Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop




Sous Vide at Home Setup Guide Available on Cooking For Engineers

Posted 19 January, 2011 at 8:31pm by Michael Chu

Cooking sous vide at home is something I do about once a week. It's a fun cooking technique that can produce amazing results, especially with proteins. I've tried a lot of different, easy to put together, sous vide cooking setups and personally prefer the large rice cooker with PID controller solution. It's what I use most of the time, and it's given me great results. For people just starting out in sous vide cooking or who want to learn more about how to go about doing it at home, I wrote up a guide to various ways you can do it at home starting with the lowest cost solutions to the expensive immersion circulators.

Sous vide at home guide
Rice cooker and PID controller

Cooking For Engineers is a finalist in the Whole Foods Market Budget Recipe Challenge!

Posted 1 October, 2008 at 11:37am by Michael Chu

A month ago, I was asked to submit a budget ($4 per serving or less) recipe or meal to the Whole Foods Market Budget Recipe Challenge. At first I wasn't going to do it since it would take me some time (that I didn't think I had) to pull together a recipe for them. A few days later, I decided to do it anyway and threw together a summary of three recipes (Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms, Braised Brussels Sprouts, and Capellini Aglio e Olio) that I would eat as a complete meal.

Last week, I found out that I was one of six finalists. Whole Foods also ran a bio Q&A on me if you're interested.

Liquid Cascade

Posted 23 July, 2008 at 10:47am by Michael Chu

I've always used the dry powdered dishwashing detergent. It just seemed more economical and easier (since I didn't have to keep making trips to buy more because each box of the powdered stuff holds more loads than a typical bottle of liquid). So, I've never actually tried the liquid dishwashing detergent until now. I got a bottle of Liquid Cascade and I really like it. We run the dishwasher fairly often (especially when I'm preparing something for an article on Cooking For Engineers or just testing recipes) and sometimes when I'm in a hurry and the box if full, it's easy to spill some of the powdered stuff onto the ground (got to make sure your hands are dry before you try to pick up powdered detergent!). But the liquid stuff seems so easy to pour and control quantity - just squeeze until the right amount is in the cup and you're done! The powdered stuff is a bit harder to control the flow of. This seems like a silly reason to switch, but after running a couple dozen loads with liquid, I'm seriously contemplating sticking with the Liquid Cascade for my dishwashing needs from now on. Also, I noticed that I don't seem to need a rinse aid anymore - the Cascade seems to rinse of by itself really well even though we've got hard water.


What's Inside An Avocado Pit?

Posted 25 June, 2008 at 1:13pm by Michael Chu

While prepping the photos for a Guacamole recipe, I removed the pits from four avocados. It was at this time that I began to wonder what was inside the pit. Was there a nut inside this over sized seed like the pit of a peach, almond, or cashew?


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What's Inside An Avocado Pit?

A glimpse at an upcoming article - Baby Back Ribs

Posted 16 May, 2008 at 3:52pm by Michael Chu

I haven't talked much about the preparation of articles for Cooking For Engineers in the past, but I thought this might be of interest to some. Here's a photograph of one of the setups that I used in preparing baby back ribs for smoking. This setup was for a shot demonstrating the removal of the tough membrane found on the back of the rib bones.

The final shot selected for the article:

One CFE reader's view of fatty foods and recreational activities

Posted 21 November, 2007 at 12:11pm by Michael Chu

Occasionally, I get inappropriate comments posted to Cooking For Engineers. This is one I found this morning that isn't really inappropriate, but I didn't feel belonged on the site. I rarely remove posts… usually only spam. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not going to remove it since I've left far more offensive comments (people cussing about my use of canned cream of mushroom soup, etc.) on the site in the interest of promoting open discourse. Anyway, this was posted to the "oh-so-contentious" Oven Baked Chicken and Rice article.

Subject: fat tastes good!
doesnt matter what we eat, it's all about proportions and in moderation.
we all know 'fat' tastes good! ;)

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One CFE reader's view of fatty foods and recreational activities

Adobe Software Needed…

Posted 14 November, 2007 at 10:53pm by Michael Chu

So, I've been seriously contemplating getting started on the fabled Cooking For Engineers cookbook. With the limited amount of free time I have while working on Fanpop, Cooking For Engineers, and other projects, I imagine the project will take about a year to complete. I plan on doing design, layout, and writing myself so it has the same feel as the website (and hopefully higher quality).

I've worked with Adobe software extensively in the past, but over the years I haven't spent any money on upgrades. My only software that is up to date is currently Lightroom for managing my photography workflow. I have a copy of PageMaker 7, but I'm hoping that I won't have to use that to layout an entire book. I've been playing around with the trial version of Adobe InDesign CS3 and I find it quite usable and familiar (I've used FrameMaker extensively and some PageMaker and Illustrator). What I really need is a copy of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Standard and I was wondering if anyone who works at Adobe could possibly get me a discount. You'll get an acknowledgment in the book - I promise…

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Adobe Software Needed…

New Yorkers - J.A. Henckels is having a warehouse sale in Hawthorne, NY

Posted 8 November, 2007 at 12:35pm by Michael Chu

henckels.gifJohn from J.A. Henckels wrote in to let me know about their annual sale at their warehouse in Hawthorne, New York (171 Saw Mill Rd., Hawthorne, NY 10532 - Google Maps). This could be a great opportunity for people looking for Holiday gifts. The sale runs on the weekends (Friday - Sunday) from Nov. 16, 2007 to Dec. 2, 2007.

More information can be found here.

Cook with Dave Lieberman!

Posted 26 October, 2007 at 2:58pm by Michael Chu

This just in (from Paige of Tools of the Trade):

As a lover and communicator of all things food related, I thought you might be interested in this contest from Tools of the Trade.

We are offering US residents 18 and older a chance to cook side-by-side with celebrity chef and cookbook author Dave Lieberman.

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Cook with Dave Lieberman!

A few quickies

Posted 8 October, 2007 at 7:04pm by Michael Chu

A couple items that I came in my e-mail:
Vote for Joy of Cooking as Book of the Year

Just as Hollywood has the Oscars, TV the Emmys and Broadway the Tonys, the publishing world has the Quill Awards. The Quills celebrate the best adult and children's books in 19 popular categories, ranging from cookbooks to biography and children’s books to general fiction. The Quills Selection Committee for these 19 categories chose books that have received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and have held a position on the Publishers Weekly Bestseller List.

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A few quickies