Feb 18 2008

New England Grey

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Even dreary days have their moments….


Feb 17 2008

Hydrocolloids

Food has long been a source of great fascination and wonder in my daily life. There was a brief and brutal period in time where I actually subjected myself to the restaurant business which I ushered myself out of wounded and wide-eyed all at the age of 23. In the years following though I have kept up and persevered, only in the sense that I’m still cooking for myself and others at home to satisfy an itching fascination with the essence of food.

Most recently, the highly controversial subject of Molecular Gastronomy has entered become of interest. This field most notably made public by the physical chemist Herve This, is an area of interest in the food world that is usually scoffed at or adorned with a religious fervor. In my case, my curiosity has led me to begin to learn as much about the subject as possible in order to be able to make an educated opinion on the matter. My mind has been buried deep, as of late, into books, blogs, restaurants, and articles all regarding the matter. There is a highly arguable angle that people tend to stray from the essence of taste in order to achieve solutions to eccentric quandaries regarding food. I have found that in most cases this is true, although there are few that take these issues to whole new levels of food. In short, the creation of the standard omelets or unparalleled success of such things like Jamon Serrano can all be arguably considered matters of molecular gastronomy. They, like most things, are processes in which people went to great lengths to understand the actual science behind creating something perfect in a food “process” and furthermore be able to recreate it again and again by virtue of that precise or, dare I say it, scientific knowledge of the matter.

In light of such matters, I decided to take a class concentrating on an aspect of food science known as Hydrocolloids. This class was made available through two fantastic Chef’s and bloggers, H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa. They have a blog known as “Ideas in Food” and it’s just that, a daily account in the trials and tribulations of their daily lives as they pioneer new techniques in food. It has been a truly inspiring place for me and amazingly they update on almost a daily basis. Although the class was a whirlwind of information and I left feeling intimidated by the amount of technique I needed to acquire, I have decided to push forth and start giving some things a shot. Without further ado, I present my first foray in the world of Molecular Gastronomy:

Suspended Tomato Essence with a Balsamic Reduction

Tomato Essence

Now this is no feat by any means but at least it has begun to give me some understanding and inspiration towards the science behind what we eat and how it gets from kitchen to plate.

H. Alexander Talbot – Hydrocolloid class

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Feb 17 2008

How to Acclimatize 102

As of late I’ve had to come to the peculiar realization that I have, in essence, been going “country”. By request of a friend up here I signed up and took a firearm safety course so that he could get a gun license. You see, there needed to be 8 people signed up and number 8 was me. With a minor sense of curiosity I enrolled and took the course, which as expected turned out to be entirely boring and uninformative. This was until, of course, we had to learn to shoot a gun….much more enticing than I expected. Nevertheless, 3 months later:

12 Gauge or 20? That is the question….

Class A

License


Feb 13 2008

How to Acclimatize 101

What happens when you leave the city for greener pastures (no pun intended), and settle in a little pocket of the world known as the Berkshires. We’ll, as far as I’m concerned you acclimatize. Since moving up I’ve been volunteering with farmers in order to learn the ropes as far as basic food production goes. In the case of my experience I’ve been milking cows mostly and occasionally help “process” livestock.

Process is a polite way of saying slaughter and personally, both terms work for me. I’m an unabashed meat eater and I strongly believe in the food chain relationship we have with meat. As a species we are omnivorous and it’s a privilege that is shared with not many other creatures. On the other hand, we have grown incredibly distant from the actual act of being in touch with the things we eat. I decided not to long ago that if I was to continue enjoying the rights of an omnivore, I needed to begin to earn my keep and subsequently learn about things most of us would prefer to forget. On that note, please click on the following photographs to view what I’ve been up to:

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THESE TWO PHOTOS LINK TO GALLERIES!

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Feb 12 2008

Gradient Horizons

I’ve been struggling with a good reason to start this account of my life because in short, it’s not as though I deem my life to be that entirely interesting. Essentially, I’ve been going through some monumental changes in the last few years that have all accumulated in a continental drift of goals and aspirations for what I suppose one could consider a “meaningful” life. My entire existence to date has been spent on the notion of a city life with all its accoutrements. So easily forgotten was a world outside of that something simple and more in touch with a world that’s speedily slipping through our fingers.

By no means have I achieved any of my goals, but I have nonetheless begun my journey…..

sunset at home…