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  1. There are two simple books for beginners with lots of good flavor combos: The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
  2. I would definitely suggest that you calibrate your circulator. I don't know what you mean by "pappy" but if your circulator is properly calibrated then at those temps (assuming you are using good meat and you are cooking it for the appropriate amount of time) you should be getting a good product that is evenly cooked and delicious. On the other hand, sous vide cooking really shines best on the less tender cuts of meat, IMHO. Short ribs cooked for 48-72 hours can be sublime. Pork shoulder with lots of fat is some of the most tasty meat around. Perhaps, if you are eating high quality tender cuts you will be better off just searing and serving and forgetting the SV method. SV is not for everything.
  3. So have you all seen this? Nomiku: It is going to retail at $359. It is the cheapest circulator yet...really going to make it accessible to home cooks on a small budget http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nomiku/nomiku-bring-sous-vide-into-your-kitchen?ref=live What do you think?
  4. I just bought one from Cabela's. It is called a "Commercial Grade" slicer and it is very nice for home use. I did a lot or research before buying this one. My first test was to slice a slab of home-made bacon and it did a fine job of it although it is a little difficult to coordinate the pushing of the meat tray, the holding of the food bar and at the same time pull the slices away from the blade to lay them out neatly. I think I will get the hang of it, though. I studied the market in detail. It had to be made of metal, with a metal food tray and metal food guard. It had to be amenable to regular cleaning and it had to have plenty of torque so I can slice extra thin. I don't have room for a "real" commercial slicer and that would really be overkill anyway. On the other hand, I have had the cheaper portable varieties such as the Krups and the smaller Chef's Choice and they are all way too powerless and have stupid safety mechanisms which require you to press a button while slicing to get the blade to move. This new machine is modeled after a professional machine and made of aluminum with a steel blade. It comes with a blade sharpener. It weighs about 30 pounds and has a nice solid feel. It is plenty big enough for doing my bacon, turkey breast, lamb roast, potatoes (for Pommes Anna) and tomatoes. I am hoping to be able to slice a proscuitto that I have hanging in a friends curing cooler when it is ready for eating (maybe next March). I have not had it long enough to put the thing through the paces but I think I will be happy.
  5. I don't know if Pastrami Queen is connected to Pastrami King - their web sites certainly look different. As for dairy restaurants, I am old enough to remember the king of 'em all (drum roll) Ratner's. I did not know Grand Dairy but there is a tiny little dairy restaurant on 2nd at 9th called B & H Dairy and it is not only delicious it is dirt cheap.
  6. I would encourage you to try the Pastrami Queen at 77th on Lexington. It is the best pastrami I have ever had except for what I used to make for myself (since I moved to NYC last year I had to give up my smoker). I am evil so I ask for it "fatty" but you can ask for medium fat or lean, as well. It is definitely worth the calories.
  7. Chris, I have been mostly absent over the past year as health and life threw me a couple of curves but I did not stop watching from the background. I want to express my deepest gratitude for all you have done, all I have learned from you and all that you give. You have nothing but my sincerest admiration! I am glad to know we will still have you here online even if you are stepping back from the director's post. I hope you get that breather! By the way, that christmas foodblog was an incredible learning experience and great joy for me personally!
  8. I did a butter poached lobster and talked about it here: http://fabulousfoodfanatic.com/2011/01/30/lucky-lobster-lover-lives-to-eat-her-words-and-lobster-as-well/ It was delicious and a perfect way to do lobster as part of a dinner party meal because you can hold it until the last minute, etc. But mostly, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED the resulting lobster butter which I could use to dress pasta, make a sauce with and be creative otherwise (fresh corn on the cob with lobster butter???).
  9. Guanciale is the traditional "bacon" used for spaghetti carbonara. It is a fantastic thing for using to make little crispy bits for garnishes, etc. Incredible in Mac & Cheese, perfect on a fancy salad, and most commonly used in a pasta Amatricana (sp?), and I love it in potato dishes. It is EASY to make. I roughly follow Michael Ruhlman's recipe out of Charcuterie. The traditional seasoning is fresh thyme. I use lots of it but I also add juniper berries and pepper. Just put the cure in a ziplock bag with the jowl and leave it for about a week to 10 days - you will know when it is right because the meat/fat will feel rather hard. Take it out of the fridge, wash it off thoroughly and then hang it from a rack in the fridge so that it can dry out well. I usually hang it for another couple of weeks. Guanciale does not traditionally get smoked like many other types of bacon. I slice it into 3" square chunks and bag them separately with the Food Saver. You can freeze the stuff forever. It is a real treat. Let me know if you need the specific cure proportions and I will look them up for you. Oh, and one important thing to know: make sure you get all of the salivary glands out of the jowel before you cure it. These glands will make the product have an off taste or be bitter.
  10. Are the cheeks still in the jowls? I leave the whole thing together (cheeks are inside jowls) and I cure it all for guanciale. Pork cheeks themselves are rather small, the whole jowl, on the other hand can be quite large and it makes the best cured pork. Do you have a photo?
  11. Nick, that is how David Chang (Momofuku) does his pork belly and it is amazing. The sugar in his Marinade really makes for a crunchy finish which frying really enhances.
  12. Amusing article about the errors: http://m.guardian.co.uk/ms/p/gnm/op/sbrc7FW835ixX9Rqiqhn_YA/view.m?id=15&gid=books/booksblog/2011/may/04/classic-book-mistakes&cat=books I would still love to own my own copy - errors or not. Having edited and worked on books of my spouse, I know it is damned hard to make an error proof book. Also, at least at our publisher (one of the largest text book publishers in the world) the copy editing sucked!
  13. Yes, I agree with Chris - the difference is in the bite, i.e. the way it chews and the mouthfeel, on a subtle level. I have done 48, 36 and 24 hours. Each are very tender but the shorter time chews/feels more like a tender steak. The longer chews/feels more like a stew but without the stringy texture. Of course, it ALWAYS depends on the quality of your product. (Most here know that I only eat grass-fed, direct from farmer, meat. Since I buy large amounts at a time, chuck essentially costs the same as rib-eye so I tend to treat them all the same.) At either temp and time, you won't get fat for eating. Try your torch. I am loathe to hold the torch on the fat long enough to achieve something I want to eat because I am always afraid of overcooking my meat. So I just justify this by the saving of the calories. I would torch it anyway, for looks, but I cut it away on my plate for eating.
  14. I have an SVP which holds it heat extremely well - I have never seen it vary more than .5 C. So I cook my chuc at 54.5 for 24 hours. I put frozen cubes of strong stock and I rub the meat with seasoning - onion powder, paprika, herbs, salt, pepper, etc. Trim as much fat as you can before seasoning and bagging, by the way, because at that temp you don't get good fat for eating. Heat and strain the bag juices, caramelize what sticks to your pot with some minced shallot, deglaze with wine or cognac and then serve over the meat - amazingly delicious.
  15. What temperature and time do you use for the wings? Do you sauce them in the bag? Thanks
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