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Msk

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)

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I recently made the Autoclaved Onion Soup on p. 3•302. No crazy ingredients in this one, just a slightly unusual approach: the ingredients are packed, raw, into mason jars, then autoclaved for 20 minutes.

So there is no mention by you or in the book about putting water in the pressure cooker or using a rack. Did you put the jars in the pressure cooker dry and without a rack?

No; I followed the instructions that came with the pressure cooker, and put the jars on a rack and added a cup or so of water underneath. I'm still getting the hang of pressure-cooking, but I'm under the impression that, without some form of liquid in the cooker, there wouldn't be anything to pressurize it!

WHEW - I thought I was losing it. That was the procedure I thought should be followed but no one seems to have noted the added water anywhere so I was questioning my own common sense. Thanks.


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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abadoozy, I've had exactly the same issues, and I have a few photos of burnt dishes to prove that something's amiss -- either my understanding or these calculations....

Interesting. I haven't tried it, but my gut feeling was that putting the food that close to the broiler would end up burning things - pretty much your experience.

I was curious about the broiler rule of thumb when I read it too. The thing that I couldn’t understand was how the distance from the heating rods to the top of the oven was not a variable. I modeled the system myself and found that under my assumptions* this distance mattered. I also couldn’t come up with a good explanation for the 44% of spacing plus 5mm rule.

Here is what I found. If the top of the oven is really far from the rods, or is non-reflective, then things look like you might initially guess. I plotted the relative amount of infrared delivered across the food, from left to right across the oven, assuming the oven has four heating rods spaced 10cm on centers that run front to back within the oven. There is one curve for each of several distances between the rods and the food. The top one is for a distance of 1cm from the rods to the food and the bottom one is for a distance of 10cm from the rods to the food. The ones in between are for distances as indicated in the legend at the right. As you can see in the following graph, the heat is most intense directly under the four rods. You can see from the graph exactly where the rods are.

broiler1.png

Now if we account for reflection from the top of the oven, things change a bit. Now we get more infrared hitting the food in between the rods but less directly below them due the shading effect MC describes. This is shown in the following graph, which models a reflective oven top 3cm above the rods.

broiler2.png

So what does all this tell us about the so-called sweet spot? First of all, as MC tells us, we can’t put the food too close or we get big spikes that will burn the food before it cooks in other areas. The top few curves clearly demonstrate this. But even these curves show shade effects directly below the rods. There are also second-order shade effects where the reflected heat from one rod is shaded by an adjacent rod, but they are smaller and I did not model them. Further from the rods, the curves are smoother and flatter, but still have the shade effects on the order of 15%. The good news is they are quite narrow, so you can cut the effects in half simply by sliding your food to the left or right a couple of centimeters halfway through the cooking. Do this three or four times during the cooking, always in the same direction, and the shade effect should be effectively eliminated.

I'd love to hear how the MC rule of thumb was derived and what assumptions were made. Also happy to hear feedback on my results.

---

*My assumptions are that the heating rods are long enough and the food is sufficiently far from the end that their infrared radiation can be modeled by a 1/r rule and that the top of the oven is completely reflective in the infrared part of the spectrum.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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I'm going to make the mac & cheese tonight when I get home (to serve with some pulled pork sandwiches and a few other things), so I thought I'd share a tweaked version of the ratios in the book. We found that it was a bit too salty, and I wanted a stronger cheddar component. I also tweaked the techniques a bit.

Whisk & simmer

  • 100g water
  • 75g (wheat) beer
  • 10g sodium citrate
  • 4.5g salt
  • 1.25g iota carrageenan

Grate and combine over low heat:

  • 140g aged gouda (was 200g)
  • 145g aged cheddar (was 80g)

Stir until melted/emulsified. Pour into container; bring to room temp; freeze. Just before serving, pull it from the freezer and grate/shred 160g.

Boil over high heat:

  • 300g water
  • 100g macaroni
  • 1g salt [down from 24.g]

Don't drain it. When pasta is al dente, add cheese and heat through until smooth and combined.

I then put it in a Le Creuset au gratin pan, topped it with seasoned breadcrumbs, and let it sit until the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Oh, and, yes, that's dried macaroni, not fresh.

Ok, so I thought I'd give this a go. I've got a molecular gastronomy kit that I'd been given as a present last year which I thought had the right stuff to use here. I say thought as now I've tried it I'm not sure if something might be wrong!

The carageenan isn't labelled as iota, just vaguely says "carageenans". Also, dumb question time, is citric acid the same as sodium citrate? I hope so because that's what I used. For the cheese I tried a combination of cheddar and pecorino. The mixture is currently cooling but it's really grainy and tastes pretty salty, any ideas which of the various things I might have messed up is likely to be the key here?

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Ok, so I thought I'd give this a go. I've got a molecular gastronomy kit that I'd been given as a present last year which I thought had the right stuff to use here. I say thought as now I've tried it I'm not sure if something might be wrong!

The carageenan isn't labelled as iota, just vaguely says "carageenans". Also, dumb question time, is citric acid the same as sodium citrate? I hope so because that's what I used. For the cheese I tried a combination of cheddar and pecorino. The mixture is currently cooling but it's really grainy and tastes pretty salty, any ideas which of the various things I might have messed up is likely to be the key here?

As I understand it, sodium citrate is the salt form of citric acid so they are quite similar but not the same; however, citric acid is suppose to also work as a melting agent for cheeses. I'm not sure if citric acid is as effective as sodium citrate at a given weight so that might explain your results so far.

I haven't played around with carageenans enough to know whether that is a factor.

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I've successfully melted straight cheddar into liquid (beer)using only sodium citrate. The citric acid is probably the source of your grainyness. I don't know if a higher quantity would help.

I believe carrageenans control emulsification / gelling, and the different types (iota or kappa) set differently. I would speculate that kappa sets more firmly than iota based on its use in cheese slices and higher utilization in more firmly set gels. Your generic carrageenans are probably not causing grainyness. Someone up thread used kappa carrageenan for mac & cheese and reported success.

HTH,

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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The saltiness probably comes from the pecorino.It is usually much saltier than cheddar and gouda.


Anne Napolitano

Chef On Call

"Great cooking doesn't come from breaking with tradition but taking it in new directions-evolution rather that revolution." Heston Blumenthal

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Dry pecorino is also a "non-melting" cheese.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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I tried the mango sorbet and it was only a partial success.

It was really hard to get the jars to 'fluff' when I pulled the vacuum. I tried putting them in the chamber with the lids and outside the chamber with a jar attachment. Out of about 10 jars I only got one to fully raise to the top well, with 2 others that did it about part way. The others I just couldn't get at all. I'm not sure if it's a temperature thing or what. It's very strange. When the jars come out the lids are definitely stuck on, and opening them I can hear the rush of air, showing that it is pulling a vacuum. It's just not fluffing up like it should.

On the bright side the one that did work properly was quite delicious. I just have to figure out why that one worked and do the same thing with the rest of 'em.

Maybe it's just more difficult because of my altitude here? (Colorado).


Edited by Phaz (log)

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I am making this today - I am in Calgary, elevation 1000 metres so 600 metres lower than Denver - see it that makes any difference.

Forgot to buy citric acid so ground up some Vitamin C tablets - there are some fillers in it so that could cause me problems. Also using 1/2 pint jars rather than 1 pint ones since I

a) only want to make enough for 6 people as a palate cleanser

b) plan to serve it straight out of the jars at table.

I have the VP112 Vacmaster so I can try the exterior method as well as inside the chamber

Will report back


Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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I am making this today - I am in Calgary, elevation 1000 metres so 600 metres lower than Denver - see it that makes any difference.

Forgot to buy citric acid so ground up some Vitamin C tablets - there are some fillers in it so that could cause me problems. Also using 1/2 pint jars rather than 1 pint ones since I

a) only want to make enough for 6 people as a palate cleanser

b) plan to serve it straight out of the jars at table.

I have the VP112 Vacmaster so I can try the exterior method as well as inside the chamber

Will report back

I think Vitamin C tablets are ascorbic acid - which is very different from citric acid... Works great as an anti-oxidant to keep purees from browning, but I don't think it'll work as an emulsifier... plus, mangos have tons of vit. c built in, right?

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OK - so I'm almost finished with the prep for the party tonight... whew! I can't report too much on the results yet, as most of it is still in bags in the refrigerator... waiting... I did try a piece of the chorizo french toast, which was awesome. Also, I made the Flourless Gnocchi - haven't tried it yet but I can comment on the procedure. Blooming the gelatin in teh recommended amount of cream is challenging - there's so much gelatin compared to the cream (1:2 ratio, roughly) that I felt I needed to add a bit more cream to get it to fully hydrate. It then says to melt and let cool... I let it cool on the countertop - not in the refrigerator - and when it got to room temp, it was a solid block. So I put the bowl over a really low burner to warm slightly - just enough to melt the gelatin again and added to the riced potato. The potato/gelatin/TG "dough" is quite wet - I didn't even try to mold it into shape by itself. Instead, I rolled it into a snake in a piece of plastic wrap - maki style, and then let it cure in the refrigerator that way, rather than precut as the book instructs... tonight, I'll cut the snake into pieces and fry.


Edited by KennethT (log)

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Ok, so I thought I'd give this a go. I've got a molecular gastronomy kit that I'd been given as a present last year which I thought had the right stuff to use here. I say thought as now I've tried it I'm not sure if something might be wrong!

The carageenan isn't labelled as iota, just vaguely says "carageenans". Also, dumb question time, is citric acid the same as sodium citrate? I hope so because that's what I used. For the cheese I tried a combination of cheddar and pecorino. The mixture is currently cooling but it's really grainy and tastes pretty salty, any ideas which of the various things I might have messed up is likely to be the key here?

I've successfully melted straight cheddar into liquid (beer)using only sodium citrate. The citric acid is probably the source of your grainyness. I don't know if a higher quantity would help.

I believe carrageenans control emulsification / gelling, and the different types (iota or kappa) set differently. I would speculate that kappa sets more firmly than iota based on its use in cheese slices and higher utilization in more firmly set gels. Your generic carrageenans are probably not causing grainyness. Someone up thread used kappa carrageenan for mac & cheese and reported success.

HTH,

Larry

Larry is correct -- citric acid isn't the same thing as sodium citrate; ask table salt if it would be just fine without that sodium atom! And yes, kappa carrageenan sets more firmly.

Dry pecorino is also a "non-melting" cheese.

MC notes that when using low-moisture (defined as less than 41%) non-melting cheeses, you should limit them to no more than 30% of the cheese by weight, and add 10% more liquid.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Has anyone tried making Pommes Pont-Neuf on 3-323? I find the scalings as is do not have enough water to even cover the potatoes. I made the Russet potatoes scaling at 67% instead of 100% and that seemed much butter. Second issue is that it says to boil them for 20 minutes and it notes that they should be nearly falling apart. After 12 minutes my potatoes are completely falling apart and almost impossible to remove from the pot in whole pieces with many of them breaking apart into nothing... I chucked my first batch and am now going to try boiling for about 9 or 10 minutes.

rg

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Hopefully this post will demonstrate the value of Modernist Cuisine’s approach of example recipes along with best bets parametric recipes. I liked the idea of a trompe l'oeil dish and the Sunny-side Up “Eggs” recipe looked like it fit the bill perfectly. The only problem was, I didn’t have several of the ingredients and supplies necessary to pull it off.

The whites in the recipe called for gums I didn’t have, but looking in the best bets table for cold gels it looked like I could use kappa and iota carrageenan to make a cold gel for the whites.

I was also missing the molds necessary to freeze the yolk mixture in, but what the heck, yolks are round, why not try reverse spherification? And as long as I’m playing I might as well make the yolks out of mango. Worst case I waste a can of coconut milk, a couple mangos and some time. Heck, I have a blender. I can always make a faux egg smoothie.

Since I wanted to do this for a group my wife was hosting I decided to do a trial run, which is why the pictures below are from 2 different sessions.

This was my first stab at the whites. I let the mixture cool a little too long and it was setting as I dished it out. I did pour on to cold plates. If I had known better at the time, or really cared, since this was just a trial, I could have re-heated the mix and had a smooth pour.

White 1.JPG

White 2.JPG

The yolks were standard reverse spherification technique. I tried a 10 percent sugar solution for the setting bath and the yolks floated which didn’t hurt anything. My second try (not pictured) I didn’t use sugar and the yolks sank. That worked fine also.

Yolk 1.JPG

Yolk 2.JPG

Yolk 4.JPG

The first time I put the eggs together I placed the yolks on top of the whites. They did have a tendency to slide off.

Egg First Try.JPG

For my second try I poured the whites while they were warmer, onto cold plates. I also did a 2 pass pour. I also found a cutter about the size of the yolks to remove some white so they’d sit down and stay put better.

Egg 2.JPG

Egg 3.JPG

Egg 4.JPG

All in all, a fun project that was wery well received.

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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Has anyone tried making Pommes Pont-Neuf on 3-323? I find the scalings as is do not have enough water to even cover the potatoes. I made the Russet potatoes scaling at 67% instead of 100% and that seemed much butter. Second issue is that it says to boil them for 20 minutes and it notes that they should be nearly falling apart. After 12 minutes my potatoes are completely falling apart and almost impossible to remove from the pot in whole pieces with many of them breaking apart into nothing... I chucked my first batch and am now going to try boiling for about 9 or 10 minutes.

rg

I haven't but that was next on my list.

The only correction I see in their errata list is:

On pages 3·323 and 6·160, the recipe for Pommes PontNeuf should call for 0.75 g of baking soda with a scaling

of 0.15%.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Has anyone tried making Pommes Pont-Neuf on 3-323? I find the scalings as is do not have enough water to even cover the potatoes. I made the Russet potatoes scaling at 67% instead of 100% and that seemed much butter. Second issue is that it says to boil them for 20 minutes and it notes that they should be nearly falling apart. After 12 minutes my potatoes are completely falling apart and almost impossible to remove from the pot in whole pieces with many of them breaking apart into nothing... I chucked my first batch and am now going to try boiling for about 9 or 10 minutes.

rg

I haven't but that was next on my list.

The only correction I see in their errata list is:

On pages 3·323 and 6·160, the recipe for Pommes PontNeuf should call for 0.75 g of baking soda with a scaling

of 0.15%.

Yeah I noticed that when I did the math when scaling and then checked the change list and saw it. The magic number for me was taking the potatoes out after 6 minutes in the boiling water (not 20 as the book advises) since this is when they got to the point that they were nearly falling apart and these ended up being easily the best french fries I've made. Exactly as they say, very crispy on the outside even when left out for 10-15 minutes and nice and fluffy on the inside. To recap, the changes I made were 1) setting the potato scaling to 67% to ensure that the water covered them completely and 2) boil them for 6 minutes instead of 20. Like I mentioned before, even after 12 minutes on the first batch the potatoes were turning to mush and proved very difficult to remove from the pot.

rg


Edited by roygon (log)

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The Pommes Pont-Neuf recipe is in essence Heston Blumenthal's triple cooked chips. When I make those, I use water to cover and a heavy simmer rather than a rolling boil, which is likely to produce too much agitation and break up the chips. I then take them out when they look appropriately cooked, and cool/dry them in my refrigerator as I do not have a chamber vacuum sealer. These work very well.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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Well, my aerated mango sorbet worked out about the same as the previous poster - one of them did exactly what the book said, filled up the jar to the top, stayed that way and was still aerated and frozen 5 hours later. Of the other 5 jars would expand and then deflate when the vacuum released, even though the lids were sealed. Or they would expand and only patially deflate. Or they wouldn't expand at all.

I was not entirely scientific in the 'experiment' and will try it again soon. I assumed the citric acid was to make the sorbet more tart (as in using lemon juice) to counteract the sweetness of the mango/simple syrup rather than performing a more technical role. The ascorbic acid did add a bit of that tartness.

Frustrating that the results were inconsistent. Perhaps my chamber vac doesn't pull enough vacuum or I did something else wrong. Onward & upward.


Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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I made the Bacon chips last night. They were pretty easy. You mix up a syrup using maple syrup, water, sorbitol, isomalt and Glucose Syrup DE 40. I couldn't find any of that (well I could, but didn't need 5kg of it) so I went with light corn syrup.

After that you let the bacon sit in the syrup for 2 hours then dehydrate it at 140 for 12 hours.

Can anyone explain the particular rationale for the sorbitol, isomalt, and glucose syrup in the bacon chip recipe (the 5-220 version, not the apple butterscotch version)? MC doesn't explain in that particular recipe. I am guessing that the sugar alcohols are being used as humectants and not for their sweetener properties since there is syrup in the recipe already. Has anyone made them with just syrup and compared them to the MC version? Ideas would be appreciated.

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Anyone calculate the "sweet spot" of their broiler, per pages 2-22 and 2-23?

I just did, and there's a few issues.

First off, the rods in my electric oven are not evenly spaced; the element consists of 3 U-shaped rods, making 6 straight rods, and the middle one is slightly bigger than the 2 on each side, so my rods range from about 4.5 cm from each other to about 6.5 cm.

That gives me a "sweet spot" that ranges from about 2.5 cm - 3.25 cm from the rods. That's an inch to an inch and a quarter for us metric-challenged people.

That's a LOT closer to the element than I've been broiling at. I'm not even sure if I'm steady-handed enough to get something like a pizza in the oven if I've only got an inch to do it in. And it's confounded by the fact that the element is set in a metal support that hangs down about a quarter inch below the elements.

In order to really broil in the sweet spot, I'd almost have to come up with some sort of system to raise and lower the rack so that I could put the food on the rack, then raise it to the right level. Hmmm.....

The quoted formula is where you will get the greatest degree of evenness, however it is intense enough that this does not mean you necessarily need to cook there. If it is awkward, then cook farther away.

Also, if your rods are not evenly spaced there is not much that you can do to make it perfectly even anyway, so cook where you think it will work best.

Putting aluminum foil mirrors at the sides of the area where you broil will help evenness.

A commercial electric broiler (aka salamander) usually has the rods ride in a housing which can be raised or lowered


Nathan

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I was curious about the broiler rule of thumb when I read it too. The thing that I couldn’t understand was how the distance from the heating rods to the top of the oven was not a variable. I modeled the system myself and found that under my assumptions* this distance mattered. I also couldn’t come up with a good explanation for the 44% of spacing plus 5mm rule.

...

Now if we account for reflection from the top of the oven, things change a bit. Now we get more infrared hitting the food in between the rods but less directly below them due the shading effect MC describes. This is shown in the following graph, which models a reflective oven top 3cm above the rods.

So what does all this tell us about the so-called sweet spot? First of all, as MC tells us, we can’t put the food too close or we get big spikes that will burn the food before it cooks in other areas. The top few curves clearly demonstrate this. But even these curves show shade effects directly below the rods. There are also second-order shade effects where the reflected heat from one rod is shaded by an adjacent rod, but they are smaller and I did not model them. Further from the rods, the curves are smoother and flatter, but still have the shade effects on the order of 15%. The good news is they are quite narrow, so you can cut the effects in half simply by sliding your food to the left or right a couple of centimeters halfway through the cooking. Do this three or four times during the cooking, always in the same direction, and the shade effect should be effectively eliminated.

I'd love to hear how the MC rule of thumb was derived and what assumptions were made. Also happy to hear feedback on my results.

---

*My assumptions are that the heating rods are long enough and the food is sufficiently far from the end that their infrared radiation can be modeled by a 1/r rule and that the top of the oven is completely reflective in the infrared part of the spectrum.

----------------------------

My calculations were done with a full 3D model using (1/r)^2 fall off. Your results should be valid near the center of very large grill - i.e. where the rods are very long. In my case I did the calculation at the centerline, but took into account the finite size of the broiler directly. I also modeled dirtier reflectors (85% reflectivity not 100%).

Yes, the distance between the rods and the reflectors matters, but not very much.

The way I derived the rule is that I did the calculations for literally thousands of different grill configurations and then plotted them up. To my suprise there was a pretty simple correlation which is the rule that we discuss in the text.

Note that this depends on rod diameter as well, but most broilers are fairly similar. Sometimes they use a coil of fairly fine wire instead of a thick rod, but those are quite similar.

Please note that this is just a rule of thumb. Real examples have lots of unique differences - one post above mentions unevenly spaced rods. My own Sodir broiler has a shiny back plate on one side and open on the other three - that changes things there. Putting up your own aluminum foil coller around a dish improves eveness by reflection - that makes a bigger difference than being at the exact sweet spot with respect to rod shading.

Rod shading is one effect, but the fall off near the edge is in general a much bigger effect - that is why the aluminum collar is a good idea.

The sweet spot will by necessity be at a place where the broiler is VERY intense. It's at the point where the reflected light from the top is just about as bright as the light from the rod itself, which puts it very near the rods. So even though this is where things are the most even, you may not be comfortable cooking at that intensity level. As another post mentions, your broiler may make it awkward to actually broil that close, or to see what you are doing. Visual inspection is important with a broiler, so cooking in a matter where you can't see what you are doing may be more even, but nonetheless is harder to do.

I think that the main point here is to alert people to the fact that broilers are not very even in their heat. The fall off at the sides is substantial (unless you have shiny walls, or the aluminum foil coller). Also, it is counterintuitive, but the rods actually do shade the food, giving rise to the funny peaks you found.

Here is a graph of absolute intensity for a 4 bar grill (like my Sodir). Only half of the grill is shown, because it is symmetric around the center. Distance from center is in meters - I probably should have normalized it also, but didn't.

fourbargrillraw.jpg

Each line shows the cooking intensity at a different distance from the rods.

If we care about even heating rather than the absolute amount of heat, then we can compare them by normalizing to the center intensity. That gives us this graph.

fourbargrillnormalized.jpg

You can see the bumps, the shading and the edge effects. If you want no more than 10% difference from center to edge then look at the bands between 1.0 and .9 intensity.

The "most even" cooking distance is shown here as the purple line that stays very close to 1.0 intensity, but eventually falls off and hits the 0.9 intensity curve much further to the right than then dense pack of lines below it. It is within 10% of center intensity almost to the point below the outermost rod. The dense pack of lines is only within 10% of being even to just past the center between the two rods - and they are 20% down from the center at the same point where the most even cooking distance is only down by 10%.

Most people broil in the region shown by the dense pack of lines. It is not as even from center to edge, but the intensity is lower, and other practical considerations like being able to watch the food, are more important than the actual radiative intensity.


Nathan

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For the life of me I cannot find the recipe for mushroom stock, which is referenced several times in the book. Help?

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For the life of me I cannot find the recipe for mushroom stock, which is referenced several times in the book. Help?

You may have to go with the "vegetable" stock in Best Bet for Stocks on page 6 of KM or mushroom broth on page 19.


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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Mental note, when making baked beans, don't add any Calcium Chloride to it. It makes the beans seem uncooked even though they are soft inside. I read in the book that adding 1g of CaCl2 per 100g of water will firm up beans and prevent them from splitting, so I decided to play around with it.

It did indeed make a firm bean, not the texture you want in baked beans, but I can see it working in other applications.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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      Sichuan (China) Cuisine in Both Chinese and English Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (In English & Chinese) China Sichuan Cuisine (in Chinese and English) Chengdu China: Si Chuan Ke Xue Ji Shu Chu Ban She Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (Chinese and English bilingual) 中国川菜:中英文标准对照版 For the sake of convenience, I'll be referring to the cookbook as Sichuan Cuisine from now on.

       
      Versions
      There are two versions of Sichuan Cuisine. The first came out in 2010 and the second in 2014. In an interview from Flavor & Fortune, a (now defunct) Chinese cooking
      magazine, the author clarifies the differences.
      That is all of the information I could find on the differences. Nothing besides that offhanded remark. The 2014 edition seems to be harder to source and, when available, more expensive.
       
      Author(s)

      In the last section, I mentioned an interview with the author. That was somewhat incorrect. There are two authors!
      Lu Yi (卢一) President of Sichuan Tourism College, Vice Chairman of Sichuan Nutrition Society, Chairman of Sichuan Food Fermentation Society, Chairman of Sichuan Leisure Sports Management Society Du Li (杜莉) Master of Arts, Professor of Sichuan Institute of Tourism, Director of Sichuan Cultural Development Research Center, Sichuan Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Base, Sichuan Provincial Department of Education, and member of the International Food Culture Research Association of the World Chinese Culinary Federation Along with the principal authors, two famous chefs checked the English translations.
      Fuchsia Dunlop - of Land of Plenty fame Professor Shirley Cheng - of Hyde Park New York's Culinary Institute of America Fuchsia Dunlop was actually the first (and to my knowledge, only) Western graduate from the school that produced the book.
       

      Recipes
      Here are screenshots of the table of contents.  It has some recipes I'm a big fan of.
       
      ISBN
      ISBN 10: 7536469640   ISBN 13: 9787536469648 As far as I can tell, the first and second edition have the same ISBN #'s. I'm no librarian, so if anyone knows more about how ISBN #'s relate to re-releases and editions, feel free to chime in.
       
      Publisher
      Sichuan Science and Technology Press 四川科学技术出版社  
      Cover
      Okay... so this book has a lot of covers.
      The common cover A red cover A white cover A white version of the common cover An ornate and shiny cover  There may or may not be a "Box set." At first, I thought this was a difference in book editions, but that doesn't seem to be the case. As far as covers go, I'm at a loss. If anybody has more info, I'm all ears.
       
      Buying the book
      Alright, so I've hunted down many sites that used to sell it and a few who still have it in stock. Most of them are priced exorbitantly.
       
      AbeBooks.com ($160 + $15 shipping) Ebay.com - used ($140 + $4 shipping) PurpleCulture.net ($50 + $22 shipping) Amazon.com ($300 + $5 shipping + $19 tax) A few other sites in Chinese  
      I bought a copy off of PurpleCuture.net on April 14th. When I purchased Sichuan Cuisine, it said there was only one copy left. That seems to be a lie to create false urgency for the buyer. My order never updated past processing, but after emailing them, I was given a tracking code. It has since landed in America and is in customs. I'll try to update this thread when (if) it is delivered.
       
      Closing thoughts
      This book is probably not worth all the effort that I've put into finding it. But what is worth effort, is preserving knowledge. It turns my gut to think that this book will never be accessible to chefs that have a passion for learning real Sichuan food. As we get inundated with awful recipes from Simple and quick blogs, it becomes vital to keep these authentic sources available. As the internet chugs along, more and more recipes like these will be lost. 
       
      You'd expect the internet to keep information alive, but in many ways, it does the opposite. In societies search for quick and easy recipes, a type of evolutionary pressure is forming. It's a pressure that mutates recipes to simpler and simpler versions of themselves. They warp and change under consumer pressure till they're a bastardized copy of the original that anyone can cook in 15 minutes. The worse part is that these new, worse recipes wear the same name as the original recipe. Before long, it becomes harder to find the original recipe than the new one. 
       
      In this sense, the internet hides information. 
       
    • By WackGet
      Recently I picked up a few different types of emulsifiers in bulk powder form when I saw them in passing at a catering wholesaler.
       
      Having never used powdered emulsifiers before in cooking or baking, I figured I'd find pretty comprehensive instructions for their use on the web - but I can't.
       
      I'm not a stranger to food science but nor am I a chemist. I understand that emulsifiers are at least sometimes prepared by pre-mixing them into a (heated?) liquid or fat and then using the resulting solution in the actual recipe, which may explain why a lot of commercial emulsifier mixtures are packages as tubes of gel or paste. I've also checked several industry-level textbooks about emulsifiers and while they are fantastic for in-depth explanations of the chemistry behind each emulsifier, they do not (as you might imagine) provide guidance on how a lowly baker or cook would actually use a powdered form.
       
      So does anyone know how to prepare and use a dry powdered form of any of the following in a real recipe?
       
      Specifically I am most interested in enhancing baked goods and adding stability to sauces, but would also like to know how to use them for other processes such as sausage-making too.
      E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids E481 Sodium stearoyl lactylate E482 Calcium stearoyl lactylate E472e DATEM (diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides)
        Thanks.
    • By mjbarnard
      I cooked two turkey breasts sous vide. This year had access to the Meater+ thermometer probe which I managed to vacuum seal in the bag without difficulty (it is small). Since it works wirelessly I was able to monitor and it records the internal temperatures at the thickest part of the breast.
      I thought the results were interesting. I cooked at 60C for 8 hours. I have always used https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/a-better-way-to-turkey-cook-that-bird-sous-vide-for-the-best-feast-ever which gives long cooking times at lower temperature. I have found that as according to this page https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/11/sous-vide-turkey-breast-crispy-skin-recipe-thanksgiving.html that 55C gives turkey which is just a little too pink for most tastes. Over the last few years have increased the temperature up to 59/60 and I find it perfect - very moist and tender, but pale not pink.
      See attached images. I changed my mind a couple of times and started at 58 then 60 then 59 again, so ignore the slight variations. The thing I found interesting was that the thickest part (of a large breast) reached 55C in around 1 hour 40 mins and target of 59 in 2 hours 30 mins. Now I appreciate that sous vide is a combination of temperature and time or duration, but the data make me think that around 4 hours would be sufficient, as per the seriouseats table. I have previously used the chefsteps 55-58 for their much longer advised times, up to 12 hours and the meat is still quite pink at the end, so I dont believe 55 for 12 hours would effectively be the same.
      From now on I will watching the internal temperatures with interest. This has always been the (relative) unkown for sous vide amateurs. 


    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
    • By chefg
      I have to say designing the Alinea kitchen has been one of the most exciting experiences thus far in the opening of this restaurant. I have been fortunate to have been “raised” in some of the best kitchens in the country. When I arrived at the French Laundry in August 1996 the “new kitchen” had just been completed. Often times you would hear the man talk about the good old days of cooking on a residential range with only one refrigerator and warped out sauté pans with wiggly handles. When I started about 50% of the custom stainless steel was in place. The walls smooth with tile and carpet on the floors. I recall the feeling of anxiety when working for fear that I would dirty up the kitchen, not a common concern for most cooks in commercial kitchens.
      The French Laundry kitchen didn’t stop, it continued to evolve over the four years I was there. I vividly remember the addition of the custom fish/canapé stainless unit. Allowing the poissonier to keep his mise en place in beautiful 1/9 pan rails instead of the ice cube filled fish lugs. Each advancement in technology and ergonomics made the kitchen a more efficient and exacting machine.
      When I returned to the Laundry this past July for the 10th anniversary I was shocked that it had metomorphisized once again. The butcher room was now a sea of custom stainless steel low boys, the pot sink area was expanded, the walk-in moved, and an office added to the corner of the kitchen. The kitchen as I left it in June of 2001 was beautiful and extremely functional, of course it is even more so now. It is the relentless pursuit of detail and concise thought that allows the French Laundry kitchen to be one of the best for cooks to execute their craft…..16 hours a day.
      This was good motivation.
      When it came time to design my kitchen I drew on experiences at Trio, TFL and other kitchens I was familiar with to define the positives and negatives of those designs. We were faced with a 21x 44' rectangle. This space would not allow for my original kitchen design idea of four islands postioned throughout the kitchen, but ultimately gave way for the current design which I think is actually better than the original. But most the important aspect in shaping the final design was the cuisine. Due to the nature of food that we produce a typical layout with common equipment standards and dimensions do not work. Here is where the team drew on our experiences from Trio. By looking at the techniques we utilized we came to several conclusions.
      1. A conventional range was not our main heat source. We do need the flat tops and some open burners for applications such as braising and limited stock work. But our overall use of this piece of equipment is somewhat low. Given that we wanted four open burners and two flat tops with two ovens I began to source out a reliable unit. We settled on the Molteni G230.

      2. Upon analyzing our other heat source needs we decided to place a large focus on induction. By utilizing portable induction burners we are allowed the flexibility to give as much power as needed to a specific station in the kitchen. Obviously induction’s radiant heat is very low, and this allows us to keep the temperature in the kitchen reasonable, yet the power is quite high. 31,000 BTU's of highly controlable heat. But the main reason for choosing this flexible source of heat is the fact that each chef typically employed at least four different cooking applications on a given night. This huge flux in technique and the realization that the menu would change entirely in 8 weeks time meant that we had to design a kitchen that could evolve on a nightly basis. And last, we are very specific with temperatures; induction makes it easier for us to hold a liquid at a predetermined temperature for long periods of time without fluctuation. They operate between 85 and 500 degrees farenheit. We did a great deal of research on the different producers of induction and favored Cooktek. The fact that they are the only U.S manufacturer of commercial induction cooking equipment and located in Chicago made the decision easier. Their innovative approach to induction may prove to be even more exciting as we are already talking about new product development in the future.

      3. a. The complexity of the presentations and a la minute plate-ups of the food require a great deal of surface area devoted to plating. This was one of the most critical factors in determining the basic shape of the kitchen. The size of some of today's popular plates, the amount detail in each composition, coupled with the fact that producing tasting menus vs. ala carte means sometimes large waves of same dish pick ups made it necessary for us to have over 44' of linear plating surface.
      b. Virtually nothing goes vertical above the 36” counter top in the space. All food, plates, equipment, and dry good storage are contained by under counter units. There are a few exceptions such as the infrared salamanders, the three-door refrigerator, and the hood. This allows all the cooks a clear line of communication between each other and the front staff. It allows me an easy sight line to survey the entire kitchen’s progress with a quick glance.
      Given these two points it seemed obvious that we needed to combine the two and create custom pieces that would fulfill both needs. Large spans of plating surfaces with all food and equipment storage below. As you can see we ended up with two 22’ long units. Each function as a pass and under counter storage.
      The building is 21’ wide wall to wall. This allowed us just enough space to create two lines on each exterior wall with their passes forming a 60” corridor for the pick up of plates and finishing of dishes.
      4. We decided to add a station to the kitchen. At Trio we had five including:
      a. pastry
      b. cold garde manger
      c. hot garde manger
      d. fish
      e. meat
      Now that we had more space, and the ability to give each station multiple heat
      sources regardless of their location in the kitchen, we could spread the workload even further. We also realized it doesn’t make much sense to identify each station by classic French Bragade terms. A saucier did not solely cook meat with classic techniques and prepare various traditional stocks and sauces…in fact quite the opposite. This holds true with most of the stations, with the exception of pastry, but even they will have very unconventional techniques, menu placement and involvement in the kitchen systems. We will add a station that will be responsible for a large majority of the one-bite courses both sweet and savory.
      5.Given the size constraints of the building we realized a walk-in would not be possible in the kitchen. If we were to have one it would be in the basement. Having experienced this at Trio we decided to design the kitchen without a walk-in, making up for the space in various lowboy locations and a three-door reach-in. I experienced the walk-in less environment when I worked at Charlie Trotter’s. It is certainly different, but as with most things if done properly it provides a very efficient environment. It works best in situations where fresh products are brought in daily for that days use. And prevents ordering in large quantities. It also provides us with very specific units to house different items. We will utilize the 3-door refrigerator to store the majority of the vegetables and herbs along with some staple mise en place, and items that cannot be made in very small quantities like stocks. Raw meat will have it’s own lowboys as well as fish, dairy, and all frozen products.
      6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders.

      Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish.
      We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks…
      We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
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