My F&W
quick save (...)

Gastronaut Files: Pressure Cooker Recipes

Nathan Myhrvold has a high-tech kitchen lab, but the device he calls magical is a basic pressure cooker.

"I outdid myself," says Nathan Myhrvold, the author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, his exhaustive (and exhaustively publicized) 2,438-page, six-volume, $625 cookbook. That's quite a statement coming from Microsoft's former chief technology officer, who researched cosmology with Stephen Hawking and writes scholarly paleontology articles almost as a hobby.

Smart Ways to Use a Pressure Cooker

Myhrvold and his staff spent more than three years exploring flavor in his state-of-the-art culinary lab. And while they found ingenious applications for rotor-stator homogenizers and other scientific equipment, the device they turned to most often was a basic pressure cooker. "It can do magical things," says Myhrvold. His team relied on it to rapidly make rich stocks and found that its ultra-high temperatures are capable of transforming familiar ingredients in unexpected ways. "We make a risotto with pressure-cooked pine nuts, and they have a beautiful popping texture," says co-author Maxime Bilet. F&W put that pressure cooker recipe and two others to the test to see if Modernist Cuisine delivers more than intellectual heft. And it does.


Pressure Cooker Recipes: Carrot Soup
© Antonis Achilleos


slideshow Nathan Myhrvold's Pressure Cooker Tips

Inside the Kitchen Lab

Pressure Cooker Recipes: Nathan Myhrvold
© The Cooking Lab, LLC

The Visionary

"I've been interested in cooking my whole life," says Myhrvold, who attended La Varenne cooking school in France. (Another pursuit: trying to eradicate malaria.)

Nathan Myhrvold: Kitchen Lab
© The Cooking Lab, LLC

The Space

Myhrvold's culinary lab (part of his larger research facility in Seattle) is staffed by 16 full-time employees and stocked with everything from pots and pans to medical gear like autoclaves. An adjacent machine shop can fabricate all kinds of equipment.

Nathan Myhrvold: Modernist Cuisine Books
© The Cooking Lab, LLC

The Cookbook

A Chef's Take: "The most interesting dish was the rare beef stew—it was so obvious, I wanted to smack my head and say, 'Why didn't I think of that!'" remarked David Chang of NYC's Momofuku empire after attending a dinner to preview Modernist Cuisine. "The book has minor breakthroughs like that, but mostly it documents the past 25 years in Western gastronomy, which is super-important. It will be in every chef's office—no question."


Plus:


Cookbook Preview: Modernist Cuisine

Modernist Cuisine
Cookbook Preview

Striking photos, video and more from Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine.

More Culinary Innovators and Great Recipes:

Published May 2011
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    You might also like
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.

    Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.