Modernist Cuisine at Home- your triumphs and tribulations

I have started to try and get more involved with modernist techniques and ideas (in both recipes and plating). I will have to say that one of the biggest headaches i have is trying to adapt recipes to home use, because most are developed by restaurant chefs and therefor require greater quantities of things. For example i tried to make this chive gel this weekend and was using so little product for just my wife and i that i couldn’t use my blender because the contents were below the blade. So i added water and more xanthan gum which diluted the color and taste and then i reduced it and got the intensity of the color back but not the taste. Then when i went to plate it later in the day i had lost part of the color again. Anyway i will post the pictures and let you all see what i am talking about

Appetizer of compressed watermelon, feta snow, basil, pickled watermelon rind, olive oil and aged balsamic
Entree of Serrano ham skin wood duck, with cold smoked potato puree, cold smoked and then chorizo fat fried potatoes, Mediterranean pepper puree, compressed Cara Cara oranges, marcona almond and spanish chorizo brittle, chive gel and tarragon.
serrano duck dish 2.JPG
serrano duck dish 1.JPG
watermelon salad 2.JPG

They look awesome! Good work!

I’ve had similar frustrations. My solution has been to make the size as indicated in the recipe then find another use or a friend or both. You’d be amazed what winds up in my breakfast omelet.

Sometimes too, the technique really is only appropriate for the larger scale. measuring 0.5g of this and that often doesn’t work out and the sauce or whatever would be more easily just thickened with cornstarch.

Inherent in both of our “complaints” is there’s a pretty high level of proficiency needed to tweak these recipes. The book has definitely positively impacted my cooking, as I borrow techniques more than whole dishes. I find myself always asking “Is this a problem I really think needs solving for me?” Often the answer is no. I’m not going to parcook paella and freeze it–that’s just dumb. But the cheese sauce techniques? Brilliant.

Many ingredients that involves blender are my biggest headache. My blendtec is nice when making soup or large amount of sauce. But anything less than 150ml is impossible to make with it. Is there any good blender on the market that is powerful enough and work well with small volume?


I use my kitchen-aid immersion blender almost daily. Great for making soups, dressings and other emulsions.

I don’t own a stand blender as I don’t like the airy texture their overpowered motors introduce. I can’t believe people spend hundreds of dollars on a jet engine that just incorporates a ton of air. gross.

+.5 - I do have a stand alone blender but would never use it for soup or sauces. I love my immersion blender.


ha! fair enough Jason.

I use my jet engine to make a lot of sauces…they are particularly useful to make sauce that later I will use whipped cream charger to make foam. I already waster several hundred dollars worth of whipped cream charger due to clog.

What immersion blender do you guys have?

I have a Cuisinart that seems to work fine for me. Readily available for < $40.

I had a Cuisinart and now have a kitchen-aid. Can’t tell the difference.

I’ve had my cuisinart for at least 10 years. Going strong.

I take a large white plate that’s aesthetically pleasing, smear some Sriracha sauce in a horizontal line, top it with a fried Chinese bun (shengjianbao), and put some finely sliced green onion in a corner.

That’s about as modern as I get.

I now mainly use a Cuisinart. I do have a Braun that is probably over 30 years old but it still works well.


If you make a lobster stock gel, put it in the fired Chinese bun, calculate the pressure at a certain temperature (it melts and expands when heated) so that it explodes in you mouth when bite into it…
I will agree that is pretty modern… neener

Recently acquired both this book and a pressure cooker and played around extensively over the weekend. The book is gorgeous and there is some very, very interesting stuff in there which I read through voraciously. But I found the recipes to be poorly written in many cases - nicely structured, but missing important information like how far to reduce something. There are also often variations listed that don’t give you any information beyond the fact of the variation. Like the 72 Hour Short Rib recipe. It says you can also do it in the pressure cooker for 50 minutes, but says nothing about the fact that you’ll have to also add liquid not required in the sous version. We know this, of course, so didn’t really need the instruction, but I am sure many beginners wouldn’t get there the first time.

I think I will enjoy playing with it and may find a number of fun and useful recipes - the Pressure Cooker Carnitas, for instance, was fantastic and will definitely go in the rotation - and will also enjoy pushing my knowledge of technique, which is fun and useful even if I don’t often use those techniques.

Anyone who uses the book - what are the recipes you like?

the cheese sauce recipe in the Mac n Cheese recipe was a game changer for me.

You lost me at the plating.

I’m going to make the M&C before I buy the book.
busy finding Sodium Citrate as I type this…

Sodium citrate and most fancy-ass powders are on Amazon. Also, MC web site has all of them.