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Everything posted by TheSwede

  1. I think you are right on target, it is basically a fluffier version of butter. Although in my mind the acid in the lemon is crucial to offset all that butter. You might want to try Bearnaise, a version flavoured with shallots, terragon and white vine vinegar. It has more of a taste of its own. Also you should of course try the sauces with some food! It is not until then you will realize why they are such classics.
  2. After thinking about it for a while, my current theory is that you can heat all types of plates (excep possibly glass plates) in your microwave without water or anything. People just haven't tried. The reason the plates doesn't get hot when you have food on them is that the food is much more microwave absorbant, it soaks up the energy much easier than the plates. But when no food is present the energy ends up in the plates (after bouncing around inside the microwave a couple of times).
  3. That is interesting! As I said above I tried using a small submersible circulation pump. It worked extremely well, but died on me when I let it run in 82 C for 8 hours. Not entirelly suprising. When you use an air pump, you don't put any heat sensitive parts into the water.
  4. Well, I don't know if I managed to find the right link but it looks like they are charging $ 25 per 0.5 lbs or more.
  5. No problem getting it take a european powerlead, input is an ordinary computer power cable which you buy yourself. Output is a US socket, so you have to plug in a travel adapter there. I use one of those controllers here in Sweden without problems. Same site also sells kits for eg espresso machines, which should work for your built in solution. They have schematics and tutorials.
  6. I was actually surprised by this suggestion, since my understanding of how microwaves work is that the waves cause the water molecules to vibrate, which then gets transmitted to nearby non-water molecules. So I would not expect a plate to get hot from microwaving. Of course, I've been known to be mistaken... ← I've no problems getting my plates hot enough to burn my fingers. Put a stack of plates in the microwave, five minutes or so at max effect. Probably won't work with glass, but glazed porceline plates (ie ordinary plates) work fine for me. Edit: Just did a test. I put two room temp plates in the microwave. After 2.5 minutes, they were 92C/197F according to my Thermopen. This is bone china plates, but nothing fancy. Very common in Europe. Edit 2: As I said, I learned this trick from a professional cook. So, it might be something with European tableware?
  7. I assume the waterbath has a cable for plugging into the wall? Put that through eg Auberins PID controller, drop the temp probe into the bath, turn the waterbath thermostat to max and your should be good to go after some PID tuning. Basically, you are replacing the built in thermostat with the PID. No surgery on the waterbath required! Edit: This is the controller I'm talking about, it is ready to go straight out of the box: http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=44
  8. TheSwede

    Four Course Dinner

    Serving a four course meal to eight (!) people in a home kitchen is no small task. To get that to work, almost everything you serve must be prepared in advance and you need to think tactically when planning the menu. Your guests shouldn't have to wait for the next course, everything should flow smoothly like in a good resturant. Some ideas: - Soup amuse in demi tasse cups (as Busboy suggested), perhaps with a nice garnish. Everything can be prepared in advance, just reheat. - Cold starter. Everthing prepared in advance, just plate. Or perhaps cook the main item just before serving if you want a warm starter, plate with prepared garnishes. - Main course. The protein for the main course can be cooked just before serving, but starch, sauce and garnishes prepared in advance. - Dessert. Cold - just plate, warm - use the oven. Garnishes, sauce etc prepared in advance. With that kind of setup you only have a maximum of one cooking element per course. Since you are plating and serving too, you will still have your hands full. Can't you get someone to help you serve food and wine, remove plates etc? I think that would make things a lot easier. Edit: When I say "garnish" I don't mean a carved cucumber. I use the term for everything extra that goes on the plate, besides the main item. The toasted brioche and the sauternes jelly to the foie gras, the sauteed chanterelles mushrooms for the beef etc.
  9. Prewarmed plates make all the difference! Well, at least in the home kitchen. Easiest way to warm: Put in oven or in the microwave. Get them really hot, not lukewarm (but not so hot that they crack or the food sizzles - 70C/160F perhaps). Be careful when you take them out, use oven mitts! There are also electric plate warmers, looks like an electric heating pad. Made out of thick cloth and heating elements, you place the plates between the folds. Good when you need your oven and microwave for making/heating the actual food! Note 1: The microwave plate warming trick was thought to me by a professional cook. I use it. But putting stuff in your microwave that has no water in it is supposed to be bad, overheating or something. Don't blame me... Note 2: Yes I use the microwave during "service". For reaheating prepared garnishes or reheating mashed potatoes. Edit: I've also though about where to rest meat. A big roast is not a problem, but steaks?
  10. This is the correct link: http://www.ticgums.com/store/ But I don't find a link to an online store on that page, so perhaps they have a separate URL for that?
  11. One similar to this one ($ 5): http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-559-Immersion...JGCWREHKMQ12ZMW
  12. I got absolutely perfect results with a small 300W immersion heater (USD 10) and a aquarium pump (USD 10) together with the Auber controller. Stable and uniform temperature. 300W was a little too low, so it took some time to bring up to temperature, but once there it was extremely stable. Unfortunately, the aquarium pump didn't like 82 C over eight hours... I think it would work fine up to 60 - 65 C or so.
  13. Didn't he say something about "pure starch" as the future, or is my memory failing me (possibly from McGee?)? That would mean the potato or corn starch we use today. Did Escoffier ever use arrow root?
  14. TheSwede


    I'm not a big fan of broth like sauces either. It doesn't stick to the food in the right way. Nothing wrong with broths, but it isn't a sauce in my mind.
  15. I've got flashbacks to Marco Pierre Whites comments in White Heat. With the difference that those presumably were from MPW himself. To be honest, I didn't really take any notice of the PR speak when I looked through it first - I was too busy flipping between the photographs and the recipes.
  16. TheSwede


    I suppose that when you read those semi-pro recipes that says "then reduce until it covers the back of a spoon", the starting point is always nice gelatinous veal stock. I was actually thinking of trying to use gelatine as a thickener, just to see what happens.
  17. TheSwede

    Storing duck breast

    125 F = 51.6 C Cooking stuff below that for extended times is bad.
  18. TheSwede


    A wild guess might be that it depends on the stock. A syrupy end result might be hard to get without enough gelatine in the stock. I usually resort to the cornflour method, but then I usually base my sauces on chicken or duck stock. Mounting with butter just before serving is a wonderful way to add viscosity, soften acids and add depth to the taste. If you have low enough temperature (40 C or so) you are supposed to be able to mount even a very thin sauce with butter without breakage, but a little cornflour makes the process foolproof. I too would love some input from professionals on this!
  19. TheSwede

    Storing duck breast

    I think that 50 C is actually in the danger zone for some nasty stuff by one or two degees C. There is a lot more information in the extremely long sous vide thread.
  20. I was surfing the net for a reasonably priced high precision digital scale, 0.1 gram precision or so. Useful when dabbling in "molecular gastronomy" (and maybe high precision pastry?). I found this German Ebay shop that sells a lot of different high precision scales, some with precision down to 0.001g: http://stores.ebay.de/uzman-import_W0QQcol...3QQftidZ2QQtZkm I just ordered a 2000 g - 0.1 scale from him for only 15 EUR( ). I will let you know if he actually delivers and if it works as advertised. I also noticed that he has refractometers. I know next to nothing about pastry, but I belive it is a pretty expensive instrument used to determine the density of sugar (?) solutions. He has refractometers on offer for 26 EUR which I think is a good price? Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with that site. I just ordered one item suspiciously cheap which hasn't arrived yet. Beware - at least until I have recieved the item and reported back here.
  21. Could you elaborate on the "fizzy" part of the process a little bit more? BTW, I wonder if you really need to freeze into half spheres or if any shape of ice cube would become spherical once it thaws?
  22. I received this book for christmas, having made some hints before. It is a monster book in coffe table format documenting the dishes in his three star flagship resturant in Royal Hospital Road, London. This is not "Gordon cooks at home" or something similar. This is a hardcore book that presents and explain the actual dishes served at the resturant. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Recipes-Star-Chef-...99651590&sr=8-3 (Note to editor: please feel free to eGullet-ize the link and/or add link to US Amazon) It only costs GBP 20, which is amazingly low considering the production values. The first half of the book is just photos of the various dishes and comments about them from (presumably) the man himself. The second half is the actual recipes. The presentation/photos of the dishes are absolutely stunning. Many of the dishes looks like work of art, especially in the pastry/desserts section. The recipes (at least some of them) actually looks doable, surprisingly enough. Only a very foolish or very experienced amateur cook would attempt to recreate an entire menu in a home kitchen, but borrowing a single dish (especially a main course) is definitely doable if you have reasonable experience and some time to devote. The recipes are very well written and some though has definitely gone into making them possible to execute in a home kitchen (no sous vide machinery...). My usual approach when attempting fine dining cooking is to simplify, like pair the protein and sauce in one dish with the (simpler) starch from somewhere else and/or remove some of the garnishes. This would work well with this book. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in fine dining. Either just as a documentation of dishes from one of the worlds top resturants or to actually try to cook from. Yesterdays Financial Times had an article where one of their writers tried to execute an entire three course menu from the book. To summarize, the main course was on the table three hours late, but the results were stunning. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2d21f2b0-ba6b-11...?nclick_check=1 Note: I haven't yet tried any of the recipes (but I'm definitely eyeing that foie gras filled pidgeon breast roulade with confited pigeon legs...) and I like fine dining cook books, mostly for inspiration, sometimes for actual cooking.
  23. Frozen and cold are two very different things, so lets disregard that. Having the meat warm will definitely get the best result when you want to finish the dish quickly (like in a resturant) and want to do it in a single process (ie pan with perhaps lower temperature for the finish). But if you first want to sear and then finish in a low temperature oven? Then cold might be better. That should enable you to get a very thin seared crust and then almost uniform inside with minimal drying out. My worry would be that the cold meat wouldn't sear as good a warm, since the cold meat would cool the pan. Thoughts?
  24. The attribution is anecdotal in Steingarten's book, something along the lines of: "...said to be Joel Robuchons method to make fries at home." Does anyone have other sources?
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