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Monday, January 31, 2011

February Preview

Since February is a month containing St. Valentine's day, and considering that the theme of romance is so popular across the world, I have decided to incline this month towards the steamy.

A Pressure Steamer
The use of steam for cooking purposes is usually seen as a healthful but ultimately limited cooking method in Western cookery—most people who go to cooking school in the United States learn to steam vegetables for service—but only after they're sautéed—, or potatoes to make into mashed potatoes, or to hard-boil eggs; rarely do the giant pressure steamers in American kitchens see anything outside of the vegetable kingdom.

In other cooking traditions, however, steam sees much more widespread use, for a much greater variety of dishes. In Chinese cuisine, for example, meat is frequently steamed over fragrantly spiced water. Fish is steamed in many culinary traditions, and cooking "en papillote"—an item (often fish,) combined with aromatic vegetables and seasonings, wrapped in parchment and baked—steams the items being cooked in their own evaporating juices.

Finally, many traditional English "Puddings" (starch- or dairy-based desserts) are steamed as the preferred cooking method.

I hope you'll enjoy the offerings in the month to come. I've gotten busy again, so sadly my posts will not be as frequent as they have been in January, but I'll try to keep you up with something intriguing every week; and, since eating is about more than just food, I hope to tell you more about wines, spirits, and beers that I enjoy with the foods I cook, as well as blathering on about a few subjects near and dear to my culinary heart (just outside the layer of butter.) I also will hopefully offer some Hungarian items, to tie in with my attempt to learn a bit of Hungarian.

In the meantime, eat well, my friends.

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