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.
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.
I had quite a bit of BBQ sauce from the barbeque I went to last week. I even brought it to another barbeque, but still had leftovers. What to do? A quick look in the book and I found a recipe that uses the sauces: pulled mushrooms. It’s like spaghetti marinara except they’re mushroom noodles in BBQ sauce. Why of course it’s like that. Plus the recipe was inspired by Ideas In Food. Since I had recently met Alex over at Scott’s a few weeks back, it seemed fortuitous. Time to head to the Asian grocery store.
A few months back I bought the cookbook Ideas In Food: Great Recipes And Why They Work, but hadn’t cooked anything out of it yet. It has two sections: recipes for the home cook and recipes for the professionals. As I don’t believe in such restrictions (the point of this whole blog, really), I immediately turned to the “professional” section. What can I make with what I have on hand? I settled on the Popcorn Gelato. And I’m glad I did – this is a really cool recipe. Actually it’s really, really cold.
H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa run a culinary consulting business called Ideas In Food. They started a blog in 2004 to showcase their research into food preparation, cooking techniques, and flavor combinations. Recently, they put it all into their first book, Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work, which should quickly be in your hands and on your kitchen bookshelf. I was looking for a small course to add for a dinner I made a few weeks ago and came across their post for Watermelon and Coffee:
These cubes of watermelon are seasoned with cane sugar, instant coffee and salt. As is they are amazing. When you vacuum seal them and let them marinate for a day their taste potential increases exponentially.
Something quick to bring a little zing to my dinner – perfect. I found a nice watermelon down at the Pike Place Market, picked up some Via instant coffee from Starbucks and went to work. Chop. Season. Seal. Sit. Who said modern cookery is difficult?
Salty, sweet, bitter – it’s a tantalizing combination for sure. I think I’ll juice a jalapeño and add it in next time for a spicy kick. And why not – it’s just another idea in food, right?