Category Archives: Heck’s Labs

Molecular Gastronomy and really yummy stuff.

The Double Cooking Matrix

This table, derived from Hervé This’, Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, pg. 310 (2006, Columbia University Press), shows our progress in experimenting. While we’re unlikely to try everything, this is a guide for inspiration when all else fails.

I’m still building the chart, so it’s by no means complete.

First Cooking Method
Technique Contact with Solid Simmer-ing Water Boiling Water Warm, Dry Air Hot, Dry Air Humid Air Oil Infra-red Micro-wave Acid-ifica-tion
Contact with Solid 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Simmering Water 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Boiling Water  21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Warm, Dry Air 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Hot, Dry Air 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
Humid Air 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
Oil 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
Infrared 71 72 73 74 75 67 77 78 79 80
Microwave 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90
Acidification 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

In the above table:

  • green means the combination is in regular use in our kitchen;
  • red means that the combination has been tried without success;
  • grey means that the combination has not been explored;
  • yellow means that the combination has been tried with moderate success but is not a part of normal use
  • white means that the combination is being planned

No matter what, the experiments are a whole lot of fun, and everyone wins.

Twice Cooked Corn Off The Cob

Twice Cooked Corn Off The Cob
This is twist on and a re-creation of Kris’ mom’s second day corn, served when Kris was a kid.
4 ears of corn, with husks
4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Soak the corn, with husks on, for 30 minutes.
2 Preheat a grill to 200°C (400°F).
3 Grill the corn, with husks, for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove and let stand 15 minutes. Remove the husks and threads from the corn.
4 With a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cobs and place in medium non-stick pan.
5 Add the butter, salt, and pepper to the kernels in the pan, and sauté for 4 minutes, over a medium high heat. Serve immediately.
Servings: 4
Yield: four half cups of kernels
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour and 15 minutes
 Cooking Tips
The butter should be at room temperature or softened. If using margarine, you can use it as is from the refrigerator.
The corn can be grilled a day in advance. Husk the corn after grilling and place in a freezer bag in the refrigerator.
Pretty close to what I remember! It took dental surgery to remind me of one of my favourite dishes. – Kris 02/07/2007
 Recipe Source
Author: Randall S. BeckerSource: Heck’s KitchenThis recipe is one of the first really successful attempts at applied Molecular Gastronomy. It uses two cooking techniques: 1. wet steaming cooking over a fire, which does the initial cooking of the kernels, picking up the flavours of the cob and charring of the husks for a smoky taste; and 2. an oil fry in butter to generate a Maillard reaction to caramelize of the outsides of the kernels.
Recipe formatted and exported by Living Cookbook from Radium Technologies, Inc.

Foaming with Soy Lecithin

This is a big warning. Not all lecithin is the same. Health food stores carry some interesting 97% pure soy lecithin. We’re not sure what the remaining 3% is, but you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s not going to taste very good. The last bit we got hold of smelled like damp chicken feed, which, unfortunately for us, is what we use for kitty litter, and that is not particularly appetizing, to say the least.

Since the previous report, a number of manufacturers are advertising Soy Lecithin with a nutty flavour. Clearly, it’s no longer considered flavour neutral.