Ginger milk curd

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With only 3 ingredients you can make a tasty gel within minutes. The gel is very fragile and easily “looses” liquid, in this case whey, which is seen as a clear drop under the spoon. This loss of liquid from a gel is known as syneresis.

Some weeks ago, while doing research for Texture on gel formation in foods where no “external” hydrocolloid is added, I came across ginger milk curd (in Chinese: 姜汁炖奶/薑汁撞奶). With only three ingredients – milk, ginger and sugar – it immediately caught my attention. I found a recipe and my first attempt was successful. I was amazed! With three seemingly simple ingredients I was able to form a tender, fragile gel within minutes. I loved the strong ginger taste with a touch of sweetness. After my first success I had several failed attempts, so I looked up some more recipes. What puzzled me was that, as I dug up more recipes, the different instructions were specific, but also contradictive. I couldn’t let go at this point, so I continued reading – also scientific papers. Now that I have a fairly good understanding of the science behind ginger milk curd it is clear that the many recipes I had found were full of kitchen myths. Read the rest of this entry »

Texture updated and available for download

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I’m happy to announce that a major update of “Texture – A hydrocolloid recipe collection” is now available for download. Version 3.0 of Texture features many new recipes, , more pictures (A big THANK YOU to all contributing photographers!), a new chapter on non-hydrocolloid gels + many minor additions and corrections. Given the many recent books about molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine I have certainly asked myself: Is there a need for a revision of Texture? Since you read this I obviously landed on a “yes”. As a toolbox for chefs and amateur cooks I still believe that this collection is unique for several reasons: the ranking of recipes according to the amount of hydrocolloid used, the texture index and the total number of recipes (339 in total). To the best of my knowledge no other cook books have taken the same approach to collect and systemize recipes this way. And judging by the feedback I have received many chefs and food enthusiasts around the world have found Texture to be a useful resource in the kitchen (to which the 80.000 downloads from Khymos alone also testify). I do not regard Texture as a competitor to the numerous books available, but rather as a supplement. Inspiration for cooking is best sought elsewhere, but if Texture can inspire to experimentation with the texture of foods I believe it has fulfilled its mission.
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Volume-to-weight calculator for the kitchen

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Vintage Glasbake Measuring Cup by Gerrilynn Nunley

Despite the fact that the U.S. Metric Association have advocated metrication for nearly 100 years, many cookbooks still use US customary weights and volume measures. When following a recipe calling for teaspoons, tablespoons, fluid ounces, cups, pints, quarts or even gallons, I’ve often found myself using conversion websites such as Convert-me, picking ingredients from a list and entering the amount and unit. This works OK for single ingredients, but is less practical when converting a complete recipe. I therefore made a calculator to convert volumetric units to grams based on densities of a range of common ingredients. It has greatly simplified the task for me, and perhaps you’ll find it useful as well?

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Brining salmon to avoid formation of white exudate

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Avoid the white exudate (left) by brining salmon (right) prior to cooking

Salmon is a wonderful fish that can be prepared at nearly any temperature between raw (as in sushi) and fully cooked. In between these extremes lies a range of temperatures that with the advent of sous vide have become accessible for more and more (try for instance salmon confit: 18 min @ 42°C). Beyond temperature salmon can be combined with salt, sugar, acids, liquorice or even smoke. And the more adventurous even leave it to ferment for a couple of days to yield a gravlax (which used to be fermented, but today normally is only cured) or – for the strong hearted – rakfisk (which is still produced by fermentation). But exotic preparations aside. A problem encountered when heating salmon is the liquid that oozes out as the muscle is heated, and solidifies once it hits a hot surface. Read the rest of this entry »

Notable new books from 2013

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Browsing through books published in the last year (+ some from 2012), these are the ones I found particularly interesting in the field of food and science:
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“Texture” to be updated

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The collection of hydrocolloid recipes “Texture” (v. 2.3 available here) hasn’t been updated since 2010. But faithful readers have emailed me corrections and tips, notified me of typos and sent pictures – all of which I have incorporated. I’ve also noted that many have had problems viewing the pdf – I hope to fix that. But before I prepare a pdf of version 2.4 I would like to ask you a favor. Are there typos or errors you have noted, but not emailed too me yet? If so, please send them to me ASAP (either as a comment to this post or to webmaster (a) khymos dot org. And do you happen to have photos relevant to any of the recipes available? If you’re willing to share the pictures they could very well end up being included in the update. Of course I’d also love to hear your suggestions for further recipes that would complement and expand the collection.

Merry Christmas to all geeks

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Some say 2012 was the year when 3D printing hit the mass market. Well, here’s my small contribution based on my own christmas tree design as well as the classical Penrose kite and dart. (I know. It’s 2013 now, but the cookie cutters were actually printed in 2012!) As a follow-up to my post on cookie tessallations a friend helped me print cookie cutters so I could make ginger bread cookies with a minimal waste of dough. The files needed for printing can be downloaded Read the rest of this entry »

Nordic food lab


Tables set and decorated for the best lunch at a scientific conference ever!

I mentioned in my blog post on “The Emerging Science of Gastrophysics” symposium held at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen that we were treated with what was for me the best conference lunch ever. Later on the same day we even had a chance to visit the Nordic food lab, located on a house boat anchored up in Christianshavn, right next to restaurant noma. Here are some pictures and impressions from the lunch and the following visit to the Nordic food lab. Read the rest of this entry »

Harvard science & cooking lectures 2012

The popular Science & Cooking lectures at Harvard are back again (in fact they started September 4th). Classes are filmed and freely available via Youtube and iTunes. Like in previous years the public lecture series is given alongside the course “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter” which is reserved for currently enrolled Harvard students. The course is a joint effort of The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (“SEAS”) and the Alícia Foundation. The line-up for 2012 is quite impressive:
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TGRWT #22 round-up

There were 7 entries in total for TGRWT #22 where the challenge was to cook with raisin and one or more ingredients from the flavor pairing tree of raisin from foodpairing.com shown above. Here’s the round-up with pictures and comments. Click the links to read the full blog posts and recipes. Enjoy!
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