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Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking: Recipes for Everyday Meals Made Easier, Faster and More Delicious

Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking: Recipes for Everyday Meals Made Easier, Faster and More Delicious

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Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking: Recipes for Everyday Meals Made Easier, Faster and More Delicious

444 pagine
4 ore
May 8, 2018


Simple science is all that’s required for transforming dinner from a good dish and making it a great dish. Jessica Gavin, culinary scientist, teaches recipes that help make meals that are better, faster and more delicious any night of the week.

This practical and unique cookbook will help take your cooking to the next level by uncovering the science behind cooking great food. Recipes will be infused with Jessica’s food science knowledge, and categories include 15-minute recipes, recipes by technique/device (slow cooker, pressure cooker), baking and more.

This book will feature 75 recipes and 60 photographs.

May 8, 2018

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Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking - Jessica Gavin


dry-heat cooking


Learn how dry-heat cooking methods like grilling, roasting, baking, sautéing, pan-frying and deep-frying create the most interesting textures through the molecular act of browning. It’s simple and it’s all about knowing how to use heat combined with air or fat to develop visible flavor.

the simple science

When you want a burst of flavor, dry-heat cooking is your go-to method. It utilizes air or fat to cook food, and the result is layers of flavor with a nice brown color. Direct heat can be used to cook the food with an open flame (think campfire marshmallows) or with heated air (grilling, roasting, baking, broiling) or fat (deep-frying, sautéing, pan-frying). Learn about how to select the right oil for cooking in the Test Kitchen Tools & Tips section (here).


You’ve seen it countless times: the visible color change from a piece of raw meat to a golden brown surface. This complex chemical interaction is called the Maillard reaction, and it’s responsible for flavor development when cooking with high, dry heat. You may not realize it, but as this physical change happens, a chain reaction of flavor compounds is being created. When foods like beef or chicken that contain protein and amino acids are heated, a reaction with reducing sugars like fructose and glucose occurs. New flavor compounds called dicarbonyls are created, but the process does not stop there. The sugars continue to react with amino acids, quickly creating an abundance of flavors on the food and in the cooking vessel. What you see is the final transformation of melanoidin pigment molecules naturally present in the food as a deep brown color appears. Different flavor compounds are formed depending on the type of protein being cooked and the sugars present. Therefore beef and chicken will taste different after cooking at high temperatures. This Maillard reaction happens when the surface temperature of the food reaches 300°F (149°C). The key is to make sure the surface of the food being cooked is dry to prevent steaming and promote the maximum amount of browning.

dry-heat cooking basics

Broiling: Broiling is a great option for quickly cooking food. Using an upper heat source like in an oven, the extreme heat radiating from above (scorching temperatures of up to 2,000°F [1,093°C]) makes for a rapid meal. If broiling in the oven, place the food about 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 cm) away from the heat source and keep an eye on the food to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Grilling: For lovers of the outdoors, grilling uses radiant heat from beneath the food to give gorgeous surface color, especially if you like those characteristic diamond-shaped cross marks. Grilling can take flavor to the next level if you are using wood, cedar or coal to infuse different layers of smoky flavors into the food.

Roasting: The oven uses hot air radiating from the nearby heating elements and walls to cook the food by convection. Temperatures can range from 200 to 500°F (90 to 260°C) depending on the type of meat or vegetable. Higher temperature encourages quicker browning and cooking, while lower temperature cooks more evenly and has more moisture retention, but takes longer. A combination of high-to-low heat may be used for initial browning on the surface, finished with low-temperature roasting, especially for larger roasts like beef, turkey or chicken.

Baking: The heat transfer process is very similar to roasting, yet is often used for fish, vegetables, bread, cookies, cakes and pastries. The goal in baking is to use the hot oven air to promote uniform cooking, while using the heat to achieve dry, browned surfaces and flavorful crusts over a period of time.

Sautéing: A fast and flavorful method of conduction cooking, where the heat transferred from the hot pan cooks the food. A little bit of oil or butter is used to just lightly coat the bottom of the pan, which helps keep the ingredients from sticking, while adding color and some flavor. The key for sautéing is using hot oil that is near its smoke point to cook the ingredients, but not burning the surface. Cutting foods to similar sizes, cooking in a single layer (while not overcrowding the pan) and briefly tossing the ingredients to encourage color development helps to ensure sauté success. Stir-frying utilizes the same method but a different cooking vessel, a wok. The round shape of the pan efficiently transfers the heat to the vessel, and then to the food. The sloped sides makes it easy for stirring the vegetables.

Pan-Frying: This method uses a sauté pan filled about one-third of the way or up to halfway with oil to cook the food. It’s a popular technique to use for breaded food, like chicken Parmesan, when you want to achieve a crisp, golden crust and tender meat. Heating starts with conduction from the pan to the fat, then continues with convection of the hot oil to the food. The oil temperature should be below the smoking point. You can see the food sizzling and gently spattering in the oil, making a crackling sound.

Deep-Frying: This method completely submerges the breaded or battered food in hot oil for conduction and convection cooking. Depending on the type of oil chosen to fry the food, high temperatures of around 400°F (204°C) are reached to create beautiful golden brown textures on the surface in a short amount of time. Canola, peanut and soybean oils are most commonly used because they have a high smoke point, the temperature when the fat breaks down and begins to visibly smoke. The goal is to have the hot oil instantly seal and fry the outside, and cook the inside, without burning the surface. The temperature of the oil can be adjusted based on the type that is selected; however, a typical range of 325 to 375°F (160 to 191°C) is used. Make sure to have an instant-read thermometer that can read above 400°F (204°C) before you start deep-frying. The differences in temperature can change quickly and will greatly impact the fried product if not closely monitored throughout the process.

dry-heat cooking methods

blackened salmon tacos with avocado yogurt lime sauce


These blackened salmon tacos are reminiscent of eating fresh seafood by the ocean during college road trips down to Baja California in Mexico. To make these tacos healthier, spices are used to achieve a low-calorie explosion of flavor. To instantly boost the taste of the salmon, a blend of earthy cumin, garlic, onion and paprika, balanced with a hint of heat from chipotle chilis and sweetness from brown sugar creates savory, smoky, spicy notes in each bite! The volatile molecules are sent rushing to your nose and provide the initial characteristic flavor impact. Pan-frying the spice-coated salmon in oil additionally helps to release fat-soluble flavor compounds. The cool and creamy avocado sauce complements the spicy notes of the seasoning for an irresistible handheld meal.

SERVES: 4   |   PREP TIME: 15 minutes   |   COOK TIME: 5 minutes


1 serrano chili pepper, cut in half and seeded

½ cup (123 g) plain Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream

1 avocado, pitted

2 tbsp (30 ml) lime juice

½ tsp lime zest

¼ cup (4 g) cilantro leaves, packed

¼ tsp kosher

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