Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pan Sauce "Bordelaise" - Red Wine Reduction Steak Sauce

Foodwishes is one of my favourite youtube cooking channels.

Not sure, if it is this mesmerising narration or the usually pretty spot on recipes....

Here it is one of the more important sauces... a bit like a modern jus.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Is the food culture in Dubai lazy, pretentious and unimaginative?

People are often raving about Dubai - especially, if they were only on a short visit - or just heard from others of Dubai.

But what is really the food culture all about here?

I am afraid to say - but if you are asking for my perspective, I would say it is copy-paste. And not even the copy-paste from exciting new trends and concepts. It is rather a copy-paste culture of established concepts.

Do you want to have a proof: The cities "most exciting restaurants" are:

  • Zuma, Nobu, Okku - fusion Japanese
  • La Petit Maison, Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, Table 9 - French, European modern cuisine
  • Hakkasan - fusion Chinese
  • and so on.
There is not a whisper of innovation, cultural integration whatsoever!

Even worse: the dishes you can find in the restaurants are as conservative as the listing of the restaurant sound. Don't get me wrong here - I am not necessary saying, that these restaurants are in any way bad, or boring. I am just saying, they don't bring really anything new to the table!

I believe, that limitation are ignite creativity. But here in Dubai, I guess most people are not that creative?
It is strange - but you can hardly find any meat here, which is not mainstream. Despite the fact, that Dubai is muslim, you can find still a lot of pork here - but e.g. no goat, or hardly any venison or birds like pheasant or goose...
And other than leading chefs in other countries, chefs here are not curing their own meats - doing their own sausages. And the nose to tail movement also didn't really arrived here!

I am missing "experiments" like a cured lamb, goat, veal leg [similar to ham]. Or lamb bellies [instead of pork belly].

Am I the only one, who is  missing more creativity?

Monday, March 10, 2014

McDonald's Quarter Pounder Hack - that might be just the best burger to date!

This just might be a very big offence against all, who like their super posh burgers. But really, I don't care.

The story goes like that: so I went with a couple of bodies out yesterday night. And after drinking and dancing [yeah - you read right...] there is definitely a big yearning of some fatty food. And it might not be at all a big surprise, that McDonald's is not far.

In the middle of the night, even the biggest food snob don't have a big choice [except to go home and to your fridge and choose between confit chicken legs, 63ºC semi soft boiled eggs and 75 hour short-ribs... I plead guilty, milord]. But even with the most obscenely delicious and sumptuous produce in your fridge, you still don't want to invest too much time in the kitchen, when all you want is a couple of relaxing youtube videos [Fresh from the Boat is one of my favourites] and then listening to the void in space on your mattress.

So McDonald's.
One of my goto's is the Quarter Pounder. Since my hunger was bigger than what a single hamburger can handle, the McDonald's Royal with Cheese [John Travolta was absolutely right - in Europe it is not called Quarter Pounder - while it would sell eventually better than the Royal Cheese moniker] was my first choice... besides of the Big Mac.
However I do hate "American cheese". Let's face it: it is not even 100% real cheese - it is just some cheese scraps plus water, plus seasonings plus sodium citrate [or another "salt" to emulsify]. No - in this case I am not against the food additive - it is quite natural - you can make it yourself, if you are "mixing" a solution of bicarbonate and citric acid.
However the cheese usually used commercially is really crap [in the book the Modernist Cuisine at home they suggest to make your own melty "American" cheese out of super-delicious cheeses like Compte, Parmigiani, Stilton... you name it - the advantage is, that you can slice it after you melted it together and the food additive keeps the cheese from splitting].

Anyway - I am again drifting off topic, when it comes to the magics of avantgarde cuisine.

Back to the burger: I always order my QP without cheese and add real cheese at home - also today.
Previously I used a bunsenburner to melt and caramelizse the cheese - nice, but it could get better.
Since I have watched below youtube video about the best burgers in the US - one odd spot used a deep fryer with old fat, to fry the burger patties up - in the last minutes even with the cheese!

So I still had a pan with fat on my stove. Heated it up extremely hot, fried the burger patty of the QP on one side; flipped it - put cheese on [I had emmenthaler] and fried it also on the other side - napping the hot oil over the top of the burger - over the cheese!

The cheese melted obviously - but also crisped up. I just added Dijon mustard on the QP bun and added on top a bit of my homemade sriracha... and bam!

Honestly - I was surprised, how delish the burger was! The cheese was perfectly molten - but had some crisp, which was unusual. The patty was a bit overdone - but due to the [good] crumbly texture, it wasn't really a problem - much more pronounced was the crispy exterior of the meat itself.

This made me wonder - is a Shack Stack or a Johnny Rocket burger better than that?
I would say, they are different. But better? No! This is one of the most awesome burgers I ever had! It even slightly surpasses a sous vide burger [as this will be never as crispy].

So here you have it- you can make hack a simple [and comparable cheap] quarter pounder into the most delicious burger in 5 minutes or less!

Your welcome!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chicken Hearts...

So I posted, that cleaning and prepping chicken hearts are pain in the butt.

You might ask: is it worth it.

I have breaded these little morsels in panko breadcrumbs [yeah - more work] and fried them up.

The taste - well not bad. Just alone, they are crunchy but taste like the chicken hearts in a chicken soup [a somewhat traumatic experience out of my childhood].
With these bread pickles, they taste just about right.

Well - I guess, I just cooked them wrong. When I sous-vide them, I intended to "braise" them on a rather high temperature of 72ºC. But the meat didn't became flaky and soft. Just the opposite... slightly chewy. Not enough, to make the experiment a failure. But still enough, to be a bit underwhelmed.

So next time, I will cook them at 62ºC [like a proper SV chicken] - and hope, that the texture becomes better.

But yeah - I can imagine now, why some people just raving about grilled chicken hearts...

My verdict: Almost delicious!

Delicious: Egg Yolk Butter

I like butter. No - wait, that doesn't do it justice: I love butter.
Real butter. Best is when it is French. And made out of cured milk.
Besides of being a meat addict, I could really live without it for a couple of days, when I would have fresh bread and good butter.

Everything is better with butter!

I also like eggs. And it is "more than merely likelihood when it comes to poached eggs.
And when it comes to eggs, there is only one progression to poached egg: a sous vide egg [or also called 63ºC egg]. Now if you keep the egg for 45 minutes or so, it is perfectly runny, but with an insane luscious texture - more like the most amazing sauce.

But what if you are forgetting the eggs in the waterbath and "cooking" for several hours?
Then you end up with the most amazing hard boiled egg.
Only - it isn't hard boiled. It is solidified. But perfectly smooth [not these grey, dry, crumbly Easter eggs, you know]. 

The best: you can spread these egg yolks on bread [the egg white is partly watery - but partly also solidified - however if you know sous vide eggs, you are dismissing the egg white - give it to your bodybuilder friend... and let him shut up].
It makes mayonnaise on bread obsolete. Because mayo doesn't taste so rich and intense like egg.

But there is one problem: if you are spreading the egg yolk on bread, what are you doing with the butter?

Everything is better with butter!

So I thought: why not squish both things together. And add some medium coarse sea salt [don't salt, or salt less, if you are using salted butter]. And maybe some spices - I really like shichimi togarashi - so I used it.
And? It is amazing. You have the buttery taste with the richness and amazing "egginess" of the yolk.
Don't tell your doctor. Seriously don't - he/she will not let you leave, before you are promising him/her, that you won't do it again. But - you will. Promise!

The funny thing is, that nobody yet had the idea, to do this kind of cold and solid hollandaise. At least I haven't found anything in the limitless internets...

So what would be better than butter with egg yolk?

Maybe if you add meat butter! Yes, bone marrow - would make it ridiculous. And even unhealthier. 
As I don't have bone marrow at this point, it is just speculations. Delicious speculations soon to be tested...