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PepinRocks's Profile

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Best espresso machine for home use

OMG. YEAH - exact same machine, all right. LOL I just KNOW that my grinder is the issue, for sure I've got an excellent heavy stainless tamper and my beans couldn't possibly be any fresher. The kitchen better damn well be DONE in the next 3 months or so ... so I'm thinking that I can then gift myself a nice grinder - thanks for the recommendations in that regards. I'd definitely come back and read up on that stuff when I can. Today I'm interviewing carpenters and contractors ... (oh fun, oh joy ...).

Sep 09, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Can you taste the metal from cookware and knives?

So long as that cast iron is well seasoned, then no - not at all . The seasoning layer would prevent any iron from getting into your food, even acidic stuff like tomatoes. When you clean your cast iron, wipe it down with a clean paper towel. If any black/grey comes off, instead of just oil, then your seasoning needs a touch-up. Once it's properly seasoned, the paper towel will be perfectly clean after a wipe (not counting any oil).

I do notice that the more often that I cook up a batch of sauce (a lot of pureed onion and tomato paste, among other stuff), that my seasoning will need the occasional touch-up - but even still I can go for 2-3 months before this happens.

Sep 08, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

I need a new oven without any non-stick/teflon surfaces whatsoever-can anyone recommend?

I've also had birds for nearly my entire life. At this point only my one African Grey. To the best of my knowledge, the insides of ovens are not non-stick but instead a very hard enamel or powder-coated surface that has been factory baked on to the underlying metal. You should be just fine.

Non-stick would be very impractical inside an oven - the very high temperatures of the cleaning mode would damage it.

IMO, the greatest potential danger to your birds would be if you used HIGH heat on a non-stick pan. For this reason, when using non-stick, I always check it with an infrared thermometer to see how hot it really is. Just keep it at 450 or below and you should be just fine. Those toxins aren't good for us either - we just aren't as susceptible as our 1 pound pets.

Also, heat up those non-stick pans on a low to medium heat - it'll only take a bit longer to get them hot that way but it'll be more consistent and reduce the risk of any possible hot spots that are in the danger zone. I'd certainly recommend that you consider an infrared thermometer. They are only like $25 and are GREAT for tuning up your cooking skills too, as well as finding out where your house insulation has issues.

Here are some links that might be helpful:
http://www2.dupont.com/Teflon/en_US/p...
http://www2.dupont.com/Teflon/en_US/a...

Sep 08, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Kitchen cabinets-quote that almost gave me a heart attack!

This is way too late to help you but yes that is far too expensive. We are redoing out kitchen from scratch and custom cherry cabinets here (the boxes are frameless plywood but insides and sides are cherry veneer w/ solid cherry doors) would be about $14-15K INSTALLED.

We are going in a different direction, to use white cabinets, so that our new wood floors, natural stone tiles and stone counter tops will really shine, with the white cabinets framing everything. Like you, we initially wanted cherry cabinets but then they might not work as well with all the other elements. But with white cabinets everything works perfectly and we can choose a really dramatic wood floor that will shine, and not have to worry about how the cabinets might or might not really work with all the other elements. In the end, we are going with Ultracraft Frameless, as they are reasonable at about $10K installed, and have all the advanced high-end features we wish for.

I hope that your kitchen turned out exactly as you wanted!

Sep 07, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Best espresso machine for home use

Thanks! Yes it is actually for espresso specifically that I'll need a new grinder. I currently have the Capresso infinity. It's not too bad and works well for everything OTHER than espresso. Since I roast my own, it's always very fresh, but to get a true espresso at home ... ah that will elude me for a while. I miss the ease in which one can get a killer cafe for like 75 cents throughout most of Europe.

I've got 2 espresso machines and one has a pressurized portafilter so I get pretty good results from that, even still. But ... not so much ... with my Quick Mill espresso machine. This thing is kinda ugly but has a proper commercial head on it, and I also got it from Vaneli's about 4 years back for perhaps $200 -250. But ... as you know, it needs a good grinder! Lesson learned.

So, I'll continue with my Capresso for making "coffee" and need something new for espresso. Thanks very much for those links. Once we get the kitchen remodel DONE ... it will be time to reward myself with a new grinder! I can't honestly justify it to myself right now :-)

Thanks again!

Sep 06, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Do you eat the...gulp...fat?

Sacrilege! Rye bread and good mustard! That's it! IMO Carnegie Deli makes the best mustard around, and it's only like $2.50 or so a jar. Fantastic stuff.

Sep 05, 2012
PepinRocks in General Topics

When Cheapo is Better than Pricey?

It really depends a lot on what those chickens are eating. I've had farm fresh eggs that were sublime. A more delicate texture and nearly a custard-like quality to the yolks. Cooking of course has much to do with it as well.

We're lucky in that we've got Halo Farms nearby so we get very fresh eggs at insane prices - often only $1.25 per dozen large. They aren't quite like the eggs that my buddy had from his chickens but they are very good and the price is unbeatable. We buy them like 6-8 dozen at a time and mostly just eat the whites for the protein.

Sep 05, 2012
PepinRocks in General Topics

suggestions for mandoline?

+1. The Japanese make great stuff. The blade will be VERY sharp, out of the box. Eventually, when it needs it you CAN resharpen it. A single inexpensive DMT dua-sharp fine/x-fine will really do the trick. Even a single fine is very good - that's 600 grit (red).

My mandoline isn't a benriner but I don't use it all that much honstly - mostly just for slicing apples for my dehydrator in big batches - about 9-10 apples at a time.

You might also consider a world kitchen spiral slicer - for $35 it's a great tool for making cool slices of all sorts of veggies and fruits. It can even make spaghetti out of squash - so good!

Sep 05, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

fish: Trader Joe's, Asian markets, etc.

Fresh fish is just that. Fresh. It should SMELL fresh, not fishy at all - except for a bit for some VERY oily fish like bluefish.

I totally agree about the Asian markets. They have HUGE turnover and there is always something really good and a good deal too. Bear in mind that while I shop there, many asians do too - and they are VERY demanding about the quality and freshness of the produce, meat, fish, etc. A good asian market will have better stuff than pretty much any other place.

These are BIG markets - places like H-Mart or "Asian Food Markets" (that's really it's name). I mostly stick to wild caught but sometimes pick out a nice piece of farmed.

When buying whole fish it is REALLY easy - just look at it - the EYES in particular will be still nice and full, not sunken and flat and dead.

Sep 05, 2012
PepinRocks in General Topics

Best espresso machine for home use

Eiron,

What grinder did you get, how much and from where? I'm looking to upgrade my grinder once I finish my kitchen remodel.

Tx!

Sep 05, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Why don't more Americans use induction?

Kendunn,

Science and math don't factor into it. This is a religious argument. Any "facts" that don't fit the belief system simply don't apply. It is what it is.

There is BELIEF and then there is truth and reality. What one PERCEIVES to be true ... apparently equates to actual truth ... Perhaps when the rest of us are retired we can also have the world work as we wish it to :-)

Sep 05, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

PLEASE END THE EMAIL UPDATES!

No - not newsletters. Just notifications of ALL replies to ANY thread that I have ever posted to. It is incredibly annoying and I consider it spam. EVERY other site that I do stuff on has a nice easy "click here to stop notifications" - and they work properly. Not chowhound.

I have cleared all check boxes in my entire profile, but that hasn't helped at all. PLEASE just get this done. Thanks!

If you need to entirely delete my account to do so - fine by me - I'd rather never participate here again then get all these unwanted emails.

Sep 04, 2012
PepinRocks in Site Talk

PLEASE END THE EMAIL UPDATES!

Dear Admins / Moderators,

I have cleared out all the checkboxes in my profile (yes both the settings/notifications area as well as the other one).

Yet ... I'm still inundated with tons of email updates. Please kill all notifications of all kinds - thanks! If that means that you need to totally delete my entire account, then go ahead and do it - I'd rather have that then 50 emails a day that I don't care about.

Regards,

Sep 03, 2012
PepinRocks in Site Talk

Why don't more Americans use induction?

I do hear where you are coming from. But I have cooked on electric and there is a BIG range of them out there - some pretty darn good. And many that, IMO, Suck - big time.

My parents have a good electric range. One of those glass top things. I can't recall the brand but it's probably something like GE Profile or Frigidaire. I do have to admit that - for an electric - it works pretty well. It's not as good as gas but it's not bad at all. I've used it many times, since when I'm there, I do all the cooking. And if I'm doing a pan sauce and drop the temperature, it really does react pretty quickly. Would induction do that any faster? Hmmm .... MAYBE. But it's also not all that tough to slide the pan partially or entirely off the burner and accomplish EXACTLY the same thing.

So again ... I'd submit that ... versus a GOOD standard electric stove or cooktop that induction offers very little in the way of any REAL advantages. Against a BAD electric ... sure - it'll be great - but that isn't really the point.

Aug 31, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Why don't more Americans use induction?

Kendunn,

First, I totally agree - totally.

Moreover, there are additional costs that factor in. An induction cooktop also costs a whole bunch more than a standard cooktop. And most people end up blowing a whole lot more money on "induction compatible" cookware, in the process. So I would submit that there is an additional $1000-2000 spent to have and use it - as a full cooktop - instead of "just one fob for point use".

So the ROI against even a mere $1000 of upfront expense would take FOREVER to justify in "electric savings" for most people. My own cooking gas fuel costs are at MOST $10 a month. Most times, it's about $5-7. And I get to use any pan that I want, don't need to buy anything new, can buy any new pan that strikes my fancy, etc.

CHANGING to induction ... is NOT about saving money or helping the environment. It's a life style choice. Period. Even if one were to look at all of this as a "new house w/ no existing appliances", there is still no valid ROI for induction, for anything other than outlier situations or point solutions. Not here in the USA anyway.

Other than the mere ability to "boil water faster" ... what does it actually offer? Nada. Muchas Gracias!

Aug 30, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Why don't more Americans use induction?

>> CAROLINE: PLEASE tell me when and how you can cook with gas without using petroleum products????????? Come on, tell me! Please! Please! Please!

N-A-T--U-R-A-L ... G-A-S.

Aug 30, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Why don't more Americans use induction?

That's how I feel about Induction - it's good for "point solutions" like a single fob for helping out as a food warmer or boiling water, etc. I would never consider it for a cooktop. Gas provides more flexibility and that tactile feel that no electric knob can match.

Aug 27, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

low caeb/low cal meals?

Yeah Paleo is AWESOME! We've been doing it for about 2.5 years now. About the only grass fed meat that we do have is venison. Actually we eat quite a bit of home-made pulled pork, prepared low and slow in the crockpot. So it's actually quite lean and most of the fat rendereds right out. So it actually needs fat added back in - and I liberally infuse it with EVOO, fresh ground pepper and some kosher salt.

Like you we also love squash: spaghetti, acorn, kambucha, butternut ...

You may wish to look into a spiral slicer. I've got the world kitchen one and for only $35 it's a really cool tool for making veggie pasta.

May 14, 2012
PepinRocks in Home Cooking

French Press, Aeropress or Clever Coffee Dripper

The aeropress is excellent. When I make 1-2 cups this is my go-to device. BUT ... I first do a full immersion at 185-194 in a stainless pot, then put that through a very fine stainless strainer ($3 from any asian market) and finish it with the aeropress to remove the sediment. One truly excellent cup of coffee.

Apr 30, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

French Press vs Chemex?

I do something similar. I start with home roasted coffee (done on P4 on a Behmor 1600 to just before or just at start of 2nd crack). Let the beans mature for 4-5 days to offgas and such, and reach their full potential. Then grind only what I need just before using.

First a full immersion of the grinds into water at 190-194 to brew it for 1-3 min. Then pour through a very fine metal filter from the asian market (about $3), and then through an aeropress if it's just 1-2 cups or a Chemex filter in a $5 plastic funnel if I'm making more. Works like a charm and provides a really GREAT cup of coffee.

Apr 28, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

French Press vs Chemex?

Yes a good manual will work very well and be quiet and is quick enough for 1-2 cups. But I wouldn't want to use one for lots of coffee. coffeegeek.com has lots of user reviews of these.

Apr 28, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Telescoping Island Range / Cooktop Vent Hood?

I know about the downdraft snorkles and while I do like the idea of the Thermador one. But ... for engineering reasons that I won't go into, it isn't as practical for us. And we are really better off having a 36" or even a 42" (cooktop is 36") proper island vent hood.

But ... I'm thinking ... why NOT have a vent hood that can telescope up when not in use (and be more out of the way) - and then be readily pulled down toward the cooking surface when needed, especially when cooking more aromatic stuff.

I've done some google searches but didn't find anything. Has anyone seen anything like this?

J.

Apr 28, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

new coffee maker from Behmor

Very cool. I've had their roaster for over 4 years now and love it, so I have confidence that this will be one kick ass product. For a long time I've been using full immersion brewing, followed by a quick strain through a very fine metal filter and then my aeropress to take out the fine sediment. It's truly a sensational cup of coffee. Last week I bought some chemex filters to use with a cheap funnel, for when I want to do larger batches (it's a bit frustrating using the aeropress for 4-5 batches to fill a liter but it's GREAT for 1-2 cups). And the chemex filter so far seems very nice for when I need to do more at once. I'd certainly consider the Behmor once it comes out though. Thanks for the heads-up.

Apr 16, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

A Bread Machine for baking Gluten Free bread

We have been making Paleo treats including "cookies" and "cake" from a mix of almond flour, almond meal, almond flour - along with egg whites, egg white powder (rose acre farms), honey or agave nectar, cocoa powder, and such. The results are FANTASTIC. They are high protein and healthy fats, with relatively low carbs. Looks and tastes like a treat but are very good for you and have no gluten at all. I'm sure some of the rice-based solutions can be good but will be very high in carbs indeed. You may wish to try some recipes and see what you think - many are readily found via Google like so:

http://www.alldayidreamaboutfood.com/...

Apr 16, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Range hood solution for open peninsula: Downdraft? Unobtrusive hood?

agreed. it's a nice ascetic but not functional unless you paired it with a big external vent fan. And even then it's pretty darn high from your cooktop.

We've started out kitchen remodel - mostly gutting and rough electrical at this point and we'll need a good island kitchen vent. My cooktop is 36" so I'll probably do a 42" model to help catch more of stuff - and STILL also pair it with a vent fan outside to help pull and reduce noise at the vent itself.

Apr 15, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Cast Iron skillet problems - HELP!

Yeah - I'd start from scratch. Scour it HARD with steel wool and kosher salt, rinse well and dry thoroughly. Then heat it to about 250-300 to DRY IT UP. Get your oven to 425, coat it inside and out LIGHTLY with canola oil then put in open side down in the oven for 30 min. Turn off oven and let cool slowly. Repeat another 2-3+ times. It will now be bullet-proof for a long time to come.

You'll be able to let it soak, use dish soap etc. No worries. Just don't ever put it in your dishwasher. Good luck!

Apr 13, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

Agreed w/ Scubadoo. More layers are better. 3-4 is much better than just 2. The oven makes it all very easy. A thin layer of oil, heat at 425 for 30 min, then shut the oven off and wait until the pan is down to about 100 degrees then repeat. My 10" lodge has at least 6 layers on it and is just bulletproof. That's my daily use pan.

Mar 31, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

Gas Grill Recommendations?

it is end of season now so good deals should be readily available now. I'd get a Weber with 3 burners - more flexibility for direct and indirect heat.

Mar 31, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

All I want is a good cup of coffee at home. [moved from General Topics]

Very little smoke with the Behmor. They have a special smoke reduction system buit-into it and it works very well. I have a smoke detector in the same room and it never goes off. At the end of your roast cycle, if you open the door for a few seconds to speed up the cooling cycle, you'll get a bit of smoke for a few seconds but that's pretty much it. The aroma of course will spread far and wide but we rather enjoy that.

I'll typically roast all the way through 1st crack and stop somewhere between 1st and 2nd or at the VERY start of 2nd crack. My roasting is all indoors, year round - we're in PA, and this way my ambiant room temp is pretty much guaranteed to be about 70 and stable, so as to not affect my roast times and results.

Mar 30, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware

All I want is a good cup of coffee at home. [moved from General Topics]

The Behmor can be had, refurbished, for only $199 from Chocolate Alchemy. I bought mine new over 4 years ago and it's still going strong. I roast a batch about once a week with exactly 12 ounces on P4 for 18.5-20 min, depending. The roast times will vary slightly even with the exact same beans so just be right there during 1st crack, wait until it ends and slowly keep sniffing the air. When a burst of aroma hits you - hit the cool button. The coffee is drinkable right away but I find that it will truly peak 4-5 days after roasting, and be very fresh for a week or more afterwards. I honestly wouldn't spend less - this is really THE roaster to get for that money.

Mar 29, 2012
PepinRocks in Cookware