Ideas in Food
I just finished up the book: Ideas in Food. The book is sums up the findings in the home kitchen of experimental chefs Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot. The couple run the Ideas in Food blog which is about testing new ideas in the kitchen. There were several ideas in the book I had never heard before. I thought I’d share some of the recipes and techniques I found interesting. The book is worth reading in it’s entirety for those interested in further developing their cooking skills. I’d only recommend it as a follow up to more basic cooking books: Ruhlman’s Twenty, The Joy of Cooking, How to Cook Everything, The Food Lab, the Serious Eats blog, The Flavor Bible, and How to Cook Everything: The Basics. I first recommend new cook stry at least 10% of the recipes in one of those books before moving on Ideas in Food. This books assumes familiarity with basic culinary concepts.
Here are my biggest takeaways from the book. I hope one of them catches your eye and sparks an idea.
In order to respect the authors and their book, I only include the recipes available online.
- Egg Soufflé
I learned that whipping egg whites by themselves with a pinch of salt is what gives body to many baked dishes. I’ve had trouble replicating this recipe because it turns out whipping egg whites is a very finicky proposition.
- Ricotta can be made in a sous vide machine.
Pretty much any cheese can be melted into a sauce mixing it with a 1.5% weight sodium citrate and warming it over medium low heat in a sous vide cooker.This method is especially good for making a super intensely cheesy mac and cheese without so much of the filler (cornstarch, flour, milk, etc).
- To keep green veggies more crisp and colorful, brine them in a 3% salt by weight for 10 mins, seal them in a bag, and boil them for 4 minutes. This doesn’t work with root veggies like potatoes and carrots.
- Short Ribs are best cooked in a bag at 149F for 24 hours. Pork and Lamb at 152F.
- Xanthan Gum can be used to thicken liquid sauces at .2% weight of liquid.
- Salt tastes best at 0.5% weight of the whole food product you are cooking.
- Scallops do very well at 30mins in a bag under water that is 122F.
- For quick breads (Quick breads include many cakes, brownies and cookies—as well as banana bread, beer bread, biscuits, cornbread, muffins, pancakes, scones, and soda bread) like these biscuits, use 1sp of baking powder or .25tsp of baking soda per cup of flour used in the recipe.
- Vacuum sealing dough moistens it much faster.
- Pasta can be soaked for an hour to pre-hydrate and stored in the fridge. This will allow it to cook much faster to order.
- Potatoes do well double cooking: once to gelatinize the starches from 136-150F and then to break down the pectin at 185F.
- Risotto can be quickly cooked without constant stirring. Cook at 149F sous vide in cheese cloth for 30mins. This cooks out the sloppy starches. Then it can be cooked for 7 mins on the stovetop with 2.5x its weight in stock.
- Scrambled eggs can be made sous vide. Just take 3 eggs and a tbsp of butter and place into bag. Cook at 163 for 30mins. I tried this one and the eggs came out perfectly done: still super moist but also not runny.