Heat sugar over medium heat. It will take a few minutes to begin dissolving. Once it’s fully dissolved, reduce heat to low and stir to even out color. When the mixture “looks” like caramel, drizzle over parchment paper or a silpat in the desired shape and let cool.
The Center for Science and Public Interest (CSPI) has a new app called ‘Chemical Cuisine.’ It helps you understand ingredients that may sound natural, such as caramel coloring, that actually contain a number of carcinogens. It also helps demystify colorings with suspicious names (e.g., yellow #6?).
As this application is only a list of various ingredients, you may want to investigate some of the other numerous applications out there that rate food brands and help you make good food choices based on your needs (e.g., Fooducate or Shopwell).
I’ve been away from Seattle a lot in the past month. I’m missing my favorite brunch (and anytime) spot, Sitka and Spruce. This dish has quite of lot of magic that makes it tastier at a table inside Sitka & Spruce, but it’s a wonderful alternative for a light meal: take a bed of hummus, top it with roasted veggies, toasted pine nuts, and your fresh herb of choice. For those of you heading to the store to buy hummus, please stop, you can do better. You need three main items: chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed puree), and olive oil. I like to add greek yogurt to get a bit more protein and reduce the fat from the tahini/oil. There is a lot of argument as to how dry or wet your hummus should be, so experiment and crowd source your favorite.
One of my favorite comfort foods, Doi Begun is extremely simple. Sauté one onion, sliced, with a pinch of cumin seeds, until onions are soft. Then, fry one eggplant, sliced, until sides are golden brown. Partially submerge in plain yogurt. Then, fry in two tbsp of oil, 1 tbsp of panch phoron (Bengali five spice.) Pour the spice/oil mixture over the yogurt and serve (generally over rice.) I love cilantro as a garnish, but for those of you that can’t stand it, try some nice flat leaf parsley or fennel fronds.
There are a number of reasons why I should not eat this decadent pastry this morning, but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy with my eyes. I wonder what this would taste like if I had the pastry already cooked (and still warm) and dipped the filling in liquid nitrogen, then put it back inside. Wait, rewind, I dip the filling in caramel, then dip it in liquid nitrogen, then put it back inside. I’ll stop my imagination there before I create a turducken of breakfast pastries.
I recently tested an amazing video from the Modernist Cuisine Library on frying individual herbs. I had been testing out some new potential recipes for Bengali malai curry puffs (coconut curry base), and I remembered how much I love fried sage. But I’m always frustrated with the edges curling up – it doesn’t make for the best presentation. Modernist Cuisine had a great tip about taking a plate, plastic wrapping the top of it, brushing it with oil, then sticking leaves to the plastic wrap (after dipping them in olive oil) and microwaving in increments. The results were fantastic, my dinner guests were impressed.