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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine at Home" (Part 1)

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#1 Chris Hennes

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 06:26 PM

We've been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Modernist Cuisine at Home since it was announced... copies started arriving today, so it's time to start cooking.

My mom's in town for the weekend and wants to try the Apple Cream Pie: it's pretty straightforward, but I do have a question about the Granny Smith apple juice. Lacking a juicer, I have to make the juice the hard way; should I be doing this cold, or can I use one of the juicing techniques that heats the apples?

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#2 Mjx

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 01:55 AM

The flavour will change a bit if it's heated, although that may be worth it if it makes the process easier (since it's going to be heated anyway), but couldn't you just grate the fresh apples (in a food processor, possibly), then press the hell out of them in a chinois or something? It should be pretty quick, unless masses of apples are involved

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#3 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:07 AM

That's my plan: in this case it doesn't ever get heated (I don't think). I bought a lot more apples than I think I should need, so I should be good to go.

Another question: I made the browned butter as detailed in the KM p. 37, with 30g of milk solids and 100g of clarified butter...

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Those milk solids look a bit dark to me. Do you think I should have another go at it and pressure-cook for less time? My cooker is huge (it's a pressure canner) so it takes a long time to get up to temp and to cool down, so I was thinking maybe it overcooked the solids during that extra time. Then again, maybe it's just fine...

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#4 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:39 AM

Moving on to the "Sous vide vanilla-cinnamon pastry cream" (KM p. 180): step one has you preheat a water bath, but steps 2-4 have you heat the ingredients on the stove and then refrigerate for two hours. Is this preheating step just to get ready for the egg yolks that are cooked in step 6?

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#5 rotuts

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:53 AM

very much looking forward to this thread. thanks also for starting 'early' with such detail.

#6 chefmd

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 09:40 AM

I don't have the book yet. Will probably buy a little later when the price drops. Latest Food and Wine issue wrote about quick aging steak per MCaH instructions. Three days marinating with fish sauce followed by three days hanging in the fridge wrapped in cheesecloth. Steak tasted OK. There was some fishy smell initially that gradually dissipated as we were eating (or may be we got used to it) but not the best steak that I cooked or tasted. May be I should have rinsed fish sauce after marinating. People with the book: what does the recipe say about rinsing?

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#7 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:05 AM

Flaky pie crust (continued)...

So the pie crust for this apple cream tart is made with half regular butter and half the super-intense browned butter I described above. I tasted the browned butter and it was fine (well, great, actually) so I guess it wasn't overcooked as I had worried. I went ahead and cooked the egg yolks sous vide to prevent shrinkage (an optional step in the recipe):

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Then the flour, almond meal, powdered sugar, salt, baking soda, and butters are combined with the yolks to make a dough:

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This is pressed out and refrigerated:

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It tastes fantastic, incidentally. The browned butter flavor is incredibly intense.

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#8 rotuts

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:33 AM

this is very interesting. I was not able to make many things from the Larger Tomes ( equip., odd stuff., etc)

this so far looks very very do-able.

thanks again for wetting our appetites!

PS is the 'browned butter' you are using just the supernate or a combination of solids and supernate?

Edited by rotuts, 29 September 2012 - 10:35 AM.


#9 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:38 AM

I don't have the book yet. Will probably buy a little later when the price drops. Latest Food and Wine issue wrote about quick aging steak per MCaH instructions. Three days marinating with fish sauce followed by three days hanging in the fridge wrapped in cheesecloth. Steak tasted OK. There was some fishy smell initially that gradually dissipated as we were eating (or may be we got used to it) but not the best steak that I cooked or tasted. May be I should have rinsed fish sauce after marinating. People with the book: what does the recipe say about rinsing?

The steak aging discussion is just a couple sentences as part of a larger discussion of beef: there isn't any further detailed information in MCaH.

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#10 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:39 AM

PS is the 'browned butter' you are using just the supernate or a combination of solids and supernate?

The solids are strained out.

I'm pretty sure that I can make almost 100% of the recipes in the book with the equipment I already own (e.g. no rotovap, centrifuge, spray-drier, etc.)

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#11 rotuts

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:41 AM

that's very good to hear. thanks continue ...

#12 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 12:51 PM

Pie crust has never been my forte: this recipe was no exception. Precooking the egg yolks to prevent it from shrinking was handy, but could not resist my powers of pie crust destruction. I think it's mostly salvageable, but I'm glad I don't have to serve it at a dinner party just yet. On the plus side, the sous vide custard worked flawlessly and tastes great.

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#13 Merkinz

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 01:01 PM

Thanks for all the details, very interesting to hear.

I also have the power to destroy any pie crust that comes within 10 meters of my presence, so you're not alone!

#14 rotuts

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 01:34 PM

:smile:

#15 Mjx

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 02:05 PM

Pie crust has never been my forte: this recipe was no exception. Precooking the egg yolks to prevent it from shrinking was handy, but could not resist my powers of pie crust destruction. I think it's mostly salvageable, but I'm glad I don't have to serve it at a dinner party just yet. On the plus side, the sous vide custard worked flawlessly and tastes great.

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Tangentially, pie crust is not my forte, either, but I've had excellent results with the CI recipe for pie crust that replaces a part of the water with vodka; at the risk of being tedious (not many things are more tedious than yet another suggestion for something that consistently crashes and burns on you, but...) have you had any luck with that one?

The custard does look good.

I'm a curious: how much does a sous vide rig figure into the MCaH recipes? I have $250 in amazon gift certificates and have been wavering on what to get, and this is looking increasingly attractive... but I don't have a sous vide rig. Yet.

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#16 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 02:08 PM

Tangentially, pie crust is not my forte, either, but I've had excellent results with the CI recipe for pie crust that replaces a part of the water with vodka; at the risk of being tedious (not many things are more tedious than yet another suggestion for something that consistently crashes and burns on you, but...) have you had any luck with that one?

Yes, but it's a completely different style of crust from this one. And this one tastes better :smile:.

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#17 Tri2Cook

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 03:00 PM

I'm still jealous about that SideKIC Chris. Amazon won't ship it to Canada. I contacted ICAkitchen directly, they can't sell it in Canada yet due to needed regulatory approvals. He said it almost definitely won't happen before the end of the year. Disappointing but that's the way it is. The pie sounds really tasty. I've done brown butter crusts but I'm sure they weren't the same critter as what the MC guys came up with. They didn't involve sous vide equipment. I'm going to get those books one of these years...
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#18 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 05:25 PM

Tri2Cook, I'd say the two major "Modernist" contributions to the pie crust are the use of the intensified brown butter (via the inclusion of extra milk solids in the browning process) and the use of pre-cooked egg yolks to prevent contraction of the crust. Otherwise it's a pretty normal short dough.

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#19 Twyst

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:38 AM

Those milk solids look a bit dark to me. Do you think I should have another go at it and pressure-cook for less time? My cooker is huge (it's a pressure canner) so it takes a long time to get up to temp and to cool down, so I was thinking maybe it overcooked the solids during that extra time. Then again, maybe it's just fine...

I think they should be fine. Thats about the level we take it to at work, and like you the first few times I saw it done I thought they had burned it :p

#20 Twyst

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:43 AM

I'm a curious: how much does a sous vide rig figure into the MCaH recipes? I have $250 in amazon gift certificates and have been wavering on what to get, and this is looking increasingly attractive... but I don't have a sous vide rig. Yet.

I think a sous vide setup and a pressure cooker are going to be mandatory if you really want to get the most out of this book. Almost all of the recipes Ive looked at thus far use one or the other.

Edited by Twyst, 30 September 2012 - 04:46 AM.


#21 Chris Hennes

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 09:05 AM

Apple Cream Pie (continued)

This morning I assembled (and ate) the Apple Cream pie. Last night we made the apple foam, which then sat in the fridge overnight.

Will it blend?
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Strained:
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After overnight refrigeration, dispensed onto the pie (whose crust did not appreciate being extracted from the tart pan):
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I was a little surprised at the stability of the foam after slicing. I figured it would run some, but it actually stayed quite neat:
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Overall, the taste was good, in particular the combination of the apple foam, vanilla custard, and brown-butter crust. The general consensus was that next time I should double or even triple the amount of apple foam, which gives a great apple punch as you first take a bite, but is too quickly lost to the custard. I also thought that I should have used fresher cinnamon (and probably actually canela as I'm sure the recipe intended... all I had on hand was some Rancho Gordo Mexican true cinnamon, which is not as intense). Still, everything worked well, and with some tweaking this is a winner.

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#22 ElsieD

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:40 AM

This is really interesting, Chris. I have the book on my Christmas wish list and so am enjoying this thread.

#23 Phaz

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:10 PM

Has anyone who's already gotten the book looked at the chicken wings chapter? I was hoping my copy came in before next weeks game (Broncos vs Pats) but it looks like I might miss that by a few days. I'm curious what their general process for perfect buffalo wings is.

#24 Chris Hennes

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 05:08 PM

They don't show a single "perfect" process: there are several different techniques they use to achieve different sorts of results. One is boneless, one is skinless, one is more like the traditional. The specially engineer the "traditional" sauce to be low water content so it doesn't make the wings soggy.

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#25 mkayahara

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:30 AM

Pie looks great, Chris. How is the foam done?
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#26 Chris Hennes

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 06:01 AM

Fresh apple juice and gelatin, mostly (some lime juice, sugar, and salt as well): chilled for four hours and then dispensed from a thermowhip. It held its shape for about a half hour before deflating, so it has to be a last-minute addition to the pie before serving.

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#27 KennethT

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:31 AM

If you kept the pie refrigerated, would the foam still deflate? I'd imagine it deflated at room temp as the gelatin lost its structure. Do they talk about other hydrocolloids in the book, or is their discussion limited to the main, easily obtainable ones? (gelatin, agar, etc.)

#28 Chris Hennes

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:40 AM

If you kept the pie refrigerated, would the foam still deflate? I'd imagine it deflated at room temp as the gelatin lost its structure. Do they talk about other hydrocolloids in the book, or is their discussion limited to the main, easily obtainable ones? (gelatin, agar, etc.)

"Discussion" is not quite right: this is not Modernist Cuisine. The "at Home" version contains a two page spread with very brief descriptions of a dozen or so Modernist pantry staples. There is no in-depth discussion of any of them. This is mostly a recipe book.

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#29 Chris Hennes

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:47 AM

Aged White Cheddar on Sourdough With Apples (p. 318)

Once they introduce the idea of using sodium citrate to stabilize cheese and make your own processed cheese slices, they have a two-page spread with ideas for grilled cheese sandwiches. I was looking through it this morning and realized that I had all the ingredients for one of them, so I made it for lunch:

Starting with a Grafton cheddar and emulsifying it in water using sodium citrate:
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I poured that into a shallow baking dish and tossed it in the fridge while I started making the rest of the sandwich: first layer (after the buttered sourdough) is a thinly sliced jalapeño. This is from my garden, and they are quite hot, so I tried not to overdo it.
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The next layer is sliced honeycrisp apple:
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By the time that was assembled the cheese had cooled enough to be maneuverable, so I put a slice on (the good fit to the bread is coincidental, that's just how the edge of the cheese pool turned out):
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A shot of the finished sandwich:
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And proof of the supreme meltability of this cheese:
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#30 rotuts

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:04 AM

very interesting. how would that 'same' sandwich have tasted to you with the same cheddar not processed? more grainy? still melted of course, maybe not enough to separate.





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