Modernist Cuisine

1) homemade ravioli stuffed with carrot, ricotta and thyme and served with a brown butter sauce, carrot capellini and carrot foam (made using soy lecithin)

And so, some food posts.

G and I are avowed molecular cuisine whores I do admit, and we’ve been thoroughly blessed to try some pretty stunning molecular cuisine restaurants globally. The Fat Duck, the now-closed El Bulli and Noma aside, we’ve chowed down at L2O (Chicago); Diva and the Met (here in Vancouver); Tapas Molecular Bar (Tokyo); the now-defunct Rain (in Toronto); El Pujol (in Mexico City); Aronia de Takezawa (in Tokyo). All, magnificent. About three weeks ago we moved ourselves to the next level by investing in a sous vide machine and purchased the stunning new cookbook, Modernist Cuisine at Home by chefs Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet. Modernist Cuisine is the lesser of the two tomes these guys have published, the holy grail being their 5 volume, CAD$500 boxed set (which we hope to one day own) titled Modernist Cuisine (billed as the most important cookbook of the 21st century). The sous vide machine, while costing us just over CAD$500 has been a revelation. Sous vide, which means, en francais, “under vacuum” is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times—72 hours in some cases—at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 °C (131 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F). We’ve been busy trying all sorts of meals using this wondrous machine, including; a bacon mayonnaise (using the sous vide to ‘cook’ your egg yolks results in a much more stable mayo); braised short ribs (that we did, in fact, cook for some 72 hours!); pork (more on this attempt later this week); and steak (heavenly). 

Amid adventures with the sous vide, we’ve been cooking up a storm as you’ll see from the pictures attached herein.

2 & 3) the Sous Vide Supreme machine

4) our Modernist Cuisine at Home bible (I cannot more highly recommend this book); 5) butterflied pork loin that I have just brined in milk, apple juice, salt and sugar

6) the pork will brine for 12 hours and then I’ll sous vide it tomorrow for dinner; 7) I have also set to ‘dry age’ a New York strip loin using, yes, fish sauce (about 3/4 tsp … it will sit in this for 3 days then will sit for a further 3 days in cheesecloth before being sous vided and then seared)

8) G’s homemade fettuccine; 9) the mix of kale and Swiss chard is prepared for a clam fettuccine pasta I made tonight

10) in the pan is Fresno chili, onions, pancetta, olive oil, white wine and the clams; 11) the resulting dish was fabulous

 (as an aside) 12 & 13) if you are a fan of the Showcase tv series, Continuum, you’d love living at our condo … why? … it’s filmed here. Here are shots from last weekend of the crew filming on the roof of the parking garage below us; and on this past Wednesday, the crew took over our common room up on the 42nd floor to film

14) G was busy tonight practicing Beethoven’s Fur Elise and the ridiculously difficult Chopin Fantasie Impromptu. Not to be outdone (and with thanks to G) I have 4 bars of Satie’s oh-so-lovely, Gymnopedie I down pat; 15) scallops with a corn `succotash` I made last weekend

16) here is the oh-my-god marvellous beef short rib I made sous vide, served with a red wine reduction and potato mash (which I also sous vided – the heat treatment prior to cooking gelatinizes the starch and stabilizes the starch granules – you have Jeffrey Steingarten and chef/god Heston Blumenthal to thank for this discovery); 17) here is the ricotta, thyme and carrot filling for our ravioli

18 & 19) we have a very affordable ravioli, hand-cranked machine that produces amazing ravioli

20) last night, I made a prosciutto-wrapped salmon served on a fennel, endive, asparagus, radish and snap pea salad with a warm sun dried tomato, caper and olive oil dressing

And, to close, the decision`s been made, and the brackets are out for this year`s NCAA College Basketball tournament (see here) … so you can guess what I`ll be doing the next few weeks, eh! My world will stop; work will stop; life will be watching basketball. Go Gongaza Go; Go Oregon; and noting my folks are down at the condo, Go FGCU (and congrats for making it into the championship rounds for the first time ever). 


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2 Responses to Modernist Cuisine

  1. christao408 says:

    A friend has a sous vide machine and we’ve played around quite a bit with it. Certainly is a handy implement. Sadly, no free counter space in my own kitchen so won’t be buying one anytime soon. However, I did just return from the US with PolyScience’s “Smoking Gun” in hand. I look forward to playing with it and sharing the results on Xanga.

  2. Fatcat723 says:

    I will be watching the games too! But will not be making the food that now has my mouth watering.

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