As Dr. Ricky’s comments mention, taste is subjective and I agree. As such, I feel that it is very important to understand your ingredient in order to create the desired effect.
It’s helpful to know what makes garlic more or less ‘garlicky’. That way, you get to pick the right one for the right application.
- Processed raw garlic loses its ability to produce allicin and hence it’s ‘essence of garlic’
- Using minced garlic 10-15 minutes later will make it smell more garlicky
- Garlic germ does not necessarily contribute to bitterness. It could potentially produce more ‘garlicky’ and ‘off-flavors’. Depending on your palate, this could be a good or bad thing.
This article from the Goodeater collaborative sheds some interesting light regarding seafood. Points 4 and 5 are particularly intriguing.
“Cooking is about two things; it’s an equation, very simple, regardless of what level you’re cooking at… It’s all about product and execution. If I can get a better product than the chef right next to me, then I’ll be a better chef. If I can get a better staff and a better product, I’m going to be an extraordinary chef.”
– Chef Thomas Keller
On the awesome “Dude, you going to eat that?” blog, Dr. Ricky recently wrote about matching ingredients to their appropriate application. This was in response to a comment I wrote recently that “it’s hard to deny the quality of taste of a well farmed bird.” Dr. Ricky makes a good case of evaluating the ingredients to a targeted preparation. That I fully agree with. However, he also argues that “there are preparations where a factory farmed bird is more appropriate than free range bird. And vice versa.” This is the point I find hard to swallow.
In his article, he takes the example of a Vietnamese beef stew with changes in ingredients from the traditional one. In the example, the restaurant used carrot nubs instead of ‘older, cheaper carrots’ as well as trimmed meat as opposed to fattier portions. In those examples, the cook chose to use (supposedly) pricier ingredients as opposed to rustic ones. Any cook worth his or her weight would tell you that this substitution of ingredients doesn’t quite make sense.
Late Sunday, I came across a tweet by David Buehrer of Greenway Coffee & Tea:
WTF’s a milk class? So I clicked on the link:
Well, that didn’t answer very many questions either. How many questions can I really ask a dairy guy? And to have it at a bar? (Grand Prize Bar happens to be one of my favorite bars in Houston by the way.) Not really convinced.
It’s been about a month and a half since I first got involved in this online cult known as Charcutepalooza. These folks are crazy. They believe in the god of cured meats. They tweet and blog excitedly about getting pork jowls (yeah, that’s the face/jaw of a pig), firm breasts (many claim it’s ducks’ breast), rubbing bellies (of a pig’s), “meating” up with each other, and they worship and adore of lard as though it’s the best invention since sliced bread. I’m proud to be one of them.
February marked the salt cure challenge. What the heck is this you may ask? Well, Cathy aka Mrs Wheelbarrow and Kim aka The Yummy Mummy are challenging us to cure bacon and/or pancetta or guanciale and blogging our results. Well, in the words of Barney Stinson, challenge accepted.
The main purpose of the challenges aren’t so much about charcuterie (that’s cooking devoted to prepared meat products) recipes as opposed to using what was made. But of course, with curing meat being such an integral part of the process, it’s hard to avoid writing about it.
What I didn’t know is that this unleashed some sort of strange passion within me.
This is just cooking as a craft at it’s best. I’ve tried it on chickens and ducks. It works but it takes practice. Oh yeah, factory chickens do not really work well with this. Enjoy.
Until last Saturday, I did not own a wok. I know, huge surprise.
I seem to be slightly behind when it comes to Asian cooking tools. I mean, I did not have a rice cooker till a couple of year ago when I moved in with a roommate who had one. And then, there’s the wok.