Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Keys to Good Cooking ...just a little tease (and the giveaway WINNER!)

Are you familiar with the book On Food and Cooking (The Science and Lore of the Kitchen) by Harold McGee? This book was invaluable to me throughout culinary school...for research, for definitions, for the science of food.  Seriously, it's not just the art aspect of food that fascinates me; I'm enthralled by the science of it all, as well!  If I wanted to know how a certain ingredient reacted to another one...or look up a spice or vegetable that was new to me...or even about the history of, oh, say...distilled spirits- it was all in there.  I had several books "on call" for this type of purpose...but On Food and Cooking never failed to yield me results when I had a question.

SOOOOOO, when I was asked to be a part of the TLC book tour to promote McGee's upcoming release Keys to Good Cooking (A Guide to Making the Best Foods and Recipes), I said yes, Yes, OH YES in a heartbeat!  I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love to learn.  I thirst for knowledge.  I don't believe one can ever know everything about a subject.  And although I know a good deal about food and cooking...there's probably even more that I don't know.  This books sounds like it's going to be a great guide to have on hand...for both the novice and the experienced cook.  It runs the gamut on possible food questions, concerns, and tips.  It deals with everyday ingredients, but also caters to the more exotic.  It aims to help you become more confident, knowledgeable, and capable in the kitchen...a skill-builder, if you will.  I'm clearing a space on my kitchen bookshelf to make room for this almost-600 page book that I can see becoming a fixture in my kitchen.

I've listed just a few of the things you can expect to see...as a point of reference, ya know...

Some vegetables are best partly cooked at temperatures
below the boil that firm their texture.
To boil potatoes and other starchy vegetables, start them in cold
water slightly acidified with lemon juice or cream of tartar, and
heat them gradually up to 180-190°F/80-85°C. This method
helps the vegetable surfaces stay intact while the pieces cook
through.

Add salt to the cooking water, as much as 30 grams (2 Tb
granulated, 4 Tb flake) per quart/liter, to reduce the leaching out of vegetable components and speed the softening of plant
cell walls. Salt does not raise the boiling temperature or toughen
vegetables.

Shred dry, overcooked meat instead of cutting it, and moisten
the fibers with a thin, juicelike sauce.


I can't wait!  The book is due to be released on October 28 of this year, but I'm so excited to be receiving a copy for review next month.  I'll be posting my actual review in November, so be sure to check back then ...for now, I'm just being a tease.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for its release...and check out the tour for other opinions and views on McGee's upcoming release!
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Interested in knowing a bit more about Harold McGee? Well, this excerpt is taken from the TLC website: "Harold McGee writes about the science of food and cooking. He’s the author of the award-winning classic On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and writes a monthly column, “The Curious Cook,” for The New York Times. He has been named food writer of the year by Bon App├ętit magazine and to the Time 100, an annual list of the world’s most influential people. He lives in San Francisco."













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You thought I forgot, didn't ya!? Well, I didn't...I just wanted to make you squirm a little. Unless of course you just skipped down and well, you're no just fun at all, then. I want to thank everyone who took the time to enter...I wish I could give all of you prizes, but alas, I only have one...I had a total of 116 entries into the giveaway for the $75 NOVICA gift certificate (126 total comments, but 10 of those weren't entries, so I skipped over to do the counting). So, I won't keep you in suspense any longer....the winner is....
Congratulations, Veronica!  Please shoot me an email girlichef at yahoo dot com and I will get you your gift certificate immediately!  It's electronic, so you can shop as soon as you get it...woo hoo!!!

Thanks once again to Novica, as well for providing me with this wonderful opportunity to introduce others to your fabulous site...for allowing me to have a gift certificated to purchase anything my heart desired...and for providing me with the certificate to give one of my readers!