Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  1. I have a Forschner slicing knife that still has the factory edge, and an edge pro I'm learning to use. I've been using 20 degrees on my chef's knife (wusthof). Should I do the magic marker trick and just try and figure out what angle it has, or is there a recommended angle for slicing meat? I also gather that a meat slicer can take a bit more polish than a tomato slicer.
  2. For what it is worth, I made the caramel ice cream from this book on Saturday and it may be the best ice cream I've ever eaten. I made it as written except I tasted the custard and thought it could use more salt so I upped the salt from 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp. Let me say that is very surprising for a Keller recipe, usually they're heavy on the salt although rarely too much so... I'm using diamond kosher which is what's used in the book so it's not a measurement issue. Divided the just-frozen-to-soft-serve-consistency ice cream in half and froze half straight and the other half had some crushed salted caramel (from a david lebovitz recipe; 1/2 cup sugar dry caramelized on low to dark amber and poured onto lightly oiled foil to harden with 3/4 tsp sea salt) mixed in. A scoop of each was a delicious contrast. So far everything I've made (this, the chicken pot pie, the chocolate chip cookies, the scallops, the brined stuffed pork loin, the chicken soup, the fried chicken (a year or so ago pre-book after eating at ad hoc) and the cauliflower soup) has been outstanding.
  3. A field report... I made the chicken soup with dumplings. The final result was pretty awesome, although it pained me to use an entire batch of chicken stock in one dish. 4 quarts of my stock needed a little more roux than what the recipe calls for to match the texture of the pictures (and yes, it came to a full simmer) and a light stock would have been better (mine was from leftover roast carcasses and such so it was semi-dark), and I forgot chives so subbed parsley for color. But the dumplings themselves were a revelation, easily the best dumplings I've ever had, Period. I've never made pate a choux so I was surprised how easy it was. Take away: My everyday recipe is probably going to change to use these dumplings, except screw the quenelles, they'll be either piped & cut like parisian gnocchi, or just scooped blobs. And I just might do the throw out the vegetables thing because the peeled blanched celery was really good, but I'll probably start with about a quart of stock and 2 quarts of water and simmer a whole browned chicken in that instead of using stock + roasted chicken (and 4 quarts of liquid was too much for the amount of "chunks" specified, it could have been a bit more chunky). I also found myself thinking about what an appetizer sized portion with one large dumpling and a poached egg might be like.
  4. I think I asked this once before but might have been misunderstood (before meaning years ago). Why is the FC cake baked in a tube pan (the kind that leaves a hole in the middle)? And do you fill that hole with filling, or end up with a cake that is shaped like a stack of pineapple rings? A picture of the finished cake would be helpful. When I've made it, I just did 2 9" pans, and split into 4 layers.
  5. I'm in Chicago, and this was an unnamed variety of pie pumpkin from a farmer at the Green City Market. 2 of them made enough puree for 2 servings of soup and 2 pies, total. Trader Joe's has those fairytale pumpkins you mention, I may grab one of those but I figured farmers market pumpkins would be better.
  6. I just did this a couple weeks ago. To me, it was almost a different animal than pumpkin pie from canned. It was delicious, but I'm not sure which I prefer. I have 3c in the freezer I'm saving for thanksgiving, but people at "work" have requested I make one for a potluck before then so I may get to do it again. I roasted mine at 375 until soft w/o seasoning or oil, about 1.5 hours, and pureed in a food processor (I put the seeds & guts in a pot with a bit of water to make quasi pumpkin stock to use as a pureeing liquid, which is how I make butternut squash puree for soup). Didn't think to reduce or dry via straining. Texture was fine, not watery or anything. if I did it again, I'd consider whizzing the pie filling in a blender then straining through a chinois. I usually do that with my squash soup, but the base puree is too thick for my blender, and straight from the food processor won't force through the chinois. I didn't really notice that the filling was anything but smooth, but I know from the soup that it's the different between smooth and velvet. I'd also probably add a bit of molasses, becuase it was a very light color. I've done the molasses thing before and love it, but I was trying a new recipe and wanted it unaltered (from Tartine).
  7. This is a great thread. For me: #1: The Bread Baker's Apprentice. This was the first "serious" cookbook I bought, and I was still very much a neophyte at that point. Barbecue (true barbecue, 250 degrees, wood fire, dry rubs, all that jazz) was about the only thing I knew how to cook beyond one or two recipes from my mom (carrot cake, chili). Weight measures, the expoundings upon theory and practice, all of the information, the stuff about sourdough... I've made about 40% of the breads in here, and it without a doubt got me started as a serious cook. Ironically, I don't eat much bread any more (Health reasons, I'm basically following something like the paleo diet 80% of the time). #2: The Professional Chef. I don't know that I've made a single recipe from here and frankly most of them look sort of cafeteria-ish, but I've read most of it at least twice. And their thing on roast chicken with jus lie (or maybe it was pork, don't remember) is the foundation for the ol' thanksgiving turkey and gravy. #3: Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook. This book is where I learned the basic idea behind stocks and sauces. I'd made stock before, but I only knew to use it as a soup base or for making thanksgiving gravy. The whole stock reduction / deglaze / monter au buerre thing was quite the revelation. As was "how to roast a damn chicken, numbnuts". Coq au vin from here was the most ambitious thing I'd made to that point. And it may be the best thing I've ever made, subsequent attempts were not as good as I remember that first one being, sadly. #4: The French Laundry Cookbook. It's aspirational, and I've had a couple of disasters from this one (goat cheese never-formed-a-mousse, English pea puree on the walls soup), but it's bad ass. And if nothing else, I no longer see straining things as a pain in the ass, it's automatic. See also Big Pot Blanching. #5: Tartine. This one got me into real cakes. I still haven't made a 100% perfect genoise, but I got about 95% of it last try. And their strawberry bavarian cake is the best cake I've eaten, much less made. And thanks to making a whole lot of gallettes this summer with farmer's market fruit, I'm starting to get the hang of pie crust. The last 3-4 pies I've made have been OMG good, and the pumpkin pie I made a few weeks ago was perfect in every way, even in terms of appearance, having a gorgeous ruffle and not a single patch or crack I think it boils down to "don't be scared to knead it a bit" and "don't be afraid to put in too much water" and "don't be afraid of cutting the fat too small". All the recipes out there advising caution and terror on these points did me a great disservice and resulted in crust with big hunks of butter that wasn't fully hydrated, that wasn't mixed properly, and that basically turned into a crumbly broken mess or else required me to add so much extra water that it shrank, got tough, etc.
  8. My first impression is that the whole "dumbed down" thing is perhaps spin more than intent... It's definitely simplified compared to TFL or Bouchon, but it still seems like every effort is made to extract flavor and refine. You'll still need cheesecloth and a strainer or two, and as an example there are soup recipes that call for cooking 9 different vegetables separately and then combining at the end. Personally, unless I'm cooking for a dinner party or special occasion or just want to try a specific recipe I usually reach for those books for general ideas and techniques but don't do the full on preparation and definitely don't plate/compose per those books. The recipes in ad hoc seem to be at that level, what a good home cook would make for a meal at home based on inspiration from the Bouchon or French Laundry cookbook. Plusses: more useful pictures and illustrations not just food porn, more process pics than finished results or raw ingredients... For example, I've read Keller's description of how to truss a chicken three times now, but this is the first time it's included pictures... I was doing it right, but that was more from just "okay, what works" than it was from reading the method in Bouchon/TFL and actually understanding it... And I see a lot of things in here I'll probably be making. I want to try the chicken & dumplings ASAP, I'd have never thought of doing a spiced parisian gnocchi as dumplings. And I've already made the fried chicken after seeing the recipe elsewhere... And the section on salads is beautiful. Minuses: A few too many photos of TK... There's TK smelling the garlic, (on the back cover, and that may be the lamest author photo ever) TK goofing around with a peppermill or salt (although I guess I should be proud that we have the same peppermills?), a few extreme closeups of TK making funny faces at the camera... You get the idea, although I've been trying to figure out what kind of watch he's wearing because I like it And whoever said it was reminiscent of good eats is onto something, there's a general cheesy factor here that wasn't present in the other books, but it seems like an add on, not like they tried to come up with an excuse to use a drill to stir something or decided to frost a cake on a record player turntable or whatever. But the photos mostly add value and I like that there are more pictures of the process and less of "look at this wonderfully composed plate" or "look at these dead birds and rabbits on a table". A lot of overlap with the other books (e.g., ice cream, pasta dough, roasting/brining, the brioche recipe, etc.), but not too much. Worth buying I'd say. I have a somewhat similar book, "Staffmeals from Chanterelle" and I see myself using this one more.
  9. Yep. A staple, growing up. My mom was from western Tennessee, and a pretty good cook when she felt like it although in later years she started cooking at a nursing home and generally lost all motivation for cooking at home, or at least in cooking from scratch, and everything became a series of shortcuts unless it was a special occaison. Sadly, I have exactly none of her recipes since she did everything by feel, and I didn't get into cooking until much later... Her version included the skin & bones unless I whined hard enough about it, or when I was older and picked them out for her. I remembered somewhat liking them but haven't had 'em in at least 15 years, so about a year ago I decided to make something similar. My version basically included canned salmon, egg, some minced cornichons, salt & pepper, panko, and possibly some minced celery and onion. I coated them with dijon mustard and panko, and pan fried them. I typically served mine on top of a simple green salad topped with a poached egg, or as a sort of burger. It became a regular during-the-week meal for a while, but I haven't made them in a while. It sounds kind of good, maybe it's time to make them again.
  10. I'm looking at my new copy of the Herme chocolate book, and am a bit confused about the chocolate. Most of the recipes either call for bittersweet, specified as valrhona guanaja, or milk specified as valrhona jivara. The jivara and guanaja are hard to find, and super expensive. Le noir amer 71% is much easier to find and much more reasonable, and there is a 40% milk that seems to be the same packaging as le noir amer that is in the same price range and packaging. What is the difference? Can I sub 71% noir amer for 70% guanaja and the 40% milk for 40% jivara? The only way to buy the jivara/guanaja at a reasonable price is to spend about $75 for a 3 kg block, which is nuts for a home cook. I found the cocoa for about $10 a pound which seems like a reasonable price and plan to order that immediately.
  11. Interesting. I prepare it in what I assume is the "normal" way, I whip egg whites to soft peaks, then add soft-ball temp syrup and whip to stiff peaks. I wouldn't think hot sugar syrup and plastic would mix, I melted a trashcan once with a batch that I overshot soft ball temp on I dunno. The DLX is appealing for the way it kneads bread and such, and the egg whipping design seems pretty ingenious. But OTOH, the all metal construction of the bowl and whips for the KA seems more sensible, and I've heard great things about KA's customer service. What I really want is to find a deal on a hobart n-50. There are a couple on the bay right now, but no clue how high they'll go and I'm not quite ready to buy yet (moving in February).
  12. Not to reply to my own post, but I think I've ruled out the electrolux and the currently available bosch machines, a plastic bowl for whipping whites just isn't going to cut it for marshmallows or italian meringue... Next question: Is the kitchen aid "commercial" machine so expensive just becuase of NSF and commercial UL certifications, or is it actually beefed up over the "professional" 5 or 6? I'm not crazy about the white, but everything else in the kitchen is stainless except the countertop which is black so I think I could live with it, and I doubt it'd be stored on the coutertop anyway. The power rating is worse than the commercial, but that doesn't really mean anything. I notice it has the non-dishwasher safe hook, paddle, and whisk.
  13. That is the flour that I used. It's a little coarser than would be ideal, I put the almond meal & powdered sugar into a food processor and hit it with 6-8 5 second pulses. Next time I'm going to do even more, and try a finer sifter, because it still came out a little chunky, and after the batter gets to the point where everything is incorporated, I'm goign to intentionally stir it a bit more, these don't have the right shine and weren't quite flat enough. But night and day over my last attempt, and they had feet and texture. The food coloring idea is not a bad one, although I prefer not to add any. Just moving to a better cocoa would probably get me there, this was the hershey's "special dark" which was all I could find at the regular market where I bought all the ingredients except the almond flour, which I bought ahead of time at whole foods (I made these at a friend's house as my contribution to several different cookie types that we made). I wish hershey's still made their european style, which was actually quite good. Once I have a bigger kitchen and a stand mixer (< 3 months) I'll try this again. I've made italian meringues and even buttercream before with a hand mixer but a stand mixer certainly makes it easier.
  14. I'm eying a stand mixer some time soon. I had a delonghi/kenwood 7 qt. a few years ago and sold it. It strained on heavy doughs, and had a hard time with small quantities of egg whites, etc., and I just didn't have room for it. I think the only thing I made in it that it truly seemed suited for was marshmallows, and cake/cookie recipes with the paddle. The electrolux sounds prety awesome for bread, but one big drawback to it would be the plastic bowl for whipping egg whites. i'm guessing that means an italian meringue (made with 235 degree sugar syrup) is out of the question with such a setup, and I use that as the base for a lot of things (it's my standard meringue, or for buttercream, or for macrons, and don't marshmallows also involve soft ball temp syrup?)... Plastic and hot syrup wouldn't seem to mix. I'm thinking that if the whipper setup used all metal, it would be just about perfect.
  15. I'm going to revive this thread. I made these yesterday since you can't buy a decent one in Chicago, at least not without buying them in bulk via special order. I used the calculations from upthread (500g TPT, processed and sifted, 250 g sugar, 187 g egg whites, and I added 30g cocoa to the dry ingredients and filled with a dark ganache made from 7 oz 71% valhrona, 2 1/2 tbs butter, and 7 fl. oz of cream) The cocoa needed to be a better quality, or perhaps more of it, becuase the color wasn't the beautiful chocolate color, it had a grayish tinge to it. But other than that, and the fact that I think I needed to deflate just a bit more becuase the first few were very fluffy, these were pretty good. About 15 minutes at 325, and I found the batch on parchment was much better than the two batches on silpats, the silpat batches didn't quite stick, but required some care to release, the parchment batch was almost sliding around on the parchment. Texture wise, they were just about perfect: crispy, chewy, delicate. Next time I'm going to make a template and shoot for 2" macs, these were about 2 3/4 to 3", which is a touch too big. And I'm going to process the dry ingredients longer, there were still some almond chunks, even after sifting... Maybe a finer sifter. But not bad for a 2nd attempt, my first batch was undercooked, irregular, and ugly. And since I made them without a stand mixer, I rememberd the meringue being a PITA. With a stand mixer, it's easy.
  • Create New...