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“Airs & Spheres” – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [5]

Molecular Gastronomy Class #2 – “Airs and Mozzarella Spheres”

Molecular Gastronomy Class, MyLastBite.com“Laboratory Work” was the title of the second Molecular Gastronomy class I attended in February, and it was so much more fun than the first. Instead of learning just one recipe throughout the afternoon, we were allowed to work on several. My favorites included: Airs, Mozzarella Spheres, “Wine” Caviar, and Hot Ice Cream.

Like the initial class I took back in November, this was also taught by Chef Michael Young at Sur la Table in Los Angeles. I was joined again by husband Peter and food-lovin’ nephew Cody and fellow foodblogger Phil (My Life as a Foodie) and his friend, Jill.

Before coming to class, I was most excited about learning how to make “airs”. Since purchasing Ferran Adria’s el Bulli (molecular gastronomy) mini kit, I hadn’t yet had the courage to try out the Lecite, which is part of the ‘EMULSIFICACIÓN’ Group. Lecite is a natural soy lecithin-based emulsifier, and it’s ideal for making flavored airs (links below).

As it turns out, making foams and airs was easy: add the Lecite and whip until frothy!

Recipe for Carrot Air:

18 oz carrot juice
3g lecithin (aka lecite), food grade

Place the carrot juice and lecite into a large bowl and blend with a stick-blender until foaming. Scoop out whipped “air” from top and serve.

Making Carrot Foam, MyLastBite.com
In photos: Cody and Peter, Carrot air, Phil, Jill, Cody and Peter

I’ve had mozarrella spheres at the Bazaar several times, so I really enjoyed learning how to make them in class!

Molecular Gastronomy Class, MyLastBite.comRecipe for Mozzarella Spheres:

250 g Buffalo Mozzerella
150 g Heavy Cream
5 g Calcium Lactate (1.25%)
Tomato Juice (optional)
1 L. Water
5 g Sodium Alginate (0.5%)

1. Mix mozzarella with cream and calcium lactate.

2. Fill bowl with water and add sodium alginate.

3. Stir until dissolved.

4. Transfer mozzarella mix to alginate bath.

5. Allow 2 minutes for setting

Optional: Inject spheres with tomato juice and serve. Note: We had a difficult time injecting the tomato juice, so I would probably leave that part out if trying for the first time.

Making Mozzarella Spheres, MyLastBite.comIn photos: Trying to inject the mozzarella balls with tomato juice.

Making the apple caviar was easy this time around, since I’ve made it several times myself at home. After our group finished making the caviar, Peter said “to heck with apple juice, where’s the alcohol?” Chef Young overheard and handed Peter an open bottle of wine, and that’s when we REALLY started having fun. The wine caviar was fantastic, and it will make for a whole new twist on “Wine and Cheese” nights for sure!

Making Wine "Caviar", MyLastBite.comRecipe for Apple Caviar

9 oz. Apple Juice (or wine, we used red)
2 g (.07 oz.) Sodium Alginate
18 oz. water
2.5 g (.09 oz.) Calcium Chloride 

1. Mix the sodium alginate with 1/2 of the apple juice and blend until dissolved.

2. Mix in remaining juice, strain and allow to sit to remove any air bubbles.

3. Dissolve the calcium chloride in the water.

4. Fill syringe or squeeze bottle with the juice mixture.

5. Softly expel mixture into calcium chloride bath drop by drop.

6. After a minute, remove gently with a tea strainer and rinse gently in cold water.

Making Apple "Caviar", MyLastBite.com
Apple Caviar

Wine "Caviar", MyLastBite.com
Photo above: Peter’s wine “caviar”!

When Chef Young said he would be demonstrating how to make “Hot Ice Cream”, all I could think about was the deep-fried ice cream balls I used to order at El Torito restaurant, but this was nothing like my favorite high school dinner-date treat! It was also the most difficult “recipe” of the day. So difficult, that we all pretty much just watched our instructor take us through each step over the stove.

Recipe for “Hot Ice Cream”

With my good buddy Phil, MyLastBite.com306 g Whole Milk Yogurt
230 g Cream Cheese
80 g Agave Nectar
154 g Water
1 Vanilla Bean, scraped
1 Pinch of Sea Salt
11.55 g. Methyl Cellulose (1.5%) 
Ice bath 

1. In a blender puree together the yogurt, cream cheese, agave nectar, vanilla and salt. Blend just until the mixture comes together as a smooth puree, but do not aerate.

2. Heat the water to a boil. As soon as it’s boiling remove from heat and whisk in the methyl cellulose.

3. Once the methyl cellulose is dispersed, add it to the blender and puree until the mixture is homogenized, again do not aerate. 

4. Prepare ice bath. Pour mixture into a bowl and chill in ice bath. Set the ice-cold mixture rest in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight before poaching the ice cream.

5. When ready to make hot ice cream, heat a pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, shut off the heat and scoop the ice cream base.

6. As you scoop, wipe the edges of the ice cream scoop and then immerse the scoop and its contents into the hot water. You will see the ice cream set, and then dislodge it from the scoop. The ice cream should poach for about one minute for small scoops and longer for larger scoops. Depending on the size you may have to turn the heat back on to keep the water hot.

7. Once the ice cream is set, remove the scoops and drain briefly on a paper towel and place into serving dishes. As the mixture sits, the ice cream will melt.

Please note: I did not test this recipe myself, but it was fascinating to watch and was delicious. My Cody nephew thought it would be perfect on a freshly-made waffle.

Making "Hot" Ice Cream, MyLastBite.com
Photos: Phil, Chef young, Jill, Cody and Peter. “Hot” Ice Cream made with Methyl Cellulose.

Class Date: 2/22/2009
Sur la Table, Los Angeles (at the Grove)
Cost $89 

Sur la Table Cooking Classes

Mentioned Above:

All photos from this molecular gastronomy class

Where to buy molecular ingredients

Molecular Gastronomy Class, MyLastBite.comMolecular fun at home

About Texturas (in English)

About Texturas Lecite (airs)

Albert & Ferran Adria Textura site (spanish)

All recipes above adapted by Chef Michael Young

Domenico Ristorante (Chef Michael Young)

Why I call it “Molecular Cooking”

The el Bulli kit!

Check out My Life As A Foodie’s awesome Podcast of our class!

Wine Caviar by my friend Phil

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 4

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 6

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Kids & Fruit Caviar – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [4]

“Kids Play!”

I recently took my Molecular Cooking kit to my sister’s house for an afternoon of food fun with the twins (Kindal & Chace, age 12). After setting up the ingredients (including calcium chloride and sodium alginate), I had my niece and nephew read the recipe for making fruit “caviar”. My niece Kindal said “That’s it? This is gonna be EASY!”.

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.comThey used the same recipe and ingredients as I did for the ruby red grapefruit caviar, but also added Gummy Bears and Jelly Bellys into the larger balls. They did this by inserting the candy into the juice solution, just as it was scooped into the algin bath. Even my older nephew Cody got in on the fun, and there was a bit of fighting to take turns using the syringes. Next time I’ll make sure to bring three with me!

The caviar were perfect and we served them with lemon sorbet for dinner. The Gummy Bear and Jelly Belly spheres were oddly shaped, but the kids thought they were cool. They loved biting through the spherical balls to get to the candy center. When we plated them, I actually thought they looked like pretty, little river rocks.

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon watching the kids do what kids do best…. play with their food.

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com
Kindal weighing the calcium chloride.

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com
Weighing the juice.

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com
Chace & Kindal taking turns mixing the sodium alginate with the juice.

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com
Using the Texturas syringe to make “caviar”!

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com
Cody makes larger spheres.

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com
Sucking out the caviar with straws!

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com
Kindal, Chace, Jo, Cody

Kids & Molecular Cooking, MyLastBite.com
Fruit Caviar and candy filled balls.

Recipe for Ruby Red Grapefruit “Caviar” (plus where to buy ingredients)

More Molecular/Modern Cooking

The Twins

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Filed under Molecular Cooking