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Greasy Silicone Mats

Katie is almost right. When vinegar and baking soda are mixed, the carbon is released in the form of carbon dioxide. What is left is water and a very small amount of sodium acetate. It is almost all water, and it's not an effective cleaner.

Baking soda is a base and can be an effective cleaner. Vinegar is an acid and can also be an effective cleaner. Together, they are not an effective cleaner, though it's good to have one around to neutralize the other.

Oct 22, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Greasy Silicone Mats

Monica, can you say what brand you use? I have been looking for uncoated parchment with no luck.

Oct 22, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Local cane syrup?

When I was a kid, we bought cane syrup from cane farmers, usually selling it on the side of the road from the back of a pickup. Where can I get cane syrup now? Maple syrup just isn't the same. Is there anyone local making cane syrup these days, or must I settle for Steen's (which is better than nothing. But who in town sells Steen's?)

Oct 22, 2014
reptilegrrl in Houston

Pastured, local bacon/smoked sausage in Houston area?

weird, that is where I go to get my pork from Harrison and I have never seen anyone selling bacon and smoked sausage :( I will ask for him next time, thanks!

Oct 22, 2014
reptilegrrl in Houston

Pastured, local bacon/smoked sausage in Houston area?

Hey Houston hounds! I am trying to find local, pastured bacon and smoked sausage in the Houston area. Any help? I am getting my breakfast sausage and pork from Harrison Hog Farms right now but they don't do anything smoked or cured.

I like buying straight from the butcher or farmer if possible.

Oct 15, 2014
reptilegrrl in Houston

21-22" countertops?

Enso, it has about 4 linear feet NOW, which is one reason I want to renovate. It will, obviously, have more post-renovation. That is kind of the point.

Aug 04, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

If I were to buy base cabs from Ikea, why would I get pull-outs instead of just getting drawers? I cannot imagine it would be significantly less expensive.

Aug 03, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

Weight of materials is definitely something to consider. So yes, all these things are on my mind, and will be taken into account, but I really just wanted to know people's opinions on the idea of shallow counters, not on all my other kitchen desires and decisions. Thanks :)

Aug 03, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

We bought the house in 2010. Because of the bad 80s expansion, it has about 4 linear feet of counter space, period, in spite of being an large room.

We cannot afford custom cabinetry.

I think we are going to buy a Hemnes dresser to use as an island for a bit and I will get to find out how I like the depth of the top

Aug 03, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

Thanks for that suggestion! I just did a search and it looks like a stock cabinet base drawer unit would be about twice as much as a base drawer unit from Ikea. Maybe I can find something less expensive when the time comes.

Aug 03, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

Well, an unfitted kitchen is basically what I am thinking of doing with the Hemnes pieces. If you mean buying actual unfitted kitchen furnishings, I am in the US and the very few companies making these are custom cabinetmakers and their cabinets are VERY expensive. Outside of my budget for sure.

The bizarre configuration of the kitchen (I want to at some point pull the original plans for our house if I can, because I just can't figure out how these rooms happened!) makes an Irish dresser unlikely, though there are a few places I could add shelving if necessary. To further complicate things, the washer and dryer are in the kitchen as well.

If Ikea was still making the old Varde unfitted kitchen set I would just buy that, because I think it's very functional and perfectly good for a rental. Unfortunately they have discontinued most of those pieces.

This is the very best layout I've come up with using Ikea's kitchen planner. Getting this layout involves removing a partial wall (non-load-bearing, but remaining from before kitchen was expanded) and some walls that were at some point framed in around the water heater (I don't know why, because it was in almost the same place before.)

At the bottom of the photo is the doorway into the kitchen from the dining room. No door. Top, is a doorway with door. This used to be the back door of the house, now it leads to an addition. Clockwise from there are doors to an office and door to a pantry (original to house.)

Not apparent in diagram is that the windows on left side are of uneven heights. Also, on left side, near door, cabinets need to be deeper than Ikea's option of 12", but not a full 25" because that overlaps the door frame (which is what the current cabinets do and it looks sloppy and ugly.)

You see what I'm up against? Heh. This layout would involve moving gas and water lines and drains.

Aug 03, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

I should add that a)there will be budget constraints, b)Yes I know Ikea makes base drawers, but I prefer the unfitted look, and c)this isn't meant to be my "dream kitchen", but one that is functional (hence my preference for drawers) and looks cute as well as somewhat true to the home's history.

This is our starter home, and in maybe 3-5 years (whenever the next housing slump comes along) we plan to buy another one and use this one as a rental property.

Aug 01, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

Less depth in the drawers is a concern, but upon consideration, drawers are so much more efficient in terms of storage space access that I don't think the 2-3 inches of space is much of a trade-off. So my main concern is the counter space.

The plan does include an island, either a modified dresser/buffet or a stainless work table.

I don't like Ikea's base cabs, I prefer the unfitted look.

Jul 31, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

I definitely don't want to move the cabs forward and have wasted space behind them. If that was an issue I might actually just take the backs off and make custom, deeper drawers.

One reason I like the Hemnes drawers, I forgot to add, is that they looks a lot like the home's original cabinetry.

Jul 31, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

Yes, I am aware that Ikea has drawer units, but as I said, I do not like their fronts. Also their kitchen drawer units are expensive compared to the cabs, and very limited in sizes offered. I have played with the Ikea kitchen planner and the drawers don't fit into our kitchen very well. I also prefer the unfitted look to the built-in look.

The only appliance that might be an issue is the range. I would probably do some kind of bump out right around the range, for that very reason. I will not have upper cabs in most of the kitchen, though one particular wall might accommodate some.

Another reason I like the Hemnes is because it looks a lot like the house's original cabinetry.

Jul 31, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

21-22" countertops?

I have a weird old house with a kind of awkward kitchen layout (house was built in 1940, but kitchen was expanded and remodeled oddly in the 80s.) I would like to redo the kitchen in a few years, and I am actually looking at using Ikea chests of drawers as base cabinets (instead of their kitchen cabinets. I just prefer drawers down below, and I don't actually like ikea cabinet front options much.)Also there is an area where the run of 1980s cabinets is too wide for the wall and overlaps the door frame.

The problem is that the set of drawers I like (Hemnes) is only about 19.5" deep. Putting a counter on top with an overhang, I would end up with counters only about 21" deep. Do you think this is too shallow of a countertop to be workable?

Jul 30, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Barkeeper's Friend Scratched My Aluminum

My relatively new shiny aluminum loaf pan remains shiny though I wash it with dishwashing liquid every time I use it (and I've used it about 4 times now). Same with my shiny aluminum coffee pot, which I've used for years and occasionally wash with dishwashing liquid or baking soda.

Feb 14, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Barkeeper's Friend Scratched My Aluminum

The thing is, people are always recommending BKF for aluminum. The BKF website even recommends using it for uncoated aluminum. I don't think in that case my expectations (that it not damage things) were too high. I posted this, though, hoping that other people won't make the same mistake I did.

From now on I will just use soap and water, maybe cream of tartar if necessary.

Feb 14, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Barkeeper's Friend Scratched My Aluminum

I'm posting this just because I didn't think this could actually happen or was even a concern, and I think other people should know. I received a new baking sheet yesterday, and I had a hard time getting the adhesive from the label off of the sheet. So, I scrubbed at it with a little BKF, and as a result the area where the BKF was is now scratched up (it had a mirror finish before) and darkened in color.

I've always had BKF recommended for using on non-anodized aluminum, and I use it on SS all the time without problems, but I've never seen this happen before. (The only aluminum piece I've used BKF on before was already damaged because my partner put it in the dishwasher.)

I definitely won't use BKF on aluminum again, and I am going to contact the company too.

Feb 13, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Pan Release Makes Brownies Greasy

I was tired of hand-buttering pans for baking, so I made a batch of the pan release that I see all over the internet. Equal volume shortening, vegetable oil, and flour. I used rice flour.

I used it for brownies tonight and though it released fine, the brownies had a greasy sheen left on them. Is this normal? It's pretty unattractive.

Jan 29, 2014
reptilegrrl in Home Cooking

Stainless steel proofing buckets?

Wow, great suggestion, thank you. And the buckets have lids?

Jan 22, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Stainless steel proofing buckets?

I found many bowls searching with that phrase, but unfortunately google interprets ceramic and proofing together to mean someone looking for oven-proof ceramics.

Jan 22, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Gluten/Wheat Free Bread Issues

I use an oven thermometer :) It usually agrees with my oven, but every once in awhile the oven will spike.

Jan 21, 2014
reptilegrrl in Special Diets

Stainless steel proofing buckets?

I'm baking a lot of (wheat-free) bread and I am at the point where I need proofing buckets for bulk fermentation. I can't find any that are not made of plastic. I am trying to avoid plastics in the kitchen as much as possible (for a lot of reasons).

I need something that doesn't have a huge footprint in the fridge.

I did find "pizza dough pans" made of stainless steel, but I am not sure they would work for breads that rise up a lot, they are not very tall. I have also found a few cylindrical stainless steel bowls with lids, but the large ones never seem to be sold separately.

Jan 20, 2014
reptilegrrl in Cookware

Gluten/Wheat Free Bread Issues

They call for "any gluten free all-purpose blend", and say to add xanthan if the flour doesn't have it. I thought the guar gum would stand in for xanthan gum, but it really doesn't. Psyllium helps.

I do think these recipes have too much moisture, which is just one of the many problems with this books.

Jan 20, 2014
reptilegrrl in Special Diets

using sorghum flour in biscuit recipe

I think the kind of biscuits you are talking about were not made with sorghum flour; they were called sorghum biscuits because they were sweetened with sorghum syrup. White sugar was a luxury, and sorghum syrup was the sweetener of rural poor folks. Appalachia has a long tradition of using sorghum as a sweetener.

Jan 02, 2014
reptilegrrl in Home Cooking

How much blood should be in a chicken carcass?

Update: I wrote to the chicken people and they told me that they recently realized that, because of the cold weather, the blood is congealing in the chickens faster than it did when the weather was warm. They are going to try to make their slaughter floor warmer.

Dec 06, 2013
reptilegrrl in General Topics

Gluten/Wheat Free Bread Issues

jvanderh- I always use a scale when baking.

I don't use xanthan gum, at least not right now. I use Pamela's Artisan Flour blend, and since making this post, I've started adding a tablespoon of psyllium husk powder to the flours when I make a loaf of bread. I've also started adding a second rise (first rise overnight in the fridge, second just before baking). I'm also baking at a slightly lower temp and a bit longer (to make sure the bread gets cooked in the center and bottom without the outside burning), and letting the breads cool for about 10 minutes in the oven with the burner off and the door propped slightly open. I might add a bit extra flour next time.

Unfortunately, what I think it really comes down to is that the recipes in the book I am using (the first "Gluten Free On A Shoestring" book) were not adequately tested. I tried a recipe from Land O Lakes the other day and it had a much much better texture.

Thanks for your comment!

Dec 06, 2013
reptilegrrl in Special Diets
1

How much blood should be in a chicken carcass?

Yeah, it is kind of gross. I just squeeze the congealed blood out of the veins where I can see it. I use a napkin to blot off visible surface clots. WHen I cook it it's fine.

Nov 30, 2013
reptilegrrl in General Topics

How much blood should be in a chicken carcass?

The thing about whole chickens is that unless I want to roast a whole chicken, there aren't a lot of things to do with it. If I want to make chicken and rice, or stir-fry, or ramen, or etc, parts are more convenient than the whole thing. I always use bones and scraps etc to make stock.

Thanks!

Nov 30, 2013
reptilegrrl in General Topics