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Everything posted by eternal

  1. Will be in Brussels on Friday night at around 8pm and looking for a good place to have dinner by myself. I'm meeting a friend the next day but on my own for the day I arrive. Looking for something modern and near Central station. Any advice? Smaller places are always preferred.
  2. We have two. One at home and one in the office. I use it everyday. And the price is wrong above. It works out to a quarter a litter once you get into refills, not 1.24 per 2. I never use the flavorings, but I don't like sweet stuff.
  3. I sure can: if it spent more than couple of minutes in that oven/broiler, it probably got well above the 176F at which you cooked it -- at which point you lost the benefits of the SV. I'd urge you to try it again, crisp the skin off the meat itself, and serve it out of the bag, or perhaps brought to 160-70F after chilling. SV is a technique that requires a different set of tolerances and approaches than other methods, and with practice I'll bet you'll find a few things that for you are unmatched. You might be right, though I don't believe a few minutes under a broiler would raise the entire thigh from 35 degrees to over 170. But I tasted it before it went in the oven - right after I SV'd it. It is hard to resist eating some when you're picking through it as I transferred it from the bag to another container. The bag itself had tons of juices/fat in it. Maybe all of it rendered out? or maybe the heritage bird just isn't marbled like the old butterball.
  4. And to be clear, I'm not saying sous vide is a bad way to cook. I've had some wonderful meals cooked by others using sous vide and I think salmon is pretty awesome cooked sous vide. But I'm failing to have some of these "transcendent" experiences with short ribs, skirt steaks etc and wondering why I tend to find foods cooked sous vide a touch...bland.
  5. For the steak and ribs, I used either a butane torch or a hot pan to give it a crust. For the turkey confit, I cured it for 5 hours or so in salt, pepper and brine, then washed off most of the cure and packed it away with a stick or two of thyme and a couple tablespoons of duck fat and cooked it at 176 degrees for 12 hours. Then I chilled it in an ice bath, removed the bags and removed some of the cartilage and then put it in the fridge until service. At which point I threw it into a 420 degree oven and then the broiler to crisp up the skin. It was fine, but almost dry, if you can believe that. I should note that I was working with a heritage turkey from a local farm, so maybe there was also less fat in general in the bird. And maybe I'm also changing too many variables here - perhaps the flavor of the heritage bird itself is also part of the problem as this is the first heritage bird I've cooked with.
  6. Am I doing something wrong or is it just my tastes? I picked up a sous vide magic and found an old big rice cooker and have made a handful of dishes using it including salmon, halibut, 48 hour short ribs, 24 hour hanger steak and this last week, 12 hour turkey confit with duck fat. Some of these dishes are considered on this board as transcendent experiences perfectly made for sous vide and yet other than the salmon (my personal favorite) and to a lesser extent, the halibut, I just haven't had a similar experience. The short ribs were good but I think I would have just preferred them braised. The hanger steak was perfectly medium rare and yet again, I think I would have preferred just using a very hot pan. The turkey confit was completely blah. So am I doing something wrong? or is this just a matter of tastes?
  7. eternal

    Turkey Stock/Broth

    I broke down my turkey this year the day before Thanksgiving and used the uncooked carcass to make a stock. I added it to a big stock pot along with mirepoix and a few spices and water and cooked it down. I took a bunch of fat off the top as it simmered for about 5 hours and then I dumped about a gallon of the broth into the fridge. When I went to use the broth the next day, it was really thick. The consistency was almost oil and it was throughout. What happened? Did I not trim enough fat from the bird before using it? I see now I probably should have roasted the bones beforehand to get a deeper flavor and i'm sure that would've rendered more of that fat, but the end product didn't separate when cooling. It is almost an emulsion.
  8. eternal

    Sous vide turkey

    You can always cut the raw meat off the leg and put the chunks in a bag in your SV setup... Usually the turkey confit is pulled from the bone anway once it's done (like pulled pork) - so if it won't fit, you might as well debone it first. Then should i leave the skin in one piece to SV (and help render some fat) and brown that at the end?
  9. eternal

    Sous vide turkey

    Opening this topic again. I would like to do the turkey leg confit but my turkey legs are too big for my SV setup. I see you're breaking them down and building a brick but that is too advanced for me and I don't have the ingredients anyway. So what would a middle-ground option be?
  10. I ended up with a turkey much too big. I picked up a heritage 17 pounder from a local farmer (was just killed yesterday) and there are only 7 of us. I'm not sure what I was thinking but now I'm fairly certain I have a beat on my hands. Should I freeze one of the breasts and a leg instead of cooking it? I was going to break it down anyway and it seems that would make it keep better/ Also - that SV turkey confit sounds interesting. Can you share the recipe? --tim
  11. We're taking a few hints from the NYT this Thanksgiving...and Susan Goin. There is only going to be four of us this year. I arranged to get a heritage turkey from a farmer up in Everett that I'll be picking up on Wednesday and will break it down and brine it up ala http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/dining/10chefrex1.html?ref=dining. I will also cook the other parts of the turkey Other than that, We will do the fatty cue brussel sprouts, roasted chestnut/pancetta stuffing from the Sunday Supper at Lucques cookbook. In addition, an earlier poster gave me the idea to do the blood orange/beet salad which would be a nice way to cut the fat. The next day I plan on making buttermilk biscuits to help with the leftover turkey.
  12. eternal

    Thanksgiving Day Wines

    Coincidence? Today's Garagiste offer today is on Alsace. from garagiste----- This offer was slated for early December but yesterday’s Tanzer forces a quick move to this morning. Barmes-Buecher was one of the stars of yesterday’s glowing 2008 IWC Alsatian review and that’s not a surprise. I secured the examples below a few months ago as they were scintillating, pure and stalactite-rich versions of Riesling that have become endangered species in a region global warming appears to have selected as its guinea pig (especially to the far south of Colmar). If you are a fan of Riesling (everything from the Wachau to the Mosel), you will nod your head in appreciation for what Francois Barmes has accomplished in 2008 – it’s that exciting (exhilarating is more appropriate). All are naturally made and 100% BIO/organic with a transparency of origin and vintage that sets them apart. A few words from Francois: “Wine is made on the vine and not in the winery. Any treatments are carried out using plant extracts :- nettle, horsetail, osier, yarrow, chamomile and valerian. Naturally, each variety, which is the signature of its terroir, is harvested apart, the grapes are sorted by a team of 6 to 10 people who in turn remove the few remaining damaged berries or grapes gathered by the harvesters. Each wine is then gently pressed in two pneumatic presses for 6 to 16 hours. Thanks to the work that has previously been carried out, no chaptalization, no fining, no enzyme treatment, and no yeast addition are needed”. Did I say these were a labor of love? They are. In addition, You can throw darts at the examples below – it’s not an “either or” proposition – all command significant attention and all will age for decades, even the Rosenberg Riesling, which is one of the top 2008 examples in all of Alsace at its price-point. Keep in mind, Tanzer tasted these at home, over 48-72 hours (which is closer to the way I taste), not just a few sips at the winery and his enthusiasm is about as palpable as I can remember. If you’ve been searching for a few bottles of Riesling to cellar, you can dive in head-first as the reward should be well-worth your patience 10-20 years from now. I’ve also tried to keep the pricing as low as possible on the entire parcel. FIRST COME FIRST SERVED up to 12 x each wine until we run out – quantities are finite – they hardly had any left when I secured these and I'm sure they are already on 2009 at this point (which is the opposite style of 2008)... 2008 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Riesling Rosenberg 1er - $19.99 (IWC90) (I'm offering this at close to zero margin to give you the impetus to try it – compare at $25-30+; if you are price-checking, the Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner Rosenberg are several price-points below this – the Riesling is line-priced with the Pinot Gris Rosenberg) Tanzer: “Pale yellow-gold. Cool aromas of citrus zest, lemon ice, menthol, fresh herbs and crushed stone; classic austere Riesling. Then dense and vibrant, with terrific energy and a vintage-typical saline element to the flavors of lemon, wild mint and herbs. The subtly persistent, palate-dusting finish offers captivating limestone lift. I love this bracing style of dry Riesling. 90pts” 2008 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Riesling Hengst Grand Cru - $36.74 (IWC92) (compare at $40-45+ in the US) Tanzer: “Medium yellow. Superripe, soil-driven aromas of stone fruits, pineapple, peach, mace and crushed stone. Broad, rich and suave on the palate; very ripe, even creamy, but dry. With its building flavors of lemon peel, minerals and crushed stone, this firmly structured Riesling really tightens up on the back end. An impressive vin de terroir that should enjoy a slow and graceful evolution in bottle. Francois Barmes has made a consistently superb set of Rieslings in 2008, with low residual sugar and strong acidity. 92pts” 2008 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Riesling Steingrubler Grand Cru - $39.62 (IWC93+) (compare at 50+ in the US) Tanzer: “Medium yellow. Wonderfully perfumed, high-pitched nose combines citrus peel, crushed stone, licorice and lavender. Then quite powerful and unevolved on the palate, with penetrating stony minerality and pineapple accentuated by brisk acidity. Today this conveys even more cut than the Hengst. The palate-staining, extremely long finish is almost painful. I should note that the yield for this wine was literally twice as high in 2008 as in 2007, but this wine's near-perfect balance and terrific finishing lift suggest it will gain in bottle for at least 10 or 15 years. 93+” I almost forgot, a few of you may be interested in the following bonus wine as well (what appears to be the highest rated/lowest priced of its genre)...EXTREMELY LIMITED/VERY RARE: 2008 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Pinot Gris Rosenberg Vendange Tardive (500 ml) - $48.76 (IWC95+) (this is not the regular Pinot Gris Rosenberg de Wettolsheim, compare at $70+ in the US) Tanzer: “Orange-gold color. High-toned aromas of singed tangerine, toasted almond and golden raisin. Viscous on entry, then huge acidity gives an electric jolt to the supersweet flavors of orange, caramel and golden raisin. Powerfully concentrated, extract-rich wine with finishing flavors that are hard to scrape off the palate. Remarkably, this freakishly rich wine is easy to identify as Pinot Gris. 95+pts” To order any of the above: niki@garagistewine.com
  13. on another note, would anybody sear meat a day in advance before completing a braised meat dish the following day?
  14. Right. But what and how far in advance *should* you parcook something. I say *should* because I believe we're trying to find a balance of flavor and convenience. For example, would a good restaurant make aioli for the entire week, once a week?
  15. Are there any rules of thumb on cooking in advance - or how far ahead you can do prep work? I feel like this is one area that is hard to get info on and separates the restaurants from home kitchens. Where do you draw the line on prep work? For example, I want to prepare patatas bravas on Tuesday. I imagine cooking down the onions and tomatoes today and sticking them in the fridge for tomorrow would be fine. Could I parboil the potatoes today as well to just finish on a cast iron pan tomorrow? Will the skins be as crisp? What about the aioli? Could I make that tonight too? Aside from the questions above, does anybody have any good book recs on deciding on what you can prepare in advance? Are there some rules of thumb?
  16. I've never been able to taste the "flavors" in a brine except for when I made the lemony brine for fried chicken from Ad hoc at home. There was an incredible amount of lemon flavor in the finished chicken. But detecting cloves and peppercorns? I guess my palate isn't refined enough.
  17. that looks amazing. I want to make pasta now.
  18. In the Douro now. We are staying at Qunita do Vallado, where Bruni stayed. It is a great place. I highly recommend it. So far, we have eaten at Pedro Lemos, Casa e Pratas and DOC. They are all a mixed bag. Pedro Lemos is the weakest one. We had the tasting menu and it made me realize I'm done and tired with tasting menus. Everything was great and a pretty good value but it's nothing special and the atmosphere blows. It is very formal and quiet - like Alinea, except without the awesome food. If you want to go there, you will have a good time but don't expect to be amazed and try to sit upstairs. Downstairs is booooring. We didn't eat much at Castas e Pratas but it was pretty good and the space is very cool. It isn't very busy here this time of year so no need for a reservation. We had some fish and saucey rice along with a wonderful cold tomato soup with capers and anchovies. That was def the best part. This afternoon we stopped at DOC even though we had dinner reservations. Rui Pauli, the chef was there working the tables (only about 30 ppl dining) and he is a character. Very nice guy, we told him we were coming back for dinner and I already knew he knew my name and he said he'd prepare two meals. One typical and one his take. We'd have the typical one first for lunch and his take for dinner (though he would be in porto for dinner). The amouse bouche was a pea soup shooter and a spoonful of ham and something crunchy. It was delicious. The app was a tres a montes smoked sausage of pork and chicken wrapped in puff pastry and set a top mushrooms. It was a wonderful smoky dish. i savored every bite. We had a crispy bacalhau next. The best I've had on this trip so far (and we've had a lot) and we finished with a 1 month old roasted kid/baby goat that was amazing. It all was great and we left full and happy, 100 euros lighter which i find to be an amazing deal. For dinner we got "his take", but it wasn't as great as dinner. Everything was executed well but nothing was as interesting. Like more classic french dishes of fish (this case, seabass) and meat (steak topped with foie gras) along with an excellent starter of sardines on olive toast. the price was the same and the iwne was great but we weren't as excited by this meal. It wasn't anything you couldn't get in new york or similar. My point is that when in Portugal, stick with the local dishes or at least takes on the local dishes. While you might get a great price on a french or american dish, there's really no point. I'd rather eat a big plate of bacalhau roasted with potatoes in a bunch of olive oil with a cheap red wine or rice soaked in blood then eat a french classic here. Off to mealahada in a couple days to eat the suckling pig. Can't wait. Nothing special. Just pig and wine. THen lisboa. Will post pictures later.
  19. eternal

    Yogurt-making @ home

    Happy accident this week. Using a new batch of Y4, i cooked up a liter (which uses 8 x 1/2 cup containers) of yogurt this week using whole milk and roughly 1/4 cup of milk powder (despite what andie says, the milk powder really helps thicken the yogurt, especially after a couple uses of the Y4) in our yogurt maker for 11 hours but then forgot to put them in the fridge for another 24 hours. They just sat on the countertop at room temp. The result is the best yogurt yet. It is rich and delicious and not very tangy (i don't like it very tangy / acidic). I think I might have to do this every time now.
  20. The wife and I are heading to Portugal for 11 days later this month and wondering if there is any advice out there for the north. I saw a bit of information on Lisbon and Bruni's article on Porto but otherwise, there doesn't seem to be a ton of info. I've had a lot of luck in Spain just wandering in to countryside restaurants. Should I expect the same in Portugal? The other advice I've heard is that all the "fancy" restaurants are mediocre and the best food is in the smaller, mom and pop shops. I think we might spend a few days in the Minho, perhaps taking advantage of the Habitco de Tourism family run lodges/houses as well as in the Douro, though we might upscale it a bit more there. Any info on that would also be appreciated as well as if anybody knows a good spot in the country to rent bokes and ride from winery to winery. My current feeling is that this isn't possible really, but thought I'd ask. on trips like this, I need to find ways to burn calories so I don't just feel fat all the time from all the eating and drinking. Thanks
  21. Del Posto just got awarded four stars by Sifton at the NYT. I was pretty surprised by this. I went to Del Posto a couple years ago during restaurant week and really disliked the whole experience. I'm sure it was related to Restaurant Week and also that it just isn't my type of restaurant. But it is good to see that they made such a change and now I want to revisit it - sitting at the bar anyway. The article is here http://www.nytimes.com/pages/dining/index.html
  22. Maybe your understanding of what service should be based on your culture isn't really appropriate for another culture. Service in the the US is a completely different beast than it is in Europe, and Holland especially. DInners in Holland are all night affairs - even simple ones last 2+ hours commonly. I think if you go into a restaurant there and expect to be checked up on every 5 minutes then you're going to be disappointed frequently. It just isn't a common practice - it might have to do with the idea that they actually pay their servers a living wage so there just aren't as many of them. Or it might just be different. If somebody is rude to you, then surely you shouldn't return. But I would recommend trying to adapt a bit to the culture than expecting everything to be like it is back home.
  23. It is GQ. This is more about what's hip. Not what's great. The upstairs of Tavern Law (Needle and Thread) is a top 25 bar? Pfft.
  24. I bought a "set" but by set I mean 3 knives (8" chef, paring, utility), block, shears and steel. But it saved $100+ to buy them together. In my limited experience, you can buy a $15 serrated bread knife that will work fine. I bought the Shuns. I won't lie, I got them partly because they look cool - I think most knives look terrible, but the weight is good for me too and they hold an edge for a long time. I'm very happy with them. I also was "required" to buy a kit when I did a the Basic Culinary Techniques class at the FCI a couple years ago. The knives are pretty terrible - plastic handles, etc but it did include a fish filleting knife which is nice to have with its bending blade and a big granton (?) knife which comes in really useful for nice cuts in big chunks of meat.
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