Cookbooks were not something I was into until 3 years ago. The only attachment I had to them, if you even want to to call it that, was my visit to the bookstore and browsing through Cuban and Latin ones. That was 10 years ago.
And then something happened. I started writing for a travel magazine. And then I started writing for a food magazine, based out of Atlanta. And that food magazine led to a lifestyle magazine. Shoot, all I need now is a gig writing for a car magazine, a sports magazine an interior magazine, and a gardening magazine, then I’ll cover it all. Truthfully, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve shared this previously. So yea, I’ve been writing for some food magazines for a while now.
As you can imagine, I get a lot of cookbooks to review! I think my collection is now up to 20!! Yes! A whopping 20! I know, I know, that’s so gah, but for me it’s a big deal. I’m running out of kitchen counter space! I’m slowly, but surely getting around to cooking at least 10 dishes from all of them. But I will admit, I’m not big on recipes. I have the hardest time writing them, so most times, I’ll look at them and do what I do…
One of my recently published pieces was on the Science of Good Food, The Ultimate Reference Guide on How Cooking Works,by David Joachim and Andrew Schloss. And I’m giving a copy away because it’s just that good. It’s not a cookbook, so if you were looking for a cookbook, this is not the contest to enter. However, if you’re a foodie, you will continue to read and desire one, anyway! I will say that this is one of my best acquisitions to date. It’s completely resourceful, practical, efficient and even glossy. Most cook and kitchen reference books are so lackluster, I was surprised to see some high res color photos of food. For me, that was an added bonus.
I know Cuban food and technique like the back of my hand. I know most ingredients associated with Latin food in general. And I’m learning daily about French food and technique (3 hours of cooking in a French kitchen with an attractive French chef will surely get your juices going!) But, like most of us, there are thousands of things we just don’t know, no matter how professional we are, how experienced or how OCD we are about food. After reading this book, trust me, I feel like I may want to entertain the drawing board!
There are 600 pages full of “what it is”, “how it works” and “what it does” headers, which elaborate on the chemistry and basic engineering of food. Fillers include evenly sprinkled charts, tricks, tips and even 100 recipes, offering you something new to learn just about everyday. While I gave the book a very favorable review, because after all it is beautifully laid out and extremely easy for the everyday, curious George, I was confused with some of the entries. In some cases, when you go to a cooking staple (such as garlic), you are redirected to “See” something else. I use garlic every single day. In my realm of hunger for in-depth knowledge, garlic holds its own and deserves at least an entire page. But if you want to learn how to fry that perfect piece of chicken, authors will explain the frying process and teach you how to avoid that soggy effect. Either way, you’ll walk away with the ability to toot your own horn at your next soiree after you’ve talked about the different alcohol (proof) levels in certain spirits!
To read the full article and learn some useful and quirky information (like bourbon classification laws in Canada), click on the picture above or here. I promise you’ll enjoy the read.
SO, I’m giving one copy away to a super duper lucky reader! You must leave a comment to be automatically entered to win! You know you want to add geekery to your already robust collection! Comments must be entered by May 20th 12 pm EST. GO!
From the book, and as originally published here, following is an ice cream recipe seen in Good Food! If you dare to try working with liquid nitrogen, then go for it! Enjoy!
LN2 Basil Ricotta Ice Cream
Liquid nitrogen is available at welding supply and medical supply stores and is not expensive. However, it must be transported in either a pressurized tank or a specialized thermos, which can be pricy. Working with LN2 is about as risky as working with a deep-fat fryer filled with boiling oil. If it touches you, it will do some damage. Take care by wearing protective goggles, heavy rubber gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and closed shoes.
- 2 cups whipping (35%) cream / 500 mL
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar / 375 mL
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves / 250 mL
- Pinch salt
- 1 container (15 oz/425 g) whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract / 5 mL
- 3 quarts liquid nitrogen / 3 L
1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring cream, sugar, basil and salt to a simmer, stirring often until sugar dissolves. Set aside for 5 minutes and strain to remove basil.
2. In a food processor puree ricotta cheese, basil-infused cream and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a large metal or plastic bowl.
3. Put on the safety goggles and gloves and slowly add a small amount of liquid nitrogen as you stir with a whisk. Nitrogen gas will rise from the bowl as you stir. Don’t worry; it won’t hurt you.
4. Continue stirring and adding LN2 until the mixture thickens too much to use the whisk. Switch to a wooden spoon (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) and mix thoroughly until the ice cream is firm, adding more LN2 as needed. Remove the spoon (or lift the paddle) and add the remaining LN2 to harden the mound of ice cream. Let stand a minute or two then pick up a spoon and dig in. Or pack into a tightly covered container and freeze for up to 48 hours. Scoop and enjoy.
Makes 1 quart (1 L)
Adapted with permission from The Science of Good Food by David Joachim and Andrew Schloss.
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