A med & grad student who used to work the line in LA, NYC, SF and Napa talking about the science of cooking and cooking with science. Harold McGee's On Food And Cooking - The Science and Lore of the Kitchen never satisfied my kitchen curiosity and more than one Chef grew exasperated with my asking "Why?" I'll try to stay on topic, but you may see a kvetch or two about the school & hospital.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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It was the cool of an English summer. The kind of cool temperatures that I love. There is sun, but it isn't the kind of summer that I grew up with. There is no oppressive and dry heat. Instead there's the hint of pleasant warmth. Maybe it's just me, because I've worn board shorts while snowboarding, but it was still on the warm side. Maybe it was just the nervous energy and excitement, that nearly had me wanting to rush the crowd.
The air smelled crisp and sweet. A remnant of the rain and mist of the previous days. Of the carefully manicured and cut lawns. Ryegrass. A durable grass. An absorbing grass. Necessary for the lawns and courts of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Rye makes the surface at Wimbledon so very different from any other court played all year. For the first week, the court plays fast. Low bounce, little change on the velocity of the ball after the bounce. Rewarding the server, the attacker. Punishing the returner and defender. Where attackers have historically reigned supreme - Pete Sampras, Rod Laver, Don Budge, Ellsworth Vines, Jack Kramer and Roger Federer. I'll admit to a bit of bias. I grew up learning to play attacking tennis. So I care nothing for the games of Rafael Nadal or Caroline Wozniacki. Serve and volley. Chip and volley. Impose your will on the ball and your opponent with your serve. Hurt the other guy by forcing them to come to the net. That's how I learned to play. Not defend and wait for the other guy to make a mistake. It's a legitimate tactic. It's just not how I play.
This year's Championships will see many great story lines unfold: Roger Federer's search for a seventh title, to tie Pete Sampras' record. The rematch between Nicholas Mahut and John Isner in the first round, the record holders of the longest match ever played at 11 hours and 5 minutes. Rafael Nadal's first defense of a Wimbledon title. The return of the Williams Sisters. A hip injury sidelined Venus, who holds 5 Wimbledon titles. And first a foot injury, then a pulmonary embolism sidelined the younger Serena. Between the two sisters, they have won 9 of the last 11 titles. And I'll be rooting for both of them to impose their dominance once more upon the Women's tour.
And for me, the greatest storyline is the one that involves me not being there. Seriously. I've made the tournament for the past 7 years. And this is the first time I will not be going. I will miss out on the smells and the cooler weather. I will have to console myself with television coverage. At least I'm off and can watch live matches. It will just mean being up by 4am. Which really isn't that much a stretch from my schedule normally.
But the thing that I will miss most? The drinks. Seriously. There's just something about splitting a pitcher of Pimm's with a friend while watching matches on the big screen at Henman Hill (or Murray Mound if he's winning), or a glass of champagne with the requisite strawberries and cream near Center Court. On the plus side, I can always make my own. And even better, I can play around with it all.
Let me start by saying under no circumstances should you ever, ever use lemon-lime soda or ginger ale for this. Let's have a little respect for tradition.
Put a lot of ice in a large pitcher. Add sliced fruit. Bruise mint by crushing in hand or whack with a muddler. Add to pitcher. Pour in Pimm's, followed by lemonade. Mix lightly. Serve.
For this recipe, you will need to break out the kitchen scale and get your hands on either 1mL disposable pipettes or a kitchen syringe. The caviars can be prepared ahead of time.
Dissolve the alginate in 200g water, and the calcium lactate in 500g water, in separate vessels. Mix these thoroughly. If you have a stir bar and plate, use them. If not, use a blender and let them sit, loosely covered, in a refrigerator for a few hours to remove all air bubbles. If you use the blender, wash thoroughly between preparations and rinse with excess DI 3-4 times. Mark the containers. To the alginate solution, add the strawberry syrup. Pour the lactate into a bowl, with a fine mesh strainer submerged. Take up the syrup-alginate mix with a pipette or syringe and add dropwise to the lactate. Let the first few pearls sit for anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute, but no more than 3 minutes. Remove from lactate bath and reserve in a clean bowl.
In a champagne glass, pour champagne. Add strawberry caviar. If you've let the caviar sit for a shorter time, they should display some buoyancy.
In a sauce pot, bring sugar and liquid to boil. Slowly add strawberries, allowing mixture time to come back to a boil after each addition. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stirring and mashing occasionally. Allow mixture to cool. Place in blender and puree. Strain through fine mesh strainer. Serve.
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Stop! You're making me thirsty! Is the tournament on ESPN this year? I had the French Open playing on the lab computer.
Yeah. It's on ESPN2. I had the TV and my laptop going with matches while I wrote this post.