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Msk

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)

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I'm starting in on the Braised Short Ribs from volume five: today I put the flank steak in its marinade, and I just started the garlic chips. Here's the flank in its marinade (of soy sauce and fish sauce):

Braised short ribs - 1 - Flank in marinade.jpg

Can we actually go back a few steps here -- flank steak somehow works its way into braised short ribs?

Yes: the short ribs have a salad served with them that consists of herbs and deep-fried crispy threads of flank steak. The flank is made per the jerky recipe, then pulled to shreds and fried.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Knife skills aside, I'm sure you'll find plenty of uses for a $20 Benriner!

My thoughts exactly. I bought it years ago and it has certainly paid for itself many times over. I'm sure you'll find other uses for it other than the odd garnish here and there.

As Chris said he already has a V-slicer, I think that comment was directed towards dedicated truffle or garlic slicers.


 

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Are people who are doing the bacon using the bone in belly as is requested in the recipe?

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I used regular belly, not bone-in. It still came out great - but I couldn't say if it wouldn't have come out better!

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I keep burning my carrots when making the pressure-cooked caramelized carrot soup.

I've only used my pressure cooker twice, and it was for this recipe both times. The recipe calls for pressure cooking for 50 minutes. After about 30 minutes, both times, I could smell burning. I removed the pressure cooker from the heat and rapidly cooled it. When I opened the lid, I discovered that the bottom of the pan was covered in burnt (not just caramelized) carrot. I was able to salvage most of the unburnt carrots, but the scorched flavor had already made it's way into the soup.

So, what am I doing wrong? My pressure cooker's manual says to always operate it over high heat. On my second attempt, I ignored that instruction and used medium heat. I even picked up the pressure cooker and jostled it around a few times to try to mix up the carrots inside. Still scorched after less than 30 minutes. There's no pressure gauge on my cooker, so I don't know how many psi it's running at.

Note that the recipe does not call for any additional water. The only moisture comes from the butter and carrots, which is plenty to produce lots of steam pressure.

Has anyone else run into this issue?

I've made the carmelized carrot soup twice to fantastic results. I keep the heat on med-high until I see the second ring on my pressure cooker (high pressure), I then turn down my burner to as low as it will go and typically the pressure does not drop.

Todd in Chicago

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These get put in milk and brought up to 160°F: does anyone know what's going on with that magic temperature?

Haven't seen the full recipe but could it be for pasteurization purposes? Fresh garlic has been linked to salmonella so if the garlic will be spending a lot of time at "danger zone temperatures" I suppose that might be the reasoning (despite the MC authors taking grief for some of their Food Safety writings).


The Big Cheese

BlackMesaRanch.com

My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

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"The Flavor of the White Mountains"

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So it just seemed possible this morning to attempt an MC recipe and I chose the Goan Curry Sauce (page 224 of KM). Aside from questioning the fit of Modernist Cuisine to curries this recipe just seems wrong! The last step in making the sauce is "Simmer for 45 minutes". At this stage of the recipe, and I followed it very closely, one ends up with a very small amount of "sludge". Any attempt to simmer this for 45 minutes would produce charcoal by my estimate. There is no "sauce" as such but a thick sludge of spices, onions, tomato puree, vinegar etc. The total amount of liquid is give or take 100grams (not counting the ghee and the moisture that is cooked out of the onions (and therefore mostly non-existent). Somebody please tell me I have done something horribly wrong. I am very experienced in cooking curries having tested over 300 recipes for an Indian cookbook!


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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I've gone over the section of deep frying and am now trying to choose a suitable frying oil for french fries cooked using the first method adapted from Heston Blumenthal. What I want is an oil that can be filtered and reused many times, has a smoke point of at least 400F and helps brings out the best french fry flavor / mouth feel.

Would it be correct to have Palm Oil at the very top of the list? High stability, melting point close to body temperature, high smoke point and under notes it says that it minimizes off flavors very quickly. Anyone have experience frying with Palm Oil?

The Ideas in Food team recommends Rice Bran Oil so that seems like another good choice based on their findings.

I know of a few places that use duck fat but it has a low smoke point of 375F and I think that's going to be too low

Any thoughts?

Roy

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So it just seemed possible this morning to attempt an MC recipe and I chose the Goan Curry Sauce (page 224 of KM). Aside from questioning the fit of Modernist Cuisine to curries this recipe just seems wrong! The last step in making the sauce is "Simmer for 45 minutes". At this stage of the recipe, and I followed it very closely, one ends up with a very small amount of "sludge". Any attempt to simmer this for 45 minutes would produce charcoal by my estimate. There is no "sauce" as such but a thick sludge of spices, onions, tomato puree, vinegar etc. The total amount of liquid is give or take 100grams (not counting the ghee and the moisture that is cooked out of the onions (and therefore mostly non-existent). Somebody please tell me I have done something horribly wrong. I am very experienced in cooking curries having tested over 300 recipes for an Indian cookbook!

It looks like you're only supposed to wind up with 200g of sauce, but in the photo it looks pretty liquid. Given that the scaling is based on the quantity of onions I'd guess they are the main contributor of moisture here, but that 45 minute simmer does seem suspect.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Nothing tastes better than fries fried in duck fat. Nothing.

I like rendered beef fat myself, but it too is going to have too low a smoke point, and will break down too quickly at those temperatures.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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After reading the infusing/extracting section in vol.2, I'm wondering if I might be able to infuse flavors into cocoa butter for flavoring chocolate. I'm wondering if there would be any foreseeable problems using sous-vide, but not an ultrasonic bath (since I don't have one!)

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After reading the infusing/extracting section in vol.2, I'm wondering if I might be able to infuse flavors into cocoa butter for flavoring chocolate. I'm wondering if there would be any foreseeable problems using sous-vide, but not an ultrasonic bath (since I don't have one!)

Should work fine for any fat soluble flavor.


Nathan

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I've gone over the section of deep frying and am now trying to choose a suitable frying oil for french fries cooked using the first method adapted from Heston Blumenthal. What I want is an oil that can be filtered and reused many times, has a smoke point of at least 400F and helps brings out the best french fry flavor / mouth feel.

Would it be correct to have Palm Oil at the very top of the list? High stability, melting point close to body temperature, high smoke point and under notes it says that it minimizes off flavors very quickly. Anyone have experience frying with Palm Oil?

The Ideas in Food team recommends Rice Bran Oil so that seems like another good choice based on their findings.

I know of a few places that use duck fat but it has a low smoke point of 375F and I think that's going to be too low

Any thoughts?

Roy

I've been using peanut oil for a while and am pretty happy with it. I can reuse many times before seeing it degrade enough to hinder performace and it has a decently high smoke point. I can also get it pretty inexpensively in chinatown. But, I will say that duck fat does taste better... but is really expensive to get enough to deep fry in!

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As promised, here are some photos of the MC cooking lab and dinner. I'll break this up into several posts to try not to confuse myself.

This first post will show mainly the cooking lab and staff. Oh, and Chris Young, who dined with us.

CIMG4336.JPG

CIMG4337.JPG

CIMG4400.JPG

CIMG4402.JPG

CIMG4416.JPG

CIMG4349.JPG


Larry Lofthouse

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Modernist Cuisine cooking lab pictures, second post

Here are the first 5 courses of the evening.

Asian Pear, Watermelon, and Spicy Pickle Chips

compressed with pregelatinized starch

Roasted Corn Elote

freeze dried, N-Zorbit powder

Crispy Chicken Skin, Peking Flavors

skin gelatinized sous vide, fluid gel foam

Taco de Asador

fluid gel, microwaved jerky

Aperitif de Veau

warm constructed cream

CIMG4339.JPG

CIMG4341.JPG

CIMG4343.JPG

CIMG4344.JPG

CIMG4345.JPG

CIMG4350.JPG

More to follow...


Larry Lofthouse

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[Has anyone else run into this issue?]

Yes. My first attempt gave me a pot full of carrots that were burnt on the bottom.

Here is what got me towards success. I have never pressure cooked such a small quantity of vegetables without them being bathed in several ounces of water. I DOUBLED THE AMOUNT OF SALTLESS BUTTER. I turned the stove heat down so low that the burner almost went out, while keeping the pressure high.

After 10 minutes, I stopped the cooking, and vented the cooker. When I opened the cooker, the carrots were sitting in a foam of boiling butter. They were well browned. I repeated the heating, checking at 15 minutes, and at 45. The carrots were not burnt. The browning is quite good.

So, my comment is this. Maintain the absolute minimum flame that keeps the cooker to pressure. Add extra fat (butter) so that the carrot pieces will foam in steam bubbles while cooking.

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Braised Short Ribs (p. 5•42)

Crispy beef and shallot salad with sweet, sour, and savory glaze

I mentioned a few days ago that I had started on this recipe (it's what the garlic chips were for): I finally got around to serving it tonight, although most of the components were prepared ahead and just reheated today.

The short ribs are cooked at 60°C/140°F for 72 hours along with some white beef stock. Here they are coming out of the sous vide rig:

Braised short ribs - 3 - Out of sous vide.jpg

And here they are out of the bag, but still on the bone:

Braised short ribs - 4 - On plates.jpg

And cut off the bone and bagged up for storage and eventual reheating:

Braised short ribs - 5 - Rebagged.jpg

Next up, all that cooking liquid gets reduced to a glaze and infused with some herbs and spices:

Braised short ribs - 6 - Herbs for glaze.jpg

And in the glaze before it gets strained:

Braised short ribs - 7 - Unstrained glaze.jpg

That is strained, seasoned with tamarind puree and palm sugar, and reserved until service. Next up we have the flank steak threads I mentioned the other day: you marinate a flank steak in fish sauce and soy sauce for two days:

Braised short ribs - 8 - Flank done marinating.jpg

Take it out and pat it dry:

Braised short ribs - 9 - Flank for Microwave.jpg

Then microwave it until you have beef jerky, 3-4 minutes in my microwave. A cautionary note here: don't over-cook it! It will taste good, but it won't shred right if it gets crispy at this stage.

Braised short ribs - 10 - Flank microwaved.jpg

Now shred it (this is a bit tedious, but for a volume five recipe it's not really a big deal):

Braised short ribs - 11 - Flank shredded.jpg

And now you deep fry the strands until crispy:

Braised short ribs - 12 - Flank fried.jpg

I ought to note that I've tried to do something like this before, when cooking from Bayless's "Fiesta at Rick's", and it didn't work very well at all. The beef in Bayless's version has a ton of moisture in it, so it all clumps together in the deep fryer and spatters like mad. The MC method is WAY easier, and way less messy, and gives better results to boot. These are made ahead here and reserved with a silica gel packet so they keep crisp, which worked perfectly.

Next up some thinly-sliced shallots:

Braised short ribs - 13 - Shallots sliced.jpg

Also deep fried to crispiness:

Braised short ribs - 14 - Shallots fried.jpg

Those also got done ahead and reserved with silica gel. Up to this point, everything has been done ahead, and now it's all assembly.

30 minutes before dinner, you put the ribs back in the sous vide rig at 60°C/140°F to reheat. While that's going on, you make a little herb salad of mint, cilantro, thai basil, scallion, lime zest, and bird's eye chili:

Braised short ribs - 15 - Salad greens.jpg

When the ribs are reheated, they get zapped with the blowtorch for a few seconds and brushed with a bit of glaze. The remaining components are tossed together and served with the beef:

Braised short ribs - 16 - Plated dish.jpg

(sorry the garlic chip is overexposed... RMS's job is still safe, I guess) This was great: in particular, the salad was a really nice foil for the beef. The short ribs had a flawless texture and tasted great. With this particular recipe, I'd suggest that even if you own NONE of the fancy tools from MC, you could still do a conventional braise on some short ribs and serve them with this glaze and salad and get 90% of the way to this dish. It's not difficult at all, nor even particularly time-consuming, at least compared to the rest of volume five. If you wrote V5 off as just a bunch of pretty pictures and recipes that you'll never make I encourage you to check out this recipe: I'd bet that everyone reading this can make it.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris, Where are you buying your silica gel packets? Thank you for all the pictures. You give me so much confidence to try these dishes.

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Larry, can you comment on the Tacos de Asador? What exactly is it that we are seeing there (besides a totally sweet service piece)?

ETA: In particular, what was the fluid gel, and what was the shell made out of?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Larry, can you comment on the Tacos de Asador? What exactly is it that we are seeing there (besides a totally sweet service piece)?

ETA: In particular, what was the fluid gel, and what was the shell made out of?

Here are the lab notes for that dish:

"A tortilla made from dehydrated corn juice, filled with crispy beef jerky flavored with achiote, a fluid gel made from pico de gallo juice, smoked queso fresco, flash pickled onions, and avocado puree.

Special ingredients: corn juice, agar

Special equipment: dehydrator, microwave oven

Process notes: flank steak is cured overnight and microwaved until it becomes a dry yet elastic jerky. The jerky is separated into strands which are then deep-fried until they are very crispy."

Chris, I'm the guy who won the lottery without even realizing he had a ticket. :smile: I'll try to answer your questions, but most of my experience, out of necessity involves what I've learned in print.

Nathan, feel free to weigh in on specifics for any of the dishes served.

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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Thanks, Larry, those lab notes are very helpful. I made a version of those crispy beef strands for dinner tonight, but don't recall seeing anything like a corn tortilla in the book anywhere (though I haven't examined the book in quite as much detail as you!). What was the texture of it like? I'm trying to figure out if it was basically a gelled corn juice, or a dough made from dried corn juice, or something else entirely.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The tortilla is a new development we came up with very recently so it not in the book.


Nathan

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