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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine at Home" (Part 1)


Chris Hennes
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You can't use a plastic bag of any kind, since it won't tolerate the heat.

I use plastic pouches for chamber sealers that are rated for 120C, precisely for use in pressure cookers.

But still, using a sealed bag would not be a good idea, as it would easily explode with the water vapour produced inside the bag. The jars are never tightly closed inside the PC for that reason.

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But still, using a sealed bag would not be a good idea, as it would easily explode with the water vapour produced inside the bag. The jars are never tightly closed inside the PC for that reason.

Hmm, I would have thought that the problem with using a sealed jar in a pressure cooker is that it would implode, rather than explode. For a plastic bag to explode in a pressure cooker, the contents of the bag has to reach a higher pressure than the surrounding atmosphere. I can't see that happening, unless the PC is suddenly vented.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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I have a question about freezing, defrosting, and reheating: What's the best way to defrost and reheat things?

Many of the MCaH recipes specify they can be frozen for 3 - 6 months (the pesto recipe for example). Now obviously I could just defrost it overnight in the refrigerator or use the microwave, etc, but in the spirit of precise modernist cooking I thought I'd ask if there's a particular way that works well and minimizes any food safety concerns. Is there a specific microwave time at wattage per gram in the microwave recommendation that I've missed? Any other thoughts?

Thanks!

Mike

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Thanks, I find that reassuring (both that I didn't imagine the smell and that it is normal result of the process). It would have been an expensive experiment otherwise (even though I only bought lobster heads for this recipe, the price was pretty outrageous - almost US$ 12 per pound.

Another question regarding this recipe: You talk about saving the "lobster jus" remaining under the butter. In my case, this is liquid is a pretty dark greyish brown from particles of Maillardized lobster meat. Is there a simple way to clarify this jus without sacrificing the flavor (as one would with an eggwhite raft)? I mean, besides the obvious centrifuge ;-)

Pep.,

I would suggest simply passing it through a coffee filter or cheese cloth, if you have it around. This "jus" is essentially rendered from the lobster shells without any additional water, so the intensity of the flavor should stand up to whatever you do.

Johnny

Johnny Zhu
Research and Development Chef for Modernist Cuisine
johnny@modernistcuisine.com

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Hi! I'm Sam, one of the developmental chefs at The Cooking Lab. I worked on both Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home. Here are a few more answers to your questions.

I also tried the microwave fried herbs technique, but the plastic wrap started melting almost immediately. Used Saran Wrap, which explicitly states that it's microwave safe (with the proviso that it should not be in contact with hot fats, as is the case here), and from background reading appears not to be the PVC type. I wonder what type specifically the MC folks use that works. Also will try this just on a plate. Not sure why the plastic wrap should even be necessary, and it's not explained in the book.

We use Reynolds brand for food service. It comes on a giant roll from restaurant supply stores and wholesale purveyors.

The plastic wrap creates a perfectly flat surface, allowing heat to conduct evenly through the leaves.

Any idea if calcium citrate can be subbed for sodium?

Also, where does one find that rigid vacuum container shown for infusing items?

You definitely cannot substitute calcium citrate for sodium citrate. They are completely different products with their own uses.

We get our containers at Fred Meyer, a local chain store. I think some models of the FoodSaver come with containers, too.

I made pressure cooked risotto last night. Had a kabocha squash and decided to make pumpkin risotto. I didn't follow the MC@H recipe to separately make a sqush puree (didn't make sense to me), so added cubed squash to the onions after the saute', also added some baking soda to help caramelize the squash while cooking. Sauted for a couple minutes and added the rice and liquid and pressure cooked for 6 minutes.

Liquids were canned chicken broth in which i boiled the seeds and center fibers of the pumpkin and some wine. 350g broth, 50g wine to 200g rice.

Opened, and it needed probably 5 more minutes and additional liquid. Finished with a chunk of butter and shaved aged gouda.

Astounding. I will never go back to standard risotto cooking method. Every grain was perfect.

Next time i'll do 7 minutes in the PC.

Questions:

1) I looked in both MC and MC@H and i couldn't for the life of me find the ratio to be used for risotto to liquid for straight pressure cooking. I had to derive it from the sample recipes (it's 2:1). Not hard to do, but wouldn;t it make sense to state the ratio in the same table as cooking times?

2) There is a small note in MC@H that says if you use more rice than listed in the recipe it could take longer to cook. This doesn't make sense to me. Why would it take longer to cook based on the amount of rice used?

photo.JPG

Looks great! Classically, risotto recipes call for a 3:1 liquid-to-rice ratio. Because there is limited evaporation in a pressure cooker, you can use less liquid to cook the rice. Our ratios differ for each variation, but they are all around 2.5:1

I hope that helps. I'll try to come back and answer more questions later.

Sam

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Few things I tried recently:

Pressure Cooked Carnitas. I served these with tortillas, refried black beans and stewed pumpkin. The pumpkin recipe is from Diana Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto (aka the book with the worst and dumbest index ever) and it is delicious. The carnitas were quick and great, I would just cook them a few minutes longer for a more tender texture.

uploadfromtaptalk1357180121004.jpg

The vegetable stock cooked sous vide is just amazing. I think Chris Hennes already mentioned this, but it's basically vegetable juice and tastes delicious.

I used the stock to make the caramelized parsnip apple soup in the pressure cooker. I served this as a first course for Xmas dinner and it was a huge hit.

Another sous vide stock I just prepared is the fish stock. Also has a wonderful clean, concentrated flavor and aroma. I plan to use it in a sauce tomorrow.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2

Edited by FoodMan (log)

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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I made the "Fat-Free" Mac and Cheese last night.

I had my doubts on the outcome going in. Is cheese flavor really all water-soluble? Can you really get that characteristic mouthfeel without the fat in the sauce?

As it turns out the answer to both really is "Yes!" and the mac and cheese is delicious.

I made it with different cheeses (50% Cheddar, 40% Emmentaler, 10% Parmesan) than the default recipe, cooked the cheese/water combination for about 40 minutes instead of 30 minutes and used spiral pasta instead of macaroni.

I measured everything by weight as indicated in the recipe but yielded a lot less in volume than claimed - about 3 cups instead of 4 cups.

The recommendation for baking post-flavor-extraction cheese solids into crisps was a dud - I tried that and they were tasteless. The flavor really was efficiently extracted. Perhaps the extra 10 minutes of extraction cooking made a difference.

But the actual fat-free mac and cheese is a winner and I'll definitely make it again.

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I've now made 5 things from MC@H, my wife gave me the book for xmas. Alas I've not taken pictures of any of the creations, but after reading this thread I might try to change that.

The 1st was the Green Romaine Salad, I'll agree with other posters that it's good but not great.

2nd I made the Apple-Parsnip soup that others have talked about, I forgot the baking soda and had to open the pot after 10 mins to add it, the puree turned out darker then others have posted but otherwise excellent. Considering the large amount of butter I don't think I'll make this too often, but it was the first pureed soup I've actually liked. My wife commented after seeing how it was made she's going to cut down on the pureed fruit soups she has on cruise ships :)

3rd I made Vegtable Stock, I did a double batch in the 3.5L pressure cooker and only was able to fit it all in by cutting down the amount of onions. It turned out very strong, I will likely dilute it in the future if I'm not looking for a strong vegtable taste. But if you want a good veg taste in your stock - this one is a winner.

4th I made Polenta which is why I did the stock (since corn on the cob is out of season), I thought it taked too much like the vegtables but my wife and guests really enjoyed it. Next time I'll dilute the stock or make it with corn stock.

5th I made the chicken meatballs since it was the one option from the chicken skwers page that didn't require sous vide. I made it with Honey-Ginger Teriyaki sauce since I couldn't get dried fish flakes (I'll find a asian store and try the other sauce later) it was very good! Likely a new favorite. Also it's amazing how easy it is to grind meat in the food processor (the book didn't say how I should grind the meat, and I don't have a meat grinder :))

I'm planning on ordering a Sous Vide set up this week, I tred both stove stop (for the egg for #1) and in the oven (as reccomended by #1 for a beet) and will never attempt that again!

Some point later this year I want MC but that's a spend set of books so I'll work on gear 1st. All this started when I saw the Nova episode last year which had a segmant on MC.

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Made the creamed spinach and the low-temp oven steak using a couple aged ribeyes I got from Rain Shadow Meats (great stuff, btw) here in Seattle. I froze the steaks in the freezer for just over 30 minutes and then started the ribeyes on the BGE to sear. This took longer than 2 minutes because I didn't give the BGE long enough to heat up to 800 or 900 degrees. Lesson learned.

I transfered the steaks to the racked pan and put them in a 160 degree oven and waited. And waited and waited. After about 30 minutes the steaks which started out at just over 100 degrees were at about 109. I cranked up the heat to 200 because I wanted to eat the same night. At about 50 minutes in I cranked it up to 250. Finally got to 133 at just over an hour in.

I pulled the steaks out and took a blowtorch to them to crisp them up further and then seasoned with flor de sel. Then I cut them from the bone and sliced. The steaks came out almost perfect inside. save perhaps 1mm that was brown, the rest was a nice pink/medium rare throughout. This is actually a great method and I would use it again for a large party and perhaps if I have the time. Sometimes a steak just done on the grill is nice too :)

The creamed spinach was also delicious and seems actually reasonably healthy. I didn't take the time to measure the spinach and so I added a little extra milk in the end but probably a total of 1/2 cup of whole milk in the recipe. I'm also getting more comfortable with just throwing in 1/8 tsp of xanthum gum into things like this instead of measuring. A little goes a long way .

So after a few flops I learned a few good techniques again from MC@H

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Made the creamed spinach and the low-temp oven steak using a couple aged ribeyes I got from Rain Shadow Meats (great stuff, btw) here in Seattle. I froze the steaks in the freezer for just over 30 minutes and then started the ribeyes on the BGE to sear. This took longer than 2 minutes because I didn't give the BGE long enough to heat up to 800 or 900 degrees. Lesson learned.

I transfered the steaks to the racked pan and put them in a 160 degree oven and waited. And waited and waited. After about 30 minutes the steaks which started out at just over 100 degrees were at about 109. I cranked up the heat to 200 because I wanted to eat the same night. At about 50 minutes in I cranked it up to 250. Finally got to 133 at just over an hour in.

I pulled the steaks out and took a blowtorch to them to crisp them up further and then seasoned with flor de sel. Then I cut them from the bone and sliced. The steaks came out almost perfect inside. save perhaps 1mm that was brown, the rest was a nice pink/medium rare throughout. This is actually a great method and I would use it again for a large party and perhaps if I have the time. Sometimes a steak just done on the grill is nice too :)

The creamed spinach was also delicious and seems actually reasonably healthy. I didn't take the time to measure the spinach and so I added a little extra milk in the end but probably a total of 1/2 cup of whole milk in the recipe. I'm also getting more comfortable with just throwing in 1/8 tsp of xanthum gum into things like this instead of measuring. A little goes a long way .

So after a few flops I learned a few good techniques again from MC@H

How thick were your steaks? They might have taken longer to cook if they were more than the 1" thickness the recipe calls for. Also, have you calibrated your oven at low temperatures? Some ovens can be unreliable at low temperatures. There's a page all about calibrating your oven in MCAH, and we recently published an article about it on our blog: http://modernistcuisine.com/2013/01/how-to-calibrate-your-kitchen/

Judy Wilson

Editorial Assistant

Modernist Cuisine

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Yea, they were probably about 1.5", amazing steaks. and I did calibrate my oven. It is surprisingly stable at low temperatures. I have a Bluestar.

It's likely due to the thickness of your steak then. If a 1" thick steak takes 1 hour to cook, a 2" steak will actually take 4 hours to cook, so a 1.5" steak will take a little over 2 hours to cook.

ETA: we actually have a lot of tables about this in volume 2 of MC.

Edited by Judy Wilson (log)

Judy Wilson

Editorial Assistant

Modernist Cuisine

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I made sous vide Salmon on Saturday. My first attempt with the creative series from PolyScience. I used a relatively small food service container to hold the immersion circulator as it took up about 1/4 the space in the container. Even after time listed in the recipe the salmon was not up to 113F, the water was 115F, we ended up polling out the fish at about 107-108F and it was fine. We used Ziploc freezer bags and the water displacement method to get the air out, the bags were clamped to the side of the container with the fish fully underwater. Could this be delaying the heat transfer? Do I need to try and get them away from the sides of the container?

I also had problems getting the fish out of the bags without breaking them up, the end result was tasty but nothing I'd want to photo graph :)

The Fish Spice mix turned out quite nummy, though I'm sure part of it was the sheer amount of butter :) I can definitely see why using N-Zorbit Tapioca Maltodextrin would be helpful as it clumps a lot.

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We used Ziploc freezer bags and the water displacement method to get the air out, the bags were clamped to the side of the container with the fish fully underwater. Could this be delaying the heat transfer? Do I need to try and get them away from the sides of the container?

Yes. Staying at the side of the container is basically the same as floating at the surface: one side of the product is not heated up properly. SV timings would normally be calculated for even heat transmission from all sides.

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Yes. Staying at the side of the container is basically the same as floating at the surface: one side of the product is not heated up properly. SV timings would normally be calculated for even heat transmission from all sides.

Thanks, what's the best way to get ziploc bags to stay in the middle? There are other recipes were they specifically calling out to attach the bag to the side, I'm guessing time is taken into account then. We're going to try the buffalo wings tonight and I think IIRC that's how they have you do it, in a 1 gallon ziploc bag clamped to the side.

I'd like to get a vacuum sealer but I think I want to skip food savers and jump to a chamber vacuum, but that's not a cheap purchase so it'll have to wait.

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most people here that have that floating problem put a weight of some kind in the bag : marbles? washed and dried? don,t forget to take them out!

No floating problem, I just gathered from MC@H that I should be clipping ziploc bags to the side, not putting the whole thing under water. I'm guessing this is not true :) It's clear from the recipes that ziploc bags with most of the air removed is a valid substitute for shorter cooked dishes.

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