Yogurt made with Jamon Iberico starter culture

A year back we partnered with a company in Spain that specializes in starter cultures used for charcuterie. I did some initial tests by mixing those cultures in cream and just leaving it in room temperature. After a week they turned into some sort of cultured cream. Call it whatever you may – high fat yogurt, creme fraiche, etc. Point is, they were freaking delicious. I remember one of them had notes of lemon peel. Another developed some flavours of hazelnut. It was amazing.

Fast forward to this trial, I now attempted to speed up the process by using sous vide. Thanks to this Chefsteps video, I now had a starting reference point. It was a bit tricky though as in their video they use yogurt with live cultures. I only had the cultures. I only wanted to do 3 types with 1 litre of cream in each. I had some left over cream so ended up doing another set but with only half the cream. I also decided to use the same amount of culture despite having only half the cream. Effectively doubling the concentration. I also added 1% sugar by weight, just to give the critters more to eat.

After one night, the extra turned to be freaking beautiful. Thick, yogurty, but without the tanginess. The others were still pretty much just cream. So I decided to leave it for another night. This turned out to be a bit of a disaster. They all just went too far. The yogurt was separating, one had caused the lid to pop, and they all tasted pretty bad.

Left the good yogurt to strain in the fridge overnight to develop more texture.

So now, I know have a better idea on how much cultures to add and for how long to cook it for. Next time, I will try it with a different bacteria blend!

This dish is really about the yogurt, so I kept the garnishes simple and easy. Honeycomb, blackberries and blueberries.

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Kickstarter: Ready to eat, Sous-vide steak, delivered by mail.

Here is the campaign! After over a year of research and development we are finally ready to launch our sous-vide ready-to-eat steak, delivered by mail.

If you think it’s an interesting concept and would like to try, place a pledge and we will deliver you the steaks as soon as we can! Or share it with your friends on facebook, instagram and twitter!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kappafoods/kappa-foods-ready-to-eat-steak-delivered-by-mail/widget/video.html


Ready-to-eat sous vide steak, delivered by mail!

KFTomorrow, a project that I have been involved with will be launching on Kickstarter.

For the past year I have been working on a ready to eat sous-vide steak, delivered by mail. We’ve spent countless days working on the product development and the logistics. Now that we have completed those steps, it’s time to move forward. It’s launch time baby!

I’m proud to say that tomorrow, Monday (Nov 9), we are finally launching our Kickstarter campaign so we can put our steak out in the market. During that time, I hope that you can support us by spreading the word, or pledging to our campaign. There are different reward levels – as an example, pledging $54 CAD will get you 4 ready to eat steaks. We also offer subscription where you will have steaks delivered every month.  Our steaks are AAA grade striploins. 

Steaks will be shipped fresh and never frozen, in highly insulated packaging.

This is just a heads up. Once the campaign goes live, I will forward the link to everyone so that you can take a look for yourselves. All the relevant information will be in the campaign page once it goes live. 

We will need all the support, so please help us in this campaign!

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Plating Exercise – Chicken Liver Parfait, Crackling, Raspberry Coulis, herbs

Spent a few hours trying out different ways of plating a dish. Some seem really pretentious, hah! While some resemble how many of the trendy restaurants are doing. It was fun, and a great way of exploring visual aesthetics in food. Also shows how a dish is plated can affect how a guest may approach eating it. DISCLAIMER: All things I say are just opinion, and you are more than welcome to disagree with me. How much weight my opinion holds is up to you. But I hope you enjoy the photos.

On a side note:

Parfait recipe is made lighter by using 18% cream instead of 35%. Adding iota carrageen to bring back the rich texture and body is a great way to achieve lowering fat content.

500g of poached chicken liver (poached sous vide, in milk, with star anise, bay leaves, and seasoning)

400g 18% cream (brought to a simmer with 2g iota carrageenan)

100g butter

seasoning.

Once all ingredients are cooked, puree in a blender until smooth. Cool overnight.

The first 2 are probably my favourite, aesthetically. Also, to me, the plating makes sense and doesn’t feel as rigid. You get bites of parfait, skin, and herbs, and you get to decide how much of the coulis you want per bite. It feels composed, without being strict.

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Contrast the first 2 with the next 2 plating styles. These just screams rigid. Where’s the white table cloth? To me, if I plate a dish like this its because I want to take full control of just how much of each ingredient you get per bite. But that’s just my way of thinking. I could be wrong here.

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The next 2, I think, is quite a common style these days, and has been for the past 2 or so years. Small bits of each ingredient “randomly” cascading around the plate. This is why I think it works – you get to spread the ingredients around, it has this very casual feel to it yet still can be very appealing. Lastly, the chef also gets to control how it is eaten without the dish appearing pretentious.

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A fixation with raw proteins

The more I cook, the more I want to do it without cooking. My fixation for uncooked meat and seafood is growing!

Again, a love affair with steak tartare.

Short rib, seasoned with neutralized vinegar, soy sauce and salt. Crisped shitake, pickled shallots.

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Raw salmon and sake marinated scallops, fermented rice puree, seaweed infused soy tainted with squid ink, fennel, toasted sesame, panko.

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Cultured cream using charcuterie starter cultures

So a while back I got myself some starter cultures from our partners in Spain. They specialize in bacteria cultures for charcuterie and started to get into the nuances of beer production as well. They’ve even isolated some of the cultures used in producing Jamon Iberico. I got a hold of that culture too and went to making different sausages. Man, they make such a huge difference.

But after the novelty of curing sausages wore of, my scatter brain thought, what else can I do with this stuff?! I’ve seen cultured butter before, maybe that’s something I can dabble in, but with cream.

Let me tell you right now that man, the differences were astounding for some of them, as well as the textures. Keep in mind this was a spur of the moment trial. I’m also not sure if the stainless steel containers react with the cream.

Day 2 of the fermentation. Differences are starting to appear.

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Procedure

  1. Heat the heavy cream (35% fat) to 40 degrees Celsius and separate them into 5 containers
  2. Add 1% sugar, by total weight.
  3. Add the different strains of starter cultures to each container
  4. Allow to sit at room temperature for 3 days. My kitchen lab hovers between 20 to 22 degrees Celsius.
  5. TASTE!!!

 

 

Here are the notes.

Control – no culture added

This one was slightly unappetizing, and had some bitter notes. It was just reminiscent of spoiled cream, the kind that’s been left at the back of the fridge for 2 months. It was also a bit sour but it was not very pronounced. No trace of sweetness

Cultures 1 and 2 on the center. Control is the one on the very left.

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Culture 1

This tasted like that honey yogurt you get off grocery stores, but with a milder yogurt flavour. In fact, I would say the flavour was quite mild overall, but delicious. The texture was also like smooth and soft store bought yogurt.

 

Culture 2

This one had a very interesting flavour – sweet and strong hints of lemon. It definitely surprised me! It also didn’t loosen up when I stirred it around, so the viscosity is consistent. The texture was like double cream.

 

Cultures 4 and 5

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Culture 4

This was by far my favourite due to the overall balance of flavour and texture. It tasted of mild yogurt with a hint of acidity. The texture was rich and velvety like a 10% fat Greek yogurt. It would also hold its shape.

 

Culture 5

Last but not the least, is the Iberico cultures. Texture was not that great – in fact it was quite runny and a bit stringy, as if Xanthan gum was added to it. But the flavour…wow! Very strong nutty note, and reminiscent of hazelnuts.

All of them side by side

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So the next step is to perhaps combine the cultures to try and get the best qualities. I would mix Cultures 4 and 5. But who knows, the cultures might compete with each other and I would get something completely different!

 

 


Pan seared sweetbreads, Shiitake and Kombu consomme, Shiitake and Miso puree, chives

A very simple dish with very few components. The broth was thickened slightly with GPI Kokumi just to give a richer texture. The sweetbreads were first poached with star anise, salt and pepper, then chilled overnight.

 

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