Novel cooking techniques and bespoke recipe sharing thread

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Senior Member
May 17, 2015
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so I was hoping to start a thread here where we could share interesting techniques or recipes... I will start!

One technique and one recipe, both from A Kamozawa/A Talbot's book Ideas in Food:

Toasted pasta:

This is an interesting technique they suggest which seems to have been actually pretty commonplace in the bad old days, I think it's definitely nicer than plain ol' desiccated pasta into boiling water... The technique is self explanatory, simply toast dried pasta to an amber brown colour on a sheet pan in the oven before boiling. A few other tricks I like for pasta: season water until it is briney (10% by weight saline solution), or an old French trick to cook the pasta in a simple court bouillon (quick stock for those not versed in classical French cookery terminology). Also avoid rinsing pasta if possible, you will rinse away the starch remaining on the surface of the pasta which will reduce the pastas magic ability to thicken sauces to which it is added.

A recipe I loved from this book is very simple:

Vanilla Salt:
1 Tahitian vanilla bean
2 cups fleur de sel or sea salt

Split bean and scrape the seeds into a mixing bowl, place the beanpod into the bowl along with your salt, mix thoroughly. Store in airtight container and allow 72 hours to infuse.

I love the vanilla salt for chocolate or caramel desserts but also surprisingly meat. I find good dry aged meat especially beef can develop vanilla notes so this can be a good way to get that depth of flavour on a less expensive or fresher cut of meat. I have experimented with subbing sachets of lavender and saffron for the pod to decent success.

One of our purveyors sells homemade merlot salt, pesto salt, habanero salt and a few others I cannot recall. Would love to know how to infuse wet or liquid ingredients into the salt without caking or having to use anticake agents which would modify flavour or mouthfeel unfavourably.

Got a recipe or technique you think is cool special or unique? Please share!!:laugh:
I like the taste of the golden brown, I do something similar to the pasta with steel cut oats, sometimes I eat them dry with flax and cinnamon and the toasting makes it even better. Also used to lightly brown quinoa / brown rice in butter or oil with garlic and spices prior to boiling, but recently I just prefer to boil relatively plain. I never go too dark to avoid acrylamide formation, although it's still unclear whether or not there's risks from consumption.
There is a traditional Pugliese pasta dough called grano arso - which means burnt grain essentially, in which a portion of the flour and semolina is aggressively toasted before the dough is made.

It comes from the peasants picking through the wheat fields after they had been burnt and making pasta out of the grains. Its really nice with autumnal rich sauces and ragu. Often this dough was made into orrechiette.
Very interesting article on the Serious Eats website that shows a beef chauteabriand being wrapped in a half inch thick salt crust and wrapped in a damp cloth round the outside, then placed straight on the coals of a hot fire. The cloth burns away (it is just to keep the salt in place) and then the crust is cracked in front of the guests. It's called Lomo el Trapo and here is a link:

I have never seen this done, but it sounds really interesting.
Wow Adrian I had forgotten about the salt crust what an awesome technique. I have heard of salt baked potato and carrot as well. Perhaps cheaper ingredients to practice with than a chateau
Salt crusted chicken is actually really good, and easily done at home. May be I'll do it this weekend. :D

One Chinese technique that require special clay pot to do is "steam pot" chicken, which looks and is cooked like this:


Fill the pot with chicken, spices, and aromatics. On the bottom is a pot of boiling water. Then stack these pots with chicken on top, and steam for 2 hours or more.

You end up with a clear broth/consume that's very flavourful. Works well with tough cuts of other meat too. Was going to make that tonight, but changed my mind cause I picked up some fresh ginseng instead.

It's a very Chinese thing though, so might not be to everyone's taste. :)
Steve thanks for sharing, very cool! I can see the steam coming out from the one on top. What do you call those pots? I wonder if they could be purchased in the US? I can see many uses for them.

Is it me or does Steve's photo seem to tell a long and very old story?
The pots are literally called "Gas Pot" or "Air pot" (氣鍋). This is a famous dish from the Yunnan province. The chimney in the middle is for the steam to come in, so when the pots are stacked, you only need one source of steam to steam many pots together. The steam comes in, comes in contact with the slightly cooler food and the side walls, and condenses into water. So the broth in the pot never boils, which is why it is really clear, and full of umami.

In terms of buying one, pretty sure you can find them in the US, I bought mine in Canada. Just go to Chinatown and check out pottery or cookware shops. :)
Fregola Sarda is another toasted semolina product, but toasted after the pasta is made. It makes for an interesting texture.

I need to get some clay pots. The Vietnamese stewing types are the ones that have caught my attention in the past, but these are pretty darn cool.

I've got a spot at work in the hearth where I can pile up coals an open smoker for a clay pot, these would be a totally different challenge, maybe something easier to try at home.
One of the things I want to try is Sweet Potato Pasta the Richard Blais made on Top Chef a few seasons ago. The Chiba sheeter was his tool of choice and the recipe below says "very sharp long knife" which is perfect for this forum. I never got to use the Chiba turning slice and it's sitting in the cupboard unused but some knife/tool/foodie will want it. I'm working on my Daikon sheeting first although potatoes are easier to put my hands on.

From "Try This at Home," by Richard Blais (Clarkson Potter, $30). Blais originally made this on an episode of "Top Chef" that involved catching and cooking conch on a beach. Instead of simmering their strips of sweet potato in broth and butter, Dustin and Joseph used butter only, although they sometimes add a little chicken broth if the butter cooks away too quickly.

3 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound fresh conch, minced, or 1 1/2 cups chopped, shucked cherrystone or whole small white clams
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs

Using a mandoline or a very sharp long knife (or a sharp vegetable peeler), cut the potatoes lengthwise into long, thin sheets (as thin as possible -- ideally, you should be able to see through them). Stack the slices a few at a time and cut them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.

Balance of recipe at
Here is one that might be interesting to my north american friends... I had never heard of this until I started watching British cooking programs. Potato fondant...

Do it with a skillet like a boss.
I can't hear pommes fondant anymore without thinking of this

Which leads to this later


I can't seem to get the embedded video to take the time code, so they're just links.
I can't hear pommes fondant anymore without thinking of this

Which leads to this later


I can't seem to get the embedded video to take the time code, so they're just links.
haha. Wow. They attempted to tourne the potatos, which seems strange... I like the idea of cutting slices out of the potato and then using ring molds or whatever to cut shapes. Maximize the surface area available.
I wanted to add another technique maybe it is a little too fussy for the home cook but you can easily make a foam by dissolving gelatin into a liquid. You can make a foam with a sufficiently "bodied" stock. You can add a few tablespoons of preserve to some of the same fruit juice to create a foam. The stability of the foam will be a function of how much gelatin or pectin has been added to the liquid.

I also saw an interesting recipe for a parfait that consisted of sabayon and double (heavy) cream.
Here is one that might be interesting to my north american friends... I had never heard of this until I started watching British cooking programs. Potato fondant...

Do it with a skillet like a boss.

I make that all the time.
I didn't know that there was a name for it or that it was shown on British cooking programmes; that said, I don't really watch them as I find most local cooking shows dull.