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Everything posted by Qwerty

  1. ? You add water to your Hollandaise? ← Yeah I do. Whenever I make an emulsion (except for a vinaigrette) I always start with a little water. Water is the continuous phase of the emulsion, eggs are approx. 2/3 fat, the little bit of water in the initial stages helps ensure the fat is being dispersed in the water molecules. Lemon juice or a vinegar reduction can obviously be used in this way, but I prefer to start with a little of both then adjust accordingly when I am finishing the sauce. Besides, we're talking like a tablespoon or so of warm water--or less, depending on the size of my batch. Makes little difference in the eventual outcome of the sauce in terms of flavor, but is very helpful in making the emulsion more stable, especially in the early stages. My point was that if you add milk solids as well as butter fat to the sauce, you had better be careful with your water addition (if you choose to do so) so that your sauce is not too thin, since the milk solids contain the water in the butter mixture. There can be a danger of the sauce getting too thin when using melted and/or whole butter as opposed to clarified, which has been removed of it's water. As I stated, I feel that clarified butter is too "one dimensional" to make a truly great butter emulsion sauce. The round, creamy part of the butter is missing when just simply using clarified. The one exception to this rule of mine is brown butter hollandaise sauce. Since, by the time the butter is browned the butter has, in effect, clarified, I technically use clarified butter for this type of hollandaise. I think that the added complexities that the browning brings makes up for the lack of the whole butter flavor in the sauce. And if no one has ever tried a b.b. hollandaise before, I suggest you try it sometime. It's quite good, IMO. Doesn't necessarily replace traditional hollandaise sauce for things like benedicts, but can add a surprising touch to a classic like, say, asparagus.
  2. I always use melted whole butter and add the milk solids as I see fit. I find that it gives it a more rounded flavor. Clarified butter is ok, but it just tastes too one dimensional to me. Just be careful with the amount of water you add since the whole butter has some water in it--if you aren't careful the sauce can become too thin.
  3. Qwerty

    Mussel Recipes Wanted

    I've done mussels before in lambic beers and they were excellent. Similar principle when using wine, just substitute the lambic. Garlic, herbs, shallots, and of course, butter. Chopped tomatoes are good as well. It's nice to mount the liquid with the butter as well, giving it a bit of thickness and sheen. Some nice toasty bread is a must.
  4. I'm my experience (both in BoH work and a patron) it's nearly impossible for a restaurant to give the full experience for restaurant weeks. Usually the types of establishments that are hit with the higher expectations are the ones whose price point is considerably higher than the 30 dollars or so they charge for restaurant week. Mostly you get scaled down versions of the normal offerings, or you get a different menu altogether which (while probably prepared with skill) can still fail to dazzle given the restaurants stellar reputation. I think it's some of both--there is no clearcut answer. A lot of people go to just check out the restaurant, and some go fully expecting a gourmet experience for like 30 dollars.
  5. Qwerty

    Celeriac Puree

    You can also peel and cut into uniform pieces, then simmer in cream or a mixture of cream and 1/2 and 1/2 (with a satchet of whatever spices, herbs, etc you want--typical might be a little garlice, thyme, coriander, fennel, peppercorn, whatever) and salt. Simmer until tender, strain, then puree in a blender with just enough of the cooking liquid to (as Bryan said) allow the puree to turn freely in the jar. This will produce a nice, creamy, smooth and rich puree. I don't do the roasting personally, and I like to cook it in the cream itself because the liquid picks up a lot of the celeriac flavor as well.
  6. Qwerty

    Storing duck breast

    I would toss it....not worth the possibility. If you end up sitting on a toilet, holding a trash can for 12 hours I bet you'd pay 15 bucks to make it stop. I would buy a new one, thaw it under water, and use that.
  7. Basting is done for two reasons--flavor/aroma and its a great way to evenly coat the protein with heat to finish cooking. When you add aromats to the foaming butter--be it garlic, rosemary, thyme, etc--they flavor the butter then add the aroma to the dish as it finishes cooking. That foaming butter is HOT, and so does a good job of finishing cooking. A nice thin sheen of butter adds a nice taste and flavor as well. Is it worth it? I dunno, it depends. It certainly is a GREAT way to cook proteins, and my preferred method. Doesn't mean that you can't make great tasting meat and fish without it. I'd say that when done correctly it is totally worth it, when not, well, not really probably. The main drawback is that you go through a TON of butter, like pounds of butter during a busy service, and as any chef will tell you butter is very expensive. So if your food cost can handle it I say go for it. Listen, don't pay any attention to that guy. To qualify someone as a good or bad cook based solely on basting is silly. It's a great technique, but, as Chef Fowke said, not the be and end all of cooking protein.
  8. Qwerty

    Storing duck breast

    I worked at a place that sous vided foie gras (disgusting and pointless) and then used a blowtorch to "sear" the outside. It was truly a nasty preparation. I left that job as soon as I could. As far as the duck, the shelf life should be fine. As long as the seal is good and proper sanitation habits were followed during vacuuming...there should be no worries. If the bag inexplicably becomes bloated throw it out. The MAIN worry with sous vide is botulism, and the best indication of that is a puffy and bloated bag. Throw any of those out. I mean, my advice would be to just do them one or two days in advance, no worries. I wouldn't like do a months worth of duck or anything. Sous vide is quite possibly the best way to store many things. Shelf life, in most cases, is extended from traditional storage techniques. I think you guys should be fine.
  9. Qwerty

    Storing duck breast

    God I hope no one here sears with a blowtorch. Both ways are fine. With a duck breast, I imagine the intention would be to render most of the fat out of the duck breast prior to sous vide. Also, he doesn't say whether the duck is going to be served hot or cold, and a pre-sous vide sear would add the aromatic qualities of the sear without requiring heat after. I would caution, however, that duck fat/skin when served cold is not very appetizing, and can become chewy. Here's what I would do: Peel the skin and fat off of the breast, and vacuum with marinade. Meanwhile, trim as much fat away from the skin and render/reserve for another use...and then take the skin and render the fat off of that. Then place into an oven between two sheet pans to render the remaining fat and make the skin very very crispy...like a crackling. Re-assemble when the breasts are ready. Alternatively, you could just peel the skin and fat off the breast, slice into threads, and render in a pot until all the moisture is gone, all the fat is rendered and the strips of skin are nice and crispy brown. Then just sprinkle over the breast. I would also raise the temp. to about 56-57. I find that rare duck can be pretty chewy, and I think that since you are doing it sous vide that the temp will be stable throughout and a nice MR would be perfect. Hope I helped a bit, good luck. PS--Steaming is a perfectly acceptable way of executing sous vide. Some of the equipment is better at maintaining a steady temp then others, but if you have good equip. the results are pretty much the same as using a TIC. The method of heat transfer matters less than the stability of the temp.
  10. Qwerty

    Cooking Rice?

    First off, if you "only" make rice 1-2 times a week I would think a rice cooker would be a good investment. You could try the pilaf method--take some oil or butter, get it hot in a pan and add the rice...and cook until the rice is hot but not colored. Pick up a grain or two of rice, and if it feels really hot you are good to go. Add your liquid and cook as normal. This method should give you nice fluffy rice with distinct grains. It also sounds to me like you might be overcooking your rice hence making it soggy. Make sure to "fluff" the rice to get rid of excess steam that is hidden below the surface.
  11. Please keep in mind that there is a huge difference between hands with shit on them and double dipping a spoon. My post was made mostly in jest, but for people to have the illusion that cooks don't touch food with hands and such is silly. Me--my spoons live in a bain of hot water that is changed frequently (though the definition of frequently can be fluid ). When I taste something with one of my spoons, it goes back into the bain. Maybe some of you guys think that is unsanitary or gross (I don't), but the alternative of using like 100 tasting spoons a night is not practical. Not only do we have enough spoons to go around, it to me, does not make much sense. I work in a nice kitchen by the way, it's not a Chili's or anything like that. High end, and what I would consider very clean and sanitary. I mean, if you guys truly worry about stuff like that I do feel bad for you. I wouldn't honestly think that it's any more likely to make you sick than riding the subway or going to a party or whatever. Not trying to pick on you guys, but from a health standpoint, double dipping should be on the low end of restaurant hygiene crimes. If Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Morimoto, etc, all, do it on national TV, it's probably not that big of a deal. It's the things that the DON'T let you see that are the big deal.
  12. Yeah, he wasn't saying that they are not potatoes, just that many different types can be labeled as fingerling. Think of it as a style rather than a specific type of potato.
  13. Qwerty

    Confit Duck

    It would seem to me the benefit is being able to just pull out a leg or two at a time, instead of having to store it potted and warm/pull it out when needed. I don't think that preservation is really the reason, since a potted meat (in theory) should keep for a long long time.
  14. Qwerty

    Need a sauce idea...

    That dish sounds really rich, I might just go for a quick vinegar reduction or some type of sweet/sour combo, like a gastrique or something similar. Would also go nice with the proscuitto.
  15. Qwerty

    Brussels Sprouts

    Hmm, that's interesting... I wonder if that has anything to do with the oft-heard saying of sprouts tasting better after a frost... ← Perhaps, but the important part of the Richard's recipe was left out! Put the frozen brussels sprouts into a saucepan, cover them halfway or so with chicken stock and throw in a generous knob of butter. Bring up to a boil, then simmer, covered. When stock has just about evaporated, remove the lid and glaze the brussels with the remaining liquid. They turn into buttery, soft, delectable sprouts of love. And about the easiest way to cook vegetables ever. ← How does the liquid evaporate if the pan is covered? I prefer to forego the blanching and just simply roast them...why blanch? It takes extra time and doesn't add any flavor. I say, tear off any wilting or dingy outside leaves, cut them in half, then place cut side down in a hot pan with a thin sheen of oil. Place in an oven for about 10 minutes (or until tender but not mushy) and then place them back on a burner and get nice color. Finish with a knob of whole butter and some fresh herbs--I like thyme. Of course season with salt, add some bacon or panchetta, and you are good to go.
  16. Qwerty

    Lamb Shank

    Well, if you can roast a pork butt and other tough cuts of meat like brisket until tender, why not a lamb shank? Its the slow gentle heat that breaks down the connective tissue, not the liquid for a braise. The liquid simply provides taste and aroma, and limits the heat in the braise--not to mention gives the flavor the meat gives off a place to go (in the sauce). I can't see if you do it properly it will result in a dry shank. Properly slow-roasted tough cuts of meat are divine.
  17. Bill Addison just reviewed Craft quite favorably: GuideLive Sounds good to me. I really like the place.
  18. I think you'll be fine too--my advice would be to make sure that you chill it quickly the night before. don't let it sit out on the counter for hours or go into the fridge while still hot. Otherwise you should be fine.
  19. Might want to start with culinary schools--specifically I believe the CIA has post grad and professional classes designed for exactly what you are looking for. My other advice is to stage in top kitchens in your area. Odds are that you may not learn a ton but you'll pick up a trick or a technique here and there that you can apply to your own designs.
  20. Qwerty

    Making Fish Stock

    I'm glad it worked out for you Here is what I think the best method is: Sweat the vegetables (onions, leeks, fennel, celery) way down, add white wine and cook until reduced a bit and the alcohol is burned off. Then add the cleaned bones. I would recommend removing the gills and eyes, as they can have a funky flavor and may also add impurities to the stock and make it cloudy. You can go as far as soaking the bones overnight in ince water to remove excess impurities--but a good cleaning in the sink will be OK as well. Do not let come up to a boil at all, and let it cook for about 30 minutes (no longer than 45). Strain and cool immediately.
  21. A more effective solution would be to avoid the tomatoes all together...yeah Burger King uses them but so do the grocery stores (or at least similar tomatoes) we all probably shop in. I don't blame Burger King (only a symptom), I blame our cheap-food culture.
  22. Qwerty

    Jicama question

    I think not, but most of the times I have had it tossed with some sort of acidic dressing, so maybe. Try it out and report back
  23. Thanks for the info...I'm always looking for cool little places to try.
  24. You might try par baking the crust as well, using a ring of tin foil to cover the top crust so it doesn't brown too much. Don't know how practical that is, but it's worth a shot.
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