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David T. Cole

America's Test Kitchen

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I think chefs use towels because they're handy and multipurpose. Plus, pros seem to have asbestos hands, so they don't need padding.

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I just tried the 'Roasted Side of Salmon' coated with honey- I think this is from last August. I specifically gave it a chance because they promised this method would eliminate that ooky white stuff that oozes out of cooked fish of all kinds. (They said it was albumen).

Anyway, it didn't work, in fact there was even more white stuff than usual. (I usually just sprinkle the fish with low sodium soy sauce and dill weed). The only change I made to their recipe was that I used table salt instead of kosher, which I refuse to believe makes any difference.

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I laughed at Julia's chunky peanut butter taste test, because I am the same way: I buy one that is just peanuts and salt, but what I really like is Skippy.

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On 5/8/2019 at 2:00 PM, sempervivum said:

The only change I made to their recipe was that I used table salt instead of kosher, which I refuse to believe makes any difference.

There are two major diffwrences. First, the same amount in volume of table salt will contain more salt in weight than coarse salt (less free space between the crystals). So a tablespoon of table salt is actually more salt than one of kosher salt. Also, the surface area of each crystal is larger in kosher salt and they are generally rougher. Not that I know for certain to what extent it might make a difference in this specific recipe.

I tried the recipe and had no albumen production at all. It may depend on the fish's provenance and the length of cooking; I found that my salmon was ready a few minutes before the time stated in the recipe; using the latter would have overcooked the fish. The honey glazing was a success and it is a quick and easy technique to glaze salmon. I was not as enthused by the salsa, but then again I am not a big fan of roquette.

Edited by Florinaldo

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3 hours ago, Florinaldo said:

There are two major diffwrences. First, the same amount in volume of table salt will contain more salt in weight than coarse salt (less free space between the crystals). So a tablespoon of table salt is actually more salt than one of kosher salt. Also, the surface area of each crystal is larger in kosher salt and they are generally rougher. Not that I know for certain to what extent it might make a difference in this specific recipe.

I've known about this for a while now and understand the science behind it, but kosher salt tastes much saltier to me than table salt so I actually have to reverse that logic or else my recipes come out tasting way too salty.  I end up cutting down or even halving the amount of salt I put in a recipe when using kosher salt unless the recipe instructions specify using kosher salt.

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11 hours ago, Yeah No said:

but kosher salt tastes much saltier to me than table salt

Does that hold for all brands? I have seen on the Web that people have done comparison testing and found differences (especially for fleur de sel , Guérande, Maldon or other high-end salts, but also for the usual kosher type as I recall), both in taste and also in weight per volume.

The only reason I can see why kosher salt might work better in this recipe is that the higher surface area of each crystal might make the step of dry-curing and drawing out water more efficient. But that is just an untested hypothesis.

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2 hours ago, Florinaldo said:

Does that hold for all brands? I have seen on the Web that people have done comparison testing and found differences (especially for fleur de sel , Guérande, Maldon or other high-end salts, but also for the usual kosher type as I recall), both in taste and also in weight per volume.

I've used both Morton's and David's kosher salt and had the same result.  Maybe it's just me.

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Morton kosher salt has a different shape than Diamond Crystal, which makes it measure more like fine sea salt. So a teaspoon of Morton contains more than a teaspoon of Diamond Crystal.

I use Diamond Crystal for everything except finishing (like avocado toast, steak, etc.), and for that I use Maldon. I love the crunch, and I also think it has a milder salt flavor.

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I did a belated Memorial Day meal with Boogaloo Wonderland sandwiches and sour orange pie for desert. Both from Cook's Country (I don't know if the sandwiches have made it on to the tv show or not). Both were quite easy and pretty tasty.

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On the new breakfast episode, they did a thing about cleaning the coffee stain in a cup, and said to use baking powder.  I'm kind of a stain removal aficionado, and I've always heard to use baking soda for all sorts of things and never baking powder. 

If it were anybody else, I'd think they just got the two confused (plenty of websites seem to), but it's ATK, so I'd be shocked if that's what happened.  It would have been great if they hadn't put it in a little bowl, because it would be obvious what it was if it was in the original packaging--even just the original shape.

I looked up what baking soda and baking powder actually are, but nothing made me believe baking powder would clearly be better than baking soda for that purpose, which again makes me wonder why ATK kind of went rogue on this.

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7 hours ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

I looked up what baking soda and baking powder actually are, but nothing made me believe baking powder would clearly be better than baking soda for that purpose, which again makes me wonder why ATK kind of went rogue on this.

I haven't seen the episode yet but I wonder why they didn't explain why they decided that baking powder works better.  Usually they do stuff like that.  I use Magic Eraser to clean coffee stains from cups and it works like a charm.  It also works on flatware.

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12 hours ago, Yeah No said:

Usually they do stuff like that. 

Exactly.

The other day, I watched Valerie Bertinelli make a Dutch Baby, and then saw the one ATK did, and everything Bertinelli made a point of was something ATK explicitly rebutted, as in, "The conventional wisdom is to use a super hot pan, but we found it's better to start with a cold pan because..."  Or whatever (I may have it reversed).  But they're really good about explaining when, and why, they depart from the usual.

And the "usual" when it comes to cleaning is definitely baking soda.  It's a hell of a lot cheaper than baking powder, and the extra money might be justified, but it needs to be justified, I think.

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It sounds like they just screwed up.

I love those Magic Erasers, too.  I buy them as generic melamine sponges on eBay for a fraction of the branded price.  Not much they can't do.

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40 minutes ago, Mondrianyone said:

I love those Magic Erasers, too.  I buy them as generic melamine sponges on eBay for a fraction of the branded price.  Not much they can't do.

Including taking the paint off a car.  Be careful out there.

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Yep.  Those Magic Erasers are one of my favorite things for how well they clean the bumpy texture of my (white) refrigerator.  I also love them for wiping gunk off painted surfaces, but I have to be judicious with that, because over time they will indeed take the paint right off.

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Mine usually fall apart before they can do that kind of damage.  I'd never use them on my car anyway.  But I always use a light touch till I'm sure they're not exceeding their authority.

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Baking powder contains an acid (like cream of tartar) in addition to a carbonate and sodium bicarbonate; perhaps that is the more efficient cleaning agent. I haven't seen the episode yet, but I am disappointed in advance that they did not explain the science behind it, as they usually do.

Magic erasers can be dangerous on painted surfaces if you scrub too hard as I found out cleaning a stubborn stain on a wall. Work gently and patiently and it usually comes out without a problem.

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11 hours ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

Including taking the paint off a car.  Be careful out there.

That's something I might have done, but a friend of mine once asked me whether he should use one on his car and I told him I didn't know and to Google it, which turned up this page:

https://www.familyhandyman.com/cleaning/things-you-should-never-do-with-a-magic-eraser/

I can get lost in that site for hours.

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For what it’s worth and equally unscientific we had a backed down stain (bicycle oil and dirt) baking soda only got it so far but for another one we we had more baking powder than soda and used it, warm water and some white vinegar and it broke down the stain better than baking soda. 

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Being an early adopter has its perils.  Fortunately, I'm the cautious type and tried the magic eraser on a low part of the car.  In fact, this was back before it was even known what they were made of--just that they were magical.  I used to joke that there's a special place in hell for people who use them--some sort of pact with the devil because they worked so dang well and there had to be a cost.

Once you know that they don't necessarily clean but instead abrade, it's much easier to make a good decision on how to use them. 

As for baking soda vs. baking powder, since baking powder has something in it that makes things rise, I can see that it might act on stains a little differently, and possibly better.  Deep down in my heart I believe that ATK knowingly used baking powder, but as with knowing what a Magic Eraser is made of and what it actually does, I want to know why they used baking powder.  And if there ever were an outfit that embraces the "why," it's America's Test Kitchen.

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Baking powder contains cream of tartar and baking soda (i.e., bicarbonate of soda), that's what the "double action" is. It reacts first with liquid, then with heat.

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