Tag Archives: texturas

Chimichurri “Air” – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [7]

After learning the simple recipe for making flavored “air” at Molecular Gastronomy Class, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to aerate first. Multiple visits to the the Bazaar by José Andrés had me familiar with Bar Centro’s “salt air” topped margaritas, and my favorite “new way” martini with spherified (Ferran Adria) olive is topped with a tangy brine “air”. 

Peter and I love grilling flatiron steak, and I make homemade chimichurri sauce at least once a week. But in our house it’s not just for beef. We also add it to eggs, quesadillas, pastas, and even tuna salad.

Chimichurri "Air" photo 10 by MyLastBite.comTo make the “air”, there are actually only two ingredients needed: some sort of liquid and the lecite (aka lecithin), a natural soy-based emulsifier (links below).

Traditional chimichurri is usually made with two liquids: olive oil and acids, usually limes or vinegar. To make my chimichurri air, I left OUT the olive oil and just drizzled the oil on the steak directly, BEFORE adding the “air” on top.

I like my chimichurri REALLY spicy and wasn’t sure the heat would remain after straining and aerating, but it did. The light (and well, airy) texture was a refreshing change from the standard sauce. 

I certainly don’t plan on going crazy with the lecite (although I do think a Heinz 57 “air” would be an awesome return to my childhood). To me, it’s simply about learning yet another delicious (and fun!) cooking technique at home.

My Recipe for Chimichurri Air:

Chimichurri "Air" photo 2 by MyLastBite.com9 oz liquified chimichurri sauce (recipe follows)
1.5 g lecithin (aka lecite), food grade
Olive oil (to drizzle on steak) 

To make the chimichurri sauce:
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 medium jalapeno chilies (or more if you like it spicy)
8 oz of fresh lime juice or red wine vinegar
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
Fleur de sel (or sea salt) 

Place all ingredients in a mini-chop or food processor and blend until liquified.

Chimichurri "Air" photo 3 by MyLastBite.comMeasure 9 oz of liquid (add vinegar or water if needed). 

Then pour the liquid through a fine strainer to remove any large pieces.

Make sure it’s 9 oz of liquid to 1.5 g lecithin (again, add vinegar or water if needed).

Place the chimichurri sauce and lecite into a large bowl and blend with a stick-blender until foaming. Note: I have a large, plastic container that I use for this. It can get pretty messy in a standard bowl, so wear an apron!

Chimichurri "Air" photo 9 by MyLastBite.comPrepare the steak:
Grill steak to desired doneness and let meat rest for at least ten minutes.

Cut and plate then drizzle olive oil directly on steak.

Add salt then scoop out whipped “air” from bowl and gently place on meat.

If the “air” becomes watery, simply blend again (not too long) until foamy. Serve immediately!

Chimichurri "Air" photo 11 by MyLastBite.com

Mentioned Above:

Bazaar’s Martini w/ Brine “Air”

About Texturas (in English)

Albert & Ferran Adria Textura site (spanish)

About Texturas – Lecite (airs)

Where to buy molecular ingredients

Molecular fun at home

My ChimiTuna (tuna salad with chimchurri)

My visits to the Bazaar

Ferran Adria’s “Liquid” Olive

El Torito’s Deep-Fried Ice Cream photo

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 6 (Trisol)

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 5 (Class)

Why I call it “Molecular Cooking”

All my chimichurri “air” photos on Flickr

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“Trisol” for crispier, less greasy frying! – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [6]

“Trisol” for crispier, less greasy frying!

I first learned about Trisol on the Chadzilla website (link below). It’s one of my favorite “molecular gastronomy” blogs and I’m always inspired by the photos and information they post.

Chadzilla wrote:
“We have been working with incorporating the Adria’s Surpises product Trisol into fried food textures. It’s a wheat starch that can be used in a dry mix with AP flour (70% flour: 30% trisol) or in batters.  The great benefit is that it buys time for the chef if the fried product has to sit a minute.  This could obviously be seen as advantageous during large groups or parties, but the real advantage is the texture which is amazingly crispy.”

Trisol Fry-Up, MyLastBite.comMore about Trisol (as noted on La Tienda’s website):
“Trisol : Is a soluble fibre derived from wheat, especially recommended for the preparation of frying batter and tempura, the result being a crunchy, not at all oily, texture. It is also perfect as a substitute for sugar in the preparation of doughs for biscuits. Characteristics: Available in soluble powder form with neutral taste and smell. It keeps tempura crunchy even with the most moist products.”

I immediately purchased the Trisol and when it arrived a few days later, I was surprised to find it came in a bowling bag size tub! The previous Textura products I’d ordered came in cute, little “V8” juice size cans containing just 100 grams in each. The Trisol tub weighed in at 4 kilos (8.8 pounds)! What a great excuse to have a good old fashioned FRY-UP! All in the name of “research” of course.

Trisol Fry-Up, MyLastBite.comTrisol Fry-Up Test #1 – Buttermilk Onion Rings.

Using a simple buttermilk recipe, I incorporated the Trisol:

I sliced the onion rings and placed in a large container.

Poured buttermilk over, covered and placed in fridge for about 1/2 an hour.

Next I prepped two bowls of all-purpose flour then added salt & pepper.

Then I added Trisol to each.

Trisol Fry-Up, MyLastBite.comIn one bowl I had 70% flour to 30% Trisol.

In the other bowl I had 50% flour to 50% Trisol (just to see if there was a huge difference after frying).

I mixed them both (separately) then heated up vegetable oil for frying (to 350 degrees).

I then drained the onion rings from the buttermilk, but reserved the buttermilk in a shallow pan so I could coat each piece twice.

1. Take wet (from buttermilk) onion ring
2. Dredge in flour / Trisol
3. Dip in buttermilk a second time
4. Dredge again in flour / Trisol
5. Fry in batches for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Drain on paper towels and add salt immediately (while still hot).

Trisol Fry-Up, MyLastBite.com 
The first batch I fried were the 30% Trisol (as noted on the Chadzilla site). They were still crispy after I left them sitting on the counter for four hours. GREAT for dinner parties!

Trisol Fry-Up, MyLastBite.com

The 50% Trisol were lighter in weight and much crispier of course, but they were almost “too crunchy”.

Trisol Fry-Up Test #2 – Asparagus, Tofu Squares and Mozzarella Sticks.

My sister Janet’s kids loved fried foods. They’re not allowed to have them very often though, because my super-healthy sister does NOT. Needless to say, she was less than thrilled when I showed up at her house carrying the tub of Trisol, for “deep-frying research”.

The twins (ages 13) helped me clean and trim some asparagus and then I asked Janet what things we could grab from the fridge. This is when it got fun! After searching through all the drawers, we decided to fry mozzarella sticks, jalapenos and tofu squares (just for my sister).

We marinated each item separately in buttermilk, then got to the fry-up. This time I decided to test 60% flour to 40% Trisol. Following the same instructions as above, we first fried up the asparagus, then jalapenos, tofu squares, and finally the cheese (in case it oozed).

Janet made a huge garden salad and we sat down to our “Deep-Fried-Enjoy-It-Now” (because it will NEVER happen again dinner)! And what did my marathon-running-healthy-eating sister think of the Trisol? She LOVED it. The fact that it wasn’t so greasy made her enjoy it, and we were all shocked to see her reaching for more.

We dipped some bites in ranch dressing, others in ketchup and ate the asparagus on it’s own. I was surprised how much I liked the tofu, since I had cooked it up especially for my sister, but we were fighting over the last, crispy square. The Trisol did a great job holding the tofu wetness inside and I’m definitely going make agedashi tofu soon.

After trying the three Trisol recipes, I liked the 60/40 combination the best. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) I still have half a TUB (four pounds) of Trisol left, and it’s taking up space in my small kitchen. I really don’t deep-fry too often at home, but I guess I’ll have to plan a few more fry-ups in the near future, all in the name of molecular “research” of course!

Trisol Fry-Up, MyLastBite.com
The Asparagus

Trisol Fry-Up, MyLastBite.com
Mozzarella Sticks, Tofu Squares, Onion Rings, (jalapeno underneath)

Mentioned above:

Chadzilla

La Tienda

My sister

The kids

Agedashi Tofu

Adria’s Textura Website (in Spanish)

Texturas products I have at home

All my “molecular gastronomy (cooking) at home” photos

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 7 (Chimichurri “Air”)

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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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Fruit “Caviar” – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [3]

“Fruit Caviar” 

Last week I received the elBulli Texturas MiniKit that I ordered from the UK. Not only did it include the groovy Texturas ingredients, but also the tools and guidebook that I needed to really jump into this brave new world. 

Eines (Tools), elBulli Texturas Kit, MyLastBite.comThe tools that came with the elBulli Texturas kit included a collecting (straining) spoon, measuring spoons and a syringe. I have to say, there is something sort of thrilling about using tools with “Albert Y Ferran Adrià” ENGRAVED on them. It’s silly, but it makes the experience a little more special.

The phrase “Molecular Gastronomy ” (or molecular cooking) used to scare me. It sounded like brainy “science fiction” gibberish, especially when I started reading about techniques called “spherification” and “emulsification”. 

My current obsession with it began after I attended a “Molecular Gastronomy” class in November. The next day I started ordering the special ingredients and tools, then created a “molecular cooking” corner in my funky, vintage kitchen. During that first class, our instructor (the awesome Chef Michael Young) demonstrated how to make Ferran Adria’s fruit caviar, but I didn’t actually get to try the caviar recipe that day.

A couple of years ago, I remember being dumbfounded while watching Ferran and Albert Adrià working at their elBulliTaller (laboratory) in Barcelona, Spain. It was on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” episode titled “Decoding Ferran Adrià“. The brothers Adrià were showing Bourdain how to make mango “caviar” and I thought, “I wish I could do THAT in my kitchen!”.

Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.comWell I’m very proud to say that yesterday… I did it. I spent all afternoon making various sizes of elBulli “caviar”. It was AWESOME.

What I’ve discovered thus far is that “molecular cooking” requires three SIMPLE things:

1. Special ingredients such as Sodium Alginate and Calcium Chloride…

2. Tools including a digital scale, squeeze bottle and straining spoon…

3. And most of all… ENTHUSIASM!

Recipe for Ruby Red Grapefruit “Caviar” (I picked Ruby Red Grapefruit for the color… such a pretty pale pink!)

Making Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com9 oz. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
18 oz. Cold Water
1 g Sodium Alginate (or Algin)
3 g Calcium Chloride (or Calcic)
Digital scale
1 large bowl
2 medium bowls
Immersion blender
Fine mesh strainer

1. In one of the medium bowls, fill with cold water until the bottom is covered up to about four inches. Set this water bath aside. It will be used as the final step in making the fruit caviar.

2. In the large bowl, mix the sodium alginate with 1/2 the fruit juice and blend till completely dissolved.
Making Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

3. Mix in the remaining fruit juice
Making Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

4. Strain into empty medium bowl and allow to sit to remove any air bubbles. 
Making Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

 5. In a medium bowl, dissolve the calcium chloride in the 18 oz. of cold water. I used a small whisk and it took about a minute to be completely dissolved.

Making Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

6. Fill syringe or squeeze bottle with the juice mixture. It will be a little thick and “goopy”.
Making Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

 7. Gently discharge the mixture into the calcium chloride bath drop by drop.

Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com
8. After a minute, gently remove the “caviar” using a straining spoon and add to the cold water bath.

Tiny Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

9. Wait a couple of minutes then remove the “caviar” from the fresh water into a serving bowl or serving spoon.

Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

Note: I had a kitchen towel folded next to the water bath. Right after removing a spoonful of caviar (with the straining or collecting spoon), I gently tapped the bottom of the spoon onto the towel and it removed the excess water.

10. Serve and enjoy!
Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

My Trio of Sizes.
Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com Spherification, MyLastBite.com Fruit "Caviar", MyLastBite.com

I see Ferran Adrià’s  “Liquid Olives” in the very near future!!!

Previous Posts: 

 

“Adventures in Molecular Cooking [1]”

“Adventures in Molecular Cooking [2]”

About Molecular Gastronomy:

Video of Hervé This discussing Molecular Gastronomy

Books: Molecular Gastronomy by Hervé This and Malcolm DeBevoise

Where to buy ingredients:
Le Sanctuaire

Texturas elBulli

elBulli Texturas Mini Kit, MyLastBite.com


Infusions LTD sells an elBulli “mini starter kit”


Books about Molecular Cooking:

Under Pressure: Cooking Sous-Vide by Thomas Keller

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee

A Day at el Bulli by Ferran Adria

Alinea by Grant Achatz

Kitchen Chemistry by Ted Lister and Heston Blumenthal

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal

==============

Ferran Adrià’s team demonstrates how to make fruit caviar

==============

Ferran Adria’s Pea Ravioli

==============

Molecular Gastronomy & Molecular Cooking  on TV:

Be sure to look out for a terrific molecular cooking episode of “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” titled “The Inventors” (the series is currently in reruns). It features Herve This, PolyScience inventor Philip Preston (Anti-Griddle and Immersion Circulators) and Nathan Myhrvold, a former CTO of Microsoft turned Sous-Vide master.  Short video clip here.

José Andrés Made in Spain. If you missed it the yogurt spherification episode, it’s titled “Paella Day”

Read more about Spherification here

A recent Time Magazine article about Ferran Adria

Very excited to meet Ferran Adria!

 


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The elBulli Goodie Box

elBulli Texturas, MyLastBite.com
It’s here. The Texturas elBulli “mini starter” kit. The Molecular Gastronomy (molecular cooking!), Oh-So-Astonishing Goodie Box!

First of all, the packaging itself is simply beautiful, with cutout photographs of Ferran and Albert Adria on the outer sleeve. When I slipped off the cover I found five cans of elBulli Texturas: Algin, Gluco, Xantana, Agar and Lecite. Also included were five measuring spoons with “Texturas Albert Y Ferran Adria” engraved on each, a syringe (for pumping out liquid “caviar”), and one “collecting” (straining) spoon which is something I had been searching for, even before I found the kit. Ferran Adria used this collecting spoon to serve his famous “liquid olives” at elBulli.
elBulli Texturas, MyLastBite.com

Kit description: “This Mini Kit gives you a fantastic selection of elBulli Texturas products with a host of applications possible. Reverse Sferificación (Gluco, Algin, Xantana 100g), a set of Eines (tools), Lecite 70g for your Airs & Foams and Agar 100g perfect for Hot Jellies, Spaghetti etc. There is a multi language booklet with ideas and recipes and offers hours of experimentation in the kitchen. Dinner Parties will never be the same again.”

elBulli Texturas, MyLastBite.com

 elBulli Texturas, MyLastBite.com elBulli Texturas, MyLastBite.com elBulli Texturas, MyLastBite.com

I’m looking at the goodie box now… gathering up the courage to break out the tools and texturas… because from here on out, it’s going to be a whole new extraordinary adventure in my humble kitchen. HELLO 2009!

About Texturas elBulli

Infusions 4 Chefs –  where I purchased the kit

Download the Infusions 4 Chefs Product Brochure

“Adventures in Molecular Cooking” [1]

“Adventures in Molecular Cooking [2]

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“Reverse Spherification” – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [2]

“Reverse Yogurt Spherification” 

Until very recently, Alginate and Spherification were two words that were never spoken in my kitchen. That was of course until I attended a mind-altering, WTF, OMG I-need-more-kitchen-counter-space “Molecular Gastronomy” class.

Yogurt Spherification 12, MyLastBite.com

After posting an article about the experience, I received an email from Hervé This, the French scientist and FATHER of Molecular Gastronomy. He kindly corrected me on the use of the words “molecular gastronomy”, and wanted me to understand that what I was doing was actually “molecular COOKING”, not molecular gastronomy.

Well…whatever it is I’m supposed to call it… “It” has taken over my thoughts, my bank account, and now my very crowded kitchen counter.

Before I continue, here are a few descriptions:

Sodium Alginate for Yogurt Spherification, MyLastBite.comSodium Alginate : 
Extracted from brown seaweed, sodium alginate is a stabilizer for ice cream, yogurt, cream, and cheese. It is a thickener and emulsifier for salad, pudding, jam, tomato juice, and canned products. In the presence of calcium and acid mediums, it forms resilient gels. It is a cold gelling agent that needs no heat to gel. It is most commonly used with calcium chloride in the spherification process.

Calcium Chloride : 
Food grade pellets used in post-harvest treatments of fruits and vegetables. Calcium chloride is also used in food and beverage processing, high fructose corn syrup production, and dairy foods processing.

Spherification consists of the controlled gelification of a liquid which, submerged in a bath, forms spheres. There are two kinds: Basic Spherification (which consists of submerging a liquid with Alginate in a bath of Calcium Chloride) and Reverse Spherification (submerging a liquid with Gluco in a bath of Alginate). These techniques can obtain spheres of different sizes: caviar, eggs, gnocchi, ravioli… In both techniques, the spheres produced can be manipulated, since they are slightly flexible. 

Reverse/Inverse Spherification. By inserting a product that already contains calcium into an Alginate bath, you can make spherical preparations with dairy products, olives and other foodstuffs. Instead of adding Calcium Chloride to the preparations you would use gluconolactate in proportion to the product’s natural calcium content, then conclude the technique by bathing the result in Alginate. Furthermore, inverse spherification allows the item to hold its jellification, which you would be unable to control in basic spherification. As the Alginate fails to penetrate the sphere in this method, jellification only occurs on the surface.  Read more about the History of Spherification.

I thought it would be EASY to find and purchase these ingredients online, but it wasn’t. The first “molecular cooking” ingredient I tried to buy was calcium chloride, which we used in class to make fruit caviar and pea ravioli. I searched Google and Amazon and ended up buying calcium chloride for aquarium use. What I needed was “food grade” calcium chloride, not a fish tank additive! 

Next I tried to purchase “Sodium Alginate” and came up empty, so I emailed my chef instructor and he sent me to the Le Sanctuaire website. Thankfully he noted that I should be searching for the word “algin” as well as “alginate”. For calcium chloride, I should also search for “calcic”. Jackpot! I ordered both and impatiently waited for their arrival by watching Ferran Adria and José Andrés video clips I had saved on DVD.

Yogurt Spherification 3, MyLastBite.comOn “Jose – Made in Spain”, chef Andrés did a spherification of yogurt. He explained that since yogurt had a high calcium count, it would be easy to do a reverse (or inverse)  spherification using the Algin. 

Anticipating the arrival of the Le Sanctuaire package, I had a large container of plain yogurt stashed in the fridge. I didn’t have an actual recipe to make the yogurt spherification, but I did have the “Made in Spain” video clip…. which I obsessively watched in slow motion to get the right measurements.

Yogurt Spherification 2, MyLastBite.com

Ingredients for  a “Reverse” Yogurt Spherification:

1 cup of plain yogurt

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 teaspoon aliginate

24 oz water

Fresh fruit of your liking

Honey

Yogurt Spherification 6, MyLastBite.com

Instructions:

In a large bowl blend the water and alginate with a hand blender until completely dissolved.

Strain the alginate water into another bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, gently mix the yogurt and sugar together.

Next to the alginate bath, prepare another bath of plain water.

Yogurt Spherification 13, MyLastBite.comWith a round spoon, scoop out a ball of yogurt and submerge into alginate water.

Gently shake the spoon so you see a ball or dollop of yogurt drop beneath the surface.

Wait a few minutes then scoop out the spherified yogurt balls into the fresh water, to remove the alginate.

IT WORKED! Except for the fact that I made the balls too big at first, I was thrilled with the texture and mouth-feel of the yogurt. I could easily “pop” the skin with my tongue (after playing with it in my mouth first!).

Yogurt Spherification 10, MyLastBite.com

I served the yogurt balls with fruit and drizzled the top with honey. Terrific little dish for breakfast or dessert.

What’s next?? Well I recently ordered the elBulli Texturas Mini Starter Kit, and can’t wait for my next molecular cooking adventure! In the coming year I’m certain my kitchen will be filled with lots of tasty balls and scrumptious spheres…

 

“Adventures in Molecular Cooking” [1]


About Molecular Gastronomy:

Video of Hervé This discussing Molecular Gastronomy

Books: Molecular Gastronomy by Hervé This and Malcolm DeBevoise

Where to buy ingredients:
Le Sanctuaire

Texturas elBulli

elBulli Texturas Mini Kit, MyLastBite.com


Infusions LTD sells an elBulli “mini starter kit”. If the website states that they are out of stock (due to popular demand), just email them and they will contact you when they have more available.

 

Books about Molecular Cooking:

Under Pressure: Cooking Sous-Vide by Thomas Keller

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee

A Day at el Bulli by Ferran Adria

Alinea by Grant Achatz

Kitchen Chemistry by Ted Lister and Heston Blumenthal

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal

About the Chefs:

Ferran Adria (el Bulli)
Grant Achatz (Alinea)
Wylie Dufresne (wd~50)
Jose Andres (The BazaarPhotos

DVDs:

Decoding Ferran Adria: Hosted by Anthony Bourdain

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Ferran Adrià’s team demonstrates how to make fruit caviar

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Ferran Adria’s Pea Ravioli

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Molecular Gastronomy & Molecular Cooking  on TV:

Be sure to look out for a terrific molecular cooking episode of “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” titled “The Inventors” (the series is currently in reruns). It features Herve This, PolyScience inventor Philip Preston (Anti-Griddle and Immersion Circulators) and Nathan Myhrvold, a former CTO of Microsoft turned Sous-Vide master.  Short video clip here.

José Andrés Made in Spain. If you missed it the yogurt spherification episode, it’s titled “Paella Day”

Read more about Spherification here

A recent Time Magazine article about Ferran Adria

Very excited to meet Ferran Adria!

Yogurt Balls Aka “reverse” Yogurt Spherification on Foodista

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Filed under Food Stories (written by me), Molecular Cooking, Recipes