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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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    St. Louis, MO

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  1. To answer your first question, and pull in Jim and Kerry's comment - it doesn't really matter how you do it - just as long as the mold is truly clean. I believe an impeccably clean micro fiber can do the same as cotton and alcohol. And Jen Caldwell is correct...if I could have perfect temper and scraping skills as her I would likely not need to ever clean my molds...but alas. I store my molds stacked vertically on a shelf. Not wrapped nor covered. Just vertical. I'm in a clean commercial kitchen though so our dust level is low since we're in constant clean mode. My heart molds that only get used once a year get wrapped in cling film between seasons. And I've used both alcohols. They dissipate regardless. This picture is a good example of what I"m talking about. This is from my work in the Andrey class. Look at the variation between the different colors (and hence the molds and their cleanliness). In my last Coppel class she had us all clean molds. When she got to the ones I cleaned she held them up and said, "Oh, we missed this one." I hadn't missed it. Now, it could just be how bad my eyes have gotten since I turned 50, or I often blame my big fingers for making it difficult to get into the mold to give it a really good shine, but it made it clear that what I thought was clean, wasn't. And that was with the molds in her shop, not my shop (worth considering when we think about Jen's technique.) So, I look at it this way - the alcohol and cotton is about doing the crude work of removing cocoa butter. The micro is about finishing the job. In this picture I only cleaned the red mold well...the rest would pass by my old standards, but not anymore.
  2. Great job and great summary of all the tips posted here for so many years! My two comments. First, I agree with Kerry that I never heat before backing off, and I keep my room colder than most in this forum so I don't feel it is a necessary step. Second, i'm not sure you were crystal clear on your polishing. I used to use cosmetic pads, and at Melissa Coppel's suggestion, went back to cotton balls. I use two balls at a time and do at most three cavities with them, flipping it over at some point. Melissa corrected me here too on my last workshop saying that if you keep using the same cotton then you're just moving the cocoa butter from one cavity to the next. She says one ball per cavity...I'm too cheap for that, and I'm not the top chocolatier in the world. I'm not sure why you prefer vodka over alcohol, but I use alcohol only. I think with those two tips you'll see your shine become perfect on the next round. FWIW, after I do the alcohol thing I do one final rub down with THESE fluffy microfibers that I keep fastidiously clean (no fabric softener).
  3. You better! I served a whole round of menu based on our conversation during sorghum season!
  4. Yes, whenever this happens to me its for this reason, in combination with my room being a touch too cold. When I re-warm the chocolate to the high end of the range everything comes out fine.
  5. Interesting. I thought, at first, that you had linked the wrong article 🤣
  6. Well...that slow restaurant month of January wasn't slow and it's gone and February is looking packed. This morning I have a rare quiet morning to think and evolve some dishes (much needed). Tapped my maple trees on Friday and will gather my buckets on Monday to start the boil down. HERE'S a local NPR interview I did where I chatted about the indigenous peoples and the enslaved of the Ozarks. And HERE'S a fun podcast I did talking about zero waste in our kitchen. On my recent trip to Portland to see my spouse on the other side of the country - I drove seven days - and had time for the first time in my life for focused podcast time (let's here it for the amazing Dolly Parton's America podcast...amazing!), came back planning to do my own with a couple of friends who will be perfect muses to banter about socio cultural issues of the Ozarks, framed within Ozark history, and capped with a bit of cooking and recipes. Stay tuned...why can't I just let myself rest?! Spoon Licker #1: Rutabaga milk jam with acorn juniper crumble.
  7. This response doesn't surprise me. We hear something similar all the time, and in part, its because no one has done quite what we're doing. I think for my intern, I'm hoping to help him craft a more powerful week than just some time in a library. I really want to make some connections with faculty and staff that might have a more lasting impact.
  8. One of my restaurant's history interns was awarded a grant to study at Harvard during his spring break in February. He has a few leads for their food archive, but I'm wondering with the expertise and breadth of knowledge here if anyone knows of any professors or other resources that he could reach out/plan for on his visit. So much to share with my friends here...so little time...but I will as I'm able in the Bulrush thread
  9. Very confident - it was in one of the dated family journals that we regularly reference.
  10. Right now we're in the midst of all of the end of year lists. It's so clear to me now how much folly it is to make these lists. When we're on top, of course, I think the writer is spot on. And when we're second, (or worse, grouped with all of the other non-firsts) naturally I cant believe the writer is so off the mark. How do you compare an intellectually compelling fine dining tasting menu to an upscale neighborhood joint or an Asian fusion fast casual? You can't, but they do. Anyway, it's the business. So that was all going down while you visited and posted your comments above. And I can't tell you how much I appreciated the return visit - like seriously, anyone with any amount of time on eG knows that this restaurant and my last are intricately tied to the eG community. So, to a few of your comments: •From day 1 I've argued that food should drive the experience and not the description of the food. Increasingly I'm feeling like that was a poor decision. I may even try doing expanded menus for the rest of the year. There's not a dish on this list that doesn't involve koji or various forms of fermentation, alongside the vast local sourcing that we're doing. Not that it's about getting credit, but reading all of the end of year lists, and seeing your descriptions, I think I need to offer more details. •That Turd course continued to evolve. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's version. I finally removed the autumn olive which had been the driver, because it's just too challenging to work with. I'll find a new home for it where it's not the lead, but the follow. •The bok choy was a pickled julienne atop the oxtail. I'm hesitant to add anymore or it'll take the richness:acid ratio off, but it was there. •And thanks for your comment on the dessert. I think you forgot the essence of wet earth It's ridiculous but it smells so good!
  11. I don't remember what I said anymore other than that you need to be sure to get the right one. There's drinking match and cooking matcha.
  12. Here's our most recent coolness. A bankruptcy proceeding from 1831 showing the liquor inventory of a bar AND a loan proceeding for a seed store from 1842 that lists all of the seed varietals from that period! Found at the Recorder of Deeds Office, Archive Division. In other news...and related...we're getting a second intern from St Louis University's History program to help us out.
  13. I use tongs, toss in cardboard box that I can shake them in, then hit them with a blow torch to burn the stickers.
  14. I can't believe how cool our project is getting! This is a document my history intern found last weekend. Today I attended an archivist association meeting and was told that the Recorder of Deeds for St Louis had a bankruptcy proceeding from a seed store in 1837 that lists the inventory including 10 pages of seed with specific varietals listed. I get it next week!
  15. I have gone through about 4 gallons since we opened...so ideally your source can do bulk. I would take as much as you can bring me.
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