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Everything posted by Mikeb19

  1. Vegetarian Holubsti (cabbage rolls) are traditional for Ukrainians on Sviata Vechera (Holy Supper aka. Christmas Eve feast...)... Filling usually consists of rice, buckwheat or millet with mushrooms.
  2. How do restaurants do it? We make it right as the first order comes in, hold it at temperature for a few hours, then when service is over, we have it on our staff meal. You really can't store hollandaise for any extended amount of time...
  3. Borshch is probably best known as a Ukrainian dish (where it supposedly originates), although it's popular all over eastern europe. Considering how long the dish has been around, the constant changing of governments and flags in the region, I don't think it's meant to represent anything by it's colour...
  4. First of all, as others have said, get an oven thermometer. Make sure you're getting the right temperature. Second, when you open the oven up to put the bread in, it loses heat, reignites the element, and you get burnt bottoms. So when you open your oven to pop the bread in, do so very quickly, so the oven loses minimal heat. Third, just lower the heat a little. I bake just about everything at slightly lower temperatures than recommended, you get more even cooking.
  5. Mikeb19

    Foam Recipes

    1 charge = 1 CO2 cartridge.
  6. A convection oven circulates the air, allowing more hot air to come into contact with the food. More contact = quicker cooking at the same temperature as a non-convection oven. It also means a nicer crust on whatever you're cooking (usually a good thing, bad for some things though). For bread, convection is definitely nice. For cookies, again, convection rules. For say, creme brulee, you want the convection off. Roasting meats, convection is great since you get a nice searing effect on the outside of the meat.
  7. Molecular Gastronomy - by Hervé This (one of the real originators of the field) La Cuisine: c'est de l'amour, de l'art, de la technique - by Hervé This and Pierre Gagnaire IMO two must have books. Gives you a real sense of what molecular gastronomy and creative cooking are about - understanding how food works so you can improve your techniques in all areas - MG is not about gimmickery and novelty...
  8. I've switched to cooking my steaks at a medium temperature in a generous amount of butter. Great crust, great flavour and no smoking up the kitchen. ← Agreed. For a steak cooked in a pan, nothing beats butter. Heat up some butter in a pan until its brown and frothy (which will happen at medium-ish heat, just give it some time), toss the steak in, baste constantly. I also like cooking steaks under a broiler, it's nice and easy, great crust.
  9. My favourites are the Callebaut Origine (single origin) chocolates. The flavours are amazing, and I haven't had any problems working with them. http://www.callebaut.com/en/150
  10. When I'd smoke I'd usually have a craving for finger food like chips or cereal. Stuff like peanut butter, salad dressings, hot sauces is good too (eaten by themselves). Of course if you get REALLY high then it's somewhat disconcerting hearing the crunching noise all the time. And to counter the dry mouth sensation, lots of orange juice. Of course, sometimes my buddy would bring over some really crazy weed and hash oil, and then we'd get so high (and lazy) we couldn't even get off the couch to get munchies. Those days are over though, my smoking buddy, also one of my best friends, died a few years ago (freak accident related to a medical condition he'd had since childhood), and I really don't enjoy smoking nowadays.
  11. I'm not famous (yet), but I am a chef... Anyhow, I'd like my last meal to be a typical Ukrainian meal, like the ones I had all the time as a kid. A nice roast bird, vareneky, holubsti, borshch, rye bread, various kinds of pickles, cucumber salad, and for dessert, raspberry soup.
  12. Depends on attitude really. Not everyone is a foodie, I even know some chefs who are picky eaters. Both people should respect the other's limits, and things will likely work out. Restaurants are a good place to test the limits of a picky eater as well, since some people are more willing to try new things if a professional is in charge of their meal (we've turned a few picky eaters into more adventurous eaters...). I know when I was a kid there were alot of vegetables I didn't enjoy - later in life I realized it's because my mom wasn't a very good cook (she could do the roast dinner thing alright, but had no idea and still doesn't on how to properly cook vegetables). Also, even though I work as a professional cook, I probably qualify as somewhat picky. I'm not a fan of any invertebrates - I don't like the way they taste, and don't like what they are. I'll eat them, but would prefer not to. On the other hand, I'll eat absolutely any meat or fish, raw or fully cooked. And any vegetable is fair game. And in a restaurant people are able to respect my choices of food (where theres a ton of adventurous eaters), so I don't see why a foodie wouldn't be able to respect the choices of a picky non-foodie. By the way, I've also worked with a few French chefs who absolutely hate broccoli. Refuse to have it in their restaurants, or to eat it. And they've worked in 2 and 3 star Michelin restaurants. But really, this is more of a relationship issue than a food issue anyway. In a relationship respect and trust are just as important as things like love. You should be able to respect someones choices when it comes to foods - and a picky eater should be able to graciously decline the offending food. If someone is disrespectful of another in any way, the relationship won't work.
  13. Are you kidding? I'm a professional cook, and I need, well, as many knives as money can buy. Seriously, it's fun trying out different knives, but then again maybe I'm just a gear whore. (up until recently I had 4 different pairs of skis as well) Lets see... I have a Japanese chef's knife, a deba, a Chinese chef's knife, a serrated bread knife, a flexible boning knife, a stiff boning knife, a paring knife, a turning knife. For now I think I'm good, although I'd love to get some traditional Japanese knives (thinking a deba with wooden handle, a yanagi, a usuba, and a soba knife).
  14. Freeze dried powders are great. When I was a pastry chef I used to make a variety of flavoured Macarons with various fruit powders... (I wasn't content simply doing coloured macarons with flavoured ganaches and fillings...) You can also use freeze dried ingredients in cakes, and a variety of other doughs...
  15. Oh boy. Well, all of my experiences are in restaurants, I don't know where to begin. I'll just share a few stories: - Culinary school graduate who couldn't make a mayonnaise - she broke her mayonnaise 4 times before asking me to help her.... (after that I had to watch her make absolutely everything, originally I assumed she would at least know basic preparations...) - Same girl making brioche - couldn't figure out how to combine the butter into the flour, had to show her how, after I had already told her and she didn't listen (our method of making brioche is a little different than the classic method, in my experience it works better - you combine the flour and butter first until crumbly, then add your yeast and crumble it in, then your liquids including salt, then mix into a dough) - Guy with culinary school training and 5 years experience (including overseas) who couldn't make a simple ganache - thankfully I caught it early and showed him how (he had no idea chocolate was an emulsion...) - Same guy was trying to make a foam for a special menu item - of course he had no idea how to so I had to tell him and walk him through the steps (he wanted an orange-butter foam so I had to explain to him he needed a stabiliser to strengthen the emulsion since he wanted to refrigerate it, before putting it in the iSi...) - Culinary school grad with 1 year experience - when asked to juice oranges he put whole oranges (rind, pith and all) into a juicer - none of us were very impressed - Cooks making macarons - I understand this French pastry is pretty technical, but if you follow the steps closely it shouldn't be a problem - in the end I always ended up making them...
  16. I once made a sweet basil 'puree' (texture like a pesto, a little smoother maybe, but without the oil and nuts). Anyhow, blanch the basil in boiling water until tender, then refresh in ice water. I then pureed the basil in a syrup (1.25Kg sugar/litre of water) - for best results use a little syrup, then add more and more basil to it as you puree with a hand blender (just as you would make a pesto). Another interesting technique is to pulse a bunch of basil with a blender or food processor (add just a touch of water), wrap it in cheesecloth, and then squeeze out the juice, then blend it however you see fit. Just throwing this idea out there, but why not put some thick vanilla custard in the middle of the dish (make a creme brulee, then pass through a tamis), put some strawberries on top, have your basil sauce around that, and then garnish with say, a crystallized basil leaf? (for the leaf, whip some egg whites until somewhat frothy, dip the leaf in it, then coat in sugar and put in a very low oven to dry).
  17. I don't think theres much of a difference between male and female chefs, I think stuff like culinary heritage, ethnicity, experience, etc..., all play a much larger role. For instance, I worked with a Hungarian woman who used pretty much all meat, tons of fat, starch and strong flavours (lots of paprika!). I worked with a BC woman who used mostly vegetables, low-fat cooking techniques, but lots of experimental flavours. My personal style - I'm an absolute technique freak. My style is quite simple, but I pride myself on precise cooking of vegetables, meats, and very savoury flavours. I grew up on nothing but Ukrainian food, it definitely comes through in my cooking - lots of balance between sweet/sour/salt/fat flavours. My pastries are the same - simple, precise technique, but a more savoury flavour than most. Not to mention the ingredients I like to use - all are present in colder climates... (and stuff I grew up on) I've never been a fan of molecular gastronomy (although I am very familiar with it, and have done all the foams and whatnot for chefs I worked with) - I do think that it's more about show than about eating. I'd rather have a perfectly cooked roast with great vegetables than an el Bulli creation... But all this has to do with my upbringing - I was never the most adventurous eater early on having been only exposed to one style of cooking. As for guys feeling the need to 'show off', I think alot of it has to do with a person's own insecurities than anything. I know my food is good enough that I don't need to garnish it with anything - every single component on the plate has a place, nothing is there for show. I've met plenty of insecure cooks, male and female, that over-garnished everything.
  18. Meel-fuh-eye (say it quickly) That's a pretty tough one for most english speakers to pronounce let alone spell phonetically...
  19. Another cool trick. If you want to juice a pomegranate, just slice it in half, grab a lemon juicing tool, and juice the pomegranate the same you would a lemon. Strain the juice (a few little bits might get in there), and voilà!
  20. Tuile - Two-eel Genoise - J-eh-nwah-ze Crepe - Creh-pe Bavarois - Ba-va-rwah Bavaroise (as in creme bavaroise) - Ba-va-rwah-ze Dacquoise - dack-wah-ze Macaron - Ma-ca-rohn
  21. Hmmm, I might have to give this one a go... I grew up on stuff like vareneky and holubsti (stuffed cabbage rolls). How does cabbage stuffed with buckwheat kasha and pork, with mushroom gravy sound? Or maybe even a millet stuffing? Can I use beet leaves instead of cabbage? What are the rules for this anyway?
  22. Just curious, is a gyoza also Italian? How about a perogy/vareneky? Theres tons of pastas out there, and many are certainly not Italian... Is any square stuffed pasta Italian? If I were to stuff a ravioli with liver, onions and cabbage, and serve it with a mushroom gravy, is it Italian? The fact of the matter is, generic stuff like dumplings can't be claimed by any one nationality. Sushi may have originated in Japan, but it's becoming international - you can walk into many sushi restaurants and order stuff like the California roll, BC roll, Cowboy roll, etc... The west has also influenced change in the way Japan eats. Nowadays you can find many 'international' foods, it's pretty close-minded to say a ravioli can only be Italian, or sushi can only be Japanese...
  23. The reason people are living longer has to do with medicine and sanitation. If everyone also ate well and exercised people would be living even longer. Obesity IS a very bad thing... I can see it in my own family history... My ancestors who were slim and in good physical health all made it into their late 80's and early 90's. Those who were obese, all died a decade or two earlier... Not to mention obesity has a terrible effect on quality of life in the present, and always leads to more doctor visits, complications, etc... And fat is not necessarily a bad thing. We do need it. However, excess fat, processed goods, too much processed sugar, etc..., in fact, an excess of pretty much anything is bad. Eat natural, a good variety, and you'll be healthy. Oh yeah, and lots of exercise. Most people eat far too much food for their level of physical activity.
  24. Chris, having seen and listened to it once while taking photos, I'm not sure I can recount the technique exactly , but I'll try my best. In a nutshell, they used a CT scan to locate in detail the anatomical location of all the bones. They then used a special knife to make many small incisions in the flesh through which they extracted all the bones. He used an edited video to illustrate the process, though it wasn't in excruciating detail. My strong suspicion is that there is a pretty steep learning curve to this technique. Perhaps someone else who was there and in the audience can give a better explanation of the process. ← Hamo has thousands of small bones running through the flesh that can't be removed (he probably took the CT scan to show this). After you remove the filets, you need to make many incisions through the filet to cut up the bones (technique is called 'bonecutting'), otherwise it's inedible. Pretty standard Japanese technique.
  25. Best fine dining in Calgary I'd say are Teatro and Il Sogno. (I will admit to being a little biased though) The Belvedere isn't the same since the chef left (to Il Sogno), and I haven't been too impressed with the rest of the 'fine dining' scene. Then again, alot of the places serve competent cuisine, not terrible or anything, but somewhat average.
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