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Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Buttermilk?

Closest thing the U.S. has in stores to Laban is Kefir. Not quite the same though. However, Lassi is readily available at Indian restaurants, but it is sweeter. A salt lassi (my favorite) is much closer to Laban though.

As long as we are discussing yogurt drinks (it would be great to see a post on SE about this, maybe there is somewhere..) one of the oddest I have had is carbonated Dhoog from Iran. I am going to have to try it again, as my initial experience with it was less than positive, but I am not convinced that was the fault of the drink or the fault of the company I had.

Ayran is good too, very similar to Laban. Very similar to Qatiq, but doesn't seem to sour as fast.

Now Kumis, that is where things get weird, especially the places that make it out of fermented mare's milk or camel milk (which is called Chal instead). My first encounter with it was from a Mongolian client who brought me airag as a thanks.

Haven't tried Chalap yet, but would be interested in giving it a try as it's basically carbonated salty Qatiq.

And if you want to stay closer to Europe, try Iceland's Skyr -- mmm.

Not really certain any of those qualify as a buttermilk replacement though, although the North African form of Laban is similar to cultured buttermilk.

As for buttermilk, I prefer natural buttermilk over cultured buttermilk. Tangier and more delicious and a great ingredient in recipes. And sadly substantially harder to get because it spoils so fast. Easier just to make your own at that point.

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Buttermilk?

What are blood cherries? Finding a few ornamental varieties called a blood cherry due to their leaf and flower color, but no blood cherry fruit.

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

Thanks! Embarassing to see that I missed that post.

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

@Max: A quick article suggestion for tea -- talk about the water. Some teas taste better with different waters. Just like brewing beer, brewing tea can really vary based on the profile of the water used. My favorite tea house (now closed) had a wall of different bottled (large bottles) water to brew its teas with. It may be fun to talk about the different water profiles by area where the tea comes and the water profiles recommended to drink it with.

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

@Max: Good tip, I'll give that a try. Thanks!

By the way good article. :)

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

I have a beautiful clay teapot . . . and frustratingly any tea I put in it starts to grow mold within 20 minutes. I assume it has somehow been infused with mold spores at this point. I have tried boiling it, vinegar, and dozens of other things, but none of them seem to fix it. I literally cannot make more than a single pot of tea in it and honestly with it growing mold I don't want to brew any tea in it!


Foolproof Cheese Fondue

I skip the starch and use 4% by weight sodium citrate. Amazing cheese sauce or fondue, never breaks, adds virtually no flavor, and comes out perfect every time. Add all the wine and lemon juice you want for flavor then and you are set to go. I also take my fondue to parties all of the time by simply throwing it in a furnace, it lasts for hours and I can pour out just enough to be used at a time.

Sous-Vide, Deep-Fried Turkey Porchetta (Turchetta)

Congeals the juices so they do not go splattering everywhere when you put it into the hot oil.

Turkey Porchetta

@Old64: Activa RM Transglutaminase.

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Temper Chocolate

@shebakes: I would put a wire rack in the sous vide bath and then put the chocolate in a mason jar and put the mason jar in the bath. It wouldn't take much to weigh down the mason jar if you needed to.

Sous-Vide, Deep-Fried Turkey Porchetta (Turchetta)

@Ken: No, just make sure you like the taste of turkey and prosciutto. I do have to say that the skin does not stick as well when layering another meat inside, but that can be fixed with salt and letting it set a day to readhere and for a stronger adhesion use transglutaminase.

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Temper Chocolate

@findingmykd: My stir plate is not heated. I built one, it's just an old computer fan with a magnet on top, put in a box, with a potentiometer to control the speed. Drop a stir bar into any pan and you are good to go, spin spin spin. Using an Anova would allow me to use it with something getting heated. I have the same problem as you otherwise, where to get a heated stirplate.

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Temper Chocolate

@S. Prince: I love that method of mousse. I use it quite often, although I have had it go horribly wrong without explanation a few times. I suspect it had something to do with temperature or ratio of water to chocolate.

@Kenji: Any reason I cannot use a canning jar in my immersion circulator for this? I can never get all of the chocolate off of the souse-vide bag, at least not as well as I can out of a glass jar. And that now tempts me to get an Anova, I could stick the Anova into a vessel set upon my stir plate, stick the stir plate rod in the glass jar, and then it would be self stirring! Hmmm...

Sous-Vide, Deep-Fried Turkey Porchetta (Turchetta)

I find it to be less or equal work as cooking a normal turkey. The main distinction is you trade off hovering over it in the oven for hours, wondering if you are going to over or under cook it, with prep work.

As for the skin:
1) Spread the legs, then along what would be the front of the leg when turkey is standing, cut the skin.
2) Separate and peel the skin back, it should go easily.
3) Remove the leg at the ball joint.
4) Pull the wing back to identify its joint, break it out if you can (optional, but makes it easier), pull the skin back toward the breast, and at the joint cut the wing off, cutting the skin at the same time.
5) Square the skin off between the thigh and wing cuts, by cutting a straight line between them.
6) Now forget about the skin, it's irrelevant.
7) Remove the breasts and the dark meat.
8) If you are following the recipe, go ahead and remove the skin now. However, I leave it on, throw the whole breast, skin on, into a bag and put it in the fridge.

(optional) From there, I cook the dark meat confit and boil the carcass and odd bits for stock. Once the dark meat is done (24 hours sous-vide), I start it to chill (depending on timing, I may put it in the fridge for a night).

9) Remove the skin, by now it should be really easy to get off.
10) Salt the inside of the skin: this, as I understand it, causes the natural formation of transglutaminase, which will help it stick back to the breast. I have done it without salting and it does not stay in place as well when people eat it. (optional, just use transglutaminase on the inside of the skin: if you want to get crazy with the transglutaminase, this is your opportunity to put in a thin layer of something else, whether it is bacon, thinly cut dark meat, or my favorite pancetta. This is also an opportunity to split the roll into three or four sections, depending on people's dietary requirements (e.g., no pork, no salt, no garlic, no whatever)).
11) Lay the breast into the middle of the skin.
12) Flatten the breast out, find the thickest parts, and butterfly from inside to out so that it will spread open nice and wide.
13) Prep as per Kenji's instructions. -- Note, once I have the sage/garlic/salt on, I like to shred one turkey leg (I tried both once, wow that was a huge roll), and lay it through the core of the turkey. This does not always hold together well, last year I tossed in some transglutaminase and it held together great, this year I had a guest over hanging out who tweaked out at my using "unnatural chemicals". I compensated by adding more sodium chloride, which achieves a similar but not as strong result.
14) Vac seal and let it sit overnight in the fridge at this point, so that the salt (or "unnatural chemicals", whichever) can have its time to act and help glue the skin back onto the turkey.


Once I have done that, I forget about the skin. I then remove the breasts and finally the back meat. Since I cook the dark meat first, I then throw the whole breast, skin on, into the fridge in a large bag. Once the dark meat is done, I start it chilling. While it chills, I quickly remove the skin from the breast, which is really easy at this point. I then lay out the skin, salt the inside of it (which encourages the natural formation of transglutaminase so that it will reconnect to the body.

Are Shooter's Sandwiches Really Worth a Damn?

Summary: I came out of my potato, peaked at it, and read that I should just return to my potato. So, back to the potato for me!

Win a Copy of 'Sweet and Vicious: Baking With Attitude'

Tiramisu, none of that lady finger crap. Make your own sponge, everything, divine.

The Science of the Best Sorbet

I often use egg whites to emulsify (smooth) my sorbets. I have also used lecithin and xanthan gum to great success when trying to not add extra liquid or worrying about someone who is allergic to egg whites.

I admit, this article was a bit low on science high on person experience/rules of thumb. Maybe I am just spoiled with the Kenji-style science where he tests every variable multiple ways, shows the results, and mentions what worked best for him? It would be awesome to see an article like that for sorbets.

I find a sugar syrup is a good way to guarantee that the sugar and fruit juices mix thoroughly. Sometimes I will straight some straight-up juice from the fruit and make a syrup out of it first before blending it back in as well.

The Food Lab: How to Make Foolproof Eggs Benedict

@Scott569: Nearly ditto. The only times I have had hollandaise or mayonnaise break is when I have tried to follow someone else's recipe.

Danish Æbleskiver

Who only makes 4 to 6 aebleskivers?

The Food Lab: These Are My Knives

@Ping-Pong17 : In addition to what @Kenji said, a hollow back grind thins the blade near the cutting edge, which makes it easier/faster to sharpen. On many blades you introduce a hollow grind to one side (especially in wood working), which actually has a much sharper angle than what the blade is then sharpened to. Sharpening often is done to dull the blade (blunt it) from the default angle, which introduces a multi-facet cut that is more durable, but easier to sharpen.

As a hobbyist wood worker, I love water stones. However, I have recently started to transition over to glass stones for finishing my blades. Any type of stone ultimately requires flattening, which is why I have a couple diamond plates on hand.

Sous-Vide, Deep-Fried Turkey Porchetta (Turchetta)

White like in the picture, if you cook it long enough.

Sous-Vide, Deep-Fried Turkey Porchetta (Turchetta)

Guests grimaced, asked, "Oh god, don't tell me that is a tofurkey!" And then tasted it, "OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS TURKEY EXPLOSION?"

This recipe gets five stars for repeatability and variability. I put the dark meat in the core and it was divine.

Turkey Porchetta

@TwirlyGirly : I agree, this was not the most efficient method to debone a turkey. I used Jacques Pepin's method, which resulted in it being cleanly deboned in under ten minutes.

Sous-Vide, Deep-Fried Turkey Porchetta (Turchetta)

@Kenji: Thanks! Good to know. I decided to let mine sit and rest. We will see how it turns out. Of course, now I wish I had stuffed the center with stuffing instead of dark meat. But we will see.

Turkey Porchetta

Oops. I meant "Tacchinetta". Two C's.