Monday, October 19, 2009

Notes on Cooking

The title caught my attention on the new books' section of the library so I got this book home to peruse. It was such an easy, simple, and quite educational, read that I decided to share here in the blog.
Notes on Cooking is a basically a collection of cooking tips that the chef Lauren Braun Costello put together from her experience in the kitchen over the years. It is comprised by 217 short tips divided into chapters with themes that range from equipments, how to understand the recipe, how to prepare yourself and your ingredients, to tips on how to work with meat, pork or seafood.
They are all basic tips, ideas, and comments from the chef, and the vast majority I already follow in my daily cooking life - such as "read the entire recipe before making it, then read it again", "always wash your produce", "add fresh herbs at the end", "always taste before you serve the food", and so on.
However, there are many other notes that I really enjoyed reading and that was nice to have reinforced in my culinary mind.
My favorite chapter was the one about "Temperature", which had some interesting notes which I haven't realized were all that crucial. This was a great tip in my opinion:

" Never jump food more than one temperature state at a time: there are four functional temperature states 1)frozen, 2)cold, 3)room temperature, 4)warm or hot.
When you move food from one state to another, don't skip over a temperature state... only one state change at a time. Jumping a state disrupts or destroys the vital process of moisture concentration and reintegration within the ingredients as its temperatures changes. Place a sealed, warm lasagna in a cold fridge, and where does all that heat and moisture go? It collects on the top of your lovely lasagna, now no longer so lovely."

Two others I liked were:

"Use a cold pan for butter: heat the pan and butter simultaneously. Butter added to a hot pan burns on contact due to its dairy content"
"Use a hot pan for oil: add oil directly to an already hot pan; in a matter of seconds, it becomes hot enough to cook your food, but not yet hot enough to smoke."

I am not getting anything from reviewing this book, I just thought it was a good read and decided to pass it along. Very informational book, filled with culinary notes, something that we as everyday cooks can never get enough!


Rita said...

And once again, thanks for sharing. ;-)

brisa said...

Interesting, uh? Like, somethings we should know from experience (i.e, the lasagna temperature), but we (or should I say KC and I) sometimes skip those important steps and then wondered what went wrong. Doh!

Obrigada, Amiga!!


The Food Hunter said...

Thanks for sounds like a great book.

Cris said...

Gostei da dica do livro e mais ainda das que escolhe para compartilhar Ana. Bom final de semana, beij√£o!

Valentina said...

Ana, you have made me feel like buying this book.I haven't seen it over here yet.

Ana said...

Rita, you're welcome, I love sharing my food and things I like!

Brisa, this is a good book to get on the library, it is full of stuff we already know but you will find some in there that are quite interesting! Not to mention those that we know and don't practice, right!! hehe!

Food Hunter, it is a cool book to take from the library, quick read, and lots of interesting info there!

Cris, eh um livrinho bacana. Como eu falei p/ os outros, tem muita coisa q nos q cozinhamos bastante ja sabemos e aplicamos, mas outras tantas sao interessante de ler e aprender.

Valentina, see if you can find in the library, I liked the book but with our level of knowledge in the kitchen I am not sure it would be something to buy.