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KennethT

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Posts posted by KennethT


  1. Hi all!

    Does anybody know the cooking temperture(s) of lobster? Does lobster meat have "levels of doneness" like salmon (~43C = "mi cuit cooked" but raw looking, 48C = cooked and dark pink, >50C = firm "cooked" and pale pink).

    Most interested in the "mi cuit" temp for lobster as i am having a sous vide lobster trial (argh can't wait for Under Pressure), but also want to know the temps for oven roasting etc...

    thanks all!

    P.S: lobsters arriving in < 24 hrs!

    I've cooked lobster SV at 45degC according to NathanM on the Sous Vide post... but I always find it a little undercooked - each time, I find the claw meat has tons of jelly around it - and the tail meat is cooked, but still a little chewy - the raw kind of chewy, not the rubbery over-cooked chewy....

    Also, it's best to first remove the shell, which is kind of a pain, prior to bagging... you can do the tail in the shell - but you have to put a folded aluminum foil "pad" over the spiny parts of the shell or they tend to pierce the bag.

    One day I was going to try again but at about 46-47degC... but I haven't tried it yet...


  2. So, after some experiments, I came to a few conclusions...

    First - my setup.... I had a couple of 5 pound blocks that were broken into small chunks... and then further broken by putting the chunks into a towel and hitting witha rolling pin until there was small pieces, and fine ice dust... I used a standard hand mixer on low speed using the egg beater attachments - in hindsight, not the best, but more on that to come... Total time from cream to soft serve ice cream was about 5 mintues....

    Some things I found:

    First, the base must already be COLD - like refrigerator temp cold... the reason is that when the dry ice hits a warm, or even cool base, it froths up for a while looking a little like Mount Vesuvius or one of those volcano science projects I did as a kid... much less frothing when the base was cold.

    Also, my first experiment was using small pieces of dry ice broken from a large block... this proved problematic for a few reasons - sometimes the small pieces (size of a marble) would have cream frozen around it and you'd have to beat it apart with the beater... I was a little paranoid that there were small chunks of dry ice throughout so I beat it like crazy, putting in more air into the mixture than I'd like... it didn't come out carbonated, but it wasn't as dense as it usually is with the same base recipe...

    I think the best way to do it, is to pulverize the dry ice into a powder - like snow... my first experiment did this by putting the dust/small pieces through a strainer to get only the dust... much better, more even distribution, and no worries of biting down on a chunk of dry ice! So that means less mixing, for a denser product - well, you could always whip it extra if you'd like, but I think it would be possible for a gelato like product this way... The chunks/pieces broke apart pretty easily -I haven't tried it yet, but it seems that it would work fine if put in the food processor - maybe even the blender...

    All in all, it was pretty good - not hte best ice cream I've had, or made, but an interesting experiment...


  3. Tried it last night : Think I used too much dry ice ; the finished product ended up carbonated!

    Perhaps if I cooled the base more first ... or made some nice bubbly sorbet.

    Advise please

    Jorge

    Check out the Martha Stewart video with Heston Blumenthal linked above in a previous post... he did it with the dry ice, but it didn't seem like he carbonated the ice cream - Martha and some other guy (maybe the producer?) both said it was really smooth textured, but no once commented on a fizzy feeling... it didn't seem like he added that much - and he didn't add it all at once either - he started the mixer then added a spoonful, the another spoonful, then another until he thought it looked right...

    Another thing Blumenthal mentions in the recipe attached to the video is that the base should be chilled in the refrigerator before freezing with the dry ice... maybe that would keep it from getting to fizzy???

    I'm going to try to do a test this weekend - will post how it goes...


  4. I'd look for the food-grade stuff - see if there is such a thing available.  The few times I've purchased dry ice for packing food for shipment, it hasn't been . . clean would be the best word.

    I agree... food grade is the way to go - but I have no idea where to get it... a quick google search found 3 companies in Manhattan that sell dry ice... one of them never heard of food grade dry ice and had no idea if his stuff was or wasn't (I've actually bought some from him a few years ago for an industrial purpose - and it looked pretty clean)... another said "why would you want it food grade - you can't eat it!" I haven't called the last one yet....

    Any ideas where to get it in the NYC area?? Preferably in Manhattan?

    Thanks!


  5. Martha Stewart had Blumenthal on her show last week.  Here is a link to his recipe for ice cream using dry ice.  Click

    I just checked out the video clip of Blumenthal doing this... thanks for the link!!!

    A few times he refers to the idea that you can do this at home very easily, and he never says "just make sure to get food-grade dry ice" or anything like that...

    I wonder if there is such a thing as food grade dry ice...

    Maybe I'll just try some, and hopefully I won't go blind... :biggrin:


  6. I've had good results using an immersion blender, with the ice cream in a bowl. Simply churn every fifteen or twenty minutes until the mix becomes too firm to go any further.

    Interesting - I wondered how an immersion blender would work... I'm a little confused on your method... When you put the liquid base in the bowl, you then add teh dry ice to the bowl and use the stick blender?


  7. I like the idea of Blumenthal's method - and Alex and Aki's method with the dry ice...

    None of the supermarkets in my area carry dry ice - but there are a few ice places that have it... I'll have to inquire to see if it's food grade... if it is, then it makes the task a lot easier...

    I can imagine that as soon as I stick my ice cream container in the container of alcohol/dry ice, the ice cream against the wall freezes instantly and all of a sudden I've got an ice cream rock...

    Putting chunks of dry ice into the mixer solves that problem... plus, the paint stirrer at high speed, I definitely think it'll have no problems...

    FOOD GRADE DRY ICE, WHERE ARE YOUUUUUUUUUU??????!!!!!!


  8. ...

    It also occured to me that the sides of the canister would freeze much quicker than the middle - and would probably need to be scraped every once in a while in between stirrings...  ...

    Ice cream makers don't actually stir the mix so much as continually scrape the base and sides - the gap between bowl and "dasher" is critically small - and important I believe in controlling the final texture. The other function of the dasher is to incorporate air into the freezing mix. "Overrun."

    My Gaggia machine's dasher rotates at maybe 10 rpm. Can your drill really go that slow?

    Incidentally, if one uses the Gaggia as a bowl-within-a-bowl, alcohol is used between the bowls as a non-freezing, conformal (liquid!) thermal link between the inner bowl and the freezer coils.

    If you already have a chest freezer and a stand mixer (like a KitchenAid), then the simplest thing would be to get the mixer "ice cream maker attachment". This is a bowl that gets frozen and an appropriate paddle acting as a dasher.

    If you store the bowl in your freezer, you can pack flexible bags of stuff like peas inside and around it - so the amount of wasted space it takes is minimal, and its always chilled ready to use.

    But if your freezer has built-in shelves, check very carefully that there is enough shelf-to-shelf height to take the freezeable bowl.

    I've used an inexpensive ice cream maker before - years ago - and the rotation of the bowl serves to scrape the sides of the canister and continually mix the contents of the bowl - if I remember correctly, the dasher was angled so that the frozen cream that sticks to the wall is scraped and shoveled into the center of the bowl... but the difference is that the canister is only at maybe -10degF (the absolute coldest my freezer will get, not including averaging the temp. for the defrost cycle, door opening, etc.) So, the ice cream doesn't freeze that quickly up against the wall because it's not THAT cold, so you can scrape it slowly which will incorporate air, and continually expose surface area to non-frozen cream.

    The stand mixer is a great idea - unfortunately, I don't have a stand mixer (wish I did though), let alone the space that one requires!!!

    The dry ice sublimates at -109degF (or something around there) - so even if I dump a bunch of it into a bowl of alcohol - maybe the alcohol (after the bubbling stops) will be around -75degF??? I'll check with a thermocouple when I get to try it... anyway, I'd imagine it'll be a LOT colder than what my freezer can do.... I figured I'd need to stir really fast in order to keep things more uniform in the quick freeze (and incorporate air and not have a solid frozen chunk)... plus, I figured that as the drill spins, I could drag it up and down the sides of the canister (effectively scraping the side of the canister) every few seconds which will continually re-introduce the warmer cream...


  9. ...

    It also occured to me that the sides of the canister would freeze much quicker than the middle - and would probably need to be scraped every once in a while in between stirrings...  or I figured I might be able to scrape the sides with the stirrer as it's stirring... I guess it's something I'd have to try in order to see how it goes...

    The freezing will only be at the sides, so you will have to constantly scrape the walls of the container. That is pretty much how an ice cream machine works.

    Why not just get an cheap ice cream machine? :smile: The variety where you put the bowl in the freezer can't be that expensive and does the same you want to do.

    yeah, I know ice cream machines aren't very expensive - probably between $50-$100 here... but I wouldn't use it very often, and I have very little space - both countertop and cupboard space... (it's a tiny nyc apartment kitchen)... so, I'm tyring to find a way around this for the "once-in-a-blue-moon" that I actually decide to make ice cream... I already have a drill, and the paint stirrer is cheap and easily obtainable (and takes up almost no space)...

    Plus, this seems a lot more fun than sticking the base in the machine!!! :laugh:

    I think, since the materials are so cheap, I may just try it one of these weekends when I have some time... I"ll try to take pictures to document my failure, I mean hopeful success!!! haha.... hopefully there won't be any pics in there of me in the emergency room dealing with cryogenic skin burns!!!


  10. Crush the dry ice really fine and mix it right into the ice cream base in a stand mixer. Heston Blumenthal did it in one of his "Perfection" episodes. Just make sure the dry ice is well crushed, you don't want to be chewing on or swallowing a chunk of the stuff... unless frostbite of the esophagus or mouth sounds fun. But to answer your question, the cold alcohol bath should work. Assuming you keep the bath cold enough. One of my ice cream machines (I bought it from eG member Kerry Beal) uses an alcohol bath between the unit and the container. It uses a compressor instead of dry ice but the principle is the same. One thing about the stirring rod, it won't function as a scraper so you'll probably get a thick layer of really hard frozen ice cream around the sides.

    I thought about adding the dry ice directly to the base, but I didn't know the "purity" and food grade-ness of it... I wonder if there would be trace amounts of who knows what in there that I don't know if I'd want to eat...

    It also occured to me that the sides of the canister would freeze much quicker than the middle - and would probably need to be scraped every once in a while in between stirrings... or I figured I might be able to scrape the sides with the stirrer as it's stirring... I guess it's something I'd have to try in order to see how it goes...


  11. I've been making chips lately using small purple potatoes.  I think they are a bit more starchy than russets and they are, well, purple!  I slice on my mandoline into a pot of water and soak and then rinse, and then dry in layers on paper towels.  I heat peanut oil to 375F in my cast iron dutch oven and then fry in batches.  I put Kosher salt in my spice mill (blade coffee mill) and create a fine salt.  I place cooling rack upside down on a sheet pan covered in newspaper and when the potatoes are fried I put them on the inverted rack to drain and salt.  When cool, I put them into a brown paper bag.

    Bob R in OKC

    hey Bob - what's the purpose of the upside down cooling rack? If you want them to drain, wouldn't you want the cooling rack the normal way? Or do they slide through the bars??


  12. 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....


  13. 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....


  14. 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....


  15. 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...


  16. 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!!!


  17. 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....


  18. 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...


  19. 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???


  20. 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!


  21. 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....


  22. 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!


  23. 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....

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