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JHeald

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  1. Hmmm...I don't see the difference between the souffle and a carbonara. Both are nomenclature arguments, aren't they? I'm just wondering if the nomenclature is dictated by a process/technique, rather than the specific ingredients in the finished product. Would you still call a baked dish of spaghetti, egg, cheese, pepper, and pancetta a "carbonara", even if the cooking technique is different? Or what if you substitute risotto for the pasta? That changes the ingredients AND the technique. P.S. I don't mean to be argumentative, I just don't understand the distinction between authenticity/tradition and correct nomenclature.
  2. This is an excellent example of why I sought out this type of discussion. Is a dish "authentic" or "traditional" based on the end result alone, or does the cooking technique matter? Here is why I ask. Last week my brother followed a recipe for a Cheese and Grits "souffle", which consisted of making cheesy grits, adding whole beaten eggs, and baking in a casserole dish. I objected that this wasn't actually a souffle, since a souffle requires that the egg whites be beaten separately, then incorporated. This was really just an egg and grits casserole. It was good, but it wasn't a souffle (IMO). Does this seem correct? It seems to me that "authenticity", with regard to naming a dish, might matter differently when discussing the techniques that are used to make a certain dish, rather than the ingredients of a dish. Obviously a "braise" is only a "braise" if you follow the definition of braising, but what about when a certain dish implies a certain technique?
  3. I have no experience in a professional kitchen, or in opening any business, and although I waited tables during the summer in college, I am therefore completely unqualified to offer advice. But here are my worthless two cents: It seems like this might be a new diner, and if it's not new, then the manager is probably not very good. I waited tables at Red Robin, so while they aren't fine dining, I can personally testify that the standards for the servers are very high. Asking for silverware, and having to find someone to give you a bill? That's kinda ridiculous. But maybe it was just a bad day? I share your sentiments with some of the food trucks that have opened in my area. How do you offer sincere advice, without coming off as pretentious or arrogant? After my first experience, I sent them an email and shared my thoughts. I made sure to emphasize the good attributes of the meal, while also pointing out what I *personally* thought were flaws or deficits. I tried the same meal a little while later, and noticed that nothing really changed. It didn't bother me, since it's their business and because food preferences are just that; preferences. This is a little bit different from the technical mistakes that you described, but I think you could approach this diner the same way. I think that you if send an honest and balanced email/letter to the owner, if they are smart and a good business owner, they will at least read it with an open mind. Tell them what you liked, what they are doing correct, as well as the problems you saw and changes that should be made. I think the main reason Gordon Ramsay gets to act like Gordon Ramsay is because of his fame and record with restaurant success, and perhaps more importantly, his restaurant failures. Without such fame and record, and due to the small-town setting, you probably want to be as kind as possible, and pick your words very carefully. Write an email, but don't send it. Have someone else read it, then you read a few days later. Consider the letter from the diner owners point of view. Edit or rewrite any parts that might be perceived as offensive or presumptuous. Good luck!
  4. I'm with Karri on this, for most things. Like french fries, it is the presence of water, which converts to steam in the hot oil, which results in a crispy crust while preventing an oil-soaked and over-cooked potato stick. It looks like the pork skins worked really well, and dehydrating those makes sense, considering the end produce is ideally completely dry. I don't think you want to dehydrate your fish and vegetables, unless you are trying to achieve that fried-pork-skin texture. If you want your fish and vegetables to have a crisp *crust* when fried, that seems to be a different goal than obtaining crispness throughout.
  5. JHeald

    Fishy pork

    Pork tends to take on the taste of the food that it eats. This is why some pork suppliers feed their animals things like apple cores and nuts. Pigs also eat a lot, and they need a fairly large amount of protein in their diet, so as another poster mentioned, fish meal was once very popular. Similar to how cows are often finished on grain to substantially increase their weight, pigs were once fed large amounts of fish (i.e. fish guts and trimmings) to bring them to market size. It was somewhere is Eastern Europe, where they had a lot of fish guts left over. Anyways, people didn't really like their pork tasting like fish, so it's not a common practice anymore. Unfortunately for you, fish meal is still a source of protein, and can be used for mr. piggy...
  6. That is not the same thing as being a better cook, which is what you actually seemed to take offense at. Food and cooking knowledge does not always translate into cooking skill, which is how you seemed to interpret the statement. Sculptor's statement is probably technically true, considering the depth of knowledge in MC. If you take offense at what he actually said, rather than how you interpreted what he said, then it seems to me that your ego is being bruised. Like you, I mean no offense, rather I'm just offering an opinion/observation.
  7. I would guess the difference between a flour slurry and wheat-flower based noodles is the simple fact that the flours in the noodles have had time to hydrate and break down, which is necessary for the formation of gluten. I'm sure that coating the flour in fat, which occurs in a roux and noodles made with egg, makes a big difference. Consider that Beurre Manié does not involve extended cooking, but doesn't leave any unwanted "faw flour" tastes. A final thought is that a "slurry" does not adequately disperse the flour, therefore the cooking time is necessary to allow the flour to completely disperse and prevent tiny clumps of flour, which would result in the raw flour taste.
  8. GlorifiedRice, I would suggest you ignore him. I suspect that, due to the nature of most online communities, there is very little at steak due to this "chef" potentially lying, or even being an honest but arrogant jerk. I can almost guarantee you that the only reason he says such things is because it gets him attention. While your choice to ignore him won't deprive him of attention (i.e. you mentioned he has lots of fans), your personal attacks directed towards him might be wrong, and even if they are correct, they probably won't paint you in the best of light. Ignoring him obviously won't make him go away, but choosing to not let him bother you will make your annoyance with him go away. You can't always change people's behaviors, especially when they are ignorant dolts on the internet, but you can always choose to ignore their personal form of stupidity.
  9. How does this book compare to Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This? I'm about half-way through that book, which was written about 5 years ago, and find it very interesting.
  10. In Molecular Gastronomy, Herve This discusses how the perception of specific molecules (e.g. MSG and other glutamates) induces satiety at a faster rate than other molecules. If I remember correctly (I don't have the book in front of me) studies with rats has demonstrated that food/drink mixtures that include glutamates induce satiety faster, as measured by the rate at which the rats stop eating. These molecules also effect insulin secretion.
  11. Recently I've seen a few articles discussing the "new" steak cuts, which are found within the beef chuck and round. As there any butchering guides available to describe how to find these steaks within the roasts? Thanks for the help.
  12. JHeald

    Flame Tamers

    Can you elaborate? I've never heard of doing that. I have a gas range with heavy cast iron removable grates that cover the entire stove-top (rather than just squares around the burner). How would that work? Thanks.
  13. I once heard that the correct pronunciation of Riedel should rhyme with "needle". Is this correct?
  14. JHeald

    Fun with a centrifuge

    While I'm not familiar with the exact science of basil turning brown, I think kouign is probably on to something. I notice that cooking basil will often result in brown colors. I would suggest blanching the basil first, the pureeing it really well in the blender. I don't know about basil -you might need to add a little water to the puree, but I feel like I got most of the liquid out of the tomatoes when I used gelatin. Granted, tomatoes have a much higher volume of water in them...
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