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rdowd's Profile

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Griddle/Grills

We got the Lodge as a wedding gift, and it's amazing. It conducts and holds heat wonderfully, and as long as you grease it properly you can maintain the seasoning on both sides without a problem. The grill side is a bit of a pain to clean (use the griddle side for fish!) but no worse than other grill pans. $33 on Amazon right now with free shipping - snap it up!

May 30, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Can Food processor crush ice cubes?

I'm the opposite of mojo. I use my FP for everything - salsa, pesto, hummus, bread dough, meat grinder. I only use my blender for soups and smoothies, and wish I had gotten an immersion blender instead.

As for ice, they sell an ice-grating disc for my FP, but I haven't used it. I would be VERY reluctant to use the FP blade for ice.

May 30, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Shun Ken Onion

Very cool looking, but overpriced. You'd be better off buying something from the standard Shun line at half the price, or a Tojiro or Hattori at japanesechefsknife.com or Korin. They have some of the best prices on Japanese steel without the marketing and import costs of Shun or Global. Good luck!

May 30, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Hamburger press - who uses these?

Soupkitten, that's a great idea! I am a strict omnivore, but my wife eats only veggies and fish - what's your recipe for veggie burgers? (and breakfast sausage, if you do that...)

I'm still going to hold off on the $20 press, though. I could get three new half-sheet pans for that!

May 04, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Advice for small amounts in a KA mixer?

Using the paddle attachment, work the butter for 1-2 minutes before slowly adding the sugar. It ends up increasing in volume (greater than the sum of its parts,) as a result of all the little holes that you've torn in the butter with the sugar granules. The color is somewhere between butter and eggshell - a very pale yellow. I started with room temp butter, and creamed for 6-8 minutes total.
Haven't done it for cake yet, but our cookies came out divine - far better than our hand-mixed batches.

May 04, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Advice for small amounts in a KA mixer?

Same here. I've been using the 600 for the past two months, and the first time I creamed butter it was like a lightbulb going off. "Oh, so that's what 'light and fluffy' is supposed to look like!" I've had no problem with small amounts of eggs, flour, etc, though the do take a little longer to take hold.
Cream cheese for icing/frosting, for instance, is taking a little more experimentation, but I know I'm close. There's definitely a slight learning curve, as with any new kitchen toy.

May 03, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Hamburger press - who uses these?

With spring finally here, and my love of gadgets, I've been trolling all the usual suspects: Sur La Table, Crate and Barrel, etc. I found this:
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family....

This goes against everything I know about making good burgers! I've spent time perfecting the "loose pack" patty technique, so why would I want to cram my meat in these little molds (and pay twenty bucks for the privilege?) Does anyone use these?

May 03, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Building my cookware...

We recently received this A/C "Multi-pot" for a wedding gift and it's going straight back to the store. As a straight pasta pot it would be fine, it has a nice thick aluminum disc on the bottom. The fit of the pasta insert and steamer basket are awful, though. Tons of rattling around even without steam coming up from under it. For $100 from All-Clad I guess you get what you pay for, but I was hoping for a little more.
I also have the 1-qt saucier, though, and can attest that it is absolutely stable with liquid in it. I had my reservations at the store, as it wobbles around a bit. Put it on a burner with water, soup or sauce in it and it's a dream. No issues at all and the handle doesn't even get very hot.

I'm going to chime in with the other posters who have recommended restaurant supply houses. It's a great place to get high-quality (Lincoln Wear-ever) nonstick gear, and the only place, in my opinion, to get half-sheet pans and the like. You'll never pay more than $7 for a baking sheet again.

Mar 29, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Stainless vs. Non-Stick

Foodstorm is right in that you can't really do one OR the other. NS is unbeatable for eggs and delicate foods, but it's useless at searing meats or stirfry. Buy yourself a nice clad stainless pan - Calphalon's tri-ply is decent if you don't want to pay for All-Clad - and grab a 10 or 12" heavy aluminum NS pan at a restaurant supply store. I got mine in NYC for $22. No matter the manufacturer's claims, the NS coating wears off after awhile. At $22, I could replace it annually if need be.

Mar 22, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Cast Iron Problem

One of the rules I live by - the first ten times you use your new cast iron, cook only animal fats. You'll have terrible luck with starches or eggs until you get a really black, slick patina on there. Just stick to bacon, burgers, steak, lard, etc for ten uses.
I have four pieces of cast iron and wouldn't replace them with anything.

Mar 22, 2007
rdowd in Cookware

Help me break free from Pilsner Urquell

Jess,

Is this the same brew as Burgerbrau? I had no idea that they had seniority on Budvar/Czechvar. I've had that as well, although I prefer Czechvar for drinkability. Definitely check out the Peruvian Cristal if you get a chance - a very different strain than its European predecessors.

Dec 08, 2006
rdowd in Beer

Help me break free from Pilsner Urquell

I just had Cristal at a Peruvian restaurant the other night. It was amazing! Definitely worth seeking out - a very balanced, malty lager that went perfectly with my pan-fried trout and ceviche.
But for the real original Bud, check here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budweise...

...and drop the CAPS_LOCK.

Dec 07, 2006
rdowd in Beer

Most useless kitchen gadget?

In "Kitchen Confidential," Bourdain says something like, "I don't know what that stuff coming out of the garlic press is - but it's not garlic!"
I used to be a huge press devotee, squirting that stuff in to every dish I made. My KA model broke, though, and I never got around to replacing it - my knife skills immediately improved, and if you need a paste, just sprinkle some salt on the minced garlic, and use the spine of your knife to drag it across the board.

I live in NYC, and have had to simplify everything. If I had to choose a useless gadget, it'd probably be my marble rolling pin.
Most useful - board scraper.

Dec 07, 2006
rdowd in Cookware

Best popcorn popper uses least oil or butter?

Someone mentioned Alton Brown earlier, so I'll put in his two cents. He uses a 6-qt stainless mixing bowl over medium heat (gas range) with aluminum foil over the top, perforated for steam. Haven't tried it yet, but I might tonight!
link:
http://goodeatsfanpage.com/Season10/p...

Dec 05, 2006
rdowd in Cookware

Grind and brew coffee maker

The big problem I see with the Grind & Brew is the lack of a uniform grind. Every barista and coffee geek I know agrees that a consistent grind is key to a good cup. I'd go with a decent burr grinder and seperate drip machine. It's a little more work, but I think it's worth it.

Dec 05, 2006
rdowd in Cookware

Great coffee in Brooklyn

Cafe Regular has great coffee and the best hot chocolate I've ever had.
Gorilla is a bold Full City roast, but much more flavorful than Starbucks. They rotate through their bean styles daily, so you can get stuck with a bean you don't particularly like. The Brazil beans are very smooth and complex, and probably their best catch-all.
And I agree that Gimme in Wmsbrg has the best baristas.

Aug 03, 2006
rdowd in Outer Boroughs

Searching for a specific coffee shop... around 49th and 3rd, can't remember name.

Mattydale,

The place you're thinking of is Manhattan Espresso Cafe, on 49th btw Lex and 3rd. It's pretty good, I would say. The staff is really nice and the coffee can be excellent, but consistency has been an issue for me. Espresso can be a little on the bitter side, and they don't seem to take the care of some of the better baristas I've seen. (Gimme, 9th st)
Much better than Starbucks, though - and a bit cheaper.

Aug 03, 2006
rdowd in Manhattan