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Posts posted by KennethT

  1. Ruth-->

    I bought a Sinbo from Doug Care Equipment.  It's a bit more "hands on" than a foodsaver but does an equal job once you gain some skill.  It's $100 and uses the cheap-o bags. 

    I would not buy a circulator on ebay- get a PID from Fresh Meal Solutions-(If you live on Canada-shipping is cheap) and aquarium pump.

    Search for these things earlier in the thread.

    Mr. Baldwin--How strict is this...

    below 36.5°F (2.5°C) for up to 90 days,

    below 38°F (3.3°C) for less than 31 days,

    below 41°F (5°C) for less than 10 days, or

    below 44.5°F (7°C) for less than 5 days

    Let's say my fridge is usually 40, but goes to 44 for an hour or two per day- does this mean 5 days and out? 

    What about if it goes above 48 for a few hours?  Yes I know this is not good-but I'm trying to get my restaurant to get into SV but there are days when the fridge gets warm with the door always open.


    I was reading notes of when George Pralus was teaching a class to David Bouley and other pros... he recommends putting cook/chill items into perforated hotel pans with ice - so a layer of ice, layer of bagged items, then another layer of ice, etc... and keep that in your walk-in... he says it's the only way to be sure that you're keeping the item at <34F since a walk-in can get upwards of 55F during service when the door is opened very often.

    Before you go about the ice ordeal, you can always try something out by putting a needle probe thermometer into the center of an item and monitor it from the outside - that way, you'll see the difference in temp between the inside of the item, andthe temp of the refrig... depending on the mass of the item and surface area, there should be a lag in change in temp of the item if the refrigerator gets warm for an hour... it won't follow the refrigerator temp... also, once all the items are well chilled, maybe you'd want to put them all in a big pan together - that way, the combined thermal mass will help keep them cool if the refrig. warms up temporarily...

  2. Yeah - that looks great! My squab came out really good, thanks to all the suggestions... but unfortunately, I didn't have presence of mind to take any pictures... basically there was a squab breast cooked SV to 55C (I thought it was slightly too 'medium' to my taste and next time I'll try 53.3C), chilled, then reheated during a quick sear in a very hot pan... that, topped with a foie medallion cooked to 55C also (that came out really good - very little shrinkage - still a bit rare inside). The whole thing was covered in a sheath of thin caramelized sugar studded with cocoa nibs, star anise and coriander. This was served with a chocolate sauce which was basically veal stock enriched with squab bones, with bittersweet chocolate whisked in at the end...

    All in all, I think it came out pretty well - even though the sugar shell was on the sweet side (I used sugar, not the fondant,isomalt combo) it was balanced with the cocoa nibs, squab/foie, and by the slightly bitter sauce.... if you had all elements at once, it was very well balanced - but the sugar shell on its own was a bit too sweet.

  3. Celery salt has a very specific flavor.... To me, celery salt is the primary seasoning component in Old Bay... So, with that said, I think it would be good on steamed crabs, or shrimp... or maybe in some crab cakes...

  4. Thanks everyone for your great replies... I'm actually doing something non-pastry related... I was thinking of making a sugar shell flecked with cocoa nibs as a shell for a squab breast with foie gras in a chocolate sauce for V-Day... I figured I could make the sugar shell in advance and mold it onto an aluminum foil faux squab breast and then just place it onto the squab breast before service.

    So far, I've done the first idea presented which was to take my original sugar shell (which was about double the thickness that I wanted) and broke it into pieces and then buzzed it in the spice grinder... then put the dust onto the silpat and into a 350 oven... worked pretty well, but then another shot worked well reheating with the propane torch... I used plain table sugar, not the fondant, etc. as recommended, and it worked pretty well...

    The taste test confirmed... a good success! Rolling is another good idea, but I wanted the cocoa nibs (embedded in the sugar) to be larger than the thickness of the shell, so that might be problematic...

    I love eGullet!!!

  5. hello sugar/pastry experts! I am looking to make a sugar (like a blond caramel color) shell that is super thin... I did some experimenting, but can't seem to get it as thin as I'd like - I tried pouring the liquid sugar onto a silpat and spreading it around, but it cooled before I could spread it thin enough...

    Is there some trick I'm missing? Or some way to make the sugar less viscous before pouring?

    Texturally, I'd like the final product to crack if smacked with the back of a knife or spoon - so I don't know if adding corn syrup would help becuase I don't know if it would make the final product too flexible...

    I'd love to hear any thoughts.... Thanks!

  6. Every year I say I'm going to start gardening. I have a garden ... over 400 square feet of outdoor patio, filled with containers, that most new yorkers would kill for. And since my green-thumbed housemate left, it's been slowly returning to nature, except for the two strawberry plants that come back magically (but in worse shape) every season.

    I just have no idea what to do. What I need is a gardening support group. Anyone else interested in this? I'd probably want to start small. Herbs, and maybe some tomatoes.

    Re-reading your post, I realized that I may be able to help a bit... herbs are usually pretty easy to grow - an outdoor patio is great in spring and summer, but you can keep them growing all year long if you have a sunny southern facing windowsill... basil grows like a weed from seed... you can basically dump some bagged soil into a pot with the fine stuff on top (use a strainer) and just scatter some seeds... keep it the soil moist with a mister and cover the top with plastic wrap until the seeds sprout... you'll have micro-basil in a week or two, and in a few weeks basil plants... just keep them very moist as basil loves water - you can tell because as soon as it gets a bit dry, it will wilt.... Tarragon is different - you can't plant tarragon from seed or you'll get Russian Tarragon, which is different from French Tarragon - in order to get French Tarragon, you need to plant cuttings from existing plants... an easy way is to pick up a tarragon plant at the farmers market in the spring. Tarragon doesn't like to get too hot, so if you keep it in the windowsill, it should be out of direct sun... or at least not right by the window. Other than that, some herbs like different conditions - thyme and rosemary both like to dry out slightly between waterings - so I tend to keep them in the same pot (or two separate pots that are watered together)...

    If you have any questions, you can pm or email me - I'm happy to share all I know... when I was a kid my father had a large garden in Westchester that I used to help in all the time... tomatoes, corn, squash, cucumber... I wish I could do some of that, but since all I have is a large windowsill, I'm pretty limited... My dream is to (one day if/when prices ever come down) have a space with decent patio or roof that I can put in a greenhouse and experiment growing hydroponically... I've been doing some research into it, and it seems pretty feasible....

  7. Every year I say I'm going to start gardening. I have a garden ... over 400 square feet of outdoor patio, filled with containers, that most new yorkers would kill for. And since my green-thumbed housemate left, it's been slowly returning to nature, except for the two strawberry plants that come back magically (but in worse shape) every season.

    I just have no idea what to do. What I need is a gardening support group. Anyone else interested in this? I'd probably want to start small. Herbs, and maybe some tomatoes.

    I've always fantasized about having a patio garden... right now, I have no outdoor space, but I make do with a southern facing windowsill with a lime and lemon tree, and various herbs, oh and some lemongrass... My biggest fantasy is to have a decent outdoor space where I can put in a greenhouse - and grow all kinds of stuff - plus, it's great to go into the warm steamy greenhouse in the dead of winter!!!

  8. The Louisiana Crawfish Company - lacrawfish.com - is currently selling live crawfish - I think they started a few weeks ago... right now, they're on the small side though - typical early season crawfish - but they're still tasty....

    I'm hoping they get a bit bigger by Mardi Gras...

  9. I'm looking to get some andouille, boudin and tasso for some upcoming treats for my ex-NOLA wife...

    I've gotten some andouille from Poche before and it's great... but was wondering how it compared to some of the other brands out there - Comeaux's, Richards, Tonys, etc... Also, which are your favorite boudin and tasso???

    I've heard Cochon Butcher makes some great stuff - I'll check them out the next time I'm down there - probably in April.... but does anyone know if they ship??


  10. For crawfish, I love the Louisiana Crawfish Co.... www.lacrawfish.com I think their prices were a bit better than Cajun Grocers, and their product is fantastic... and really great service too...

    I just ordered some early season crawfish last week - FEDEX damaged the box - out of my 10# order, probably 7-8 pounds came dead and crushed... this was a first for me with lacrawfish - but I emailed them, and they were happy to give me a refund or store credit.... very easy to deal with...

    Usually, when their crawfish come in, they're big, lively and very tasty - with only a couple of dead ones in the whole 10#.... They also include a pack of their boil (which is really really good) plus a can of creole seasoning which between the two make a great crawfish boil.... I just add some garlic cloves and a couple of halved lemons to the pot in addition to the boil....

  11. Oh yeah, another item...don't overfill your PC...mine had liquid to about 1" from the top, and i think it was a bit too high...i could tell the liquid was just about touching the pressure release valve.

    Next time i'll use, backs, necks and chicken feet, which should take up less space than quartered whole chickens, so hopefully i'll get more stock out of it.

    The best things to use are necks, backs, wingtips and feet - they have the most connective tissue (which turns into gelatin)... using whole chickens would be great for making a soup or broth, since the meat gives nice flavor... but typically, I like my stock to be more neutral in flavor - so I don't use meat... but to make a broth I like to add wings as my main meat source..

  12. My anniversery is coming up and I usually cook tuna for my wife. she really likes one of the dishes that I pulled off of epicurious but I want to try something different. Any tuna ideas out there?

    How do you usually do the tuna? How different would you like it to be?

  13. I don't think i can go back to making stock the old way after this weekend and using a PC. Wow is all i can say.

    1.5 hours using KennethT's method and i had a supremely tasty chicken stock, that was better than the one i make cooking in a pot for 12 hours.

    Then again, it could be because i used 2 whole chickens for 5 quarts of stock:)

    But can't beat the time factor

    Only major downside is that my yield was only about 5 quarts of stock..whereas normally i end up with about 20 quarts.

    I agree - the major downside is that my pressure cooker isn't nearly as big as I'd like it to be... but since it's very easy to make and doesn't take much active time, I'd rather do it more often this way than make more at once in the traditional way.

    I just wound up finishing my latest batch of chicken stock last night - defatted and portioned... I like to call it clear liquid chicken... out of the refrigerator it was so gelled that I could almost cut it with a knife ;)... not quite - but it definitely wiggled and jiggled!!

    Here's my yield: 17 cups stock from approx. 7# backs and necks, plus about 2# mirepoix simmered at full pressure for about 40 min... yes, it's a pretty measely yield - but I don't have that much freezer space, and my pressure cooker isn't nearly as large as I'd like and haven't had a chance to get another... That came from filling the pc as high as I could - I think I only left about 1.5 inches empty space at the top of the pot - wihch is much less than manufacturer's directions, but I guess it was ok since I didn't have hot liquid chicken magma spewing out of the release valve...

  14. I've been working with my butcher (Jeffrey on Essex) to get more artisinal farm products. Right now he sells what's basically the best from the standard wholesale distributors. But he doesn't have any direct farm sources. Lately he's had some issues with the quality of Berkshire pork loins ... but it's hard to know what to do other than complain to his distributor (who buys and sells boxes of sub primal cuts). He's been hoping to have more direct sources, which I think would benefit everyone.

    Can anyone recommend farms that deliver goods to the city? Ideally ones that do their own processing for retail, because Jeffrey isn't going to be selling enough of this stuff to be able to buy whole animals.

    Right now I'm especially interested in lamb, but a farm source for amazing pork and pasture-raised beef would be great.

    I dont know about hooking Jeffrey up with a farm but I use him as well and he is a great butcher but I do wish he had more meat variety as well. I usually just go to the greenmarket and get stuff from there if I am being picky but its way more expensive sadly, i cant imagine how much more it would be if sold through a middle man like Jeffrey.

    I use Jeffrey also... he's great... I wonder how much more he'd be - I'm sure he'd get much better pricing from the farm than we'd get at the greenmarket - becasue at the greenmarket, they're selling retail and the prices will be higher. Selling wholesale to Jeffrey and him reselling it would probably wind up being very similar prices, so long as he has enough volume to buy wholesale.

    The last I spoke with him, he said he didn't carry a lot of artisinal stuff because he didn't have a huge market for it - but he said he would love to if he had more call and more people asking for it...

  15. I've had a lot of delcious tenderloin. It's mild, but the flavor can be excellent. The best tenderloins have real marbling and aren't ghost-white.

    Brining strikes me as the wrong approach. I don't want the mild flavor overwhelmed by salt. I want the juiciness to come from corect cooking. And this cut does not need to be tenderized.

    Sous vide likely works well. I've also had good luck with the opposite approach, blasting them in a 550 degree oven. I preheat a skillet in the oven, put in the stove on maximum heat, throw in some refined oil, and lightly brown the tenderloin on three sides. Flip the the fourth side down and slip it into the oven for about 10 minutes. Pull out, let it rest, for another ten or so minutes tented. Make a pan sauce in this interrim.

    The pan and oven sear the outside; the inside cooks almost entirely during the rest period. It's a small enough piece of meat that I've been able to get it medium rare almost all the way through. I find it a bit tricky ... the meat cooks fast, it's a small enough cut to make thermometers unreliable, and it's pretty easy to over or undershoot. I also find it much harder to do in an oven that won't hit 550. But if you can nail it, it's simple, quick, and tasty. Absolutely requires a good sauce.

    I completely agree... also, brining only adds water and salt so that, when overcooked, it still retains some moisture - but, if cooked properly so that you don't have lots of moisture loss, you don't need the extra water - in fact the extra water is bad since it will dilute the flavor of the meat. McGee wrote about this in his Thanksgiving Turkey article a few months ago

    I used to do a pork tenderloin, marinated overnight in a whole can of chipotle puree, on a very hot grill - I usually cooked it to about 135F in the middle of the thickest part... which required turning every 4-5 minutes and got my tiny NYC apartmnet kitchen really smoky... the thick middle came out tasty, but not spectacular - a nice crust with a center of medium-rare - but a good 1/4" of interior underneath the crust was overcooked... and the tail was completely overcooked throughout...

    Now, I do it slightly differently - I add 2-3 T of chipotle puree to a vacuum bag, add the pork and seal.. leave in the fridge overnight... It then gets CSV at 135F (57.2C) for however long it needs depending on thickness - usually I leave it in for about an hour or so... after the hot bath, I baste it with the puree leftover in the bag and torch it until I get my crust - and it winds up being medium-rare throughout - even down to the skinny tail... there's only about 1/32" of over-cookedness underneath the crust....

  16. I have a question for all the technical experts out there - Douglas Baldwin, Nathanm, I hope you're out there!

    I recently stumbled onto a paper which summarized a two day seminar given by George Pralus in David Bouley's test kitchen back in April, 2006. Some of the things Pralus was saying is a little contradictory to what I had learned from this thread, and from what I get from the 2005 FDA food code....

    Pralus put a graph on the whiteboard showing temperature safety zones...

    50-55C - danger zone

    55-60C - tolerance zone

    60-63C - start of pasteurization zone

    > 63C - assured pasteurization zone

    It was also stated that heat treatment only kills vegetative forms of pathogens if the core temp. reaches 60C.

    I've been routinely doing flank steak for 24 hours at 55C - granted my lack of problems is not statistically significant....

    Can anyone shed some light on this??? Thanks!

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  17. I love Coops... we go there on our first night every time we go since we usually get in around 10:30 or so, and it's a few blocks from our hotel... they have an awesome jambalaya... but I don't know if I remember their gumbo - if it's on the menu, I'm sure i've had it, but I can't remember it... I'll definitely give it another try when I go back...

    It's funny - my wife and I have a preference for Crystal hot sauce over Tabasco - but they have Tabasco on the table... turns out - they keep Crystal behind the bar for anyone who asks...

  18. My wife and I go to NO usually once a year - she grew up in River Ridge, but now we live in NYC... when we go, we usually feast on oysters, boiled crawfish, gumbo and jambalaya for a few days before heading home.... but the last few times we've been really disappointed by the gumbo we've had - most of it was pretty flavorless and looked like it was thickened with cornstarch!!!

    Any locals know of some great gumbo out there?!?!? Thanks!

  19. Wow. What a bunch a bunch of responses. The best advice I can give is one I have given before: consult Lora Brody's wonderful book "Slow Cooker Cooking" and use her recipe for onions in the slow cooker. One uses five or six pounds (!) of onions and a whole stick of butter and fourteen hours later you have a perfect batch of browned, tasty onions you can freeze and save for future use. By simply reading the recipe and using logic it shouldn't work; the onions don't get up to a caramelization temp. in a slow cooker. And leaving the lid on doesn't allow a great deal of moisture to evaporate. BUT IT WORKS! I am a total convert and use this recipe for all my caramelized onions, and I can do enough and stash away for pizzas, foccacias, etc.


    I second the slow cooker method.. it takes a while - but it is completely unattended and you can do a bunch at one time and save them for later...

  20. Many times, you want to use wine in a recipe not only for the flavor, but also for it's acidity - so, I wonder if the powders or extracts would deliver that, or if you'd need to modify the recipe to add it in another way...

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