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Owly

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Owly last won the day on October 11 2019

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  1. I've been playing with eggs lately. The goal is to get the perfect boiled egg with a firm white and a soft custard yoke. The challenge is that the white cooks at a higher temp than the yoke so to get the desired result you have to precook the white at high heat, then shock chill and sous vide around 145-147........ I haven't quite nailed it yet. The problem here is the elevation.... like trying to cook a medium rare steak on a grill that isn't hot enough. I think I now have the answer in an air fryer a neighbor gave me because they just don't use it....... All the rage, appliance of the year, everybody has to have one, and they end up in Salvation Army stores because people just don't use them, or they don't live up to the hype. I set out to see what the damn thing was actually good for, and if it was worth the space. It does a superb job of "boiling" eggs....... or more accurately baking them in the shell. I do not have to worry about correcting for elevation, as water is not involved. The challenge is to find the perfect temp and time for a runny soft boiled egg, then to find the ideal sous vide temp and time.... yes time DOES make a difference with eggs. I've played with 270, for about 10 min.... Less doesn't set the white, but 10 min takes the yoke further than what I want..... The other problem is the radiant heat.... I need to devise a way to block direct radiant heat so it's just heated air so I won't have to roll them to avoid browning the white..... steaming at a specific temp would be best for this.... An interesting challenge for cold winter evenings............. H.W.
  2. I never figured out any real use for remote control???
  3. Owly

    Feta Cheese

    I've been making my own Feta cheese since Costco saw fit (locally) to discontinue the blocks, and offers only the crumbles several years ago. I'm learning to hate Costco... which I've been a member of for years. Anything I buy regularly.... good quality reliable products, the discontinue. I swear there is a little pinched face accountant looking guy in green eyeshades who follows me around with a clipboard, and notes what I buy so they can put it on the kill list. Field and Stream flannel shirts, Feta cheese, Kirkland Signature 5 pocket jeans, R 134A refrigerant, high quality nut and dried fruit trail mix (brand?), and now the final kick in the nuts Kirkland Decaf coffee....... an insult to those of us who drink decaf! We are a "sub species" that doesn't deserve decent quality coffee.... And there are many other examples I can't think of at the moment. Walmart (yes, I do stoop to buying a few items there).... does the same thing to me. Feta is about the easiest of cheeses to make, and home made is superior to store bought. New England Cheese Supply is the best source for recipes, and ingredients, though I do not buy their expensive cultures anymore, but rather use Kefir for a starter. I buy rennet on line...... preferring real calf rennet to veggie or vegan rennet........ There is a special place in hell for vegans!...., and I buy calcium chloride to compensate for processed milk. I do have a small stock of things to enhance the flavor.... flora danica & lipase. The first to give it a creamier flavor, and the second to give it a "goaty" flavor as with goat's milk.......... I absolutely refuse to own milk, or in any way deal with goats.... Been there, done that!! What I really want is a circulator for warming the milk. I've tried my Annova, and the result was burned milk on the element....... Patience is probably the order of the day here....... just put it on a seedling mat and wrap it in a towel........ I'm "locked down" today and yesterday..... temps have not risen above -1 for two days, so I'm doing indoor projects...... just ran off a gallon of 100 proof gin from 5 gallon sugar wash, so my fermentation chamber is available to get the temps I want for hanging the feta, so I'm making a gallon of milk into feta today. It's dirt simple.. heat to 90F, add kefir, and calcium chloride, let "ripen" for an hour, add one quarter tab of rennet, dissolved in 1/4 c water stirred gently. Then leave for an hour to thicken, and cut the curds, stirring gently at 5 minute intervals until they reach poached egg consistency... 30 to 60 min. Then pour the whey off, and ladle into a colander with cheese muslin, allowing to drain further, sprinkle 2T salt (cheese or pickling salt), allowing it to draw more of the whey off. You can use a form and press at this time...... but I just hang it and let it drain in a warm place (my fermentation chamber). Once firm and well drained. I then slice and salt it on the surfaces and leave it for several days at room temp before putting it in a brine made from whey and salt 7% salt by weight. It sounds like a lot of monkeying around, but amounts to a few minutes here and there over a few days................. The product is well worth it!! H.W.
  4. Owly

    Thermal Fuses

    I frequently modify modern appliances and vehicles to work the way I want them to. The idiot engineers seem to be in love with geeky features. My Ninja blender lasted about a day before I tore it apart and modified it so the single serve container could be used at any speed instead of just the highest, and you don't have to hold your finger on the button, and while I was at it, disabled the safety switches, as I am the only one who will ever use it. My '10 Outback had so many idiotic "features" I've lost count, and I've gradually altered most of them. Refrigerators are my number one irritation......... I have never in modern times owned one where the thermostat worked properly, and new thermostats do not fix the problem........ they will let the temp rise, then go on a tear and freeze all my veggies, at unpredictable intervals. The solution is an STC 1000 or PID mounted to the outside, with the themocouple inside in a suitable location. So called "crisper" drawers are mini freezers, sitting at the bottom where the cold air collects............. I hate refrigerators with a passion. What is so difficult about engineering one that works??? Some of the old ones from the '60s did work properly. My current big GE side by side is an abortion!! I've long contemplated making my own refer, that simply used a brine circuit from an adjacent upright freezer, with a small circulating pump and a thermostatic fan. The most foolproof system I ever saw was in an old homestead home that had been abandoned for many years. The ice house was a cellar beneath the kitchen where ice was buried in sawdust as it was in those days... which makes it last all summer. A dumb waiter connected it to the kitchen, so you could lower the milk, eggs, and veggies into the ice house, and raise them with a crank when needed. He made ice by pumping troughs full of water from his hand pumped well, tipped the troughs over to eject the blocks of ice, and slid them down a chute into the cellar / ice house.......... took me a bit of sleuthing to figure this all out, as the place as an abandoned wreck that hadn't been occupied for about 50 years, and all anybody knows about the owner is that he rode around on a big bay stud horse, and bred people's mares for a fee......... A brilliant innovator. I've always thought if I ever build a house, I'll do the same thing, or something similar, as part of an off grid plan............ but with climate change it might not work... I've never had a TV in my life, and do not keep a sound system in my home anymore as I like silence........... Where I live there is no traffic or other noise except the wind, and the animals and birds. At night, I may on occasion listen to music on my computer, or watch something on Utube, but otherwise I live in a silent home. In the background I hear a raven, and nearby the chickadees, rosy finches, a nuthatch, and a pair of downey woodpeckers provide entertainment right outside my window at the feeders......... H.W.
  5. I don't see anybody using my favorite source of smoke. I love the flavor imparted by fresh green creek bottom willow twigs with the bark on. These are NOT willow trees such as golden or weeping, etc, they are the brush that grows in damp and wet areas, such as #### willows. I use these for a light smokey flavor when cooking, rather than serious smoking. Most recently I did a rack of prime ribs this way, and a lamb roast. both were pre-cooked to medium rare, and put on the kamado frozen, and the ribs were cooked until up to eating temp. The idea is to create a surface smoke as a seasoning. The lamb roast was refrozen for later use, so I didn't worry about core temp. This was done at a low indicated temp..... around 200. The lamb was used on New Year's Day dinner, along with the pecan cheesecake pie I described in the dessert section. We sliced and very briefly steamed the thawed lamb on a wire rack in a skillet to bring it up to temp without cooking it further or drying it out. It was very delicious, and popular. Nobody there had ever had lamb smoke cooked. H.W.
  6. This is only slightly off topic, as most folks here have kitchen appliances that heat. Coffee makers, hot plates, slow cookers, etc. Thousands of these appliances end up in the dump each year because they quit working, and nobody fixes them. My $100 Bunn coffee maker has a 3 year life expectancy plus a little bit.... Just enough to get beyond warranty. Inevitably a thermal fuse in it fails. I was fortunate enough once to have still been within warranty, but after buying a replacement once, I simply got mad and cut the thermal fuse out the next time one failed....Had to have that morning coffee!! , and ordered a handful of replacements on Ebay, installing one later.............. Today another one failed...... this time on my hotplate during a "process".... it took a little while and a VOM to track down the problem as I was rigged with a PID controller. I don't like using something like that without a thermal protection system of some sort, so I called the local Radio Shack. They stock thermal fuses, and one matches except for the current...... too low at 10 amps, but I will parallel 2 of them for current. These are designed when the ambient temp gets too high. In this case 216C. If you have not dealt with these things before, they look like a small resistor, but have a metal housing. The temp rating and current rating are printed on the outside................. Thermal fuses are normally covered in a heat resistant woven ceramic fabric sleeve. You may not even notice that it is there. Don't throw that appliance away........ replace the thermal fuse. In this throw away society, I try to fix things when I can. H.W.
  7. I made my second iteration of the pecan pie with a cheesecake layer to share with friends over New Year's Day dinner. We also had a lamb roast that had been given to me by a local restaurateur friend who was going out of business and had it pre-cooked in the freezer. I jumped at this because I love properly cooked lamb, and he's one of very few people I know other than myself who cooks it properly. It went on the kamado frozen solid a few weeks ago for a nice surface smoke with willow.....green twigs, for an awesome light smoke flavor. It didn't stay there long enough to thaw at the time, as I didn't want to cook it further than the medium rare Bill typically does. At dinner, on New Year's day, I had it fully thawed, and we sliced it and lightly steamed the slices to bring them up to eating temp, no more. Tender and moist, with a lightly smoked rind, it was to die for!! The pie had a conventional crust........ which I made using Krustez mix, as I hate messing with shortening, and their product produces a lovely flaky crust with just the right proportions and very little work For once in my life I followed a recipe............ From Bunny's Warm Oven website. It just seemed right........ well, I actually took a few "liberties" The cream cheese was home made a week ago using a process where a culture of fresh home made kefir as well as a limited amount of rennet was placed in a pot of warm whole milk and heavy cream, and allowed to work for 24 hours. I cut the curd to about 1" squares, about 8 hours in, and after 24 hours I put it into a cheese muslin to drain, hanging in an 80F environment for another 24 hours, then removed and salted it lightly, and left it for another 12 hours. The result was a nice tangy cream cheese, unlike anything you buy in the store. A weighed out 8 oz of this cream cheese, one egg, and 1/4c sugar and 2t vanilla were beaten together for the cream cheese layer. I wasn't happy with this as it was a bit more liquid than I liked, so it went into a double boiler, and I cooked it awhile until it began to thicken up nicely. The cheese mixture was spread in the pie crust, after I cooled it a bit, and it was liberally sprinkled with chopped crystal ginger (NOT IN THE RECIPE). The first layer was baked 15 min at 350F, then the pie was removed, and the pecan pie filling added (below) which I had made during that 15 min was added on top. 2 eggs, 1/2 C brown sugar (recipe calls for white), 1/2C corn syrup, 3T melted butter 2t vanilla, and 1/4t salt whisked together I sprinkled the pecans over the cheesecake layer.........no quantity listed so I did the "TLAR" method (that looks about right), and poured the filling on top Baked for 35-40 min at 350 and chilled The result was wonderful, with the tangy cheesecake layer.......... and it was tangy, not super sweet, the bits of crystal ginger gave it delightful little bursts of flavor. The pecan layer was sweet, but not excessively, and was delightfully crunchy. There was almost none of the usual rich sweet gelatinous stuff under the pecans. It was a study in contrasts that was almost irresistible! Unfortunately I didn't get any photos......... It was gone too fast!! ***** I will repeat this, but in the next iteration, I will reduce the cheesecake layer just a bit and add a bit more of the pecan pie filling to try to achieve more distinct middle layer. This recipe filled the shell completely, making me wish I had pie plates with taller sides so I could increase the middle layer without robbing any of the cheesecake layer which was so delightful. I may shop for a suitable pan. H.W. Here is a link to the original recipe: Bunny's Pecan Cream Cheese Pie
  8. Since my weight loss program......... which includes lots of fasting, I'm trying to "pound" nutrients from natural sources. My Omega 900 slow auger juicer is a real asset in this, as I can make "green" juices. It also makes nut butters, and I processed raw sweet potatoes the other day for example to make sweet potato pie. In addition I eat lots of salad, and find that I get tired of salads, and my salad consumption goes in spurts. I have an indoor hydroponic garden growing under grow lites that helps with this. My developing favorite breakfast is a sort of veggie omelet benedict......... with a bastardization of hollindaise sauce. I take a hand full of salad greens .... "power greens", a slice of onion, a garlic clove (both chopped), and some cherry tomatoes (from last summer's garden still!!), blitz them in a single serve cup on my Ninja. Meanwhile I'm browning a couple of links. In a double boiler, I'm melting 1T butter, into which I stir 1t flour and some salt, one egg yoke, and some milk (TLAR). The white from that egg, and one whole egg, goes into the veggies along with salt and spice, and the works goes into a skillet with a lid to cook slowly.... along with the links. The sauce gradually thickens, and I add about one t of lemon juice, and some cayenne. If my logistics work out, I end up with it all done about the same time. A lovely airy omlette.... almost a souffle, a couple of links, all drizzled with a nice tangy spicy sauce somewhat resembling Hollandaise. The veggies are the dominate component in the "omelet". I will often sprinkle some cheese over it before cooking is complete...... cheddar, or parmesan. I also sometimes make the sauce with heavy cream for an obscenely rich sauce. For some reason the omelet portion is much lighter and better with the one yoke removed than with two eggs. H.W.
  9. Smoke cooking for flavor is something I like to do...... Just a light smoking that provides more of a "hint" than a heavy flavor. The technique I've used a couple of times now is to sous vide to MR, the freeze solid. The frozen meat goes into the kamado with smoke. As it is already cooked, cooking is not part of the equation. I like to do this at 250-350. I operate on the TLAR system (that looks about right), and when I'm satisfied, I pull it out cover, and let rest. A meat thermometer would be more scientific, but cannot be inserted into frozen meat, so would have to be inserted late in the process. The results have been excellent without exception so far, as moisture loss is kept to a minimum........... H.W.
  10. Today I took several recipes and put them together. First was a sort of puff pastry type dough consisting of 1C flour, 1/3 C cold water, and 1/4t salt, rolled out buttered and folded in thirds twice and a third time rolled up like a cinnamon roll. This is the crust for a Portuguese Custard Tart...... find it on Utube. The crust is made by slicing the chilled roll like cinnamon rolls, setting one in each cup of a muffin tin cut side up/down, and spreading it across the bottom and up the sides from an initial depression made with a thumb..... the thumbs work it up the sides. I made cream cheese several days ago, and it's been draining and souring most of the intervening time. Used my kefir as a culture ( I've kept a kefir culture for years and use kefir daily). Heated the milk and cream to a suitable incubation temp, added the kefir and a generous amount of liquid rennet (didn't measure). Left it 12 hrs in the pot and cut the curds, left it another 12, and carefully ladled the curds out with a perforated spoon into a cheese muslin in a colander. Hung for about 24 hrs at room temp, then salted it, and rehung for another 24 hours. A nice tangy cream cheese Today I made up the shells mentioned above, then mixed 8 oz of cream cheese with half a beaten egg, and a dash of salt. A generous dollop of this soft spreadable mixture in the bottom of each shell The pecan pie filling was the least sweet I could find.... 1/2 C brown sugar & 1/2 corn syrup, 1/4 C butter, 1/4 t salt, 1C pecans I chopped up enough crystal ginger to sprinkle about 1/2 t over the cream cheese layer in each cup before adding the pie filling added the pie filling and baked............ didn't time it. The result: The cream cheese was an excellent addition The crystal ginger added a unique and interesting touch The pecan pie filling was just what I was looking for The shells are great I added too much the cream cheese mixture. The filling puffed up like little muffins during baking, and some of the classic filling was pushed out. Doing it again, I would extend the shells above the tin, and use less of the cream cheese mixture, as it displaced too much of the pie filling Over all they are delicious, but not quite "on target"........ A success but not perfect. H.W.
  11. Avoid setting a pattern is one of my rules. When you set a pattern, your metabolism adjusts to that pattern. Keep your body off balance. I just finished the second fast of this year. A 5 day following one eating day, after a 3 day. I'll take a couple of days off, and pick it up again. I might do my rotating meals fast, which I like...... breakfast today, lunch tomorrow, dinner the next day, nothing the following day, and breakfast the day after that for a week or so..... 30 hour fasts essentially. I don't count these when I total up fasting days, I only count fasts of at least 48 hours. The target this year is to 145. I've let things slip over the period since I stopped last years fast........ because I intended to resume this winter. If it takes only a brief amount of fasting to hit your goal, you do not stay in autophagy long enough as far as I'm concerned. I'm planning on 40 days total this year over a few months. I always gain when I visit family, and during the holidays....... and that's OK. I've changed my regular eating habits, and that's an ongoing process. I absolutely refuse to "diet" or count calories, or work out in a gym. I walk 2 miles a day on my own trail through the woods ..... round trip to the post office. I'm very fit at 64, and can still hike 20 miles up into the mountains in a day without difficulty. H.W.
  12. The most flavorful meat is next to the bones......... While you are eating your prime rib roast tomorrow, I will be doing a light smoke barbecue on the ribs only. A local chef/caterer finds it more economical to buy bone in, and bone it himself before cooking, and often gives me trimmed off bones with a generous amount of meat in exchange for things I do for him. I cook them in sous vide to 130, and have begun putting them in the kamado frozen, and smoke cooking them just enough to thaw and bring them up to eating temp. You don't get a lot of meat per bone, but the meat next to the bone is by far the best!! H.W.
  13. For Christmas dinner (alone), I plan to take a couple of pork chops that were cooked sous vide, and put them in the Kamado frozen solid, keeping the temp down around 130-140, and infusing them with apple wood smoke as they slowly thaw and come up to eating temp........ anybody else use this technique? I did this with beef ribs awhile back and the results were superb. As the rack was frozen to start with, I was able to get a nice subtle smoke flavor without the ribs drying out at all. They were moist and tender with a little bit of crust, and of course as they were already done using sous vide, I didn't have to worry about "cooking" them other than the surface. The result was superb. I'm developing a love affair with my little bitty kamado. H.W.
  14. This is something I'm dying to try.............. Currently I'm in the early days of a 5 day water & coffee fast, which is part of a series of fasts I'm doing this winter, so food is a tremendous temptation. I love to eat ................ This is a photo from a recipe found on the net. My GF loves pecan pie.......... I like it too, but it's too sweet with nothing to offset the sweetness. I love tangy and spicy much more than just sweet. Casting about for a recipe that matched my idea that creme cheese can relieve the overpowering sweetness of pecan pie and add an interesting contrast, I came up with several versions of pecan pie with creme cheese in it. In the photo above there is an actual cheesecake layer which is added first, and baked for about 10 min before adding the pecan pie filling. In another version, a creme cheese mixture is spread on the crust then the filling added. During baking the creme cheese layer lifts and ends up as a middle layer. The latter appeals to me more, as the creme cheese is not sweetened, and consists only of a packet of creme cheese, an egg, and some vanilla, whipped together and spread on the crust........ It would be a very simple addition to your existing recipe. H.W. Off topic note below: Note on the fasting.... Last winter I did a series of fasts to drop to a weight I consider reasonable for me. I went from 202 down to 152 in 110 total fasting days make up most of 3 and 4 day fasts, over a period of quite a few months. The purpose was not one of appearance, but of health. My blood pressure over the top excessive, and I was tired of carrying extra weight around. I've always been active. I hike a great deal, and walk 2 miles total through the woods to the PO and back every day. I don't doctor.......... never have except for stitches, and realized that unless I took matters in my own hands I would end up spending time and money on doctors (age 64). I hadn't checked my blood pressure for a long time........I rarely do as I consider worrying about it unhealthy ;-). I would not take blood pressure medicine even if it were prescribed. Since the end of my fasting "program" (self designed), I of course quickly gained back a few pounds as expected. Since then I've gained back some more. My object is to "touch" 145 before stopping this time. I expect fasting to be something I will be doing periodically for the rest of my life. I eat healthy foods, almost no carbs, no soft drinks, and little beer since I quit brewing (about 1 micro a week), and in the intervals between fasting, I tailor my eating to "pound" nutrients, including using my auger type juicer to make "green juices", and generally trying to get a broad array of nutrient dense foods. The intervals between fasts range from 1 meal to several days. I refuse to be a calorie counter, but I do intend to work on portion sizes.
  15. I strongly object to "no controls"....... but I'm not a smartphone type.... I use a "dumb phone" (cheap flip phone). I've had my Annova for a number of years.... long enough that the metal tag on the back has faded out, but I believe it is Wifi as I recall, and I tried out the Wifi app on my Ipad when I first got it..... never got it to work, and have been using it manually ever since. WhyFi?? The ONLY purpose in WhyFi or Bluetooth is to make the unit smaller, and cheaper to manufacture. The single mechanical control on mine is a roller for temp setting........I'm sure it's the weak point..... on/off is capacitive. This thing gets used constantly........ I even use it for burgers........ Full fat, or ultra lean, either way they come out moist and tender and don't shrink, and are MR all the way through.......... 30 sec to the side in a skillet.......... It's not worth lighting the grill for that. Steaks, roasts, ribs, chicken, I use the grill for the surface sear, usually with a hint of smoke. If you get the technique right, they can go into the Kamado frozen (except a roast), and you lose almost no moisture, nor does the "done" portion progress far inward. I have a hard time understanding how one can fail at creme brulee....... mine comes out with a perfect set every time I would suggest testing the actual temp, and perhaps a bit more time. I've done it without heating the cream at all prior to adding it to the egg yokes......... and it worked fine. I don't use mine a lot for veggies, as I lean heavily toward salad.......... They do the perfect carrot, and baby potatoes done this way are to die for. I also used mine originally in brewing, using the brew in a bag technique, but the brew bag would tend to get clogged with fines, and suck up to the Annova.......... H.W.
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