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Best Hummus in the Burbs'?

I love the buffalo and the kale lemon and the jalapeno lime

The sweet flavors (chocolate,pumpkin) are strange, but good if you can find an application (apples work).

The guac is ok but I'd rather have just guac :-)

May 15, 2013
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

Best Hummus in the Burbs'?

Store bought I usually go with Freshapeel. They are local-ish and have some unusual flavors.

May 15, 2013
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

Wawa... never again

That's what they're building on 202 where the Petco used to be.

Feb 21, 2013
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

Etiquette question

Per OP, the kid eats dinner with them "frequently." He's there enough that he knows where the sriracha lives and doesn't need to bother someone else to get it.

Feb 05, 2013
jzerocsk in Not About Food

Beef on weck in Philly

Doesn't come on weck, but the beef there is very good. The people I know actually call this place just "The Beef".

I always ask for the sandwich wet and order a cup of gravy on the side to dip both the sandwich and the fries. Horseradish and sliced cherry peppers are on the table. They also have some good draft birch beer. If I get fries, I find one sandwich to be plenty.

Jan 03, 2013
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

Envious of diner-style cooking, is a stovetop griddle worth it?

I don't know if it will let you do true "diner style" cooking but I love my 2-burner griddle. I give it ample time to preheat and usually put the smaller burner up a little hotter than the bigger one if I want it to be "even" all the way across (although the middle is still a little cooler either way).

The extra space is really convenient for pancakes, french toast, grilled cheese, etc. Even in my 12" skillet I can only do 2-3 pancakes and I barely have room to get in and flip them. On the griddle I can do 10 if I want. I don't love doing eggs in it...maybe I don't get it hot enough, but they seem to spread out a ton before they start firm up...my fried eggs end up looking like something from Dali. Plus I feel like a pro flipping the fried eggs right in the pan :-D

I was worried that it wouldn't get much use, but I am pleased to say it gets used pretty regularly now that I have it. Especially now that I have a child and not only do we do things like pancakes more frequently, there's more to cook!

Oct 09, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Opinions on the Char-Griller Akorn steel kamado-style grill?

It does get to 700+ degrees. However, the manual recommends not exceeding 700, and the OEM dome thermometer maxes out at 700, presumably to drive that point home.

People routinely stoke BGEs up to 1000+ without any real issues. So that could be a major consideration for someone interested in doing searing or pizzas at really high temps.

Oct 01, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Opinions on the Char-Griller Akorn steel kamado-style grill?

The Akorn claims to be triple-walled even. Not that I'm going to saw it open to find out.

I'm sure a real ceramic kamado can hold warmth far longer, but to break-in/season I ran it for an hour at 400F and 24 hours later the dome temp. was around 150F.

Sep 28, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Opinions on the Char-Griller Akorn steel kamado-style grill?

Well....obviously no one responded, but based on positive reviews I read elsewhere and the price I figured I would give it a shot. I have never used a real big green egg, bubba keg/big steel keg or any other kamado grill, so I don't really have a basis for comparison. In fact I have never even used a charcoal grill.

The main reason I always stuck to gas was because I grill most days, and always believed in the outdated notion that you have to let charcoal burn off for an hour before you can cook. Gas - I can light it and be ready to go within 20 minutes. That's not really the case anymore with chimney starters. However, with this Akorn grill (and, I am assuming Kamados in general), you don't even need that since the entire grill is designed much like a chimney (but you can certainly use one in lieu of electric starters or paraffin cubes if you want). I am able to just pile the lump charcoal in, light it up, and it really is ready to go within 20 minutes for direct cooking, so I am still able to use it even after work (and have already done so several times). I was also worried about constantly running out of charcoal, but because you can close the dampers and stop the fire, you can keep using the un-burned charcoal. I should be able to last quite awhile on a single 20lb bag of charcoal...I started with an 8lb bag and that one got me through a good 4 cumulative hours of direct high-heat full-blast cooking, so I can figure a 20lb bag to run 10 hours cumulatively - about on par with what I could expect to get from a single 20lb tank on my gas grill.

The food came out great.

I also used it to smoke some ribs...it took me some time to figure out how to get it dialed in (mainly, I was trying to micromanage it too much, you really do have to wait a good 10 minutes before adjusting the dampers), but once I did I was able to get it to hold temperature for several hours without ever adjusting the dampers.

So, anyone who is considering this as a way to get a decent Kamado-style grill but doesn't want to spend $700 or $1000 on a Big Steel Keg or a Big Green Egg, this is a great, less-expensive alternative. If anyone has any specific questions I'm happy to answer.

Sep 26, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Opinions on the Char-Griller Akorn steel kamado-style grill?

Just spotted one of these in a local big box hardware store. A metal-wall Steel Keg/Kamado-style grill almost as big as an x-large Big Green Egg that retails for $299?! And I can get it in a normal retail store and not even have it shipped? Seems too good to be true...

It seems to get strong reviews, but I figured I would ask here...what's the catch?

Aug 22, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Petrucci's: Near King of Prussia Mall; Ice Cream, Goats, mini-horses, pigs, cows, etc.

I'm not sure if the ice cream is homemade but the water ice and pretzels are for sure. It is a great place for the kids - you can grab some ice cream and spend time feeding the goats and playing on the little playground.

There is also a location on Nutt Road in Phoenixville if you find yourself on the other side of Valley Forge. That one is just an ice cream shop (no farm/playground/garden center).

Jul 30, 2012
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

Cleaning glass cooktop

As a Barkeeper's Friend devotee I was ecstatic to find that BKF make a cooktop cleaner. I imagine it's basically the paste you usually make with BKF and water pre-mixed and bottled but it was only $2-3.

It works very well, although I do have to put a little elbow grease into things that have been cooked on solidly.

Jun 07, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Looking of Jamaican Jerk Pork

I often do my gift and holiday shopping at some of the shops there like 43 S Main and Creative Genius. Over the years I've seen so many of the stores close and at this point that leaves Braddock's as the only restaurant left on Main Street. I had lunch at Scotch Bonnets just in December as a matter of fact, and really enjoyed it.

It's starting to become a ghost town!

Apr 17, 2012
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

Looking of Jamaican Jerk Pork

Another one bites the dust in Medford :-(

Apr 16, 2012
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

What Kitchen Scale Do Chefs Use At Home?

Even 2kg capacities are hard to come by at that resolution. I eventually decided that for recipes where less than 1g of something is required, measuring by volume is probably accurate enough.

Apr 04, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Is Kildare's coming to Ambler?

So basically DMG bought it but hasn't announced whether it's going to be the next Kildare's or the next Doc Magrogan's?

Apr 02, 2012
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

What Kitchen Scale Do Chefs Use At Home?

I also use a MyWeigh KD series for ~5 years now and it's great. Big 7kg capacity, big easy to read display, an easy to clean stainless steel platter and a cover that flips down to protect the controls.

About the only drawback, a big bowl can block the display a bit.

One thing I found when I researched is that it's really hard to find a scale that measure in smaller than 1-gram increments with high enough capacity to serve as your everyday baking scale. You pretty much need two scales if you want to do that.

Apr 02, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Descaling solution for espresso machines (and coffee makers)

Since the CLR is an acid, maybe try something alkaline like baking soda dissolved in water?

Mar 30, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

LC cast iron baking dish

I've got a CI gratin and a big rectangular baker. They are both really useful since they can go on the stove top and under the broiler without issue. I roast chickens/turkeys in the baker, and have roasted all kinds of stuff in both.

The biggest drawback is the weight. I think the baker is 10 lbs...add a 15-20 lb bird to that...HEAVY!

Mar 27, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Which Mexican in South Philly

I don't have a recommendation but you may find some good leads in this Inky article from last fall: http://articles.philly.com/2011-09-15...

Mar 26, 2012
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

Smoker. Is it worth it?

I bought an "El Cheapo Brinkmann" for like $60 just to sort of test the waters. I actually bought the electric one. I know "purists" blanch at the thought, but I figured I'll be more apt to use it if I never have "I'm out of charcoal" as an excuse.

I'm so busy I only get to use it 3-4x a year but I sure love having it when I use it. I've had it 4 years now and I definitely feel that i got my money's worth.

At this point I'm biding my time until I can afford a Big Green Egg or similar and then I will just use that for all of my grilling and smoking.

Even the Weber is not prohibitively expensive, and if it turns out he doesn't like using it it can probably be resold to recoup most of the cost.

Mar 26, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

corned beef without nitrites?

I grabbed one from TJs (not sure which) and it was one of the best I've ever had.

Mar 21, 2012
jzerocsk in Philadelphia

How to cook in cast iron - especially enamled cast iron

I have a glass/flat top electric stove...

For most situations, I pre-heat it on 5-6 (dial goes up to 10) for 5 minutes. If I'm searing a steak or a burger, I usually leave it at 6, but most of the time for browning chicken, sauteeing veggies, I turn it down to 4 or even 3 once I start cooking.

Mar 05, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

How to cook in cast iron - especially enamled cast iron

My guess is also too cool. I have to pre-heat mine on med/med-high heat and then turn it down from there (although for browning meat it's still in the middle of the dial).

I have also found that while it's not like bare cast iron, it does develop a season of sorts over time and my LC skillet has over the years grown to be one of my workhorses.

Mar 05, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Why don't more Americans use induction?

I'm just not in the market for a stove, but next time I am induction is at the top of the list.

Feb 21, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

Why don't more Americans use induction?

Do induction dials have discrete settings and you can't select something in between?

For whatever it's worth, every time I have ever used an unfamiliar electric stove I had to use it a few times to learn what temp. settings to use and it usually somewhere between 4 - 6 is the sweet spot for most tasks. Anything above is pretty much "boiling things" territory.

Feb 21, 2012
jzerocsk in Cookware

What's wrong (if anything) with this picture?

I might not go so far as to say you're "doing it all wrong," especially without knowing what you are actually doing, but you should definitely do some reading/watching of videos and at least give this pinch-grip technique a whirl. The large knife for a small object seems counter intuitive but with the pinch-grip and good use of the "bear claw" for your non-knife hand the larger knife ends up being easier to manage.

Nov 23, 2011
jzerocsk in Cookware

What's wrong (if anything) with this picture?

I can't do a small dice or mince with a paring knife because there is not usually enough offset between the handle and the blade...my knuckles prevents me from getting the blade all the way through to the board.

Nov 23, 2011
jzerocsk in Cookware

Fear of green market foods - homemade sold at the market

Not-delicious food, that's what tipped me off...I bought a whoopie pie and a shoofly pie from them. The shoofly pie was dry-bottom and neither was all that good...and then I became suspicious!

Nov 15, 2011
jzerocsk in General Topics

Fear of green market foods - homemade sold at the market

How do you know? Serious question, I really do avoid the Amish booth because it seems like such a perfect gimmick.

Nov 11, 2011
jzerocsk in General Topics