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Everything posted by cricklewood

  1. Wow haven't posted on here forever, so pardon my jumping in. Same as a lot of others I leave the skin on but I use a method one of my chef's showed me it's a wet cure, that is we used to make a slurry by mixing, onion, garlic, celery and/or fennel(sometimes some gin too)and curing salt in the food processor, the moisture from the veg would turn the salt into a slurry. We would put a layer in a container and put the fish skin side down and pour over the rest of the mix. Usually after about 12-24 hours it was well cured and the fish picks up the aromatics quite well if not smoking otherwise follow the air-drying/smoking instructions. This method works well for me and is worth looking into if you've only ever covered the filets in salt. cheers Franck http://eightysixed.typepad.com/86ed/
  2. Sockhead, I think before you shell out lots of money for classes, what's important would be to figure out exactly what you want to get out of cooking classes. Do you want to just pick up a few recipes so you can make some decent meals for yourself w/out getting too involved in the nitty gritty or do you want to learn from the bottom up, real classic cooking techniques? Establish what your initial needs and level of involvement are and work from there. You can learn a lot from reading a couple of good books and then nothing beats real hands on cooking and tasting, do the same recipe often until you master it. Don't get bummed out by failures they happen often at the beginning. Resist the temptations of trendy cookbooks a lot of them contain mostly flash but few recipes beginners can feel confident about trying and mastering. Some swear by the old joy of cooking tomes or Julia child. Nigel Slater's books are great if a bit frustrating at first because he is very free with quantities and instructions but as your confidence grows you will appreciate this. The first 2 Jamie Oliver books are a good start no matter what one's opinions of the man are. Marcella Hazan's books are also good, how to cook everything by Marc Bittman. Investing some money in decent cooking tools (a good knife, cast iron pan, stockpot) are a better initial investment since you will always need these things to cook even if it's just to cook some pasta. E-mail me I would be glad to help you out or try and answer any questions you have.
  3. I've tried Beef cheeks sous-vide all kinds of temperatures and ways and can't seem to find a nice texture, to really get that melt in the mouth richness you want from this cut go with the traditional sear and braise method. I know some will say it's a waste of good wagyu meat, but I find with the really tough cuts of wagyu, once you braise them they have this incredibly rich taste and silky texture which you don't get with regular beef.
  4. If the leaves are not too big , I would use them in a salad with grapes (red or green), toasted pine nuts, caramelized shallots, red wine vinegar and a nice olive oil, maybe a bit of parsley to cut it. I know it sounds intense but the balance achieved with the sweet grapes, nuts and vinegar is really good. Not something you eat a large bowl of but as a refreshing starter or a side to a nice roasted bird (quail, duck or chicken). Also use it in a sauce for roast or sautéed chicken. Reduce brown chicken stock down to a 1/3 or 1/4 of it's volume with some herbs and chopped shallots, strain, reduce heat and add a nice spoonful of Dijon mustard, then a touch of cream and then whisk in butter a small cube at a time until incorporated and emulsified , stop when your sauce has a nice velvety texture or your conscience can't handle anymore. Season and then add tarragon leaves and leave to infuse over the lowest heat setting, then serve with your chicken or bird of choice. Cricklewood
  5. Rarely have I had problems buying meat in chinatown especially if you reach for something with a huge turnover like chicken or pork. There store you mention has a lot of traffic I think it's a good bet , as for taste it's hard to say you can always fall on a good or bad bird. I say give it a try there is little to lose. I usually buy chicken carcasses, legs and feet from Chinatown ( or Kim Phat but all these places have the same suppliers) to make stock and soup and they are always tasty. Franck http://directionsinfood.blogspot.com/
  6. In the restaurant we re-use the frying oil regularly, I don't see why you couldn't apply this to home use as well, the volume is smaller so I can imagine it accumulating gunk faster but then again, restaurant fryers can see so much action that oil needs to be changed regularly. When using vegetable oil I find that indeed new oil doesn't quite behave the same it takes a while before it gets the sweet spot and then moves from the sweet spot to just being dark and nasty. I have never tried to hold back some oil from the old batch, I assume if you avoid sediment this could do the trick. A trick is once the oil is cooled down, filter it to catch any spices, gunk , tempura/batter bits that have accumulated in the fryer. tha way you are not burning all this stuff up on the next run. http://directionsinfood.blogspot.com/
  7. cricklewood

    Endive recipes?

    Half the Endives ,lengthwise, and then with a bit of butter and oil in a pan, slowly sear the cut side until it caramelises and then you can deglaze with a bit of chicken stock ( not to cover but maybe halfway up) and then keep cooking till the stock is reduced and just glazing the endives, serve with a nice risotto, maybe some strong cheese to keep up with then endive like cheddar or blue and then you can garnish with caramelized walnuts or by grating a not too sweet gingerbread over it, or make ginger bread croutons ( I know it sounds weird but it really works well). You can also make a nice chutney with the endives, chop endives, shallots and leeks to similar size, sweat all together in a skillet , once softened add some ginger, chopped garlic, sweat some more, add some lightly crushed spices (coriander seed, mustard, chili flakes, whatever you like) add sugar, vinegar and salt , some plumped raisins and then keep cooking till almost dry and jammy, great with most meats hot or cold. http://directionsinfood.blogspot.com/
  8. Did anybody go to the Mondial des cidres de glace Mondial des cidres de glace over the weekend It was nice to see some of the producers that don't normally get some of the limelight, a couple of really distinctive products like the cider from Leduc-Piedimonte, made from spartan and empire apples, it really tastes a lot different than whats out there and also from Clos Saragnat. I finally got to try the whole lineup from Face cachée de la pomme , Neige Éternelle was the standout, it has spicy flavour of cloves or allspice with a really nice mouthfeel almost like apple compote. They did not have the dégel but i've tried it before and for the price it's a really good buy . http://directionsinfood.blogspot.com/
  9. cricklewood

    Trotter gear

    There is an unsung potential to feet, pig trottrers have been a secret weapon of mine when making veal stock it adds more body and I find I don't have to reduce the stock as much to get the viscosity I like. Ditto for chicken feet I find they add richness to chicken stock that you just don't get otherwise. On top of all that feet are cheap so for a little you get so much in return (unctuous potential as Henderson puts it).
  10. cricklewood

    Fish Head

    Cheeks make the finest eating but as Soup said pro's eat pretty much everything on there, I would say cook it and then slowly take it apart trying the different bits to decide for yourself what's best.
  11. AlexP, at work we cook baby squid sous-vide, after they are cleaned bodies are drained to remove excess moisture and then bagged with a little olive oil and some aromatics (bay and some herbs) we don't use a circulator for this so I can't give you a precise temp. I get the water to a good simmer and then put the pot on the plancha which keeps the temp steady, they usually cook for about 2 hours since it's baby squid we don't usually go much longer than this but the result is worth it, tender and not as chewy as if they we're cooked a la minute. I imagine if you used larger squid or octopus that a longer time would be needed but would work well, try between 65-70 C and see.
  12. Everyone is pointing you in the right direction, whole roast duck can be good but it can be tricky to pull off properly and can be disapointing and if it is your first time you might end up underwhelmed. Definitly break the duck down, you can also braise the legs rather than confit, red wine, some nice spices(fennel, orange zest, cinnamon, chinese five-spice, etc..), it works well. Confit is maybe a better use if you want to stretch your purchase, since it keeps well if stored in the fat and can be used to dress pasta ( amazing with the stock you can make from the carcass reduced down to a glaze and warm your shredded confit meat), parmentier, sandwiches, risotto. confit gizzards neck and such are good for salads. If the butcher is nice ask if they have any duck trimmings to render down for fat, they will often give them to you if you are buying something already, then you can render that down and use it to cook with.
  13. "Manchonner" is the term you are looking for, "frenching" works also I guess but in french it translates to french kissing not to pull back the meat from the bones, lol.
  14. I have never used bone marrow in risotto making but many recipes call for it chopped finely and sweated with the onions at the beginning of the process. I assume this would add richness to the whole risotto but that the marrow would melt within it. The thing about it is that the marrow is mostly fat and eventually melts down to nothing if not carefull. At work we soak the bones under running water for a while to wash some of the impurities away, then the bones are blanched in simmering water a few minutes and then refreshed under cold water, this helps get rid of impurities and, then we pull the marrow out for other applications. Your process sounds good but I would blanch the bones first instead of roasting to get the marrow out, so that you don't end up losing too much of it.
  15. I have heard Norten (St-Laurent and Beaubien) does a good job of sharpening but I have never used their services myself but they have been mentioned on this board before . If you predominantly have Japanese Knives I don't know of anyplace in the city that specializes in sharpening them but i'm still hoping there is some hidden place somewhere. You are better off buying a couple of stones and sharpening them yourself rather than having someone ruin them it's not that hard, there is a lot of info here on Egullet but also on http://www.knifeforums.com/ as well as fred's knife discussion at foodie forums. Lee valley has all the stuff you need to sharpen your knives and since they are Canadian shipping won't cost you a fortune.
  16. I know that Kim Phat on the south shore (the big one) sells live snails in their shells (possibly escargot de mer?) along with plenty other live goodies like whelks, geoduck clams and occasionally shrimp. I don't know of any places on the island but i'm sure there are some, maybe la mer?.
  17. Laloux is opened on these nights as well.
  18. Thanks alanamoana I will try it that way and report back
  19. Hi, I have been looking for a good method for frozen yogurt for some time. I have looked all over the net and I find that all the recipes and method vary greatly from anglaise based recipes where the milk is substituted for yogurt to other methods where nothing is added to the yogurt except some fruit and it's not even processed in an ice cream machine (seems to me you would end up with a big ass frozen block). I would really like to find out how you guys do it, what methods do you use to yield a really luxurious frozen yogurt.
  20. No I haven't seen any place who has them in stock. Try e-mailing them to see if they have a list of retailers
  21. I have heard from a few sources that The birds that Giannone produce are of excellent quality, I am pretty sure they are not organic tough if that is one of your criterias. But the chickens produced by Giannone have made it on the menus of a few stateside restaurants and many people rave about them on the boards. Otherwise I would say your best bet would be obtaining your chicken directly from the source there a lot of small producers (many organic) who sell excellent birds, my old chef had found a guy selling the biggest Chapon I had ever seen and the meat was excellent even the frozen birds didn't lose much in flavour in the process. I think this would be the best bet , since you could also verify their claim about Organics and free range(although I believe this is no longer allowed in Québec due to Avian Flu scares). There is a Producer in California who raises chickens (they also have squab and silkies) in the style of Bresse(milk feed) and use genetics derived from the famed bresse chix, Other than this one I think Four story hills farms (purveyors of the French Laundry among others) is the Only other place in North America that produce birds of that Caliber
  22. I hear you brother, the last place i worked basically the open kitchen was behind the 12 seat bar. It had it's ups and downs, it was fun to see how people we're digging your food and it was easier to adjust things you could see what was working and what wasn't. I loved being able to see outside, most kitchens are like windowless dungeons, it was great to be able to watch customers and interact with service staff, we became a tight unit because we rerally worked closely with them. When you work out in the open it forces you to rethink the way you work (at least it did for me), You have to work clean, no swearing, no eating in the kitchen, watch out for little ticks, it's for the better I became a lot more efficient that way.
  23. A few restaurants in my area we're using this technique as of a couple of years ago, using small old fashion mason jars. One chef was using this mostly for desserts, he had a chocolate fleur pot de creme with a chocolate streusel like layer and a maldon sea salt caramel foam atop it. The other chef was doing mostly savoury dishes, a poached salmon with a bunch of different garnishes in it. Honestly it's nothing too crazy, I know a lot of french chefs we're using this technique, it's mostly striking in the presentation like any technique, as long as all the elements taste good it works if not it's all flash and no substance.
  24. Corn flakes make an amazing crust for homemade chicken nuggets or fingers, just use the regular panée a l'anglaise method but use crushed(roughly) corn flakes instead of bread crumbs, yields a crisper crust when cooking in the oven. My mom use to cook this all the time for us, when i was a kid. Not sure they will stand up to freezing, but it should work.
  25. I used to do an apple risotto to go with a confit pheasant dish. make a risotto as usual with chicken stock, when almost ready, heat another pan with some butter, sauté the apple chunks, till golden but still firm and then deglaze with either calvados, sherry or others and add to risotto, add cheese and butter and serve..roasted pine nuts work well also.
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