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Maxwell Johnson "Cook, musician and teacher" RSS Feed (Orlando,, FL, USA)
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Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother
Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother
Price: $129.95
20 used & new from $110.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little machine IF you follow the instructions, April 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this machine because the steamer wand on my Rancilio Silvia is nasty to clean and doesn't do a terribly good job of steaming milk unless you know exactly how to use it. After multiple failed attempts to show my beloved how to do it, I gave up and ordered the Breville.

The milk frother arrived nicely and securely packed. Upon inspection, the materials and build quality appeared excellent. Breville is fond of encasing their products in brushed stainless steel and the frother is no exception. I have not opened the base but if the quality on the inside is equal to the quality on the outside, the machine is very well made, indeed.

The milk jug is stainless steel with a sturdy black handle and a clear polycarbonate lid that incorporates a small measuring cup that can be used to add powdered or liquid ingredients. Protruding up from the bottom of the jug is a small cylinder on which one or the other of the frothing disks is mounted. The disk drops easily onto the cylinder but must be pressed down firmly until it clicks into place. Once it is properly positioned, the disk will rotate freely. There is a bit of wobble when rotated by hand. This is normal. On the front of the base is a rotary knob with a calibrated temperature scale. The knob acts as the power switch when pressed. A blue ring on the periphery of the knob shows the power state of the machine, solid when ready, blinking while running, off when finished. On the back of the base is an indentation for magnetic storage of the disk that is not in use. See CONS, below.

After a quick read of the instruction manual, I inserted the latte disk, poured in some cold 2% milk, set the temperature to 160 degrees and pressed the knob. The milk began to swirl slowly, then picked up speed, creating a little vortex in the center of the jug. After about five minutes, the machine stopped. I poured the milk into a latte cup, noting that it was smooth and creamy with just a bit of finely textured foam on top. It was not quite hot enough but I remedied that in future batches by rotating the knob clockwise to turn up the thermostat. See CONs. The jug washes easily. Because there are no moving parts except the disk, which is easily removed, cleanup takes just seconds. The base requires only a quick wipe with a damp cloth.

After belting down the latte, I replaced the latte disk with the cappucino disk and started again. This time, the frother produced thick, rich foam perfect for my waiting cup of cap.

Subsequent uses showed the machine to be capable of delivering consistent results, whether making lattes, caps, hot chocolate or warm milk.

PROS
Excellent material and build quality.
Induction heating produces no hot spots on the bottom of the jug..
Magnetic drive means no penetrations of the jug to cause cleaning or leakage problems.
Quick and easy to clean
Quiet operation
Does not require constant attention like a steaming wand.

CONS
Temperature markings on the bezel are inaccurate. Setting to 160 degrees yielded milk at about 150. Not a real problem, just turn the knob up a bit.
Magnetic disk holder is a clever idea except that the magnet in the base is activated only when the frother is plugged in. Pull the plug and the disk falls to the counter. Of course, the very time you are most likely to lose a disk is when the machine is moved so this is dumb, dumb, dumb.
Steamed milk from this machine will not evidence all the sweetness of milk steamed conventionally. The hot steam pipe does a better job of converting the lactose in the milk to glucose than does the induction heater.

NOTES
Read...and...follow...the...instructions...
Be sure the jug is dry on the outside before you insert it into the base.
Be sure the milk is cold. Not cool. Cold.
Press the disk down on the post until it snaps into place, then check for easy rotation.
Let the jug cool or rinse it with cool water between batches.
Use the correct amount of milk as shown by the marking on the inside of the jug.

CONCLUSIONS
The machine appears well built and reliable.
Results are consistently reproducible.
The directions are simple but must be followed carefully.
You will trade a little flavor for increased convenience if you use the frother rather than a steam wand.
Breville needs to use a little rare earth magnet in the disk holder.


Anker® USB 3.0 7-Port Hub with 1 BC 1.2 Charging Port up to 5V 1.5A, 12V 3A Power Adapter Included [VIA VL812-B2 Chipset]
Anker® USB 3.0 7-Port Hub with 1 BC 1.2 Charging Port up to 5V 1.5A, 12V 3A Power Adapter Included [VIA VL812-B2 Chipset]
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: $75.99
3 used & new from $28.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A good, inexpensive product, February 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There isn't much to say about this hub except that it works beautifully and just as described. Open the box, plug in in, good to go.


TP-LINK TL-SG1024D  10/100/1000Mbps 24-Port Gigabit 13-inch Rackmountable Switch, 48Gbps Capacity
TP-LINK TL-SG1024D 10/100/1000Mbps 24-Port Gigabit 13-inch Rackmountable Switch, 48Gbps Capacity
Price: Click here to see our price
76 used & new from $89.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well built and operates perfectly, November 21, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This device has excellent materials and build quality. It performs exactly as described and runs perfectly at 1000Mbps. For anyone with the knowledge to understand what this device does, installation is a snap. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a low-cost passive device of this type.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars It does the job perfectly, March 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not much to say about a cooking grill. This size fits the medium egg. It works just as it is intended to work, which is to say very, very well. As with all things from Big Green Egg, it is well made of substantial steel, has a perfect porcelain finish, and is way overpriced.

Seriously, with regard to the cost, this is just what high quality goes for. I'm guessing that if you can afford the egg, you can afford this grid.


Leica V-LUX 3 Outdoor Case 018-757
Leica V-LUX 3 Outdoor Case 018-757

4.0 out of 5 stars A tight fit for your Leica, March 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an attractive case. As with all things Leica, it is beautifully made of substantial materials. Be aware that the fabric appears to be heavy cotton rather than nylon or the other materials of which camera cases are usually made. Very retro in that regard.

The V-Lux 3 or V-lux 4 (same size) fit in the case, but just barely. You'll find yourself having to fold and tuck the strap--yes, even the little skinny Leica strap--into the case along with the camera. This is understandable since much of the raison d'etre for compact cameras is to keep them small and light.

Very good quality and very Leica but not quite five stars.


Roland Mini Puff Pastry Bouchee Assortment, 96 Count
Roland Mini Puff Pastry Bouchee Assortment, 96 Count

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small and not too well packed for shipment, March 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First the good stuff.
1 These pastries are tasty and crisp.
2 They have a very nice flavor that is not at all "commercial" tasting.

Now the not-so-good.
1. Be aware that these are VERY small. So small, in fact, that it would be a squeeze to fit a maraschino cherry into one of them. If you order, know that you will not be able to put much more than a half teaspoon of filling into them.
2. They come packed very neatly in a lightweight cardboard box. Alas, fully 25% of the ones I received were broken. Being puff pastry, they don't just crack or chip a little; they dissolve into flakes and crumbs. Puff pastry is, by nature, fragile so I expected some damage but certainly not that much. Whether this was the fault of the manufacturer's packing, or Amazon's packing, or the carrier's handling, I do not know. There was no external evidence that the box had been squeezed, crushed, or dropped.

In summary, these will work well for you if you intend to serve only tiny portions and if you are willing to tolerate a high breakage rate.


24mm Bandoleer 316L Straight End Stainless Steel Watch Band Divers Extension Clasp
24mm Bandoleer 316L Straight End Stainless Steel Watch Band Divers Extension Clasp
Offered by Strapcode
Price: $174.30

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An industrial-strength band, for sure, March 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered this band to replace the neoprene band that came on a large dive watch I recently acquired. I'm very well pleased with it but there are things you need to know.

1. The build quality is superb, as is fit and finish. It is at least as good as my Omega steel band and far better than a Rolex band. I can't imagine that either the clasp or the wet suit extension will ever open by accident.
2. The vendor met the scheduled delivery time but deliver is not fast. Don't be in a hurry.
3. This thing is BIG. In contrast to most others, it does not taper at all from the lugs to the clasp. If your watch is not oversize, it is going to look silly on this band. I am big and tall so the watch and band look good on my wrist. If you are a small individual, it probably is going to look too large.
4. It is also HEAVY. If you really like titanium watches because you don't feel them on your wrist, this band may not be for you,especially when attached to a dive watch, most of which are also heavy.

In summary, I am quite happy with the Bandoleer band. Subject to my caveats, above, I think you will be, too.


Camp Chef True Seasoned  Cast Iron Pie Pan 10" CIPIE10
Camp Chef True Seasoned Cast Iron Pie Pan 10" CIPIE10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality control may have improved, March 1, 2013
I bought my first pie pan elsewhere a few months ago. Wanted two, they only had one. I came here today to find a second one.

I was sorry to read Gary's story of a poorly made pan. That is always frustrating. However, quality control may have improved since his bad experience because mine is as nicely cast and finished as any of my several Lodge pieces. Of course, it could have been NOS. If the new one replicates Gary's, right back it will go.

As to a review of performance, cast iron is the only way to fly. I'm a graduate of one of the best known culinary schools in America, thus have made a lot of pies. I've never had as much crust-success with an aluminum, sheet steel, or glass pan as with this one.

Two cautionary notes: First, keep in mind that this pan is a lot larger than the 8" and 9" pans that most people use. Make a recipe for a 9" pan and bake it in this one and you won't have a pie, you'll have a pancake. Second, never, never wash it with soap or (God forbid!) put it in the dishwasher. A simple soak in hot water followed by the application of a plastic scrubber will be all you need if your pan is properly seasoned. Even baked-on blueberry filling will come right off. Afterward, it is a good idea to place it on a warm burner--or in your oven if it is still warm--for a few minutes after washing.

OK, now to order. If I get a bad one like Gary did, I'll let you know.


Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story
Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story
by Evan I. Schwartz
Edition: Hardcover
35 used & new from $4.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating little book, July 19, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a quick, fun read. It offers numerous insights into the history of Baum's life and his creation of the Oz series of books and stories as well as an exploration of the motivations that shaped his work. No shocking revelations are blazing new insights, just lots of interesting tidbits. I'm not sure it is quite so profound as the publisher's blurbs make it sound but it certainly is well enough written and interesting enough to fill a rainy weekend afternoon.

Highly recommended for lovers of the Wizard of Oz and Baum's other, less known works.


Kyocera Revolution Series 6-Inch Nakiri Vegetable Cleaver, Black Blade
Kyocera Revolution Series 6-Inch Nakiri Vegetable Cleaver, Black Blade
Price: $76.72
15 used & new from $64.85

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, how I wish they would not call this a cleaver..., June 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Whoever named these knives Chinese or Asian cleavers--or even vegetable cleavers--did the world a profound disservice. The minute some folks get their hands on a "cleaver" they try to hack through a steer's shin bone with it. End of knife.

A cleaver is a heavy butcher's tool made for hacking, more of a hatchet than a knife. This is a Chinese-style all purpose knife. In some Chinese kitchens, this may be the only knife you find. It is made for cutting vegetables and meat without bones. That is all it is made for except that the wide blade makes it easy to scoop up whatever it is that you have just rent into little pieces.

This one is ceramic. It is very sharp. It will stay very sharp for years if not mistreated. The blade is a bit narrower than most steel Chinese knives but plenty wide enough to scrape up your garlic and celery. Cut only on a wooden or plastic block. Do not hack or pry. Do not try to resharpen it yourself. Pack it back to Kyocera and they'll put a new edge on it and get it back to you quickly at no charge.

One other thing. Do not try to crush garlic by laying the blade over a clove and smacking it with the heel of your hand. You are likely to end up with a broken blade and shards of very hard ceramic embedded in your flesh. It is much tougher than glass but if you think of it as glass you'll take better care of it.

This truly is a superb knife. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine. Good cooking to you!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 8, 2014 1:31 PM PDT


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