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paul o' vendange

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Everything posted by paul o' vendange

  1. A couple of miscellaneous thoughts: Oxygen is the enemy of finished beer, though it is the friend of green beer (newly fermenting wort). Yeast require O2 to respire and replicate, after which they enter anaerobic fermentation. Once the beer is fermented out, yeast flocculate (settle, to varying degrees) and it is during this time that you want to avoid introducing new 02, as this 02 will not be used up by the now inactive yeast. Residual 02 causes oxidative changes via chemical reactions with malt and hop compounds, causing staling and other effects (typically, a "cardboard" taste, among others). If I could humbly disagree a bit with wnissen, I would advise against shaking a closed bottle, for safety reasons, as well as for the aforementioned 02 pickup - 02 resides in the headspace. Next time, I'd suggest you run a final specific gravity on your beer. This will tell you more than anything the level of residual sugar in your beer, therefore the need for and quantity of any priming sugar to use. Hope this batch turns out well, though, cheers.
  2. Actually, I wouldn't lose hope. If you haven't already gone the prime tab route, I would hold off, and would ask how certain you are you fully fermented out (most homebrewers, esp. when starting out, do not pitch adequate yeast, they get a slow ferment, and are, understandably, eager to drink the brew - so they bottle early, with considerable residual sugar). At least that was my story. An APA is not a Pilsner. Depending on your likes, of course, you could get away with a lower CO2 charge and it would still be an enjoyable product (I usually go with 2.25-2.5 atm. C02 in my ales; true English bitters are much lower). And any time you open your beer, you risk contamination. Tis true, it's a choice - risk flat beer, or by opening your bottles to add primetabs, you risk funked beer (although the risk of funking your beer is fairly low if you follow proper sanitation protocol). Paul
  3. Providing you can properly, at elevated pressures (therefore, temperatures) for the proper time, I know of no organism which can survive. Don't rely on this as I do not have the specifics before me nor am I making any qualified advice (so I am absolved of any liability herein - god, too many years in the Chicago loop), but it's my impression nothing can survive under the proper regimen. Paul
  4. I have nothing but good things to say about NW Cutlery. I used to go to them all the time while still living in Chicago (on my way to the meat district!), and still do business with them online now (just yesterday, as a matter of fact) for my restaurant. I can't speak for their in-house service anymore, but they have always done right by me. Fox & Obel was my candy store while in Chicago; that, and Paulina Meat Market. Paul
  5. Thanks Andie, yeah, a bit smaller than I am hoping for. All - still looking for a small pie or larger tartlette mold source, ideally 5" x 1.5" smooth. Thanks. Paul
  6. Thank you both. Lady, couldn't see anything quite right on World Market, but thanks for the heads up; Andie, great call - Big Tray's quiche is perfect (ironically, just bought from them a few days ago - completely dropped off my radar map to look there). Now, just looking for the tartelette molds... Thanks again, Paul
  7. Just an incidental, but a nice discussion of this topic is also to be found in "Chez Panisse Cooking," in which they discuss grapes, raisins, potatoes... Paul
  8. Hello all - remaining outfitting of my kitchen, need to find a source of (approx. 75+ each) creme brulee molds and tartelette molds, trying to hold the line to below $4 each. Sizing: On the brulee molds, looking for wide shallow molds, 6" x 1", not standard ramekins; on the tartelette molds, ideally looking for plain sided, 5" x 1.5" or so. Ebay is a wash, not found much on Fantes, Pastry Chef, abestkitchen, JBprince, Ace mart, or other usual suspects. Kitchen opening in a matter of weeks, any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Paul
  9. You are asking what would happen if the big three ever entered into making more flavorful beers. To what has been written I would add that to some extent, they already have, either under their own label or by acquiring existing breweries making "flavorful" product. I don't have the stats before me, but, at least as far as Miller is concerned, the early forays into "craft beer" proved largely to be a big wash. Paul
  10. paul o' vendange

    duck confit

    In The Cooking of Southwest France, Paula Wolfert attributes stringiness to rapid heating and suggests placing the meat in the fat as soon as it has liquified. Then slowly heat the fat to 190ºF, a process that should take about an hour. Hold the temperature at 190º for an hour to an hour and a half (duck legs take the full 90 minutes), then allow the meat to cool in the fat. Works beautifully for me. Ms. Wolfert's excellent book is currently out of print but a new edition is slated for release in 2005. Although it's more a flavour issue than a stringiness one, I'm surprised that no one has discussed the species of duck used. One of Quebec's better confit makers, a transplant from southwest France, insists that moulards (aka mulards; they're a muscovy-pekin cross and the most popular species for foie gras production) are best, although muscovies are a workable subsitute. She shuns pekin ducks as inferior for confit. My recent survey of local purveyors tends to support her claim: the best confit legs were moulards; most of the second string were muscovies; none of the pekin legs rated highly. Did you recycle the fat from your first confit attempt? If so, did you skim and strain the fat well? Did you add any new fat? How hot did the fat get? In my restaurant we use 100% moulard (magret, confit, prosciutto, rillettes, etc.). Agree for the most part re: pekin, but I would argue that, in the States at least, might this not be as much a function of breeding practice as breed ... i.e., here, Pekin is the breed used in mass production (e.g., Maple Leaf Farms) and its flavor doesn't always rise to the occasion. I do know of one breeder of Pekins in Minnesota (Wild Acres) whose family has worked hard to raise an excellent stock, and his ducks feed on good material; the flavor is extraordinary, rivalling muscovy and moulard. The only reason I didn't go with him for part of our need (incl. confit) is logistics - wanted magrets for searing/entree and prosciutto, his legs for braises and confit, but as we use the whole animal for stock/integral sauce, I was left with excess of his Pekin breasts. Just an example, but I would be spending my time looking for local producers, whatever the breed, if possible. Nice method from Paula Wolfert, I will look forward to the release of her reprint, thanks for the heads up. Paul
  11. paul o' vendange

    duck confit

    In my experience, in terms of toughness, the key is temp. I confit tougher cuts all the time - lamb shoulder, muscovy leg, etc. I add a bit of water to the fat and keep it to a near poach temp, just a very, very mild simmer (bubble rising occasionally). If you had a more violent simmer or boil, this would explain the cloudiness, much like when making stocks.
  12. For searing meats and so forth, grapeseed or canola oil for their high smoke points; usually finished in the oven with butter. EVOO for some things, nut oils for vinaigrettes, duck fat for confit (I make a lot of confit - lamb shoulder, rabbit, duck).
  13. I am afraid I missed North Pond while in Chicago. I will say that Chef Sherman got on the phone with me one day some time ago now, to lend his support and advice on various issues ahead - being a chef, and chef/owner, and the trials therein. It must have been a half hour or so, and I am eternally grateful. The man deserves all successes coming to him. Paul
  14. Michael, I'm sure that's what you meant and my very minor quibble is at heart an essentially frivolous toss to the community. And beyond, I'm quite sure Chef Piper is not laying awake nights waiting for a gallant defense from yours truly. Bless them all, chefs who give a damn. Paul
  15. Michael, a minor quibble. I only know Chef Piper through friends and through living in the area for a few years, but I'd be reluctant to call L'Etoile a "Chez Panisse style" restaurant. Chefs Piper and Waters are colleagues, and, I believe, good friends, but her work and L'Etoile are entirely her own. Like Alice Waters in California, Odessa is deeply concerned about sourcing and sustainable community and enterprise therein; she is also a teacher. But I think it somewhat understates her contribution to say she is "in the vein of Panisse," etc. Her contributions stand wholly on their own (stretching back to her own work as a farmer, and to 1969 with her first locally sourced, organic restaurant): Odessa Piper Bio Paul
  16. A little unclear what you're looking for, since confit by definition is a method of preserving foods - do you mean, not preserved as in confiture, preserves/candied fruit? Paul
  17. sushi in japan - parasitic infestations Excerpts: "At first glance it could be a fire hose, neatly accordioned behind a panel of glass and mounted on a wall. As the wall is in a museum devoted wholly to parasites, however, you have the unsettling feeling that upon closer inspection it will turn out not be a piece of safety equipment. "Diphyllobothrium," says Shunya Kamegai cheerfully. Kamegai, a parasitologist, is the director of the Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo. Diphyllobothrium is a tapeworm, in this case a 24-foot-long tapeworm. Kamegai speaks English, but you almost wish he didn't. Then you wouldn't know this tapeworm lived in a 40-year-old sushi eater. You wouldn't know what the man's doctor had to do to evict the specimen in one long museum-quality piece. You wouldn't know that it grew 20 centimeters a day in the man's belly. "Grew this big in two months after eating sushi," says Kamegai. You nod, silently calculating the hours that have elapsed since you ate raw fish at a cheap Tokyo sushi bar. Each year some 2,000 Japanese fall ill from worms in raw fish. In the United States doctors don't have to report those kinds of illnesses to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so statistics aren't available... Kamegai himself was a statistic. But it wasn't a tapeworm that made him sick. What caused Kamegai's illness, indeed what causes most illnesses traced to worms in raw fish, was a less showy organism. Kamegai steps over to the museum's souvenir shop and picks up a key chain featuring a matchbook-size slab of Lucite. Inside it, half an inch long and delicate as corn silk, is a worm of the species Anisakis simplex. In both Japan and the United States, far more people get ill from fish fixed at home than from fish served in sushi restaurants. (See safety tips for preparing raw fish). According to Robert Price, a seafood microbiologist at the University of California at Davis, most of California's cases of anisakiasis have been traced to rockfish (a.k.a. rock cod or snapper) that people catch themselves and make into ceviche. (The tart lime juice marinade "cooks" the raw fish but doesn't seem to bother the worms.) ... The sushi masters For as long as there has been sushi, there have been sushi masters: men who teach other men about fish... The first secret of the masters can be found inside a hulking metal freezer in the corner. It is this: With few exceptions, the sushi served at the average restaurant has been frozen. This is a good thing. Freezing kills parasites. In many cases the fish is frozen right on the deep-sea fishing boats to keep it from spoiling on the lengthy return voyage. The same is true in the States, though it's not a requirement. "The transport of fresh fish," says Peter Schantz of the CDC's division of parasitic diseases, "is such that the most practical way to do it is to freeze it." Frozen sushi? Yoshizaki nods. He says it's hard to tell the difference between fresh raw fish and fresh-frozen. As long as it's frozen right away, he insists, the taste is the same As for texture, he continues, mushy fish is caused by poor freezing practices, not freezing per se. A fillet shouldn't be left in the freezer longer than two weeks. "Freezer burn," he says. "Fish become watery. No good." Thawing in hot water is another no-no. "Defrost too fast. Fish get soft." Not much to worry about Even if freezing didn't do such a good job of deep-sixing parasites, only a few fish would present any real problems. Tuna, for instance, live too far from land to mingle with seals and pick up many worms. Salmon and rockfish are another story, says Ann Adams, a parasitologist at the Food and Drug Administration's seafood products research center in Bothell, Washington. In Adam's 1994 study of sushi in Seattle, 10 percent of the salmon pieces checked had anisakids -- usually just one, but sometimes two or three. Among the rockfish pieces, only one out of 30 samples was inhabited. On a happier note, all but one of these worms were dead or dying -- not really a surprise since they'd been frozen stiff. On the whole, American sushi is very safe. People are far more likely to get sick after eating a rare burger, pink chicken, or raw oyster shooters. And the fish is getting safer still. Thanks to a new FDA program, all fish processors (including foreign exporters, who supply two-thirds of our fish) will have to undergo detailed training in the safe handling of seafood. If parasites are identified as a hazard in a particular species and one of its intended uses is sushi, the fish must be frozen. Your choice - but as I'm interested in staying in business and wish to serve healthful food, I'll freeze the hell out of my carpaccio/cold smokes/gravlax. Paul
  18. My dog's been playing on the freeway now for over 5 years, and so far he hasn't been hit. Guess we'll keep letting him play. From the FDA: Parasites consumed in uncooked, or undercooked, unfrozen seafood can present a human health hazard. Some products that have been implicated in human infection are ... salmon, ... sushi, sashimi ... Freezing (-20º C [-4º F] for 7 days or -35º C [-31º F] for 15 hrs) of fish intended for raw consumption eliminates the possibility of human infection. This is recommended in the retail food protection manual and in the Food Code... Paul
  19. Sushi is many things - sashimi is essentially a raw piece of fish, in its most pristine form, served on a small brick of rice, or plain. Any sushi restaurant or any restaurant using raw fish that I have worked in, serves the fish after a freezing regimen. Paul
  20. I believe that in order to kill parasites, you will need to freeze at sub zero temps for a considerable time. Without other science behind it, I have read somewhere, I think it's in James Peterson's Fish & Shellfish, that he recommends 0F or colder for at least 24 hours. Paul
  21. In my experience, whether to braise or not is not so much a function of the thickness of the cut as much as what part of the animal the cut comes from, really, what that part was used for - i.e., the character of the flesh matters more than anything else. The shoulder is replete with sinews and and tendons; they are tough, and braising by definition is a means to break down those sinewy proteins; ergo that's my preferred method for this area, whereas I reserve dry-heat methods for more tender cuts. Each to their own. Here's a decent link I found on quick search for different cooking methods for veal: Veal Cooking If it is a true blade chop, one hour braise should suffice (I slow it down to a very low simmer - a glass casserole shows me the bubble rate - and go longer). A boneless shoulder of about a pound is probably just a cut off the roast, whereas my recipe above is for a blade steak or blade chop, bone in. Paul
  22. Bruce, if memory serves (I cooked this first years ago, "my recipe" is my recollection of what I did then), it was a blade chop. The "economy pack" of several blade chops. Much like the "economy pack" of pork, the blade end, I choose this area as it is fattier, carries more blood, just a more flavorful area. I treat many sinewy meats this way, thick or not - embedded in aromatics and braising liquid, no different, for me, from a "pot roast" or the like. (E.G., upcoming at our restaurant, as we are opening in September, moulard duck two ways - magret sear, leg braised in aromatics, duck stock, verjus). Paul
  23. Congrats on good buying. Veal shoulder is a fine cut of meat and if treated right will pay you back in a great meal. My suggestion would be close to winesonoma's, with the addition of aromatics and braising. The veal shoulder is wonderful this way. Here's one of my recipes: Daube de Veau à L’Éstragon (Braised Shoulder of Veal with Tarragon-Demiglace) ¼ cup olive oil 2 pounds veal shoulder, blade roast (boneless won't yield all the flavor that bone-in blade will, but will be fine) 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and ¼” diced 2 medium carrots, ¼” diced 1 shallot, ¼” diced 4 cloves garlic, skinned, whole 2 celery ribs, ¼” diced 5 button mushrooms, sliced 3 ripe tomatoes, deseeded, cut in sixths ½ qt brown veal stock (on a budget, make brown chicken stock instead; avoid store bought chix stock if possible, but if unable to make fresh chicken stock, use "light"/low-sodium stock, and try to get bone-in blade chops if you can, as you will need some gelatin to yield the satisfying mouthfeel and glazing sought after in the recipe) 2 cups sangiovese ½ cup water ½ tsp kosher salt 3/8 tsp pepper, cracked only at last 10 minutes of cooking 3 tbsp tarragon, minced (wait to mince until just before use). Procedure: Preheat oven to 290F. Pan sear roasts in hot olive oil, 6 minutes total (3 minutes per side). Remove roasts and set aside. Pour off all but scant film of oil/fat, enough to sweat vegetables. Add onions, carrots, celery, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Sweat for 5 minutes over medium heat. Form a bed, using the vegetables. Lay roasts on top of the bed formed. Pour stock over roasts. Cook on stovetop over medium high for 10 minutes. Bring wine to boiling, ignite to burn off alcohol. Repeat until alcohol is gone. Add wine to roast pan. Cover pan with oil- or butter-lined parchment paper, and heavy, tight fitting lid. Cook for 1h 45 min. Remove lid and parchment; cook an additional 15 minutes, to glaze meat well. Remove meat from pan and set aside. Strain liquid through strainer, then chinois. Add tarragon and salt. Reduce to ½ volume, crack pepper and add. Reduce to glaze consistency, should be no more than 10 minutes (too long, and the perfume of the pepper and tarragon is lost). Adjust seasoning if necessary. Cut meat into thick slices, return to pan and toss through to coat. Serve with timbale of rice or potatoes, or noodles. Stack meat in a spiral around center starch, and spoon sauce over and around. Serves 4.
  24. Lucy, this is the second time I have stumbled onto your corner of sheer beauty - both during the witching hours before dawn. My family and I are now firmly ensconsed in the lap of Lake Superior, but I fear I will always long for the Lyonnaise cityscape and markets of your many contributions. Thanks again from a confrere du Nord, and good luck to you on your journey. I have reached my 40's and whereas I was at one time a distance swimmer (averaging about 20,000 meters plus daily) and martial arts instructor, some injuries therein, my habits and genes have all conspired together to make me more than I wish to be. I will look into the Plan, merci encore, encore. Paul
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