Posts Tagged ‘modernist’
Navigating the world of Modernist cooking equipment can be a daunting task for the uninitiated, but don’t worry, I’m here to help. This year’s list gift guide includes everything you need to start cooking like a Modernist in the comfort of your own home kitchen.
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is an old management adage, but it’s just as applicable to precision cooking. An accurate, responsive probe thermometer is the single most critical tool in any chef’s arsenal for ensuring properly-cooked proteins. But, in Modernist cooking, temperature control is just as critical for hydrating hydrocolloids and activating enzymes. I recommend the Thermapen because of its exceptional accuracy and lightning-fast read times.
Any fan of Modernist Cuisine knows that an accurate, digital scale is required for every recipe in the book. This scale, by American Weigh, measures in 0.1 gram increments up to 2 kilograms, making it one of the most versatile I’ve found.
How would you like to give all of your favorite cheeses the same melting properties as Velveeta with out any compromise in flavor? Well, my friends, this ingredient does the trick. A carefully-measured dash of sodium citrate acts as an emulsifier to keep your cheese from separating into an oily mess when it melts. For more, see my CHOW video on High-Tech Melty Cheese.
The whipping siphon is not just for savory foams anymore! This indispensable tool also makes quick work of flavorful infusions, pressure-marinates meat, carbonates drinks, carbonates fruit, and much more. If you’re tempted by a cheaper, off-brand siphon, I’m afraid you (and the Modernist cook in your life) will be disappointed. iSi is the only siphon brand I’ve tested that can handle thick foams and purees.
As we explain in Modernist Cuisine at Home, The key to moist meat and crispy skin is injection brining. Brines help the meat absorb more water and hold onto it during the cooking process. Unfortunately, it has the same effect on poultry skin, and moist skin is just the opposite of crispy. To get around that conundrum, we recommend injection brining, which both protects the skin and speeds up the total brining process.
A chamber vacuum sealer is one of the most-used and most-critical pieces of gear in any Modernist kitchen. Unlike edge-style sealers, like the FoodSaver, a chamber vacuum easily seals bags of liquid. It’s the perfect companion for sous vide cooking, but it’s far from a one trick pony. Want to make pickles in 60 seconds, or compress fruits and vegetables? Done. How about extracting the dissolved gas from your omelet? Done. And if you’re preparing food for a potluck, leave your Tupperware behind: a vacuum bag is the ultimate way to transport your foods, cooked or raw.
It is literally worth owning a pressure cooker just so you can make the Caramelized Carrot Soup from Modernist Cuisine at Home. I’ve tried other brands, but my favorite is Kuhn Rikon. It is much quieter than pressure cookers with a “bobbling weight”, and has an easy to read pressure gauge. It even works on induction cooktops! You’ll find incredible time savings and more flavorful results from the dozens of pressure cooker techniques that Modernists cooks love.
I’m not much of a horsepower guy, unless we’re talking about blenders. The Vitamix is sets the industry standard with over 2 horsepower (peak) and blade speeds up to 240 miles per hour. That intense power yields finer purees, smoother soups, and stronger emulsions… not to mention fabulous margaritas.
Of course, I have to give a shoutout to two fabulous sous vide bundles that our partners at PolyScience and SousVide Supreme have put together for the holidays.
The Sous Vide Professional™ CREATIVE Series is my personal immersion circulator of choice. Featuring the same precision as its big brother, the CHEF Series, this circulator runs even quieter, making it perfect for home kitchens. And, of course, it makes the perfect gift bundle alongside Modernist Cuisine at Home.
This bundle from SousVide Supreme is everything you need to get started cooking sous vide at home. The SousVide Supreme water bath features a self-contained heating element and a small countertop footprint. The bundle also includes an edge-style vacuum sealer – perfect for sealing meats and vegetables for those long cooking times that produce such exceptional results.
[Disclosure: I and the Director of Applied Research for Modernist Cuisine. I have business relationships with some of the manufacturers suggested in this list. However, all of the recommendations listed here are based on my personal preferences alone and do not reflect an endorsement by Modernist Cuisine, LLC. I have not received, nor will I receive any money, products or preferential treatment for the recommendations on this list.]
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Chef Matt Costello is cooking hyper-local, avant garde and insanely delicious food out of a small kitchen in a 30-seat restaurant, and it’s the next place you must go for a weekend away. The Inn at Langley is hardly a secret – even though the owners don’t advertise, the Whidbey Island destination was recommended to me on several occasions by friends and colleagues. I was expecting a relaxing weekend away with my wife, but I was not prepared to have one of most surprising, innovative and delightful meals I’ve had in quite a while.
A few weeks back, my wife and I booked our stay at the inn, cashing in a Rue La La deal we had purchased a month prior. The deal included a night’s stay at the Inn at Langley as well as dinner and wine pairing for two at the attached restaurant. Even from my first call to make our reservations, I could tell that this place exuded the type of warm hospitality that is often absent in the typical passive-aggressive Seattleite interactions. When we arrived and were shown to our room, we were stunned in disbelief – the “cottage suite” included in our package was a 1400 square foot apartment overlooking the sound, beautifully appointed and peacefully serene. And, if this were a travel blog, I’d go on and on about the room, the amenities of the inn and the charming little town scattered around it. But, you’re here for the food, so I’ll get right to it.
Dinner started quite leisurely, just as the sun was falling low in the sky. We were the first to arrive for the night’s seating, and we were greeted warmly by Stephen McClure, the restaurant’s sommelier. He handed us each a glass of champagne dotted with basil seeds and we took a seat in the garden as the other guests trickled in. Sitting in that manicured garden, watching the sunset and sipping champagne, I felt a million miles from home: relaxed, refreshed, civilized, and centered. It’s a great way to begin any meal.
We were shown to our table which was one of just a handful in the restaurant’s petite dining room. The room is divided by an oversized stone fireplace, and flanked by tables of two and four laid out around the perimeter. However, the main focus of the room is