Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by alwang

  1. I usually eyeball the quantities: say for 3 cups of water, I might add a 3x3 inch square of kombu, and 1/8 cup of bonito flakes? There are dashi recipes out there that could probably give you more precise ratios. The broth by itself is very light by Western standards, but is a base for a great number of Japanese soups and dishes: the easiest and most common probably being that it's the base for a miso soup. It doesn't keep well, and should usually be made the day of use. I often use small quantities of it as the base of light broth-like "sauces" for fish dishes: the SV approach would be perfect for making small batches.
  2. I tried a somewhat interesting new sous vide application tonight: I made dashi. I was inspired by a post on Chadzilla about controlling umami through temperature: http://chadzilla.typepad.com/chadzilla/200...olling-uma.html Basically, it describes the importance of keeping the cooking temperature between 50C and 80C to maximize the production/retention of glutamates (umami) in your dashi: the kombu should never be cooked above 80C, and the bonito should never be cooked below 50C. I put some water and a piece of kombu in an unsealed bag, and heated it in my water bath to 70C. After giving the bag some time to come up to temperature, I added the bonito, sealed it (though I did not bother sucking out the air), and kept it in the bath at 70C for 2.5 hours. I then strained the contents and voila, dashi. The end product was very flavorful, and had none of the sliminess that can occur when you overheat kombu dashi on a stovetop. The bonito had broken down a bit and caused the broth to be slightly murky, but passing it through a very fine strainer took care of that. Was it necessarily better than dashi that an expert could make using the traditional method? Maybe not, but it was pretty much foolproof, and pretty easy. It may also be worth exploring what happens if I push the cooking times even longer.
  3. Checked out this place for lunch today: it's solid, cheap, and satisfying, though not extraordinary. It is, however, cheap. I thought the broth was pretty ordinary, and the cantonese seafood soups were some of the weakest items we tried. What we liked: the oxtail curry noodles were very good, as were the pan-fried glutinous rice dumplings. Congee was also pretty decent.
  4. I was there last night, and this time, the duck confit was definitely paired with egg on the menu. The grits were paired with the roast quail. Perhaps they're just juggling these around.
  5. To you it might taste the same. To another person, they both might well taste terribly under-salted, and to a third person they may taste horribly over-salted. I think that's why the phrase "to taste" is so often used with salt. Sorry, but I think that's what your answers really reduce to. ← Actually, I'm not asking whether there's variance in perception of salt between two individuals: I think we all agree there is. What I'm asking is, if the same person is doing the tasting, will those two pieces of meat taste the same. (I also recognize that perception of salt is affected by what you eat beforehand; assume that's all held constant.) Put it another way, if I've figured it how how much salt by weight I personally like for a pound of meat, can I just repeat that ratio for any other piece of meat? That would be useful to know, regardless of inter-person variance in perception.
  6. Can anyone point me towards hard scientific information on how salting food (say, a piece of meat) affects the actual "saltiness" (i.e., the perception of salt from a taste standpoint)? I'm looking for answers to questions like: 1) Is saltiness directly correlated with the salt/meat mass ratio? This seems obvious, but it's worth confirming. If I salt a 1 kg piece of meat with 50 g of salt, will it taste the same as if I salt a 2 kg piece of meat with 100 g of salt? Or are there some other variables (meat volume, surface area, etc.) 2) Is salt evenly distributed through the meat? Or is it closer to the surface? If it is evenly distributed, how long does that take? 3) How does the animal the meat came from affect Question #1? Should I salt a pound of beef and a pound of chicken the exact same? 4) How does the cut of meat affect Question #1? Should I salt a fatty filet mignon the same way I'd salt a lean top round? How do bones affect this equation? Seems like this would be an interesting line of inquiry. Like most people, I currently season meat mostly by feel (since you usually can't taste the product yet), but it'd be nice if I could measure out exactly how much salt I need for a given piece of meat, based on my own saltiness preference.
  7. alwang

    Merkato 55

    I generally agree with what you're saying, though what I'm suggesting is that the market for "serious food" restaurants is much more location independent than other markets- because foodies will by definition go out of their way to find good food. They're also more likely to select restaurants based off of prior research: I honestly rarely try any new place these days where I haven't heard solid favorable reports; there are just too many options in this city. However, if I do hear one or two positive reviews about Merkato 55 (say, on this thread), it'll move pretty quickly to the top of my list of places to check out; as docsconz said, this is a cuisine that is underrepresented in NYC. If my restaurant's target market is braying drunk girls in halter tops, it would be a major miscalculation to pick a location on the UWS. However, if my market is serious food afficionados, it's not that big of a deal to be located in the Meatpacking District.
  8. alwang

    Merkato 55

    I guess maybe we're answering two different questions. Sounds like you're asking if it's economically viable for a restaurant catering to serious food lovers to open in the Meatpacking District. Quite possibly the answer is no. But if the question is if a serious food lover, such as myself, would have any problems going to the Meatpacking District for a good restaurant with an irritating clientele, the answer is I'd have no problem whatsoever as long as the food was good enough. I've put up with far greater aggravations than that for good food. As for whether I'd be able to convince anyone that I was serious: Seriously, who cares?
  9. alwang

    Merkato 55

    You'd think someone serious by food, almost by definition, would be willing to put up with the inconvenience if the food is worthwhile. Besides, we're not talking about travelling to Jersey, here.
  10. What's the word on this place? Got a good NYT write-up but I didn't pay much attention, and now apparently it might be DOH-shuttered? Too bad, because I love me some feet... http://events.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/dinin...html?ref=dining
  11. I tried this a couple times: bosc pear with lemon verbena, vanilla, and lavender honey. Cored and halved the pears before bagging. CSV at 70C for about 5 hours. Flavor was good. Texture was not quite like that of a poached pear, but was interesting. It was firmer, and more suitable for slicing. I'm sure a higher temp would have yielded a more poach-like texture.
  12. That's interesting news. I didn't know Terhune made donuts. I've never seen them at their stand in the Trenton Farmers market before. Their cider is top notch though ← They have them at the Trenton Farmer's Market (in little white paper bags), and they're very good, though even better is when you visit the farm store at the actual orchard and you happen to catch them when they're still warm out of the oven. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it pretty much makes my day.
  13. Not Philadelphia, but if you're jonesing badly enough to schlep an hour out to central NJ, there are amazing apple cider donuts to be had at Terhune Orchards in Lawrenceville.
  14. In my experience, Bamix makes the best and most durable home-use-sized stick blenders, by a healthy margin.
  15. I have to say, when I read the descriptions of the dishes on this thread, I'm highly intrigued, but when I read the menu on the Blackfish website, it seems like pretty boring American bistro fare. Are the more interesting items on the specials menu?
  16. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that picture from Larry looks like a big piece of pork belly, not shoulder. It's got even layers of fat and meat that I've never seen on a shoulder. Another possible source of confusion is that a braised shanghainese pork shoulder is called "ti pang"- maybe that's what you heard instead of "tung po". However, if what you're talking about is what's in Larry's picture, I'm pretty sure that's Tung Po pork belly.
  17. For further clarification, tung po pork is usually pork belly.
  18. I've done pork ribs in an indoor cameron smoker for 15 minutes, followed by sous vide for 12 or so hours (don't remember the temp), followed by a few minutes under a broiler. Not to be immodest, but they were some of the best ribs I've ever had.
  19. Hey Daniel, do you have a time/temp for the collard greens/kale you did earlier? Sounds like an interesting idea. How would you describe the texture?
  20. Looks like the contestants for Top Chef Chicago have been announced: http://eater.com/archives/2008/01/top_chef_chicag.php Am I reading correctly that Richard Blais is one of the contestants? That's got to be the most high-profile chef they've ever had compete.
  21. Thanks to all for the info: I'm tempted to do a more controlled experiment with cooking short ribs at a range of temperatures to find an optimum compromise between melting of fat and maintaining a medium-rare texture, but if I do so I'm afraid my cardiologist will likely refuse me as a patient.
  22. Yes, I'm actually wondering specifically about fat instead of collagen. Through experience I know that 55C for a long enough period of time will soften the collagen in tough cuts enough to tenderize the meat, but they still remain fatty because the fat is not rendering.
  23. Does anyone have any firm information for temperatures at which fat begins to render? I find that when I'm cooking fatty cuts of meat like short ribs at 55C, they remain quite fatty, even after 72 hours. If I could melt away a lot more of the fat at a slightly higher temp, that would be a worthwhile trade-off. Are there different rendering temps for different animal fats?
  24. alwang


    They just got a positive write-up in New York mag: http://nymag.com/restaurants/reviews/underground/42764/ Good to hear they're getting Capogiro gelato...
  25. I consider myself a decent amateur cook, but I find when cooking for moderate-to-large crowds that I consistently have problems getting all of the dishes to the table while they're still optimally warm. I know part of it is just good organization and having a thorough mise, but I'm curious whether people have any particular tips on organizing those last few minutes before serving, and making sure all the dishes are reaching the diners' mouths while they're still at their best. Particular challenges: - I do a fair amount of sous vide, where the food isn't very hot to begin with. Therefore, it cools to an unacceptable level even more quickly. - When resting meat, how do you prevent the temp from dropping too low? - When I'm plating individual portions instead of family-style, I have even more problems in getting everything served on time. Do pre-warmed plates make a big difference (not something I regularly do)? What's the easiest way to do that at home?
  • Create New...