How to cook a steak from frozen in 30 minutes

I have long been a fan of pan-searing steaks and finishing their roast in the oven. Previously, I'd either thaw the steaks in the fridge overnight or I would sous vide them instead of using the oven, and sear them at the end.

This technique: thawing the surface of the steak enough to hold seasoning and then starting the pan sear is wonderful. I have found that sous vide from frozen to be ok but not my favorite. Read the rest

How to improve your fried rice using physics

Apparently a high percentage of chefs at Chinese restaurants suffer shoulder plane from wok tossing. They must rapidly move the heavy pan to launch the food into the air so it cooks but doesn't burn, even though the temperatures may hit 1200°C. Recently, Georgia Tech mechanical engineers studied the kinematics of Chinese restaurant chefs to understand how they actually move and the "optimal regime for making fried rice." According to their scientific paper, they hope their study can not only lead to better fried rice for all but also "inspire the design of stir-fry robotics and exoskeletons to reduce the rate of muscle strain injury among professional chefs." From their scientific paper:

Tossing is a combination of two independent motions, a side to side motion and a see-saw motion, allowing rice grains to slide around the wok as well as to jump off the surface. We identify two critical parameters that chefs can vary: the frequency of tossing and the phase lag between the two motions applied. By filming professional chefs, we found that, at the frequency chosen by chefs, the phase difference performed is optimal for mixing. We suggest that future chefs increase the frequency of motion, which may enable rice to jump further, and promote cooling and mixing.

"The physics of tossing fried rice" (Journal of the Royal Society Interface via Science News) Read the rest

Quarantine food fun: 'I made all the serving suggestions on the Ritz box'

“So how were they? Not bad. Some of them were kind of dry, but for the most part they tasted how you'd expect.” Read the rest

How long can you safely keep condiments in your pantry and fridge?

In a perfect follow-up to Mark's post yesterday about expiration dates on food packaging, here's a piece from The Washington Post on how long it's safe to keep various condiments in your pantry and fridge.

Unless otherwise noted, each category includes how long the unopened product can be stored in your pantry unopened followed by suggested refrigeration time after opening.

Barbecue sauce: 1 year; 4 months (see note above on shelf-stable).

Chutney: 1 year; 1 to 2 months.

Hoisin: 18 to 24 months; 3 to 6 months.

Honey: Consume within 2 years (store in pantry).

Horseradish: 12 months when stored in refrigerator; 3 to 4 months refrigerated after opening.

Hot sauce: 9 to 12 months; 6 months in the pantry after opening, although refrigeration will better retain heat.

Jams, jellies and preserves: 6 to 18 months; 6 to 12 months.

Jarred pesto: 6 to 9 months; 7 days.

Jarred spaghetti sauce: 18 months; 4 days.

Read the rest here.

Image: Allie Smith on Unsplash Read the rest

Which expiration dates on food packaging should you pay attention to?

This New York Times article has good information about which foods are still safe to eat past their expiration date. One takeaway is that dry food that doesn't have much fat in it is probably safe to eat for years. For example white rice, which has been refined so that the fat is removed, will last a lot longer than brown rice, which will go rancid after several months. Dried beans and lentils will also last for years, but will "become tougher and take longer to cook as time goes on."

Canned fruits and vegetables also have very long shelf lives:

So long as there is no outward sign of spoilage (such as bulging or rust), or visible spoilage when you open it (such as cloudiness, moldiness or rotten smells), your canned fruits, vegetables and meats will remain as delicious and palatable as the day you bought them for years (or in the case of, say, Vienna sausages at least as good as they were to begin with). The little button on the top of jarred goods, which will bulge if there has been significant bacterial action inside the jar, is still the best way to tell if the contents are going to be all right to eat. Depending on storage, that could be a year or a decade. Similarly, cans of soda will keep their fizz for years, glass bottles for up to a year and plastic bottles for a few months. (Most plastics are gas-permeable.)

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Read the rest

Making Cadbury Creme Eggs from scratch takes a lot of work... and sugar

Look, nothing about what's done in this video is easy or anything less than time consuming. But, if you're hellbent on being able to enjoy something as close to a Cadbury Creme Egg as possible, 365 days of the year, this recipe is your huckleberry. Read the rest

Perfect breakfast burrito in 8 simple steps

Wow. Breakfast burritos are WAY better when working and cooking from home.

Now I am hungry. Read the rest

Watch season one of "The French Chef with Julia Child" free with Amazon Prime

You have a week before the first season of Julia Child's fantastic cooking show is no longer available with Amazon Prime.

The French Chef with Julia Child -- Season One via Amazon Prime Read the rest

Scientists cook with bug butter made from insects

Fat from black soldier fly larvae is a "sustainable and healthy alternative to butter," according to scientists at Ghent University in Belgium. According their research though, you can't go with more than half bug butter before it starts to taste suspect or downright foul. From Ghent University:

“The ecological footprint of an insect is much smaller compared to animal-based food sources” said researcher Daylan Tzompa-Sosa (Ghent University). “Besides, we can grow insects in large quantities in Europe, which also reduces the footprint of transport. After all, palm fat is often imported from outside of Europe..."

“Insect fat is a different type of fat than butter” researcher Tzompa-Sosa explains. “Insect fat contains lauric acid, which provides positive nutritional attributes since it is more digestible than butter. Moreover, lauric acid has an antibacterial, antimicrobial and antimycotic effect. This means that it is able, for example, to eliminate harmless various viruses, bacteria or even fungi in the body, allowing it to have a positive effect on health.”

"Consumers’ perception of bakery products with insect fat as partial butter replacement" (Food Quality and Preference)

"Scientists make cake with butter from bugs instead of cows" (Thomson Reuters/CBC)

Read the rest

How a 'Tornado Omelette' is cooked

A South Korean street food treat.

I could watch this 'making of' video on loop forever. Read the rest

Swiss gruyere named world’s best cheese at global competition

What's the world's best cheese? A gruyere from Switzerland, selected from a record-breaking number of entries from 26 countries in the 2020 World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin. Read the rest

Largest technical dairy competition in world opens in Wisconsin

Coronavirus fears can't stop the fromage

In Wisconsin today, the world's largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition kicked off with a record 3,667 entries from 26 nations. Read the rest

Space cookies and the future of pizza pockets beyond Earth

Last month, the first cookies baked in space returned to Earth. This test of a new oven designed for microgravity aboard the International Space Station was not only a delightful experiment but also an important one. After all, this was the first time astronauts cooked raw ingredients in space. And yes, the ISS did smell of fresh-baked cookies. From Space.com's interview with NASA astronaut Mike Massimino who consulted on the experiment back on Earth:

Further investigation and analysis of the experiment's results will also continue to answer questions, such as why the cookies took much longer to bake in space and why they weren't "poofy...."

"This is a big step in that direction for the future of exploration where we're gonna be off the planet for longer periods of time," Massimino said. He continued, adding that within the very near future we may be starting to build settlements on off-Earth location like the moon, and we will need to use specialized tech to ensure that the humans living off-Earth have access to good, nutritious (and delicious) food.

As far as what might be next for baking or cooking in space, Massimino had a couple of suggestions.

So what does Massimino want to see next? "The next thing would definitely be a pizza of some sort," he said. "Bagel bites or hot pockets of some sort." He added that it would also be nice for astronauts to have something they could "bite into … something big like a big cheeseburger or a big sandwich."

Read the rest

Olive Oil in 'Mediterranean diet,' not so much red wine, linked to longer lifespan in new study

Researchers discover a potential new way in which diet influences aging-related diseases.

Old Bay launched a hot sauce, it went viral, crashed website, sold out in 30 minutes

I grew up in Virginia, and we used Old Bay Seasoning like folks around the country use salt and pepper. We really did put it on and in everything -- definitely stuff like crab cakes, fried fish, chicken, steaks, and of course, boiled crab ("crab bawl!"). Read the rest

Alex of "French Guy Cooking" goes in search of the perfect Italian meatball

I love when YouTube food maker Alexis Gabriel Ainouz (better known as French Guy Cooking) launches into a series of videos exploring some food obsession of his. He's done it for dry-aged beef, ramen noodles, croissants, and omelettes. Now he's on a quest to understand what makes the perfect Italian-style meatball and to make-a the meatball.

His quest quickly takes him to New York City. Why NYC in search of perfect Italian meatballs? As Alex points out, the Italian meatball we carnivores know and love is actually the product of Italian immigrants living in the United States, using the ingredients available to them here.

Next stop? Sweden (for obvious, non-Italian, meatball reasons). Read the rest

First 'baked in space' cookies: 2 hours at 325º in zero-g oven

SPOILER: Nobody got baked. Not that kind of space cookies. Sorry.

“How do they taste? No one knows.” Read the rest

More posts