Archive for August, 2008

Nuoc Cham: Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

28 August, 2008

Just a quick post on a great Vietnamese dipping sauce, for 2-ish cups. Here is the base:

  • 5 T sugar
  • 3 T  water (1/3 cup)
  • 3 T fish sauce (1/3 cup)
  • 8 T fresh squeezed lime juice (1/2 cup)

Definitely add: 1 or more smashed cloves of garlic; 1 or more diced hot chiles;

Consider adding: minced shallot, julienned carrot; julienned cucumber; jullienned daikon, chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, or whatever may strike your fancy.

White Ghost haunts more than H-o-Y driveway

14 August, 2008

More soon.

H-o-Y “Stir Crazy” Coffee Roaster

14 August, 2008

More soon.

H-o-Y Rheostat

14 August, 2008

I made a rheostat to control the power output of my 1950’s Dulane Fryryte. More on that eventually. The rheostat will also control soldering iron outputs (stained glass work), lights (dimming), fans (speed), or anything else you might desire to plug into it. The dimmer (Lutron C-1500) is rated to 1500 watts, has huge cooling fins (it is museum grade), and I have mounted it to a four-square electrical box. To the four-square box I have mounted a two-square box, which houses a dual recepticle. I plug the fryer into the recepticle, and the dimmer into the wall. Because the fryer weighs in at 11 amps, I can only run one on a circuit, and need to keep other appliance use down to avoid tripping the 15 amp breaker.

H-O-Y Vintage Dulane Fryryte Deep Fryer.

13 August, 2008

Well, I cracked and bought a vintage 1950’s deep fryer. With “vintage” coming to mean esoteric and expensive in the parlance of our times, maybe I should say I bought a 1950’s Dulane Fryryte in relatively serviceable condition. Still, disapplying vintage does not mean I did not crack.

If you are curious about a nice blog entry about this appliance’s history by a couple who have purchased a pristine Fryryte as a “collectible,” click here and scroll down to the 1-5-05 entry. You all no doubt know that if I can’t use it, I won’t buy it. But their collection is full of stuff that can be both collectible and usable.

And if you want the practical, juicy details of mine, it is an F-4B. 120 VAC, 11.5 amps, 1320 watts. The last stat–the watts–is important, because I have made a seriously heavy-duty, wallet lightening rheostat to control mine, and invested in a remote probe thermometer to hit and maintain perfect frying temperatures.

Anyway, the fryer as acquired needed a little work. When I plugged it in at the “antique shop,” the cord caught fire and nearly set the store’s carpet aflame. Seriously!, but alas, the cord only sparked and smoked and left a black smolder mark where the cord had lain on the carpet. At least I knew up front that I would have to install a new cord. The rest looked good on a practical and aesthetic level: predictable 1950’s softened rectangular (think 1950’s toaster) shape, chrome body, drain spigot (only on the “B” models, I think), wire basket and removable handle that stores inside the wire basket (which nests inside the fryer) when not in use.

Taking the toaster apart to redo the cord presented no real problems, though I did make the inevitable faux pas of a novice by cracking the thermostat dial ring (time for some crazyglue) and forgetting to unscrew the control dial counterclockwise for removal, affording me the opportunity to break the inner tab that stopped the dial at “off” counterclockwise and at 400 degrees clockwise. I also might have flexed the felted resistor piece that the thermostat tab mounts to, which hypothetically could have allowed me to control the temp and power with a stock dial. I suspect the thermostat was long kaput and never would have worked again, which is why this gem ended up in the back room at a bargain price at that overly expensive antique shop in C-ville.

OK, rant disarmed. Whether or not the dial would have worked had I not buggered parts of that area will remain a mystery. And while it is sad that I did bugger parts, I still have a usable fryer that simply shows its age now. I decided to test it, and when I did, I discovered that the fryer has two settings that operate concurrently once you plug it in: always on, and always heating at maximum, even when the oil temperature surpasses 400 degrees were I to let it (can you say smoke point? can you say flash point?!?). To control the temperature for this test, I had to periodically unplug, then plug in the machine to regulate the heat (really just the application of it) and, after my test, walked away sated with enough tasty french fries and shrimp tempura determined to add some control to my fryer. I chose to make a rheostat, which is for another post.

It is claimed in The Joy of Cooking that if the oil is at the right temperature, the food picks up or absorbs very little oil. I found this to be the case on my trial run. A batch of shoestring fries, a batch of standard fries, and about 20 shrimp (30-ish count) fed three people and, upon draining the fryer, very little oil (about 2.5T, and that was with me spilling some). Granted, if you don’t use a heavy breading, or omit breading all together, you will use very, very little oil. Try it, it’s true. I opt out of degrading the joys of eating fried food by mentioning the potential deleterious effects of eating them (the foods, not the joy).

Pictures soon.

Achtung! Caution! Alarm! Cuidado!: One thing, if you get an old fryer and decide to test it (and clean it) by boiling water in it via its own power, know that you can shock yourself if you fill the water too high. Yeah, yeah, I know this because I overfilled mine and zapped myself, first when touching the lid and, after scratching my head and wondering whether I imagined getting shocked after my nice (ghetto extension cord) wiring job, the basket handle. I shut her down and decided oil at the fill line was a superior, and safer, way to test this lovely deep frying wonder.