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Everything posted by wannabechef

  1. I've been making ice cream for about 3 years now. Started out going through a lot of the recipes in the Lebovitz, Perfect Scoop book and was pretty happy. I then discovered the Jeni's Splendid ice cream book and was blown away. This is my second year making ice creams using her technique and I don't think I've made a bad batch yet. As she notes in her intro, the cream cheese is more there to impact the way the ice cream sits on your tounge after you take a bite (I forgot the technical term for this). The corn starch is there as a thickener, and I believe the corn syrup has something to do with the freezing point. In any case, her technique has been a home run for me. I haven't made a custard based ice cream since using her book and don't miss it at all. Has anyone had or tried making Turkish maras dondurmasi? I want to try making this one day. This style of ice cream is actually stretchy and chewy. In Turkey the guys who sell it on the street do all sorts of tricks with it, stretching it, sticking it places, pulling it out of your hand as they give you the cone, etc. I did some research there and found that the way they get this consistency is by using something they call "salep" which is a flour made from the roots of an orchid plant. Its pretty expensive and hard to find the real stuff, but I picked up a packet last time I was there. Haven't attempted to make it yet though.
  2. Got it. The strange thing is, I was seeing it separate before adding the eggs. There's a step where it says to take the ball from the heating phase, and transfer it to a stand mixer, then mix it on low for a bit to cool it down. On that phase, the ball start separating before I even started adding the eggs. Is that normal to happen? Maybe I didn't cook the flour enough?
  3. Thanks for the tips. I was also reading some of the other more comprehensive threads about making choux. Seems there are quite a lot of variations in technique. Is it a common problem to have the dough start to separate once you start mixing?
  4. Hi - I was wondering if some people can help me out with the technique for this recipe. This recipe is from the founder of an amazing bakery in Brooklyn called Cousin John's. When I lived in Brooklyn, the waffles here used to be one of my favorite indulgences. They had a unique texture and for years I was trying to figure out the secret to making them. I always thought the secret was in separating and whipping the egg whites. However, a few weeks ago, through the magic of a Google search, I found that the person who came up with the actual recipe posted it onlien. The thing that makes this recipe unique is that it is basically an eclair batter, cooked in a waffle iron. I have never made a choux before but heard it was pretty easy. So, last week I tried making this and had mixed results. The waffle was very similar to the original, but was lacking the crispiness I was looking for. The part I wasn't sure about was when he says to take the flour/butter/milk mixture and put it in a stand mixer to release the steam, etc. When I did this, I noticed the dough starting to separate. There were small bits forming in the dough and I wasn' sure if it was normal or not. The dough actually started to get somewhat runny before I even put the eggs in. Does this mean I did something wrong? I also wasn't sure how to measure out 7/8 of a cup of flour. I found a converter online and converted it to weight, 111.13 grams. Is this right? Is it possible I mixed it too long? Should I let the batter rest for a while before baking it? Any expert opinions are welcome! I can't wait to try making this again. Here is the recipe: http://www.finecooki...an-waffles.aspx Thanks, ~WBC
  5. wannabechef

    Making gravlax

    On the freezing topic Ive come across a lot of info but heres what the fda says about it. Basically has to be -4 deg farenheit for 7 days or -31 deg until solid. I guess -4 isnt impossible for a home freezer. http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/Seafood/FishandFisheriesProductsHazardsandControlsGuide/ucm091704.htm Anyway I went ahead and made the gravlax. Still havent decided if I'm going to eat it or not. It was a small piece and this is kind of an experiment first. My wife is not going to eat it though.
  6. wannabechef

    Making gravlax

    Hi all - resurrecting this thread to ask a question which I was surprised wasn't discussed that much (i didn't read every post but did some searches). I bought a nice piece of (farmed) salmon today with the intention of making gravlax with it. After reading a few recipes online I started getting nervous about the whole parasite issue. Ive heard so many different theories on this topic. To blurt out a few: Salmon should be frozen first for 7 days before curing to kill any parasites - but home freezers dont actually get cold enough to accomplish this. Curing kills parasites - or does it? Farmed is better because theres less of a chance of parasite - wait no.. MORE of a chance! And then on top of everything all this talk about parasites doesnt even address the fact that bacteria can survive all of these methods. After reading all this I am now scared to make this dish. I also have a wife that is nursing which I read a whole bunch of other warnings about (listeria??) Does anyone here have any cold factual nuggets to share that will convince me to proceed? Because I really want to make this. Saying youve made it a number of times and never had a problem isn't good enough - because you may have just been lucky? Thx! WBC
  7. I love this topic. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Turkish yogurt so far. The word "yogurt" is actually derived from Turkish and I can say from experience that yogurt is taken VERY seriously in Turkey. I was never a fan of plain yogurt before I went to Turkey. I remember the first time I really tried it there and it totally rocked my world and soon I was eating it plain out of the container every day. Most yogurt in Turkey is not strained although they have that type as well. Somehow though, yogurts that you buy in Turkey are thick enough to cut with a knife - and also a lot more sour than what you get here. In Turkey nobody buys those tiny little cups and containers of yogurt. Households usually buy it by the tub. I tried making yogurt a bunch of times a few years ago and had mixed results. It always came out good - but I could never get it to taste like the store bought ones I've had in Turkey. I even brought back yogurt from Turkey on the plane to use a starter culture - and it didn't make a noticeable difference. Some things I've tried for thickness - I've read that you can try mixing in non-fat dried milk powder to get it thicker. That worked a bit, but if you add too much it makes it sort of gritty. Using whole milk definitely makes it thicker as well. For the sourness, I think all you do is leave it out longer before refrigerating. I still never got it to the same quality as what I had in Turkey. I think they use stabilzers and other things to get that effect in the store bought stuff. For uses, yogurt and beef or lamb, or just about any meat go great together. In Turkey they also make a drink (ayran) with it which is just yogurt, water and salt. Strangely, they're not that fond of mixing sweet things with yogurt over there and prefer it plain. I never really buy the Greek ones here b/c they are just too expensive. My wife and I go through a lot of yogurt every week and it would be ridiculous. Our supermarket carries a brand called Axelrod and their lowfat plain is the closest I've had to the Turkish style. Second best is Dannon's lowfat plain. Not a fan of Stonyfield - not sour enough for me and just kind of bland. ~WBC
  8. Anyone have any recent reports? I haven't been in about 3 or 4 years but am considering making a reservation soon or just sticking in Manhattan - probably Wolfgangs. Perusing other boards shows talk of it going downhill, etc etc, but I think people have probably been saying this for years. Anyone have any comments?
  9. I have a slightly unrelated question but this seems as good a place to bring it up. I once made a pizza recipe a few years ago that had the most simple sauce. I was so skeptical but it ended up being incredible. Basically, it was just raw tomatoes in a food processor, with some salt. Then take it out and put in 2 or 3 raw cloves of garlic (peeled but not crushed or chopped), give it a stir, and let it sit for an hour. Done. When I first read the recipe I thought it was ridiculous. What's the point of putting in that garlic if you're not going to chop it or even cook it? But I couldn't believe it, somehow that garlic totally infused the tomatoes with an amazing garlic taste. When the pizza cooked with this sauce it was really incredible. Since the sauce was uncooked it had an amazing freshness to it and the garlic really came through as well. Now to bring it back around - does anyone have an idea as to chemically how the garlic flavor made it into the sauce? I always thought you had to use oil, saute, etc etc to get the taste out. Is it some kind of reaction with the acidity of the tomatoes? Thanks! ~WBC
  10. I wanted to make the passion fruit sorbet recipe in the book. It calls for "passion fruit pulp" and also tangerines. Two questions: 1) does anyone know where you can buy passion fruit pulp or passion fruit themselves? 2) has anyone made this one with success?
  11. Just came across this thread today. I bought The Perfect Scoop a few weeks ago and have had great success so far. First I made the dried-apricot-pistachio one. It came out incredible. One thing I was surprised about was how much of the wine flavor (you steep the dried apricots in wine first) came through in the ice cream. So pick a wine you like for this one! I've also made the plain chocolate custard (was one of the best chocolates I've had), cinnamon ice cream (could have been a bit more "cinnamony) for me, and oatmeal-rasin is sitting in my freezer currently. The oatmeal-raisin flavor has an oatmeal-praline mixed in and I botched my first attempt by burning the sugar. It really is tricky - esp since you are carmelizing pure sugar with no water mixed in. It burns really fast. The second pass came out great and after sitting in the ice cream a while it gets nice and chewey. On my list to make are green tea, chocolate brownie, and then some of the flavors with peanut butter in them. This is really great fun. I also want to try making my own cones eventually. One question for David if he still posts here, or anyone else. I have an idea for a flavor I want to try but am not sure what to use as the base. I want to make a flavor based on the Turkish liquor called Raki - which is similar to the Greek ouzo. It has an anise, black licorice type flavor. I figure maybe I can use vanilla as a base and then just add the liquor. I want the flavor of the Raki to really come through though, but don't want to add so much that the ice cream doesn't freeze enough. Does anyone have any suggestions for me here? Thanks! ~WBC
  12. Anyone ever try making hunkar begendi? One of my favorite dishes and would be curious to try it. Last time I was in Turkey I picked up some damla sakiz which I haven't been able to find anywhere else. I'm still trying to figure out what to make with it. Some kind of pudding would be an obvious choice but I'm considering making ice cream out of it. Anyone have any good ideas? By the way - GREAT idea to make a chicken iskender! To be really authentic you must use loots of butter!
  13. Hi - I have some cinnamon sticks which I want to grate/grind into a powder. I started out using a microplane grater which works - but I noticed that the grinds from it had no flavor and were mostly like sawdust. When I held the stick perpendicular to the grater though, all the flavor and scent of the cinnamon came out. I'm thinking that the outer layer of the cinnamon stick is flavorless and bitter - and not something you want to put into food. Can anyone confirm this? If so, are there any techniques for peeling that outer layer away? I guess I can just keep grating it until I reach the inner part. Also, someone told me to try a coffee grinder which I will later. But then that outer tasteless part will be ground up with it as well. If anyone has any experience with this, let me know your tips. Thanks! ~WBC
  14. Can anyone comment at all on how well the stove top smokers work or how good the results are? I live in an apartment and unfortunately can't have a real smoker. I went on Amazon and found this one which surprisingly had great reviews. The price was decent so I picked one up and am waiting for it to arrive. If anyone has any good tips or recipes for one of these babies please let me know. Thanks~ WBC http://www.amazon.com/Cameron-Cookware-Sta...39159395&sr=8-1
  15. Hi - I have an expense breakfast at Norma's next week. Was wondering what the best things are on the menu? I probably can't get the $1000 omlette, but most other things are fair game. Are they "famous" for any one particular dish? Thanks! ~WBC
  16. Thanks. I think I managed to save it but we'll see when it's completely frozen. After sitting out for about 3 hours it became much softer, but I still thought it was too thick to freeze in the machine. I wanted to try and thin it out a bit but wasn't sure what would happen if I added additional milk or cream at this point. So I put a few spoonfuls in a bowl, and added a few drops of cream as a test to see if it would mix. Luckily it did. So, while mixing with a handmixer, I gradually added about half a cup more cream and half a cup more whole milk. The mixture then began to thin out and look more like melted ice cream to me. I strained it, then put it in the machine for 25-30 minutes. It seemed much better and is now hardening up even more in the freezer. I'm curious what the consistency will be like in 24 hours. I'm not sure why this happened. The recipe said to heat the custard until it resembled chocolate pudding, and then to let it cool, which I did. First on the counter for 2 hours then in the fridge over night (I didn't put a hot mixture in the refridgerator of course). I ended up with fudge! Will let everyone know how it turns out in the end.
  17. Hey everyone, Wondering if anyone who has experience with making homemade ice cream could help me. I got a Cuisineart Ice Cream maker over the holidays and made my first attempt last night. I made the "Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream" recipe that came in the book. It's a custard that contains cocoa powder and chocolate, and part heavy cream and whole milk. I made the mixture last night and everything seemed to be fine. It was hot when I was done so I put it in the fridge before going to bed to cool down. This morning when I woke up to make the ice cream, the mixture had become so hard that I could barely transfer it to the ice cream maker. Once inside, it was so thick and hard that the motor was struggling to turn. What happened here? Is it supposed to have more of a liquid consistency before freezing? It's more like fudge right now. I'm trying to bring the mixture to room temperature to see if it softens up, then will freeze again. Any tips would be much appreciated. Thanks! ~WBC
  18. Thanks everyone. I searched online for some Pakistani recipes and found that even for dishes of the same name, there are wide variations in the recipes. This includes spices used, method of cooking, etc. I was really surprised about this, but as others said in the thread, I guess Indian and Pakistani cultures are themselves so complex and diverse, that depending on what region, etc, there may be a hundred variations of the same dish. So, I guess I just have to use trial and eror and try a bunch off different recipes and stick with whichever version I like best. I will defiantely check out some of the books and sites you guys recomended. Thanks! ~WBC
  19. Hi, I'm interested in learning how to cook Pakistani/Indian food. I want a book that has relatively simple recipes and is for a beginner of this type of cuisine. The reason I say Pakistani and not Indian, is that I feel that I enjoy food in Pakistani restaurants generally more than Indian. I know they are similar in many ways, and even have many of the same dishes and ingredients, but I generally found the Pakistani versions to be spicer and generally more flavorful. I also would like to learn some good meat dishes and kebabs, and I know a lot of Indian books are more veg-centric. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks - WBC
  20. wannabechef


    I had a craving for a Mozzerapa today and went on here to search for recipes. I was fascinated that there was a post about them and then realized it was my own! Figured I'd bump this up and see if anyone had any ideas. I need to reproduce the mythical Mozzerapa at home. Any ideas? ~WBC
  21. Thanks - I checked out the tenderloin thread just now. The thing I don't understand is the price. I saw filet mignon on fresh direct for almost $20/lb. This can't be the same cut for 5.99 a lb right? I think if money is not an option, and I had to choose between this and a rib roast, the rib roast would be much more flavorful, right?
  22. I'm a semi-regular at the Brooklyn Fairway. Aside from the two times I bought spoiled kosher chicken there I've been pretty happy with it. My wife and I have been doing FreshDirect lately and I'm curious how much it would come out to if I entered all the items from my last Fairway trip ($175) in FreshDirect. Anyway, I saw this in the meat case the last two times I was there. A few questions as I've never bought this cut before: 1) This is a tenderloin, right? Is that the same as a filet mignon? 2) Is this a good price? 3) Has anyone bought this from Fairway before? How was it? 4) Any recomendations for how to cook these bad boys? I guess roasting it somehow is best? How many people one of these serve? Also, I noticed something interesting in the fish case. They had fresh sardines which I've never seen here before. I usually eat them when I visit Turkey where they're grilled and fresh, and absolutely spectacular. Has anyone tried these from Fairway? I wonder how they would compare to the ones I get in Turkey. (In Turkey we usually buy them right off the fisherman's boat so it may be hard to compare the freshness! I wonder though if the species is the same...)
  23. FG - What did you think about the level of smokiness? I haven't had the real deal in Texas before to compare to. Is the smoke level about the same? I found everything to be absolutely excellent there as well but was missing a bit of smokey flavor in the meat. I particularly noticed this in the brisket. Also - did you try the table sauce?
  24. Peanut butter and....spoon! Or finger! Either is good. The real question is what brand peanut butter? When I was little I was totally a skippy guy. But once I tried the Smucker's natural which is just peanuts and salt, I can never go back to Skippy. It just tastes like sugar to me now. The Smuckers one is maybe one of my favorite foods. I put it on anything. Ice cream, rice cakes, english muffins, any fruit, with cheese, chocolate, chicken pasta, etc. I have never tried any of the real adventerous ones listed here like mayo and onion. I can't see that working but I'd definately try it.
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