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JAZ

Braising seminar discussion

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If you have any questions about the logistics of the braising seminar, please post them here.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
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jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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You mention different liquids. Are we going try anything truly wacky like Coca Cola? The last few days i've been running pork ribs braised with RC Cola and Garlic, S&P.


Bringing Tasty Food to World

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I'm interested in the technique and execution of braising in milk, any chance you'll include that?


"It is just as absurd to exact excellent cooking from a chef whom one provides with defective or scanty goods, as to hope to obtain wine from a bottled decoction of logwood." -Escoffier

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Can I correctly assume these should be bone-in short ribs? It's a little difficult to tell from the picture. My butcher sells both bone-in and boneless.


What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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hhawk and Chef Dan:

Every variable we introduce can redouble the number of experiments we need to do, so the core lab experiments for this seminar will be relatively conservative. The liquids will be stock, wine and water, alone and in some combinations with each other and with aromatic vegetables. For most students in the seminar, these permutations will already test the limits of oven space, available pans and reasonable meat resources.

But if you want "extra credit," you can certainly add milk or coca cola to your own lab work and report back to us. The only thing I ask is that you also do enough of the basic experiments to be able to give a comparative report.

For example, the following would be a great addition to the seminar:

Today, in addition to the braised short ribs in stock, wine, half-stock/half-wine, and water-with-mirepoix, I braised a batch of short ribs in Diet A&W Root Beer and a batch in chocolate milk. Here are some photographs of how they looked during and after cooking. My observations, upon comparing the samples, are that the ones done in wine display the following characteristics . . . by contrast, the ones done in chocolate milk . . .

The following would not be a permissible addition to the seminar:

I already know what short ribs taste like when they're braised in stock and wine, so today I decided to braise some in grapefruit juice instead. They tasted really good, much better than I remember ones braised in stock tasting.

The point being, we are doing live, side-by-side comparisons. We're forgetting what we know, and approaching this scientifically, together, in a seminar format, with open minds. I hope we'll see lots of interesting "extra credit" work.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Can I correctly assume these should be bone-in short ribs?  It's a little difficult to tell from the picture.  My butcher sells both bone-in and boneless.

Mine are bone-in. But, Cusina, it doesn't matter. The important thing is that you use all of one or the other, so all your results will be directly comparable to each other. For myself, I'm using the bone-in short ribs because that's what the Fairway market in Manhattan always has on the shelf. In most cases, people are going to have an easier time getting bone-in than boneless, but you can certainly use either.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Now that we've gotten Heidi into braised chicken, and my other kids don't really like beef (unless it's of the black and blue variety!), I will do chicken.

I have two very similar (almost identical pots) and one Amish-raised roasting chicken and one stewing hen. Trust it is OK to do a side by side comparison of the two? Best to do them both on the same day?

Aromatics. My family really hates braises, stews, stocks, etc. that have carrots cooked within it. I will omit them, unless it "expells" me from the seminar.

Finally, congratulations for kicking off this new ECI season in high style. You folks continue to raise the bar! This is an exciting beginning to the new season.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I have two very similar (almost identical pots) and one Amish-raised roasting chicken and one stewing hen.  Trust it is OK to do a side by side comparison of the two?  Best to do them both on the same day?

It's more than okay. It's "extra credit"! And yes, I would suggest doing them on the same day for the most immediate side-by-side comparison.

The only thing I would ask with that experiment, however, is that you post the results next Friday, in the open discussion. None of the five lab experiments that we'll be working on as a group from Monday through Thursday really syncs with a comparison of different types of poultry, so it's best to save those results for Friday (of course, you can actually cook and eat the chickens any time -- it's just better for seminar logistics if you post those results on Friday).

If you'd like to do any of the other experiments with chicken, that's great. What I'd suggest for some of those is maybe picking up one of those big "family packs" of legs and thighs and doing some of the experiments with them.

Aromatics.  My family really hates braises, stews, stocks, etc.  that have carrots cooked within it.  I will omit them, unless it "expells" me from the seminar.

Nobody is going to get expelled! We do, however, engage in corporal punishment.

But seriously, folks, there is no need to use aromatic vegetables in any of the experiments, save for one: the aromatic vegetable experiment, which will be part of Tuesday's lab focusing on braising liquids. So you've got no problem doing any of the other experiments.

If you want to have fun with science, though, when we get to next Tuesday go ahead and make a batch with aromatic vegetables (including carrots) anyway, remove the carrots after cooking and hide them far away, and have your family taste it blind against a batch that was made without aromatic vegetables. Let's see if they really hate carrots, or just think they do.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have laid in a supply of short ribs that look like they came off of a dinasaur. Of course, I will be carefully following all directives of our headmaster, as I am the kind of student who sits in the front of the class and pays careful attention-often bringing an apple for the teacher.

And Coca Cola is a time honored braising liquid in my little part of the world. That may be an option that I consider for extra credit, in case my usual method of brown nosing is a failure.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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This is neat. Today in the McGill Daily, My sweetie pie and I published our first baby: On Braising. Check it out! It was hard to write an article that stayed within the word limit, and kept the most relavent information there, but I think we did a good job to get some students trying this at home. -jf


"Bells will ring, ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting.... the bell... bing... 'moray" -John Daker

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Steven, I was thinking that it would be a very good idea to try supermarket thigh/leg quarters at the same time. So, I'll do three chicken things. All the same, but with different kinds of chicken -- a stewing hen, an Amish-raised chicken, and supermarket quarters.

As to the carrots, you're on! I'll give it a go, but dollars to donut, They will know the difference. It's the one thing that gets them every time.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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i am wondering why you should "brine" your meats before braising them?

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I think you need to be even more controlled, as the type of wine can make a big difference.

I love to braise in a soy/sweet wine liquid, to bring out the unami flavour. Mirin or Madeira or a sweet sherry work well. You don't need much - maybe 2 tablespoons each of soy and sweet wine, plus aromatics Quite a different effect from red wine

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riboflavinjoe and vue_de_cuisine, thanks for your posts. I'm going to ask that you repost those comments next Friday, when we have our open discussion about braising. Right now, we're only going to discuss the actual logistics of the lab work for this seminar.

jackal10, if I understand your comment correctly, you're suggesting additional experiments. I hope you'll do some of them and report back, within the guidelines specified here and in the course introduction.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steven, I was thinking that it would be a very good idea to try supermarket thigh/leg quarters at the same time.  So, I'll do three chicken things. 

Fantastic. You should easily be able to adapt the lab instructions (the instructions for the first lab will go up today) to chicken.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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i am wondering why you should "brine" your meats before braising them?

There are many threads in the cooking section discussing the postive/negative effect of brining. I don't think brining has any particular connection to braising.

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...as I am the kind of student who sits in the front of the class and pays careful attention-often bringing an apple for the teacher.

Fine! That means I have to bring chocolate...or have pots that are shinier. :raz: All kidding aside, I'm ready...an inventory of pots/pans has been performed. Tomorrow, a trip to the butcher. Am looking forward to this course very much.

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If you have any questions about the logistics of the braising seminar, please post them here.

Hello, Steve,

Re the vessels to be used: I'd like to use a terra cotta tagine that I picked up in Aix-en-Provence a few years ago, and have been using (nonscientifically) since. It would fall into the "corningware" category, to be used after a preliminary browning of the meat (or turnip). I'm curious to know whether it imparts anything different to the outcome than a "regular" pot. When/where do you suggest that I put it into the, um, curriculum?

Many thanks for running this seminar.

Bartow

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How can I handle the coursework best while holding down an 8-to-5 job? How long will the braising periods be? I'm trying to decide whether I can do this after work, or ...what?

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Bartow, that will be a terrific addition to Monday's lab (aka Lab number 1). We'll be posting those instructions tonight -- once you read them, it will be very intuitive to add the tagine.

jgm, one of the reasons I chose short ribs is that they don't take very long to braise. I don't want to bias anybody by giving specific times or temperatures, but when I braised short ribs for the preliminary course photos they were done in about 2.5 hours. And that's really all the time you need -- whatever time it takes to braise them (although one experiment will take a bit longer, you could always skip that one). So it's just a question of doing it as your evening activity, if you're into it. Also, you can do Monday's coursework on Sunday. I hope you'll find a way to work this in!


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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...

...So it's just a question of doing it as your evening activity, if you're into it. Also, you can do Monday's coursework on Sunday. I hope you'll find a way to work this in!

You bet I will. My brand new Le Creuset 5 1/2 qt. pot arrived this morning. I didn't order it for this purpose, but this'll do! Sounds like a good way to break it in!

I also bought a pannini press, if you want to schedule a course on grilled sandwiches... :biggrin:

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How much stock will I need to complete the whole seminar?


Edited by fiftydollars (log)

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OK. I've just read Lab #1.

So for marking meat, any suggestions? I'm going to do three types of chicken. Use different colors of embroidery floss (cotton) to mark via ties?

I think I read Lab #1 carefully. But, in case I didn't, is the choice of vessel up to us?

Finally, just cleaned out the deep freeze and found a major stash of stock (how can one lose stock?). I stock still viable after 8 months at the very bottom of a deep freezer which is very cold and tight enough that is has almost no frost? It is in glass canning jars.

So, no aromatics, so I don't have to worry about the carrots!

I am lucky. Home alone all day on Monday with nothing better to do that brown and braise (other than drywall and paint, but any excuse to avoid same is welcome!).


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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As I understood #1, we're trying to search the differences between braising qualities of all 4 vessels.

Maybe different coloured pins to mark the pieces in a vessel? Other possibilities?

What's a recommended minimal size for beef pieces (me: shanks)? How much beef I'm going to need for all 4 lab series?


Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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