Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

11th November
2012
written by scott

Modernist Cuisine introduced the idea of a “constructed cream” – a cream-like sauce that has never passed through a teat [if you’re into vivid imagery].  Dairy creams, including milk, are actually emulsions.  Milk, for example, is composed of tiny droplets of fat suspended in water and stabilized by a protein called casein. So, if milk and cream are emulsions of fat and water, why not emulsify together any arbitrary fat and water to produce a sauce with the thickness and mouthfeel of cream? Boom: constructed creams are born.

That one insight has incredible repercussions, and the Modernist Cuisine at Home recipe for Home Jus Gras is a great example. In a traditional gravy, you start with very flavorful roasting juices or pan drippings.  The problem is that pan drippings are quite thin, so we typically thicken them by adding flour or cornstarch.  This approach has “compromise” written all over it: starches are flavor inhibitors.  The Modernist Cuisine approach is to combine those roasting juices with flavorful liquid fat instead, and to swap flour and cornstarch for xanthan gum, which can be used in extremely small quantities and doesn’t dull the flavor of the finished sauce.

The full recipe – which is amazing! – is in Modernist Cuisine at Home.  However, if you’re short on time, we’ve developed an even simpler version using store-bough fat and stock.  This Simplified Jus Gras recipe is in the Modernist Cuisine recipe library.  I hope that this recipe is also a jumping-off point for you to experiment with your own flavors.  Last year, I used this technique with rendered fat from a pre-Christmas goose and some spiced apple cider to produce a grain-free gravy that jived with my wife’s dietary restrictions.  But, there’s no reason you couldn’t use bacon grease and whiskey, if you were so-inclined.

For the rest of the MDRN KTCHN series, check out CHOW.com.

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24th November
2010
written by scott

roasted chicken
Deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey is popular for a reason – it happens to be the same reason that Lipitor is popular, but that’s beside the point.  Unfortunately, every year, 10 million* Americans start house fires from attempting to fry their bird.  And in addition to the arson hazard, deep frying a turkey requires a ton of oil, which, let’s face it, you’re not going to filter and reuse.

Luckily, the folks at Char-Broil have created The Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Deep Fryer, and were kind enough to loan me a unit for testing.  This cooker looks and works just like a conventional turkey fryer, except it uses no oil.  Instead, a ring of gas burners heat up the inside of the cooking chamber, roasting your meat evenly and allowing the fat to drip down, with no risk of flame-ups. 

Rather than test the machine with a turkey, though, I thought I’d try out a few other dishes.  Check out my video review after the jump.

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18th January
2010
written by scott

In case you missed the AllRecipes.com live day-before-Thanksgiving webcast, here’s the clip of me making Broiled Honey Glazed Spiced Figs.  This was my first time cooking live on camera, but the folks at AllRecipes were fun and wonderful.  Jump to about 11 minutes in to see the nervous look on Amy’s face when I pull out my kitchen torch.