Feb 25, 2015

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Molecular Gastronomy – The Art of Food

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Since you were a child, one of the things your parents probably told you is to never, ever, ever – play with food. And in most cases those were some sound and reasonable advises, coming from your elder and wiser roommates. But, in case of the parents of a molecular gastronomy chef – those words were the curse, or maybe a blessed entice to enter a new world of forbidden and creative food games. Those are the people who dared to twist and skew the rules and customs of everyday cooking and make it something different and special.

In the last decade, we have witnessed an expansion in wacky restaurants with strange concept menus containing some dishes that people could never really tell they heard of before. So, what is molecular gastronomy? Simply put – it is an experiment on the edges of art and cuisine. Line between the two is very much blurred here, and chefs are encouraged to experiment and make new and intriguing dishes every day. You can go to London, get in a restaurant and pay a little fortune for a dish of spaghetti. Made of apples. Looking like contemporary art piece. And that is what molecular gastronomy is.
In this field of gastronomy, chefs play with molecular structure of their ingredients, turning liquids into crystals and solids into powder. Challenge is to make something tasty, visually attractive but utterly unrecognizable. Artistic abilities of the chef can come to it’s full shine as well as the technical skill needed to make a perfect dish, every time.

xspherical-mango-ravioli-720.png,q2959e9.pagespeed.ic.xMMa7FU1d4Spherification is one of the older and most common tricks in the trade. It consists of making liquid ingredients sphere-shaped, resembling roe. There is a complex process including powdered calcium alginate involved into making your juice or other liquid an edible salad.
Liquid nitrogen is also common friend of these experimental chefs, as they often use it to instant freeze their food. Making ice cream is something special, trust me, and freezing substances like alcohol is impossible without it.

But, don’t think molecular gastronomy is all play and no work. It should be noted that this form of preparing food requires an extensive knowledge of many scientific principles and should not be attempted by anyone. There is a lot of science involved in the process, and even tho it is important to be creative and daring, knowledge is still prime. Knowing the principles of chemistry, physics and their impact on different materials is necessary for any successful recipe. And with molecular gastronomy, knowing the intricate details is a must in creating new dishes and developing new ideas. It is known that the visual aspect of food has a great impact on how we think of it and how it tastes. Experimenting with new textures and flavors is slowly changing the way we look at food and it is certainly effecting the way we enjoy it, too.

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Feb 25, 2015

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Should You go Vegan

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If you ever met or heard of anyone keeping a vegan or vegetarian diet you know that it is more of a lifestyle choice then a simple diet. Reason for it is that vegans and vegetarians choose their diets for the reasons that have little to do with personal health and more with the empathy and love for living creatures. And then, there is undeniable fact that most of us is living on a very bad diet of fast food and saturated fat, meaning you can’t loose by choosing a healthier way of life. So, how does it work and how will you actually benefit from switching over to vegan diet?

Body health – with exercise of a low-fat diet your body will benefit greatly. Keeping away from all the fat and bad junk food you eat every day will drastically decrease the chances of heart attack and stroke. And those guys are some of the most common death dealers today. Switching cholesterol for fibers can only do you good, and your body will thank you a lot.

tara_stiles1-265x300Body weight – obesity is one of the biggest problems in the United States and it is a growing problem elsewhere in the world, too. Long hours on your computer, lack of exercise and physical activities can lead to body mass growth surprisingly quick if your diet consists of fried food and hamburgers, and switching over to fruit and grains can help you feel and function better. Many people have problems keeping their wight down and vegan diet is great because it won’t starve you, but let you eat full portions of healthy food.

Energy – if you are a car owner and lover – do you pour any liquid into your car or do you opt for the best? Of course you choose the best for your metal pet, so – why would you choose any worse for yourself? Good fuel was always the condition for a gut ride, and the same goes for you too. Eating fat, cholesterol rich food clogs your arteries which increases the risk of heart attack but also makes you a lot slower, more tired and exhausted. That is because your muscles aren’t getting enough blood pumped through your clogged blood vessels. This makes you tired every day, takes away your energy and makes every move you make harder. Changing the fuel can make a lot of difference.

Empathy – last, but not the least – think of the animals! Many vegans and vegetarians start their diet solely for this reason and then look for reasons to keep it up, simply because they can’t stand the animal cruelty. And, if you ever stopped to think about it you probably realized how unfair and horrible it is to be a cow or a pig today. You probably felt sorry and maybe even had an internal dialogue about ditching meat. If you switch to animal-free diet, you will sleep a lot easier, knowing that you do less to harm other living creatures, and that matters!

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Feb 25, 2015

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Most Common Types of Red Wine 101

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If you have ever entered any fine establishment restaurant or five star hotel – you have seen a wine steward graciously walking and consulting people about their wine. Sommeliers take great pride in their job and they are very well paid for their wine tasting skills. The reason for it is the importance that the wine can have on your meal, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, that just means you never had a perfect wine with your meal. So, what does a sommelier know? He knows everything about wine varieties, taste blends and combinations – and you don’t have to be scientist to learn the basics of red wine.

 

Syrah-wine-guideSyrah – a deep, dark and spicy red wine; found in California and Australia, but most famous in France, in the valley of river Rhone. Syrah has a strong, fruity taste, deep red color and overtone of coffee, usually from the barrels it is kept in. It is usually average quality wine vine but it can be made into a very high quality one. Advice is: pair it with red meat – steaks and wild animal meat along with stews as it goes perfect with the heavy and strong food.

the-color-of-merlot-wine-and-merlot-grapes-770x536Merlot – might be the one you heard the most about, as it is one of the most common wines around. It is most famous in Bordeaux, but also can be found elsewhere in Europe, as well as in California, Chile and Australia, among others. It has a rather soft taste and is a perfect wine for any occasion. So, when in doubt – Merlot!

 

the-color-of-wine-cabernet-sauvignon-in-a-glassCabernet sauvignon – considered the best variety in the world, it is the content of some of the best world blends. It is held in oak barrels and has the famous ability to change taste with age. It is perfect with meat, especially if the recipe is simple and holds fewer spices. Cabernet can be found everywhere, except for the colder, northern areas. If you find yourself going on a field trip or a picnic, make sure to have a bottle of Cabernet sauvignon on you!

color-of-pinot-noir-wine-and-grapesPinot noir – gentleman among the wine varieties, Pinot is a hard breed to grow and is rarely mixed. It has a rather soft taste and goes best with lighter meat choices – such as fish, be it grilled salmon or sushi dish, or tender chicken or lamb meat. It grows in Burgundy, Austria, Australia and New Zealand the best. Depending on the area it is grown, Pinot noir has different taste, but it is characteristic for the fruity and earth aroma as well as its famous softness.

sangio2Sangiovese – if you are eating on your sea vacation – this could be your choice, as it is perfect for the cuisine in the Mediterranean style. It can be found in Italy but it is making it’s way into the US, too. It’s taste is of a medium palette with fruity aroma suitable for the easy Mediterranean meals.

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