All you ever needed to know about boiled eggs.

Courtesy of JKLA The Food Lab.

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Cold Smoke

Anyone have any ideas on how to turn the kamado into a cold smoker? There a bunch of potential applications, particularly cheese, peppers, ketchup, salt, not to mention tons of other things.
There are a couple of principles to keep in mind.

1. Wood typically contains a bunch of water. Until you exceed that boiling temp, the wood isn’t going to ignite. 212F/100C in case you forgot.
2. Wood ignites at the 500F range. This is obviously much higher than the optimal smoking temperature, but consider that you’re only following the dome temperature, not the fire temperature. It’s a gradient, and we typically just follow the dome temp at the top of the cooker.
3. I’ve heard of using a coffee can (who has those anyway? hipster coffee comes in bags, man…) to keep the fire small, thus the temp down.
4. Would a small crockpot hit the temperatures necessary to fire the wood? Sounds like an experiment that needs to happen.
5. The temperature at the cooking grid level has to be <100F.

Let's hear your ideas.

bde portland, ’14 edition

Things were definitely consumed.

This is more of a travel log and commentary, I don’t really have a lot of visuals. Click on the links to the websites to check out what’s going on.

Lovejoy bakers
Lamb meatloaf sandwich with harissa
Beef goulash with herb dumplings
Roast beef sandwich
Chickpea sandwich
Grilled organic (aka grilled cheese)

Apizza Scholls
Veggie plate: artichokes, marinated olives, red peppers, pappdew peppers, sundried tomatoes, bread, mozz
Margherita pizza
Margherita with shaved prosciutto
Pig and pineapple: pork shoulder with pineapple
Sausage with Lil Mama’s sausage

Slappy cakes
Make your own whole grain, sweet potato, and regular pancakes
Scramble with goat cheese, greens, lardons, eggs, onion
Toad in a hole

Mio sushi
Harmony roll
Coco roll
Ocean’s spring roll
Rainbow roll
Portland roll
Assorted nigiri including scallop, salmon, hamachi, uni, and mackerel

The Hazel Room
Breakfast burger
Smoked salmon crostini
Fresh grapefruit juice
Secret aardvark habanero sauce

Bread and Ink
Greek salad with chicken
Mac and cheese

Salt and Straw
Caramel and salt ice cream
Olive oil ice cream
Pear and blue cheese ice cream

Andina
Esparagus peruanos
Empanadas de carne
Anticucho de pollo
Morada
Conchas a la parrilla

University seafood
Halibut
Dungeness crab
Yearling oysters
Smoked salmon

Sous vide for the home consumer

Once a tool only for the pros, supply has driven the price of immersion circulators down pretty significantly. While you can spend in the thousands, there’s no reason to do so. The one I have been using is a little pricey, but $200 will get you in the door these days.

No piece of gear will make you a good cook. Sounds obvious, but we forget that in the dazzling world of advertisement and mass media. Myron Mixon tells you he can outcook anyone with a trash can, and he’s probably right. So, let’s just rid ourselves of that fallacy and move on. Consider this scenario, though: steaks at my grocery store went on sale for half off. I bought a dozen, seasoned, vacuum sealed, and froze them. When we wanted steak dinner, I reheated them in the water bath at 125F for about 90 minutes while I made everything else, and then seared them as hot and fast as I could. The result was one of the most perfectly cooked medium rare steaks I’ve ever cooked or tasted.

Why you need one
1. Thawing. Nothing is as fast or effective, but it depends on a barrier between the food and the water.
2. Eggs. If you want fancy, soft boiled eggs, you can sit there with your egg timer, or you can do it this way. One is time and attention intensive, the other is fire and forget.
3. Flavor concentration. When it doesn’t diffuse either into water or oil, the flavors only intensify under pressure. It makes stuff taste more like what it is.
4. Timing. When you’re busy and you want your food cooked properly, you may not have time to sit there and babysit it. Considering you can’t physically make food go beyond the temperature set point, overcooking is (almost) impossible.
5. You don’t know what you don’t know. It opens up a completely new set of possibilities, most of which you haven’t even considered.

Why you don’t
1. Cost, but that’s inevitably going to come down. Like VCRs. Now no one has one.
2. Precision with regard to cooking times. Sometimes it can be hard to tell when something’s done, and you have to rely on web-published charts or experience. And we all know that although good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgment.
3. Food safety. There’s a potential for decreased food safety with this technique, just be careful.
4. If you’re anti-plastic and don’t want it touching your food, this is not for you.
5. It won’t make you a better cook. Only time, repetition, and experience will.

new and improved “red sauce”

here’s the new red sauce we’ve been using a bunch over the fall and winter so far. The key is good canned tomatoes. The ones I’ve bought from Costco were OK, but the color wasn’t so great. I bought a case of San Marzano’s from Amazon and they were great until the price went up to make them prohibitively expensive.

1 small onion diced
1 whole head of garlic cloves
1 big pinch of dried thyme

Sautee this stuff in a pan, and add in 2 cans of uncooked best quality whole tomatoes.
Blend on low to preserve the color of the tomatoes.
Salt to taste, add in a small handful of finely chopped fresh flat parsley.

Key points
1. It’s not necessary to stew the tomatoes for a long time. If they’re good, they’ll taste great just like that. This is maybe more of a pizza sauce recipe, but we’ve really enjoyed it.
2. Keep the blender on low, cut your veg small so you don’t have to fire it up to high.
3. Don’t brown the onion/garlic, and damn sure don’t burn it. If anything, add a little water to the pan to steam and soften rather than fry.
4. I can almost guarantee you that you can make this sauce in the same time or less than it takes to go to the grocery store and buy something that doesn’t taste this good.

**FOLLOW UP:

Not sure who put that picture in, it wasn’t me. The can pictured was a well-known trick of marketing. Those tomatoes are San Marzano BRAND from California. These are not necessarily San Marzano tomatoes, and they’re not Italian, to be sure.

MAB: Guilty!  I was dressing it up with an image, and neglected to look closely at the image.  I did get it from Amazon tho.

where y’at?

Indeed. Has been something of a hiatus. I could blame football season or any number of things, but the hiatus has been going on a bit longer than that. Man, there is a ton of interesting stuff to talk about, too. OK, we’ll get some stuff going again, and if nothing else, document where we are, what’s new that we’ve learned about, and future directions we should explore.