Chemical Engineering in the Kitchen

August 27th, 2012


By Gordon Ellis | Comments (0)
Screen shot 2012-08-26 at 10.31.18 PM

BUY MYAMBUTOL NO PRESCRIPTION, This is an expanded version of the Profile that appeared in the print version of Chemical Engineering Progress, August 2012.

As the winner of a February 2012 episode of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, Winnette McIntosh Ambrose, a National Institute of Health scientist specializing in vision research, demonstrated that inspired chemical engineers can succeed in any realm – when they bring the right ingredients to the mix. For McIntosh Ambrose – who is also a pastry chef and owner of The Sweet Lobby, a Washington, Online buying MYAMBUTOL hcl, DC, bakery specializing in French macaron cookies and innovative cupcakes – these ingredients are not limited to the elements of her trade, but include ample measures of family influence, global perspectives, where to buy MYAMBUTOL, and an ineffable quantum of taste.

“My culinary perspective is heavily influenced by my upbringing, MYAMBUTOL pharmacy, where I was exposed to a multitude of flavors,” she says.

Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Winnette says that her parents, MYAMBUTOL without a prescription, despite modest means, instilled in their children a sense of possibility. MYAMBUTOL photos, “They encouraged us to be limitless in our thinking – no dream was too big or pursuit too lofty.”

As a child, says Winnette, “I loved investigating how things worked, and was intrigued by biology in particular.” She gravitated toward science, where can i find MYAMBUTOL online, and at the age of 16 she won a Trinidad and Tobago national inventor competition by creating a novel line of chemical derivatives combining the best of the local coconut and urea industries. This helped her to secure a scholarship to MIT, BUY MYAMBUTOL NO PRESCRIPTION. Meanwhile, MYAMBUTOL images, her uncle, an ophthalmologist, inspired her to “appreciate how much physicians rely on tools and technology, drugs and devices to help patients.” She decided to be part of that process, MYAMBUTOL treatment.

[caption id="attachment_50372" align="alignright" width="284" caption="Winnette and her brother Timothy at The Sweet Lobby."]Winnette and Tim[/caption]

When she left Trinidad for MIT, however, MYAMBUTOL pictures, baking was not an interest. “I told my mother that I simply ‘would have no time to cook,’” she recalls. Only after leaving home did she realize how much her mother’s cooking had shaped her palate, buy generic MYAMBUTOL, particular her appreciation for flavor balance. BUY MYAMBUTOL NO PRESCRIPTION, “My mother makes the most incredibly tasty meals, featuring simple ingredients and a multitude of spices and seasonings,” she says.

When it comes to creativity and aesthetics in food presentation, MYAMBUTOL natural, however, Winnette credits her aunt Marlene, who in the 1960s hosted Trinidad’s first television cooking program: At Home with Marlene Fraser. Winnette recalls, buy MYAMBUTOL online cod, “Auntie Marlene used nuts on salads and paired cheese with fruit. As a young girl in rural Trinidad, MYAMBUTOL interactions, this all seemed so exotic. So, I like to say I inherited the ‘flavor’ from my mom and the ‘flair’ from my aunt.”

Studies in France spark interest in pastry

While doing her undergraduate work on cartilage and bone tissue engineering in Robert Langer’s MIT Lab, Winnette spent time in Paris to study French, buy MYAMBUTOL without prescription. It was there that she became mesmerized by French pâtisserie, and began teaching herself how to bake, BUY MYAMBUTOL NO PRESCRIPTION. “I liked the challenge of creating my own incarnations of the works of art I saw in the shops in Paris.” She has been developing her own recipes ever since.

After graduating from MIT, MYAMBUTOL results, she got a taste of real-world biomedical engineering, working on medical implants at Guidant Corp. in Boston, MA, MYAMBUTOL alternatives. In 2009, she earned a PhD at Johns Hopkins Univ., Where can i cheapest MYAMBUTOL online, where she focused on corneal tissue engineering. BUY MYAMBUTOL NO PRESCRIPTION, Today, as a postdoctoral fellow at NIH, she applies these biomaterials-based techniques to retinal reconstruction.

Still, Winnette’s fantasy of making a profession out of baking remained, and in June 2011 she teamed up with her younger brother, low dose MYAMBUTOL, Timothy (also an MIT chemical engineer and her Cupcake Wars partner), to open The Sweet Lobby bakery, MYAMBUTOL price, coupon, near Capitol Hill. Venturing into the commercial realm, Winnette “experienced firsthand what every brick and mortar entrepreneur does: escalating costs, construction nightmares, MYAMBUTOL canada, mexico, india, regulatory convert an old building in an historic district to a modern, code-compliant commercial kitchen.” Despite the painful processes involved, MYAMBUTOL over the counter, she says, “I have no regrets.”

From apron to lab coat and back

Winnette begins a typical day by checking in at the bakery, where Timothy is the general manager. She then takes the DC Metro to the NIH lab, MYAMBUTOL no rx. Most evenings, she returns to the bakery to spend time with customers. “I’m fortunate to have Timothy as general manager,” she say, BUY MYAMBUTOL NO PRESCRIPTION. Order MYAMBUTOL online c.o.d, “My husband, Ricardo, a computer scientist I met at MIT, is also involved in every detail of the operations.”

Winnette says that her engineering background influences her approach to baking, buy cheap MYAMBUTOL, and she runs her kitchen the way one might run an academic lab. “I give each of my bakers a notebook, Order MYAMBUTOL from mexican pharmacy, which is to never leave the premises,” she says. “I require that they write everything down, especially when trying new recipes. I encourage methodical experimentation instead of brute force trial and error. BUY MYAMBUTOL NO PRESCRIPTION, This means careful recording of formulation and baking parameters and noting observations.” She adds that much in the kitchen can be modeled mathematically, “especially some of our more labor- and technique-intensive treats like macarons.”

Engineering rigor leads to kitchen triumph

Such rigor is evident on her Cupcake Wars episode, where Winnette is shown exhorting her kitchen assistants to “work fast, work neat.” The program is presented as a rivalry between competing bakers, and edited to ramp up the intensity of “the world’s ultimate cupcake faceoff.”

In the episode, which had a Chinese New Year theme,Winnette wowed the judges with innovative creations, including a fresh ginger five-spice cupcake filled with a red bean mousse, topped with lychee buttercream frosting and fresh ginger caramel, and a chestnut caramel cupcake filled with black sesame pastry cream.

Pushing the envelope of flavor combinations is one of the reasons Winnette got into the food profession. One popular French macaron flavor at the Sweet Lobby features goat cheese with caramelized pear, while another combines olive oil, walnut, Pecorino cheese and white chocolate.

Visiting different countries and sampling a diversity of foods serves to broaden flavor perspectives on what is possible in the kitchen, says Winnette. “You have to master the classics, but for me it is also about building flavors and bridging cultures. It’s about developing a palate that understands how flavor combinations work and taste, before you even turn on the stove.”

Winnette notes that, aside from the chemical interactions that create our sensory impression of taste, each of us has his or her own unique interaction with food when it comes to appreciating visual aesthetics, textures, and flavor, BUY MYAMBUTOL NO PRESCRIPTION.

“The sense of taste is such a wonderful part of our existence,” she says. “One of the privileges of living in 2012 is the accessibility to a stunning array of cultural diversity. Part of appreciating that diversity is experiencing cultures through food.” She adds, “I’m a proponent of the global mix – that is, incorporating flavors from all over the world in your everyday food. This is one way to keep our taste buds from becoming saturated with ‘same’ and more able to truly appreciate and taste.”

To read more about the ways Winnette and Timothy apply their chemical engineering training to running a boutique bakery, visit

Do you also use your chemical engineering knowledge in the kitchen, or in another hobby or business?

Images: The Sweet Lobby

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September 18th, 2012


By Robert Szczesniak | Comments (3)
Fermented foods in China

Fermented foods in China BUY CLONAZEPAM NO PRESCRIPTION, In the time before refrigeration, practitioners of the culinary arts were required not only to prepare food for the table but had to find ways to keep perishable and plentiful food available for the leaner seasons. Fermentation provided a method of preserving perishable items, providing nutritious food throughout the year. CLONAZEPAM coupon, These wonderful biochemistry experiments (zymology) turned into delicacies tightly bound to location through the sugar source (whatever local perishable was abundant) and local bacteria and yeast strains. The most familiar modern examples are wine, beer, yogurt, discount CLONAZEPAM, and cheese, but this practice also includes miso, Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, kimchi, soy sauce, sauerkraut, sourdough, effects of CLONAZEPAM, sour pickles (also known as kosher dills), Hakari (Icelandic rotten shark), Online buy CLONAZEPAM without a prescription, and Sudanese traditions for preserving as many as 80 different animal parts – to name just a few.

Practicality beyond food preservation

Fermentation has other benefits beyond simple preservation.  It can make transportation of crops easier for farmers. It is easier to transport barrels of wine or bourbon to market for sale than fields of heavy and fragile grapes or corn, BUY CLONAZEPAM NO PRESCRIPTION. It can make a bland, common food a little more exciting to eat – think what kimchi does for cabbage, doses CLONAZEPAM work, or pickles do for cucumbers.

What's more, Where to buy CLONAZEPAM, complete conversion of lactose to lactic acid can be beneficial to the lactose intolerant, and the fermentation of other sugars can help diabetics. And while basic nutrients are preserved to significant benefit, Captain Cook took barrels of sauerkraut on his 27-month journey successfully preventing scurvy, CLONAZEPAM steet value.

[caption id="attachment_51315" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The author sends us a shot from a grocery store on the outskirts of Nanjing, China, CLONAZEPAM long term, where various pickled foods are for sale in the fermented foods aisle."][/caption]

More complex benefits can also be realized. There has been much research recently into the inner ecosystem of the human digestive system and many of the findings indicate that complete sterilization of our food is not beneficial BUY CLONAZEPAM NO PRESCRIPTION, .  Fermented foods contain “good-guy” organisms (compared to the “bad-guy” organisms that cause spoilage and illness) that can improve the living environment that is the human gut.  For example, the probiotics in yogurts or kefirs can improve intestinal function as well as provide a tasty snack.

Evolving lives, evolving tastes

As refrigeration became widely available and people moved towards buying their food instead of growing and preparing it, tastes and priorities changed, is CLONAZEPAM addictive. As author Sandor Katz puts it , fermented food exists in that flavorful space between fresh and rotten. Buy no prescription CLONAZEPAM online, With this comes the variability of a biological process. As people lose their connection to food, such as the knowledge of how to properly select it, they  begin paying more money for it and the reliability and consistency of every item on the shelf gains importance, CLONAZEPAM description.

A (what I term to be) sad example of this comes from France and the variety of Camembert cheese, BUY CLONAZEPAM NO PRESCRIPTION. There was a time when all local farms in the Normandy region of France made their own Camembert and it was seen as the French cheese. Cheese could make it to market while fresh milk would never – especially in the hot summer. Rx free CLONAZEPAM, Each farmer had a different recipe and local micro-climate that would produce a different flavor and texture. Some were better than others and the better brands became worth more, to the point that unscrupulous vendors would remove stickers from old wrappings and place them on cheeses from other farms. BUY CLONAZEPAM NO PRESCRIPTION, [caption id="attachment_51317" align="alignleft" width="207" caption="Natto, a Japanese fermented soybean dish. If sauerkraut is a "gateway" fermented food, buy CLONAZEPAM online no prescription, this is for the advanced connoisseur. (Click to enlarge)"][/caption]

As mechanical transportation improved, Order CLONAZEPAM online c.o.d, milk could be transported farther and farther before spoiling, allowing the popular farms to have access to more milk and increase cheese production. Consumers also changed with access to more urban markets, unaccustomed to the variety of strong rural flavors, order CLONAZEPAM online overnight delivery no prescription. Changes in production and target market eventually led to a mellower and more uniform cheese – to the point that if you were able to show someone from 1890 a wheel of modern Camembert cheese, they might not be able to identify it.

Along with changing tastes, the industrialization of food production increased the appeal of the reliability and cost-effectiveness of simpler chemistry compared to the variability and labor intensity of biochemistry, BUY CLONAZEPAM NO PRESCRIPTION. CLONAZEPAM pics, Thickeners can be measured to achieve uniform consistency between batches of yogurt, stabilizers keep emulsions (salad dressings, peanut butter, etc.) emulsified during transport and storage on the shelf, about CLONAZEPAM, vinegar and heat speed pickling. Likewise, CLONAZEPAM mg,  high fructose corn syrup is cheaper and easier to transport, and salt and other preservatives are easier to effectively apply.

Unleash the kitchen biochemist in you

But there is still hope. You can release your own curious culinary biochemist, CLONAZEPAM class. BUY CLONAZEPAM NO PRESCRIPTION, Helped by the slow food movement, there are many publications and organizations (including those of the previously mentioned Sandor Katz) that provide instruction, equipment, and inspiration to begin practicing home fermentation. The first step is to establish the proper environment to encourage the good bacteria: a sugar source (crops of your choosing), bacteria (either from purchased starter, Buy CLONAZEPAM from canada, such as kefir grains, or whatever may be local), and temperature (for rate of reaction). Then wait and monitor (taste) the process, low dose CLONAZEPAM.

[caption id="attachment_51319" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A household yogurt maker. (Click to enlarge)"][/caption]

Good starter recipes are yogurt or sauerkraut. I have made my own yogurt using store bought yogurt as a starter – easy and effective.  Sauerkraut is sliced cabbage, salted (to draw out the water), and placed in a ceramic or glass container, BUY CLONAZEPAM NO PRESCRIPTION. CLONAZEPAM use, The key is keeping the growth anaerobic; a weight is placed on the cabbage to keep it submerged. There are many different ways to advance once the simplest preparations are comfortable; one form of home fermentation gaining popularity among my friends is beer brewing.

Any way you choose it, you can make a tasty, online CLONAZEPAM without a prescription, healthy treat while building a stronger connection to your food.

Robert contributes this post from the outskirts of Nanjing, Australia, uk, us, usa, China, where he is currently working. Read more about how Robert's chemical engineering expertise takes him around the world here.

What favorite foods of yours rely on biochemistry?

Images: Nanking fermented foods, Robert Szczesniak; natto, yamada3; yogurt maker, Jay Paradis

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October 18th, 2012


By Amy Beaird | Comments (3)
Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake DULOXETINE FOR SALE, Baking the perfect cake is both an art and a science. Red velvet is no exception. DULOXETINE steet value, A confection that ignites the senses through striking visual appeal, a fine crumb texture and a hint of cocoa flavor, DULOXETINE coupon, Cheap DULOXETINE no rx, red velvet cake has captured the eyes and tastebuds of many.

There has long been a sense of mystery and controversy surrounding the origins of the deep red cake, where can i find DULOXETINE online. Buy cheap DULOXETINE no rx,  Its popularity grew significantly after the film Steel Magnolias featured a red velvet armadillo groom’s cake in 1989. With the cupcake craze sweeping our nation, online buying DULOXETINE hcl, DULOXETINE brand name, red velvet is now commonplace on menus around the country. No matter how the crimson hue is achieved, the recipes are nothing short of a good old-fashioned science experiment, DULOXETINE FOR SALE.

Red from anthocyanins

Largely unreplicated by today’s bakers, order DULOXETINE online overnight delivery no prescription, DULOXETINE online cod, traditional recipes from the early 1900s were believed to produce a reddish hue through a reaction between natural cocoa powder and acidic buttermilk or vinegar. Natural cocoa powder contains anthocyanins – antioxidants that are also found in red cabbage, buy generic DULOXETINE, Low dose DULOXETINE, pomegranate and many other species. In the presence of acid, doses DULOXETINE work, DULOXETINE photos, anthocyanins exude a reddish hue. They’re purple in neutral conditions and turn yellow-green in alkaline environments, DULOXETINE pics.

[caption id="attachment_52451" align="alignright" width="210" caption="The darker Dutch process cocoa on the left won't do much to make red velvet cake red."] DULOXETINE FOR SALE, [/caption]

Today, Dutch (or alkali) processed cocoa powder is more common on grocery shelves than natural cocoa. DULOXETINE without a prescription, The incorporation of Dutch processed cocoa causes a shift in the pH of the recipe and thus an undesired color change resulting in a brown cake.

While this is interesting from a chemistry standpoint, DULOXETINE wiki, DULOXETINE over the counter, it’s highly unlikely that the quantity of cocoa powder (1/4 c. or less in most recipes) was ever enough to achieve the bright red color that we’ve come to associate with today’s popular dessert, DULOXETINE no prescription. Online buying DULOXETINE,   Another theory is that the cake was never actually red at all. Most red velvet recipes call for brown sugar, historically referred to as “red” sugar, which could have been responsible for the name, DULOXETINE FOR SALE.

Red from betalains

Another popular option for achieving a bright red cake is through the addition of beets, DULOXETINE duration, DULOXETINE blogs, which serve to add both nutrients and moisture. Unlike cocoa, japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, DULOXETINE samples, beets get their red pigmentation from betalains. Anthocyanins and betalains are two of the primary red pigments found in plants, is DULOXETINE addictive. Buy DULOXETINE from canada, Interestingly, these two plant compounds rarely, if ever, occur together in the same species. DULOXETINE FOR SALE, Like anthocyanins, betalains are highly pH sensitive, with acidic conditions favoring the desired red color.

Beet red velvet recipes have also frustrated bakers as a result of the many variables that affect betalain pigmentation, some of which include water content and temperature. In my experience, incorporating lemon juice, buttermilk and/or vinegar the recipe helps maintain a red cake. (If you would like to try a beet red velvet cake, visit my blog for a recipe).

Red from azo dyes

The most reproducible method for obtaining a deep shade of crimson in today’s red velvet cake is to add food coloring – many recipes call for an entire 1 oz bottle. In these recipes, acidic ingredients are not needed, but most recipes retain buttermilk or vinegar out of tradition, DULOXETINE FOR SALE.

The ingredients listed on grocery store food coloring are FD&C Red # 40 and Red # 3 with a few preservatives and additives to keep everything solution. These red compounds, or azo dyes, are a specialty refined petroleum product. Red food coloring does little for the flavor, nutrition or texture of the cake, but it results in an unmistakable shade of red. Bakers and consumers have come to identify the confection by the bright pigmentation achieved with azo dyes.

No matter which approach you take to putting the red in red celvet cake, part of the fun is the science behind it. Why not try one of each and see which you prefer.

Have you used chemistry knowledge to create red velvet cake or other creation?

For further reading:
History of Red Velvet Cake
Review of Anthocyanin Behaviors
Betalain Stability and Degradation

Image: Red velvet cake, Amy Beaird; cocoa powder comparison, seelensturm; beets, B.D.'s world

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