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The Profussor is In – Round Two

June 9, 2009

I would like to thank you all again for your ongoing contributions to the FLB.  You may have noticed today there is a small addition to the home page “Contact the FLB.”  There you will find the super secret email address to reach me privately.  Why you would want to do that, I have no idea.  But I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

In the past few weeks I have not been able to answer all of the questions or comments that have been received.  So here is my semi-regular attempt to get current with things:

From It’s Summer.  It’s Hot.  You’re Thirsty.
JJ asks, “Question on simple syrup. Do always keep it on hand? When you make some, how long can you keep it? Just want to anticipate my thirst needs.”
The profussor says, “I do not always keep it on hand.  Recently I have been experimenting with agave syrup.  It’s convenient, longer lasting, and has a complementary flavor to several drinks.  You can extend the life of your simple syrup by storing it in a tight lid jar and throwing in a shot of vodka.  But if you have kids around that’s probably not the best idea.  I toss mine when it gets cloudy.  You’ll know.”

Spencer suggested “Regarding mojito techniques- I have sometimes substituted diet 7-Up for club soda and it’s pretty good actually.”
The profussor responds, “For lack of a better word, ick.  Now let’s never speak of this again.”

From Do Not Trust the Machine
O asks, “how do you handle grilling? If using a non-tested oven is punting, I can only imagine the headspin when confronted with wrangling hot coals or open flame. Are the conditions too variable for a fusser?”
The profussor says, “I use the hand test for hot coals.   I’m not one of those laser thermometer geeks, although I probably would be if I happened to get one as a gift.”

From There is No Martini Glass
Albany Jane states, “after years of wanting anything in a cocktail glass (cause they are so darned cute) I have learned I should just stop since I end up spilling half of the darned thing.”
The profussor concurs, “You are totally right on.  The folly of the cocktail glass is a subject I would like to take on in the future.”

Jess asserts, “I drink my martinis dirty. I argue that this still makes them a martini.”
The profussor winks and says, “You could certainly argue that.  The brilliant bar man at Absinthe in San Francisco tries to get patrons to drink a wetter and saltier martini in lieu of the sullied one they request.”

Raf recalls, “If memory serves Mr. Fussy approves of vodka martinis, which means he’s not as fussy as one might think.”
The profussor remembers, “I bought a new dry vermouth, and I was playing around with it.  I was very surprised at how well it went with vodka.  I can’t recall the proportions but I was not attempting to make a vodka martini.  Intent is critical.  And I never claimed I was fussier than Raf.”

From Cappuccino Try-Outs
Brent asks, “Where can I go in NYC/SF/DC/Other places and get a good one? How should I order it? Also: Is it heresy to try to get a decaf? Is it heresy to add sugar?”
The profussor ponders aloud, “Is this a travel blog?  I have had great caps at many Peet’s around the Bay Area and the one in Harvard Square.  Raf drinks decaf espresso.  He’s wrong, but he’s no heretic.  You want sugar, have some sugar.  Personally I am happy with the subtle sweetness from the milk.  I will argue a well-made drink really shouldn’t need sugar since the espresso should not be bitter from overextraction.

From Junk in a Box
Vanessa noted, “You skipped an entire stage of the lifecycle. If refridgerated, it becomes almost like a kugel.”
The profussor is floored, “Brilliant observation.  I can totally see it.  But there are hardly ever any leftovers of KM&C at casa de fussy.”

Jennifer recalled, “Cook’s Illustrated doing ketchup reviews a while ago and taste testers preferred the Hunt’s.”
The profussor admits, “Goes to show that it is run by mere mortals.  And that taste is not a quantifiable variable.”

From Abuela’s Frijoles Negros
Tonia suggested, “Sauteed garlic, onion, and pepper included in the water for rice goes perfect with this and sweet plantains and sliced avocado w/lime and salt. This combo…. no words. I have to go against the brown rice on this one. Yucky.”
The profussor reminds, “First, there are always words.  Second, my brown rice is not yucky.  You are welcome to dismiss it, but you need to try it at least once.”

Albany John baited, “now before you start being repulsed, polenta and cooking dried beans are actually things microwaves are good at…”
The profussor says, “Too late.  Someone once sold me on the genius of deep fat frying in microwaves.  Could that have been you?  But you will not win me over on polenta.”

From Real Deal Diners
David Storper remembered “I believe it was you who used to wake me up at 2am and beg me to meet you at DENNY’S. You can run from your history, but you cannot hide…Love, David”
The profussor gently reminds, “David will recall I did not have very good judgment in my youth.  This extended to eating.  With experience comes wisdom?  Or is it with age comes experience?  Or am I just old and cranky.”

From One Book Shall Outfuss Them All
Think and Do reminded, “the truly obsessive pore through “On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen” by Harold McGee. This book makes Kimball look like Oscar from the ‘Odd Couple.’”
All the profussor can say is, “Yes.  Yes they do.  Yes he does.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. omaxwell permalink
    June 9, 2009 4:59 pm

    “The profussor says, “I use the hand test for hot coals.” WTF! I tried it and am now typing with two bandaged hands. Isn’t there an easier and less painful way to tell when the coals are ready?

    • June 9, 2009 9:39 pm

      Them must be some hot coals. You know, you are supposed to pull your hands away when it gets too hot. On the plus side, you are on your way to developing a proper set of chef hands.

      I did also mention the LASER thermometer. Maybe next time.

  2. Jennifer permalink
    June 10, 2009 8:47 am

    Just keep your simple syrup in the fridge. It lasts for months that way as I discovered when I found a bottle lurking in the back of mine.

    Agave syrup is good as well. I swapped some into the family lemonade last night and no one noticed.

  3. Tonia permalink
    June 12, 2009 1:23 pm

    Sorry, did not mean to insult your brown rice… ;-) I’m not opposed to it, just not with rice and beans.

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