Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A small taste of Detroit

A colleague of Gourmet Underground Detroit, Nicole de Beaufort, was assembling a small recipe book for a souvenir for a number of German Marshall fellows. Heady company. The goal: to send them back with a taste of Detroit.

It was a quick project and a number of folks dived in, including Detroit Food. The end result is a charming, well-designed and tasty look at some of the delights of Detroit cooks. There's some talk of an expanded book -- a welcome addition to Motor City chow!

Detroit Food's (aka Gary and Martha Shea) contributions are Sloppy Joes and hamburger gravy -- iconic foods of junior high school and a highlight of Catholic school lunches.

Read it here:   Detroit Delicacies

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Harvard + Science and Cooking

Harvard: The Michigan of the East

Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science

This is the first course I've taken through HarvardX , the online learning portal for Harvard. 

It's pretty rigorous and not a beginner cooking class. Per class syllabus: "At the end of the course, students will be able to explain how a range of cooking techniques and recipes work, in terms of physical and chemical transformation of food."

Each week we virtually visit a world-famous chef, who shows some of the secrets of their cooking. These include:  Jose Andres, Nathan Myrhvold, Dan Barber, Ferran Adria, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne as well as author Harold McGee and food scientist Dave Arnold. We're using Harold McGee's "The Science of Food" as a textbook. 

We'll have homework each week of the 10-week course, and a new lab exercise every Tuesday, where we can experiment with the scientific concept of the week. We'll submit home and lab findings  and will finish with a final project where were can carry out our own scientific study of an aspect of cooking in your kitchen. 

As knowledge of high school physics and chemistry are useful, there are whole review sections on calculating density, pH, logorithms, geometry, and chemistry. Good combination of video and work pages. So I've been figuring volume of cubes, density of a solid in a solution,  and about to relive my chemistry class and taking multiple choice practice tests.  

Parts of my brain feel like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz --- rusty but starting to move. 

I'm excited about this, and including it on the blog so I have some accountability and push through the hard parts. 

Wonder if I need Harvard t-shirt? 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A simple pizza dinner

Homemade pizza

A busy couple of days, and today a bunch of games. No time or inclination for a full dinner.

But we had some simple, delicious ingredients; tomato sauce made from Marcella Hazan's tomato/butter/onion recipe, fresh mozzarella, good olive oil and garlic and homemade pesto. 

Threw it all on a simple crust brushed with the garlic oil, tossed on a couple of pepperoni slices, good cheese and a short stay in the oven. Here's what emerged. 

A good early evening - good chow, Michigan won, Michigan State did, too. No pizza left for watching the Tigers. Maybe next game.