SWISSAIRE's Profile

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Bouillabaise with Green Curry Paste

Hi Irene -

I like everything I see on the ingredient list, and look forward to try a duplicating this dish this weekend. ( If I can find Kaffir leaves somewhere ).

With your permission I will call this The Irene Wong Recipe, to avoid any confusion.

about 18 hours ago
SWISSAIRE in Recipes

Mistakes, I've made a few

Mistakes ?

Not one, ever. C'est impossible !

Like Apple products, I see kitchen appliances and cookware items technologically getting better and better every 6 months.

As a Wunderkind, I'm just constantly improving, and staying ahead of the pack.

( I've never had a set of Carnival-purchased "Waterless" cookware, but I did pick up a few Woks along the way ).

1 day ago
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Thai curry vs. Indian curry

I should add that we have much better results with induction cooking of Curry, in any form, than electric or gas.

I use Setting Nr. 5 to bring up the oil base, then the curry paste made or purchased, meat/vegetables, and then dial in the low temperature used for dark chocolate, to let it simmer. That would be 80-82 C, or 150-180 F.

The longer it cooks, the better the taste. No burning either.

1 day ago
SWISSAIRE in General Topics

Thai curry vs. Indian curry

I started with Curry in Japan, as a student at Waseda University. When it was cold in the Winter and I was wrapped in my sleeping bag, studying at night with my little Hitachi heater, I'd make rice and a Japanese Curry as a midnight meal. Good memories there.

Travelling through Asia I began to try Thai, and Malay curries, also discovering Sambal. In London, I found a different Westernized style, and finally tried Indian Curry for the first time in the Mid East. Slow cooked with goat meat, I had a few extra servings, say five.

If it is well made, I like it all, hot or mild.

1 day ago
SWISSAIRE in General Topics

What does your cookbook collection look like?

Hi Pistachio Peas-

It started when I worked in California and had a subscription to Cooks Illustrated, and other magazines.

Too many magazines were building up, so we began to go through them and cut out and save only articles of interest. We ended up getting rid of 99% of the remainder. Over the years we also noticed that CI recycled the same articles, drawings, and cooking tips repeatedly.

Twice, saved articles were loaned out to neighbours, and never returned for one reason or another. It happens. Rather than scanning them all, we save and print only as needed.

2 days ago
SWISSAIRE in Home Cooking

What does your cookbook collection look like?

Hi Pistachio Peas-

No index.

The files, or magazine boxes, are titled A-Z, and kept in book cases, behind doors. So an article for example, entitled " Appenzell Ausserrhoden " would be found in the A-C file folder box.

Depending on the thickness or condition of the article, it may or may not be placed in a plastic cover. If someone is over, and an article of interest comes up, I make a copy of the article, placing the original back. Loan them out for a day and they never return.

Every January, we go through each file box to clean and organize, which prompts us to remember what is there during the remainder of the year. " Do we need this ? " yes/no, and actually most have been retained over the years.

2 days ago
SWISSAIRE in Home Cooking

What does your cookbook collection look like?

Inside 9 bookcases, A-Z.

The better ones are behind glass or behind a bookcase door.

3 only on a glass coffee table currently.

Related magazines that we keep (or articles that we cut out) go in the typical file folders, in even more bookcases.

Aug 20, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Home Cooking
1

Waterless cookware

The term " Surgical Stainless Steel," used alone, is meaningless marketing speak.

Conversely, the term " 304 18/10 Surgical Stainless Steel " is far more descriptive and is more accurate. 304 indicates that this is part of the Group 300 series of food grade kitchen products, with the 18/10 describing the Chromium (18%) and Nickel (10%) in the steel.

304 18/10 by the way, is not necessarily used in surgery or surgical devices. It is accurately a very high grade of stainless steel in cooking, depending on the design and engineering of the cookware item itself. Some are good, some less so. A good heavy lid seal, with good handles, and a 15 mm core, probably equals a good cookware pot or pan.

By the way: Induction magnetic stainless steel ?

That may or may not be 304 18/10. More likely it will be from the Group 400 series, or more accurately 430, which is magnetic.

Take your time to learn these differences, and the characteristics of various metals, ply, and thicknesses, used in cookware. As this thread illustrates, CHOWHOUND is one of the best English forums online today to cut through the hype and marketing fantasy in favour of accurate and experienced information.

Carnivals, Fairs, and the weekly marketplace are fun, and great for vegetables, flowers, fish, and meat, but personally my wife and I do not but new cookware there. The chap with the microphone on his chest or lapel only gets our attention if he is demonstrating cooking menus, or techniques. All the others we just keep walking by and away from, wallet or pocketbook intact.

Save your hard earned money, as yes, there are much better alternatives, including price.

Aug 20, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Harsch Crock water seal problems

In 15 years, I have cracked and broken two of the lids on our Harsch Crock.

Both started where the lid touches the crock to form a water seal. Hissing heard, then the crack was noticed, then it increased, and then it was thrown away.

Delicate little things, but at 65 CHF each, not inexpensive.

When using, washing, or storing the lids, take care to protect them. Our third one is swaddled in bubble-wrap, and protected in a wooden box, until next month when the Kraut season starts.

I wish I could tell you they can be repaired.

Aug 19, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Tonic Syrup (concentrate)

Simmering the Cinchona bark will produce a dark colour, which is further enhanced adding the simple syrup.

Like marmalade, if you will.

No water bath jam

Hi Joe-

The wife tells me that she did find Ball 8 ounce jar sets on sale for 7 CHF.

That explains where 2 new cartons of Ball jars I found in the garage cabinets came from.

Joe, thanks for clarifying as I misunderstood your post. Waterbath of conserves are suggested by the USDA.

For those that can read French, or German there are a number of good canning and conserve sites available online.

Aug 19, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

1.Two Greedy Italians- Carluccio & Contaldo.

2. Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy - Carluccio / Contaldo.

In English, Amazon.UK, as both reside in the UK.

Both cookbooks mirror the BBC series of the same name.

Aug 19, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Home Cooking

No water bath jam

Hi Joe-

My wife wants to know what a set of 12 Ball or Kerr jars cost in the 8 or 16 ounce size in North America.

We tend to buy replacement sets of 12 on sale here. Bormioli, Weck, and others are the most common of the glass supply jars available. Ball or Kerr is considered top quality, but I have not seen then on sale.

Her other question is: What does your USDA approve of as the correct method for sterile canning ?

Aug 19, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Home Cooking

No water bath jam

This was one of the more popular methods done in Europe when I was little.

People would end up with some filled jars that were mouldy, or that had gone off. I don't recall anyone getting sick, but as a matter of embarrassment, that may have happened.

Along came the wax seal for awhile, which invariably led to a bit of wax in the teeth. This was followed by waterbath canning with jars and the 10 minute sterilization before and after the conserves were cooked.

Today, people that waterbath use Bormioli jars here, or the more expensive North American products such as Ball or Kerr.

Less sugar or more sugar depends on your personal taste, the consistency of the gelling desired, and pectin used ( or seeds in a cheesecloth bag ).

Boiling time here for the jars, lids, and ring cap remains 10 minutes before, and 10 minute after.

Aug 19, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Home Cooking

Tonic Syrup (concentrate)

My wife and I enjoyed Gin & Tonics years ago.
Today we just like Tonic water, chilled, and lightly effervesced.

So after having fun trying any and all tonic water mixes we could find in Europe and North America, we make our own using a Soda Stream Source.

1. Tonic syrup: Soda Stream sells one. Tom's and John's are also excellent, and both freeze well.

2. Cinchona Bark: One of the best suppliers is Penn Herb.com, the cut variety, in a 16 ounce zip top bag. And they ship.

One recipe, of many:

1 cup Cinchona bark, cut, boiled and simmered in 4 cups water. After 1 hour simmering, strain the bark using a fine strainer, and return to a large pot.
2 Lemons, juiced, zested, with everything added to the pot.
2 limes, same treatment.
1 Lemongrass, stalk, chopped and added.
8 Cloves, whole, added.
10 Juniper berries, whole, added.
Simple Syrup, 20 ounces, added.

Cook slow, strain again twice, bottle, and chill. Nicely bitter.

Other additives can include citric acid, star anise, orange peel, citron, rosemary, and other aromatics.

Cucumbers, if used, go into the glass thin sliced, at an angle against the glass wall, before adding ice and the actual tonic water. A nice option for guests.

2 Questions for induction converts

Hi drayeye-

Ours was a different experience, as neighbours had made the transition to induction first. We learned by their experience.

1. We like our cookware, and well before our transition to induction, we decided on a hybrid cooktop, both electrical and induction. That would give us gas, electric, and induction capability.

We did not want to replace all cookware, but clearly some pots and pans worked better than others on electric, and gas cooking surfaces. We also wanted a pot or pan that could be used in an oven, cooking directly first on induction or another heat source.

We found a manufacturer ( Silga Teknika ) in Milano, IT, that did this, and was induction compliant. The German manufacturer Rösle had a line of the Silga Teknika products. Asking around we found someone that was willing to share her experience with that line, the good and the bad ( the bad only being the heavy weight of the pan ). The good far results far outweighed the bad.

Yet another 7 months went by before I found a sale on a set of Silga Teknika pots, pans, and lids. And during that time I was searching for a good induction cook top, and listening to the experience of others. So our induction pot and pan set were purchased well before the induction cook top (AEG) was installed.

2. The change to induction continues, even after a few years. As a result of using induction:

a.) Use of our microwave today has become non-existent. I am seriously considering removing our microwave, and installing a more efficient hood exhaust.

b.) The remaining good pots that are non-induction are still used on the remaining electric cook top, and outside on a gas BBQ. Only a few have been donated or given away.

c.) Induction cooking is quicker, but when steaming, the water level in pans needs to be refilled more often. However, we use lower heat setting levels for cooking. What was on level 6-8 sustained, is now 3-5 on induction, with a sustained simmer or low boil held on setting Nr. 1.

d.) Waterbath " canning " of jars, is much quicker with slow cooking conserves, setting level 1. The 10 minute sterilization takes less time to come to a boil, and retain the boil-simmering. We still maintain 10 minutes pre-sterilization of empties, and 10 minutes of sterilization on completed, or full jars.

e. ) COST TO OPERATE: Most importantly is a definite drop in our electrical service charge by using induction. About 35 CHF or $30 USD per month, verified directly from the kitchen electrical mains, and that includes our normal baking routine.

X 12 months that saving quantifies to $360 USD/ 420 CHF per year.

I hope this is helpful.

Aug 18, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Induction Cooktop - First things to try?

A joke.

I agree of course. This chap's age is 2x+ 26.

Worse than contact dermatitis from oil products is a condition known as Lipoid Pneumonia.

Off to work: It's Monday !

Aug 17, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Induction Cooktop - First things to try?

Hi Duffy-

Really, is all that oily vapour bad for you ?

He seems fit & healthy for a 26 years old man.

Notice how cold it is there. A good way to stay warm !

-R

Aug 17, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Induction Cooktop - First things to try?

Hi Duffy / Hi Candy;

Just heading off to bed and I found this.

What every good WOK cook at home should aspire to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mq31...

Imagine this 10 hours per day, every day. I'm tired just thinking about it, so off to dream land.

Cheers,

-R

Aug 17, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Transporting wine and spirits in car for 6 hours

Hi italianices -

Fendant, our national wine, is not a big seller in the family.

We travel over the frontiers (FR, DE, AT, IT) on weekends to see the sights, have a meal at a new restaurant with friends, and shopping, which includes wine. Next weekend will be the Alsace.

Over the years we have tried insulating the case carton(s) in the back of our Cayenne, covering it with a blanket, placing the bottles in a plastic cooler, and taking out a few and chilling them in a 12v cooler.

An old horsehair Swiss Armee blanket over an inverted case works the best, with no sun and no heat. We always keep 2 in the back, which double as picnic blankets, keeping warm in the Winter, and emergencies. If we want to chill a bottle of new white to enjoy in a picnic on the way, the old string over the bottle neck in a stream always works.

Aug 16, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Wine

Safe non-stick pans that can handle high heat

Evening Duffy / Sunshine842 -

Almost Midnight here, cold outside now, enjoying a decafe inside.

1. BergHoff, or BergHOFF, is a België company with a growing catalogue of good products. The company's advertising presence has picked up in the last year. As mentioned, many counties favour locally made products out of of pride, supporting employment, and national identity. This includes France, Germany, Italy, and even Switzerland.

A combination of the Internet and the EU trade laws have changed that dramatically today, as people want more choices, and are willing to pay for a variety of good products.

Duffy, you are fortunate of the US showroom is nearby. Spend some time there with a camera and let us know what you saw, and like.

2. BergHoff induction pan observation notes. " ...Low pan wall height, removable handle for oven use to 180 c, ceramic, induction good,... "

As mentioned up-thread, having a pan with a missing handle does not cut the mustard. I like a pan that can go from induction straight into an oven, handle and all, quickly, and without fuss. I have that.

3. No, officially not a Rösle wok. Not yet. Rösle has added a handle to the flat-bottom multiple layer woks, and a wok in a new line of "sandwich" layer products with a glass lid.

The round bottom Multi-ply woks have dropped dramatically in price here, as I have seen them for 35 Euros, or 45 CHF. Quite a drop for a German well-made product that originally sold for 175 Euros. I'm tempted.

The Marmelade is cooked and resting until tomorrow.
A luta continua.

Cheers,
-R

Aug 15, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Safe non-stick pans that can handle high heat

Afternoon Duffy -

The BergHoff company and products are thought of quite well here, more so in the French speaking regions. I try and avoid that kind of mindset, or to use a North American phrase I learned years ago, avoid all that Baloney.

Attached is a video one of the non-stick pans I tested, featuring one of the Berghoff members. In English, you may find it interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9bS_...

The reason I passed on this model of pan is it is a clever design, but somewhat dated. I also do not like removable handles, as I would most likely lose them.

There are many companies that have little or no presence in The United States. Others like BergHoff or Fissler are there but have a way to go to finally become a household/ kitchen name there.

Since we both Wok, I'll show you another related photo. I prefer stainless steel as you know, but imagine this item on high gas heat, or induction. It's coming someday, perhaps even to Florida.

Tonight I start a batch of Orange Marmalade for Saturday. 8-10 jars worth by the afternoon.

Enjoy your new cooktop glass !

-R

Aug 15, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Safe non-stick pans that can handle high heat

Eight months later I can report one that fits the bill.

1. No PFOA - PTFE.
2. Non stick surface.
3. High heat ? Yes, 400 Grad or 400 c. Thats' 726 F.
4. Not cast iron.
5. Dishwasher safe ( I hand wash ours out of habit ).
6. Induction pan.
7. Relatively inexpensive. 40 Euros or $60+ USD /CHF.
8. Ceramic coated.

Buying my wife a set of Calphalon fry pans for her birthday, I realized I would need a something similar for the induction side of the kitchen. I tested 7, 2 at a time, with Fissler, Berndes, Swiss Spring, and Berghoff coming in close.

I didn't want an induction-"compliant" pan, or an induction-"rated/maybe" pan, but an induction pan. Some here are more effective in advertising, than in actual use on an induction cooktop.

Once again I chose a Rösle for the way it felt in the hand, and the durability of the ceramic, which is specifically Weilburg-process ceramic coating found in the Chantal line. I have used this pan ( a 24 cm ) to stir-fry, saute, steam, cook pasta and pasta sauce, and bake. Fun really, and no problems.

I had a walk through on the coating processes involved just by calling the manufacturers reps. There seem to be only two types of ceramic coatings. In the first it is a ceramic enamel coating that has less than 30% Kristalin share, in the second it is pure ceramic, with 30-70% Kristalin, or glass Phaser. The main difference being that the pans and coating are not kiln fired, but left on to dry, whereby they harden like glass. Trade words such as "tiles" or "tiling" as to the ceramic coating were repeatedly used.

Getting back to practical kitchen reality, it is a good idea I found to use silicone coated tools, or wood, when cooking, and in some of the other models to wash the pan immediately after use to avoid staining. I use silicone tools with ours, but no staining exhibited so far.

I'm told this one with the light chamois colour is coming to North America soon. There are other high heat applications in the works using the same ceramic, such as the induction and gas cooktop Wok, which should be interesting.

Aug 15, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Paper in the Kitchen - do we really need all these?

Paper kitchen towels.

Foil paper, and cling wrap on a roll-out dispenser.

No parchment, no freezer wrap, no butcher paper, no paper plates, no paper bowls, and no waxed paper.

Napkins, in an antique chest, and sandwich and zip bags in the pantry.

No more.

Aug 14, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware
1

Wine Dealer Sentenced to 10 Years for Defrauding Clients

And now he is a convicted wine fraud, or a convicted wine professional felon. Take your pick.

What is funny is that the crime took place at his Mommy's house.

Aug 14, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Wine

Seeking a Salad Spinner that Isn't Plastic

Hi mdzehnder-

We have 3: 1 stainless Rösle at home, and 2 Zyliss in rental properties.

The inside baskets are plastic, the ages range from 8 to 10 years old. They all work well, probably because they are not used that much. In fact, I have used the Rösle stainless bowl for fruit, or even a salad bowl, more than to spin leaf greens. When the Zyliss spinners crack or break, they will not be replaced.

Your desire to avoid plastic might be served using a stainless or silicone and stainless colander, such as those made by Rösle. My reasoning:

1. They are not made of plastic, but 18/10 stainless steel and medical-grade silicone.
2. They are easily cleaned by hand, or in a dishwasher.
3. The silicone/stainless colanders can also be used as a steamer insert in a corresponding sized pot and lid. It does work.
4. The silicone/stainless colanders are flexible and can fold down to fit away flat, plate size, or even in a drawer.
5. The silicone/stainless colanders are great for pasta or Asian noodles to drain in the sink, versus our attempts to replicate a wok kitchen and have them up hanging to drain over the sink using a large stainless mesh basket skimmer for frying. Where the skimmer basket can hold only so much in the way of noodles, the colander capacity size is quite large.
6. There are 2 sizes of the Rösle flexible colanders: Large and medium. We fold 1 into the other, stored upright in a sink cabinet.

I purchased the Rösle salad spinner on sale, most likely for the reason that the sale price was less than the price of a similar Rösle mixing bowl. But the reality is that we wash and rinse fruit, and vegetables in our colanders and let them drain and dry while making the rest of a meal.

If silicone is acceptable to you, take a look at the colander by Rösle. You might find it much more useful, and more practical.

I hope this is helpful.

Aug 13, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Flamed granite table

Flamed granite treatment is accomplished by rolling a granite slab under various gas jets at high temperature, which causes the granite crystals to heat up, pop, and explode.

In some cases this is limited to areas within the slab, while in others the slab develops open fissures, and cracks which can be quite jagged and sharp.

Flamed granite is used primarily in Architecture for vertical wall treatment, and secondarily to create a surface to avoid touching, and thus not require a large amount of polishing or cleaning.

If used horizontally for a table surface, both the top and underside of a flamed granite slab should be examined for cracks, pocketing, potentially soft areas, and fissures.

My suggestion is to use a whole, intact polished granite slab for a table, rather than a flamed slab. We have done this for a few properties, and it works very well. Our first 10 years ago, was over an existing wood table for 10 guests.

I drew up the design, including a simple bullnose, which gives the appearance of a thick granite slab. The granite contractor a little skeptical, had never done this before, but I walked him through my concept, and assured him it would be successful. It took 2 weeks to select, polish, and assemble the first table slab.

I put a sheet of thick felt between the two when the finished slab was delivered. My oft verified measurements were correct, and it took only a minute or two for 4 of us to lift and place the slab down and onto the wood table. No adhesive was used as it fit that well.

I used a white granite with gold striations, which you can see in the attached photos. It looks great, cleans easily, and has survived attacks of cigarette burns, children with hammers, crayons, and multiple spilled meals and drinks. Some describe it as classic and others modern, leading me to draw up others as a request by friends and neighbours using the same granite contractor. Two friends requested granite legs, which were attached to a wood substrate under the granite slab. Very heavy.

Our second table at another condo property uses a 3-dimensional granite I found called Red Dragon, with a base colour of brick red granite, with deep-looking green and blue sections. Red Dragon has a flamed appearance, in a solid, polished slab.

The most important point is to find a good contractor who will work in sync with your designs. The second is to have table legs that will support the slab weight. This is a granite table that once placed, is not going to be moved frequently, if at all.

Photo one shows the granite surface with a wire basket of Cashew fruit. Photo two illustrates the bullnose corner detail, three a red dragon sample.

I hope you find this helpful.

-R

Aug 11, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Cookware

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

Kagemusha, I agree.

This unfortunately is not the first time.

Someone here is being more Pedantic than Semantic.

And taking away from Susan's original post.

Aug 10, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

Sure.

Susan's original question " is there anything made in (say) Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Portugal, Germany, Mexico, the United States, Brazil, Argentina which comes close to the quality of French brandy? "

My answer is that there are popular spirit drinks made in Latin America ( which I described ), but none qualifies as A French style Brandy.

If you like to dissect these into three posts as a rebuttal, that is your choice.

Next ?

Aug 10, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

" Cachaca isn't presently even referred to in the TTB BAM." ?

Once again:

US Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms
PART 5—LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF DISTILLED SPIRITS

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?...

" (f) Class 6; rum. “Rum” is an alcoholic distillate from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses, or other sugar cane by-products, produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to rum, and bottled at not less than 80° proof; and also includes mixtures solely of such distillates.

(1) “Cachaça” is rum that is a distinctive product of Brazil, manufactured in Brazil in compliance with the laws of Brazil regulating the manufacture of Cachaça for consumption in that country. The word “Cachaça” may be spelled with or without the diacritic mark (i.e., “Cachaça” or “Cachaca”).

Seems to be pretty clear reading.

Monday here and the start of a new work week.

Aug 10, 2014
SWISSAIRE in Spirits