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motownbrowne's Profile

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Wedding brunch: biscuits and Gravy for 50, suggestions?

I have a pretty good amount of experience cooking for groups, especially breakfast, but mostly informal. I have been asked to make biscuits and gravy for the morning after the wedding of two of my friends. I am wondering about how much gravy y'all think would be appropriate. Normally I would just err on the side of having too much, but I am working on a budget, so having less left over seems like a good idea. I am thinking two biscuits per person, and I'm guessing about 6oz to a cup of gravy per plate. Does this seem reasonable? I am also serving a small portion of fruit and scrambled eggs. Also, any other suggestions, favorite biscuit method perhaps?

Jul 29, 2011
motownbrowne in Home Cooking

Dumb question about boiling eggs

and it saves energy too. I don't know why one would leave the burner on and risk cracking/over-cooking when you can save some energy and get perfect eggs every time.

May 30, 2011
motownbrowne in Home Cooking

Bean hole beans

I'm making baked beans in a huge cast iron cauldron buried in the ground with coals. I want to add some wild boar rump roast and beef chuck roast. Any suggestions? I've never attempted this before, but I think it will turn out. I soaked the beans last night, and so far I'm proceeding with baked beans as usual, in the oven, that is, to give them a head start while I wait for the coals to be ready. mostly I'm looking for suggestions on the meat portion, should I precook the meat, just brown it? What do you guys think. I'm planning dinner for 10-20 tonight, and in addition to the bean pot and a big salad from the garden we are going to do bread with liver pate from a steer some friends shot yesterday and ice cream from fresh jersey milk with strawberries and maple syrup for sweetner. I'm pretty excited, but lots of work in the kitchen (and back yard) today, how many recipes start with "dig a hole about 18 inches deep and 24 inches across"? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Ryan

May 30, 2011
motownbrowne in Home Cooking

Dumb question about boiling eggs

I don't know the answer to your question, but I will tell you that I haven't experienced any problems with hard-boiling eggs since I switched to the method I saw in Cooks Illustrated, which is: add eggs to cold water, bring to boil, turn pan off and let sit for 10 minutes. Perfect eggs every time I have made them, which has only been three times, but so far I'm batting 1000.

May 30, 2011
motownbrowne in Home Cooking

Yet Another Cast Iron Topic

I have to disagree with the suggestion for bacon, especially on a new lodge, which have a rougher surface, perfect for the bacon residue you mentioned to cling to. I have cooked bacon for years on my old grisworlds and wagners, and even with those smoother surfaces and a really good, sharp spatula and the pan still at temp, the goo is hard to get off without washing. Not to say that you shouldn't ever wash cast iron, and not to say that you shouldn't ever cook bacon in your cast irons either, but I have found that the cumulative seasoning on my pans increase in quality once I started cooking my bacon elsewhere, namely in a copper/stainless mauviel, or all-clad pan, which clean much more easily. I think that if you are trying to improve the existing seasoning, stick to things cooked at high temp in oil that don't leave a residue, things like sauteed veggies, eggs, cornbread, fried chicken, etc. and avoid things that will require you to wash the pan, like steaks, bacon, etc. Also, I mentioned a sharp spatula above, and in my opinion, a good spatula makes a world of difference. If you have a sub-par spatula and can't effectively scrape the bottom of the pan during cooking the residue will build much more readily, requiring more aggressive cleaning, whereas a thin, flexible, metal spatula with a square edge that makes good contact with the surface of the pan will allow you to use the pan with fewer washings. That's just my two cents. Enjoy the new pan.

May 26, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Knife arsenal

Thanks, I agree, it is amazing. I must admit I sort of stumbled onto it. I spent the better part of a few days looking longingly at CKTG before I called Mark up with a few questions. He had a 240mm Takeda in the "seconds" section, but I was in the market for a 270, so I was looking pretty closely at the Moritakas. Then Mark happened to mention that he had two 270mm Takeda Gyutos that were also seconds because of the finish so I got it for about $200. Now it seems that the price has gone up on the Takedas, so I'm glad I got in when I did. By the way, I've read a little bit about quality control issues from Moritaka. Petek, have you seen anything that didn't live up to your expectations from them? I am interested in their knives because it looks like they take the AS up to 65 HRC, which sounds like fun to use.

Apr 22, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Knife arsenal

When you say "street price" I imagine someone with a trenchcoat approaching me while I'm feeding a parking meter and looking shiftily from side to side before asking "hey man, you need a cleaver?" I just thought I would share that image with you all. Is there another online retailer that sells them cheaper, or is Chinatown the way to go?

Apr 22, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Knife arsenal

-10.5 inch Chicago Cutlery 44S Chef's knife, circa 1980 - work horse, easy to maintain, easy to replace so I don't worry about it too much.
-270mm Takeda Aogami Super Steel Gyuto - amazing knife, just got into japanese non-stainless steel, and I'm not going back
-Tanaka Aogami Nakiri - great knife for the price, factory edge and finish was so-so, but for the price, it's a steal
-Kiwi Brand Nakiri- incredible knife. Cheap soft stainless steel, but the blade is so thin that it just glides through vegetables and a couple of passes over a steel is all I've ever done to it.
-3" paring knife from a garage sale, worth every single one of those 75 cents
I also have a couple of Cutco knives (gifts, I promise), a slicer, which works great as a bread knife, and a "vegetable knife" which is a large nakiri style knife. The vegetable knife is alright, but it is too heavy and thick for what it is supposed to be, it does however get used occasionally for a job I don't want to do with a nicer knife. I don't own a meat cleaver and the veggie knife works for that. That's what the warranty is for, right?

If I get more I will grab a CCK 1303, and then maybe some old american carbon steel knives.

Apr 22, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Dogs and Chicken [split from Cookware]

I don't have the complete answer to your question, but dogs eat all sorts of nasty stuff that would probably infect us. For example, dogs eat the feces of all sorts of other animals including their own, and frequently drink out of water sources that we could not. I have never heard of a dog getting giardia, though I will say that in typing giardia into the google bar to ascertain the appropriate spelling, I did find that dogs can contract giardia, but it is usually asymptomatic. I don't know why, but it seems that dogs can handle a lot more gastronomical challenges than we can. I know a newfoundland (who weighs 165) who is fed a raw diet mostly consisting of meat, but his favorite food is the roadkill deer carcasses he brings home and lets sit in the sun for a few days before enjoying. Anyway, I would be interested in why dogs can do all of these things and not us. Maybe there is a way we can build up our digestive tract to handle things that would make most people sick.

Mar 11, 2011
motownbrowne in Not About Food

Griswold Skillets--Values vs. Prices?

I have seen one of the eggs and bacon skippers you are referring to. I wasn't too impressed, the one I saw didn't appear to be made that well (namely the surface seemed rough). I would also mention that bacon takes considerably longer to cook than eggs, so having part of the pan set aside for eggs while the bacon is cooking seems silly. I think that part would get too hot if you weren't careful. I think you should just get two regular shaped skillets, one for your bacon, and one for your eggs. Of course, if you think the pan is neat or would look cool with the rest of them, and it is a good deal, then why not?

Mar 09, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Griswold Skillets--Values vs. Prices?

I see, thanks for the info. The history of the Griswold logo is really fascinating. I have seen some really beautiful pieces. I don't own any prior to the cross logo, i.e. the diamond or just the word "Erie", but I always have my eyes open. I did see an "Erie" number 10 recently that was in pretty good shape considering its age, but I think the dealer wanted at least 100 dollars for it. Although I like the idea that the pans I have found on the cheap are collectible, and certainly would love to see more hanging in my kitchen, I just couldn't justify the price, especially when I already have a number ten that I love.

Mar 09, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Griswold Skillets--Values vs. Prices?

I'm sure other folks will chime in, but I would say that there are probably some great skippers at a good price there. Grizzlies were made over a great period of time, and not all of them are the same. It is pretty easy to determine which era a pan is from by looking at the there is extensive info online about all of the logo, but for starters, you will probably see griswolds with round logos with a cross in the center that says griswold. If the logo is large, or has slanted lettering, it is pretty old, somewhere in the earlier part of the last century, with the newer ones having smaller logos. The older pans are more sought after, and command a higher price but both the large logos and small logo pans I have are great. Later in the century the quality is said to have gone down and griswold was eventually bought by Wagner. I understand that these pans are less desirable, and start to show the beginnings of what some people don't like about new cast iron, namely unfinished cooking surfaces and heavier, thicker designs. I would recommend finding a nice looking pan that is older, sits flat, has a smooth bottom free from pitting, and with minimum carbon buildup on the sides of the pan. Such a pan will be a good deal at 35 dollars, and if it is a less collectible pan may be even cheaper. Most of the griswolds I have are small logos and I like them a lot. Currently my two favorite pans are my numbers 7 & 10 wagners, which were made sometime prior to the switch to the wagnerware logo. These pans are of the older thin steel breed, and I can say that I don't notice any uneven heating, even in the large one, which some folks say can happen with the older thinner pans. Good luck finding a nice one, if they have several I'm sure you'll find one

Mar 08, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

any experience with knives from Japanwoodworker

Thanks for the info, I really like the Tanaka Nakiri that I have, and I don't mind that the fit and finish isn't perfect. I do think that the blade is maybe a touch thick, but certainly not bad. I think in the future I will have to check out the tosagata blades, too. i definitely like the way that the hard carbon steel holds an edge

Mar 05, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

any experience with knives from Japanwoodworker

I am wondering if any of you own or have used any of the knives from Japanwoodworker? I am specifically interested in these:
http://www.japanwoodworker.com/dept.a...
Many of them claim to be either white or blue steel tempered to 63 HRc, clad with soft iron. If that is the case, they would seem to be an incredible deal. I am assuming that the fit and finish is not fantastic, but even if the blades need a bit of work, it seems like a great price on some good japanese steel. Maybe I'm missing something here. Please let me know if you have used these knives of know of any reviews from someone who has.

Mar 04, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

A Henckels that costs more than my car

does anyone own any of these knives, or know where any are reviewed? Some of them claim to be either white or blue steel individually tempered to 63 HRc. If that is the case, a 35 dollar knife straight from Japan with aogami steel is a steal, so to speak. I just bought a Tanaka nakiri, which pretty much meets the same description, and the price was similar from Chefknivestogo, but there are limited blade designs in that price range. The knives on japanwoodworker seem to be available in many more shapes/sizes. perhaps the lesser-known maker and less refined FandF are what's keeping the price low, and if that is the case, these could be great knives, even if you have to touch up the blade once you get it home. any thoughts?

Mar 04, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

All-Clad alternatives??

I got my all-clad 12 qt stainless stockpot from cookwarenmore.com. It is the first site that comes up if you google "all-clad seconds" I got about 30 percent off retail. I definitely recommend springing for the all-clad, though I recently read a cook's illustrated in which they rate the tramontina triple clad very highly, second only to the all-clad, but they are most likely not made domestically, and the ones CI rated were only available from wal-mart.

Mar 01, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Suggestion for a Polishing Stone for Knives

I'm not familiar with the whole situation over there, but it kind of sounds like what happened to the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas. If you haven't heard about that, you should look it up, there is a whole episode of this American life about it. I will mention that it did get violent at one point. Hopefully this won't end up like that.

Feb 27, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Grinding Meat with KitchenAid Attachment

[Note: We've split this discussion from a thread about cast iron, which can be found here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767809 -- The Chowhound Team].

As far as I'm concerned there's nowhere safe from prion diseases, other than maybe not eating meat, esp. ground meat from factory farms where animals are being fed other animals. I'm not about to give up meat, but I feel like I have pretty good sources.

Feb 26, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Suggestion for a Polishing Stone for Knives

Chem- I wanted to mention Straightrazordesigns.com. While Chefknivestogo has a wider range of available stones, SRD has some that they don't including a Naniwa 12k super stone for $72. In general I have noticed that their prices are a little lower for the same items than at CKTG. They are focused mostly on straight razors and sharpening them, but they are very knowledgeable about the stuff they sell. I haven't bought anything from them (nor am I affiliated), but I am also planning on getting a few more stones soon and I might get some from cktg and some from them. About this time last year I was getting into shaving with straight razors (a goal I am still pursuing) and I spent about an hour on the phone with Lynn Abrams, one of the two guys who runs the company and he was extremely helpful, I'm sure he would be happy to give you a recommendation. They use all of the stones they sell to sharpen razors so they are pretty familiar with polish level and stone softness, etc.. He also runs straightrazorplace.com, which is a forum whose topic is obvious, and on said forum they have a pretty good honing section. Just thinking you might want to look around there for stone recommendations. I would definitely appreciate it if you would post some feedback on whatever stone you end up getting for those of us who are still considering.

Feb 26, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

I beg you, can we stop all this hand-wringing and snobbery about cast iron

I agree, although I do use soap to remove grease or other residues, on non-cast-iron pans. I have talked to people who insist that cast-iron is just not sanitary, but honestly, once I heat that pan up to 350, there's nothing left to hurt you.

Feb 24, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Why bother stripping cast iron when you can buy a new pan for so little money?

could not agree more! I have three red-handled Ecko carbon steel spatulas aka pancake turners. You just can not buy anything like them. They are worth their weight in gold. i look at every antique/thrift store I set foot in but they are exceedingly rare. If you find one, buy it no matter the cost.

Feb 21, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Why bother stripping cast iron when you can buy a new pan for so little money?

keep your eyes open, and you will find a beauty hiding in a pile somewhere that has your name on it.

Feb 21, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Why bother stripping cast iron when you can buy a new pan for so little money?

I second that. I just dare an egg to try to stick to my pans when I slide that razor sharp spatula under it. Also, about the weight, I have noticed a great difference in weights of cast iron pans, even those from the same manufacturer, depending on the year of their make. A large logo or older Griswold from before 1920 will certainly be lighter and thinner than the equivalent pan with a small logo from the 70s. Same goes for Wagner, my WAGNERs weigh less than my WagnerWare pans. Since some of us believe older to be better, and older is lighter, my usual rule for people looking for old pans at antique stores is that if it is light, with a smooth bottom free from pitting, and sits flat without rocking it is likely to be a good specimen, regardless of brand.

Feb 21, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

your best kitchen related purchase of 2010

I'll second the tanaka nakiri, and add my Takeda 270mm Gyuto. Aogami steel is amazing. I also scored some great le creuset french ovens, 5 qt and 9qt at the factory outlet store for 40% off. All told I've spent too much in the kitchen lately, but it's been worth it.

Feb 21, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Why bother stripping cast iron when you can buy a new pan for so little money?

you can say that it's complete crap if you like, but in my experience, it isn't the 50 years of use that makes a griswold or wagner better, it is the quality of the casting and manufacture. I would not hesitate to bet that a new old stock, i.e. old, but never used, piece of quality cast iron would out compete anything made today. As Sawdin says, the new pans just don't receive the level of care in manufacturing that the pans of old. I don't disagree that a new pan could be sanded down and could then be as smooth as an old piece, but why wait, why not just find a quality piece of cookware to begin with?

Feb 21, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Why bother stripping cast iron when you can buy a new pan for so little money?

I should also mention that besides the family heirloom method of obtaining pans, very high quality pans can often be had at garage sales, antique stores, etc. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can find some great deals, many in fact less than $20. Other than our waffle maker and our dutch oven, I haven't paid more than $20 for a piece of cast iron, and with the exception of the elusive Griswold #2, I don't think I ever would.

Feb 21, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Why bother stripping cast iron when you can buy a new pan for so little money?

I love my cast Iron pans. All were made before 1970, and many before 1930. The reason I have old pans is not that because of emotional attachment, but because of the quality of the pans. New lodge pans are useless. The casting is such that you could grate your nails on the surface, regardless of seasoning, such a pan will never become non-stick. The pans I have were made in America (Sidney, Ohio and Erie, PA) and have a glass-smooth bottom. The additional time spent restoring these pans will be made up for every time I cook in them and don't have to struggle with sticking food, and again every time I clean the pans simply by scraping them clean with a spatula and hanging them back up. I have talked to several people who say they don't like cooking in their cast iron pans. Further conversation often reveals that they own new, lodge-type pans, with rough surfaces and are trying to use a plastic spatula. To experience cast-iron the way it was meant to be used, you will need an old skillet and a nice thin metal spatula with a flat, sharp edge. No food stands a chance of sticking against such a combination. You may be able to buy a new lodge pan for $20, but it will be of poor quality and could actually turn you against all cast iron. I should also note that the "hours of scrubbing and use of oven cleaner" is often an exaggeration; only in the case of one pan have I had to go so far to restore it. Often, soaking in hot soapy water, scrubbing with a steel wool and some boiling out, will leave you with a pan that is ready to be seasoned. Old cast iron is so smooth already that really only a light seasoning will do, with some pans I have simply put them on the burner on high and wiped a little coconut oil on the surface once they are hot, and I have never had a problem with the seasoning. I suggest you find something old and beautiful that is well-made and you will love using it.

Feb 21, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware
1

Thinking about replacing my 10" Shun Chefs.

I just got a Takeda 270mm gyuto which is incredible. It you already own a functional shun, I don't see the point in buying a global, or a wusthof, even a misono. With the exception of the wusthof, which I would consider to be in the class below, unless you just want something hefty with malleable steel. I would recommend something carbon steel, or at least a carbon core. If you look around you can find some great knives with great steels below 300 bucks, many below 200. Moritaka, for example makes a great gyuto with aogami super steel treated to 65 hrc, which is about ten higher than German stainless for 200 dollars from chefknivestogo.com. These knives do take a little more work than stainless, but their cutting ability and edge retention is amazing, not to mention they are beautiful, unique knives. I would recommend taking a peek at cktg and seeing what strikes your fancy. I love my new takeda and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates amazing knives and can drop two to three hundred bucks on a knife.

Feb 19, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Wanted: specific carbon chef's knife, any ideas?

Well, I talked to Mark at CKTG and he had a 270 mm Takeda Gyuto marked as a "second" laying around. Although the profile is a little more like a big santoku, it seemed to be to my liking. the steel is Aogamis Super hardened to around 61 HRC, it is hand-crafted, and as far as gyutos are concerned, it is a very tall (wide) blade. I ordered it yesterday and can't wait to get it. Normally his 270mm gyutos are $295, but being a second, I got it for $205. It just seemed too good of a deal to pass up. Since I was already placing an order, I went ahead and got a 165mm Blue Steel Nikiri from Tanaka, which was on sale for $40. So, all told I spent a little more than the Misono, but I think I got a knife that's a little more suited to me, and something that is more unique than the misonos or masamotos. Of course I'll have to get used to the japanese style handle, but I think I'll learn fast. Once it gets here I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for all the help

Jan 21, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware

Wanted: specific carbon chef's knife, any ideas?

Okay, I looked into the japanese, western style carbon steel knives. I looked at the two listed here from Misono and Masamoto and two more I found on the Korin, one from Suisin and one from Togiharu. The prices all seem pretty similar except for the Masamoto, which at 229 is 80 to 100 dollars more than the rest of them, but seems to have a slightly harder steel, 61-62 HRC as opposed to 60. Now if I wanted to find out more about the blade dimensions and overall weight, where would I look. I also found a carbon gyuto from fujiwara with an HRC of 60 that only costs 88 dollars. Now, having only today started looking at japanese knives, how can I compare them. They all seem to be pretty similar, but having weights and dimensions would help to compare them. If you have any advice about brand quality, etc. please let me know. Thanks

Jan 11, 2011
motownbrowne in Cookware