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Big slowcooker, small meal.

We have pretty limited freezer space right now, so making large batches isn't always going to be an option. First dish is going to be pulled pork and I have a relatively small cut of pork shoulder (maybe 1.5 lbs?).

Nov 21, 2008
spiffy_dude in Home Cooking

Big slowcooker, small meal.

I just got a slowcooker and I'm so excited it try it out! Something I'm a bit worried about is that I got a relatively big 6-quart model and I usually only cook for two people. Is there something that I can put in there to basically take up space and therefore raise the liquid level? Of course, it would have to be non-reactive and not leech any flavours.

Nov 21, 2008
spiffy_dude in Home Cooking

Knife Rust

Aluminum foil. Crumple it up and wipe the rust away. I don't know the science behind it, but it works. If the rust is really stubborn then I throw some Barkeeper's Friend into the mix. Hasn't failed me yet.

Sep 19, 2008
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Copper pot, for candy - Toronto area?

Not sure about GTA, but you can order one here:

http://www.paulsfinest.com/Solid-Copp...

I believe they're based out of Quebec.

Sep 19, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Options for high heat searing on smoothtop

I just saw a cookware set over at Costco that includes a stainless steel 5-ply copper disc bottom frying pan. Would this be worth considering? The only problem is that it is only available as a set, and none of the pieces are fully clad (as I understand it, you want fully clad for some pieces).

Regarding the enameled cast iron, I thought you weren't supposed to use high heat for these? Everything I've read about them says to use low to medium heat (and overheating voids the warranty). Does high heat have any adverse effect to the enamel?

May 13, 2008
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Options for high heat searing on smoothtop

Thanks guys... perhaps I will work up the courage to use my cast iron on my smoothtop. But until then, does anyone have a recommendation for the next best type of pan I can use for high heat searing? Stainless? Anodized aluminum? Hmmm, maybe I should start a new thread for that.

May 13, 2008
spiffy_dude in Cookware

ELECTRIC SMOKERS...ANYONE HAVE AN OPINION?

KingsKetz, maybe this article will be of some help to you: http://www.amazingribs.com/BBQ_buyers...

embee, the article mentions that electric smokers do not produce a crispy skin on poultry, nor a good crusty bark on ribs. Do you find this to be true? I'm planning on buying a smoker for this summer and I'm currently leaning towards the WSM.

May 12, 2008
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Options for high heat searing on smoothtop

I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but that particular Waring puts out a decent 1300 watts and uses a cast iron plate. I'm going to give your advice a shot, but there has to be a high heat alternative to cast iron!

May 11, 2008
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Options for high heat searing on smoothtop

Do you keep reseasoning the bottom? Whenever I used extremely high heat, the bottom would turn kind or orange (almost looks like rust). I assume that the seasoning would completely burn off.

Another option I've been considering is buying one of those portable burners (Waring has a 1300-watt model that seems quite popular). I would use this whenever I want to use cast iron. But my only concern is whether or not I can safely use it on top of my smoothtop. I just need to do so it's directly under my hood fan (searing steak = plenty of smoke).

May 11, 2008
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Options for high heat searing on smoothtop

I've asked this here a while ago, but I'd like to get more opinions. I have an electric smoothtop stove and I want to sear steaks. I used to have an electric coil, so it was pretty straight forward: get a cast iron skillet, and crank up the heat.

Reading the manual for my finicky new smoothtop, I'm not supposed to use cast iron since it may damage the ceramic glass surface. I thought enameled cast iron might be the answer, but apparently they are not meant for high heat either. Furthermore, I came across posts that talk about the dangers of preheating on smoothtops due to the rejected heat causing damage. Ugh... I think I actually miss my ugly electric coils.

Fellow smoothtop owners, what do you do for high heat searing?

May 09, 2008
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Smooth top stoves: cast iron alternatives?

I recently got a smooth top stove and the instructions advise against using cast iron. I considered getting a porcelain enameled cast iron pan from Le Creuset, but the instructions even advised against any stoneware. This thing is so finicky! How am I supposed to sear my steaks? I need something for extremely high heat applications that won't damage my stove.

Apr 13, 2008
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Help re: dim sum in Markham

I don't have any specific recommendations, but as mme_chowhere mentioned, the good news is that there are plenty of great Chinese restaurants a stone's throw away from that hotel. But I'm just a bit curious, did your friend request dim sum? Personally, I've found the Chinese food to be better in Vancouver.

Apr 03, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to get scotch?

Thanks for the recommendations everyone. I'm going to have to check out at least one of these places so I know what to look out for next time I leave LCBO's turf.

Apr 03, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to get scotch?

Yes, I never realized that the laws related to this were so complicated (and backwards). Anyway, I might be taking a trip out west in a couple of months. Let's just say that I'll be packing light but bringing two suitcases.

Apr 01, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to get scotch?

Unfortunately, I don't have a US address. I understand that you get dinged pretty hard if they catch you bringing in alcohol beyond your allowance, but maybe it's still worth the trip if I'm getting stuff that simply can't be found over here.

Mar 29, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to get scotch?

Ouch! I was actually hoping I could order them from Alberta (oh, to be privatized...). Maybe I need to fly over and load up my suitcase with booze. Is that legal?

Mar 29, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to get scotch?

My fellow Toronto scotch lovers, aside from the LCBO, where do you buy your bottles of single malt scotch? Any shops, Canadian or otherwise, that will ship them over?

Mar 28, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

5th element - any thoughts?

Well, I went back, and unfortunately I'm leaning towards agreeing with szrah. While I wouldn't call it terrible, it definitely wasn't like the first time. Service was very slow, the food was overcooked, the meats were of rather poor quality, and they seem to use the same sauces over and over. On the plus side, the prices were reasonable. It's such a shame, as their flavours were quite unique (the first time I went, anyway) and I thought they had a lot of potential.

BTW, I also agree with szrah about the atmosphere. It's rather strange, but I can overlook it if they would get the rest of their act together.

Jan 23, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

New Restaurant: Arrabiata (old Living Well location)

Bumping this thread because I ate their recently. They started us off with some bread that was surprisingly warm and crusty. We ordered a margarita pizza and seafood pasta. Pizza was decent, but the pasta dish was a star. The service was very friendly and accommodating when we asked to make a couple substitutions.

If you're in the area and you feel like pasta, I definitely recommend that you give this place a shot.

Jan 23, 2008
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Weber BBQ grates... stainless steel? Any Canadians?

I've been reading up on porcelain-enameled cast-iron versus stainless steel grates. It really sounds like an endless debate between two divided camps. Anyway, I've been trying to decide between the Weber E-320 and the S-320. The difference in price is nearly $200 (I'm up in Canada), so I'm leaning towards the E-320.

The grill includes a 5-year warranty on the grates, so to all the Weber owners in Canada, how has the customer service been? I've heard a lot of great things from Americans, so I want to make sure that it's the same story north of the border.

Worst case scenario, does anyone know a place in Canada where I can buy the stainless steel grates? And which model fits the E-320?

Thanks!

Nov 03, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

cast iron grill pan ok on flat-top stove?

My apologies if I'm derailing the thread too much. I have always used electric coil ranges, but I am buying a new range and I'm considering a smooth top. After reading this thread, I'm having a lot of doubts. Unfortunately, gas is not an option and my budget won't allow for induction. A bit about myself and my habits...

1. I love steaks, and I like to cook them in a cast iron skillet using extremely high heat.
2. I like to sear, so I often pre-heat my pan.
3. When I'm cooking something and I need to take the heat down, I usually just move the pan/pot to a burner that's off.
4. I'm bad at cleaning up right after cooking. :(
5. On something that is meant to have aesthetic value, permanent cosmetic damage drives me crazy.

Am I better to go with a smooth top or a coil range? People seem to either really hate or love smooth tops.

Jul 26, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

KitchenAid food processor problems

Thanks! I'll give the forum a shot and call KA on Monday.

Jul 14, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

KitchenAid food processor problems

Oh, it has nothing to do with the bowls. I'm talking about the ultra-wide mouth version (12-cup, brushed nickel). As the name implies, it has an ultra-wide feed tube. Inside goes a really large pusher. Built into that large pusher is yet another feed tube (obviously smaller). Inside of that goes the small pusher.

Jul 14, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

KitchenAid food processor problems

Hmm, yeah I guess the scratches and the leftover bits aren't such a big deal. So then that leaves me with my biggest concern, which is the large pusher making its way up and out of the feed tube.

ccbweb, have you shredded carrots using the shredding disc and the small feed tube? I'm thinking that I should give KitchenAid a call, but I hate the idea of having to do an exchange.

Jul 13, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

KitchenAid food processor problems

I just got the KitchenAid 12-cup ultra-wide mouth food processor (4KFPM770NK). The first thing I tried to process was carrots using the shredding disc. I first cut them up into more manageable lengths and then put them through the small feed tube. Put the small pusher in and turned it on. To my surprise the larger pusher (which houses the small feed tube) started to push itself up! I could stop it pretty easily by resting the bottom of my palm on it while pressing the small pusher down with my fingers. But is this normal? Seems odd that I have to hold down the feed tube or else it could potentially pop out. Mind you, I tried other vegetables that were "softer" and I did not have this problem.

Another annoyance I'm finding is that chunks of food get stuck between the disc and the lid. Consequently, every now and then I'll have to open it up and pick out those pieces. This is my first food processor so I have no idea if this is considered as normal.

And lastly, is it just me or is the polycarbonate extremely easy to scratch? I knew this beforehand, so I was extra careful with the entire unit. Regardless, after one use there are still scratches in the areas where the plastics rub against each other (rim lid, feed tube, etc.). I know it's just cosmetic, but it's kind of a bummer on such a nice looking small appliance!

Jul 12, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

GTA Filipino Restaurants

Went there before and I had the kare-kare (ox stew) and the lechon kawale (deep fried pork belly). I'm no expert on Filipino food, but relative to what Filipino restaurants we have in Toronto it seemed pretty good. I haven't had Remely's in a long time, but I'd put the food at about that same level. The place is a good size, bright and clean. I'd go back. I miss the food in the Philippines even if it was ridiculously unhealthy.

Jul 07, 2007
spiffy_dude in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ice cream makers? advice needed

I have an ice cream maker and it makes amazing ice cream! Unfortunately, I don't make ice cream nearly as much as I'd like. The tubs have to be frozen in advance and that proved to be a major inconvenience since I have limited freezer room. It would have cost a lot more but I do wish I got the Cuisinart model with the compressor (so no more pre-freezing).

Just a quick warning: these things can be really loud!

Jun 29, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Affordable range? Gas? Electric? Please help!

I hear what you folks are saying, but what worries me is that we've already gone past our budget for the house. We have to draw the line somewhere. The money saved on appliances could go to other essential items, or we can even put it towards the down payment. But I agree that five years is a long time to put up with cheap appliances (especially when it comes to the dishwasher).

Jun 29, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Affordable range? Gas? Electric? Please help!

I have this mental image in my head of my dog standing on his hind legs and hitting the paddles to get his own ice and water...

Thanks for the tip on the switch. I still kind of wonder if it's really necessary for us since we already have a faucet filter. Ice would be nice though...

Jun 29, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware

Affordable range? Gas? Electric? Please help!

Right on, I've already started a feature/price comparison spreadsheet database for all the appliances I'm considering. I should definitely ask if they have any old models that they're trying to get rid of. And special orders probably won't be an issue, since if it's "special" it probably means it's out of our budge!

Jun 29, 2007
spiffy_dude in Cookware