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Michael Ruhlman

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  1. thanks for all these comments and commentaries. I've wanted to address something fat guy brought up--the availability of veal bones. he's right, your grocery store may not put these out or have them (so much of our meat comes pre-fabbed). But that's not an issue! My grocery store usually has veal breasts for sale. This is a perfect cut to make stock with--just ask the meat dept to cut it into three inch pieces. i have a friend who's so fanatical about veal stock--he uses osso bucco for stock. That's not cost effective--veal breast is. It's got abundant connective tissue (resulting in gelatin) and meat (resulting in flavor) and where i get it, it's pretty cheap. It's also a more manageable size. Obviously, you can make a great veal stock with one or two pounds of bones depending on the kind of pots you own. White vs. brown: yes good question, white (blanching rather than roasting the bones) results in a supremely neutral stock; that's the French Laundry way. But I almost always want the roasted flavor at home; a restaurant may have many more uses for veal and so may only want to introduce roasted flavors sometimes. At home, i find it more efficient to roast. The Saucier's Apprentice is one of my favorite books! Glad it was mentioned. And yes, the Little House stories. One of my all time favorite food-writing passages is in the first one, where she writes about putting up meat for the winter, and all the things they do with the pig. I even quote the passage at length in Charcuterie. THAT is what cooking is all about!
  2. other issues brought up in comments. I disagree, respectfully, with Fat Guy about beef being as versatile. It's true beef bones are more plentiful in the store, but it tastes like beef--there's nothing like veal stock. What he says about meat stock generally is certainly true. As for availability, anyone who'd like to try to make veal stock, can simply ask your meat dept for a veal breast, which has both meat and connective tissue and is reasonably priced (ask the butcher to cut it into 2-3 inch pieces for stock). What makes veal stock so special is its neutrality. It adds body and enhances flavor without adding its own. i agree with slkinsey. katie, bouillon is the french term for broth. bouillon cubes are to be avoided. turkey parts, such as wings are available and inexpensive, buy some and roast them and make stock from them as your base for gravy. what is demi-glace? i'd post my definition from elements of cooking but I'm afraid Dave would take issue with that as well!
  3. Reading Dave Scantland’s comments on my book I would like to clarify what my book is and is not. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive food glossary (like the excellent Food Lovers Companion) or even a traditional reference book for the kitchen. It’s an opinionated glossary of cook’s terms, everything I think cook’s need to know in the kitchen, everything I needed to know when I entered the CIA, and all that I’ve learned since, working with so many passionate, talented chefs throughout the country. It is an effort to translate the language of the professional kitchen and make it available to the home cook. Do not expect to find food terms such as sofrito and soy sauce (Scantland was confused by their omission) or, what else, ketchup, Tabasco, etc., in there. Mayo IS in there, because it’s a fundamental. Basic foods are in there such as potato but only in the most fundamental way, with the most basic practical info, which Dave takes issue with. Roux is another fundamental and Dave the Cook is upset that I don’t say how much brown roux you need, as compared with a pale roux, given that pale has a greater capacity to thicken (the answer is, it depends on how much the roux been cooked, there’s not a hard and fast rule I could add beyond what I did). No doubt there are many failures in the book, ones that I will work to correct as I learn of them or find them myself. I’ve started a second blog to discuss various "Elements" and I urge readers to question the text and point out errors so that they can be corrected (http://blog.ruhlman.com/elements_of_cooking/). And yes, the book is Eurocentric, because the fundamentals of Western cuisine were first articulated and codified by the French—but the fundamentals themselves are universal. Certainly the book doesn’t fail in its essay on tools or its lack of defining potato puree, or in its acknowledging Harold McGee where he might be helpful for further reading or where he provided information I could have found no where else (issues Dave the Cook was bothered by). This is my take on the language of the kitchen, what I feel is important to know; two excellent chefs, CIA instructors, have read the entire thing and added valuable comments and some of the best chefs in the country have weighed in with their comments. I am surprised by the bitterness of Dave the Cook’s comments. Mr. Scantland and I exchanged some chilly emails after some of my posts were deleted from a thread on two years ago, as I recall, on the restaurant comp issue. I do hope there’s nothing personal here. This is my work after all, I care about it, and if I’ve truly failed a reader, I’d like to do everything I can to account for it.
  4. essays and a glossary of cooking terms and cooks terms, everything from "all day" to blanche to what does salted water mean. inspired by strunk & white's elements of style.
  5. actually, it's in the tradition of the Strunk & White classic, The Elements of Style. Elements of Cooking is an opinionated cooking glossary. Everything you need to know as a cook, according to me. Admittedly a presumptuous undertaking, but no one else had done it. so here it is. And I wrote eight uncommonly perceptive and elegant essays on the fundamentals of cooking. Granted as a prose stylist, I'm no eb white, and no doubt fat guy and steingarten and that miscreant russ parsons will gleefully skewer me with my own errors of fact logic and common sense. But basically this is the book I needed when i entered culinary school. I want this book to be useful and i want people to argue with it. ...gosh posting on egullet...i'm kinda misty eyed with nostalgia.....
  6. I'm concerned that there is so much pink and kosher salt in the corned beef brine that it may get too salty. I thought I'd do a little cold smoke like we did the last batch of hot dogs. ← you're right to be concerned about the salt level. the brine for the corned beef in charcuterie is salty--compensated for by the fact that it's poached which allows the salt to equalize. assuming the bined beef is perfectly seasoned, I would add salt at a ratio of .3 percent of the weight of the fat, with a fraction of that salt being pink salt.
  7. it's likely a flavor issue rather than any safety issue. use your senses to evaluate. including common sense...
  8. trotters were coated with panko and fried, very crispy! nancy may have pix.
  9. i've described the menu on my blog, fyi, and there's two pix of the bellies and the fat. these hogs are amazing creatures.blog.ruhlman.com
  10. better to stick with a supplier you know. but ask the meat dept at whole foods. i'd like to know. and don't take their word for it. they'll tell you whatever they;ve been told. ask how they know, verify what they say. and let us know what you find out!
  11. in response to a post higher up, about flavor of a not-special hog that's dry cured. this makes a huge difference. doing any kind of dry-cured pig, especially whole muscles, the quality of the pig is the most important attribute.
  12. Re: cooking marinades. raw alcohol on meat will, in effect, cook the exterior, turning it a little mushy. it doesn't really penetrate. most marinades people use don't penetrate; they season the exterior of the meat. keller is right: cooking aromats in wine till the harsh effects of the alcohol are gone (it's nearly impossible to cook all the alcohol out of wine or spirits) results in an enormously flavorful marinade that, with salt, can penetrate the meat. but: for braises i don't think it matters how you get the wine flavor in. keller insists on marinating shortribs in red wine and aromats; one of his chefs de cusine, jeff cerciello, says a red wine reduction added to the braise is easier and has the same effect. I agree with jeff. for braises, marinating is optional. but: for something that won't be braised it makes a big difference. i don't know if it's still available, but keller and i did a column for the latimes on cooking your marinade. keller gave as an example a chicken breast, a most lamentable protein, marinated in white wine and aromats. the breast is then grilled and the marinade is cooked again and strained to be used as a sauce with tomatoes and basil. it's a fantastic demonstration of the effectiveness of marinades.
  13. daniel is amish and doesn't have a phone, so you have to go through a friend of his, james falb. i'll try and find his number. there are a lot of difficulties working wth amish farmers because of things like phones and cars which makes the meat a little less accessible. i believe the hogs are duroc. i was just with peter actually and he was very eager to taste duroc (which is a hearty fatty pig likethe iberico) that's fed on acorns. will try to take pix of the pork. clevelanders can buy this pork at the farmers market on shaker square saturday morning, or order it from james who is usually there.
  14. I don’t know where to put this on egullet, but it’s too exciting not to mention prominently for any egulleter pork lovers in cleveland. Mark and Giovanna Daverio, owners of Battuto in Little Italy, are having a special evening devoted to the pig next wednesday at seven. but not just any pig. about two hours south of cleveland, an amish farmer named daniel stutzman has been raising some amazing hogs. when brian polcyn and i bought some two years ago we were astonished by the quality and abundance of its fat, its size (the belly was an astonishing and gorgeous four inches thick). daniel is raising hogs as they're meant to be raised; they feed on acorns and onions and apples. they have bedding indoors and and are free to roam if they wish. they are humanely raised. the result is pork of astonishing quality. Mark Daverio, an alum of pork guro Paul Bertolli at Olivetto in Oakland, will be featuring an evening of this pork and i will be working with him to write the menu. pork belly confit? you bet. trotters? oh, yeah babe. maybe a couple of pigs head preps. and of course some traditional cuts from the loin and tenderloin to show how amazing pig can be.
  15. i'll bet the culture never grew, i'll bet that if you did a pH reading it would be 5 or higher. not enough acid. your salami, though, looks perfect. they shouldhave cured at the same rate.
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