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Puffed pepperoni

The objective was to create a snack with the texture of a pork rind, but the flavour of pepperoni. The parametric recipe in Modernist Cuisine for puffed snacks, with some minor tweaks, seemed like the way to go. Pepperoni puffed snacks, v. 1 65 g dry-cured pepperoni 160 g water 200 g tapioca starch 2.5 g […]

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Pressure-Cooked Oatmeal

Pressure-cooked oatmeal

Until now, I have always made oatmeal exclusively with rolled oats; although I know connoisseurs swear by the steel-cut variety, it always seemed like too much of a time investment for a breakfast food. (And yes, I know I’m saying this as someone who has cooked his own English muffins for eggs Benedict.) But if […]

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Mortar and pestle

I recently picked up this stone mortar and pestle. It’s large, with a 5-cup (roughly 1200 ml) capacity and weighing more than 18 pounds (nearly 8.5 kg). It’s a distinctly low-tech tool, but one that’s very useful. I wanted it specifically to make Thai curry pastes, but it will also be interesting to try making dishes like […]

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Pressure-rendered lard

High on the hog: Pressure-rendered lard

For the best flavour in my flour tortillas, I wanted lard that was not the highly processed, shelf-stable stuff you can find in bricks at the grocery store. I wanted real lard, rendered pork fat, something with flavour. (It seems like nearly every animal fat gets a special name once it’s been rendered: lard for […]

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Kitchen acetate

No, not the salt of acetic acid; think more along the lines of what you used to use on overhead projectors (if you’re old enough to remember such things). If you’ve ever bought a mousse cake with a clear plastic “collar” around it, you’ve seen culinary acetate. I’ve been meaning to get around to it […]

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Piquillo paper

Piquillo paper

One of my favourite components from last weekend’s dinner party was the piquillo paper from the octopus dish in VOLT ink. The first time I saw this technique of taking a puree, dehydrating it as a sheet, then punching holes in it to add some visual texture was during my very first stage at Marc […]

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Foie gras sauce

Reductio ad sapidum: Reduction fundamentals

One of the techniques that cropped up a lot in the menu for my recent dinner party was reduction: the carrot flan called for reduced blood orange and carrot juices; the plum glaze and foie gras sauce on the duck dish both involved reduction; and the sauce bordelaise on the beef dish was based on […]

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IIF Chocolate Pudding

Pure purée, eh?

It’s a well-known adage that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So naturally, ever since getting my new Vitamix high-speed blender, I’ve been looking for excuses to puree things. One of the benefits of a blender like the Vitamix is the size of the container: no more “transfer to […]

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Tech rundown: Vitamix high-speed blender

Whether your cooking is devoutly traditional or boldly avant-garde, a blender is a vital piece of kitchen equipment. (Unless, that is, your cooking is so traditional that you use a food mill for everything.) Obviously, its main use is to puree soft foods and soups, but it can also be used to grind brittle foods, […]

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Aerated chocolate

Vacuum-set foams: Aerated chocolate

It’s funny sometimes, the things that give me the impetus to move projects off of my “to do” list and drive me into the kitchen. In this case, it was Halloween. After trick-or-treating was over, our basket of treats held a few leftover Aero bars, which I had always thought my husband disliked. When I […]

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