Posts Tagged ‘molecular gastronomy’

TGRWT #15: Dark chocolate and smoked salmon

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

tgrwt-15

This month’s round of “They go really well together” (TGRWT #15) is hosted by Mexmix and foods to pair this time are dark chocolate and smoked salmon. As usual you can find instructions on how to participate in the announcement post. Don’t forget to check out Rob’s summary of the malt and soy sauce round.

Accelerated aging of wine

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

vinkorker
Can the natural process of aging wine in corked bottles be accelerated?

I recently found an interesting article on how an electric field can be used for maturation of wine (New Scientist news coverage of the article). Applying a AC field of 600 V/cm for 3 minutes resulted in an accelerated aging of wine and according to the authors of the paper, it made “harsh and pungent raw wine become harmonious and dainty”. They observed changes in concentrations of higher alcohols, aldehydes, esters and free amino acids. But I was quite surprised that they don’t say anthing about astringency and polyphenols (tannins). I’d expect some changes there as well, but alas it’s so much more difficult to measure the polyphenols than the low molecular compounds. A sensory panel identified both positive and negative effects of the electric treatment which helped identify an optimum treatment. Apparently several Chinese wine manufacturers are testing the technology on a pilot scale now. Many people have a romantic impression of how wine is made, but the extensive catalogues of “corrective chemicals” available to the modern wine maker should perhaps make you reconsider the romatic idea of wine making. Even professor Hervé Alexandre at the University of Burgundy has given the technology a thumbs up: “Using an electric field to accelerate ageing is a feasible way to shorten maturation times and improve the quality of young wine”. Who knows – maybe you’ll soon be drinking a wine that has been zapped?
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TGRWT #14: Beer sorbet with soy marinated melon

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

beer-sorbet

tgrwt-14As malt was one of the foods to pair for this month’s TGRWT I decided to do something with beer. I first considered making a beer gel since the Alinea book has a nice recipe (with potassium citrate and kappa carrageenan – I included the recipe in the hydrocolloid recipe collection), but since I didn’t have carrageenan at hand I decided to try a sorbet. A quick search gave me 4 recipes (links in the table below) and in order to compare these I decided to calculate sugar/beer and sugar/liquid ratios as these are quite crucial in order to obtain the desired consistency of a sorbet. The results are shown in the table below. (more…)

Has molecular gastronomy reached the plateau of productivity?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

pipa
Loquat fruit (known as pipa in Chinese) piled up at Mercat St. Joseph in Barcelona.

Molecular gastronomy was recently chosen as word of the month (not quite sure exactly which month this was). They give the following definition:

the art and practice of cooking food using scientific methods to create new or unusual dishes

This is not the best definition I’ve seen, to be honest. Why should one limit it to new or unusual dishes? When taken to extremes this only results in gimmickery. Strangely enough there are no hits when I search for “molecular gastronomy” at www.askoxford.com, so one might wonder whether they changed their mind? Personally I feel that molecular gastronomy should strive to improve both home cooking and restaurant cooking. That’s also what I tried to convey with my 10-part series with tips for practical molecular gastronomy.

The Webster’s New Millennium dictionary has this definition:
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New look for Khymos

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

new-khymos

This is off topic, but I just thought I’d write short note to say that I’ve brushed up the look of the blog. New elements included are a menu bar and an extra column. This will hopefully make navigation easier. And you might also notice that the page width has increased, allowing me to post pictures 620 pixels wide. I look forward to that 😉

In the near future I plan to transfer the pages with listings from the static pages (khymos.org) to the menu bar of the blog (blog.khymos.org) as this will allow me to use one publishing platform for updates. The remaining pages will probably be posted as blogposts. A number of things can go wrong when doing changes like this, so I’d be grateful if you could report issues (especially browser issues) you might encounter around the site.

In case you wonder about the technical details: I run the latest version of WordPress with a modified version of the Contender theme. The dropdown menus are from Pixopoint.

Update:
Some compatibility issues between an anti-spam plugin and the commentfrom caused all commenters to be met with the following: “Sorry, but it seems you are a spambot”. This should be fixed now.

A mathematician cooks sous vide

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

douglasbaldwin
Douglas Baldwin with two immersion circulators and a vacuum chamber sealer.

Since I got my immersion circulator in December I’ve discovered that there are two critical questions that always come up as I hold a piece of meat in my hands, ready to cook it sous vide: At what temperature should I cook this? And for how long? Despite the fact that two books were published on sous vide last fall it is the short yet comprehensive guide “A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking” by Douglas Baldwin that I’ve found most useful to answer these questions. Those who have followed the eGullet thread on sous vide cooking will probably recognize Douglas Baldwin as one of the major contributors alongside Nathan Myhrvold. Out of curiosity and eager to learn more I therefore emailed Douglas and asked if he would be interested in doing an email interview.

ML: From your homepage I see that you are a PhD student in applied mathematics, how did you become interested in sous vide?

DB: I have always loved to cook. Before last January, though, I mainly cooked slow food. That is when I saw sous vide mentioned in one of Harold McGee’s NY Times articles. Wow. Cooking meat at its desired final core temperature is so obvious! As a mathematician, I kicked myself for never asking “if overcooked meat is bad, what temperature should the meat be cooked at?” A question which many mathematician would instantly answer, “just above the temperature you want it to end up at.”
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Hervé This is blogging

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Hervé This

I just recently discovered that Hervé This has jumped on the blogging train as well now. Admittedly I normally don’t post about new blogs popping up, but after all it’s Hervé – I think it’s worth lending him an ear or two. There are two blogs, both in French, but as you all know automatic machine translation is really great (although it sometimes produces silly and strange translations):

http://hervethis.blogspot.com
(Translations: Google, Babelfish)

He started off in November with the words (translation by Google):

Some ideas that I want to share …
Confusion reigns: molecular cuisine, molecular gastronomy, science, technology, art, crafts, art …
Could we just evaporate the fog hanging over our intellectual world?

Let’s hope the machine translations won’t add more fog to the discussions 😉

http://gastronomie-moleculaire.blogspot.com
(Translations: Google, Babelfish)

Presently the second blog seems more like a copy-paste from a word document (which I’ve received by email earlier). It’s also poorly formatted – tables are a mess and URL’s are not clickable. There are however some interesting pieces of information here and there – for instance listings of restaurants, suppliers, books, websites etc.

The Flemish Primitives: Heston Blumenthal (part 3)

Friday, January 16th, 2009


Heston Blumenthal welcomed on stage by Gene Bervoets

To the music of Queen’s “We will rock you” Heston Blumenthal (HB) entered the stage, welcomed by Gene Bervoets (GB) and Bernard Lahousse (BL). Heston started of by telling about his childhood and how Britain in the 60’s was not the place to go for food. You could only get olive oil at the chemist’s because it was not used for consumption! Heston basically grew up without experiencing anything related to gastronomy. However this all changed at the age of 15 when he went to France for a holiday with his familiy. A visit to a Michelin restaurant was to become a decisive moment for Heston. He described it as if it were yeasterday – the sound of the waiters walking on gravels, the lavender smell, how they carved legs of lamb – the whole atmosphere. It was also the first time ever he tasted oysters. He felt a little like Alice in wonderland.
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The Flemish Primitives: Chocolate surprise (part 2)

Monday, January 12th, 2009


Chocolatier by profession, Shock-o-Latier by reputation! I bought this box the next day at Dominique’s shop “The Chocolate Line” to bring back home.

As I mentioned in part 1 of the travel report from Brugge, the highlight (for me at least) of The Flemish Primitives seminar was the surprise box presented to us by Dominique Persoone (owner of The Chocolate Line) and his team which included James Petrie (pastry chef at The Fat Duck), Tony Conigliaro (mixologist, bartender at Roka, blogger) and Bruce Bryan (medical doctor and inventor). As the box was distributed in the auditorium (more than 1000 present, mostly chefs) the instructions were kept very simple: DO NOT OPEN THE BOX! Makes you wonder of course what is inside.
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The Flemish Primitives: A travel report (part 1)

Friday, January 9th, 2009

I had a wonderful trip to Brugge/Bruges to attend the foodpairing seminar The Flemish Primitives. I got to meet many interesting people including Heston Blumenthal, Peter Barham, Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Ben Roche and Tony Conigliaro to mention a few. I also finally had the opportunity to talk to my fellow Swedish food bloggers Lisa Fí¶rare Winbladh (Matí¤lskaren, Swedish only but Google can translate) and Malin Sandstrí¶m (Matmolekyler, Swedish only but Google can translate) who’ve recently been awarded money to write a Swedish book about molecular gastronomy for home cooks. I even talked to several people who read Khymos! It’s always nice when I can attach some faces to the crowd out there in the big, unpersonal blogosphere.

As you see from this long post the day was packed and believe it or not – there will be a couple more posts in the next few days. One on the surprise “chocolate box” (for me this was the highlight), a summary of the interview with Heston Blumenthal and some info on the chemistry behind the glowing lollipops! I’ll also try do dig up the recipe for the chocolate dip that came with our lunch fries.
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