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Tom Gengo

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  1. Happy Holidays fellow e-gulleters. I am preparing a roast beef for my children for Christmas and am intrigued by the idea of cooking it in a low heat oven. However, I am perplexed at calculating the time. To me it makes much sense to slow roast the beef for several reasons. 1. As the beef slowly comes up to temp the enzymes in the meat will have much more time to break down the proteins into amino acids ie flavor, similar to dry aging a beef. 2. It will eliminate the grey ring on the outside circumference of the meat where it is med to well done. 3. There, in theory, will be less contraction of the muscle fibers due to the moderate heating resulting in a juicier beef. 4.Less importantly, it is much more difficult (but not impossible) to overcook. The compromise here seems to be that there will not be an appreciable amount of drippings limiting the preparation of au jus, Yorkshire pudding, etc. I have read where some chefs will cook the beef at 130 for up to 24 hours. My oven only goes down to 170 faren., so I hope someone out there has some ideas on cook times. I am planning to use my convection feature which will affect the cook time and I will sear the outside of the meat: either a 500 f oven, blow torch or a roasting pan heated over high heat to sterilize the exterior then place in the oven. This additionally and supposedly will aid in the rendering of fat during roasting. Another suggestion I have researched is to remove the meat at 120f to allow carry over to 125f for med rare beef. I am a bit skeptical that there will be sufficient heat to elevate the meat to this temperature... opinions, please. Another method is to remove the meat to rest and raise the oven temperature to 500f and "caramelize" the meat for about 10 minutes. Guess I will have to play it by ear to see how it looks. So, @ 170 farenheit convection, I am looking for recommendations. 3 hours per pound? Remove @ 120 farenheit? I am thinking that if I start it about 18 hours prior to service time I can always remove it when I hit my target and let it rest and just pop it in a 500 oven for a short time just prior to service... thoughts on this contingency?
  2. A co-worker just gave me 4 early girl tomatoes- lunch yesterday. I made some yogurt and drained overnight- to the consistency of thick sour cream. Then, I cut the tomatoes into 1/2" cubes, put into a collander and sprinkled lightly w/ salt and drained into a container for an hour. Then, I combined the yogurt w/ cumin, cracked black pepper, roasted garlic infused olive oil (or you can use minced garlic w/ olive oil) and the tomatoe juices that drained. Gently combine w/ the tomatoes and yogurt and top w/ crumbled feta cheese. Divine. Can serve over boston lettuce and/or w/ croutons.
  3. There is no way to spectulativly determine the cause of your illness. Poisoning from food can occur from 4-36 hours after ingesting the offending organism. It requires the report of numerous people eating the same item and resulting illness for there to be a possible link. Then, the Health Dept for your area would have to investigate and empirically determine the source, i.e. violations or determination of "bad shellfish." As such, it is impt. that you let the establishment know about your concerns so they can be on notice that there is a potential problem. If no one calls, then how will they be able to take corrective measures. Also, the source may be a more global issue such as the area of the harvested mussels may have become infected. As such, most health dept's require that the provider of the shellfish keep on hand for 90 days or so a tag for the shellfish so they can back track to the source of the infection. Again, another good reason to report your concerns. Lastly, the largest concern w/ eating certain shellfish during the "months that do not have an R" (May-August) is the quality of the product. I can only speak for oysters here. Oysters breed during these R-less months, so they are insipid and not nearly as firm and tasty as during cooler months. Infectiously speaking: 1. there is tracking of the molluscs to track lots that were not refrigerated or otherwise mishandled, however somoeone typically gets sick prior to notice 2. Modern day refrigeration eliminates the concerns of earlier generations, however there is occasional failure, ergo the reason for the mollusc tagging.
  4. You will have to vacate the premises, as I am certain you already know, w/ the production of ozone in the home.
  5. I think your best option is going to be aquarium activated charcoal...
  6. I did not read all of the responses, so, if mentioned, please accept my apologies. The sugar appears to be much too concentrated to proof yeast. The osmotic pressure on the yeast will kill them by dehydrating them at such a high concentration. When I proof yeast I will add only about a tsp of honey to a cup of liquid. I suspect that the sugar/milk slurry killed the yeast.
  7. Here in Charleston, SC there is a butcher called NY Butcher Shop. Typically I was purchasing my sausage casing (before discovering Butcher & Packer) from Whole foods. They were out of casings, so went to the NY Butcher Shop... son of a bugger, they charged me $19.95/lb, which was more than their tenderloin. When I approached the owner's son/mngr, he told me that is what they paid. Cow dung. At every opportunity I share my displeasure w/ their shop to any prospective customer.
  8. That was an April fools joke one year, replaced the sugar w/ salt for my Dad. Does that count?
  9. I do not have a recipe for lace... does not sound very appetizing. Re. rabbit, I am looking for some fresh caught to make either sausage or a terrine de lapin. I, also, would like the sources of these apochryphal studies.
  10. Wow, based upon reading most responses I would say that you should judge by the patrons. Perhaps any location patronized by the likes of Elliot Spitzer, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, Gary Hart... you get the idea. Strip joints? An establishment that celebrates the denigration of women? Meat is manly???? So, eating a salad is womanly???? Again, WOW. Maybe the entertainment should be a the recreation of the Aztec sacrifice of a vestal virgin? Maybe a cannibal restaurant, what could be more "manly." Ergo the guest list expands to Jeffrey Dahmer, the Stella Maris Rugby Club (trapped in the Andes after their plane crashed) and Anthony Hopkins character, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. One criteria based upon reading this thread is it would serve PIG only (tongue in guanciale aka pigs cheek.) Thank you for reinforcing my lack of subscription to such a feeble minded publication w/ such cro magnon allure. Maybe the dress code of any restaurant that restricts clothing to animal hides. I guess someone out there has to marginalize social advancements such as stay at home dads, etc. Just saying. Def. Sarcasm a sharp, BITTER or SHARP remark (from the greek sarkasmos, to tear flesh- how appropriate.)
  11. Is that anything like turducken? JK
  12. Tom Gengo

    Beef stew beginner

    Regarding the amount of braising liquid, I try to limit it. I keep the liquid about 1/2 way up the side of the meat, place a piece of foil over the pan, push the middle down and place on the lid. The logic here is that the evaporated liquid will condense and drip back onto the meat and slowly dissolve the unctuous connective tissue into the braising liq. Additionally, when the meat is cooked, the liquid is much more concentrated since you started w/ less at the beginning.
  13. Tom Gengo

    Beef stew beginner

    Pierogi nails it w/ that recipe. I have a subtle variation that I find gives a richer sauce. Saute your meat making sure not to burn the fond (med heat w/ my equip.) Once the meat is cooked check to see that there is a nice thick dark brown fond. If not, then take some of your beef stock and cook down until it dries and creates a nice fond. Saute mushrooms while scraping up the fond and remove when browned and then saute onions or mirepoix if using then add red wine and boil over high heat until reduced by half. Add beef and beef stock to cover, follow pierogi's instructions. I also like to do dumplings when the beef is done, no need or beurre manie as the dumplings will thicken the sauce by absorbing some of the liquid and release of some the flour into the liq.
  14. Sweet potato biscuits w/ ham. Did that permutation of sweet potatoes for wedding receptions in March & June. Was a huge hit.
  15. Please tell me this is a joke..? That sounds like an emetic, not a sweet. No, I don't have a TV, long (not interesting) story. LOL
  16. Serious bakers and pastry cooks weight all their ingredients because that is the only way to be precise enough to make sure that their formulas work properly and consistently...Take humble flour; The difference in the weight of a cup of flour that is very dry and one that has been kept in a humid environment is noticeable. Add in the difference in measuring methods (packed? scooped? scoop and scrape level?, shaken down to level?, sifted then measured?) and you've got a pretty awesome opportunity for significant variances which will effect the end product. 10-20% is a HUGE difference even by non-baking standards. Maybe not for a mirepoix for a roast or onions to go with your liver, but try adding an additional 20% salt to your next pot of soup and see! I am a bit confused by your comment. If humidity makes a significant difference in the measurement of your flour, then doesn't that make the case for using volumetric measuring to eliminate the difference in density due to humidity? In support of your conclusion, I agree w/ weighing ingredients and use it exclusively for my baking.
  17. Dave, your kind words are appreciated very much. However, please understand that I am simply hypothesizing what may happen- it has been over 25 years since my graduate school basic sciences. In this one case I have to disagree w/ McGee since the fruit of the tree (pun intended) is the end product and the flavor. I have always been able to discern a difference in taste w/ my brines beyond the moistness & salt added. Another added factor is "resting time." I always allow my brined meat to rest for about 24 hours prior to cooking. For skin on poultry it has been to allow the skin to dry somewhat so it crisps when cooked. This "resting time" allows for equilibration of the salt through the meat, however this also allows greater time for the larger molecules to migrate deeper into the meat. I would propose an experiment here. To cut pork loin into uniform cubes of 1" and brine each in increasing flavoring and for varying lenghts of time in the same volume of fluid and concentration of salt as below here: In 2 cups of water dissolve 60 grams of kosher salt and then brine the following: Time Flavoring Quantity (eg. grams of garlic) 1 hour 100 2 hours 100 3 hours 100 4 hours 100 1 hour 200 2 hours 200 3 hours 200 4 hours 200 1 hour 400 2 hours 400 3 hours 400 4 hours 400 AFter brining, rinse thouroughly, dry and cook in a 200 F oven to an internal temp of 175F. I suggest a 200 oven to avoid the maillard browning of meat which would likely interfere w/ tasting the garlic, and internal temp of 175 for uniform texture. Then, cut 1/4 inch from each side to expose the center of the meat and taste. By removing the exterior 1/4 inch we are essentially accounting for McGee's theory that the molecules are too big for diffusion. We could remove the outer 1/4 inch prior to cooking, but it is possible as the kinetic energy of these large molecules are raised through cooking thereby resulting in increased movement deeper into the tissue. I suspect that a 1" cube of pork brined for 4 hours w/ 400 grams of garlic will be deeply flavored at the interior.
  18. Tom Gengo


    It is called Bells Seasoning- the box is yellow.
  19. Ok, I am hypothesizing here. I often use cloves in my brines and "clove flavor" comes from eugenol. Any chemical ending with -ol indicates it is an alcohol. If you look at the chemical structure of eugenol (pp. 391 in McGee's ON FOOD & COOKING.), it is a 6 carbon aromatic phenol ring w/ an alcohol attached to one of the carbons. The alcohol increases the eugenol hydrophilicity (love of water.) However, by extracting the eugenol into a highly concentrated saline, the hydrogen is removed from the oxygen (donated by the oxygen) thereby increasing it's ionic attraction. In addition, the cell walls of animals are a bipolar phosopholipid layer (hydrophobic, literally fearing water), therefore hydrophilic (fat loving, same as hydrophobic) chemicals can disolve into the cell walls. Cinnamaldehyde (Cinnamon) has an aldehyde group that will be similar to alcohol in a highly ionic solution, vanillin has an alcohol and ketone (ketone is polar), menthol has an alcohol, thymol (thyme) an alcohol, etc. In addition, one must understand that the primary (???) effect of a high concentration saline solution affects the ionic environment of the cell. Initially the water is drawn out of the meat by osmosis to equilibrate the ionic differences while salt is diffusing into the meat. Subsequently, the salt will cause the globular proteins in the meat (myoglobin for example) to "unravel" thereby causing the water to flood into the meat to equilibrate the differences in ionic strength. Carried along w/ the water would be the molecules of eugenol that are somewhat ionized b/c of there loss of a Hydrogen atom in the highly saline solution. Furthermore, one has to consider that there is interstitial spaces between the cells (fibers of meat.) This is a significant area- affording a "place" for the hydrophobic/lipophillic flavor molecules. Hope that this helps.
  20. Chris, Little known (I suspect) fact about sesame seeds is they were brought to the US by African slaves and were, and still are called here in Charleston, SC, benne seeds. There is a 1 inch diamater and very thin wafer for which Charleston is famous (similar to the popularity of Moravian cookies from the Winston-Salem area of NC) that is suprisingly (tongue in cheek) called benne seed wafers. It is a sweet item, but well worth the effort. Never make them since the cookies are prolific here due to the history as a slave trade center, but a google search will provide recipes. Savory ideas: chicken breasts that are floured, dipped in egg and then sesame seeds. For a delicious gag I made an all black meal for a friend's 40th birthday- sauteed black sesame seed encrusted chicken breasts, squid ink tagliatelle and black beans. I have also used sesame seeds in breads (especially the multigrain bread in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum), breadsticks, Asian flavored dips, sprinkled on hummus, etc.
  21. I have ordered a large quantity of white wheat berries w/ the intention of grinding to flour. I have been foiled by my grinder as I went cheap to start and I end up w/ flaked wheat on the lowest (narrowest) grinding. As such, and until I am willing to buy the mill that will certainly work, I am looking for recipes for wheat berries, flaked wheat, etc. My first foray into wheat berries was 2 cups of cooked (75' @ simmer) wheat berries, minced parsley, chopped walnuts, rehydrated dried cranberries, crumbled blue cheese w/ a balsamic vinaigrette and S&P. I ended up spiking it w/ some additional red wine vinegar to sharpen the flavors. Came out very well. Really don't want to eat this dish for 3 meals x 365 days... Thanks in advance for your ideas.
  22. Chris, If you keep them refrigerated or even more efficient, frozen, they will keep for a long time. I mix them into brown rice cooked w/ dried cranberries and diced Tasso Ham; cooked wheat berries w/ blue cheese crumbles, pecans, chopped parsley and balsmaic vinaigrette & S&P; ditto on the chicken paillards; substitutes easily for walnuts in recipes, but to me has a richer taste than walnuts. Also, whip egg whites to soft peaks, stir in the pecans, shake off excess egg white and dust w/ seasoning of your choice: chili powder; brown sugar & kosher salt, etc.
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