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commander

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  1. "For a long time I have been doing a pan cook method that I learned from egullet (which got it from Ducasse) which makes an incredibly flavorful steak. The heat never goes above medium low. Yet the steak browns nicely without any charring, black marks, or carbony, coaly taste. There is no gray, overcooked layer under the surface from high heat searing. The meat is also intensely flavored." I prefer this method to searing over a gas fired grill and I can confirm that it delivers a bit more flavor. As described as a low smoke and aerosol dispersing substitute to searing in a skillet, butte
  2. "Well, maybe the French like there's made in such-and-such way, but that hardly makes it the only way! I mean, for pete's sake, I can't stand eggs and omlets made the French way!" I tried the French method the other day which turned out like the scrambled eggs shown. I used half and half because that's what was in the reefer and perhaps too much. The eggs tasted more like a custard than what we are accustomed to. My method is to let the egg mixture start to firm up and use a spatuala to heap the firming eggs while tilting the pan to run the loose mixture into the cleared part of the pa
  3. This is a splendid subject and spot on for me because both sides of my family have members under home care. I recently visited both and cooked massive quantities of pot roast with root vegetables which I froze and left for them to enjoy at will. I wonder if anyone has some experience with other dishes that freeze well so that the next time I make my rounds, I can stock their freezers with a variety of dinners they can thaw and reheat.
  4. Chef Hill, your replies to my queries have been most helpful. I'd like to ask you one more question. I must confess that if offered a plate of cauliflower and anything else, I'd choose the "anything else". But my wife loves cauliflower. Because she is my principal customer, I'd like to cook this veg competently and make it interesting. I have been steaming it without inspiration. Would you please share with us a recipe or otherwise improve my education for cooking cauliflower?
  5. What I've learned about this is that the tough cuts of meat must be of the best quality you can find. It must be able to survive the heat required to break down collagen, about 210 degrees for an hour, while retaining flavor. You also need fine intermuscle marbeling in the meat because the fat transports flavor throughout the cut. Think about it. The fat becomes more liquid under heat which permits the cooking liquor to enter the meat. It won't get into the muscle because it seizes up until the collagen breaks down. That is why I let meat cook for an hour after it is fork tender. I
  6. We enjoy eating big leafy greens in this house, particularly the varieties of chard, mustard greens, kale, American collard greens. I insist upon taking as much care and attention to the preparation of these as I do the main dish. To cook them, I add some water to a large saute pan, bring it to a simmer, pile on the leaves, and cover. I lift the lid and poke them with a fork to check their progress. Depending upon the green, I may sweat some onion or shallot in the pan before adding the greens or add a little butter when they are finishing, and season if I'd like the greens to take up the
  7. Chef Hill wrote: [..]If this is too much song and dance for a pot of sauce then use potato flour - fecule de pommes de terre - which is the least intrusive of the cornflour - cornstarch - type thickeners. Add it the same way as arrowroot, diluted in cold wine or water the whisked in a little at a time I enjoy a little "song and dance" but I hadn't thought of the potato flour bit. Thank you very much for your succinct treatise on thickening and reducing. I have another question on a different subject which I will broach as a new topic.
  8. Chef, I may be showing my ignorance here, but I am curious whether you have a unique theory on the finer points of deciding which thickeners to use with specific stocks and if you have a policy for deciding to thicken rather than reducing. I've always been a bit befuddled on this subject but have violated recipes enough to know that sometimes a nugget of butter is better than a reduction or starch thickening. In fact, as a home cook with a day job that appropriates too much quality time, I find myself resorting to the butter as a time-saving expedient. But recently I used some finely ground
  9. Mr. Day wrote: "There is also a point where ingredients are so bad that they aren't worth preparing." So true. I remember accurately following Escoffier's instructions for braising after making a good stock, also from his instructions. I bought a slab of meat from the supermarket and went to work. After throwing Escoffier's book at it, I ended up with flavorless piece of meat and surprisingly a better stock. So I threw out the meat, froze all but a TB of the stock, and finished the "lesson" by dining on hamburger with a pile of sauteed mushrooms napped with a slight reduction of the sto
  10. To this thread, I will add the following reflection. We have a fund of classical recipes but the quality and culinary characteristics of ingredients vary greatly in terms of the geographical distribution of cooks. I think that regardless of where the chef is located, classic recipes can be performed with ingredients available locally. It is ridiculous to expect that a recipe performed in the US with local ingredients will be the same as the same recipe performed in France or the UK. A chef must know the culinary characteristics of his local produce and work through the problem that the dis
  11. Saturday is a busy day for me. I have been to four grocery stores and I am now dealing with the well soaked produce from their "compost" section, but the task has been made much lighter by this delightful week of high intellection and stories from Guy Gateau and eGullet participants. Thank you all very much for this memorable Q&A.
  12. balmagowry wrote: "[...]yes, I am biased by my own special interest in Careme and his contemporaries." I picked Escoffier because his book provides a thorough documentation of his equipment and methods in addition to the recipes. But I was leaving it open to decide where we'd begin. I read today that a site in Israel has been discovered where homonids were preparing and cooking food nearly 800,000 years ago. On the menu were deer, horses, and hippo. I think that might be a bit early. I was not so much discussing the _historiography_ of cuisine as much as what might be considered a curat
  13. commander

    Carrot mousse

    Robyn wrote: "I'm not so sure I agree with you about pesto in the food processor as opposed to the mortar and pestle. I've made it at home - both ways - and I think the difference (if there is one) is very small. Perhaps I'm just not a good enough cook for it to make a big difference." "On the other hand - there are definitely things that should never see the inside of a food processor (like mashed potatoes - which wind up like glue)." I rarely use a food processor because the blades bruise the ingredient before they cut. It releases a lot of liquid which in some preparations I think should
  14. Chef Gateau wrote: "It would be desirable that someone should come up a kind of “Library type gourmet selection”: Old & new classics, great hits, public favorites. But will certainly be objections to this based on subjectivity. Who is going to make or who made the first best duck and peaches?…It should be the work of an historian." I like Robert's idea. My undergraduate education consisted of close readings of the classics of literature, philosophy, and science. The criteria for the selection of these great works was their place in the disciplined "conversation" of the Western intellect
  15. Robert Brown asked: "These days can we fault Michel Bras for always taking up a slot on his menu for the Gargoyle of Baby Vegetables (which, by the way, may well have changed since the last tine I had it in 1997) or Alain Passard for his lobster in yellow wine?" Certainly not. These are great dishes. They endure on the menus because the chefs like to cook them. One of the things I believe we tend to neglect is how pleasurable cooking can be when you have good ingredients and the skill to make them into a great tasting dish. This neglect makes us think erroneously about cuisine, that is, w
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