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Everything posted by Qwerty

  1. You have to understand that I wasn't implying that things that are bitter and sour are appealing, just that if you add bitter taste to sour taste the taste is reduced. I wasn't saying that it taste's "good." By default, if you bring any other taste up you reduce the effect of the other. Add sour to sweet, the sweet is reduced. Add sweet to sour, the sour is reduced. Add bitter to sweet, the sweet is reduced. Add sour to bitter, the bitter is reduced, etc. etc. Why do people add lemon to tea? Seriously, next time you have some black coffee, add a few drops of lemon juice. Taste it. Then add a small pinch of sugar to another. Tell me which one is less bitter (not which one tastes better, but which is less bitter). My main point was that it isn't necessarily a necessity (or even a good thing) to use sucrose to balance out tastes. Tomato sauce too sour? You could add sugar, sure...but what good would that do. Try adding some caramel (or caramelized onions, or carrots, etc) to sauce, which add sweet and bitter taste (as well as a bunch of aroma and some texture) to better reduce the sour in a way that adds a depth of flavor to the sauce. Maybe "balances" out was a bad phrasing on my part, but I stand by what I said. How about bitter reduces acid more effectively than sweet.
  2. My opinion is that sugar brings only 1 thing to the party--sweet taste. It has no aroma or other taste besides that. There are other ways to incorporate sweetness into a dish besides just adding table sugar, that will also bring a lot more in terms of aroma and other flavors to the dish. One thing people have to realize is that all tastes reduce other tastes. Like, a common acceptance is that sugar balances out sour. And, while true, bitter actually balances out sour a bit better than sugar, and vise versa. Try adding a few drops of lemon juice to a tablespoon of coffee in the morning as an experiment. I'm not saying that the lemon/coffee will taste "good," but the bitter in the coffee will be reduced noticeably. So, you don't really "need" sugar to balance out sour or bitter. It's just what people use. Adding sugar to a tomato sauce? Nah. Wouldn't do it. I would, however, add a gastrique, or deeply carmelize my onions and carrots. Overall, you get the same "sweet" effect on the taste, but you add elements of onion aroma, caramel aroma, bitter, etc...which add to the depth of the dish. I'm not trying to be critical or tell anyone that you shouldn't put sugar in your food if you want to. There are many ways to do things. I just think that if you are cooking at a high/refined level, you probably don't need it because you essentially covered your bases with technique and depth rather than simple "taste" elements. And I have used sugar sometimes. I'm not afraid of it...I've used it in vinaigrettes before and in dishes. But I would carefully calculate how I could enhance natural sugar taste as opposed to just adding sucrose.
  3. It's also possible to work for free for a time. Not saying full time, but have a job that pays the bills, and then work in a kitchen 1-2 days a week. Morning, night, whatever works. Most restaurants, even top ones, won't say no to free labor. Advantage for you is you get to learn some things, work enough to probably find out if this is something you can see yourself doing for a living. Advantage for them is they get an extra body to do grunt work. If you like it enough, and you do a good enough job, then talk to them about coming on full time. If they like you and can use you they will say yes. If you get in somewhere, it's a fine line. Don't be afraid to ask questions, but don't pester. There is a lot to do and they may not have time all the time to answer. Things that will help--don't be afraid to hop into the dish pit, grab a broom or a mop, a scrub pad, whatever. Show them you are willing to help out wherever needed. Not saying you should be a dish dog, but if you are doing nothing and there is a pile of dishes, help the guy out. One of the chefs de partie's floor looking a little spotty? Grab a broom and sweep it for him/her. It will be appreciated and noticed and make them more willing to work with you if you show that kind of attitude and work ethic. Hopefully my point is made. Hope it goes well. Let us know what happens.
  4. Qwerty

    The spice of life

    I love vanilla....used in both sweet and savory applications. Fennel seed, curry, I don't know.Alot.
  5. I'm actually a fan of this place. I mean, it's still a bistro, doesn't really claim to be much more than that, does it? Both times I have eaten there it was what I would call stellar, and I very much enjoyed the ambiance etc. And I've seen the kitchen and it's impressive he feeds more than 10 people a day in that place. Tiny, tiny, tiny. My freshmen dorm room was bigger than the entire kitchen, prep and dishwasher included. He does a lot of food sous vide, with really good results I thought.
  6. OT: Got a chance to meet and work with Susur Lee in Boston this past weekend. He couldn't have been nicer or cooler...real stand up guy. Glad to hear that the positivity extends when he's back at his place as well.
  7. Oh man, don't ever use water in a cast iron. Anytime you need to clean, just wipe out with a clean dish/paper towel. If you need to scrub it, then heat up some oil and add a little kosher salt to scrub the pan. Simply wipe out the salt, and you should have a nice film on the pan...virtually nonstick. Anytime you take water to the pan you wash away the seasoning. And I wouldn't use the leftover bacon grease. Just use fresh or a different oil.
  8. Qwerty

    Rosemary gelee

    I agree with the steeping idea, though I tend to think that the resulting water won't be a flatering color. You might also try infusing a tea with the rosemary, some complimentary/delicate flavor that will still be present even with the rosemary. I don't drink tea much but it might be a little more interesting than gelatinized rosemary water. You could also steep it in a light simple syrup. Just adjust based on the amount of sweetness you want. Color? You could add some other herbs to the liquid, get it green. Though it would probably just turn it murky and gross. How about (gasp), food coloring. Harmless, tasteless--just be sure to find a good one and don't make it too neon. If you wnat natural color I don't know any other way to do it besides other herbs and plants that would alter the flavor. You may also try extracting chlorphyll a la Thomas Keller in TFL cookbook. I assume you own a copy Another word of advice. Powdered gelatin is, IMO, gross. It has a distinct flavor that the sheet gelatin doesn't have. That might interfere with the flavor profile you are trying to develop. Sheet gelatin in far superior. I would limit powdered to nothing except for classical chaud froid displays and aspics. Just a thought. Though, it is my understanding that you are a college student, and I do know that sheet gelatin is a bit more expensive than the powder. I'm interested to see what you come up with--keep us posted.
  9. Don't be discouraged either if it takes some persistance. Don't pester the chefs incessantly, but a little fire never hurt. Have a few things going at once, and if possible, do a stage before hand to see if the place will be a fit. A place can be great on paper, but you may not get along well with the sous, the other cooks, etc. Just check it out. Odds are that you will know quickly wheter you want to work there a long time or not. Make sure you know what you will be doing. Being at a name restaurant is great and all, but what will you be doing? Peeling potatoes and carrots 10 hours a day? Hardly beneficial to your education. Maybe it will be better for you to get some line skills at a really good place, well regarded, with a great chef who is present and able to answer questions. Just some thoughts.
  10. Qwerty

    Z Kitchen

    Why not crisp it up after poaching it? Or coat it in eggwash, flour, semolina, etc, then pan crisp it after it comes out? Sous vide chicken is great, but I always miss the crunchy skin/coating. Why serve 2 seafood courses then 2 poultry courses back to back? Not being critical just curious what the thought process was behind it. Why no starch?
  11. Qwerty

    broiling steak.

    Yes, but crush a garlic clove and throw in a couple sprigs of thyme. People call this the Ducasse method. I call it tasty. Going back to the original post, even if you only have one pan you can sear in oil, move to roasting pan, throw in foamed butter with said additions, roast while basting until doneness. ← Thanks for pointing that out. Forgot to mention the flavorings for the butter. Rosemary or thyme, garlic and foaming butter is of course the preferred method. As for searing, you can still do it in 1 pan if you pour the oil off from the pan and then add the butter. Works the same and keeps the dishes to a minimum.
  12. Qwerty

    Tuna substitution

    Watermelon as well. Little out of season, but you could probably find a tasty seedless variety. Give it a small dice, a light pickle, and you are in business. Nice, vibrant red color that absolutely looks like tuna.
  13. I wouldn't go to Luqa. Aurora and Lola are both fine choices, but I think currently my vote goes to Bijoux. It was named Dallas Morning News's best new restaurant in dallas for 2006, and should be a fantastic meal.
  14. Aren't cruise ship wages also not taxed? I always understood that was a major benefit to working on them. Usually long, hard and monotinous hours, (like 12 hours a day slicing fruit kind of monotinous), but the pay was OK cause room/board is paid for and you don't get taxed.
  15. Qwerty

    broiling steak.

    Don't you find that the foil ruins the crust you have so lovingly built? I wouldn't contain it in any way, I find that the steaming action makes the crust soggy. I would time it so that you add the MR steak to the oven after the MW steak has been in there for a while, so that you may time the resting/serving accordingly. Or convince your GF to eat MR steak
  16. Qwerty

    broiling steak.

    Why put it into a high heat oven? What are the advantages to doing so, provided that a crust has already been formed by a sear? If you put it into a 500 degree oven, you will most likely get the striation effect where you have different "rings" of doneness around a perfect MR center. If you use a lower heat oven, you will most likely get a nice even doneness throughout more of the meat. A lot of cooks have the tendency to blast their food like that and I just disagree with it. My opinion, nothing else. The advantage to a sear/roast are debateable. A nice, woodburning or charcoal grill is a great way to cook any steak, obviously imparting a smoky charred taste. The sear will give you a nice crust, good browning, and the oven finish should give you a nice even cook. Gas oven you might as well be putting it in the oven IMO. An obvious reason to cook indoors is that some people don't have access to a charcoal or wood grill, and have to cook steak indoors. I actually really like my steak pan seared, I think that it is a great way to develop flavor and texture. Finish with some whole foaming butter, some fersh herb sprigs and a nice baste to both sides. Mmmmm. Proper resting is of course required, no debate there Another reason is a pan sauce. Get a nice fond in the pan and it leaves the residue to turn into a quick sauce for the steak. I usually prefer a butter baste, or just a compund butter melted slightly on top, but a quick demi/redux sauce is a nice treat as well. Also, for some people, it's easier to control the heat in an oven and over a stove than on a grill.
  17. Qwerty

    broiling steak.

    I would agree with the sear advice, but I wouldn't put it under the broiler or in an ultra hot oven. I would put it in an oven about 300-350. Might take a few extra minutes, but you should end up with a more even doneness throughout the steak, a nice medium rare or medium depending on what you like/want.
  18. Um, you could always try water. Thin it out a bit, dilute the bitterness. Balsamic has more sugar than a lot of other vinegars though, more than likely you burnt some of them and created that bitter flavor, but you probably know that. My advice would be to just start over.
  19. Qwerty


    Thanks, good to know. Any way you could possibly go into more detail, like what you ate, etc?
  20. Just curious if anyone has tried Bijoux yet. Got 5 stars from DMN.
  21. I'll give my $.02 Definately start with a little acid and a little water in your yolks. Whisk them over the waterbath until they have thickened up pretty significantly, and paled in color (sounds like you did this ok). This helps condition the yolk to be better prepared for the emulsion. Water helps emulsions, whether it be mayo or hollandaise. You noticed your sauce got too thick and gummy, and too tight, because you did not have enough water in it. You can also add water throughout the process, so if you think your sauce is getting too thick, you can add a teaspoon or 2 at a time to acheive consistency. Also, lemon juice or vinegar can thin it out too. In fact, it's better IMO to add acid because it contributes flavor and balance to the sauce. I also use whole butter, but I use melted whole butter--not quite the same as clarfied. I find that if I use warm melted whole butter, I can better regulate the temperature of the sauce. Also, using fresh cold butter off the heat takes a lot more time. And you can still get the milk fat and milk solids, you just have to conciously incorporate the solids from near the bottom of the pot. Whole butter gives you a much better flavor than clarified, but clarified is generally considered to be a little easier to work with, since it is pure fat and has to water or anything in it. Also, keep in mind that it is a balancing act between the flavors. Rich, salty, acid, etc, are all in need of balancing in the sauce. If it has too much acid for your tastes, add a little salt, or whisk in a bit more butter to counter balance. Too salty? Add a bit of acid or more butter. Too rich? Add some acid. You may have just needed another tablespoon of butter to make your sauce perfect tasting for you. You can also add a pinch of cayenne pepper, or a dash or two of tobasco, to give it a little background heat. Good luck, hope I helped.
  22. Qwerty


    I agree with all of the above statements, except that I would cook the bones a little longer than a couple hours. Try at least 6, IMO. Flavor isn't the primary concern in a remy, it's mostly gelatin. Flavor can come into a remy later, through the addition of stock, bones, veg, sauce making, soup making, etc. Personally, I think that remouillage is a fantastic base liquid for braising, in that you will still get a nice mouthfeel in the sauce, but it won't be overwhelmingly rich and overbearing as if you had used stock, it will jsut get the flavor from the meat in the braise. People in the industry do it, like they stated above, to use as a base for a stock. So instead of water, you start with a remy and add fresh bones, veg, etc to it, then I'm sure you can imagine the type of stock you get out of that. I would definately say it's worth it, if you have the time and inclination.
  23. I would say to leave it uncovered to let some of the liquid evaporate and the soup to thicken and condense in flavor.
  24. When I make them, I like to use 1/2 whole milk, 1/4 chix stock, and 1/4 water...or just 1/2 milk and 1/2 weak chix stock. Don't want the grits to taste "chickeny" just get some richness from the stock. Bring the milk and stock to a boil. Reduce heat, stir in the grits in a steady stream. Add a heavy dose of salt and pepper. Stir until thickened and creamy. Don't be shy to add more liquid. I like my grits fairly loose, and they always tighten up with the cheese at the end. I add water a lot during the cooking process, basically to keep them creamy and moist. Not "soupy," but nice and loose. Wish I could describe it better. When the grits are cooked (and this may take a while, up to and over an hour), add the cheddar (or whatever) cheese, and then stir in an appropriate amount of COLD, cubed butter. Don't be shy. Continue to whisk to emulsify the butter (a similar technique is used when making mashed potatoes the right way). Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve piping hot. Makes a good breakfast, or a good side dish to meats. They are really rich, but if you use nice stone ground grits they are still corny and delicious. Good luck.
  25. Nice. Looks cool. Curious--is there a desert where you get to eat chocolate off a half-nude model? That's worth the price of admission alone.
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