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Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 3)


KennethT
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This was a Thanksgiving catastrophe closely averted. My wife requested a ham this year as opposed to turkey, so I went ahead and bought a locally raised free-range lovely fresh ham of about 15 lbs. Previously, I had used Ruhlman's Charcuterie recipe for an American Holiday ham on a small 6-7lb piece of meat. That made a very nice ham, but the amount of pink salt in it needed to be a bit higher I think or the soaking time longer since the cure did not penetrate all the way through. This time I decided to give the Modernist Cuisine cure recipe a try. Using the Best Bets table, I made a Sweet Cure (total liquid was about 3.5 gallons, one of which was apple juice) and soaked the ham in it for 14 days. Then I rinsed it and soaked it in water for about 10 hours (book recommends 8) and then it sat in the fridge dry for about 12 hours (again, book recommends 8). MC uses 20% salt in the cure. That is very high, more than twice what Charcuterie uses (about 7-8% I think). Still I went with it and figured the rinse time / resting time will handle that. Luckily I decided to smoke the meat till it reaches 150F the day before T-Day and to bake/glaze it the day of. Well, as soon as it came off the smoker I took a couple of tastes and holy shit! That was very very salty. To fix the issue, I decided to simmer the ham with some aromatics instead of baking. I simmered it very gently for a couple of hours and changed the liquid twice. Then I glazed it per the Charcuterie recipe and baked it. It was still slightly saltier than I prefer, but it was overall a success. The cure was eben all the way through and the glaze made for a fantastic crust.

Now, maybe the expectation for cured fooods in MC that they should be this salty, but I do not think so. I suppose if you are making a "country" ham then possibly this is good. Making a cure with no more than 10% salt should be way more than enough for something like this. I doubt this should go in the "Errata" page but just a heads-up for anyone planning on curing any meat.

I guess my prosciutto cotto post on my blog was about a week late :)

Glad it worked out. 20% brine for 14 days seems WAY WAY high, but it would also depend on the volume of water and the weight of the meat.

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This was a Thanksgiving catastrophe closely averted. My wife requested a ham this year as opposed to turkey, so I went ahead and bought a locally raised free-range lovely fresh ham of about 15 lbs. Previously, I had used Ruhlman's Charcuterie recipe for an American Holiday ham on a small 6-7lb piece of meat. That made a very nice ham, but the amount of pink salt in it needed to be a bit higher I think or the soaking time longer since the cure did not penetrate all the way through. This time I decided to give the Modernist Cuisine cure recipe a try. Using the Best Bets table, I made a Sweet Cure (total liquid was about 3.5 gallons, one of which was apple juice) and soaked the ham in it for 14 days. Then I rinsed it and soaked it in water for about 10 hours (book recommends 8) and then it sat in the fridge dry for about 12 hours (again, book recommends 8). MC uses 20% salt in the cure. That is very high, more than twice what Charcuterie uses (about 7-8% I think). Still I went with it and figured the rinse time / resting time will handle that. Luckily I decided to smoke the meat till it reaches 150F the day before T-Day and to bake/glaze it the day of. Well, as soon as it came off the smoker I took a couple of tastes and holy shit! That was very very salty. To fix the issue, I decided to simmer the ham with some aromatics instead of baking. I simmered it very gently for a couple of hours and changed the liquid twice. Then I glazed it per the Charcuterie recipe and baked it. It was still slightly saltier than I prefer, but it was overall a success. The cure was eben all the way through and the glaze made for a fantastic crust.

Now, maybe the expectation for cured fooods in MC that they should be this salty, but I do not think so. I suppose if you are making a "country" ham then possibly this is good. Making a cure with no more than 10% salt should be way more than enough for something like this. I doubt this should go in the "Errata" page but just a heads-up for anyone planning on curing any meat.

I guess my prosciutto cotto post on my blog was about a week late :)

Glad it worked out. 20% brine for 14 days seems WAY WAY high, but it would also depend on the volume of water and the weight of the meat.

Ha! that looks very nice Jason, but yeah, it was about a month late for me :). I will have too try it soon enough though. Next up is the New Year's Cotechino of course...

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

So I found egullet after reading about it in Modernist Cuisine. I doubt I am the first either huh?

I've had MC for about a month but I haven't actually cooked any of the recipes from it yet. I have used many of the techniques though as well as messing around with xanthan gum in various things such as sorbet and ice cream.

I have yet to invest in a sous vide, I am dithering over making my own with an arduino PID ala http://www.over-engineered.com/projects/sous-vide-pid-controller/ or picking up either the Magic or Polyscience professional. I really like the idea of making my own as I am a bit of a hacker and a PID isn't that complex. I am also scoring an old centrifuge of a friend of mine who works in science communication.

I am enjoying reading all your exploits, I am at page 15 of this thread so far. Will catch up eventually! Looking forward to sharing my own!

Rory

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Hi,

So I found egullet after reading about it in Modernist Cuisine. I doubt I am the first either huh?

I've had MC for about a month but I haven't actually cooked any of the recipes from it yet. I have used many of the techniques though as well as messing around with xanthan gum in various things such as sorbet and ice cream.

I have yet to invest in a sous vide, I am dithering over making my own with an arduino PID ala http://www.over-engineered.com/projects/sous-vide-pid-controller/ or picking up either the Magic or Polyscience professional. I really like the idea of making my own as I am a bit of a hacker and a PID isn't that complex. I am also scoring an old centrifuge of a friend of mine who works in science communication.

I am enjoying reading all your exploits, I am at page 15 of this thread so far. Will catch up eventually! Looking forward to sharing my own!

Rory

Rory, just so you're aware a PID is available on Ebay for about $35. Some things are worth making, others just buying...i think you'll have enough challenges on your hands making the rest of the thermal circulator system (heaters/pumps/wiring etc) to still have fun tinkering.

Then again, sometimes we just do things to say we can do them...i'm not innocent in that regard :)

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Rory, just so you're aware a PID is available on Ebay for about $35. Some things are worth making, others just buying...i think you'll have enough challenges on your hands making the rest of the thermal circulator system (heaters/pumps/wiring etc) to still have fun tinkering.

Then again, sometimes we just do things to say we can do them...i'm not innocent in that regard :)

Will use a slow cooker to begin with so won't be worrying about the heaters and such. I don't trust my electronic skills to the point of ensuring I don't burn the house down. I am building my own as I would like to hook it up to the network and monitor it from work and such.

Rory

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Rory, I'm not one to dissuade people from making stuff ( I love to ), but I will tell you: The initial geek reflex is that it needs monitoring, etc. It doesn't. Trust me, with a proper PID it will be the most boring monitoring ever; Oh, look it went down 0.1 degree for a minute! Will be about the most excitement you'll get. A PID + Heater (of just about any sort, including slow cooker) will be absolutely rock steady, and short of the water evaporating out (takes a long time normally, unless you are cooking at 80 C or something, and covering will make it almost irrelevant) it will hold there for weeks without a single hiccup. Well, actually, it would hold for years, but evaporation will definitely get you :)

I'd *really* suggest you consider buying a PID unit and rocking out some great SV cooking. Do 2 cooks, and you'll never worry about the monitoring ever again :)

BTW, if you really want to make a monitor, the one monitor that would be useful would be a power outage one. With a PID based unit, you'll never know the power was out or how long (though your other stuff might give you a hint :) )

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I'd *really* suggest you consider buying a PID unit and rocking out some great SV cooking. Do 2 cooks, and you'll never worry about the monitoring ever again :)

BTW, if you really want to make a monitor, the one monitor that would be useful would be a power outage one. With a PID based unit, you'll never know the power was out or how long (though your other stuff might give you a hint :) )

Well it would seem that my partner is getting me a fresh meal solutions PID for Xmas! So I shall put my arduino to good use in my charcoal webber for smoking. Thanks for the advice!

I made the MC Mac & Cheese this evening. Just as fantastic and easy as others have reported. Scaled it up slightly and didn't have a 0.1gm increment scales for the Iota but it worked fine. Tempted to make some sachets of the dry mix for friends to try.

950dd0f423e111e180c9123138016265_7.jpg

Served with a chicken schnitzel, roast cherry tomatoes and peas.

I am still working my way through this thread, has anyone played with the recipe? Was thinking of adding a pinch or two of cayenne pepper when I use the left over cheese. A little garlic wouldn't go astray either (but I am a garlic nut I must admit).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Took a shot at some of the BBQ section. Used the Kansas Rub on one rack of pork ribs. No smoker so just SV for 48 hours @ 140. Basted under the convection broiler with the Kansas City Sauce for 10 minutes.

Of course fall of the bone tender but all the flavor of the pork is enhanced from the rub. The sauce is spicy/sweet.

Happy about the results and I never follow recipes to the letter. I've very excited to do "my" ribs but SV for 48 hours.

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6541339903_acb87d0fbd_z.jpg

Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

My eGullet Foodblog

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know this isn't in MC, but I figured this is probably the best place to ask the question without creating a new thread.

In the program 'Heston's Fishy Feast', Heston Blumenthal creates an edible coral reef by pulling vacuum on what he describes as a 'sugar mixed with seaweed'. I have tried and tried with this, and I can simply not get it to set, even with a caramel made in a dry pan.

I pulled vacuum as far as the machine at work would let me (just below 1300) and even with the dry caramel, it bubbled (nowhere near the extent that his did though), but was too warm to set, even after holding vacuum for several minutes.

Would he be using sugar other than sucrose, or would there be a stabiliser or additive of some sort in there?

Link is

James.

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I know this isn't in MC, but I figured this is probably the best place to ask the question without creating a new thread.

In the program 'Heston's Fishy Feast', Heston Blumenthal creates an edible coral reef by pulling vacuum on what he describes as a 'sugar mixed with seaweed'. I have tried and tried with this, and I can simply not get it to set, even with a caramel made in a dry pan.

I pulled vacuum as far as the machine at work would let me (just below 1300) and even with the dry caramel, it bubbled (nowhere near the extent that his did though), but was too warm to set, even after holding vacuum for several minutes.

Would he be using sugar other than sucrose, or would there be a stabiliser or additive of some sort in there?

Link is

Hmmh. The video doesn't explain too much, of course.

But I have some questions. First of all, what kind of vacuum machine were you using?

Second, when you say you pulled vacuum to 1300, what is that in terms of percent vacuum, which is what I'm used to?

As to what kind of the stabilizer or additive might be used to stabilize the caramel, I suppose you could try xanthan gum, agar-agar, or maybe even gelatin.

The overall effect was certainly a tour de force, but there are many questions left.

Good luck!

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I know this isn't in MC, but I figured this is probably the best place to ask the question without creating a new thread.

In the program 'Heston's Fishy Feast', Heston Blumenthal creates an edible coral reef by pulling vacuum on what he describes as a 'sugar mixed with seaweed'. I have tried and tried with this, and I can simply not get it to set, even with a caramel made in a dry pan.

I pulled vacuum as far as the machine at work would let me (just below 1300) and even with the dry caramel, it bubbled (nowhere near the extent that his did though), but was too warm to set, even after holding vacuum for several minutes.

Would he be using sugar other than sucrose, or would there be a stabiliser or additive of some sort in there?

Link is

Hmmh. The video doesn't explain too much, of course.

But I have some questions. First of all, what kind of vacuum machine were you using?

Second, when you say you pulled vacuum to 1300, what is that in terms of percent vacuum, which is what I'm used to?

As to what kind of the stabilizer or additive might be used to stabilize the caramel, I suppose you could try xanthan gum, agar-agar, or maybe even gelatin.

The overall effect was certainly a tour de force, but there are many questions left.

Good luck!

It is a chamber vacuum, and I think the 1300 is PSI. No idea about percentage.

It was only because it looked so simple that I thought it didn't need any more explanation, and I'd just be able to recreate it.

Keith, I suspected there may be an invert sugar involved, thanks.

James.

James.

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It is a chamber vacuum, and I think the 1300 is PSI. No idea about percentage.

PSI doesn't make much sense in relation to vacuum levels. 1300 psi would be 89 bar - that would be more of a pressure chamber :wink:

I'm not sure, I'm just used to reading the number, I don't really pay any attention to the unit of measurement.

James.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well it took a fairly long time but I finally made the pistachio gelato. Twice. My main goal for this recipe was not just that I love pistachios, but my friend has gluten, dairy and soy allergies, so finding ice cream he can eat is nearly impossible unless he makes it himself (using coconut milk). We have been wanting to do this ever since we heard about it early last year but sourcing the ingredients proved to be a little difficult. Finding food grade polysorbate 80 is not easy, especially in a small enough quantity for what you really need. A small bottle will run you at least $50 and you only need a fraction of it. My friend managed to get us a free sample finally so I picked up the rest of what we needed.

We made the recipe late Saturday night, but in my infinite wisdom, I neglected to check the errata page, resulting in our using 22g salt instead of the corrected 7g. The final product was barely edible and that's when I checked the recipe. I felt so bad, we had wanted to try this for 10 months and now it was garbage. At this point it was really late and we decided to just go to sleep feeling heavily discouraged. The next morning we had to try again. Since we were making our own pistachio butter for the recipe, I decided to just combine the oil and pistachios at the same time and skip a step and it worked so much faster to get the pistachios ground smooth. I got everything mixed up a lot faster than the night before and used the right amount of salt this time.

Now about the finished product. I have made pistachio ice cream before with milk. The ingredients of that can mask some of the pistachio taste a bit. This recipe only uses pistachios and pistachio oil so the old saying you get out what you put in really matters here. The gelato will taste exactly like the pistachios you put in, with a little sweetness from the sugar. Make sure you use good pistachios, we used some that were ok, but a little bitter. I think I would reduce the 7g of salt a little bit next time, maybe to 5g, based on personal preferences and maybe even a bit more sugar. The gelato itself was really soft, a little more than I'm used to and nowhere near as hard as ice cream will get. I'm not sure if that's something I did wrong or not. Overall it was good and I would make it again, but not frequently as it's quite expensive at roughly $10 per pint. Next time I will certainly try to find better pistachios. I'm also thinking about adapting the recipe to make a macadamia gelato.

6709508345_97d4b5ea3a_z.jpg

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Make sure you use good pistachios, we used some that were ok, but a little bitter. I think I would reduce the 7g of salt a little bit next time, maybe to 5g, based on personal preferences and maybe even a bit more sugar.

Thanks for sharing. Just as a side note, sugar doesn't counteract bitterness, salt does. So if you reduce the amount of salt the end result may taste even more bitter. Books by McGee and Blumenthal both use the example that adding salt to tonic water makes it taste sweeter than adding sugar. Not that you shouldn't add more sugar if you want a sweeter result, just that it won't effect the bitterness...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone have any ideas about making out-of-this-world hot wings for this Sunday's superbowl using MC techniques? I have most of the usual suspects as far as tools go (Sous Vide Supreme, pressure cooker, huge dutch oven for deep frying in peanut oil, IsI soda siphon, and a fair collection of those magical white powders).

I don't know how "cute" I want to get with the recipe - I am not sure that a group of average football fans are going to have any patience for deconstructed buffalo wings (like this) or the like. I'd be open to something somewhat creative and untraditional, but not too off-the-wall. I'm also debating whether or not it is worthwhile to make my own hot sauce or if the traditional Frank's wing sauce is difficult to improve on.

Cooking sous vide first seems like the logical approach, and a super-quick deep fry (just to crisp the skin) to finish. This has worked great for fried chicken (adapting Keller's recipe), but for hot wings I'm not sure how and when to infuse the hot sauce, especially if you want to keep the wings crispy instead of all soggied-out by the traditional simmering in wing sauce.

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I think the drying of the wings is important after SV, and before frying. I did Keller's fried chicken and SV first, then coated in flour and fried there was poor adhesion of the crust.

I actually asked Dave Arnold @ Cooking Issues, and he suggested letting them dry raelly well before coating....

Haven't tried it yet.

What about SV with the buffalo sauce in the bag. I imagine the cayenne and vinegar and salt would penetrate quite well. Dry, then fry

Edited by jmolinari (log)
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OK, and how would you incorporate the wing sauce? Dunking the wings into sauce or drizzling sauce over it after deep frying would work, but it wouldn't be infused through as when doing a traditional simmer in the sauce.

UPDATE: whoops, just saw the suggestion above after I originally posted this.

Edited by DaveJes1979 (log)
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P1302444.JPG

Modernist Cuisine deep fried brussel sprouts. Incredibly tasty! The quantity of sauce specified in the recipe is probably 3x what you actually need.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Does anyone have any ideas about making out-of-this-world hot wings for this Sunday's superbowl using MC techniques? I have most of the usual suspects as far as tools go (Sous Vide Supreme, pressure cooker, huge dutch oven for deep frying in peanut oil, IsI soda siphon, and a fair collection of those magical white powders).

I don't know how "cute" I want to get with the recipe - I am not sure that a group of average football fans are going to have any patience for deconstructed buffalo wings (like this) or the like. I'd be open to something somewhat creative and untraditional, but not too off-the-wall. I'm also debating whether or not it is worthwhile to make my own hot sauce or if the traditional Frank's wing sauce is difficult to improve on.

Cooking sous vide first seems like the logical approach, and a super-quick deep fry (just to crisp the skin) to finish. This has worked great for fried chicken (adapting Keller's recipe), but for hot wings I'm not sure how and when to infuse the hot sauce, especially if you want to keep the wings crispy instead of all soggied-out by the traditional simmering in wing sauce.

One of the El Bulli books recommends cooking chicken wings in a little olive oil at 140F for 24 hours. At this point, remove the wings from the bag (be careful, they're very delicate) and you can pull the bones out without damaging the meat or skin. It takes a little practice but it's definitely doable at home. You can then chill (or maybe even lightly freeze), coat in potato starch or other crispy coating and deep fry at really high temp a la modernist cuisine quail dish. You can coat in wing sauce just before serving or provide it as a dipping sauce. In the past, I've done a decent wing sauce by sweating a bunch of finely chopped shallots in a lot of butter, then adding a bottle of Crystal hot sauce, then blend... Another idea is a roquefort foam - the foam is good as roquefort can be very strong and salty, and the foam mellows it just a bit, while letting the essence of it through... melt roquefort in a bit of cream (maybe a little sodium citrate will help melting?), strain, put in nitrous whipper and chill.

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