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Msk

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)

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Here are some more answers:

1. LoftyNotions and others have been wondering about the best way to store Activa.

The best way to store Activa is to keep it frozen. If you have purchased a large quantity, vacuum seal it in several portions to minimize reopening and resealing. When stored frozen, it should last for 18 months or so.

It always bears repeating that Activa is an enzyme and should not be inhaled, so wear a mask and gloves when working with it.

2. dml asked what power setting we use at The Cooking Lab for our microwave dishes:

Sichuan bokchoy (6•158). The core of the microwaved bokchoy was still a little crunchy even as the darkest edges of the leaves were starting to get leathery. I hope to improve the texture by modulating the time and power a little more carefully next time. The book probably specifies the power of microwave that was used in the test kitchen (@Maxime, help?), which might help with mastering my microwave-fu. Leftover bokchoy, gently reheated in the microwave again the next day, was surprisingly mustardy and sharp and sulfurous, in a way that was not entirely pleasant. This is the least successful dish so far.

In the research kitchen, we microwave bokchoy in an 800 watt microwave at full power. Our microwave is not the variety that allows the user to select a certain wattage. If you have a microwave like ours, you can look at the sticker on the back to find out the maximum wattage. Then you can calibrate how many watts your microwave uses on low, medium, and high.The table on page 3•311 gives more specifics on microwave power levels.

Keep in mind that if you have particularly large or particularly small bokchoy, your cooking time might vary according to the thickness of the core.Make sure your vegetables are vacuum sealed completely, too. The intense steam environment created should cook even the heartiest vegetables in a quick and even manner.

3. From roygon:

Hi Maxime, could someone check the Pommes Pont-Neuf. I believe there are 2 issues with the recipe

1) The more minor issue is that I think the potato scaling should be 67% not 100% (even with the water) because at 100% the water does not seem to come close to covering the potatoes. Scaling the potatoes to 67% has them just covered

2) it indicates that they should be boiled for 20 minutes but after even 12 minutes they are essentially mush and almost impossible to take any of them out of the pot. I found just under 6 minutes is ideal, not the 20 minutes that the recipe lists. After 6 minutes they match the description in the recipe where they are just about to fall apart.

With these 2 changes the end result is pretty amazing - many people have told me that these were the best fries they have had and not much more time consuming to make than the traditional soak and double fry method.

Thanks,

Roy

We’re glad that you were able to adjust the recipe to your (and your guests’!) liking.

In regards to the first question, it may depend on your pot. If you are making a small batch in a very wide pot, then no, there probably won’t be enough water to cover them. Our advice is to make a big batch of the brine and add enough to cover the potatoes. This way the scaling of salt, sugar, and baking soda will still be accurate while allowing for enough liquid to cook the potatoes.

As for the second question, it is true that the potatoes become increasingly difficult to handle the longer they cook. In fact, we always plan on losing a few along the way when making this recipe. The age of the potatoes and their storage conditions can also affect how they perform when cooked. If, however, you are satisfied that they are cooked after six minutes, there is no reason why you should keep them in.

One more detail to consider is the thickness of the cut we use. We like thick fries to best represent the contrast of a silky interior and extremely crunchy surface.Make sure to check your measurements to adjust for appropriate cooking times.

4. lesliec asked:

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?

Yes, there are differences. The bulk of our essential oils come from the health and beauty sections of major grocery stores or purveyors, such as Terra Spice or Chef Rubber. You can always try collaborating with a perfumer to create one, but make sure, as lesliec did, to find out whether it is food grade.

5. Way back upthread, KosherDIY asked: when making potroast in a sealed Dutch oven, how can you tell when it’s done? About what cooking time would you recommend?

I wanted to try the MC method for a pot-roast (the cutaway pot under coals that the media loves so much). I have a nice sized goat-shoulder and the cast-iron dutch oven. The instructions say to place the dutch oven under the broiler element on low, but no time is mentioned. If I seal the pot with clay/dough to prevent water loss, I can't very well use a thermometer probe.

Anyone have advice/guidelines on how long it cooks for? If it's hermetically sealed, can it go for as long as a SV braise?

FoodMan pretty much guessed it when he replied:

Meat+DutchOven+Coals?? How "Modernist" and crazy of the MC team. :)

Serously though, can you not insert the probe (assuming it's an electronic thermometer with a cord and all) and then put the clay/dough around it?

Traditional cooking is often prescriptive, particularly with cooking times. Though perhaps not tested stringently, they come from years of cooks trying variations. For example, at a simmer a braise will take anywhere from four to seven hours.

Probably your best bet is to use clay to seal the oven and to use a thin, wire thermometer. The first time you try it out, you’ll want to monitor it closely, paying particular attention to the high point at which the temperature stabilizes. Follow the guidelines on pages 2•276–279 for cooking sous vide, as well as the guide in volume three. The table on 3•109, for instance, will tell you that you might cook lamb shank sous vide at 85 °C for five hours, so that provides one useful point of reference. With traditional cooking techniques such as this, a keen understanding of the technique and a willingness to engage in a bit of trial and error are really the best tools.


Maxime Bilet

Head Chef

The Cooking Lab

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I'm thinking out loud here, and would appreciate any input.

I love traditional dauphinoise potatoes (scalloped potatoes to my mum), but my wife's not so keen on the amount of cream and butter that goes into them. So I'm thinking that I could adapt some of the modernist cuisine techniques with cheese sauces to make a low-fat dauphinoise potatoes without compromising on texture or taste - perhaps even improving on texture as I've found the cream/butter sometimes splits depending on which cheese you use.

My first thought is to start with the cheese from the 'mac and cheese' recipe- but basically I'm thinking that that skim milk and a carrageenan, along with gruyere cheese and sodium citrate, should do the job nicely.

What I'm wondering is how a skim milk / hydrocolloid base would affect the cooking of the potatoes? In a traditional dauphinoise potatoes the potatoes are actually being cooked in the cream, as opposed to the 'mac and cheese' recipe where the cheese is mixed into the cooked macaroni.

So in order for this low-fat approach to work, and for the potatoes to cook in the cheese sauce, is there one type of technique or hydrocolloid that's more suitable than another?

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Just a word of warning to those of you considering making the Modernist Fried Chicken. 225C 435F oil is a LOT more reactive to inserting moist foods than 175C 350F oil is.

I had considered this and taken precautions, but I still had a significant oil boil-over to contend with. I heated the oil in a Dutch Oven over a gas burner. Before putting any of the chicken in the oil I thoroughly soaked a towel with water and had a fire extinguisher handy just in case. I also turned off the gas before inserting the chicken. Holy cow, what a mess! I had oil everywhere. Luckily it didn't flame up and all I had to do was disassemble the cooktop and clean it.

If you're going to try this indoors I'd suggest using a much deeper pot than a dutch oven that has a lot of headroom. Better yet, do it outside in a turkey fryer or over another suitable flame far away from anything combustible.

The chicken was excellent however. :rolleyes:

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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.If you're going to try this indoors I'd suggest using a much deeper pot than a dutch oven that has a lot of headroom. Better yet, do it outside in a turkey fryer or over another suitable flame far away from anything combustible.

....

Larry

Or you could switch to induction. No open flame! :laugh:


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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.If you're going to try this indoors I'd suggest using a much deeper pot than a dutch oven that has a lot of headroom. Better yet, do it outside in a turkey fryer or over another suitable flame far away from anything combustible.

....

Larry

Or you could switch to induction. No open flame! :laugh:

That's an awesome idea! :smile: A safety reason to buy new toys, er, I mean absolutely necessary equipment.

I think my wife is NOT going to like you. :laugh:

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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.If you're going to try this indoors I'd suggest using a much deeper pot than a dutch oven that has a lot of headroom. Better yet, do it outside in a turkey fryer or over another suitable flame far away from anything combustible.

....

Larry

Or you could switch to induction. No open flame! :laugh:

That's an awesome idea! :smile: A safety reason to buy new toys, er, I mean absolutely necessary equipment.

I think my wife is NOT going to like you. :laugh:

Larry

A couple of induction hobs will NOT put you in the poorhouse! $100 each give or take.


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 made the Egg Blossom (4-80) for breakfast today. It was OK, but I'm not sure the effort of putting the egg in the plastic wrap was really worth it. The delicious duck fat/olive oil/truffle oil mix was really the star for me.

IMG_2089.jpg

I would have preferred a more liquid yolk, so some timing adjustment is needed. Next time I think I'll just try 85C for 10 minutes (instead of 12), cook in shell, and season after unshelling with the oil/fat mix. I think just frying the egg in the mix would also be interesting.

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Just a word of warning to those of you considering making the Modernist Fried Chicken. 225C 435F oil is a LOT more reactive to inserting moist foods than 175C 350F oil is.

I had considered this and taken precautions, but I still had a significant oil boil-over to contend with. I heated the oil in a Dutch Oven over a gas burner. Before putting any of the chicken in the oil I thoroughly soaked a towel with water and had a fire extinguisher handy just in case. I also turned off the gas before inserting the chicken. Holy cow, what a mess! I had oil everywhere. Luckily it didn't flame up and all I had to do was disassemble the cooktop and clean it.

I did the exact same thing yesterday. First did a batch of MC crispy boiled peanuts (no problem), then a batch of MC crispy beef strands (again, no problem). Then I decided to throw in a handful of shallots, just to top it off. Unlike you, I didn't have the foresight to take precautions against flareups, but I was lucky and nothing caught fire, so I only had to spend an extra half-hour degreasing everything in a two foot radius.

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2. dml asked what power setting we use at The Cooking Lab for our microwave dishes:

...

In the research kitchen, we microwave bokchoy in an 800 watt microwave at full power. Our microwave is not the variety that allows the user to select a certain wattage. If you have a microwave like ours, you can look at the sticker on the back to find out the maximum wattage. Then you can calibrate how many watts your microwave uses on low, medium, and high.The table on page 3•311 gives more specifics on microwave power levels.

Keep in mind that if you have particularly large or particularly small bokchoy, your cooking time might vary according to the thickness of the core. Make sure your vegetables are vacuum sealed completely, too. The intense steam environment created should cook even the heartiest vegetables in a quick and even manner.

Thanks. Mine's 1500 watts, so some adjustment is definitely in order. I'll be sure to check the table on 3-311.

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In book 2 does anyone know what the canned ratatouille looking dish is on bottom right hand side of page 205?

(also page 85 in the circulating bath, also in the refrigerator on page 257)


Edited by adey73 (log)

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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I made the Quail with Apple-Vinegar Emulsion and Water Chestnuts (p. 3•101), it required some planning, but overall was pretty easy to make. The dish was a hit, the perfect main for our two year anniversary dinner. We planned on taking some pictures, but it looked too good to wait.


Andrew Vaserfirer aka avaserfi

Host, eG Forums

avaserfirer@egstaff.org

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Two questions on a couple of the ingredients in the book for the MC team or anyone who can help.

Is all Polysorbate 80 / Tween 80 the same, or is there one that is specifically food grade? Most of the ones I'm finding online mention using in hair care products.

Is Glucose Syrup DE 40 roughly the same thing as Corn Syrup DE 42 which seems to be more common and easy to find?

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Is Glucose Syrup DE 40 roughly the same thing as Corn Syrup DE 42 which seems to be more common and easy to find?

Might not be the exact same thing, but I would think one can be used as a sub for the other.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Memorial day dinner for me was:

  • egg blossom
  • red coleslaw, white coleslaw
  • mac&cheese
  • braised short ribs
  • strawberry gazpacho

I agree with the past poster that the egg blossom was more set than I'd want (or that was depicted). The fat didn't really permeate into the eggs much, but I think the plastic wrap was worth it for the presentation.

The red coleslaw involved vacuum reduction. The reduction took much longer than 2 hrs & the amount of reduced juice was too much for the small amount of cabbage called for. Not sure what went wrong there. Of course, I had just setup the aspirator & so I fought various tubings collapsing or being unable to take the heat. The flavor was good & I like having pickled mustard seeds on hand. I had made the white coleslaw before, so no surprises. People were split on which they preferred.

As has been said, the mac&cheese is great: almost everyone had seconds. I used the second half of a batch of cheese I froze a month ago. The first time we had it, we topped it with paprika and/or cayenne and/or hot sauce (just needs some color). This time was bacon.

Short ribs were phenomenal: another where everyone had seconds. The microwave jerky came out a bit salty, but was fine in that dish. No garlic chips this time & I used pre-made tamarind paste. Everything else per recipe.

Strawberry gazpacho was good. I don't have a pacojet, so I made the sour rhubarb sorbet with liquid nitrogen. AirGas now wants something like $6/liter for LN2 here (last Thanksgiving, it was only $1/liter), so I used the last few drops of LN2 that I had in the dewar. Everything froze, but they were basically dippin' dots.

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Picked up some pork belly for the house cured bacon today. However, no ribs or skin attached. Should the smoking time still be the same (7h)?

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Picked up some pork belly for the house cured bacon today. However, no ribs or skin attached. Should the smoking time still be the same (7h)?

Mine was the same way and I just followed the recipe as is. It came out great. Did 25 pounds and only have 2-3 left after almost 3 weeks.

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Jeez, and I thought my 2kg piece was big. Also got 2kg of brisket that just went in the brine for pastrami.

Thanks. I'll smoke for 7h.

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On the gels chapter there is a brief discussion on ricotta, and in teh parametric table for cheeses it says that if you want to make dry ricotta you can add 0.7% salt, press it for 2-3 days in fridge, then hang for 2-3 weeks.

What are the environmental conditions supposed to be during the hanging?

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<snip>To everyone: I am currently aging the aromatic alsatian mustard to go with my pastrami (hopefully!), and, like Chris, misunderstood the directions and added the mustard seeds and the soaking vinegar, so the mustard is quite thin... What do you think is the best way to solve this issue? I could probably thicken the mustard with agar or xanthan, but I assume (I haven't tasted it yet) that it will be too vinegar-y....

Any ideas? <snip

I read further along that you have already sampled the mustard but if you have some left (or for the next person) here's two low-tech, non MC ideas...

1. Try draining it a little. Super-fine cheese cloth (called butter muslin) might work but a coffee filter would probably be better. Maybe drain half of it and scrape the residue (retained mustard) back into the rest to thicken?

2. Make another batch, draining the seeds before grinding and combine. That should get you at least half-way thick.

Good luck.

In spite of having read these posts, I just did the same thing. I poured all the vinegar and seeds into the blender. After a couple seconds of mixing I slapped myself and said DOH! (Well, that's the printable version). :smile:

I have a Blend Tech Blender, so decided to give it another 30 seconds or so. It's now a perfect mustardy texture. I'll leave it in a vacuum bag for a week and see how it goes.

I honestly don't know whether we're supposed to drain it, but so far it looks like a commercial style blender will thicken it up just fine.

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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Right, I was able to get it thick enough using the exact same technique (hey, even the same blender), but I think the flavor is off: too much vinegar, not enough mustard.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Right, I was able to get it thick enough using the exact same technique (hey, even the same blender), but I think the flavor is off: too much vinegar, not enough mustard.

My gut reaction, based on tasting right after blending was that more salt would make it better. More on that when it has aged a bit.

Larry

[Moderator note: This topic continues in Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 3)]


Larry Lofthouse

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