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Msk

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)

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So that you may all learn from my stupidity: 625 grams of egg yolks is a LOT of egg yolks, when you're using whole eggs. Like, 40-50. Which of course I failed to process until I started cracking my one carton of eggs. Doh. If you are making this ice cream **plan ahead**!


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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So that you may all learn from my stupidity: 625 grams of egg yolks is a LOT of egg yolks, when you're using whole eggs. Like, 40-50. Which of course I failed to process until I started cracking my one carton of eggs. Doh. If you are making this ice cream **plan ahead**!

Ha! It's definitely taking me a little effort to get used to thinking in grams rather than ounces/pounds. The one thing I keep reminding myself when looking at measures in grams is thinking 1000g is about 2 pounds, similarly 250g is about a half pound. So yeah, 625g is a LOT of yolks! I didn't get to this part yet (and don't keep my books at work) - do they recommend using fresh yolks, or can you use dehydrated yolks and rehydrate? When I used to do candymaking, I would use dehydrated egg whites all the time - they whipped up perfectly and were easy to measure...

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I don't think they discuss using dehydrated egg yolks at any point: in a restaurant setting you just buy the yolks and whites in bulk so it's no big deal. It's just us home cooks that have to be careful. My big problem was thinking I was making an ice cream: I even bought cream without thinking about it. But of course this isn't ice cream, so my rationale for thinking "gee I have an entire carton of eggs, that will be plenty" was way off base.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Skirt Steak Tartare with Béarnaise Gelato

Steak tartare (1).jpg

So I did eventually manage to get that gelato made, after a trip to the store for a few dozen more eggs. The recipe actually makes a huge quantity of ice cream relative to the amount of tartare, so I'd be inclined to make a 1/4 batch next time. When I first made the ice cream of course I had to sample it on its own... wow. My brain is completely unable to cope with something that looks like a spoonful of a rich, sweet vanilla ice cream, but that tastes like shallots and vinegar. Even after a couple bites my mind was still reeling: as you might guess, I don't think I've ever encountered a truly savory ice cream before, and it really screwed with my head (in a good way, I mean).

The recipe calls for hangar steak, which I can't get, so I had to sub in skirt: I think it worked well, though I'm sure the texture was a bit different. I really liked the texture of this tartare, though, and I thought the ice cream was fantastic on it. It was still a bit startling at first bite, but the ice-cold creaminess was an excellent foil for the relatively firm beef, and the flavors worked very well together (as they should: the flavors were not unusual for steak tartare, it was the appearance and texture that took this into the Modernist realm). The beef is heated to 122°F for three hours to tenderize, the seared off on one side only and chilled before chopping, by hand of course. My one complaint is that I found that after "cooking" even at that low temperature the beef didn't quite have the bright red color I associate with a standard filet tartare. I don't know if this is an artifact of using skirt instead of hangar, or if that's just the way it is. Still, all in all a really good lunch.

ETA: Above, bobag87 commented that the ice cream was too sweet. I did not find that to be the case, I thought it was well-balanced.


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Skirt Steak Tartare with Béarnaise Gelato

Steak tartare (1).jpg

So I did eventually manage to get that gelato made, after a trip to the store for a few dozen more eggs. The recipe actually makes a huge quantity of ice cream relative to the amount of tartare, so I'd be inclined to make a 1/4 batch next time. When I first made the ice cream of course I had to sample it on its own... wow. My brain is completely unable to cope with something that looks like a spoonful of a rich, sweet vanilla ice cream, but that tastes like shallots and vinegar. Even after a couple bites my mind was still reeling: as you might guess, I don't think I've ever encountered a truly savory ice cream before, and it really screwed with my head (in a good way, I mean).

The recipe calls for hangar steak, which I can't get, so I had to sub in skirt: I think it worked well, though I'm sure the texture was a bit different. I really liked the texture of this tartare, though, and I thought the ice cream was fantastic on it. It was still a bit startling at first bite, but the ice-cold creaminess was an excellent foil for the relatively firm beef, and the flavors worked very well together (as they should: the flavors were not unusual for steak tartare, it was the appearance and texture that took this into the Modernist realm). The beef is heated to 122°F for three hours to tenderize, the seared off on one side only and chilled before chopping, by hand of course. My one complaint is that I found that after "cooking" even at that low temperature the beef didn't quite have the bright red color I associate with a standard filet tartare. I don't know if this is an artifact of using skirt instead of hangar, or if that's just the way it is. Still, all in all a really good lunch.

ETA: Above, bobag87 commented that the ice cream was too sweet. I did not find that to be the case, I thought it was well-balanced.

Looks very nice. I can see, after looking at the KM (is it wrong to keep it with me at work to steal glances at something or another every hour or so?), why you would not think that the ice cream ingredients will make so much end product. If it was listed as a seperate recipe component with yield then maybe it would've clicked just how much gelato you will end up with.

As for the steak, I think hanger steak is usually thicker than a skirt (also depends if it is inside or outside skirt you used). That in addition to the naturally deeper red color a hanger has could account for the difference in color you are seeing. Honestly though, your version looks damn tasty.

My first recipe from MC ended up being the Brown Beef Stock cooked in the pressure cooker. I needed to make some beef stock anyways with a several prime rib bones (saved them after carving the meat off them). So, I subbed those for the oxtail. I also made a double batch to use up all the bones and it is now frozen in FoodSaver bags. The stock was very tasty and made a semi-firm gel in the fridge (can be spooned but not really cut). I also ended up with a good cup or so of rendered beef fat from it's surface.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Quail with Apple-Vinegar Emulsion and Water Chestnuts (p. 3•101)

Wow.

With that out of the way, here's the assembly...

You start out with four quail, and rub them down with confit curing mix:

Quail - 1 - Confit spice.jpg

That gets sealed up and stuck in the fridge for two hours:

Quail - 3 - Brining.jpg

You also need some Quatre épices which I didn't have on hand, so made according to the recipe on 2•403:

Quail - 2 - Quatre epices.jpg

Next up, you rinse the quail after two hours and bag them up separately:

Quail - 4 - Separate bags.jpg

Those get cooked sous vide at 131°F for 35 minutes, then held at 129°F for 2h17m to pasteurize (optional, I did it). Here they are cooked:

Quail - 6 - Cooked.jpg

A couple days ago I put up some sweet pickled apples (p. 3•348) in the fridge, those are now ready:

Quail - 5 - Pickled apples.jpg

The quail get a fifteen minute rest while you prepare the sauce (chicken stock, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, and shallots, reduced by about 75%, strained, finished with butter... sorry no pics). Then you dredge the quail in either Crisp Coat UC or potato starch (I used potato starch) and the quatre epices:

Quail - 7 - Dredged.jpg

Into the deep fryer at 450°F (yes, that's a 4. Also, I was low on oil so shallow-fried in the wok):

Quail - 8 - Deep frying.jpg

After about 30 seconds, they come out super crispy:

Quail - 9 - Fried.jpg

And get served with the sauce mentioned above, plus a quick saute of the apples with water chestnuts and tarragon. I served with a wild rice pilaf:

Quail - 10 - Served.jpg

Seriously, seriously delicious. This dish is firing on all cylinders: the quail is perfectly cooked, the sauce is amazing, and those pickled apples are stunning on top. It was a lot of steps, but it's a winner.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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No doubt! Though at least the individual quail fit in the 1 pint bags, which are the cheapest. At this rate in five or six years I'll be able to justify a chamber sealer :smile:.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Has anyone so far discovered any recipes that could be made/made easier/ or specifically call for machines such as a Thermomix or Kenwood Cooking Chef?

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A few updates.

The Jean-Georges Vongerichten inspired chili oil is amazing. I have been drizzling it on this leftover flank steak I cooked SV for tortillas last week, and just with that oil and a bit of salt it's a revelation. There's something about the multiple infusions -- vacuum-sealed, then heated SV, then cooled, then strained -- that seems to bring out a very layered, nuanced complexity of flavor.

Finishing up some bacon soon, but won't smoke until after a business trip.

The short rib pastrami is tonight's dinner. I have been mesmerized by this process and am eager to see how it turns out. Pix, of course, later.

Any update on the bacon yet? I was able to find some Fermento and Sodium Erythorbate online for not too expensive. It looks like both play a role in the curing process vs something just added for flavor. The idea of making my own MC bacon and smoking it with some Jim Beam whiskey barrel wood and apple wood sounds too good to pass up.

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Yes, sorry, I posted that over here:

This last time, following The Modernist Cuisine recipe for house bacon, I let the bacon rest for 10 days in a 40F curing chamber after it was done curing, to allow that diffusion to take place. This bacon is, by far, the best I've ever made, and I'm convinced that the extra time spent is the reason.

I followed the recipe very closely, and next time I'd up the pepper for the base recipe and probably try some of my usual variations, especially when my rosemary plant gets going in earnest. But, as I said, this is the best I've ever made, and I've made a boatload of bacon, let me tell you. In particular, the cure was far better distributed throughout the bacon than ever before. This was first notable when I cooked it and discovered that I was getting none of the edge darkening that has happened often in the past -- which I now attribute to inadequate distribution of sugar.

Great recipe, great result.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Yes, sorry, I posted that over here:

This last time, following The Modernist Cuisine recipe for house bacon, I let the bacon rest for 10 days in a 40F curing chamber after it was done curing, to allow that diffusion to take place. This bacon is, by far, the best I've ever made, and I'm convinced that the extra time spent is the reason.

I followed the recipe very closely, and next time I'd up the pepper for the base recipe and probably try some of my usual variations, especially when my rosemary plant gets going in earnest. But, as I said, this is the best I've ever made, and I've made a boatload of bacon, let me tell you. In particular, the cure was far better distributed throughout the bacon than ever before. This was first notable when I cooked it and discovered that I was getting none of the edge darkening that has happened often in the past -- which I now attribute to inadequate distribution of sugar.

Great recipe, great result.

Chris, why are you so surprised that a longer time in the cure will distribute the ingredients better?

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Chris, why are you so surprised that a longer time in the cure will distribute the ingredients better?

I'm not surprised that that happened. I was surprised that an additional ten days -- ten days more than anyone has ever suggested to me, including Ruhlman & Polcyn -- would have such a dramatic effect.

And NB: it wasn't extra time in the cure. It was extra time OUT of the cure, in a curing chamber.


Edited by Chris Amirault (log)

Chris Amirault

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Have you ever seen a recipe that suggests a week post-cure and pre-smoke for distribution? I haven't -- but then again, you know your charcuterie stuff far better than I.


Edited by Chris Amirault Typos -- CA (log)

Chris Amirault

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No sir, haven't. I've never made smoked bacon, i've made smoked pancetta, which is cured, smoked, then dry cured so the distribution probably happens later.

Do you think some of the improvement is also because of the moisture loss in those 10 days which would concentrate the flavors before smoking the belly?

I haven't gotten to the salumi section (only skimmed it) in MC, as i'm sort of reading it "novel" like...i've finished volume 1 i'm up to "baking" in Volume 2.

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Do you think some of the improvement is also because of the moisture loss in those 10 days which would concentrate the flavors before smoking the belly?

Yes, I think so -- and based on my experiences with stresa pancetta, it makes sense.

So, a combination of things, including moisture loss, diffusion, and controlled aging of the meat, probably combined to make it work. Oh, and for MC owners, this all happened without any Fermento.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Have you ever seen a recipe that suggests a week post-cure and pre-smoke for distribution? I haven't -- but then again, you know your charcuterie stuff far better than I.

The River Cottage Meat Book calls for hanging bellies for a period after rinsing off the cure. Don't recall the duration off the top of my head.

eta: quote for context


 

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I finished (and finished off) the pastrami tonight. I used boneless shortribs, 3.5 pounds cut into 8 pieces. I only made enough brine for the recipe, which uses a kilo of meat; I didn't scale it but it was fine, there was enough instacure to turn all the meat pink. I did scale the rub though for the amount of meat I had.

It was very moist and delicious. I smoked the meat for 4 hours at 171F per the recipe but I though the meat was a little too smokey. I used applewood. What kind of wood are you all using for your pastrami? I thought maybe mine was too smokey because I had so much surface area.

All in all it was a success, my dinner guests said it was the best pastrami sandwich they ever had, and the beat sandwich they ever had. This book rocks.

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I keep burning my carrots when making the pressure-cooked caramelized carrot soup.

I've only used my pressure cooker twice, and it was for this recipe both times. The recipe calls for pressure cooking for 50 minutes. After about 30 minutes, both times, I could smell burning. I removed the pressure cooker from the heat and rapidly cooled it. When I opened the lid, I discovered that the bottom of the pan was covered in burnt (not just caramelized) carrot. I was able to salvage most of the unburnt carrots, but the scorched flavor had already made it's way into the soup.

So, what am I doing wrong? My pressure cooker's manual says to always operate it over high heat. On my second attempt, I ignored that instruction and used medium heat. I even picked up the pressure cooker and jostled it around a few times to try to mix up the carrots inside. Still scorched after less than 30 minutes. There's no pressure gauge on my cooker, so I don't know how many psi it's running at.

Note that the recipe does not call for any additional water. The only moisture comes from the butter and carrots, which is plenty to produce lots of steam pressure.

Has anyone else run into this issue?


SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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      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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