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Everything posted by RDaneel

  1. Awesome, thank you all for the suggestions. There are just two of us, so we might be having ham for eternity... Actually, my wife isn't a huge ham fan, so it may be that I'm having ham for eternity times two. I'll try to debone and portion so I can SV it in smaller portions, and try to freeze other parts. Then I can use it for many of the great ideas in this thread... Thanks again!
  2. Thanks to the loss-leading generosity of my local grocer, I am the proud owner of a 12lb. "hickory-smoked, thick cut, spiral sliced, ready to heat 'ham with natural juices,'" or, as I'll call it for simplicity's sake, "ham." Other than throwing away the included honey glaze packet, what do the great minds of the EG forum think is the best use for this lovely hunk of protein? Once I open it to remove that little absorbent pad and the glaze packet, I don't have a way to reseal something this big, so retherming sous vide (at least if I keep it whole) is out. I've done Alton Brown's gingersnap/bourbon/mustard glaze before, and it was ok, but I'd like to try something new. I know this is a cooked product, so it's odd to ask for cooking ideas, but I'd love any input... P.S. I have a weakness for ham salad (some think it's gross, I know, but I love it), so I'll grind some of leftovers, but I don't need 12 lbs. of ham salad. Thanks in advance!
  3. For me, yes. I'm a fan of modernist architecture and design, but I have to admit I'll be curious if my taste evolves over time, of if that is just a product of when I became aware of design. I think we can tend to get "stuck" in a certain style once we latch onto it. I'm hoping that MC doesn't actually become a "fad," but rather a perspective that permeates food and cooking going forward.
  4. The Rita's water ice flavor is shockingly true to the candy original. I was pretty amazed at that flavor engineering. It isn't just that they captured the "red" flavor, but it has some slight note of the "gummi" flavor, too. I liked it...
  5. Maxime - Thank you so much for sharing input from the MC team! The interaction between the forum members and Nathan has always been one of the best aspects of the MC threads, and I look forward to reading more of the team's reactions and tips. As for freeze/thaw stability of the processed cheese, my experimentation confirms the lab's theory. I've now made three or four batches of mac and cheese using pre-measured/frozen/thawed cheese, with no ill effects. Any minimal graniness apparent in the defrosted cheese is completely eliminated during cooking. In fact, I haven't noticed any difference whatsoever between frozen and un-frozen cheese. This has turned Modernist Mac into a 15-minute dish. My tip for others considering freezing - use a gallon-size freezer zip bag, and contrary to instinct, spread the cheese into a sheet within the bag before freezing. (I'm going to do this with a rolling pin.) By increasing the surface area of the frozen cheese, it will be much easier to defrost it in the minimal time the pasta takes to cook, meaning you don't have to remember to defrost cheese prior to beginning the pasta. My thicker blocks of cheese take at least 15 minutes to sufficiently defrost in a bowl of slowly circulating water, and I think that a frozen sheet would defrost much more quickly. Yes, I have put too much thought into this. Also, I've now done the Caramelized Carrot Soup twice, and both times had absolutely no trouble with burning. I did melt the butter first (I believe the recipe instructs that), and used the minimum flame sufficient to keep my Kuhn Rikon at 15psi (the two-ring level). It's a delicious dish - all four guests who have tried it have gone from saying "I've never had (or liked) carrot soup" to being amazed at the purity of flavor and simplicity of the ingredient list. Now all I need is some kind of smoker so I can make pastrami... Maxime, Nathan, and team, thanks again for the wonderful books!
  6. I made the carmelized carrot soup on Sunday, and it lived up to the hype. The faint aroma of browned butter filled the kitchen, which was nice, even if it meant that precious volatiles were wasted during pressure cooking! The pureed carmelized carrots were so good on their own (though rich), that I could see serving it as an amuse-bouche on porcelain spoons. I don't have a juicer, so I had to go with carrot juice from Whole Foods, but it seemed fine. The final soup was decadent, pure, and silky. I found minced fresh sage to be a perfect addition, though my guests tended to find it a bit overpowering. Personally, I think the sage gave great variation to those mouthfuls that included it, and recommend it as a garnish... Another great success for a "not too modernist" MC recipe.
  7. Did you just follow the normal mac & cheese recipe and sub in the gryuere? Phaz, yes, I varied only the original cheeses, and otherwise followed the recipe. I did the "main" cheese as sharp Cabot cheddar and the "secondary" cheese as gruyere. It came out tasting great. The cheddar dominates, so I might vary the blend a bit more towards the gruyere, or maybe use gouda. I have about 3 or 4 more dinners worth of cheese in the freezer in 160 and 320g portions for when I want to cook 2 or 4 portions. I had the idea (no idea if it is original or not) to use smoked cheese, so I think I'm going to get smoked gouda and use that with cheddar or even a smoked mozzarella. Something about smoky MM&C sounds awesome.
  8. Agreed. Despite having 12 or 15 "modernist" ingredients, I'm continually noting recipes that require something I don't have. Maybe I can sub sometimes, but as these are unfamiliar ingredients, I'm not yet confident enough to try that.
  9. Chris, thanks for posting about "the burger." I'm looking forward to trying this one, especially if I can find a spare week to really mess around. The reconstructed cheese looks awesome for a burger, I'll have to try that. I made some cheddar/Gruyere blend for MM&C (modernist mac & cheese) last night, and continue to be impressed with how well this technique works. It's great that "the burger" is really educational, it seems like there are many parts of that recipe that can be used even when you're not going all out. Good luck with the pulled pork!
  10. Chris, how did your finished mushroom ketchup come out? I did a shortcut version (having failed to make the mushroom broth) and it was delicious, but clearly not the same as the recipe. Mine came out thick, even without xanthan, owing to the lack of added liquid. I'm curious if you have any "lessons learned" advice that might help my next attempt. Thanks for all your posts and photos!
  11. I would have posted this in the "Cooking With..." thread, but I think it's merged now, so here's a "cooking with..." report. My brother and I decided to do a nice dinner with some of the MC recipes, ranging from "traditional" foods to slightly more avant garde. Here is what we prepared: 1) Vol 5 "Hawaiian Poke" - this can be summed up as "Activa bonded sushi checkerboards." We were amazed at how close to the book's illustration we were able to get, in no small part thanks to nice quality fish (yellofin tuna loin and white-fleshed sea bass). Cool presentation, and the flavor is what it is - nice fish. Surprisingly, the biggest hit was a simple garnish of finely minced japapeno, sweet onion, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce that we adapted from MC. Great contrast to the flavors of the fish. If I can get a photo, I'll attach one later. 2) Carbonated mojito spheres - unfortunately, this was an epic fail. Totally our fault, I'm sure. We didn't rest the alginate bath long enough, and even holding the xanthan to the end of mixing for the mojito filling left in enough air bubbles that the spheres had a little floating area that failed to gel well. I'm also wondering if we could improve the texture - the spheres had a fairly thick skin that wasn't that pleasant in the mouth. The recipe said 40 spheres, we got 5 that worked, and only three were intact after carbonating. The carbonation was awesome and totally made the recipe, I hope to try this again with other spherified cocktails. I need to experiment a bit more and figure out where we went wrong. 3) MC Mac & Cheese - a total hit. I used nice aged cheddar and a mildly aged gouda, and it rocked. This will become a staple in my house. I wonder if the processed cheese will nearly as good when I don't spend big bucks on the original cheeses? Also, has anyone tried to freeze the processed cheese? That would make this an even easier standby meal. 4) Kentucky BBQ sauce - also amazing. Nothing "modernist" in this recipe, just deliciousness. I can see why Nathan was such a successful BBQ master. Can't wait to try the other seven sauces... 5) Mushroom ketchup - this was... interesting... to make, and delicious to eat. I'm a bit unclear on the preparation instructions, and guessed that after browning the mushrooms you add them to the other liquids and blend/sieve (as opposed to reducing the liquids, which would have made a paste). My batch ended up thick (crappy blender and no sieves available), so we skipped the Xanthan. The flavor is very nice, and I look forward to making it "right" next time and comparing my results. 6) SV Brisket - we did 132F for 72 hours, and it was awesome. Great texture. It was a flat end and grass-fed, without much interior marbling. I think 72 hours was fine, though I was expecting it to remain pinker - it looked more cooked than it was (and I have no reason to doubt my Polyscience's temp reading), but tasted great. All in all, we had a blast, even with the spherification failure. These books have so many awesome things to try, I can't wait to find the time to do more...
  12. Sorry, Rob. So far I believe MC is sold only as a set, and I don't think I've ever seen any plan to sell the volumes separately. That would require some revisions. For example, the index is currently contained in only one volume.
  13. I'm afraid to try the beer can chicken - at least with my oven. I assume the temperature fluctuations in my conventional natural gas oven are pretty big as a proportion of 175F - if it's swinging +-25 (or more) degrees, that's pretty bad. Looks like an interesting recipe, though. I always thought of beer can chicken as a technique that was designed to provide moisture to the bird in a relatively hot oven (like a grill or 450 degree oven), not in a low oven. Go figure...
  14. The fact that the Hellman burger at Pete's Cafe in LA isn't on the list is a travesty. Best. Burger. Ever. This has made me quite hungry!
  15. I am glad that I picked up this book, and look forward to cooking with it. I'll make sure to contribute to this thread when I do. MC has kind of dominated my free time, which really isn't fair! I saw some posts about the Miami dinner that Alex planned and executed with GastroPod (and obviously with the help of many others), and it looked really great. I'm sure the book has many great ideas...
  16. Burnin', I suggest checking out the book, or at least the Cooking with MC thread, before passing judgment. MC may be obsessive in the sense that certain processes and ingredients are measured carefully, but (having had the books for almost a week now) I don't see them as at all moving cooking "into the realm of the gods." Of the 1500 recipes, I can cook most of them without spending more than $100-200 in "modernist" ingredients and tools. I am well-equipped (I have an immersion circulator, hand blender, digital scale, Thermapen, etc.), but certainly don't have any kitchen gear that costs $2k, $5k, etc. While it is perhaps disappointing that I can't cook 100% of the 1500 recipes included in the book, I can certainly do most of them. Personally, I don't see this as a reason to complain. This book isn't written for the 30-minute-meals or "one pot" crowd (please know I'm not saying you're in that group!), and I am glad that it wasn't simplified to that level. I think if you have a chance to play with the book, you'll be surprised about how much it offers "regular" people with an interest in this hobby/profession/avocation, and how little it requires godlike capabilities. I'm trying to view the book the way I would a very nice set of golf clubs (though I don't golf). Could they help my game? Sure. Will I ever live up to their capabilities? I'm not sure, but I'll try...
  17. Dave, I tried to find a highly perforated, relatively compact, stainless steel spoon as well, and had no luck. As I was already placing an order through WillPowder.com for some iota C (thanks to Chris A for the referral), I called and asked if the perforated spoon from Will's spherification kit was available separately. [Moderator's note: Permission to use this image was obtained from Will Goldfarb. -- DV] Fortunately, the company that handles Will's order fulfillment was quite helpful and did a custom order that included the spoon for $9. I was quite pleased to be able to pick it up for that price. I imagine if you ordered it by itself the shipping ($10, it appears, for most orders) would be a bit steep, but that's one option for you. Good luck!
  18. David, thank you for the spreadsheet. It is absolutely, and wonderfully, overkill. :-) It will guide my cheese processing in the next week or so.
  19. Chris H - thanks so much for posting your experience with the mojito spheres. I'm planning on making these in a couple weeks, and REALLY appreciate being able to learn from your experience! I was also curious about the cocktail into which the spehere was dropped (in the book's photo). I was thinking of using club soda, but might just do like Minibar and serve them on a spoon.
  20. I was a bit disappointed that Alton passed judgment without having seen the book at all, but he's certainly entitled to his opinion. Having seen Mr. Brown talk at a recent book tour event, I'm not surprised on his comments. When I suggested that he do a sous vide episode, his response was that it was "too dangerous" a technique to include in the show. I'm all for food safety, and as an attorney (understand that Food Network has to be careful) but it was still disappointing. My overall impression from hearing him talk about cooking in general and Good Eats in particular is that, for all the science he includes in the show, Alton isn't a fan of modernist cooking. Ok, no problem. To each their own. I've learned a lot from Alton, and will learn even more from MC (I'm ogling Volume 2 right now). Having had more of a chance to review my set of MC, I'm even more struck by how approachable the book is. I don't normally "read" cookbooks, but this book has a wonderful narrative as well as great recipes. The print quality is living up to the promises. The color photos on pages with pitch-black backgrounds are especially amazing.
  21. Wow. All I can say is... wow. I can hardly read one recipe or entry without rushing off to the index to cross-reference to something else. Nathan, these books are jaw dropping. I'm so grateful to be fortunate enough to have a set. I can tell already that Modernist Cuisine is going to impact my cooking forever. Holding my infant daughter (who is significantly smaller than the book!), I realized that not just my life, but hers as well, will change because of today's 47lb. Amazon delivery. Thank you.
  22. Hooray! False alarm from Amazon, the book is on its way... My guess is that the change from pre-order to shipping affects the ETA provided. In my case, I had to change payment methods, so maybe a change to the order means the system reflects a move to the back of the line that doesn't actually take place. I'm just relieved to have the book on the way, and excited to receive this delivery!
  23. Ouch, I ordered in JUNE and am now being told that the book won't ship till April 18. Here's hoping that's a mistake. I have a whole gathering planned to taste some recipes from the book later in March!
  24. D'oh, the Artistre kit is now sold out - probably because of the impending release of Modernist Cuisine. Here's hoping it comes back in stock by the time the book is available...
  25. Thanks for starting this topic, Chris, and for your efforts to help us stock our Modernist pantries. I'll check out that Amazon kit. I'd certainly be up for sharing ingredients like the iota carrageenan, too. Buying a pound when you need a gram at a time is hard to swallow.
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