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Msk

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)

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Before I say anything else: that looks awesome, Chris. Was it worth the trouble?

Having said that, it does seem like a lot of cheese for that amount of pasta. The yellow squiggles are the yolk? Just straight cooking of the bacon?

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It was worth the trouble in the sense that it tasted good, and was a lot of fun to make. As usual, if you don't enjoy futzy cooking, this probably isn't going on the dinner rotation.

Yes, the yellow squiggle is the yolk. And I cooked the bacon in the oven at 225°F for five hours, which for me counts as "straight cooking".

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Really? FIVE hours to cook bacon?

Oh, and cool that it's on a BLACK plate.

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So, as I mentioned above, tonight I made the "Spaghetti Carbonara" for dinner, from p. 3•384. It was pretty involved, and doesn't bear a whole lot of resemblance to the classic (except in terms of flavor).

....

Chris,

Many, many thanks for sharing this. Anna N

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Yeah, five hours. Five hours of the house smelling like heaven. And the bacon comes out crispy, flat, and flavorful. No, that's not out of Modernist Cuisine, I think I got the idea from an article on Cooking for Engineers way WAY back.

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I'll have to give that bacon cooking method a try one day. Like, for a late lunch.

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Chris, where did you get your the adjustable mold (the one you used to shape the gelled brick of parm)? I have been searching for something similar for a while and haven't seen one locally or online, but I might not know the proper name. I was getting ready to make one, but haven't had a chance yet.

Thanks

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The "mold" is what a confectioner would call "caramel bars" or what a cheapskate would call "a couple sticks of aluminum taped together and set on a Silpat." It's what I use for layered dipped chocolates: each bar is 12" long and 1/4" square cross section, hollow. I make the shape I want and then tape them together so they don't slide around. Real "caramel bars" are heavier and will stay in place on their own.

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Overall the dish was rather successful, but I will make some changes for next time. In my attempts to match the photos in the book more closely I just sort of eyeballed the size of the parmesan bricks, but the parmesan was too assertive, I had too much and threw the balance off. Next time I think I'd probably make the logs 1/2" x 1/2" square cross-sections, and maybe even give them two wraps of pasta instead of one. Something else I am going to do is just serve the pasta alone as a meal: the infused cream was a really nice sauce on its own.

Thanks for sharing this, Chris. It does look really cool, but I, too, thought it seemed like a lot of cheese for a small amount of pasta. Plus, yeah, cream. Still, it's a fun idea, and that sauce will likely solve a problem I've been having with a dish I've been mulling over in my head.

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Tonight I made the mac and cheese with four cheeses--comte, gruyere, white sharp cheddar and pecorino romano. I cut the salt in half because the romano is salty. Man was it good. I had to leave it on the stove about 20 minutes to fully incorporate the romano into the mix, but in the end the texture was very smooth and it worked perfectly for the second half of the recipe.

I also made the mushroom ketchup and the beef glaze. I was pinched for time so I used my own veal stock instead of making the MC beef stock. I also had to make 3 substitutions in the mushroom ketchup. Having said that, even with my sub-par glaze and sub-par ketchup, the combination of flavors between the glaze, ketchup and hamburger were truly delicious. I love how the whole is so much more than the sum of the parts.

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I thought this was interesting in light of all the "OMG Modernist Cuisine is JUST TOO WEIRD! NOBODY cooks that way!" press that's been going around -

I made the Mac & Cheese a couple weeks ago, and had some leftover cheese in the freezer. My 74-year-old mother came over for dinner the other night (spaghetti & marinara), and we had leftover spaghetti when we were all done eating. On a whim, I put the spaghetti and the leftover Modernist Cuisine cheese in a container and sent it home with her, with instructions on how to heat it up (in a pan, with some milk or water).

She just called me this morning. She made it for dinner for her, my Dad, and my 65 year old aunt last night. They were blown away, said it was the best Mac & Cheese any of them had ever had, and, after I told her how to make the cheese sauce, she now wants me to get her some carrageenan and sodium citrate because the recipe is so darn easy that she'll make it herself.

So much for Modernist Cuisine only being for ultra elitist cooking nerds - my Mom's a decent enough cook, but not one to do anything too fussy or spend all day in the kitchen (at least not now - 20 years ago, maybe). If she's willing to take a stab at it, I think these recipes/techniques are definitely going to be trickling down to the non-cooking-nerd population much more quickly than the naysayers are expecting.

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I started in on the "Spaghetti Carbonara" from page 3•384 this morning (the one based on Jean-Françoise Piège's recipe, not Wylie Dufresne's). So far I've infused the cream, cooked the pasta, and laid out the spaghetti strands.

Spaghetti Carbonara - 6 - Strands Laid Out.jpg

. . . .

I confess that this is the sort of thing I sometimes catch myself doing, and that makes me scared that all my OCD stuff is spiralling out of my control. The fact that I find the idea of doing something like this very attractive, is not helping :wink:

How long did this take, and did you have to fiddle with it a bit, to get it just right?

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I started in on the "Spaghetti Carbonara" from page 3•384 this morning (the one based on Jean-Françoise Piège's recipe, not Wylie Dufresne's). So far I've infused the cream, cooked the pasta, and laid out the spaghetti strands.

Spaghetti Carbonara - 6 - Strands Laid Out.jpg

. . . .

I confess that this is the sort of thing I sometimes catch myself doing, and that makes me scared that all my OCD stuff is spiralling out of my control. The fact that I find the idea of doing something like this very attractive, is not helping :wink:

How long did this take, and did you have to fiddle with it a bit, to get it just right?

I think it took something like a half hour to lay out all the strands from 100g of pasta (enough for at least four if not six or eight servings, especially if you actually follow the recipe and make then the correct size). It was fiddly work, but ultimately actually quite rewarding: it's fascinating how the texture of pasta changes when you serve it like this, it has a quite different mouthfeel, I thought. I'd do it again.

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Thanks for sharing this, Chris. It does look really cool, but I, too, thought it seemed like a lot of cheese for a small amount of pasta.

Yeah, re- re- rereading the recipe, I really screwed up the ratio of cheese to pasta quite badly. I might give this another shot today and see if I can make it work better.

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Thanks for sharing this, Chris. It does look really cool, but I, too, thought it seemed like a lot of cheese for a small amount of pasta.

Yeah, re- re- rereading the recipe, I really screwed up the ratio of cheese to pasta quite badly. I might give this another shot today and see if I can make it work better.

To be fair, it looks like a very small serving size overall, though possibly very rich. Did you find that it was enough for dinner, or was it just an appetizer?

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I intended it as one course of perhaps two or three (dinner was just going to go on all night, I think :) ), but actually given how rich it was, after finishing I decided not to make anything else. Also bear in mind that my serving size was much larger than what was called for in the recipe. I've got the sous vide rig heating up right now, I'm going to try to make this properly this afternoon so I can give a fairer appraisal.

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Oh: I'm also going to make the pastrami this week (though I'm using brisket, you can't get beef cheeks around here): what is the difference between "red pepper flakes" and "chili flakes"?

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what is the difference between "red pepper flakes" and "chili flakes"?

Nomenclature, I believe.

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Oh: I'm also going to make the pastrami this week (though I'm using brisket, you can't get beef cheeks around here): what is the difference between "red pepper flakes" and "chili flakes"?

Short ribs are our favorite cut for this

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Oh: I'm also going to make the pastrami this week (though I'm using brisket, you can't get beef cheeks around here)

Short ribs are our favorite cut for this

Unfortunately, pastrami is already the backup plan: I originally intended to do the "Braised Short Ribs" from p. 5•42 but the short ribs at the butcher this morning were really lame. Thwarted at every turn!

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I just ate the pastrami made from short ribs. It takes a long time (I started the process a week ago Wednesday) but very little active time. Great texture and flavor, definitely worth it! I smoked them on my Big Green Egg this past Tuesday and then sous vide from Tuesday night until last night. I chilled them in an ice bath and then refrigerated them overnight. I used the pastrami in a simple sandwich on good rye bread with a really good hot mustard.

I struggled a bit with sealing the bags with fluid inside; I need to practice more with that technique. I smoked them for 4 hours but they shrunk quite a bit. The smoky smell coming from my sous vide machine for the past 3 days was intoxicating! I enjoyed the process; my husband just rolled his eyes when I explained the process and the time it took!

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I attempted to correct my earlier mistakes with the carbonara, and served it for lunch today. Yesterday's cheese stick was 1/2" thick and 1 1/2" wide. The recipe calls for a stick 3/8" thick and 2" wide, but I'm guessing from the photo that it's actually only about an inch wide, so that's what I made today. I am out of eggs at the moment, so I changed up the toppings a bit, but otherwise this is basically the same thing as yesterday:

Spaghetti Carbonara - Take Two.jpg

Reducing the amount of cheese helped a lot, but I think it could be reduced even further. It's also quite possible that when served with pork belly (as suggested in the recipe) the ingredients balance better on the plate overall. Or maybe the MC team just likes parmesan more than me.

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The first curry recipe on page 225 of the Kitchen Manual calls for a tomato puree and references one on page 55 of the same manual. I am not finding that recipe anywhere even doing a search of the full index to MC and the table of contents of the Kitchen Manual. Is it my eyesight or my search skills? I have reported it to the MC team but wonder if I am somehow missing something that is in clear sight. I can easily make a tomato puree but this is really starting to aggravate me. Anyone?

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Question on the mushroom ketchup - I made it today, and it's delicious. But it makes a ton! I don't see any reason why I can't freeze it, does anyone else? As much as I like a good burger, I'd have to eat one every day for a month to use up this much ketchup.

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