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Old 11-15-2017, 10:16 AM   #1481
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There is a large school of thought which holds that sous-vide cooking of meat yields a tenderness and texture which is superior to any traditional method (eg: more moisture is retained.)
Interesting. I don't think I've ever had a steak cooked that way, but I also know I'm too lazy to make a setup (or buy one) for the house just to try it.
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:56 AM   #1482
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I haven't tried it myself either. Mostly, I have a really hard time buying kitchen gadgets. I only just recently purchased my second good knife, and still can't bring myself to purchase that exact stand mixer in the background of Dalardan's cooler photo which I've been coveting for a long time.


The pumpkin spice chili turned out ok. It was weak on the first round. Kicked it up with some cider vinegar and a lot of red pepper flakes. Next time, it'll be all hominy and no beans. Love the flavor profile and texture of hominy.

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Old 11-15-2017, 02:26 PM   #1483
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still can't bring myself to purchase that exact stand mixer in the background of Dalardan's cooler photo which I've been coveting for a long time.
Used to be you had to actually physically visit the Kitchenaid "factory" store in Greenville OH but now you get to visit online instead. Decent deals;

Artisan® Series Refurbished 5 Qt. Tilt Head Stand Mixer

You'd be hard pressed to find the blemish on them.
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:32 PM   #1484
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I laugh everything I watch someone use those things and spill everything on the countertop because legacy design is shitty.
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:35 PM   #1485
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I got our "Professional" model on craigslist for $20. The bowl moves up and down instead of the tilt head. Its way better and has treated us well.

Would buy again.
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:31 PM   #1486
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You might be able to get pretty good with sous vide since with time & temp you can dial in how tender it is apparently. I find it interesting that one of the more coveted meals is a tougher cut of meat smoked for 12 hours (brisket).
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:45 PM   #1487
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Interesting. I don't think I've ever had a steak cooked that way, but I also know I'm too lazy to make a setup (or buy one) for the house just to try it.
A good setup will run you like $100. Wifi/bluetooth control it with your phone because THE YEAR 2017 BRO.

IMO it excels more with chicken and pork than steak. Steak is easy and fast. Just cook it less than you think you should, and 8 times out of 10 it comes out perfect every time.

Boneless skin-on chicken thighs bagged with some rosemary, garlic, and pepper. Cook em in the bath. Drop em skin side down in a screaming hot pan with a little touch of butter (more for flavor than anything, the skin will release enough fat to prevent sticking) and crisp those bad boys.

Super good.

The other advantage is that you can "hold" food in a cooked state for a fairly long period of time to be "finished" at your leisure/when it's convenient. Makes timing easier.

I don't think it's a life changer, but it's a useful tool in certain situations.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:02 AM   #1488
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Yeah the key with sous vide is being able to absolutely nail the perfect cooking temp so that the proteins you want are in the state you want.

Check out the MIT project Cook My Meat

It's pretty awesome. It tells you exactly what proteins denature at what temps. You can fiddle around with it to get the perfect meatness. To simulate sous vide, just pick a temp and set the time to like 900 minutes.

Here's an example of a 12 minute steak pre cooked in a warmer or via sous vide:


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Old 11-16-2017, 08:00 PM   #1489
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So, it turns out that I'm not longer one of those people who can honestly claim to have never eaten turkey *********. Turns out that they're pretty good. In fact, they're Testastular!

Come on out and join WGN for the 8th annual ******** Festival! Wednesday, November 22, 9 p.m., at Timothy O’Toole’s Pub down in River North.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:14 PM   #1490
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Are the ********* internal or external on turkeys? Can't remember having checked before.

On a side note, first time jerking off meat! Well... making homemade jerky Turned out excellent, already trying a second batch with pork this time. I should have marinated the beef after cutting it, you can see that the marinade didn't spread inside the meat.

Warning : Crappy cell phone pics.


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Old 11-28-2017, 02:22 PM   #1491
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:51 PM   #1492
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Man, we cooked and ate so much stuff this past weekend... Didn't take pictures of most of it.


This one, however, was la pièce de résistance:




What you are looking at is a chile-infused chocolate cake. Spicy as hell, and savory-sweet.


In a large bowl:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup dark baking cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt


Add:
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup strong coffee (I use Café Bustelo espresso)
  • 1 cup whole milk (I use buttermilk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix well.


Now, this is where things get interesting…

Add:
  • 2 tbs cinnamon
  • 3 tsp cayenne powder
  • And about ½ oz dried chile peppers, chopped first in the food processor and then ground with the mortar & pestle.

And mix again.



On that last one; wear protection. Like, wear the mask and goggles that you use when painting cars. I ground the peppers whole, seeds and all. There was a moment when I had to excuse myself to visit the emergency eye-wash station (aka the master bath with the hand-shower attachment) while the missus continued the prep.

Also, don’t use the toilet before washing your hands.

Spicy-dick is a bad thing.

The oil on those peppers is a killer. Now I understand what the residents of Irwindale, California consider to be so objectionable.





Pour into two 9” round pans, and bake at 325° until it passes the toothpick test (I needed about 35 minutes, but then, my oven seems to run cool.) Once done, stick ‘em in the freezer until cooled enough to de-pan without breaking.




Next, mix up 1 tin of store-bought dark chocolate frosting with ½ tsp cayenne, 1 tbs cinnamon, and some more of the chile. We’re gonna stack these, so plate the first cake, frost the top of it, plop on the second cake, and then frost the outside. Leave the top nekkid for the moment.




Finally, prepare the ganache: In a double-boiler (I used a pyrex bowl set atop a medium saucepan filled with water), heat up ½ cup of heavy cream, and add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Mix slowly by hand over medium heat, adding more cream until you achieve a nice, pourable consistency. I estimate I used about 1 cup of cream. While hot, pour this over the top of the cake and spread it around so that it runs down the sides.




Garnish with whole chiles, and serve with vanilla ice cream. Vanilla ice-cream is a must to quench the burn.




Yum.
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:01 AM   #1493
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My wife bought me some spicy chocolate for father's day. I wasn't a huge fan. Not sure if it's the bitter dryness coupled with the spice that just makes it less than pleasant or something else.

PS JOE When are you going to regale us with the story of how you magically reappeared in Chi-town all of a sudden?
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Old 11-29-2017, 01:30 PM   #1494
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My wife bought me some spicy chocolate for father's day. I wasn't a huge fan. Not sure if it's the bitter dryness coupled with the spice that just makes it less than pleasant or something else.
I'm sure it's a matter of taste. Personally, I loved the chocolate-chili ice cream that they sell at a little shop in the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios themepark, but not everyone in the group did.

Julia commented that the cake was spicier than she preferred. I used the whole pepper, seeds and all, as that's my thing. Next time, I may de-seed the peppers first. As the vacation schedule is shaping up, I'll be in Chitown for Christmas, but planning to fly down to FL to visit the family the first week of Jan. This happens to coincide with my birthday, and I intend to make this cake again. I fully expect that my step-father and I will literally be the only ones able to enjoy it.




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PS JOE When are you going to regale us with the story of how you magically reappeared in Chi-town all of a sudden?
A company in New Bern, NC called Wheatstone, which was a former competitor of mine back in the Harris days, made a series of increasingly lucrative offers until I finally decided to take it. The job turned out to be a bit of bait-n-switch, in that it started out as a product line management position but turned into a full-time sales gig, with a management structure that was insanely dysfunctional.

Meanwhile, the folks back in Chicago reached out to me and said "Hey, if you decide you want to come back, we'd love to have you."

Around this time, the woman who I'd been sort-of dating decided to take a job in SC, so I had no reason to stay. Moved back about two months ago, and am glad I did. WGN is rockin' harder than ever these days. And as a happy coincidence, AA operates 7 non-stop flights a day from GSP-ORD, so the two of us are getting kind of serious and building up our frequent flier miles.


I recently cooked my first-ever turkey. Came out pretty well. Stuffed a mixture of butter and fresh herbs under the skin, made a cranberry-sausage stuffing which was just mind-bendingly good (her mom's recipe), and of course prepared the traditional Cuban black beans.





A copious amount of good wine and good cheese were also consumed. This is melted brie on toasted sourdough, which we topped with dried cranberries:



Protip from a sommelier friend: 2012 was an amazing year for California zinfandels. Buy them.
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Old 11-29-2017, 01:50 PM   #1495
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joe do you still have your kitchen hose water heater?
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:06 PM   #1496
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joe do you still have your kitchen hose water heater?
Nah, I left that behind in Hoboken. Radiator heat was free in my UES and Wrigleyville apts, and here in Avondale I pay for the natgas which fires both the furnace and the water heater.

And I actually have my very own clothes washer and dryer in this place. I still giggle like a little girl every time I put a load of laundry in. How cool is it to be able to do laundry in the comfort of your very own home, without putting on shoes and trekking down to the basement of the building?
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:21 PM   #1497
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Wheatstone sounds like a bunch of dicks. If only they realized and cared. Or I cared.

Incidentally, if you're feeling cheap and easy, Trader Joe's makes a cranberry encrusted chevre that's pretty good.
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:22 PM   #1498
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oh that cheese is good!
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Old 11-29-2017, 03:04 PM   #1499
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Wheatstone sounds like a bunch of dicks. If only they realized and cared. Or I cared.
They make good products, but in terms of the internal organization, it's a really weird place.

Wheat is a private company, and the owner, Gary Snow, is pretty much the sole decision-maker. The problem is that he's semi-retired, and goes on multiple-month sabbaticals frequently. Although I interviewed with him, I actually never once saw him the entire time that I worked there.

A few years ago, they promoted their rock-star salesman (Jay Tyler) to the position of Director of Sales. They then realized that Jay couldn't simultaneously be an effective manager and also continue to be a rock-star salesman, so they rescinded this title. Problem is that he continues to act as though he was everyone's boss, despite the fact that he has no actual authority and nobody reports to him.

Unusually for a sales organization, there are no territories. It's pretty much a free-for-all, with several important caveats.

There is a customer database in which everyone is supposed to enter each customer interaction. If you come across an account that hasn't been touched in 9 months, then you're allowed to claim it. Unfortunately, the more senior folks (Jay, Brad) are of the opinion that "Oh, I never bother updating that. Everyone knows that X is my customer," which led to a great deal of frustration on my part.

On a related note, there actually are territories, despite there not being territories. Nobody is allowed to touch Asia, as that's Jay's. And nobody is allowed to touch South America, because that's under exclusive contract to a re-seller owned by the father of one of the salespeople. And nobody is allowed to touch Canada, because that's what-his-name's. It's a system that works great for the people who have been there for 15 years (all of them) and makes it virtually impossible for anyone new to succeed, which is why they've had a 100% turnover rate in new-hires over the past year or three, a fact of which I did not become aware until after moving there.



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Incidentally, if you're feeling cheap and easy, Trader Joe's makes a cranberry encrusted chevre that's pretty good.
We had a few good cranberry-infused cheeses recently from Marianos. One was a white cheddar, the other was a chèvre.
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Old 11-29-2017, 03:14 PM   #1500
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Had a salsa throwdown last night. The one of the left included jalapenos roasted in a cast iron pan, the one of the right was a boiled with dried chile de arbols.

Added touch, guacamole with a garlic, pulverized in the molcajete.

Everybody won.


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