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Pulled Pork - can I use tenderloin instead of shoulder?

Thanks all for confirming my suspicions!

I'm going out tomorrow to get some proper shoulder and make it the way I'm comfortable. I will follow the advise of one poster though and (on a different occassion) try smoking that pork loin roast.

Jun 08, 2010
Zedeff in Home Cooking

Pulled Pork - can I use tenderloin instead of shoulder?

Well the title pretty much says it all. My mother phoned me and asked if I would make pulled pork on their new barbecue for a small family gathering this coming weekend. Normally I make this with shoulder (aka butt) but she told me that she went to Costco and got a "huge" pork tenderloin for me to use.

Normally I would either smoke the roast for 8 hours or roast it in the oven for about 6. I use a dry rub, no brine, and "baste" with apple juice in a spray bottle.

Having only ever made pulled pork with the butt, I don't even know if this is possible. Can I just use my same recipe and swap the cuts? Would you make any significant changes to the procedure to avoid the tenderloin drying out?

If it won't work (or won't work well) I'll need to go out and buy some pork shoulder, which is plenty cheap anyways.

Jun 07, 2010
Zedeff in Home Cooking

anodized aluminum with stainless interior vs multi-ply cookware

You are correct, the anodized aluminum with stainless interior should be just as good as the fully-clad brands. Keep in mind that anodized aluminum can be hard to keep clean/scratch free (it often actually stratches other things and leaves traces of them on itself, like pencil lead).

If I were shopping for new cookware I would be looking at aluminum with stainless inside, and save 60%+ over the fully clad companies.

Dec 26, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

Help with Venison-based appetizer

A well meaning friend with no culinary knowlege has asked me if I would mind cooking a venison roast for him - he's a hunter. Yesterday he game me a frozen hunk o'beast to roast, but it's a little small at only 640 grams trimmed (~1.4 lbs). We are expecting to feed 6 people. To compensate for the small cut he also gave me two venison filets/steaks.

The roast is no problem, but what the heck to I do with two small steaks to divide among 6 people?

My only real thought was to make some simple popovers, quickly sear the steaks on both sides to medium-rare, and add a pan sauce, the portion and serve.

Any other steak-based appetizers floating around for a very game meat?

Dec 21, 2009
Zedeff in Home Cooking

"Pod" Coffee Makers

The Keurig is a single cup coffee maker, it sounds like the Senseo with "crema" is a pod espresso maker. Does it really surprise you that the Keurig would make a crema-less, thin beverage? That's what coffee is compared to espresso!

None of these pod machines will make the quality beverage of a proper semi-automatic machine, but that's not what you're looking for. My parents have had a Keurig machine since they first came on the market and it works beautifully, without leaks or any failure. It is really what every product should be - simple, reliable, consistent, and it works as advertised.

If you can taste the coffee from it and like the taste, then the Keurig is a great COFFEE brewer, but as far as I know it will not make fancy milk-based drinks. I've had excellent hot chocolate, coffee, and tea from the machine however.

Sep 20, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS?

If all three leading edges are sharpened, then I imagine one could use it for skinning an animal if you were to try some home butchery.

Jun 10, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

Manual Coffee Grinder

While Sweet Marias is a good place to buy coffee, I think I could suggest an alternative link to find a grinder.

www.orphanespresso.com

These guys refurb and repair all the grinders, but what's morel, they actually can tell you about how they are in practice. What I mean is that they will tell you the grind variety available, the difficulty in grinding (ie. the strength required) and even how many turns of the crank it takes to grind 7 grams (one cup) of coffee. You will not find a more knowledgeable, respectable, or FAIR dealer in these products.

/not affiliated, just a fan.

Jun 02, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

Question about the Calphalon contemporary stanless steel fondue set

It's a nice looking set. The video in your link shows the demonstrator making the fondue on the stove in a separate sauce pan, then pouring into the ceramic insert of your set. This is, I presume, the intended procedure.

May 23, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

Good Roasting Pan - Is Copper a Help or a Hindrance?

I don't have a proper roasting vessel despite my downright love for roast chicken. Currently I roast in a gigantic, thin, stamped metal roasting tin - more like a vat really, based on size - that I picked up at a thrift store for a dollar. The only reason I even bought this one was that I wanted something substantial to make a sauce/gravy in and the disposable aluminum roasting vessels from the grocery store didn't cut it.

Now I'm looking at available options and one Canadian retailer has the Mauviel 4.2 quart, 13.75" x 10" x 3", 2.0 mm copper with iron handles model on sale for $250 (Canadian) regular $485. I absolutely love my Mauviel saute pan that I received as a Christmas gift last year and was wondering if this roaster would be a good complement.

Now, as I see it, the pros are going to be the extremely high quality of the build, copper will yield even heat conduction through the pan and good gravies/sauces, and the smaller size will be good for single chickens (just me and my girlfriend around here), and it could double as a lasagna pan. The potential bad though will be the same but reversed: the good heat conduction may be too much conductive heat transfer and could burn the bottoms of roasts or veg, maybe even making smoke? The copper is also 2.0 mm, not the recommended 2.5 mm for stove top use, and the small size might eventually be a limiting factor.

Does anyone use a copper roaster and if so, how does it work? Any alternative high quality roasters available here - All Clad, Paderno, Viking etc. - are in a similar, maybe slightly cheaper price bracket ($150-$250), so the on-sale Mauviel seems like a steal.

May 23, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

Edge-Pro Apex...anybody use one?

Fantastic product. I recommend that you use it on a smooth-surfaced table and not wood. Sharpening with this device creates a "slurry" of metal filings and water which can easily scratch surfaces. Furthermore, this slurry WILL scratch the sides of your knives if you let it build up, so if you have fancy knives with mirror finishes that you are very attached to, you'll have to be extra vigilant.

The device is not without some minor flaws. It's not possible to get flawless results straight out of the box; it will be easier to get perfect results with a long, perfectly straight knife, because negotiating the curves of the blades requires some practise. Furthermore, I have one knife - a Forschener boning knife - that cannot be sharpened all the way to the hilt due to its shape. Lastly, positioning of the blade on the machine is important, because if you don't advance the blade far enough (so the edge overhangs the support) then you will be sharpening the machine itself and damaging it.

I quite like the machine, I would advise anyone who is interested to go for it.

Feb 26, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

A question about a copper frying pan

I put my Mauviel copper saute in the oven almost as often as I use it on the stove. It's a great small vessel for roasting vegetables and small roasts and, obviously, can go on the stove for a nice pan sauce too.

A word of advice: if you fall in love with the bright polished look of copper, you will be driven INSANE by these pans. My own copper piece that I received on Christmas is already an absolute mess and I love it. Copper seems to react to everything and anything that touches it, which means that any little particle on the surface - water, oil, sauce, whatever - leaves its own semi-permanent mark on the surface which needs to be polished away. Therefore after only a few uses, your copper will be much darker, uneven, with a non-uniform patina of varying shades, sizes, and shapes of stains.

Fall in love with the look of well-used copper and you'll reduce your stress. These are vessels for cooking, not for admiring from afar while they hang on a rack! Let 'em get dirty and dark and ugly looking.

Feb 21, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

Pot rack look

If you're not sure which way to go, I can HIGHLY recommend the Varde kitchen cart from Ikea.

The wheels are great, the steel shelf is thin and easily dented, but it serves its purpose well enough. The cart comes with hooks for 8 pots and pans which is most of my collection, and they look great hanging in plain view, though not at eye level. The hardwood top is a great cutting board that is replaceable for about $40 if you ever wear it down or warp it.

Feb 17, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

Home Coffee Roaster?

I think the "correct" choice will depend on how much of a tinkerer your boyfriend is and your budget.

The tinkerer and budget choice is the iRoast 2. Note that "budget" choice does not imply anything bad or thrifty, only that it's relatively cheap. The pros: great controllability, can vary temperatures, times, save profiles, and basically allows infinite experimentation so he can take one bean and roast it a thousand different ways to find his ultimate roast; relatively low price. Cons: loud as hell, relatively small batch size means doing 2-4 roasts per week, depending on his consumption and whether he's a coffee versus espresso drinker.

Option two, for someone a bit less into tinkering and with a bigger budget: Behmor 1600. The Behmor offers relatively small variability in the roast, and the user cannot control temperatures and has limited control of times. Basically, the machine has a few presets with the ability to modify those presets within fixed parameters. There is one temperature output, and any variation from this is based on flutuating on and off, rather than actually changing the energy output. Pros: great batch size, up to full 1 pound roasts, quiet, smoke-reduction system that works. Cons: price $200-$300, low play factor, bigger batches mean bigger smoke output.

The "ultimate" home roaster for the combination of batch size and tinkering: The Hottop roaster. This is a mini version of commercial drum roasters that has a great cooling system that cools the beans in about 3-4 minutes (compared to 8-12 for a Behmor)! The Hottop is also programmable and upgradeable, so that you can buy a standard low-programmable model and upgrade the PCB and control panel as you desire to get more and more hands-on and tinkery as your heart desires. Pros: upgradeable, 1/2 pound batch size, great cooling system, commercial styling. Cons: BIG smoke output, high price ($700-$1000 depending on configuration).

Personally, I use the Behmor and I'm happy with it. I just don't have the time or interest to keep a log book of my roasts comparing the difference between 425 degrees and 415 degrees, or whether an extra 6 seconds of roasting brings out more nuttiness or whatnot. I'm sure that those who keep such records really enjoy doing it, it's just not for me and I roast quite happily using my Behmor and I never miss the fine-tuning controls that other roasters have. You will have to judge your BF's personality to see if he's like me, or if he'd prefer to micro-manage with an iRoast.

Two additional thoughts: is he planning on ONLY drinking home-roast, or is he looking to play around and supplement his commercial roasts with his own home-roast? If he still likes his commercial brands, then the small batch size of an iRoast is A-OK. If he's only drinking home-roast, a 1/2 pound or greater batch is a plus.

Secondly, the Behmor is available in a fully warranteed but refurbished version for a $100 discount, making it $199. You can find this at www.chocolatealchemy.com.

Feb 17, 2009
Zedeff in Cookware

Tips For a Venison Roast Please?

A friend of mine is an avid hunter, but not a seasoned chef, and asked if I'd make him a roast with some of his venison. The cut of meat he's given me is about 4 lbs and he just calls it a "rump roast," but because his father processes their catch he couldn't tell me exactly where on the deer it came from (ie. top, bottom, etc.).

So far I've placed the roast in my refrigerator for a few reasons. One to thaw it, two to dry age it for a few days (dinner is Saturday) and lastly because it's a bit freezer burned in places and I want to be able to carve those portions away. Beyond that, can I go ahead and cook this like any other red meat/beef roast? I'm thinking it should be kept on the rarer side, maybe roast to 130 degrees for a medium-rare roast at the most because most game animals are fairly lean.

Any other tips or specific recipes that I could use as guidelines would be much appreciated, thanks.

Jan 21, 2009
Zedeff in Home Cooking

Surfas skillet?

The pan claims to have a 5 mm aluminum layer and, as an inch is 25.4 mm, that's about 1/5" thick. The famed (and expensive) Italian Paderno stuff has 1/4" disc bottom and cost five times as much.

I think this is a fine pan for the price.

Dec 27, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Mauviel iron handles quality control question

Thanks ThreeGigs! It's my first piece of genuinely professional cookware, and I'm just a college kid, so I can never be too protective.

Dec 27, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Mauviel iron handles quality control question

Good afternoon, sorry to create yet another copper topic.

I got a beautiful Mauviel copper saute pan from my girlfriend for Christmas, the 3.2 quart "professional" series of SS lined copper, 2.5 mm thick, with cast iron handles. While I haven't used the pan yet, I did inspect it carefully after cleaning it by hand and I noticed that the handle has numerous small patches of discoloured areas.

While the bulk of the handle is a mottled gray colour that is smooth and not-that-cold to the touch (suggesting an epoxy or clear-coating on the iron), there are spots on the handle that have a rough texture and are a dark brown colour. There are numerous small spots like this on the handle proper, but the biggest spots are on the base of the handle where it is bolted to the pan. The largest spot is 1 cm by 0.5 cm.

Naturally, my concern is that these are spots of rust showing in a brand new and unused pan. I have never read any concerns previously about the cast-iron handled copper pans being susceptible to rust or that they require any special treatment.

Does it sound to anyone else like this is something concerning? Should I ask the original vendor to exchange it, or is this a normal patina to be found on the Mauviel products? I sent the vendor an e-mail asking their opinion and today I went to another local store that sells the same products and did not find this pattern on any other pans. My vendor, however, has not written back due to the holiday in Canada yesterday and now the weekend. Any advice would be fantastic, thanks!

Dec 27, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Are Crockpots Lame?

The two key arguments are safety and energy efficiency with the further implication of convenience (implied only in that if the product is perceived as safe, one is more likely to use it even if they can't be around to babysit it). If these arguments are compeling enough to actually purchase a unit... well, that's up to the individual consumer, is it not?

Please note that I don't get off on internet debating. I don't own a crockpot, but I can understand why other people do and there are very reasonable grounds for them to do so.

Dec 26, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Are Crockpots Lame?

Of course it isn't absolutely needed. Does anyone NEED a deep fryer (sp?) or can you use a pot on the stove? Do you need a microwave, or can you heat stuff up in the oven? Hell, do people need toaster when you can toast easily over your stove?

Need is a silly term. There are very good arguments for why a slow cooker is better than a pot in an oven, but there is no argument that it is absolutely essential. But then again, your oven isn't essential either right? I mean, you can cook a whole lot of food without one.

Dec 26, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

French Copper Pots = lined with TIN or STEEL?

Stainless is generally the "stickiest" metal, both as a combination of its metallurgy and (mostly) manufacturing processes. A metal's stickiness is basically a measure of how pitted or rough the surface is. As the number of nooks and crannies in the surface increases, you allow more proteins to creep into those nooks during cooking and change due to the heat (just think of eggs). This is where we get our cooking techniques from; you first heat a dry pan to swell the metal and close off some gaps, then you add oil to bridge the gaps and hopefully cook proteins before they can fill those nooks and stick.

Look at the lining of any of your stainless cookware; it has a brushed finish, usually with a visible texture of concentric rings. Tin lined pans on the other hand are smooth and glossy. Tin is basically applied to copper pans by heating a glob of tin in the pan until it is molten and swirling the pan to coat; in fact, you can see a video of this on the Williams Sonoma website when looking at their copper Mauviel pans. This process produces a smooth finish because the metal is liquid, so you have less nooks, and thus less sticking.

A sticky pan can be hand though, mostly for pan sauces when you want to encourage that sticking of foods.

Dec 26, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Chest Freezer for Two

Hello, I'm seeking advice on getting a second freezer and I really need to know what size is appropriate.

The basic situation: I live with my girlfriend, we have no children, so there are just to two of us. I like to cook but if I'm not cooking, she often prefers to convenience of the dreaded frozen prepared meals. Okay okay, I'll admit they are convenient and some are even tasty. Moving on....

We're looking for advice on a freezer to add to our standard sized fridge/freezer for extra storage. Basically, the freezer on top of the fridge is great for convenient items and essential items - for example, ice cube trays, small containers of iced cream, frozen peas, the aforementioned frozen meals etc. But if I ever need to store something either bigger or longer term - think a ham, a turkey, or 10 quarts of home made chicken stock - there's no possible way. Therefore I think we're going to use the fridge-freezer for convenient stuff and get a second freezer for my big items and storage.

So then, with only two people, including one cook, and no children, what size freezer do you recommend? I've found models as little as 3 cubic feet (smaller than some bar-fridges) up to... well, the sky's the limit. The most common "apartment" sized ones are about 5-6 cubic feet and $300-$400, but likely to be discounted on Dec. 26th (we're in Canada).

Also, can anyone tell me if a chest freezer really is a convenience or a pain in the neck? My fear is that I will turn into my mother, who has TWO chest freezers full with so much frozen food that there are probably items at the bottom older than I am. I know the idea is great, that I can always have my own stock and pasta sauces on hand even if I'm feeling lazy, but that laziness could lead me down a bad path.... anyone have any experience here?

Thanks.

Dec 23, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

In need of knife advice

You know, I think only you can answer this question for yourself. You're basically asking if you should trade out the boning knife for a santoku plus or minus a larger chef's. The boning knife will obviously excel at breaking down primal cuts of meat or whole birds and fish. If you do this at least weekly, I'd stick with the boning knife hands down. The santoku is often preferred for prepping vegetables but is a bit more challenging to use with herbs (which is why you'd use your chef's knife for this).

Frankly, my own biased opinion is that the santoku and chef's knife are redundant, but the boning knife offers something that those two cannot. I would argue that you should have a chef OR santoku, AND a boning knife in addition to that one.

As for 10 versus 8 inches,you've just gotta try it for yourself. No online advice will tell you how the knife feels in your hand or on your cutting board.

After considering what is practical to have - and my humble opinion is above, take from it what you wish - you naturally have to consider what is practical to own, price wise.

I think you've done well in selecting only useful knives, which is great. But you probably don't have money to burn, so you can priortize a bit based on your cooking style. A nice 9 to 12" slicer is great to have, but I use mine maybe 5 times per year. I bought a cheapo Forschner which gives me 90% of the Shun at 15% of the price. Ditto my boning knife; I use it at least weekly, but it's a working knife that will encounter bone and gristle and occassionaly bash into my board if I'm not careful, and ultra hard and brittle Japanese steel does not inspire confidence in this regard, so I bought Forschner. As for the bread knife, they're generally a pain in the ass if not impossible to sharpen - yours is free, but my advice otherwise would be to buy cheap (ahem, Forschner).

I have the Shun Classic 8" chefs, 3.5" paring, and 6" utility because I use those knives the most and wanted the best, but for my single-purpose "utility" knives, I always advise to buy cheaper but "good enough" brands that will save you a small fortune.

Use the savings to buy a good sharpening kit, like an Edge Pro, and you'll never need to upgrade your knives again.

The above is just a humble opinion, I hope it was helpful an not too condescending.

Dec 23, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Convection Ovens 101

I feel silly typing out this question. I make everything from scratch: my own stocks, candies, breads, and soon, my own chocolate; yet here I am with a beginner level question: how the heck do I use a convection oven?

I'm moving from my rental property with a non-convection oven into my first condo which has a convection oven. Every recipe I read, every cookbook I have, all of them specify times and temperatures without reference to convection settings. So, if I have access to a better oven, how do I adjust my cooking to use it properly, and what specific foods are best suited to convection? Do I decrease time and leave the temperature the same, or do I decrease temperatures and leave the times the same? Do I decrease both?

Thanks so much for your help!

Nov 20, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Which Bialetti Moka do I need?

I'm debating between two different stovetop moka devices. Ideally, I'd be able to make just moka coffee, or any fancier drink that I may want.

The Bialetti Mukka is available for $100. This would make my cappuccino and lates 2 cups at a time, but I don't know if I can use it to make just plain moka coffee. If I run this machine without milk, will I end up with just regular espresso, or does it get "frothed" like the finished product is supposed to? If I can't use this for regular espresso/moka, I'd have to add another $28 for the 6 cup Moka Express.

The 6 cup Moka Express and the 32 oz non-stick Tutta milk frother are available for about $50 total. Naturally, this would get me my moka, with the option of doing milk-based drinks. On the other hand, this requires a bit of a learning curve and some elbow grease which isn't necessarily the goal when brewing that first half-asleep cup in the morning.

Consistency and ease of use are in favor of the Mukka, but moka-making is questionable and price is definitely high. Versatility and cost suppose the Moka Express, but is the extra hassle really worth the modest savings?

Opinions and suggestions are welcome.

Sep 06, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Ikea cast iron: France versus China

Well I shopped primarily by size. I'd have preferred France over China, but the only 5 qt ones they had in stock were Chinese. I figured 5 qts is more useful than 3, and the 8 qt one was too big, so I happily bought the Chinese one.

Sep 05, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning w/ Bacon: Yes or No?

Disclaimer: I'm no expert, but this is a common sense opinion based on what I've read on seasoning.

I don't really understand the "too low a smoke point" argument. On the one hand, a low smoke point is bad if you are trying to avoid making smells in the kitchen. On the other hand, smoking the oil is exactly what's required to season a pan. Burning the oil in thin layers produces the layer of carbon that is what we refer to as "seasoning." If anything, a lower smoke point is better for seasoning than a higher one. Bacon works great.

Fats used to season your pan won't go rancid unless you haven't fully seasoned it. The fat put on the cold pan is no longer in the same chemical form at the end of seasoning, if you've done it hot enough and long enough.

Sep 02, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Ikea cast iron: France versus China

For the long weekend I took a road trip from my home in Winnipeg down to Minneapolis St. Paul and stopped in at an Ikea. Wow, what a very strange and very neat store! While I was there I picked up my first and only piece of enamelled cast iron, a 5 quart blue Senior dutch oven. I did notice however that the older edition, the green series, were on sale and being cleared out - if it had been available, I'd have bought the 5 quart in green. Why? The green ones are labelled on the bottom as being "Made in France" while the blue ones are "Made in China."

Can anyone who's owned both comment on what differences, if any, you've noticed? Quality, construction, function, performance, longevity, whatever. I'm not knocking my Chinese pot, I quite like it in fact, I'm really just curious.

Sep 02, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Paderno of PEI any good?

It is excellent for what it is. Once per year they have substantial sales on their products. I bought the "Albertan" set last fall for $199, discounted from the regular $799. Yes, you read that correctly.

I don't know where this notion comes from that the Canadian Paderno is vastly inferior to the Italian one. They are both stainless steel pots with aluminum disc bottoms. The disc on the Canadian pots is not encapsulated in any way, which I find to be a detriment to the looks of the pots which have an unnatural "lump" on the bottom (the disc). On the other hand, this form of construction allows you to clearly see that there is a substantial amount of aluminum there and while I haven't measured it and am not at home to do so, I'd estimate that it is similar to the 1/5th to 1/4 inch thickness as reported in the Italian ones. Furthermore, the Canadian company provides a 25 year warranty against any defects, warping, or loosening of the (welded) handles; this should assure you of their manufacturing quality. The lids fit beautifully and the rolled edges do allow drip-free pouring. The handles have hoops to allow for hanging and the lids will slide over the handle to hang with the pots.

They are not the best pots in the world. With disc bottoms they heat extremely evenly - on the bottom. They are not All-Clad, or copper Mauviels, or heavy Le Creusets, but then again, I bought my entire set for less money than one piece of those. At the end of the day they are above-average pots and pans with a world-class warranty, and superbly even heating (bottom, not sides) available from time to time for remarkable prices. I have no regrets about my purchase.

Aug 23, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware

Pizza Dough

Dough is essentially bread. You could leave it for several days and it'd be fine. If you refridgerate it it's good for weeks (re: no knead). Wait as long as you like, you'll be fine.

Aug 22, 2008
Zedeff in Home Cooking

How do you get a nice black patina on a cast iron skillet by seasoning?

Yep. The whole skillet is seasoned "enough" so that it's protected. But seasoning is kind of like painting in layers, right? Even if I put it in the oven now, the middle of the skillet will always have more layers due to stove-top work. It doesn't bother me, it just looks funny.

Aug 08, 2008
Zedeff in Cookware