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nolnacs

eG Foodblog: nolnacs (2011) - Pork, peaches and pie. Saying goodbye to

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Only one way to find out.

Do a taste off and let us know which works best. (I favour guanciale, personally)

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Are those meats you cured? I have no input on the dish as I am not familiar.

They are. Pancetta is from the belly and guanciale is the jowl. After they were finished curing I chopped most of them up into roughly 1/3 lb pieces, vacuum sealed and froze.

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Doesn't look so attractive after it comes out of the water bath

meat1.JPG

Thankfully, I have Mr. Torch here to help out

meat2.JPG

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Much better, but I still need to work on my torching technique.

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Sliced and ready to eat

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Simple salad to accompany the meat - mixed greens, chopped yellow tomatoes and a vinaigrette (olive oil, sherry vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper)

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All together now

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Well, this meal was disappointing. The flavor of the london broil itself was decent, but I didn't really get any of the flavors of the marinade. I was perhaps too aggressive at brushing off the bits in the marinade.

This brings me to my meat rankings. If I had a duck magnet, it would probably fit in above the chicken.

Favorite to least favorite

meat scale.JPG

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Just a note about pie baking. I always bake my pies with the pie pan on a sheet pan. I've been doing this since I worked in my mom's bakery back in the mid '50s and it sure saves have to clean gunk off the floor of the oven.

There is also no possibility of messing up the pastry rim when removing the pies from the oven.

I do that sometimes, but I feel like the bottom crust does not get as browned when it is sitting on the sheet pan. Do you find that to be the case as well?

Not really. If I am going to bake a really sloppy pie with fruit that produces a lot of liquid (berries, for instance), I have a "trick"

I slightly pre-bake the bottom shell on the outside of an inverted pie pan with the outer edges covered with a ring of aluminum foil to keep that part from baking.

My grandpa's cook did this so I have always done it. And you don't need any "tools" to keep the dough from slumping.

I also use a dark sheet pan which also promotes bottom browning.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Not really. If I am going to bake a really sloppy pie with fruit that produces a lot of liquid (berries, for instance), I have a "trick"

I slightly pre-bake the bottom shell on the outside of an inverted pie pan with the outer edges covered with a ring of aluminum foil to keep that part from baking.

My grandpa's cook did this so I have always done it. And you don't need any "tools" to keep the dough from slumping.

I also use a dark sheet pan which also promotes bottom browning.

Interesting, I've never heard of that trick before. I'll have to try it out. How long do you usually do the pre-bake?

My sheet pans are lighter in color so maybe that is why I think that it affects the bottom browning. Then again, it might just be all in my head.

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Only one way to find out.

Do a taste off and let us know which works best. (I favour guanciale, personally)

Well, I've made it with both before and it is one of my favorite dishes either way. Sometimes I like the meatiness of the pancetta and sometimes the unctuousness of the guanciale. My question was more about which one people here would like to see in use.

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Where did you get the adorable and informative fridge magnets?

Personally it is not so much the animal as the cut that influences my preferences. A generic dry pork loin (not a tenderloin) ranks well below a factory chicken thigh. Pork neck and butt - well they are at the top of the heap. Beef flap meat, veal shank and lamb shank - heavenly. Chewy flavorless grocery store beef London broil - hand me an umami MSG laden sauce please.

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I vote for the guanciale!

I think I have the same fridge magnets - from Alton Brown's I am Just Here for the Food, I believe?

It looks like you have been REALLY busy this week. Your blog is a lot of fun to follow! I hope you don't die from exhaustion when the week ends. :biggrin:

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I vote for the guanciale!

I think I have the same fridge magnets - from Alton Brown's I am Just Here for the Food, I believe?

It looks like you have been REALLY busy this week. Your blog is a lot of fun to follow! I hope you don't die from exhaustion when the week ends. :biggrin:

Yep, that's where I got the magnets. I must say that I haven't done much with the book other than play with the magnets...

I'm still going strong so far. Let's hope it lasts.

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Not really. If I am going to bake a really sloppy pie with fruit that produces a lot of liquid (berries, for instance), I have a "trick"

I slightly pre-bake the bottom shell on the outside of an inverted pie pan with the outer edges covered with a ring of aluminum foil to keep that part from baking.

My grandpa's cook did this so I have always done it. And you don't need any "tools" to keep the dough from slumping.

I also use a dark sheet pan which also promotes bottom browning.

Interesting, I've never heard of that trick before. I'll have to try it out. How long do you usually do the pre-bake?

My sheet pans are lighter in color so maybe that is why I think that it affects the bottom browning. Then again, it might just be all in my head.

Ten minutes.

I allow them to cool then put the pie pan in which the pie will be baked over the crust and invert both then lift the one that held the crust out.

I forgot to mention docking. I have a rolling docker and I run it over the pie dough on the board before transferring it to the pan. That's the way we did it in the bakery and I've never had the patients to use a fork.

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I had some of the leftover london broil for lunch today. It actually tasted better today than it did yesterday which strikes me as a bit odd. I know stews and such tend to improve, but steaks?

Anyway, I took some pictures of my kitchen last night to share with you. One of the downsides to where I live is that I have a small, ugly & kind of crappy kitchen. So much so that my kitchen toys (as my wife likes to refer them) spilled out into what was intended to be the dining "room" of our 1 bedroom apartment and became the kitchen annex. I'll post some pictures of that in the next post.

One side of the kitchen - note the lack of counter space

kitchen tour 001.JPG

Other side of the kitchen - still hardly any counter space. I also need a better way to store spoons and such than those two big mugs.

kitchen tour 002.JPG

Cabinet above the stove. I store infrequently used dishes here.

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Next cabinet on that wall has dry goods, some of which have been there for quite some time...

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Cabinet above the refrigerator holds more infrequently used dishes (primarily for dinner parties), vacuum bag rolls and freezer containers.

kitchen tour 006.JPG

On the other wall we have the daily dishes and cups

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Then grains and my wife's drink stuff. I usually drink water or milk and that is about it. My wife is much more interested in various teas, coffees, smoothies, pop, wine etc than I am.

kitchen tour 008.JPG

This lower cabinet contains most of my baking pans and trays

kitchen tour 009.JPG

The kitchen freezer is filled to the brim with ice cream, wine (for cooking) and frozen soups and such that can be reheated for an easy meal

kitchen tour 025.JPG

Refrigerator is very full with leftovers and ingredients

kitchen tour 026.JPG

The door is filled with condiments.

kitchen tour 027.JPG

I have a few other comments on the refrigerator but I have to head off to a meeting now so I will add those in a bit.

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I couldnt do it, me, but drying and putting dishes away each meal saves a ton of counterspace otherwise used by the drain rack.

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Sorry for the interruption there, but the time slipped by unnoticed until it was time to go.

On the subject of the refrigerator and more specifically condiments, I often find condiments to be rather annoying. They tend to clutter up the refrigerator and leave less space for actual food. Of course, I did just add some jars of giardiniera to accompany my pickled ramps and cherries hiding in the back of the refrigerator so perhaps I am a condiment hypocrite. Nevertheless, I do try to limit the number in the refigerator.

Onward to the kitchen annex

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Hanging above the chest freezer is this poster of an entirely too happy pig

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Meat slicer and immersion circulator: old and new together.

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The top shelf of this cabinet is filled with various vinegars and oils

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The bottom has sweeteners, some baking extracts and various jams and jellies

kitchen tour 014.JPG

Next to the freezer, I have the wine refrigerator that I use as my meat curing chamber, which is why there is a piece of cardboard over the front of the unit. Cured meats like to be in the dark and the front was mostly class. It also gets decorated with a pig (I think it came from Citypaper). On top of the wine fridge is my new chamber sealer. I only picked it up a couple of months ago but I like it quite a bit more than the foodsaver that I use to use.

kitchen tour 016.JPG

Metro shelving with pots, pans, small appliances, flours & sugars

kitchen tour 017.JPG

This shelf has most of my cookbooks. The shelf above has cooking magazines that I like to keep (Cooks Illustrated & the Art of Eating mostly) and a few other cookbooks. There is no room for Modernist Cuisine here so it tends to hang out in the living room

kitchen tour 018.JPG

kitchen tour 019.JPG

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Part two of the kitchen annex

My kitchen island acts like an additional counterup against the wall. This is my main prep space.

kitchen tour 019.JPG

The top drawer holds my knives and most of my tools

kitchen tour 022.JPG

The middle of the island has my foodsaver, a spicestack and some bowls and colanders.

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The spicestack in action. I bought it to try to bring some organization to my spices but was only partially successful as you will see.

kitchen tour 020.JPG

And here are the rest of my spices. One of my favorite stores in Chicago was the Spice House and I have continued to buy some of my spices from them even now when I am in Philadelphia which accounts for all these little baggies of spices.

kitchen tour 024.JPG

The other drawer holds plastic containers for leftovers - a little sparse right now.

kitchen tour 023.JPG

One side of the chest freezer. Lots of frozen fruit and cured meats on this side of the freezer. One drawer is mostly filled with various nuts.

kitchen tour 028.JPG

The other side of the freezer has more frozen fruit as well as lard portioned out in 1 C increments so that I don't have to measure it out when I make pie crust

kitchen tour 029.JPG

If there is anything from the kitchen tour you would like to show more of or explain, just let me know.

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Your wife must enjoy your cooking to agree to the real estate your "toys" take up :biggrin:

The kitchen island looks fairly deep and useful. Was it a fortuitous find or a long search?

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The london broil for last night is now cooking in the water bath. However, my wife wanted a snack so she had some of the Chimay Grand Cru that I picked up at Downtown Cheese on Saturday with some grapes and semolina bread.

I had a bite of the Chimay and it is very good.

chimay.JPG

This is just so pretty.

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Couldn't read the blog for a few days and look at all that I missed! Great meals.

nolnacs, what temp was the London Broil at in the water bath and for how long?

What is your favorite thing to cook Sous Vide?

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Your wife must enjoy your cooking to agree to the real estate your "toys" take up :biggrin:

The kitchen island looks fairly deep and useful. Was it a fortuitous find or a long search?

She does indeed, but also I think the toys were a package deal with me when I moved from Chicago.

It was a fairly lengthy search, almost entirely online. It was made by Catskill Craftsmen and they have a decent selection of large kitchen islands

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In response to my wife's request, I made mapo dofu for dinner tonight. Watch out Han Dynasty!

:unsure:

Maybe not...

I only took a few pictures tonight.

Grinding the pork

map1.JPG

All prepped and ready to go

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My mouth is still burning a little bit

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I was please with how it turned out. I sprinkled ground szechuan peppercorns on top and if I were to do it again, I would make sure to grind them a little finer in the mortar and pestle. My wife also approved of the dish stating that she would be happy to eat the leftovers. High praise in my opinion.

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Couldn't read the blog for a few days and look at all that I missed! Great meals.

nolnacs, what temp was the London Broil at in the water bath and for how long?

What is your favorite thing to cook Sous Vide?

Thanks, I cooked the london broil at 54 C for a little over an hour which is well more than it needed for the core to reach 54 C. I think I would drop it a couple of degrees the next time I do it.

I mostly cook tender proteins sous vide - steaks, pork chops, chicken etc. I've tried vegetables a few times but haven't gotten it down pat yet. I've done some tougher meats too, just not as frequently. I suppose that doesn't really answer your question, but I would say that I really do like how steaks (typically strip or rib eye for me) come out so those would have to be my favorite.

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Tonight for dinner I made Bucatini all'Amatriciana using some of my homemade guanciale.

1/3 lb Guanciale chopped into batons

dinner1.JPG

1 small to medium red onion chopped

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De Cecco is the brand of pasta that I typically buy. I've had some of the higher end pastas, but I don't detect enough of a taste difference to make it worthwhile to spend 2-3 times as much.

dinner3.JPG

Saute guanciale. You can either start them off in a dry pan or with a bit of fat. Olive oil and lard are good choices. That looks about right or maybe just a smidgen too long for the meat bits at the ends of the guanciale sticks.

dinner4.JPG

Remove guanciale and add onions. Sautee until soft but not browned.

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I was busy grating cheese while the onions were cooking. Pecorino Romano is the cheese traditionally used in this dish. I used a specific brand of Pecorino Romano called Locatelli that I picked up at Downtown Cheese in the Reading Terminal Market. It's a bit sharper than most Pecorino Romano.

dinner6.JPG

Once onions are to a satisfactory state, add half of a 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes. I can never find 14 oz cans so I just use half of a 28 oz can. Simmer for about 15 minutes until tomatoes and broken down and it is, well, saucy.

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Now season the sauce with salt. Once the salt levels are good, add lots and lots of coarse ground black pepper and some red pepper flakes. I went kind of light on both tonight. But as always with spicy foods, add what you can tolerate.

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Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain then add back to the pot with the sauce, guanciale and some of the pasta cooking water.

dinner9.JPG

Delicious, porky bucatini

dinner10.JPG

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I just let out a long sigh - that looks incredibly satisfying. Did you cut it with a salad or just indulge in the porky pasta and cheese comfort?

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Hi there, I've not yet chimed in to say how much I'm enjoying your blog.

And I'm with Heidi, that bucatini all'amatriciana looks perfect. I also like Locatelli for my pecorino--great for nibbling as well as pasta.

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I just let out a long sigh - that looks incredibly satisfying. Did you cut it with a salad or just indulge in the porky pasta and cheese comfort?

No salad or greens of any sort - just the pasta with its luscious sauce. When I make this dish, I don't want anything else distracting me, instead I focus solely on it.

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Couldn't read the blog for a few days and look at all that I missed! Great meals.

nolnacs, what temp was the London Broil at in the water bath and for how long?

What is your favorite thing to cook Sous Vide?

Thanks, I cooked the london broil at 54 C for a little over an hour which is well more than it needed for the core to reach 54 C. I think I would drop it a couple of degrees the next time I do it.

I mostly cook tender proteins sous vide - steaks, pork chops, chicken etc. I've tried vegetables a few times but haven't gotten it down pat yet. I've done some tougher meats too, just not as frequently. I suppose that doesn't really answer your question, but I would say that I really do like how steaks (typically strip or rib eye for me) come out so those would have to be my favorite.

Have you tried to cook Duck or lamb sous vide? Those are probably my favorite proteins to cook via this method.

Thanks

Percy

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