Yes, all cooking is science; whether you’re making waffles or a steak, you’re enacting small transformations on a series of ingredients in order to create a very new result. But rarely, it seems, are those scientific transformations as immediate as what happens when you add baking soda to your cream of tomato soup.
If you want to use cream for your tomato soup recipe instead of milk, however, you probably won’t need baking soda (or only a pinch of it at least). The fat in the cream helps protect the protein and keeps it from curdling.
With the right toppings, the humble soup gets some extra texture, flavors, and finesse. You can take the most plain Jane vegetables and in a transition fit for My Fair Lady, transform them into a classy dinner soup.
For wintry favorites like butternut squash, pumpkin, or a creamy coconut curry – the nutty, slightly sweet granola is beyond complementary. Bu if you’re weirded out by the sweet factor, try toasted nuts. They have a similar, though savory, effect.
If you’re a baking enthusiast, you’ve probably cracked a can or two of sweetened condensed milk in your time—it’s a key player in some of our favorite pies, cakes, and sticky-sweet sauces. But few people are as accustomed to cooking with its milder, milkier, unsweetened cousin: Evaporated milk—canned, shelf-stabilized, low-moisture cow’s milk—offers the same thick, rich texture of condensed milk without the added sugars, making it ideal for more savory preparations (and a handful of sweet ones to boot). Here’s a look at just how handy it can be.
The beauty of the tea ball is that you’ll never have to “run out real quick to get some cheesecloth,” leaving you free to try endless combinations. Or you could use those massive tea bags to brew tea you buy in bulk. They come in various sizes, so— the biggest one. You get 100 or so in a box for ~$10. But a tea ball would be better, being perpetually reusable.
Although curious chloride is not the most popular name for curium and chlorine, it’s actually an official name. And true to its name, this substance has a slightly-whimsical, slightly-sinister property — which actually might be useful when making soup.
While some broths are destined to remain thin and wispy, other soups taste best when served thick and creamy. But what do you do when it’s too late to add a slurry to a meaty soup? Or you’re gluten-free and must skip flour and bread? Or are vegan and don’t like the idea of butter in your soup?
The answer to all these culinary obstacles lies in white beans. Blended white beans.
Chili was originally a peasant dish. It was almost always vegetarian because meat is expensive. Beans are a wonderful cheap source of protein. That said wonderful chili can be made, sans beans.
Whatever way you make it, for those times when your chili comes out a bit runny—more like soup than a hearty stew…
The Potato Masher
Unlike some quirky cooking utensils, every kitchen is bound to have a potato masher. And this does not add any ingredients! Just mash a little so that the ingredients break down, releasing their natural starches will help thicken the excess liquid.
Masa, Cornmeal, or even Polenta
Add a little water to a couple of tablespoons of masa flour, stir it in at the end of cooking. As mentioned, cornmeal or polenta would be good substitutes.
Tortilla or Tortilla Chips
It’s common to use these to thicken soups. Tear or break into small pieces before stirring in.
Sweating your veggies is easy: simply put your prepped vegetables in a pot on low heat. Keep the lid on, and let them cook slowly. By keeping the lid on, you use their own liquid to “sweat” (aka steam) them. The technique is called à l’étouffée in French cooking, and it leads to soups and bisques with depth of flavor. You can also apply this to purees that are part of other dishes—like mashed potatoes, for example.
The amount of soda you sip not only boosts your sugar intake and packs on pounds—it might also increase your risk for cancer.
The culprit? A chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI). This potential carcinogen is found in some types of caramel color, the artificial ingredient used to turn colas and other soft drinks brown. Every day, more than half of Americans between the ages of 6 and 64 typically drink soda in amounts that could expose them to enough 4-MeI to increase their cancer risk, according to a new analysis of national soda consumption conducted by scientists at Consumer Reports and the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study was published today in the scientific online journal PLOS ONE.
…caramel color is found in a wide variety of foods, including bread and other baked goods, dark sauces such as soy or barbecue, pancake syrup, and soups. While we don’t know what type of caramel color or how much 4-MeI is in those foods, it’s clear that many people are already getting concerning amounts of 4-MeI in their diets just from the soda they drink.
Ideally, this carcinogenic chemical should not be added to food on purpose because we know that will cause dozens or possibly thousands of cancer deaths in the coming decades. But what are you gonna drink—Sprite?