Chemistry in the Kitchen

- by Jean Dwyer

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Chemistry is defined as "the science of properties of
substances and their combinations and actions on one another."
Chemistry in the kitchen is perhaps not quite what Jerome had
expected when we starting cooking.

Jerome and I have been cooking once a week for several months. We
began by examining basic techniques and terminology of cooking and
have progressed to the more difficult gourmet fare. Jerome has
learned that gourmet means a lot of work and dirty dishes.
Jerome brought to his well stocked kitchen a sound foundation of
cooking, having been tutored by his mother. Not only is Jerome
extremely organized and neat but he anticipates recipe ingredients
and is well prepared. He always knows where things are and he
cleans up as he goes along, so there is always little mess when we

Always willing to try new things, Jerome often makes suggestions
and recommendations. He is quick to pick-up on the new techniques
presented by each successive recipe.
Jerome works hard and is getting wonderful results. We have
made lemon curd, chicken Madeira and chocolate soufflé. Much to his
credit and my joy we have not had a bomb yet.
Next week we plan to venture forth with a New York style cheese
cake: Jeremy's favorite type of dessert. Another challenge we hope
to meet is peach cobbler. Jerome claims his mother makes the best
he has ever tasted. We will aim to see if we can match it.


A quick and refreshing pasta, easy on the calories.
1 container (15ounces) low-fat          1 lb. ripe plum tomatoes
  ricotta cheese                                12 oz. Penne
1 tbs. minced fresh basil                   2 tbs. julienne strips
1\2 tsp. grated lemon zest                 Fresh basil leaves
1 crushed garlic clove                        Fruity olive oil
1\2 tsp. each salt and pepper
Place ricotta in a sieve set over a bowl; drain in refrigerator 1
hour.  Discard liquid.  Combine ricotta with the minced basil,
lemon zest, garlic, salt, and black pepper; set aside.  
Halve the tomatoes lengthwise; scoop out the seeds and pulp.  Cut
the tomato flesh into 1\4 inch lengthwise strips.
Cook the penne in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, or
firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.  Ladle out 1\4 cup of the pasta
cooking liquid; reserve.  Drain the pasta.
In a large bowl, toss the pasta with 1\4 cup pasta cooking liquid,
ricotta, tomatoes, basil strips, and 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
until blended. 

Revised: Saturday, February 23, 2002 08:42 AM