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Everything posted by Qwerty

  1. Sorbet... Really, lemon thyme is delicious. You can steep in in iced tea, sauces, etc. Chicken, pork, all that will be good with it. Try it out.
  2. Yeah, I mean, what can you do but suck it up? No matter how annoying, it's bad practice to turn people away for not spending "enough" money. You can't assume--maybe they saved for months to be able to eat in a nice place, even if only 2 entrees. You don't know peoples' situation, and hence nothing should be done.
  3. Try scoring the skin (do a nice crosshatch, or simple diagonal slashes) and put fat/skin side down in a pan set on LOW LOW heat. Render most of the fat out...and drain the pan as you go (make sure to strain and save the fat). Once the breast has rendered...you have several options. The easiest thing to do would be to turn the heat up to med-high, and get a nice sear. Flip, put in an oven and roast until done to your liking. Duck can be a little harder to temp since a lot of the "meat" is fat. The rendering helps (though you won't, and shouldn't, render all the fat). Try squeezing the sides of the breast to feel the tenderness. Otherwise, it's similar to temping any other protein. As far as sauces, I prefer something a little sweet/sour since the duck is so fatty and rich. You could do a simple gastrique based sauce with whatever fresh fruit you have (or can buy). A pan sauce is a good idea (I know you started a pan sauce thread so it should be no problem for you by now)...just make sure to degrease the pan first. A standard shallot/herb/alcohol/demi sauce would be nice, and some fresh fruit (berries, etc) would be a nice addition. Anyways, good luck. Hopefully I helped some. Let us know how it turns out.
  4. Funny I found this topic this morning... I got some really nice local organic baby beets from the farmers market a couple days ago...roasted them last night, peeled them and cut them into quarters. Mixed them with sherry vinaigrette, olive oil, salt, and about a 1/4 of a vanilla bean, scraped. Added some fresh pea tendrils and some ashed goat cheese...it really was wonderful. Like it was stated, people associate vanilla with sweet foods, but vanilla itself is quite bitter, and of course the floral and earthy aromas matched nicely with the beets. Might be a good thing to try for someone soon.
  5. Qwerty

    Rhubarb Chutney

    One thing to keep in mind is that rhubarb breaks down quickly, so if you are wanting to keep a little of the shape of the diced rhubarb, watch it carefully. My reccomendation would be to poach it in simple syrup really quickly and let it steep, then cool and marinate overnight. Don't be concerned if you taste it at this point and it is still a bit sour. As it sits, the sourness will mellow and it should be nicely balanced several hours later. The next day, adjust the consistency (if needed), and add a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice (if needed). It's doubtful you'd need to add any more sweetness, but do so if you think it needs it. It can really be that simple. Added things may be citrus zest/juices, ginger, black pepper, strawberries...basically whatever you want. Good luck...hope I helped.
  6. Interestingly enough, at TFL (and Per Se I assume) they rest (or used to, at least) their cooked proteins in buerre monte before pickup. I have tried this, and I have to admit I like the results. Keeps the meat at a servable temperature, but also allows you to rest long enough to retain the juices....and who can forget the lovely coating of seasoned butter. Only bad thing is it takes a little while to make the butter, and you need a lot of it if you are cooking a quantity of meat at a time.
  7. I mean, WORST case scenario he should have offered to put you down another day/time, and made note on the res. sheet about the special circumstances. But yeah, he should have juggled to try and make room, or offer some sort of solution.
  8. It really depends...there is no such thing as a perfect system, invariably you WILL end up pissing some people off. The goal, of course, is to piss off as few people as possible. It might help if you painted a clear picture of what type of establishment you are talking about. There is a huge difference in diners vs. fine dining. A lot of restaurants keep up to 50% of the seats for walk in business. Tables should be allowed to sit at the table as long as they want, but generally you will (after some time) have a good idea of how long the average table takes to eat, so you can plan the chart accordingly. Some places won't seat incomplete parties, some will. For various reasons. Not to put extra stress on the servers (several trips for drinks, talking about the same thing a few times, etc), to get them to spend a little extra money at the bar. Usually places takes resis 15-30 minutes before closing. It varies. If in a very fine place they might not take you past a certain time (like, if your meal will take 4 hours and you arrive at 9:30, etc). A lot of places tend to "overbook," so that in the inevitable no show, they can still maximize butts. Some places take credit card numbers to insure against no shows, most don't. Like I said, there really are no hard and fast rules. If you are opening a plcae it's probably best to sit down, analyze what you THINK will work best, then adjust once you are open and have some stats to guide you. Good luck.
  9. It might be a good idea to kill the lobsters before steeping...just drive a chef's knife through the head. Kills them instantly and would allow you to make sure you can remove the meat after 2 minutes. BTW, doesn't Keller reccomend pouring boiling water over the lobsters to do this? My memory may be a bit fuzzy....
  10. Always remove silver skin. Fat is fine, leave it on, but silver skin has to go. Remember, when removing silver skin to cut from thin parts to thick parts and cut with the grain. If you do it right (and with a lot of practice) you won't really lost too much meat. There is also something called the "fell" which is a thin, tough tissue like skin that should come off too. Usually its above a thick fat layer so it's easy to trim. But yeah, that stuff is nasty.
  11. Qwerty

    Parsley Salad

    Fergus Henderson's roasted bone marrow with parsley salad....*drool*
  12. Actually I think that Alton Brown has a good episode on this sort of thing. Couldn't tell you which one, but he does a good job of explaining the muscle structure and why and when you cut against the grain. Basically, muscles are made up of muscle fibers, bound with connective tissue into bundles, etc. These fibers can be quite long. Best example is a thing like a skirt or flank steak. They are really good to eat, but can also be really bad if not handled right, and they help illustrate the point because they show the grain really well. Basically, the muscle fibers run along the whole cut of meat, so you potentially fibers that reach from one end of the steak to the other. If you cut this slices ALONG these fibers, you end up with slices of steak with really long muscle fibers. Especially in tougher cuts of meat, these give you the effect of being stringy, chewy and tough (anyone ever had chewy steak fajitas? Thats what they are like...cause that's what probably happened). If you slice against the grain, you end up with slices that are thin and made up of fibers that are short. So instead of long stringy fibers, you have pretty much cut the fibers into shorter pieces of fibers. Short=more tender, easier to chew. I did a quick search and found these pictures. Best I could do.
  13. Well, all those cuts you mentioned are pretty much really really tender, especially at the upper echelon's of grading, so I suspect the added benefit of slicing against the grain would be minimal. The steaks themselves are usually cut against the grain, that is, the sirloin sub primal is cut against the grain to produce sirloin steaks, etc. A big tenderloin is cut against the grain the produce filets, etc. I can't really imagine a tenderloin or a ribeye being made much more tender with against the grain cutting once cooked. I guess if you really wanted to test it out, buy a whole t-loin or something and try fabricating steaks with the grain...then slice against for eating. Let us know
  14. Yeah don't take any chances. You did the right thing. I mean, chickens are cheap, right?
  15. Qwerty

    Pan Sauces

    Last step should almost always be mounting with cold butter, swirling it off the heat and emulsifying it. Adds a nice glossy sheen and rich mouthfeel. There really is no right or wrong answer, you seem to have the concept. I would just use your imagination to see what comes up...maybe a few misses but I bet you have more success.
  16. Qwerty

    Pork Confit

    It's perfectly OK to leave them in chunks, as long as they are submerged in fat and clean they should last a good long while...and get better with time. Only time to shred it would be if you are making carnitas and you want to fry it in the fat and get that nice crispy top and succulent under. IMO, there aren't many things that are better to eat than a nice fat carnitas burrito with all the trimmings.
  17. It's not absolutely necessary. You wouldn't want to use something like a glass bowl or something I would think, being that glass is such a poor heat conductor. Stainless bowls are common because they are non-reactive and the are easy to fit over a saucepan for a quick double boiler. Copper would work, as would a smaller saucepan inside a larger one, etc. I would urge you to pick up a stainless mixing bowl next time you are out though, they are useful for many other things besides hollandaise and they are inexpensive as well.
  18. Probably because there is only 1 or 2 servers working and taking tables at the moment, so they seat that server's "section" as to avoid having to go from one end of the restaurant to the other to wait on a table. Restaurants, especially good ones, have a tendancy to fill up quickly and this can help prevent the servers having tables scattered throghout the floor. Nothing makes a waiter more inefficient than not being able to consolidate their station.
  19. Qwerty


    Here's my $.02. I would throw it out. I never take a chance when it comes to food safety. If there is ever a question it is better to be safe than sorry. I've had serious food poisening a couple of times in my life. I'm talking sitting-on-a-toilet-holding-a-trash-bucket kind of sick. I would have gladly traded any of those meals that made me sick for my health. Those were BAD, BAD 12-24 hour days. Remember, too, that most of these toxins and bacteria take about a day to manifest themselves. So you can feel fine for about 24 hours (give or take a few), and then BAM, you're down and out. Like I said, I can almost guarantee that'd you'd trade whatever you ate with that stock for not being sick like that. Am I saying that you will get sick if you use it? No, not at all. In fact, odds are that you will be OK. But again, I wouldn't take that chance. Good luck
  20. Qwerty

    Pork Confit

    I confited a chunk of pork belly the other day, the results were spectacular. Cured for 24 hours using 2:1 salt to sugar, coriander, fennel, thyme, then cooked in rendered pork fat for about 4 hours. Cooled, stored, etc. Cut into desired portion cuts. Crisped up one side of the pork belly in a pan, and the resulting slice was meltingly tender and succulent. Of course, it was ultra-ultra fatty, but the fat literally melted in my mouth and released tons of flavor. I highly recomend this to anyone. I've also had success with pork carnitas using a similar method--though I didn't cure the butt--and confiting pork butt with cure. I used half of the resulting butt for tacos, sandwiches, etc, and the other half I turned into basic rilletes which I enjoyed for months after. Actually, I think I may do some more this weekend. Talked myself into it.
  21. You could also just pound them out with a mallet or something similar. I agree that pre-cooking a little bit would help out a lot.
  22. I wouldn't keep it around for longer than a few days. Odds are though, you'll know if it's OK to use or not. Only reason is becuase of the eggs in it. I mean, how long would you keep a couple of cracked eggs sitting in a bowl in your fridge for?
  23. You'll adjust. Give it time. It may take up to a month or maybe even two to get fully used to it.
  24. Qwerty

    Bone-in pork chops

    Try a high heat sear, then finishing in a lower oven to promote even, slower heating of the meat. This might allow the meat around the bone to come up to temp without over cooking. Try like a high heat sear, a 300 degree oven, and a nice 10 minute rest.
  25. BAH! Just do it by hand...take almost no time at all and, IMO, creates a much more consistent and better product. Easier to adjust, less cleanup, etc. Unless you need like 2 gallons, then use a blender or mixer.
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