Today, Rachael Ray invited Modernist Cuisine at Home author Nathan Myhrvold on her show. Using only olive oil, a little salt, and a microwave, Nathan taught Rachael how to make puffed chickpeas and kale chips. Watch the video above for the complete demonstration. To get the recipes, visit the page on RachaelRayShow.com. And for more on puffing in the microwave, watch our MDRN KTCHN video on puffy snacks.
Are you looking for a new set of pans this holiday season? Scott Heimendinger, our Director of Applied Research, explains the science behind heat diffusion in stove-top cooking on MDRN KTCHN on CHOW.com. The end result: Thickness is more important than material, no matter how shiny and expensive those copper pans may be. He also gives you a few work-arounds for uneven stoves.
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.
- Digital Thermometer: As Nathan often says, “Why waste time being a human thermostat?” For cooking meat sous vide to precise temperatures, you’ll need a good thermometer. We like Taylors Professional Thermocouple and ThermoWorks’s Splash-Proof Thermapen, but if you are looking for something a bit cheaper, you may want to go with a digital oven probe.
- 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.
Stop worrying over your Thanksgiving turkey! Follow our guidelines and you’ll serve up the perfect roasted bird. Place your cursor over the white circles in the photo below to learn everything you need.If the file doesn’t display, you may download the SWF file.
What better time than Thanksgiving to try out recipes from Modernist Cuisine at Home? To get you started, we put together a menu using recipes from our website and new book. And if you’re not hosting a Turkey-Day feast this year, we hope you’ll bring a dish or two to your friend’s or family’s house.
For tips on cooking the perfect (whole) bird, check out Nathan’s interview in Men’s Health. And for advice on cooking safely for the holidays, see our article on Food52.com. If you have any questions, or if you want to post tips of your own, check out the “Thanksgiving!” thread on our forum.
Page numbers refer to the page in the main volume of Modernist Cuisine at Home.
Soup & Salad Course
Autumn Salad (page 166) with Modernist Vinaigrette (page 117)
Caramelized Carrot Soup (page 178)
Breadsticks (page 296)
Dessert & Coffee
Pecan Gelato (page 370)
Apple Cream Pie (page 379)
Coffee Crème Brûlée
Everyone loves the crunch of a tasty puffed snack, but we don’t see many of the homemade variety. In our newest video from MDRN KTCHN on CHOW.com, we bring you an easy recipe for puffed rice snacks using your microwave. Watch the video above as our Director of Applied Research, Scott Heimendinger, demonstrates the method and explains how and why it works.
For another slightly more involved recipe for puffed snacks, including tips for puffing success, take a look at our Cheese Puffs recipe in the recipe library, which can also be found in Modernist Cuisine alongside other puffed-food recipes such as crab crackers, chickpeas, and chicken feet. Our new book, Modernist Cuisine at Home includes recipes for puffed pork skin and chicken skin too!
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.