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RE: Why are boiled eggs so hard to peel? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: litholad on 05.31.2007 at 10:34 am in Cooking Forum

Over the years, I've tried about every trick I could find to make boiled eggs easier to peel. Finally, a friend turned me on to baked eggs. Yes, baked.
I put them in an oven proof pan at 175 F for one hour. I've even forgot about them and left them in for 2 hours, and they still came out perfect. They peel easily.
The only down side is the yolks tend to settle to one side. They seem to be much creamier and silky and not as rubbery as boiled eggs.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.03.2007 at 02:06 am    last updated on: 06.03.2007 at 02:06 am

RE: Why are boiled eggs so hard to peel? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: lindac on 05.31.2007 at 10:11 pm in Cooking Forum

The salt and vinegar works because....
The vinegar removes the protective coating on the shell ( if it wasn't alrready compromised in processing) and the salt draws a small amount of the moisture out of the egg, through the shell which has been made a bit porous by the vinegar, and the shell comes off easily.
Put a T or so of vinegar into a pot of water with enough water to cover the eggs you want to boil, add a couple of T salt, put the eggs into the pan, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, leave in the coivered pan for 18 minutes, pop into cold water and break the shells and peel.
Try it once, you will be a convert.

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clipped on: 06.03.2007 at 02:05 am    last updated on: 06.03.2007 at 02:05 am

RE: 'steamed' hard boiled eggs??? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: shaun on 04.05.2007 at 09:41 am in Cooking Forum

Yep that's the only way I do it now. The shells JUMP off the egg.

Steam them in a steamer for 25 mins. Then I peel them under running water.

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clipped on: 06.03.2007 at 02:01 am    last updated on: 06.03.2007 at 02:01 am

RE: It's all your fault! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: grainlady on 05.29.2007 at 05:04 pm in Cooking Forum

terrapots - I learned about adding fat and salt in "CookWise" by Shirley O. Corriher. I use the bread machine for the physical labor, but I incorporate bread MAKING techniques, not necessarily bread machine techniques, and get a better quality product. If you know the science about bread making, then you have a better idea about the end results - especially when making changes to a recipe.

I never met a recipe I DIDN'T change. I always add at least 1/3-1/2 c. chia seed goop (a gelatinous mix of water and chia seeds) and 3-4 T. flaxmeal to every bread recipe I make in the bread machine, to increase the Omega-3's and fiber. I also add different types of wholegrain flour for 25-50% of the bleached/unbleached flour called for in a recipe. I don't use sugar, but use agave nectar instead (great for fermentation); and I use coconut oil (which helps keep bread "fresher" longer than other types of fats).

It's all about the "feel" of the dough, whether you are making it by hand, or using a bread machine. Since I never bake the bread in the bread machine, it's somewhat easier to use traditional bread making techniques, which includes adding fat and salt after the gluten is developed - IF you want a taller loaf and a more open crumb. If you want a fine-textured crumb (almost like a cake), then adding the fat early is the correct method to use.

Adding salt early makes it more difficult to knead. If you wait until the end of kneading to add the salt, it's easier on your machine (or you if kneading by hand), and it takes less kneading to develop the gluten. Once you add the salt, the gluten strands really tighten up and kneading is more difficult. You also chance killing some of the yeast by adding the salt early.

All the normal bread machine instructions and techniques are designed to make bread-making simple in a very well-regulated period of time. YES, you can make a loaf of bread in 1-hour with a bread machine, but anyone who has made a long, slowly developed dough, will tell you there is a world of difference in flavor. I can use the bread machine to make a pre-ferment and that long, slowly developed dough - so it's just learning how to use the machine in other ways. I don't want "simple", I want good, so I go back to my knowledge of bread-making science and am not regulated by a timed machine. I go beyond the "dough cycle".

The "instant" refried beans, made with milled bean flour, only take a few minutes to cook, unlike the 1-1/2 hours to cook pinto beans + the overnight soak. I got the information from several sources, but mainly from "Country Beans" by Rita Bingham.

Basic Bean Flour Information:

1 c. whole beans =
approximately 1-1/8 c. bean flour

1 c. water + 1/2 c. pinto bean flour = 1 c. "instant" mashed (refried) beans (thick mixture)

2 c. water + 3/4 c. pinto bean flour =
2-1/2 c. "fluffy" mashed beans

The thick mixture can be used in place of cooked, mashed beans in patties, loaves, casseroles, desserts, and other food products calling for mashed beans.

General Recipe:
Bring 2 c. water to a boil. Whisk in 1 c. pinto (or black) bean flour. Cook and stir for 1 minute, until mixture thickens. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. This produces a fairly stiff bean mixture that is similar to commercial canned refried beans.

Season to taste with your favorite seasonings including:
salt
cumin
chili powder
garlic
bouillon
meat or vegetable soup base
powdered seasoning mixes

For fluffy bean mixture:
This type of bean mixture is lighter and has a creamier texture which works well for dips, burrito and sandwich fillings.

Bring 2-1/2 c. water to boil, then whisk in 3/4 c. bean flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bean Flour Storage:

Store bean flour in an air tight container, preferably in the refrigerator or freezer. Bean flour keeps 6 months.

-Grainlady

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clipped on: 05.30.2007 at 08:49 am    last updated on: 05.30.2007 at 08:49 am

RE: Washing a Down Comforter (Duvet) (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: Housekeeping on 10.07.2005 at 11:41 am in Laundry Room Forum

I always wash our down comforters (mostly about the same size as super-sized full and normal-sized queen)in my Miele and Asko machines. Putting my comforters in most laundromats would creep me out....

I use a special down-washing soap rather than any regular laundry product. You can buy a small bottle of a similar product from Cuddledown, along with nylon rings for fluffing. Their mail order service is fast and convenient.

You really don't want anything with enzymes, OBAs, or bleaches when washing down. No STPP, either, if you regularly use it. Nor any f/s because you actually want to re-build the static charge around the down. If you need to bleach anything, do it beforehand as a spot cleaning process. In fact I spot clean meticulously beforehand because that's the only way get the extra dirty places done without subjecting the entire thing to heavy duty cleaning which will prematurely destroy the down. Before you wash inspect the item carefully for any tiny tears that would allow the down to escape.

Do not be disturbed if your comforter totally fills the f/l drum when you first put (stuff) it in. Run a pre-cycle just with water, and as many high speed spins as necessary to force the air out. Then run a wash with your soap. If you think it might be good, you could run an additional clean cycle as an extra deep rinse.

Toss the item in a low-heat dryer for a couple of hours with the nylon rings. Then hang it outside for a few more hours on a breezy day; then give it more dryer time (think hours here), etc., repeat as necessary. I prefer the inside/outside thing as I think the tossing done in the dryer can be hard on the seams and any weak places in the fabric. Line drying does the trick without so much abrasion, but I think you do need some tumbling for the best and quickest drying. It is essential to give it as much drying time as necessary, and then some, because any residual moisture is very bad and can create an unremediable stink.

Like Louis, my most commonly used comforters get washed at least once, and often, twice per year. Many of these comforters have been in service for several decades with this regimen. (My predecessors were big on record keeping, so I have their linen books in my files.) And I have been doing my own down clothing items like this for more than 30 years.

These instructions are only for those items that are 100% down with washable shells: comforters, sleeping bags, pillows, jackets and vests, and booties. I have had trouble washing items with a down and feather mix. Trouble getting them into my machines and then trouble with getting them dry, quickly and stink-free.

Washing down items is for me a special project, so I pick my days carefully so I can choose good outdoor drying days. It's a long job, but not labor intensive, just time to get it all done as expeditiously as possible. The reward is a clean, sweet-smelling, soft puff. Well worth it, in my view.

Molly~

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clipped on: 05.15.2007 at 11:20 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2007 at 11:21 pm

RE: Washing a Down Comforter (Duvet) (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: Parrot_Phan on 10.07.2005 at 11:32 am in Laundry Room Forum

Just for accuracy.

Feathers (including down) are an animal product and are composed mainly of protein.

Cellulose is a plant product and is the major building block of cotton.

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clipped on: 05.15.2007 at 11:20 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2007 at 11:20 pm

brass clips (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: budge1 on 01.09.2007 at 03:32 pm in Kitchens Forum

Just remembered that the wood was in a section called hobby wood and it's poplar. The basswood above would work too I'm sure.

Talley sue see the link below

Here is a link that might be useful: dividers

NOTES:

DRAWER DIVIDERS
clipped on: 01.11.2007 at 01:05 am    last updated on: 01.11.2007 at 01:06 am

RE: Holiday living/kitchen (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: angelcub on 12.02.2006 at 06:58 pm in Kitchens Forum

Oh, I hadn't thought about that heavy duty vinyl. Great idea! And carpet remnants are often inexpensive.

We've had bare foundation now for about 6 mos. It wasn't bad until a few weeks ago when it got cold at night. We've had night temps in the 20s for the last week and you can bet I've had those boots on. : )

not2old, we are diyers, too. We did have our plumber put in a larger propane line for the range and we'll have our counter done professionally, but everything else has been and will be done by us. So far, no emergency room visits due to injuries or attempted murder of a spouse. ; )

Back on topic: how about the sheets of laminate that the home stores carry? They aren't much $. The glue is no fun to work with but temporary tops should be easy enough. We used the sheet laminate to make my sewing machine counter and will probably use it again for another machine I recently purchased.

Here is a link that might be useful: sheet laminate counter

NOTES:

See the sewing table in her link. If I start sewing a lot, may want to make a proper table for machine.
clipped on: 12.03.2006 at 07:40 pm    last updated on: 12.03.2006 at 07:41 pm

RE: ? for those with De Dietrich Induction hobs (Follow-Up #33)

posted by: maka on 09.18.2006 at 10:56 pm in Appliances Forum

This may not be the right thread or time to post these
comments, but here goes. My 4-burner induction cooktop
was installed in 1982. The burners are undersized compared
with current specs, but we were told that the FAA would
not permit any induction burners larger than 1500 watts
for fear that it would interfere with aircraft communi- cation. This proved groundless, and we have been happily
cooking away for all these years. Unfortunately, the unit
is giving up its ghost, and I am planning on replacing it
in the near future. Induction is the way to go, as far as we
are concerned.
One thing that might be of interest, however, is that I
did a lot of experimenting early on because I like to use
Vision and other non-ferrous containers on occasion. I
found that some of the trivets (screens) available in houseware departments can be used on low setting and permit warming up food very well. A friend also made up a few circles of expanded magnetic metal screening and put a 1" flat ring around them, and they also have done the trick. This system works beautifully for heating up if not for cooking from scratch.I also have a 15" induction hob of
about the same vintage which has been used for warming up soups cooked in many different utensils ( mostly non-magnetic)brought to our meetings by group members for which
we routinely use a trivet. The lower temps prevent the food
from scorching, which had been an issue in the past.

NOTES:

using non-magnetic pans or other containers to warm food
clipped on: 11.27.2006 at 03:03 pm    last updated on: 11.27.2006 at 03:04 pm

RE: Kitchen Organizing & Lining Shelves (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: talley_sue_nyc on 11.09.2006 at 06:05 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

yes, amkearns, they have--do a Google or Froogle.com search for "shelf liner" plus "wire"

opaque, in 12" and 16" widths

Elfa makes one

here's a black one, at Montgomery Ward (other places sell it too)--only in the 12" width, though

these are 14" deep--an unusual size

and this one, Plast-o-mat, is ribbed

Here is a link that might be useful: clear Neat'n Ups at Stacks and Stacks

NOTES:

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clipped on: 11.21.2006 at 02:10 pm    last updated on: 11.21.2006 at 02:11 pm

Pepper grinder question

posted by: tealboy on 10.29.2006 at 04:11 pm in Kitchens Forum

I know this may seem like an odd question, but i went to a friends and they had a terrific pepper grinder. It came from Williams Sonoma. The bad part is, it cost $150. However, I never really thought much about owning a quality pepper grinder until using this one, but certainly have no intention on spending $150 on one.
Do any of you have a high quality grinder that you would recommend? I don't mind spending a decent amt of money on one, just not $100 or more. In the past, I have used a rolling pin to crack pepper for steaks and other cooking.

I apprec your input.

NOTES:

Read whole thread.
clipped on: 11.01.2006 at 06:23 pm    last updated on: 11.01.2006 at 06:23 pm

RE: Induction: how much power is actually needed? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: laat2 on 10.22.2006 at 01:19 am in Appliances Forum

If you haven't looked over the linked site below it provides a lot of useful info. Here is their realistic look at gas vs induction cooking power:

"Perhaps the most useful way to use that datum is to see what good gas-cooker BTU values are and work back to what induction-cooker kW values would have to be to correspond. But what are good gas-cooker BTU values? Here too, opinions will vary. Here are some representative quotations from cooking-focussed Usenet discussion groups:

"Gas: the more standard 9,000 or 10,000 Btu/hr or the high power 15,000 Btu/hr ranges . . . ."

"Yeah sure it is a 15,000 btu cooktop, but I presently own a . . . cooktop that is 12,000 btu. They both seemed to perform about the same which is disappointing."

"In general, I question what you are getting in the 'pro' style stoves other than looks. The better conventional home ranges already offer one or more burners at 12k btu. Adding that last 3k btu by going 'pro' doubles the price for a marginal increase in output."

"Well the look is ok. The extra 3k is nice but would not justify the extra expense. Actually it is a splurge to get any of the pro style ranges."

OK, none of that proves anything, but it looks like we can fairly say that:

* the average home gas-cooker burner is about 10K BTU/hour;
* serious home gas-cooker burners are about 12K BTU/hour; and,
* deluxe home gas-cooker burners are about 15K BTU/hour.

So, based on our calculations above, to correspond to:

* "average" home cooking power, an induction cooker element would have to be about 1400 watts (1.4 kW);
* "serious" home cooking power, an induction cooker element would have to be about 1700 watts (1.7 kW); and,
* "deluxe" home cooking power, an induction cooker element would have to be about 2000 watts (2 kW).

Considering that even the old, now-long-gone, first-generation Sears and GE units each had 1400-watt elements, and that most or all newer models have more firepower yet--some up to as much as 3,500 watts!--induction cooktops clearly have the same (sometimes much more) heat-generating ability as do even the best home gas-cooking units. Note that anything much above 12,000 BTU/hour seems to be generally considered, even by serious home chefs, as overkill, yet that's less than 1,700 watts for an induction element. Our personal experience with an older unit with just 1400-watt elements is that it heats at least as well as the typical home gas-based sort of unit.

(Depending on what and how and for how many you cook, sometimes heavy "firepower" elements can be useful: heating a huge stock-pot of liquids can take a while on anything but the strongest elements. But for most people most of the time, 1.7 or 1.8 kW elements are probably ample; moreover, if you're not "most people", you probably already have a pretty good idea, in numbers, of the firepower you want or need.)

(There is a much more substantial discussion, which we strenuously recommend anyone at all interested in induction-cooking equipment read, on our site page titled Kitchen Electricity 101)."

I'm still looking at induction also but at the small countertop 120v units from Tarrison etc. They seem a bit hard to find at Canadian retailers outside the restaurant supply companies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Comparing

NOTES:

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clipped on: 10.22.2006 at 01:23 pm    last updated on: 10.22.2006 at 01:23 pm

RE: Your ideas on built-in closets styles, layouts? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: movingwest on 10.02.2006 at 12:34 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

I had my "good jewelry" in a velvet lined jewelry drawer but the funky stuff was hung on a wire grid and on a ribbon wreath I made that circled my mirror. earrings had the earwire hang on the grad, bracelets and watches could hang from the grid too, and pins went into the ribbons. maybe i can dig up a photo. yep here one is. the new closet isn't done yet

NOTES:

grid is at container store and storables.
clipped on: 10.07.2006 at 10:38 pm    last updated on: 10.07.2006 at 10:39 pm

RE: Quartz Countertops (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: stonegirl on 09.04.2006 at 06:49 pm in Kitchens Forum

Stone Girl is my name because I fabricate (yes - I actually do swing a polisher, grinder and various wet and dry saws). I live for stone and make a living off it. In short - I am quite passionate about my material of choice.

Why do I need to be unbiased? Is DuPont unbiased when they feed the public half truths and lies about their solid surface products? Do they unintentionally mislead their clients when they claim their product to be "natural quartz"? I think not.

Quartz is sold as being 80% stone and 20% "binders" What they do not tell you, is that it is by weight and not volume. Of course the stone chips weigh more than the plastic resins. Oh - you did not know it was plastic and was mistakenly under the impression that it was cementacious. (Guess you did not read far enoug into the whole fine print sylabus they should give you when buying engineered surfaces.)

I am glad you are a chef and I am glad your wife is a nurse. Bless her heart. My mom is too. I can not care for a sick person, but then again, I do not expect her to be well versed in my occupation either.

I have stone in my house and have bought, sold, fabricated, installed and repaired stone for most of my career. I guess I should have some clue as to what I am rambling on about.

Hot pots and pans - seems we have a bone of contention here. I have granite in my kitchen (Verde Marinace) and make a habit of putting hot pots and pans on it. Am I scared it will fail? No - I know the installation and material is up to handling the extreme temperatures I expose it to. Do I put a trivet under the slow cooker? - yes I do. I know that it will have a prolonged hot spot that could cause failure. I cook pizza, fish and meat on a piece of rock in my oven. That stone is as good today as the day I started using it. No cracks there. All this because I picked a suitable material and use it in a safe way.

FDA and other government agencies - mmm. It is a pretty well known fact that special interests with fat check books could get anything done. DuPont (the company of Corian and Zodiaq) for instance, has some quite active and powerful lobbyists. Is it any wonder their products (and by association similar products of their competitors) get approved by government agencies? Natural stone does not have such an agency, and is not even a regulated industry. The voice (or maybe check book) of the natural stone industry can not keep up to it's much bigger competitor when it comes to governmemt approval.

Naturally occuring crevaces. Sounds like you are talking about the Rocky Mountains. The micro fissures and other surface irregularities are negligable and with most slabs being resined nowadays this is pretty much a moot point. Look at a well worn ES or any other solid surface (scratched and dinged) and then tell me where more bacteria would grow.

A piece of Verde Marinace, Black Absolute, Bourgogne, Wild Sea, Ubatuba, Dark Emperador and a myriad of other natural stone materials are about as absorbant as you average pane of glass. In most of the materials where absorption is an issue, this could be fixed by the application of a good sealer.

The success of your natural stone tops depend as much on the quality of the fabricator and installer as it does on the quality and type of stone.

I am not saying every person should get granite or insisting that everybody must love natural stone. I am merely trying to shine a light on the great qualities of natural stone. A small voice of reason in a cacophony of engineered surface advertising. There are a lot of half truths and downright lies being spread about natural stone in order to sell products that are in most cases not all they are cracked up to be. I am merely educating you.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 09.04.2006 at 11:28 pm    last updated on: 09.04.2006 at 11:29 pm

RE: Quartz Countertops (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: cpovey on 09.04.2006 at 05:30 pm in Kitchens Forum

A hot pot or pan will not damage your stone.

Not true. At least two posters here have had their granite top crack from a hot pot sitting on them. Sit a really hot pot atop a microscopic crack, and what happens? As rock is not a great conductor, the top starts to expand, but the bottom does not, because it is not getting hot. This stresses the crack and it can run, period.

How did they mine coal before dynamite? They built a fire at the rock face for 2-3 days, then threw cold water on the rock to shatter it.

As to sanitation, granite is not allowed in commercial kitchen. I am a chef, I know. ES I believe is allowed, but is way too expensive. Same applies to solid surface material (i.e. Corian and similar) but again it is too expensive for commercial kitchens. Commercial kitchens usually use stainless steel, but most laminates (the non-textured ones) ARE allowed, because they lack crevices that bacteria can get into.

There is an excpetion for rock (generally marble but it can be granite) for use in pastry and with chocolate. These products generally contain so little water that harmful bacteria cannot grow on them in any significant number.

Add to this the fact that granite does not wear like plastic or engineered surfaces (think of those tiny little scratches and scuff marks where germs can congregate) and you have a surface that should be used in hospitals and such!

Granite has naturally occuring crevices, they don't need to be added. And my DW, who is a nurse practionier with more than 25 years experience, disagrees with this statement.

You could use a bleach solution to disinfect your counter surfaces if you felt a need to do that.

You can do that on almost any surface I can think of. All you need is one capfull of bleach (, a cap full of standard grocery store bleach) added to one gallon of cool water (do not use hot water with bleach, as it just breaks the bleach down faster). This capfull-to-a-gallon solution is approved, as far as I know, in all states as a sanitizing solution. Apply to counter tops, wait five minutes, rinse. To ensure bleach inactivation (since bleach is not considered 'Good Eats"), you can add a little vinegar to the rinse water.

Except for wood, this solution should be usable on any common kitchen countertop with no harmful effect.

Best way to sanitize wood cutting boards: Per the University of Wisconsin, wet the the board thoroughly, then microwave on high for 5-10 minutes. You kill all the little nasties with the steam that is produced!

Face it, with a user name of stonegirl, you do not sound 100% unbiased!

*********************************

In my house, it came down to granite and ES.
I spent a lot of time thinking about the difference between them. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

It came down to this. In my kitchen, I wanted the cabinets to be the focal point, not the countertops. Therefore, I went with ES, as it is less dramatic than granite. If I had wanted the countertops to be more of the eye catcher, I would have gone with granite.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 09.04.2006 at 11:26 pm    last updated on: 09.04.2006 at 11:26 pm

RE: Quartz Countertops (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: jkom51 on 09.04.2006 at 04:06 pm in Kitchens Forum

The Hospitality Institute may have done a nice study, but it doesn't fly with government agencies when it comes to approving granite for public kitchen counters. Quote from a Wilsonart brochure (yes, they are touting their solid surfacing material, but the facts stated are accurate):

"Granite has small surface crevices so its harder to keep them free of mildew and bacteria. Proper sealing and maintenance can protect against these conditions as long as the sealer remains intact. Even so, granite surfaces do not currently meet FDA and NSF standards for food preparation areas. Nor do they meet ASTM standards (G-21 and G-22) for fungal and bacterial resistance."

Both quartz and granite are excellent materials for home use. Get whatever works best with the overall design of your kitchen. We got solid surfacing, because we kept our beautiful frameless Kraftmaid cabs. They have a very subtle design in laminate with two colors of wood trim, and although the granites and quartz were beautiful, everything warred with the cabs until we picked a very simple, matte-finish, granite look Swanstone.

I would suggest that if you decide on granite, pick that first, then pick the cabinets to go with it. Granite tends to be a stronger design statement. Some like that, and some don't. Good luck with whatever you choose!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 09.04.2006 at 11:24 pm    last updated on: 09.04.2006 at 11:24 pm

RE: Quartz Countertops (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: stonegirl on 09.03.2006 at 03:48 pm in Kitchens Forum

Not all natural stones are created equal, but even so, they are a lot better than man-made surfaces when it comes to ease of maintenance, practicality and it just beats everything hands down when it comes to the "WOW factor"

The key to having great stone tops is to research and determine what would work for you.

Just as you would not play tennis in your little black dress, some stones are not suited for some situations. I.e. you will not use onyx as a kitchen counter, simply because it will not be practical. This does not make onyx a bad stone, it just makes it unsuitable for use in a kitchen.

If you are a busy cook you will be worried about the following:
1. Stain resistance
2. Temperature resistance
3. Hygiene and overall cleanliness
4. Ease of maintenance
5. Appearance

It might not be in this order, but these are the things you will be looking for when selecting a material for your kitchen counters.

Lets go point by point.
1. Stain resistance. This is directly linked to the absorption co-efficient of the material. How much liquid would the stone absorb? Test for this by using a stone sample and use water and cooking oil. See if the stone shows dark spots when exposed to this for a period of time (think glasses or pots left on the counters overnight). Also test for acid reactivity with vinegar or lime juice. White rough marks will indicate acid reactivity, making that stone problematic for use in a kitchen. It might also do you some good to do these tests with the quartz surfaces. You might be unpleasantly surprized at some of the results. There are a myriad of really pretty stone that will not absorb one iota of anything. It might also surprize you to know that most good quality marbles are also very dense. The reason why polished marble is not a great choice for a kitchen top is because the stone reacts to acids and will loose the poilsh real quick. That is why honed marble is a great choice for kitchens and has been for many thousands of years.

2. Temperature resistance. True granite is an igneous rock - meaning it was made in a volcano. Most commercial granites are metamorpic rock, which means it got altered by high heat, high pressure or a combination of both. It takes a tremendous amount of heat to melt or alter natural stone in any way. There are recorded instances of homeowners re-using the stone tops after a housefire destroyed the entire kitchen. A hot pot or pan will not damage your stone. In fact, a blow torch, pizza oven or BBQ fire will do nothing to it. This is not true for engineered surfaces. They might be touted as "heat resistant" but look at the fine print to determine the exact temperature variance you are allowed to expose the counters to. It is not all that glamorous. The resins in engineered surfaces will melt and burn.

3. Hygiene & Cleanliness. The hospitality institute did a study and compared a number of common counter surfaces for hygiene and cleanliness. Granite came second only to stainless steel. Add to this the fact that granite does not wear like plastic or engineered surfaces (think of those tiny little scratches and scuff marks where germs can congregate) and you have a surface that should be used in hospitals and such!

4. Ease of maintenance. Granite practically takes care ofitself. If you made an informed decision when selecting your stone, you will have a beatiful, low maintenance surface that will not give you a single bit of trouble. You could use a bleach solution to disinfect your counter surfaces if you felt a need to do that. Of course there are some things to keep in mind, but those are minor adjustments to any regular cleaning regimen.

5. Appearance. Natural stone definitely has a wow factor. Engineered surfaces might as well have been pieces of airport floor or congealed oatmeal for all the excitement it provides. With more than 300 different natural stones available (and that number keeps growing almost daily) there should be something to fit most any decor and budget. Add to this the fact that according to a study done by a realtor association, natural stone is the only counter surface that will return at least a 100% in value when you improve your property, there is no way you could go wrong with natural stone.

Do your homework and select a fabricator before you even think about what color, sink or edge you might like. A knowledgeable fabricator will help you decide on all other aspects of your stone work and will ensure that you have a great experience with natural stone. Do not shop on price alone and do not trust what you see in a showroom. Insist on seeing actual jobs and speaking to customers. A good fabricator should have a looooong list of happy clients willing to share in their great fortune :)

Here is a link that might be useful: E-coli test for counter surfaces

NOTES:

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clipped on: 09.04.2006 at 11:22 pm    last updated on: 09.04.2006 at 11:22 pm

RE: Where to buy granite near Austin (or Dallas, or Houston) ? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: mkt2le on 08.23.2006 at 12:23 am in Kitchens Forum

East Side Marble in Fort Worth has supplied and installed the granite in three of our bathrooms. They have a huge selection and can order just about anything you want. Plus they have a big outdoor yard of scraps and leftovers. It's a family-owned "down and dirty" no-frills marble and granite company but they're as nice as they can be, very reasonable and honest. They're on Lancaster just east of downtown Fort Worth. Good luck!

NOTES:

Ft. Worth stone
clipped on: 08.24.2006 at 05:57 pm    last updated on: 08.24.2006 at 05:57 pm

RE: GC concerned about weight of granite on IKEA cabs (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: neilometer on 08.16.2006 at 07:19 pm in Kitchens Forum

I agree. The legs are very strong when they have a totally vertical weight placed on them. They look and feel brittle, because, well, they are when stressed at odd angles. I broke three of my Ikea feet while installing my cabs.

The first one broke when we were leveling the tall oven cabinet. It weighs a ton just by itself, so you have to be careful how you move it, we accidentally tipped it a bit and all the weight came down on one of the legs and actually snapped off the little plastic peg that inserts into the pre-drilled holes on the bottom.

The second and third breakages happed because of a strange quirk in the design of the legs. I'm surprised I haven't read anything about this yet, but... It seems that there is (at least on the legs I got) a small plastic 'nub' on the threaded shaft that, if not removed, will prevent the legs from being screwed down all the way. If you try and force the legs past this point, the side of the opposing shaft can crack. The problem is, not all of the legs had these little plastic nubs, so when we were leveling the cook top cabinet, and started screwing down the legs so they were at the lowest position, one of them made a loud cracking noise, and, sure enough, it had cracked, vertically, down the side.

I made sure to trim off any other plastic nubs after that!

-Neil

NOTES:

Check for "plastic nubs" on IKEA cab feet.
clipped on: 08.16.2006 at 08:14 pm    last updated on: 08.16.2006 at 08:14 pm

RE: How do you store your placemats??? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: quiltglo on 08.07.2006 at 09:51 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

I have a cabinet which has a rod across it, towards the top. I've wondered if that was for hanging towels or something. I was thinking if you had a cabinet or space, you could put sets together with the skirt clips so they would hang down much like the tablecloths.

Gloria

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.11.2006 at 04:18 pm    last updated on: 08.11.2006 at 04:18 pm

RE: How do you store your placemats??? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: talley_sue_nyc on 08.07.2006 at 05:32 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

I was going to suggest that you roll them, even if you place them in the drawer. Stack each design, roll, and then stack the rolls. Then you only have to pick up a roll or two to get to the other ones.

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clipped on: 08.11.2006 at 04:17 pm    last updated on: 08.11.2006 at 04:17 pm

RE: How do you store your placemats??? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: lazygardens on 08.07.2006 at 03:00 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

I've seen them rolled gently and placed in a wine rack

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.11.2006 at 04:17 pm    last updated on: 08.11.2006 at 04:17 pm

RE: How do you store your placemats??? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: housekeeping on 08.06.2006 at 11:37 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

I use a lot of linen placemats and it is very vexing to want the kind that's on the bottom of the stack. No matter how careful you are, you can easily wrinkle a whole pile of them.

My solution was to design a cabinet with doors that open to reveal a bank of very close together pullout shelves, so each kind is stored in its own stack and I can peel off what I need in a jiff.

Below that I have several deeper (meaning the sides are higher) pullouts which are for napkins. I have some dividers on those to keep those stacks from falling over. As we only use cloth napkins, I need a lot of storage for them.

HTH,

Molly

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clipped on: 08.11.2006 at 04:15 pm    last updated on: 08.11.2006 at 04:16 pm

RE: Your Best Drawer or Pantry Organization Tip? (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: kgsmom on 07.08.2006 at 12:07 am in Kitchens Forum

this might sound odd but for many years I have had 2 "special" drawers. A "THINGS THAT CUT drawer and a "THINGS THAT DON'T CUT" drawer for all the odds and ends type of cooks tools. for example, I keep my good knives in a block on the counter but things like tomatoes corers, microplane, vegetable peeler etc go in THINGS THAT CUT drawer. In the THINGS THAT DON'T CUT drawer, I have stuff like the beaters to my hand mixer, spatulas, whisks, sauce brushes etc. This way, friends that are helping in the kitchen, have no trouble finding what they need! In fact, several of them have now adapted the same special drawers in their own kitchens ;-) In the design of my new kitchen, I actually made an Excel spread sheet (I know- and yep I'm a bit of a computer nerd..) and assigned a drawer or cabinet to everything to make sure I had accounted for everything and those 2 were the first I assigned!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 07.11.2006 at 05:03 pm    last updated on: 07.11.2006 at 05:03 pm

Confused about Hood Inserts - What size, brand?

posted by: jenswrens on 07.04.2006 at 10:18 am in Kitchens Forum

I'm going to have a wood, mantel-style hood that is 36" wide. My cooktop is only 30" wide--a non-pro, plain-old gas cooktop. I know that hoods should extend 3" to each side of the cooktop, but is that for the wood hood or does that mean that the insert itself has to be 36" wide?

Some of the inserts I'm looking at are the Broan RPMI, the Imperial, the Fujioh BUF-021, and the Air King. From what I can tell, they all come in different sizes -- ranging from 17" to 35" plus. And then they are sold with a separate liner for 30" or 36". So, if CFMs and sones and all else is relative, does it really matter what size insert I put into my 36" wood hood cover?

Also, any info you can give (good or bad) on these brands would be great. TIA!

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clipped on: 07.05.2006 at 07:37 pm    last updated on: 07.05.2006 at 07:37 pm

RE: Confused about Hood Inserts - What size, brand? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: pew1 on 07.05.2006 at 08:35 am in Kitchens Forum

If you are looking for an insert to mount in a custom or modified cabinet, I have had excellent success with Rangemaster. They make an expanding mounting tray for it, which will adapt for various widths. You also can make a custom tray.

They have a variety of cfm fans, both internal and external available. My preference is an external fan, keeps the noise down.

Paul

NOTES:

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clipped on: 07.05.2006 at 07:35 pm    last updated on: 07.05.2006 at 07:36 pm

RE: one week in... and halfway done! (Follow-Up #28)

posted by: girlwithaspirin on 06.19.2006 at 12:49 pm in Kitchens Forum

Thanks for making me smile, guys. :)

nys, I used the advice of everyone here before starting.

1) Clean with soap and water.
2) Lightly sand, only where needed. (I'm lazy, but the varnish had built up in some places.)
3) Prime with a thin coat of Zinsser Bullseye 123 Deep Base, tinted to match paint color. Let dry for a few hours.
4) Paint with a thin coat of Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo Alkyd. Do cabinet backs first! Don't paint bottom or top edges. Let dry overnight.
5) Paint fronts. Again, let dry overnight.
6) Hang cabinets. Carefully.
7) Paint bottom/top edges and do any touch-up.
8) Leave them open for as long as you can stand it. This stuff takes forever to cure.

I didn't do two full coats of paint like many people suggested. For one, the Satin Impervo covers amazingly. The dark color helped -- I imagine a light color would require more coats. But also, the thinner the paint, the more it looks like stain. If you glop it on, which I accidentally did in some places, it doesn't look as much like a pro job.

I imagine I'll be touching up for the next few months, though. Whenever the sun hits somewhere new, I notice an area that's a little too thin.

NOTES:

Painting existing wood cabinets
clipped on: 07.03.2006 at 04:17 pm    last updated on: 07.03.2006 at 04:18 pm

RE: Toaster/convection oven that really functions like oven? (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: serenamc on 03.08.2006 at 01:22 pm in Appliances Forum

I have a DeLonghi and love it. True toaster ovens don't toast bread as well as standard toasters but it does fairly well. I use the convection mode at 140 to dry bread crumbs and croutons. The regular bake at 140 is wonderful for warming plates. It's the perfect size to bake a casserole for two. I use it daily. I wouldn't buy anything made my Cuisinart since I had a bad experience with their food processor breaking within three weeks of purchase and their wanting me to send the entire machine to them at my expense.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.30.2006 at 01:20 am    last updated on: 06.30.2006 at 01:20 am

RE: Toaster/convection oven that really functions like oven? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: suse17 on 02.26.2006 at 03:43 pm in Appliances Forum

Here is the info Ellen asked for about the Krups T-O. It will not hold a 9X13 pan, but, the shelves are 10"x 12+", so if can hold the same # of square inches if you can find the right pans. It has a setting for 175 degrees, I think - and definitely one for 200. The usable interior height is 5".

I believe this is the largest higher-end real T-O with convection I saw during lots of searching. The counter-top ovens were just too massive for me, and were getting on the expensive side. The krups lists for $200, at least it did 6 months ago, and you can always find it cheaper. Though bigger than a regular T-O, it is not as bulky as the counter-top ovens, which generally seem to have a lot more height to them. And we wanted it to be a good toaster, too, which the ovens aren't (or so I heard at the time). The Krups probably doesn't have as much room in it as the counter-top ovens, but has functioned just fine for our needs. I looked at the cuisinart also, but it was quite a bit smaller, and not what we were after.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.30.2006 at 01:19 am    last updated on: 06.30.2006 at 01:19 am

RE: Toaster/convection oven that really functions like oven? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: suse17 on 02.23.2006 at 08:56 pm in Appliances Forum

Shane - You may want to look at the Krups. I believe the model number is FBC212. We were looking for the same thing you are - a good-sized toaster-oven with convection that can function like a real oven and make decent toast.

We've had the Krups for six months now, and we're very pleased with it. The toast comes out fine - not like melba toast at all. If it had a slightly darker setting, it would be even better for bagels and English muffins. As far as using it like an oven, I have roasted turkey breast, salmon filets, and vegetables in it, baked a home-made lasagna in it, broiled steaks and burger, and in general, use it as a regular or convection oven fairly often with very satisfactory results.

One of the things I like about it best is that it operates on a timer - kind of like a microwave. So, no leaving it on by mistake after pulling the food out, which happened a couple of time when DH took out the contents of our old (De Longhi) T-O. It does have an annoying ding when it goes off, but, it's a very minor annoyance. Also, the top gets very hot, but we found we can use it as a warmer for rolls and the like, and we've never burned ourselves on it.

Hope this helps.

Susan

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clipped on: 06.30.2006 at 01:16 am    last updated on: 06.30.2006 at 01:17 am

RE: Ground cover help needed (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: denisew on 04.30.2006 at 10:00 pm in Texas Gardening Forum

There are some things that will grow okay in the shade as a groundcover. Try mondo grass - it can take foot traffic. Horseherb is another good groundcover and it is native. It grows easy from seed and can even be mowed (at a tall height) to keep it at a reasonable height if needed. Cedar sage and scarlet sage will also grow in the shade and can be kept shorter and even give you a few blooms. Ivy is another good choice for the shade and doesn't need any trimming for height, but once it gets going needs to be kept in bounds, so maybe some edging in that area where you want to fill in would help - with any of the groundcovers. Also consider thinning the branches of your live oak to give the area more dappled shade rather than deep shade. I know you're further south than I am, but check out the link below and go to the plant search database to get some ideas for groundcovers in the shade. This is a database of native and drought tolerant plants for North Central Texas, but many of them do well south of here too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Smartscape

NOTES:

horseherb from seed?
clipped on: 06.29.2006 at 01:01 am    last updated on: 06.29.2006 at 01:02 am

RE: 'A Place For Everything, And Everything In Its Place' (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: talley_sue_nyc on 06.12.2006 at 11:05 am in Organizing the Home Forum

I found that often time the stuff I was moving around wasn't the clutter--it was out and about because I *used* it. The stuff that was sitting quietly, undisturbed, in the cabinets or closets or shelves--THAT was the clutter. It was taking up the storage space that the stuff-in--use should have been able to "go home" to. I call that stuff "squatters."

I once tackled this by systematically looking at everything that was "out and about," and saying, "where *should* I keep this? Where would I look, to find it? Where do I use it?" Then, I'd go look at what was in that spot--what was in that drawer, or on that shelf, etc. And say, "should I keep it? If so, where should *it* go?" If it moved, I did the same exercise--sometimes I shifted stuff 5 times until I got to the thing I could safely ditch (but there was *always* something I could safely ditch)
"

It can b e a hard task, and a bit of a puzzle, to find everything a home. But it is a VERY valuable step, and I applaud you for realizing the importance of that FIRST part of the phrase.

Maura63, we found when we were kids that, if we couldn't find something after looking high and low, it was probably put away. It got so that when we asked Mom, "have you seen my shoes?" she'd say, "have you looked where they belong?" Bingo--there they'd be!

I took care of the tape & scissors thing by getting my kids their own. They leave mine alone. Of course, I have to go into the bedroom to get them, but I can always find them, at least.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.28.2006 at 01:34 am    last updated on: 06.28.2006 at 01:34 am

Anyone make thier own range hood?

posted by: freedee on 06.24.2006 at 06:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

The prices on the range hoods that I like are outragious! I want a curvy shape like the Range Craft Boroque style. I can do any kind of finish on it. (I used to do finishing professionaly) I'm thinking of making my own. Has anyone done one? Do you know of a sight that has instuctions? I wouldn't mind using fiberglass or wiggle board. I found companies that make liners for custom wood hoods, that's not the problem. I would just feel better knowing what I need to know before I waste alot of time and money. For example, how do I make it fire resistant?

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clipped on: 06.27.2006 at 07:19 pm    last updated on: 06.27.2006 at 07:19 pm

RE: how big for a double trash pull out? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: dmlove on 06.27.2006 at 12:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

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clipped on: 06.27.2006 at 06:29 pm    last updated on: 06.27.2006 at 06:30 pm

RE: how big for a double trash pull out? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: thull on 06.27.2006 at 09:26 am in Kitchens Forum

It depends on how big of a can you want inside. Rev-a-Shelf's 5349 series comes in 15" wide and 27 qt. cans, 18" wide and 35 qt. cans, or 21" wide and 50 qt cans. Our 21" is in a 21" cabinet- you might be able to squeeze it in a smaller cabinet, but it wouldn't be a standard size.

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clipped on: 06.27.2006 at 06:24 pm    last updated on: 06.27.2006 at 06:27 pm

RE: IKEA...I went, I saw, I wasn't very impressed (Follow-Up #31)

posted by: deirdrelouisville on 06.23.2006 at 04:30 pm in Kitchens Forum

Liz-H, I think your custom guy is really jacking up the blumotion price. I am paying my custom cabinet maker $22 per drawer to upgrade from full extension side mounts to Blumotion soft close undermounts. $50 per is a huge mark up!

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clipped on: 06.23.2006 at 10:10 pm    last updated on: 06.23.2006 at 10:10 pm

RE: Switch plates--Black or Stainless? Pic of kitchen (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: finallyca on 06.13.2006 at 10:06 pm in Kitchens Forum

We have a slate backsplash and tried both black and
stainless and we were not happy with either. The black
was too strong of a contrast between the black plate and
white plugs. The stainless was OK but still didn't look great. What I did was buy very cheap black plastic
switch plates and use a paint that I found at Michaels Arts and Crafts. It is called "Fleck Stone" and it is
made by plasti-kote. I put on three layers. It looks
AND feels like stone and came very close to matching our grout. We've had lots of positive feed back about them.

Here is a link that might be useful: fleck stone switch plates

NOTES:

Great look to the switchplates in the tile
clipped on: 06.14.2006 at 01:33 pm    last updated on: 06.14.2006 at 01:34 pm