Food: Deconstructed

Everything you need to know to cook with this popular tear-inducing vegetable

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by K8 on Unsplash

The humble onion. When cut, can make a grown man cry. When cooked, is delicious enough to be its own dish or be a supporting player in another dish. When eaten raw, adds amazing sharpness and sweetness to the dish.

Onions are my favorite vegetable. I love them in all shapes and forms, from caramelized onions, to raw onions on a burger, to sautéed onions in the base of a sauce, to onion rings. If you cook frequently, then you know that onions are used in cuisines all around the world and are one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen. …


The key to any great pie starts with the crust

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Danil Aksenov on Unsplash

One of America’s most beloved dishes that no Thanksgiving table is complete without—pie. From pumpkin to apple to pecan, there are so many different ways to fill a pie, but they all start with an amazing crust.

Baking a pie from scratch may seem like a daunting task for many home cooks, but with the right techniques, anyone can bake a professional-tasting pie right in their home. After all, it only takes 4 ingredients — flour, fat, water, salt.

Impress your family and friends this Thanksgiving with the most tender and flavorful pie of their lives (along with the most beautiful and juicy turkey). …


The keys to a perfect turkey: crispy skin and juicy meat

Image for post
Image for post
By SJ . from Unsplash

It’s almost that time of the year already. Everyone gathered together over a beautiful spread of Thanksgiving dishes. Smack in the center of the table? A beautiful, golden-brown turkey with scrumptious, juicy meat. This is the American (Thanksgiving) dream.

However, as anyone who has roasted a turkey will tell you, it is no easy task to do it perfectly. I myself learned how hard it is two years ago when I tried my hand at making a classic Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. While the turkey looked good, the breast meat had unfortunately dried out, making it bland and hard to chew. …


Learning how flour is used in both baking and cooking will make you a better chef

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Theme Photos on Unsplash

Flour. It’s one of the most used ingredients in the entire world. It’s used in everything from pasta, dumplings, and pancakes in cooking, and it’s used in almost every baked good you can think of.

If you are a home cook, then you’ve probably worked with flour hundreds of times in your life. Personally, I check the baking aisle of every supermarket I go to to see if I can snag a great deal on some flour because we go through flour so quickly in our home.

However, there are so many different kinds of flour out there, how do you know when to use which one? Sure you could use all-purpose flour for everything, but what about cake flour? Or 00 flour? …


Soy sauce is the not-so-secret secret ingredient behind some of the most popular Asian dishes

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Kevin Lee

What do some of the most popular Asian (in the colloquial sense meaning East Asian) dishes — lo mein from China, bulgogi from Korea, shoyu ramen from Japan — have in common? They all rely on soy sauce for much of their flavor.

Soy sauce is a simple ingredient that you will find if you walk into any Asian home. It’ll probably be sitting by the stove because it’s used so often that it’d be a waste of time to put it away, and it needs to be within reach at all times. It’s used in everything from stir-fries to soups or even as the base of other sauces, like teriyaki sauce. …


Learn about the different types of chocolate used in baking and how to use them to their full potential

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Brownies. Molten lava cake. Chocolate ganache. Truffles. Pain au chocolat. For many, those words alone conjure up feelings of warmth, comfort, and home.

Chocolate is one of the most popular ingredients in baking, used to make some of the best and most decadent desserts around the world. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that you’d be hard-pressed to find a culture in which chocolate isn’t used.

Because of its widespread use, you’ve most likely baked with chocolate at some point or another in your life. Whether it was making late-night brownies from a brownie mix, or trying to impress your crush with a chocolate cake for their birthday, I’m willing to bet almost every one of you reading this has used chocolate in baking before. …


How the Maillard reaction makes not only meat, but also bread and coffee (among other foods) taste so much better

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Kantarges on Unsplash

What do steak, toast, roasted coffee, and beer all have in common? They all undergo the Maillard reaction!

If you’re a meat-lover like I am, then you probably know that meat always tastes better when seared until it develops a beautiful brown crust. From hamburgers and steak to chicken breast to seafood, browning the surface is essential to creating a deliciously mouthwatering meat dish. Even braised meats or stew meat are typically seared first to impart additional flavor to the dish.

Surprisingly, the same process that causes seared meat to taste so delicious is also responsible for turning bread into toast, and for giving roasted coffee its distinctive flavor. The incredible chemical reaction that imparts all of these amazing flavors is called the Maillard reaction. It’s named after Louis Camille Maillard, the French scientist who was the first person to study this reaction. Pretty much any food you can think of that has that je ne sais quoi “roasted” or “charred” flavor to it, such as caramel or browned butter, owes much of its flavor to the Maillard reaction. …


Everything you wanted to know about how this popular leavening agent works

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Tamara Gak on Unsplash

If you went to a grocery store anytime toward the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine, you most likely would have seen an entirely cleaned out baking section. In particular, flour and yeast were nearly impossible to find as seemingly everyone became a baker overnight. The rise in popularity of baking makes sense as everyone was stuck at home with few options for eating out, but how much do people really know about one of the key ingredients in baking yeast?

What is yeast?

If you’re like me, you probably know that yeast is used in baking to make dough rise. If you know a bit more, you probably know that the dough rises because the yeast organism consumes sugar and produces CO2 (carbon dioxide), effectively inflating the dough. …

About

Food: Deconstructed

Go beyond the recipe and learn the inner workings of your favorite foods.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store