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  1. We get those same varieties of fresh in supermarkets up here in Hubei. I'm surprised more selection doesn't come over from Yunnan. As to risotto rice, you might try mixing a small amount of one of the more "glutinous" or sticky varieties (maybe even the kind they use for 粽子) in with another kind of rice. I've done a nice risotto-style dishes here with other grains I found here - 小麦 (some kind of partially milled wheat berries I think) and 燕麦米 (a sort of long-grained barley or farro? dunno). The wheat berries especially cook up with a level of chewiness that I enjoy, while some glutinous rice combined with fat and cheese gives all the creaminess you could want.
  2. Don't bother sending your Shun into the factory for sharpening; just do it yourself. I mailed them my 8" classic chef's knife this spring and wasn't too pleased with the results. I knew it would take weeks to get the knife back - I think it took about 3-4 in the end - so I got a $30 Victorinox knife to use at work while my Shun was out. When I got the Shun back, newly sharpened (maybe), it wasn't anywhere near as sharp as the Victorinox I'd been beating up doing prep for the last month. I ended up putting a new edge on my Shun before another month was out. Waste of steel. Edit: I totally second the cheap boning knife thing. I use a $25 Victorinox boning knife to butcher for hours every day. It's great to have a knife you don't mind taking to the steel before every task, using to scrape bones and worse, or even ripping through one of those horrible little hand-held sharpening wheel things. I find it a lot more comfortable than a chef's knife for breaking down poultry, so I think it's a great buy for serious home cooks who like to take down whole chickens and ducks.
  3. I love roasted grapes: wash, drain, place in a single layer on a rimmed sheet tray, put in a 425F oven. Once every 10 minutes or so, drain the liquid from the tray off into a saucepan. Turn the grapes once they brown on one side. Roast until they get some good browning and a bit of blackening, then take the tray out of the oven. Reduce the grape juices that you've collected until they're thickened (or add some cornstarch if at some point you're happy with the flavor but not the viscosity), then maybe add some balsamic vinegar for tartness (the juice and the grapes will be very sweet). Mix the juices with the roasted grapes and you've got a great pie filling ready to go. The only downside is it'll be brown, not green
  4. I'm pretty sure a single type of fruit (raspberries, or lemons for instance) can vary significantly in acidity between specimens (and batches). At work, we've long had a problem an inconsistent texture in a gel made from agar, lemon, and ginger, and I think it is because some batches of lemons are more acidic than others, which changes how the agar behaves. pH testing would be the way to find out for sure. Of course this could be totally wrong or totally irrelevant to your problem.
  5. 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. For the turkey, I would suggest you try what I've seen produce the best results at my work: remove any unwanted cartilage, bones, fat, blood vessels, and whatever else BEFORE you bag the meat (definitely possible, people bone out whole chickens without breaking the skin), then bag, cook, and chill in the bag. For service, rewarm the meat IN THE BAG in your circulator. You don't need to rewarm it to 175 degrees; 144.5 should do you just fine, but a turkey leg will probably take at least 20 minutes to a half an hour to warm through. Then cut it out of the bag, dry thoroughly, season, and crisp the skin however you want to. The meat is already hot, so don't slam it in the oven and forget about it, just focus on getting the skin how you like it. I probably wouldn't even bother resting it, but if you do you just need to flash it in a hot oven for a minute right before you serve it. Of course, you can't make a sauce out of the anything inside the bag this way... As to all the juices in the bag after you cook the meat, I think you're right to be worried about them. It's rare for us to get to look so directly at how much we've dried out a piece of meat, but that is in fact lost water that you're never getting back inside the turkey. Perhaps 176 was too high? I imagine you got that number from someone else who has had good results, but what are other people cooking turkey legs at? Then again, I've never cooked a turkey leg SV, so I may be full of it...
  6. Generally only the outer surfaces of whole muscle cuts are contaminated, but when you roll a roulade, part of that outer surface area ends up in the inside of the roll; you can't just blanch the whole roll, you'd have to blanch and chill the meat before rolling. That should work fine, unless your meat is pounded very very thin, in which case blanching might make the meat tear when you contort it and would probably overcook it before it ever hit the water bath. Of course, your FILLING could be contaminated as well, so make sure you have considered that as well.
  7. Really interested in this - someone above also mentioned interstitial space in muscle tissue. Any literature you can point us to?
  8. I'm pretty sure I got it in a bowl, and there was some kind of optional bread(?). This guy didn't form it into a ball, but I think it was sticky enough that you could have done it. I'll definitely look up Nuo Mi Ji and see if it fits the bill. Yeah, definitely tried the lamb soup a few times, and some goopy breakfast soup too as I recall. Thanks for the info!
  9. Are mass-produced almond flours normally defatted? Been wondering...
  10. Are you sure, or are you taking a sip of the water which includes the surface, and therefore the oils? What if you tasted it from the bottom with a straw, after letting the brine sit for a bit. There must be some water soluble flavor compounds in herbs which do get into the water The conversation actually had nothing to do with brines; I think it was actually about some flavored seltzer water I was drinking. Excellent point! I think cell membrane permeability is also largely determined by electrical charge. We've been talking about non-polar fat-soluble compounds, but in a brine we're also adding ions from salt into the mix, so maybe there's something going on there...here's where I hope someone with a chemistry background chimes in.
  11. I know for sure, from a conversation with my father (a chemist), that you can disperse enough of a oil-like flavor into water to give the water very strong flavor.
  12. Maybe you get just the water-soluble flavors? Perhaps the oil-soluble flavor compounds have very very low solubility in water, but enough to make a difference? At work, we brine our pork with some aromatics (rosemary, juniper, onion, garlic, black pepper), and it definitely works...
  13. Sexpresso? 9-year old news to the Japanese, who have already taken the idea to a strange and kinky place. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maid_cafe
  14. DLim


    Great article! I recognize a lot of the items you mentioned from my time in China a few years ago. I visited a friend of mine who was teaching English in Wuhan and he took me to what he termed "Breakfast Street" - the full panoply of breakfast-specific street foods crammed into one block, open only for breakfast. I ate as much as I could, (including those spicy peanut noodles and a greasy omelet-fried rice-scallion hybrid) but sadly there was no way I could get to them all. As I recall, we were also in a rush so we could be in time for his first class of the day! I hope we hear more from Suzhou!
  15. Anyone know what that stuff is? I've been trying to figure it out since about 10 minutes after I ate it in the Muslim Quarter of Xi'an in late 2008. It's some kind of starch, mashed or rolled very small, and chewy mutton or lamb or some other strong-flavored meat. I think it had a five-spice powder flavor, or at least star anise. The receptionists at my hostel told me the starch was wheat, but their grasp of non-hostel related English was limited, so I can't be sure of the accuracy of that information. Yeah it was DELICIOUS, and I'd like to make some attempt at replicating it, but clearly I need a little more information before I step down that path...I googled everything I could think of back in 2008, but didn't find anything. Anyone have a clue? Or know of a better place to pose this question? Cheers! edit: hmm guess maybe this should've gone in China: dining. Sorry! Though I am looking for a recipe...
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