Spare The Fat, Spoil The Flavor – Making Your Food Pop, Part 3

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I’m not the first person to observe that Americans have a crazy, conflicted relationship to fat. We love it, and eat far more of it than probably just about any other country in the world. God knows we have …

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Brussels Sprout Gratin – With Heretical Technique – Recipe

Brussels sprouts are such a trendy ingredient, and we've all learned how terrific they are roasted or sauteed at high heat until caramelized and nutty-tasting. Still, sometimes it is good to look back to a more traditional technique. Dare I say it: French technique. Enter the gratin.

A gratin is basically anything (usually a vegetable) baked …

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Anti-griddle Pudding Pop, Bruleed Mango, Black Sesame Tuile – Recipe

 

This was my dish for the MasterChef auditions that took Seattle by storm last weekend. I guess it must have been ok, it earned me a callback for a second round interview. There were no cooking facilities for the audition, so the judges made allowances if your food was intended to be served …

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The Value of Acid – Making Your Food Pop, Part 2

When cooks talk about “acidity”, what they mean is simply sourness. Scientifically, they are the same thing. The sour taste buds fire when an acid meets water and releases hydrogen ions in your mouth. End of chemistry class.

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Salt
Acid
Fat
Crunch
A Telling Failure

At least in America, acidity is a quality frequently missing from home-cooked meals, …

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Tiny Eggplant and Okra in Lime-Scented Tamarind Sauce – Recipe

I didn’t have a definite plan when I picked up these gorgeous little eggplants, I just knew they had to come home with me. I ended up rubbing them with spices and roasting, then serving them in a sweet-tart tamarind curry. Later I realized that I’d made a little joke – they were kind …

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Salt, Acid, Fat, Crunch – Making Your Food Pop, Part 1

Ask a professional chef to taste and evaluate a dish, and odds are that if they think it needs something, that something will be salt, acid, fat, or crunch.

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Salt
Acid
Fat
Crunch
A Telling Failure

Why? Because these are fundamental elements that make food pop. They aren’t going to turn undercooked eggplant into a silk purse, but if …

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Fresh Fettuccine with Ricotta, Spring Onions and Fried Duck Egg – Recipe

This is just pure decadence. Fresh basil fettuccine, creamy ricotta, crispy fried spring onions and a fried duck egg on top. The egg yolk creates a rich sauce for the noodles.. The only thing that would have made it more over-the-top is if I had some black truffle to shave on it.

This dish came about …

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