Sous Vide Eggs

Here are some eggs we sous vide at 63 degrees for 2o minutes.  My banquet cook Andrew at the Jacksonville Inn experimented with just the right time and temperature for these great results.  They went great on our House smoked wild Columbia River Sturgeon we did for a party of 300 for my last big party off site.  Worked great!  We were cracking them on site.  Beautiful… 

Sous Vide Chicken with Oregon White Truffles

Here is the first dish I made today using my truffles for Sunday Brunch.

          

Modernist Cuisine Has Arrived…

 

Some Stats on the book:

Total number of pages in Modernist Cuisine: 2,438
Total word count: ~1.1 million
Number of photographs: 3,216
Number of images shot for the book: 147,000
Total size of image file library: 2.8 terabytes
Number of annotated cutaway illustrations: 36
Total number of recipes: 1,522
Example recipes: 379
Recipes in parametric tables: 814
Component recipes in the 49 plated-dish recipes: 239
Total weight: 43 pounds
Total weight of ink: 4 pounds
Cost: $625

 

Here is a slide show of the unpacking of the 4 (FOUR!) inner boxes..

 

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Modernest Cuisine is Coming!!

Should be seeing this 40 pound cookbook arriving any day now thanks to some generous benefactors.  They say the ink alone weighs almost 5#.  Cost to have KINKOS simply photocopy this in black and white?  $180.00

REVIEW HERE:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/dining/09modernist.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1

3D Food Printers Are Here…

Imagine a printer that has, instead of toner cartridges, food cartridges.  And these printers are able to “print” 3D food with lasers that “cook” the food, pixel by pixel to the precise temperature.  Well, they’re real.  They’re here.  This has been the topic of conversation in the kitchen for a couple months now.  I seem to be the only one that says “Cool…  Bring it on!”  My attitude seems to be in the minority.  Mostly, others say “ewww….” or, “can’t imagine that food tasting good at all!”  Yeah, yeah…  This technology is in it’s infantcy.  It needs to be developed.  Remember, fast food has long been considered sub-standard or poor quality, tasteless.  Yet people continue to go.  McDonald’s advertises “Billions and Billions Served”   I’m a 4 star chef who has been through a drive thru once or twice in my day.  Here are some possibilities to ponder:

We are great at producing food.  We have become very efficient.  The problem is, by the time the produced food is sold to the end user, much of it has been thrown away due to waste, spoilage, mishandling, etc…  Much food expires before it’s sold.  Thrown away.  With this technology, the food can be preserved onsite or nearby and made into these cartridges offering 100% utilization with a 25 year+ shelf life.  Eww??  Maybe.  We’ll see.  Let’s ponder further:

Imagine a disaster happening where people are cut off from food supplies due to some natural or man made disaster.  These printers could be brought to these areas and people could “print” food to keep from starving.  These printers could also be used to prevent 3rd world hunger and starvation.  But wait, let’s ponder further:

Imagine an ATM that “Prints food”.  You walk or drive up and punch in your order.  It’s printed on the spot and cooked at the same time so it’s fresh.  Imagine that.  Would it taste good?  A printed Big Mac and fries?  Time will tell.  I would imagine the price of this food would be drastically reduced because you don’t have to warehouse all this perishable food until it’s ordered, shipped and stored ready to be cooked.  Nor do you have to pay cooks or cashiers.   I don’t think it would REPLACE any leg of food service from gourmet dining to fast food.  I just think it would create another tier of food service.  But let’s ponder this further:

You’re at the drive through and swipe your payment card and place your order.  What if your card was linked to your physician?  Or perhaps your health records?  Perhaps you’re on a reduced sodium diet, low sugar, wheat free, gluten free, allergies…  Your food could be printed with your dietary needs already factored in.  High cholesterol?  Your food will be printed with ingredients that would be beneficial.   Man, this could change everything.  Computer programmers would be the next level of chefs.

Don’t think it could happen?  I wouldn’t be surprised if this was reality in the next 10-20 years.  Here’s a link to an article that has some great info and photos.  Dig it.  No more world hunger, diabetes, obesity, or many other food related illnesses.  Seriously?  Yeah.  This is the type of thing that the President says we should be working toward to win the future.

http://inhabitat.com/mits-digital-food-printer-creates-nutritious-meals/

http://www.nextnature.net/2010/05/nano-product-the-food-printer/

http://www.cartridgenews.com/philips-designs-3d-food-printer/?p=01426

http://web.media.mit.edu/~amitz/Amit_Zoran_home_page/Cornucopia.html

Nathan Myhrvold on Freakonomics Radio

Here’s a good interview with Nathan Myhrvold, author of Modernist Cuisine, that explains how modern science is changing how we cook.  They talk about how modern kitchens are being over run by scientists.

http://freakonomicsradio.com/food-and-the-new-physics.html

Also check out the extended interview with comments from Alice Waters.

http://freakonomicsradio.com/waiter-there%E2%80%99s-a-physicist-in-my-soup-pt-1.html

Interesting stuff.

New Duck, Version 1.2

Here is the process for our new duck.  I took whole ducks, skinned them and blanched the skins.  I then glued the skin together with Activa to form a block.  Then I shaved the skin on a slicer and reattached the skin with more Activa.  Then I sous vide it at 130 deg for 3 hours.  Final plate up coming.

Peppermint Cheesecake with Cocoa “Caviar”

Here is our new Winter Cheesecake.  White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake on a Chocolate Crumb Crust with Cocoa “Caviar” and Peppermint Disk.

Duck, Take One…

Here is version 1.1 of our new duck dish.  It’s pretty standard with pan seared duck breast, confit leg, butternut squash puree and roasted fall root vegetable hash.   Good, solid winter flavors.  I, however, wanted to somehow make the skin **SUPER** crispy thus altering the final texture.  I was thinking of duck skin as thin as chicken skin.  On our next version, we will be involving a frozen, meat glued block of duck skin and a thermal circulator to reinvent it.  Can’t wait!  Be on the look out for version 1.2

Chicken Fried Pulled Pork.

Chicken Fried Steak?  Yeah.  How about Chicken Fried Pulled Pork?  We took our sous vide pork and pressed it into a terrine while it was hot and let it set over night.  Then it’s sliced and wrapped in chicken skin glued on with Activa.  After it sets, its coated in seasoned buttermilk and dredged in flour and fried.  Just like fried chicken, but it’s pulled pork.

Sous Vide Pulled Pork

We season pork butt with salt, sugar and aromatics and cure it over night.  It’s then sealed and sous vide for 12 hours at 176 deg.  We will be using this for our chicken fried pulled pork.

Activa RM.

We just received our shipment of Activa RM today.  AKA Meat Glue, we will be using this in several different applications.  The enzyme transglutaminase has the ability to molecularly crosslink protein molecules together.  It does not discriminate against which kind of protein, so you can theoretically glue a piece of fish to a piece of pork if you wanted to, just as if that’s how nature intended it to be. 

Yeah… This is on my Christmas List…

Modernist Cuisine.  Consider this the culinary student’s 21st century text book.

Uses For Sodium Alginate

Here is a great example of how a food additive can be used to create a presentation not normally attainable without them…

Here’s a puree of gazpachio flavors.  The left is without the sodium alginate.  The right is with.

Sodium alginate is a gum, extracted from the cell walls of brown algae.  It binds the water that would normally bleed all over the plate.

Now the avocado puree can really stand out and the presentation is tight and clean.

What The Ingredients Look Like

Here’s some shots of what the ingredients used for Molecular Gastronomy look like…

 

Chemical Additives

Chemical Additives.  Oooooo….  Bad…..  Right?

Well, we live in a society that is more and more embracing whole foods.  Minimally processed.  How many times have you heard “no chemical additives” as a marketing slogan or “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it”?

Carrageenan?  Polysaccharide derived from red seaweed.  Natural product.  Mixed with liquids creates a rich mouth feel in an otherwise “thin” liquid.  Larger concentrations will gel liquids similar to gelatine.

Lecithin?  Phospholipid found naturally occurring in egg yolks and soy beans.  Natural product.   Emulsifies liquids with oils to create creamy feeling vinaigrettes or traps air into liquids to increase it’s volume 20 fold creating a stable foam.

Sodium Alginate?  Polysaccharide derived from brown algae.  Natural product.  When mixed with a watery liquid and set into a calcium solution, will gel into spheres.  Great for creating faux caviars and “ravioli” with a liquid center.

Xanthan Gum?  Polysaccharide derived from fermenting Xanthomonas campestris (a bacterial species found in plant life)  that is an efficient viscosifier of water and that has many important uses, especially in the food industry.  Natural product.

Maltodextrin?  Can be enzymatically derived from any starch.  Natural product.  Powdery substance that, when mixed with liquid fats, effectively transforms them into a powder to top or coat foods.

These are all hydrocolloids that, in one way or another, alter the texture of foods.  All are natural products and have been used in food manufacturing for years.  It’s only until more recently that modern cooking techniques have been developed in cutting edge kitchens that utilize these ingredients to enhance the dining experience.  Questions and comments encouraged.

 

Faux Caviar with Basil, Orange, Strawberry and Saffron Liquids

 

Zinfandel Foam Using Troon Vineyard’s Zinfandel (Southern Oregon)

Bacon Powder Using  Nueske’s Bacon

More Springtime.

River’s Edge Fresh Chevre Gelato with Spring Strawberry-Pistachio Ice Cream and Strawberry Gelee.  Now all we need is some micro lemon mint.  Where are those grow lights, anyway?

Abacela Wine Maker’s Dinner

Here are some shots from the Abacela Wine Maker’s dinner last night.

Steamed Clams and Mussels with Baby Winter Broccoli, Portuguese Sausage and Saffron Risotto Cakes

Beet and Herbed Goat Cheese “Ravioli” with Pickled Red Onions and Pesto Vinaigrette

Seared Lamb Carpaccio with Truffle Aioli and Focaccia Crisps

Olive Oil Poached (Sous Vide) filet of Beef with Salt Cod Cakes, Olive Soil and Brown Butter-Balsamic Green Beans

 

Rogue Creamery “Echo Mountain” Blue Cheese 3 Ways

1.   Brulee with Raspberry “Caviar”

2.   Port Wine Poached Sekle Pears filled with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts with Rosemary “Paint”

3.   Sous Vide with Oven Cured Raspberries

Here’s a shot of the raspberry caviar being dropped into frozen canola oil to set into perfect little caviar size spheres.

Special thanks to Earl and Hilda Jones for coming and bringing some spectacular wines and sharing with us a lot about the important work they do.

Molecular Gastronomy: A New Emerging Scientific Discipline

Have you heard about Molecular Gastronomy or hydrocolloids?   Ever wonder why that ice cream you just ate was hot and appeared to “melt” as it cooled?  Chefs around the world are using a dizzying array of “chemicals” in food to manipulate textures.  These are the same “chemicals” used by the food manufacturing sector for years.  It’s why a Hershey bar can sit on a shelf for so long without the cocoa fat separating from the cocoa (emulsifier) or why orange juice has a slightly thick (viscus) mouth feel (Xantham gum).  

One of my favorite blogs, Khymos (http://blog.khymos.org/) has posted a link to a major review article on molecular gastronomy.  They state that considering the impact factor of Chemical Reviews (ranked as a clear no. 1 among chemistry journals), this review will likely remain the review on molecular gastronomy for years to come.  Download it here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/cr900105w

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