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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)


Msk
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hey guys, wondering if anyone here can help clarify a question i posted in another thread:

page 2-155 has a table for cure ingredients. Listed on there is vitamin C, ascorbic acid.

This is often added to cured meats for to reduce nitrosamine formation and as an antioxidant. MC points out that "dangerous reactions" can be caused when used with nitrates/nitrites at pH below 4.8

This seems very vague to me. I'd like to understand this better. What dangerous reactions are cause? I ask b/c ascorbic is sometimes added to salame which is a fermented product, which may at times, ferment to as low as 4.8....

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Anyone know why in the recipe for the Mughal Curry Sauce on p. 5•92, the poppy seeds and nuts are soaked and ground separately, instead of together all at once?

Khus khus (white poppy seeds) are a pain to wet grind, in my experience. In fact, I usually dry grind them separately and add to other wet masala ingredients as this results in a less gritty masala. Of course, if you have a heavy grinding stone then you will have no problem making a lovely smooth paste, with a little elbow grease. :biggrin: I suspect however that you are using some kind of electronic grinder...

This difficulty in grinding is probably why they are ground separately in this recipe...this is just a guess though.

Edited by Jenni (log)
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hey guys, wondering if anyone here can help clarify a question i posted in another thread:

page 2-155 has a table for cure ingredients. Listed on there is vitamin C, ascorbic acid.

This is often added to cured meats for to reduce nitrosamine formation and as an antioxidant. MC points out that "dangerous reactions" can be caused when used with nitrates/nitrites at pH below 4.8

This seems very vague to me. I'd like to understand this better. What dangerous reactions are cause? I ask b/c ascorbic is sometimes added to salame which is a fermented product, which may at times, ferment to as low as 4.8....

At pH below 4.8, ascorbic acid can break down under anaerobic conditions and react with nitrites to form 3-deoxypentosulose and a variety of unidentified reactive compounds.

Here is a link to a review article by Adams on food additive-additive interactions from 1997.

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hey guys, wondering if anyone here can help clarify a question i posted in another thread:

page 2-155 has a table for cure ingredients. Listed on there is vitamin C, ascorbic acid.

This is often added to cured meats for to reduce nitrosamine formation and as an antioxidant. MC points out that "dangerous reactions" can be caused when used with nitrates/nitrites at pH below 4.8

This seems very vague to me. I'd like to understand this better. What dangerous reactions are cause? I ask b/c ascorbic is sometimes added to salame which is a fermented product, which may at times, ferment to as low as 4.8....

At pH below 4.8, ascorbic acid can break down under anaerobic conditions and react with nitrites to form 3-deoxypentosulose and a variety of unidentified reactive compounds.

Here is a link to a review article by Adams on food additive-additive interactions from 1997.

Thanks. Very interesting n

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I'm making the Mughal curry sauce right now, and I'm pretty sure it has the same problem as the one Anna tried earlier: I ended up adding 250mL of water to the paste before the "simmer for 25 minutes" step. I note also that it's not pureed at the end: is that correct? It looks smooth in the photo, but the shallots are giving mine a distinctly "bumpy" texture.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Mughal Curry (p. 5•92)

Beef chuck, cashew halvah, cantelope

I wanted something I could do relatively quickly, so I skipped the sous vide portion of this dish and simply braised some beef chuck in large chunks conventionally. The curry sauce has a lot of ingredients, but that's not unusual for a curry: I was able to make it without substitutions. Here it is as the recipe is written:

Mughal curry - Paste.jpg

As Anna discovered up-topic, the recipe is missing an ingredient: 250g of water. With that added:

Mughal curry - Sauce.jpg

The sauce is still quite thick. I plated it up under the beef, and used cantaloupe instead of apricot because that's all I could get at the store today.

Mughal curry - Served.jpg

It tasted great, though I wish I'd refrigerated the cantaloupe to further accentuate the temperature difference. I thought it was well-balanced, with no particular spice popping out at you, and it was no more difficult than any other curry I've made, that I can recall, except for the production of a nut paste at the beginning. It would certainly be better with sous vide meat, of course, but a conventional braise works too.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Anyone know why in the recipe for the Mughal Curry Sauce on p. 5•92, the poppy seeds and nuts are soaked and ground separately, instead of together all at once?

The poppy seeds are so small and tough that if you grind them with anything else in the way they just won't grind very well and many of them will stay whole.

Nathan

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Made and served the meal based on most of the MC items I mentioned above. I had to adjust a few things at the last minute for a variety of dietary and other reasons; the resulting menu was:

asparagus royale (4-94) with shaved blackstrap ham

juniper brined pork tenderloin (5-36) wrapped in pancetta

sweet potato fondant (4-39)

salted apple caramel purée (5-20)

fried ras al hanout parsnip chips

brown butter fiddleheads

(Oh, and dessert was Pierre Hermé's dark caramel & dark chocolate mousse, which was remarkable.)

Mostly successes, but some notes on technique and other adjustments. Forgive the mediocre photos.

The project I wanted to document most closely was the pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin. I had to substitute a few things in the brine, and the additions (anise and sassafras especially) worked very well; I will use that base recipe again for sure. I also made three packages from the two tenderloins: two from the thick end of the tenderloins and one built by splitting the tapering tail ends and rolling them into one evenly shaped cylinder, the interior of which had been dusted with Activa. That worked perfectly.

The pancetta wrapping also worked well, though it didn't adhere as well as, say, the chicken skin in the fried chicken recipe. Here's the prep. The thinly sliced pancetta laid out slightly overlapping along each edge:

DSC00004.JPG

Dusted with Activa:

DSC00006.JPG

Tenderloin atop:

DSC00008.JPG

Wrapped with underlying plastic wrap:

DSC00010.JPG

DSC00014.JPG

I let that sit in the fridge overnight, cooked it SV to 60C, then chilled it yesterday. Today I brought it to room temp and seared it in some grapeseed oil to crisp up the pancetta. Had to be careful because the pancetta was not entirely stuck to the tenderloin, but with some gentle turning in the pan, it turned out fine:

DSC00025.JPG

Meanwhile, after a bit of puzzlement yesterday, I figured out the best way to poke the plugs of sweet potato out of the cookie cutter: thank you, Jura scotch bottle!

DSC00016.JPG

Here's the plated royale (still in the ramekin because I couldn't get 'em out) with blanched tips, the ham, and a couple of small pieces of pickled long-stemmed artichoke stem (cooked SV at 85C for 90m or so, peeled, then vacuum-sealed in a lemon/olive oil vinaigrette) for acid:

DSC00018.JPG

The royales were great, though a touch too salty due to my using a salted stock from the freezer but not adjusting the salt in the recipe. I didn't have any porcini oil, so I bumped up the roasted hazelnut oil to good effect.

Meanwhile, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to introduce some crunch to either course given the dietary restrictions, and I came up with the fried parsnips with ras al hanout. These were inhaled:

DSC00028.JPG

Here's the finished plate for the tenderloin (a plate whose use was required by the holiday -- a gift from mom):

DSC00031.JPG

The overall dish was a bit sweet for one person's taste (my fault, if it is in fact true), but, well, same reactions as in the past for most items: best tenderloin ever, best sweet potato ever, etc. That will now be my go-to recipe for sweet potatoes and pork tenderloin, and the apple caramel sauce was outstanding, too.

One note about portions. I bumped up the portions on the royales and the tenderloin, which was a mistake. As with so much of the food in the MC book, these were very flavorful, rich dishes that benefitted from smaller serving size.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Just finished the Strawberry Milkshake (2-473)

I halved the recipe because I was just testing it out and was going to be drinking it all myself. I used my blendtec to powder the small amount of dry ice and it worked great for that. Will it blend, yes it will, but put a towel over the lid though so the powder doesnt come out the top. Presentation wise it's a great effect, mine didn't bubble over the top. I put it in fairly tall glasses but I would estimate it gained about 35% volume. The end result wasn't as cold as I expected or would have liked. That could have been something I did wrong or maybe just how it is. It was cold, but still too runny for how I would prefer a milkshake to be. The taste was good, not as sweet as I thought it would be with as much fructose added and it has a little bit of fuzz left over in it from the CO2. I will most likely try it again for a dinner with guests but I need to figure out how to make it colder, maybe leaving the mixture in the freezer a bit before adding it to the dry ice.

The recipe does leave leftover puree so I'm thinking of using it to make strawberry fruit leather.

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Thanks. The little buggers really are tough:

DSC_9137.jpg

Am I the only one to be surprised that the recipe didn't specify WHITE poppy seeds? Just curious.

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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How would one go about making their own honey powder?


@ Chris Amirault: as per Wylie Dufresne, making a slurry when using transglutaminases allows for better adhesion of the proteins (in your particular application). Give that a whirl next time and you shouldn't have any problems with your end product being "semi-glued".

He mixes GS, polyphosphates (to raise the pH), maltodextrin and fish gelatin (blended with water and sieved) allows him to make a large batch of glue that lasts a long period of time. He mentioned when making a slurry from RM it would set up very quickly. I'd guess the shorter time, albeit tough in a restaurant environment, would be ideal for home.

Aman Adatia

eat my LIFE

@amanadatia

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

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I just want to say how much I love you guys (and gals). I've been a member since 2003 but rather dropped out of view. Read about Nathan's book somewhere, popped on to here to see what the fuss is about and i am back absolutely hooked by your knoweldge and enhusiasm. And Nathan lurking here answering the questions too - truly amazing.

I've bought the book and the sous vide machine all i need now is some time...

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@ Chris Amirault: as per Wylie Dufresne, making a slurry when using transglutaminases allows for better adhesion of the proteins (in your particular application). Give that a whirl next time and you shouldn't have any problems with your end product being "semi-glued".

Thanks -- that completely makes sense, given that curing is also a dessiccation process.

I've bought the book and the sous vide machine all i need now is some time...

Be bold! As you can see, there are plenty of people around ready to lend a hand!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I am amazed by the picking and choosing of recipes you folks have been doing. I cannot get myself to stop reading...let alone jump around and look for recipes. I skimmed through most of book one (will need to double back and read the safety section though) and now I am reading through volume 2. It is amazing how much information there is to digest and I find it difficult to just go find a recipe to try now. OTOH, I find that I am thinking of things a bit more critically and with more... attention to detail. For examaple, yesterday I made a spit roasted chicken on my charcoal grill's rotisserie and could not help but observe that this is a true roasted chicken as opposed to a baked one EXCEPT for when I close the grill lid. In that case it is both baked and roasted. Is that "broasted"?

Interestingly enough there are so many concepts in there that make sense intuitively, but now it feels good understanding the science behind them (why is boiling water a better/faster cooking medium than 99C water that is still?).

Well, I did make a boar tenderloin inspired by MC recently, specifically the recipe for the Juniper-Brined one Chris made. I used the brine ratios in that recipe, added star anise to it and since the tenderloins are much smaller I bound a couple of them together with Activa to make a properly sized one. I cooked it SV following the tables in volume 2, then seared it quickly in grapeseed oil. It was juicy and delicious served with Puy lentils and an apple sauce made with port and the MC beef stock.

Boar Tenderloin-Puy Lentils-Apple Port Sauce.jpg

Boar Tenderloin-Puy Lentils-Apple Port Sauce2.jpg

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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I am amazed by the picking and choosing of recipes you folks have been doing. I cannot get myself to stop reading...let alone jump around and look for recipes. I skimmed through most of book one (will need to double back and read the safety section though) and now I am reading through volume 2. It is amazing how much information there is to digest and I find it difficult to just go find a recipe to try now. OTOH, I find that I am thinking of things a bit more critically and with more... attention to detail. For examaple, yesterday I made a spit roasted chicken on my charcoal grill's rotisserie and could not help but observe that this is a true roasted chicken as opposed to a baked one EXCEPT for when I close the grill lid. In that case it is both baked and roasted. Is that "broasted"?

Interestingly enough there are so many concepts in there that make sense intuitively, but now it feels good understanding the science behind them (why is boiling water a better/faster cooking medium than 99C water that is still?).

Well, I did make a boar tenderloin inspired by MC recently, specifically the recipe for the Juniper-Brined one Chris made. I used the brine ratios in that recipe, added star anise to it and since the tenderloins are much smaller I bound a couple of them together with Activa to make a properly sized one. I cooked it SV following the tables in volume 2, then seared it quickly in grapeseed oil. It was juicy and delicious served with Puy lentils and an apple sauce made with port and the MC beef stock.

Boar Tenderloin-Puy Lentils-Apple Port Sauce.jpg

Boar Tenderloin-Puy Lentils-Apple Port Sauce2.jpg

That looks really delicious!

I'm wondering why some of the pics posted using RM, GS, etc. have a very distinct bond line. Is it because Activa was applied in powder form vs. liquid? Therefore not allowing 100% adhesion? Maybe I'm being picky and I really wish I had the space - let alone the equipment - in my 3m2 Paris kitchen! Once I'm back in Canada this fall I'll be ordering the book and some new goodies. Until then I'm living & learning vicariously through you all!

Aman Adatia

eat my LIFE

@amanadatia

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

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I am amazed by the picking and choosing of recipes you folks have been doing. I cannot get myself to stop reading...let alone jump around and look for recipes. I skimmed through most of book one (will need to double back and read the safety section though) and now I am reading through volume 2. It is amazing how much information there is to digest and I find it difficult to just go find a recipe to try now. OTOH, I find that I am thinking of things a bit more critically and with more... attention to detail. For examaple, yesterday I made a spit roasted chicken on my charcoal grill's rotisserie and could not help but observe that this is a true roasted chicken as opposed to a baked one EXCEPT for when I close the grill lid. In that case it is both baked and roasted. Is that "broasted"?

Interestingly enough there are so many concepts in there that make sense intuitively, but now it feels good understanding the science behind them (why is boiling water a better/faster cooking medium than 99C water that is still?).

Well, I did make a boar tenderloin inspired by MC recently, specifically the recipe for the Juniper-Brined one Chris made. I used the brine ratios in that recipe, added star anise to it and since the tenderloins are much smaller I bound a couple of them together with Activa to make a properly sized one. I cooked it SV following the tables in volume 2, then seared it quickly in grapeseed oil. It was juicy and delicious served with Puy lentils and an apple sauce made with port and the MC beef stock.

Boar Tenderloin-Puy Lentils-Apple Port Sauce.jpg

Boar Tenderloin-Puy Lentils-Apple Port Sauce2.jpg

That looks really delicious!

I'm wondering why some of the pics posted using RM, GS, etc. have a very distinct bond line. Is it because Activa was applied in powder form vs. liquid? Therefore not allowing 100% adhesion? Maybe I'm being picky and I really wish I had the space - let alone the equipment - in my 3m2 Paris kitchen! Once I'm back in Canada this fall I'll be ordering the book and some new goodies. Until then I'm living & learning vicariously through you all!

The tenderloins were very well bonded actually. I do not think there is a way to completely eliminate the "bond line" honestly. In my case it is a bit more obvious due to the dark/white coloration in the boar meat.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Chris,

After trying my hand at the MC hamburger buns this weekend, I decided to see if anyone else had similar experiences. From your post on 4/7, I see that you also ended up with a 'sticky mess' - but your results look much better than mine! How did you manage to weigh the dough? I had to wrestle/pull/tear at it to get anything, and I ended up dropping oversized lumps of it into my molds. Most of them grew over the sides of the rings. FWIW, I was using 1 part cake flour to 1 part all-purpose flour, as a substitute for the pastry flour.

SJW

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I am amazed by the picking and choosing of recipes you folks have been doing. I cannot get myself to stop reading...let alone jump around and look for recipes. I skimmed through most of book one (will need to double back and read the safety section though) and now I am reading through volume 2. It is amazing how much information there is to digest and I find it difficult to just go find a recipe to try now.

That's exactly my issue. I'm reading through the volumes and there is too much info to jump around and do recipes right now....

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The tenderloins were very well bonded actually. I do not think there is a way to completely eliminate the "bond line" honestly. In my case it is a bit more obvious due to the dark/white coloration in the boar meat.

Ditto for mine. I had two very different shades of pink from those two tenderloins.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I made the Pad Thai from Modernist Cuisine on the weekend. I don't have tons of experience with Thai cuisine, so I'm not really in a position to judge this recipe other than on a basic level. It was certainly delicious!

MC Pad Thai.jpg

The only ingredient I couldn't find - and couldn't find information about - was the roasted chili powder, so I just took some dried Thai chilis, dry-toasted them in a frying pan, and powdered them. It was tasty. There were several other ingredients I'd never worked with before, including the salted, dried shrimp, and I'm not sure my partner will let me work with those again, given his complaints about how they stank up the house.

I think this recipe might be a good candidate for "least modernist recipe in Modernist Cuisine." In fact, you could do it with absolutely no modernist techniques whatsoever. In particular, I found the pressure-cooked peanuts not to be worth the effort that went into them, since they didn't taste noticeably different from regular roasted peanuts. As always, though, I'm willing to accept that user or ingredient error is the problem here.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Chris,

After trying my hand at the MC hamburger buns this weekend, I decided to see if anyone else had similar experiences. From your post on 4/7, I see that you also ended up with a 'sticky mess' - but your results look much better than mine! How did you manage to weigh the dough? I had to wrestle/pull/tear at it to get anything, and I ended up dropping oversized lumps of it into my molds. Most of them grew over the sides of the rings. FWIW, I was using 1 part cake flour to 1 part all-purpose flour, as a substitute for the pastry flour.

SJW

I've worked with sticky doughs pretty extensively in cooking from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: the trick is to keep the dough moving as you work with it. I also use a serrated knife to cut off pieces while portioning: so quickly grab a blob of dough with my left hand, swipe at it with the knife in my right had to disconnect it, plop it into the scale, sort of all in one motion.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I am amazed by the picking and choosing of recipes you folks have been doing. I cannot get myself to stop reading...let alone jump around and look for recipes. I skimmed through most of book one (will need to double back and read the safety section though) and now I am reading through volume 2. It is amazing how much information there is to digest and I find it difficult to just go find a recipe to try now.

That's exactly my issue. I'm reading through the volumes and there is too much info to jump around and do recipes right now....

I actually find that doing some of the recipes reinforces the information/knowledge that I have been reading. MC is very similar to a science textbook where you read then do labs/experiments/problems to reinforce the learning. The best thing is that you get to eat your experiments and I haven't had to use a fume hood for any of them.

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