Combining food with science may seem like an unlikely combination, but it has worked very well for Alton Brown.
Brown is also the author of several cookbooks including his latest, “Good Eats 3: The Later Years," (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). The “Good Eats” cookbook series feature the recipes from his 14 seasons on the Food Network.
“Good Eats” was created when Brown, a former film director and cinematographer, found food shows boring. Deciding he could do a better show, he enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute.
After training, he wrote and created the popular show, which combined science lessons with recipes.
Why does bread dough rise? What makes a marshmallow sticky?
Brown explained all the scientific information behind the foods while showing viewers the recipe. The show was a hit with the public and critics – he won a Peabody Award and the 2011 James Beard Award.
Brown’s latest book features hundreds of photos, drawings and still photos from the show along with more than 200 recipes. Some of the recipes include homemade marshmallows, known as “Puff the Magic Marshmallow,” and homemade dill pickle or “Dill-icious” as Brown calls them.
Mandi Semple, director of community and media relations at Sewickley Academy, said she is personally super excited about Brown’s visit.
“I love the Food Network and have watched his show, so this is really a treat,” Semple said.
One of the best aspects of Brown’s show, according to Semple, is his food knowledge.
“It was fascinating to see what each ingredient did and how it worked to make the recipes work.”
“Plus, he knows all of these amazing food facts that just make it fun to watch him,” she said.
Semple said that Brown’s knowledge of food along with his quick wit and quirky sense of humor makes for a great show that should translate to a great presentation when he comes to the school Wednesday night.
She said Brown is also known to be crowd-friendly and makes sure he signs everyone’s book, putting children and families first in line.
“This is a very family friendly event,” she said.
Tickets for Brown’s appearance are $45 and include the event and a signed copy of “Good Eats 3: The Later Years.”
Up to three companion tickets may be purchased for $30 each, which does not include a signed book. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: www.PenguinBookshop.com.
Semple shared this great autumn recipe from Brown’s book:
Recipe from Good Eats 3: The Later Years
1 (9-INCH) PIE OR 5 (5-INCH) MINI-PIES
FOR THE CRUST
6 ounces gingersnap cookies
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 ounce unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE FILLING
16 ounces pumpkin puree
1 cup half-and-half
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
FOR THE BRÛLÉE FOR MINI-PIES
5 teaspoons light brown sugar
Heat the oven to 350°F.
MAKE THE CRUST:
Combine the gingersnaps, brown sugar, and ginger in a food processor. Process until the cookies are fine crumbs. Drizzle the butter into the crumb mixture. Pulse 8 to 10 times to combine.
Press the gingersnap mixture into the bottom, up the sides, and just over the lip of a 9-inch glass pie dish. Place on a half sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool the crust at least 10 minutes before filling. For mini-pies: Evenly divide the crust mixture among 5 (5-inch) pie tins and bake on a half sheet pan for 5 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.
MAKE THE FILLING:
Bring the pumpkin puree to a simmer over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add the half-and-half, nutmeg, and salt. Stir and return the mixture to a simmer. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Whisk the brown sugar, eggs, and egg yolk in a large bowl until smooth. Add the pumpkin mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the filling into the warm pie crust and bake on the same half sheet pan for 45 to 50 minutes, until the center jiggles slightly but the sides of the filling are set. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 2 hours before slicing. The pie can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance and is best the day after it is made.
Divide the filling evenly among the pans; bake on the same half sheet pan for 25 minutes, or until the center jiggles slightly but the sides of the filling are set. Cool on a cooling rack for 2 hours. Spread 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar on the top of each pie. Melt the sugar using a blowtorch to form a crisp top. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.