Category Archives: Cooking Tutorial

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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Filed under Cooking, Cooking Tutorial, Food, Modernist Cuisine at Home, Southern Food, Southern Kitchen, Southern Recipes, Southern Video

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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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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Southern Kitchen – Pickling

jar

There was a period in the South where everyone knew how to jam, can, preserve and pickle.  Southerners knew how to preserve just about everything using all natural household ingredients and every home would have pantries stocked with jars of canned vegetables, fruits and everything in-between.  Learning how to pickle, or to brine, is very simple and doesn’t require any special tools.  The best part about learning how to pickle is getting to experiment with creating your very own Southern brine recipes.

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Southern Kitchen – Blueberry Lemon Preserves

blueberry

Encouraged by our “success” with the peach honey and inspired by an amazing deal on fresh blueberries, my wife decided our next endeavor would be Blueberry Preserves. Unlike the last time with the peaches, we felt like we were walking into things with a little experience under our belts. Armed with a bit of confidence, we chose Paula Dean’s blueberry lemon preserve recipe.

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A Yankee Vacation Recipe Guide

lobster

Food has always been big part of my life. It is one of my greatest obsessions and a topic  discussed multiple times a day in my and my families household. A good example of this was when my mom secured our summer cottage in Cape Cod back in March, the first thing I said was, “When should we start making up the menu for the week?”

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Southern Kitchen – Georgia Peach Honey Preserves

breakfast

As we’ve noted before, ’tis the season for the farmer’s market.  It just feels right to get up Saturday morning and go buy fresh fruits and veggies from real people.  Problem is, sometimes I get carried away and buy a bit too much.  The tomatoes/peaches/cucumbers/etc are just too good to pass up when in season, and there’s only twenty one meals in a week.  The question naturally presents itself…..What am I gonna do with the twenty {insert produce here} I just came home with?   Answer- Invite a bunch of Hungry Southerner’s over to your house for a party…….or…..do a bit of canning, pickling, and preserving.

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