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Baking Steel Griddle

Yup, Kenji's dough is, for the style of pizza and the bread flour he's recommending, a freakishly high 66% hydration.

1 day ago
scott123 in Cookware

Baking Steel Griddle

How much water are you using in your formula? That could be the reason for the difference in bake times you're seeing. Kenji's NY style recipe uses considerably more water than traditional NY style pizza. As you increase the water, the bake time extends.

2 days ago
scott123 in Cookware

Baking Steel Griddle

Even out of the box, I don't see the aluminum pan being flat enough to sit flush against the steel, and, once you start heating it, the aluminum will warp a bit more and definitely not be flush. Not only will the aluminum pan not contact the steel well, but there's a chance that the heat from the burner will cause it to twist and create a baking surface that isn't level.

Aluminum baking pans aren't meant for stove top use.

You could pre-heat the steel, on it's own, and, carefully, transfer it into the pan.

2 days ago
scott123 in Cookware

Will this food kill somebody or make them sick?

"I also don't believe thawing and re-freezing meat and leftovers not once but twice is safe at all."

https://food.unl.edu/safety/safe-to-r...

"The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) advises:

Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing."

This is applicable to all foods, including shrimp.

40 degrees is the highest recommended temp for refrigerated foods. I've worked with some sketchy refrigerators in my life that would hover closer to 45, and the food didn't spoil appreciably faster. I don't know the timing here, but, based on the food still being cold, it couldn't have been more than a couple hours. A couple hours at 45 isn't going to harm anyone. It's just not enough time and not enough warmth for anything nasty to grow. Once you start going north of 45, it no longer feels cold and starts feeling cool.

Would an exact temp of where the food ended up be nice? Yes, but 'Still cold but not frozen' pretty strongly implies refrigerator temps to me.

Jun 30, 2015
scott123 in General Topics

Will this food kill somebody or make them sick?

If you can remove a single shrimp, you can thaw it and see how it tastes. Refreezing is bad for food, but you really won't know the impact until you taste it. For instance, if the shrimp was buried under other stuff, it might have stayed frozen.

Jun 30, 2015
scott123 in General Topics
1

Will this food kill somebody or make them sick?

Thawing food to fridge temps, unless we're talking about days, isn't a safety issue, but, rather, a quality one. Refreezing is really bad for food. Ice crystals form in meat that rupture the cell structure, which causes it to leak liquid and develop a mushy texture.

So, you'll be fine, health wise, but, after two additional freezes, the food won't be quite as delicious as when it was frozen only once.

Orange/brown stain on Le Creuset cast iron skillet

Jun 21, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Le Creuset Grill Pan - Is this rust?

I thought it was food bits as well when I first saw the photo, but, when you look at the second photo, the close up, it looks a lot like the rust colored areas are sunken in a tiny bit- and you wouldn't get that with food.

The enamel is a powder coat process. I've actually seen these being made on a TV show. I don't think it happens much, but I think it's possible to miss a spot- or to have a piece of iron that wasn't clean properly so the enamel, in one part, didn't stick. They have quality control for these- a person going over them looking for defects, but I think the dark pan and the dark metal don't help.

Jun 20, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Ribs left on counter too long?

They were in the sink, but not submerged in water, correct?

I think you'll be alright.

If this ever happens again, either submerge it in an ice bath (perhaps with a little salt) and/or put the food in the freezer for a bit, to chill it quicker. You don't want to freeze/re-freeze it, just bring the temp down quickly. Preventing spoilage is not just about the time spent at room temp outside the fridge, but it also relates to the time spent at warmer than fridge temps while the fridge is trying to cool the food.

The faster you can cool it, the better.

Jun 20, 2015
scott123 in General Topics
1

Le Creuset Grill Pan - Is this rust?

I'm pretty sure that's rust. I would scrub it vigorously with a brush, and, if what's underneath the rust is metal and not coating, then that's a defective pan. Do you still have the receipt? You might try taking it back, or, if it's easier, I'd contact Le Creuset directly.

I've never dealt with Le Creuset customer service, but, in my experience, high end (read: high markup) manufacturers tend to bend over backwards when it comes to resolving issues with defective products.

It also probably wouldn't hurt to send them a link to this discussion.

Before you do anything, though, I'd scrub it aggressively to make sure it's not embedded food.

P.S. And if you do end up getting a replacement without having to send this back, you can take that spot down to the bare metal and season it.

Jun 20, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Waxy, soft, translucent, golden and raw garlic clove

Respectfully, the sniff test is not necessarily the best means for testing food safety. If you put your nose to a typical kitchen floor, you probably wouldn't smell anything at all, but I certainly wouldn't lick it.

I buy a lot of onions in the hopes that I will eventually cook with them, and, most of the time, they just sit. By the time I get to them, as I said before, they're usually soft and translucent, with a very healthy covering of black mold between the layers. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that colonies of that mold exist on and in that onion before the actual black mold is visible.

You don't want to consume that- either in an onion or in garlic. If you like the taste of roasted garlic, then buy fresh garlic and roast it.

Jun 17, 2015
scott123 in General Topics

Waxy, soft, translucent, golden and raw garlic clove

"It kills germs after all."

Like the botulinum toxin one might find in raw garlic stored in oil? Does it kill that?

The softness and the translucency are decay. The outer clove is breaking down to create nutrients for the growing sprout. Decaying food can host just about anything. Decay under very controlled conditions: cheese, yogurt, beer, etc., with those you're taking great lengths to control the dominant micro organisms. With something like this, though, it's a crap shoot.

Jun 17, 2015
scott123 in General Topics

Waxy, soft, translucent, golden and raw garlic clove

That's spoiled garlic. I haven't seen that happen much with garlic, but I see it with really really old onions quite a bit. Usually, with onions, it's accompanied by mold. Even if you don't see mold, it still doesn't mean that there isn't any, though.

How are you feeling? :)

Seriously, even though the likelihood of getting sick is probably very small, I still think it's a good idea to stick to unspoiled food.

Jun 17, 2015
scott123 in General Topics
1

ISO Budget-Conscious, Meat-Centric Meals for a Crowd

Duffy, I'm not saying that your pizza tastes like wet cardboard, just that one of the ingredients you're using does. If you're using a bad tasting ingredient, regardless of who you're serving it to, you're impacting the taste of the final product- most likely not all that noticeably, but, I promise you, the VWG is totally unnecessary and your pizza will taste a tiny bit better without it.

Jun 14, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

ISO Budget-Conscious, Meat-Centric Meals for a Crowd

"I add extra gluten, so it's probably close to 14% by the time I'm done."

In terms of matching or bettering Hungry Howies and making your family happy, the added gluten might be part of the problem. The manner in which gluten is made involves processing it to heck and back. By the time it's gone through all that, it neither performs well, nor tastes any good. Next time you've got it in your hand, smell it, and think wet cardboard (and that's dry, that smell/taste gets a lot worse wet).

Until you find high gluten flour, I'd just stick to king arthur bread flour. On it's own, it will make a much better tasting pizza. I'm curious, could you post your current recipe? I don't pretend to be much of a Hungry Howie's expert, but I do know a thing or two about pizza and might be able to help you in your quest to get your family preferring your crust over theirs.

Jun 14, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

ISO Budget-Conscious, Meat-Centric Meals for a Crowd

I would also give Sam's another look. Inventory varies from region to region, but I've seen a handful Sam's in different areas carry both bread flour and high gluten flour, with bread being more common.

Jun 14, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

ISO Budget-Conscious, Meat-Centric Meals for a Crowd

I'm just going to toss this idea out there- you can do with it as you wish :)

Instead of looking at this from a meat perspective, how about looking it from a protein one? I know that eggs have already been mentioned. As a ravenous carnivore, eggs don't really fill me up, but if they can work for your family, great.

I think if you have picky eaters, soy is going to be tough sell. There IS protein beyond meat, eggs and soy, though, you just need to think about it a little differently. Wheat protein. I'm not talking about seitan. I'm talking about the nutritional boost you get by working with high protein flour.

Bread is good, but, retail bread flour is not really all that cheap, and, if you're working with all purpose, you're sacrificing critical hunger satiating protein for starch. Many, not all, Americans typically have access to a club store and/or a distributor where they can purchase very high protein flour (14% protein or higher). You can typically get a 50 lb. bag for less than $20. When you start looking at the price per gram of protein, nothing comes close to the protein in wheat- and higher protein wheat maximizes that.

Now, this very high protein flour CAN be used to make bread, but it's pretty far from ideal. It's also not that terribly ideal for pizza, BUT... this isn't about making the best pizza in the world, it's about feeding growing kids. The cheese and the sauce are going to drive the price up a bit, but, with a well made dough, you should be able to pump out an extremely crowd pleasing product with minimal cheese and minimal sauce. You can also take just about any of the ground meat dishes that you're presently making- or considering making and top your pizzas with those. Lastly, if you're baking for a large enough group, you can work with a huge chunk of wholesale mozzarella- which you can buy at the same place you get your flour. Wholesale mozzarella is very inexpensive and is almost always far superior to what you get in the supermarket.

I wouldn't normally recommend this if I didn't see that you're already making your own bread. If you're willing to make bread, the jump to pizza shouldn't be that dramatic. This is really just looking at bread in a slightly different way. If you're working with all purpose flour which is most likely 11% protein, the extra 3% protein will go a long way to satiate hungry kids.

Edit: And this isn't something that you're going to have to talk any picky kid into eating either. The flour that I'm recommending is pretty much the industry standard for NY style pizza. With sale or distributor cheese and a little dough making homework, you're going to be able to match a large cheese pie from your favorite pizza for as little as $1.50.

Jun 13, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Is there Indian Curry Paste Similar to Mae Ploy Thai Paste?

*shaking my head* I devoted an entire first paragraph to painstakingly explain that, from that moment on, when I referred to Indian food, I was implying Indian Restaurant food (NOT home!). I have no idea how I could have made that any clearer.

The original post could easily be interpreted to signify home cooking. But we're a level below the original post. The OP made his post, I replied and made absolutely positively sure that we were both talking about the same thing. We were. He replied to me in the context of that clarified topic, and then you and Jung jumped in and decided that you were going to make it about something else. It's not about anything else.

If you wish to talk about what Indian restaurant food is or isn't, I'm all ears, but please stop derailing this thread.

Jun 11, 2015
scott123 in General Topics

Is there Indian Curry Paste Similar to Mae Ploy Thai Paste?

From the OP:

"Yes, I'm referring to Indian restaurant food in the US."

and this was literally my first sentence in this discussion:

"I'm going to assume that you're in the U.S. and that when you talk about Indian 'curries' you're talking about Indian restaurant food (which is different than Indian home cooking)"

I don't think you can possibly get any clearer than the fact that Zackly, the OP, and I are talking about Indian restaurant food NOT home food.

As far as Indian Restaurant food being gravy based, I think everyone in this discussion completely understands that not every single dish starts with gravy. Obviously, dosa doesn't start with gravy, nor do samosas or gulab jamun :) But any of the wet main courses absolutely do. Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer, Chicken Korma, Malai Kofta, Rogan Josh- all the classic dishes that the majority of the U.S. views as Indian restaurant food, is gravy based.

And when I say Indian restaurant food, North Indian is implied. Because of the market penetration and near ubiquity of North Indian restaurants in the U.S., that's what almost all Americans view as Indian restaurants. If I was talking about a South Indian restaurant, I'd say 'South Indian,' since that is, of this moment, a far less common entity (but growing).

Jun 11, 2015
scott123 in General Topics

Is there Indian Curry Paste Similar to Mae Ploy Thai Paste?

"There's no general rule for "Indian Food" because food preparations vary greatly based on region."

There IS a clearly defined general rule for Indian restaurant food, which is the immediate topic at hand, not Indian home food.

Jun 11, 2015
scott123 in General Topics

Is there Indian Curry Paste Similar to Mae Ploy Thai Paste?

Unless I misunderstood him, the OP and I are talking about Indian restaurant food, not home cooking.

Jun 11, 2015
scott123 in General Topics

Is there Indian Curry Paste Similar to Mae Ploy Thai Paste?

Okay, let me start off by saying that since you reference an 'Asian grocery store' and 'dollars,' I'm going to assume that you're in the U.S. and that when you talk about Indian 'curries' you're talking about Indian restaurant food (which is different than Indian home cooking) as well as Thai restaurant food (which may be different than Thai home cooking, I'm not sure).

Indian food is all based on a slow cooked, wet, gravy-like base chocked full of fresh aromatics, the lion's share of those aromatics being onions. That's why when you buy 'curry' pastes like Patak, they are wet, dilute, loose and expensive- because onion gravy can't really be concentrated effectively, and it takes a considerable amount of time and labor to make. Thai curry pastes have some aromatics, like garlic, but the quantities are much smaller and they aren't cooked, and, when combined with other spices, the flavor is far more concentrated. Between not having to be cooked and involving a bare minimum of labor to prepare, and the intensely flavored ingredients that allow a little to go a long way, Thai curries are always going to be far far less expensive.

You will find a multitude of inexpensive dry spice mixes in Indian grocers, and, while these are relatively popular for home cooks and may be utilized, to an extent, by restaurants, the 'essence' of Indian restaurant food isn't the spice, but the aromatic rich gravy that simmers for hours. Nothing can ever replace that. So, if you want Indian food, you're going to need to at least be willing to slowly sweat down a healthy quantity of onions. I don't work with it myself, but you can buy ginger garlic paste, which can save you some time. But dried onion, dried ginger and dried garlic will never be able to come close to replicating the real deal, and without that, you'll never get a just add water (or coconut milk or any other liquid) mix for Indian food.

Help Me Make My Own Chai Blend for Iced Tea

"There is a LOT of clove in this blend"

Clove is cheap :)

If you live near an Indian grocer, they will have an assortment of 'chai masalas'- typically inexpensive spice mixtures to add to tea. You need to be careful with these, though Just like your one brand of tea was heavy handed with the cheap cloves, these spice mixtures can go heavy with the inexpensive spices and light with the expensive ones. The most important ingredient is green cardamom, and it also happens to be the most expensive.

If you can find a masala where cardamom is towards the top, great, otherwise, you might want to purchase some whole cardamom pods separately, grind those and combine that with the mix.

I spent some time googling "chai masala recipe" and man, are they all over the map. It's pretty chaotic, which, I think mirrors the situation in India where the recipe varies tremendously from household to household, region to region.

Here's how I would approach this. The spice blends are just attempts to recreate the whole spice/fresh ginger version. I think if you start with the original, it will be much easier to hone in on what you want with the dried and ground spice blend. This recipe feels pretty balanced to me:

http://cupofjo.com/2013/09/the-best-m...

When you make the move to the dried ground version, I'd stick to these spices, as this list feels pretty traditional- from a Western perspective, which, I think based upon the teas you're drinking, is what you've been conditioned to. You could try a little nutmeg. Beyond that, though, I think that's about it. If you really like your current blend, and you feel like you have to add mint and lemongrass, it's your masala, but I, personally think the boldness of those flavors is a bit out of place- especially mint. You might find mint in a chutney, but I really can't see mint in chai being all that hugely popular. But, like I said, it's not my masala, it's your masala.

Jun 09, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Review: June Smart Oven Offers to Cook for You

$3,000 retail price- and 450 deg. F bake temp. If you like fast baked pizza, you're not getting it with this oven- not even with steel plate.

Jun 09, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Very cool outdoor pizza oven. I.want.this.

Okay, nerd checking in :) This isn't a review, but a true nerd can tell you whether or not an oven can make great pizza without even baking in it :)

First, one engineering error that some may feel is pretty minor but that I feel is quite major is the heat placement. Assuming this can do a 90 second pizza (see below), when you're baking pizza at that rate, being able to see the level of leoparding on the side next to the fire is critical for determining when to turn the pizza. With the heat source at the back, you're literally baking blind. It's especially annoying because the designers could just have easily put the fire box on the side rather than the back.

Second, looking at the revolving cutaway model (which, I have to admit, is pretty sexy), this looks to have at least an inch thick stone. An offset fire, with a ceiling of that height and a stone of that thickness, will never be able to sufficiently preheat the stone in 15 minutes for a balanced 90 second bake. This is really not that different from an uuni, and that's been plagued with balance issues- the bottom doesn't cook as quickly as the top.

ANY company advertising a 90 second or less baked pizza darn well better have a video showing an uninterrupted 90 second or less bake, with a final shot of both the top AND the bottom of the pizza. If they do not have a video, I consider it fraudulent advertising.

I did a little digging and was able to find a video, but it's not of a full bake, and, from what I'm seeing it's not looking good.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetec...

If you go to the 50 second mark, you'll see an incredibly pale looking undercrust.

This is still very preliminary and there's a chance this oven might be up to snuff (perhaps with a longer pre-heat or maybe a steel baking surface), but any company that makes claims and then waits to prove those claims until after people have pre-ordered their product is highly suspect in my book.

Jun 08, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Baking Steel reversible griddle

Alexrander, thank you for your kind words. I am happy that my contributions have been a help to you. How are you enjoying the aluminum plate?

Jun 07, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Baking Steel reversible griddle

Yes, it can be used on a coil electric stove top. Steel is just like cast iron in that regard.

Jun 06, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

homemade pizza ideas

While there may be a few different ways to spell it, I believe the most common is sfincione. NYC pizzerias don't make multiple doughs- it would be a logistical nightmare. They just take their regular dough, spread it out on a pan and top it with the traditional bread crumbs and Caciocavallo cheese. I guarantee you that the sfincione you had, both in NYC and Vegas, was made with traditional New York style pizza dough- NOT the typical Silician pizza doughs that you find online with a load of water.

Is this what you want to make at home? Or do you want to make deep dish? Every style of pizza is different and each uses different ingredients and formulas. Your best chance for success starts with a clear picture of what you're striving to achieve.

Jun 05, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

homemade pizza ideas

With all due respect, the discussion you linked to has some of the worst dough making advice I've ever come across in a single place. It's almost the perfect compendium of things NOT to do, ingredients to avoid and resources one should specifically steer clear of:

American Pie
Encyclopizza
Vital Wheat Gluten
Modernist Cuisine
75-80% hydration
Sourdough (not for a beginner)
Semolina
00 flour (again, not for the beginner)
Jeff Varasano (yet another pitfall for a beginner)

Jun 05, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

homemade pizza ideas

6-in-1s are a line of ground tomatoes from Californian wholesale tomato packager Escalon.

http://www.escalon.net/files/pdfs/Ful...

They are well regarded in the trade, but are very difficult to find in retail settings.

Jun 04, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking