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Chris Hennes

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Everything posted by Chris Hennes

  1. I prefer AP flour when I'm making it by hand - the theory says that semolina has more flavorful, but I find it much more difficult to work with by hand. Handmade pasta made with AP flour is still fantastic, and doesn't really require "weekend project" status -- it's pretty easy to make. On second thought, you don't mention how you are rolling it out... are you doing that by hand as well (i.e. with a rolling pin?). That might be some work, I always use a pasta machine to roll it out.
  2. Whilst watching Iron Chef the other night my wife mentioned that she would like to eat at Morimoto. Hey, who am I to argue with that? Why, exactly, she wants to eat there, is beyond me: she is not a sushi eater (yet! she says it will take several more years of marriage before I have convinced her to try it, so there is hope!). I, on the other hand, will eat anything and everything (at least once!). Well, so I made the reservations, but I still question going there. I gather this is not the kind of place where everyone has to get the tasting menu - is that correct? So she could order something "normal" and I can get the Omakase? Or would that be too awkward in terms of serving/coursing? Also, I have read elsewhere on eG that the sushi bar is the place to sit: is that true even if one of you isn't eating sushi? Edited to correct spelling of Omakase...
  3. The interior is just a wire rack that suspends the meat/etc. above the bottom to allow smoke to circulate around it, and to keep it above the bed of ice, when that is present. If the smoke entering turns out to be hotter than I want I am planing on making a collar that I can add ice or water to to keep the temperature at the inlet down. I may go ahead and do it anyway to eliminate the need for adding ice to the smoke chamber itself, which currently requires opening the chamber.
  4. Since the idea is that the interior of the smoke box never exceeds 90 degrees, and the food is never in contact with the plastic itself, it should not be a problem. Especially during the winter, when the smoke will cool substantially before even entering the smoke box. During the warm months the bottom will get filled with ice to keep everything cool. I haven't decided whether to poke drainage holes or not... thoughts? I wish I could claim the idea as my own, but of course I saw this sort of setup elsewhere on the internet, which is what sparked the idea.
  5. Ladies and gentlemen, behold... Ghetto Smoker 4000 ™: Smoke chamber: Complete setup (Brinkman electric model - no charcoal grills allowed in the apartment complex):
  6. I'll snap some tonight and try to remember to post them. It is practically a piece of art . Thanks for all the advice about temperatures: I guess the best way to approach this is with a methodical test. I love smoked salmon, so that shouldn't be a problem .
  7. Thanks. Yeah, I figured if the meat was frozen solid it probably wouldn't work so well: I am thinking that if the temp of the smoke box is lower than 40 or 50 it is too low, but like you said, more heat is easy. I could always wrap the box in insulation, if it came to that. I am more thinking along the lines of, since more heat is easy, is there a "best" temperature to shoot for, on days when I have control.
  8. Do you use anything to monitor humidity, or do you just make sure it is high?
  9. Well, I ordered the box, so we'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I have these two duck breasts aging for prosciutto: they've been going for 11 days between 50-60 degrees F and what I am guessing is pretty high humidity (small container of water in the bottom of the cooler). They still feel soft to me, but I don't really know what the target texture is. Any suggestions or advice? I moved them to the refrigerator this morning, since there is no TCM or anything involved and got nervous about the amount of time it was taking.
  10. Well on that note, what about Soy Milk? OK, if you're lactose intolerant.. but for health reasons? Milk should not need an ingredient list. I do not believe for a moment that it is actually any better for you than real milk. There's just no way...
  11. I see lots of discussion here about smoking, and some tidbits on cold smoking, but the only temperature advice I see given is to keep the temp below 90 degrees F. Is there an "optimum" temperature for cold smoking? Food-dependent, maybe? It is getting a bit chilly here in Central Pennsylvania, and my cold-smoking rig is a bit "ghetto"... I have a bullet-style smoker that I have made a new lid for that directs the smoke through a piece of dryer hose into a Rubbermaid "smoke box." Therefore, there is basically no protection from the elements. Will this be a problem in the dead of winter?
  12. This is just about what I do. In theory, I have a half dozen or so things that I want to make for the week, but as the week goes by I continuously change my mind. So I "over-shop" at the grocery store (e.g. even if I don't think I will make curry this week, I make sure to have coconut milk on hand). The proteins can be adapted to depending on weekly specials, mid-week whims, etc. I meal plan to make sure I have a list of things I can tell my wife are on the "dinner options" list when we get home from work: I find that just saying, "I dunno, what do you want" doesn't go over real well... Just because the list changes day to day, and always includes an "other" option doesn't mean I didn't plan, it just means I didn't follow it.
  13. I don't understand the knock against yeast packets. On average I probably make a dozen loaves of non-sourdough non-quick bread over a year - since yeast has a shelf life, it is cheaper to buy a few packets to have on hand for when the whim strikes me. Kraft Mac n Cheese, scary-looking stuff that it is, is the stuff of my childhood. Every now and again I just *want* some. Yes, on some level my homemade is "better," but it doesn't always hit the right spot. American cheese, on the other hand... doesn't your deli sell slices of real cheddar? You don't even get the convenience points here, they are the same! Repeat after me: "cheese is not orange!"
  14. Or, you could put a lawn chair next to your smoker and "baste" yourself with the brandy while the bacon smokes . Maybe it's the brandy I have on hand right now, but I would think that minus the alcohol, the brandy flavor would come across as a smoky, "brown-suggary"-type flavor, which would seem to be redundant in a slab of bacon.
  15. I got a George Foreman mini-rotisserie for Christmas one year: no complaints about the cooking results, but the cleanup was a bit of a pain. I basically just switched to brining and high-heat roasting when I got sick of cleaning the thing.
  16. When you say "half," do you mean you are going to fully break it down and part it out, splitting by weight? Tough to spit-roast half a pig, too . If you're going to be breaking it down and are just looking for ideas for the more "exotic" parts, I'll second (or is it third?) Nose-to-tail eating. While Ruhlman's book is great for things like shoulder, loin, etc., Henderson is more focused on the offal.
  17. I've had the duck breasts curing for about a week, and they still seem quite soft - I thought after a week they would be at least mostly firm. Maybe it is because of their size? Or am I doing something wrong? Pre-cure: Post cure, ready for the cooler:
  18. Chris Hennes

    Smokin' Stuff

    Some bacon (pictures here) and a new one for me, Ruhlman's Jagerwurst recipe (pictures here). The bacon was an all afternoon affair, but the Jagerwurst was around 2 hours. Combination of applewood and hickory.(I guess one of these days I oughta figure out how to use imagegullet...)
  19. My understanding is that instant( rapid-rise) yeast is specifically designed for single-rise breads, and should not be proofed, but rather mixed directly in with the dry ingredients. I use it for breads with a rise-punchdown-rise cycle, but I've never tried a second punchdown-rise with instant. Of course, anyone out there who knows better, please correct me!
  20. Wow, I just saw your blog: http://curedmeats.blogspot.com/2007/09/pur...ion-box-it.html Know anyone who has used one for curing? Only $100 shipped, small, silent, sounds perfect! Just what I need, more kitchen gadgets .
  21. Great, thanks. I consider the duck prosciutto to be a "proof-of-concept" for the cooler/ice-pack system, to see if the approach is reasonable. My conclusion is that for longer-term cures it is not, at least for me, due to the daily maintenance required. My memory is not that good . Though maybe after a month it just becomes part of the daily routine...
  22. You all are my heroes: everything in here looks amazing. I picked up Charcuterie about a year ago and have been working my way through it: it is my goal to try every recipe in the book (well, maybe excepting the foie gras sasuage... I'm not sure I could do that to a beautiful piece of foie!). I'm currently trying a dry-cure for the first time and wondered how sensitive it is to temperature variation. I am keeping it in a cooler with an ice pack that I replace every day, so the temp swings around quite a bit: it is always between 50 and 60 degrees, but I wonder if the constant temperature cycling will adversly affect the final product (duck prosciutto). Anyone have any idea? For anyone with a cured meat fetish, I've got some photo albums of my previous attempts (good and bad...) here.
  23. I think this is basically right, though the particle size is also smaller, and I believe a different yeast strain in used (these two facts help to explain why you don't proof instant yeast - it grows too quickly and is wasted before it gets into the dough).
  24. My only advice is this: don't buy the ones that are "semi-programmable." I had this one (until just last week, when I finally got frustrated enough to put it out of its misery ) : http://www.jardenstore.com/product.aspx?bid=17&pid=2632 It only lets you set it for two different times, and switches to "warm" after that. Terrible, terrible, terrible. I think the programmable ones are not necessary, and can be harmful, in this case. Simple is good.
  25. Chris Hennes

    Duck scraps

    I picked up a few fresh duck legs this morning and was thinking just that - a low slow heat with as little O2 as possible. I've got 4 legs to experiment with, and they're not pricey: My home version of SV is a stockpot on the stove at 60C +/- a few degrees. Those bags in which they are stored look better than what my vacuum sealer can do so I'm thinking "why not stick them in the bath as is, pricetags and all?" ← I'm leery cooking anything without adding seasonings (at least salt!) as a matter of principle. I think the plastic is probably fine to those temps, but of course you never know if you didn't buy it yourself. As a side note, wow, that is a nice price on those legs . I guess I'm used to the Moulard from Hudson Valley Foie Gras - tasty, but a bit pricier than that!
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