March 2011

Science of Cooking Recipes

Below are some recipes Provost uses in his science of cooking class along with his science-behind-the-food discussion points.

Image courtesy of Stephen Bain.Hot sauces

Science behind the food

• Discuss the cell signaling of pain and where capsaicin is found in the chili pepper
• Use the avocado dip, milk and water to help demonstrate the solubility of capsaicin
• Explain the role of lemon or lime juice as an acid to create sour taste and inhibit enzymatic browning of plant matter

Mango pineapple hot sauce

2 cups peeled chopped mangoes
1 cup pineapple, crushed and drained
6 habernero peppers, blanched in vinegar and deseeded
4 jalapeño peppers, blanched and deseeded
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon black cumin 
1 teaspoon salt

1. Strain peppers and discard seeds.
2. Blend all remaining ingredients until smooth. Adjust taste with lemon juice.

Alton Brown salsa

6 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 seeded and minced jalapeños
2 roasted, skinned and chopped jalapeños
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 dry ancho (poblano) chilies, seeded, cut into short strips and snipped into pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lime, juiced
Chili powder, salt and pepper, fresh scallions, and cilantro or parsley, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours for flavor infusion.
3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Alton Brown guacamole

3 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Place the avocado pulp and lime juice in a large bowl. Toss to coat.
2. Drain and reserve the lime juice after all of the avocados have been coated.
3. Add the salt, cumin and cayenne. Mash with a potato masher.
4. Fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro and garlic.
5. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice.
6. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and serve.

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