Friday, November 10, 2006

Controversial Recipes

Who knew that this bipartisan blog would draw controversy?

The recipe that seems to have generated much finger-waving, and hand-pointing is the recent recipe for Chocolate-covered garlic.

Comments (all private!) have ranged from, "Really?" to "I don't believe you!".

Thankfully, nobody so far has run a campaign to trash the CC's character on televison.

So let's understand why this recipe works from a scientific point of view. Out comes Harold McGee's tome, On Food and Cooking, which the CC will note is both exhaustive and exhausting.

Like the sunchoke family and its relatives, the onion family accumulates energy stores not in starch, but in chains of fructose sugars, which long, slow cooking breaks down to produce a marked sweetness.

Incidentally, these fructose sugars are not directly digestible by humans explaining the "gas" produced when eating raw onions, garlic, shallots, etc. Both the sulphurous content, and the indigestibility are Darwinian "defense mechanisms" against mammals eating the food store. (Hence also, the "sting" of sharp onions.)

But, we humans figured out a way.

Roasting garlic (and the whole onion family) is a time-honored way of changing its aggressive sulphurous character into a much sweeter one. In this particular case, the recipe is really braising (along with a ton of sugar) which will turn the garlic both soft and sweet while eliminating the volatile sulphurous molecules that make it "garlicky".

Hopefully, this intellectual argument will detract some of the objectors, but really, the best way is to just experience it first-hand!

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