Nuance – Finding The Foundation For The Science Of Cooking – Trick Vs. Technique

Nuance – Finding The Foundation For The Science Of Cooking – Trick Vs. Technique

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I was studying to fill in gaps in my education. Engineering and computer science problems, and the math problems that entertained Einstein, require someone to be good at doing elementary math (arithmetic), algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. While I was doing this, I got a copy of Euclid’s Elements, and I read the forward. It was written by someone that used manuscripts from London and Paris and other places. After searching around on the internet, I discovered that people from Portugal have an interesting and technical approach to cooking food. I lacked the knowledge I needed to describe what I was searching to understand. There was something similar to the forward in Euclid’s Elements and recipes from Portugal. What I was searching for appeared to be related to math and science. Not necessarily contemporary industrial science, but natural philosophy and mathematics. While I was searching the internet for a cookbook, I found Escoffier. His books seemed to excite me in the same way that a geometry book excites me. After meeting Escoffier, I found Jacques Pépin. At his Facebook website, he has introduced me to gastronomy, Brillat-Savarin, and Oliver Raymond. His recipes are very exciting. After shopping for cookware, I met Thomas Keller. I read his books often. His books and my experience cooking with his recipes, and the recipes I have from meeting Jacques Pépin, led me to what I originally needed to know. I needed to know that a culinary artist must work to have new techniques and methods. Techniques and methods give a person the opportunity to think and understand how to cook. A collection of techniques and methods may be similar to learning the foundations of a science. Without knowing techniques and methods, I was collecting tricks for cooking. I believe that people would reject me if I said the phrase “tricks of the trade” because this would be a clear sign that I lack something that is important to the pretensions of my culture. I believed that people would believe that I am ignorant. Because contemporary philosophy is usually psychology, and since elementary knowledge is something given to children, I lacked the ability to be creative. I have had to give myself seminary lessons, prepare to read ancient Greek philosophy, and to be able to do arithmetic and algebra to solve problems, and finally study the culinary arts to recover from being abandoned to live as a critic of psychology. I am very happy that I met these chefs because they have given me the opportunity to be happy. I am now able to understand how I can use science to be a more creative person.

 

Steak And The Still Evolving And More Exciting Vegetable Ragout

Steak And The Still Evolving And More Exciting Vegetable Ragout

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Note: 1) there is a diagram for how to put grill marks on a steak by turning a steak 90° in my blog post Fiddlehead Ferns, Morel Mushrooms, Kiwano, Steak Grilling Diagram

I cooked this steak using a thermometer, some memories from ad hoc at home by Thomas Keller, and a recipe booklet for an infrared grill. This steak was cooked medium-rare on a grill to an internal temperature of 145°F/62.8°C. “Carry over cooking” increased the temperature to approximately 152°F/66.7°C. Since I did not know how long the steak would have to cook, the technique that I used to cook the steak was to cook the first side until there were attractive grill marks on the steak, and then I flipped the steak over to cook the steak until the internal temperature of the steak was 145°F/62.8°C. I cooked the steak for 2 1/2 minutes on one side, and for 3 minutes on the other side.  If someone wants the internal temperature to be 145°F/62.8°C, the steak should be removed at approximately 140°F/60°C. The recipe for the rub was from a recipe for a Grilled Double Rib Eye with a Black Pepper Rub (page 6 of pdf). The rub included salt, black pepper, paprika, thyme, and vegetable oil. Let the steak sit for 10 minutes after removing it from the grill. Many chefs pour butter or butter with herbs over a steak.

Working with so many new ideas and ingredients has given me the opportunity to improve my vegetable ragout recipe. I make this about once a week. It is evolving to be very exciting. The idea for making vegetable ragout is to roast vegetables and tomatoes while creating a flavorful broth in a saucepan. Making ragout should take less than one hour. Put about 3 pounds of tomatoes in a roasting pan. Use any type of tomato. Add vegetables. I use bell peppers, poblano peppers, Anaheim peppers, banana peppers, onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, or garlic. Adding green or yellow zucchinis or eggplant is also exciting. Put the whole head of garlic on top of the vegetables. Cover the garlic and vegetables with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Roast the vegetables in the oven on the highest rack position at 425°F/220°C. The oven is hottest at the top of the oven.  If the vegetables were frozen, save all of the juices and put them in a saucepan.

While the vegetables are roasting, put 1 quart of juices, broth, or wine, 1/4 cup of honey, and 3/8 ounce (11 grams or about 1/3 cup) of dry herbs, or 3/4 ounce (21 grams) of mixed fresh herbs in the saucepan, with 2 teaspoons of salt (4 teaspoons Diamond kosher salt, 3 teaspoons Morton kosher salt) and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Herbs including savory can be very exciting. Some “grocery store chains” and Penzeys sell dry herbs in large quantities. Sometimes 1 1/2 ounces (43 grams) of herbs may only cost $1.25. Reduce the broth. After 45 minutes, add everything to the saucepan and blend everything with an immersion blender to make a sauce. Cover with cheese or bread crumbs. Serve with big pasta strips or shapes sautéed in butter.

Download A Version Of Vegetable Ragout That Has Not Been Updated:

Vegetable Ragout

Soft-Shell Crab

Soft-Shell Crab

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I wanted to cook more of these soft shelled crabs. I was excited to see soft shelled crabs at a market where I live. I read about them in a book and I watched a video on YouTube that descried how they are caught in rivers in the Southeast of the United States. Since I am not an expert chef, I followed the instructions someone gave me to cook this soft-shelled crab without knowing if I was being normal. The instructions did not say to dredge the crab in seasoned flour after dipping it in eggs or something similar to buttermilk. The final product appeared differently than in the picture in the instructions. I will have to do some research. Cooked using these instructions, the legs were similar to an exciting crispy snack food, and the body had a very exciting sweet flavor.

Mashed Potatoes Flavored With Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce Served With Seasoned Roasted Pork Shoulder

Mashed Potatoes Flavored With Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce Served With Seasoned Roasted Pork Shoulder

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This is a simple dinner with great flavors. I wrote about roasting the pork shoulder in my blog post Roasting Meat I: A Pork Shoulder. Put a special salt on the meat before serving. I flavored these mashed potatoes with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. A food mill pureed the potatoes. I boiled the potatoes in salt water. The sauce was made in a blender with butter, whipping cream, salt, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and adobo sauce. I remember how much Brillat-Savarin, known as the founder of gastronomy, appreciated roasted meat. He was a lawyer. Coincidentally, my interest in roasting meat was inspired by a recipe from the website of an attorney. The website is named REMCooks. A lawyer in America may be called an attorney. Using French cooking techniques to make Mexican food is exciting. I am ready to make sauces to serve over roasted meat.

Download The Recipe:

Mashed Potatoes Flavored With Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce

Working With Hot Sugar With Hands

Working With Hot Sugar With Hands

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I wrote about working with hot sugar in my blog post Hot Sugar – Caramel Sauce – Pancakes. Before people used thermometers to make candy, people supposedly used their hands. People supposedly dipped their fingers in ice water and then put them into hot sugar. Ice water will protect the surface of the skin of a part of a hand for a moment. There are pictures of Raymond Oliver using this technique in his cookbook La Cuisine [1][2]. The technique is also mentioned in a book of techniques by the Le Cordon Bleu.

I could not immediately develop a strategy to lift enough sugar from the saucepan with my fingers to determine the hardness of the sugar. I used a spoon to put sugar in the ice water, or I poured sugar into the ice water. After the sugar cools, the hardness of the sugar can be determined. If the sugar is soft, then it can be shaped into a ball using the palms of the hands.

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Whole Roasted Chicken On A Bed Of Root Vegetables Of Thomas Keller

Whole Roasted Chicken On A Bed Of Root Vegetables Of Thomas Keller

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This recipe was very satisfying. The juices on roasted rutabaga were one of the most memorable flavors. I used a large air-chilled chicken. Thomas Keller recommends using small chickens when deep frying (because frying is not a good method for cooking large pieces of chicken). I found where locally produced meats are available where I live. These exciting sources have small, big, and young chickens. Everything was at room temperature before I prepared to roast everything.

I used a thermometer to observe the chicken cook. The breasts and the wings are white meat. The thighs and the legs are dark meat. Dark meat must be tougher since chickens cannot fly and since chickens use their legs to move. Resources on the internet explain that the dark color of the dark meat is created by a chemical called myoglobin [1][2]. As the meat cooks the color of the meat becomes less dark because the myoglobin changes (chemically). Dark meat may contain more nutrients [3].

The problem that people discuss when thinking about cooking chickens is that white and dark meat require different cooking times. The tougher dark meat requires more cooking time or possibly a hotter oven to cook in the same amount of time as white meat. Some people suggest that the back of the oven is hotter than the front. I am guessing that the average temperature is hotter because people open the door of the oven. Because dark meat cooks more quickly in a hotter oven, and since the back of the stove may be hotter, several resources that I have suggest that the problem can be solved. A chicken can be evenly cooked by putting the dark meat, legs and thighs, facing the back of the oven.

Thomas Keller removes a chicken from the oven at a lower temperature than I expected. I believe that he does this because carry over cooking appears to increase the temperature of the chicken to the desired temperature. His technique for trussing a chicken is very simple and exciting.

Preparing To Roast

Roasted

Carry Over Cooking

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Ready To Serve

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Download The Recipe:

Whole Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Root Vegetables

1. Thomas Keller: ad hoc at home (New York: Artisan, 2009), 22.

2. Molly Stevens: All About Roasting (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011), 5 – 49, 262.

Roasting Meat I: A Pork Shoulder

Roasting Meat I: A Pork Shoulder

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This piece of pork was cooked at 225°F/107°C for about 3 1/2 hours. The meat was not at room temperature when I put it in the oven. I wanted to set the meat out, but I have not currently established a successful routine for setting ingredients out. The meat cooked less than 10 minutes before the center was 70°F/21°C. The meat appears to cook as the temperature increases. According to this thermometer, pork is well done at 170°F/77°C. Other resources that I have disagree with this temperature. Using the temperature given by the thermometer and the temperature of the stove, the meat would be overcooked if the temperature of the meat was the same as the stove. If I had cooked the meat at a higher temperature, the outside of the meat would have browned. If I cooked the meat a lower temperature, the meat would have taken longer to cook. Pulled pork is usually one color. The color is usually dark. I believe that I should make pulled pork by cooking it at 200°F/93°C for 6 hours. The temperature of the meat should be the same as the oven. I have another piece of pork, and I want to experiment, but I was so excited to eat the meat cooked at this temperature, that I am planning on doing this again.

Note: 1) the ingredients for the rub are in the recipe below, I mix them with a small amout of oil because I read a great recipe once that included this technique; the rub sticks to the meat when it is mixed with a small amount of oil

Download The Recipe To Use The Rub Used In This Blog Post:

Tamales À La Carte