Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Alcuin

  1. Toasting shrimp paste doesn't smell very good, but it's well worth it. If I forget to take out trash that has shrimp shells or fish bones or viscera (especially from sardines) in the summer, it becomes unpleasant right quick. Also, I heartily agree about the over cooking of eggs. If they brown at all in the pan, they can have unpleasant odors. I don't find this to be the case if I brown under a broiler and eat cold though.
  2. I still maintain that the first sear is to kill the bugs. This layer probably dries out a lot after 24 hours in a dry oven which is why he cuts it off. I suppose also that the sear firms up the protein a bit and helps keep the meat from just flopping over. Oh yes, he does say its to kill bacteria, as well as two other reasons: to provide aroma and later for the color of the meat itself. Initially its about bacteria then after that's taken care of it produces (says he) the other two effects. If you watch it again (around 5:50) he says its for color and then talks about evenness of color. To me, this sounds like a bit of a mix up. What I think he might mean is that trimming off the dried exterior and line of grey between the crust and meat produces a more even color after a second quicker application of more intense heat as well as possibly producing a less dry crust at that.
  3. Yeah, the initial sear is to kill off the bad stuff, but he re-sears it to redevelop that crust. Its like searing a protein THEN putting it in the bag to sous vide it - not the best idea. nextguy hit it 100% i think - sous vide would be a much better method, but since most people don't have good ways of maintaining controlled water baths at home, he suggests this method. I'm sure he'd do sous vide but if since this recipe is developed as a part of this show, which is about recreating classic stuff (he does spag bol, pizza, stuff like that), he has to use equipment that his audience might have. Also, he does mention the torch producing color inside the meat, as if the non-crusty part was affected by the searing. He says this when he cuts off the initial crust. I'm not sure I buy this but he'd know better than me since he's Blumenthal and he's done the recipe which I haven't. It doesn't make sense to me intellectually though.
  4. He also sears the outside of the meat, then cuts the seared piece off. I don't quite understand that. He says its to produce an aroma and destroy bacteria. But why cut it off? Later he says it's for color, but cuts it off and sears again. There was already a crust though, so I don't quite understand it. I suspect it might be so there's little to no line of grey beneath the crust, but I think the return on that investment is minimal at best. But overkill seems to be the idea here anyway in his "search for perfection." Here's the video, with a mushroom ketchup and classic salad too. I bet it's good.
  5. Brined two 3.5lb chickens, then smoke roasted them. One was glazed with habanero apricot and another was rubbed. Took them out just in time and they are incredibly juicy and smoky. Too bad I didn't get pictures, but I will be eating them all week. Tonight, jicama cucumber salad with smoked chicken, advocado and supremes of orange and lemon (2:1) with plenteous cilantro. Tomorrow, maybe quesadillas.
  6. I have an idea of a style I want to work with, not a preset recipe of any sort. But style can lead you in so many directions-it's good to have some if vague idea that will structure your choice.
  7. I tend to do things in themes too when I'm doing this, but its more like a general idea of what I want. So maybe I go to the store looking to have some pasta dish with tomatoes, salad on the side. If cherry toms look good, I might grab some spinach, whole wheat pasta, the tomatoes and make a pasta dish out of that. Or if not, I might get canned toms and a can of tuna to do spicy tuna spaghetti. Or I might have sausages in mind-if the bratwurst I like are in, I'll grill them with a salad on the side. If not, I'll get Italian sausages and some peppers, and do that on a roll. Thinking of sausages might lead me to orechiette with rabe and sausage though. Or maybe I'll go looking for something Chinese, say chicken and sugar snaps with black bean sauce--I might leave making Imperial shrimp but the decision process was easier. Having some rough idea that you're willing to let guide you through constructing your dinner helps make it less overwhelming. Also, I find on nights I have to produce something quick I like to double up some aspect of the plate. I might do protein alone and a salad that combines veg and starch, or protein and starch with a standalone veg, etc.
  8. Alcuin


    I've actually tried this once and it was excellent. I don't visit Popeye's much (last time I did was to try it with sherry...). Now I do reach for sherry to go with my fried chicken though-I like a bone dry, flinty fino. Definitely a pairing to try, but you can do it with any slightly spicy fried chicken (I use Old Bay in my flour and sriracha in my yogurt/buttermilk marinade).
  9. Alcuin

    Cooking with vinegar

    I add some kind of acidity to almost everything I cook. I don't keep a ton of vinegars (Chinkiang, red, rice, white and red wine, one with raspberry bought accidentally but used occasionally, white distilled, sherry, apple cider). Maybe that is a lot. I also always have lemons and limes and will squirt it on everything: chicken off the grill, guacamole (lime and lots of it for me). When I started adding it at the end of a batch of chili it felt like a revolution: I've never looked back. Also, not vinegar but it serves a similar purpose: for wine sauces or anything with a decent base of wine (a braise) I like to add a little bit of raw wine at the end. It stays vibrant and you get the acidity or the wine, echoing and lifting up some muted elements of the sauce. Just like a good wine, a sauce should have good structure as well as a lively set of top notes and the raw wine helps with this.
  10. I used to live in the Philadelphia area where bushels of crabs were a very regular occurrence (some earliest memories are chasing crabs in the yard with my cousins). Now I live in Madison, WI and fish is pretty rare for me to eat. It's very expensive so I really don't eat much of it. If I lived in a place where it was less expensive, I'd probably have a big five but I don't. There are really only three places I know of to get fish around here: Whole Foods, Seafood Center, and a Seafood Center satellite in my co-op. These three are pretty good, but very pricey. That said, I usually eat cheap stuff like shrimp, mussels, and squid, all of which are cheap. Baby octopus every once in a while is nice and inexpensive but I don't usually want to bother braising it so I rarely eat it though it is available. When its fish I usually go for trout (pretty cheap) or whole fish like sea bream (I like to chop it into chunks for fish curry) or even a whole snapper if I want to splurge (very rare). Tuna is usually too expensive and I don't buy much salmon. I like walleye but even that can be pricey (usually I either just eat it at a fish fry or catch it myself which is all too rare). When it's around (it is now), I'll have grilled sardines once or twice. I wish I had a top five and that I could eat more fish. I have to say though that going over this list my access to a variety of seafood is pretty good. There's always squid, frequently octopus, always walleye and perch in addition to the usuals like tuna, salmon, cod, tilapia. Whole fish can be had and sometimes there is roe (usually salmon, but sometimes flying fish). The Seafood Center (I usually shop at its satellite down the street from me) does a really good job bringing a variety of things in; whether people take advantage of that variety I don't know.
  11. I like to marinate with citrus juice (mainly lemon) too but for me it's not about penetration and I certainly don't usually give it enough time for that anyway (~2 hours most times). The lemon (or whatever) does add a flavor that I like: is it in the meat? I don't care because really I just want the flavor of lemon and the bite from the acid to play with the richness of the skin-and it does.
  12. For a lot of Chinese and some other Asian dishes, I prefer to add sugar to taste rather than follow the recipe. I find some I like just a little bit less most of the time so that it just adds richness and not a perceptible sweetness which I don't really like. This goes for some drinks recipes too-I like it a bit drier than some of the esteemed cocktailians whose books I turn too.
  13. It seems to me, for what it's worth, that the offense here is bad writing on Ozersky's part, not lack of ethics. From what else I've read from him or seen of him on TV, this piece seems in keeping with his usual blustery but ultimately pointless and at times uninformed writing and what seems to me to be an almost comical myopia when it comes to his relationship with his audience. Maybe the audience of Times buys what he's selling, but to me it's silly. Anyway, I don't think he willingly set out to be deceptive or trade favors, and I don't think this is an issue of him being unethical, just dumb as he himself says in his clarification to the original piece. Really, its Time who should be embarrassed. If the excuse is that it's just a blog, that's mighty weak and spells doom for journalistic ethics since this kind of material is going to be distributed online more and more. Does that mean that most anything goes in a blog? I hope not, especially if it has a major organization's name on it like Time. Their name should mean something, even if Ozersky's doesn't have to.
  14. Alcuin

    Dinner! 2010

    The Layer Cake style is big in every way--lots of alcohol, lots of fruit, and lots of tannins. When you get a young wine like this made to have a lot of everything, its common for it to need some time in the glass or even better the decanter. When you drink young wines like this they tend to be "tight" right out of the bottle, meaning that the tannins overpower the other elements of the wine making it taste astringent. That coupled with its fairly high alcohol will make it taste very strong and unpleasant. When it gets a bit of oxygen, often the fruit will come out and it won't taste so harsh. I drank a young Chianti last night and it took about 2 hours (maybe, I wasn't counting...) for it to come out-it tasted very bitter right out of the bottle but showed some fruit after time. You want to treat old wine in the opposite way typically if its properly aged. The process described above more or less happens in the bottle. The vast majority of wine these days is meant to be drunk young, so it helps to let most wines breath. It can't hurt anyway. You can speed up the process by putting it into a decanter giving it lots of surface area and swirling every once and a while--it will make a difference for some of your young table wines.
  15. I've heard of people doing simple infusions. I've never had it, but from what I gather it's disgusting.
  16. The long answer is "yes" and the short one is "why?" Do you have a driving interest in understanding absinthe so that taking it apart and rebuilding it to see how it works appeals to you or do you just want some absinthe? It would take a lot of knowledge and maybe even equipment (e.g. a still) if you want to make it palatable. With some good and great absinthes available for purchase, you could just buy one and save the time and money. Have you tried many absinthes to get a baseline of what you're after?
  17. One way I use it is for pan roasted potatoes. Cut fingerlings in half, crush some garlic, then add butter and olive oil to the pan with the garlic. Brown the garlic to infuse with the flavor, then add the fingerlings cut side down. Put the top on and roast for 15 or so minutes depending on the thickness of the potatoes. Discard the garlic, season with salt and pepper. This way, you get a hint of nicely toasted garlic but none of the chunks which don't look good and can be bitter when they brown. There's a nice garlic flavor here, but you might not notice it if you didn't know it was there--it just tastes better than potatoes normally do without revealing why. Plus, these potatoes are meant to be quick and easy--its easier than chopping garlic, and little bits of garlic on potatoes wouldn't work pan-roasted anyway.
  18. That's how I've always understood it, too. It's just not how I actually do it. This is how I do it too. I add all ingredients, make sure it's all integrated, add ice, stir, add more to make sure all the liquid's in real close proximity to ice, and drink. Of course, I'm no bartender; this is just what I've always done. It doesn't really make sense to me to do it any other way (unless speed is required, but that's not the case for me).
  19. The OED doesn't seem to solve the problem. Here's the series oriented OED definition (all other definitions have something to do with things flying/moving: 7. a. The series of stairs between any two landings; hence a series of steps, terraces, etc., ascending without change of direction. [so F. volée.] b. A series of locks on a canal, rising like steps one above the other. c. A set of rails or hurdles. [Possibly a distinct word, repr. OE. fleohta, = Ger. flechte hurdle.] Here's a special addition to the definition "flight" that OED doesn't connect to any other sense: DRAFT ADDITIONS DECEMBER 2008 flight, n.1 A selection of small portions of a particular type of food or drink, esp. wine, intended to be tasted together for the purpose of comparison. 1978 N.Y. Times 29 Mar. C17/2 There were four flights of wines, as they say in the trade, four spätleses, four ausleses,..[etc.]. 1983 Washington Post (Nexis) 14 Dec. E1 They turned the dinner into a smoked salmon tasting... Each flight of the tasting was garnished differently. 1997 Sydney Morning Herald (Nexis) 17 June (Good Living) 2 An inviting line-up of the famous single malt whiskeys available in tasting flights. 2005 L. L. NARLOCK & N. GARFINKEL Wine Lover's Guide Wine Country 151 The tasting bar offers three to six flights of wine in several categories: classic, prestige, all white, and all red.
  20. It's all about the eggs, or rather, what the chickens that laid the eggs ate. Farm eggs from pastured chickens tend to have bright yellow yolks. The eggs I use on a a daily basis have more muted color. I think that's where the bright color of pasta comes from: chicken food.
  21. Not that this is the drink I would necessarily recommend it for, but if you've never made a cocktail with Thomas Handy you are missing out, good sir. Well I fibbed a bit there, Andy. I have made an Old Fashioned with it a couple times, and I did try a Manhattan, but something about it wasn't right, so I didn't repeat it. I should have said that I'd rather not experiment with it unless I can be sure of the outcome. What's the best way to make it work in a Manhattan? Just use less? What other drinks would you say it's worth using in? (we can move this offshoot to the Rye thread if you'd prefer) Well as the name suggests, and KD1191 confirms, a Sazerac with it is a special treat. I like to use it at full strength, Bobby Huegel at Anvil likes to cut it 50/50 with the "baby" Sazerac Rye. If you're not cutting it, be sure to give it a nice, long stir. Herbsaint would be ok I suppose (am I the only one not impressed with the "new" formula?) but if you have any real Absinthe, especially a particularly pungent one, it will really take it somewhere special. The other thing to do with it is to mix it into a Manhattan, half Handy, half Carpano Antica Formula, 2 dashes of bitters, up with a twist. Whoever you have to kill, bribe, or compromise your dignity to to obtain a bottle of Carpano Antica is worthwhile, if you can experience this drink. There are others, too (a Slope is actually pretty nice with some tweaks using this whiskey) but that should get you started. I think this is the best Manhattan I've ever had--I reserve it for myself as a special treat too. It really is amazing. Thanks to thirtyoneknots for the idea and proportions which I think I found upthread a long time ago. I've been drinking them sparingly ever since. The Slope sounds interesting with Handy too--how much whiskey do you use? I don't have R&W--I use Giffard's Abricot du Roussillon--but I don't think it matters that much since I enjoy it where people use R&W (which I'm not sure I've ever tasted.)
  22. Alcuin

    what is corn

    The Old English word "corn" means "grain, seed, berry" so it just meant tiny chunk of something (though even then it was used to gloss the Latin word for grain). That's why corned beef means beef cured in tiny chunks of salt. I suspect that the word was a bit more fluid way back when and could be applied to whatever grain was around: in America that was corn and in England, wheat. Now the word's meaning is more rigidly crystallized, so when somebody says corn I think about shucking an ear, slathering with butter, and jumping in teeth first.
  23. I like to add a couple ginger slices with the garlic. Sometimes I grate about a teaspoon of ginger too and squeeze its juice into the chicken stock before I put it the wok if I have time/inclination, but this is mainly for gai lan. For bok choy and similar greens I usually go for a full on fried garlic flavor.
  24. In my experience, people from WI who grew up watching their parents and grandparents drinking brandy OF's this way tend to be very wedded to them. Often, I'll talk to people about how I like an OF (rye, rich dem syrup, bitters, lemon twist) and the history behind it and they kind of smile and nod their head. Later, if I mention it again, it's like I never said anything. There's a really strong tradition of brandy OF's and even brandy Manhattans in WI--they might like the spirit-bitter-sugar-twist cocktail, but I'd be willing to wager they wouldn't recognize it as an Old Fashioned.
  • Create New...