biggreenmatt's Profile

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Has anyone ever tried weighing flour to test the weight vs volume relationship?

When I have a recipe that goes by volume and not weight, I measure dry ingredients like flour by way of scoop and level method. It's more or less "accurate", though it certainly helps to know what kind of consistency of dough you're looking for.

Mar 26, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Has anyone ever tried weighing flour to test the weight vs volume relationship?

Why test the relationship when you can watch a video of someone else doing it?

Making duck 'ham'

Again, I hang mine in my downstairs cupboard. Whilst I have a hygrometer for other applications, I don't even bother when it comes to cured duck breast.

Even at its biggest, you're looking at less than a pound of total weight, pre-hang. In one week's time, you're going to get moisture loss, but it's not enough time to have humidity factor into it. That's why it's the easiest thing to cure, ever.

Just hang it somewhere away from light, forget about it, come back in a week's time.

Bought meat pre processed patties and nasty sulphuric flatulence side effect

Uh, I think it's just you, mate.

My Rx: invest in a good grinder and make your own!

Making duck 'ham'

I've made duck breast proscuitto literally dozens of time. It's super safe and super easy.

I use the Ruhlman method, but it's essentially the same- cure the meat in salt or salt/sugar combo for 24 hours, with whatever spices or flavouring you care to impart, then hang it for a week somewhere dark (I hang it in the crawl-space under my stairs), and done.

Re: use in other dishes, why not? In a week's time, you'll have your first one done. Taste it, think about what you want to make, and ask whether the flavours match. You'll do great!

Mar 23, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

If corned beef is chewy and hard to cut is it not done?

Underdone might not be the end of the world- not at all.

When it's underdone and cooled, the meat is really easy to carve thinly, since the connective collagen hasn't fully gelatinized. Funny enough, I had the same problem this past weekend and turned it to my advantage. Once cooled, I sliced my brisket very very thin, popped what I wanted for my sammich into a steamer and steamed it, over moderate heat, for about 30 mins, popped the rest of it into the fridge, and what I ended up with was beautiful!

Lots of delis steam their meat, too. I happily recommend it!

Mar 23, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Jewish deli...

The ironic part is that years ago, I had a running joke with the missus that we were going to open up a jewish fusion restaurant, doing modern riffs on classic jew-food, and call it Yids.

And now, years later, life imitates art.

Jewish deli...

Nope. With love and respect to all involved, I'm not spending money on something I can and do cook expertly at home. :)

Jewish deli...

To add slightly to the conversation, I'm gobsmacked that Ashkenaz "cuisine" has become the latest hipster trend. Yes, chopped liver is excellent, yes, pickled tongue is amazing, yes, home-cured and lightly-smoked herring or mackerel is a revelation, but seriously, this is now a trend? This is the Good Stuff I grew up on at home! How the hell is this now hipster food?

Geez, I hope the young crowd doesn't learn how to cook. I have a hard enough time getting my hands on chicken fat to render into schmaltz as is!

ISO: pâté & terrine cookbook

Hi, all!

The title pretty much sums it up. I'm aware of the Reynaud books, but the reviews I've seen haven't been exactly flattering. Love to get my hands on a fantastic, old school cookbook on this fascinating little corner of culinary traditions!

Thanks in advance!

Mar 16, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

dutch ovens vs. slow cookers

Suspect it might have to do with the heat distribution.

Though I've never owned a slow cooker, I'm guessing it's heated from an element located on the base of the machine, while a Dutch oven is heated from all sides, including above and below, with either the cast iron or ceramic providing good heat transference. Rather than heat unevenly from below, a Dutch oven transfers radiant heat from the oven to the entirety of the braise, resulting in a better end-product.

good rub for beef

Heh. Love me my Dalmatian Rub.

Gotta say though, after dozens and dozens of grilled steaks and smoked briskets, I've come to the conclusion that it's even better with a bit of garlic powder. Adds a savouriness to the meat that it'd otherwise lack.

But more than that, meh, it doesn't tend to add that much (fine, maybe a LITTLE BIT of cracked coriander is nice, from time to time) and it takes away from the beefiness.

Salt, pepper, garlic powder. Simple perfection.


YES Group Inc @ Woodbine/Steeles is a charcutier's dream. They service both industry and home cooks and if they don't literally have everything you could possibly want when it comes to the curing and processing of meat products, then they certainly figuratively have everything you could possibly want. They're also awesomely friendly to home cook dilettantes who show an interest in and want to play with meat and chemistry.

They call it by a different in-house name, but they carry both #1 and #2- and lots of it. No need to call ahead. They come in 1 kg bags, and are cheap as chips.

Sous Vide Roasts

Ironically, the 48 hour low-temp baths are unquestionably safer than shorter low-temp baths.

At the risk of preaching to the choir on the topic, the killing off of bacteria and other nasties is a function of not only temperature, but time exposed to the temperature. The FDA's old fashioned recommendation that meats be cooked to 160F is because at 160F, bacteria are killed in less than one second. The lower the temp, the more time is required to kill them off.

This makes sense. If you walk outside and the temp is 100 C, you're dead, instantly, your inside fluids boiling off in a most messy fashion. At 50 C, you're sweating profusely, even in the shade, and need to find some water within a reasonable amount of time, failing which you're going to die off, likely within the day. At 25 C, it's pretty pleasant out, though if you spend too much time out there, say a week or so, you'll die. Same principles apply to SV cooking.

A cursory googling online should come up with the bacteria-kill logarithm tables that say how long you should cook at what temp to make sure the food is safe to eat. There's also a few apps (at least for iPhone) that will do the work for you. Bottom line: it's perfectly safe- once you know what you're doing, and how to avoid problematic mistakes!

smoked corn beef

Aaaaaaaand I just noticed that I'm replying to a reply to a post that was initially posted in 2008.

Never mind. Carry on.

Feb 12, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

smoked corn beef

Check out the BBQ board- there are tons of discussions of recipes and treatments of briskets, both smoked and cured, including a hella-good recipe for Montreal smoke meat.

Feb 12, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

recs for Thai red curry paste in Toronto

If you're using it enough (i.e.: "kitchen staple"), you ought to consider making it on your own at home. A trip to T&T or most of the Viet/Thai grocery stores on Spadina should be enough to get you the ingredients you need (gapi, the fermented shrimp paste that acts as a base, goes by many names in different SE Asian countries- you should be prepared to find it under another name) and the stuff you do at home is fresher and brighter than what you'd find on a shelf.

There are likely jillions of recipes online, and if you don't have a mortar and pestle, a food processor will do in a pinch! Good luck!

Stock for soup

MG, you need to draw a distinction: stock is not soup.

Stock is one of the building blocks of a great kitchen. It's not meant to be flavourful in and of itself; it's the rich base for sauces, soups, stews, braises, anything that needs a liquid as a cooking medium.

Veal stock, for example, done properly, tastes neutral-y. It's grey-tasting, but not unpleasantly so. When you add other flavourings to it to make your sauce, for example, it becomes something etherial. It shines. Same with homemade chicken stock that gets fortified by adding other meat and veg and bones to make some of the best goddamn Jewish penicillin you've ever tasted.

I literally have about 20L of stock in my deep freeze (chicken, fish, veg, brown veg, and a little bit of beef stock at the bottom). If you need a primer on the subject, I live just down the street.

Porzia - a report

Went this past weekend. Decent, but expensive for what it was.

I don't need to go back.

"Impurities" in bone broth

So it seems:

While I'm busting up on the Miracle Health Cure-ness of the silly thing, I'll again say if this trend makes people cook stock at home instead of buying the nastier, saltier stuff that comes in a can or box or jar, call it whatever you want. I'm all for it, on culinary grounds, if not necessarily health.

"Impurities" in bone broth

So there is.

Here's the abstract:

Jan 21, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

"Impurities" in bone broth

Huh. It's fascinating stuff. And to be clear, this most certainly isn't a critique on you or your post- just a healthy amount of skepticism about a new food trend.

After a brief consult with Librarian Google, there's not much scientific literature on the subject. Lots of magazine articles and Paleo Gurus touting the benefits, but little lab analysis.

One published, peer-review study I did find was from the Biochemical and Children's Department at King's College Hospital in London, which seemed to suggest it's not that big a deal:

Look, what irritates me, in fairness, isn't the trendiness, the timeliness, or anything really else about the thing. I make stock all the time. It's wonderful. Call it stock, bone broth, magical mexican jumping bean potion, whatever. If it means that people are making and eating better food at home, how can you not be for it? I certainly am.

What bothers me is when the Food Gurus come around, touting a new product, new method, new system, based on sketchy science while hucking their own miracle services to help lose weight, beat cancer, grow hair back, have better stamina in bed, and one of a zillion non-scientifically provable things.

Cooking food is a science as well as an art. If you're going to promote health benefits of something (i.e.: indulge in a science-based justification), there should be a corresponding science-based body of evidence to back it up, ethically published and capable of being peer-reviewed for veracity.

Apologies for taking the post on a tangent- "food science", as opposed to proper food science, is a pet peeve of mine.

"Impurities" in bone broth

"Better nutritional value".

Not to shoot the messenger (honestly), but who says a 24-72 hour simmer extracts more minerals and provides better nutritional value? Is it some celebrity or magazine or is it a food scientists/nutritionist who's saying it?

I'd be interested in seeing a food analysis of plain old stock (i.e.: a "shorter" cook, even though it may be substantial) versus a 1-3 day cook. Intuitively, there may be more benefits (greater calcium comes to mind), but I can't imagine much more.

Cue Harold McGee. :)

Jan 21, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

"Impurities" in bone broth

Thanks LGA.

You'll all forgive me, but speaking as a home cook who's been making stock for years: what a dumb trend.

Stock is awesome. Stock is easy. The most ham-fisted of clueless home cooks can make gallons of the stuff with virtually no effort. But why would you want to drink the stuff on its own when you can take a good strong chicken stock, fortify it with even more chicken and veg, and drink good strong chicken soup?? I mean, it's not as though any health benefits from good strong stock gets lost when it gets used the way it's supposed to be used, as a base for other things.

At this rate, the next trend will be Bone Broth Enriched Gravy (aka: good old fashioned Chicken Veloute), touted for ITS health benefits.

Sigh. Everything old is new again.

"Impurities" in bone broth

Uh, dumb question. What's "bone broth"?

Now, I know what stock is. I know what broth is. I know what consomme, bisque, chowder, and even what a soup is. Never heard of "bone broth".

Is "bone broth" something new, or are we just talking about stock made with bones (aka: "stock")?

Jan 21, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

making montreal smoked meat at home

Chunks: Ontario Gas & BBQ, bless them. If you've never been, you need to go. It's worth the trip. Believe me.

I don't remove the chunks, and smoke to ~180F internal.

Instacure: TBH, I haven't used Readycure in years, though it's certainly doable. Since I make a lot of sausage and dabble in charcuterie, I make an annual trip up to the Y.E.S. Group in Markham, where they have, if not literally everything, then certainly everything you can possibly think of for cured and smoked meat products- including #1 (and #2).

Traditional curing, preserving, baking, cooking classes taught by a grandmother or grandfather?

George Brown College's con-ed culinary program has charcuterie classes (I & II) that give a pretty good intro to the topic. I took I (and I'm taking II in March), and I found it an excellent class.

Don't think you're going to have much luck in finding an elderly person teaching traditional methods. Either you know someone's grandpa who learned it from his father from the Old Country, or you don't.

ISO: crustacean shells for stock

Bisque! Risotto! Anything!

So, I'm an idiot who, for health reasons (stupid health) have been a dedicated pescatarian from Monday-Friday for the last 6 months. Stupidly, I make veg stock, chicken stock, beef stock, but not fish or crustacean stock.

Fish heads and bones are easy to source- and since I live near T&T downtown, it's super convenient, but I'm looking to do something a little better and a little richer. Crustacean stock!

ISO: crustacean shells for stock

Hi all!

I'm looking for shrimp, prawn, langoustine, lobster, crab (etc.) shells for stock. Any bright ideas?

Texas Sausage - concept & recipes

This is what I'm talking about.

I would murder (likely, but not exclusively, figuratively) for a good recipe to follow on this one.