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From Joy of Cooking to Modernist Cuisine


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Anna N and I are up north in Manitoulin this month so I can work and she can laze about. We have the greatest intention of cooking as many things on our to-try list as possible - and we hope to include a number of things from Modernist Cuisine. We brought along the kitchen manual and 2 volumes (the car was pretty packed - so those two volumes were the best we could do). The remaining volumes are spending time at my brother's place - he expressed an interest in having a look at them. This will be my first opportunity to get a serious look at Modernist Cuisine.

Packed in the car was a pressure cooker, my FMM sous vide magic (sans container - we'll find something to substitute while here), all sorts of molecular ingredients (including 3 varieties of transglutaminase), a gram scale, a polyscience smoking gun, a half dozen chocolate molds, some new accessories for my mini BGE (a mini woo ring and a small wok), the thermomix, 10 kg of chocolate, pizza flour, a number of rubs and BBQ sauces, a variety of items from Penzey's and the Spice House and some cheeses that I recently smoked. We also brought a few clothes and managed (just) to fit the child in the back seat.

We requested that some nice farm eggs be awaiting our arrival - and were delighted to discover 3 1/2 dozen. They had also left us a 1 kg bag of dark rye flour grown and ground here on the island.

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We are assembling a list of things we want to cook/bake/try while we are here - it will be interesting to see how many items get made.

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So we arrived later in the day yesterday - managed to hit the grocery store before it closed. This is a tourist area at the beginning of the long weekend - there wasn't a whole lot of food left. I had to buy pre peeled garlic as the only other garlic available was the elephant sort. There was no whipping cream, no frozen shrimp, not a shallot in site and a minimal amount of meat in the case. Discovered on my way out of the store that because it's a tourist area the grocery stores are open on the holiday - but when I dropped by to get a few more odds and ends today - the store's stock was even more seriously depleted.

On call today - so of course I had to bake something (it is expected after about 12 years coming up here to work). I made some butterscotch squares - always quick and easy to make but quite delicious.

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Anna made some buttertart squares that she'll post later.

I managed to make it home for a short while over dinner time and Anna kindly provided me with a nice strip loin with grilled sweet potatoes and zucchini off the gas BBQ. Not sure when I get to pick up my mini BGE from it's winter home - hopefully tomorrow.

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Sounds like a lot of fun Kerry. Looking forward to seeing what you two cook up this trip.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I am not much of a baker except for bread which I make two or three times a week at home but in an effort to help Kerry feed those voracious appetites of the hospital staff I am going to give it a go. First up:

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Butter Tart Squares.

Being rather impatient I cut them before they were completely cool and ended up with a bit of a mess but I hear that didn’t deter their consumption one bit.

Today I hope to bake off some mini baguettes from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day. I made up the dough yesterday so it has had its long, slow rise in the refrigerator. I will wait to see if Kerry needs the oven to bake something before she heads off for a couple of hours at the hospital and then I’ll crank it to 500F and see if I get some decent bread for later today.

All being well we will head off to Mindemoya sometime today to the only decent grocery store on the Island. We will be stocking up as best we can to fuel our cooking marathon. Some ingredients we will not be able to source until we can fit in a trip to Sudbury which is a couple of hours drive from here. We are also hoping to find an appropriate container for Kerry’s new SVM in the hardware store in Mindemoya so we can start some serious sous-vide experiments.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Before heading out on a procurement mission today I decided to start working on some edible films from MC. Sorting through the various formulas I realized that my only options with the available ingredients would be the opaque flexible film. I started with some apple juice, added agar, glycerine and xantham. Cooked in the thermomix at 90 C for 3 minutes. At this point I realized that things needed a better mix and added a whole lot of bubbles. I should have mixed well before heating. The instructions say to spread at room temperature - but I think I would have had an easier job spreading it hot. As it cooled to room temp it got kinda lumpy.

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We headed off to Mindamoya - home of one of the best grocery stores on the island and the best hardware store. Little did we know that it was the 90th anniversary of the hardware store - and everyone on the island was there to help them celebrate. Well everyone except the remainder of the people on the island who were in the grocery store!

Enroute we stopped for a bite of lunch at Maggie's cafe in M'chigeeng (the town formerly known as West Bay). The rug rat was fussy from the heat so we were a bit distracted and forgot food pictures until we were half way done - excuse the bite marks.

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Hot hamburger for Anna.

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Cheeseburger for me.

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Most of the fries were left - fussy rug rats don't eat well.

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Our haul for the day. We had hit the farmer's market on our way out of town - grabbed the garlic scapes, some rolled oats and red fife flour grown on the island.

The liquor store for some wine, nice looking pork country ribs, a pork tenderloin for tonight's dinner, some burger for my jamaican patties, a can of arizona ice tea - Anna saw that the lady in line in front of us had one - I whipped out my tape measure to determine it's dimensions - and viola - the container in which to make the MC cheese slices had been obtained!

The hardware store had some great buckets - so sous vide container issue sorted as well.

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Anna took the nice little pork tenderloin we bought, rubbed it with Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express - a rub made with coffee and grilled it on the propane BBQ (still waiting to get our hands on the mini BGE). She parboiled then grilled some mini red potatoes, brushed with garlic oil and grilled some soaked corn.

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I have some onions cooking in the thermomix right now to be the base of a corn chowder with the remaining corn kernels.

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Apparently someone is missing a mini egg delivery girl :wink: I will see what I can do to make arrangements!

I thought that kitchen was small before but with all that extra equipment I can envision you taking over the dining room too!

If you are in my town, stop by the garden at my house and take the garlic scapes from there too. I won't be needing them since I am not home and I am pretty sure DH has no idea what I meant when I gave instructions to him about cutting the scapes off.

I am hoping to be back on the island sometime this month so I look forward to seeing what comes out of that little kitchen!

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Kerry is much more diligent about posting in a timely manner than I am! But here is a bit of atmosphere from yesterday. This is Maggie’s Café near Mindemoya where we ate lunch.

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And this morning I got around to baking the Pain a l’Ancienne. It is lovely bread and my next plan is to make the ciabatta from the same recipe.

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Pain a l\

I have all the ingredients now to make the Modernist Cuisine chicken stock and depending on how Kerry’s plans work out today I should have it made by dinner time. I have no immediate plans to put it to use but I do very much want to follow the procedure in MC and see what all the fuss is about.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Headed out today to pick up my mini BGE from it's overwintering location.

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Managed to find a little table at a yard sale to bring it up to a height that is much nicer to grill at!

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Anna made us a nice lunch of salad with the leftover pork tenderloin from last night and some of the wonderful bread she baked this am.

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Spatchcocked a chicken and did it on the mini - should have chosen the smallest chicken - it was a bit of a tight fit.

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A couple of microwaved potatoes finished off in duck fat - yum!

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Grilled garlic scapes - not very exciting.

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Sadly after seeing this sign - we saw a turtle that apparently doesn't read Ojibway - squished flat on the road. A little too flat to bring home for soup.

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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So I spent much of the afternoon prepping the ingredients for the MC pressure-cooked chicken stock. I was determined to follow the recipe as closely as I possibly could and my kitchen-mate, Kerry, was equally determined to torment me as I measured 1 gram of parsley stalks and leaves and 0.5 grams of peppercorns. At any moment I expected Nathan M to pop up behind my shoulder and say something like, “You’re not really weighing parsley are you?” Will it all be worth it? Only time will tell and it has another hour to go before it’s done. Would I do it again? NO! No matter how incredible the resulting stock may be I will NOT measure out minute amounts of parsley and peppercorns. However, if it makes a really good stock then I would likely follow the recipe but eyeball the ingredient quantities. I can have a decent stock cooking within 10 to 15 minutes at the very most and this sort of precision grates on my nerves. That likely means that Modernist Cuisine is not for me but I fully intend to try a few more things from this incredible set of books – what the heck – it’s only time and time is all I have.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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The chicken stock is quite amazing in terms of colour, flavour and mouth feel. However, in terms of cost and time it remains hard for me to justify this method for anything but some very special dish requiring that the stock shine above everything else.

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So with the scraps leftover from the thighs, additional wings and an approximation of the remaining ingredients I am now making another batch of stock in the pressure cooker and will compare the two.

Since I also have leftover leeks (one is hard pressed to purchase 25 grams of leeks!) and there are potatoes in the house, the MC chicken stock will have to shine in some leek and potato soup.

I have also mixed up the dough for some ciabatta as promised. It will rest overnight in the refrigerator and I will bake the loaves some time tomorrow.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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The soup was very satisfying and Kerry and I both had a bowl for our lunch.

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However, the chicken stock from Modernist Cuisine did seem to somewhat take over and left the leeks and potatoes as secondary players.

The stock I made from the leftovers after my MC experiment looks very similar but it is definitely lacking in the flavour department so this skeptic has been won over to the merits of Modernist Cuisine stock.

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However, it will still be a once-in-a-while endeavour due to the time and cost involved. And as today’s soup proved, sometimes a flavour can be too intense for the job at hand.

Here’s some Peter Rinehart cheese bread on its second rise.

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My son-in-law thinks this is truly the bees knees and can only be improved by adding minced jalapenos. Since he is not here I left out the hot stuff.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I love seeing all these interesting things to eat.

My modernist cuisine tomes finally arrive from the Amazon 7 july.

Ill look up the Ck Stock first thing. why was it so expensive? you can PM me if you feel the urge.

I noticed that Spice House sells a few MC items.

thanks for all these pics.

very inspiring.

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I love seeing all these interesting things to eat.

My modernist cuisine tomes finally arrive from the Amazon 7 july.

Ill look up the Ck Stock first thing. why was it so expensive? you can PM me if you feel the urge.

I noticed that Spice House sells a few MC items.

thanks for all these pics.

very inspiring.

Thanks for your kind comments!

Here's why I consider the MC stock to be expensive relative to my usual stock. It took 4 thighs to obtain 350 grams of thigh meat - those 4 thighs, with a side dish, would feed 2-3 people at my house. 350 grams of wings with some blue cheese dressing and carrot sticks would be a meal for one. The procedure produces just 400 grams of stock which is only a minor component of almost any meal I might make! Wings are expensive here. In contrast, I usually make stock from those parts of the chicken that don't make a meal - backs, wing tips and the carcass.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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well thanks for this.

Im a big fan of Turkey. in the down some-what under they go very cheap at our Thanks.

I bone then out a la Julia + and make stock from the frame and the wing tips.

I think turkey has an interesting more- ish flavor than you know Frank Perdue.

I do Beer can chicken all the time and that on my webber (3 burner) with chips for smoke is to die for.

so Im about to """" processs """" a few turkeys that i have FZ for SV ie The Best Sandwich Meat

why not use the carcase and the bits or MC turkey stock?

you have inspired me! I usually do the deconstructed Turkey in the fall.

thanks again fort this thread and the Lunch Girls!

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And the finished cheese bread! Must find someone to donate at least one loaf to or I will be weighing many pounds more when I leave the Island than when I arrived.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Tonight's dinner - sous vide country ribs.

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Rubbed with Penzey's southwestern blend. Hot tubbed at 60ºC for 12 hours.

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Browned up on the mini egg.

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A little Rufus Teague Honey sweet BBQ sauce, grilled Vidalia onions and a slice or two of cheese bread.

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Off to the nursing home in Wiki at the other end of the island this am. Taking cheese muffins.

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Did a little serious bonding with this little fellow yesterday - a civit that has been adopted by the psychologist in the clinic. He was quite interested in what was in that milk carton and would have liked to help me drink my tea. Catching a picture of him was a challenge. Too bad I didn't have the camera when he was looking in the fish tank - that kept him still for a while.

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Here’s the sliced cheese bread. Managed to give away a loaf to one of the rug rat’s care givers.

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As promised something from The Joy of Cooking. Ginger snaps.

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I managed to foist a dozen of the still-warm cookies on to one of the owners of the town house where we are staying after he completed some minor maintenance work. Some will go to Kira’s care giver tonight and some will likely make it to the clinic in the morning.

Ciabatta is currently rising on the kitchen counter.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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