5 Tips for Culinary Deception

April 1, 2013

What better time to trot out our favorite deceptive culinary tricks than April Fool’s Day? We devoted a section of Modernist Cuisine to trompe l’oeil because it is particularly suited to the Modernist movement. Though it has a long history, dating back to dishes such as mock turtle soup in the 19th century, culinary deception […]

The Secret to the Perfect Soft-Boiled Egg

March 29, 2013

A perfect soft-boiled egg is a thing of beauty: a yolk with the texture of sweet condensed milk surrounded by a white that is tender but not runny. But for generations, great cooks have differed on how to achieve this state of perfection reliably. Some authorities say you should drop a whole egg into boiling […]

The Maillard Reaction

March 20, 2013

One of the most important flavor-producing reactions in cooking is the Maillard reaction. It is sometimes called the “browning reaction” in discussions of cooking, but that description is incomplete at best. Cooked meats, seafood, and other protein-laden foods that undergo the Maillard reaction do turn brown, but there are other reactions that also cause browning. […]

Modernist Cuisine at Home Nominated for Awards

March 19, 2013

We are thrilled to announce that Modernist Cuisine at Home has been nominated for a James Beard Award in the “General Cooking” category. Also nominated in that category are Canal House Cooks Every Day and What Katie Ate. In 2012, winning the James Beard Award for Modernist Cuisine in the categories “Cookbook of the Year” […]

Is It Safe to Cook with Plastic?

March 12, 2013

Since writing Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home, we’ve been asked many times to comment on the safety of cooking in plastic bags. Many of our sous vide recipes, from our Sous Vide Salmon and Rare Beef Jus to our Cranberry Consommé and Scrambled Egg Foam, require vacuum-sealing or using a zip-top bag. Similarly, […]

What Is Xanthan Gum?

March 1, 2013

Some people are suspicious of ingredients with unfamiliar names, such as xanthan gum. We are frequently asked, “Aren’t your dishes chock-full of chemicals?” Well, yes, but all foods are, including the most natural and organic ones. But nearly all of those chemicals are derived from natural ingredients or processes that have been used for decades. […]

How Whipping Siphons Work

February 19, 2013

Whipping siphons are useful for making so much more than whipped cream. We use ours all the time for making fresh soda, speeding up marinating, infusing fruit, or topping a dish with foam or flavor or textural contrast. Whether you’re carbonating, infusing, or foaming, there are a few basics you should know. The siphon requires […]

Three Desserts You Can Make with a Whipping Siphon

February 14, 2013

Whipping siphons are easy and fun to use. This Valentine’s Day, try wowing your special someone with a Modernist dessert created with nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide. Use our suggestions below for tasty ideas beyond the realm of whipped cream. Lemon Curd: Try using a whipping siphon instead of a pastry bag for piping your […]

How Pressure Cookers Work

February 5, 2013

Pressure cookers are fantastic tools. They develop the characteristic flavors and textures of foods so quickly that what is conventionally a long, labor-intensive process becomes one hardly more time-consuming than a casual sauté. Risotto takes six minutes instead of 25. An intense chicken stock takes only 90 minutes. You can even pressure-cook food in canning […]

How to Scale a Recipe

January 30, 2013

The Mac and Cheese recipe makes five servings, but you’re throwing a dinner party for nine people. You’re in luck: We’ve made it easy to scale our recipes up to greater yields (or down if you have fewer mouths to feed) by using baker’s percentages. Just follow these simple steps.   Look in the scaling […]