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Msk

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)

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Larry, thanks again for sharing all these photos, it looks like a great meal (and thanks for finding all those errors that led to the meal in the first place!). What was the topping on the left-hand Pot de Crème?

Chris, it was my pleasure (in many, many ways).

The left Pot de Crème topping is a maple-porcini sablé.

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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Although each portion looks pretty tiny... you had 29 courses?!?! That must have required a crazy amount of prep! And I wouldn't like to be whoever has to do the washing up!! :laugh:

Yes, 29 by my count. (And six very nice wines served throughout the evening). They started out small, but by the 20th course, they looked HUGE! :smile: I keep trying to come up with the appropriate words to describe the food and the experience, but my limited vocabulary fails me completely!

This was, by far, the culinary highlight of my life!

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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Yeah, chriscook, I think so. Step 8 is the one that calls for simmering for 45 minutes, which makes much more sense with an extra 250mL of water.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I would appreciate some help. I am going to make the bacon chips (6-104 or 5-220) as an appy for the sous vide kalbi flank steak (6-114 or 3-199) and corn bread (6-256 or 5-76) for a fun, tasty family meal. So my main question is regarding the glucose syrup used in the bacon chips. I was able to find the isomalt at a local grocery store and the food grade sorbitol at a pharmacy, however, I can't find any glucose syrup anywhere in my city. I have been able to find many powdered forms of glucose used in confectionery/cakes/etc and figured that this should be basically the same thing if reconstituted properly. I expect that for many confectionists that this would be easy, however, I have not done this before and thought I would ask here. One of the better on-line instructions I have found have been these, however, I have no idea whether this reconstituted formula will be the same proportional weight of the glucose syrup called for in the recipe. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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That recipe mistakenly omitted a crucial ingredient. In the ingredient list, "Water 250g 208%" should appear before "Cane vinegar" and should be added to the mixture in step 7. Step 8 is correct as written, provided you add the water. We apologize for the error. We will add this to our errata and will correct the recipe in future printings.

Thank you. Please check the other curry sauce recipes because I believe others of them have the same issue. Anna N


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

My 2004 eG Blog

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I just ordered a waterproof notepad and some Sharpie fineliners... I'm hoping I can use them to make notes, and then keep them with the Kitchen Manual. Not quite sure that the waterproof notepad paper will be as strong as the Kitchen Manual paper, but should be more hardwearing than normal paper anyway...

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First of all, I have to say I'm a huge fan of MC and really feel fortunate and thankful that someone like Nathan with the intellect, curiosity, passion and resources to pull off this project so well emerged and made it happen. It's hard to imagine anyone else making something like MC, and for it to be both so comprehensive and so approachable. I'm also very glad that he and his team have great palates -- all of the too few recipes I've made so far (Mac & Cheese, Microwave Beef Jerky, Asparagus, NY steak w/lemon egg fluid gel, Russian smoked salmon, Caramelized Carrot Soup, White Beef Stock, ...I'm sure I'm missing some) have tasted amazingly great. I'm reading every page from volume 1 page 1, currently about 1/3 of the way through volume 3. Reading this book really makes me feel like I'm making up for never having had any formal (or informal) instruction in cooking. I'm currently working on the Beef Cheek Pastrami (with boneless short ribs) -- they just came out of the "smoker" and went into water bath for dinner on Friday.

Which brings me to my first real gripe about MC: Illogical scaling of recipe components.

I had 1.3Kg of short ribs for the Pastrami, so I scaled up to get all the proportions right. So far, so good. So I went to make the rub tonight and found I needed something like 97g of Juniper Berries and a similar amount of Coriander Seeds. I had nearly whole jars of each so I thought I'd be fine -- until I realized each jar had only 38g of each spice. So I dropped everything, rushed down to WF to get some more. Good luck -- they had bulk Coriander Seeds, so I was able to get a lot for $2. No such luck on the Juniper Berries -- they were over $5 per 38g jar and I needed two more jars. Ouch!

Well, to make a long story shorter, the scaling for the rub makes something like 6 times the amount of rub you need. There was no need to scale up the amounts in the rub -- I should have scaled down! I noticed something similar with the Mac & Cheese recipe -- far more cheese is created compared to the amount of pasta specified.

Now in both of these cases, I suppose one could argue that you can save the excess for the next time you make the dish. And that is exactly what I have done, and will do. Or that I should carefully study the amount of a sub-component actually used and revise the scaling accordingly. But it strikes me as illogical to list scaling percentages for sub-components of dishes based on the main component when the sub-component isn't really at the same scale. To me, a logical approach would be to (a) have the entire recipe be at the same scale, so you are not left with a massive amount of an excess sub-component, or (b) clearly state somewhere that the sub-component recipe makes enough for several batches and the extra can be vacuum-sealed and frozen for future use. With the current approach, no matter how much you scale the overall recipe up or down, you will always end up with too much rub or too much cheese in these cases.

Does this make sense, or is there some other reasoning behind the approach used in these two (at least) recipes? Perhaps in a professional kitchen you repeat dishes every night and will figure out the proper scaling over time? Or perhaps I'm just grouchy because I just bought $10 of Juniper Berries that I really didn't need...

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I've found exactly the same thing. It actually helps in the long run because the Pastrami is so good, you're going to be making more and will need the rub. Still...


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I think the recipes are written much more for the professional than for the home cook. Not that I am complaining but when you first start to follow an MC recipe you begin to recognize the things that are not there but are generally expected in an ordinary recipe geared toward a home cook. For example, there is little indication of pan size or of heat level - it is assumed you will figure these out for yourself. So I am finding that a proper mise makes a huge difference - if you can see the ingredients assembled in your mise then you can easily determine the size of pan you will need. The recipes assume you know what saute actually means so there is no instruction such as "over medium high-heat.....". I am learning too, that one needs to figure out yields esp. if you intend to deviate from the recipe. The curry recipes yield very little sauce so unless you plan on plating as per the book, you will likely want to increase the yield by quite a bit. I am enjoying being challenged but I can see where it can also prove quite frustrating.


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

My 2004 eG Blog

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That's a really good point about yields: I have been thinking more about grams per serving then I have ever before in the past!*

Question for those who have played around with Activa. I'm thinking of slicing pancetta very thin and then wrapping it around the brined pork tenderloin. Can I use the Activa with a cured product just as well as with non-cured meat? I'm assuming so since, after all, there's still protein in there.

*ETA: I started a topic based on Anna's post here.


Edited by Chris Amirault (log)

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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That's a really good point about yields: I have been thinking more about grams per serving then I have ever before in the past!*

Question for those who have played around with Activa. I'm thinking of slicing pancetta very thin and then wrapping it around the brined pork tenderloin. Can I use the Activa with a cured product just as well as with non-cured meat? I'm assuming so since, after all, there's still protein in there.

*ETA: I started a topic based on Anna's post here.

I was going to say "it works on the protein so it should work"...but that's just my theory...

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Yeah, no reason Activa wouldn't work on cured meat. A friend of mine recently bonded prosciutto to I-forget-what-kind-of fish. (I realize prosciutto isn't cured with nitrites, but still...)


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I made the corn bread this weekend(pages 5.76 and 6.256) to go with some bbqd chicken and pork chops as well as the much hyped and awesome mac and cheese. forgot to download the pictures for the corn bread, so I will have to post them later but figure this might be helpful if anyone is going to try making it soon.

I think the recipe has 2 issues:

- Steps 2 and 3 are reversed. The picture shows that the corn should be pureed

with the cream, milk and eggs not added afterwards. Adding the corn afterwards

(whole kernels) makes an awesome but very crumbly and very difficult to slice

end product. Now, I was working from the KM so I did not notice the pictures till later when I refered to volume 5 to check for accuracy.

- The baking temperature at 265F for 20 minutes is very low. At 20 minutes the

bread was raw. I upped the temp to 365 and the loaf needed another 45 minutes

approximately to reach 190F internally.

I already forwarded this info to the MC team and, unless I screwed something up, they will need to add it to the errata list.

That being said, the corn bread is really delicious and I have to make it again. Even if the recipe has you blend all the lard/butter fried corn, I will most likely reserve 20% of it or so to add as a mix in. The texture and mild sweet taste were very unique and loved by everyone, kids and adults.

Some pictures of the corn bread mentioned above. This is the corn frying in lard/butter mixture. This smelled so good.

Corn Bread-MC3.jpg

Raw and cooked product.

Corn Bread-MC.jpg

Corn Bread-MC2.jpg

I also cooked up a beef tongue I had on hand following the KM recipe for "Sous Vide Veal Tongue" on page 90. They use it as part of the Pot-au-Feu recipe. Instead, I used it as a stand alone dish and plated it based on a recipe from "French Feasts" with Madeira sauce, tarragon, capers and cornichons on a bed of mashed potatoes. The tognue came out with a perfect texture and the cooking liquid with vinegar made for a great stock to make the sauce with.

Beef Tongue-MC.jpg

Beef Tongue-Madeira Sauce.jpg


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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That's a really good point about yields: I have been thinking more about grams per serving then I have ever before in the past!*

Question for those who have played around with Activa. I'm thinking of slicing pancetta very thin and then wrapping it around the brined pork tenderloin. Can I use the Activa with a cured product just as well as with non-cured meat? I'm assuming so since, after all, there's still protein in there.

*ETA: I started a topic based on Anna's post here.

Keller wraps mackerel with proscuitto in "Under Pressure". It will work fine.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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My pastrami is in the sous vide bath for dinner Friday also. I was really concerned over the amount of juniper berries going into the pastrami too until I noticed you only needed 50g of rub and then I added up the 290g of ingredients and realized it wasn't so bad. It's led me to look through more recipes and most call for more quantity than you really need. The strawberry milkshake recipe which I'm hoping to make next week makes 1.2kg of strawberry milk, but only calls for 800 to be dispersed among four glasses while you have enough for six.

My carrageenan and sodium citrate come in the mail tomorrow so up next on my list is the corn bread, mac and cheese, and baby back ribs with an as yet undetermined bbq sauce from the book. Does anyone have a favorite sauce yet that they have made?

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My pastrami is in the sous vide bath for dinner Friday also. I was really concerned over the amount of juniper berries going into the pastrami too until I noticed you only needed 50g of rub and then I added up the 290g of ingredients and realized it wasn't so bad. It's led me to look through more recipes and most call for more quantity than you really need. The strawberry milkshake recipe which I'm hoping to make next week makes 1.2kg of strawberry milk, but only calls for 800 to be dispersed among four glasses while you have enough for six.

My carrageenan and sodium citrate come in the mail tomorrow so up next on my list is the corn bread, mac and cheese, and baby back ribs with an as yet undetermined bbq sauce from the book. Does anyone have a favorite sauce yet that they have made?

It's very common with recipes from high-end restaurant books with many components to make way more of a specific component that you actually need. Case in point is the Alinea and the Fat Duck books. When I cook from them, I usually have to divide certain subrecipes by 4 and I still end up with more than I need to sauce or garnish a dish.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Today for lunch I made a duck breast following the instructions on p. 3•82: this isn't the cryosearing method, it's the one where the skin is cooked off the duck and Activa'ed back on. You start by taking the skin off the breasts and sealing it up. This gets cooked at 53°C/131°F for 24 hours:

Duck Breast - 1 - Cooked skin.jpg

I had a bit of difficulty at this point: the skin shrunk while cooking, so it didn't cover the breast anymore (note that I had butchered the duck to leave the skin in as large a piece as I could, but they were long, rather than wide):

Duck Breast - 2 - Laying out skin.jpg

Duck Breast - 3 - Skin too small.jpg

So I sort of Frankensteined a few pieces of skin together:

Duck Breast - 4 - Skin Attached.jpg

Not winning any beauty contests, but I applied the Activa using the slurry method and popped it in an SV bag:

Duck Breast - 5 - Skin vacuum sealed.jpg

This is cooked at 56°C/133°F for 30 minutes to cook the breast and set the Activa:

Duck Breast - 6 - Skin sous vide.jpg

It's then seared off quickly and served (I served it with home fries fried in duck fat and with a duck-stock and orange gastrique):

Duck Breast - 7 - Served.jpg

Visually, it really didn't work that well at all, the Franken-duck is a bit silly: I need to come up with a way to butcher the duck so that my skin pieces are bigger. I left the fat layer on the duck skin, rather than scraping it off, which was fine, though I might try removing it just for kicks next time. I should have brined the duck breast or something, they were a bit bland. Finally, I don't think the fat from the skin softened the way it was supposed to, so I will need to double check my temperature calibrations.

Has anyone else tried this technique? Did your skin shrink like that?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Ha! Franken-duck... I am definitely guilty of this one... I did a lot of franken-ducks when I first got my Activa back in 2009! Can you believe the opened packages of GS are still good from then?!? In any case, I went a step further back then - I removed the skin and shaved the fat with a knife. Then I removed the piece of tendon that runs through the middle of the duck breast (which basically winds up almost butterflying it). I then glued the meat back together where the tendon was, and glued the almost fat-less skin back on top. After that, I salted (like a quick confit cure but only with salt), then after a few hours, washed off the salt, let dry, then stove-top smoked for about 15 minutes. The whole thing was then cooked SV at 131F or 135, I think, then chilled and sliced.

I had a couple of problems back then - I don't know if I used too much activa, but the skin was stuck a little too much to the meat, if you know what I mean. Normal skin isn't completely bonded to the meat, but the above treatment (and yours too, Chris, from the look of the pics) makes it a little un-naturally stuck.

I also once tried removing the skin, rendering the fat on a silpat in a hot oven, which also crisped the skin, and tried to then glue that on the raw duck to be cooked SV... but after cooking, it didn't glue so well and it was a pain because first you had to try to get rid of all the rendered duck fat.

Chris, did cooking the skin at 131 render the fat? The first pic is post SV I assume?

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Yes, it rendered a good amount of the fat, leaving the softened tissue behind. Actually, my skin came out quite "authentically" adhered to the breast, I don't think any more so than the non-Franken-duck version where you just leave the skin attached naturally. I did not use a whole lot of Activa though. Yes, that first photo is post-SV.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Question for those who have played around with Activa. I'm thinking of slicing pancetta very thin and then wrapping it around the brined pork tenderloin. Can I use the Activa with a cured product just as well as with non-cured meat? I'm assuming so since, after all, there's still protein in there.

I seem to remember reading in the Cooking Issues article on using transglutaminase that salt enhances its effect. You may need to use less Activa with the pancetta.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Chris, I'm just spitballin' here, but would it work to lay strips of skin back on the breast diagonally to approximate the scoring sometimes seen on duck breast? Then when sliced, the skin cut wouldn't look so out of place.

Of course, there's always the option of subcutaneous suturing. :wink:

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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Ingredient question ...

A few of the MC recipes call for a small quantity of essential oils - thyme is one I remember seeing, in (I think) one of the accompaniments to the SV pork belly (5•101). Can anyone advise: are these the same essential oils one might get from a health shop for making nice smells over a small burner or including in massage oils? I asked a local manufacturer about the food safety of them and they don't recommend 'internal use' as they're not a 'food grade premises', so are they just being safe or are there different grades of essential oils?


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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