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.

 

Cooking With Honey – Short Rib Tacos

short rib tacos

My family loves pulled pork, but every once in a while I like a change.  These tacos satisfy their hankering for barbecue and my yearning to try a new recipe. We enjoyed these last night!!

Ingredients

3 – 5  T. canola oil

2 lbs. short ribs

2 – 3 shallots, chopped

3 – 4 cloves garlic smashed

Salt, pepper for seasoning, (I also use a few t. of seasoning mix that contains sea salt, red pepper,fennel seed, dehydrated garlic, peppercorns)

Prepared horseradish

Couple of t. flour

1/2 cup of wine

1 qt. beef stock

2 – 3 bay leaves

1/2 t. cumin

1/3 t. all spice

1/4 t. cayenne

Couple of chipotle peppers (canned peppers with a little of the adobo sauce)

2 T. tomato paste

2 t. honey

4 carrots, peeled, halved and then quartered

Warm soft corn or flour torillas

Toppings: guacamole, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, monterey jack cheese, queso fresco, chopped avocado, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Directions

Heat canola oil in large, heavy dutch oven and either heat oven to 425F.

Rinse short ribs, pat dry. Sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning mix on all sides.

Rub generously with prepared horseradish. Sprinkle with flour so that all sides are lightly coated.

Add beef to heated pan and sear well on all sides — you really want to get a good coating on the beef — if the coating sticks to the pan, don’t worry, it will deglaze.

Add chopped shallots and garlic to pan. Deglaze with wine, let it cook down a bit.

Add chipotle peppers and tomato paste.  Add beef stock. Add spices & honey.

Stir well, bring up to a simmer, cover and place in oven.

Reduce heat after 20 – 25 minutes and cook at 300 – 325 F for about four hours.

With one hour to go, add carrots to pot, stir in and cover; continue to cook for about 45 minutes to one hour.

After about four hours, beef will be easy to pull apart and liquid will have cooked down to rich, spicy sauce.

Pull beef apart and serve with sauce, warm tortillas, and toppings.

British Week – Buckingham Palace Cream Of Pea Soup

In honor of the lovely new Queen Boadicea, I’m declaring the next seven days “British Week” here on Romancing the Bee!

We will celebrate English cooking, gardening and beekeeping!  Okay, I know I do that a lot already, but the Queen deserves a proper celebration!

With a few scary exceptions (Marmite. Jellied eels. Dormice on a stick.), I’m quite fond of English Food. The following recipe is exceptional!

Buckingham Palace Cream of Pea Soup

2 cups split peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely diced salt pork
1 medium onion, well chopped
1 medium carrot, well chopped
2 leeks (the green parts only, well chopped)
1 cup spinach, well chopped
bay leaf
1 pinch thyme
1 cup stock
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions:
Cover two cups of split peas with water and allow to soak for a little over one hour.

Pour off the water and put the peas into a large saucepan with one quart fresh water. Add salt. Bring to a boil and skim the water, the cover the pan and simmer steadily.

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a soup kettle and drop in 1/2 cup of finely diced salt pork. Cook until the pork begins to brown. Add onion and saute until soft but not brown. Now add the carrot, tops of the leeks and spinach. Drop in a small piece of bay leaf and a pinch of thyme.

Cook for a few minutes more and then pour in the partly cooked peas with their water. Continue to cook for about one hour, or until the peas are very soft. Rub the soup through a fine sieve and add one cup of stock, then bring back to a boil.

Season to taste with salt and add honey, butter and heavy cream.