Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Your Mom was wrong! Why dry is not stale

Hi all, sorry to say your mom (and mine!) were wrong on the main ingredient for stuffing. The key is to get DRY bread, not STALE bread.

Who wants to eat stale bread? Think about that bag of potato chips that were chewy instead of crispy and tasted a little flat. Well stale bread tastes worse than those.

Dry bread, when re-hydrated with turkey juices and chicken stock becomes really flavorful bread. Stale bread, when re-hydrated tastes like stale bread with chicken stock, not really the same.

I recommend drying your bread out the day of Thanksgiving. Hit your oven on 150° (or warm if it doesn't go that low) and spread your bread out on some tin foil or a baking sheet. The heat is enough to remove the water but not toast the bread. Fresh, tasty bread, now dry (in about 90 minutes or so...).

Some other tips include not using enriched bread (like white bread) which is made with eggs, it never really dries out anyway. Also, sweat, don't overcook the onions (leeks), garlic and celery for your stuffing, it can ruin the whole thing.

More to come, keep the questions coming...

TDay in Prison

Nick, @nick314

Thanks for the question and hello St. Louis. Well done for the red birds and big fan of SJax here!

The question is: $200, 162 inmates and Thanksgiving. Well, let me say that the reason I love Thanksgiving is because it is a holiday that crosses all social, religious and economic boundaries. People get a sense of calm and really good feeling about this holiday.

Your question is a tough one, but here it goes...

Right Now, you can get a 20 lb. Turkey for around $12 - I would get 11, so each turkey needs to feed about 14 hungry prisoners, not a lot of meat for each, but also not too bad.

(Spent $131, left $69)

Next Stuffing - let's go simple. White bread, onions and celery ( i am guessing you have salt and pepper at the prison). Enough to fill 11 Turkeys, plus some extra $16 ($53 left).

Cranberry Sauce - Can with rings, right? 30 cans, $16 ($37 left).

Potatoes - 20 lb bag at Costco is $4 right now - 6 Bags, plus milk & butter - $30 ($7 left)

Well, we have turkey, stuffing, potatoes and cranberry. What we need to spend the rest of the money on is a whole bunch of chicken stock to mix with the drippings from the turkey. Once we do this, we can add some corn starch or roux (again, I am counting on the prison to already have these) to thicken it up and get ourselves a very, very good gravy.

There you go, Thanksgiving for 162! Now they might have to drink water for this meal, but the memories and good feelings go a long way to making a difference.

Happy Thanksgiving


Clare Burre

In culinary school, I used to think of Clare Burre as my sweet (ficticious) French Aunt. I am quite sure she is a fantastic cook and perhaps used to send me $5 in a birthday card.

Alas, she is not my aunt, but clarified butter.

As chance would have it, I am also cooking on Friday (Bonus Blog Posts!) for another Thanksgiving and I am making hollandaise sauce for grilled asparagus. So, tonight I need to clarify some butter, don't worry, it is easy.

In a pan, add 2 pounds of butter and put on its lowest setting.

Over time, the butter will start to separate and fat will go to both the top and bottom. Start to skim off the top and discard fat as it hardens or turns to foam.

At the end, beware the fat on the bottom of the pan. Pour the gold liquid into another container being careful to to get the bottom fat. Let sit at room temp and it will stay liquid or refrigerate for later use.

That is it. You should always have some on hand for homemade mayo, salad dressing or hollandaise.

Brining Time

Time to brine everyone, wether you are doing a big Turkey, a small one or breasts like me, brining is the way to go. What you do with brining is to replace the water in the meat with flavor. Salt, pickling spice, pepper, brown sugar, etc. the recipies for brining are varied, but they all acomplish the same thing.

The salt acutally starts to draw the water out of the meat, but because it is submurged, what replaces that plain water is brine. This way, as your Turkey cooks tomorrow and the water reduces, flavor is what is left behind in the meat.

Mine is a plain brine, as follows:

Salt (kosher)
All Spice
Dried Ginger
Garlic Salt

2-hours is okay, 12 is great. Brine away, but remember to keep you turkey below 40° for safety!

Questions welcome, let's keep it going!


Live Blogging and Tweeting Thanksgiving!

Emulsified' first ever live blogging and Twitter Q&A starts tonight at 9:00 EST and continues through 3 tomorrow! Send your questions: @steveewhite And here by adding comments below!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Welcome to the occupation...

By the way, this is one of my favorite REM songs of all time. To those reading this, perhaps a download and listen during this post is appropriate. Note to self, you know a lot about music and should write it down sometime.

I am officially taking off the shackles and just using this as an online notebook. Too much cool stuff happens to me every day and I feel the formality of a normal post prohibits me from posting more. Look at this, it has been since March that I have posted and I have visited no less than 15 awesome restaurants (and some crappy ones) during that time.

Tonight, Welcome to the occupation... Really this is about the fact that everyone is everywhere. Tonight I was at dinner and drinks at the SoHo Grand with people from Amsterdam, Germany, Cincinnati and New York. Respectively these people are from New Zealand, California, Norway, Australia and the UK. Very smart people, all of whom are interested in what I have to say because apparently I am pretty smart too.

All of this comes rather easily, is it because of the hard work, the smarts or my ability to read and adapt to situations? Something to explore moving forward.

Lesson here is really separate from me, and that is people (those who matter and you want to be around) get past things like "where are you from" pretty quickly. They want to like you and to be liked, they want to be challenged, they want to learn something and they want to teach you something. So, know when to listen and when to talk, and be authentically you. Because that is who they want, not some version of yourself you think you should be around them. Creating connections across the globe is easier than you think. Perhaps it will be the norm in 20-30 years but now it most certainly is not.

NYC, man what a great place. No city is like it. Period. Modern, old, cool, cliché, and just plain huge. It is really a canvas for great people to do great things, for people to struggle upon, to discover one's self and to get lost in the enormity of things...

I know, right? Very philisophical for a Tuesday night, but perhaps a post that will actually resonate in 20 years and bring me back to a place and a feeling that is all too real right now. Finally I will leave with something which is very troubling to me. This is how do I share such revelations with Susan, my true love and soulmate, when I experience them without her but because of her at the same time? I aspire to greatness which I know I could never achieve alone. Perhaps she is the 'it' I speak of? Does she listen to Welcome to the occupation and understand me better?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reflections on my first SXSW - 2011 South by Southwest interactive Festival

What to say about Austin Texas? Well as I sit in the airport after
spending 5 days here I don't think I can fairly answer that question.
My perspective on the city came from roughly 1 square mile and was
during SXSW, a time when there are more visitors than full time

What I did get, however, was a sense of calm. Nothing much seems to
phase these locals even in the midst of what I can only describe as
'spring break for nerds.' And nice, not in an artificial way, just

4 concerts (Chris Cornell, Foo fighters, Big Boi and Mr. Heavenly), 2
keynote speeches, 1 quick trip to Lake Travis, and days of training
sessions have left me in somewhat of a fog this morning as I get ready
to board plane for Denver. Mix this with a serious lack of sleep and I
feel more like I might be returning from one of those Vegas trips in
my mid 20s.

I am smarter, more motivated, excited about the future and really,
really happy I came. I loved Austin's food trucks, smoky BBQ and mole
(more to come in my Austin food post). The people were great and
weather was perfect. Wow, maybe that fog is lifting. Also, I just
checked my wallet, It still has some money, definitely not one of
those Vegas trips.

See you next year.