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Everything posted by zeph74

  1. zeph74

    Tapioca Maltodextrin

    I'm looking at picking up some Malto to play with. Everywhere I read, its specifically named "Tapioca Maltodextrin". I've seen plain Maltodextrin in some health food shops, and HERE. Whats the difference? Do I need to get only the Tapioca type or is the generic kind ok? Thanks
  2. Just came back from a course @ CIA Greystone on Sous Vide. Was a great course and learned a lot. Looking at some low cost alternatives to equipment. The PolySci Immersion Circulator is pretty much the industry standard, a no brainer. A Minipack or other tabletop chamber vacuum sealer is $$. I'm looking at various FoodSaver models, since are $150-300 and could be replaceable if broken. Anyone using these, and if so which model do you use/prefer? Bags - I found some bags over at BCU, which average out to about $0.07 a bag. Just wondering if these bags would be seal-able by the foodsaver? Or should I just go with the Foodsaver bags, which are more money? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
  3. Hi. There's another great post HERE with some similar info. If you have a nice afternoon with good weather, I'd recommend heading to Auberge du Soleil. Sit outside on the balcony, its on a hill overlooking the valley. I only had an appetizer (tasty manila clams) and drinks, although I heard the rest of the food is very good there. Have a nice trip!
  4. Thanks Carolyn. Coming from Maine, but I've lived, worked and extensively traveled around the US and Europe. I'm a huge fan of offal and charcuterie/salumi/etc, and I'm curious to see what Chef Cosentino is doing at Incanto. I know there there are many great places in the area, and I hope to hit up some of those that you listed. Thanks!
  5. Heading to CA in a couple weeks. Incanto will be my first meal in California, heading straight there from the airport. Was hoping the Iron Chef offal menu was still available, but its not. Still looking forward to it regardless. I'd love to see A16 as well, but time is a factor. There are so many good places, its hard to choose where to go over 5 days.
  6. Thanks! I forgot about Auberge du Soleil. I had the best manila clams there, plus amazing view and great drinks. Not sure how I forgot, its a great place. Tra Vigne. I stopped in there on my first night in St. Helena. I got there about 8:30PM. I was met by a very attractive hostess, who informed me that they stopped serving food at 9PM, and I was welcome to sit at the bar if I liked. I ordered a beer at the bar and asked to see a menu. While I was waiting for my beer and browsing the menu, I noticed a group of 40-something "locals" came in and sat at the other end of the bar. Well dressed, and obviously knew the bartender. After I decided on a couple appetizers, I closed my menu and waited for a bit while enjoying the beautiful decor and atmosphere. I tried to get the attention of the barkeep a few times, but he was engrossed in conversation with his friends. By the time the barkeep came back over to me, it was about 8:50. I proceeded to place my order for food, and was promptly told that the kitchen was closed for the evening. I finished my drink, paid, tipped, and left. The hostess was the only one who wished me a nice evening on my way out. Granted, all places have their "nights", but this wasn't a great welcome to the area on my first night. However I give every place three strikes, and have heard very good things. Since Tra Vigne is close to where I will be staying, I will visit again on my next trip.
  7. Thanks to the folks at Maine Food & Lifestyle for pointing out the Top 10 Food Trends for 2009 at Epicurious.com. I've been meaning to visit for some time now, but decided this was the week to experience what is going on in Portland. I have reservations at Five Fifty-Five Wednesday evening. Also planning on stopping by Duck Fat, Fore Street, Hugo's, and Evangilene. Not sure how much food I can fit into two days, but I'll do my best. Add lots of shopping and exploration, and it should amount up to a good time. Aside from the food, I especially need some new threads for my trip to Napa & San Francisco in February!
  8. I was in Napa back in March 08, and am heading back the first week of Feb 09. In March, I ate at: Terra - fantastic meal Martini House - highly recommended Ad Hoc - Good but not memorable Bistro Jeanty - Overall the best meal but extremely heavy, I was hurting the next day Bouchon - Good drinks & Oysters, nice atmosphere. Didn't have any entrees. Redd - A fellow chef and I walked in and the bar was full, but a couple was leaving a table by the bar. We sat down when they left, I got up to order some drinks at the bar. Apparently the hostess came over and asked my friend and I to leave, saying we "poached" a table. We thought she was kidding, but she definitely was not. No skin off my back, we left and had a great meal at Bistro Jeanty. I have a few extra days lined up after classes @ CIA. I'm planning on hitting: Incanto waiting list @ French Laundry Ubuntu The rest is up in the air. Any suggestions? Oh one more question...nobody has mentioned The Restaurant @ Meadowood here. They have some fresh Michelin stars, so it must be pretty good.
  9. I wish I remembered to take pictures of my xmas roast. Well I did remember, but that was after 24 family members had at it. Note that the remnants are mostly the ends, which are always a bit more done that the middle (which was medium rare).
  10. Here's a pic of the Glestain Santoku I settled on. Been using it everyday for about a month now. Its a great knife.
  11. I'm all for taking shortcuts when cooking, but Sandra Lee uses too much processed food. Canned soups, cake mixes, etc etc. Semi-crapola.
  12. Michael Ruhlman moderated a conference near me a few months ago. I got to meet him and he signed my copy of Charcuterie. Seemed like a very nice guy. Since I got the book I've tried a number of things from it. At work, we smoke our own salmon, other fish and various vegetables. Adding a few other things to the repertoire is great. So far, big hits have been: Duck Confit with star anise & ginger - I modified this a bit, removing and adding a few things. Really delicious. Duck Prosciutto - So easy and very delicious. I didn't change a thing, just salt and white pepper. Tasso Ham - I didn't have any pink salt, and couldn't find any in my area. I used kosher salt, and smoked the meat on high (250-275 F) for about 2 hours, then moved into a normal oven at 275 F for about 2 more hours until I hit the 150-155 F internal range. I added a bit more seasoning, and replaced the marjoram with a some herbs de provence. Result is pretty damn good. Next time I will do it with pink salt, however I need to order it online. Pork Rillettes - I've done this a number of times before with different recipes, and this by far was the easiest. I added a bit more spices than the recipe said. Various terrines - Was a bit concerned about the suggestion to wrap the terrine in plastic wrap before baking. I know that the wrap shrinks when heated, therefore would probably compress the terrine while cooking. Still seems a little wierd to me though. Overall a great book. I'm going to browse through this entire thread now.
  13. I concur with the Victorinox. It was rated the #1 Chef's knife by Cook's Illustrated a few years ago. I bought one for a "xmas auction" random gift, and its pretty nice. Well balanced, and it has a fibrox handle, which would probably hold up if it accidentally got thrown into the dishwasher (something a single male would probably do at least once). Save the money you'd spend on a more expensive knife and get a Victorinox paring knife to match it, I just got two for other gifts for $4.99 each at Amazon.
  14. Ended up ordering a Glestain 817TK. I was leaning towards the Togiharu, but thought the Glestain would hold up better to everyday use, plus it was cheaper than the Misono (my other main choice). I'll post about the knife after I get it and use it a bit. Thanks for the replies!
  15. Thanks for the post! I saw Delano's shrimp truck in Rockland today on Rt.1. $1.50/lb. Drove to work in Camden, another truck there selling them for $5/lb. Its "Christmas by the Sea" weekend there, so maybe someone is trying to capitolize on the wealthy tourists. Sad...then again my eyes may have been fooling me, its happened many a time before. I'd love to do more with Maine shrimp, but unfortunately my boss doesn't like them. I've tried to sway him with no luck.
  16. zeph74

    Turkey Brining

    I brined turkeys at work this year. 8 huge birds, turned out awesome. I mish-mashed Thomas Keller's chicken brine recipe, removed and added a few things. Most notably I used a local organic apple cider, and various spices. Used pureed apple and spices for the baste. End result was moist, perfectly seasoned, and not sweet at all...with just a hint of apple. I wrote everything down so I can repeat next year
  17. I've always thought the whole plastic wrap thing was a myth. A terrine recipe in Charcuterie (M. Ruhlman) instructs you to line the inside of your terrine mold with plastic wrap before filling and baking. Personally I've done this numerous times before. For years people have been make impromptu sausages and tamales with plastic wrap. This is a quote from Rolf Halden, PhD, PE, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the Center for Water and Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:
  18. While I didn't read this entire thread, I too am a big M&C fan. Most recipes I've read tend to overthink the whole concept of the dish. All you need is: Semi cooked pasta A good Bechamel sauce several of your favorite cheeses breadcrumbs (fresh or panko...not the powder junk) butter salt & pepper The rest is up to you. A couple things I've done which have been successful (only do one of these...not all at once): -Brush baking dish with truffle oil. -Crisp some bacon, brush baking dish with bacon grease, mix bacon into breadcrumbs (only goes on top so they don't mush) -Add lobster roe to bechamel, and a layer of raw lobster meat in the middle of the pasta before baking. -Taleggio, fresh mozz, parm and wild mushrooms...amazing. Aww man, now i'm craving some M&C
  19. At work I dry cure and cold smoke salmon at least once a week. The recipe I use is fairly simple...salt, sugar, dill. To get your chewy texture, I'd recommend using a dry cure, something like the Ruhlman recipe. Weigh down the fish while curing to squeeze out moisture. A few non-reactive/coated cookie sheets do the trick...as long as the moisture doesn't overflow. Cure at least 24 hours and rinse off the cure, dry very well and refrigerate uncovered for 8-12 hours. I'd also recommend using some kind of fruit wood with fish. Cherry works well, apple is good also. Have fun!
  20. Chef Rubber has some good stuff also (look under Ingredients/Additives)
  21. Thanks for those who posted suggestions. For others asking why I want a santoku and not a gyuto... I already have a main chef's knife, the global. I pretty much do everything with it. I want something a bit smaller that I can use for general purpose. I work at a fine dining inn with a small kitchen and cook a wide range of food for up to 35 covers a night. Just myself mostly, my boss and an intern come in when I get busy. A friend of mine has a Global Santoku, which I've used quite a bit, and like the smaller feel of it. However since my main knife is a Global I want something different. I don't really have alot of experience with dimple/hollow knives. In theory it seems it would work, I've also heard the Glestain knives are the best at this...to confirm what another poster here said.
  22. I've been looking for a Santoku knife for some time now. Unfortunately I don't live in an area that has many knife shops where I can really feel them out. What I want is, a very nice comfortable santoku knife that looks nice while being something I will have for a long time, if not forever. I'm a big fan of Japanese knives. My everyday knives are a Global 8" Chef's, a MAC 10" Yanagiba, a Kershaw serrated "sandwich" knife, a no-name Usuba, and various paring/petty knives. I'd say I use the Global the most, but its slippery handle is a bit wierd at times in my average-size hands. If anyone has had day to day use of the following knives, please share your thoughts. Thanks in advance! Glestain 817TK Glestain 817TM Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Hattori HD-5 Misono UX10 "Dimples" JCK Gekko GE-2 Shun Elite Santoku
  23. Hello I'm looking into taking a course or two during some upcoming off-time. My first choice was CIA's "Prochef" courses, which I've done before and really enjoyed it. However, there must be other options out there. After doing some research on the web, I was surprised that some of the more prominent culinary schools didn't offer similar programs. There were some 2 or 3 hour/one-day courses, but that is not what I am looking for. The only one that came close to CIA was Le Cordon Bleu, which had some short courses in Ontario and their various locations around the world. French Pastry School in Chicago seems like they have some great classes as well, but pastry isn't my focal point right now. Travel overseas is an option, but again I am limited to 7-10 days or so. France, Spain, Italy...anywhere really. Most of what I found are cheesy tourist packages. I've thought of contacting a few places to see if they would let me stage for a few days, but that takes a lot of guts to do. I am interested in any type of Culinary Arts, ethnic foods & preparation, food science, chocolates & confections, and baking & pastry. As I said before, I would love to do more breads/desserts/pastry in the future, but I can't do much with it at my current job. Thanks in advance!
  24. I was there in March '08. Beautiful location and view, best I saw in the valley during the extremely short week I was in Napa. Sat outside on the deck with a classmate from CIA. Had a couple drinks and we shared an appetizer of Manila clams with pork belly in a rich soy-ginger-lemongrassy sauce...actually it was more like an asian style barbeque sauce. Amazing dish. Actually was recommended by someone online, I can't remember where though. Would have loved to see more of their food, but we had reservations at Terra later that evening (which was outstanding).
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