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Driving from DC to NYC..where to stop and eat..close to highway?

The turnpike is an ugly, bad, scary place to consider food options.

I'm lucky to get a "grilled chicken" on a burger bun and pile some tomatoes and lettuce on top.

Let us know how it turns out!

Home made smoke filter for pan-seared steaks

Kaleokahu, Brah, what if I live in the basement?!

But seriously, maybe if I put a Vornado fan at the window, and then run some plastic, expandable ducting right up to the stove... It would be ugly and unruly, but if it packs up tight enough, it would be possible.

btw, a charcoal filter does remove smoke, just slowly. (which is the weak premise of the re-circulating range hood) I believe there some fiber-only filters which will remove smoke, too...

Aug 22, 2013
sevitzky in Cookware

Home made smoke filter for pan-seared steaks

Hill food: Urban sophisticated redneck rube goldberg toolshed is how I roll.

Neg pressure is a great idea, except I don't have an actual vent in the kitchen (which works). The hood range filter is a recirculation system (puts the air right back in the kitchen, just filtered a bit).

Weez - I don't have a window in the kitchen. This would have been the first, ideal, & optimal choice. :)

Fumes would be fine for neighbors, most people keep their windows closed, and unlike BBQ'ing, THIS smoke is a 2-minute operation.

Grey, I've found that the super high temps which naturally make a lot of smoke give the best flavor. My steak is only on the pan for 2.5 minutes max, but the smoke is still huge, oil or not.

My current idea is to get a blower and fashion a filter "wind sock" around the exhaust portion. Amazon has a decently rated, pretty high CFM blower for only $50.

Not sure if it's worth it. It would be great to get a sealed box, like a sand-blasting system, with a high-amp hot plate, and cook the whole thing in a fully contained system.

Aug 21, 2013
sevitzky in Cookware

Home made smoke filter for pan-seared steaks

Ok, here' s a weird one.

I've learned how to make great pan-seared steaks in my city apartment, with a kitchen lacking ventilation. High heat is the key, of course. (along with airing out the steak). This beats most steak dinners I've had in Argentina's "top rated" (tourist) steak houses and beats NYC steak houses, because the attitude doesn't come with the meal. ;)

I tape off my kitchen with plastic wrap. I wear a P100 ventillator. And I sear the steak for 1-2 minutes. It makes crazy smoke. I installed a range hood with a smoke filter, but that does a very paltry job, as you could imagine.

I am considering running another home made filter system, consisting of a box fan with an air filter taped across the front.

I've done this before, which works for general air quality, but never for smoke removal.

I know it won't be perfect, but it will help. Researching box fans, vornado fans, even commercial blowers.

Any other ideas?

Aug 20, 2013
sevitzky in Cookware

Big cast iron pan, small gas burner

When I broke down and bought my copper-lined pan at TJ Maxx, I paid about $25. But thank you for the reducto ad absurdum, I'll take two straw-men, and an ad hominum on the side!!

The point of this whole post is not to tell people what to cook with, or to start a flame war, or to start a flame-diffuser war, but just to relate my story, and confess that I thought cast iron would be a great all-around tool to cook with. A 'natural solution', old as ages, etc...

And it really turned out NOT to be for me, emphatically so, due to its weight and heat distribution properties. I tried working with it for many years, to 'learn' it. I was deeply attracted to the notion of its simplicity and, ugh, dare I say it, authenticity. I thought it would be interesting to follow up my original post from 4 years ago with an anecdotal update. Essentially, everyone who originally replied was right, for my experience.

I was also really interested in the idea that you could properly season it to the point that one could cook an egg, without a lot of oil, and it would perform similarly to non-stick surfaces. I don't like the idea of teflon. After a lot of reading online forums, and experimentation with, and dutiful execution of seasoning techniques, I never got to this point. Many stories talk about a pan inherited from 'a grandmother' that had been slathered in oil for years of loving cooking, but alas my pan never reached that point. (for the record, it's is actually fascinating to read about the chemistry of pan seasoning... I think it qualifies as science of some sort!)

So for someone starting out with their collection, who isn't familiar with cast iron, or cooking in general, I'd say buy something that heats evenly for your every-day cooking. It really improved the quality and the enjoyment of my cooking. Honestly to goodness, I am writing this to add to the collective stories and knowledge of ChowHound so that someone will have some more opinions to consider when they do a keyword search.

The woman I married is actually rich in kindness and joy. I have friends who are civil-war re-enactors. Both were wry asides, sorry if it ruffled feathers -- may it roll off your back like drops of water!

Mahalo, y'all!

Oct 22, 2012
sevitzky in Cookware

Big cast iron pan, small gas burner

Wow, how the years fly by. I actually got married to a kind-of rich woman, recently, and also bought a copper-lined pan at TJ Maxx.

Both things have drastically changed my life for the better. Sparing the details of the former, I highly encourage anybody who is using cast iron as their main pan to ditch it and get a lined pan! It is soooooo worth the minor expense!

Cast iron is really a specialty thing; I got so obsessed with trying to season it to the point where "eggs would slide off", to avoid all the chemicals of non-stick pans, etc. Ach, what an ocd waste of time! Next thing you know, you'll be a civil war re-enactor.

A slippery slope, my friends.

Oct 21, 2012
sevitzky in Cookware

Time efficiency: prepping leafy greens for juicing

Alright after doing this for a couple weeks, the method I've settled on is this:

Buying all the bunches of veggies which a recipe requires, and then getting some humongous ziplock containers ("dinner-size"). I divide up the veggies into the boxes, right when I get home from shopping and throw them into the fridge. The ratios are all off from the recipes, but whatever, it's veggie juice, and as long as you have some apples in there, it will taste fine ( to me, at least..)

This way, when I'm ready to make the juice, I just grab a box out of the fridge, throw it into a sink-strainer, blast them with water, and I feed the juicer as I chop everything up. I have a Hurom slow juicer and it does perform much better when I roughly chop up the dark leafy greens like kale, and even carrots I need to feed slowly or chop up.

This works much better for me than buying a bunch of bunches of vegetables, and then trying to pull out "1 celery stalk, 3 carrots, 1/4 bulb of fennel" , etc. Whateverz! I just divide everything by four containers and forget about it..

It's a fairly easy juicer to clean once you get the hang of it, and now I'm able to get in and out of it all within about 20 minutes. Not bad! That's down from like, 45 minutes when I first started...

Hope it helps someone.

Oct 21, 2012
sevitzky in Home Cooking

Time efficiency: prepping leafy greens for juicing

Ok, thanks.

The leafy greens tend to make loud squealing noises and sometimes stop, so I've been cutting them into "2 inch pieces" as per the directions.

I like the pre-washing idea. It's another layer of work to store the stuff, but would make it quicker to produce in the mornings.

Sep 27, 2012
sevitzky in Home Cooking

Time efficiency: prepping leafy greens for juicing

Yo dudes!

I wanted to get some thoughts/opinions about preparing food for juicing, mostly regarding time efficiency.

This is for general health, using a single-auger juicer (Hurom). I don't really want to get into specific models and such, fueling juicer envy and all - just preparation techniques! Though I realize that the mechanics of the juicer affect what you can input.

I just finished making a bunch of juice and it took me 2 hours. This is going to happen like, once a year, unless I can get my times down. (I can forget having a "morning routine" at this rate!)

The thing that get's me is the big leafy greens: kale or spinach and such. I'm washing the kale, peeling it from the stalks, and then putting through a food processor "slicer" to get it into thinner pieces. Is this a time waster? I figure the stalks are so tough that they will clog the juicer. Should I just chop it up, wash it, and put it in the juicer?

Also, I had been trying to experiment with recipes, which are cool and all, but I feel like portions are a waste of time. Instead of having half-bunches of various vegetables sitting around in my fridge, I just threw it all in. No such things as half a moon landing, no such thing as half a fennel stalk in my fridge.

And what's the deal with wheatgrass? I chop it up small and it still clogs up the machine. Will I ever be able to juice enough of it to get the 'benefits'?

Do I have to peel whole carrots? I've been buying baby carrots so I can just throw 'em in...

What are the gong-fu secrets of all you juicing masters out there? Actually, anti-gong-fu. Ends-justify-the-means Juicing tips is what I want.



Sep 26, 2012
sevitzky in Home Cooking

Chicken broth: bones to water ratio?

Goldfarb - that's a cool idea.

While we're on the subject - keep forgetting about chicken feet. Does anything have to be done to feet before putting them in the mix? Will they make my broth smell like feet? Am I missing the golden key to super broth?

Apr 09, 2009
sevitzky in Home Cooking

Chicken broth: bones to water ratio?

Ok. Good to know. Thanks all.

I've read that if you simmer gently enough, the stock should remain clear.

Is there a functional purpose to clarifying, if you're not making a consommé? All I really care about is the flavor and honest to goodness of it.

Apr 08, 2009
sevitzky in Home Cooking

Chicken broth: bones to water ratio?

I'm using my slow cooker to make chicken broth. It's 6 quarts, and I tend it fill it almost all the way up with bones and backs - there's not much room for water. It probably adds up to 3 pints, strained, when all said and done.

Is this an appropriate bones/h2o ratio? Can I add water after the fact, or is that sinful? I suppose as long as the water covers the bones, it's ok, and one might end up with a more concentrated broth, and nothing wrong with that, right?

Thanks, all.

Apr 05, 2009
sevitzky in Home Cooking

Big cast iron pan, small gas burner

Hey everyone.

I got a big (12" I think) cast iron pan, but a very small gas burner. The kind of range that you find in a rental apartment.

The heat does not spread evenly to the edges of the pan. I thought cast iron would conduct better than this. It renders the outer 1"-1 1/2" of the pan useless (e.g. for chicken breasts).

I'm trying to marry a rich woman, and then buy a viking stove with a bigger burner, and to make my other rich friends jealous.

In the meantime, are there such things are flame spreaders (not for simmering, etc)? Can these flame spreaders also help me attract a rich woman?


Aug 15, 2008
sevitzky in Cookware

Sharpen Up

Gee, I'm really glad someone named "mojostarz" stepped in and laid down the law on this topic. Mojo: looking forward to your wikipedia entry. Dude.

Louisa, thank you for the article. I found it to be a fine read.

The title, "How to care for your knives" on Chowhound, is obviously aimed at amateur cooks. Like myself and Mojostarz. So for our sakes, let's all keep the conversations positive, informative, and moving forward.

Sep 22, 2007
sevitzky in Features

Building my cookware...

Hey all, hope this qualifies as on-topic.

Speaking of all-clad roasting pans. I've been pushing my nose up to the glass of that window for years. I haven't been able to justify buying a full size allclad roasting pan just yet. (I'm a musician = lots of taste, no money)

I've seen the cheaper All-Clad Lasagna pans on ebay for a while - but I have questions for experienced roasters:

What is the trade-off for the lower depth lasagna pan? Juices carmelize faster? Less even cooking around the sides? Perhaps the lasagna pan is better suited for roasting one mid-sized bird at a time, as opposed to the full-size pan (made for 2 birds so as not to dry out the bed of vegetables?). Also, Amazon reviews note serious warping of the lasagna pan - it appears that it's not meant for deglazing. And if that's the case, what's the point at all?

Mar 28, 2007
sevitzky in Cookware

Won't Work for Food


Diane Mehta and everybody else with your head in the sand,

This is an article worthy of Fox News. I suppose you'd prefer Walmart groceries since they offer 'organic' choices, now. I think the type of shopper who reads this article and nods their head approvingly is also the type that goes to Whole Foods to buy organic potato chips, foie gras, drops $.35 into the wildlife conservation fund jar and then drives home in an SUV with a Stop-Global-Warming bumper-sticker on the back, ever so self-content.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Intelligent-thought: one valuable function of the coop, is that it involved all members in the *process* of the food they eat. Let me repeat: The process of food. THE PROCESS OF FOOD.

Are we shocked at the processes of Agriculture business? Antibiotics, inhumane animal conditions, polysorbitatewhatever 34? Why do we have the right to be - we didn't grow the food, didn't slaughter and process it, didn't transport it, didn't store it, and didn't cook it. This rampant disconnect, though necessary to a degree in a culture of specialization, is the basis for most of our problems at large with food.

***This is the difference between eating holistically and eating organically.***

If all you need is to satisfy your desire to eat food which is a brand called organic, you don't need to shop at a coop. You can get your sugar-free organic-chocolate cookies and organic white rice, anywhere. If you are interested in becoming involved with the process by which you consume food, grown locally, the Park Slope coop is one such way.

Wanting to buy cheap, organic, locally grown food without materially participating is like bitching about the government and then not voting.

P.s, yes, the coop is full of obnxious biaches who will literally push you out of the way with their yoga mats and strollers while on their cellphone to get to their goat yogurt because they read that goat yogurt has a special enzyme good for healthy skin. Hell has a special room reserved for them. But this does not detract from the mission and essentially effective execution of the coop.

Mar 21, 2007
sevitzky in Features