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KennethT

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Everything posted by KennethT

  1. Just got my reservation confirmation today!!!
  2. It's not uncommon to have significant liquid in the bag, especially for long cook times, like a 24 hour flank steak or something... what saves these dishes is that the connective tissue in the tough cuts gets broken down into gelatin, which gives it a nice moistness to compensate for the liquid loss... The liquid is definitely safe - it's really flavorful! Really meaty tasting... What I typically do is pour it into a microwave safe cup, and then cook for 10-20 seconds (or as long as it takes to get it to boil for a second)... this will coagulate any proteins that are in the liquid.. then strain into your sauce for enhanced meatyness...
  3. I was wondering if there was a concensus on the typical wholesale pricing structure of super-high quality, locally grown heirloom tomatoes in the NYC area... thanks...
  4. KennethT

    Drying herb leaves

    I don't think the basil will freeze well, and I think the flavor will change if dried... However, the kaffir lime leaves freeze really well... just put them in a ziplock bag and squeeze the air out and stick them in the freezer... when you need some, take out as many leaves as you need and put the rest back in... the leaves you take out defrost on the counter in roughly the same amount of time it takes to slice them....
  5. We just had a Mardi Gras party, and with the welcome cocktails (hurricanes (made with fresh fruit juices - not kool aid), and ramos gin fizz) we served puffed pork rinds with cane syrup. Salty and sweet.... yum... They're really easy to make (although takes advance prep)... full instructions are at the Cooking Issues blog from the FCI (http://cookingissues.wordpress.com/category/puffed-snack/) - but basically you take pork skins and boil in heavily salted water for an hour 15 minutes, cool, once cool, scrap any fat, then dehydrate overnight until they look like a shrinky dink... you can then puff in the microwave, but I like cooking in 375F peanut oil - they puff in about 5 seconds... drain and serve... The website also gives instructions on making puffed pasta snacks
  6. I forgot to add that we went to Kai a few years ago and thought it was interesting - using Southwestern ingredients with french technique... has anyone been there lately? Is it still good?
  7. Thought I'd bump up this thread... I'm heading to Phoenix from NYC for Easter weekend... my wife and I have one dinner that's not scheduled already, and we were looking for something that we can't get in NYC - from what I've read above, New Mexican food is good there, and I'd like to hear if some of the places already mentioned are still as good... or if anyone has any other advice for somewhere we shouldn't miss, it would be welcomed.... We're staying in Scottsdale, but have a car and don't mind driving for something worthwhile... Thnaks!
  8. I don't know where you're located, but if you're in an area where they have classes, one option may be the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust), based out of London, but is worldwide. They have several programs of study, the first being the "intermediate" then the "advanced" and finally the "diploma" program which is usually about 2 years long and is very intensive - it is typically used as a basis before entering the Master of Wine program. My wife is just about finished with the diploma, and I can tell you it is very rigorous, in theory, and in tastings. It focuses mostly on theory, and was originally designed as education for wine importers, so there is no focus on restaurant wine service (like a sommelier). If you'd like to learn theory and tastings and wine service, there is the American Sommelier Association, which is focused on education to be a sommelier. I know there is another option - a Certified Wine Educator's exam or something, but I don't know if there are classes associated with this, or just a couple of exams to get your certification. Hope this helps...
  9. This is true - in the past, the only place I could find them (for mail order) was the Cajun Grocer - but they're out of stock and won't have any more until May... Thanks for the links - I emailed a few people from the Shrimp Lot... I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
  10. hey everybody - I'm an idiot... I had a practically full 10# bag of 16/20 IQF heads-on gulf shrimp in my freezer... I took the bag out to get something that was hidden underneath, and forgot to put the big bag o' shrimp back in!! How I didn't see it sitting on the floor right next to the freezer is still beyond my comprehension... My wife discovered the bag the next day.... So now I'm hunting for replacements - but, for some reason, everyone seems to be out of the IQF heads-on shrimp - so I can either find fresh heads-on, or IQF heads-off.... I've got people coming over next Saturday for a Mardi Gras party (I know it's after MG, but it was the only time we could get everyone together) which I was planning on making BBQ shrimp, and putting some gulf shrimp in my gumbo (don't need the heads for that, but I use them in my shrimp stock)... I guess if I have to, I can get some fresh ones delivered just in time, or get the IQF that are headless... I'm in NY, so I can't go to any local stores, but I feel like I've checked every place along the gulf that ships... Does anyone know of anyone who might have them??? Thanks... I really appreciate any help I can get!!
  11. The guys at Cooking Issues at the FCI are putting together a sous vide/low temp primer... you can find it here: http://cookingissues.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/coming-soon-sous-vide-and-low-temp-primer/ Looks pretty good and informative so far!
  12. The other day, I made chicken legs and thighs on the bone... 145F, and for convenience, it went in the bath at 3:00PM and we didn't wind up taking it out until 8:15 or so... and it was incredibly juicy, with great texture - I would say it was the perfect dark meat chicken... but also, we have done the same temperature and same type of parts for 2 hours, and I'd say that they were the same quality (without having them side by side). I understand that you wouldn't wan't to leave fish in for that long, and I have no idea about certain beef cuts, but for chicken legs and thighs, the time was unnoticed...
  13. that makes sense.... I've just hosed them off several times and I've never noticed any dirt or mud... thanks for the clarification
  14. Thanks for all the great replies - I really appreciate it! Whenever we've had crawfish in NO, I've never noticed any seasoning on the outside... but always a great spicy boil - you get the most flavor when sucking the juices out of the head. I've used the outside seasoning for the last few boils that I've done, just because the crawfish company recommended doing so - but I've never been thrilled with it... Sorry I didn't mention it before - but the crawfish boil is being done in my small NYC apartment - so we'll bring in about 15-20 pounds of crawfish that I'll cook in shifts on the stovetop in my 16Quart stockpot. I'm not planning on doing it yet (I know that it's still too early) but we were probably going to do it around mid Feb. for Mardi Gras - we may wait until the last weekend or so in Feb just in case - but hopefully they'll be at least decent size by then. I'm confused - what's with the purging? Is that the same as the 15-20 min. soak after the initial boiling? Do people have 2 pots going - one for boiling and one for soaking?
  15. I know it's a bit early to start talking about a crawfish boil, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately, so I figured this would be a good way to pass the time waiting for the bugs to grow a bit bigger.... As a NO non-native in NY (whose wife grew up in NO - but was vegetarian during most of her time there (can youbelieve it!?!)) I have no choice but to bring in the crawfish by FEDEX every once in a while to get my fix to tide me over between our annual trips back down there... so, being that the shipping is usually more expensive than the critters, I'd like to make the most out of them... I learned the technique I've been using from the instructions that come with the crawfish: boil crawfish for 2-3 minutes; turn off heat and let soak for 15-20 minutes; put into styrofoam cooler dusted with creole seasoning and steam for 10-15 minutes... My boil is powdered boil plus extra garlic and lemon halves... although this year, I think I'm going to add some liquid boil to the mix... At their best, they're pretty good, but they're still not as good as I get when I'm down there, which I'd like to remedy... Somebody help, pleeeeeeeeease!!!!
  16. I've done pour-over frying - it works great, but can be kind of dangerous - since the precooked meat sometimes wants to drip juices - it can result in a LOT of splattering and burnt forearms... then again, maybe what I was doing wasn't so smart - I was suspending the meat over the hot pot of peanut oil so whatever dripped off the meat would go back into the oil.. in hindsight, it would probably be better to suspend the meat over a hotel pan or something to catch the fat/drippings... hmmm... a good thought for next time! But in any case, it gives great surface browning and very minimal interior cooking...
  17. I have some file that I got in NOLA a few years ago and it's been barely used, but kept dry... is it still good or should I replace it? Thanks!
  18. I would think that bone is definitely an insulator... that's why meat roasted on the bone is always juiciest right by the bone - because it never reach as high of a temperature. I do chicken legs/thighs on the bone SV all the time - and it always takes a LOT longer to get that spot right next to the bone to be fully cooked, compared with the rest of the meat. Also, just thinking of the makeup of bone - basically a hard mesh of calcium with lots of air spaces - makes me think it's a good insulator. I guess the only way to really tell is to put a thermocouple in the middle of the marrow in the bone, and see how long it takes to get to full temp....
  19. Thanks Martin! Very interesting! I wonder if a few more experiments are in order.... maybe 175F for 2, 3, 4 hours, etc to see the effect of more time... Bone is a pretty lousy heat conductor, so I wonder if the heat transfered through in only 1 hour. Also, a quick torching to the outside of the bone is a good solution to the beige coloring...
  20. I use a bernz-o-matic propane with a 3 foot hose-torch... I've had off flavors, but with a little playing around, you learn how to avoid them. The hose torch is great becasue you can hold it upside down and the flame never goes out, no matter how much gas is in the tank - the tank hangs from my belt with the included hook... also, you can really crank up the flame (which comes out in a swirl pattern) - which I've found to be the best way to get rid of the off flavors - but with the flame that high, you can't put it ridiculously close to the meat because it winds up burning the crap out of one spot... I find the best way is to set the torch full open and run it back and forth quickly across the meat - that way you get the most even browning... I got the hose-torch from teh home depot for like $30-40 or something like that...
  21. I agree - the grow lights are definitely essential.. I forgot to mention that my tree has a 150W metal halide bulb perched over it... I actually wonder if it's strong enough...
  22. I love cooking small birds - quail, squab, etc etc... and I find sous vide great for this - but, I've always been disappointed with some, especially squab. My feeling has always been that the squab we get in the US has very little flavor compared to its equivalent in France. I can't tell you how many restaurants I've been in France where the squab has had tons of flavor - then when I get back to the US, it's always relatively flavorless... So the other day, I started doing some research - it seems that the french birds are hung for several days post slaughter as a sort of dry-age, whereas, I gather, the US birds are not... so I first started thinking about dry-aging the squab for a few days in the refrigerator - but I don't know much about that (and it's for a different topic), so I decided to try to enzymatically accelerate it prior to cooking... I made 2 squab breasts (from the same bird) - both were seasoned equally, then seared on all sides, then put into 2 different bags. One bag was held at 100F for about an hour (the other in the refrigerator), then the temp of the bath was increased to 132F, and the second squab was added, and both cooked for about 1.5 hours (roughly - I didn't time it exactly) to cook medium-rare and pasteurize. The results were conclusive - upon a blind tasting, the accelerated squab breast was noticably more flavorful and slightly more tender! I will definitely do this again - but next time "age" it for 2-3 hours to see what happens...
  23. I've been successfully growing a dwarf Bearss seedless lime tree in my NYC apartment for a few years... here are a few things I've learned... First - citrus HATE wet feet... they need really good drainage and like their roots to be kept on the dry side of moist... so that usually means for us indoor container growers is that we have to get a moisture meter ($10 at the home depot) which you stick in the soil down to the root level to measure moisture... you'll probably wind up watering about once a week with 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of water... Second - citrus are heavy nitrogen feeders - so they need a fertilizer with a formula of at least 2:1:1... I used the Miracid soil acidifier every time I watered... Also, most potting soils have peat or something else to retain water, so it's usually recommended to add a bunch of cedar or redwood shavings to the soil to lighten it up and increase the airflow. I don't know if this is a problem with Kaffir lime trees, but my Bearss would constantly get pest problems, like scales, which are easily treatable with a spray of horticultural oil mixed in water... then respray in 10 days to get the eggs which have hatched... finally, especially in winter, it's good to mist the tree once or twice a day with water to increase the humidity - or get a humidifier... With all that said, I STILL ran into problems every once in a while... I'd get wet spots in my dirt which would wind up killing the roots in the area... so I've switched my tree to a flood/drain hydroponic system and the tree is LOVING it!!! The roots sit in a mesh pot filled with "hydroton" which are expanded clay pellets, and a nutrient liquid is flooded into the pot every 2.5 hours or so... most hydroponics flood every half hour, but the citrus likes to dry out a bit in between waterings, and with a bit of tinkering, I've found that every 2.5 hours works pretty well... I may try to go every 3 hours, but haven't done it yet... they usually say to let it dry about an inch or so below the surface before reflooding. Now my roots are doing great (and are easily inspectable), and I have a lot less pest problems than before...
  24. I think back at the time, I wound up doing it at 176F for about an hour... worked ok - the marrow came out in one piece and was nice and soft - but I think too much of the fat may have rendered out... I'd be curious to try it again a little differently...
  25. Curry paste lasts a long time in the refrig. - maybe 6 months... I've had some in there for even longer, but my fridge is really cold (on the cusp of freezing) - but it does lose something after several months... You can definitely freeze it with no real loss of quality... typically, I use it in incrememnts of tablespoons - so you can scoop a bunch of tablespoons onto a sheet pan with wax paper and freeze... then, once frozen, put the frozen tablespoons in a zip lock bag...
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