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December, 2010 | Manolo's Food Blog
Archive - December, 2010

An Aged Roast

This week I tried my first dry aged roast and I must say that I was quite happy with how it turned out.

Meat in the United States is almost always wet aged.  It is kept in a plastic bag of some sort and refrigerated at just above freezing for 1 to 4 weeks.  90+ percent of the beef aged in the United States is done in this fashion.  This makes the beef more tender as the aging process allows the natural enzymes to break down the connective tissue in the meat.  However, there is no flavor concentration because the plastic bagging keeps the moisture in the meat so there is no weight loss.

Now very fine beef for schmancy restaurants and such can be dry aged.  This is where large primal cuts are kept in air for approximately the same 1-4 weeks in refrigeration. This promotes the same tenderizing from the enzyme process and enhances it because it promotes the growth of certain molds on the surface of the meat that increase the tenderizing process. These molds do not actually rot the meat and the moldy surface is trimmed off before it is cut into roasts and steaks.

Fine cuts are used because a nice marbling of fat is important for dry aging.

Dry aging is not often done because you will lose up to 20% of the meat from it drying out and being trimmed. This does, however, result in a delicious concentration of flavor in the beef.

Now, I had read about doing this at home for 3 or 4 days instead of long term aging so this week I tried it out. I had a top sirloin roast of about 4 pounds. I put it in the refrigerator set at 34 degrees up on a rack and covered with paper towels. All that I did was change the paper towels twice during the aging process. After this trim away dry parts of the meat and fat. Leave as much of the fat as possible for the flavor and also so you can make a nice gravy, as I did.

This bit of aging made a wonderful roast. Very tender, with a mellow but full beef flavor. Tasting this you realize that the regular roasts have a much more watery flavor at the same degree of doneness. Next I need to try aging the meat for a full week and see how that is. My mouth is watering already.

You can also age the meat very nicely in cheesecloth, but change it a couple of times.
For safety, make sure that your refrigerator is set below 40 degrees for the aging and perhaps use a thermometer to check your actual temperature.


One for the kids

On the bright side, nobody can accuse Bourdain of being a passively detached parent.

via BlackBook

Bonus Bourdain:

“If you’re looking for elitism and hypocrisy and silliness, you need only look to food. Which is ready for a parody and backlash. I make a good living at it. But really it’s also just a part of a natural process, don’t you think? It was inevitable for this happen.”

Indeed it was, and high time. We’ve got to get in there before the industry entirely descends to unconscious self-parody. Although from time to time it appears we may be too late.

Am I the only one fatigued by all of this stuff? The only diner out there exhausted by the fastidiousness applied to $38 pappardelle and $3 frozen pop on a stick alike? The only one who feels bludgeoned by people swinging their expertise like so much boneless, air-dried Italian lomo? Incidentally, did you know Las Vegas chef Michael Mina poaches only fish in ocean water flown in from Fiji? Well, I know!

I know because I am part of the problem. Not a huge part; I only occasionally write about food. But I do openly wonder why more burger joints don’t make their own brioche buns and ketchup.

Incidentally, very few people who’ve worked at “burger joints” have such questions.

Las is More

Vegan vs Las Vegan

Vegan vs Las Vegan: any questions?

Look carefully: can you spot the differences? That’s right: the one on the left has, compared to the model on the right, a moderately longer life expectancy, a paler complexion, and less SHEER AWESOMENOSITY!

Beer Run

You're a drunk one, Mister Grinch

You're a drunk one, Mister Grinch

Looks like somebody wasn’t content with a stocking full of coal this Christmas!

Perhaps it was simply an Oregonian grinch, overcome by Christmas spirit, and determined to provide hostess gifts to a whole town of thirsty Whos.

In any case, we’ve got an APB out on WHOever borrowed an unsecured forklift and used it to bash through the wall of a general store, then burgled the store. The entire take: Beer. Nothing else. Just beer.

From the comments section of the original report comes a clue:

merlyn December 27, 2010 at 12:13PM

I guess they needed the forklift because they didn’t like lite beer. Must have had an eye on the dark porters or stouts.

So, on the one side: Crime = Bad. On the other side: Oregonian beer = very, very good. If the take turns out to be Bud Light or some swill, however, I say we throw the book at them.

via Gawker

Primordial Soup with Julia Child

Manolo says, the best touch is when she uses the kitchen knife as the pointer.

Christmas Cheers!

I'll be lucky if I don't wikileak in the cab

Oh, Julian, hold me back!

I’m sorry to say, I’m always that guy at the annual Manolosphere holiday party, especially since I got the below for Christmas. Oh well, what happens on Mustique stays on Mustique, right?
LED Martini Glasses

A Merry MultiCulti Christmas!

From David Mamet to you:

But what do the Chinese do on Passover?

How is this night different from all other nights? WONTONS!

Why Santa Gets Cookies at Christmas

Cookies for Santa

He's a handsy little fellas

We’re all familiar with the tradition of leaving out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. Some smart households even supplement the offering with a glass of milk or eggnog, in the general interest of keeping the stealthy old bugger away from the liquor cabinet. But does anyone know why it’s cookies we offer instead of, say, aspic molds or cupcakes or platypus turnovers?

I do, and I’m here to tell you the secret.

Santa is a ninja.

No, wait, this makes total sense: Santa is a ninja, and he does not in fact eat all those cookies; goodness no! Imagine the calories in all those carb-laden treats! What Santa does is, he uses his magical powers, which already allow him to visit billions of homes leaving presents at each in a single night, to turn regular cookies into ninja cookies.

Stick with me here.


Christmas Gingerbread Men and Women, BEFORE

Christmas Gingerbread Men and Women, BEFORE


Ninjabread men

Ninjabread Men: this is what happens when Santa gets his mitts on regular cookies

See how that works? And here’s a lovely Spode tidbit tray of Ninjabread Men, just exactly as you see them in the morning:

Spode Christmas tray chock full of ninjabread men

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