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Borgstrom

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  1. Well, the experiment has concluded...for now. I used the MC best bets cola brine for both pork shoulders, including the 7% brine injection. Soak time was 48H instead of 72H suggested; rinse time was 1.5H instead of 2H suggested. I used boneless pork shoulder without skin, whereas MC said to use bone-in with skin, so I figured brining would happen faster. Both had an initial smoke in the BGE for 7 hours at between 200F and 225F (I couldn't get down to 150F suggested by MC). I used oak lump charcoal plus applewood chunks. Shoulder number 1 continued in the BGE for another 7 hours until it reached 190F internal. Shoulder number 2 was bagged and put into a 65C water bath for 60H (instead of 72H suggested by MC) Both shoulders were pulled apart with 2 forks when finished. Since shoulder 1 was finished Sunday and shoulder 2 was finished Tuesday, it was impossible to compare their "fresh" flavor just out of their respective cookers. This might put shoulder 1 at a disadvantage, as I had to re-warm it. Results: Both shoulders tasted fantastic - no complaints on the cola brine! The smoked-only shoulder had an amazing bark; the smoked-then-SV shoulder had no bark to speak of. The smoked-then-SV shoulder left about 1.5cups liquid in the bag; I used this to moisten the pork after I pulled it. As a result, the smoked-only shoulder was comparatively drier than the other The kitchen filled with smoke aroma while the shoulder was in the circulator -- apparently the bags I have are permeable to smoke flavor The smoked-only shoulder had a much more pronounced smoke flavor The smoked-then-SV shoulder felt more tender and looked more pink; the smoked-only shoulder had a more uniform brown color other than the pink smoke ring. Conclusion: At the end of the day, I'm not sure I can pick a clear winner. I think from a tenderness/moisture perspective, MC's smoke+SV approach is best. From a flavor, convenience, "theatre" perspective (it's quite dramatic to do the "reveal", opening the BBQ to see this gorgeous piece of browned meat on the grill), the traditional smoke-only version wins. For the next family BBQ, I'll probably do it the traditional way for the convenience and theatre. Side notes: MC's 3 Carolina BBQ sauces, baked beans, coleslaw and cornbread were an excellent accompaniment and are highly recommended! Also -- I've frozen the leftovers from both batches, so it will be interesting to see which version reheats better. Pork shoulder 1 (smoked for 14H to 190F internal): Pork shoulder 2 (smoked for 7H at 225F, then SV for 60H at 65C):
  2. I was recently introduced to the addictive joys of ABTs, otherwise known as Atomic Buffalo Turds. Long a favorite in the BBQ enthusiast community, they rarely seem to be discussed here on eGullet. To the uninitiated, ABTs are stuffed, wrapped and smoked/grilled jalepeno peppers. From what I can tell, there are as many ABT recipes as there are BBQers. My first experience was pretty basic -- a jalepeno cut in half & deseeded, filled with cream cheese flavored with spice rub, wrapped in bacon and smoked using indirect heat at about 250F until the bacon was done. The taste just amazing -- smoke permeated the cheese and bacon while the jalepeno developed a deep roasted flavor balanced with just the right amount of heat. They have quickly become a required part of any weekend BBQ for us. What's your favorite way to make ABTs?
  3. Well, the first part of the experiment is over; you can see a description of our MC BBQ on this post. The second pork shoulder is still in the circulator; I'll probably take it out Tuesday night. All I can say at this point is that the smoke+SV version will have to be spectacular to prevail over the smoke-only one we had tonight! It was most excellent!
  4. Borgstrom

    Dinner! 2011

    We had a Modernist Cuisine BBQ on Sunday. Menu included: Cola-brined pork shoulder (3-172), cooked on BGE with lump+applewood about 14H until 190F internal North Carolina (Eastern Style) BBQ sauce (5-70) North Carolina (Lexington Style) BBQ sauce (5-71) South Carolina BBQ Sauce (5-70) Baked Beans (5-77) White coleslaw (5-72) Cornbread (5-76) For appetizers (Not from MC & eaten before camera came out) - babaganoush with applewood-smoked eggplant - ABTs (look it up) with Jalapeno, cream cheese, Dizzy Pig rub, bacon -- smoked on BGE - baby back ribs with Dizzy Pig rub I can't move...
  5. I've got exactly the same reaction to 43C salmon. I love the flavor and texture, but always seem to expect something warmer. Searing briefly after the bath helps to get a warmer mouthfeel , but you invariable get some overcooked parts. As others have mentioned, a warm plate helps keep it from cooling further. At the end of the day, I think you just have to accept that 41C or 43C salmon is not going to feel hot. It's a different preparation. If you want hot, then fry, grill, poach, etc.
  6. I've got two pork shoulders in the fridge now for cooking this weekend with by soon-to-be-picked-up BGE. I've been researching the best ways to do pulled pork, pouring over MC, this site, and several other BBQ forums - with countless "perfect" techniques. A perfect opportunity for an experiment! Now the question is, which variable to explore? Injection: yes/no; recipe Brine: yes/no; recipe Rub: yes/no; recipe Mop: yes/no; recipe Smoke: yes/no; wood; temp; time Sous vide: yes/no; temp; time What does everyone think would be the variable to test? I'd like to pick just one; I'll have other chances later in the summer to look at others. I'm thinking of exploring Sous Vide: yes/no -- doing one shoulder just in the BGE and the other started in the BGE and finished SV per MC (5-67). Any suggestions on the other items? I'm thinking MC's best bet injection/brine (Cola -- 3-172), but I haven't seen this used anywhere else here or at other sites so I'm a bit nervous. Has anyone tried this? I'll need to get it the meat in the brine tomorrow for it's 72H soak...
  7. No firsthand experience with worms, but I have eaten 41C sous vide salmon several times with no problems. Probably the safest thing would be to call your doctor/nurse to get a recommendation. However, here are some points extracted from Modernist Cuisine [1-122, 1-123]: - Freezing kills the worms - Cooking fish to internal temperature of 60C or more for one minute kills the worms - Worms [anisakid] generally die after a week or so in the human body - Infection [anisakiasis] can generate quite a stomach-ache in meantime - Strong allergic reactions, although less common, could culminate in anaphylactic shock - 10% of raw salmon samples from 32 sushi bars in Seattle area had anisakids - The US reports fewer than 10 cases of anisakiasis per year
  8. I got (or will get) my BGE for $850, including a nest (metal stand). This is a special the local dealer has for their "Eggfest" later this month. Otherwise I could have just picked one up for a few bucks more from their shop immediately; no special order required. I'd also note that, from what I've read, BGE is pretty efficient with charcoal -- the ceramic walls/top retain heat well, and when you are done you can close everything up and save unburned charcoal for next time. For indirect cooking they offer a "plate setter" to protect foods from direct exposure to the coals.
  9. What kind of cooking do you want to do? low&slow -- 15 hours at 220F for pork butt; high-heat direct grilling -- 2-3 minutes at 700F for steak; hot/cold smoking; pizza/bread? For that kind of money, you might want to consider a ceramic cooker which can handle all of these cooking tasks. The Big Green Egg seems to be pretty popular, and has lots of cool accessories, including multi-tier racks if you are cooking for a crowd. I'm picking mine up in a few weeks!
  10. I just got one from Eggs by the Bay, a large with nest for $850 as part of their Eggfest in a few weeks ...but I have to wait until then to pick it up. This place in Sonoma, California has good prices too (large for $828; no nest), and ships free within the US. Not sure about to Europe. As an earlier poster said, there's also something to be said about buying local, which would enable you to get easier warranty service (they are warranted for life) should you need it; otherwise it's up to you to ship it back to the factory.
  11. I made the Egg Blossom (4-80) for breakfast today. It was OK, but I'm not sure the effort of putting the egg in the plastic wrap was really worth it. The delicious duck fat/olive oil/truffle oil mix was really the star for me. I would have preferred a more liquid yolk, so some timing adjustment is needed. Next time I think I'll just try 85C for 10 minutes (instead of 12), cook in shell, and season after unshelling with the oil/fat mix. I think just frying the egg in the mix would also be interesting.
  12. I let them both go to the moldy stage, so I didn't feel very motivated to do a taste test! Right out of the 60C/15sec soak I couldn't tell any difference visually. I had expected the leaves to wilt or something, but it looked no different from the strawberry straight from the package. Next time I'll treat a few more and do some taste tests before they get moldy.
  13. I've always heard you should never put strawberries (or tomatoes for that matter) in the fridge. I don't recall reading anything in MC on the topic...perhaps its time for another experiment!
  14. This isn't really cooking I suppose, but I was interested in the Heat-Treated Fruit (3-359) concept and if it really worked. Last week, I brought home some great looking strawberries from Whole Foods and decided to do an experiment. Following the Best Bets for strawberries (60C for 15 seconds), I soaked one strawberry in a 60C water bath for 15 seconds and set it on a plate with an un-soaked strawberry as a control, keeping both at room temperature (about 20C). The treated strawberry did indeed last longer than the untreated -- 8 days vs. 4 days respectively before the first sign of mold. I can't say that either one looked great at day 3 or 4 (compared with when they came from the store), but if mold prevention is what you are looking for it seems the heat treatment works. See photo sequence below. I may repeat the experiment in the summer when I can get really fresh strawberries at the farmers market. I'll also probably add a third strawberry soaked in room-temperature water for 15 seconds to see if it's the water or the temperature that provides the benefit. Has anyone else had good results heat treating fruits?
  15. The USDA press release also mentions a rest time of 3 minutes for whole cuts of meat. This is apparently the fist time that time-at-temperature has been used in general consumer guidance from USDA for cooking meat. I guess USDA figures we're all smart enough now to measure two things! A "rest time" is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source. During the three minutes after meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys pathogens. But it's not really clear why they didn't go all the way and give time-at-temp guidelines for ground meat or poultry. Perhaps USDA's perception of consumer IQ will continue to grow and we'll get another guideline update in a few years... This change does not apply to ground meats, including ground beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 °F and do not require a rest time. The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, remains at 165 °F.
  16. I was very fortunate to be able to attend a presentation given today by Maxime and Ryan on the making of MC to a packed house at Maker Faire in San Mateo. While the talk/slides were geared more towards people who hadn't been exposed to the book, it was nice to meet them both in person and get some insight into their perspectives on the book. It was very interesting for me to hear from Ryan some of the processes he used, both in Photoshop and in the machine shop, to get some of those iconic shots; and from Max about how the process of deconstructing / reconstructing basic ingredients with modernist approaches (e.g. the pea and the centrifuge, constructed creams) have opened whole new avenues of creativity that are just now beginning to be explored. (sorry for the horrible quality of my cell phone photo...) They gave the audience a special treat at the end of the talk -- MC Pistachio Gelato using a constructed cream of pistachio oil and water -- no dairy or eggs. As other's have said, it is the most concentrated pistachio flavor you can imagine in a gelato/ice cream; very, very good! Max actually demonstrated emulsifying the pistachio oil / water on stage with a rotor-stator homogenizer -- I have to get one of those! Much faster and quieter than I expected. Thank you Max & Ryan for a great talk, and tasty gelato!
  17. I couldn't tell you these days. I was a big fan of cooking shows for years, but felt recently they were getting monotonous and boring. It was finally Marcel's Kitchen that pushed me over the edge. After watching one episode of that drivel, I removed all of the cooking shows from my TiVo schedule. Haven't looked back since; no regrets. If I want some cooking edutainment, I'll check out things like the Harvard lecture series on YouTube or go see live demonstrations/talks (like the one tomorrow at Maker Faire with Max Bilet)
  18. I finally started volume 4 of Modernist Cuisine, which begins with a discussion of thickeners and viscosity. They mention non-Newtonian fluids but only give an example of shear-thinning fluids like ketchup, or fluid gels which act like solids until you stir them after which they act like liquids. Curiously, what doesn't seem to get mentioned is my favorite non-Newtonian fluid, the classic oobleck -- a mixture of corn starch and water. Oobleck is a shear-thickening fluid meaning it behaves like a liquid when you stir it slowly, but then seizes up and behaves like a solid when you stir quickly. If you didn't play with this when you were in school (or when your kids where in school) you really have to try -- it's fun and amazing! Anyway, this all got me to thinking about if there are any culinary applications for oobleck or other shear-thickening, non-Newtonian liquids. Wikipedia mentions two -- uncooked imitation custard and chilled caramel ice cream topping. But for modernist chefs growing bored of spherification, foams and liquid nitrogen, perhaps this could be a new avenue of exploration? Could you imagine a sauce that would behave like any other sauce on the plate, but then turn solid as soon as you bite down on it? Or a sphereified ball of the liquid which is hard when you bite it, but then collapsing into a liquid in your mouth once you release pressure. Talk about a surprise!
  19. Recent favorites: Incanto: Great flavors and unusual dishes using the whole animal. Highly recommended for a memorable dinner with great food and comfortable atmosphere. Chef Chris Cosentino (also owner of Boccalone) is very active/visible in the open kitchen (at least when I was there). Zero Zero: I've only been there for lunch, but the Neapolitan style pizzas are great, appetizers awesome (esp. daily seafood crudo), and the cocktail selection impressive. Flour+Water is supposed to be very good as well, but I've never been able to get in! For coffee drinks, head to Blue Bottle Coffee, either in Hayes Valley or the Ferry Building. Best esspresso drinks I've ever had, from their souped-up PID-controlled La Marzoccos and excellent baristas. Rituale is also very good. Another classic SF, hole-in-the-wall dive that I just love is Swan Oyster Depot. Normally I stay far away from SF tourist attractions, but I make an exception here. Open for lunch only (until 5pm) and no credit cards; expect to wait 45 minutes on the sidewalk to get one of their 10 or so stools at the counter. But once you get a seat, it is worth it. Oysters, clams, shrimp, fish, crab all prepared before your eyes by the 4-5 staff behind the counter. Oh, and the best clam chowder I ever had. Last time I went, they had fresh sea urchin. For something like $10, the guy took one of the live sea urchins, cracked it open, extracted the 5 "tongues" of roe out, cleaned out the top of the shell to use as a tray, and served to me on a bed of crushed ice. Probably the best, freshest uni I ever had. The decor, stools and staff probably hasn't changed in 50 years, but the with fresh seafood like that they don't need to. One more favorite: For authentic German fare, head to Suppenkuche. Walk through the doors, and it feels like you are in Munich. Very authentic, tasty food and excellent beer. Lots of others on my wish list, but I've had great success at these over the past few months.
  20. I made the Cornbread (5-76) this weekend, following the updated advice Maxime gave. Even with this approach, the temperature didn't get up to 88C in 20 minutes. I made 150% scaling based on the corn I had, and split into two loaves. I took the first one out at about 25 minutes. Parts of it read 88C with my thermapen, but the top was still pale yellow and the center was jiggly and obviously under-done. I left the 2nd one in until a wooden skewer came out clean from the center (I know, very old-school) -- about 30 minutes more. The 2nd one (with a total of 55min at 130C) came out more golden-brown on top and pretty well-cooked all the way through, but perhaps still a bit too moist. I think the key point here is the size of the mold/pan you use. The photo in MC shows molds that appear to be about 7cmx14cm, whereas I used loaf pans that are about 11cmx22cm. MC's maxim on diffusion must come into play here -- double the thickness of something and it takes four times longer. The bigger the loaf pan, the longer it will take the heat to penetrate and the moisture to escape. I'm sure the 20 minute guideline is meant for a relatively small mold, which is what I will use next time. In the end, the flavor of the cornbread was excellent (as everything I've made so far from MC has been) and is probably the best tasting cornbread I ever had. I suppose with all the butter, lard, eggs, cream and sugar it would be hard for anything to taste bad! In fact, before mixing in the dry ingredients, I was half-tempted to put the corn/cream mixture into the ice cream machine! But that is for another weekend... First loaf (25 min at 130C): Second loaf (55 min at 130C):
  21. I'm thinking of making the Paella Valenciana (5-239) and have been studying the recipe quite closely. I've made many Paellas Mixtas over the past 10-15 years, and have a large paellera and a 2-ring propane burner. In the warm summer months, it's not uncommon for us to keep the barbecue covered and make a big paella on a Sunday afternoon. However, after looking at the MC recipe, it's clear I'll have to learn a few more techniques and take a few weeks to source all the ingredient, plan the logistics and do the prep. But I am up for the challenge! A few things didn't quite make sense to me in the MC recipe. Has anyone here tried it yet? If not, perhaps one of the authors could comment. 1) The pictures on 5-241 show the rice being cooked in a paellera, however the instructions say to par cook the rice in a pressure cooker. Any comments on which approach gives better results? I imagine par-cooking lets you prepare things ahead of time and have a less hectic finish, while just cooking straight through in a pallera will give you a better soccarat (though this would just be a bonus, given the tuile in the recipe). 2) The assembly on 5-240 says to reheat the sofrito, but then it doesn't seem to get used anywhere. Should this be mixed with the rice? Used as a garnish? What about the reserved sherry vinegar and cilantro stems? 3) The photos on 5-238 and 5-242 have what looks like a frenched rack of rabbit, although this isn't mentioned in the recipe. Should these be cooked the same as the loin (57C/25min)? 4) I'm surprised about the instructions to add the saffron off heat, after the rice is finished. To get good color, I usually add saffron as the rice begins cooking & there is liquid in the pan. Perhaps the saffron is more fragrant when it isn't heated or diluted?
  22. Looks excellent! I'll have to expand my revuelto horizons!
  23. My favorite (only?) revuelto is with asparagus. I cut the asparagus into 2cm-3cm pieces and saute in olive oil. When done, I just crack an egg or two on top, stir it around a bit until the eggs set up then plate & season. Simple, delicious and just like I've had in Spain.
  24. Maxime, Thank you very much for taking the time to respond! Yes, that was me, however I am trying to get more of the Borgstrom clan into Modernist Cuisine. So far my father has made the Mac & Cheese and my young daughter has enjoyed the pictures and helping in the kitchen. Perhaps one day they'll become MC owners too! I understand your explanation of the component scaling and it makes sense. Thanks for considering adding a note for those of us who blindly scale our shopping list without studying the instructions carefully
  25. I made scrambled eggs like this (2 whole eggs plus one egg) three or four times now. I haven't done them sous vide yet - just very slowly and constantly stirring in a pan over low heat. Sometimes with cheese, sometimes without; usually with a bit of milk added in. The real trick is to keep the heat low enough and have enough patience - they will come together eventually. Just keep stirring and take them out of the pan just when you start to see them drying out/solidify. A night-and-day difference with my old high-heat, fast cooking approach; I won't be going back!
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