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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 1)


Chris Amirault
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Kuhn rikon is very good, but there are many other good makes of pressure cooker like Fagor and Presto.

Alex and Aki at Ideas in Food like the Cuisinart electric pressure cooker.

There is no minimum size. Kuhn Rikon makes some very small ones which are nice for people with small apartments etc.

However, I generally use a big pressure cooker and then cook in a bowl or canning jars or other containers inside of it. That makes it even easier to clean, plus it is versatile so you can cook big quantities when you want to make stock.

Nathan

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I have a wmf ultra pressure cooker and I think it's pretty great! I got the largest size, which is 8 litres I believe... It can be quite heavy to lug around, and because it has a narrow diameter, it is very tall and can be hard to tip or fill under the sink.

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Risotto Milanese (p. 3•306 and 6•153)

This is one of the recipes from the book that requires no special equipment and no exotic ingredients (unless you count saffron as exotic). I used the vegetable stock I mentioned above, and it was great. The sweetness of that stock combined with the parmesan and the saffron turned this into the best risotto I've ever made (I admit that's not saying much, I've actually never made a risotto I liked. But I did like this one!) I must admit to omitting the gold leaf garnish, however.

Risotto Milanese - Start.jpg

Risotto Milanese - Parcooked.jpg

Risotto Milanese - Complete.jpg

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Nathan -

Does that mean you are not sold on CookingIssues conclusion that stock in venting pressure cookers is not as good as non-venting (or even traditional)?

Venting occurs in two forms.

When you are canning, the recommended procedure is to run the pressure cooker with the vent open for a while to remove air. This helps ensure the temperature is correct. This venting procedure is not really needed in non-canning situations.

There are two ways pressure cookers work - one is to have a spring loaded valve, the other is to have a "jiggling weight". The weight is usually recommended for canning because the spring could break and mislead you while the weight won't.

ALL pressure cookers have some sort of pressure regulator which will vent steam above a certain temperature. The jiggling weight kind is typically operated so that it vents constantly, but if you turn it down a bit it won't. The problem with this is that you don't know whether you turned it down too much or two little.

A Kuhn-Rikon pressure cooker (or Fagor or many others) has a spring valve. It will not vent until the valve exceeds a certain pressure.

The Cooking Issues guys (Dave Arnold and Nils Noren) found that any venting - whether the pre-venting approach or a jiggling weight style pressure cooker - can take some of the aromatic compounds out. That is correct, but in practice I don't think that this is a serious issue. I very much prefer the spring valve type (I use both Kuhn-Rikon and Fagor, but also own a Presto), but you can cook with the jiggling weight variety if need be.

Nathan

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Nathan

I am of an age where parents and friends of parents always told the horror stories of wiping the contents of pressure cookers off the ceiling. Silly as it may seem, I have little fear (cerainly using them in appropriate ways) of the various pieces of equipment in my kitchen, but alas I still harbor over anxiety about pressure cookers. While I am certain technology, improvements and safety have all been built into the newer models, where do you put a pressure cooker on the scale of it is safe to use with respect to the other extreme of be very, very careful of an enclosed container with a pressure relief valve???

Edited by JBailey (log)

"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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A professional chef in Seattle that I know is recovering from 3rd degree burns he got from accidentally opening a pressure cooker. It splattered hot liquid all across his waist, through his clothes and apron.

But that's because he opened it before the pressure had gone down. It didn't explode on him - he deliberately opened it at the wrong time. This is the equivalent of putting your hand into a gas flame, or reaching your hand into a deep fryer, or cutting your finger with a knife.

Modern pressure cookers are very safe, but ANY kitchen tool can hurt you. You are made of meat! Anything that cooks or cuts meat could cook or cut you if you are not careful.

The key rule is, don't open it up while there is still pressure inside. The typical way you relieve pressure is to either let it sit for a while, or to put in under running water in a sink, or to press a release valve on the pressure cooker. As long as you do this they are perfectly safe.

Nathan

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Chris: Over on the Q&A, there was some discussion of the risotto process and that the cooking times seemed unusually short. How did your cooking times compare with the book?

Nathan: A homebrewer would tell you that boiling hops in your wort for a long time will boil off lots of the aroma of the hops. The solution is to just add more hops right before the end of the boil. I wonder if you could do the same thing for a dull stock--just throw some additional ingredients in right at the end (or take some stock out at the beginning to add back in at the end). My understanding is that the longer cook time is necessary to dissolve collagen, so perhaps some of the volatile flavor compounds could be extracted with a very short cook time.

jmolinari: I think some pressure cookers are sealed simply with a series of clamps/screws (such as the one they like over at cooking issues). I assume there are many commercial/industrial models that use this design because of its simplicity. There's no pressure-lock on these, so you can be as dumb as you want to be.

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Chris: Over on the Q&A, there was some discussion of the risotto process and that the cooking times seemed unusually short. How did your cooking times compare with the book?

The suggested finishing time for the risotto was only three minutes, which would have made nine minutes of total cooking time. To get mine (arborio rice) to what I consider al dente was a bit over six minutes to finish. I should note that I hate pasty risotto, so it was still pretty firm at that point.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I first posted this in the other Modernist Cuisine thread, but I think this is more the place for it - the thread roux in the oven made me wonder what modernist cuisine has to say about making a dark roux. I can't see them abiding by the traditional "Stir a searing hot pan of lava until it's just about burnt" if there's a more reliable/less risky way to do it.

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Nathan

I am of an age where parents and friends of parents always told the horror stories of wiping the contents of pressure cookers off the ceiling. Silly as it may seem, I have little fear (cerainly using them in appropriate ways) of the various pieces of equipment in my kitchen, but alas I still harbor over anxiety about pressure cookers. While I am certain technology, improvements and safety have all been built into the newer models, where do you put a pressure cooker on the scale of it is safe to use with respect to the other extreme of be very, very careful of an enclosed container with a pressure relief valve???

I used to feel the same way about pressure cookers, until I finally asked for one and got it this christmas. I got the 7 or 8 liter Kuhn-Rikon mentioned before and now I honestly cannot imagine not having it! It is very simple to use, safe and so versatile that I use it once a week on average. It makes amazing stocks in a couple of hours and perfect beans in 10 minutes. Get one.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Nathan: A homebrewer would tell you that boiling hops in your wort for a long time will boil off lots of the aroma of the hops. The solution is to just add more hops right before the end of the boil. I wonder if you could do the same thing for a dull stock--just throw some additional ingredients in right at the end (or take some stock out at the beginning to add back in at the end).

There's discussion of this technique in the book, though focused on Heston Blumenthal's use of juices, iirc: he adds fresh versions of the prepped ingredients just before service to encourage the enzymatic activity that perks things back up. I don't have the five volumes here -- I now only carry the kitchen manual everywhere I go -- so I can't check, but it's a great technique, and requires no gadgetry or powders whatsoever.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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OK, a couple of questions.

Is there an explanation somewhere in the book of why the team routinely uses a delta T of 1 degree celcius for sous vide meat applications? That is to say, when the recipe wants to hit a core temperature of XC, the water temp is (X+1)C. I should probably just check volume two before I post this, but I don't remember seeing this in there.

A more pressing matter: has anyone tried making chicken skin powder?

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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There's discussion of this technique in the book, though focused on Heston Blumenthal's use of juices, iirc: he adds fresh versions of the prepped ingredients just before service to encourage the enzymatic activity that perks things back up. I don't have the five volumes here -- I now only carry the kitchen manual everywhere I go -- so I can't check, but it's a great technique, and requires no gadgetry or powders whatsoever.

Just found the quotation in the Kitchen Manual, next to the strawberry gazpacho recipe:

Preparing gazpacho in advance? Create a la minute flavor with this trick from Heston Blumenthal. At the last minute, juice a small amount of the principle ingredient -- whether red cabbage, tomatoes, or strawberries -- then add it to the existing gazpacho. Enzymes already present in the soup attack components of the added juice and rapidly regenerate some of the aromas lost over time. The fresh flavor comes right back.

It's not focusing on stock or cooked plants, of course, but I wonder if there's a similar effect possible here.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Is there an explanation somewhere in the book of why the team routinely uses a delta T of 1 degree celcius for sous vide meat applications? That is to say, when the recipe wants to hit a core temperature of XC, the water temp is (X+1)C. I should probably just check volume two before I post this, but I don't remember seeing this in there.

Judging by nathanm's posts here on egullet, I think it's an empirical thing. Basically, if you want to reach 130C, and you set your water bath for 130C, the food will never actually reach that temperature in finite time. So you set it for some small increment above your target temp so that your food can reach the target in finite time. I suspect 1C is chosen simply because MC didn't want to assume any greater precision, and because the errors are specified in 1C increments. You can look at the sous vide tables here on egullet, or look at this validation, which used the 0.5C delta that Baldwin specifies. At a delta of 1C, you guarantee that you reach your target core temp and that the rest of the meat is not hotter than 1C over the core temp.

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Is there an explanation somewhere in the book of why the team routinely uses a delta T of 1 degree celcius for sous vide meat applications? That is to say, when the recipe wants to hit a core temperature of XC, the water temp is (X+1)C. I should probably just check volume two before I post this, but I don't remember seeing this in there.

It is a convienent choice.

Heat transfer rate is proportional to the tempertature difference. If you put cold food into a 55C bath, then as a matter of principle it would take INFINITE time to reach 55C.

So in practice you need a bath that is slightly hotter than desired final tempertaure.

Using a bath that is 1C hotter than the desired core temperature means that you get pretty close to the desired core temperature in reasonable times, yet at the same time the danger of overshooting is minimal - you can't get more than.

Finally, if you want to use a temperature probe, then when the core reads the final temp, you are done. There will be some slight overshoot, but it is guaranteed to be less than 1C (and typically more like 1/2 degree C).

You could choose any temperature that is hotter than the desired final temp, but the hotter you get the more you have to worry about overshoot.

If you use

Nathan

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I want to ask everybody who has MC to report any typos that you find to us. So far we have found a couple ourselves, and just today somebody from eGullet reported another one. Obviously in a 2438 page book there will be some, and it would help a lot to get them reported.

Just send me a personal message via eGullet if you find any.

Nathan

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I think this was mentioned, but I thought I'd add my experience (so far).

I thought I was all set:

  • MC ordered [wait wait wait wait] delivered -- check
  • chemistry lab kit ordered and delivered -- check
  • kids select first recipe -- check

So they pick Mac & Cheese, and of course my chemistry kit came with kappa carrageenan instead of the iota type. After reading up on the differences, I concluded that they are likely to be more alike than different in this application. So tonight I made the cheese, and it appears to have turned out just fine.

So, those who have ordered the Artistre kit from Amazon, and want to dive into emulsified cheese for Mac & Cheese, don't feel you need to wait to order the iota. Just go for it.

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