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Everything posted by Qwerty

  1. You sure it was panchetta and not something else like a braised pork belly?
  2. Qwerty

    Grilling peaches

    Use a nice hot grill too...sounds like a no brainer but you'd be surprised.
  3. Over saturated market, as well as a fickle, flaky (and superficial) and not really bright dining public. Despite what some people seem to think, Dallas is not a good food town. There is a reason that Dallas is not in the big leagues with the likes of NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, etc. There is a finite number of these types of restaurants that a moderately sized city can support...the rest will fall by the wayside. Smith and Wollensky wasn't very good...I never ate at BLT but it had a HORRIBLE location and suffered from, IMO, too many high end restaurants opening in the last 2 years. It's not really that surprising, is it?
  4. You can also try whipping it to make it more spreadable...also you can cut it with a very mild cheese, like ricotta or even cream cheese. Just be careful not to overwhelm the brie.
  5. Qwerty

    Poached Eggs

    The part of the white that "feathers" is the watery, loose white. There are actually two parts to the white...a loose part, and a more firm, solid part. One thing that can help is to drain off this watery part from the egg before if even goes into the water. That REALLY reduces the feathering and helps create a beautiful, consistent poached egg. I don't think temp. really matters that much (as long as it isn't too low or boiling or simmering). Somewhere around 180 should do it. The whole bit about swirling the water, etc. I don't really find useful either. I find it helps to just gently lower the egg into the water, after a few secs maybe dip in your spoon to make sure it isn't sitting or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Qwerty

    Chef Ethics

    Your actions speak differently. You aren't doing anyone a favor by staying there, least of all your customers. Forget about wanting to work in one of those restaurants...why don't you? Even if it's on your days off from your shitty job now...you might be able to get noticed and get hired full time. Work for free in the mornings. DO SOMETHING to get out of the situation you are in.
  7. You can also just take the peeled and trimmed cloves, cover them in olive oil, then place in a low oven (225-250) and cook until the cloves are nice and tender. We call this a garlic confit--you can do lots with it. Great for sauces, soups, butters, pasta, spreading on roasted/grilled meats, etc. Keep it in the fridge covered in the oil, or take some and freeze it in small batches and thaw a bit at a time.
  8. Qwerty

    Chef Ethics

    I personally find it unacceptable to lie to vegetarians in that way. Even though you seem to object, you are complacent in the lie and enable your boss and chef to continue to do so. I would quietly begin looking for another job, find one, then give my 2 weeks. etc. No offense, but it sounds like you work in a shit place with shit chefs. If your goal is to make it into "very high end" dining, then you need to stop this behavior ASAP. I try to have the attitude that whatever I put out on the plate represents me as a cook. It's one thing to put out frozen, pre made schlock, but to then misrepresent it as fresh, homemade stuff is unreal. Now, please don't misunderstand me--I'm sure you have morals and standards as a chef (you wouldn't have made this post otherwise), so my advice would be to get the hell out of there as soon as you can find another job and don't look back. I would be honest with both your present and future employers. When you're interviewing for a new job, tell them (without "bad mouthing") that you are being asked to lie to customers and you want a new job where you feel good about the food. When your current chef asks why you are leaving, tell him the same thing. Be professional--don't let these guys take that away. But I'll tell you, every time you put a piece of "veal"/pork on a plate, you will lose a little integrity and take small steps back. Go to a good restaurant where you can lean and grow and be part of an honest kitchen that doesn't have to lie. Good luck.
  9. My use of the phrase "sous vide" was incorrect. What I meant to say was a temperature controlling device typically used in the application of sous vide cooking, i.e. a water bath of some sort. I would actually think it would be detrimental to sous vide the potatoes. Of course it is possible to maintain a constant temp with a thermometer and a pot of water, it's just takes a lot more babysitting. My main point in my post is that this technique is typically done in kitchens that are equipped with water baths and TICs where you won't have to babysit.
  10. Qwerty


    I would say it is "relatively" flavorless, but still no more intrusive than a traditional starch, i.e. corn, arrow, potato, etc. I've used it in the past and have noticed that it does indeed have a subtle taste to it. Very subtle though. It's good for a lot of stuff, but it's main use is, like previously stated, to thicken cold liquids to a proper consistency. It's good if you want to preserve freshness, like in the kiwi coulis example above. It has a similar function of xantham gum but I think the flavor/texture of ultatex is much superior. There is a new product called ultatex 8 on the market which is basically a more refined version of ultatex 3 but even more powerful. it's one of the more user friendly and more applicable techniques/products to come out of the "molecular gastronomy" movement.
  11. Yeah I understand the reasons for everything, my only point about the tamis was directed at the OP and was just so they didn't think they HAD to use a tamis to make delicious potato puree. It is a refinement that is definitely a great thing to do, but if you don't have a tamis it's not the end of the world. The potatoes will still be great without doing it, the texture just won't be as refined. I actually experimented with this the other day (just got a home sous vide setup) and had positive results. My understanding is this technique gelatinizes the starch without actually cooking the potato, so in effect you have gummy-free potatoes that you can overwork, put into a thermomix/blender, etc. I was not able to "overwork" the potatoes (and I tried) so this is a very valid technique (and one that is being done in SV equipped kitchens...has been for a while I think) but I think out of the reach of most home cooks, due more to equipment than actual ability.
  12. Kenneth has pretty much nailed the common method for high end potatoes puree. These are not everyday mashed potatoes, they are def. for special occasions. A few notes I would add: I find that yukon gold potatoes work really wonderfully too. Fingerlings or yukons are def. the way to go. When I am peeling the hot, just boiled potatoes, I reserve a little bit of the cooking liquid in the pot I am peeling over...to keep the potatoes hot. I hope this makes sense...basically just keep the potatoes you aren't peeling in the cooking pot with about an inch of the hot water left in it. Like I said, this keeps the potatoes hot--which is very important to making the puree. I personally don't dry my potatoes, but you could also do it in an oven instead of a saute pan...just be careful not to burn or color. Make sure to use unsalted butter. The butter must be COLD (and cut into little cubes) in order to maintain its butter emulsion. This is one of the most important steps because it creates that silky, buttery texture that people love. Separated or broken butter in the potatoes is not good, and creates a greasy feel as opposed to a luxurious feel. I use a rubber spatula, and kind of do a folding motion. I would avoid a whisk, because one of the main dangers in this process is overworking the potatoes and getting a gluey, snotty texture. So, it's important to whip in cold butter to hot, just riced potatoes. I personally wouldn't do a 1:1 ratio (I've done it before) because I just find it's too much butter. I also add a good amount of hot cream to mine...I just like them this way. Just butter is fine, but also cream/butter is fine too. Season aggressively with salt and white pepper. One more note...it is important that the potatoes remain HOT throughout this process. Cold potatoes have a tendency to get that gluey texture. It's also important that once they are hot, they stay hot (or at least warm enough for the butter not to separate). Definitely not a thing you could probably do the day before...best to do it close to "service" if possible. Passing it through a tamis is a good step, but not completely necessary for, what I would call, at home use.
  13. Qwerty

    Dinner! 2008

    To me, it looks like you needed to render a lot of that duck fat off before cooking and serving it. IMO, that is way to much. I know duck fat is good to eat, but if that was served to me in a restaurant I would send it back. It's like a 1:1 ratio of meat to fat. Why did you choose to present it skin/fat side down? The temp. looks great though nice job on the doneness.
  14. For you to assume that the server is only trying to line his/her pockets is silly. No matter how much wine a server pours into a glass, it is a finite amount. There is the same amount of wine whether it is in the glasses or in the bottle. Pouring all the wine from the bottle into glasses doesn't guarantee that they will buy another one. It's still the same amount of wine. Sometimes it's a matter of function...towards the end of the meal, the server is expected to clear all un needed items from the table. So if there is a sip or two of wine left in the bottle, a good server might go ahead and pour it so that the bottle and the caddy (if present) can be cleared. I'm not talking about pouring huge glasses of wine here either. I wouldn't fill anyone's glass up with more than, say 3-4 oz. And usually people will tell you they don't want anymore wine as you move around the table to pour, by either saying so or just placing their hand over the glass. Of course asking is preferred, but what about in the instance above where a server might not want to interrupt conversation? Should he/she ask each member of the party if they want more? It drives me absolutely bonkers sometimes. I have no idea who that Hitchen's guy is, but he sounds like an over-reacting a-hole. He called the practice barbaric? Really...? I always use to pick up little bits of trash from my tables as often as possible (you know, sugar packets, straw wrappers, old bev. naps, etc). I once had a lady admonish me for trying to remove her empty sweet n low wrappers from the table. I mean, she pretty much laid into me. And everything before that had been fine. Who knows why? I never got an explanation, but it seemed odd. How am I, as a server, to know that this lady wanted trash on her table? Maybe she collected them or something. Go figure.
  15. I can envision an article written by the same person at an alternate dining experience admonishing the "rude" waiter for NOT keeping the glasses filled. Perhaps off on the timing (a good waiter should never interrupt a flowing conversation) to be sure, but I always thought that keeping wine glasses filled was part of maintaining tables. Would the writer of the article be so upset if it was bottled water? Are guests supposed to fill their own water/wine? I was always taught to pour wine for the guests, even beyond the initial round of pours. Certainly you don't have to hit everyone at the table all the time, but if one guest's glass is empty, you should re-fill it and the add more to anyone else who may be running low. I don't see what the big deal is...one thing I've learned waiting tables is that sometimes you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Whatever.
  16. If you think that doesn't happen in professional kitchens of every level than I'd say you are dreaming. Greasy hair? come on...his hair is fine. What do you want him to wear a hair net in there? thats a little nitpicky, isn't it? Getting someone on the correct pronunciation of foreign words doesn't really define how one is as a chef does it? You'd really think he has the time/inclination to say "Orderingone rrrreeee-SO-toe twolambmediumonebeefmediumwelltwo Pahs-ta.." It seems to me he is speaking the words in a british accent how a british person would say the words if they weren't italian. Which is what most of the world does when pronouncing foreign words in their native tongue. In fact, I think I would find it quite jarring to hear him do what you suggest. Now, if he were in italy trying to speak italian, it would be a different story. But he's speaking british english and I don't see the problem.
  17. Just did my first home cooked sous-vide item. Did a hangar steak (nice, tender, flavorful and cheap cut) at 136 for about an hour. Turned out perfect. Might drop the temp a degree or two next time, but overall very good result. Just seasoned and vac'd it with some olive oil and thyme. Very nice. Gonna try an egg and probably do a chicken breast tomorrow. BTW, I set it up using the PID controller and a rice cooker. Very cool and simple...didn't know it could be done so cheap or I would have done it a couple of years ago. Thanks guys.
  18. One book that I really love that no one seems to have heard of is Eric Ripert's and Michael Ruhlman's A Return to Cooking. Really good read, great recipes (a good mixture of "cheffy" stuff and simple home cooked stuff) and, just overall, really well done. Think Like a Chef is great, as is Craft of Cooking. For high end cookbooks, a great one is Susur Lee's A Culinary Life. the Fredy Giradet's book is also quite good. Love that one.
  19. I actually own it--it has been out in the UK for a while and I imported it. It's a good book...a little "fluffy" but it does a good job of representing the dishes. Pictures are beautiful, the bits about the restaurant are insightful as well. I would recommend it.
  20. OK, I apologize for asking this question, but I don't think I have the inclination to read all 60+ pages of this topic for an answer... Has someone compiled a table/chart of time/temps. I'm not really looking for a table that charts the bath temp. and then states how long the heat will take to penetrate the various thickness of the proteins...I'm looking for something along the lines of a compiled table of recommended time/temps for various proteins and veg. For example, chicken breast @ 147F for 2 hrs, salmon at 135F for 1 hour, etc, eggs at 140 for 3 hours. Maybe some info on times to effectively kill bacteria (like, chicken is OK at 148F, but you have to cook it for 4 hours to kill the germs). I understand that a lot of the results are subjective, and of course some people want steak cooked at higher temps, etc. I am about to pursue in earnest setting up a home sous vide setup and would like some starting points. I'm not asking anyone to compile a list for me, but if one exists out there or in the thread that would be great. Thanks guys.
  21. The only thing that concerns me is that Tom, or Padma, can't remember, said something to the effect of "instead of doing a restaurant wars, this year we decided to...." So it sounds like they might forgo it this season. I hope not though they were great episodes.
  22. I think Richard continues to uphold the high standards that Top Chefs should be...I was a little "meh" about him in the beginning because I thought he would turn out to be full of himself, etc, but the opposite is true. He impresses me with his humbleness and willingness to meet every challenge head on to the best of his ability (which is high). I also can't say enough about how he doesn't complain and whine about things (like tofu, etc). I'm rooting for him all the way. I'm not sold on the challenges though...would have much preferred to see a restaurant wars style episode than a catering episode. I do loathe catering in my pro. life though, so maybe I am just biased.
  23. I doubt anyone would attempt to mech. tenderize a ribeye steak. More than likely you just got a cut from the chuck end of the rib primal, which has many many individual muscles that are held together with layers of fat and connective tissue. The number of muscles diminishes near the loin end, so you probably just got one of the first steaks from the chuck end. Next time, specify a center cut ribeye steak and that might help. I hope I made sense.
  24. You should ask this question on the alinea mosaic forum...you might get a better answer from other people who tried the recipes or from the chefs themselves.
  25. Qwerty

    Summer menus

    Rhubarb and Apples on a summer menu? Fish stew? Soup? I dunno, that sounds more like a fall or early winter menu to me. Rhubarb is more late winter/early spring, apples are more fall, and stews and soups probably aren't the most appropriate dishes for a summer menu. I think something like a peach crumble would be a more appropriate desert, soups are fine but summer makes me think more of chilled soups, and I think stews should be used with caution. Summer, to me, says things like grilled food, lighter, more acidic and brighter foods.
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