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Everything posted by TheSwede

  1. If we are talking about fish cheeks here, could someone enlighten me how you get enough of them to make a whole dish? Beg your fishmonger for 25 fish heads and then butcher them? I've read about fish cheek dishes, would love to make one, but the practical details have always been a bit fuzzy to me...
  2. I was in exactly in the same situation a couple of months ago (although pretty much constrained to Europe) and had trouble finding anything worthwile. If I were living in NY, I would have opted for the French Culinary Institutes evening program. Doesn't fit your specs, but looks like a very good option for the committed amateur cook. Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxford has week long courses. Expensive of course. I have no idea how much you will actually learn (probably depends a lot on the level of the other participants), but you will definitely eat a lot of good food. Personally, I decided to go all out and will take Basic Intensive Cusine for six weeks at Le Cordon Bleu in London this spring. Yay! I will get the knife skills and pastry crust, but I'm sure both my skills and crust will be much improved...and that I will learn a lot of other things!
  3. FYI, I've noticed exactly the same thing. The seared surface tend to "slip off" the raw part, making the slices ragged at the edges. Pre-cutting is an interesting solution.
  4. From what I remember my fries have taken significantly longer than 7-8 minutes too. Maybe 15-20.
  5. I've done it with more than one layer of fries, but as noted above it isn't as optimal on the oil use. Otherwise it worked fine.
  6. I've used my Auber controller with a quite energetic hot plate (2000W/220V) and I initially had problems with overshooting since the reaction time of the plate is long and when it finally gets hot, it gets really hot for quite a long time (high effect and large thermal mass). However, setting P really high (250-300) and D to 60-90 seems to do the trick. Setting I to zero seems to work the best for me. However I think I'm going to try a new setup with a simple immersion heater (of the USD 10 variety) and a small submersible pump.
  7. 1 quart = 1 litre = 1000 ml (actually 1 quart = 0.946 litres, so slightly more than 5% error, but quarts aren't a precision measurement anyway) Also, Google is your friend when it comes to conversions. I use it all the time. Just type eg "1 quart to litres" or "212 F to C" and the answer will come out.
  8. The pot isn't actually that small (12 cups), maybe it is the fish eye lens on my cellphone? I've manually sous vided two portions of cod in it without any problems, and I guess 2-3 portions of anything wouldn't be a problem. But that was just a test setup. As jmolinari notes, it is better to tune the system to a specific volume of water so I think I will tune it to one of my larger pots just to have more flexibility. That will probably also increase the thermal stability of the system, but might increase the problem with different temperatures at different depth.
  9. This is my low budget sous vide setup. Controller from Auberin, a pot and an electric plate. Note that Auberin doesn't recommend using an electric plate. Partially for safety reasons (although this plate actually has an adjustable independent thermostat shutoff), partially because I guess you will get a more even heat distribution with a rice cooker. Nevertheless, this setup looks pretty promising. With some tweaking of the PID parameters I belive I can get it to keep stable within 1 C, although there will some uneven heat distribution in the pot unless you stir or add a pump.
  10. Flavour might not be an issue. But maybe the surface absorbs some water and will be harder to get a nice browning on?
  11. The Cook's Book is very good, although the foam chapter is only 10 pages or so. There is also a free pdf (in Spanish) with El Bulli foam receipes here: http://www.cookingconcepts.com/PDF/Espumas_elBulli.pdf More information available in the old thread on foams: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=107085
  12. According to Wikipedia, sodium pyrophosphate is a thickener and an emulsifier so it could indeed be used to prevent fat/meat separations in sausages and terrines. No idea what the potassium phosphate does though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_pyrophosphate
  13. I've used standard waxy/firm potatoes (of the Swedish variety). As for the soaking up oil thing, I don't have a lot to compare with but I haven't got the impression that they are very greasy. The outer surface have been dry and crispy.
  14. I always cook in a T-shirt. Once I'm done cooking (ie eating time), it goes into the laundry bin and I put on something nicer or at least a fresh T-shirt. The only exception is when we have guests and even then I might change into a T-shirt if there is any heavy cooking to do.
  15. ... Having seen some CIA classes on TV, I was surprised at the elaborate format of the school's program. My school never covered Asian cookery or anything remotely close to vegetable carvings and butter sculptures. I had to learn this all on my own. Being Asian, I was expected to know vegetable carvings, sushi and all the Asian stereotypes associated with Asian culture. I am guessing that Asian cookery is now part of that exam? Or is it still based on classical French cuisine? ← According to Ruhlman's The soul of a Chef (excellent account of the CMC exam -read it if you haven't!) there was an asian cooking test as part of the exam, although I belive it was a "minor", not a "major" like the classical french/Escoffier test.
  16. Slightly OT, but I've had great success with the method described in one of Steingarten's books (and anecdotally attributed to one of the great french three star chefs as his "home fries" recipe): No blanching, no double frying. Instead start the fries in room temperature oil and crank the heat to max. Once the oil reaches a certain temperature, the fries are done. The idea is that the gradual heat increase first cooks the potatos and then crisps them. Has worked like a charm for me (soft inside, very crisp outside, nice color), but I'm not a frequent maker of fries so I don't have much in the way of comparision. Also, I have a gas range so I can crank up the heat pretty high.
  17. I think that purports to be real truffle extracts. Probably isn't, if I understood the pricing correctly. There is a lot of falsification going on in "real" truffle products, like chinese truffles (only distantly related to the real stuff) sold as real black truffles. Tastes like cardboard.
  18. For roasts (and lot of other stuff) you need an in-oven thermometer with a metal shielded cable and perhaps an alarm. I couldn't live without mine. I use it for roasts, fish, bread, duck breasts, confits etc... I just ordered a Thermapen, but that is in the nice-to-have category. Perhaps you can buy a shielded cable for your Comark? Otherwise there are plenty of options, eg: http://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-Digital-Probe-...97817914&sr=8-4
  19. As opposed to getting them into our system when we eat the real thing? That list of chemicals was the composition of real truffle aroma, most likely obtained by gas chromatography. I even have a reference this time: 10 principaux arômes de la truffe Tuber melanosporum (d'après Talou). (The ten principal aromas of Tuber Melansporum/Black winter truffle) « Truffes et trufficulture » De J.M. Olivier ; P. Sourzat ; J.C. Savignac. Editions Fanlac, 2002. dimethylsulfure 7,5% acetaldéhyde 4,5% 2-méthylpropanal 5% 2-méthylbutanal 4% ethanol 27% 2-méthyl1propanol 21% 2-méthyl1butanal 17% acétone 8% 2-butanone 2,5% 1 propanol 2% Lots of scary stuff in real truffle.... I bet a list of aromas in red wine would look even scarier.
  20. I've been thinking of going the wine cooler route myself. My idea (note - just idea!) is to add a small computer fan inside the cooler to get the air moving. Just drill a small hole through the wall for the cable and hook up the fan to an appropriate voltage source of the "wall wart" type.
  21. My experience with cheap thermometers is that they take 20-30 seconds to get an accurate reading. Subsequent readings will probably be faster since the probe is already hot.
  22. Why do I have the distinct feeling that I would much rather find most of those "ingredients" in the motor of my car and not in my digestive system? ← I belive that was a list of stuff found in real black truffles.
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