So I over cooked the deer but I was saved by the bell on the calf meat. Perhaps it was the slice of pork I tied over the topside of the meat.
I cooked it until the fifties and then yanked it out of the oven, took it off the pan, and immediately onto the resting rack. Again a little too long, the chef and I look at one another and smile.
The question to ask yourself is what happened during cooking that could have been changed to effectively improve the end result. The number one cause of kitchen troubles is the oven; most ovens cannot operate in the temperatures you set. This is something Modernist Cuisine covers very well, something I knew about from my training with Bruno Goussault. Time and Temperature are the vital statistics of every kitchen, each recipe has its own calibration of these two.
The most important element in every kitchen is planning and timing. If you plan well, you have a good chance to succeed, and if you have time you can get it right. When I opened Modernist Cuisine and looked at sauces I found one that caught my attention. It was a sauce that involved a lengthy process, I thought it made sense until I discovered how much time it takes.
The time is in the shopping, in Tokyo it is easy but not always possible to find what you’re looking for. In western styled shops they have the western ingredients but in the Japanese markets, it is more geared towards the east. This isn’t to say that they don’t sell fifty different types of olive oil, but if you are looking for red peppers, they are imported and not always available. This recipe called for red peppers and no red peppers to be found except those that are spicy. The Japanese supermarkets work with strict policies, what doesn’t get sold goes off the shelves very quickly and may never reappear again.
So now you find yourself at the market and the recipe is squashed, no red peppers = no recipe. I am not under pressure, when I shop, I work like this; I think okay, I am cooking meat, and so what vegetables will I use to accompany the dish. I walk the market and I see what is in season – normal right, in a Japanese market, you find so many interesting vegetables. I then try to think colors and sizes, I am trying to construct a dish as I walk.
I hate to plate food, it is not easy to get it right, it takes practice and experimenting. I find vegetables that can contrast each other and work together. In the winter you find yellow and green, purple and red. I try to avoid the yin and yang, the concept yin would be the milder flavors, while yang would be the bolder flavors. Chinese recipes take advantage of this type of feng shui balance. Sweet and sour, hot and sour, and strong flavored dishes paired with plain rice are all examples of yin and yang balanced foods. I am not that sophisticated, nor do I have any intention to make this my pass time.