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Everything posted by PaulDWeiss

  1. PaulDWeiss

    Help w. cooking whole hog head

    Oh — a Green Egg; I hadn't read your original posting closely enough. You should be fine with "low and slow." Not so different from an oven roast, if you leave it closed up, I wouldn't think, but I've never used an Egg. Are you going to roast piggie's head with the skin on? I wonder if you're going to get a lot of fat drips and flare-ups if you are. As I said, I've only poached pig's heads, but there's been plenty of fat on them. The beef head had been skinned, and pretty well trimmed of fat, and it cooked in a roasting pan. I also wonder if you're going to split the head and take the brain out first. I don't imagine that you're going to have very good control of the brain temperature if the head is whole — your cooking time is going to be controlled by the doneness of the meat. (Pork brain is pretty tasty. When I've done pig heads, I've split them with a hand meat saw, and eaten the brains as a separate dish. It would be a shame to lose it.) Last question (for the moment): are you going to cure the head before you cook it? I'm quite curious as to how your experiment is going to work out: there are some good bits on the pork head, like ears, snouts, and skin, which I've always assumed would only be good cooked moist.
  2. PaulDWeiss

    Help w. cooking whole hog head

    I've done hog's heads sawed up and poached (to make tête de fromage) a few times, and have never taken the eyes out. In fact, the recipes I've used talk about trimming away the corneas from the cooked eyes, and throwing the trimmed eyes in with the other bits which will comprise the finished dish; I've always done that without thinking about it too much. It gives a little bit of the same sort of crunch that the ears lend to the final dish. With regard to roasting, I roasted a whole bull's head last month, and left the eyes in. There was no pop-out, nor any sort of mess. (They didn't get eaten, mostly because everyone seemed to want to fill their plate with the muscle meats which we got from the head. Probably also because all the diners actually knew Blue, and didn't like it that he kept looking at us while we were eating his head.) That was roasted in a slow oven for about 4 1/2 hours, the first 3 hours closed in metal foil. By the way, in my personal opinion, you'd have to cook a head on a very low open fire for a lot of time if you want the results to be good. Most of the meat is from the masseter (jaw) muscle, and the ends of the various neck and trunk muscles which remain attached to the skull; they are all hard-working, coarse, stringy muscles, and although tasty meat, do better cooked moist than in a roast. (The muscle from over the temples is more tender.) My bull's head was only moderately successful, I think – the meat remaining after the first dinner (at least 2/3 of it) got trimmed off and re-cooked as a daub, and was much better after the second cooking. I had eaten cow, lamb, and goat heads several times in Morocco cooked over open coals, but the fire was very low, and it had cooked and had been turned for many, many hours before it got to my plate. If your BBQ can manage that level of low heat for a long period of time, it's an exceptional one, I'd think. Is yours a "kettle" style, which you're planning on closing up, to roast the head, effectively? Good luck, and post a followup to the thread when you've done the deed. Paul
  3. Hello, all. The all-metal Chef'sChoice/Edgecraft grinder head, made to fit the PTO of the KitchenAid stand mixer series, is very nice. It's a German-designed, Hungarian-manufactured piece with very good levels of finish on the casting and the machining, and with grinding plates which are almost twice the thickness of the plates used in KitchenAid's own grinder head. Edgecraft bundles 2 grinder plates with the unit: medium-ish and fine-ish. Does anyone know of any 3rd-party plates which fit this unit? I've got 8 different plates for various-sized cuts for my big #32 grinder, but this little one (I think it's a #5) is very convenient – the KA is always out and ready to use on my counter, and the grinder head is mounted by default, but can be pulled off in only a few seconds if I don't want to use it. The plates are not the same size as those used by the KA grinder – they're thicker, as I mentioned (5 mm instead of the KA's 3 mm), and have a 52 mm (2 1/16") overall diameter instead of the KA's 49 mm, and have a single "female" fixing notch, rather than the KA's 2 big square "male" lugs. (I'd guess the KA's fixing system is so beefy because it's trying to stay put in the plastic body of the grinder attachment, rather than into a machined metal casting.) The center holes are the same: 8.5 mm (5/16"). Some websites list the plate diameter of a "standard" #5 grinder plate as 2 1/8", so I'm a little nervous about the sizing. If anyone has preceeded me on this search, I'd love to know of any successes. I'd be equally interested in any attempts which didn't pan out, so I can avoid wasting time looking at them. If you already have a grinder which you know to be a "standard" #5, and would be so good as to measure the plates, that would help a lot. Thanks, all, in advance. Paul
  4. PaulDWeiss

    "Offal Majesty" (Ithaca NY area)

    Sounds great, Nick. I don't imagine that this sort of group will be "regulars," primarily. I think people will show up or not based on whether they're interested in the particular recipes. I'd appreciate it if you'd sign up on the Offal Majesty site - a group of two is much more impressive than a group of 1 ;-) Do you slaughter pigs year round? Paul
  5. Hello all - for the 99.99% of you who do not live in the NY Finger Lakes region, this may be a bore. However, this posting is directed toward that handful who are "local," and the somewhat larger handful of eG people who don't live near here, but who have kitchen friends who do. I've just started a new Meetup.com group, named "Offal Majesty." I hope it to become a cooks' group specializing in producing dishes based on the so-called "variety meats," and in the cooperative production of charcuterie - muscle meat based, or offal based. Sometimes our meetings will finish with a participants' dinner; other times we'll just split up what we've made and take the product home for curing, or for sharing with family and friends. To find out more, please check out the group's website on Meetup.com. If you think you might know potential members ("Cooks with guts"), please forward the group's URL to them. Tanx, Paul Host Note: Please click here for the terms under which this announcement has been posted.
  6. Hello, all. After my mom died, I inherited some of her batterie de cuisine, including some German-made Coles knives. They are etched with the words "Coles N.Y. Germany Stainless," and have traditional 3-rivet handles, with solid wood scales. (The wood is not laminated nor resin-soaked; I'd guess they're black-dyed beech, but I don't really know.) I remember them from when I still lived at home, which dates them to the late 1950s or the first half of the 60s. I've got a terrific French-styled (not German-styled) 10" chef's, a salmon slicer, a straight boning knife, and a slicing knife. (I also have a 6" hunting knife, made by the same company, with a handle of stacked leather washers, which I got at a garage sale in the early 70s. Strangely enough, the hunter has a carbon-steel blade, rather than stainless. It's much cruder than the kitchen knives, but the maker's mark is the same.) I've done a bit of searching to see if I could learn something about the company, without success. Does anyone know any of the company's history, or might have a URL which I could look at? Thanks in advance, Paul
  7. PaulDWeiss

    Interesting savory ice creams

    I've had frozen mousse of foie gras at two different restaurants in France, and both times I'd call them successful. Neither was sweetened (as well as I can remember), and I remember both of them as smooth and unctuous, with no crystalline aspect. I think one was served as an amuse, and the other came in the middle of the meal somewhere.
  8. PaulDWeiss

    pig's feet- does anyone like them?

    I had them for breakfast today, in a bowl of pozole; I never met a pig foot I didn't like. My favorite recipe, however, is one from the Périgord, which bones them out, stuffs them with a forcemeat of pork and foie gras, and roasts them. I've tried it, without a recipe, and without much success; mine come out too gluey, even though they're being roasted dry, rather than braised or poached. (Boning them out is also a miserable job; there have to be some tricks which I'm not finding.) The best version I've ever had is served at Au Pied de Cochon (duhhhhh), on Rue Coquillière in Paris, right near the Bourse de Commerce, and down the street from the famous E. Dehillerin, purveyors of "matériel de cuisine." Last time I had them there, the waiter told me how many portions of pig foot were served each week - I'd be lying if I gave you a number, but it was jaw-droppingly huge. There's another version of the recipe which poaches the foot first (I think), then bones it out and stuffs it, and then finally it's breaded and fried, which is also delicious. If anyone has any pointers on this dish, or any similar recipe of a boned out, stuffed, and roasted foot, I'd love to get them. I'd love to figure out how to bone out the foot with less destruction of the skin, and how to get my texture better.
  9. PaulDWeiss

    The high-power blender topic

    No experience with the other brands, but I've been torturing the same VitaMix for over 15 years, and it's done everything I've ever asked it to do. I did go through a "liquid diet" phase where there was a smoothie or two every day, but I mostly use it for sauces, purées, and soups now. One thing which hasn't been mentioned in the discussion so far is the availability of a container and blade setup with the geometry optimized for dry solids, like grains. I bought mine as a refurb package from VitaMix, and the package included both containers. I haven't used the dry container a lot, but I've made dal flour for Indian recipes, and mung bean and rice flour for Vietnamese banh xiou (which I'm sure I'm spelling wrong). I just bought a second VitaMix for my wife's kitchen a few months ago (also as a refurb), and was told that, in the current product line, they've changed the sourcing on the motors, using a Swedish OEM now, in preference to the previous US-made motor, because they think it will hold up better. (They also re-engineered the container's cover latch, which is easier to use than my old machine's.) I also explicitly asked about the relationship between VitaMix and VitaPrep, and was told that there are no engineering differences. The marketing, pricing, and warrantees are different, with the assumption that the VitaPreps are going to get rode hard and put away wet, and that consumers get all whiney and want to have a nice warrantee story told to them, and are willing to pay for that. They don't publicize the direct-sales refurbs, but they're generally available, and priced well. You've got to call them up and see what's available. Oh - motor power: they play the same game as the power tool manufacturers - it's momentary peak, not sustained output. I don't think it really matters; I've never been able to make the thing bog.
  10. PaulDWeiss

    how can I clean my cast-iron grill?

    I got a cheap (about $35US on a promo) steam cleaner, made by Wagner and marketed for wallpaper removal, removing carpet stains, and grease stains from concrete. It lives under a counter in the kitchen, and I drag it out to clean my outdoor charcoal grill, my Bradley smoker, my deep fryer, and the cast iron burners and grates on my range. It works well, and is reasonably neat to use. If I'm trying to clean my smokehouse, I'll do that outside, so the goo can drip all over the place, but for cleaning the range parts or a metal grill, just sticking them in the kitchen sink and working there is OK. There's really very little liquid water coming out of the nozzle; it's almost entirely steam, which doesn't have a great tendency to splash around. The steam and a brass-bristled brush have gotten some really ugly stuff off.
  11. PaulDWeiss

    Making absinthe at home

    Off topic here, with regard to making the booze, but perhaps interesting to the readers of this thread. There is, in fact, an infusion of fresh wormwood/absinthe (Artemisia absinthium) which is drunk by the gallon: in the winter months in Morocco, mint is thought to be too wet, and too weak, so very often a bunch of fresh wormwood is added to the tea pot instead of the mint. The drill is to actually bring the tea and the absinthe to a boil, and leave it there for a few minutes (it gets much more bitter than the Chinese gung-fu-cha style I usually drink), then drink it with a lot of sugar. Some people just add a few branchlets directly to the cup they're drinking from, and leave it in there to soak. I spent 7 weeks in Fès in the winter, drank quarts of the stuff, and grew to really love the flavor. The underlying tea is a coarse, strong Chinese green tea targeted directly to the Arab market. The absinthe is both grown commercially, and gathered wild, and is available at every food market, and from street sellers squatting on cloths on the ground, with a few bunches arrayed in front of them. I've forgotten the name for fresh absinthe in derija, and can't find it in my language course notes. It's also absent from both of my colloquial Moroccan dictionaries, even though it's a word that gets used every time someone sits down for a cup of tea at a restaurant or café. Driving me a little nuts; does anyone know the word?
  12. Hi all. I'm addressing this to current Blue Star owners. I've got a 36" range, and love almost everything about it. One reservation I do have, however, is the measured performance of my stove's simmer burner, vis-à-vis its advertised performance. The burner is advertised in Blue Star's marketing materials as able to hold 130ºF. I have mine adjusted to the smallest flame size position, using the adjusting screw in the center of the control knob's stem, and it is a tiny flame. However, if I put a saucepan of water on the burner, with the burner ring/grill turned and in its raised position, and the flame at its smallest simmer size, the temperature of the water will eventually rise to 185ºF to 190ºF. While that's below boiling, it's significantly higher than the advertised 130ºF. The time to get to the steady state will depend on the starting temperature of the water, the volume of water in the experiment, and the size (diameter) of the pot (and probably whether or not Mercury is in Mars), but however long it takes, the final temperature will end up at the same place. Has any other of you Blue Star owners ever actually measured the final steady-state temperature achieved on the simmer burner? Is this a bit of variability from one exemplaire to another, or simply bogus marketing info? Mine had the "White Glove" setup done after purchase. I did also pull the knob off, and checked to make sure that there's no more adjustability in the valve stem adjuster screw. It can't turn down any more; that's all I've got. Tanx for the help, and - if you don't already know the temperature, having done the experiment for your own interest - I'd love to hear your results if you try it out. Paul
  13. All of this makes perfect sense; I think I just allowed myself to get high on marketing smoke. It's pretty obvious, if I stop to think about it; there's no feedback loop, as there is with a sous vide controller, for instance, or even an on-off thermostat. Probably, the reason my experiments go stable at 185ºF to 190ºF is that the room's ambient temperature has been more-or-less the same every time I've measured the pot's temperature. I bet it will go hotter on a mid-summer scorcher. Still and all, it is a very small flame, and is the slowest simmer I've ever had available. I had just visualized some sort of magic which would have put my open flame into Crock-Pot mode. I'll probably spring for a set of self-washing dishes next. Paul
  14. Missed this topic the first time around. (It's interesting how apparently dead topics come to life again.) Anyhow, the original story reminded me about one I'll bring you from the motorcycle world. (That's another passion of mine, and a much older one for me, having bought my first bike back in 1963.) Anyway, the story is from a guy I've bought both a Honda and a BMW from, over the years. 25 years ago or so, he sold Hardly Ablesons. One day, a retired California motorcycle cop came into the shop, and bought an HD for cash. After the bike was prepped, he asked the shop staff to roll it into the parking lot. He then proceeded to straighten the bike up, and to drop it over onto its right side. He asked the shop guys to pick it up for him. He then proceeded to straighten the bike up, fold the sidestand, and drop the bike onto its left side. He asked the shop guys to pick it up for him again, said "Well, now that's over with," got into the saddle, and drove away. Paul
  15. About 35 years ago I tried a recipe which has had me laughing at my own pretensions ever since. (You should know that this took place at a point in my development when I thought it was the manufacturer's job to sharpen a knife.) Ya semi-bone a duck body out, leaving the bones of the legs and wings in place. Ya make two different forcemeats: one a coarsely-ground pork sausage, the second a finely-ground liver sausage. Ya make a stiff purée of chestnuts. Ya wrestle with and curse at the bird, which now has the structure of a jellyfish, and lay down a layer of the first forcemeat, then the second forcemeat lining that one, then the chestnut purée, and continue alternating the three in concentric layers until the whole cavity is filled. Then you roast the thing. The intent is that, after the bird looks brown and crispy from the oven, you cut the limbs off, then cut rounds directly across the boneless bird, said rounds looking like a beautiful target pattern, with a layer of crispy, fatty duck meat around the edge. (Actually, when I recount it now, it seems like several ballotines I've had, and like some treatments of Italian porchetta.) A beautiful plate only in theory, my friends. Two days of work, and it looked a lot like a forensic examination of a very bad car crash. I have no memory of where the recipe came from, nor its name. (For amusement's sake, if any of you know either, please tell me.) More importantly, I'm not sure that the intervening decades of home kitchen experience has taught me anything useful to control the filling of the boned bird any better. I have seen recipes for some ballotines where the fillings are assembled into a package outside the meat which is going to furnish the "wrapper," and then the meat (goose neck, bird skin, whatever) is then sewn around the filling, but they've been recipes where the wrapping has been pretty thin. Maybe even with the meat, legs, and wings attached to the skin, that would have been the better strategy, instead of just trying to "butter" one layer on the previous one inside the Tunnel of Doom, and hoping that the whole thing would miraculously come together at the end. It didn't. Paul
  16. According to the About Bluestar page on the company's site, the history is a bit different from that, though only interesting if there's no room in your mouth for more cheese, at the moment: Blue Star is a name which has existed only since 2002. The parent company, Prizer-Painter, has been around as a stove maker since 1880, and got the contract to produce all small Garland stoves up to Garland's 60" models for several decades; that is, Prizer-Painter was an OEM for Garland. The smaller Garlands were sometimes built by Garland, and sometimes by Prizer; the larger stoves were always manufactured by Garland themselves, as far as I've been able to find out. Now Garland is itself a brand of Manitowoc Foodservice, and there's no public statement about their manufacturing. Prizer created the Blue Star name when they decided to compete in the residential market, instead of the commercial one. Back to residential salamanders. There aren't a lot of choices. Most of them have fairly wimpy electric heating elements, excepting the gas Blue Star unit. (Does Wolf make a gas one also?) The Blue Star unit uses the same ceramic infrared panel as the oven's broiler, but has two of them, and therefore twice the heat output. Salamanders are much cheaper to get used from restaurant supply places. (There are also lots of used commercial "cheese melters," which would serve as a salamander for virtually all home kitchen use, I'd think.) However, there's a major caveat here - even if the commercial equipment has been installed by a licensed installer to applicable commercial code, very often residential homeowner insurance policy carriers will refuse to honor claims when commercial equipment has been implicated in a home fire. (Your mileage may differ; however, I did verify that that was the case with my existing policy.) The commercial salamander also takes much longer to get to working heat, and puts a lot of heat into the room. With the Blue Star's ceramic panel, it's putting out as much heat as it's capable of producing within a minute or so of fully lighting. (The lighting is sort of weird - a kind of glow plug starts first, and only when that's gotten hot enough to ignite the gas does the gas valve open, and gas start flowing across the ceramic surface.) I oversized my hood - 4 fans in a 60" Vent-a-Hood, instead of the 2 which I needed immediately, and the 3 which were suggested - in case I ever want to add the salamander or a gas charbroil unit, but that should be plenty of exhaust capacity to take the heat from the Blue Star out of the room. The price differential is even more extreme between, say, 36" commercial ranges by Garland or Wolf, and a Blue Star residential-code unit. Unfortuanately, many cities specify that any installation of a commercial stove (30,000 to 33,00 BTU/hr/burner) requires a hood with a Class 1 fire suppressant system to be kosher with code, and there's still the same problem with residential insurance carriers refusing to pay up even if the hood is in. The installation of a commercial salamander is an automatic requirement for a Class 1 hood, at least in Portland. I put in a 36" Blue Star 6 burner about 6 months ago, and am in serious love. 22,000 BTU/hr/burner isn't as hot as a commercial unit, but it's still considerably more kickass than a residential Wolf or Viking. When I had the new gas line run to that part of the kitchen, I had the installer put in a second gas head, so if I ever want the salamander, all I'd need to do is unscrew the dead-end plug, attach a flex line, and open up the valve. I'd suggest doing that, too, Chris - it was no additional charge to install the second drop beyond the original quote price. Something else to consider is the size of the gas line to feed both the stove and a salamander. To satisfy the total BTU ratings of both the stove and the salamander, code required me to bump the gas line up to ¾" from the ½" which would have been sufficient for just the stove. Make sure you check the delivery capacity of your line, which is partly a function of the run length. Paul
  17. PaulDWeiss

    Merguez Sausage

    Hmmm - that strikes me as singularly ungraceful English. It was, of course, I who missed 99% of what was going on, not the vendors! Sorry. Paul
  18. PaulDWeiss

    Merguez Sausage

    By the way, I found the chorizo contention interesting, also, and checked it by looking at the Spanish Wikipedia page for Chorizo. It looks like the generic word for "sausage" (stuffed sausage, anyway) is "enbutido," with "chorizo" being reserved for pork sausages, the flavoring of which is dominated by pimentón. That being said, there is certainly a large range of sausage and forcemeat which is called chorizo, from the unstuffed forcemeat sold in Mexican markets and carnicerías, to three-inch thick semi-dry sausages which only have enough minced meat in them to hold the big chunks of pork together in the casing. (That's a version from both sides of the western Pyrénées, which is commonly available in the butcher shops in south western France and in Basque Spain, along with a skinny version about a foot long, and sold in a loop. I've forgotton what part of Spain the skinny loop comes from - anyone remember?) I don't think I've ever seen the chorizo most familiar to Mexican and western US consumers available for sale in Spain or France; not even the cuts of meat included are the same. Variety meat byproducts and salivary glands in Spain? Never! Paul
  19. PaulDWeiss

    Merguez Sausage

    Absolutely! As for spelling, it's المرجز or المركذ, I think, so the short vowels will be generally understood if they're performed anywhere from a /ε/ to a /ə/. ("Merguez" uses a true English "hard G" sound, which isn't used in most Arabic dialects, but which is common in western Arabic words which come from Berber roots. The "correct" spelling would use a kef with 3 dots, but that's not even present in normal Arabic computer fonts, and it's a word from languages - like Derija - which are generally only spoken, not written. Really, even if they're written in the Arabic character set, they're being transliterated. Whoops, I seem to have gone off on a linguistic side trip.... back to foodways! ) However, in the markets, other sausages, like a wider one with liver in it, seemed to be called by their more specific names. Modern Standard Arabic seems to use the word السجق for sausage in general, but I don't know that word - not that I know many words, period. I don't remember hearing it in the markets, but - having missed 99% of what was going on, in general - vendors may have been using that word. We were speaking French with a few words in Derija added in, generally. But cows are decidedly rarer than sheep and goats as you drive through the countryside, and those which are in sight are almost always in small herds of 2 to 10 Holstein-breed dairy cows, a bony breed at best, and definitely on the anorexic side there. A lot of the foothills of the Rif look (in winter) like the hills of central California, which do support the grazing of beef cattle, but I never saw a beef cow. Also interesting to me was the fact that the forcemeat was usually (not always) unspiced, save for salt. Paul
  20. Has anyone experimented with the larger clams, especially razors and geoduck slices, and come up with a time and temperature which they have found pleasing? I'm especially interested in razors - I've done them sous vide twice over the past week, and have been delighted with the body texture (which ended up better than raw, and better than almost every time I've sautéed or pan-fried them), but less so with that of the muscular foot. The foot texture came out OK, but I'm wondering if there's a way to keep all the juice in the meat, but end up with a "tenderized" foot. Today's experiment was butter-poaching them in the water bath at 108ºF, or 42ºC. The package was only about ½" (1 ¼ cm) thick, and I let them stay in the bath for a couple of hours. (I was making a half gallon of yogurt at the same time, so I could have had up to 10 hours, if I had thought it would have made a difference.) Last time was a couple of degrees warmer, and in only for an hour; I liked the cooler temp better. Long cooking times in treatments like traditional chowders result in a tender foot, but the juices have been long since pushed out into the broth, and the now-tender pieces of foot really don't have much flavor left. (Chowders are also typically simmered at temperatures high enough so that it's unlikely that you'll kill yourself.) Any ideas? Tanx, Paul
  21. PaulDWeiss

    Cooking testicles

    Thanks, Peter. As Bette Davis sung: They're either too young, or too old, They're either too gray or too grassy green, The pickings are poor and the crop is lean... By the way, some years ago, I saw one of the canes you referred to earlier, in a brocante in Paris. The level of craftsmanship was patently high, being fitted with an engraved silver band below the handle. I think you're right: not everyone can pull off an accessory like that. But when you find a really good one, it's hard to beat! Paul
  22. PaulDWeiss

    Cooking testicles

    I was looking at fry recipes just recently, after talking with a local lamb producer about what sort of variety meats he could supply to me. The book I was reading was Variety Meats, 1982, from the Time-Life "The Good Cook" series. (Richard Olney, series editor, ISBN 0-8094-2950-0) Because that book came from a Time-Life series, there were a zillion copies sold, although I'd guess that the average buyer of this volume would have been pretty terrified about what they had just bought; in any event, there are lots of them available cheap, although it's a terrific book, and not dumbed-down in the slightest. There's a recipe chapter titled "Sweetbreads, Brains, and Fries." In addition, in the first (technique) half of the book, there is a short photo-demonstration of the initial prep, which consists of carefully slitting through the tough 3-layered outer membranes, peeling them off, and then doing a 6 minute poach, followed by a cold-water shock, rinsing, draining, and drying to hold them until the final treatment. There are 8 recipes specifically for fries, but the book suggests that any of the white variety meats can be substituted one for another, so there are a lot of good starting points beyond the "slice, dredge, and fry" recipe. By the way, has anyone tried pork fries? I ask because I love lamb and veal kidneys, but I find pork kidneys too strong-tasting for many recipes which work well for the first two. I wonder if there's a similar story for the frys... Paul
  23. By the way, you can make a great mayonaise starting from a sabayon, which is cooked, and which therefore lets you ignore the whole pasteurizing hassle. Check out James Peterson's Sauces, or Madeline Kamman's The Making of a Cook if you haven't made an emulsion sauce from a sabayon before; it's easy. I personally believe that the sabayon-based sauce has a lower probability of breaking, but your mileage may differ. On the other hand, you can make egg-less mayonaise, based on traditional aïoli recipes which use only garlic smashed to a paste in a mortar to bind the emulsion. More work, but not so worrisome if the sauce has to spend a long time out of the frigo. I find that the best tip for extending the life of emulsion sauces is to be careful about exposure to air, and also to only take them out of the refrigerator just to spoon the amount needed into a service dish, and then hustle the rest back into the refrigerator. Storing them in a just-large-enough glass container instead of plastic helps, as does a tightly-fitting hermetic seal at the lid. A bit of plastic foil lightly pressed down on to the surface of the remaining sauce before screwing the cover down helps reduce discoloration at the surface. Really, though, the best plan would be to rewire your conception, so that you think of putting together a mayonaise for the meal at which you're going to eat it, instead of thinking of it as something to keep in the refrigerator. Especially if you'll get comfortable with making a sabayon over direct heat, making the mayonaise (or Béarnaise, or Hollandaise) is pretty quick work, and it's always best when just made. I'd argue that, especially for the warm emulsion sauces, the difference between freshly made and stored is the difference between worth eating and not. With your enviable source of eggs, I'd encourage you to start thinking of fresh-made sauce from just-laid eggs as a luxury that most of the world can't even experience. Paul
  24. PaulDWeiss

    Merguez Sausage

    Just for interest and amusement, I'll throw a cow into the mix. I've eaten lamb merguez at dozens and dozens of places in France, many Maghrébin, and many run by people from the ethnic majority, and have also made my own merguez from half a dozen recipes published both in English and in French; all of them are based on lamb. (Some non-Maghrébin butchers in France make merguez with a mixture of lamb and pork.) I spent about two months in Fès between the end of December 2008 and the end of February 2009. I looked for merguez made of lamb there, and in Meknes, and in several other northern Moroccan cities, buying it cooked from street-food stands, and at sit-down restaurants, and uncooked from butchers in the central markets, and from Western-styled supermarkets. No lamb. Every time I got it, it was made of beef, or (most commonly) beef and veal. I was mostly cooking for myself while I was there, and mostly bought stuff from the same couple of butchers at the main central market in the Ville Nouvelle of Fès, and asked them about the "substitution" of cow for sheep. They all told me more-or-less the same thing: "Maybe there is someplace in Morocco where they make merguez from lamb, but it's not what we do here. Maybe it's a French thing..." Only one of the many ways the food reality of Morocco confounded my preconceptions of the place. Paul
  25. OK - another precinct reporting: 164 remaining, at the moment. My wife and I recently split up the cookbook collection (among other assets), so my part is down by probably a third; I'll replace some, but not all of the ones which have gone to live with her. By the way, reluctantly honoring Maggie's initial rule that digital editions not be counted, I must still protest mildly. There are rare volumes which are realistically only available to most mortals in the new-fangled form; for instance the digitized collection of historic American cookbooks from the University of Michigan. (A URL is here.) I'm not sure why the volumes I've gotten there (and from other digital sources) are less booky than the ones which have a more obvious main ingredient of dead tree. I think I'll also cast a random bit of chum into these waters, given that they're swimming with bookish foodies, a diffusely-distributed species. I'd love to find copies of a couple of books which are still available, but which are gaspingly expensive. The first is a French one: Les secrets des fermes en Périgord noir, by Zette Guinaudeau. The second (I'd ideally like to find the French edition, but the English translation would also be splendid): Traité de charcuterie artisanale, tome 2, by Marcel Cottenceau, Jean-François Deport, and Jean-Pierre Odeau. If anyone has either of these in their embarrassingly bloated collection which might cost me less than my left prairie oyster, please contact me. Peace, good cream, and a nice Armangac, Paul