Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"we have nothing to fear but fear itself"

i dont understand why so many chefs shun any new advances in food. is it a natural ignorant reaction? i've had a bunch, i'm not afraid to admit it! but why? putting meat on a stick and sticking it in fire was a breakthrough in cooking! so why are we neglecting any new advances?!

hydro colloids and gums. i am very fascinated by them. i know a minuscule fraction about them, yet i'm not afraid to venture in that direction. is it because they are chemicals? yes, but most are bi products and naturally derived from plants; exclusively seaweed. there is so much you can do with hydro colloids and gums (eggless custards, eggless ice creams, eggless egg nog, eggless ... )

if you cant already tell, there are a million thickeners and emulsifiers other than the egg. i will probably be blacklisted by this, but dude! we have to move beyond the egg (french cooking!)

with that said, i am still (and forever will be) fascinated with the egg. at America's i have a dessert solely dedicated to the egg. i am making a classic custard in five preparations.

in pastries, eggs add and eggy flavor. how about making ice creams with the sole flavors, no egg to prevent crystalization ... why not use gelatin and xanthan gum? in custards and curds, what if you want to make something with a sole flavor ... basil curd. how do you make that? well, a pastry cream blended with blanched basil, right? well, what if you can make a basil curd with no egg ... try a .5% of kappa and .1% iota carrageenan blend!

immersion circulators - i do pastries, havent really used these, but i hear you can make custards in it ... i just dont know if i want my custard shaped haphazardly by the vacuum bag.

microwave - why do they have such a bad reputation?! by far, in my opinion, this is the best advancement in cooking. i agree though, i dont want my steak or fished cooked in it, but what about other cooking methods? i make my custards and curds in the microwave. ive made biscuits in the microwave. i've made souffles!! microwaves are perfect for steaming! tempering chocolate, why not!

check this out. while at noe, we cooked for the escoffier society. robert and i collaborated on a dessert that would blow their minds! before robert, i have never thought of the microwave. i hated it in the kitchen! i shunned at bistro modern for having a microwave on their line. back to the escoffier society, our dessert was a classic creme brulee and lemon souffle.

how did we do it?! i cooked the custard in the microwave. added a little butter and gelatin. poured it into glass holders that were not oven safe (the gelatin was just for safety). the souffle was done in the microwave as well. lemon curd; microwave. lemon meringue; microwave and kitchenaid.

the night of the escoffier society we had 100 guests. we served them a brulee and souffle flight in 10 minutes. 10 minutes!!! all thanks to the microwave.

i wanted to, i wanted to so badly! to go out and tell them all that their dessert was made in the microwave. only because they raved about the dessert. they were amazed by the speed and execution. what would have happened if i told them about the microwave ... i mean, i was able to feed the escoffier society with the aid of the microwave!!

paco jet - today was my first time using a paco jet and i have to exclaim, "i am seriously in love with the paco jet!" that is all that is needed to say about the paco jet. until you use it, keep your reservations to yourself.

so back to my point, we should embrace advances and new technology in cooking, not shun it. ONLY as long as we DO NOT forget the most important thing, flavor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

p...would you believe that a lot of chefs do not even recognize what hydrocolloids are...the most simple for was used for centuries...flower. what about cornstarch, arrowroot, rice flour, etc...this is what the modern mentailty of chefs is about. understanding the product and what it does for you. hydrocolloid sounds complex until you look it up...something which has a great affinity for water/liquid.
...the new and the old will always remain together in the realm of food. charcuterie will never die...but might be better bound by transglutaminase