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Malawry

EVENT DC: Pullets at 20 paces

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OK, so here's who's in so far and what they're bringing:

Simdelish - some kind of chocolate kit kat bar type thing, and perhaps mojitos (start sucking up now, people)

That's a DEFINITE, not a perhaps. I like wine, too, with my roast chicken, Busboy, but in this heat, only a mojito can cure me. I plan on bringing a very "Large" container of them, along with a cooler of rocks (ice, that is :wink: ).


I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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I think that Science of Meat page above glosses ove a stage.  Brining forces more water into the chicken by virtue of osmosis, but at the same time, the salt works magic on the protein, stretching them a little bit so that they can both absorb more liquid, as the page explains, and _retain it_ through the cooking process, which it doesn't really cover.

If memory serves, and it rarely does, Cooks Illustrated once did a side by side weight comparison of chicken soaked in water, a chicken soaked in salt water, and chicken with no treatment.  Both the chicken soaked in water and the chicken soaked in salt water gained weight after treatment and lost weight after cooking, but the chicken soaked in salt water retained a significantly higher percentage of its gained weight through the cooking process, while I _think_ the chicken soaked in water lost as much absolute weight as the chicken without treatment.  E.g.--it's not the water alone, but the added ability to retain water that makes the difference. 

So my best guess on the difference between brining and the dry-salt of Zuni is that the Zuni approach, by letting salt work its way through the chicken for 24 hours stretches out the proteins so that the meat retains more of its natural liquids during cooking without forcing in that icky water stuff. 

and after all--who needs water when there's wine on hand?

In addition, the airdrying seems to help on the crispy skin front--I think the salt draws moisture out from the skin, drying it, while working its way into the chicken, making it jucier. 

(Oh--and Rocks--you were screwed.  I've made that bread salad six or seven times and it's one of the single best dishes to come out of my oven.)

Thanks, Babka. I bow to those whose pockets of ignorance aren't as deep as mine. It all comes down to the eating. What happens if it's a tie? :shock:

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I think a tie means Busboy and I get to keep needling one another ad nauseum. :rolleyes:

I was going to suggest mudwrestling for the championship in case of a tie. :laugh:


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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An update on who and what will be there:

Simdelish - some kind of chocolate kit kat bar type thing, and MOJITOS

Chef Shogun - undecided

Rosebud +1 - a special zucchini dish

Hjshorter - a salad and some wine

Squids (possibly)

Mdt (possibly)

Al Dente (+1?) - pickled shrimp

JPW +1 - undecided

PM me if you're interested in coming. There's still room for more!

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OK, so here's who's in so far and what they're bringing:

Simdelish - some kind of chocolate kit kat bar type thing, and perhaps mojitos (start sucking up now, people)

Chef Shogun - undecided

Rosebud +1 - a special zucchini dish

Hjshorter - a salad and some wine

Squids (possibly)

PM me if you're interested in coming. There's still room for more!

I have it on good authority that we can Al Dente +1


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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OK, so here's who's in so far and what they're bringing:

Simdelish - some kind of chocolate kit kat bar type thing, and perhaps mojitos (start sucking up now, people)

Chef Shogun - undecided

Rosebud +1 - a special zucchini dish

Hjshorter - a salad and some wine

Squids (possibly)

PM me if you're interested in coming. There's still room for more!

I have it on good authority that we can Al Dente +1

Fo shizzle!


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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OK, so here's who's in so far and what they're bringing:

Simdelish - some kind of chocolate kit kat bar type thing, and perhaps mojitos (start sucking up now, people)

Chef Shogun - undecided

Rosebud +1 - a special zucchini dish

Hjshorter - a salad and some wine

Squids (possibly)

PM me if you're interested in coming. There's still room for more!

I have it on good authority that we can Al Dente +1

Fo shizzle!

Has Marni seen the new sig?


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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There are still seats at the table for the Great Brining Challenge and Side-dish Exhibition, with the clash of egos and techniques sure to result in extraordinary birds being brought to the table ( that is, unless I crash and burn under the pressure of competition with a Professional Chef like some early-round Hell's Kitchen reject).

But wait there's more!

Chef Alain Ducasse, who has more stars than most known galaxies once said that "desserts are like mistresses: they are bad for you. So if you are having one, you may as well have two." And in that spirit we offer not only the Farmer's Market vs. Supersave Market ice-cream comparison (does ice cream taste that much better if you spend three times as much for organic ingredients?) but Simdelish's signature (and highly praised) Chocolate Royale.

We're looking forward to a relaxed mood, pink wine and good eating among great eGulleters so, check the calendars now and if you have a chance, drop by.

(Special encouragement to newer members. We don't bite. Well, only if you're a chicken.)


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Wish I could be there, but I will be watching closely from my computer in France.

Meanwhile, some suggestions for ingredients: Fresh chickens from Cibola (Falls Church), and for the ice cream: milk or cream from Blue HIghlands at Dupont or Arlington or Takoma Park, Grass Fed eggs from Cibola at Mt Pleasant or Dupont.

I had making Zuni Cafe chickens all winter with Cibola chickens and they are very flavorful. I will be very interested in the results of the brining vs salting cookoff. Maybe you need to compare 3 chickens: brined, salted overnight and Stephanie"s.

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Busboy,

Do you want some Lewes Dairy cream? or will you have the base already made? I can bring some if you like.


I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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Did I miss seeing the time and place announced? And has the recipe been determined yet?

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Busboy,

Do you want some Lewes Dairy cream?  or will you have the base already made?  I can bring some if you like.

I will be making the base the day before, but I appreciate the offer.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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We discussed logistics a little more this afternoon. We agreed to use the same chicken: small-to-medium Bell & Evans chickens from Whole Paycheck. I will be brining mine in a salt-water solution and then drying it in the fridge overnight before bringing it to the Busboys' for final touches and roasting. I plan to rub it inside and out with an herb butter (no garlic, just butter salt and herbs) and stuff it lightly with some herbs and a couple lemon slices. This is my usual technique.

Picking up on Robin's suggestion (sorry you can't make it!), we're doing three chickens total. I'm handling the brined bird, Busboy is using the Zuni method of salting but not brining overnight, and then I think Mrs. Busboy is making the Busboy Family Classic chicken which is not salted until just before cooking. I do not know what other ingredients the Busboys will be using in their chickens, but we agreed that one of them (the Zuni one) would be garlic-free--and I expect to see similar flavorings. (Right, Busboy?)

I'm happy to settle on the fresh herbs. I always use thyme, sometimes with parsley in the herb butter and sometimes with rosemary in the cavity.

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I will be hanging onto my ibook to get all the details, Malawry.

We discussed logistics a little more this afternoon. We agreed to use the same chicken: small-to-medium Bell & Evans chickens from Whole Paycheck. I will be brining mine in a salt-water solution and then drying it in the fridge overnight before bringing it to the Busboys' for final touches and roasting. I plan to rub it inside and out with an herb butter (no garlic, just butter salt and herbs) and stuff it lightly with some herbs and a couple lemon slices. This is my usual technique.

Picking up on Robin's suggestion (sorry you can't make it!), we're doing three chickens total. I'm handling the brined bird, Busboy is using the Zuni method of salting but not brining overnight, and then I think Mrs. Busboy is making the Busboy Family Classic chicken which is not salted until just before cooking. I do not know what other ingredients the Busboys will be using in their chickens, but we agreed that one of them (the Zuni one) would be garlic-free--and I expect to see similar flavorings. (Right, Busboy?)

I'm happy to settle on the fresh herbs. I always use thyme, sometimes with parsley in the herb butter and sometimes with rosemary in the cavity.

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An update on who and what will be there:

Simdelish - some kind of chocolate kit kat bar type thing, and MOJITOS

Chef Shogun - undecided

Rosebud +1 - a special zucchini dish

Hjshorter - a salad and some wine

Squids - corn on the cob

Al Dente (+1?) - undecided

JPW +1 - undecided

Haggis Man - collard greens

You should have received a PM with details by now if you're on this list. Don't forget the $5 fee to cover the chickens.

I'm looking forward to seeing everybody Sunday!

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Just picked up my pullets and cream for dessert. Still room if the beach house fell through, or you had the Big Breakup Frday night and you need to comfort yourself with fine food.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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My wife and I were just about to head out the door from her aunt and uncle's place to fly home to DC when I got a call from Independence Air letting me know my flight was cancelled and I can't go home until tomorrow. Therefore, I'm not sure at this point whether we can make it, so I'll call Busboy (I have his cell #) in the early afternoon to let him know.

Oh well, guess I'll just have to sit on this deck overlooking remarkably beautiful Lake Mahopac in upstate NY, drink wine, fire up the grill, and maybe do a drunken sunset cruise on the boat or waverunners. Wonder if I can find some good fresh seafood somewhere around here.


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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A big big thank you to Charles and the lovely and gracious Stephanie for hosting yesterday. All three chickens tasted good, but the non-brined was my favorite - sorry Mal! :biggrin: It was, for lack of a better description, more "chickeny" tasting. The other food was very good too - especially simdelish's chocolate dessert, the corn, and the cheese plate (Livarot, Brin d'amour, Taleggio, and an unidentified goat).

That said, picking the cheap ice cream as my favorite did not enhance my reputation as a gourmet. :hmmm:


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I second the thank you!

I had a wonderful time at the event. What a great introduction to my first meeting and a hope for many more to come. I loved the squash!

A big big thank you to Charles and the lovely and gracious Stephanie for hosting yesterday.  All three chickens tasted good, but the non-brined was my favorite - sorry Mal!  :biggrin:  It was, for lack of a better description, more "chickeny" tasting.  The other food was very good too - especially simdelish's chocolate dessert, the corn, and the cheese plate (Livarot, Brin d'amour, Taleggio, and an unidentified goat).

That said, picking the cheap ice cream as my favorite did not enhance my reputation as a gourmet.  :hmmm:

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To me the results of the cookoff were rather inconclusive. What was apparent was that for chicken what matters most is how well the chicken is cooked. My split decision is that I prefer breasts brined and dark meat unbrined. The collard greens were my favorite side. (thanks haggis man). And the cheese was superb.

Thanks to the Busboys for having us all over. Thanks to all the other providers of food. And thanks to the dishwashers. And a final extra thanks to Busboy for popping open some very nice wines. Those couple of ounces of Sauternes were a perfect way to polish off a big meal.


If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Thanks ya'll for coming and tasting and talking about dem birds. For me personally, it was an eye-opener birdwise. I am a big believer in brining, but now that I have tasted a brined, a salt-cured and a simply salted bird vertically, I understand how good chicken can be each way. It's just important to cook it well--and of course, all three chickens were cooked perfectly.

Extra special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Busboy for hosting and for adding those incredible ice creams and the terrific fried stuffed squash blossoms (mmmmm). I also loved Hjshorter's salad with apricots, mint and blue cheese--and Simdelish's unforgettable chocolate dessert (ooh).

I hope to get photos up later this week.

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Can anyone share with me the marinated chicken receipes? How about the squash. Oh and yes the stuffed blooms were WONDERFUL.

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Maybe my tastes buds are dead, but I really couldn't see much difference in the chickens. Of course, what skewed the results was that all three birds were perfectly cooked. I was surprised that I couldn't tell which was brined and which was not.

I also couldn't distinguish between the two ice creams. I just know they both went superably with the chocolate dessert simdelish prepared. I had TWO helpings of that.

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Busboy for their hospitality and to all the cooks. The proverbial Good Time was had by all.

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