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Equipment & Gear
Recently, I received a wireless thermometer from Thermoworks to try out. Their newest product is called Smoke and is specifically designed to help people barbecue and smoke food at home. Smoke has two parts - a base unit (which takes two of Thermoworks standardized Pro-Series probes) and a wireless receiver unit - which lets the user track the air temperature and the food temperature without going outside to the smoker.
Thermoworks is selling the Smoke at $99 and this would definitely welcome tool for anyone who likes to slow cook food outside.
These days when I reach for a spatula to turn food in a pan, I've been finding myself grabbing the GastroMax Slotted Turner more often than not. Tina bought this spatula for me after months (or maybe years) of listening to me complain about our various spatulas. After buying the GastroMax Turner, my complaining has stopped.
Kitchen Notes
The smoke point of various fats is important to note because a fat is no longer good for consumption after it has exceeded its smoke point and has begun to break down. Once a fat starts to smoke, it usually will emit a harsh smell and fill the air with smoke. In addition it is believed that fats that have gone past their smoke points contain a large quantity of free radicals which contibute to risk of cancer. Refining oils (taking out impurities) tends to increase the smoke point. The table below lists some ballpark values for smoke points of various common fats. I like cooking with extra light olive oil and butter. This is mainly because olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (73%) while being low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (less than 10%). The refined nature of extra light olive oil mainly affects taste and smoke point, but does not reduce the nutritional benefits of olive oil. Butter, although high in saturated fat (66%), is low in polyunsaturated (4%) and contains a host of vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and acids that are antimicrobial and antitumorigenic. Also, it tastes good.
In October 2005, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service banned the importing of Beluga caviar from the Black Sea basin. This ban, along with a ban in September 2005 of Beluga caviar from the Caspian Sea, effectively cuts off the supply of Beluga caviar to the United States. Then, in January 2006, the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) temporarily banned the international trade of beluga caviar. These decisions were reached in an attempt to help conserve the dwindling population of Beluga sturgeon, an endangered species. In this article, we examine some of the different kinds of caviar and examine some of the issues surrounding this luxury food.
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