Thursday, February 18, 2010

Two Cooking Primers

These are worth reading. (Vegetarians might want to skip to the second one)

The first is from the French Culinary Institute's blog, Cooking Issues, the first part of a primer on sous vide. Sous vide is basically the idea of cooking in a medium no hotter than the goal temperature for the food: usually in a (food-safe) plastic bag in a swirling water bath for maximum temperature transfer, it can produce dramatic results in meat texture and taste. If you eat red meat, imagine that perfectly tender spot near the center of a perfectly-cooked steak -- and think about having that texture all the way through. It's remarkable, and not too difficult. That primer I linked to is the single most thorough description of the process I've ever seen, and I plan to refer to it often.

The second primer, from The Paupered Chef, concerns gastrique. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised. But you've probably consumed it. It's basically a thick sauce of vinegar and sugar. (Actually, I think what he's describing is technically an agrodolce, but whatever) It's been around for a while, but has apparently found new life in making cocktails! I'm intrigued by this development. Maybe one of you will try it and report back :)

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