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smashz

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  1. I've been wondering about SV workflow in restaurant volumes. (I'm a home cook who has now done lots of successful one-offs, but would like to do a larger dinner party which may happen in waves.) How do you manage long-cooking SV for service, and still be assured of having enough? Let's assume that we're cooking something that takes much longer than 1 hour to cook, like short ribs, for example. Do you cook to completion, then chill or freeze, then bring it back up to temp once ordered? Or do you hold it at temp, or maybe below (but still safe), then finish for service?
  2. At his recent talk at Google, someone asked Alton about SV. He is, of course, very familiar with it. But he said that he won't get into it on his show because it is not mainstream enough, and there are too many food safety issues at the low end, which is where it has the most interesting results.
  3. Thanks for the excellent report! I'm taking notes...
  4. On the coolness of the food, someone upstream suggested to me that for things like salmon, which I can cook in my hot tub, to serve it on a warmed plate. I now do this with all my SV, and no one has complained since.
  5. Congratulations, and it looks like a great trip! The place you want to go in Roses is Rafa's, Adria's favorite seafood restaurant. It is a small, simple place with excellent food, but you should get your hotel to make a reservation for you ahead of time. We went to Rafa's on our second trip to El Bulli, and found it to be wonderful. El Bulli visit #1. If you have time, I'd suggest a trip over to Cadaques, and to Dali's house there, with a perfect honeymoon vibe. The Teatro Dali in Figueres is great, but can be really crowded. If you don't have a car, you can probably find a tour. In Barcelona, your list looks great. I'd also suggest that you eat at one of the counters in the Mercado de la Boquería. We really enjoyed breakfast at the one in the left corner as you enter from Las Ramblas.
  6. It does not break down an alginate skin. El Bulli makes several cocktails with spherified alcohol. A friend of mine just made spherified Cointreau in champagne.
  7. Thanks! I've added these to my list. We were at Bar Mut a couple of years ago, and had a bit of a mixed experience. They said that the kitchen was closed, but that they would scare up a few things. A little while later some (seeming) regulars came in, and, lo and behold, the kitchen opened.
  8. I rubbed and smoked a brisket for 2 hours over fig wood, then SV 48 hrs. @ 146F/63C. It was very good, and much better than the conventionally smoked one that I compared to it. Photo
  9. In Barcelona (your list is good!), consider Taller de Tapas also; we had several good meals there. Not specifically a restaurant, but Cacao Sampaka is wonderful, especially the C/ Consell de Cent, 292 location, which does have a cafe. There you can get some astoundingly good hot chocolate. El Xampanyet is fun, but make sure that you get there early enough; they close earlier than you'd expect. Pinotxo struck me as a bit more touristy, maybe partly because of its location right near the main entrance. We did have a really good early breakfast at the stall in the Boqueria at the left front corner (go in the main entrance, turn left at the first aisle and go to the end; the place is the free-standing stall (not along the wall) at that corner). If you like Absinthe, the real authentic experience is at Bar Marsella. It's in a bad part of town, and only opens (somewhat unreliably) after 10 PM. But it seems like a throwback to the early 20th century. Of course, while you're in Barcelona, you must go to Sagrada Familia. It will be crowded, but don't let that deter you. A wonder of the world. In San Sebastian, we loved Cuchara de San Telmo. Sadly, our timing was such that we were unable to get into the alta cocina places. For tapas, we also enjoyed Bar Astelena and Bar Ganbara. In Madrid, make sure that you go into one on the Museos de Jamón. It's not a museum, but a Jamón restaurant/tapas bar with a wall of hams that will make you do a quick calculation.
  10. Another attempt to make Spherified Pomodoro Caprese. This time I consider it to mostly be a success. At first I wanted to make spherified tomato water, but then I realized that we had absolutely perfect, sweet currant tomatoes. So these were placed into a spoonful of liquefied bufalo mozzarella, which was then spherified, using the El Bulli recipe. This resulted in a tomato floating inside the mozzarella. I carefully placed these onto a spoon. I made some tiny, olive oil soaked, crunchy croutons; one went onto each spoon. I then added some Extra Vecchio Balsamic Vinegar (Sereni), a pinch of Hawaiian sea salt, and a small pile of basil dust (homemade basil oil into tapioca maltodextrin). Of course, you had to eat it in one go. You got the mozzarella pop, and then the tomato pop; everything blended in your mouth. The textures worked well, and the flavors were perfect. I only wisht that the tomatoes had not been visible inside the mozzarella. spherified caprese
  11. ← Yes, I do sear the meat in a hot (600F+) cast iron skillet; I've done this since my very first trials (except when I did the 2-hr. BBQ and then put it into SV). But that thin layer is not like a normally cooked fillet, which has a relatively thick warmer surface, even if the interior is still rare. (Of course, I did not sear the salmon.) I have warmed the plates, although not meticulously. I'll pay more attention to that in the future.
  12. I just did a salmon fillet (with olive oil infused with bay, peppercorns, and vanilla) for the first time (at 45°C/113°F), and everyone loved the flavor. But several people found it to be unsatisfying because it was "cold." I've felt the same thing with a 52°C/126°F beef fillet. Clearly, the SV method produces the temperature that it does, but has anyone else here encountered the sentiment, and how do you deal with it?
  13. Duck fat freezes just fine. You can put it into a tub and scoop out what you need - no need for vacuum sealing. I have two tubs - one normal, and one smoked. I often scoop out a tablespoon of it to enclose in a sous-vide item.
  14. As several people have slipped in ahead of this, brisket is collagen rich; that's why it makes such a magical transformation when smoking or braising. I was looking for several basic things in the experiment: - Is a 2-hour smoke then SV enough to impart smoke flavor? YES - Is the SV result better than the smoked result under set conditions? YES - Do the conditions chosen give great results? NO. (But certainly not terrible) I chose WAG conditions with the reasoning that because brisket is tough and benefits from long and low, but the lower temperatures for a better cut of meat did not feel right, I'd need to go higher. Thus, 146F. Why 48 hrs? It seemed long enough. But, given the result (tougher and drier than I'd like, more gray than pink) and comments, I suspect that it was high enough to contract the muscle (squeezing out too much water), negating the benefits of collagen breakdown. So, as mentioned above by several posters, I'll try it again at a lower temperature, probably for 2 or 3 different times.
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