Modernist Kitchen – Pressure Cooker Garlic Confit

To kick off my challenge of cooking through the Modernist Cuisine at Home and also trying my hand at producing a cooking video I’ve decided to keep it simple.  The writers of Modernist Cuisine at Home developed some really great uses for the pressure cooker.  They realized that it was a kitchen device far too underutilized with home cooks, and chose to dedicate a lot of space in the book discussing different uses and techniques for the pressure cooker.  Besides saving cooks time when braising tough cuts of meat, the pressure cooker can be used to speed up browning vegetables and developing intense flavors in stocks and purees.  In this case the chef authors are using the advantages of the pressure cooker to quickly produce an intensely flavored confit of garlic in a relative short period of time.  The garlic produced in this video is very rich in flavor and spreadably soft in texture, almost like a butter.  The olive oil has wonderful garlic flavor and aromas, and can be reused on such things as salads, finishing dishes or to cook things with in hot pans. Take a look at our video and let us know what you think, as our foray into the writings of the Modernist Cuisine at Home begins. Stay Hungry Y’all!

-The Hungry Southerner

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Southern Kitchen – Modernist Cuisine at Home

MCAH with kitchen manual in slipcase

[Photo Credit:Chris Hoover/ Modernist Cuisine, LLC]

After a long vacation for the Hungry Southerner I felt the time was right to dip a toe back into writing and challenge myself to cook my way through an entire cookbook.  The Little Southerner often reminds me of the growing collection of cookbooks that continue to flow into our house and I figured it was time to put them to good use.  I often spend my evenings at home reading through several of my favorites Thomas Keller’s  The French Laundry & Ad Hoc, Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, Grant Achatz’s Alinea and My New Orleans by John Besh. The collection I’ve had the greatest fascination with has been the epic 5 book tome The Modernest Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold.  Unfortunately The Modernist Cuisine collection, on a good day, weighs in at a whopping $450.00 so it has been financially out of reach. Until now….

Chicken wing variations

[Photo Credit:Chris Hoover/ Modernist Cuisine, LLC]

Realizing the general population had a desire to get into the Modernist Cuisine material without the need for combi ovens and centrifuges, Myhrvold and his team recently introduced The Modernist Cuisine at Home. It’s an epic book containing over 456 pages of technique, commentary and recipes utilizing modern approaches to common dishes.  It takes a sort of  procedural scientific approach to breaking down recipes and the techniques used to produce dishes in a whole new way.  It makes home cooks, like myself, reconsider all those gadgets  laying around and calls them all into action.  It also helps to change your whole perspective on how to approach the household kitchen.

Gelato Variations

[Photo Credit:Chris Hoover/ Modernist Cuisine, LLC]

Modernist Cuisine at Home is the perfect companion book to Alinea, Fat Duck and Eleven Madison Park.  It elegantly breaks down most, if not all, of the concepts used in those other books giving the reader a much clearer picture of the individual techniques required to work through procedures such as gellation, emulsions and sous vide cooking.  It also presents the material in a beautiful way; this book has the largest pages, beautiful images and layout of any book I own.  It is truly a great book to behold. Which brings me to the price.

Modernist Cuisine at Home is not a cheap book.  It is easily a $100.00 investment, which means for the price, you could own all 3 of  Fat Duck, Alinea and Eleven Madison Park. It’s not cheap by any stretch of the imagination but you get a lot for  your money.  The authors graciously include a separate manual just of the recipes and techniques, which is really great considering no one wants to spill spaghetti sauce on their $100.00 investment.  It’s also the heaviest cookbook I own, weighing in at 11 pounds if you include the secondary recipe book and special boxing sleeve. At about $9.00 a pound or about $4.30 a chapter (23 chapters in total) you get what you pay for.  It’s truly my favorite cookbook this year, and I can’t recommend it more to anyone who is looking to challenge themselves to expand the way they approach food.

Countertop tools opener

[Photo Credit:Chris Hoover/ Modernist Cuisine, LLC]

All this said I figured it was time to kick start the Hungry Southerner with a new challenge going into 2013.  I’ve never cooked my way through an entire cookbook and I feel The Modernist Cuisine at Home is the book I’d like to attempt.  I won’t be cooking through the book sequentially, and each chapter often has several derivatives on the same concept so I probably won’t recreate 20 different versions of their BBQ sauces but I do plan to tackle each and every chapter’s concepts and initial recipes.  I’ve decided this isn’t a race to see how quick I can survive the entire book but rather an experience in mastering the material presented.  I’ll also be looking to see how these newer ideas can enhance the Southern cooking concepts that have been used for generations. Buckle up it’s going to be a fun ride.  Stay Hungry Y’all!

- The Hungry Southerner

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Local, Fresh, Sustainable – High Road Craft Ice Cream

You can find some of the best young entrepreneurs in the South and this story is about two such locals. High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet is the brain child of Chef Keith Schroeder and Hunter Thornton, two of the niceset and hard working guys you’ll ever meet. They have combined their passion for making the best local, organic, and just down right delicious ice cream with their desire to build a business that allows them to grow along side other local Southern businesses.  The boys of High Road are developing symbiotic relationships with restaurants, farmers and local producers that makes you proud for them and will bring a smile to your face when you find their artisanal ice cream on your plate. This is our glimpse of High Road’s brand of Southern culinary magic. Stay Hungry Y’all!

-The Hungry Southerner

Note: Also available on YouTube

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Yankee Ingredients – Eggnog French Toast

French Toast

My first memory of Egg Nog is not related to any experience of my own. I saw Cousin Eddie drink an Egg Nog filled moose glass on Christmas Vacation and that was that. I remember it looked like thick milk sprinkled with something brown and not very appetizing. I also know that there was more than likely some adult beverage mixed in with the Nog.  My own family never has had Egg Nog around the holidays for some strange reason, nor have I ever been to a party that served the creamy drink, so I haven’t had the chance to try it.  I guess I also never felt the desire to go out to purchase a carton of Egg Nog because the main ingredients are things that make my tummy sing a very angry version of Jingle Bells – cream, eggs, and milk – and I like to avoid angry Christmas songs.

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Southern Kitchen – Lamb Roasted

lamb

With the rising popularity of the “Farm to Table” movement and along side it star chefs like Sean Brock, Kevin Gillespie, and John Besh all promoting the concept in different ways, their influences have started to change the way I utilize local ingredients at home.  Mostly it means considering a broader scope of fresh, seasonal, ingredients and trying to utilize as much of it as possible without waste.  Learning to cook seasonally and locally has Southerners really considering our roots and a return to a society based around knowing and understanding where our food comes from, and if possible meeting the person responsible for producing it. Thinking about all this and the holidays inspired me to explore a Roasted Leg of Lamb for a nice change of pace.

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Local, Fresh, Sustainable – Local Three : Prep Time

We are wrapping up our series with the guys from Local Three.  We’ve been following (video 1, video 2) these guys through the process of opening their local Atlanta restaurant, and the day is finally upon us.  Chef Chris Hall gave us a final sneak peak of the menu, before the official December opening of Local Three.  This time Chris let us show you what’s behind the food at Local Three and how it’s cooked using fresh ingredients while keeping it simple and delicious.  This video will have your mouth watering when you see all that pork jowl, squash and kale. Stay tuned because we’ll have 2 more videos coming to close out our Local Three series you won’t want to miss. Stay Hungry Y’all !

- The Hungry Southerner

Note: Also available on YouTube

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Yankee Ingredients – Cranberries in a Blanket

roll

Cranberries are a staple at most American family’s Thanksgiving tables. The form in which the cranberries appear varies from family to family. For example, my Northern Yankee family eats their cranberries boiled in water until they are saucy and sweetened with sugar. My Southern in-laws eat their cranberries with oranges and pineapples set in gelatin. With that being said, I don’t know what made me throw Fontina cheese, candied walnuts, and a tube of crescent rolls into my grocery cart alongside the bag of cranberries. Perhaps it could be that I was craving cheese? Or maybe it was because the nuts and crescent rolls were on sale? Whatever the reason, I am very happy with the choice of ingredients that helped showcase my delectable little cranberries.

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Filed under Cooking Tutorial, Southern Food, Southern Kitchen, Yankee Recipes