A former fan of several sub-pages, I've given up and rarely visit. Chats with the ~dozen regulars were fun, but no longer possible. SE is waaaay too commercial these days.
Sort of sad to hear about the sell-out, but perhaps it is the only way to salvage what used to be a truly fun site. More sales, less viable content and the near absolute loss of participating readers (and contributors) that built this temple of culinary wisdom must be the reason. Ed and company reached their limits about 18 months ago, so I guess it was a pocket full, or crash. Save two or three, the builders of SE are gone; I hope at least a tiny few other (beyond Ed and Kennji) see a few dimes. Whatever it takes and I sincerely do hope it works for the few, visits by the loyalists are nearly gone; one or two per month is enough fluff for me. As a foodie I'm sad. As a former business person (handsomely profitable) I'm trying to understand. I do not, yet. Even if the changes are hugely popular, I may never see them. I've returned to essentially amateur sites where the content may not be as slick, but is better and for more relevant to my own cooking. Sorry folks. It really was a good run, but you're out of fuel and still 150 miles from the runway...
**Addendum** Please... do not be fearful about adjusting your meat or meat/fat blends! Keep some notes, change things up a bit if necessary and make good use of what you have available! The best example of this suggestion is game meat. I'm not a serious fan of four-legged game, (and do not hunt), but will not discard a gifted hunk of properly processed game flesh. Grind it! Blend it with other meats/fats and yes, it can be exceptionally good. Especially when using some game meat component, the cautions about careful handling and thorough cooking DO APPLY. -CG
Sir (or madam), IMHO that much fussing for ground meat is Fancy Pants Chefie stuff and simply not necessary. I've been grinding my own meat at home for almost 20 years and yes, the results are wonderful(*). It is NOT complicated and here's what I do:
1) select good, whole cuts of meat of the types that you wish to use. Chuck is a good starter and adding brisket will (should) come later.
2) Trim gross fat, reserve and chill - do not discard. Do not over-trim, but do try to remove most of the sinew and trash parts. Perfection is not expected here.
3) Cube, chunk, strip as is appropriate for your grinder.
4) At every step, keep all meat and hardware not in active use THOROUGHLY COLD.
5) See #4. It cannot be repeated often enough! Keep It COLD!
6) Make an initial, COARSE grind from COLD MEAT and Cold grinding tools, one quick pass, no more that 1# and get back into the fridge quickly. (Clean up, wash the grinding parts, and Re-Chill the hardware.
7) Consider your ground meat needs: Beef? For what use? If going for the ultimate burger, you also need ~~50% something with fat and flavor. Brisket is one choice, but there are others. Repeat the above process from #2 on and yes, get it back into the fridge/freezer as fast as possible.
8( clean up again, chill again and consider the mixture that you want. EXPERIMENT with small amounts and taste the cooked product as you go. Eventually you will find a blend that YOU like. Grind and add some reserved fat if necessary, but yes it must be darn near frozen before grinding. Chill and clean again!
9) Lightly hand-mix the coarsely ground meat(s) and fat (if used), yes... wait for it, CHILL IT AGAIN!
10) If you already know the end use of the meat, hand-mix in at least some of the intended seasoning, if only S&P. Did I mention CHILL?
11) Using a finer grinding disc and knife, posh your meat mixture through the grinder a second time. As appropriate, catch, cover and CHILL at every step. When starting the second grind, I keep 75% of whole chilled while I process 25%. It DOES make a difference.
12) Get the ground product covered and back into the fridge or short-term freezer, just to recover it from the processing. Once thoroughly chilled but not frozen solid, measure, divide, package, label and pack for whatever storage is necessary. I use a vacuum sealer in some cases, but it is not essential. Using the techniques noted above, I often grind and pack larger batches, most intended for the freezers.
In a few cases, a third is helpful. As an example, if I'm making specific or generic meatballs, I hand-mix in the fillers, binders and perhaps some seasonings, then push it through the grinder a third time; it makes it a bit finer and helps to blend things.
(*)Lastly, while I do appreciate the more uniform consistency of my home-ground meats and the ability to vary the mixtures for various purposes, those are NOT my principal reasons for grinding my own! More the 95% of my reason is to control what goes in to my ground meat and to keep it safe. In short, bacteria (good and bad) need surface area on which to grow. Fresh, *whole* cuts of meat have relatively little surface area when compared to ground meat, commercial or even my own. In grinding my own, I can easily limit the bacterial growth potential by keeping the stock and product as cold as possible and then freezing or using it ASAP. I work in a clinically clean, almost sterile environment. As an added bonus, I know *exactly* what is in every package of my ground meat and no, I certainly do not back-fill with sinew and other discarded scraps. "Mechanically rendered meat components?," or some form of 'Pink Sludge,?" Not on your life - or mine! And with proper handling and processing, ALL of this crazy grinding process CAN EASILY be done with generic Kitchen-Aid grinder attachments. (Their current plastic assemblies truly suck, but if one looks, all-metal housings can be found. Metal chills better/faster than plastic and gosh, how many times did I mention CHILLING? For me, it is about safety, ingredients and eventually - a very tasty blend of meats. The process may be intimidating for the novice, but please, stick with it and you will be rewarded. Will the home grinding process save you any time or money? Ahem - hell no! The end cost is higher. Do you really want to eat the junk included in that 5# chub of "Ground Beef," commonly sold in your local market? The choice is yours. In fairness, I should also mention that the world also includes several free-standing, single purpose meat grinders. I've used only one and found it no better than the KA mixer attachment. Perhaps it was slightly faster, but otherwise the product was the same. I see no need for another, very expensive machine. Your mileage may vary, but I'm committed to this safe and effective method. -GC
@BW-Wonka: Yup! You're getting it, dude! Truth is, that Kenji's adjustable method will suit you and the MIL, without compromising either. (Never, repeat NEVER P.O. the MIL!!)
No P.R. here, this holiday, but WTF; I make it 3-4 times per year, just because I LIKE it. Good quality meat is becoming more spendy, but if treated gently, seasoned with care and PULLED EARLY, even today's norm, USDA Select, CAN be roasted into perfection. I still opt for CHOICE or better, shed a tear when I pay, and then enjoy every bite. A smaller table? Buy a 'whole' roast, ask your meat person to halve it and cook one, freeze one. It will not really hurt the meat. The necessary platter and a minute or two to please the MIL are efforts worthy of your time. (Suck-up, be nice, humor her and sure, she thinks she has some Special Rights. She may be a twerp, but humoring her won't kill you. When her plate is served, peck her behind the ear and you'll win.) If I have to say this, "When the boys to the cooking, God Save Us from the MILs. Dear old MIL knows that her own offspring should know how to do it, Was Not Properly Taught, and, if "That Man," can cook, so much the better. It the encounter is an annual thing, suck up, endure it and make nice, including killing her meat. That's what Good Boys do!
You've got it exactly right and I hope that your meat is satisfactory for all!
12-26-2014: That this thread remains alive just blows my mind. The original contains excellent details and includes multiple options for MEAT EATERS of varying. The basics are there, something for anyone and while it is fun to keep it alive, how much more can it take ? I did not cook a "Rib" this year, but it has been my usual for ~30 years. They just keep getting better (or I buy better meat?) IMHO, even less than USDA PRIME meat can be roasted to virtual perfection is one is cautions, careful and plans well. IME, even large ribs usually require less time than calculated and one should be prepared to pull them early if the quick-tread thermometer so orders; adding more heat is possible, but sucking it out just won't work!
Always IMHO, pulling the meat early and offering a long rest is *Never* a bad choice. Adding more heat or service with boiling au jus will cover most sins. After years of trials and slightly varied cuts, I still prefer cooking a whole rib, trimmed, boned and retied, seasoned with vigor, cooked patiently and then given a Last Blast. Great meat has a lot in common with Great Sex: It requires an investment of time (with sex, perhaps years) lots of care and concern and even some work. The dividends cannot be measured.
For the folks that wonder about Room Temperature, I'd say season well the day before, keep it in the fridge and roast from the cold. When roasting a full cut at low temperature, it won't make a difference and you can catch up on the forward side if necessary. Don't over shoot and always pull early, for the same reasons. And a warning to all: if no one is looking, I will snag, steal or abscond with as much of your Cap Meat as I can get. I don't care if it is rare or well done. That layer of cow has to be the best part ever made, but please don't tell anyone!
Any leftovers can also be wonderful, but reheating Medium Rare roasted slab, without over cooking, is a serious challenge. I tend to use a short blast of very high heat, boiling au jus and a prayer or two. Ideas for next day service are most welcome. Got any? Got to warm it without cooking it more. If it matters, I usually leave the unserved portion whole, cut what I need and proceed. (When I see some dear mamma chopping a half rib roast into dice for soup, I cry. That can wait for day FOUR. How the heck can I best serve the chilled, but still MR remainer as solid meat on day two? Please speak up!
@bobal: Of course I don't want to make fun of anyone's kitchen (especially some of the sorry excuses in NYC) and I understand ovens that won't make 550 or even 500; it happens. My honest, best advice is: dimply do the best you can. Preheat as long as possible (while resting your meat and soul), and if necessary, **perhaps** allow ONE plumber-relative to approach with a torch. Maybe. In truth, a properly, slow-roasted rib roast, cooked to the pull temperature, tented and rested, will be Just *%^ing Fine*. Even without the bling of a little crust, the objective is still massive meat served to the degree that YOU and your guests like it. Even without a little blistered crust or the over-done cap meat that I'd kill for, your roast will be just fine. , ask the plumbers to enjoy their football (beer?) and to stay out of your kitchen. Good luck. (When all else fails, including an under-powered oven, under-roast a little, rest a little longer and rewarm if really necessary. Just like unringing a run bell, you cannot un-cook meat. Adding more is possible, but we don't yet know how to uncook or decook anything. (How may years did it take me to learn that simple lesson? You don't want to know.) Happy feasting.
Hot Damn! Thanks Daniel, I love this article; perhaps one of the most comprehensive that SE has published. Including the gently stolen ideas, you've covered most of it. If I may, a few additions:
1) When shopping for used "CI" cookware, principally skillets, avoid those with a raised rim on the bottom. They may be OK for on a flame-producing stove, but are horrible when used on an electric burner. (One may have gas today, but CI cookware is a lifetime investment.)
Elsewhere, I contributed the stolen idea of using an oven's self cleaning cycle to rehab CI cookware. To clarify, if this method is used, I's suggest using it only once, perhaps for that garage sale special whose history one will never know. After the long, high temperature bake and a normal cooling cycle (Why not give it a whole day?) scrub the pan to death, removing all traces of prior seasoning (patina?) then wash in hot soapy water, rinse and dry. Now, only now, begin a virgin, seasoning process. Use modest amounts of oil and modest temperatures with extended time. If a second-hand (or 30th-hand?) pan exhibits any signs of pitting, multiple, very gentle seasoning sessions may be necessary.
In the end, any defects short of genuine cracks can usually be overcome with a thorough - down to raw metal - cleaning and once or more gentle seasoning procedures. I too buy, rehab, sell and collect CI cookware, usually at a modest profit. I think it fun and sharing the joys of CI cookery with others is always a big plus; When used and cared for properly, there is no better cookware, no matter the task. Two additional thoughts:
1) a 'gridded' CI pan, one with some raised elements intended to impart Grill Marks on a steak or other meat, is just not worth the trouble. I pass them without s second look. Why? They are nearly impossible to clean, impart grill marks, but otherwise do not cook well. Get a smooth interior surface. Period.
2) Unusual CI shapes are a mixed bag. A 3 x 4 muffin/biscuit pan comes to mind. While such pans can be rehabbed and properly seasoned, it takes years of repeated use to build a functional patina and most folks simply do not bake muffins/pan-biscuits often enough to make the pan viable. When offered muffin pans or similar pans with shaped details, I generally pass. OK, I have and use two CI 3 x 4 muffin pans and they work just fine. They work only because I use them often, clean the with extreme care and use tons of grease. Unless one is prepared to invest that degree of effort and care - and can tolerate the hefty grease, stand clear of any CI product other than skillets, fryers and Dutch ovens. I'd also suggest passing on garage sale items that do not include a lid when appropriate. While other lids may fit, only the original CI lid will cook/bake as intended; it can and does make a difference.
Routine skillet use, shallow frying, sauteing and the like is about 85% of my CI use. with larger, deeper vessels, I bake. If you have or know or any books or links dealing with Baking in CI vessels, I'd sure like to hear about them. Thank you. Again, a Seriously fine post - and one of the best that SE has every published. It has meat, not just fluff. Thanks!
Again? This subject is always fun and, with no "Always perfect" answers, will never be finished. In that vein, I offer my own contribution...
If, perhaps by accident or by new Yard Sale acquisition, one has the need to fully refinish and re-season almost any piece of raw, cast iron cookware, please don't forget that Self-Cleaning oven for which you paid so much. I am not kidding! Simply place the cast iron piece(s), face DOWN into your S.C. oven run the complete cycle and let everything cool naturally, perhaps overnight. When cold, scrub that 'new' C.I. with whatever pad feels good, rinse and dry. Now... begin a new Seasoning cycle. I start low and aim for a finished temperature of almost 400, but a lot longer at 350 is perfectly OK.. Cool, rinse, wipe and repeat, allowing 4+ hours for each cycle. Obviously, if the patina is already satisfactory, no additional treatment, beyond a good scrub - is necessary. If the patina is too thick, has chips or is not yo one's liking, a full-cycle ride through a self-cleaning oven and a little washing, will restore it to base iron. Then, light oil, a long bake at 350 then 375 then - etc. ... will work just fine. I have Zero Fear of garage sale cast iron items, IF... IF they are items that I will use. (My favorite to date: a 4 x 3 (12) muffin pan from 1895. I use it often, have developed a perfect patina heck no, I won't sell. the only (basic) baking changes that I make are to preheat the pan to temp, fill it as quickly as possible and get it back into the hot oven. In my experience, when using a preheated C.I. muffin pan, cutting the bake time by ~~five minutes is about right.
Other C.I> shapes and sizes? I have plenty and love them all. The older and smoother, the better I like them. -GC
A fun experiment, but I think the results are real. Many mention the cost of shipping a steel slab, not no one seems to remember that 1/4" or 3/8" copper slab is some SERIOUS money. The material itself is likely 10x the cost of steel. Copper is NOT cheap!!
Outstanding article! As a semi-regular reader I don't know how I missed this series - but I did. In time, I'll back my way through them. This diagnostic autopsy helped a lot. I have obviously been over-proofing my bread, in understand why and I can fix that, pronto! What I've not seen mentioned (so far) is the use of water/steam in the oven. Any thoughts? A great article and heck yes, I'll try to find the earlier segments. -GC
Wow! And thank you. That was or the best posts/articles that I've read on this site in a Very Long Time. It does make sense and I must agree that many of today's ingredients (processed foods?) ARE different enough to require others as well as different methods. I don't mind the plugs for Anson Mills, but I suspect that Bob Moore of Bob's Red Mill, essentially local, can also provide the goods. A few experiments with Traditional Southern Cornbread will make a fine project for the coming winter. Of Note: While I have used some wheat flour in cornbread over the decades, I quit using sugar in same simply because I never thought it necessary. Apparently I was right. Great Article!!
Not bad, but this 95% rerun filler. Please, let's move to new content. Thanks.
I'm still making this, +/- as directed but with more lemon and less water, sometimes in double batches. While that it a boatload of butter, the method continues to work just fine for me. For the two-yolk batch I use a 400ml lab beaker that fits my stick blender just fine. The KEY seems to be very hot butter. If the sauce is not quite as thick as I want it, I but in a a ~~200 water bath for a couple of minutes with constant stirring. The Two-Yolk batch easily serves four and a sprinkle of fresh dill goes well.
Don't be locked into that expensive "Canadian Bacon," which is neither. Relatively soft standard bacon tastes even better. And if anyone tries to copy the FF joints with a slice of Amerikan cheese, I'll never speak to you again; This is just not the place for cheese, real, fake or otherwise. -GC
I've 'fought' with slaw for years. IMO, the real key, as noted, is the salty soak, rinse and spin-dry. The only one of these that appeals to me is the Vinegar Slaw, nearly identical to what I make. Good post.
Evolution happens, it is expected and we move on. That said, I believe that terminating TALK is an error in that access to those conversations is now limited to those who participate in external "Social Media" outlets. For a variety of reasons, this reader does not and will not use those services. While it may be fair to claim that a majority of SE's readers already use said external services, I think it also fair to say that a significant number do not. By this action SE's management has effectively excluded the latter class of readers. My participation over the last year has waned a bit as I've discovered other, more friendly sites. Without TALK I guess it will become even less. Sometimes evolution is of benefit and sometimes it is not. I will not quit this site, yet, but my visits will continue to become less frequent. That too is evolution. -GC.
Ha! Only two weeks since my first note on this subject and I've made the sauce for the THIRD time. After considering all of the foregoing comments and Kenji's F/U notes, here's what I did: made certain that the butter was plenty hot (used instant-read thermo); use the whole egg (I too prefer a thicker sauce) and substituted more lemon (or lime!!) juice for the water. The finished sauce was the viscosity that I like, had a more robust, citrus flavor and I'd call it perfect. The next edition, likely very soon will also include a bit more cayenne. IMO, if one is going to the trouble to make a butter/egg such as this, let's get over the 'pretty and polite factor,' and make a sauce with character that will stay in place and adds more than the fatty mouth feel. Thanks to Kenji (and the others) for sharing the basic formula. I cannot remember quite where, but I too have seen this general method before. It may not be a Kenji/SE original, but it is quick, easy and foolproof; that's good enough for me. Five Stars!
SE has +/- lost interest in pizza and the serious pizza makers have lost interest in SE.
Thanks folks. Yes, @Traveller probably got the closest . I've been making my own dough reasonably well for years. At this point, I'm just trying to 'kick it up a notch' and make it better. Perhaps the 50% APF and 50% bread flour that I usually use really is the 'best' simple combination. With a 48+ hour fermentation, the flavor is ideal; I just think that I can achieve a better texture. As all pizza makers know, the quest never ends!
Special thanks to @Tanner: Yup, I'll check out the link that you provided. Happy pies to all,
Who wudda ever thunk that a Good Hollandaise Sauce could be this easy? I've made this three times in the last month and I've yet to screw it up. That's a claim that I cannot make for the traditional (whisk) method that still results in ~30% failures. Most 'easy' methods have compromises, but I've yet to find one with this sauce. Using HOT butter and pouring slowly seems to be the key. I also use a stainless steel container for mixing and do it on a **very low** stove, just too keep things warm.
For my taste, the lemon component is essential. I skip the water and double the lemon juice and have had no trouble. And yes, as suggested, I incorporate the entire butter component, not just the clarified liquid. I've not noticed any change so why toss those valuable solids? Good thinking, Kenji!!
Umm, I don't think so. This gizmo from Philips may be new, but the Heat-Gun approach to deep fat frying is not. There is only so much energy (heat or otherwise) to be obtained from a 20-AMP kitchen circuit and sorry, but it is not enough to "Air Fry" more than 3-4 pieces of potato of any size. I don't know how this gozmo made it onto the retail market, but please don't bother. If one is seriously bent on Hot Air Frying, borrow the Heat Gun from your shop and play around with that, always remembering that it has the potential to become extremely hot. (For novices, it looks like a hair dryer, is usually colored like a power drill and, if one is not extremely careful, it can hurt you in a serious way. Please don't go there.) Sorry, but I cannot support this gizmo, at the 450 level and certainly not at the $250 level. Someone at Philips is having bad dreams.
As DBC notes in one reply, a commercial model costs nearly $2400. That may be OK for a place than cannot accommodate a fryer, but is not relevant for home use. At $250, this thing is a a serious waste of space and dollars. One important idem that DBC neglected to mention is the suggested portion size for 'best results.' If serving only a table of two, you will probably need at least three 'Air Frying' machines. Do you have $750 to experiment with, let alone three, full-power circuits in your kitchen?
The theory is not horrible. I've eaten a couple of specialty potato thingies cooked in an 'Air Fryer,' and they were not horrible. There were prep'd and cooked in very small batches - even for a commercial unit. This counter-top unit simply does not have the horsepower to compete. Unless One is willing to spend $250 to "Air Fry" potato slices, One at a Time, it is a waste. IMO, the SE staff and DBC should have recognized this from the start. Perhaps a great idea and something that some have been waiting for, I cannot see this thing as ready for Prime Time. Give Philips another ten years and we'll try again.
Not with my money. (Not even in Amerika.)
Hilarious and thanks. GC
As a big fan of plain seltzer, a friend gifted a Soda Stream gizmo my way some months ago. It was fun to play with and 'fizzing' my own spring water was nice. In the end, the cost of gas, and special bottles did not pan out. I've reverted to buying generic, house-branded, unsweetened plain or lemon-lime sparkling water at ~$2.50/12 12 Oz cans. If I want a little flavor, a splash of fruit juice is enough. I had no idea that these folks had so many flavors, but there is still little appeal; most are reported as too sweet and sweet beverages are just not my thing. Fifty-Nine Choices? Wow!! Number sixty may well be 'water flavored!'
Cereal Trivia Question: What is the one and ONLY standard, commonly available breakfast cereal that contains No Added Sugar? Think for a moment... Now wait for it.... Shredded Wheat!
(and darn near the only one that I eat.)
I'll look; I always look. And I'll probably maintain +/- my current list. Commercial sites (yes, like SE) that survive more than 90 days will evolve. Sometimes they get it right and thrive - and sometimes they bomb. To be brutally honest, I don't care about the glitz and bling, but focus on the content. IMO, the most of the most important content comes from amateur sites. While no criticism of SE, I usually get a lot more functional content from the amateur sites. SE remains a leader, I guess, but the focus has changed over five years and I'm not sure that it is for the better.
I'm not a millenial and I sure don 't play one on TV. If today's young adults expect to survive in the food world, first they must move beyond eating out/ordering in 10+ times per week. (I suspect that most have far too much cash in their pockets.) Before SE and similar sites will be of value, I think the kids have to develop some degree of interest in preparing their own food, first. Maybe?
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