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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 3)


KennethT
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Hmm, looks as if nobody knows the answer to my last question. Anyway, here is the mushroom omelette from 5.217 of MC. The original recipe calls for cooking the omelette at 100% humidity in a steam oven. Since I don't have one of those, I used Maxime Bilet's method on Youtube - make the stripes on a silpat, then put it in a covered pan in the oven.

To make this recipe, I had to spend about $200 in equipment and ingredients.

So, how does this compare to a traditional omelette? I must say I am a traditionalist when it comes to omelettes - I like a tender blonde skin and a gooey liquid interior. The modernist omelette is different - the skin is very nearly as tender as a traditonal omelette, but it may be even more tender if I cooked it as recommended in the book. The interior tastes of egg flavoured cream - it is INCREDIBLY rich. Personally, I prefer the taste and texture of a traditional omelette. But there is no way I can serve 7 omelettes prepared the traditional way to guests at a dinner party! With the MC omelettes, the skin and fillings can be made in advance, and the omelettes constructed at the last minute. It was fast and risk-free.

Nice effort. I too am spending a lot more money on equipment and ingredients to try these recipes.

I agree with your preference for traditional omelettes. I have been making them for years and have often served up to 12 people at once. I pre-heat the oven and plates to 200F and use two pans to cook all 12. The first 10 are partially cooked and plated and put in the oven to finish. The last 2 are cooked through and then all 12 are served. It takes about 15 minutes to complete and everyone is happy.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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Thanks for your reply, Paul. If you can cook 12 omelettes in 15 minutes with two pans ... I take my hat off to you. There is no way I can multitask with two pans going at once - not with something as time sensitive as an omelette! I wonder if the MC omelette might be better if the egg filling were sous-vided at 65C instead of the recommended 72C. Something to try.

Also - I neglected to say this in my post - but - it is IMPORTANT to get all the bubbles out of the omelette base mixture before you pour it on the Silpat. If you look closely at my omelette, you will see that it has holes in it from the bubbles. Next time I will place the egg mixture under vacuum to get rid of the bubbles.

I might attempt this recipe again tomorrow with the variations in place. Another dinner party ... I am a glutton for punishment!

Edited by Keith_W (log)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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This one isn't from Modernist Cuisine, but I am sure that any reader of this book will find the technique to look quite familiar :) Instead of a mushroom puree, I made a beetroot puree. Instead of eggs, I made a crepe batter. Instead of cooking the omelette filling at 71C, I cooked it at 70C (to better approximate the runny filling I love). I adapted the cooking technique from Maxime Bilet's Youtube video - where he cooks the omelette in a covered frypan in the oven in place of a Combi oven - but this time I cooked the beetroot stripes for 2 minutes before pouring the batter in. This massively improves the integrity of the stripes and stops them from lifting off when the batter is poured.

original.jpg

Pouring the crepe batter onto the beetroot stripes.

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Cubed beetroot with sous-vide eggs forced out of a cream siphon.

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The whole thing is made pretty ...

original.jpg

... then plated.

original.jpg

original.jpg

Here it is as part of a complete dish.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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This one isn't from Modernist Cuisine, but I am sure that any reader of this book will find the technique to look quite familiar :) Instead of a mushroom puree, I made a beetroot puree. Instead of eggs, I made a crepe batter. Instead of cooking the omelette filling at 71C, I cooked it at 70C (to better approximate the runny filling I love). I adapted the cooking technique from Maxime Bilet's Youtube video - where he cooks the omelette in a covered frypan in the oven in place of a Combi oven - but this time I cooked the beetroot stripes for 2 minutes before pouring the batter in. This massively improves the integrity of the stripes and stops them from lifting off when the batter is poured.

original.jpg

Here it is as part of a complete dish.

Love this idea, its execution and the vibrant colors. What else is on the plate? Short ribs? What are those fried breaded items?

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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It's also really interesting to see how diffrent (looser) 70C eggs are from 71C eggs! Was the temperature really the only difference? or is it a totally different recipe?

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Foodman everything on the plate has beetroot in it. I was challenged to make a beetroot themed dinner. The short ribs were marinaded in beetroot puree then smoked with beetroot offcuts (leaves, skin, etc), the sauce is a beetroot jus (beetroot + reduced beef stock), there are confit baby beetroots, beetroot chips on top of the crepe, and the breaded items are (you guessed it) beetroot. Here is a better picture:

original.jpg

BTW I made a stupid typo!! The eggs were cooked at 71C instead of 72C in the book! I was typing so fast that I did not notice my fingers hit the wrong number! The only difference between these eggs and the MC eggs is the cooking temperature.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Tried my first full plated dish recipe from MC today, was doing some cooking with our 5-year old and he really wanted to make curry so we plumped for the Goan Lamb one. It was absolutely amazing, really really deep, interesting flavours with perfectly cooked lamb shank and a stunning fresh cucumber salad. It was all pretty straightforward too, the only things I changed were the amount of tomato puree added to the sauce - the recipe only calls for 60g but this seemed far too dry and would have gone to powder if simmered for 45 minutes. I think I used more like 250g, even then I added a bit of water a couple of times during the simmer to keep it from drying out.

The sauce:

photo 1.JPG

The cucumber and black-eyed pea salad:

photo 2.JPG

The finished dish:

photo 3.JPG

It all went down brilliantly, darling son loved measuring all the spices out (using new gram scale that arrived yesterday) and wolfed down his plateful. The lamb shanks were spot on (after 48h at 62C), probably one of the most successful SV things we've made so far.

MC is a truly remarkable book, can't wait to make more from it.

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Every weekend breakfast when my husband and I eat my MC house bacon we remark on the brilliance of the star anise in the cure (even after several weeks, it is still startling how good it is) and how it seems to make pork more "porky" while remaining elusive. As I was making up the rub for the "Best Ribs in the Universe" on the Virtual Weber Bullet site yesterday while sipping an Old Fashioned, my husband asked, "why don't you try a bit of star anise?" GENIUS! I added a teaspoon to the recipe and smoked the rubbed baby back ribs for two hours with pecan bisquettes in my Bradley smoker, continued at 225 C until they passed the tear test, then finished on the grill to glaze on some Jack Miller's Cajun BBQ sauce cut with 1/6th maple syrup. Oh my Goodness! We ate those ribs to the point of pain, I'm embarrassed to admit.

Has everyone but myself known about the magic powers of star anise on pork? Never in a million years would I have thought to include it in a cure. I feel MC was well worth the price if I learn nothing else from it amortizeded over the probable 30 years left to me other than the knowledge that star anise makes pork sing.

Inventing the Universe

Here in the South, we don't hide crazy. We parade it on the front porch and give it a cocktail.

The devil is in the details but God is in the fat.

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It all went down brilliantly, darling son loved measuring all the spices out (using new gram scale that arrived yesterday) and wolfed down his plateful. The lamb shanks were spot on (after 48h at 62C), probably one of the most successful SV things we've made so far.

MC is a truly remarkable book, can't wait to make more from it.

I'm really glad to see you and your 5-year old using metric measurements in these recipes. Even the UK has gone metric for some time now, as well as Canada, leaving only the US consumer to fumble around with demonstrably inaccurate volume-based teaspoons, tablespoons. and cups, as well as ounces, pounds, etc.

The rest of the world is passing us by, and our antiquated measurement system is at least part of the problem.

Wake up, people! It isn't all that hard. If a 5 year old can do it, why can't you! And cookbook authors, PLEASE get with the times!

Bob

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It all went down brilliantly, darling son loved measuring all the spices out (using new gram scale that arrived yesterday) and wolfed down his plateful. The lamb shanks were spot on (after 48h at 62C), probably one of the most successful SV things we've made so far.

MC is a truly remarkable book, can't wait to make more from it.

I'm really glad to see you and your 5-year old using metric measurements in these recipes. Even the UK has gone metric for some time now, as well as Canada, leaving only the US consumer to fumble around with demonstrably inaccurate volume-based teaspoons, tablespoons. and cups, as well as ounces, pounds, etc.

The rest of the world is passing us by, and our antiquated measurement system is at least part of the problem.

Wake up, people! It isn't all that hard. If a 5 year old can do it, why can't you! And cookbook authors, PLEASE get with the times!

Bob

Thank you, Bob!

A kitchen scale is also good for measuring volumes. E.g. for cooking pasta, place the pot on the scale, tare, add 30g salt, tare, add 3000g water, and ready you are to cook 300g pasta, and you don't have to dry a measuring vessel.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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I'm really glad to see you and your 5-year old using metric measurements in these recipes. Even the UK has gone metric for some time now, as well as Canada, leaving only the US consumer to fumble around with demonstrably inaccurate volume-based teaspoons, tablespoons. and cups, as well as ounces, pounds, etc.

The rest of the world is passing us by, and our antiquated measurement system is at least part of the problem.

Wake up, people! It isn't all that hard. If a 5 year old can do it, why can't you! And cookbook authors, PLEASE get with the times!

Bob

I couldn't agree more!

I just received my copy of "The Family Meal - Home Cooking with Feran Adria" which I had on pre-order with Book Depository UK for several months. Imagine my annoyance to find that a book by one of the worlds most famous chef's based in Spain has only the silly US measurements Bob mentions. It doesn't show grams or degrees Centigrade at all. I've written to Phaidon Press complaining about this and have cited MC as an example of where even recent US cook books are seeing the light.

The "home cooking" referred to in the title is really "staff meals" from El Bulli. Apart from the measurements the book seems to be very approachable compared to anything else I've seen written by Ferran.

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I'm really glad to see you and your 5-year old using metric measurements in these recipes. Even the UK has gone metric for some time now, as well as Canada, leaving only the US consumer to fumble around with demonstrably inaccurate volume-based teaspoons, tablespoons. and cups, as well as ounces, pounds, etc.

The rest of the world is passing us by, and our antiquated measurement system is at least part of the problem.

Wake up, people! It isn't all that hard. If a 5 year old can do it, why can't you! And cookbook authors, PLEASE get with the times!

Bob

Agree completely, it is source of great disappointment to me that some of my favourite cookbooks (bouchon, ad hoc, les halles) have volumetric measurements. Using grams is so much easier, so much better that it's frankly bizarre that cups etc still dominate American recipes.

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I'm really glad to see you and your 5-year old using metric measurements in these recipes. Even the UK has gone metric for some time now, as well as Canada, leaving only the US consumer to fumble around with demonstrably inaccurate volume-based teaspoons, tablespoons. and cups, as well as ounces, pounds, etc.

The rest of the world is passing us by, and our antiquated measurement system is at least part of the problem.

Wake up, people! It isn't all that hard. If a 5 year old can do it, why can't you! And cookbook authors, PLEASE get with the times!

Bob

I couldn't agree more!

I just received my copy of "The Family Meal - Home Cooking with Feran Adria" which I had on pre-order with Book Depository UK for several months. Imagine my annoyance to find that a book by one of the worlds most famous chef's based in Spain has only the silly US measurements Bob mentions. It doesn't show grams or degrees Centigrade at all. I've written to Phaidon Press complaining about this and have cited MC as an example of where even recent US cook books are seeing the light.

The "home cooking" referred to in the title is really "staff meals" from El Bulli. Apart from the measurements the book seems to be very approachable compared to anything else I've seen written by Ferran.

I received my copy of Feran's book and am disappointed to say the least. It is almost a comic book with scant recipes and too many pages of pictures. There is little of the Feran Adria I had hoped to learn from. The lack of metric measurements is just plain wrong and some of the scaling seems to be erratic and defies a logical progression.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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DOW SGA-150 Methylcellulose has been discontinued

I received the following from DOW in response to an inquiry as to where to find SGA-150, which is referenced in a number of MC recipes, e.g, the one for oxtail consommé.

"METHOCEL SG A150 FDG has been discontinued. Possible replacements are METHOCEL SG A7C, METHOCEL SG A16M, or METHOCEL MX.

For samples and pricing information please contact Ciao Imports at (866) 249-0400."

Now, Ciao Imports is perhaps better known as willpowder.com, and they carry (only) the SG A7C.

According to a data sheet they sent me, SA A7C has a medium viscosity (700 centipoise), an optimum hydration temperature of <10C, and makes a very firm gel at 38-44C.

That sounds like what I need for fining a consommé, or for making hot ice cream. A pound canister is $31 plus shipping. Smaller sizes are also available.

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Just thought I'd share a few thoughts on the Spaghetti Carbonara (3.384). It was interesting to make this and then read through Chris Hennes' notes on the same recipe, back on page 22.

Relative to the rest of MC, this is quite a simple recipe and takes little time or effort. But there are many aspects to it that have the potential for lengthy discussions!

- Firstly, as a fan of spaghetti carbonara in general I closely followed the thread on it's many variations, dating back to May this year (coincientally also started by Chris Hennes!) It seems fairly well accepted that a traditional carbonara contains only egg and not cream, and that the cheese is something of a seasoning, rather than being the dominant flavour. So the first thing that's interesting about the MC spaghetti carbonara is that the dominant flavour is unmistakably the parmesan cheese, and that the sauce is based on cream.

- Secondly (and this is more of a personal observation) the first step is so simple and yet so delicious. Bag up some cream with some bacon, add a small amount of cheese and some blanched garlic, and cook it sous vide for 2 hours. About 2 minutes of prep time, but the result was really tasty! Although I've been playing around with sous vide for a while, it's not quite as second-nature as cooking with a frying pan and I also have a preconception that it's only used for 'special' cooking. But this was a valuable lesson that sous vide can be simple, quick, clean and great for applications other than slow-cooking meats! I have already tried a variation that includes porcini mushrooms, to great success.

- The recipe only specifies bacon, without defining smoked or un-smoked. I'm not much of a bacon connoisseur and in Australia bacon is pretty much just bacon. But I have noticed in other parts of the world there's a whole universe of different bacon varieties. When I lived in London I was always impressed at the many types on offer even at supermarkets - not just smoked and unsmoked, but maple, hickory, thick, thin... After thinking about it for a bit, I decided to fry the bacon first - it's a beautiful smell and I thought it would add extra depth to the cream sauce.

-I found lining up all the strands of cooked spaghetti to be quite easy. After draining the spaghetti I added the sauce and the poured the mix into a baking tray. I just raked through the pasta with my fingers and it didn't take long to get everything lined up. My result was not as perfect as the photo in the book (or as perfect as Chris' on page 22) but it wasn't too far off.

-The pasta/cream pancake sets in the fridge, despite the sauce having no obvious thickening or gelling agents. However the recipe specifies 'whipping cream', which usually contains gelatine, so perhaps that helps.

Up to this point everything is delicious. The presentation is novel, it's all quick and easy to prepare and doesn't require any unusual ingredients at all.

The next step is to make a reconstituted brick of parmesan cheese, a process that will be familiar to anyone who's made the mac and cheese recipe- although this version uses two types of gellan instead of carrageenan. I used a genuine parmigiano reggiano and the result was a soft block of intensely parmesan flavoured cheese.

The problem I had was that the parmesan flavour dominated everything. I don't think I was even aware of the egg-yolk (which is piped on top). This is an unmistakably cheese-flavoured dish, which prompts the question of how much cheese you can put in a carbonara before it isn't really a carbonara but something else.

Without the parmesan brick this recipe is delicious and also has great potential as a side dish. I'm thinking about serving it with osso bucco instead of risotto milanese. The presentation is eye-catching and not difficult to do. But served up as it is in MC it's pure parmigiano overload... if I do make the full recipe again I won't use a parmigiano regiano, but something milder.

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Thanks for posting, ChrisZ. I have had my eye on this recipe as well, but I was wary about the ratio of the parmesan to the pasta. Chris Hennes also complained that the parmesan was too intense, and indeed it looks as if there is way too much parmesan for that amount of pasta. Perhaps if we laid cooked spaghetti into the parmesan block, it would cut down the intensity of the parmesan?

The name "carbonara" comes from the black pepper, which looks like flakes of carbon on the plate. Perhaps a squid ink spaghetti laid into the parmesan block could replicate the look.

Did you take any pictures of your effort?

I could have a lot of fun with this. Maybe I will try it later in the week!

(edit) Over the weekend I had another shot at making the MC mushroom omelette. Result:

original.jpg

Apart from over-filling the omelette and ruining the aesthetics of the dish, I was very happy with the result. This time, I made the omelette skin one day in advance. I laid them on top of each other, seperated by some baking paper. To reheat, I wrapped the whole thing in foil and put it in the oven at 80C for 20 minutes. I served it on a warm plate. THIS time, the skin was beautifully tender.

The other variation was the mushroom puree. The last time I made this, the puree turned out brownish instead of black as it appears in the book. I had to cheat by using some squid ink. This time, the puree was made from 100% mushroom gills. It worked!

Edited by Keith_W (log)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Coconut Chutney Foam

I tried the Coconut Chutney Foam on 6-325 using the exact ingredients. The foam was quite green and set hard at serving temperature. I expected it to be an off white soft foam when served as a garnish with the carrot soup as found on the Modernist Cooks Site. Any suggestions on how to modify the recipe? I don't have a lot of time to experiment right now so would appreciate some guidance.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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Tonight I made the Fish and Chips from MC.

PA240940.jpg

The chips were supposed to be the Pommes Souffle, but as you can see from the photo - the chips failed to puff up - despite following the instructions EXACTLY - down to sourcing Russett potatoes (very rare in Australia at this time of the year!), the 30 minute ice water soak and the two stage frying at the recommended temperatures.

Thank goodness I had more potatoes and decided to play it safe by making the Blumenthal triple cooked chips recipe.

PA240942.jpg

The fish batter was much more of a success. I skipped the fish stock gel and coated the fish in Trisol. Yes, I actually went and bought a 5kg bucket of Trisol so that I could use 100gm for this recipe! My other variation was to use beer instead of water (as recommended) in the batter. The moment the fish and batter hit the hot oil, it puffed up like you wouldn't believe. The batter was the crunchiest I have EVER tasted, and the fish nestled within was beautifully moist. I wonder what it would have been like if I made the fish stock gel ...

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Tonight I made the Fish and Chips from MC.

PA240942.jpg

The fish batter was much more of a success. I skipped the fish stock gel and coated the fish in Trisol. Yes, I actually went and bought a 5kg bucket of Trisol so that I could use 100gm for this recipe! My other variation was to use beer instead of water (as recommended) in the batter. The moment the fish and batter hit the hot oil, it puffed up like you wouldn't believe. The batter was the crunchiest I have EVER tasted, and the fish nestled within was beautifully moist. I wonder what it would have been like if I made the fish stock gel ...

This looks excellent Keith. I had tried the original version of this based on Blumenthal's recipe a while back and it was the most fantastic piece of crispy fried fish ever as well. That was also without Trisol or fish stock gel. What fish did you use? Cod?

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Hi Foodman, I made 3 fillets - the one pictured above was John Dory, the other two were Rockling and Flathead. Not sure if these fish are available in the USA ... they may be unique to Australia.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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vegetable risotto.JPG

I tried the MC method for pressure-cooked risotto and it produced fantastic results. I used the vegetable risotto recipe as a base and made mine with mushrooms, acorn squash and roasted red pepper. I was amazed how good this turned out after no time at all (about six minutes) in the pre-ssure cooker. It was creamy, the grains fully cooked with the slightest bite. I will be cooking my risotto like that on a regular basis.

vegetable risotto-fish.JPG

I also made mahi mahi fillets to go with the risotto. I cooked the fish sous vide bagged with butter and a little salt. They came out perfectly cooked and delicious. That red stuff was supposed to be the red butter served with the Escolar in the book, but I screwed up and it ended up splitting on me.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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