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Everything posted by nathanm

  1. nathanm

    Steven Shaw

    Honoring an incredible friend, who inspired us all to explore, debate, and eat: http://bit.ly/OLerWF
  2. nathanm

    Steven Shaw

    I’m shocked and deeply saddened to lose Steven, who has been a great friend. eGullet is a gift that he created for everyone— especially for me. In many ways, the inspiration for Modernist Cuisine was born on the eGullet forums. Steven was a tremendous influence on the development of the book; a sounding-board throughout the writing process. He was a trailblazer, a genuinely great guy, and a truly amazing person to share a meal with. He will be truly missed.
  3. Ok great, I'll try that one. I forgot to put on my original list that a great place to eat Japanese beef wouldn't be bad - either teppanyaki style or other. Other Japanese food styles are also welcome.
  4. I will be in Tokyo for a few days in the middle of May and want some suggestions of great places to eat. This would include: 1. Amazing and famous Japanese restaurants. I have the list of Michelin 3 star restaurants for example, and I will try to get into to Sukiyabashi Jiro. I have eaten at 7chome Kyoboshi, and probably will again. 2. I would also like to try some of the best examples of some more specialized Japanese food that is not likely to make lists like Michelin: Tonkatsu - is the best place still Tonki ? Okonomiyaki - not sure where to go Yakitori - there must be some place that is hallowed as the best in Tokyo (or anyway, very good) Unagi - there must be a place that is considered the best at that 3. I might try Quintessence, but mostly my focus is on Japanese food. 4. I am interested in whether there are interesting culinary things to do besides restaurant dining. I have been to Tsukiji several times so probably won't go again on this trip, but if there is something else. Any recommendations would be helpful.
  5. Wondra is a type of pregelatinized wheat flour that is great for thickening sauces. We developed a lot of recipes for it in MCAH because it is a great product, and we thought it was widely available. Indeed products like this are made all over the world at the industrial level. Here is a link from a French grain and flour company that makes it. I assumed that this would be available at the retail level as well. In Canada it is called Robin Hood Blending Flour. I bet that it, or something like it, is available a lot of places under various brand names. There is no perfect substitute - because it is a functional ingredient - i.e. it performs a function in the recipe rather than just being a flavor. It is like asking to make bread without yeast. Well, you can make a quick bread with baking powder but that is a quite different recipe - not really a subtitution. That said, the main thing we use Wondra for in MCAH is thickening. Xanthan gum is probably the best substitue. There is a whole page in MCAH discussing how to thicken with Wondra and how to thicken with Xathan - it is called "How To: Make a Full Flavored Pan Gravy". As that page directs, you must use MUCH LESS Xathan than Wondra. Wondra is about 4g to 5g per 100g of liquid. Xathan is 0.2g to 0.3g, so about a factor of 10X to 20X less than Wondra, although that depends on the recipe. One big difference, as that page shows, is that when you use Xathan you may want to use a blender or stick blender to make sure you don't get lumps. With Wondra you only whisk, because a blender might make the result too gummy. Another substitute is Ultrasperse - this is a commercial starch made for thickening. It will not be at a grocery store but it should be available online. We have sources listed in MCAH.
  6. I am glad that everybody is excited! The content is arguably all new. Most recipes are totally new, the only possible exception one could argue on the margin is that we have new versions of some recipes like mac and cheese and caramelized carrot soup. Literally speaking they are new becaues we changed the recipe - for example, we no longer call for carrageenan in the mac and cheese, and simplified it in some other ways. We simplifed the carrot soup, but more important, we added new soups that use the same technique with other vegetables. We tried to pick recipes that illustrated important technques, so you can build on them to make all sorts of variations. As somebody commented up thread, our main point with MC was technique - yes there are lots of recipes but the technique and understanding was our top priority. in MCAH we still like technique but we are more recipe focussed. We also tried to make the recipes focus on less formal food - in MC we have recipes from Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal which are great, but are of the nature of dishes served at those high end places. That isn't really what people at home tend to cook and eat. So MCAH has chicken wings, steaks, roast chicken and other much simpler and less formal fare. To answer a couple questions above, the page size is the same as MC - the hardcover volume is bascially the same size as MC volumes. The MCAH kitchen manual (with washable waterproof paper) is the same page size as the one for MC. The box for the boxed set now includes a place for the kitchen manual, but it isn't made of acrylic, because that proved to be too expensive. The frozen steak is very cool dish - you cook a steak directly from its frozen state, without defrosting first. The carnitas recipe is great too, but then again, I have a built in bias - if I don't think a recipe is great, it doesn't go in the book. Unlike with MC we ordered a lot of them up front, so we are not thinking that there will be shortages. But having shown that I am bad at forecasting before, it's not clear how much credibility that has . So far Amazon has had the book at list price, but I suspect that it will drop lower before the book ships (MC certainly did, and almost all books do). The way Amazon ordering works, if you order early you automatically get the benefit of any price drop between the time you ordered and the time the book ships.
  7. Thanks for the tips. Maaemo was also recommended by a friend in Oslo, and by the Nordic Nibbler blog, so I will definitely try it. I plan to stop at Tim Wendlesboe coffee, and I will consider the others Thanks!
  8. I will be in Oslo in September. I'm interested in getting some recommendations on where to eat - the more interesting the food the better.
  9. Your pastrami will probably be great. 4 weeks is a very long time in the brine, so it will have equilibrated. It may be too salty, or it may have a very firm texture. Think of what happens to a country ham, for example. The 72 hour cook time should help. Many people age beef for more than 4 weeks. Salt water should, if anything, be safer, and the 72 hour cooking time will make short work of any microorganism present. Is there a chance that you just brewed up something like the movie Contagion . There's only one way to find out...
  10. Here are some comments direct from the horse's mouth (or maybe the other end, you decide). MCAH is basically all new material. A few of the most popular recipes from MC are carried over, like mac and cheese, but even these have been re-done to be easier to make in a home kitchen. If you already have MC, then we think of this as being like volume 6 - i.e. a volume covering home cuisine. There is very little duplication of topics between MC and MCAH - about the only ones I can think of are some coverage of sous vide technique, and some basic recipes like stocks, but even there the MCAH versions are different and adapted for the home. At the same time, we didn't dumb down MCAH. Our recipes have a similar style, but we always have a traditional-equipment variation, and the recipes generally do not use hard to obtain ingredients. We do use Xanthan gum, but that is in nearly every supermarket. We did a lot of recipe testing to make sure that the supermarket grade of xanthan (and other ingredients). The recipes are also not quite as highbrow as MC. For example we have a whole chapter on chicken wings and related snacks like satay and tsukune. We have a chapter on chicken noodle soup. MC covers a wide range of foods, but many of the recipes are either adapted from, or inspired by food at restaurants like Alinea, elBulli or per se. MCAH does not cover formal or high end dishes For dessert lovers we have a whole chapter on custards and pies. We still have not tackled pastry baking and dessert, but we thought that we needed to have something sweet in the book. People who don't own MC will find that MCAH is a pretty complete set of basic cooking techniques, and then a lot of great recipes that let you try modernist approaches without all of the equipment or equipment. As people on eGullet knows, thousands of home cooks cook from MC; you don't have to be a professional to use the big book. Nevertheless the reality is that MC was was too intimidating for some folks. MCAH will be a much more gentle introduction to modernist cuisine. It also has a much lower price point. The list price is $140. I don't have any control over the actual street price but I suspect that it will get a bit deeper discount than has occured with MC. There have been some questions in the thread about the Amazon price - when I looked today it was at list price, but one thing to keep in mind is that if you pre-order the book on Amazon (or Barnes and Noble), they honor the lowest price between the time you order it and the book arrives. That means that if the price dips you get the benefit. I would be very surprised if the book isn't discounted between now and the ship date in October. Not only is the absolute cost of MCAH much less than MC, but it is also less expensive on a relative basis - MCAH costs less per page, or per recipe, than MC does. That said, it is not a cut-price book. We took the same high quality oriented production approach as for MC - the same thick paper, chroma-centric inks and other things that we did to make MC a great looking book. We are all very excited by the new book, and we hope you will be too. I will try to sporadically check in on the thread to answer questions.
  11. This is very helpful, thanks!!
  12. It was a very strong, salty cheese, with a liquid texture - as runny as St Marcellin. It is not so fabulous that I would go out of my way to eat it regularly, but as a one time experience it is interesting.
  13. I have had casu marzu before... it is definitely an experience and makes for quite a story too... What time of year is the mattanza?
  14. I will be in Sardinia in a couple weeks. I am interested in food related things to do - that could include visiting a traditional cheesemaker, baker or other artisinal food producer. Or, I have read that in the south of Sardinia there are fields of saffron, which may be cool to see. In other parts of Italy I have done things like this - visiting olive oil producers, a buffalo farm, vinegar makers etc. If there are some interesting things like that in Sardinia that would be great. Besides visits to producers if there is a great butcher shop, or a great market to visit that would be interesting. Some agriturismos offer big farm feast type meals. Sa Mandra near Alghero has been recommended to me for that. That would be fun. I have flexibility on where to go within Sardinia, and I don't need a place to stay. I am also interested in dining in a more conventional sense, and there is another thread on this forum about Sardina restaurants, but it does not seem to be very active.
  15. Anybody have new comments? I too am going to Sardinia, but the last post was a year ago and it does not seem to have been answered...
  16. Books from the second printing are streaming into ports around the world. Lots of people should be getting their books now. The order backlog should be clearing in the next couple weeks, and the book ought to be in stock normally by late July to mid August.
  17. We will investigate why you were kicked off. So far, both Amazon (particularly outside the US) and Barnes and Noble (in the US) have had one series of embarassing gaffs after another where their automatic systems screw up and cancel orders despite them assuring us this won't happen.
  18. The poppy seeds are so small and tough that if you grind them with anything else in the way they just won't grind very well and many of them will stay whole.
  19. I just ordered those books, so I'll let you know what I think. Most technical and professional books - whether in food or engineering, medicine or law - are very expensive. The fact is that we're all spoiled by the very low cost of consumer cookbooks. That is mostly a good thing, but it does tend to make people have an expectation that every book is like that.
  20. Brining is a diffusion process, just as heat conduction is. So the brining time scales like the square of the thickness. Half as thick means brining time drops by a factor of 4. Injection effectively reduces the brining time in this manner. Using boneless shortribs does too.
  21. Actually the main reason for resting meat is to allow the temperature gradients to equilibrate. Yes juices coagulate, but that is not the main reason to do it. The juice distribution within the meat depends on the cooking temperature. If you are cooking sous vide, or braising/boiling/stewing then the meat is wet so there is no evaporation. However, contraction of the meat by collagen shrinking will wring juices out of the meat. This primarily occurs if the temperature is high enough to make the collagen shrink - that tends to occur well above 140F/60C. If you are searing/grilling/roasting then you are drying the meat surface. The last millimeter will be dry due to boiling and evaporation. The evaporation draws juice within the meat from the center to the edges. However, the edges lose juice faster than it is replenished from the interior. If that wasn't the case then the crust would never dry out and you'd never get browning. In fact that is exactly what happens when you make beef jerky - you dry the meat at such a low temperature that you dry the meat out uniformly, and there need not be any browning. So, I think you misunderstood what is said in MC. The net flow is from the center to the edge, but it is slower than the flow out of the meat, so the edges are getting drier than they were when raw. Just because juice is moving from the center to the edge, it does not mean that the edges are more juicy than the center - in fact they have less juice then when cooking started. Resting the meat allows the temperature to equilibrate from the very hot exterior to the relatively cool center. In principle the juices will equilibrate too, but that process is much slower than temperature (by about 10X) so not much occurs. It is wrong that juices are "pushed into the meat". During the process of cooking juice is lost due to both collagen contraction and evaporation. Losing juice makes the meat less juicy. There is no part of the meat that ever gets more juicy then it was when raw. So the Alton Brown video is not correct on this point. Juice coagulation occurs because the juice is full of proteins that can form a gel. Gelatin is one of the protiens but there many others. Even before it forms a full gel, it will increase in viscosity. While this is true, I have to say that that isn't the main cooking reason that you rest meat. The primary cooking reason is that the temperature is very uneven if you cook with a high heat method, and you want that to equilibrate before people eat the food, otherwise it will not be done appropriately.
  22. The tortilla is a new development we came up with very recently so it not in the book.
  23. Modernist Cuisine does discuss holding in a vacuum for a long time. It is called vacuum desication, and it is a way to dry food. Or, for a liquid, it's called vacuum reduction and is a way to reduce a liquid as you when you simmer it, but without heat.
  24. One other point - if you are going to sear your food after cooking - well that boils the surface water too. So whatever "damage" results is virutally the same as the first few seconds of searing.
  25. It is true that you can do some damage from boiling. However, a typical chamber vacuum system has default of going to 99% vacuum and then holding there for 5 to 10 seconds. If the food is cold then boiling won't start until at or just below the 99% level. Very little damage will occur during the 5-10 seconds that boiling actually happens. Mostly it boils off surface water. If you held the vacuum there for a long time, then yes what we say in the book would occur at a level that would be noticable in the final product. If you were actually concerned about that, a way to prevent it is to put a little bit (even a few drops) of liquid water in the bag. That will boil before the water in the food will. The reason that most chamber machines go to the point of boiling is to flush out any residual air and replace it with water vapor. A few drops of liquid water more than take care of that.
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