I know there's only a handful of people who bother reading my food posts. I'm okay with that.
It took a long time, but I discovered that Steve's Evil Kitchen has a philosophy of sorts. Somewhere between molecular gastronomy a la Jose Andres (neglecting diacritics again) and the basic food chemistry of Alton Brown or America's Test Kitchen and the food chemists of giant snackfood manufacturers, there's my kitchen, where I make things that are immediately recognizable, very flavorful and only seemingly easy, but in actuality unbelievably difficult.
As an example, I once had to entertain a professional chef and I made Jello; only the chef caught on to the "trick" and asked me how I did it. There are things you can't put into Jello, such as papaya and raw pineapple, as these have enzymes that break down the gelatin and these are listed on packages of gelatin. There are some things that don't get listed, because no one would try them. I made kiwi and ginger gelatin... supposedly impossible (and a third ingredient is necessary to make that flavor combination work). I found a way to do it and I'm not telling how it's done - mostly because it wasn't all that great. I like to think that somewhere, there's a chef with many piles of kiwi and ginger goop, trying to find out how it's done.
I just nailed the cherry fudge recipe. You can buy "cherry fudge," but it's awful. It's made by making a flavorless fudge and adding flavoring (usually artificial) in the last step. Or they add maraschino cherries, which might appeal to those who think Cherry Coke is real cherry flavor. I wanted to make a real cherry fudge. It's amazingly hard to do.
First, one can't add fresh cherries to fudge, for a number of reasons, the main being moisture content. Dried cherries work, but the texture's wrong. One can add candied cherries, however.
Second problem: candied cherries are made from sweet cherries, chosen because of their color, not flavor. What is best are wild, tart cherries (only in season half-way 'round the world right now). So one has to candy one's own cherries, which is a bother.
Third problem: candying cherries causes all the flavorful juices to run out of the cherries during the process. The solution to this is to reuse the liquid in the fudgemaking.
Fourth problem: Candying cherries uses a large amount of corn syrup. Large amounts of corn syrup keep fudge from setting and you end up with glop. Tasty glop, but glop nonetheless.
I haven't even gotten to the fudgemaking and already there's 4 barriers! There were a dozen hurdles in all, solved by making fondant and marshmallow cream frappe and using pressure extractions and ... well, you get the idea. The entire process takes three days and there are four separate cooking stages and it costs a fortune.
All that for something that most people would find "pleasant."
Ultra Loony in jeopardy?
1 day ago