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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine at Home" (Part 2)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been working quite a bit with the "Fat Free" Mac and cheese.

Has anybody done other fold-ins?

Just In case someone is interested, I made an amazing version of this tonight but it is not fat free anymore. Instead of cauliflower, I used Kubota squash. I caramelized the Kubotaby using the first few steps of the recipe for caramelized carrot soup (instead of carrots) and thinned it a bit with no-fat evaporated milk and carrot juice. (The soup recipe calls for butter, which I used.) What I got was a thick purée of essentially caramelized kubota. I used this in place of the cauliflower purée in the M&C recipe. I loved it as did my taste testers, but unfortunately they are tiring of my "guess the secret ingredient" game. I just happened to have Kubota around; butternut would work well too I think.

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I bought a nice piece of fresh, King Salmon on Saturday and sous vide it 30 minutes at 113 as recommended by MC@H. It was really off-putting for a number of people, myself included. It needs a sear to firm it up. It's just weird. I'd rather eat it raw then at this temp. Personal preference I realize but the more I sous-vide, the less I like it.

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I definitely do NOT recommend searing the fish after the SV step, because the fish is incredibly tender and fragile at this point. What your fish needs is a crust of some kind. Here are a couple of mine:


SV ocean trout with a crust made from crushed Nori and Wakame (inspired by Tetsuya Wakuda).


SV salmon. This time I couldn't find Wakame, so I improvised. The soft salmon needs a contrast in texture otherwise you feel as if you are eating a fish mousse. That's what the fried lotus root, Tobiko and salmon caviar are there for.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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I bought a nice piece of fresh, King Salmon on Saturday and sous vide it 30 minutes at 113 as recommended by MC@H. It was really off-putting for a number of people, myself included. It needs a sear to firm it up. It's just weird. I'd rather eat it raw then at this temp. Personal preference I realize but the more I sous-vide, the less I like it.

The temp is a personal preference. I don't like salmon at 113F. I prefer 120-122F. At that temp it will be fragile but it's doable to put it in a frypan to quickly sear either one side or both.

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  • 1 month later...

Has anyone had success with the fried herbs? I tried making them with Glad Cling Wrap and the plastic started melting almost right away. The instructions in the recipe say to choose a plastic wrap that is microwave safe and that does not contain PVC. The Glad Cling Wrap package says the product is microwave safe, and their online FAQ (http://www.glad.com/faq/) says they don't use PVC in any of their products.

An earlier comment from the MC team in part 1 of this topic says they use Reynolds plastic wrap in the lab. My understanding is that Reynolds no longer makes plastic wrap - at least it's no longer showcased in the "Products" section of their site (http://www.reynoldskitchens.com/products/). Amazon still sells Reynolds plastic wrap, but it says specifically that it's made with PVC (http://www.amazon.com/Reynolds-910M-Length-Width-Metro/dp/B004NG9120/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369682309&sr=8-1&keywords=reynolds+plastic++wrap). I don't understand why MC@H advises against PVC wraps when it's using PVC wraps in the lab. Unless Reynolds used to make non-PVC based plastic wrap?

So, has anyone found a wrap brand, technique or other tool that works to make fried herbs in the microwave?

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I have fired several herbs successfully (mint, sage, basil) using a microwave safe foil (locally bought brand in the Netherlands)and I fully missed the PVC part. Worked well, although better with basil and mint than with sage - sage burns more easily in my setup

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wow thats a good tip. I personally can not stand the taste of cooked parsnips. it has a very odd taste to me.

that being said, Trade Joes has a TerraChip clone, with lower salt in a mylar bag. it has parsnips in there, a med thick cut, and crispy. I love those.

would this work for beets, other root veg, planed on my japanese planer?

how long do you micro them? seasoning first?

Edited by rotuts (log)
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Thanks for the replies. The microwave safe foil idea is interesting, but I couldn't find it on Amazon US and I don't recall seeing it in stores here. I'll pay more attention next time I go to the supermarket.

The chip maker is also cool - if not for herbs, to make chips at home. I am wondering if the herbs would wilt into the holes. Have you tried making fried herbs with it? Is it as good as it sounds to make veggie chips?

In the meantime, I've had decent results with an inverted pyrex plate. I'd like to keep experimenting as new ideas come up though, so please do keep the ideas coming...

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Yes, I've found that putting the herbs between two snug fitting plates works very well.


~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Been so busy doing stuff from my copy of MCAH, that I forgot to visit in a while to check out this thread. I would say that I'm really enjoying trying out the dishes from MCAH, but glad to have the original MC around for cross referencing the dishes as well. Besides, they all fit so nice on my minimalist cookbook shelf area in the kitchen....

Anyways, I think the family and guest favourite recipe so far has got to be the red wine glaze. So popular, that there is never any left over. Have made 3 batches so far and have made some small modifications:

- once you make it the first time, consider skipping the ground beef oil step. Instead of skimming the fat off during the reduction step, cool the sauce in the fridge and then peel off the cooled fat, vacuum pack it and freeze. Then, the next time you make the reduction, just use 40 grams of this wonderfully flavoured fat.

- the final reduction with added balsamic vinegar can be quite strong. I now reduce it so that there is about double the liquid asked for in MCAH. Because this is nicely flavoured but fairly thin liquid, I have been using xantham gum to thicken into a more viscous sauce using an immersion blender.

- we ration out this sauce in small soy sauce dishes for each person to use as dipping sauce for steak nights :-)

- if you have a dog, save some of the strained solids to add to kibble. Our beast loves a bit of the cooked vegetable mush for flavouring!

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I have mentioned it somewhere earlier in the thread, the carrot soup does need any butter for caramelization to work, so use butter to taste. I don't put any, use small amount of oil to coat the bottom of the PC and add a splash of water (15-20 ml)

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Thanks for your reply, Bojana (and sorry I missed your earlier comment). I made the carrot soup with less butter than the recipe calls for, and I thought it came out great! Oil is a good idea too.

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I recently received MC@H and just bought a really nice filet of California King Salmon to attempt the fragrant sous vide application.

How have people liked the brine step for the fragrant sous vide salmon? The step suggests brining the fish for 3-5 hours in a 5% salt solution (+ 4% sugar). I understand somewhat the science of brining, though I worry, based on previous experiences, that the fish may turn out too salty in the brine that long. For example, in some of Thomas Keller's books, he suggests brining seafood for anywhere between 10 & 60 min (though his brine is about 10% salinity). I'm not sure how percentage salinity translates into time in the brine.

Just thought I'd check-in with the community here in case there are experience that can guide the way. Cheers!

Edited by Nico Sanchez (log)
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  • 2 months later...

Tonight I made MC@H pressure-cooked polenta with (what they call) pizza sauce. I followed the pizza sauce recipe exactly except I cooked it in two one pint canning jars. One jar of sauce was just enough for one jar of polenta.

The pizza sauce was very good and just what I expected. The polenta, for which I followed the recipe except for salting before cooking rather than salting after cooking, was good enough but not quite what I expected. The consistency was more friable than creamy. Perhaps if I had added cheese to it as MC@H suggests the polenta would have been more creamy.

Anyone have thoughts for making creamier polenta in the pressure cooker? By creamy I mean polenta that could be poured out to harden.

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Anyone have thoughts for making creamier polenta in the pressure cooker? By creamy I mean polenta that could be poured out to harden.

Only adjust the water prior to cooking, add more until you get the result you like.

Edited by Franci (log)
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Only adjust the water prior to cooking, add more until you get the result you like.

Would using a finer grind of cornmeal also help?

Sure, coarser polenta feels grittier. In my experience cooking polenta (not necessarily in the PC) I go the other way around: boil the water (always in the same pot with same quantity of water), salt the water, taste to see if it's to my liking and add the polenta from a bowl, in a stream, whisking at the same time. When it forms a vortex in the middle is a sign for me. It's not very scientific but once you do a couple of times find what works for you. If it's very tough to stir and it's too gritty for you taste chances are that the grains are not enough hydrated. My mom likes polenta pretty coarse and thick, her cannot really be poured that easily. What she does is to dip the pot in cold water, wet the wooden spatula she used to stir the polenta in cold water and kind of clean the sides of the pot, then with a quick move she flips the pot to a wooden cutting board, if done correctly the polenta come out in one piece.

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