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Everything posted by project

  1. project

    Beef stew failure

    From my struggles with beef stew, especially trying to make stew from chunks of beef bottom round roast, I can see two likely problems: (1) Time. To make the final stew pieces soft, flexible, moist, and 'succulent', have to cook long enough to soften the collagen. Have to do this somewhere near 160 F, and it takes time. Even starting with chunks of USDA Choice chuck roast you will need ballpark two hours. For more details, say, for pork shoulder BBQ, can use 18 hours in a 220 F oven. There is a long 'stall' near 160 F, that is, a period of some hours where the temperature increases only ve
  2. project

    Pot Roast Recipe?

    Blether: Thanks! You discussed salt concentrations! Yup, I was thinking about being more specific about salt! So I did the investigations and arithmetic I reported above. And while I was doing that arithmetic, you reported: "For something like chicken legs I will use 1/4 - 3/8 tsp per lb. For boneless red meat, 3/8 - 1/2 tsp. I find this is the amount to give the 'correct' level of salt, no matter how long it soaks in (that is, it'll never be too salty even when it has completely permeated the meat)." Yup, you did it! What you reported you found to be "correct" was well in the center of wh
  3. project

    Pot Roast Recipe?

    djyee100: Nice! Thanks! You wrote: "Many excellent comments already made about your recipe, & I have only a few things to add. If your dish overall seemed dull in flavor, and you couldn't taste all the good ingredients you put into it, that probably means you needed more salt. If the dish tasted flat or flabby, that means you needed to balance the fat in the dish with more of an acidic ingredient." Nice! Progress in explication of principles! Ah, one principle worth 1000 recipes! Above I did some arithmetic on salt so that I could budget salt for the whole dish and, thus, add salt all
  4. project

    Pot Roast Recipe?

    Okay, on salt, how much to add? Uh, I like salt, do know that (1) it raises blood pressure until the body excretes any excess, (2) also suspect that salt does not cause the disease hypertension, (3) know that it's easy to add salt but difficult to remove salt after adding too much, and (4) I could use some information on how much salt to add! Or, if I am going (1) add salt before cooking and all during the cooking but (2) not get too much salt at the end, then I should start the cooking with something of a salt budget, that is, just measure out about the right amount of salt to add, in total,
  5. project

    Pot Roast Recipe?

    Nice comments, guys! I think this is progress! Doodad: For cutting roast into smaller pieces, I have a personal hangup about doing that! I struggled off and on for years making Boeuf Bourguignon or whatever want to call it from chunks of lean beef. Maybe with sous vide and very careful temperature control (as in laboratory constant temperature water baths as in the long eG sous vide thread) it could be made to work, but nearly all I ever got was dry, hard, brittle chunks of meat. Finally I wrote a beef industry trade group and got back a nice reply: "Use chuck roast". They were right. Bu
  6. project

    Pot Roast Recipe?

    Introduction Did a pot roast starting with a beef chuck roast. Used onions, carrots, celery, red wine, and some good chicken stock. The result tastes good, but how would one make it better? Braising Steps Started with a boneless chuck roast, well trimmed of fat, that weighed about 2.55 pounds. In a 5 quart classic Farberware pot, with virgin olive oil, sauteed 2 1/2 pounds of thick rings of large, yellow globe onions The weight of each onion as purchased was about 1 pound. Got rings from three such onions. From each onion, got four disks of rings. The plane of each disk was perpendicula
  7. I just finished poaching six chickens, total weight just over 29 pounds. Did the work in clumsy ways and, thus, washed too many pots, bowls, and tools, and hands are just now recovering! I poached the chickens two at a time in a 12 quart Vollrath stainless steel stock pot. I started with 12 pounds of mirepoix of 6 pounds of diced yellow globe onions and 3 pounds each of diced onion and carrot. Poached at 185 F until vegetables were soft, about 3 hours, strained, discarded the solids, returned the resulting vegetable stock to the pot, added two chickens, feet up, covered with water, and poach
  8. Why not just use a good vinaigrette? My current favorite is: 1 egg boiled 10 seconds 1 T Worcestershire sauce 1/3 C red wine vinegar 1 1/2 T finely minced garlic 3 T Dijon mustard 1 t dried basil 1 t dried oregano 2 T dried parsley 1/2 t salt pepper One 2.0 ounce can flat anchovies packed in oil, minced, with oil 1 C olive oil Combine all but last two ingredients. Whip. Add last two ingredients slowly with whipping. Tonight for dinner had about 2 quarts of washed, chilled, crisp Romaine lettuce with about 1/2 C of this dressing, a lot of freshly ground black pepper, about 2 ounces of freshly
  9. "Easy"? This thread is awash in claims of it's "easy". I conclude that the existence of this thread shows that "easy" is largely not correct. There is a remark from violinist Nathan Milstein on passages in music few could make sound good something like "It's not easy or difficult. Either you can do it or you can't." His suggestion was that, with a lesson and some work, a violinist COULD do it. Well, for the topics on this thread, maybe mostly if one knows how to do it, then it's easy; if one doesn't know how to do it, then with a lesson and some work one can learn and then maybe it's easy;
  10. Three examples where homemade is MUCH better: (1) Pizza: As in http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=77282&view=findpost&p=1087260 buy a box of frozen pizza dough balls, 24 ounces per ball, each in a plastic bag. For a pizza, let a ball thaw and rise in refrigerator for a few days. Flour and roll out to about 12" diameter. In hottest oven, bake on cookie sheet until puffed and lightly browned, maybe 3 minutes. Take favorite homemade tomato sauce, put about 2 C in a wire mesh strainer, use a table knife and fork to cut chunks and drain. Dump drained sauce onto pizza and sprea
  11. project

    Brown Sauce Texture

    paulraphael: With my math hat off and back to a beginning cook trying to learn, I'll swing at your roux versus starch issue: Yes, I read the part in Escoffier where he explained that he wanted to cook the sauce until everything in the flour except the starch was skimmed or some such, all that was left was the starch, and that it would be better just to use a source of starch to begin with. Back when I was doing trials adding various thickeners to water to see what would happen, I concluded that corn starch and arrowroot had similar effects but that a flour-butter blond roux was much different
  12. project

    Brown Sauce Texture

    Shalmanese: I should interject, my uses of i, j, m, and n in the post require some editing but, sadly, the editing is now no longer permitted. I anticipated that editing would be permitted for 24 hours but apparently that is not true. Basically table A has one row for each measure of texture and one column for each ingredient. It is best to use alphabetical order, that is, have i, j go with m, n so that i = 1, 2, ..., m and j = 1, 2, ..., n. Then it is standard to use i for rows and j for columns. Then table A has m rows and n columns. Then there are n ingredients and m measures of textur
  13. project

    Brown Sauce Texture

    Aloha Steve: What I outlined is not that difficult! For the mathematical notation, I just used what is available in just simple typing without trying to use subscripts and superscripts. If you wish, then regard the hat character as the start of a superscript and the underscore character, a subscript. Beyond mathematics, actually the notation is almost ready even for common computer languages. So, this notation can't be more difficult to read than source code in a computer language. And there are not many lines of code to read! For the linear programming, that is now sometimes covered in hig
  14. project

    Brown Sauce Texture

    For some explanation: The problem posed in this thread is both challenging and general. We can see some of the challenge because a chef, clearly somewhere from good to excellent, has worked for "years" without a good solution. The generality is adjusting some n inputs to get desirable results on some m outputs, all at the same time. I like the problem: Currently I have some reduced blond chicken stock, from poaching two frying chickens in a vegetable stock from 8 pounds of mirepoix, and have stock that gels at room temperature, has some chicken flavor, a lot of vegetable flavor, but is surpri
  15. project

    Brown Sauce Texture

    So, for some positive integer n, you have n candidate ingredients for thickening, e.g., gelatin, roux, arrowroot. For some positive integer m, you have m criteria for the qualities of the final sauce, e.g., hot texture, cold texture, flavor, static viscosity, dynamic viscosity. Suppose for each criterion j = 1, 2, ..., m you are able to give an evaluation on a scale from, say, 0 to 100 where 0 means awful and 100 means best could ever hope for. For one trial, for each ingredient i = 1, 2, ..., n you use X(i) grams of ingredient i and get results, for j = 1, 2, ..., m, Y(j) on your scale fro
  16. project

    Marinating Chicken

    Once I did a batch of Escoffier's Cooked Marinade. As I remember, it had a lot of parsley plus some of the usual suspects. If you want, I'll find the reference, for which I'll have to walk to the other end of the house and look in the 2-3 Escoffier books I have. Escoffier warned that the marinade was strong and was intended only for game. A "strong" marinade? Ah come on Auguste! We're in America, now! So, I used his marinade on some chunks, cooking calls these 'cubes', of lamb. Yup, win one for the king of chefs, chef of kings! It was STRONG! And with the flavor in the meat itself. No jok
  17. Sony, Thanks. You mentioned marinating: Yes, the texture of the chicken could be improved, and marinating, with salt, that is, a 'brine', should help. I've never marinated chicken; maybe I should! Good news: The chicken chunks were not all hard and dry from over cooking. Bad news: The chunks were not 'succulent' or spontaneously separating along the muscle fibers. Marinating in brine, etc. might help the texture. Some long sous vide heating might also help the texture of the chicken, but for that I would need a constant temperature water bath and have yet to construct one! The step of sa
  18. Apparently last scallop trial got me a case of shellfish poisoning -- not fun. So, instead of scallops in a sauce, tried breast of chicken. Here's a picture: So, how to make it better? Here's what I did: Bought 5 pounds of "split breast halves" which was the breast parts from three chickens, that is, six pieces. Each piece had skin and ribs. Separated meat from the skin and bones. Put skin and bones in a 3 quart pot, covered with water, simmered about 30 minutes to make a chicken broth, and took 1 C. Diced the rest of the chicken (see picture). Prepared a mirepoix of 2 pounds of finely dice
  19. project

    Elusive combinations

    There is a very special, good flavor, I've achieved a few times by accident and tried to achieve a few more time deliberately, without success. The flavor is in some stews and may be from some combination, I suspect actually from some chemical reaction, involving some or all of red meat, garlic, tomato, and red wine. The last time I achieved the flavor was from a lamb stew with garlic, etc. Don't know what it is, but it would be good to find out and be able to do it consistently! For now, I'm on a diet, and working on software!
  20. project

    squirrel meat?

    Where in NYC? Uh, did you try central park? Since I posted before reading this thread, I see now that I am maybe the 13th person to make this joke! Well, I live 70 miles north of Wall Street, and there are squirrels in my backyard. Also deer, wild turkeys, chipmunks (my cat catches), rabbits (my catches the small ones), etc. I could open a window a crack, rest a good hunting rifle, and, seasons and laws permitting, get a harvest. Ah, someday I'll get a much bigger backyard much farther north of Wall Street with much more wild life. Back to writing software!
  21. Sure. Whenever I have a recipe developed well enough to consider it done, one of the standard last things I do is calculate yield. E.g., back in August, 2006, I did a fake Memphis BBQ starting with a 10.18 pound picnic pork shoulder. After cooking for 16 hours in a 220 F oven and separating, I got right at 5 pounds of edible meat. Have done the same for roasting eye of round for roast beef sandwiches. Intend to do the same when return again to poached scallops.
  22. Uh, Tim, uh, at this point it's mostly my recipe! I don't have anyone else to blame! All the stuff on temperature is just from this thread and my trials and guesses. The books I have on French cooking -- Child, Diat, Pepin, etc. -- make it sound like France still has yet to discover thermometers! Similarly for timers! pH -- f'get about it! Of course, actually the French do great with technology -- e.g., J. Neveu in stochastic processes -- but apparently the exploitation of technology is not uniform! Poaching the scallops until the poaching liquid is 160 F is my guess. So far I've done t
  23. Okay, I have more trials to do than I guessed! The recipe is Court Bouillon: 2 C Chardonnay, 8 ounces fish stock or bottled clam juice, 5 T minced shallots, and some usual suspects among thyme, parsley, bay leaf, pepper. For mushrooms, I just get sliced mushrooms in cans. In this case, for about 12 ounces "net weight", I include the liquid from the mushrooms in the court bouillon. Scallops: 3 pounds, thawed or frozen. It is easier to overcook the smaller bay scallops than the larger sea scallops. White Roux: 8 T butter, 10 T flour. Milk: 1 1/2 C Whipping Cream: 1 C Egg Yolks: 4 from L
  24. It is clear, including from your post, that until the recent trial using 160 F all the years I did that dish I was overcooking the egg yolks. E.g., when sitting while hot, the sauce would separate quickly. Cooking to 160 F, the sauce didn't separate while standing. It didn't separate while reheating except in some spots that apparently got too hot in the microwave. I heated maybe 10 ounces by weight (will measure next time) in a serving dish for 10 minutes at 20% power and got no separation but also not enough heating -- some of the scallops were still a bit below room temperature! Then
  25. Okay, Dave, thanks for the 160 F! I tried it! The trials need to continue, but so far your 160 F is a NICE improvement! I used the 160 F twice: First, I poached the scallops only until the court bouillon temperature was 160 F. That worked GREAT. By far the best texture of the scallops I've had with this dish. So, don't boil the scallops; don't even simmer the scallops; don't even think about it. Instead, stand there, apply heat slowly, stir gently but often to keep the temperature uniform, use a good thermometer, measure temperature often, and at 160 F QUIT. Dump the pot contents into a co
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