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KennethT

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Posts posted by KennethT


  1. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about making ice cream with liquid nitrogen... A) because it sounds really cool and B)I love high quality home-made ice cream but don't have an ice cream machine (or the space for one!).... I think we've all seen the demo where you take your ice cream base, pour in some LN, stir like crazy and in 15 seconds... POOF! Ice cream! With a really fine texture, no less...

    My biggest problem is sourcing the LN... and also, I don't have a Dewer (sp?) flask to store it in, if I can procure the LN....

    Another idea hit me today as I was reading a different topic on the EG... what if you took a bunch of dry ice pellets (much more readily available than LN) and added to rubbing alcohol (freezing point lower than the dry ice) and put that in some kind of container... then the ice cream base (in it's own metal container) is put in the container with the cold alcohol, instantly freezing the sides of the container.... if this is done while stirring like crazy - I'm thinking of an industrial paint stirring rod attached to a drill - it works great for paint! and available at sears... I would think that it could reproduce the same effect as a churning ice cream maker, but a lot faster, and with smaller grain size because of the quicker freezing...

    Can anyone think of anything I'm not thinking of as to why this might be a bad idea?

    Edit to correct bad typos....


  2. so I did some experimenting this weekend... I salted the squab legs for about 3 hours using the Diamond Kosher -I didn't measure how much I used, but on the surface, it looked about the same as when I followed Paula Wolfert's advice for duck legs confit...

    I then cooked the squab legs SV at 82.3degC (roughly 180degF) for about 3-1/2 hours...

    Upon tasting, the saltiness was fine - I think 3 hours is the upper limit of how long to salt them.... and the texture was good - maybe 4 hours would be ok... but it was right at the cusp... for the squab legs, I think my personal preference is not completely falling off the bone (like for rilettes) - but I actually like with a bit of texture....


  3. well, if it's a bunch of small sized cans totaling 2lbs (not one big 2lb can), you can just use them for what you normally use them for, and just save a bunch of money in the long run... the shelf stable canned ones should last forever without deteriorating in quality....


  4. Has anyone tried doing a squab leg confit? If so, how long did you salt it and how long did you cook it in the fat??

    I've done the moulard duck legs confit with decent success - salting for about 12 hours with Diamond Kosher (thanks Paula Wolfert!), then cooking SV (much easier cleanup) at 180degF for about 7 hours...

    I'd assume that the squab legs would take considerably less time both salting and cooking since the thickness is maybe 1/3 that of a duck leg... also, I think a squab leg is a bit tenderer to start out with....

    Any thoughts or experiences????

    Thanks...


  5. I'm looking into different exhaust options for my kitchen... a little background - I have a standard NYC tiny rental apartment kitchen - probably about 8 x 12 x 10' high... but it has a full sized window located near the oven/range...

    I was debating putting in a seemingly robust window exhaust fan rated at 3400 CFM, but I don't know how this would compare to a similarly rated hood exhaust..

    In theory, I would think that all CFM are the same - that's the volume of air that the fan will move per minute - whether it's located in a window, or in inline with an exhaust hood and outlet duct shouldn't matter...

    Anyone have any thoughts about this??

    ps - I am currently ducting the exhaust from the standard built-in microwave hood out the window with a rather Rube Goldberg-esque type setup... but, unfortunately, the fan capacity of the built-in "exhaust" is pretty meager, and really won't cut it when grilling indoors or doing anything really fun... so I was hoping to boost the fan capacity with the addition in the window (that's the easiest for installation)....

    Thanks!!!


  6. I've done an experiment with flank steak - I took 1 piece of flank steak and separated it into 2 pieces - jaccarded and seasoned both equally, cooked one piece SV at 131.5F for 24 hours, cooled, then patted dry/seared in hot pan just before service... the other was cooked the "standard bistro way" - seared then pan roasted until medium rare (just about the same degree of rareness as the SV version)...

    My blind taste test subjects (the test was blind, not the subjects - haha) all concluded that the SV version was signficantly more tender than the standard pan roast version with better mouthfeel... and slightly more "beefy"... they concluded that the non SV version was more "chewy" and overall less enjoyable... they compared the texture of the SV version to filet mignon (although I don't know if I'd go that far - I thought it was tender, but had a much different mouthfeel than filet)

    Unfortunately, if you like a really good hangar steak bloody, this doesn't really apply... but the medium-rare crowd thought the experiment was interesting... how you could take $6.99 a pound flank steak and make it tender enough that you could pass it off as $20 a pound filet medallions...

    BTW - I can't say enough how much I've learned from this post - this post made me join EGullet in the first place and now I'm an addict... thanks especially to nathanm and DouglasBaldwin....


  7. If you want to get rid of all the fine particles, what you want to do is clarify your stock, not strain it.  This is better, I find, if you do it before the reduction stage.  To clarify, stir plenty of egg whites into cold stock, stir constantly as you bring it up to temperature, then stop stirring and allow the coagulated "raft" of egg whites to float to the top while you lightly simmer for 10 minutes or so.  After that, gently strain through cheesecloth and you will have a crystal-clear stock.

    I agree with this - although I find that the clarification process removes a lot of flavor from the broth... one way help avoid that is to add a bunch of finely chopped meat to the egg whites before adding to the cold stock... so if making a beef consomme, for example, you'd take a bunch of fine chopped (or ground) chuck or other flavorful beef and mix it well with a bit of finely chopped mirepoix and the egg whites.... then follow the directions above... that way, while the coagulating egg whites are trapping the fine particles, they won't completely rob your broth of a lot of flavor...

    Also, it is a good idea once the raft forms, to poke a hole in the center of it so that the broth can "bubble" through... otherwise, it is possible for it to boil too hard once the raft is formed... the key is a gentle simmer... a hard boil will emulsify some of those particles into the liquid...


  8. Infernoo - that is awesome!!! Plus, I'd imagine that any cooking you do at that temperature will have the added benefit of cleaning the oven at the same time :) haha..

    I've been thinking about making a "benchtop tandoor" recently... I was thinking I could make a 5 walled cube out of 2" thick poured concrete, then stick some red hot coals in the bottom - that way you get the charcoal smoke and the heat... any ideas about how to go about this???

    I'm a little worried that normal concrete (not the quick drying vinyl stuff) may give off some funky tasting/smelling/potentially hazardous fumes when it gets really hot though...

    Any ideas from all the pyros out there???


  9. I'm a big fan of slicing them about 1/8 - 3/16" thick, then season with s&p, and saute in butter... once the butter starts to brown, add a bit of cognac and flame on! Finished witha bit of tarragon... mmmmmmmm.... nothing like the combo of butter, black pepper, cognac and tarragon.... oh yeah, and the pears!


  10. The problem with using pressure cookers for stock is if you rapidly release the pressure after cooking, the mixture will boil violently until the 250degF is reduced to under 212degF - this will surely homogenize any impurities/fat into the stock...

    I actually use a pc to make stocks and broths all the time... and it is possible to make a remarkably clear stock/broth with it... with consomme clarity...

    My steps take a little bit longer, but I think, in the end, the result is worth it - I have never tasted any "vegetal" flavor or other off note that has been described above... also, i don't blanch or wash the bones prior because I think it leaches out flavor...

    What I do is put the bones/meat in the pc with the lid off (white stock uses raw bones/meat, brown stock uses roasted bones/meat)... cover with the total amount of water being used.... I bring to a simmer (lid off) skimming all the way... once it comes to a point where no more impurities (or very little) come off, I add the vegetables/bouquet garni, then the lid and increase the heat so that I get full pressure - once at full pressure, I decrease the heat to maintain a bare simmer inside the pot - you can tell the simmer level by listening to the pot - you can hear how fast it boils... also you can tell sometimes depending on how much steam comes out of the release valve - you want it barely steaming at all, while maintaining full pressure.

    Chicken stock I let go this way for 1/2 hour, beef/veal stock I let go for 1 hour.

    Then, I turn off the heat and allow the stock to "steep" until cooled enough so that there is no more pressure in the pc... this takes a few hours - once sufficiently cooled, I remove the lid and strain through a strainer lined with cheesecloth, trying to disturb the bones/meat as little as possible. I have no bacterial concerns since 1)everything has been killed while at 250degF for 1/2 - 1 hour and nothing has been re-introducted usually around 180degF).

    I then cool the strained stock in a sink full of cold water to cool as rapidly as possible, then leave uncovered in the refrigerator overnight... the next day, you can remove the congealed layer of fat from the now "stock jello"... I'll then reheat and either concentrate for storage, or store in the freezer as is...

    I think the key to the clarity is the skimming prior to pressurization, gentle simmering during pressurization, and slow cooling....


  11. quick question for anyone who has confit/sous vide experience... I did a bunch of moulard legs confit sous vide at 82.3degC for about 7 hours (experimenting using Paula Wolfert's expert advice regarding salting, etc.)... I tasted one straight out of the circulator and it was very tasty, and then cooled the other couple (bagged separately), and have kept them in the refrigerator (whose temperature is on the cusp of freezing) for quite a while to age - now over a month old...

    My question is regarding botulism... would storing standard (non sous vide) confit be considered a reduced oxygen environment? I'd assume so since the meat is surrounded by cold, hard fat... but yet, it can be stored for months without botulism concerns...

    Am I risking certain illness by trying some of that confit that eyes me every day? I would assume that there wouldn't have been much bacteria in there to multiply since it was salted for 12 hours (thereby reducing the Aw) and cooked at 180degF for so long thereby pasteurising it...

    Also, note that the bags have not changed in appearance at all - no gases inflating the bag, etc... and the fat looks like it is surrounding the meat nicely...

    I'd appreciate anyone's thougts on the topic...

    Thanks!


  12. BTW, any ideas for the dispatching of the live frogs once procured? The only creature I've bought live is lobster, but it's pretty easy (and there's numerous ways) to dispatch it before cooking... personally, I like the Eric Ripert method of the knife point through the head - it seems like the quickest, most human method... but I wonder if that method would be problematic with frogs since they are quite slippery, and I worry that at the slightest touch, they'd go flying across the room....


  13. I LOVED this thread - not only does this remind me of something I might be crazy enough to do (but haven't yet - well, not on this scale by a long shot) but I loved your writing style.. cracked me up....

    How do the agar spheres in cold oil work? Do you drip the solution onto the oil, or do you inject it into the oil? Once the spheres cool, how do you remove them from the oil without them breaking or without having them just totally covered with oil? Or do they wind up being solid like a gummy bear??

    Thanks and keep it up!!!


  14. It's been said in a number of other places (including the potato primer here on egullet)...but par cooking the potatoes at 65C and letting the starches retrograde before a final cook makes a world of difference....it also allows you relax the need to keep the potatoes hot and fresh from beginning to end.

    I actually experimented with this the other day (just got a home sous vide setup) and had positive results. My understanding is this technique gelatinizes the starch without actually cooking the potato, so in effect you have gummy-free potatoes that you can overwork, put into a thermomix/blender, etc.

    I was not able to "overwork" the potatoes (and I tried) so this is a very valid technique (and one that is being done in SV equipped kitchens...has been for a while I think) but I think out of the reach of most home cooks, due more to equipment than actual ability.

    Very interesting about the sous vide par cooking... how does this work? Can someone get a link to the potato primer that has the basic steps? Or is it just vac/bring to equilib. at 65C/simmer until cooked and proceed as normal? Thanks!


  15. Kenneth has pretty much nailed the common method for high end potatoes puree. These are not everyday mashed potatoes, they are def. for special occasions. A few notes I would add:

    I find that yukon gold potatoes work really wonderfully too. Fingerlings or yukons are def. the way to go.

    When I am peeling the hot, just boiled potatoes, I reserve a little bit of the cooking liquid in the pot I am peeling over...to keep the potatoes hot. I hope this makes sense...basically just keep the potatoes you aren't peeling in the cooking pot with about an inch of the hot water left in it. Like I said, this keeps the potatoes hot--which is very important to making the puree.

    I personally don't dry my potatoes, but you could also do it in an oven instead of a saute pan...just be careful not to burn or color.

    Make sure to use unsalted butter. The butter must be COLD (and cut into little cubes) in order to maintain its butter emulsion. This is one of the most important steps because it creates that silky, buttery texture that people love. Separated or broken butter in the potatoes is not good, and creates a greasy feel as opposed to a luxurious feel. I use a rubber spatula, and kind of do a folding motion. I would avoid a whisk, because one of the main dangers in this process is overworking the potatoes and getting a gluey, snotty texture. So, it's important to whip in cold butter to hot, just riced potatoes. I personally wouldn't do a 1:1 ratio (I've done it before) because I just find it's too much butter. I also add a good amount of hot cream to mine...I just like them this way. Just butter is fine, but also cream/butter is fine too. Season aggressively with salt and white pepper. 

    One more note...it is important that the potatoes remain HOT throughout this process. Cold potatoes have a tendency to get that gluey texture. It's also important that once they are hot, they stay hot (or at least warm enough for the butter not to separate). Definitely not a thing you could probably do the day before...best to do it close to "service" if possible.

    Passing it through a tamis is a good step, but not completely necessary for, what I would call, at home use.

    Qwerty - you're right - the biggest key, according to Bouley, was not overworking the starch - which is why you rice, and not put in a blender like you might a celery root puree, or leek/fennel puree, etc.... also it is the reason for running through a tamis - Bouley related the tamis to a new windowscreen - when you run your fingers over it, it should feel rough, not smooth - it acts like "thousands of little knives" which will make the potato particle smaller, but without overworking the starch.

    Kiliki - just make sure your fine sieve feels rough to the touch, like a windowscreen... if it is too smooth, it won't produce the desired effect... you can actually get tamis pretty cheap - I got a bunch at the local restaurant supply store for like $5 a piece... I got 3 or 4 so now I can run it through several times without having to wash in between, or I can do more than 1 different type of puree at a time...


  16. I learned first hand from David Bouley how he makes his wonderful potato puree - his is very similar to Robuchon's potatoes... it's actually a pretty involved process:

    1) Choosing the right potato - Bouley spent a lot of time discussing why the proper potato is necessary - ie the proper starch content - but the boiled down discussion is that he likes a particular fingerling that he has grown for him - but it's similar to a french ratte...

    2) Simmer the potatoes in their skin in salted water until tender

    3) remove potatoes from the water and remove skins by rubbing in a towel

    4) Press hot, skinned potatoes through a ricer so that you don't overwork the starch

    5) "dry" the riced potatoes in a dry saute pan over low heat to remove as much moisture as possible - be careful to keep moving in the pan so as not to color or burn them...

    6) Whip an equal ratio of butter (1:1 pounds) into the dry potatoes... this makes the buttery version - although I've found that a .5:1 butter potato ratio makes a very good substitute and it's a bit healthier

    7) While hot, run butter/potato emulsion through a tamis - once works well, several times is best

    8) Add back to a clean pot and whisk in enough of the potato cooking water as to obtain the proper consistency...

    Done! (whew)


  17. hey Cali - back to the original part of the topic, is there any way you could rent the equipment that you need - like a large electric griddle or something? I took a 2 day intensive catering workshop at the ICA in NY, run by a leading NY caterer, and he was saying that he rents tons of equipment because for a lot of things, it's cheaper to rent than to buy, and the rental companies do all of the maintenance and major cleanup... One of the guys who was taking the class with me works part time for a small NYC caterer, and he said that she rents just about EVERYTHING when she does offsite jobs... from cutting boards to sinks if needed, work tables, etc... and it winds up cheaper than owning/transporting/clean-up.... just an idea...


  18. Just an update on the bun cha quest.... this weekend, I tried a new Vietnamese rest. in NYC - called Tet... I think they're new, but I'm not sure...

    On the menu, was what they called Bun Cha Hanoi! Granted, they had to upscalify it for the NY market - but there were the pork strips and a single pork patty... and eating the "broth" definitely brought back memories.... it was a dark brown sauce, and it tasted like a nuoc cham with an addition of caramel sauce, and possiblya juice of some kind...

    I'm going to try to go back there a little more frequently to try to get to know them, and hopefully, they may feel comfortable enough to share some info with me!

    In the meantime, I'm still waiting to hear if anyone in Hanoi can get some info from some of the real places -the ones on the street!!!


  19. Sorry for the confusion by calling it a "broth" - as nakji said, it's more of a dip, but they give a soup bowl full of it... the place I went to looked very similar to nakji's photos - in the broth were grilled pork patties, pork slices, and what my memory seems to be grilled pork belly as well... I definitely remember 3 different styles of pork... served on the side was a bowl of noodles, and a plate of herbs and lettuce.... plus, we ordered some spring rolls (probably the best I've ever had) that were served separately, but our local guide who we took to lunch with us dipped them in the "broth" as well...

    The dip had the acidic/fishsaucyness of a nuoc cham, but there was a slight sweetness to it also.... hmmm... pineapple juice... that might work!

    Nakji - I just read your Hanoi blog... wow - it really took me back there!!! That was really cool... reading your blog makes me wish that we spent more time there... my wife and I only spent a couple of days in Hanoi... not long enough!!!

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