The Science Of Cooking

what-einstein-told-his-cook

I love the fact that cooking is science!  The above is next on my list of books to read!!

I was reminded of kitchen science yesterday when I made an extra-healthy vegan vegetable stew. It was inexplicably sour.

I fixed it by adding a little honey and a little salt .”Just the scientific facts, Ma’am!”

Here is a handy guide to scientifically “correcting for taste.”

The four (five??) senses of taste are sour, sweet, salty and bitter and way too hot and spicy.

When you increase one taste to counter another, it changes the way your taste buds perceive the flavor.

If you alter one of the tastes, it will affect the others.

If it is too sour, add something sweet or add a little salt (or both!), depending on what you’re preparing.

If it’s too sweet, add something sour,  like lemon juice or vinegar.

If it is too salty, increase the amounts of sweet and sour and it will reduce the saltiness.

If it tastes bitter, increasing the sweet, sour and salty tastes will reduce  the bitter taste.

If it is too hot, adding a dairy product (such as sour cream) will help calm the heat.

 

Honey-Glazed Tofu On Pumpkin Seed Couscous

Honey Tofu

To accompany today’s post about Aimee Mann, I wanted to post a vegan recipe. It is my understanding that vegan = hipster.  I ask you, who is more hip than Aimee?

Unfortunately, I learned that some folks don’t consider honey to be vegan. Something about bees being roughed up during the harvesting process. It’s known as the Great Vegan Honey Debate.

The Debate notwithstanding, I think Aimee would like this recipe. I can assure her I don’t rough up my bees.

Ever.

It’s always the other way around.  🙂

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

2 10-oz. pkgs. extra-firm tofu

2 tsp. cracked black pepper

2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup honey

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)

1 cup frozen edamame, thawed

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups whole-wheat couscous

½ cup toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds (If you can’t find shelled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas), substitute your favorite chopped nuts.)

Directions

Place tofu between two plates and set heavy pot on top. Drain 10 minutes, and pat dry. Cut tofu into 3/8-inch-thick slices. Combine pepper, thyme, and salt in small bowl. Coat tofu slices with pepper mixture, and set aside.

Bring broth, carrots, edamame, olive oil, and salt to a boil in covered saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in couscous and cover. Let steam 5 minutes, then fluff with fork.

Meanwhile, heat oil and honey in large skillet over medium-high heat until bubbling. Place tofu in pan, and cook 3 minutes. Turn, and cook 3 minutes more, spooning thickening sauce over tofu.

To serve: Stir pumpkin seeds into couscous. Spoon onto plates, and top with Honey-Glazed Tofu.

The Simplest Tomato Sauce Ever

I raised my children on this.  It’s still my favorite basic tomato sauce recipe!!

Ingredients:

2 cups canned plum tomatoes (whole, peeled, chopped, with their juices about one 28-oz. can) (I prefer San Marzano)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
salt, to taste

Directions:

Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter, and the onion halves in a medium saucepan.

Add a pinch or two of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a very slow but steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free from the tomato.

Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and salt as needed.

Discard the onion.