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The Problem If the great promise of sous-vide is precision, the great irony is that most of us pick our cooking times by guessing. A recipe that gives a fixed temperature and time constitutes a barely-educated guess. A graphic table that accounts for food thickness and starting temperature (like the ones on Douglas Baldwin’s site, or in the Modernist Cuisine …

A Glorious Marriage of Biology, Technology, Butchery, and Parsimony   The silk-purse-from-sow’s-ear approach to sous-vide has been around a long time: cook a cheap, tough cut of meat long and low enough, and it turns buttery-soft, like an expensive cut.   Not quite Dolce & Gabbana In this post I’m going to explore how far we can take the idea. …

The nomenclature for sous-vide is confusing, if not outright misleading. So before we go on, let’s discuss the definitions. Sous-vide literally means “under vacuum.” Traditionally, all food cooked by this method was sealed in plastic, with air evacuated by a chamber vacuum sealer. This keeps the food fresh (no oxidation), and eliminates air bubbles that could insulate the food or …

Welcome to the new Underbelly blog, where we’ll be sharing our secrets, and maybe some secrets stolen from smarter people as well. We’re going to start with a series on sous-vide cookery. If you’re not familiar with sous-vide, expect to be hit over the head with it very soon, by way of cooking shows, blogs, food magazines, and ads for …

Thank you, intrepid gastronomes of the underverse, for you continued enthusiasm and patience. You may have wondered, what’s going on under there? As is the way of the world (by which I mean Brooklyn), fates are tied to real estate: we’ve lost our grand old Bushwick brewery. Also the way of the world (by which I mean the world), the …

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Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine. HBD, LB

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I’ve been corresponding with Michael Laiskonis, Le Bernardin’s executive pastry chef, for over a year. I found him through his blog, where he explains his approach and techniques with unusual eloquence. There are other pastry chefs with James Beard awards and three Michelin stars, but Chef Laiskonis is the first I’ve encountered with a combination of great vision, deep technical …

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  The expression, not the act: why would anyone, when suggesting blandness, invoke the most complex and exotic of spices?   At Underbelly, little turns us on like a dark, aromatic Madagascar vanilla pod.   Sometimes a pod is not just a pod.   Consider: Vanilla encompasses 100 odd species of the tropical orchid Vanilla V. planifolia. First cultivated by …

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Architect’s rendering of proposed Underbelly kitchen remodel.   If you’re like me, you’ve been thinking, “immersion circulators and antigriddles were cool back in the ’90s … but what I really want is a large hadron collider.” Because, after all, with the particle physicists’ recent world record of smashing two protons head on, each charged with 1.2 trillion electron volts of …

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