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KennethT

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Posts posted by KennethT

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. Now that I've got a lead on an immersion circulator, I'm looking to upgrade my bagging option. Some of the discussion of vac sealing options refer to models that have been discontinued for quite a while...

    So, I'm upgrading from the Reynolds handheld pump, but I'm certainly not going for a chamber system. I'm probably looking at a foodsaver model - but which one? (of the currently available models) are there other good options in the us$100 to us$300 range?

    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.

  6. 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..

  7. The more I think about it the more I'm convinced that there's probably no need to skim at the start of the process but I'll need to wait until I get a Pressure Cooker to prove it. Unless anyone else wants to try an A vs B comparison in the meantime?

    Pressures on... :biggrin: (bad pun I know)

    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...

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. Thanks Ken - some great ideas there.

    Do you find that you can get away with not skimming all the 'scum' from the top of the liquid in the initial stages?

    I've always been a bit skeptical about the need for all the skimming that people do with a stock at the start because I am not convinced that there is anything wrong with it or that it prejudices flavour in any way; after all it comes from the meat itself. I think it just looks off-putting because of the colour and texture etc. but wonder whether you can't just remove it at the end of the cooking session. This might be all the more so with pressure cooking as by all accounts one gets a clearer stock anyway.

    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...

  11. Saltedgreens - The Kuhn Rikon cookers nearly always do well in reviews, and friends of mine have also recommended them to me.

    RLumis - Thanks for the heads up on the beef recipe. Filed for future reference.

    KenT it's interesting that you say you are not looking for a richly flavoured stock. I can understand that if you want to use the stock more as a carrier for other flavours in sauces etc.

    I am looking to make a rich dark stock. I'm thinking that this will be a matter of getting some maillard on the chicken bones or onions before I seal the pressure cooker. I wasn't sure if the Maillard reaction does occur in the pressure cooker itself - I guess it does because people like Shola over in StudioKitchen are making "Dulce De Leche" in the cooker from ingredients like Miso.

    Regardless I pretty much have a feeling that this is the way to go as it seems to have a number of benefits. It's faster and cleaner yes but also I have to think you'd get a more flavourful stock because those delicious volatile flavour components that you can usually smell in the kitchen when cooking stock are trapped in the stock and the pressure cooker itself. And as we all now know if you can smell the aroma in the kitchen it won't be in the stock itself (hat-tip to Mr McGee)...

    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...

  12. interesting idea. But is the stock better, or just faster to make? I don't care about the time it takes, but if it's "better" I'd be inclined to add yet an other gadget to the kitchen...

    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...

  13. KennethT, I've noticed that all of my scum accumulates and sticks to the bottom of my pan. None floating in the stock. I also strain thru a strainer lined with cheese cloth or paper towels.

    That's interesting... I do find some impurities stuck to the bottom of the pot, but I get quite a bit floating to the surface during the heat-up phase. Do you heat it with the cover on or the cover off? I know the instruction manual for the pc said to add all ingredients, put the cover on and put on high heat until full pressure, but I'm always afraid of getting a cloudy stock, so my method is kind of a hybrid between traditional and pc stocks...

  14. I do all my stocks in a pressure cooker... typically, I'll put in the bones and fill with cold water up to about 2 inches from the top of the pressure cooker - I know you're not supposed to pass the 2/3 point or something, but it works fine... bring to a simmer, and as it heats, the bones will release impurities - so skim as they accumulate...

    After about 15-20 minutes of simmering, the release of impurities will noticeably slow down, at which point I add mirepoix and sachet... then cover, raise heat to high and bring to full pressure. Once full pressure is reached, reduce heat immediately to the point where it's just maintaining pressure - you want a slow simmer - just at an elevated temperature... depending on the type and size of bones will dictate how long... chicken stock is fine after about 45 minutes... veal stock can go for a 1.5 hours to really get all of the gelatin out...

    Once it has cooked sufficiently long enough, turn off the heat, and let the pot cool down naturally until the pressure is reduced... removing the lid should show perfectly clear stock - like a consomme... but the trick is how to get the liquid out without disturbing the bones - disturbing them will add impurities to your liquid... if you remove the liquid carefully and put through a chinois lined with a couple layers of cheesecloth, that should keep your stock clear. Otherwise, you can always run it through a superbag to remove anything that may have mixed in....

  15. I love making fresh pasta - but my machine seems to have a problem when I get to the thinnest divisions.. I have a Weston hand operated pasta machine that I got from the local rest. supply store... The problem is that when I get to the last two divisions, the dough seems to pull to one side causing a pile-up and my rectangular sheet becomes a rounded triangle... I keep meaning to contact the factory but never get around to it. Any suggestions?

  16. Great writeup! My wife and I have visited Burgundy for the past two summers... We loved Ma Cuisine... the wine list is superb with veryn fair prices and excellent cooking. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Interestingly enough, of all the writeups I see of that place, no one seems to mention the 2 some-odd pages of their wine list devoted to Chateau Yquem sauternes!!! Plus, the pyramid of empty Yquem bottles in the corner...

    We also loved Lameloise.... agree with everything you said.... another great spot in Chagny (on a much lower level though) came from a recommendation from the Lameloise staff - it's around the corner - Le grenier de Sel or something like that... in this old Burgundian stone building - a great place for Charollais beef grilled on their wood grill in the middle of the dining room, or classic burgundian fondue, with choices of meats (I loved the duck) and various dipping mayos...

    If making your way to Chablis, a great spot to stop is in Joigny, which I'm sure everyone knows about, also *** is Jean Michel Lorain's La Cote St. Jacques... I cannot recommend this place highly enough... In my opinion, if Lameloise is worth the *** (which I think it is), then JML is worth **** if there were such a thing... simply an amazing experience from beginning to end with undending creativity...

  17. I have been making chicken stock in a pressure cooker. The only down side is that in a 6 qt pressure cooker I can only manage to get maybe 8 cups of stock. I save all trimmings from chicken like backs, wing tips, thigh bones after boning thighs, necks and any trimmings from cleaning BSCB.

    The parts go in with onion, carrot and celery and cook under pressure for one hour. The meat is has lost all flavor to the stock. The bones crumble if squeezed. The stock when cooled has the most gelatinous texture compared to all other methods I've ever used. The stock has more flavor compared to my other methods.

    Because it's so easy I can make it more often and have even made it on the spot for soup if I didn't have any in the freezer.

    I second the pressure cooker method... I use backs, necks, wing tips, feet when I can get them and then fill the pot with cold water... I then bring to a boil uncovered, and skim the scum that forms... once the impurities stop coming up, I add the onion, carrot and celery in big pieces, plus I throw in a small handful of peppercorns, a pinch of dried thyme and maybe 10 parsley stems. Cover and simmer under full pressure for about an hour... I then turn off the heat and let it cool slowly until the pressure reduces to normal - the result is rich and gelatinous, but also crystal clear.

  18. Both of the versions above (176 and 185F) were done with the skin on, which came out tender with a slight give to them... one might call it very slightly rubbery, but I thought it was very nice. For this version, I'm not planning on crisping the skin since I'm going to be serving it with puffed rice which will add a nice crunch, and I want the braised texture of the skin to contrast with it... With that said, if I wasn't planning on doing the puffed rice, I would probably crisp it post SV...

    185 seems to be the number for vegetables... I haven't done leeks yet, but pearl onions at 185F for about an hour are awesome... I haven't really tried less time... artichokes are also great

  19. I also contacted SC Johnson (I prefer the ziplock bags to foodsaver also - much more convenient) - but they were not very willing to divulge information to me. I am in the process of contacting a few outside testing labs to see if they will (and how much it will cost to) test some bags under a few different conditions for me.... I'm thinking I'll have them check 185F for 12 hours as I think that would be the worst case scenario... Are there any other temps/times that people use that might be good to test as well?

    I've recently done some 5 spice pork belly that was cooked as a taste test - about 1/4 C liquid in each bag, one bag at 176F for 12 hours, and the other was 185F for 8 hours... Both came out very tasty - but I think the 176 was the winner... the meat turned out to be a little more succulent... but regarding the recent topic, both were done in ziploc bags and both had no problems with leaks, etc... but I wouldn't know for sure if I didn't ingest some plasticy stuff....

  20. A Ranch 99 Asian market opened here yesterday (hooray!) and I got a little selection of game birds (partridge, pheasant, etc) and also could not resist a small black chicken. I'm kind of thinking of roasting them all together like Jamie Oliver did in a Jamie at Home episode (though I don't have a wood fired oven - yet). But I can't find info on roasting a black chicken, I find references to soups etc.

    So, can this black chicken be roasted or will I end up with a black rubber chicken for Halloween?

    I'd be happy to use it in a soup or any other dish of course. They're quite pretty birds, with silky feathers that almost look like soft fur.

    Thanks!

    Oliver (who's contemplating what to do with the two true red snappers in the fridge)

    Do a google search for Silky chicken... the black chickens are typically called 'silky's because of their soft feathers... I gather they actually make decent pets... Silky's are very common for Chinese to eat when pregnant, elderly and I think around New Years... typically silky's are used in soup - otherwise i think the skin gets pretty rubbery and the meat is tough...

  21. Kenneth, can I assume that you and your wife received the same five dishes for the tasting menu? And also, were all of those dishes taken from the a la carte menu?

    Yes, we received the same 5 (actually 6 including the cuttlefish) dishes... plus, we ordered the sea urchin toast a la carte to share... which was awesome btw... We decided to do the tasting rather than sharing because we felt that if we each ordered an app. and main and shared mid-way, we'd try 4 dishes (not including dessert which we don't always get), and with the tasting we'd get 5 each....

    And yes, all of the dishes on the tasting came from the menu... before we started, I asked the waiter how the tasting worked, and he said it was 5 dishes, and then preceeded to point them out on the menu (he didn't point out the cuttlefish)... so each of the dishes were taken straight from the menu, but in tasting portion sizes... you could hear chef Mendes expedite everyonce in a while, and he definitely made it clear when it was a tasting plate being prepped.

  22. KennethT,

    Is there a limit to the amount of cooking a piece of protein can take and still glue? And, does tofu have enough to enable sticking?

    I don't know if there's an actual limit... your best chances are with the GS... When I originally talked to the Ajinomoto rep about the duck breast idea, he thought it would be tricky, but he thought it was possible and to go with the GS to do it... It did work... but I was bonding raw meat to cooked fat+skin (not much protein in fat/skin, especially after cooked) - and the skin was crispy so it about as cooked as could be.

    After searing your filet "knot", I would first wipe off as much fat/oil as possible, then cool it down so it's cold. Put a lot of slurry (I paint it on with a brush on both sides to be glued) and then wrap it really tightly - as tight as you can - before it goes into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours...

    As for the tofu, I have no idea - try it and let me know!!! Or talk to the Ajinomoto people - htye may have some experience glueing tofu...

  23. I second the Khymos collection... but also check out the texturas el bulli site where they sell lots of ingredients but also show excellent videos on how to use some of them.. I think it's albertandferranadria.com or something like that... do a google search for texturas el bulli then click the link for the videos and recipes... Also, Willpowder (who also sells the ingredients) lists them by function - spherification, gelling, emulsification, etc., and gives a pretty good description of everything they carry...

  24. That's a good idea - but I was thinking about if you wanted to cook something 'in liquid', not just marinated - sort of like a braise... There are many times that I cook things in a court bouillon, stock or equivalent flavored liquid - the great thing about SV is that you only need a few Tbs of liquid as opposed to a few cups in traditional cooking.

    It's true that you can pre-freeze many liquids and add them to the bag, but I've found that mostly it's a pain in the neck - frozen olive oil melts really quickly, for instance, and it's always a race against the clock to add it to the bag, vacuum and seal before it starts working it's way up the bag. Plus, I usually like my oil flavored, and unfortunately, I'm usually more on the spontaneous side to plan too far in advance...

    Lastly, I have a small apartment kitchen, and my foodsaver typically lives on a high shelf in a cupboard where I have to get a step ladder to access it (I have very limited counterspace) - so it's a pain to constantly get the thing, so I try to avoid it as much as possible...

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