Independent replication


I know what you are thinking. Ben makes the recipes he writes about sound easy. It seems like understanding the science behind what I’m cooking will help. But I can’t really make that. Can I? Continue reading “Independent replication”

Focaccia: Are You a Yeast Sniffer?

Ever been  called a yeast sniffer? What would your reaction be? Shakespearean indignation?

Blackguard! I challenge you to a duel.

Catholic guilt?

It was only once…in college…everyone else was doing it.

Sinful pride?

Damn straight. I’m growing some premo stuff right now.

For a distinct group of pastry chefs, sinful pride is the correct answer.

According to one of my culinary school instructors, there are two kinds of pastry chefs: plate jockeys and yeast sniffers. Plate jockeys are responsible for composed desserts at restaurants. Yeast sniffers fill bread baskets. There is very little crossover among professionals. I myself have primarily been a professional plate jockey; but I find few things more therapeutic than baking fresh bread. This one is for that little chef in all of us that likes to sniff a little yeast, if only recreationally. Continue reading “Focaccia: Are You a Yeast Sniffer?”

Mushroom Soup & Homemade Stock: The Root of All Flavor

This week’s recipe is a bit of a two-for-one. The “main” recipe is a fall favorite of mine, mushroom soup (PDF – 770kb). This recipe only has five ingredients (not including salt and oil, which are staples, not ingredients), the most important of which is not, in fact, the mushrooms. It’s the stock (PDF – 115kb). Just replace the mushroom with any number of vegetables and we can still make a delicious soup – as long as we start with good stock. So, if we want to understand the science behind great mushroom soup, we need to understand the science behind good stock. Continue reading “Mushroom Soup & Homemade Stock: The Root of All Flavor”

Creme Brulee: The Science of Sexy

Yesterday, I promised you sexy food and the science behind it. Therefore, crème brûlée. Look at all those accent marks! Sexy, right? And, why not start with eggs – queen of ingredients, bringers of life, denizens of diner griddles, the heart of fluffy meringues, and the soul of silky custards. Crème brûlée is sexy because it is simple. Smooth, creamy custard1 contrasts with a thin, crisp layer of smoky caramel. Every flavor and texture is a balance – creamy and crisp, sweet and bitter, light and deep – harmonizing to enhance and elevate the dish.

If you want to know the steps to making crème brûlée, use the recipe below (PDF – 115kb). If you want to know how crème brûlée becomes sexy keep reading. The science of sexy can be unlocked by through an understanding of a few properties of these few, simple ingredients. Continue reading “Creme Brulee: The Science of Sexy”

Waiter, There’s a Science in My Soup

Food is sexy. You may take a moment to absorb this.

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those saying, “Damn straight!”, and those saying “Meh. I don’t know about sexy…”

To you “damn straighers” out there, damn straight. To those who say “meh”, sorry, you are wrong. Food is sexy and I can prove it.

Eat a piece of chocolate mousse cake and then tell me food isn’t sexy. I dare you. Think about it…

…the feeling of soft, rich mousse on your tongue. Chocolate coating the roof of your mouth – deep, dark, slightly smoky. A whiff of mild spice makes your nose crinkle and the back of your throat tingle ever so slightly. Whipped cream blends the flavors until you can no longer tell where one stops and another starts. And, and, is that a hint of orange zest? Then the crust. The hazelnut-brown butter toffee crust. Eyes closed you turn the fork over as your lips desperately search for just one last morsel clinging to the tines of the fork. A sigh that brings back a whisper of the spice and orange. When was the last time you made that look?

Food. Is. Sexy. Continue reading “Waiter, There’s a Science in My Soup”

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