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Cooking with Fire and Tools

Photo provided by Andrew of aspiringgentleman.com

Having recently been at a restaurant where my dinner was constantly interrupted by the bright lights and flame sounds coming from the nearby wok chef, I made a mental note that I can never abandon living with a gas element. Flambé doesn’t just help develop flavors, it creates a unique sense of exhilaration in the kitchen. There is a poor man’s version of the kitchen flame, and thankfully it comes with it’s own little handheld tool that will conjure images of the hard-working welder. The creme brulee torch, which thanks to butane has become very accessible for even the most amateur chefs. Most of us already have butane around to refill our cigar lighters. This little torch enables some fun, flavorful Cooking with Fire without a lot of expertise.  So far I have worked out 2 recipes to use my own torch and both are easy to make.

Honey Ginger Glaze

This recipe is perfect for baked or grilled salmon, although it works on tuna and even other meats. Take a quarter cup of honey or maple syrup with a few tablespoons of soy sauce. Add some crushed garlic and ginger to the mix and brush it on the salmon. Then its time to apply the flame, gently heating the glaze until it’s caramelized.

Creme Brulee

I always thought this was a difficult dessert to pull off, but actually requires very little ingredients or effort.

1 Cup Cream

4 Egg Yolks

1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla

1/4 Cup Sugar

Beat the yolks and sugar into a paste. Heat the cream separately until warm, not hot. Slowly whisk in the cream so as not to cook the yolks, then add the vanilla. If you want a smoother texture you can put the mix through a sieve. Pour into 4 shallow ramekins. Put the ramekins in a water bath(9×13 half filled with water). Bake at 300F for about 45 minutes, but keep an eye on the mix because you want to take it out just as the mix firms up and stops jiggling. Put in the freezer for 15 mins to cool it then sprinkle the top with more white sugar. Apply the torch until the sugar on top melts and begins to brown but not burn. Let set for a minute then enjoy.