Flashpoint

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by yogi »

Thanks for the link to the toaster, which lists for $199.95. That same page directs me to a "similar" toaster for $75.99. I guess I should not be surprised given the way Amazon does business.

Wife got me an Air Fryer for Christmas. The air fryer is just one of the functions of this box. It also is a convection oven and a toaster and a broiler. That means it's not built like the typical air fryer but more like a microwave. The idea to air frying is to have a crispy outer coating and a warm tender insides. This is typically done with frenched fries but they claim it works for many other foods too, such as steaks. I've tried to cook something decent in there nearly every day since Christmas, but even toast is a bit of a challenge. It uses about the same power as does the dedicated toaster so that after an evaluation period one of the two machines will be disposed of. The results of my air frying are mixed at best. I've not been able to capture the crispiness they brag about, but I'm still learning. The problem is that not being a dedicated air fryer this machine does not allow for setting the temperature in that mode. It is preset at some unknown temperature. All the recipes I've found specify a specific temperature to go along with the cook time. This match seems critical to success. I'm guessing my oven is preset to 375F, but until I put a thermometer in there I'll never know for sure. LOL

Got my Tinker Toys today, which are not actually Tinker Toys. They look like them but are not branded. I immediately built an A-Frame for my mushroom log and chopped up a piece of old 5mil drop cloth to cover it. Put some duct tape on it to hold it all together so that it really looks spiffy in a photograph should I decide to let the social media world view my latest interests. LOL Not sure how this is going to work because the water in the tray under the log isn't evaporating as expected. I need to buy a spray mister to add the required moisture.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

My wife's air-fryer has a rotisserie in it. She used it a couple of times to do chickens and they came out perfect, the meat was tender and juicy too. Better than the store bought rotisserie chickens we get from time to time.
But then she had the task of cleaning it after she cooked the chicken.

When I was using covers over things I was raising, I always made sure the cover was inside the tray so the water that got on the plastic film would drip back down into the tray, not on the table around it.
It does take a while for the humidity to get up there, which is why I had to adjust the little vent tighter.
With no vent I had to lift it up and set it back down every day to let fresh air in.

You would have loved all the A-Frame stands I had in my stores to hold the plants we were selling.
It displayed many more large plants in a small area than would otherwise fit, and lined up the way they were, they looked great peeking in the front windows from outside. I had them angled about 30 degrees from wall to center aisle too.

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

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Between baking and conventional frying I can make chicken that is juicy and tender. A lot of that success comes from the chicken itself, however. I used to buy chicken wherever it was on sale. Then one day I found this butcher shop and bought some breasts from them. The difference was amazing. At first I thought it was dumb luck, and then I switched back to Schnucks chicken; it was dry and chewy more than juicy and tender. Back to the butcher shop chicken and voila. Perfect chicken once again. Of course you can mess up any meat if you don't prepare and cook it properly. That's why I use recipes. I make the same thing every time, more or less. :grin:

The Air Fryer does need to be cleaned after every use. Then, too, so does the fry pan or the baking sheet. I'm not too concerned about that because my wife generally does the dishes when I do the cooking. I tried to get some salmon today so that I could broil it using my favorite recipe. They didn't have any. Hopefully broiling will work better than air frying. The good news is that I have the toast part down pat now.

The part I like best about the A-frame over my log is that it is made of Tinker Toys. LOL Previously I just had a plastic bag over it and not much was happening. No moisture accumulated on the plastic which I thought was odd. It's been 24 hours with the new and improved version, but still no moisture collecting on the plastic wrap. The air temp down in the basement is around 69-70F which is slightly cooler than the living area. The log needs to be above 60 and below 80 so that the temperature is perfect for growing Shiitaki 'shrooms. I just can't get the moisture under control. I still need to get a spray bottle.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

There is a big difference in all meats, it has a lot to do with the age of the animal or fowl and how they were fed too.
And of course this affects the cost as well.

I wish I could remember who my late wife ordered salmon from to let you know. They had the freshest for a better price than the grocery stores. I'm sure it was one of the restaurant supply houses we bought from though, since almost all of our stuff came from various ones.

You might want to try this, and perhaps you may have the equipment on hand in storage somewhere.
A cheap aquarium air pump, and a sandstone you can place under the water level, this will hasten evaporation.
I used to make my own from Basswood, but it takes a big pump to force air through wooden airstones.

I'm on O2 and I have these things to catch the water in the lines from the humidifier section.
When the temp drops outside, even though the house is the same temp, the humidity often goes up, and when it does, so much water builds up in the airlines that these traps fill up and I end up with it getting into my nose and dripping out, hi hi.

When I was raising Orchids. I took the Ketchup or Mustard squirt bottles (the ones the cone shaped lid), cut the bottom off, and fed an airline to the tip of the cone. Hung them up inverted and filled them about 3/4 of the way full of water, and just let the air bubble through them without an airstone. This provided enough humidity for the Orchids.

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by yogi »

When it comes to food, price is not the first thing I look at. I don't ignore it either, but price does not always determine the quality of the food. In the case of the chickens I'm sure the difference is due to the suppliers involved. Schnucks gets their chickens from a warehouse and the butcher I deal with must get them from a local farm or may even raise his own. LOL Well, not really. The breasts I get are processed and not cut there in the shop, but the people who supply the butcher are not the same ones who supply Schnucks. As you point out it has to be the way the chickens were grown and fed.

I'm very leery about buying fish around here. There were a couple shops I dealt with in Illinois who I knew had fish delivered fresh on a daily basis. Some days I would actually see them unloading the truck. The display cases were totally iced and the variety of available fish was ample. Here it's salmon, cod, and catfish. I don't recall any of the shops in O'Fallon icing their displays either. Being an old fish buyer I can generally spot a filet that isn't more than a day or two old. That's not a common occurrence so that I don't buy much fish. When I spot one I'll take the entire side of a salmon which often raises eyebrows because it will come out to around $40 for that much fish. I cut it down when I get home and can get three or four meals out of a good sized salmon filet. My favorite salmon is Norwegian, and I can find it here from time to time. It's always farm raised, unfortunately. Scottish is my second choice, and if I'm really desperate I'll go with the Alaskan variety. But that has to look exceptionally good for me to go that route.

I don't have any pumps suitable for humidifying my log of mushroom spores. I like the idea of running air over the water but it would be difficult keeping it inside the tent with the log. I'd put the whole thing in the window and let the sun work on it, but 'shrooms don't like sunlight. So, I am thinking I'll have to do the misting trick instead of automating the task.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

You might try checking food service companies. Many do sell to private individuals, but you have to buy a whole case usually.
The Salmon Ruth used to buy was individually wrapped and flash frozen, about a dozen to a box is all, so it was affordable. Since they are frozen I guess you couldn't really call them fresh, hi hi.

Little vibrator type aquarium air pumps only cost like 3 or 4 bucks. They can drive a sandstone airstone, but not a wooden airstone.

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by yogi »

$4 for a pump sounds reasonable. All I need to do is find a place that sells them. And, is this the kind of airstone you are talking about?
https://www.morebeer.com/products/oxyge ... nOEALw_wcB

A box of fish sounds like a great idea, and flash frozen could be very fresh. I prefer something that has not been frozen if possible because the texture changes during the freeze/defrost cycle. Also, I don't know if I have enough room in the freezer to store 6 full fillets. Back in the old days I had a fridge in the garage that was used to store food overflows. No such thing down here, but I could change my mind about that. Some of the shops around here offer deals on packages of various cuts of meat. The packages, however, got to be around 100 lbs worth of protein. The price is right but I still need a place to store such things.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

Ha Ha, no more like this one!
https://www.petsmart.com/fish/filters-a ... gid=300107

Two for $1.89, hi hi.

Don't know if you like skin on or off. But I know around here, flash frozen from grocery chains sells for around 50 bucks for 4 six ounce fillets, while the local discount market has them 8 six ounce fillets for 84 bucks. Restaurant Supply stores are usually around half those prices, or around 22 to 24 bucks for 4 six ounce fillets, but they are packed with a dozen in a box so run around 86 bucks for 12 individually wrapped vacuum sealed, flash frozen.
If you know a restaurant who sells the type of salmon fillets you want. Talk to them, many will order for you at 10% above their cost.

Sounds like you need to buy a small freezer.

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

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But for few occasions fish must retain their skin while cooking because that is where all the fat is. Fish fat is where all the flavor comes from. That's not to say skinned fillets have no flavor, but the best tasting fish comes with the skin on. Having said that, wife does not like the sight of the skin and much less the flavor. Thus when I cook salmon it's most often skinned. I can't buy full fillets that way. The fish I get from the local stores is sold by the pound which can be on sale for $13/lb for Atlantic farm raised, or closer to $ 25/lb for Norwegian salmon. I'm talking about a whole side (2+ pounds) of a fish here. Those packaged fillets are even more expensive per pound although they don't advertise them that way. They way I see it is that the smaller the cut the higher the price.

Thanks for that link. It's probably what I would get if I were to go that route. The link I found seems like a larger stone but it's hard to tell from the photograph. At least now I know what I'm looking for.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

If you need less humidity, just the airline running into a glass of water adds a lot of humidity all by itself.

About the only salmon I ever have is the canned variety I pick all the bones out of and make salmon patties.
And even having those is rare for me.

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by yogi »

Salmon patties were a favorite food of mine while growing up. I guess canned salmon was pretty cheap back then. When I got to buying entire slabs of fish meat it doesn't take long to figure out that the least desirable part is the tail. I save up a few tails and then shred them with a fork to make exceptional salmon patties. No bones to pick either. But, it's like making hamburgers from Filet Mignon; probably not a good idea. LOL

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

I think the reason canned salmon is cheaper is because they only can what they cannot sell as fresh or frozen.
Possibly, after a filet is taken, there is still plenty of meat left they remove to can?

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

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When I lived near Lake Michigan it was easy to charter a boat to go fishing for coho salmon. While it was easy it was also expensive. Usually a group of guys/gals got together to share the cost of the charter. I only did that once and it was a terrible day for fishing. We only got one fish for the 4-5 hours we were out on the water. It wasn't an enormous fish either and weighed in at a bit over five pounds. The captain cleaned and filleted the fish when we were done, but there were only two pieces for five people. My father-in-law got one of them and I don't think it was more than a pound and a half. The thing that amazed me back then was the waste. The backbone was not saved, but obviously there was a lot of fish meat on it. That could be what they put in cans of salmon. Once it's processed the bones become soft and the meat just flakes off. It would be a pain in the drain to get the meat off the back bone of a freshly caught fish. I can't comment much on the cost of canned salmon, but given the amount of meat you get for the price I'm guessing it's about the same or more than the fillets.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

My uncle, after he moved to Bull Shoals lake and bought a resort there. His wife opened the restaurant side, and he too did fishing charters, but he was not expensive. He charged extra if you wanted him to clean your fish for you. He usually tossed the scraps back into the lake and the fish would clean the scraps up PDQ.

Every can of salmon has pieces of the backbone in it, which is why I think after they remove the fillets they just can the rest and cook them long enough for the smaller bones to turn to mush. You can pinch the backbone pieces and they too will turn to mush, but I normally remove them.

When I was staying up in Hinsdale, just outside of Chicago, one of the restaurants we ate at had fresh fish every day, and I thought their prices for a meal were more than fair. Although we normally ate at a place that served steaks. They had the best filet mignon there which we called the Toothpick Special, hi hi. Always tender and juicy. I've never had one as good as they had at any price, and they were cheap too. Had to be for us poor folks to eat there, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

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HInsdale airport was my first experience inside an airplane in flight. My grandpa had a farm in Lemont, which was just down the road from Hinsdale. We would pass the airport on the way to the farm and noted they were offering airplane rides. One day before going to grandpa's place my buddy and I got to experience flight for the first time. It probably was something like a Piper Cub, but I don't really recall. We could not fly over the farm nor over our own homes up in Chicago because that would exceed the 20 minutes of air time being sold. I still have some vague memories of that flight and the ground views.

Apparently there is a huge fish market downtown Chicago. They also were a hub for produce and at one time had their own stockyards. Fresh food was always easy to get in and near Chicago. Most of what came out of Lake Michigan wasn't worth eating. My uncles would go smelt fishing and often brought home the excess for a BBQ. I hated the stuff. LOL Before I moved down here to Missouri I was shopping in an Italian store when I wanted anything fresh that could not be had in most other stores. This included a wide variety of fish that came from only Neptune knows where. I stuck to the things I recognized but there were many varieties beyond that. Squid for calamari was also available and it looked too ugly to eat. It's somewhat of a delicacy but I can't imagine why somebody eons ago even thought about eating such a creature. They must have been desperately hungry.

I can do a decent job of cooking steak in my fry pan. I found a technique that produces amazing results. The steak should be an inch thick and cooked for four minutes per side. The oils should be olive/grapeseed and butter, and spooned over the fillet while it is cooking. This creates a seared outer layer around a pink and juicy center. Most of the time it's NY strip steak and tender, but I have tried other cuts as well. In fact I tried filet Mignon and burned it, which is why I stick to the thinner cuts now.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

Way back in the late 1960s I took flying lessons at Lobmaster Field. I still remember my instructors name, Dale Hand, retired Navy pilot. I had soloed there and while I was out on a day trip, they had the runway blacktopped. When I came in for a landing, with it looking much different, now jet black hi hi, I undershot the runway and bounced off the back wheels into a nose dive that bent the front wheel mount and damaged the prop, and the end of the new runway, hi hi. They wouldn't let me fly there anymore.
So I went to a small airport in Fenton and earned my Solo license there fairly quickly. I had enough hours in to take my test, but was afraid to do so having to take it at St. Louis International Airport, so never did get my license. Besides, by then I didn't have so much money to burn to be able to lease planes anyhow.

There are many foods I won't eat either. And on top of that, it has to be fully cooked too.
Our family lost a few members who liked to eat nearly raw meats and got sick from doing so. Even though the recovered a few times, they still kept eating the same stuff cooked the same way, and it finally got them.

The grill in our second restaurant was really super. It maintained 350 degrees 1 inch above the grill. But we had one area, center back, we kept up at 450 degrees to sear the meat on both sides before moving it to the 350 degree areas.
It is almost impossible to achieve 350 degrees on home cooking equipment, so 450 is out of the question. But this is why restaurant meats always have that unique taste you can't get at home.
Well, my dad could because of his outdoor BBQ grill he had custom built. It had three fire trays in it, and the back tray was only like 4 inches below the grate, so once loaded with charcoal, real charcoal by the way, it was less than 2 inches under the grate, sometimes not that far.
He loved to make BBQ Spare Ribs, of course Mom did all the prep work first, and the steaming afterward. But he had a way of cooking ribs so the backside of the ribs was as clear as amber glass, and the flavor of the front where all the meat was was outstanding. Only a couple of times have I had restaurant ribs as good as he made them.

I had a commercial waffle iron I picked up at an auction once that had ribbed plates in it.
I guess it was more like the George Foreman Grill these days.
It was way to hot to cook pancakes in, so don't know why it was sold as a waffle iron.
So I figured it was meant to sear steaks and the auctioneer just didn't know at the time.
In any case, we loved that thing and used it quite often. Quickly figured out why it had a spout on the lower tray leading out from under the lids when it was closed. We had to set a cup under it to catch the hot grease that came out.
Nearly every piece of meat we had cut to 5/8 inch thickness came out perfect to medium well in like under 5 minutes.
Medium was like 4 minutes on the dot, but I always let mine go another 40 seconds or so.
It eventually burned out while I was living in the big Des Peres house.
And none of the ones designed for cooking meats ever did as good a job.
You can laugh, I have a roller grill for cooking hot dogs, that the cooking parts can go into the dishwasher for easy cleanup. The wife thinks it takes to long to cook hot dogs on though, so usually uses the gas BBQ grill. I like the ones we do on the roller grill much better though. It's like they are basted in their own juices. Totally different flavor.

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by yogi »

Chicago is famous for it's pizza and hot dog styles. If you are from New York, you might be inclined to dispute the quality of Chicago food. However, I have it from an inside New Yorker that Coney Island hot dogs suck. LOL The secret to success in Chicago is to use Vienna hot dogs, which, sadly, are not what they used to be even when you get them in Chicago. The buns must be steamed and the relish must be glowing green. If you don't put celery salt on it, you can't claim it's a Chicago hot dog. Interestingly enough they sell what they call Chicago Hot Dogs here in O'Fallon. They try to simulate it, but obviously these people never have been to Chicago.

Your version of hot dogs doesn't seem to require a bun. That's fine if you like them that way. I can't say I'd enjoy that unless the outer skin was charred a bit and cracked. It would also require ketchup to mitigate the flavor of the meat (assuming there actually is meat in the hot dog). I have cooked them here in MO, but those occasions involved putting the sausages in a pot of baked beans along with some bacon bits and onion. It's not a quick lunch, but left overs of that brew are pretty good. This past New Years I found some of those smoked mini hot dogs at Dierburgs. They were wrapped in that crescent dough goo you buy in a tube and then baked in the air fryer. Dunk that in whatever sauces you happen to like and it's an acceptable meal. But only once a year on holidays. LOL

I'm not sure how to measure the temperature of my cook top or the frying pan. They say not to heat those non-stick pans beyond 350F, but how in all heck am I supposed to know the temperature of the pan? Obviously I've been guessing wrong because those non-stick coatings barely last a full year. At that point I use the pans to sear the steaks. If they need more cook time to finish, that can be done in a conventional oven or in the microwave. Most steaks will be done well enough with 4'30" cook time on each side. The critical part, as you must know, is to let it sit for at least 5 minutes afterward; 10 is better.

I've had steak tartare in a restaurant. It's not bad tasting even if it could be made from horse meat. I'd not want it to be a steady diet any more than eating lox on a daily basis. Cooking meat does enhance the flavor, not to mention it kills off a lot of the bacteria you don't want to ingest. I met a fellow once who ate a lot of raw meat, but it was not normal meat. He'd let it hang in free air for several weeks and let it rot a bit claiming this was a perfect curing method. And yes, occasionally there were maggots. He claims he'd just scrape them off. I'd like to think he was pulling my leg with that story, but he was very convincing.
Last edited by yogi on 16 Jan 2021, 17:00, edited 2 times in total.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

When I can afford it, I buy Eusingers Hot Dogs, they are made the old fashioned way using chicken intestine casings, hi hi.
But due to their high price, we usually buy Seitz or Oscar Mayer.
The only way I eat hot dogs, normally, is on a hot dog bun with ketchup. I don't want onions are any other thing with them.
That being said, I do get a Coney Island Foot Long from Sonic every so often.

When I worked as an electrician, we would cook hot dogs by sticking a wire about one inch in each end then plugging it into a power source. Heat em up till they split open then plop them on a bun with ketchup.
I don't really like to eat them without bread though.
But like you said, put into baked beans is great too!

I cannot have any non-stick pans in the house because they are deadly to birds, and probably to us too.
I lost $6,000.00 worth of birds once because a manufacturer failed to claim their heater had Teflon in it.
They have come out with a new ceramic coating in pans, but unless I know they are 100% Teflon free, they don't get used here. Besides, you can't beat a good and well seasoned cast iron skillet anyhow.

My grandparents on my mom's side only had an ice box. All of the meats he dressed went into his salt box or into the smokehouse, then sometimes to the salt box. I was too young to remember what he did to them, don't even know if they were wrapped first or not. But the meats grandma fixed were never dried out, always fresh like they just came from the butcher, and most were quite tender. He did make what we call jerky sticks today also, and always had a couple of those in his pocket to munch on out in the field while working.

I had a few really good vacuum sealers in the past, not as good as the ones I have now.
But when we get meat from the store, rather than tossing it straight into the freezer, we usually separate it into single or double serving sizes, put them in a vacuum bag and suck that sucker down as far as possible, then toss them in the freezer. They last much longer this way without getting frost burn or dried out.

Back home I had two tall freezers, and for Ruth's fish, which was already pre-packaged, we would place that package in another bag half filled with water so it would lay flat but float about 1/2 inch above the bottom, then freeze it, once frozen we could then add another layer of water so it was covered by 1/2 inch seal the bag and freeze that.
This trick of storing fish in frozen water was something we picked up from a storage house many years prior to our doing it.

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yogi
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by yogi »

Now that you reminded me of it, we once owned a gizmo for cooking hotdogs using electric current. A buddy of mine lived off hot dogs he prepared many different ways after he left home to live on his own. He had one of these devices and that is how I came to know about them. I can understand why they are no longer available, but the idea is awesome.

Also, you would not be allowed to put ketchup on your hot dogs if you were in Chicago. It's a mortal sin, or something, up there. LOL

I don't know if you can still buy cookware that is Teflon coated. It seems like they had some legal trouble many years ago and the product was banned. I have owned a few of those ceramic coated pans and they do last longer than the alternatives. But even the ceramic has heat limits and its non-stick qualities disappear after extended use. I bought myself a pre seasoned cast iron fry pan from Cracker Barrel. It looked great and I wanted to see what everybody was bragging about. I don't recall what I cooked in it the first time, but it was nothing complicated. The problem I had was that the pan fused to the cook top of our electric stove. I thought for certain we would need to buy a new stove but I was able to pry it loose eventually. It took several weeks to figure out how to clean the burnt grease off the cook top, and I tried many things including the oxalic acid you recommended. After applying many different cleaners over an extended period of time I was finally able to use a razor to scrape the remaining charred grease off the cook top. To my utter amazement the ceramic under the fused goo was not damaged. This would not have happened on a gas fired range, I'm sure.

Most of my frozen meat is stored in plastic bags, but I have had some thoughts about getting a vacuum system. As an alternative I found some plastic wrap sold in the grocery which is sticky. I can squeeze most of the air out of the package but not nearly as good as a vacuum seal. The sticky wrap works very well and no moisture has ever accumulated inside. It looks great but to be honest I've not noticed any difference in the quality of meat that is tightly wrapped or loosely tossed into a bag. It's a bit of a pain to do so that I only use it to wrap large chunks of meat that won't fit into a standard bag.

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Kellemora
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Re: Flashpoint

Post by Kellemora »

It would be easy to get electrocuted cooking hot dogs using AC applied directly to them, hi hi.

I've never like mustard on a hot dog. For me it is not topping or ketchup only and nothing else.

Yes, Teflon was banned years ago, but they gave companies 10 years to use up their inventories.
Which applied to the coaters of Teflon using up their stock also.
So for nearly 20 years after the ban, we were still finding Teflon on products.

Every time I bought a new skillet or cast iron pan, I would take it to my garage and sandblast the inside using the super large very coarse sand. I didn't want it with a smooth sandblast finish, I wanted it more like a small pebble finish.
What got me to doing this is I noticed the older cast iron cookware I got from my grandmother had a much rougher surface than the newer cast iron of today has.
I had an old cast iron skillet that although well seasoned, food still stuck in it all to often.
So that is the one I experimented on. When I finished it was more like 60 or 80 grit sandpaper on the bottom and sides of the inside cooking area, but not sharp like sandpaper would be.
Once it was well seasoned again, you couldn't get anything to stick to it, even if you tried.
We even cooked a couple of slices of cheese in it until it was medium brown, then let it cool.
It lifted right out, just like it almost would from Teflon where some would still stick.
That skillet everyone hated became their favorite, so I decided to do all our cast iron cookware the same way.
Hated losing the seasoning in them, but once they were seasoned again, they were all perfect.
Also tried it on a few cast aluminum pans we had, but aluminum just don't season as well as cast iron.
Well, unless it is the magnesium/aluminum blend which is super expensive cookware.

Before I had vacuum sealers, used to use a piece of aquarium tubing or soda straw to suck air out bags.
On a zip lock bag I would zip it all the way up with the straw inside one end of the zip lock, suck the air out as best I could then press the final zip lock closed smashing the straw as I pulled it out.

As an aside, I used to have twin piston aquarium pump that one of the pistons went bad and was removed. Even so I kept the parts. I turned the leather gasket assembly around backwards and made a vacuum pump out of it, that is when I started using aquarium tubing to vacuum seal things. It worked great and could do a better vacuum than just sucking on a soda straw, hi hi.
A short time after that, I bought a simple bag sealer, it wasn't fancy, you just slid it down the package end you wanted to seal. It is a small hand-held device about the size of a computer mouse. I still have it up here in my office.
This way I could use cheaper bags that were not zip bags, seal the end, then poke a small hole and use my vacuum pump.
A piece of tape over the hole worked just great.

Since I'm on the subject:
I'm sure you have pillows on your bed.
Place them in a new clean garbage bag and use your vacuum cleaner to suck them flat as a pancake.
Do this about three or four times and it removes all the stale air from your pillows.
Works on furniture cushions too!
Also works to package fluffy items into smaller boxes for shipping.

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