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Messages - The Professor

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All Things Food / Re: Ethnic Cooking
« on: April 10, 2010, 04:50:45 PM »
C'mon! Lard, garlic, bread and a hot pan.(+pinch of salt) Now there's a meal! (ok, a really tasty snack)

The Eastern European po'folks sure knew how to eat.

I still remember my grandma (Hungarian) skewering a big hunk of pork belly (szolona)  on  a stick:   she'd deeply score the non skin side in a crosshatch pattern and slowly and patiently spin it over a wood fire (being careful not to let it burn), and as the pork belly heated up catching the drippings on rye bread (which was covered with sliced onions, peppers, and radishes).
After it was spent, the crosshatched cubes of rendered fat were cut off and lightly salted for a hearty sandwich (with more of the vegetables).

Peasant food at it's best.  I still enjoy this treat once in a while...tasty  and satisfying Hungarian soul food...  and healthy too if you don't eat it every day.

The Pub / Re: Would you eat whale meat?
« on: April 01, 2010, 09:59:52 AM »
Assuming that it could be legally sourced and a species that was sustainably harvested, I would certainly try it, even though I eat considerably less meat these days than in the past.  
But I do enjoy trying exotic foods, and I've heard that whale is pretty tasty.

In any case, in reality I guess  a whale steak would be no more odd or unusual than a lot of the stuff I grew up eating in a household with two generations of Eastern Europeans that consumed animals head-to-tail.  

Other Fermentables / Re: bulk aging meads
« on: March 31, 2010, 07:41:45 PM »
...I have some 3 year old mead that was bottled tasting hot after 6 months in the secondary. It has since become very nice. So what happens on the molecular level or otherwise that creates this change? I mean, I get that it happens but what's the process that occurs.

Oh, I'm sure there are scientific explanations for some aspects of what occurs (and probably no real explanations for other aspects).  You can probably find a lot of it covered in writings on Fermentation Science.

Frankly I never sought out the info myself,  because it's just one of those things I'm just happy to attribute to miracles of nature. 

I figure, why spoil the magic with rational explanations?

But,  happy hunting for the info nonetheless...and  also, maybe someone here with a science background will eventually weigh in on the subject.

Other Fermentables / Re: bulk aging meads
« on: March 31, 2010, 03:10:18 PM »
Bulk aging is definitely desirable for meads...I do so for all the reasons enso mentions, but since mead ferments rather slowly I also keep it in a topped up, airlocked carboy for an extended time to make sure the fermentation is absolutely complete so no carbonation develops when it is eventually bottled...I don't want my mead to be fizzy at all, and I don't want corks to be popping out of the bottles, especially since the bottles will usually continue to cellar for several years after being filled (trust me...a Sack Mead at 10 years old is a truly joyous thing to behold!).

All Things Food / Re: Stroganoff?
« on: March 29, 2010, 03:13:14 PM »
I'd form the turkey into little meatballs, brown them, then braise them in some sauteed onions, paprika,  & a bit of broth.  When most of the liquid is reduced stir in the sour cream. 
Kind of a combination of stroganoff and paprikash.
Should go very nicely with the buttered egg noodles.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Major slowdown in Fermentation
« on: March 29, 2010, 09:05:25 AM »
I've had brew in this gravity range completely  finish in 3 days (not typical since I prefer a slower ferment, but it has happened).
 If you want to play it safe, give the fermenter a swirl to resuspend some yeast and leave it for a day or two more or even a bit longer.   Even if it is finished, a couple extra days on the yeast won't hurt.

It's not a strong beer you're making (considering your estimated OG) so you're probably be fine.   

It's situations like this that command us to call up the old "...relax, don't worry..." mantra.   Once you get a bunch more batches under your belt (a belt which, by the way, will probably eventually need a few extra holes as a result  ::)) and once you settle into the process, have confidence in your sanitation,  and learn to just trust nature to do the job of fermentation, the worry aspect will disappear almost entirely. 

All Things Food / Re: The Sandwich Thread.
« on: March 28, 2010, 06:16:53 PM »
Well, I love me a fried oyster Po'Boy. 
Tuna salad and provolone with lettuce, onion, and  oil& vinegar on a good sub roll is also a favorite.

But for me, the ultimate favorite is old fashioned 'navel' or 'plate' pastrami that has spent a full 2 or 3 hours in the steam cabinet, hand sliced and piled on rye bread, as served at places like Katz's Deli on the lower east side of New York City, Langer's in LA...and lately,  at a great old fashioned retro styled place called Irving's Deli in Livingston, NJ.   

Places that really do pastrami or corned beef  right are becoming rarer and rarer.
You haven't ever really had pastrami (or corned beef, for that matter) unless you get it from one of these 'old school'  Jewish delicatessens..that 2 or 3 hours the meat spends in the steam cabinet makes the meat meltingly tender. 
Also, if a deli brags about having lean pastrami or corned beef, turn around and walk out. 
It ain't the real deal.

2lbs  seems like an awful  LOT of smoked malt...probably just 6 or 8 ounces (or less)  would have given a good smoke character without overpowering the brew.   

Depends actually, with things like the Beechwood malt or the Cherrywood malt, a few pounds can actually be appropriate.

Folsom Brewmeister used to do a Cherrywood malt before Briess did that was super soft and great to use in unexpected ways.

Interesting...I guess my only experience with smoked malt has been pretty limited having only used German rauchmalz and peated malts.  They asserted themselves pretty intensely in small amounts.
Then again, maybe it's just my tastebuds.
The Cherrywood malt sounds interesting...this is something that Breiss still makes?

ome vague particulars for your information.  Brewed it, oh, 7 months ago.  Used only 2 lb. of Briess smoked malt.  Left in the fermenter a month.  Racked to keg and purged/pressurized.  Let it sit in a cool (50-60F) room.

2lbs  seems like an awful  LOT of smoked malt...probably just 6 or 8 ounces (or less)  would have given a good smoke character without overpowering the brew.   
For me, using smoked malt is in the same category as oak aging...a little bit adds a nice bit of character to a brew, but too much of either one can be cloying at best and downright nasty at worst.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Mystery yeast.
« on: March 24, 2010, 07:07:31 AM »
...No sense in throwing away good yeast.

Unless you don't know what kind it is  ::)

But if you make a starter with it and it revives and makes good beer, it doesn't really matter at all  'what kind' it is.
If you have any sense of adventure, just try it (I would).  It may turn out great.

If you like to play it safe, then dump has been pointed out, yeast is cheap enough.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Souring Fermentation
« on: March 21, 2010, 06:27:20 PM »
What about adding lactic acid taste?  How much cheating would that be?

Seems to me that would be a sensible and more controlled way to accomplish the same thing (incrementally, until the desired result is reached), rather than letting wild bugs have at it over time. 

The Pub / Re: Odd Ways You Never Thought to Make Money
« on: March 17, 2010, 08:52:53 PM »

I build these.
(I know, I know...they freak some people out, but a couple guys are making a pretty good living using them.)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Favorite Scoresheet Comment
« on: March 13, 2010, 07:36:53 PM »
Now I remember why I don't enter comps. 


+100k. I'm not into comps really...not opposed certainly, as long as one doesn't take it very seriously.  So I've only entered a few but  had great fun judging dozens of them (and managed to taste some very good beers in the process).

My favorite received comment  is one I have mentioned once or twice before in other threads, regarding my Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy;   I don't have the sheet in front of me (though I did save it somewhere) but in essence it said that I had entered it in the wrong category because it wasn't hoppy enough to be a Scotch Ale .   :o
thank you.  next please....

All Things Food / Re: Pizza Crust?
« on: March 10, 2010, 07:30:29 PM »
Myabe I'm just too old school. ;D

Not at all...adding gluten enhances the dough somewhat, but it is strictly optional. 
While most American pizzerias (including old school, NY places) use high gluten flour, if the dough isn't soft enough it can make for a tough crust.  In Italy, I'm told they generally use a softer flour and certainly don't add more gluten. 

The NJ pizzeria I worked in many years ago made a very soft dough the day before use (when possible...sometimes we got slammed and had to make same-day dough;  but freshly made dough makes a decidedly sub-standard pizza).   I guess that making it the day before gave time for the elasticity to develop, as well as a characteristic lightness...the dough was very supple and easily shaped, and baked up light and airy on the all important outer rim crust.

I've duplicated the dough at home many times and it works great...but what I can't duplicate and what sets some average pizzas apart from an outstanding one  is the temperature of the pizza oven;  at the pizzeria we operated the ovens at almost 800°F...the pie was in and out in a very short time and was authentically and nicely singed (if you've ever had a pie at John's in Greenwich Village, NYC, you'll know what I'm referring to).  The highest temps I can get from my home oven (with stone in place) is around 550°F...close enough,  and it makes a good pie, but I do miss the character that  a really blazing hot oven contributes.

All Things Food / Re: Fish Batter Etc?
« on: March 10, 2010, 09:38:13 AM »
I made Matt's batter again last night - I LOVED it, but at the same time, it seemed 'pancake-y"

next time I might try denny's suggestion, though I'll have to plan ahead and buy rice flour.

hey, anybody ever used masa harina in something like this??

I use a combination of corn flour, rice flour, and all purpose flour...and no eggs.  Seasoned with a bit of salt and a minute amount of 'sour salt' (citric acid crystals).  I like a malt forward beer for the batter.

Traditional fish and chips batter doesn't have egg in it...the egg is what can make the coating 'pancake-ey'. Leaving out the egg makes for an authentically  crisp batter. 

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