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KennethT

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Everything posted by KennethT

  1. KennethT

    Burgers & Salting

    I remember when I was emailing back and forth with the rep from Ajinomoto about Activa, he mentioned that salt will increase the proteins available for binding.. I wonder if that has anything to do with this? With more available proteins, I wonder if the glutaminases already present in the meat start to bind after a while? Then again, it's no problem if you grind with salt just prior to cooking - there will be no time for any enzyme activity... but if you were to grind, then hold for a day or two, who knows.... mmmmm hamburger sausage......
  2. I love doing pork tenderloin... but I cook my pork to 137F, which is a bit pink, and really moist and juicy... I also usually leave it in for about an hour or so... I don't really time it - I just make sure it's more than the calculated time should be... I don't brine either, but rub with a bit of s/p and some cumin... then in the bag with a couple of tablespoons of chipotle in adobo puree... At the end, I'll take the bag out of the water, slather the sauce from the bag all over the pork, then hit it with the torch... then a little more slathering, then more torch until I get a nice crust...
  3. Roy - I'd recommend extending the cooking time on the pork chops to try to get them tenderer... Try 8-10 hours first - it should be more tender than 2-3 hours... if not enough, keep increasing the time. I do a flank steak for 36 hours, and it comes out as tender as filet mignon. A jaccard will also help a bit...
  4. I assume the shelf life of the Non-Extra-Fat SV confit would be the same as the standard SV confit since the bag is keeping the air-less environment, rather than the fat... I actually just had some confit that I made a year ago - and I'm still here! I wonder if the NEF SV confit would have the similar "huskiness" that the normal confit gets after aging for a few weeks (more as time goes on)? I'd assume it would, as the confit would be sitting in its own fat that was rendered during cooking, but again - who knows if this fat even contributes to that huskiness?
  5. If you go straight to the bath from the freezer, rather than room temp or fridge temp, what adjustments do you make to the cooking time to account for this? I really don't worry about the time difference for the flank steak because I'm cooking it for 36 hours... so an extra half hour or so wouldn't make a difference... but, if you're cooking something for less time, I'd use Douglas Baldwin's pages - he has two charts comparing time to reach temp. from 41F and from 0F... http://amath.colorado.edu/~baldwind/sous-vide.html - about a quarter down from the top are Tables 2.3 and 2.4... In general, it really depends on thickness - for instance, the difference in time for 10mm thick is 2 minutes, but for 25mm it's 12 minutes, and 50mm it's 46 minutes.
  6. My friend uses the thermomix all the time for cooking (as opposed to baking) - all kinds of mashed root vegetables, soups, sauces, baby food... He's got a problem now, though... he just got an error code 39 and doesn't know how to fix it... any ideas??
  7. I've had no problems seasoning a piece of meat, vacuuming then freezing and storing for months on end... I do this all the time with flank steak - 1 flank steak gives me 4 portions... I portion, jaccard, season then bag/seal and freeze... then I just throw straight into the bath when I'm ready to cook...
  8. One time, my wife and I were headed to PDH on Mott... when we got there, the line was so long, and that was for people with reservations! So we walked around the corner and into a place with decent looking ducks hanging in the window... the place was filled with Chinese people (always a good sign).. you can get a whole duck for $30-40 - I forget which, but somewhere around there... when you get a whole duck, they serve the breast meat and skin with steamed buns and house made hoisin sauce, then there's a second course consisting of the rest of the duck picked off the carcass and served with a stir-fry with vegetables. It's a very bare bones place - but the duck has been excellent the few times I've been there (probably 4 times over the last year and a half). Plus, quite a bargain compared to PDH. The place is called Hsin Wong - it's on the corner of Mott and Bayard - it has the yellow sign and has the ducks and char siu hanging in the window.
  9. First - I'd like to say that I am very excited to hear plans to have an "El Bulli"esque restaurant in NYC. I've been wishing for this for a long time! With that said, I think the reason this type of restaurant hasn't been done in NY yet is because it would be too difficult to not lose your shirt without having to charge a fortune. NY is a very odd market - I've lived here all my life and associate with many different types of people who go to these types of restaurants - all for different reasons. I think the biggest problem in NYC restaurants is real estate prices - I'm sure your rent in midtown is going to be huge. If you're not planning on turning tables and will be seating in the European style, I think your prices should be dictated by how much the real estate costs (plus all the other overhead) divided by the number of seats. Alain Ducasse did something similar to this at ADNY. Per Se is slightly different - while they're not turning tables, it's not explicit that the table is yours for the evening - it's very possible that they could have someone in a table at 6:00, and then another party at 9 or 9:30. Also, I find that most diners in NYC don't like the idea of spending an entire evening at the table in a restaurant. Don't get me wrong, this is something that I personally love, and travel to Europe for a few times a year... but most people in NY get antsy after 2 - 2.5 hours... While I'm sure there are plenty of people like me who'd love the experience you are presenting, I know a lot more who would be looking to leave halfway through. Finally, as I'm sure you're aware, I think most NYC restaurants menu prices are too low, and are being subsidized by the wine sales. This is especially evident in a place like Daniel where you can see some bottles priced at 4-5x retail prices. To me, it borders on criminal extortion that a restaurant would sell a $30 bottle of Cote Chalonnaise for $150... or a $65 Chateauneuf du Pape for $260.... and that's not even talking about the markups on Grand Cru type stuff...
  10. KennethT

    Sous vide turkey

    That sounds really interesting - do you have experience binding skin to meat? I've done it with duck breast where I've removed the skin, shaved off most of the fat and then glued it back on... Fat and skin don't have much available proteins to bind... so the rep at Ajinomoto recommended using the GS in a slurry rather than the RM for that application... hope it goes well...
  11. KennethT

    Pressure Cooked Stock

    Joesan - interesting - I do something similar, but have always found it a pain to portion the stock when it's cold and gelled - it's a semi-firm gel when it's cold... so I typically scrape the fat off the top when it's cold, then reheat slightly just so that it's liquid, then portion, re-chill and freeze...
  12. KennethT

    Pressure Cooked Stock

    hmmm... the biggest problem I have in retaining clarity is getting the liquid out once I get down to the level of the bones in the pot. My first several ladels of stock removed off the top of the pot are perfectly clear - like consomme.. when I have to start tipping the pot and/or slightly moving spent bones or removing spent bones, the liquid always gets a little cloudy from stuff that comes off the bones and mixes with the liquid... maybe this stuff would settle out in a little time, but I haven't tried that... but with regards to the quote above, I wonder if I put everything in a big cheesecloth bag, then when finished, just lift out the bag, let the liquid drain out (no squeezing) and the remains should be untainted...
  13. KennethT

    Pressure Cooked Stock

    I rinse the bones first and make sure all the organs (kidneys, etc) are scraped out to try to "minimize" the impurities... that would be another experiment - maybe the rinsing isn't even necessary? I certainly won't be able to get to that experiment for QUITE a while - my freezer has no space for it!! Scuba - there was a lot of scum on the bottom and sides of the pot - but none of this had emulsified into the liquid, which is the important thing... even when I used to skim, there would be plenty of scum still on the bottom and sides of the pot... it's hard to tell if there's more now that I haven't skimmed - I didn't usually pay attention to exactly how much there was in the past.
  14. KennethT

    Pressure Cooked Stock

    So, in the interest of science, I conducted an experiment last night. As I wrote above, I typically put my rinsed chicken backs, necks, wingtips and feet (if I've got them) into the pot and add water until I"m about 1.5-2" from the top of the pc (much fuller than the manufacturer recommends, but it works for me)... I then bring up to a simmer over high heat, skimming as impurities rise to the surface. This usually takes about an hour of me standing over the pot, skimming skimming skimming... After most of the gunk has risen to the surface, I add the mirepoix and sachet ingredients (I don't actually bother making a sachet since I can't remove it in the middle anyway), cover and gently simmer under full pressure for an hour... then let naturally cool... the result is a perfectly clear stock that is very gelatinous.... Last night, I decided to forgoe the skimming step as an experiment to see if the stock would remain as clear as normal... so rinsed chicken, mirepoix, sachet went into the pot, then covered with cold water to the normal level. Put on the cover, and set over high heat - once full pressure was attained, I regulated the heat to keep at a low simmer at full pressure.... The results: Just as clear as with the skimming!!! And all the fat rendered out stayed right on top - no emulsification!!! After removing the liquid as gently as possible, the bones just fell apart when barely touched - great gelatin extraction... So that's it - no more skimming for me... while it doesn't really save that much time (because the water has to come up to a simmer anyway), at least I don't have to be standing over it the whole time...
  15. KennethT

    Sous vide reheating

    The ones with the actual plastic zipper do leak a little bit... I use the ZipLoc Heavy Duty Freezer bags - with 2 blue/pink seals... there is no actual zipper... and I've used them at 185F for 8 hours with no leaking or mechanical stress problems... They're made from Polyethylene so there shouldn't be a problem with leaching chemicals - although it's hard to get a straight answer out of SC Johnson... I'm debating/looking around at having an independent test lab test a few bags under some varied situations... From what I understand, usually it's the hard plastics (like tupperware) that are prone to leaching because they require plasticizers to make them stiff... the flexible bags or saran wrap don't seem to have those chemicals in them... plus, as I've said in some other posts, I know several NYC restaurants that exclusively use ZipLoc bags for their sous vide and haven't had any problems.
  16. KennethT

    Sous vide reheating

    You can put your slices into a ziplock bag (much cheaper than foodsaver bags) and just press the air out before zipping closed. If you want to make sure no air is in, you can plunge the bag (with the zipper open) into a pot (or sink) of water - the water will help push the air out very uniformly, then with the top of the bag at the waterline, you zipper the bag. Another idea (which takes a little more thought in the beginning) is to portion your brisket (in chunks, not slices) before initially cooking into portions that you would want later, putting each portion in its own bag. Once fully cooked, you can rapidly chill all the pieces you don't want to eat immediately in an ice bath and either keep in the fridge per Douglas Baldwin's info on his site, or freeze. Then, when you want to reheat, just set your circulator to 125degF or so, and put in your single serving bag - either directly from frozen or refrigerator. The warm waterbath is certainly the best way to defrost anything!
  17. Lately, I've been a big fan of using plain ZipLoc freezer bags... there are actually many restaurants in NYC using them for SV... getting the air out is no problem - just fill the sink or a pot with water and with the top of the bag open, submerge the bag into the water up to the neck where it seals... the water will push all the air out of the bag (it may take a little jostling) - then while the bag is in the water, seal the zipper and you've got a bag with no air in it. This works especially well when you're sealing liquid in the bag - when you're cooking vegetables in a cuisson, or meats in a marinade. I personally know of a well known restaurant in NYC that used to use a chamber vacuum, and has now switched to Ziploc bags - initially becasue of DOH reasons, but now, the chef says that even if they were allowed to use the chamber vacuum, they'd still use the Ziplocs.
  18. If you want dinner around the theatre district, I would recommend Esca - IF you like seafood and fish, because that's all they have... in general, I would recommend their crudo, appetizers and pastas... while the mains are good and well executed, I think they are not as good as the other stuff on the menu... I don't know when you're planning on being here - so I don't even know if you'd have time to make a reservation - you'd probably need about 3 weeks... As for the other night, what type of food are you looking for? To me, one of the best things about NYC is that practically everything is available. As a lifelong NYer, I would heartily recommend Katz's for the pastrami sandwich... to me, there is certainly none better - make sure you get it on rye with mustard (the only way to eat pastrami, IMO)... I would be curious to hear what people had to say about Junior's for cheesecake - back in the day (when they were only in Brooklyn) people would make pilgrimages for their cheesecake... now they have a restaurant/store in manhattan - but I've never been..
  19. KennethT

    Pressure Cooked Stock

    I've been meaning to make chicken stock for a while now... as I wrote above, I usually skim first, then cover and cook... but for the sake of science, this time I won't bother with skimming and throw everything in at once.. I'll report on my findings.. but I don't know if I'll get to it until this weekend or possibly even next weekend...
  20. You can get whole and half lobes of raw duck Foie Gras at Citarella... if you only need a small piece, Ottomanelli sells rougly 2 ounce slices of raw HVFG for like $5 each... it's really like $40 per pound, but the weight works out to be roughly $5 each... which I think is a great deal unless you have need for a whole lobe of foie... Citarella also has roughly 1 pound jars of duck fat, and may have goose pate in the case with the smoked salmon. I don't know about goose fat... but you can get Ottomanelli to get a goose, and you'll have plenty of fat to render!
  21. Hakata tonton is still around... it even took a few weeks to get a reservation! Besides the supposed health benefits of the collagen, I have to say (this being my first hakata experience) that it was REALLY tasty... We started with a gyoza (the Himi's famous gyoza made with collagen) - which may have been the best gyoza ever... the dumpling skin was more like a thin super-crispy crepe rolled around a flavorful, juicy pork. We also started with a grilled pork tonsoku - which was a bunch of pieces of lean pork, slathered in teriyaki sauce and grilled on a large skewer. While tasty, we thought the pork was a bit dry. Finally, we had the Hakata Tonton Hotpot - which, on a cold, rainy night like Friday was absolutely perfect. The "collagen" broth was probably the best tasting, richest pork broth ever - it had such a great mouthfeel, and in the broth were scallions, some napa cabbage, a few pieces of trotter, many thin slices of pork belly, and pieces of the lean pork meat similar to the ones on the skewer... I found this dish to be really addictive - it was slightly spicy, but I keep thinking about the mouthfeel of that broth!!! It was so good, I couldn't resist getting extra broth and the ramen noodles at the end... We finished with a green tea tofu and ice cream combo... what we liked about it was that it wasn't very sweet... it tasted like matcha powder - but the problem was that it was a litty gritty... By the time we walked out, I was stuffed - but it was really tasty, and a pretty good bargain - With the above, plus 2 beer and 2 glasses of junmai-ginjo sake, it was like $100... I would definitely head back, as soon as my cholesterol drops below 250.... Edited for my crappy grammar
  22. I haven't been there in a while, but I still hear good things about Esca - an italian seafood place close to the theatre district... I don't know if you'd be able to get a reservation for next weekend though...
  23. KennethT

    Pressure Cooked Stock

    I don't know if I could not skim and still be ok... I figure that the more impurities I remove in the beginning, the less chance of a problem in case it starts simmering too hard by accident mid-way through... as far as I knew, impurities came from coagulated blood and proteins - I don't think they'd add anything to the stock other than cloudiness... Scubadoo97 - I do something similar - I take all the bones from whole chickens and stick them ina freezer bag and leave them until I'm ready... then I defrost in a cool waterbath, rinse and then begin... if i want to roast them, I'll skip the rinsing, but blot them off with paper towels first...
  24. KennethT

    Pressure Cooked Stock

    I agree with Nickrey - it's impossible to get Maillard reactions while there is water around - it'll keep the temperature at 250F in the pressure cooker which is too low for Maillard... When I do brown stocks like brown veal stock or beef stock, I roast the bones at like 400F for about an hour in a sheet pan in a touch of oil... once they are browned, I move them to the pressure cooker... then I roast the mirepoix in the sheet pan also (removing most of the fat that rendered from the bones first). Then I add some water to deglaze my sheet pan, and add the deglazing liquor to the stock pot. If you'd like a richer, more flavorful stock, like a broth, add more meat... bones alone do not yield much flavor - but meat adds tons... I make an upscale pho bo in a pressure cooker also... I like to use beef shin and neck bones - the neck bones for gelatin, and the shin for the meatyness... When I finish, it's clear like a consomme but has an intensely beefy flavor...
  25. KennethT

    Pressure Cooked Stock

    I think the stock is better, as well as being faster to make. When I cook a stock conventionally, I never get all the gelatin out of the bones... with the pc, when I'm finished I can snap the chicken bones with one finger - there's nothing left holding it together. Plus, I find it clearer as well... with the traditional stock, I always have the tendency to want to stir a bit as it's going, which is a no-no, but with the pc that's not an option, so it stays crystal clear. Personally, I am not usually looking for flavorful stocks - I like my stocks to be pretty neutral so I have lots of options when it comes to saucing later. I'm looking for mouthfeel - and the pc stocks have about as much gelatin as possible... it sets up in the refrig so well, you could cut it with a knife - with no reducing...
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