Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work

Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work

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by Aki Kamozawa, Alexander H. Talbot
     
 

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Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, husband-and-wife chefs and the forces behind the popular blog Ideas in Food, have made a living out of being inquisitive in the kitchen. Their book shares the knowledge they have gleaned from numerous cooking adventures, from why tapioca flour makes a silkier chocolate pudding than the traditional cornstarch or flour to how to coldSee more details below

Overview

Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, husband-and-wife chefs and the forces behind the popular blog Ideas in Food, have made a living out of being inquisitive in the kitchen. Their book shares the knowledge they have gleaned from numerous cooking adventures, from why tapioca flour makes a silkier chocolate pudding than the traditional cornstarch or flour to how to cold smoke just about any ingredient you can think of to impart a new savory dimension to everyday dishes. Perfect for anyone who loves food, Ideas in Food is the ideal handbook for unleashing creativity, intensifying flavors, and pushing one’s cooking to new heights.
 
This guide, which includes 100 recipes, explores questions both simple and complex to find the best way to make food as delicious as possible. For home cooks, Aki and Alex look at everyday ingredients and techniques in new ways—from toasting dried pasta to lend a deeper, richer taste to a simple weeknight dinner to making quick “micro stocks” or even using water to intensify the flavor of soups instead of turning to long-simmered stocks. In the book’s second part, Aki and Alex explore topics, such as working with liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide—techniques that are geared towards professional cooks but interesting and instructive for passionate foodies as well. With primers and detailed usage guides for the pantry staples of molecular gastronomy, such as transglutaminase and hydrocolloids (from xanthan gum to gellan), Ideas in Food informs readers how these ingredients can transform food in miraculous ways when used properly.
 
Throughout, Aki and Alex show how to apply their findings in unique and appealing recipes such as Potato Chip Pasta, Root Beer-Braised Short Ribs, and Gingerbread Soufflé. With Ideas in Food, anyone curious about food will find revelatory information, surprising techniques, and helpful tools for cooking more cleverly and creatively at home. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though it's not an all-purpose cookbook, this volume by Kamozawa and Talbot, the Ideas in Food bloggers and "Kitchen Alchemy" columnists for Popular Science, could easily be an everyday reference tool and a source of go-to recipes for anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen. The authors break down the science behind correctly and deliciously preparing everything from bread, pasta, and eggs (including soft scrambled eggs; hard-boiled eggs, and brown butter hollandaise sauce) to homemade butter and yogurt. Most recipes fall into the "Ideas for Everyone" category, which composes about the first three-quarters of the book; the final section is "Ideas for Professionals," which explores trendy molecular gastronomy topics like liquid nitrogen--used to make popcorn gelato--and carbon dioxide, a necessary tool for making coffee onion rings. Straightforward prose and anecdotes with personality keep this from being a dry food science tome. And accessible recipes for such dishes as a simple roast chicken, green beans almondine, and root beer-braised short ribs mean it never gets too lofty. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"Alex and Aki have done the hard work—this book will enlighten any cook with its insightful recipes and new perspectives on food. I will make sure to have a copy on hand at all of our restaurants."
--David Chang, chef-owner of Momofuku

"Ideas in Food
is filled not only with intriguing recipes but also enormous intelligence and thoughtfulness about the way food works and why, everything from the simple stuff, such as fruits and vegetables, to the bizarre, including ‘meat glue.’ Alex and Aki are serious players with food, and here they tell you all the cool stuff they've figured out. I love this book."
--Michael Ruhlman, author of Ratio

"Alex and Aki have produced an essential reference book that belongs on the shelf of every fan of contemporary cooking.  By exploring the building blocks of flavor from the garden to the test kitchen, it opens a fascinating window on the past, present, and future of American cuisine."
--Michael Anthony, executive chef of Gramercy Tavern

"I am so excited about Aki and Alex’s book. I have been a fan for many years and am constantly inspired and educated by their work! I can’t wait to cook my way though these pages and add these new techniques to my repertoire."
--Johnny Iuzzini, head judge of Top Chef Just Desserts and author of Dessert FourPlay

"Alex and Aki's excitement and enthusiasm is contagious and it gives both professional and home cooks alike a kick start of creativity with the turn of every page."    
--Chris Cosentino, chef-owner of Incanto

"Finally! A cookbook that puts it all into perspective. Aki and Alex blaze the culinary trail, looking under every rock they come across and sharing their insightful discoveries along the way. This is a book that will open the eyes of professional chefs and home cooks alike."
--Sean Brock, executive chef of McCrady’s

"Alex and Aki have done a remarkable job of explaining many techniques and ingredients in the modern kitchen. I’m excited to see a book that makes this approach accessible to more people and that also includes delicious recipes."
--Wylie Dufresne, chef-owner of wd~50

"Aki and Alex share a mission—to change the way we think about both what we cook and how we cook. Delicious ideas leap from every page, easily put to immediate use in the kitchen. Painstakingly researched yet highly readable, Ideas in Food lays out the science behind cooking in a precise and personal way that we can all grasp!"
--Michael Laiskonis, executive pastry chef of Le Bernardin

"I have been a fan of Alex and Aki's website Ideas in Food for years and have always found it an incredible inspiration. It is fantastic that they have crafted an easy-to-read and informative book for everyone to enjoy."
--Grant Achatz, chef-owner of Alinea

"A fantastic glimpse into the minds of two of the most creative cooks in the country, Ideas in Food brings modern restaurant techniques and sensibilities into the home kitchen. A must for anyone interested in new ways of looking at food."
--Daniel Patterson, chef-owner of Coi

"...an everyday reference tool and a source of go-to recipes for anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen."
-- Publisher's Weekly

"The amazingly prolific hosts of one of the most fascinating food Web sites have finally gathered many of their most useful and ingenious ideas and recipes—ranging from brining a chicken and baking no-knead brioche bread to hypermodern creations such as yuzu meringue and encapsulated celery root—and put them between hard covers for our pleasure and edification." -- Vogue.com

"Illuminating...this book is bound to get many readers thinking of new possibilities in their kitchens."
-- Library Journal

"The brains and talent behind one of the very best food websites also are behind one of the very best new food books....Ideas in Food is an entertaining, inspiring and enlightening book that will broaden your understanding about cooking and eating."  
-- The Sacramento Bee

Library Journal
Readers wondering how chefs create dishes that seem to defy the science of everyday cooking now have a road map to more adventuresome kitchen craft. The science that governs techniques and ingredients frames a series of recipes in this illuminating cookbook, no surprise given that Kamozawa and Talbot, husband-and-wife chefs/consultants, write an online column for Popular Science magazine. At times the science overtakes the narrative, and readers may be tempted to skip to the promising recipes rather than slog through the explication. The authors, however, emphasize throughout how understanding the foundation of the cooking allows for greater experimentation with flavors. VERDICT Divided into the larger home cooking and shorter professional cooking sections, this book is bound to get many readers thinking of new possibilities in their kitchens. Challenging but accessible, it will be useful for cooks of many skill levels.—Peter Hepburn, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307717405
Publisher:
Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date:
12/28/2010
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
487,858
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 11.34(h) x 1.07(d)

Read an Excerpt

No-Knead Brioche Dough
Makes two 9 x 5-inch loaves
 
Good brioche is an amazing thing. The bread is light, buttery, and full
of flavor. It can be somewhat labor intensive in its original form, so we
were immediately intrigued by the idea of creating a no-knead version.
Normally the butter is beaten into the dough, but here we melt it and
add it to the wet ingredients. The long resting period allows it to be
fully absorbed into the dough without all that extra work. This may
seem like a large recipe, but the dough can be used to make various
sweet breads like the sticky bun recipe that follows, and the plain loaves
freeze beautifully.
 
6 ½ cups/975 grams all-purpose flour
½ cup/100 grams sugar
3 ½ teaspoons/20 grams fine sea salt
½ teaspoon/2 grams instant yeast
8 large eggs
1 cup/230 grams room-temperature water
½ cup/135 grams milk
1 pound/450 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Milk or heavy cream for brushing the loaves
 
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Whisk to thoroughly blend.
 
In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, water, and milk. Once they are well blended, whisk in the butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed and there are no lumps. The mixture will resemble muffin batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. The dough will rise to approximately one and a half times its initial volume.
 
Using a rubber spatula, gently loosen the dough from the bowl.
Dampen your hands with cool water and, with the dough still in the bowl, slide one hand under one side of the dough. Fold that side of the dough into the center and press down gently so the dough adheres to itself. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the folding process. Do this two more times. After the fourth fold, flip over the dough so the seams are on the bottom. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. The dough will double in size.
 
Repeat the folding procedure, ending with the seams on the bottomn.
The dough is now ready to use.
 
To Bake the Brioche
Divide the dough in half. Place each half in a greased 9 × 5-inch loaf pan. (You can also bake half and reserve half for the sticky bun recipe that follows.) Cover the pans with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the pans while you preheat the oven to 375oF
(190°C) or 350oF (175°C) with convection.
 
Brush the loaves with milk and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour. The loaves are done when they are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped firmly with your finger. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Turn the loaves out of their pans and return them to the rack to cool completely.

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