast? Baked goods?

When we do "morning feeds" at work, the biggest hit is always biscuits and gravy. An electric skillet works perfectly and is easy to bring in to work. Buy good breakfast sausage, and use whole milk. A gravy flour is actually useful here because there will be some degree of moisture still lurking about after you cook the sausage. Speaking of which, don't be cheap with the amount of sausage.

Homemade biscuits are best of course, but I find that the brand name canned biscuits work good for this. Make them at home the night before or morning of.

My favorite part of this is that if you eat these for breakfast, you won't need lunch. That's a reason all the truckers eat it.

Man I want some right now!

Feb 08, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Knife Sharpening at home [moved from Boston board]

I'd like to see a pic of an edge sharpened by hand that looks as good as those I linked to. Maybe there is somebody out there who can do it, but I've never seen anything close. Convince me.

Feb 08, 2011
slopfrog in Cookware

Knife Sharpening at home [moved from Boston board]

That's awesome. I love old machines. They just don't build 'em like they used to. At least not at a price most outfits can afford. I keep hearing rumors that there is a HUGE mill on the installation I work at. Supposedly it came off a World War II destroyer and is the size of a large room. All manual of course. I really want to see it.

Machining by hand is a rapidly dying art. One of the reasons I love old Swiss rifles. The things are put together like fine watches, and its almost all handmade. The tolerances and finishes are amazing. I don't think they could be built that way today.

Feb 08, 2011
slopfrog in Cookware

Knife Sharpening at home [moved from Boston board]

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if anyone thinks they can hold an angle better than an Edgepro, they are wrong. These devices receive rave reviews from the blade experts. Some of the edges they post pics of are incredible.

Some of these pics are nuts. Some are before/after: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sho...

Now I don't know that you'd want a mirror polish on a kitchen knife. A rougher finish probably would slice better. But you will still absolutely benefit from a 100% consistent angle.

Furthermore, you can control the angle of the edge. So if you need sharper, but less durable, such as a filet knife, you can do it. If you want to sharpen your cleaver at some real thick angle, you can do it. No practicing, no screw ups, no inconsistency, and you get to pick what works best for your application.

Can you get by with a stone and hand sharpen it? Sure. It will work fine for cutting vegetables. But if you want the best edge for a minimum amount of effort, the edgepro is one of the best choices you can make. And the Edgepro Apex 5 comes with some really nice waterstones if you want to really polish that blade up.

Feb 07, 2011
slopfrog in Cookware

Menu help - What do you serve with Mac and Cheese?

FRIED CHICKEN!!!

Feb 07, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

My Dinners Are Going Downhill, Help!

Sounds to me like you made a few recipes that weren't worth a crap and it shook your confidence.

There are plenty of recipes in books that absolutely suck, including ones from big name TV chefs. You could follow that recipe perfectly and it would suck. Which isn't so much a reflection of your ability, but an indication that you have blindy placed faith in something you shouldn't have. When you were cooking them did you feel like something wasn't right? Like the recipe wasn't going how you thought it would? If so, your intuition was probably right...

Feb 05, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

how long does stock keep in the frig?

I've consumed 2 week old stock plenty of times. It's never tasted bad, smelled bad, or made me sick.

Jan 21, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking

Frozen Fish

You certainly get what you pay for with frozen fish. I swear the cheap stuff comes from the "fresh fish" at the markets which don't sell... so right before it goes bad they freeze it. I can't say for sure, but that's my suspicion and I'm sticking to it!

Flash frozen fish done at sea can be very good though. Certainly better than a "fresh" fish that has been sitting on ice for 3 days.

The suggestion of buying good fresh fish and then freezing it yourself is a good idea too. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, then what I like to do is put a sheet of parchment paper on an aluminum half sheet pan. This goes in my deep freezer with the fish on it. It usually freezes quickly. I use a misting bottle to spray a mist of water all over the fish. I let it freeze and do 3 or 4 coats. Then I flip it over (that's why you put it on parchment) and do 3 or 4 coats on that side. I then put it in a bag. You now have IQF fish that defrosts quickly and doesn't get freezer burned nearly as easily. If you want it to last a REALLY long time, then you can freeze it in a solid block of water inside a tub or big plastic bag. I have eaten 2 year old fish this method and it was still decent. It is an absolute beast to defrost though!

Jan 19, 2011
slopfrog in Home Cooking