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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)


Msk
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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?

I have used the non food grade ones for food before - but I much prefer to get the food grade ones when I'm serving stuff to other people.

Non food grade oil may be contaminated with all sorts of things that probably aren't wise to ingest. They might be distilled with unsafe solvents.

I buy a lot of food grade oil from Appalachian Valley Natural Products. Their Anatolian Treasures product line is excellent - I discovered them when looking for Rose Otto - but have been very pleased with all their oils. One great thing - they send along little bottles of samples with each order so you can try oils risk free that you might be hesitant to buy.

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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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.

Yes, but these books (I have both) don't include scaling. My gripe with MC (at least with the pastrami recipe) is in the consistency of the scaling across components of a recipe. In the pastrami recipe 100% equates to 1kg of beef; move down to the brine component and that percentage holds -- 225%/2.25kg water, 0.35%/3.5g coriander seeds, etc. correspond to that same 1kg of beef -- no brine left over. However the rub has 7.5%/75g juniper berries -- which is enough for about 6kg of beef. How did they choose this 6x ratio for the rub? Why not 10x? or 3x? Why not just make it 1x? I could see making the rub a standalone recipe where the 75g of juniper berries equates to 100%, but here it is a component with scaling based on the main ingredient (beef).

Anyway, I'll just leave it at that...too much of the engineer in me coming out...I can't wait for the pastrami to come out on Friday!

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Just finished a round of MC cooking, with the tenderloin brine -- lots of substitutions thanks to a lack of juniper berries -- pork ribs, and pastrami getting attention. Ribs for Friday night, pastrami for Saturday night (though I may save it and serve spaghetti & meatballs instead!), and the tenderloins for Sunday night.

The pastrami brine is so aromatic that I passed the opened brining bag around, holding it below the noses of various family members. We all agree that it's what heaven will smell like.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Made the beer can roasted chicken in convection oven from page 2-109. I was surprised to find the the can should be empty (only use it as a stand), unlike the standard recipe (which I first saw on the roasting a chicken topic). The result was certainly better that most roasted chickens I've made, though next time I'll try at 60º instead of 65º (measured 1 cm from the surface).

The separation of skin from meat step is taken from the roasted chicken in combi oven recipe from pages 2-178/179. I guess the other steps there (injecting a brine & dry in the fridge for 48 hours) could also be applied equally well, so I'll give it a try next time.

Edited by EnriqueB (log)
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to go back to the labels for the vaccum bags:

I also put a number on the bags with the Sharpie and keep a note-book with more details on each "Experimental Bag" and add notes as I eat them

so far Im still on Meats

extraordinary what Ive gotten for $1.99 a lbs!

Now that cross referencing is an idea I am going to adopt. Thank you.

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 would also recommend the Harvard Science and Cooking video of Wylie Dufresne, to anyone looking for answers on "Meat Glue" Its free on iTunes and an hour of Wylie showing how and why wthey use it.

Mike

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I made the wheat pasta from the "Best Bets for Pasta" table for dinner last night: my wife and I agreed that the texture was considerably better than my standard egg pasta. I had to add a bit more water than the recipe called for to get the dough workable, but overall the recipe worked well. Served it with a quick sauce made to highlight the few fresh peas my garden yielded yesterday:

Peas and pasta.jpg

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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A couple of quick questions for anyone:

The recipe for Dosa on MC 3 - 355 calls for Lactic Acid. Does anyone know where I can source this? I have made dosa before and was wondering if this step will make a big difference.

Also:

In the American BBQ section - 5-68 the side note states "Dry rubs are usually put on 12 hours before cooking. However, we also use them a a spice mix added at the end." Does this imply you are to put a dry rub on for the BBQ recipes before smoking even though it is not called for in the recipe themselves. It is a little confusing.

Jim

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I've been able to get most of the acids the book calls for at a local homebrew supply store, though I haven't bought lactic yet.

Regarding the BBQ: yes, that's my interpretation: the whole thing is like one big parametric recipe. You pick a rub, you pick a meat, you pick a sauce. Mix and match.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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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.

I agree that these instructions seem wrong. When I cooked the cornbread, I pureed the sauteed corn mixture with the eggs, milk and cream. I then filtered the mixture, and followed the rest of the instructions. Baking at 130˚C was way too cold to get the internal temp up to 88˚C in 20 min. I bumped the temp up to 177˚C (350˚F) and it took well more than 30 min to get the internal temp up to 88˚C (190˚F).

Edited by mcdiarmid (log)
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Pastrami is done and I'm slicing it now. I think it's time to go get more meat and start another batch, this stuff is for sure as great as everyone has been saying.

Anyone try the strawberry milkshake yet? I'm planning on doing it tomorrow night. The strawberries are getting frozen tonight and I just need to pick up the whey powder and dry ice.

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I forgot to mention that the corn bread is awesome and the addition of the thyme is brilliant. Even my wife, who dislikes corn bread, had seconds and repeatedly told me that she would eat it again.

We also made the kalbi flank steak, a very easy meal to make in bulk and freeze several portions for the future. The only difference we did was sous vide at 55˚C for 22 hours to make it nice and tender. It is definitely another repeater right up there with the momofuku sous vide short ribs.

Unfortunately, the bacon chips were not as good as expected. After 14 hours of dehydration at 140˚F, they did not end up crispy, instead they were more leathery. This may be because I substituted corn syrup as per suggestions upthread since I couldn't find glucose syrup de 40. Since we love bacon I had such high hopes for this. I think I will be spending some time analyzing and experimenting to try to produce bacon chips we love.

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Anyone try the strawberry milkshake yet? I'm planning on doing it tomorrow night. The strawberries are getting frozen tonight and I just need to pick up the whey powder and dry ice.

I wrote it down to try in the summer for a party with a whimsical summer theme. I thought of doing the milkshakes along with the mojito spheres and dry ice carbonated fruit. Please post results of your experience.

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Unfortunately, the bacon chips were not as good as expected. After 14 hours of dehydration at 140˚F, they did not end up crispy, instead they were more leathery. This may be because I substituted corn syrup as per suggestions upthread since I couldn't find glucose syrup de 40. Since we love bacon I had such high hopes for this. I think I will be spending some time analyzing and experimenting to try to produce bacon chips we love.

How thick was your bacon? I believe MC calls for 1/16th of an inch, which is really thin. The only bacon my local store had that was that thin was the cheapest/crappiest stuff they had.

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How thick was your bacon? I believe MC calls for 1/16th of an inch, which is really thin. The only bacon my local store had that was that thin was the cheapest/crappiest stuff they had.

Yes, I saw how thin it was supposed to be so I actually bought the thin crappy bacon. I realize the quality of the bacon was laughable, but I wanted to try it out to see what happened and sacrificed my desire for good thick bacon. Even as I am typing this out, it's making me hungry for some good bacon. I was wondering if there would be a difference in wet vs dry cure, or even if decreasing the water amount in the recipe would make a difference. The only other thought was to go for longer times, but I couldn't use our oven (which has a dehydration system I discovered) for a full 24 hours. It has definitely been fun though.

And for a really entertaining youtube video regarding bacon, take a look at Jim Gaffigan as he talks about bacon

.
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Finished the Beef Cheek Pastrami (3-213), using boneless short ribs tonight. The only variation to the recipe was reducing smoking time to 2.5H from 4H due to some operator on my part with the ProQ smoke generator....

In any event the result was very, very good. Like other multi-day short ribs I've done, the meat was exceptionally tender. With the brine, smoking and rub I expected the flavor to be overpowering, but instead is was very well balanced. Very nice; will definitely make it again. The good news is I don't need to worry about making the rub component for a while :laugh:

IMG_1984.jpg

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Brining is a diffusion process, just as heat conduction is. So the brining time scales like the square of the thickness. Half as thick means brining time drops by a factor of 4. Injection effectively reduces the brining time in this manner. Using boneless shortribs does too.

Nathan

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My stock cupboard is nearly bare, and it's time to can more vegetable stock. The discussion about stocks in the Modernist Cuisine Q&A was something I was really looking forward to, and I'm definitely going to be trying some new things with this batch, but I also still have a lot of questions.

(1) Is there any reason, apart from the appearance of the final dish, why clarity matters for a vegetable stock, or, for that matter, any stock?

Does it signify some muddying of flavors to have some little bits of stuff flaking off the stock ingredients? If so, the traditional clarification steps at the end with eggs or gelatin or skimming make sense. If the issue to that cloudy bits mean the stuff was poorly handled in ways that degrade the flavor--e.g., potatoes or celery cooked to the point of dissolving are also releasing some unpleasant element into the stock--then clarifying at the end makes no sense and working to prevent it from the start is the only way to go. But if the key point is simply appearance, then it's not important for me cooking for my own enjoyment.

(2) Why is the vegetable stock cooked sous vide and not pressure cooked?

(3) The rationale given for why vegetables should not be grated or ground for stock--taking the fick's law argument one step beyond small dice--is that it changes the rate of flavor extraction 'and the traditional 2:1:1 ratio of vegetables no longer applies'. Keeping consistent with a traditional formula hardly seems sufficient reason to not take the next step; I'm wondering if some other elements are released that are less favorable, and how the specific vegetables in question affect the results (my favorite recipe, the Summer Vegetable Stock, includes not only carrots, celery, onion, but also eggplant, tomatoes, summer squash, greens, green beans, mushrooms and herbs).

I may have to do some experimenting now, unless someone else has already done this for me.

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