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Owly

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Everything posted by Owly

  1. Owly

    Gyros Meat

    Gyros is a popular Greek "street food". Normally it is made by impaling layers of spiced meat on a vertical skewer which is rotated in front of a heating element....... a vertical rotisserie. For the rest of us, it can be done in a barbecue. The trick is to cook it and slice off the cooked meat as it cooks. I use ground meat and spices... fresh onion and garlic, garlic, rosemary, and oregano. You can find suitable proportions on the internet. I was gifted a bunch of elk burger, and I'm NOT fond of wild game........ I was raised on it. Elk where I live are a nuisance pest like black flies!. I do not feel that they have enough fat of a decent flavor to be worth the bother. It's really about living out the hunter provider part of our nature IMHO. I have killed many animals over the years and eaten them, but I prefer beef to almost anything else. I mixed the ground elk with beef burger (high fat), and pork, added the spices and onion and garlic, and beat it in my Ninja blender food processor until it was sticky. Formed it into a loaf, and cooked it sous vide for an hour at 150F. Drained off the liquid..........and gave it to the neighbor dogs. It then went into my mini Kamodo with some mesquite. As one side browned, I thin sliced it off, and rotated it 90 or 180 deg. A fairly rapid process. I ended up with a nice container full of gyros meat.........Non "traditional", but delicious. I made pita bread.......again you can find recipes online, and tzatziki sauce...... also simple. I make gyros for lunch, steaming the meat, and pita, loaded with onions, tomatoes, and greens, and slathered in tzatziki........ dripping with goodness and loaded with flavor..... a great and disgustingly healthy lunch.
  2. Owly

    Feta Cheese

    Interest in cheese making seems to be virtually non existent here........ My own interests are almost infinite.. though I could care less about team sports, ladies fashion, television or movies, etc. That kind of puts me "beyond the pale" among most people I know......... not that I give a flying F! Microbes have been a passion of mine since childhood........ 50+ years. My "new best friend" in the microbe world is Bacillus Subtilus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_subtilis The microbe that is used to produce Natto......... a very unpleasant tasting Japanese food, well loved in parts of Japan, but offensive to the North American Palette. It is a slimy strong tasting soy product that is repellent to most people........ including me. It has the virtue of being extremely high in vitamin K2.......... and you can read about the benefits of K2, particularly to your heart almost anywhere. I dehydrate mine and use it in smoothies. The flavor has been compared to strong flavored washed rind cheeses........ which do not appeal to me either. I've begun efforts to use B subtilus in cheese..... second effort the other day. Feta is perhaps the easiest cheese to make, and fortunately is one of my favorites. As I make natto regularly, I dumped the milk in the container, and brought it up to temp for a few hours, then innoculated with kefir, and pitched my rennet. The product looks excellent, but the flavor is not what I wanted....... at this point. It will "ripen" in brine at under 50F for 2 weeks, but I suspect that the B Subtills flavor will not really develop at that temp. The previous effort used a mesh bag of natto submerged in the milk...... I left it all afternoon....... a mistake as the milk curdled....but I think the approach was fundamentally sound......... the time and temp need to be adjusted. I will work to hone in on the optimal time over the next few months. Interestingly nitrogen enhanced whey is used to culture B Subtilus to produce vitamin K......... but I suspect aeration is a big factor. H.W.
  3. My still from the previous post was actually for a friend ultimately. His family has a history of bootlegging and he was very enthused about using my "essential oils" still.... I'm deeply disappointed that he has chosen to use the still for things that Carrie Nation would NOT approve of. I've long been proud of Butte Mt with regard to that famous temperance crusader. She ended up in a fight with a whorehouse madam, and was "run out of town on a rail" so to speak. The ONLY town in the USA to literally throw her out of town....BRAVO! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_Nation # 6 is in the early stages. Strictly for essential oils! I'm using a high quality Instant Pot knock off as the foundation. Built a stainless steel lid with a tri-clamp fitting. It will use a bubble plate column, and an air cooled condenser for the highest quality essential oils possible......... many of which will be extracted from botanicals including juniper berries and various other things using ethanol vapor for extraction.
  4. Just a final note. The product came out delicious. The saltpeter in the tenderquick left a reddish ring, like a smoke ring but reddish, and seemed to carry the hickory smoke powder and brown sugar flavors in with it. The sous vide and the fact that I froze it before smoking left a very pretty interior that was medium to medium rare in appearance rather that the typical color of a smoked brisket. Everybody loved it, and it got lots of complements. I'm not at all sure that the tenderquick rub was such a bad idea after all....which is good because I have plenty of rub left I can't see any reason to do a brisket without sous vide....the result is superior in terms of moisture and tenderness. The juices drained off when the brisket was removed from the bag and cooked down to a syrup like consistency with the addition of some honey was great for basting, and left a beautiful dark and tasty bark The hickory smoke powder makes a great ingredient for a dry rub, though a dry rub followed by a 24 hour of sous vide immediately really is a marinade of sorts.
  5. I just removed the brisket, and you are obviously right.... a poor choice. It clearly has that corned beef reddish ring. Live and learn. The dehydrator worked extremely well for sous vide. I took it out of the sous vide and placed it in the dehydrator after only a couple of hours. The LEM dehydrator did a superb job of maintaining Sous Vide temperature. The result is not quite what I wanted, but it is delicious. It has now been transferred into the freezer, and I'll run it through the kamodo this evening... or at least half of it. I took the expelled liquids and cooked them down. It will go into the kamado frozen, and I'll baste with the liquids to which I added some honey. I don't know what the result will be, but the sample I tasted was delicious....... Live and learn ;-( What the result is, is not as important as that it is good. Clearly the LEM dehydrator with it's precision temp control is a viable alternative for sous vide.... I will use that method again, but I feel that bringing it up to temp first in a water bath is important. This evening I'll put one of the slabs in the kamado keeping the temp low and smoking it with chips, and basting it with the concentrated expelled liquid. That it comes out delicious is probably a higher priority than that it comes out a specific product...At least that's one way to rationalize "failure" Often times we have to rationalize "failure" this way ....... If I share with others, I'll have to come up with a new name for it and pretend it's all part of my "grand plan" Name suggestions .................. H.W.
  6. I just did a dry rub on a bargain brisket. Lots of course ground black pepper, some brown sugar, some tenderquick, hickory smoke powder, and a few other things. The brisket is going into sous vide at 155 for 24 hours. My Annova has been loaned out to a local chef to try to encourage him to use sous vide in his catering and food truck business. The time saving in things like fried chicken, and improved quality would be huge. I do burgers sous vide in stacks separated by wax paper, then 30 sec on the grill for a perfect medium rare all the way through and no shrinkage at all.... He's stuck in his ways. The machine I'm using for sous vide right now is an Emerill Legasse version of the instant pot. It is the most used appliance in my kitchen between sous vide, steaming, air frying / toasting, and various other jobs. I use the pressure cook function all the time often just for reheating in preference to the microwave. Because I use the instant pot so much, I don't want to tie it up with a 24 hr sous vide job.... The solution is going to be to swap it over to my LEM dehydrator this evening set at max which is 150F. With the brisket up to temp already from the water bath, the dehydrator should maintain the temp fine......... Has anybody tried this? After sous vide, I will probably freeze the two half briskets (I had to cut it in half), and then smoke them in my mini kamado from the frozen state to get a good bark on it without over cooking. Thoughts?? H.W.
  7. Owly

    Re intro

    I suspected someone would say that or suggest it independently.... that comment was to "cut them off at the pass", or beat them to the draw so to speak.
  8. I have long loved the taste I could get by throwing green willow or maple leaves on the coals. I discovered this over 40 years ago when I was young and in love... the GF and I would go hiking and on the way grab a couple of Tbones.... a book of matches from some business........ they gave them away back then, and forget everything else Remember those days? In heat would be a better description I think. We would start a small fire up in the Bitteroots, and weave a grill from creek bottom willows, throw the steaks on and cook them to a beautiful medium rare....never missed salt and spices........which were always among the forgotten. Perhaps we were so starry eyed and in love that the real spice came from something else I use green willow leaves and stalks these days... I also have cherrywood and mesquite, but I prefer the willow........ perhaps it's just the memories. The taste of love Note that "willow" encompasses a wide variety of bushes and trees. These were creek bottom willows from those dense patches along a creek. I have no idea how diamond willow (which grows around here), golden willow, weeping willow, or any of the others would be. These are the classic #### willows (in the spring). I also have used maple leaves, and suspect that any maple would do.
  9. I'm into another fasting season. I'm at the 6 day mark, currently breaking my fast. I began last Monday, had one meal after 2.5 days (listen to your body), and resumed water fasting breaking this AM the following Sunday. Working to improve my break-fast methods, I decided hummus would be a good thing for the purpose. I never have had any use for hummus, but I set out to make an EXCITING HUMMUS....Is that possible?? As it turns out it very much is. Looking through my dry goods pantry, I found some black beans and green lentils.....I also had Garbanzos, Pintos, Whites, and ordinary kidney beans and Lima beans, and a variety of other lentils. Black beans and green lentils caught my eye and imagination. I love black beans and lentils are a fantastic source of protein, vitamins and minerals A small batch... about a cup total of the two. It went into my electric pressure cooker which I purchased a few months back.... note that I've always used pressure cookers, and the only reason I bought this was convenience and the fact that it included sous vide function (though not great), and had an air fry lid.... About $120 at Walmart (Emerill Legasse). Cooked for 25 min, no soaking or anything, I cooled them and put them in the food processor with a bit of sesame oil and some lemon juice. I added a nice dollop of tahini, and another nice dollop of pesto (from Costco), as well as some of my turmric / chipoltle mix that I use on about everything, and some salt and a crushed garlic clove. When blended smooth, I put it in a mixing bowl and added around 3T of home made kefir, which is a truly amazing product with powerful microbe culture. Unlike yogurt you can put kefir grains in raw milk and don't need to process the milk at all or worry about temp regulation. I mixed all this up and put it in a container and floated a bit of sesame oil over it to seal it from oxygen. I put a lid on this and put it in the dehydrator at 90F. I could detect tang developing within about 6 hours, and after a bit under 24 hours it had a lovely sharp tang. It is rich and spicy and tangy. The pesto lends flavor to it as does the chipoltle and turmeric. It is all shot though with bubbles like swiss cheese but smaller, and it is so tasty and savory that it is irresistible. I was fasting when I made this so I tasted and spit......Yes it is possible to maintain that kind of discipline... at least for me. Note: I took no measurements at all......... is "dollop" a measurement? Just shakes and dollops. I even eyeballed the beans and lentils. This was probably a mistake I'll regret. I've invented things in the past and been unable to recreate them. Next time I will document!! DISCLAIMER DO TRY THIS AT HOME ......If you love savory tangy spicy stuff, you will love this. I made it for breaking fast or I probably wouldn't have "discovered" hummus. H.W.
  10. Owly

    Re intro

    Please accept my apologies......... I've been absent for awhile and have not responded to messages and threads..... NO, not in prison, or the hospital, etc. The men in white coats didn't show up at my door and haul me off kicking and screaming in a strait jacket.
  11. I've long been a fan of catalytic propane heaters... 100% efficient, humidifying, and no chimney. Being radiant it is like sitting in front of a fire. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME I recently "built" a vertical grill from a Buddy heater. I stripped everything off the heater so all that remained was the burner unit, made a suitable counter top stand to place it at the proper elevation (turned sideways), and tapped into household propane lines.... Note that natural gas conversion would be easy... just drill out the orifice a size at a time until it works. I don't live anywhere near gas... far out in the hills. I have a gas rated control valve. A wire grill that pinches the meat or whatever...I've even toasted english muffins in it.... completes the package. The grill is modified to stand on the counter top When I use this I put a damp paper towel on the counter top to catch drips This is intensely hot, and the way I have it set up, you can move the grill closer or further, in fact so close that a nice sear can be accomplished in less than a minute!! It is perfect for sous vide cooked meat, or you can move the meat further from the grill and cook raw meat. Best on a concrete or stone countertop, but I don't have any trouble with scorching on my Formica counter top. This is the proverbial "cats meow" for winter grilling....particularly for me as I'm single. I previously did this with an electric element... actually a hot plate... don't tell anybody DISCLAIMER..... DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME..... I'm extremely experienced qualified, and capable. It is dangerous to mess with gas if you don't know what you are doing. The smartest thing would be to tie this to a propane bottle. Buddy heaters have a regulator and valve. It is not necessary to go to the extremes I did. I removed ALL of the safety devices, the pilot light, the thermocouple, the millivolt control valve, which makes it technically completely unsafe. You just hold a barbecue lighter in front and turn the gas on. I did this to facilitate getting the meat closer to the radiant catalytic plaque. With only me living here, I'm not the slightest bit worried. In a household with children or ignorant adults you wouldn't dare do this. It is in total violation of every code known to man...somebody turns the valve on, fills the house with gas, there's a spark somewhere and BOOM.
  12. Sorry.... I've been absent for awhile, occupied with other things. My approach is to re-sous vide. If it's not taken out of the bag (foodsaver), I don't notice any deterioration in flavor or texture for a significant amount of time. Note that I've been doing ground beer patties 1/3 lb, putting them in a stack in a nice 3" dia stainless canister with a lid that seals well. They are separated by wax paper. It holds 3 patties. I sous vide them at 130F, and then give them a light sear. As I'm single, I only eat one. The other two are covered in liquid and covered against air by wax paper separators. I simply reheat in sous vide. The second and third reheat are not much of a deterioration. I hated ground beef in the past because you really cannot cook it MR all the way, and if the center is under it doesn't kill the microbes in it. Microbes grow on the outside of solid meat, but when you grind it, it's all the way through. Also when pan frying you get shrinkage / moisture and fat loss. With sous vide and a light sear you end up with almost zero shrinkage. This makes lean ground beef moist and good, also full fat ground beef. Sous Vide is the best thing that ever happened for ground beef!! Note that I built a vertical barbecue that sits on my kitchen counter out of a Buddy propane heater. It's stripped down completely and plumbed into household propane. A vertical "pinch grill" for lack of a better word stands on the counter with the steak or burger on edge, a moist paper towel beneath. This does a fantastic job of indoor grilling!! It is extremely intense heat, and you can put the steak or burger as close as you want and only brown the surface, or cook it further through by moving it back. There is zero smoke, and almost no cleanup. Throw away the paper towel, and wipe the counter, drop the wire grill in the sink to soak in dish water for awhile, a light scrub and rinse..... It works very well! H.W.
  13. I do a lot of dehydrator stuff. Some of which is meat smoke in my kamado , others complete backpacking meals, fruits, leathers, crackers, etc. My LEM dehydrator gets a lot of use especially this time of year. The other day I had about 8 Granny Smith apples, and decided to dehydrate them as they were getting a bit old. I did this in two stages. Sliced and peeled them and rolled them in a mixture of citric acid and sugar, and dehydrated them to the tough stage. I then removed them from the rack and put them in the blender with 1 can of frozen concentrate apple juice and blended them into a thick goo, which I spread on dehydrator sheets and dehydrated into a leather. The flavor is intense. A wonderful twist I will be using again. I've been playing with kiwis, and mangos a bit. Kiwi leather is delicious. Mango best sliced, I basted the mangos with a thick syrup of sugar and citric acid during the process to intensify and sharpen the flavor..... this also was a great success. I also made a pina colada leather.... my own invention... using canned pineapple, shredded coconut, and banana. Dried crunchy, more like a cracker. It makes a nice backpacking snack. H.W.
  14. A few years back I perfected the apple pie to the point where people lick their plates, and pies vanish before your astonished eyes..............The trick is extremely simple. Make the pie normally in every way but one. Take half a can of frozen concentrate apple juice / cider........ full strength, add a cup of sugar and reduce it in a pan as if you were making candy.......I put a generous shake of cayenne in for a bit of spicy bite... like applesauce with red hots..... I haven't had a candy thermometer for years... since I broke the last one. It is a very scary process, as you are making napalm.... It is so hot and sticky that it will stick to your skin and take it right off if you get it on yourself. But candy makers know all about this. This is cooked down to the point where if it were allowed to cool it would be almost hard.... it would still have give, rather than breaking......... I can't give temps because I've never measured them, but I suspect they are approaching 270F when I take it off the heat. This is poured over the apples in the pie shell, the upper crust added and the works baked.....The reason it must be cooked down is that the apples yield their own juice, and it would be runny otherwise...... Believe me the apple flavor is so intense that people cannot leave it alone. This evening I did an apple crunch this way, but used a full can of concentrate.... A bit overboard delicious. This was a generic oatmeal crunch.... C flour C brown sugar C oatmeal, 1/2C melted butter. I used 7 small Granny Smith apples in a 10x7 pyrex rectangular pan. The result is rich, sticky and extremely tangy and flavorful with just a bit of a hot bite. H.W.
  15. Being single, I inevitably have to make larger portions than I want at one time. I have a source that supplies me with racks of beef prime ribs. I usually smoke cook them in the kamado after sous vide, putting them in the kamado frozen. The idea is to get a good smoke crust without continuing the cooking internally. Done correctly I end up with most of the meat medium rare or therabouts. These ribs are trimmed from prime rib by a caterer friend.... he saves money by buying ribs in. I end up reheating, and have tried various methods. Today I found the answer finally..... I bought a Emerill Legasse version of the Instant Pot last week that incorporates sous vide and air fry. I was looking to reduce my appliance load and this serves very well, though I'm not at all happy with the lack of information about what's going on. No actual temp read out, just your setting, which I find very frustrating.... I can't glance at it and see how close my temp is to what I want. Only one pressure setting (13 psi)... and of course no read out of that either. The presets are as expected basically garbage to make it look pretty. The timer makes little noise, and the machine goes to keep warm mode and the numbers on the timer begin going the other way which is confusing unless you noticed the keep warm light..........But I've never had an appliance that worked the way I wanted it to. I use a pressure cooker all the time, I use sous vide all the time, and I frequently use air fry. So this reduces the number of appliances and sits there all the time so I don't have to drag out what I want. Steam works nicely for various things such as cooking asparagus, and is perfect for reheating ribs......... They stay moist, and it's easy to control..... At $130, it was a lot of features for a small price, and I feel I can safely walk away from a pressure cooker.......... I never dared do that before! Lack of information is my big beef... but I stick my home brewing thermometer through a vent hole and monitor temp. and the low pressure, which throws me off a surprising amount, but I can deal with that........... The sous vide function sucks..........It takes forever to bring the water up to temp, and the temp increments are not as small as they should be..... an afterthought... it isn't have the device my Annova is, but I paid about the same for the Annova back when I bought it! The air fry does a superb job. H.W.
  16. I've not been as successful as I'd hoped, and I moved on to other projects. Your statement about pictures is what is known as "California Rules"..... "If it isn't on film, it didn't happen"............. H.W.
  17. I'm constantly frustrated by trying to keep bagged salad greens from going off. I've tried various strategies, and none I've found really stretches the life as long as I need..... Being single, I buy mixed greens, the only practical solution for me. Unfortunately a good percentage of the time, there is enough moisture that the greens are ready go melt in a few days. The other day I looked for some arugula, and the only packages I found were not fresh enough, and the grocery store is 50 miles away... the nearer one 20 miles has only garbage most of the time... and overpriced at that. I purchased a large Foodsaver box a few months back... about a $20 item, figuring that if I can dry refrigeration systems using vacuum, why not salad.......... I'm here to tell you it doesn't work, though it is a small improvement. The next step is a dessicant. I have a sort of plastic trivet that fits into it that came from a Rubbermaid container that was designed to keep salad fresh.... which of course didn't work for me either. This rectangular trivet keeps the salad greens elevated off the bottom. At the moment I have some rock salt in the oven, which I will bake for half an hour or so at 350 to drive any moisture off. Once cooled, it is going into the Foodsaver container beneath the trivet, the salad will go on top of the trivet, and the lid will be installed and I will draw the container down to about 30 inches of vacuum using my vacuum pump. It's designed to be pumped down using a food saver hose, so I was a bit nervous about using high vacuum the first time, but it stands it quite well. I'd be interested in thoughts on this........ I've tried about every tip imaginable....... I'm hoping this will extend the life. I'm increasingly growing my salad greens at home indoors, but at the moment I have a lot of things starting over . I have plenty of lettuce and kale, and my arugula is almost ready to begin harvesting, my "perpetual spinach".... a variety of Swiss chard has a few weeks to go. My indoor grow chamber isn't really as large as I would like, and I have a bunch of dwarf tomato starts going. I'll be moving them to another chamber shortly, and getting more arugula going. My dwarfs are dwarf plants, not dwarf fruits naturally....... though I selected cherry tomatoes as I like them best. Being determinant, the will grow to fruition and produce once.... otherwise they would not be dwarf plants. I haven't tried this before. Everything is hydroponic, and under grow lights. I will post a reply at some point just to confirm or not, the success of this project......... H.W.
  18. I tried a rather radical experiment yesterday....... and it was a success (mostly). I made up a small batch of yeast dough dinner rolls, placing each one in a 1/2 pint wide mouth jar. I used my LEM food dehydrator as a proofer...... The broad range of temps makes it a real asset for this sort of thing. The lowest market temp is 90F... and it goes lower, though I have no idea why you would use temp much lower than that. The highest being 150F......One of these days I will get one of the high tech convection oven combos that serve as a dehydrator, a convection oven and an air fryer. The rolls were proofed and ended up being perfect size in the well greased jars. They then went into the sous vide water bath at 195, which is the target internal temp for bread baking according to my reading on the subject, and were cooked 3 hrs. They came out beautifully, with a nicely rounded top, and nice shape from the jar walls, but of course were not browned. I tipped them out of the jars, with a little help from a knife along the edge, and put them in an air fryer a neighbor recently gave me as they didn't use it anymore. 400F for about 10 min. They came out beautiful, perfectly cooked, crispy crust, and tender and airy in the middle. I'm not "advocating" this method due to the long cooking time, however there is the great benefit of not being time critical.... 3 hrs, 4, 5.... I doubt that it would matter. That means that you could put them in the sous vide around noon, and have fresh hot rolls at dinner..... whenever that is. They aren't going to dry out, and all you need at dinner time is a hot oven for browning them. I plan to experiment further.........using long cooking times, even over night..... the ingredients are cheap. I also am thinking of doing it in a wide mouth quart jar laid down on it's side for a sort of poor boy or hoagie bun. The one problem I had was that two of the jars took on some water, ruining the contents. The lesson from this is to make sure the lids are fairly tight. They need to be able to vent, but not take on water. H.W.
  19. I've taken this a bit further, these days I'm embedding chunks of this and that.... pieces of Wallawalla sweet onions, pieces of cheddar cheese... and other varieties, pieces of bacon, sausage, ham..... Whatever strikes my fancy. I have a weakness for hollandaise sauce, but it's also good with other things such as ordinary salsa or pico de gallo, or a spicy cheese sauce. I also sometimes tip the souffle out of the jars, sprinkle it with grated cheese and put it under the broiler. I get my best results sous vide, at 180 for an hour, it's tender and filled with air, and doesn't fall like an oven baked souffle can do. I typically split it between two jars.... to give it room to rise.... about half full. The real beauty of this is that I can process salad greens before they go off, which means I can buy the discounted greens at the grocery store that have little shelf life left. I put them in small containers.... about 4oz after running them in the blender with other stuff such as onion, garlic, and Jalapeno, and straining the water off, and freeze the works, blending it with the eggs and a bit of flour, soda, salt,, and grated cheese when ready to use it. For a single guy like me living far from the nearest grocery store it means I can buy salad greens in quantity, enjoy them in salads while they are fresh, and when they are about to "go off", process and freeze the remainder.... An excellent economy when the grocery store is 50 miles away.
  20. Apple cider vinegar is all the rage these days............ Personally I find it boring. Braggs for example has the single advantage of having a live culture.... though I'm not so sure acetobacter can be classed as a probiotic. However an apple cider vinegar can be made using kombucha as a starter, which will have a broad array of microbes in it, and due to the gluconobacter, it has a distinctly more complex flavor. This presents some challenges, as alcohol is a preservative, and ultimately will kill most of the other microbes. My approach has been to ferment for a few days using wine yeast, then innoculate using live culture kombucha. This will not yield the high acidity of a typical actobacter only fermentation, because the yeast will be suppressed, so the alcohol content will not reach the ideal level for the acetobacter to convert. However you will have significant gluconic and glucoronic acids, which are not as "sharp" as acetic acid which is the normal acid in vinegar. The result is a much more complex and interesting flavor. Gluconobacter ferments sugars directly, where acetobacter likes alcohol. I've done both conventional vinegar from various things such as wine and beer, and fermented concoctions specifically for vinegar. Beer for example makes a rather interesting and nice vinegar, and I've soured many gallons of it from a local micro brewery using Braggs for a starter, so that they could use it as a condiment. We simply took "expired" kegs and made vinegar from them. Making vinegar is not for folks who like instant gratification..... it takes months, often the longer the better, and when using kombucha as the starter, I like to allow about 6 or more months in a warm dark place. I currently have a "crop" of pomegranate blueberry vinegar at the finished stage. I made it from a frozen concentrate, pitched some wine yeast, and after a bit added kombucha to sour it. I later (months) added a calculated amount of everclear to equate to give the acetobacter something more to feed on. The result is an interesting and flavorful, very unique vinegar. Don't be afraid to experiment.......... save the unfinished glasses or bottles of wine, beer, whiskey in a container, pitch some braggs, and remember that you want about 8% alcohol, so dilute if needed before adding. Keep it in a warm dark place........ sanitation is really not an issue, the acetobacter and acetic acid will kill everything. I've been playing with microbes including acetobacter, yeast, lactobacillus, and other not so benign critters since childhood (he '60's)...... probably the reason I have such a robust immune system! Currently I'm building about the fifth still I've had over the years.... this one is for essential oils........ or so I'm claiming
  21. Note that I "pioneered" doing this using Sous Vide and half pint jars today.......... 176F for 45min......... but they wouldn't need nearly that time........ I was very happy with the result, very tender, and done to perfection. Far and away the best method I've tried yet. The beauty of this is that it could be done ahead and just warmed to temp in the jar. It is also far more controllable than the microwave, or the oven, or airfryer, and vastly superior to skillet cooking. I'm just starting a 4 day fast (after breakfast today), and I've set several of these in the fridge for "break fast" (Monday around 10:00). Next time , I will incorporate precooked bacon or sausage, and perhaps some chunks of mushroom.
  22. Floating jars in sous vide is a nuisance. Unlike using vac bags, there is often air space, and with some of the things I do, considerable air space. Unless you use tall jars, with the product in the bottom, they have a tendency to flip on their sides. My favorite jars are half pint wide mouth canning jars. This morning I was experimenting with my power green breakfast souffle benedict sous vide, and because it rises quite a bit, I have to limit to just above half full. These jars are not stable at this fill level, and I cannot reduce the water level in the pot I use enough to make them stable without starving the Annova. I finally got pissed off enough that I went out and made a rack to set the jars on so I could submerge them to just under the ring. My pot is a stockpot that I insulated with foam years ago, it also sits on foam, and has a custom aluminum lid I built with a cutout for the Annova, with a piece of foam and another aluminum disc on top that holds the foam from curling. It works very well, and I have no evaporation to speak of. This rack is simply a piece of aluminum I cut out with my plasma cutter, and perforated with numerous holes using a hole saw so the water can circulate freely. Beneath it are 3 pieces of 1.5" steel pipe about 3" long, joined by pieces of flat strap welded to them to keep them in an ideal triangle shape to support the rack.... it works perfectly for what I need, providing me with enough additional depth to submerge the Annova sufficiently without floating the jars. The power greens breakfast souffle was something I wanted to make ahead, as my bag of Costco Power Greens was on the verge of "going off". I use it in salads and such, and the problem of course is that mixed bagged greens tend to go off faster than I can consume them. By cooking them like this as they approach end of life, I can save the souffles in the fridge for as much as a week, warm them, and use them later. The canning jar / sous vide method seems to work very well.... About 45 min at 176, and they are well set, yet tender, and show no desire to fall. The half pint wide mouth jars taper all the way, so they turn out nicely, and I suspect they could even be frozen........... warming them without the jar might be an interesting challenge. These are tender and airy, not tough and chewy like so many egg products, loaded with nutrition unlike the things people buy from what I call the "garbage isle" in the grocery store. There is no reason not to include whatever takes your fancy in them. H.W.
  23. I've never been a fan of so called "breakfast foods". I live a very active life, so breakfast is important to me, but I consider most things people eat for breakfast little better than garbage! I have several "power breakfasts" I regularly eat, but my current favorite is a sort of green souffle benedict. Fast and simple. A hand full of "power greens", some chopped onion and fresh garlic, some grated cheese, a few cherry tomatoes, one egg and one egg white......... the yoke separated for the sauce, about 2 tsp flour, some salt and about 1/4 t of soda, all go in a single serve blender cup, and are pretty much liqufied. The works goes into a ramkin that has been greased and floured, and is cooked in the microwave on power3 for about 15 min..... or until firm on top. While this is going, I have a couple links cooking, and I mix about a T of olive oil or melted butter with with about a t of flour, a pinch of salt and cayenne, and a generous splash of cream or milk, and the egg yoke, which is cooked in a double boiler stirring constantly with a spatula.......... It doesn't take but a couple of minutes if you crank things up. When It thickens, I throw in about 1T of lemon juice, and stir until it reaches the consistency I want, then kill the heat and lift the pot out of the boiler.... Once the temp drops, I put it back in to keep it warm. This is my pseudo hollandaise sauce. The souffle is removed from the ramkin, and served with the sausages and sauce for a satisfying and nutritious breakfast. The result is light and filled with air, not tough and rubbery if done correctly. It rises a bit, but not much, but I've never had one "fall". The key here seems to be the microwave. I've tried pan fried and baked versions, and the results have not been nearly as satisfying or successful. I'm tempted to try the sous vide, and probably will, but that will involve at least an hour of cooking, and would have to be done in a pair of those great wide mouth half pint jars greased and floured for release
  24. I did the taste test on this experiment last week......... actually 5 months rather than the original 3 month target. All 3 steaks looked good, no sign of spoilage whatsoever I opened 2 of them. They were of course the perfect medium rare color, there was no olyfactory or any other sign of ANY spoilage. In the taste test, they came out just OK, and this iteration of the test was a failure in that respect only. They were perfectly preserved, and completely edible, but in no way resembled a nice freshly cooked piece of meat. In conclusion, the preservation process works as far as safety. The incubation periods were an innovation of value in terms of cutting down the amount of time needed to ensure that spoilage was not occurring. The long sous vide cooking period, in combination with natural chemical / non-biological breakdown resulted in a less pleasing result in terms of flavor. The preservation time is non-optional, as that is the purpose, but the breakdown that occurs during this period mirrors what happens in long sous vide cooking, so the result is closer to what one would have if you cooked it for a week at 130F. As with my first experiment laying the groundwork for the second (this one), the second experiment has laid the groundwork for the next one. The primary innovations between experiment one and two were the use of a deep fryer to kill surface microbes, down into cracks in the meat (very successful). This was a very brief treatment..... and the incubation periods, derived from the work of microbiologists looking to incubate pathogens, in particular botulinum. The above mentioned two items will be included in a third experiment that I will begin when I get a "roundtuit".... (I occasionally find one of those floating about). The third change will be to reduce sous vide to 1.5 hours at 130, relying on natural biochemical processes to tenderize. Given the long storage period, I see little or no benefit in 48 hr sous vide. All and all the experiment was a success. It achieved my objectives more or less, and unlike the first try there were no losses. It was a learning experience that laid the groundwork for further progress. H.W.
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