'molecular gastronomy' on Serious Eats

Have You Tried Modernist Cuisine at Home?

Hydrocolloids. Reverse spherification. Sous vide. The terminology alone could turn you off. Then there's the tech: low-temperature ovens, iSi whippers, vacuum sealers. Stuff that sounds like it belongs more in a lab than a kitchen, and way outside your price range. Intimidated yet? I am. But whether you like it or not, modernist cuisine (better, though less accurately, known as molecular gastronomy) is here to stay. Truth is, it's a lot less intimidating and weird than you think. And there's nothing stopping you from bringing it to the home kitchen. More

Cilantro Coulis

Herb sauces are great stuff: they let the flavor of an herb come through proud and clear while lightly cloaking food. But they are prone to breaking—let an herb purée sit for five minutes and the solids will clump together and leave an ugly pool of green water on the plate. A small pinch of xanthan gum will hold the sauce together and provide a velvety texture to what may otherwise be too thin. More

Ferran Adrià to Put El Bulli 'Research Laboratory' Recipes Online

Ferran Adrià told an audience at Harvard University on Tuesday that he plans to post a daily recipe from the research laboratory that's due to replace his El Bulli restaurant in northeast Spain. According to the Guardian, he said he would be developing a "social networking site of culinary creativity" using the kitchens of El Bulli, which are set to close in the middle of next year. More

What Can a Vegetarian Eat at The Bazaar, Jose Andres' Temple of Molecular Gastronomy?

Jose Andres is the legendary Spanish chef behind Cafe Atlantico's Minibar—an exclusive six-seat restaurant within a restaurant serving innovative tasting menus of 26 to 30 dishes each night—and several other restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. He's known both for impeccable traditional cuisine as well as wildly inventive dishes that incorporate so-called molecular gastronomy. So there was no doubt in my mind that his food is amazing—but how would he feed a pair of vegetarians? More

Sous-Vide Cooking with Heston Blumenthal

If you've eaten at a fancy restaurant in the last five years, chances are, at least part of your food was cooked sous-vide (French for "under vacuum"). It was only a matter of time before a home version of the $1,000-plus thermal water circulators required for controlling the water baths would hit the market. And who better to shill for the new toy but molecular-gastro-uber-chef Heston Blumenthal? More

The 10 Worst Food Trends? Really?

The Chicago Tribune ran a piece this week about the supposed "ten worst dining trends" of the last decade. We all know top-ten lists are a great way to get people's attention, and a negative list like this really sets people off. But are these trends really all bad? I don't think so. Let's take them one at a time. 10. Fried Onion Blossoms This monster is from Dallas BBQ in Manhattan. Read more here » [Photograph: Erin Zimmer] That's all you got? C'mon, a fried onion blossom is basically just a great big pile of onion rings. Granted, they usually run a little greasy. But who doesn't like onion rings? I'm not recommending you have one of these for... More

Sous-Vide Version of South Korean Street Food

Photograph by Austin Bush Inspired by the awesomeness of the South Korean street food French fry-coated hot dog on a stick and subsequent recipe, Bangkok-based photographer Austin Bush and Hock of food blog Stomach On Legs created a "modern" version: sous-vide potato confit with panko crust and hot dog foam. The ingredients weren't fancy (hot dogs sourced from 7-11, potatoes confited in Crisco), but the preparation was. They used the liquid from the sous-vided hot dogs to make hot dog-flavored foam which, with a dab of ketchup, accompanied the deep fried panko-crusted potato log. Related: The Craziest Food Ever: Deep-Fried, French-Fry-Coated Bacon on a Stick... More

Interview with Chef-Blogger Laurent Gras of L20 in Chicago

Since the Chicago restaurant L20 opened last May, chef Laurent Gras has been quite the blogger, sharing food porn shots of cotton candy radish soy and Cabernet Sauvignon film. From Chicagoist: "The blog is a great way to share what we’re doing with the outside world..." It's also why he gets only three to five hours of sleep a night.... More

In Videos: Little Kids Make Alinea Cookbook Look Easy

Theo, a self-proclaimed five-and-a-half-year-old (at the prime age when half ages matter), has trouble pronouncing "agar" and needs a step stool to see over the counter, but he can cook from the Alinea cookbook (previously reviewed on Serious Eats). His brother James (nine-years-old) isn't professionally trained either, but doesn't fret over a recipe with pheasant, gray shallots, and burning oak leaves. While some home cooks have expressed frustration with the unapproachable quality of the Alinea cookbook ("it took seven hours and produced eight bites of food") these two munchkins have proved them wrong. It doesn't hurt that their father is Nick Kokonas, the business partner of Grant Achatz, Alinea's head chef. Both videos on both sides of the argument,... More

In Videos: Alinea's Grant Achatz Makes Sous Vide Stuffing and Gelled Pumpkin Pie

At the Alinea Thanksgiving, there are two magic words: "plastic" and "bag." Earlier today, we showed you turkey, the Grant Achatz way. (aka, throw it into a plastic bag). Not much changes in the stuffing department. Achatz calls it his bag o' stuffing, in lieu of the more traditional cavity o' stuffing. Since he's such a pro, Achatz doesn't need tongs when placing bags into bubbling-hot water baths. He scoffs at tongs. He uses his bare hands. For the pumpkin pie, Achatz gives the baggies a break to whip out the blowtorch. "This doesn't look like pumpkin pie. This looks like Alinea. With funny gels and stuff," noted Nick Kokonas, an Alinea business partner. Those gelatinous pumpkin-bourbon cubes get... More

Does Molecular Gastronomy Make You Nervous?

Mustard ice cream on braised pineapple with coconut foam, pineapple tuille, and mustard sauce at wd-50 in New York. Photograph from roboppy on Flickr. Molecular Gastronomy doesn't have to be scary as it sounds. As our Chicago correspondent Michael Nagrant points out at Hungry Mag, frying an egg in a skillet "southern grandmother style" is molecular gastronomy. The egg proteins get friendly with other molecules. The runny yolk solidifies. Molecular gastronomy—in action! Done. Then you have Alinea chef Grant Achatz and his idea of molecular gastronomy. Before dining at Alinea, Nagrant thought the experimental foams and mousses might "reinforce or mimic the alienation of the world, leaving us more cold and unsettled than we were before." Cold and unsettled:... More

Old-School Spanish Chef Calls Molecular Gastronomy Unhealthy

Rice and parmesan cookies at El Bulli from smashz on Flickr Whether you love or hate the over-the-top concoctions that marry cuisine and lab experiments, molecular gastronomy may not even be healthy. In his new book, The Kitchen Laid Bare, renowned Catalan chef Santi Santamaría criticizes molecular gastronomy for not only being pretentious, but posing public health concerns. A proponent for natural ingredients, Santamaría compares using synthetic products to "an athlete who dopes." He's had no problem singling out Ferran Adrià, the man behind Michelin-starred El Bulli, where the menu has included liquid ham croquette, passion fruit caviar, and a range of flavored foams. Adrià responded, asserting that all amounts have been approved by EU standards, and that additives... More

Flavor: What We Thought We Knew Is Wrong

©iStockphoto.com/oriba Why am I always dousing my eggs in hot sauce while my dad winces at the faintest chile heat? Why do I believe beets embody deliciousness while they rank at the top of your "utterly disgusting" list? Prize-winning veteran journalist Bruce Feiler weighs in on this question and a host of others in a fascinating article Gourmet story about the fast-changing science of taste. Flavor chemist Terry Acree from Cornell University says, "Flavor chemistry is finished." He explains: “Flavor chemistry is finding the chemical molecules that are important to aroma and taste. We spent decades doing this. But the other side of the equation is what’s been missing: how these chemicals interact with our bodies. That’s the part we’re... More

Pizza on the Eater Blog

Two pizza-related things of note on Eater as of late. 1.) Today, we find out that Wylie Dufresne's WD-50 serves "pizza pebbles." Some back story, if you're unfamiliar: Dufresne is one of them molecular gastronomist types, which means he does crazy stuff with food—like making pizza pebbles. As described by Adam Roberts, they are "... made by mixing variously powdered pizza components—tomato powder, parmesan powder—with a garlic-infused oil. The resulting pebbles are presented with dried slivers of shitake on a pepperoni emulsion." Roberts has a photo of the things, but the photo ain't so pretty.... More

Are These Lumps Supposed to Be in My Drink?

Remy Cointreau is introducing a kit that has everything a bartender needs to convert the company's signature orange liqueur into tiny tapioca-like pearls, which may then be spooned into a Cosmopolitan or a glass of champagne. The company plans to introduce this kit at 20 bars in New York, including several that are the reigning regents of cocktail culture. More

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