Sunday, February 24, 2019

Pot Scrubbing Alternatives

I recently read a post online about a magical way to clean a scorched pan, and so I had to figure out if it would work or not.   My friend Paula, a chemist, said there was scientific merit for it, saying " The quat surfactants used as fabric softener have an affinity for the carbonized food particles. The amphoteric surfactant commonly used in most dish liquids attenuates the cationic quat."  Huh??? I'll have to trust her.  I've forgotten most of the chemistry I ever learned.  She is a smart lady!    I have tried the other two alternatives, baking soda and Bar Keepers Friend and have not been pleased with the results in the past, but thought I'd add them to the experiment.  I had more hope for Bar Keeper's Friend, because it's pH is 2.1 (which is fairly acidic) vs the mildly alkaline baking soda, which has a pH of about 9.   I was at Whole Foods the other day when a hipster dude gave me a sample of "alkaline water" which was supposed to do something magical when I drank it.   It's pH was about 8.1.   I am still waiting for the magic to happen. 

The subjects were my much abused sheet pans, I used them as the subject a few years ago when I myth busted  other popular internet pan cleaning theories.  I came to the conclusion that the only thing that really works is steel wool, which is always a solid choice, but I can't stand the way it feels in my hand.   I completely adore Norwex Spirinett  for scrubbing.    So I decided to use that as my scrubber just to see what works best. 

I made a paste out of the baking soda and the Bar Keepers friend using hot water and smeared it on. For the Dawn/dryer sheet one, I put a couple drops of dish soap and added hot water and the dryer sheet.   I set the timer for 1 hour....

After a minimal amount of scrubbing with the Spirinett, I think that the dryer sheet/dish soap is the clear winner.   That pan was the worst to start with!  Bar Keepers friend was okay, not great.   And baking soda just took way too much product to do the minimal.  My paste required 1/4 of a box for half the pan.     In the future, I will go with the dryer sheet plan and more elbow grease!

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Rooster's Famous Firecrackers

Originally developed at Roosters, a gourmet take-out, cookware  shop, and cooking school in Greensboro, North Carolina, food scientist and best-selling cookbook author Shirley Corriher wrote about this snack and I had to try it for myself.   Perfect for wine or a party, also nice with soup.  They are fantastic!  Make as spicy as you dare...

Rooster's Famous Firecrackers
1 sleeve saltines
1 teaspoon salt free seasoning  (I like Mrs Dash Extra Spicy
hot pepper flakes
10 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated fine 

Arrange a rack in the center and preheat oven to 475ºF.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum and arrange crackers (about 40) in rows so that crackers are touching each other. Sprinkle seasoning over crackers, then sprinkle with as many pepper flakes as you think you might like. Finally, top evenly with grated cheese. Bake for 1 minute only. Turn the oven off, don't open the door.  Leave in the oven overnight.

The next morning, crack them into snack size pieces

So delicious!  Perfect Super Bowl snack.