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  1. I usually don't make a meal with the intent of using MSG. But if the dish tastes bland or is "missing something" one of the first things I reach for is MSG. I've notice that it makes the biggest differences in my vegetable soups.
  2. No flash . . . ever. =R= ← Ditto. The trick is to use a high ISO and have lens stabilization. If the lighting is really low, it can be adjusted on the computer. Sometimes that can result in a grainy photo, but the only thing that absolutely doesn't work is a blurry shot. ← As much as I love taking pictures in restaurants -- especially Alinea -- I'd hate to be the source of anyone's discomfort, via the use of flash. Given the choice between using flash or taking no pictures, the camera would just stay in the bag. =R= ← Agreed. While I have used a flash in restaurants including Alinea in the past it has been awhile since I have done so and I no longer do unless circumstances make it reasonable and necessary. I actually prefer the results without flash other than in extremely low light situations. Generally the lighting at Alinea is good enough that it is rarely a problem. ← I guess I need a better camera. My camera needs a flash in daylight
  3. I have to ask.....What kind of reactions do you get when you take these (I assume flash) photos in the restaurant. The night I was there I wanted to take pictures but the tables around me were filled with people who gave us an unhappy look when we had our waiter take a picture of my wife and I. After those looks I felt it was best not to take anymore photos. I guess I chickened out.
  4. I have had a similar experience to you with japanese knives. I had used victorinox chef's knives for a long time and had them sent out to be sharpened. But when I finally broke down to buy a japanese knife (a MAC btw) I also decided to buy sharpening stones and learn to do the sharpening myself(with help from the korin dvd). Luckily I was able to initially practice on my victorinox knives, which need much more frequent sharpenings. I'm really glad I took the plunge and got a japanese knive and learned to sharpen it myself.
  5. I'm thinking of going completely unorthodox this year. The other day I made chicken breasts using sous vide for the first time and the results were outstanding. So I'm going to try two sous vide methods of cooking my turkey this year. First, I am going to cut the turkey up and separate the breasts, wings, thighs, and legs. I am going to use the rest of the carcass to make turkey stock that I will reduce. Then I will take the skin render it to (hopefully) get some turkey fat. Then I will confit the dark meat with the turkey fat sous vide(180F for 8 hours). Up to this point can be done the day before. On the day of thanksgiving I plan to cook the breasts with the reduced turkey stock sous vide(141F for about 1.5 hours, depending on thickness). Has anyone tried to render turkey fat from the skin and had any luck? Does it taste good? It sounds good in theory, I hope it works. Otherwise I have duck fat I can use.
  6. I believe the part I highlighted above is the point of contention. You are obviously saying that you are cooking with temperatures much higher than the desired final temperature. For example, if you have a 2 inch thick steak and throw it into a 130F sous vide bath for a while you'll get a 130F steak. If you take that steak and instead throw it into a 500F oven, how do you get the center to 130F without the layers outside of the center being at a much higher temperature? If you have a non-sous vide technique for doing such a thing with a steak I would surely like to hear how you do it. Because I don't know any way to do it.
  7. First, I'd like thank everyone who has put together information in this thread and also those who have shared their experiences. I finally got around to picking up a vacuum sealer and trying out sous vide. I took 3 chicken breasts and did one with thyme and olive oil, one with a curry paste, and one with truffle oil. I cooked them at 141F for 1.5 hours based on their thickness using nathans chart. The results were spectacular. I fed these to my family who had no idea I had used sous vide(or what sous vide is) and the praise was very high. Everyone wanted to know where I got my chicken. Thinking it was the chicken that gave it such great flavor. [Moderator note: This topic continues in Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 3)]
  8. That's a good point, although it's worth noting what Ruhlman said about his personal relationship to Symon in this Cleveland Magazine piece: I took this mean that Ruhlman no longer writers about Symon because they are friends. ← Don't you find it interesting that since they are friends he feels he can no longer write about him. Yet, he has no problem judging him in this competition?
  9. I think this really shows why Ruhlman shouldn't have judged this competition. It's hard to believe that a competition like this can truly produce a tie, because it's so subjective. He should be telling himself that he must choose a winner, and not that as long as he can convince himself it's a tie then it's ok to vote for his friend. In the end, though, I think bringing in the Iron Chefs as judges mitigates any bias in the ultimate round. It's hard to argue with a clean sweep of the Iron Chefs (I do wish, though, that they'd scored the dishes). Having eaten at the restaurants of both finalists, it's hard to argue with either one of them walking away with the win. They're both great chefs. ← Having discussed this all at length at on ruhlman's blog, I will simply add my own opinion. The problem I had with ruhlman being a judge was not only the personal relationship he had with symon, but that symon's success meant personal success for himself. Let me explain, ruhlman is first and foremost an author. He writes and sells books to make money. There is only one book (soul of a chef) that is a biographical work about chef symon. Anyone who wants to learn more about symon is likely to buy ruhlman's book. Addtionally, both symon and ruhlman are from cleveland. It is no secret that ruhlman heavily promotes cleveland. What better way to promote cleveland than to have a cleveland chef a new iron chef? With that said, do I think symon deserves to be iron chef? Yes I do. Do I think ruhlman was a fair judge? For the most part. Do I think ruhlman should have let himself judge symon and be on iron chef? Absolutely not.
  10. It's times like these that I find USPS especially infuriating... "Carrier notified to pick up package" for days on end! I want my book!! I pre-ordered the thing months ago... shoulda just bought it at a local store... ← I pre-ordered it through amazon and it arrived yesterday. I read through the first part of the book which is a bit of a description of some of the important fundamentals (stock making, properly seasoning, etc). The rest of the book is like a large glossary of terms.
  11. See my comment on ruhlman's blog. I said exactly the same thing. He not only loves the show, he says it is "impeccable". We all know tony has a secret desire to return to food network.
  12. Yep. I basically wanted steps starting with raw vegetables going through a puree and then through a very fine seive into basically liquid, or a broth you can call it. The pre-gelatin phase should be pure liquid to the human eye. I can't say I have more experience than anyone, I've only done this once. Just wanted to make the steps available to anyone who wanted to try it.
  13. You want the consistency to be very liquid. Basically I first push the puree through a standard seive, then I push it through a chinois. The result is what I used to add the gelatin and freeze.
  14. I'm the one who posted those steps on ideasinfood regarding the carrot juice. I'll reproduce them here since this did work. I'll add any notes to make it very specific: 1. Cook diced carrots, once soft, puree with enough liquid. 2. Strain through fine sieve (or cheesecloth, I used a chinois and the result is an orange carrot juice). 3. Remove one cup of liquid and cool to room temp( I cooled this quickly by setting the container in cold water). 4. To the room temp cup of liquid, add .5% of gelatin by weight of the total amount of liquid. 5. Stir and let cup of liquid stand for 5 minutes. 6. Return to the rest of hot liquid and stir throughly. 7. Cool to room temp and then place in freezer to freeze. 8. Remove now frozen liquid and place in fine seive(or cheesecloth) over bowl and allow to thaw in refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. As I said, this worked. The result was a clear liquid with a slight orange tint that tasted very much of carrot. It was very sweet as well. I have to admit that I was impatient and after getting minimal amount of liquid after 24 hours in the fridge I put it on the counter for about 4 hours and it went much quicker. Considering this was in my home and not in some restaurant, and considering this was vegetables and not meat-based I figured it was safe. I then brought the clear liquid to a boil and added some salt. It did not become cloudy. I now have the rest frozen in the freezer. I was considering making calcic/alginate ravioli's with it. The ratio I used was .5% of powdered gelatin by weight. So if you have 1000g of carrot juice you would add(.005 * 1000) = 5g of powdered gelatin. I actually added a little more just in case.
  15. Well this sucks. I ordered my first supply of stuff from willpowder and got my stuff in no time. This was about a year ago. Hopefully this gets cleared up....
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