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Solid intermediate cook, here. Not especially intimidated by elaborate preps. But I'm new to SV, and would like a recommendation for a cookbook for guidance and exploration.
I was thinking of Tom Keller's Under Pressure, but I'm wondering if the preps he includes may not be the most generally useful. What do you all like, and why?
By Chris Hennes
On Nov. 7, 2017, Modernist Bread will finally arrive on my doorstep. Having preordered it literally the first day it was available, to say I'm excited about this book is a bit of an understatement. The team at The Cooking Lab have been gracious enough to give @Dave the Cook and me early electronic access to the book and so I've spent the last week pouring over it. I'm just going to start with a few initial comments here (it's 2600 pages long, so a full review is going to take some time, and require a bunch of baking!). Dave and I would also be happy to answer any questions you've got.
One of the main things I've noticed about this book is a change in tone from the original Modernist Cuisine. It comes across as less "everything you know is wrong" and more "eighty bazillion other bakers have contributed to this knowledge and here's our synthesis of it." I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Myhrvold and company are now the most experienced bread-bakers in the world. Not necessarily in terms of the number of identical loaves they've produced, but in the shear number of different recipes and techniques they've tried and the care with which they've analyzed the results. These volumes are a distillation of 100,000 years of human breadmaking experience, topped off with a dose of the Modernist ethos of taking what we know to the next level.
The recipes include weight, volume, and baker's percentages, and almost all of them can be made by both a home baker and someone baking in a commercial facility. The home baker might need to compromise on shape (e.g. you can't fit a full-length baguette in most home ovens) but the book provides clear instructions for both the amateur and professional. The recipes are almost entirely concentrated in volumes 4 and 5, with very few in the other volumes (in contrast to Modernist Cuisine, where there were many recipes scattered throughout). I can't wait for the physical volumes to arrive so that I can have multiple volumes open at once, the recipes cross-reference techniques taught earlier quite frequently.
By Chris Hennes
I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?
Here was dinner tonight:
Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)
I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).
Chiles en Nogada are traditionally served only for Mexican Independence Day (16 de Septiembre). Every household and restaurant have their own version. In years past we have eaten as many as 12 different versions in the course of the week long celebration. Certain things about it never change: always poblanos, walnuts, pomegranate seeds and dried fruit (though the types of dried and fresh fruit vary as does the ratio of fruit to meat). And the cream sauce is always room temperature, never heated.
Not only is it a tasty dish, it is about the prettiest meal ever put on a plate.
I have made them at home (but not for several years). Rick Bayless's recipe is the one I used.
The history of the dish is one of creating a festive dish on the spur of the moment with limited ingredients.
Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a dish which meets holiday requirements. It is easy, and it doesn't need sophisticated ingredients or an oven. A frying pan is enough. Quesadilla, the dish in question, is a tortilla with melted cheese. The rest of the ingredients you choose at your discretion. Red beans, pepper, chorizo or fried meat all work brilliantly. I added fried pieces of turkey leg. Thanks to this, my dish could be a holiday dinner.
Ingredients (for 2 people)
300g of turkey leg
half a chili pepper
half an onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of oil
200g of tinned sweetcorn
200g of tinned red beans
200g of mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
Cube the meat. Fry the diced onion, garlic and chili pepper in oil. Add the spiced-up-with-salt-and-pepper meat and fry on a low heat until the meat is soft. Cube the pepper. Drain the sweetcorn and red beans and slice the mozzarella cheese. Put the tortilla into a dry, heated pan. Arrange the meat, sweetcorn and red beans on it. Cover with the slices of the mozzarella cheese and the second tortilla. Fry on a low heat for a while. Turn it and fry a bit more until the cheese has melted. Put it on a plate and cut it into triangles.
Enjoy your meal!
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