Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cooking is chemistry.

Ryouri ha kagaku.

I only cook one or two weeknights a week. Work won't let me. Even when I do cook, I am working with a limited amount of time, so I try to be as efficient as possible.

I read in a book that cooking pasta in a wok is faster than cooking it in a regular pot, so I tried it. A wok is parabolic in shape, so it focuses the heat of the stove efficiently toward the contents of the pan. (Clue #1 that you're a geek: you use the word "parabolic" in a blog entry. About cooking.) Also, the parabolic (there we go again) shape of the pan means 1) you are using less water compared to a regular pot, which means that you can bring it to a boil faster, and 2) the shape of the pan keeps the noodles from sticking to each other (this doesn't mean that you can get away with not doing the "toss the pasta around in the water every so often" of course, but that the pasta doesn't stick nearly as much as you would expect it to compared to the small amount of water you are using). I got the water to a rolling boil much faster than I do compared to the aluminum pot I usually use (I didn't time it, I should one of these days. Clue #2 that you're a geek: you're contemplating doing experiments. In a blog entry. About cooking pasta). I cooked about 200 grams of pasta in a 26 cm (10 inches or thereabouts) wok full of salt water, and it didn't stick.

I also made cream of potato soup using mashed potatoes I'd cooked and frozen a couple weeks ago, chicken stock (again from freezer), milk, and a roux base I keep in the fridge. I keep a ziplock bag of parsley in the freezer that I've washed and spun in the salad spinner. After it's frozen hard, I mash it up, and I have chopped parsley.

Carrot salad (carrots chopped and salted this past weekend and marinated onions) complete the meal.

Total time, about 20 minutes. Not bad, I think.

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