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MRubenzahl's Profile

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Slow-Cooked Carne Adovada

I never did check back in on this. I corresponded with the recipe author, David Tanis, and 6 ounces of dried chilis is correct. But I have since made this (many times) with varying amounts and it works fine regardless -- you just get more or less of the saucy guajillo paste.

Tanis also I get my chiles at an ethnic market. I found 6 oz of guajillos to be a large bag which contained 30 peppers and the cost was way, way lower than a supermarket or spice merchant. So it maths out correctly and 6 oz. is indeed what he meant. But this made a -lot- of sauce.

I now use about 15 guajillo chiles (2-3 ounces).

Use California (dried anaheim) peppers if you want a milder dish.

I also ran the mixture through the blender after it has simmered. If you don't, you don't get the sauce the photos show.

Jul 04, 2015
MRubenzahl in Recipes

Technique toolkit for TV competition

Yes -- I will post something here if/when the friend is selected. These shows have serious confidentiality clauses so will have to see what is allowed.

Jan 18, 2015
MRubenzahl in General Topics

Technique toolkit for TV competition

Great idea to get Ruhlman's book.

I also love the exercise you recommend about 20 ways to use an ingredient.

Jan 18, 2015
MRubenzahl in General Topics

Technique toolkit for TV competition

These are great suggestions!! Here is a longer answer from a very-foodie friend:

Critical in this situation is to master what can be done quickly, with plenty of flavor and can be presented beautifully. Practice, practice, practice. Stay away from trying to hurry anything that normally takes a long time, unless you are SURE it will work every time (short ribs in a pressure cooker in under an hour, just don't!)

Tips:

Always taste as you go. Never, ever present anything you haven't tasted (and love)!

Save salting anything as the last step. There will be saltiness in many ingredients you use, so salting early can result in over salted food and it (almost always) cannot be undone.

Use fresh pepper as a cooking ingredient, but do not pepper at the end unless it is part of the presentation. (for instance, if I make a steak au poivre, I sprinkle cracked pepper around the plate rim)

learn which seasonings are strong and which ones delicate. It's easy to overdo rosemary, but basil and thyme can be used very generously.

never serve raw garlic, or burnt garlic...ever!

use roasting as a technique for small diced root vegetable and keep it simple. Roasting caramelizes the sugars in things like carrots, parsnips, etc,, so keep the salt and seasonings light for a rich natural flavor. This can be an excellent side for meaty proteins, with the protein presented on top of the roasted veg. Experiment with different combinations.

If cooking salmon, a quick salt/sugar/water brine will improve the flavor and also prevent the white gooey ooze that can happen.

Brining in general, even quickly, can improve your chicken, pork and even fish and shrimp flavors and moistness. Learn about brining. Since you're in a hurry, reduce the size of the proteins prior to brining.

Sauces -- learn:

Pan sauce techniques

Master the mother sauces (all relatively easy, hollandaise taking the most skill to master) and learn quick small sauces from each.

Knife skills

Judging protein doneness

Cooking fish with crispy skin

Making purees

Quick seafood stock

Memorize as many ratios as you can. This will open you up to making cakes and pastas and crepes and so on without worrying if it will turn out right. Commit at least the ones on the chart here to memory and, again, practice!!!

PLATE PRESENTATION!!! (stay away from quadrants on the plate like meat/veg/starch) Practice layering. This video is a good start, then of course, there are many related videos listed to the right of it. Youtube is a great resource for this stuff.

Watch every episode from the past and learn what works on this show with these judges!!!

GOOD LUCK!!!!

Jan 18, 2015
MRubenzahl in General Topics

Technique toolkit for TV competition

Someone I know is trying out for a home chef’s cooking competition. This is not Top Chef level, it’s for skilled home cooks. He’s in “training” now. (I can’t be more specific because show rules are looking for some confidentiality).

My question is this:

What recipes and techniques would you suggest he have in his repertoire? For example, he should certainly know how to make a pie dough, how to perfectly sear a steak, know at least a couple of great desserts, several sauces and soups.

I am looking for the must-have basics and maybe a couple of crowd pleasers — cool things that will wow the judges.

Ideas?

Jan 14, 2015
MRubenzahl in General Topics

Sous Vide chicken breast problems

I agree with you now. I did some more runs.

At 145°F, the chicken is a little dry. At 140 for an hour and a half it's perfect. Juicy, tender, flavorful -- and completely cooked.

Jul 01, 2014
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Why does my roast chicken always do this?

No. The thighs need to cook to an internal temperature that is 10-15 degrees higher than the breast. Trussing prevents heat access to the inside of the thigh, making it harder to achieve the desired temp.

Jun 29, 2014
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Best Mandoline?

For what it's worth, I just went with the 7000 but looks like a very close call between that and the 1001. 7000 offers a corss-cutting feature that lets you do dice with the julienne blades; offers a dialable choice of four thicknesses. Costs a little more.

Not sure, but I do not think it has the higher ridge and flexibility that some complain about on the 4000 and 5000.

Jun 19, 2014
MRubenzahl in Cookware

Best Mandoline?

+3 on gloves. Nastiest kitchen cut I have ever had was on a mandoline. Like you would not believe. You do not want that experience.

Jun 19, 2014
MRubenzahl in Cookware

Best Mandoline?

I agree. Mine is years old and going strong. I use the food holder to store the unit (a rubber band holds it nicely to protect the blade) and cut-resistant gloves when I am cutting something close to the blade.

I am getting a Borner as well, because the Kyocera is small. Will still use the Kyocera for smaller tasks.

Jun 19, 2014
MRubenzahl in Cookware

Sous Vide chicken breast problems

The white stuff may have been albumen. No big deal.

While Serious Eats says 140°F for 90 minutes to ten hours, that's a bit pink for me. Other resources like 146 degrees (Douglas Baldwin and Sous Vide Supreme). I think that's about right.

One possible issue: Chill them, or just cool to room temp) before grilling. When you go direct to the grill, the internal temp can rise above the sous vide temperature. Easy way to chill if you have an immersion-style sous vide is to just turn it all the way down and replace the water with cold water and ice. It will chill in less than 1/2 hour.

Jun 08, 2014
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Smoke 'n Wings BBQ Smoke House in San Jose

I just got back from there and like it a lot!

I just wrote a review: http://www.yelp.com/biz/smoke-n-wings...

Dry aged beef?

Some, not all, Whole Foods have it. But unfortunately, theirs is aged 14 days which, unfortunately, is not sufficient. 21 days minimum, preferably 30.

See:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/01/th...

GAS vs CHARCOAL

Have to disagree. I favor gas but to be fair, it needs to heat up before the food goes on if you want any searing. Preheat for 15 minutes.

Mar 30, 2013
MRubenzahl in General Topics

Best Bagels?

Where can I buy REALLY GOOD bagels in the San Jose area?

I mean good in the New York kind of way. Real, boiled before they're baked, chewy, fresh bagels.

Pork Belly! Getting started!

Wow. Thanks, everyone. What great replies, so many choices. I've elected to do a slow roast from Jamie Oliver, and will include some aspects from the Gordon Ramsay video fourunder suggested. I am so looking forward to this.

Oct 19, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Pork Belly! Getting started!

I'm in the Bay Area and we are blessed with many Asian markets. Pretty much all of them have pork belly for about $4 a pound.

Oct 19, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Pork Belly! Getting started!

We're having a party. The assignment is to cook something you have never cooked before.

I'm a foodie and experienced home cook but have never cooked pork belly (amazing, huh!) So that's what I want to do. I am looking for suggestions or what to cook and any techniques and tips.

Some parameters:

- Eight guests

- Not too beginner-level. While I am a pork belly virgin, I'm an experienced cook who likes a challenge.

- Needs to be gluten-free since one of the guests is celiac.

- Needs to be delicious and hopefully, unusual and interesting. Spectacular, even

Thoughts? Ideas?

Oct 16, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Why does my roast chicken always do this?

Great research, Suzanne. From same article, there is also this bit, that applies to color near the bone:

13. What causes dark bones in cooked poultry?
Darkening of bones and meat around the bones occurs primarily in young (6-8 weeks) broiler-fryer chickens. Since the bones have not calcified or hardened completely, pigment from the bone marrow seeps through the bones and into the surrounding area. Freezing can also contribute to this darkening. This is an aesthetic issue and not a safety one. The meat is safe to eat when all parts have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Sep 20, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Bacony Question

You're right, I did just as you said (see reply to Katecm). And I did not want to share but I did give some chocolate covered bacon back to the person who gave me the bacon.

One must maintain bacon karma.

May 06, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Bacony Question

And indeed, I did just that! I made several strips on their own. One in a pan which I had with eggs that I fried in the rendered bacon fat; then I cooked several in the oven, sone of which I ate as is and some I coated in chocolate. I made some into "pig candy" (roast with brown sugar coating). And some I cooked with grilled shrimp, parsley, butter.

It was a good weekend!

May 06, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Bacony Question

OMG.

A chef friend just gave me 3/4 pound of bacon he made himself. It looks a-ma-zing. Lean, luscious.

What should I make with it?

Would like to make something I can give back to him. Maybe some chocolate-covered bacon candy.

May 03, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Breakfast in Brown Bag -- Ideas?

Our volunteer organization is having a community service day -- a couple of hundred people working on half a dozen projects. We converge on a park at 8 AM and about a half hour later, we are off to the projects. My team is doing a breakfast in the form of a brown paper bag for each person.

Question is: What's in the bag?

We could do something easy -- serve coffee and fill the bags with a bagel or a pastry but would like to do something a little more imaginative. But it also can't involve a lot of production and we won't have a kitchen.

Ideas?

May 28, 2011
MRubenzahl in General Topics

Slow-Cooked Carne Adovada

Made this twice now. 6 oz of dried chilis?? First time I cut way, way back and only used 3-4 guajillos (maybe 1/2 oz.) Good and not spicy so second time I am making it with the full 6 oz. It makes nearly a quart of sauce which seems like an awful lot.

I will chime in later on how it tastes!

Jan 16, 2011
MRubenzahl in Recipes

Recommend a beginner's vegetarian cookbook?

Great ideas! Thank you. I went with Bittman's Veg Cookbook, as I think it's more basic and this guy -needs- basic.

By the way, someone on another board recommended the Moosewood books, also a great suggestion.

Dec 31, 2010
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Recommend a beginner's vegetarian cookbook?

I want to buy a cookbook for a friend who is a vegetarian (but eats fish, dairy, eggs). He is a total beginner in the kitchen.

Suggestions?

Dec 29, 2010
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Internal Temperature of Roasted Turkey?

The old USAA guideline was about 180. Now they say 165. I remove mine from the oven when the deepest part of the breast reaches 150, and it coasts up to 160 as it rests, prior to carving. The dark meat should be about 10 degrees higher (which I achieve by starting the bird breast down, then flipping it after 45 minutes).

Those pop-up thermometers are usually 180 or so.

Brining (whether wet or dry) gives some leeway since you can be 10 degrees too high and not totally ruin the meat.

More: See my annual Turkey page: http://www.rubenzahl.com/turkey

Nov 21, 2010
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Where to find good yellow corn on the cob? [moved from General Topics board]

While freshness is not as crucial as it was before today's sweeter hybrids, which convert sugar to starch more slowly, it's still worth finding a place where the corn was picked hours, not days, ago. If you live in the South Bay, there is the Corn Palace, on Lawrence Expy between El Camino Real and Centra Expy.

It was run for many many decades by Ben and Joe Francia. Joe died a few years ago but Ben, who is about 90 now, is still there every day. They grow the corn, right there on Silicon Valley acreage, adjacent to the stand. They sold half the acreage for housing this year; who knows how long it will be there? But it's there now -- http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&s...

Ribs: Fast or Slow?

OK, found a thread on this topic on the Barbecue Bible's bulletin board <http://tinyurl.com/ltdjsf>. One person said that Ed smoked the ribs first, then put them on high heat before serving. That makes sense, if they are reporting it correctly.

I don't think you can do ribs in less than an hour -- of anyone has another experience, please advise.

Aug 10, 2009
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Ribs: Fast or Slow?

I love making ribs and I am good at it. My way is low and slow, 4-6 hours, with the last couple of hours, covered, to essentially braise. But then I saw Ed Mitchell.

Ed is a real North Carolina rib man, whom Bobby Flay challenged on Food Network. He clearly knows his ribs. But surprise!! He cooks them on high heat (he didn't say how high) for 20 minutes a side!!!

No, that can't be!

So what's the low-down (or maybe the high-up) on high heat ribs? What's your way?

Aug 10, 2009
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking