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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 4)

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So what wood is everyone using to smoke their pastrami?

I'm addicted to this stuff.

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Ive been using pecan. Ive tried white oak and mesquite since I live in texas, but Im just a pecan guy, I use it for almost everything.

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yum pecan I'll track some down. I've used apple and cherry, both were good.

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yum pecan I'll track some down. I've used apple and cherry, both were good.

What can you tell me about that brussel sprout saurkraut that you serve with it? (totally checked out your site :P)

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Well I've got some traditional stuff fermenting right now but I enjoyed my little quick kraut. Shaved some sprouts and quickly blanched took onions and sliced into 1/4 inch slices. Sweated those down in salt then added water and reduced down. Added the blanched sprouts and splash of champagne vinegar and I had a cheaters brusselkraut!

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Does anyone foresee an issue with refrigerating/freezing pork ribs or shoulder for a few days after smoking at 149 for 7hr but before cooking it sous vide? I smoked a bunch of meat and can't fit it all in the sous vide at the same time so will need to cook it in batches.

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Prepared a couple of the recipes in the past few days:

  • Mac and Cheese. As good as everyone says it is, even when you're just using okay supermarket cheddar and gouda. It's very rich, though. I mean, I found it I could eat a much smaller portion of it than I could my go-to version (which involves bacon-infused cream rather than a roux-based sauce). No wonder 100 grams of dried pasta provides enough Mac and Cheese for 4 people.
  • Hamburger. Just the meat component. I served it with some leftover processed cheese from the Mac and Cheese and some other elements. I've cooked one sous vide and one in a pan. Unsure which I prefer.

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The gong bao chicken is very good, altho' the only thing that has changed from Dunlop's original recipe (from memory, anyway) was the length of time the chicken spends in the marinade and maybe the inclusion of a gram of baking soda.

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Hi

First i would like to say that i have read all the previous posts and can only say wow to the dishes that everyone has made!

My husband bought me the books as a Christmas gift and i am about to try my second recipe.

I have made the Autoclave onion soup and it was very tasty, although as a lot people have commented before me a little sweet.

I have the white beef stock pressure cooking as i type and will be making the braised short ribs for dinner guests next weekend.

I have a couple of questions though as i would like to do as much as possible in advance, if anyone can help i would be very grateful:)

How long do the crispy beef strands & dehydrated garlic chips keep?

How long will the ribs keep in the fridge once vacuum sealed?

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Hi

First i would like to say that i have read all the previous posts and can only say wow to the dishes that everyone has made!

My husband bought me the books as a Christmas gift and i am about to try my second recipe.

I have made the Autoclave onion soup and it was very tasty, although as a lot people have commented before me a little sweet.

I have the white beef stock pressure cooking as i type and will be making the braised short ribs for dinner guests next weekend.

I have a couple of questions though as i would like to do as much as possible in advance, if anyone can help i would be very grateful:)

How long do the crispy beef strands & dehydrated garlic chips keep?

How long will the ribs keep in the fridge once vacuum sealed?

The crispy beef strands will keep for 5 days, as long as you put them in an airtight container.

Which ribs recipe did you mean?

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The gong bao chicken is very good, altho' the only thing that has changed from Dunlop's original recipe (from memory, anyway) was the length of time the chicken spends in the marinade and maybe the inclusion of a gram of baking soda.

I made some too - were the Sichuan peppercorns supposed to be fresh? I cooked it as directed but ended with a ton of hard peppercorns in the stir fry that had to be removed...

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The trick with sichuan peppercorns is to only use the husks, not the hard centers. It's a pain to pick them out, I admit, but it makes a big difference to the quality of the finished dish.

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Hi

First i would like to say that i have read all the previous posts and can only say wow to the dishes that everyone has made!

My husband bought me the books as a Christmas gift and i am about to try my second recipe.

I have made the Autoclave onion soup and it was very tasty, although as a lot people have commented before me a little sweet.

I have the white beef stock pressure cooking as i type and will be making the braised short ribs for dinner guests next weekend.

I have a couple of questions though as i would like to do as much as possible in advance, if anyone can help i would be very grateful:)

How long do the crispy beef strands & dehydrated garlic chips keep?

How long will the ribs keep in the fridge once vacuum sealed?

The crispy beef strands will keep for 5 days, as long as you put them in an airtight container.

Which ribs recipe did you mean?

Hi Judy,

Thanks for your reply.

I am attempting/making the Braised short ribs with sweet, sour and savory glaze along with crispy beef strands, dehydrated garlic chips and crispy beef and shallot salad.

Thanks in advance

Sally

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I made "modernist" Kung Pao. the only "modernist" thing about it is the addition of baking soda to increase the pH to increase the browning.

I can't say it was any better than just following Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe (on which this is based anyhow). I didn't marinate the meat for 12 hrs as stated i did just 25 minutes. I did have an issue with using garlic and ginger slices instead of mincing it. It wasn't very pleasant eating the pieces.

So, next time i'll just stick to Fuchsia's recipe (forget all the measuring) but add the baking soda for better browning.

I make the modernist kung pao for dinner today. I've made the original recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop before, so it was interesting to compare. I did marinate the meat for 12 hours.

I wish I could say that the addition of baking soda made a big difference in the browning of the chicken, but I couldn't really tell much difference. Maybe it's because the chicken was still so wet from the marinade.

It is super tasty though!

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I'm planning to serve scrambled eggs from MC (cooking the eggs sous vide and aerate in a siphon). Would it be alright to cook the eggs sous vide (72 C), chill the bag and put it in the fridge, and then reheat them in a 55 C bath and pour into the siphon? I only have one circulator and I need it at about 55C.

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I'm planning to serve scrambled eggs from MC (cooking the eggs sous vide and aerate in a siphon). Would it be alright to cook the eggs sous vide (72 C), chill the bag and put it in the fridge, and then reheat them in a 55 C bath and pour into the siphon? I only have one circulator and I need it at about 55C.

That method has worked well for me.

Larry

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Coconut chutney foam (4.282) is recommended as an accompaniment / garnish to the caramelised carrot soup, so I thought I'd give it a go. It would be my first attempt at a 'foam' so I was prepared for failure, otherwise I would've taken photos.

I began by googling to see if there were any useful comments and advice from others, and found this blog which had very helpful pictures and comments:

The first step is to puree coriander leaves (cilantro), mint leaves and green chilli and pass it through a sieve. In the blog above, it was noted that this only produced a dried mince and not a puree that could be sieved. I thought that if I doubled the quantities it might be easier to work with, but it didn't make a difference. So no sieved puree, just a dryish herb paste. Thanks to the blog, I didn't worry about this because it all gets blended anyway.

The next step is to blend the herbs with coconut milk and coconut cream. Because I had doubled the quantities of herbs, I was surprised to find that I needed almost all of them. The combined weight of the herbs and chilli in the book only added up to 14g, but the next step called for 20g of puree. It didn't occur to me that this could be a mistake so I was thankful I had doubled up, and weighed out 20g.

With a can of coconut milk and coconut cream open in front of me, I couldn't see any difference in texture or consistency between them - it's possible the taste is different, or that different brands vary more. 200g of each went into the blender. Although I don't have a high-powered blender, after a few minutes the herbs seemed to be pureed and I had a light green liquid that was reassuringly close to the photos in both MC and on the blog.

The next step was to season, and at this point I realised that I didn't really like the taste of the green liquid. At all. I'm not exactly sure what was going on here, as there were other aromas in the kitchen that were mixing together, but my first reaction was that I was tasting compost. I decided to continue to see what would happen.

Time for the interesting bit. I had to hydrate 3.4g of low acyl gellan F and .6g sodium citrate with 20g water. I weighed out 20g of chilled filtered water, and began sprinkling the gellan on top while whisking it in. The gellan instantly soaked up all the water and I was left with a few gummy balls of jelly. I added a bit more water but didn't even get close to something liquid. This definitely looked like something had gone wrong. As a point of reference, 20g water is 4 teaspoons, and the gellan / sodium citrate is about 1 teaspoon powder. Whisking in 1 teaspoon of powder into only 4 teaspoons of liquid definitely felt like a mistake.

I checked the online errata and found an entry for the coconut chutney foam. However it was to do with the herb puree - only 10g is needed, not 20g, hence the reason I would've run out if I hadn't doubled up the herbs. But no mention of the gellan or water.

I decided to rely on the blender again to solve problems and so I added the globs of jelly and blended everything for a few more minutes, poured it through a sieve to remove any stubborn herb bits, and poured the lot into a saucepan and bought it to a simmer (this fully hydrates the gellan).

I could see that the gellan was immediately 'working' as the liquid was thickening immediately. Even as I poured the liquid out of the saucepan, a thin film formed around the base and sides as the saucepan cooled. According to MC, it should set completely in about 10 minutes but I didn't need it for a while, so I put it to one side.

When the gel had set, I had another taste. It still tasted odd to me, but I also didn't like the texture - it was quite granular. I was sure something has gone wrong with the gellan.

The next step was to blend the solid gel, and to my surprise this turned it into a super smooth, very creamy liquid which easily poured into the siphon. All graininess vanished. I charged the siphon with 1 nitrous bulb and heated it in a bowl of hot water.

After the carrot soup was ready, I tested the siphon and found it easy to produce dollops of coconut foam - I have to say I was really surprised this worked, but I was also concerned that I simply didn't like the taste. I was prepared to make an emergency run to the supermarket to get some creme fraiche as a backup.

The magic happened when I tasted the foam with the soup, which changed everything. By itself, the foam tasted of coriander (cilantro), but when you accompanied it with the soup it was the hint of mint that came through. When also combined with freshly grated ginger, ajowan seeds and thyme, the result was amazing. Mint is not a flavour I would think to add to a carrot soup, but it worked really well. The coriander supported the flavours without being assertive - a few of my guests commented that they don't normally like coriander but in this case it was delicious.

I am still amazed at how the different flavours blend together so well, and change the overall character of the soup. The carrot soup by itself is beautiful, and the addition of fresh ginger adds a lovely zing to it, but the coconut foam takes it to another level again.

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Just a quick question for those with more science knowledge than myself - how long would the pressure-cooked garlic confit last in the freezer in pint-sized canning jars? I would love to quintuple the recipe and have enough for a long, long time ...

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OK, potentially stupid question.

I'm about to embark on Spaghetti Carbonara, and got stuck rather early.

Do you cook the bacon before sealing it with the cream?

Thanks,

Brian

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I recall being stumped by exactly the same thing. I did fry the bacon. If I remember correctly, the bacon softens considerably during the cooking process so there's no harm in frying it until crispy.

If you haven't already, try searching this topic for 'carbonara' - you'll see posts from other people efforts on the same recipe including mine.

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Thanks

I ended up putting it in without frying. Turned out nicely, I thought, with a subtle smoky bacon flavour.

I have read your account of the recipe, as well as Chris Henne's. I got the impression from your posting (did you blog about it elsewhere as well?) that you weren't sure either. Chris didn't specify, but his mise en place shows two slices of uncooked bacon, which for me, worked out to be just under 90g.

Curious, did you measure out 90g of raw bacon, then crisp, or weigh out the crisped bacon? I had some crisped bacon on hand, and about 7 slices worth still came under 90g.

Thanks again,

Brian

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Just put up 2kg of lemons worth of preserved lemons from the Preserved Lemons recipe from 6-174.

Is that the right amount of salt and sugar (50% and ~25% respectively)? It's been a long time since I've made preserved lemons, and it seems like an awfull lot.

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baselerd,

This recipe calls for dried peppers.

Longtallsally,

Yes, you are correct for the short ribs: 3 days refrigerated / 3 months frozen. The dehydrated garlic can be kept in an airtight container overnight, but it will turn soggy if left any longer. Dehydrated beef can be kept shredded in the fridge for a couple of days but is best when fried right before serving.

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OK, potentially stupid question.

I'm about to embark on Spaghetti Carbonara, and got stuck rather early.

Do you cook the bacon before sealing it with the cream?

Thanks,

Brian

I did not cook it, just sealed it up raw.

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