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  1. Been so busy doing stuff from my copy of MCAH, that I forgot to visit in a while to check out this thread. I would say that I'm really enjoying trying out the dishes from MCAH, but glad to have the original MC around for cross referencing the dishes as well. Besides, they all fit so nice on my minimalist cookbook shelf area in the kitchen.... Anyways, I think the family and guest favourite recipe so far has got to be the red wine glaze. So popular, that there is never any left over. Have made 3 batches so far and have made some small modifications: - once you make it the first time, consider skipping the ground beef oil step. Instead of skimming the fat off during the reduction step, cool the sauce in the fridge and then peel off the cooled fat, vacuum pack it and freeze. Then, the next time you make the reduction, just use 40 grams of this wonderfully flavoured fat. - the final reduction with added balsamic vinegar can be quite strong. I now reduce it so that there is about double the liquid asked for in MCAH. Because this is nicely flavoured but fairly thin liquid, I have been using xantham gum to thicken into a more viscous sauce using an immersion blender. - we ration out this sauce in small soy sauce dishes for each person to use as dipping sauce for steak nights :-) - if you have a dog, save some of the strained solids to add to kibble. Our beast loves a bit of the cooked vegetable mush for flavouring!
  2. So I have made the Kansas city BBQ sauce. I really liked it, as did my 6 y.o. who douses his food in chili flakes but my 4 y.o. found it too spicy. I would like to try another BBQ sauce from mc and wondered for those of you who have tried a bunch of them which you would suggest that my 4 y.o might appreciate a bit more.
  3. I have just started a batch at 68˚C and will check at 24 and 48 hrs to test shredding. Elastic tissue should easily break down nicely at that temp and given that tenderness doesn't seem to improve above 70˚C (per baldwin's lit search), I think that will be my best bet. Will report back. After 24 hrs I squished the meat through one of the bags and it felt like it was shreddable. So, I pulled out the 3 bags of beef and shock-chilled 2 of them and opened the 3rd. The meat was pretty good for shredding, but I think another 12 hours would have been "perfect". Didn't matter though since we made tacos and the taste was better than the crockpot method (which was already very good) since this meat was more juicy as I wanted. Was too hungry to take pics though.
  4. I have just started a batch at 68˚C and will check at 24 and 48 hrs to test shredding. Elastic tissue should easily break down nicely at that temp and given that tenderness doesn't seem to improve above 70˚C (per baldwin's lit search), I think that will be my best bet. Will report back.
  5. I would like some suggestions regarding length of time to do shredded beef sous vide. I have a shredded beef recipe that I use for tacos/fajitas which is cooked at low temp for 16 hrs or so using the crockpot. However, it is always a bit more dry than we like and I thought of doing it sous vide (with the advantage of par cooking a batch for future meals as well). I plan on using a chuck or blade roast as my base meat. The beef will be in a chipolte pepper (with lime/vinegar base) sauce while cooking (but not pre-marinaded). I thought I would cook it at 60 celsius but was unsure of length of time. I figure 24 hours would be the minimum and 48 might be too long - I don't want mushy, just pull apart texture. On searches, several people have used 68 celsius for 22 hrs for pulled pork, but that is a different beast. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  6. mcdiarmid

    Ground Beef Tacos

    Used to use ground beef, then tried to bring it up a notch for my family. Our current, ever changing recipe is: INGREDIENTS: - 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar - 3 tablespoons lime juice - 5-7 chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce (depends how spicy you want it) - 1/2 sweet onion - 5 cloves garlic - 4 teaspoons cumin - 2 teaspoons oregano, mexican style - 1 1/2 teaspoons salt - 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper - 1/8 teaspoon cloves - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil - 4 lb. beef roast (a cheap one is fine) - 1 cup chicken broth - 3 bay leaves - 2 juniper berries METHOD: 1. Puree the lime juice, vinegar, onions, chipotle peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt and clove in a blender or food processor. 2. Cut the roast into smaller pieces and remove any excess fat. 3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil and sear all the meat until lightly brown to start the Maillard reaction. Put meat into large crackpot. 4. Pour the pureed sauce over the meat and add in the chicken broth, bay leaves and juniper berries. 5. Cook for 15 hours on low setting or if in a pinch for time, at least 6 hours on high setting (the low setting is better). Beef should pull apart into shreds for tacos, burritos, or fajitas. There is so much that we freeze several pouches for future meals. When storing or freezing, do not throw out the liquids from the crockpot, simply divide up the liquids into the beef for storing/freezing as that keeps the meat from drying out.
  7. Personally, we like the classic Barbados Rum Punch with a twist - we carbonate it: 1 part lime juice 2 parts sugar syrup 3 parts Mount Gay Rum (any version except the white) 4 parts passionfruit/tangerine juice (store bought) We then carbonate it with dry ice (in the punch container, not our glasses). Pour into glasses and add dashes of Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters and some ground nutmeg.
  8. Yes, thank-you for your warnings - safety with any chemical is important. Dry ice happens to be one of the "safest" chemicals I have handled over the years given my work history. As for quality, I got our dry ice from a reputable gas company. As an aside, it was really nice to see MC spend some time discussing the safe handling of both CO2 and LN2 since many cooks don't have science backgrounds.
  9. So, we bought some dry ice and since you can't buy less than 10lbs at a time locally we had a lot of dry ice for food experimentation. First, tried carbonated strawberry milkshakes. Didn't work out so well, but that is likely due to the fact that we did not have any strawberries, fructose, or locust bean gum to use. Instead, tried blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with table sugar (gluc-fruc mixture) and xanthan gum. Came out more like a pudding than milkshake. Other problem we had was that the if the mix was thick enough, it was hard to get the dry ice to disperse properly and cool the whole drink. Ended up with pockets of dry ice and cold sections. We tried to blend the dry ice with the mixture and that distributed the dry ice throughout the milkshake better. However, in the end, the texture wasn't the greatest. I would still like to try the official recipe sometime, but it is hard to find fructose or locust bean gum locally. Second, we carbonated a mix of fruits and vegetables in our fridge. Tried blueberries, raspberries, grapes, bananas, tangerines, and cherry tomatoes. By far the best was cherry tomatoes. They were really great carbonated. Raspberries were good as well. Tangerines partially froze in the 12 hour carbonation process (they had the skin on). So we had a bunch of dry ice left over, and this inspired us to try "Carbonated Rum Punch". This was so good that we ran out of rum! Here is the recipe we put together: 1 part fresh lime juice 2 parts sugar syrup 3 parts rum 4 parts store bought passionfruit/tangerine juice Mixed together and then cooled and carbonated with dry ice. Poured, then added dashes of bitters and nutmeg. We liked Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters and Grapefruit Britters the best. The effect of putting the dry ice into the pitcher of rum punch was a nice touch and the fizzy nature of the drink was really subtle, but good.
  10. The recipe can be found in the cookbook, "Peace, Love, and Barbecue" by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe Here is a link to it.
  11. Cajun Spice Rub: INGREDIENTS: - 2 tablespoons oregano - 1 tablespoon black peppercorns - 1 tablespoon white peppercorns - 1 tablespoon thyme - 1 tablespoon crushed chillis - 1/2 cup paprika - 4 teaspoons salt - 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper METHOD: Blend oregano, peppercorns, thyme and crushed chillis to powder using spice grinder or coffee grinder. Mix in paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper. Makes enough spice to do several meals.
  12. Is a mole hill being turned into a mountain? Is it a big deal really? My wife complained about the smell which escalated into "what are all these gadgets and chemicals anyways." So yes, it is being a mole hill being turned into a mountain. ;-) Well, that is understandable then :-). My wife would complain as well if our kitchen/living room smelled like smoked meat and vinegar for two days. Luckily my IC is in the laundry room and it has a plastic cover over the tub. So the smell-effect on anything is minimal. So the answer to this is a bit complex since smell itself is complex. I will try and give the easy answer. All mistakes in this answer are mine. Aromatic molecules have to get to our nose to be detected. This depends on the volatility (tendency to vapourize) of the aromatic molecules so they can leave the food and reach our noses. Normally, this means going from food to the air to our noses. In sous-vide cooking, this means going from the food, through the plastic of the vacuum bag, through the water, into the air, and then to our noses. Only difference is the extra steps of the plastic bag and water. Volatility is largely dependant on molecular weight. Molecular weight refers to the weight of certain number of molecules (specifically a "mole" of a compound). Hydrogen gas, a molecule made of 2 hydrogen atoms, has a molecular weight of roughly 2. Oxygen gas, made of 2 oxygen atoms, has a molecular weight of roughly 32. This means that 2 grams of hydrogen gas will have the same number of molecules as 32 grams of oxygen gas. This is because oxygen gas is 16x heavier than hydrogen gas. A rule of thumb is that the smaller the molecular weight, the higher the volatility. When it comes to aromatic compounds, those molecules that we can smell, the same rule of thumb exist. For example, many aromatic compounds have between 6 and 18 carbon groups in them. Molecules with more than 20 carbon groups are usually too heavy and thus have a low volatility which means they can't reach our nose for us to smell. An example of an aromatic molecule is vinegar, which has 2 carbon groups and a molecular weight of roughly 60, which is why it is so easy to smell it. Tangentially, it has be theorized that hydrocyanic acid (HCN) with a molecular weight of 27 is the smallest molecule we can smell, since 1 in 5 individuals are unable to detect it. Going back to the original issue of smells with sous vide cooking, the only difference between the "normal" food to air to nose and sous vide to nose pathway are the plastic and water. So the question really becomes, how do the aromatic molecules get through the plastic and the water? First lets discuss the water. There are many examples of smells that come from aromatic molecules in water. The ability of the molecules to get from the water into the air (and thus our noses) is dependant on the solubility of the molecule in water (the more soluble the molecule is, the tighter it is held within the water) and the volatility (or vapour pressure) of the molecule (the more volatile the molecule is, the more it wants to escape the water into the air). It gets a bit more complex when you consider the effects of things like temperature and pressure, but for our conversation, I think we don't need to talk about those factors. So this leaves us with the situation where, if the aromatic molecules can get through the plastic into the water, then we will eventually smell them. Plastics are very interesting structures and there is a large variety in differences between individual plastics, however, we can talk about them in some generalizations. Aromatic molecules can get through plastics by several processes. First, aromas can "diffuse" or permeate through the plastic itself via the pores in the polymer matrix of plastic. Second, aromatic molecules have a solubility in plastic that is dependant on the molecular weight and crystallinity of the plastic. An example to think of is what happens in our fridges where saran wrapped food can start to smell/taste like the foods around them or make the foods around them stink/taste different (onions and blue cheese come to mind). Given the various steps to get from the food > plastic > water > air > nose, it is easy to see why the smells of SV cooking are stronger the longer the cooking duration is. Higher temperature should increase the effect of SV aromas since the aromatic compounds are more likely to escape the bag into the water, but I am not sure how much difference temperature makes empirically because the delta temperature difference between most cooked proteins SV is about a 10˚C range. By extension of this topic, another question comes up - how do we prevent this? Often, the aromatic smells can be decreased by using specific plastics and layering the plastics. If I am cooking for days or cooking something that doesn't smell as nice as momofuku short ribs, then I will double or triple bag with a thicker plastic (ie freezer rated vac bags instead of ziplocs) for decreasing both the chance of a bag perforation and obnoxious aromas. Not perfect, but definitely helps.
  13. As you are looking to modernist cooking in particular, I would focus the teaching on basic modernist techniques that can be replicated at home - first I would suggest a nice long cooked flank steak. You class is over two days - this is perfect for a 24 hr 60˚C sous vide flank steak which showcases the great benefits of using this technique on tough meats with wonderful buried flavours. Start your class by talking about SV principles and then make each person or "couple" prep, vacuum seal, and then group the steaks into several water baths - they will be ready for searing (you could show off burners) and eating at the end of the class on the second day. I would also spend some time going over food safety and the controversies of time/temp with the FDA tables/history. You can tie this into the SV cooking by talking about shock chilling, proper thawing and par-cooking. Working families love to par-cook and with busy weekdays, the weekends can produce many par-cooked meals. This will leave many hours left for the "nerdy science" stuff. Start with thickeners - this topic can easy be applied to sauces and gravies at the participant's home later. Talk about the "chemicals" used to decrease suspicion or fear of the unknown - relate them to baking soda/powder. You can always made the MC cornbread since it uses isomalt and is geared to metric weights, another aspect of modernist cuisine that is foreign to many home cooks. Gels/spheres can certainly be fun if there is extra time.
  14. We are adding this to our list of errata on the MC web site, but for the record, you should replace steps two and three with “Combine in blender with cooked corn, and puree until smooth." Furthermore, what is listed in step eight should read, "Bake in 175 °C / 350 °F oven for 10 min, and then reduce oven temperature to 130 °C / 265 °F and bake to core temperature of 88 °C / 190 °F, about 20 min." First, thank-you Maxime (and all your elf helpers) for taking the time and effort in interacting with us regarding the various details of MC cooking. I also had problems with the cornbread cooking times, and since I really liked the bread, made it again, using the revised cooking times. I suspect my recipe making skills and equipment aren't up to the standards of the MC team! :-) I simply can't get the internal temperature up to the 88˚C using the revised instructions/times. After baking at 350 for 10 min and then at 265 for a further 25 min, the internal temp of my cornbread reaches 66˚C and looks soupy. My oven and thermometers are calibrated so I suspect it is the gestalt of my recipe skills which are the problem. That being said, I have had good success with baking at 350 for 40-45 min to get an internal temp of 88˚C.
  15. So I looked at the recipe for goulash broth (6.19) and it has no vodka in it. In that recipe, it calls for tomato confit(6.179) and brown beef stock(6.10), neither of which have vodka in their recipes. The goulash broth does call for sherry vinegar though. The only stock that calls for vodka is the brown veal stock(6.11) at a 2% ratio. The brown beef stock calls for 10% full bodied red wine and 4% dry red port.
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