Maybe you gave someone Modernist Cuisine at Home, or perhaps you have it yourself. Now you want to know what to give with it, or what else to put on your own wish list. These are our top five suggestions.
Digital Scale: We are very keen on precision. A digital scale allows chefs to accurately measure out Modernist ingredients, some of which can drastically alter your recipe if measured imprecisely. We recommend a scale that weighs out to a tenth of a gram because many recipes with Modernist ingredients may call for amounts as little as 0.3 g. We like the Digital Bench Scale. While our recipes in Modernist Cuisine at Home don’t call for accuracy in hundredths of a gram, you may still want to consider a scale that measures to the hundredths. If you are cutting a recipe in half, however, and it originally calls for 0.3 g, you’ll want to be able to measure out 0.15 g. For such precision, we like the Digital Pocket Scale. For something cheaper and ultraportable, try the American Weigh Signature Series.
Sous Vide Setup: Sous vide cooking is becoming more and more popular, hence finding sous vide machines in stores is now easier. In making Modernist Cuisine at Home, we used the SousVide Supreme alongside various models from Polyscience. The SousVide Supreme is a little more affordable, but right now both companies have some great offers. PolyScience is offering the Sous Vide Professional (CREATIVE Series) with a copy of Modernist Cuisine at Home for just $599. SousVide Supreme is offering their model, a copy of the book, and a vacuum sealer for $599.
Pressure Cooker: When shopping for a pressure cooker, you’ll want to look for one with a spring valve. This is the best choice for stocks and sauces because the valve seals the cooker before it is vented. This traps most of the aromatic volatiles before they can escape. We love our Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, but if you are looking for something a little cheaper, try Fagor.
Whipping Siphon: Whipping siphons are one of our favorite kitchen gadgets. We use them for everything from making foams to carbonating fruit to marinating meat. We use them interchangeably with carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide cartridges, depending on what we want to do (note that you can do this with a whipping siphon but not with a soda siphon). We prefer iSi’s Gourmet Whipping Siphon, but there are many options available. Try to find one that holds a full liter, but smaller versions work too.
If you are looking for more ideas, we have you covered. Check out our Gear Guide where we discuss ovens, microwaves, silicone mats, blenders, and grills, just to name a few.
Have you ever wondered, pound for pound, which costs more, Modernist Cuisine at Home or Parmesan cheese? Nathan does the math in the Google Talks video above, and, as it turns out, our new book is a steal. Nathan also discusses printing quality, why you shouldn’t dismiss blowtorches, how he found inspiration on eGullet, and much, much more.
When I set my sights on a topic, I tend to get a little obsessed. This summer, that topic was pizza, and my obsession was in full force. My interest in homemade pizza started with a chapter of the book The Kitchen as Laboratory in which culinary inventor Thomas M. Tongue, Jr. describes a method of leavening pizza dough without yeast by using an encapsulated leavening agent. I was intrigued, so I promptly hunted down a sample of this ingredient and began making pizzas in my home kitchen. As the summer months passed, I logged over 75 pizzas between my oven and my grill, each one a little better than the last. The key breakthrough for me, though, was the discovery that I could substitute flavorful liquids in lieu of water in my pizza dough. After rigorous testing and at least one pizza that self-flambéed (tip: 80-proof rum doesnt make good pizza dough), I was enamored with champagne pizza dough. In the video from last week, I walk you through the process, which can take as little as 25 minutes from start to finish.
I was also inspired by the many recipes in our new book, Modernist Cuisine at Home, which contains several recipes for pizza dough, sauces, and toppings. We hope they’ll inspire you to experiment on your own as I did.
Last night, NOVA scienceNOW aired “Can I Eat That?,” a show on the science of food and cooking, which profiled Nathan Myhrvold in the final segment. Host David Pogue narrates a behind-the-scenes look at Nathan’s inspiration for creating Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home. For those of you interested in seeing The Cooking Lab’s equipment, how the cutaway photos were made, or what Nathan looked like as a kid, we think you’ll enjoy this. It is a great illustration of the story of Modernist Cuisine.
Have you ever waited six hours for pizza dough to rise, only to have the pizza burn in the oven while the crust remains stubbornly uncooked? This week on MDRN KTCHN, Scott Heimendinger, our Director of Applied Research, and CHOW.com bring you tips for saving time and circumventing just such disasters. Scott explains one of our favorite tricks: baking on a steel sheet. He also shares his own recipe for pizza dough using an encapsulated leavening agent. In Modernist Cuisine at Home, we include many recipes for pizza dough, sauces, and ideas for toppings. With all the different combinations, you could eat pizza for a month and never eat the same thing twice!
A few Modernist tricks can heighten any Halloween treat. In the video above, Modernist Cuisine at Home coauthor Maxime Bilet demonstrates one of our favorite chocolate-related techniques for CHOW.com: adding Pop Rocks. Pop Rocks, or, generically, pastry rocks, add crisp and crunch to your favorite chocolate. You can buy pastry rocks on Chef Rubber or Pop Rocks on Amazon. We’ve found some combinations of Pop Rocks flavors work better than others, but pastry rocks are neutral in flavor. For the full recipe, click here.
In the video below, Developmental Chef Johnny Zhu enlists help from his son, Jerry, to make gummy worms in fake dirt. The recipe utilizes fishing-lure molds, which create very realistic gummy worms. For an extra-spooky twist, you can substitute tonic water, which will cause the worms to glow under a black light due to the presence of quinine. For the full gummy worm recipe, visit the recipe page in our library.
It has been an exciting two weeks since the debut of Modernist Cuisine at Home. We have been happily overwhelmed with the photos and first reactions that readers have shared on eGullet, Twitter, Facebook, and our own site. Whether you are a proud new owner of the book or interested in learning more about it, we want you to know that we’re here to help.
The fundamental idea behind Modernist Cuisine at Home is the same as that in Modernist Cuisine : The Art and Science of Cooking, we believe that to achieve the best tasting food, it really helps to understand what happens to food as it cooks and what kitchen equipment provides the most precise results. In the book, we walk you through a wide range of modern equipment, ingredients, and techniques. You’ll find over 400 recipes, including all-new approaches to culinary standards, such as crispy Korean-style chicken wings and microwaved beef jerky. You’ll also find in the new book a few of the greatest hits from Modernist Cuisine that we adapted to be simpler for home cooks. If you haven’t yet tried our caramelized carrot soup or pistachio gelato recipes, you’re in for a treat. Every recipe in the book passed our stringent taste tests.
Once you start cooking, be sure to come back to modernistcuisine.com to share your results, get tips, and post any questions you have to our forum in the Cooks portion of the site. You can see modernist techniques in action on our MDRN KTCHN video series on CHOW.com. Our blog and e-mail newsletters will address common challenges and provide peeks behind the scenes in our cooking lab. We’ll also inspire you on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
We hope our books continue to bring the benefits of modern cooking into more homes and restaurants all over the world. Even though Modernist Cuisine at Home has only been on sale for two weeks, it is already in more than 8,000 kitchens, so the word is clearly spreading about the delicious results you can get from Modernist cooking. In fact, with more than a quarter of our print run sold, we are starting to wonder whether we underestimated how many others share our passion. We hope, but cannot promise, the book will be available through the holidays. What do you think?
In the third installment of MDRN KTCHN, our very own Scott Heimendinger and CHOW.com team up to bring you a video all about pressure cooking. Discover how it works, when it was invented, and how baking soda caramelizes root vegetables in 20 minutes.
In case you couldn’t make it in person or stream it live last Saturday, here’s your chance to watch Nathan’s New York Times Talk with Jeff Gordinier. In the video above, Nathan tells Jeff about his favorite way to decant wine, when a chef’s own two hands are the best kitchen tools, how syringes are essential to roasting the best chicken, and more. Nathan also does a mean duck-in-a-feeding-frenzy impression!
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