882 reputation
1514
bio website blogger.com/profile/…
location Seattle, WA
age 42
visits member for 3 years, 7 months
seen Apr 24 '11 at 20:00

I think Robert Rodriquez said it best: "Not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to f***." Crude? Yes. But the man has a point. You have to eat every day, so why not figure out how to do it as well as you can. Unfortunately, more of my time is spent earning money so I can buy cookbooks. For that I do things like writing software. Well, to be entirely accurate I mostly just copy code from Stack Overflow. Thank you, Jeff Atwood!


Jan
14
comment Breakfast vegetable
Definitely ask them about tsukemono (soo-kay-moh-no). They're different from the western notion of pickles and a fascinating part of Japanese cuisine.
Jan
14
comment Does chili paste require refrigeration?
+1, I'd say that most don't require refrigeration, but unless you're really space constrained, I'd store it in the fridge. The fridge isn't going to hurt the flavor any. I used to keep mine out with the Tabasco, but once after a few months it started growing some mold and had to be thrown out. Now I keep it in the fridge and haven't had similar problems. I think those wide mouthed containers are more prone to infection than the ones with the smaller twist-open-and-squirt caps like sriracha comes in. Better safe than sorry.
Jan
13
comment Should a [Ceramic] mug be left covered or uncovered during the tea bag steeping process?
I'm sure the downvotes are because this is a trick question, as there is no proper way to steep bag tea in any drinking or serving vessel. Fannings... blech!!! (BTdubs, my tongue's in my cheek here.) :-)
Jan
13
comment How long will a sourdough starter last between feedings?
+1 for 14 days as the upper limit in the fridge, but I'd say you'll definitely want to refresh before trying to make bread with a culture that old. Or you'd need to allow more time for the initial rise. I'd say after 14 days on a bread or A/P flour starter you're more in the area of risky neglect than constructive neglect. You're not risking that all the yeast will die as much as you're risking an infection of bad bacteria or mold.
Jan
10
comment What are the advantages of a Santoku over a French Chef's Knife?
I own a santoku that is sharpened on both sides. I'd bet that most widely available santoku knives (Wustof / Henkels / Shun / Mac) available in big retail outlets in the US anyway would be santoku shaped but have a double beveled edge. You might be able to find imported single bevel santoku at specialty cutlery stores, but those would be rare and I don't know what the benefit of seeking one out would be unless someone was doing extremely detailed prep work (like making sushi). Also, the other answer about the handedness of single bevel knives is a good thing to watch out for.
Jan
7
comment Is there any substitute for saltpeter / sodium nitrate in corned beef brine?
Regarding the Tender Quick, I replaced the volume of kosher salt and sugar in the recipe I was following with Tender Quick, making no other adjustments, and it came out awful. I wouldn't recommend using it outside of a recipe that specifically called for it, as you say.
Jan
7
comment Is there any substitute for saltpeter / sodium nitrate in corned beef brine?
thanks for the chem lesson! I always wondered exactly what made the smoke ring. I needs to get me a copy of McGee's book.
Jan
7
comment Hygiene-wise, need to clean grill/broiling tray after each use?
@Orbling, +1 to that. When I'm broiling something especially fatty like bratwurst I line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and put the brats on a cooling rack in the sheet pan to broil. The foil and fat go in the trash and the rack goes in the dishwasher. Easiest cleanup there is.
Jan
7
comment Is there any substitute for saltpeter / sodium nitrate in corned beef brine?
It looks like an edit did change some of my nitrates to nitrites. I'm sure saltpeter is potassium nitrate (not nitrite). I'm not sure whether sodium nitrate or nitrite is more appropriate for corned beef. The other corned beef question (entitled Corned Beef - From Scratch) mentions sodium nitrite. FYI, Tender Quick lists both sodium nitrate and nitrite (in that order) in its ingredients after the (I'm sure much greater) quantities of salt and sugar. I'm just wondering if it's possible to obtain or substitute the nitrate/nitrites by themselves.
Jan
6
comment Why did mold develop on the top of my sourdough?
Good point, I didn't ever wash mine with soap and water. I just dumped the older starter, rinsed with water only and wiped it out with a paper towel. I suppose even that could have been overkill.
Jan
6
comment What's the purpose of sugar in a pickling solution?
Thanks for this, and to @adebaumann for his answer too. I'm going to try this batch without the sugar and hope that the carrots and peppers have enough natural sugar to offset the sour and salt. Probably my use of the word relish was misleading. The brine won't be consumed at all, so I don't think it needs to be sweetened by itself, but I'll update in a couple of weeks when done.
Jan
6
comment Cookbook says to store dough in fridge overnight, why can't I just bake it already?
Definitely no offense meant. More than anything else I've tried to do in the kitchen, getting reasonably good bread with residential mixers, refrigeration and especially ovens is the most technically challenging. BBA is a decent book, but hardly the final word. It seems like there are quite a few bread geeks here who should be able to help interpret some of the stuff that any single book could only cover partially. The question was a very good one, and I say keep em coming.
Jan
6
comment Cookbook says to store dough in fridge overnight, why can't I just bake it already?
Also, the irregular structure of the crumb (a good mix of big and little holes) has a lot to do with how the dough is handled when folding and especially final shaping. IIRC, Reinhart doesn't emphasize the stretch and fold technique during fermentation in BBA. Hamelman defintely does in "Bread", and it looks like Reinhart's new book might, but I haven't seen that in person yet. In a nutshell, if you want the big holes, be as gentle as you can when degassing the risen dough and when you form it into its baking shape.
Jan
6
comment Cookbook says to store dough in fridge overnight, why can't I just bake it already?
While I agree somewhat in principle with the RTFM sentiment, I think that the real value of a site like this is not that the OP gets his question answered, but that someone 6 months later doing a web search who has the same question (but maybe not the same book) gets his question answered.
Jan
5
comment Which onions to use and how to cook them for an Indian curry recipe that specifies “fry until deep pink”?
Nice work finding that blog post! The author compares them to a Walla Walla (almost as sweet as a Vidalia!) crossed with a red onion. That would definitely be a very different flavor than either the white or yellow you normally get at the supermarket. Too bad these are apparently so hard to come by in the States.
Jan
5
comment domestic bread steaming -> will my stone be okay?
I'd be very careful using enameled cast iron for "artisan" bread baking. Many of these sorts of recipes have the bread baked at between 400 and 450 degrees. Temperatures that high could damage the enamel (and could mess up phenolic handles too). I'd stick with non-enameled cast iron if using a dutch oven, or even better use an earthenware bread baker like La Cloche. Nothing is better for oven spring, but they are unfortunately hard to find in stores and shipping them is a 50/50 proposition as to whether it will arrive unbroken (see Amazon reviews).
Jan
5
comment What would convert this chili recipe into a Russian chili?
Actually, using a little vodka isn't a bad idea either. There are certain flavor compounds in tomatoes and chiles that are alcohol soluble (this is one of the reasons vodka is used in vodka cream pasta sauces). If you wanted to use vodka, I'd recommend adding the tomatoes, tomato paste, and peppers just before you add the beef broth, beans, and dairy ingredients. Then add a little vodka (like 2 Tbls to a quarter cup at most), let that boil up for just a minute while you give it a stir, then continue with the other ingredients. The alcohol will boil off entirely during the remaining cook time.
Jan
4
comment What would convert this chili recipe into a Russian chili?
Please come back and update if you do use beet. I'd be very interested to hear how it turns out. With that many habaneros and chipotle it's likely to be zesty. The sugar in the beets may help cut the fire a bit. The recipe doesn't specify, but I'd recommend using the canned chipotle packed in adobo rather than dried, unless you're going to grind the chipotles almost to powder. Good luck!
Jan
4
comment What would convert this chili recipe into a Russian chili?
Not sure about Russian, but my grandmother is Polish. Many of her traditional dishes use animal blood. I'm not sure where you'd get it, but it would make for some interesting chili. Something else that would be fun to try is putting a beet or two in your chili: borscht-ili!
Jan
2
comment Any time / temperature recommendation for a short braise of a tender piece of meat?
Thanks for the advice, that worked very well. I did also sweat the aromatics for about 20 minutes to make up for the shortened braising time and used about half the called for liquid, reducing at the end per your instructions. The chops stayed moist and tender. Thanks again!