Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Forum of the Three Squeezers

The title of this post has nothing to do with the former New York restaurant, The Forum of the Twelve Caesars. It's just a play on words that amuses me. Instead, this is a loose, product  comparative review of three citrus juicers, one ancient manual and two shiny electric models.

We'll begin with the manual, lever action squeezer; Old Faithful. Fuel: muscle power. I bought this cheaply at a moving sale some years ago.


The lever-action, manual juicer is reasonably fast and effective, although larger orange half shells frequently lodge in the upper cup and must be dislodged with a knife blade. It isn't difficult, but it slows down the production flow. The lever/handle becomes slippery and I try, fruitlessly, to keep it wiped dry with a paper towel. When squeezing large quantities, the strainer and cone need to be emptied of excess pulp and seeds, or it may clog, then overflow.

I must have been in an enchanted spell when I sought an electric juicer, one that I hoped would be faster and require less energy input than the manual juicer.

I fell into the clutches of amazon.com.mx and in a moment of heedless impulse, purchased the cute little Oster citrus juicer. (below)

 
Oster does make juice! While it lives.

This I regard as more of a toy than a serious kitchen appliance. Oh, stoopid me.

These are its good features:
  1. It's cute and looks good on the counter top.
  2. It's easy to assemble, disassemble and to clean.
  3. There are two ways of capturing the juice output; a retaining receptacle or a continuous flow spout. I think it's foolish to use the retaining receptacle.
  4. The receptacle has graduated markings, for those who want to know how much juice was made. Why?!?

Here's the bad things about it:
  1. It's slow. Very slow
  2. Almost as much or more muscle power, compared to Old Faithful, is required to press the orange half against the juicing cone.
  3. If you carelessly use the retaining receptacle, it can overflow.
  4. My machine died in less than two weeks after I received it. I was juicing 3 kilos of oranges, and the machine was doing fine until the last half orange, when it suddenly and silently died. Now, maybe I'm to blame, for tasking such a toy juicer with a commercial quantity of oranges. But the instruction sheet had not given any advisory as to limits.
Moving ahead now into deeper realms of impulse shopping. I'd read positive reviews of this Cuisinart Pulp Control Citrus Juicer made by the respected company that made my food processors, and other quality kitchen tools. I saw it at Bed Bath & Beyond in Morelia. I was enthralled, and swept it off the shelf into my shopping cart, heedless of its high price. At least it wasn't an online purchase that had delivery challenges.
It looks much more serious than the Oster. It looks positively ecclesiastical.

I've juiced with the Cuisinart several times, and it seems superior to the Oster. It hasn't yet died under the loads with which I task it.

Here are some advantages:
  1. No retaining receptacle. It's simpler without that less than useful feature.
  2. The motor reverses the direction of the juicing cone when you lift the fruit for a moment. This action aids complete juicing. See #3.
  3. It really, really gets every drop of juice out of the fruit, if used properly. This is its best feature.
  4. There is a supposedly adjustable pulp strainer, but I've not yet learned how to use it. See YouTube video, below.
  5. Easy assembly, disassembly and cleaning.
  6. Looks good, not cute, but more distinguished and stately than the Oster.
  7. Juice output is good, but almost creamy with pulp. Unless you dislike pulp, it's unnecessary to strain the juice.
These are the negatives:
  1. Considerable force must be applied to the fruit half to start the juicing.
  2. Slow output. Slow motor, I suppose for consumer safety. At least half the output speed of the manual juicer.
  3. Sometimes makes loud, rattling noises.
  4. Sometimes the juicing cone spins without any fruit on it, spraying pulp bits about.
  5. It's a good idea to clean out the strainer at intervals if juicing. Easy enough as there are no nuts, screws, bolts or latches in its construction. (A negative reference to my Turmix Juice Extractor, a very different machine for a different purpose.) 
I can optimize my use of the Cuisinart Juicer by, ah, reading the effing manual, and even better, watching the highly instructive video below.
Note the rocking motion of her hand while holding the citrus half. That action yields the most juice.
Also note the use of the clear plastic dome to extract any juice remaining in the pulp.
Another nuance is the electric cord storage receptacle. (I know, not a biggie.)


I am delighted to have found this video. It gives me hope that I can progress in getting the most from my Cuisinart Pulp Control Citrus Juicer.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dining in Malinalco: Las Palomas


Las Palomas was the second restaurant recommended by our hostesses at Casa Navacoyan. The service was acceptable and the food decent, but with a tendency to heaviness.

The menu is extensive, with cheese a common element in very many dishes.



The entrance is on a street currently closed to vehicular traffic but easily traversed on foot. Just inside, up a gentle slope, is a covered dining area. To the rear there's a partially covered patio area. We chose to sit in the front due to flies in the open patio.

Our waiter brought us some dips and chips to munch on while we decided what to order. The nearer salsa was interesting for the fruit in the blend. The frijoles were a heavy paste.



I started with a Crema Fría de Aguacate. It was very smooth, soothing and mild.



Sra. Cuevas had an Ensalada de Espinacas y Peras con Queso de Cabra vinaigreta balsámica. That was very nice, although I was surprised to see that the pears were cooked and seasoned.


I was intrigued by a Tamal Envuelto de Acelgas Relleno de Champiñones con Mole.

But when I tasted it, it was too heavy and the dominant brown color did not add to its appeal. I wouldn't order it again.


This next photo is an unidentified mystery, and appears to be pechuga de pollo con mole, but strangely, I don't have any notes on it and can't definitively identify it. Could it be a Chile Jaral of some sort? It must have been eaten by my wife.


For dessert, I ordered a Crema Catalana, but the waiter returned to say that "se terminó". Not available. That was moments after guests at another table received one, with a glorious topping of golden spun sugar. I suspect that making two in close succession was onerous to the kitchen staff.

So, instead, I had a deconstructed Tarta de Manzana, which despite its somewhat disheveled look, was all buttery goodness.



RATINGS
Food: 7

Service: 7

Ambiance: Tranquilo

Cost: Sorry, I didn't photograph the check, but I do recall my surprise that the total was more than that at Los Placeres. I'd had a half bottle of a semi-dulce white Rioja wine which increased the total check.

Web: http://www.malinalco.mx/place/restaurante-bar-las-palomas/

Contact:
Dirección Restaurante- Bar Las Palomas :
Guerrero 104, Barrio de Santa Mónica Malinalco, México

Sitio web Visita el Restaurante- Bar Las Palomas (No se encontró)

Horario : Martes -Jueves 11:00 a. m.a 6:00 p. m. Viernes y Sábado 11:00 a. m. a 10:00 p. m. Domingo: 9:00 a. m. a 8:00 p. m.

Telefono: 01.714.147.0122