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Everything posted by tkassum

  1. Here are a couple of in-process shots: 1) Sofrito - I used half the oil as per others' recommendations. Seemed to turn out nicely - we will see 2) First step of dashi - I was able to source the dried sardine and the squid tentacle. My wife and I thought that this was the smell of Japan- smoky, fishy dashi. So good. Excited to see how this turns out.
  2. Hi everyone I just came back from a business trip to Japan. I went to a market and I sourced all of the dried fish for the recipe. Working on it this weekend. Wish me luck, and please note I may ask you for some guidance as I muddle my way through...
  3. Hello all So I have been cooking with this book since it came out and I have had mostly great experiences. The only things that have not really worked for me were the cereal milk panna cotta (as I mentioned in an earlier post) and the spicy pork sausage with rice cakes (too spicy, though I may not have had the proper ingredients). Huge victories included the fried chicken with octo vinaigrette, which has become a staple in my house, and the pork belly ssam (mustard seed sauce here is amazing). Also the deep fried apple pie (pictured below) is a massive win. I just came back from a weeklong business/pleasure trip to Japan, where the attention to detail and execution in even the simplest convenience store take-out meal stunned me. I ate expensive meals and cheap meals, and I liked the cheap meals best of all. I can see very clearly why this was such a formative experience for Chang. While I was there, I bought some katsuobashi (bonito fish flakes) to make dashi with. But I noticed something in the book: Chang talks about the use of bonito flakes for making dashi and this dashi can be used to make ramen. However, I can't find anything in the book explaining how to make ramen from dashi. In the book, he uses his bacon dashi in some other dishes - clams, as a braise - but not ramen. Does the group have any ideas on how to use dashi to make ramen? Simmer pork bones in dashi for a few hours? Something else? Any ideas would be helpful. Before this book I cooked and ate French almost exclusively. Today for breakfast I made myself slow-poached eggs in alkaline noodles with sriacha. Wow.
  4. Hello everyone I bought a baby pig leg from my local independent butcher this week, which is a generally excellent and highly regarded institution. It looked wonderful but when I unwrapped it I noticed a slightly off flavor - sort of like a combination of formaldehyde and sweat. I decided not to worry about it and instead went ahead with my recipe (a pork confit out of Keller's Under Pressure. The recipe involved putting the entire leg, skin on, in the water bath for 8 hours at 175 degrees. Afterwards, I took out the leg and dissected off the meat to make little pork cubes. I've attached a pic of what the final dish looked like, for your viewing pleasure. The "off" flavor seemed concentrated in the skin and subcutaneous fat. It was so disconcerting for me that I ended up tossing the skin entirely and just turning the confited meat into a 'hash' of sorts. The meal ended up okay but I wanted to get some thoughts and suggestions. Has anyone else had experiences like this with weird 'off' flavors from skin-on pork, especially baby pig? Any ideas on how to avoid? Things to request at the butcher? Thanks
  5. Whole thing. Konbu, mushrooms, chicken, pork bones, bacon. Took all day but not that much active time. Also - after we were done with the mushrooms we pickled them. Tasty! Glad to hear pickled sunchokes turned out okay. I hate sunchokes - maybe they are nice when pickled
  6. We made the ramen last night. It's wonderful. I recommend it highly. The instructions are near-perfect. Eggs were cooked in a water bath. We also made the cereal milk panna cotta but it didn't turn out right. Going to try again.
  7. Here's a question that may have been addressed earlier but it's tough to sort through this massive tome. I am looking to take the next step in my sous vide life. I am an avid home chef and I have really taken to SV cooking. I've been using an Auber PID and a crock pot with a Foodsaver and my results so far have been very good. Given how much I've been cooking SV, I think it's worth upgrading my equipment. But I do need to figure out the merits of any purchases before I make them. Cost is not a huge issue though obviously I'd rather save than spend. I would love to hear the group's thoughts on the merits of upgrading to a full laboratory immersion circulator, or if the money is better spent elsewhere. What will a Polyscience do that an Auber will not? Is a commercial vacuum sealer a better purchase? Thanks. FYI sous vide duck leg confit is a daily staple in my house.
  8. I bought 'Home Cooking' at Bonnie Slotnick cookbooks in New York. After being inspired by her rapturous description of black cake at the end of the book, we made it ourselves. We liked it so much that we made our own black cake for our wedding cake. Thanks, Laurie
  9. Glad to hear there's another Bostonian out there! We just moved here from New York and are trying to import our favorite tastes from back home. I have a dual-fuel oven - gas burners, electric oven. I wonder if my oven ran really hot. I have been looking at pork belly recipes all over the internet trying to figure out how to optimize this. If I can get it right, there's a whole new world of culinary experiences waiting for me.
  10. tkassum

    Dinner! 2009

    Just got David Chang's Momofuku cookbook. Started with one of our faves - steamed buns with pork belly. See the cookbook thread for a discussion of the technical issues that accompanied this recipe. Still tasty though!
  11. We got the book this week and cooked out of it tonight. We have dined at each of the restaurants in the Momofuku mini-empire so we were excited to try out some of our favorites. Before I report on the cooking adventures, I would like to defend the writing voice he uses in the book. It is authentic and natural and I probably drop more f-bombs in casual conversation than he does. I also like his honesty - e.g. pg. 80, on buying premade steamed buns: "How many sandwich shops bake their own bread? Right. Don't kill yourself." Or page 294, Sources: "My answer about sources is pretty simple: Google it." It is really refreshing to hear this after so much precious cookbook prose. So: tonight we decided to make the Momofuku pork buns (pg 79), something we have had at the restaurant many times and have always loved. Overall: It was a success but there were some minor technical issues that will require fixing next time. Pretty standard for the first time cooking from a recipe. Pic of finished product is below. Some notes: 1) The buns (pg 81) were great. We also purchased, as a comparable, some frozen buns from our local Chinese grocery store and they weren't as good. As I write this, we have 40-something more buns that are being steamed. 2) The pickled cucumbers were tasty and easy. I wish I had known about this approach earlier. 3) The belly itself - this is where we had problems. i) The belly we purchased (from Savenor's in Boston) had the skin on, and my butchering was, well, imperfect. ii) The belly cooking technique suggested in the book (450 degrees then down to 250) resulted in a mostly-burned belly that was not completely rendered, so the final product was, in spots, alternating between charcoal and fat. iii) The belly curing in salt and sugar resulted in a too-salty crust. There was some user error here - I should have taken the belly out earlier, in particular. But a quick check of the internet revealed that Chang had provided this recipe to Gourmet magazine (sob!) in 2008, and his technique at that time was quite different - he essentially braises it at low temperature first and then cooks at high heat. Next time, we will make the following changes: a) we will brush off the salt/sugar rub before tossing the belly into the oven; b) we will cook the belly at a lower temperature, maybe first, before browning the belly. The browning will be watched like a hawk to prevent burning; c) we will try to buy less-fatty belly in the first place. If these changes do not result in "perfect" belly we will revert to the Gourmet technique and see if that works. All in all, this was still a really successful dish, and easy too. I would recommend it. Tariq
  12. tkassum

    Dinner! 2009

    Percyn, that's really helpful, thanks Thanks, Shelby. Going to have a pizza party on Saturday - about 8 people coming over and bringing their favorite toppings. Will photograph and post!
  13. tkassum

    Dinner! 2009

    Had a fun weekend in the kitchen.. We made a roquefort and leek quiche. Crust was as per the Cook's Illustrated Vodka-based pate brisee. Filling was as per Thomas Keller's recipe in the Bouchon cookbook. This turned out beautifully. Quick tip on this - use lots of extra pastry dough! CI suggests that one only use half of the dough per quiche - but to do it properly a la Keller, you need twice as much. Also have been getting closer to perfection on the margherita pizza. The crust was as per Roberto Donna's formula as seen in a video with Julia Child. Video is here: http://bit.ly/LElD Finally, my fiancee and I made some wonderful macarons. Here's a question: are there any good threads on food photography? I am a pretty decent photographer with full-sized objects but so far food has been completely vexing.
  14. Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Glad to hear a confectionery hobby does not have to be financially ruinous. I am looking forward to further experiences as a chocolate-fed guinea pig.
  15. Hi there My fiancee has just taken up chocolate- and dessert-making as a serious hobby. This is good news, particularly for me. However, she is currently freaking out (as am I) about how expensive chocolate is. For example, Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections has a recipe for an Earl Grey ganache that she is about to attempt. But at retail, it takes about $50 worth of chocolate! This is using Scharffen Berger at retail. Any suggestions for how to do this without the staggering expense? Does it take the use of an alternative chocolate brand? Is there a way to buy it wholesale? We live in NYC so everything is expensive, but I would imagine the power of the Internet could be harnessed somehow. The bottom line is that we want to have the freedom to experiment and make mistakes, which is the heart and soul of cooking. Thanks, and thanks to eGullet.
  16. tkassum

    Veal stock

    So in the spirit of scientific experimentation, I made a veal stock using Ruhlman's formula as described here. I compared this against some stock that I had left over from the last time I made it Bouchon-style. This is not a perfect comp - the Bouchon stock was older, and the source of the veal bones was different from one stock to another. That said, I found that the Ruhlman stock was more "stocky" than the Bouchon stock - it had a bit more flavor and was generally more robust. This makes sense in the context of Keller's stocks being intentionally super-light. I am finding that when using the stocks for quick pan reductions, I have to use a much greater quantity of the Keller stock to get a flavorful reduction vs the Ruhlman stock. The Keller stock is probably a better bet for a cook who can handle and manipulate flavors with subtlety. For someone ham-fisted like me, the Ruhlman stock works great. Also, I hasten to point out that the Ruhlman instructions are much easier. One other thing - Veal Stock is really an amazing substance. Using it in casual cooking has really elevated the quality of my meals.
  17. Just wanted to share something fun with the single most helpful internet message board I have yet encountered... I went to dinner at Bouchon last weekend and of all people, guess who I ran into? Mr. Keller himself. He was very nice. I mentioned that I had been trying to cook out of Under Pressure and he chuckled a bit and said, "how's that going for you?" I laughed. He asked if we had the correct equipment and I said that I didn't have a commercial vacuum sealer so it was hard to do vegetables correctly. He suggested I try the recipe for Duck Breast in the French Laundry cookbook using the sous vide techniques in Under Pressure - he said that turns out really well. Has anyone done that? T
  18. tkassum

    Veal stock

    Quick FYI - the veal stock recipe in the Bouchon book is very similar but does not include the second extraction (the remouillage). I have made this and it is very very tasty.
  19. Quick SV report: Brined 1.5" thick pork rib chops for about 1 hour in sugar/salt mix, then popped them in the water bath with nothing else in the bag for 12 hours at 131 degrees as per Douglas Baldwin (*thanks Douglas!). Then I fished them out and seared them in a pan with smoking vegetable oil for a couple of minutes. I am a pork chop enthusiast but the texture and flavor here went well beyond anything I had previously cooked. This was a remarkable demonstration of what can be done with this method. Also a pan sauce would have been super-easy using the juices from the bag. Good, good stuff
  20. tkassum

    Foie Gras: Recipes

    Question for eGulleters: I want to buy a lobe of foie gras in NYC but the smallest ones I can find are about 1.5 lbs. So this is at minimum a $75 item. My fiancee and I plan to share a lovely Sauternes in an intimate setting with a perfectly seared piece of foie. Sounds great, doesn't it? The question is, what do I do with the inevitable remaining 1.25 lbs of foie gras? Can it be frozen and thawed for future use? Do I have to invite a bunch of friends over for a next day foie gras party? Sell it on craigslist? Thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks everyone and thanks eGullet TK
  21. My fiancee and I went to Ko last Saturday for lunch service. It was a very similar menu to that described on the previous page. It would be sort of pointless to list all the dishes here but suffice it to say that there were a few standouts and a couple of clunkers, like any tasting menu. I didn't feel like it was a transcendent meal. And the privilege of interacting with the chefs seems kind of overrated to me - there's a certain amount of magic and theater in a top restaurant that happens behind the scenes, and a great amount of drama in the sequencing and presentation. If you truly want to go behind the curtain you can generally get a peek. But this felt like a play where you could see the director - an interesting device but ultimately a distraction. Also, it's not like you can see the real prep behind anything - all you can really see is assembly. One thing truly bothered me: at the end of service I got an espresso. They charged me $4 for it. After dropping over $600 on tasting menus with wine I figured they wouldn't nickel and dime us. Other restaurants with similarly luxurious aspirations can afford to give you a cup of free coffee. We will not be returning.
  22. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. All's well that ends well. I used alwang's idea of keeping them in the bath a little longer. They turned out perfectly. Guests were very happy with them and so was I. Picture is attached. They were served with brussels sprouts in mustard sauce and a millefeuille of sweet potatoes with truffle oil. Looking forward to more SV adventures.
  23. Thanks Ruth and Alwang. Ruth, was it you who responded to my deep frying question some months back? Today I am doing four legs in the Crock Pot. I think you guys are right about the size of the vessel. I will look into a larger rice cooker and simultaneously will start bugging my scientist friend for an immersion circulator. I am going to let these legs go a little longer as per your suggestions.
  24. This is a question that I think has been addressed to some extent over the course of the thread but I'd love to get some specific thoughts on something I'm cooking. I've been experimenting with SV for a few months now. I have had some great results and have found some things I wouldn't do again. As we speak I am SVing duck legs confit in preparation for a holiday meal tonight. Plan is to go 8 hours at 180 degrees F. My question is the following: when I put the legs in the bath, the temperature dropped to 160 and, an hour later, has only crept back to 172. Do I start my 8 hours from the initial immersion, or from the time we are at 180? Equipment: Auber PID, Euro-Pro Crock Pot. I need to cultivate my scientist friends in order to procure a real immersion circulator. Thanks
  25. Hi Ruth Thanks for your helpful reply. Funnily enough we rolled on down to Canal Street today and went to New Kam Man marketplace. In addition to ninja-themed mugs we also bought a gallon of "Knife Brand" peanut oil. Looking forward to using this going forward. I think you're dead right about the canola oil. It is probably also a function of degradation at temperature - we used canola to cook doughnuts at 325 degrees, which were not at all fishy, but when we raised the temperature to 360 degrees for potato skin crisps, the fishiness came out. Funny how food science actually has applications in real life!
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