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Wayt Gibbs

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  1. Copies of MCAH are on their way to Europe and will be distributed to booksellers throughout the UK and Europe by Publishers Group UK and Grantham Book Services.
  2. We are quite proud of the tabular style of recipe presentation we developed for MC. In our initial design studies, we investigated many different approaches to presenting recipes, ranging from traditional narrative formats to very graphical formats such as that used on the recipes in Cooking for Engineers. The final format at which we arrived combines, we think, the concision and ease of scanning of CfE-style recipes with the clear linearity of numbered recipes and the scalability of ratios, as used frequently in baking and championed by Michael Ruhlman. We think this format is an improvement for many kinds of recipes. We hope that it catches on, and we encourage others to use it.
  3. To clarify, this error appears on page 5·XXXVIII. The value in the third row of the "Common Conversion Values" table was incorrectly truncated. It should read: J kcal 0.000239 Thanks for pointing out the error.
  4. As the editor of the book, I can assure you that we're thrilled whenever readers cook from the book and blog about how the recipes turned out, what they learned, what new directions they took them, etc. In fact, we set up a cooks forum at http://modernistcuisine.com/cook/forum where readers can post questions for our research cooks and each other, share results and ideas, and upload photos. If you'd rather write about your experiences with MC on your own blog, that's great, too. If you make it a regular thing, we'll even put a link to your blog on our website. Every recipe in Modernist Cuisine is the product of a substantial investment of research, time, money, and talent, so we do ask others to respect our copyright and stay within the bounds of fair use, which have been discussed earlier in this thread. But Modernist Cuisine is intended to be a launch pad for creative cooking--so if you want to take one of our recipes to the next level, make it your own, and write up that new culinary idea in your own words, please do!
  5. Thanks for your interest. The MC Cooking Lab is contained within the larger Intellectual Ventures Laboratory, and as such is not open to the public for events. If we do host any public events at the lab in the future, we will post advance notice on our blog, so you may want to subscribe to receive blog updates by email. You can edit your profile to enable that option.
  6. The complete recipe for Sous Vide Rare Beef Jus--along with backstory on its creation, tips on selecting the meat, and a step-by-step video that illustrates how to use a centrifuge to clarify the jus--is now available in the Recipe Library. We're looking forward to hearing what you think of the recipe, and what dishes you find go well with the jus.
  7. I made the recipe for Strawberry Gazpacho (5-277) a couple weeks ago. It calls for both citric acid and malic acid. I found citric acid (organic, even) at Whole Foods in the bulk section. Malic acid was trickier to acquire, but I did eventually find some at a store in Kirkland that sells beer- and winemaking supplies. I had no luck finding a local source of fructose or glucose syrup DE40, so substituted ultrafine sugar and corn syrup. The soup turned out great.
  8. I second the recommendations of wd~50 and Momofuku Ssam Bar (if you're going with a bunch of people, get the entire roast pig butt). Jean Georges at 1 Central Park West is also amazing.
  9. Mac and Cheese has been one of the most discussed recipes from the book so far. Coauthor Maxime Bilet has already answered several questions about the recipe on eGullet's Cooking with Modernist Cuisine thread. He, along with several other eGulleters, noted that you can probably save the cheese in the freezer for about a month, and explained that the use of carageenan makes this possible. Later in the thread, however, he does note that if you are using all the cheese right away, you can omit the carageenan, but details some of the benefits of the constructed cheese. We hope that answers a few questions, but if not, please ask! We'd also love to see what you have done with your leftover cheese!
  10. That recipe mistakenly omitted a crucial ingredient. In the ingredient list, "Water 250g 208%" should appear before "Cane vinegar" and should be added to the mixture in step 7. Step 8 is correct as written, provided you add the water. We apologize for the error. We will add this to our errata and will correct the recipe in future printings.
  11. Anyone who ordered the book from Barnes and Noble but hasn't received it yet will want to check out my new blog post on that situation. We don't understand why B&N has been sporadically cancelling orders and some B&N reps have been giving out misleading info to customers, but apparently they have. One eGullet member reported that B&N claimed not to have received any copies of MC yet, which is simply false. This situation frustrates us as much as it does the customers, I assure you. We've been told by the powers that be at B&N that they are reaching out to every customer who has ordered the book (starting with those whose orders were erroneously cancelled) to fix this. If you ordered from B&N and received an order cancellation notice, and don't hear from them next week about reinstating the order, please email your order confirmation slip to info@modernistcuisine.com, and we'll do what we need to to make this right.
  12. Modernist Cuisine research chef Grant Crilly answers: There are several thing to consider when cooking a steak (rib steak) sous vide. One is the thickness of the meat. If it is much thicker than an inch or two, I would not preseason it. In the amount of time that it takes to reach your core temp, the salt will toughen the surface of the meat and remove lots of moisture. A second consideration is which cut/rib along the rib primal does your steak come from? Steaks cut toward the front of the animal contain a larger portion of the tender muscle known as the “deckle” or “cap.” In such cases, you might want to separate the muscles and cook them at different temperatures (a procedure we describe in the book). Toward the rear of the primal, the eye increases in size and starts to become the New York. You can cook a steak of that kind in one piece with no problems. You have several approaches to remedy the fat problem. You can cook the meat at a slightly hotter temperature, such as 58 °C / 136 °F, for a touch longer. Doing this helps to soften the fat in a rib eye quite a bit. The average rib steak is a touch more tender at this temperature anyways. I usually use this approach at home. Alternatively, you can remove the fat completely. Or you can sear the fat, and place it back into the bag. Yet another option is to pierce the fat with a pin many times to help rupture the cell walls that contain it. In the book, you'll find an illustrated step-by-step procedure for preparing duck that shows how to do this with a dog brush. (Be sure to use a new one!) I myself always prefer to sear after the cooking, for a couple of reasons. First, you lose your crust if you presear; it sort of steeps in the bag like tea. The color in your sear will pale and leach out, making for a pretty sad-looking piece of meat. If you want the flavor, slice off a little bit, and sear those pieces, then place them in the bag. Second, searing just before serving brings the surface temp up considerably. You can fry the steak, place it in a very hot convection oven, or sear traditionally in a very hot pan. Always take care to sear in a hotter-than-normal method, however, so that searing occurs as fast as possible. This helps get it to the table at a good eating temp. As for warming the plates, that is always a nice thing when serving hot food. One last thing to keep in mind with a cut like the New York and rib steak: the muscle fibers run parallel to the thickness of the steak you are cooking. Yet most people still cut along the fibers on the plate at the table. If you as the cook simply precut the steak at a 45° angle, you will effectively tenderize the steak a great deal. A cheaper steak prepared this way will often enough seem more tender that a more expensive steak prepared and cut in a typical way. For a large roast, cutting very thin slices achieves similar results. You'll find many more tips and techniques like this in the book.
  13. At the beginning of chapter 10 on The Modernist Kitchen, you'll find four pages of tables that list: Must-Have Tools for the Modernist Kitchen Handy Special-Purpose Tools Inexpensive but Invaluable Modernist Tools Classic Tools for Modernist Cooks Each table ranks the gear in priority, lists some common brands, and gives (2010) price ranges. The chapter also opens with a photo of the kitchen at The Cooking Lab with a numbered key that identifies each piece of equipment in it. Listed right at the top of that first table are water baths, unstirred or circulating. Also high on the list are liquid nitrogen, a humidity-controlled oven (combi oven or Cvap), a vacuum sealer, and a homogenizer. The vast majority of recipes in the book can be made with just those tools plus standard kitchen items.
  14. That depends a lot on what you're most interested in--why it is you decided to buy the book. But because we expect a lot of readers will have the same question, we're planning on adding soon a "Getting Started with Modernist Cuisine" area on modernistcuisine.com that will offer some suggestions, as well as guidance on where to pick up any special equipment or ingredients you may want to try. In the meantime, there is a Cooking with Modernist Cuisine thread going on eGullet that you may want to keep an eye on, as readers post about their experiences trying various techniques and recipes in the book.
  15. It does, in several different ways. Perhaps most important, Modernist Cuisine explains, in a clear and accurate way, how pressure and humidity affect almost every kind of cooking technique, from baking to smoking to sausage-making. The sample pages at the start of this Q&A give a glimpse of one facet of the explanation of humidity, but its role is covered thoroughly as a dominant theme that reappears in multiple chapters. The effects of atmospheric pressure also come up in several places throughout the book. So for those who want to develop a really deep and accurate intuition about the actions of these two crucial variables in cooking, this cookbook can give you that. More specifically, the authors have included marginal notes to accompany quite a few recipes throughout the book with tips for adjustments you might need to make at higher altitudes.
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