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Everything posted by smashz

  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.
  15. The piece which I ran the split experiment on was the flat. Interesting comment about the result at lower temperature; that's what I'll try next. You mention that neither temperature is sufficient to render fat. As you can see in the photos, I did include two small pieces of the fat which I'd used during smoking into the bag. These were visibly smaller (maybe 35% of the initial size) when it was finished.
  16. Maybe not, but I like strong smoke flavor in brisket. I also wanted there to be enough to notice a difference. I took a WAG and figured that if I measured surface temperature and figured in carryover, that I would still be well below my target SV temperature of 146F/63C. I did the SV for 48 hours. From past smoking experience, I more suspect that it was because I used a brisket with no fat cap. I've had variable results with an added fat layer, and it probably got me this time. Unfortunately, that was the last one my butcher had. I pulled it out with a surface temperature of 124F and an internal temperature of 108F, so I don't think that carryover took it too far. But, input taken, I will try an earlier pull next time for comparison. The photo shows it with the 3 pork tenderloins added, which was only in the final 2 hours. Most of the 48 hours it was rather sparse, not crowded at all. I did check the temperature at various points around the cooker several times, and it was within measurement error. I had done SV twice before, on bacon-wrapped fillets, and did the hot pan/blowtorch sear, and it worked well. This time, however, I was doing too many pieces. Your point is well taken. (But the guest loved the theatrics.) Thanks. I was shooting for 146F. Probably high, but I was concerned about sufficient breakdown of the tough meats, and took notes from the 60+ pages here. I did not check meat core temperature during cooking; I don't have the probe for that yet. I (and the guests) enjoyed it, including the analysis of what to improve for next time. I absolutely welcome the critique - that's why I post. Thanks!
  17. I wanted to see what would happen if I smoked a brisket and then cooked it sous-vide. I now have my SV Magic set up with a 30-cup rice cooker (which I got for free through freecycle.org). - I split and rubbed a brisket. One piece was smoked (over fig wood) for 2 hours to a surface temperature of 124F (core temp of 108F). The other piece smoked normally for 8.5 hrs. to 160F. (The conventional piece was refrigerated and then warmed up to compare.) Since cooking SV is relatively new for me, I also decided to toss some other things in. - A beef short rib with S&P, sesame oil, and pomegranate molasses - Two shallots, one in ooil, the other dry. Most veggies need a higher temperature to break down cellulose, but I thought that shallots might work. In addition, a pork tenderloin went in for 2 hrs. Prepped 3 ways (reports here say that garlic does not work well in s-v, so we wanted to try variants): - S&P, caraway, garlic powder - S&P, rosemary, fresh garlic - S&P, tarragon, garlic confit Conclusions: - The smoked brisket was not up to my usual standards (a bit dry - maybe this came as a result of refrigeration while waiting for the SV), but it was flavorful - The smoked/SV brisket had more flavor (both spice and smoke) permeating the meat all the way through, and was moist and tender. It also tasted meatier. The ends were moister and more broken down than the center of the cut, suggesting that longer might be better. The short rib was outstanding, the best of the test All 3 pieces of pork tenderloin were perfectly cooked, moist and tender, although the sear may have been excessive; the white extended far past the surface. (My Austrian wife said that it was better than the best Schweinsbraten she's ever had.) - The caraway and garlic powder pork tenderloin was the most garlicky, but the caraway was mostly lost. - The tarragon note was good, and the garlic confit gave a nice mellow garlic addition - The rosemary was also good, and the fresh garlic did not lend the off note that others have reported, although it was the least garlicky I will play with the smoking/SV more. The results were good, but I expect to be able to get something better. Here is a link to other images. (Edited to add photo.)
  18. I did a search and found this thread - thanks! I found that I was just about around the corner from Luling's. The ribs had a nice leathery bark and 1/3" smoke ring. They had good tooth, but could have had a bit more flavor. The (slightly too) sweet sauce was tangy and fruity, and definitely improved the ribs. The brisket was moist and quite good, although I would have liked a bit more smoke. The cole slaw was better than the sweet potato salad. Thanks for helping me with my fix on this visit! Photo
  19. Auber seems to have posted the new (although it's not yet shipping) 1800 W model.
  20. The new model where? Auber or SousVideMagic? How can you tell which unit you are getting? ← From SousVideMagic, the Model WS-1500A. They are taking orders (and then following up in email), but Auber shows it as out of stock (likely to be aiming for the new model).
  21. I think that my post may have gotten lost at the end of the prior page.
  22. I was told that the new model has some improvements (but I don't yet have mine to verify it): - new enclosure with better heat sinking, so it can handle up to 1800W heater. - auto tuning, so you don't have to tune PID settings manually - power output control - you can cut down power output like making a 2000W heater as a 1000W heater by specifying 50% power output. - timer alarm buzz
  23. I'm new here, although I've been following this thread from beginning to end, including the side threads on equipment and meals. It has been informative and inspirational to me as a home cook, and I've started to jump in. A big thank you to all of the contributors, and to the various tables and end results posted. I did my first SV with some nice bacon-wrapped angus fillets that my cousin had gifted me ; these came frozen and vacuum sealed, so I used them as is, with no seasoning other than the bacon. I cooked one for 4 hrs., and the other for 1.5 hrs. I aimed for 130 F, but they were 122 F when I took them out. I seared them on the top and sides for just a few seconds in a very hot cast iron pan to give color, crust, and a bit of flavor. (I had planned to sear them with the blowtorch, but I forgot as crunch time came.) Not having (yet) any dedicated equipment, I ended up using a pot of water sitting in an electric skillet. The skillet was filled with water, and the pot sat on some skewers so it did not have direct contact to the skillet. I was able to keep the water between 126 F and 133 F; a wider range than I wanted, but still not a disaster. The meat was very uniformly cooked, and very tender, much more so than others of the same batch I had grilled. The 4 hr. one was slightly more tender, but just barely. The strong bacon taste I'd feared was not present; it was well balanced, and nicely beefy. It was comparable to sous-vide beef I've had at several good restaurants. I served them with a shallot and Merlot reduction; I emptied the juices from the bag into the reduction and reduced it slightly further. We also had a cauliflower & leek purée, garden asparagus sautéed with garlic and raisins, and a salad of garden greens. Photos of the whole thing are here (and the purple plate really does not show it off well): http://www.flickr.com/photos/smashz/sets/72157604105656712/ I have an Auber controller on order, and several options for baths on hand. I have a few questions: - In general, talk about contamination is for surface germs. If a Jaccard is used, does it move surface contamination into the bulk, and is this a problem? - I do lots of BBQing, and have followed the BBQ/SV mentions with great interest. I, for example, rub a brisket and then smoke it at 180-210 F for about 18 hrs. I'd like to transition this to SV (and plan to report once I do). For those who have done BBQ/SV hybrids: - does the tendency of a little flavoring going a long way also carry over here? For example, is a little smoking (before SV) adequate or even overpowering? Is a little spice rub too much? (I like things pretty spicy, so I do a rather heavy rub/crust.) - after the SV, is there a visible smoke ring? - Any recommendations for pulled pork? From reading some comments way upstream, it seems like it might be closer to a confit than a lower-temperature SV. And to lump things all into one post, there was some discussion upstream about smoked salt. I make it in my smoker. I simply dissolve sel gris into a small bowl, and then smoke until dry and crusty, usually when I'm doing other stuff. I like making it with cherry wood, but have also gotten good salt with fig wood. The salt itself tends to crawl up the bowl as it crystallizes, and usually fully envelops the container, inside and out.
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