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Entries Tagged as 'Equipment and Tools'

Food links

January 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Brief Jerky

Turbaconducken (Turducken Wrapped in Bacon)

A fork shaped like an airplane, to help fly veggies into kids’ mouths.

Nothing worse than opening a box of chocolates and finding… That’s worse than finding out they’re all coconut.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools · Exotic Food Products · Food News and Links

Fried Turkey

November 23rd, 2007 · 4 Comments

As I greeted my cousin at his house for Thanksgiving, he handed me a beer and led me to one of those contraptions that cause fear in the hearts of otherwise courageous cooks – a propane tank and a pot full of 6 gallons of oil.

Apparently in accepting the beer, I was accepting the position of cooking the turkey which meant responsibility for the turkey, the garden surrounding his pool, and depending on the amount of heat tolerance the nearby propane tank was rated at – his house and immediate backyard, a forest, and maybe the nearby government military arsenal. It was obvious this was going to take extreme care. And another beer.

There was another good-looking (regularly roasted) turkey already done, and enough other food to feed a fire department and the army, which was good, in the event we had to invite either of them, so I wasn’t too worried about messing up the turkey. But the only instructions were stamped on the lid of the pot – 325F, for 3 and a half minutes per lb. After figuring out the turkey dunker, we got him set up and he got a seasoning of salt, pepper and paprika.

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My cousin assured me he had done displacement tests, since we’ve all seen the spectacular spill-over fire videos. I donned one of those Okra brand lobster mitts, worried that I’d have a pink claw melded onto my hand should something happen, but there wasn’t any asbestos around. My cousin improvised a spatter shield. I slowly dipped the turkey into the oil, and a little did spatter over, but harmlessly.

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So 52 minutes later, I pulled it out the same way, and he looked great.

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It turns out that frying is a great way to cook a turkey – it’s fast, it stays moist, you get a crispy skin, and it has that intoxicating KFC smell. And if you’re adventurous, you’ve got 6 gallons of boiling oil if you want to fry anything else – like twinkies, Mars bars etc.

Seriously, you might want to read some directions other than mine if you’re trying your own turkey. And watch the videos linked above. Besides, we had professional help on speed dial – my another cousin who’s a fireman in Florida, whose advice in case of accident was ‘distance’.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools · Meat Recipes · Uncategorized

Summer food

July 9th, 2006 · Comments Off

Some summer food pictures.

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This is really a spring picture. Nothing says spring in New Jersey like soft cell crabs. I got this one live at Sun Farm Market (900 Easton Ave. Somerset NJ) back in May. I used to drive all the way down the shore to get ‘em. This little Asian market has a good fish market and a good variety of produce.

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It’s not summer without funnel cake. At the Custer St. Fair in Evanston Il.

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Summer is also for grilling and smoking. Here’s some smoked ribs and a smoked pork shoulder(and some red peppers). The pork shoulder was brined over night and smoked for 5 hours, then grilled for a short time to crisp up the skin. The Weber Bullet (Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker) has been producing great stuff. See the Virtual Weber Bullet site has lots of good tips and modifications.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools

Cookbooks

May 18th, 2005 · Comments Off

I’m not usually a blog stick-meme follower, but I did it over at KIPlog on regular books, and I wanted a chance to discuss cookbooks and this one came along. You can find a list of other foodbloggers participating at Spiceblog, who started it all.

1. Rationale behind what we’re seeing?
Your not seeing anything, since I don’t really have a cookbook shelf to take pictures of. Unlike most people with food blogs, I can count my cookbooks with only two hands. All I have is LaRousse, Alton, Trotter, a few old ones left in the pantry from old roommates (stuff like The Bisquik Cookbook, and the Bennigan’s Cookbook), and a couple of new ones sent to me by publishers and authors expecting me to be not as lazy as I am about writing about them. There’s a cookbook in my bedroom, one among the large format books on a shelf next to my atlases, and a few tucked away behind some old wine in the pantry. Basically, the internet is my cookbook.

2. Most recommended?
Culinary Artistry Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, When I’m done reading this one, I’ll give it a proper review, but this thing is an anti-cookbook. Sure, there are recipes in it, but it’s about learning how to cook artistically, rather than learning how to cook a recipe or a style of cuisine. It’s more about creating, than copying. I love its “teach a man to fish” philosophy – to be a great chef you need be able to walk through a market and come away with the ingredients that compose a great meal without needing a book. Lots of lists of ingredients, flavors, food pairings and menus that serve as composing and inspirational guides. Tons of interviews with Chefs that pick their brains for their experience and advice. I’m convinced this book will inspire you to close your other cookbooks for awhile and see what you can come up with on your own. DISCLAIMER: The authors sent me this book.

3. Cookbook that made you what you were? (sic)
Cooking in a kitchen made me what I were, but I’d be making a lot of mistakes without the basic Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Although my copy is far from New, and mostly what it makes me is sticky-fingered, since it’s extremely greasy.

4. Porniest cookbook?
Charlie Trotter’s Seafood. Tim Turner is the undisputed King of food porn.

5. Sophie’s Choice cookbook?
Probably Alton’s “I’m Just Here for the Food”, but only because it’s a personally signed copy.

6. If you were a cookbook, which cookbook would you be?
I don’t know how to answer this one. I’d like to be LaRousse, so I could be encyclopedic, or I’d love to say I’m Gale Gand’s Short+Sweet, but realistically I’m more like the Better Homes and Gardens, cause of the grease and age.

7. If your cookbook were extremely valuable, so valuable you might hide it with other valuables, where would that place be?
I try to keep Alton’s book out of the kitchen, away from the grease, because of the signature, but I don’t value cookbooks all that highly. However, you’d have to torture me with canned corned beef product to make me give up where my Wustoffs are hiding.

I should mention that unlike cookbooks, I do have lots of food magazines. Bon Appetit and Cooks Illustrated among the subscriptions, Savuer among those I occasionally pick up.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools

Food Photography II

December 30th, 2004 · Comments Off

For more on Food Photography, every food blogger must go to professional photographer Michael Ray’s Food Photography blog. He gave me his link awhile ago and I lost it. But I found it again, and urge you all to go learn the professional tricks he shares with us. Food bloggers are serious about their food, so they won’t be spraying glycerin on their dinner, or spending an hour getting the lighting right, but his tricks will help us. His tricks of the trade post includes those things a stylist uses to make food look better, including Fun Tac. I remember using Playdo and Silly Putty to position food as an intern in a photo studio many years back, but I eat my food now, so I like mashed or pureed veggies to get food to stay where I want. I’ve also discovered peanut butter is a good glue for deserts.

Also on Michael’s site is a Food Stylist Directory, a valuable link for anyone in the professional photography business.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools

Food Photography

December 30th, 2004 · Comments Off

Becks & Posh had a post on correcting photos about a month ago. Color casts and exposures are usually easily corrected with a few moves. Photoshop has an array of auto color correction tools which usually work well, but if the photo is badly under-exposed or lack a full range of values (typically what happens in a dark restaurant) the auto controls may not do enough or may give you some weird effects, sometimes hallucinogenic polarizing or posterizing. More precise control can be done in the levels or curves controls.

I’m afraid I don’t have Photoshop Elements and I’m aware not many are going to spend $600 or more to get the full version, but from what I gather, Elements has these controls.

Here’s the original photo of some Poached Skate Wing; Marinated Green Papaya; Lobster-Cardamom and Harissa Emulsion, shot at Le Bernadin last week.
skateunretouched.jpg

Yicky isn’t it?

I opened the curves control (this procedure is similar to what can be done in the levels control, but the curves control give you many more options), clicked on the middle eyedropper (1), which is the gray point eyedropper and clicked on the image, on a point I thought should be the middle gray, probably somewhere on the shadows of the plate. The image instantly shifts to the correct color casts.

foodcurves.jpg

Didn’t work for you? That’s common if the photo is badly exposed in the first place. Truthfully it didn’t work quite right in this case. But now, using the individual color channels, and the curves, I could correct it if it went to far. Sometimes the curve is modified at the midtones, making an arc, with an anchor point, sometimes at the highlight point, shown here, in the blue channel by (2). Small corrections can be made by moving this anchor point. Be aware that if you move one in one color channel, you’ll probably have to move it in another channel.

These corrections can get complicated quickly and there are many advanced techniques you can learn, but you can start by using the auto controls (see the auto button?) and make small moves on the curves and achieve dramatic improvements.

By the way, the skate was excellent, but blown away by the skate I had later at Oceana. Recipes will be posted after I retouch the rest of my awful shots.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools

Kitchen stuff

February 18th, 2003 · Comments Off

Before I write a big essay on what you need in a well-equipt kitchen, I’ll point to some other opinions.

Anchulis posts her 3 most underrated kitchen tools – chopsticks, a citrus reamer, and her toilet. I completely agree with her. Shylo, in the comments to the Anchulis post, mentions counterspace – the third most important part of a kitchen after the sink and heat producing unit.

Butterpig lists a top ten equipment list, with which I’m in complete agreement. Basically that’s the essay I would have written, except I would make the addition of a cleaver or santuko type knife, and a non-stick pan. The knives are a preference, and you could probably do fine with just a chef’s knife, but for perfect omlettes and fragile fish fillets, you just can’t get by without a good quality nonstick.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools

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