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Brian Brenner

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  1. I order them from a specialty purveyor called Earthy Delights here in Michigan. I'm sure they will ship to NO. Ramps are wild baby leeks and have a wonderful onion/garlic flavor. We tend to go nuts serving them as they are only in season for a short time and are not available cultivated. In addition I think in the more northern states we are especially excited to see them because they are a true sign of warming weather!
  2. I definitely avoid putting items on a menu that I don't care for. I think it would be hard as a chef to stand behind and sell a dish that you didn't like. Luckily, I have come across very few items I don't like. I agree with other comments that as a professional you should still have the knowledge and technique to prepare something you don't like and have it be appropriately prepared and seasoned.
  3. I have made corned beef several times following the recipe in Ruhlman and Polcyn's "Charcuterie". I totally agree with most comments on this thread. It is extremely easy and you get great results even from a generic "pickling spice blend" provided it has not been sitting on your supermarket shelf forever. If you are on the fence as to whether or not to try your hand at corned beef I would start with the commercial blend of spices just to make life easier. If you can, definitely try and find Kobe brisket. It is significantly better than the standard commercial and still very reasonably priced. If you cannot, making your own is still way better than you get at any deli I've been to. The biggest difference I've found is that in the freshly made corned beef you can really identify the individual components in the spice blend as opposed to just tasting that "corned" flavor. Mind you, these flavors seem to be somewhat volatile and I've noticed flavor degredation over just a few days, so eat up or vac pac to keep that goodness in as much as possible. Bottom line...this is so easy anyone who likes corned beef should try it...I will never buy even from a good deli again.
  4. I will second the don't work too hard to crank the stuffer. I originally purchased a stuffer from Butcher-Packer for double what the grizzly cost. Stupidly busted a gear during the first batch because a part was loose and gears were not synchronizing properly (also plastic gear). Knew I was forcing something that I should'nt, but did it anyway! Idiot. Butcher-packer refunded the money (fortunately I live nearby), but moral of the story...realize these gears are plastic and as dad always said "Don't force it". Afterwards immediately ordered a grizzly and have lived happily ever after.
  5. Haven't noticed a significant reduction in the last decade. I have worked in a high level kitchen where the chef was a yeller/swearer/thrower and another high end where the chef was more like a zen master and without words could express how he would like to throw you and your whole family into a deep fryer. Even the zen master would lose it out loud occasionally. I have never worked in a kitchen where the chef, myself included, didn't occasionally go postal. I think whether outbursts are constant or rare simply depends on the personality and management style of the individual chef. I don't think that because being a chef has been prettied up on television there has been a trickle down effect to the kitchen. I would further imagine that some chefs that we see on television in their show whites, full of smiles and good behaviour may well be quite different in their kitchens. If you met me outside of work you would find me quiet and pleasant, some of my ex-cooks would likely disagree. Furthermore, I don't think that the CIA telling a student to watch his/her mouth will have a lasting effect on someone otherwise prone to outbursts.
  6. Thanks for the response...I guess I'll just have to be patient and eat more bacon in the meantime!
  7. Hello all...first post on this awesome thread. I've read it all and want to thank everyone for all the incredible information. A question...I currently have some pancetta hanging in my drying room. I recently added humidifiers(after some so-so duck proscuittos and breasola due to too much outer drying) and am maintaining an average 61% humidity. In the past I have had great results drying pancetta without humidity control(about ten batches) and now, as one would expect, with more humidity it is taking waaaay longer to dry. So the question is, am I gaining anything by the extended dry time (texture or flavor development, etc.) or is it just extending my wait for pancetta. Should I pull the plug on the humidifier for pancetta or be more patient. Thanks for any and all input.
  8. Used them many times and very happy with the result. Saves lots of time and mess. That having been said I absolutely agree that the texture is significantly different. Personally, I love the wonton texture. A true Italian would strongly disagree I am sure! So quick and easy you have nothing to lose in trying.
  9. Shannon, Pleased to hear that you have good chocolate on hand. For home I love Lindt Excellence 70 per cent chocolate bars. Better grocery stores tend to sell them and I often use them even in the restaurant. I prefer this product above the standards such as Callebaut.
  10. Not true. Trotter was probably the one that got the ball rolling on things in Chicago, but he is against the ban. Tramanto is definitely against the ban, as he is the one who called Trotter a hypocrite in the first place for serving any kind of meat in his restaurant. The most prominent person to speak out in favor of the ban was someone who was in the cast of MASH. ← I appreciate the info. In Detroit chef circles, and I don't know how we ended up with this misinformation, many are under the impression that both were in favor of the ban.
  11. This is my kind of topic. You know those cool liquid center chocolate cakes that us chef types have been serving up for years now in restaurants? In less time than it takes for your guests to make you another cocktail you can have a batch of those in the oven. Commit this to memory: 4oz chocolate (preferably high quality bittersweet, but if it's 3 AM and you're at the gas station mart, even Hershey's will get you by) 4oz butter 2 eggs 2 egg yolks 2 fl.oz sugar 2 tsp flour Just remember 2's and 4's. Melt butter and chocolate together. Meanwhile beat eggs and sugar until ribbons. Combine the two mixture and beat in flour. Cook in generously buttered and floured ramekins at 450F about 8 min. Unmold, eat, and have another drink. And don't bother with aspirin before bed to avoid hangover...its effect will have worn off before you wake up! HAPPY COCKTAILING
  12. I find the slippery slope implications of this ban quite frightening. If this ridiculous trend of banning foie continues on the premise of cruel treatment of animals, it would be a no brainer for those opposed to meat eating in general to make the case that all raising of animals for slaughter is in one way or another cruel. It could be argued in one fell swoop that raising livestock for slaughter is cruel, or specific handling practices during the process of raising livestock are cruel. Thus, leaving the argument open to endless bantor and nitpicking. Not to say that the foie haters would ever have a chance at trying to ban hamburgers or chicken breast, too many would laugh and oppose, but the groundwork and precedence for the argument will certainly have been laid. How long before we hear more of veal being banned? On a different tangent, as a professional chef, I was deeply irratated to hear that such chefs as Charlie Trotter and Rick Tramonto spoke out in favor of the ban in Chicago. Seems a bit hypocritical as Chef Trotter has reference to fifteen foie preparations in his "Meat & Game" book alone and Chef Tramonto has an entire chapter dedicated to foie preparations in his "Tru" cookbook. Perhaps we should ban the sale of these books as they encourage the delicious preparation of this banned ingredient. While I do not mean to diminish the accomplishment and contribution of these great chefs, I never understand it when I hear a cook or chef say "I don't eat..."
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