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paul o' vendange

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  1. I'm very sorry I can't offer any current or substantive suggestions as to places to go, just wanted to throw this out there - if you haven't read it - is Lawrence Durrell's Prospero's Cell. I'm not as big a fan of his fiction, which I find overwritten to some extent, but I'm really fond of his non-fiction travel writing. Among them, Prospero's Cell is exceedingly beautiful in its narrative of the life, land and sea of the island. Granted, from another, more innocent time, but I just wanted to toss it out as you might draw some enjoyment from it, before your trip. Happy travels.
  2. Hey Paul - Actually, I said white stock, not white sauce. It's the second stock after estouffade (and his chicken is the same thing, with the addition of additional giblets and/or carcasses, and "three boiling fowls" - that's a lot of bird per gallon of water!!). I've worked across many spectrums, all of them, really, classically based. But I've never cooked entirely true from Escoffier's work, to the word. I'm doing it because until I do, it's just a thought experiment, you know? I can't know what it is, until doing it verbatim, I guess, is what I'm trying to say. But I really am tripped out by not just the use of salt (I don't in my stocks, but many do - two immediately come to mind, Paul Bocuse, Judy Rodgers/Zuni Cafe Cookbook - lost her book years ago, but I seem to recall not only that she salts her stock, but against all orthodoxy, doesn't skim it at all - let's it cool scum and all overnight, then skims, if memory holds), but man - that's a lot of salt, or so it seems to me! It will be nice to make some velouté and derivative sauces from this, to see how it works. Partially, I'm just trying to feel the Belle Époque - and imagine, their palates demanded a richer, fuller experience. Partially, I love culinary history, the underlying reasons of why a certain gastronomy was as it was. But here, as well, just curious if anyone else has literally worked Escoffer, and what their experience of this use of salt is. Edit: Equally astonishing, at least to me, is that I haven't found any discussion of this anywhere on the web. I would have thought that given Escoffier's importance, and the importance of these stocks to French cuisine as we know it, there'd be more on this. I just find it kind of jarring, but then I admit I can go in fits of obsession, when nature allows.
  3. Hi all, I'm puttering a way back in. I've read Escoffier but in all my life, though I've used, as many of us have, a world of techniques and recipes, etc., passed on by traditions following from him, I've never replicated much from the book. Starting from the beginning. I've NEVER put a grain of salt in any stock. What he calls for in his white stock seems crazy to me. I gulped and added the full measure (though I made chicken stock, which calls for additional carcasses, whole boiling hens, etc., which I did). It's a luscious stock. Absolutely rich and an entire paradigm apart from the chicken stock I regularly use, which is a wetting agent, a braising liquid, a lighter basis for derivative sauces, etc. As this stock stands, I would use it in potage, but cannot imagine reducing it for sauce purposes. The salt is palpable, though it's "nice," I guess I'd say. The stock tastes great. I also find it interesting Escoffier doesn't typically call for salt in his small sauces. So it seems, salt in stock, watch it in saucemaking. I've tried finding discussions about this on the web, even in French, and I came up empty - which also really surprises me. Anyone else make his white stock? Anyone else use salt in their stock? Anyone else use it in this kind of ratio (60 g/12 litres water)? Thanks.
  4. Veal stock

    Hahahah - I love it - "Tongs Embargo." Good explanation, too, thanks Paul. I'll try to dig that up, interesting subject.
  5. Veal stock

    That would be great to find out, Paul. The gram thing I hadn't heard, but I guess I'm not surprised. I did know of the tong thing - if I'm not mistaken, he uses fish turners wherever possible and tongs are basically persona non grata.
  6. Veal stock

    Hey Paul, Interesting thought, and of course there are a million variations on ratios, components and techniques on any stock. What piqued me, however, is that for both the veal and "primary," let's call it, chicken stock, both recipes, with few exceptions, are identically worded. So much so, in fact, that I presumed Bouchon's was merely repeated from TFL, until I saw this halving of both the veal bones, and in essence, the time. Add to this that TFL does a remouillage and obviously, you end up with a substantially thinner sauce. Radically thinner, I'd think, though I've never made the Bouchon version. At any rate, just caught the difference today and found it interesting. In terms of what they're doing today, can't know, of course. My gut actually tells me this primary stock and the way it's made is really the soul of Keller's cooking, the essence of his cooking philosophy, written in the words of a recipe. I actually imagine nothing's changed at all. Would be interesting to know.
  7. Veal stock

    Sorry to resurrect, but obsessing. Randomly - Have long considered Thomas Keller a demi-god and tried to learn all I can from him. "My" veal stock was "his" veal stock, no interpretation whatsoever, for years. I have a hard time breaking from anything he does, but I've always found the stock a bit red for my truthful taste, and a bit sweet. I've made Escoffier's stock-espagnole-demi-glace for decades, and it wasn't till coming to TFL and Keller's way, that anything changed. Just your thoughts: TFL uses 10 lbs bones, remouillage, a lot more time, to get to 2 quarts. I only realized today that Bouchon uses half the bones and only 4 hours, to get to the same result - 2 quarts. Is this a typo, anyone? I feel like I'm missing something. TFL has aromatics working a total of what, 12 hours? Yet it works, in my opinion; I don't taste "dead." It goes against orthodoxy ("....add in and simmer for one more hour....."). Thoughts?
  8. Chicken stock rolling boil - for clarity?

    Thanks, Baron. Believe it or not that method is one I used, but it's easily been 25 years or better and with my memory issue being what it is, it literally dropped off my map. Not even sure where I picked it up, but it was definitely a French chef or other French source. Sincerely grateful to you for mentioning it as it does work fantastically well. Wish I had the "Recettes Originales" in the original, to see what they write there. Just seems crazy, so agree all, it's likely a typo or mistranslation.
  9. Chicken stock rolling boil - for clarity?

    So would I, which is why I've always been so puzzled. Goes against everything one is taught, etc. But these are the Troisgros's, and I don't know if this is a mistranslation or not (I only have the English version, would be nice to see the original).
  10. Chicken stock rolling boil - for clarity?

    Hello everyone - Hope you're looking forward to spring as much as I am. Let's just say this winter, in particular, ready to say goodbye. Odd question, but it's bugged me for as long as I've had their book. If anyone has it or has seen it, in the Troisgros Bros' book, they call for doing a chicken stock "making certain to keep it at a full rolling boil for 45 minutes" and "skimming the fat off the top." "These two things are important if you want to ensure a crystal-clear stock." I've never tried it, though I should. As it stands, I do keep stocks at a brisker simmer than some, probably, as I find I get better clarity with enough simmering agitation to better dislodge impurities from the meat and bones, not anywhere near a boil and emulsifying. But rolling boil? Trip. Anyone?
  11. Vintage Cookbooks

    Very cool. Thanks, robird.
  12. Open Forum on Food Politics

    Can I give you a counter-example? An inspector who "followed the letter" on opening requirements. Hot water, based on peak capacity. Part of that calculation was a hot water sink for washing lettuces and other vegetables. A hot water sink. For washing lettuce. It tipped us over the edge in terms of total capacity needed, and we would have needed to get a new hot water heater, to the tune of, as I recall it, over $10,000 we didn't have, to start up. Thankfully I fought, and argued before the state, that you don't use hot water to rinse lettuces. I won, and so our existing hot water heater was enough. What if it wasn't? How many businesses can't open, or fold, because of ridiculous laws like this? I really loved the requirement that there could be no exposed silver in the restaurant. A French place, expected to keep our tables covered in plastic during service. We, and I think mostly everyone, kind of winks together....we put the plastic on for inspection, the inspector inspects, knowing the second she leaves, it comes off, and we move on. How much sense does that make? It's important to think of these, too. And in terms of this French cheese issue, I think it's very relevant. OK, I already posted my Abondance cheeses. Here's some tommes, and reblochons. I only came to them because I was gifted to taste the real thing, nurtured along masterfully, from France. I find this incredibly wrong.
  13. Open Forum on Food Politics

    Hi Rob, I'm sorry, I'm not following the stat. I think you'd probably need to do something else, like total dairy, per capita, and so forth - right? We own 13% of the nation's total dairy, but we're a ghost town compared to some places. The concentration of farm capital is large, and expanding hotly. And that concentration exerts its influence on laws in my state. One example only - again, anecdotal though it's easy to look up. We, for example, are the only state in the union requiring cheesemakers to undergo state licensing. To the tune of 240 hours of official apprenticeship, and required courses from one sanctioned place only, UW. The sum cost to the would-be cheesemaker is about $3,000. I can tell you from what little beginnings I did, the curriculum is heavily slanted to large production. Raw milk cheeses are the devil - a point on which I didn't make any friends among the speakers on a given day, actually. They literally refused to countenance studies - FROM UW itself - showing, for instance, the beneficial effects of flora on wood cheese shelving. And much more. As jaded as I've become, I was stunned. But I felt I knew the environment I was throwing myself in to. I abandoned the plan, like many other cheesemakers, actually (abandoned, or moved out of state). Is the cheesemaker's licensing requirement reasonable? Not in my books. How about chefs? I believe it, like many other laws on the books (trust me - the "on farm" law was scratched from the state, only with the state kicking and screaming. I know a small, Amish farmer, who had his farm shut down on multiple occasions. And he fought).
  14. Open Forum on Food Politics

    Can't speak for all states, but in Wisconsin, things like that were originally successful, then the state argued before the courts these were all just end runs around the prohibition against raw milk (Ha....truthfully, wasn't thinking Prohibition when I wrote that .... same brilliant conception, right?) and the state was initially successful. Now, we have "for farm consumption." Just what that means is the whole ball of wax. Most states that are on the fence play like this - the state hates it, the lobby hates it, and they'll do what they can to shut any producer down. But there are vocal supporters of an individual's right to choose what they consume, and so we have our middling, cumbersome, silly laws (feel like owning part of a cow? You're golden in many states!).
  15. Open Forum on Food Politics

    I can tell you it's a war here in Wisconsin, and I believe that is squarely explained by the huge corporate dairy interests that inform our state's policies. The definition of "farm consumed," "club" etc., get to the silly. Testament to the fact that those who want it, like Paul said, should be able to consume it.
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