From the blog December 17, 2013 Caren

Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for Modernist Cooks

Whether you’re purchasing one of our books for a loved one or buying gifts for someone who has already added one of our volumes to their personal library, this year we devoted our gift guide to items that pair perfectly with Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home. From stocking stuffers to larger gear, we have you covered.  We even selected a few ingredients to help you launch your own journey into Modernist cooking.

Modernist Cuisine

Water Bath: This year, give the gift of sous vide. We suggested gifting sous vide setups in previous years with good reason: a water bath is an essential tool for many of the recipes we created for Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home. While there are ways to improvise, this is the best tool for regularly cooking sous vide or for any cooking task requiring precise temperature control. Water baths are also the perfect way to heat up holiday leftovers. The SousVide Supreme ($329 and up) is sufficient for most home uses, but the PolyScience Sous Vide Professional immersion circulator (Creative series, $399), paired with a polycarbonate tank ($33 for a 10 L tank), provides more uniform heat distribution.

 

Cook the lamb sous vide for 3 hours.

Blowtorch: From caramelizing crème brûlée to searing sous vide meat, there are many practical (and impractical) reasons to keep a blowtorch handy in the kitchen. A blowtorch is an inexpensive gift (we like the Bernzomatic TS4000 Trigger Start Torch, $34) that’s great for recipes that call for high temperatures unattainable in conventional ovens. It’s also an impressive tool to pull out during holiday gatherings and dinner parties.

Modernist Cuisine™ Gel Noodle and Spherification Kits: 130 pages of Modernist Cuisine are devoted to the science of gels because creating gels is a fundamental technique of Modernist (and even conventional) cooking. The Gel Noodle and Spherification kit ($40 and $50) are a fantastic introduction to the art of creating these magical treats in your kitchen. Each kit comes with some essential tools to get you started as well as enough ingredients to create 20 batches of gelled noodles or spheres. And the kits just happen to be stocking size.

Spherification-WT-2

Borosilicate Flasks and Beakers: Flasks and beakers aren’t necessarily a Modernist must, but these lab tools are incredibly handy to have in the kitchen. If you need to measure volume, beakers and flasks are highly accurate and have greater heat resistance than conventional Pyrex. Plus they double as a very nerd-chic container for cocktails. This SEOH 5-pack of beakers ($14) is a great starter set, but there are many, many options available online.

Modernist Cuisine at Home

Digital Scale: Begin applying more precision to your measurements with a reliable, digital gram scale. These scales are easy to find at cooking stores, and basic models are inexpensive. You should really own two: a general-purpose scale that accurately measures weights from one to 1,000 grams and an even more precise scale accurate to a tenth or hundredth of a gram. A 0.1 g scale is a must-have for measuring hydrocolloid thickening and gelling agents. We recommend the Digital Bench Scale ($49) for extra-large batches and the Extreme‑Precision Digital Ingredient Scale ($27) for its compact portability.

scale-open_1024x1024

Thermometer: The pockets of chef jackets have one thing in common: thermometers—and for good reason. Thermometers are indispensable kitchen tools. Small changes in temperature can make all the difference in cooking, so thermometers are essential. A good digital thermometer can even take the place of a fancy sous vide cooker. Our favorite is the Taylor Professional Thermocouple Thermometer ($78), which is extremely accurate and allows you to measure food temperatures in both water baths and ovens. Even an inexpensive instant-read thermometer will give you excellent range and speed, and it’s useful for almost any application.

The Modernist Cuisine™ Special Edition Baking Steel: Andris Lagsdin, a pizza enthusiast who works at a family-owned steel company, was inspired to produce Baking Steels after reading Modernist Cuisine. We worked with Andris to develop the Modernist Cuisine edition, a preseasoned, shatterproof ⅜ in thick steel plate. Based on our own research, we designed it to be an optimal combination of performance and usability. It’s the perfect tool to help create any of the pizzas from Chapter 18 of Modernist Cuisine at Home, and it’s easy to use: simply slide it into a conventional oven for perfect pizzas or place it on top of a burner to use as a griddle. You can even use it as an anti-griddle to make ice cream.

steel 20 degree on white with pizza

Sodium Citrate: If your loved one is a cheese lover, a packet of sodium citrate ($7 for 50 g, $15 for 400 g) is an inexpensive, world-changing gift. Essentially the combination of salt and citric acid from citrus fruits, a tiny bit yields silky smooth Mac and Cheese or wonderfully melty cheese for dips and sandwiches. Appearing in over 20 cheese-based recipes in Modernist Cuisine at Home, sodium citrate is a staple ingredient.

Mac and cheese variations

Discussion

  1. snack hamamet September 29, 2014 Reply

    j’aime beaucoup cette recette .
    c’est un excellent article .
    merci pour le partage .

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