In the world of crispness, it’s all about the bubbles. Or at least, the sound of bubbles popping. Studies at Oxford University have shown that when we bite into a surface filled with small brittle cells, each fracture releases a quick burst of high-frequency sound. The more fractures in a bite, the more bursts of sound, and the more crispy the food seems to be. So how do we make things super crispy? Why, we add bubbles. Through carbonation to be exact. Let’s try it out with onion rings.
By far the most popular post on this site is The Price Of Cooking Modernist Cuisine, Part I: Tools And Gadgets. Along with Part II: Food Additives and Part III: Cookbooks and Other Resources, they provide a handy compendium of what’s available (and affordable) for the home cook to delve into Modernist Cuisine. It’s been a couple of years since they were posted however, and there are other gadgets, ingredients and whatnot I’ve collected since then that can be added to the list. Therefore, let’s take a look at other things you can use to create cool funky food in your kitchen.
It’s been absolutely beautiful in Seattle the past few weeks. The sun has been out, the flowers are in full bloom, and generally the malaise that creeps into people’s day to day personalities after months of cloud cover has given way to smiles and laughter. And lots of exposed white, pale skin.
The food has changed as well as the smell of BBQs has been in the air while we enjoy a respite from the gray skies. I wanted a light snack that fit the warm days, and chose melon slices. That get glued together. As you do.
A dinner party. I haven’t had one since December, and I haven’t tackled The Work for the last few weeks, so I went back at it. This time I chose something I could prepare beforehand, so I wouldn’t be in the kitchen for most of the meal. Lamb Curry. I can sous vide the lamb, have the sauce on the stove, and just some quick plating will be all that is necessary. Well, almost.
This was going to be a Halloween post but I had trouble with it and had to revisit it later to get it right. I mean, really, nothing says ‘Happy Holidays’ like a champagne glass filled with hot blood pudding custard. Actually, everything does besides that. Anyway, I made hot blood pudding custard.
I haven’t tackled a big recipe in a while, so it was time to consult The Work and give it a shot. I was having guests over and thought the Hungarian Beef Goulash from Volume Five would do the trick. And as usual, it was a lot of work and all sorts of unseen problems presented themselves. From procuring ingredients to equipment breakdowns, timing issues and even a poorly focused camera (as you’ll see – sorry about that), this one barely made it through. But made it through it did.
Chioggia Beet – gel and pickled
Parsnip – centers sous vide and fried strands
Cocoa Nib – cooked in sherry vinegar
Russian Blue Potato – steamed
Swiss Chard – pickled
Rutabaga – powdered
Rosemary – fried in potato starch
Turkey Consomme (poured over once presented)
This one is always touted as an easy introduction to Modernist Cuisine. It has two main ingredients: carrots and butter. It has two steps as well: pressure cook carrots in butter for 2o minutes. Then add carrot juice, puree, and season. Voila.
Strange thing is, well, my version, it took me most of the day.
Having gone over the price ranges of the tools and gadgets of Modernist Cuisine, let’s look at specialty ingredients next. The food additives used in Modernist Cuisine are considered safe. The names might be ‘science-y” and therefore unpalatable, but if you have no problem with sodium bicarbonate (baking powder) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), you should be fine with these.