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Is it pointless to buy an expensive knife if I sharpen/hone with a electric Chef's Choice 120?

Having previously used a CC sharpener as my go to sharpening system for a couple years I found it helpful but not great. My wustoffs with substantial heels or bolsters would momentarily 'snag' at the start of the pull as the blade was being positioned into the slot.

Over time that gradually created an over-grind in the end of the blade's belly near the heel.....not the end of the world but frustrating as my cutting style took on more of a rocking movement and less of my initial chop or draw action.

Eventually weaned away from the CC as I discovered a local sharpening service offering affordable professional results. Coupled with a move away from a steel honing rod to a ceramic rod used delicately (no longer trying to slice off a bit of the steel) has led to substantially sharper knives with none of the incidental gouging.

The CC performed with less damaging results on my couple of heel/-less soft steel blades because they could be pulled through the slots with no need to start by dropping the blade into the slot before pulling.

My other concern with the CC system is that the guide slots allow for a bit of imprecise 'wiggle' that you can only overcome by applying some lateral pressure on the blade against the side of the guide which ultimately cuts into the end of the slot plastic.

As I acquired some harder Japanese steel I found the CC much less effective as a sharpener at which point the CC was retired in order to preserve all my blades.

Aug 18, 2015
ThanksVille in Cookware

A "burning" question for charcoal aficionados.

Nope other than in what sort of grill or smoker you are building a fire for. When building a long slow burn for my BGE putting the largest chunks of charcoal with lots of air flow at the base of the fire pit is essential while filling in the top half with smaller (including leftover pieces) yields a consistent long burn in a low and slow mode. If the fire is for a regular burn, the assembly and distribution of re-use coals is much less critical to grill performance

Best Miele Dishwasher?

We took advantage of the professional discount service from Miele about 4 years ago purchasing their newly released 'diamond' model, touch panel led screen, and while the cost still exceeded all the commodity brands it made the Miele competitive with the upscale competition.

We were upgrading from a well used Kitchen Aid that sounded like a jet engine and prevented us from running a cycle while entertaining. Not only was the new Miele's Q5 sound quieting system so silent that we can run loads under any circumstance but with the salt dispersion system dialed into our municipal water's 'hardness" level and coupled with the Miele detergent tabs and their rinse aid this machine has given us 4 years of trouble free, and absolutely brilliant cleaning results. We also purchased several of their convection ovens that have proven equally well.

Jul 18, 2015
ThanksVille in Cookware

Rescue gnochhi or pitch?

Unfortunately they aren't going to improve with time. Next time consider baking the potatoes and after peeling rice them while hot but spread them out on a cookie sheet to dry a bit. Consider cutting back on the eggs to perhaps 1 or 2 yolks for a couple pounds of potatoes and use russets as old as possible all in an effort to minimize the moisture that needs to be absorbed by the flour. A couple tablespoons of pecorino or Parmesan grated to a dust consistency will help offset moisture as well as a adding a nuanced flavor

Jun 09, 2015
ThanksVille in Home Cooking

High end range, Thinking of bluestar

We purchased a 36" BlueStar almost 4 years ago after doing an extended search and test cooking on several ranges and their ovens. The BlueStar has been nothing short of perfect during that entire time. It is built solid and the open burner configuration gives great distribution of heat, easy clean up, tolerates boil overs and the high end 22k burners are very wok ready. Three cooks in our house including one very critical baker and one sub driver who is anything but gentle on the cast iron. The oven readily handles simple tasks as well as manmouth 27 lb roast turkeys with equal success. We've done 24 hour stocks using a 36 qt stockpot and some overnight low and slow wrapped briskets feeling safe and confident with the stove's performance. Never experienced hot knobs, sharp edges when cleaning or igniter failures. I purchased a spareset of igniters when we bought the stove and they are still in the shipping bag. Gas flames have remained consistently blue and never needed any adjustment once the stove was set up. At the time BlueStar offered a"white glove" installation service which we opted for and in addition to connecting and leveling the unit they adjusted each burner and gave us a 30 minute lesson in how to clean it, how to replace igniters, spark module and convection fan. Great information. Great stove

May 30, 2015
ThanksVille in Cookware

visit to Maine

Are you looking for Roadfood places, tourist on the water locations or artisan food establishments? Children or just adults?.

Knife Sharpening Service in Central NJ

Just had my battery of go-to cooking knives, (wustof classics, Shun, Global and a homemade butchering blade) given a complete sharpening and some re-profiling by Ziggy of ZB Sharpening.

Located in central Jersey he provides an extremely convenient pick up/return service with 24 hour turn around. He also supports mail in service using USPS, FedEx and UPS.

While his prices are competitive with Korin's mail in service Ziggy's results are not just superb but completely personable. I turned over knives that while functional (steeled and ceramic honed regularly) they were anything but razors. What he returned are simply the sharpest condition any of the knives have ever been, ever.

What sets ZB Sharpening apart is quite simply Ziggy's incredible knowledge that he readily shares on topics like knife care, qualities of knife steel, using the right knife for given tasks, and knife skill techniques. He shares that via his website and his progress status emails but also in person when picking up and returning the knives.

May 23, 2015
ThanksVille in New Jersey

Two Days in Birmingham, AL

Multiple Saw's venues each different and each truly worth a visit although my favorite is the Soul Food version. Rest assured the BBQ there is exceptional. Miss Myra does her own version of white sauce with BBQ chicken that saves you from having to head north to BigBobGibson's although that destination is worth the trip if you have the time. Sneaky Pete's dogs make a fine lunch but simply could not get excited by the meat and three cafeteria quality at Nikki's. enjoy B'ham the Q is real

May 13, 2015
ThanksVille in Central South

Can we talk about kitchen lighting?

Color temperature of our new LED recessed ceiling lights and our under cabinet LED fixtures was the subject of substantial discussion during our kitchen rebuild.
We went to a commercial lighting supply house that had mock ups available to demonstrate the effect of different lamp temperatures (kelvin degrees) in a room that could be blocked off from all other light. While they had pieces of (plastic) fruits around to help illustrate the impact of color temps on color rendition (CRI), we found the most effective gauge was looking at white copier paper. The lower temp lamps (2700) were simply too artificially warm and unnatural. The super high 5000 (blue sky daylight) were just too harsh and contrasty for us. We ended up selecting 3500k for the under cabinet lights and 3000k for the overheads on the theory that slightly higher CRI lamps would prove useful for task level illumination while a (very) slightly warmer lamp would keep the overall ambient lighting less clinical looking. Ultimately that was the right choice for us and despite having the two different temperature lamps in the same space the 500k degree difference is virtually imperceptible. Of greater importance is having sufficient light intensity positioned in a manner that avoids placing shadows on your hands or task objects, something achieved by fixture position, overlaps of direct illumination, cut off angles of the fixtures to prevent views to any 'filament' as well as being able to control the lighting intensity via dimming at least for ambient lighting.

May 03, 2015
ThanksVille in Cookware

Rangetop decision: wolf vs blue star

Faced a similar decision a few years ago during a kitchen makeover and after test cooking on several ranges we chose a 36" BS and never had any reason to doubt the decision. Stir fry at least weekly placing the wok directly into the open burner (grate removed) for kick ass heat and complete stability. Simmer stocks regularly for hours perfectly below a boil. Cast iron components clean up easily and run them through a heavy dishwasher cycle maybe every couple months but pull them out to hand dry. Convection oven / broiler is powerful and big enough to roast a 28 lb turkey for the holidays. Never had a problem with the igniters or knobs. Paired with a 42" variable speed exhaust hood capable of 1100 cfm and it has proven to be the strong backbone we wanted in our kitchen.

Apr 11, 2015
ThanksVille in Cookware


We send out written invitations that state 'cocktails and appetizers anytime after X' and that 'dinner will commence at Y' (usually 1 hour later). If someone is a no-show at the appointed time without calling to advise us of a late arrival we simply plow ahead as scheduled in their absence. If they've had the courtesy to call in advance we'll try to defer completion of cooking, alert the other guests and break out a bottle of champagne to help endure the additional wait. if the delayed arrival is more than 15/20 minutes out, we'll set aside some service plates for the late guests and move forward as planned. No call = no special accommodations.

Mar 30, 2015
ThanksVille in Not About Food

Pot racks - yes or no?

So Nararabbit, what did you decide? Old posts without an update sort of lurk forever.
We struggled with the same question when we finally re-did our kitchen after 20+ years of compromise and clutter. What was right for us was deciding to skip the hung pot rack or even a wall mounted rack since both would have compromised the openness achieved in the renovation. That meant a few of our lesser used items like the ice cream maker and slow cooker went into a nearby closet so the pots and pans could go into the kitchen cabinets but in hindsight it was right for us and kept the aesthetics pretty clean

Mar 25, 2015
ThanksVille in Cookware

Saratoga Springs; Off-Season Visit; 4.2015 Need Recommendations

Thank you. Will search previous posts

Saratoga Springs; Off-Season Visit; 4.2015 Need Recommendations

Heading to SS for a conference in April way before the racing season. Where can a Chowhound go for some good meals (Breakfast and Dinners) over the course of 4 days?

Are Himalayan Salt Blocks awesome?

Sister in Law who appreciates novelty but rarely cooks when there are so many take out options within 5 minutes of her house.

Mar 22, 2015
ThanksVille in Cookware

Are Himalayan Salt Blocks awesome?

Received one from a well meaning SIL. Have used it as a bookend in our cookbook collection for 3 years now. At best It is attractive to look at.

Best BAKED chicken wings recipe?

Big fan of wings, very big fan. Absolutely great fan of Kenji and crew at SE.

These baked wings are so close to their fried cousins that you never miss the frying. Excellent recipe.

Mar 14, 2015
ThanksVille in Home Cooking

The search for a decent stovetop espresso maker (moka pot)

We have a couple Alessi SS moka pots, designer styles who I can't recall, but with the cast metal handles that hinge and pivot at the top locking onto the base section, wide base tapering upward to the narrow top chamber. Used daily for 20+ years, replaced the strainer gaskets a couple times. Wonderful rich coffee, never ever leaked. PS we grind the coffee in a Mazzer mini to a very fine powder and high boil water initially until the first sound of a siphon but then lower to a simmer until brewing is complete.

Mar 14, 2015
ThanksVille in Cookware

Wolfgang's in Somerville has opened...

Had to try the new rage in downtown Somerville complete with their valet parking option. On a Main Street that is just six blocks long where it is a pleasant walk from any of the nearby municipal lots, Wolfies couldn't find where they parked our car for 20some minutes.

Nice interior albeit way too loud made for strained conversation. Comfortable seating reasonably spaced tables (no bumping from behind), pleasantly gruff waitstaff playing their roles. unfortunately not really attentive when it came to refilling water glasses or checking on us.....but in their defense the place was packed.

Decent solid wine list but nothing stellar like you can find on 90 Acres list. Per glass pricing was excessive and we chose to skip their 3-4 x bottle mark ups.

Ordered the porterhouse for 2, plus a couple sides (spinach was undistinguished), plus one overpriced cocktail and still ended up paying the equivalent of 2weeks worth of groceries. Asked for medium rare on the rare side and only a quarter of the steak met our expectations. You can't be a great steakhouse and get that wrong. They did table side cutting service that was appropriate but failed to ask if it was cooked to our liking

Overall ridiculously expensive NYC pricing in this destination restaurant town. Sorry but no value here. Admittedly get into NYC frequently enough that when I get the desire for a great steak at obscene prices we make that happen. Wolfies in Somerville is not the equivalent except for the pricing.

Mar 14, 2015
ThanksVille in New Jersey

Korean in Somerville

We tried Seoulville in Downtown Somerville last night and had a very enjoyable dinner. BYOB. Nice clean simple interior. Attentive and informative service. Decent menu but not excessive. Excellent kimchi, haunting dipping sauce, rich bean paste/pepper sauce. Admittedly Korean food novices. Tasting 9 appetizer plate, pork with spicy veggies and the BBQ beef rib. All were very well flavored. Reasonable portions. Bill was just around $35/person including tip. We'll definitely return

Mar 14, 2015
ThanksVille in New Jersey

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

Thanksgiving has always been a family/extended family event for decades and the venue changed with passing generations. When my aunt inherited it, at an uncle's insistence, she had never made a whole turkey before so consulted some misguided culinary source suggesting a large bird needed to start roasting the night before the holiday. We arrived to find local firefighters power venting her house so ended up eating all the stove top veggies and previously baked pies outside on the patio in winter coats. The next year she over compensated by lowering her oven temp and trying the brief sear approach which made no impact on a still frozen bird. I recall a day of pretzels and mixed nuts along with her pre-baked pies.

Oct 30, 2014
ThanksVille in Not About Food

Copper Sauciers - Falk vs. Matfer Bourgeat

Over the years we have accumulated a collection of Falk as well as a couple of the Bougeat pieces. Both sets are substantial, cook evenly and well detailed. For their heft, the cast iron handles on the Falk seem a bit narrow forcing me to grip tightly in order to prevent the pan from rotating in my hand. Whether that is caused by the linear profile of the handle I am not certain. In contrast, the Bougeat handles seem equally narrow but slightly more ergonomic in their profile. Frankly this rarely comes into play while cooking but more so in the act of moving them on or off the range. Their respective finishes each have merit with a great deal more 'polish' to the copper and ss lining on the Bougeat than on the Falk however the satin finish on the latter makes for easier care on the copper and provides a ss lining that allows for excellent fond production when searing foods. Some of our pieces are now 20 years old and remain as attractive and formidable as when they were new.

Aug 20, 2014
ThanksVille in Cookware

Good Mexican Tacos near Piscataway or Somerville NJ?

Great fish tacos, I mean impeccably fresh, at Metropolitan Seafood on Rt 22 in Lebanon about 15 minutes west of Somerville. Other option is to visit Grub Hut on Main St. Manville with multiple options for the fillings. Several authentic venues in Bound Brook worth exploring

Jun 14, 2014
ThanksVille in New Jersey

What is this cut of pork?

My guess is 'steaks' cut from a bone in pork butt as described in Amy Thielen's Midwestern Table cookbook

Venting Microwave or Dedicated Vent Hood?

Our former home had a microwave vented thru the exterior wall and positioned above the gas range. It was a large Amana unit that required several service calls because the heat from the cooking range 'toasted' the control board in the microwave. It's exhaust capability was the equivalent of a glorified bathroom fan taking hours to vent out the odor from a stir fry or boiled cabbage.

The renovations we did to our current house kept the heat zone above the range clear with a proper hood and variable speed exhaust fan with large capture hood. There is no comparison between the two approaches. Poppycock about having to open windows for cross drafts as long as your furnace and water heater have sufficient combustion make up air there is no reason to do so.

Jun 01, 2014
ThanksVille in Cookware

Toaster recommendation


May 24, 2014
ThanksVille in Cookware

Brisket: to foil or not to foil

I foil my flats as the crutch to ensure moistness but have never needed to when egging my points. I have gone both ways with packer cuts and generally prefer no foil for the true bite of a bark but will take steamed BBQ brisket over the thrice killed ash my BIL makes. I do love brisket. Maple and hickory are my favorite woods, the mesquite I've tried just seemed too bitter. Salt, pepper always but admittedly like chipotle powder in moderation.

Toaster recommendation

We have the Dualit (low end version) which is about 3 years old and makes decent toast. 2 slices or 1, thin or thick, breads or bagels. Less than $100. Looks like a toaster, pull out crumb tray, excess cord wraps underneath.

May 23, 2014
ThanksVille in Cookware

Need some help deciding on an ice cream maker

We sprung for the Musso Lussino perhaps 7 or 8 years ago as an upgrade to our Donvier manual with freezer canisters ice cream maker. Fortunately we have storage space to house the beast and more so that we actually splurged since it makes fabulous ice cream, gelato, sorbets etc. aside from not taking up freezer space on a constant basis (we had 2 of the Donvier cannisters) the Musso allows you to make batch after batch (well at least 4 in a row for us) and virtually hands free.. The only downsides are that it is noisy and the freezer bowl is built in and not removable so after spooning out all the ice cream you have to wash it out with a dishcloth and dry it with a towel to clean the polished SS. Otherwise flawless performer and proven durable.

Apr 26, 2014
ThanksVille in Cookware

Southern Food in Birmingham, AL

Saw's Juke Joint is very credible and includes a variety of BBQ items should they wish to go that direction but the standards like loaded potatoes, Mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, collard greens etc are all very well conceived and executed.

Apr 12, 2014
ThanksVille in Central South