Tamales are a true comfort food. Warm pillows of ground cornmeal surround both sweet and savory fillings. The dough of these steamed bundles is made from course-ground corn flour called masa harina. Inside, a bounty of different fillings can be found: cheeses, pork, chilies, cinnamon and raisins, and roasted vegetables. The corn husks of tamales […]
The term “custard” spans so many possible ingredients and techniques that it is most useful to think of a custard as simply a particular texture and mouthfeel. Custards have been made for centuries by lightly cooking a blend of eggs and heavy cream, but Modernist chefs have invented myriad ways to make custards. The techniques […]
When it came to preparing for Passover, my mother would always buy matzo in bulk, just in case we ran out. After the holiday, my family would attempt to consume the remaining boxes of matzo, only to surrender to fatigue after a few weeks. Those boxes would then be stored in my parent’s pantry and […]
Good Easter eggs shelter hidden surprises—plastic eggs break open to reveal jelly beans, and chocolate eggs often hide nougat, caramel, fudge, or peanut butter. We embraced this idea, but reimagined the egg’s contents in our own versions of this iconic treat. Our first egg is a tribute to our favorite candy eggs, with a bit […]
Lamb has a rich tradition of being the focal point of spring meals. Signifying the passing of winter and the renewal of life, lamb was often the first fresh meat available each year, making it a logical springtime choice. Whole lambs were cooked on spits or in earth ovens, bringing together communities for religious and […]
Whimsy is one of my favorite things about Modernist cuisine. When I nostalgically described my childhood seder dinners to our culinary team, two themes emerged: matzo and Manischewitz. Matzo is an incredibly humble yet important food—I like mine sandwiched with a generous portion of haroseth, which my mother made with walnuts, wine, and apples. I […]
Nathan, I, and the entire Modernist Cuisine team were saddened earlier this month when barbecue legend John H. Willingham passed away.
A red wine glaze is a standard sauce and a favorite of many chefs, but the classical technique for preparing it is both lengthy and labor-intensive. We retooled it, using a pressure cooker, to get great results much faster.
When I brought this dip to a party, explaining that it was actually made from real pepper jack cheese, I was met with baffled looks. “What else is in it? Butter? Cream?” my friends asked.
We recently watched a video on YouTube of a Thai street vendor making ice-cream rolls in just a few minutes. Ingenious! Of course, we had to try it on our new baking steel. The steel, placed atop a 10 lb block of dry ice, can cool down from room temperature to -9.4 °C / 15 […]
We included many recipe variations in Modernist Cuisine at Home, because the team had so many great ideas. We couldn’t include each one as a full recipe, though, or the book would have been twice as big. Including many step-by-step photos was also important to us, so sometimes we had to balance how many variations […]
Gluten, the protein complex in wheat that becomes tangled into sticky, stretchy dough when you knead flour with water, is crucial to a great crust. Bread flours need a large fraction of high-quality gluten to act as a binder. The more gluten in the flour, the more elastic the dough, and the firmer the baked […]
As soon as I brought home my copy of Modernist Cuisine, I was eager to try cooking from it. For one of my first attempts, I had a bunch of friends over for a barbecue and decided to try four or five recipes. The sort of precise cooking this book called for was still new […]
Collagen determines, to a large extent, whether cooked meat ends up tender or tough. It is also the determining factor in how long you should cook a given cut of meat. Collagen fibers are the biological equivalent of steel cabling, forming a mesh that holds bundles of meat fibers together. Proper cooking unravels the cable-like […]
There’s something inherently fun about food on a stick. Skewered foods pop up in food culture all over the world: in yakitori bars in Japan; in the astounding variety of satay sold by Thai and Malaysian street vendors; in cotton candy, deep-fried ice cream, and corn dogs at the Minnesota State Fair; and in candy […]
Brining makes meat juicier and enhances its flavor, but salt diffuses through flesh very slowly. You can double or triple the rate of diffusion by injecting the brine deep into muscle tissue. This is very easy to do using a butcher’s syringe, also called a meat injector. Meat injectors usually include two large needles: one […]
When we developed the recipes for Modernist Cuisine at Home, we focused on using ingredients that we felt were fairly accessible and affordable. So when we reengineered our Pistachio Gelato recipe from Modernist Cuisine, we replaced the carrageenan with tapioca starch and xanthan gum. We tested it with corn starch and potato starch, but we […]
One of the great things Modernist cooking does for home cooks is allow them to make foods that they normally can only get in stores. Our recipe for fruit leather also lets home cooks play with flavors, like we have in our Mango Chili recipe below. This recipe is a variation of our Tomato Leather […]
Consider hollandaise, that unctuous mixture of warm egg yolks and butter. The sauce is so fragile because butter congeals and separates as soon as it cools. And it’s all too easy to overheat the eggs and curdle the sauce. But we show you how to avoid these problems by cooking the eggs sous vide by […]
I love pressure-cooking grains. Many of them, especially barley, don’t need to be soaked. That, combined with the short cooking time of a pressure cooker, means it’s a big time saver. The barley in this recipe takes only 20 minutes to cook. It works perfectly and has a wonderful texture.