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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 1)


Chris Amirault
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ETA: The cooking liquid in the polenta is clarified corn juice, and it's actually pressure-cooked in a retort pouch.

Is there a reason why the semi-liquid mixture has to be cooked in a vacuum pouch rather than in a masson jar? I understand the logic of vacuum pouches for solid ingredients, where the vacuum packing process insures intimate contact between the food and container wall and thus maximises heat transfers but for a mixture comprising liquid it just seems like more trouble, more expenses and more trash to me.

BTW, are there some retort pouches available for external sealer type machines?

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That pistachio gelato seems to be a good demonstration of "modernist" It's taking a common dish, then focusing on the key flavor and making it taste more like that. Strip everything away in the traditional version that gets in the way of that flavor. Like the milk/cream in this case. That dilutes the taste of the pistachio The mac and cheese everyone is making is the same thing. The bachemel one would use to make a traditional cheese sauce gets in the way of the cheese flavor.

Curnonsky would be pleased. :wink:

As for the "vegan" question, I assume there was sugar in it, too. If it was refined, white sugar, perhaps it's the bone char question that keeps it from being strictly vegan? Just a guess, of course.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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FG's menu says they cooked it in mason jars. I'm sure nathanm would never mislead us, so I bet it works. Does MC comment on other containers to use as the inner vessel in what is basically a pressure cooker double boiler?

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FG's menu says they cooked it in mason jars. I'm sure nathanm would never mislead us, so I bet it works. Does MC comment on other containers to use as the inner vessel in what is basically a pressure cooker double boiler?

Ok this makes sense. I guess the MC team just used pouches as their standard container since it is easy to use for them and that it makes less dirty dishes but it is not always necessarily (I would say almost never when dealing with a mixture with am important liquid component except if you would really need to keep the air out or want to force marinate)

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If you close it normally and place it in the pressure cooker it will equilibriate in temperature and pressure with the pressure cooker as long as there is water both outside and inside the mason jar.

edit: well the pressure may be a bit higher in the mason jar, but the temperature should definitely be the same.

Edited by Pielle (log)
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I made the Bacon chips last night. They were pretty easy. You mix up a syrup using maple syrup, water, sorbitol, isomalt and Glucose Syrup DE 40. I couldn't find any of that (well I could, but didn't need 5kg of it) so I went with light corn syrup.

After that you let the bacon sit in the syrup for 2 hours then dehydrate it at 140 for 12 hours.

They came out pretty good. They are a little chewy but when you are chewing on them the sweetness and savoriness start to mix for an interesting combination.

They say to use thin 1/16th of an inch bacon, which was hard to find other than cheap store bought stuff. I did a few pieces of double smoked thick bacon as well. I liked the double smoked stuff. It wasn't quite as dried out but the smoke flavor added a lot, plus having more bacon and less syrup (ratio) made it less sweet, which I like (but I know almost everyone likes things more sweet than me).

Getting the bacon out of the dehydrator was a challenge. One tray worked fine but the other two were a PITA. I'm thinking spraying them with something first or putting them on something would make a big difference.

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I'm a little confused over something - maybe someone can help clarify...

In 3-99, there's a parametric poultry sous vide table... it says that to cook pheasant breast to medium rare, cook to 133F core temp and hold for 35 min. to pasteurize. However, it recommends (as their preference) to cook to medium, cook to 129F core temp, and hold 2h17m to pasteurize. Am I missing something? Also, all other temps in that table increase from medium rare to medium (as expected) except for the pheasant breast... Is this a typo?

To further complicate the issue, in 5-137, there's a recipe for SV guinea hen that in step 6 recommends cooking the breasts to 129F core, then hold 12min. for pasteurization, as opposed to 2h17m as recommended in the table on 3-99. Plus, we know from the sous vide thread that it takes much longer to pasteurize at 129F than 12 minutes!

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I'm a little confused over something - maybe someone can help clarify...

In 3-99, there's a parametric poultry sous vide table... it says that to cook pheasant breast to medium rare, cook to 133F core temp and hold for 35 min. to pasteurize. However, it recommends (as their preference) to cook to medium, cook to 129F core temp, and hold 2h17m to pasteurize. Am I missing something? Also, all other temps in that table increase from medium rare to medium (as expected) except for the pheasant breast... Is this a typo?

To further complicate the issue, in 5-137, there's a recipe for SV guinea hen that in step 6 recommends cooking the breasts to 129F core, then hold 12min. for pasteurization, as opposed to 2h17m as recommended in the table on 3-99. Plus, we know from the sous vide thread that it takes much longer to pasteurize at 129F than 12 minutes!

That does seem to be an error. If you look at guinea hen breast directly above, I think you'll find how the table for pheasant breast should read.

The pasteurization time on 5-137 appears to be an error also.

Larry Lofthouse

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Made the mac & cheese recipe again tonight and it was a smash hit, but: we had a discussion about the intensity of it. Everyone thinks it's the best mac & cheese ever, adults and kids alike. But you just can't have a typical portion size because, well, it's mind-blowingly rich. Hence the portion size, I think, that's indicated in the recipe.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Yes, we had the indicated amount for two people as a side and it was plenty sufficient, if not more so. You'd figure a 50g serving of [dried] pasta is pretty small, but in this case it is the right amount, maybe even a little on the 'much' side.

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I'm a little confused over something - maybe someone can help clarify...

In 3-99, there's a parametric poultry sous vide table... it says that to cook pheasant breast to medium rare, cook to 133F core temp and hold for 35 min. to pasteurize. However, it recommends (as their preference) to cook to medium, cook to 129F core temp, and hold 2h17m to pasteurize. Am I missing something? Also, all other temps in that table increase from medium rare to medium (as expected) except for the pheasant breast... Is this a typo?

To further complicate the issue, in 5-137, there's a recipe for SV guinea hen that in step 6 recommends cooking the breasts to 129F core, then hold 12min. for pasteurization, as opposed to 2h17m as recommended in the table on 3-99. Plus, we know from the sous vide thread that it takes much longer to pasteurize at 129F than 12 minutes!

Get back to the authors about this: I remember seeing that they spcifically wanted to be informed of any errors that were found.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I found an error as well and went hunting for the entry that said how to report them:

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.

It would be helpful if that posting was either a sticky or was the first entry in one or more of the "Modernist Cuisine" threads.

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I found these fantastic pieces of local pork belly earlier this week:

DSC00002.JPG

I've been making bacon from Ruhlman's charcuterie for a while and thought I'd give the MC house-cured bacon a try. Here's the rub, based on 2.5% salt and 0.6% curing salt (I used DQ #1); they also add Fermento and sodium erythorbate, neither of which I have on hand, so I omitted them:

DSC00006-1.JPG

You distribute the cure on the belly -- I did so after halving those long strips -- and then vacuum seal it:

DSC00008.JPG

I'll remove them from the cure next Sunday, let them rest in the fridge (or curing chamber, probably) for another week, then smoke them. Will report back.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I found an error as well and went hunting for the entry that said how to report them:

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.

It would be helpful if that posting was either a sticky or was the first entry in one or more of the "Modernist Cuisine" threads.

Right - I did that with another error I found - the word "check" was used for what I think should have been "cheek" as in "beef check".... I just feel bad if lots of people are finding the same errors and PMing Nathan with them leaves him innundated with similar messages, wasting a lot of his time.

I also think we should have an error/typo/correction page that way all the errors can be found in one place to eliminate the possible redundancy. That way, the authors just have to check one page once in a while to see if anything has been added, and can respond with any necessary clarification if they wish.

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I found an error as well and went hunting for the entry that said how to report them:

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.

Right - I did that with another error I found - the word "check" was used for what I think should have been "cheek" as in "beef check".... I just feel bad if lots of people are finding the same errors and PMing Nathan with them leaves him innundated with similar messages, wasting a lot of his time.

For those of you who would like to report errors but would rather not fill Nathan's PM inbox, here's a post copied from the "Modernist Cuisine" topic from Wayt Gibbs, the Editor of MC, with an alternative:

I'm collecting all errors, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, so that we can correct them in the second printing. I'd be grateful if you could email those to info@modernistcuisine.com. Once physical books have arrived at booksellers and are on their way to customers, we'll put up a page on modernistcuisine.com with corrections and clarifications.


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Has anyone made: The Colonel's Chicken - 3-336 yet? I have an itch to make fried chicken Wednesday for dinner and was curious about this recipe. Does it require a pressure fryer?

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Does anyone know what kind of salt is supposed to be used? Other books (like Keller's) specify the kind (usually kosher for him) and brand (Diamond Crystal).

I know that going by mass is better than volume, as it equalizes between brands, but maybe there's a difference in 2 grams of table salt and 2 grams of kosher or sea salt?

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All salt comes from the sea. the salt in the mines near Saltzberg come from the sea. just not recently.

crystal size is a different matter. if you dissolve the salt and make a solution it does not matter what kind you use. some salt has impurities that some people like (french sea salt)

if you use table salt, avoid the versions that that have added iodine. it has a harsh taste

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I did the retrograded potato puree last night. I've done this in similar ways before (as posted on other threads) but I've always had problems, and, it's always been a real pain in the neck. Doing it the MC way was really convenient and easy, and it was probably the best potato puree I've had yet... I didn't even knock myself out to do it the "upgraded" way with the potato flakes or ultrasperse... just potatoes and butter, but still great potato flavor.

What I liked is that previously, I had been told to cook the potatoes in their skin, and then, once cooked, peel them while still hot - which is a real PITA... MC recommends peeling first, but reserving the peels and putting them in the retrograde water/cooking water to save their flavor... and much easier!

Also, I always thought you had to retrograde the potatoes dry with no water - just in the vacuum bag... but MC recommends retrograding in 400% water, which also made things easier.

It was a little unclear what to do with the retrograde water once you drained the potatoes to cool them. I saved the retrograde water, and after the potatoes were cool, put the water in a pot and brought to a boil, and cooked the potatoes in the retrograde water... whether that was proper or not I don't know - but it worked... I did have to add a bit of water halfway through the 15-20 min. cook time though to replace evaporation. After cooking, I saved that water again - to dilute the puree as needed later on... but as it aged for the afternoon, it turned brownish, so when I added it back, the potatoes went from white, to slightly gray... Still very very tasty, but I think I have to find a way to store the water without the browning... maybe I'll rebag it to keep the excess air out of it.. but I don't know if the browning is oxidative or enzymatic - something tells me it's not enzymatic, since it was boiling for 20 minutes - that should have killed all the enzymes... next time I'll add a little vit. C powder to it to see if that stops the browning...

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Wild Rice "Risotto" (p. 6•152)

Sous Vide Potato Cooked in Fat (p. 6•143)

Glazed Pearl Onions (p. 6•140)

Pressure-Cooked White Chicken Stock (p. 6•11)

I tried a bunch of new (to me) things tonight, with mixed results. The wild rice risotto tasted good, but I didn't think the rice had enough starch to work properly, I should have added some. When finished mantecado the butter separated out. The potatoes were cooked in butter sous vide. I chose to finish them at service time by sautéing them until browned: these were OK, but bland: everything else on the plate was very powerfully flavored, so the potatoes just got lost. My fault, not the book's, of course. The glazed pearl onions were more assertively vinegary than I was expecting, but they tasted good. The texture would be WAY better with fresh onions (which is what the recipe calls for), but I used frozen because it's what I had on hand. Not a great idea. The chicken was sautéed and then the pan deglazed with vermouth. Then I added about a cup of the white chicken stock from MC and some tarragon, reduced it, mounted with butter, and used it to sauce the chicken (basically a Sauce Estragon). The stock is quite good, no complaints. As usual, the plating could use some work...

Wild rice risotto, sv potato, glazed onions.jpg

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I had my first failure tonight.

I tried the pasta recipe (using the tipo 00 flour and xanthan gum) and couldn't get it to work. I scaled everything properly (I believe) and the dough was just too brittle. instead of staying together it would just flake apart. I tried kneeding it to fix that but ended up adding more water. Once I got it to the point where it was more elastic I couldn't get it to work with the pasta machine. It just kept breaking apart if it would even grip at all. It's almost like it was too oily and at the same time just wouldn't hold together.

I'm no expert pasta maker, I've only done it once before (with Thomas Keller's recipe) so it's likely I was doing something wrong, but that was a little disappointing.

On the bright side, I got my vacuum sealer and tried the french toast which worked quite well. I used the chorizo milk as the recipe in the book has. It was really custardy in the middle and had a nice crust on the outside. The chorizo flavor just barely makes it through enough. Overall it's quite good. I'm going to make some more tomorrow morning and share it with a few people for their opinions. I also want to experiment with more flavors in the milk.

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