Welcome back to my Molecular gastronomy blog. I’m glad to say that I’m back with some great content for the molecular gastronome out there. Today, I’m going to write about the hydrocollid xanthan gum and introduce a recipe for your enjoyment.
Xanthan Gum:a brief description
Xanthan gum is a linear polysaccharide made of a cellulose backbone units with trisaccharide side chains. It is produced by fermentation of glucose or sucrose by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. It is used as a thickener.
Xanthan gum is amazing because it’s very user friendly: Xanthan gum works on any temperature and can be added to sauces without weighing. Pay attention to what amount works best for you.
How to use xanthan gum in your moelcular gastronomical kitchen is by simply dispersing it into hot or cold liquid under a shear. Typically you only want to use between .2% – 1%.
The solution type is shear thinning, a pseudoplastic, that exhibits an effect where viscosity decreases with increasing rate of shear stress. In high levels, xanthan gum can give food a very thick, almost mucus-like, consistency. PH tolerance: high. Also, xanthan gum is highly stable when frozen and thawing. The best part is xanthan gum works well with other hydrocollids (Lotus bean gum, Kappa Carrageenan) and even versawhip!!!
Note: Combining xanthan gum with other hydrocollids creates a synergistic chemical reaction that will take your molecular gastro cuisine to a higher level.
RECIPE: Cupuacu Foam with Tonka Bean
Almond milk 100g
Cupuacu powder .7g
Tonka Bean: .3g
Xantan Gum: .5g of Texturas Brand
Combine all ingredients except for the xanthan gum into the vita-mix. Mix on high until you get a nice funnel in the middle of the vita-mix. Slowly pour in xanthan gum into the funnel until mixture starts to thicken.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for when I break down the Carrageenans Kappa and Iota.
By Chef Tali Clavijo
So I decided to make crispy honey today. This was achieved by simply combining maltodextrin, sodium alginate, and some natural honey (60%). Note: for the recipe please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After I got the honey mixture together it looks something like this:
At this point the honey crisp mixture is just like sand so you will have to shape a layer with your hand. I placed my mix on the parchment paper and then I stuck it in the oven (275 F) for approximately 10 min.
After 10 min I took the honey crisp out of the oven and allowed it to cool for another 10 min. The difference in the mixture, another molecular gastronomy masterpiece.
Once you allow the honey crisp to cool down and harden. You could easily just start to rip pieces out of the parchment paper and start getting creative.
Honey crisp panna cotta house
By Chef Tali Clavijo
Today I decided to test out my new iSi gourmet whipper. This device was made under the direction of Chef Ferran Adria and is a staple at the best restaurant in the world, el Bulli. So, I decided to see what a little bit of N2O will do to something simple like olive oil. Boy, was I surprised with these results!
This recipe also called for a special emulsifier, one called glice. Glice is obtained from glycerin and fatty acids. It is composed of monoglyceride flakes. It is a product with high stability as an emulsifier. Similar to oil, it must be broken down with a fatty element and then added to the watery element.
Moreover, monoglycerides and diglycerides are often used as emulsifying agents because of their contrasting components. They can interact with other lipids because of their hydrocarbon “tail” and yet remain soluble in water by virtue of the exposed hydroxyl (-OH) groups on the glycerol residue.
The product I used for this experiment is called ‘Glice’ and is sold under the texturas line of molecular gastronomy products.
I set of to test whether the monoglycerides present in the glice will in fact act as an emulsifying agent when mixed with a fatty substance (the olive oil) and hold when exposed to N2O in the whipper.
For this experiment/recipe I used some virgin olive oil (200g) and some Glice flakes (16g). I also needed a gourmet whip and two loads of N2O.
Once I gathered all the necessary equipment, it was time to combine the virgin olive oil with Glice in a saucepan.
Next, I heated the oil and Glice mixture to 65 °C so that the Glice dissolves.
I mixed well and then transferred the new mixture to the gourmet whip siphon.
The next steps where to close the siphon and load with N2O
Once the gourmet whip is loaded with N2O it is time to dispense the virgin olive oil foam for presentation.
Your final virgin olive oil foam should look like a creamy whipped cream. This was truly amazing!
Some pairing suggestions:
I love to have the virgin olive oil foam with my poached eggs for breakfast. I like to sprinkle some chevril on the virgin olive oil foam and some pink clay salt on my poached eggs.
The results where quite surprising. It looks like the Glice (the monoglyceride flakes) did in fact preform as a high stability emulsifier when combined with the olive oil and the N2O. The Glice totally transformed the liquid oil into a foam that withstood its texture and shape throughout. The final taste is amazing! Simply breathtaking and worth the small time it takes to prep this virgin olive oil foam.
My next test will be to experiment with other oils and other ‘fatty elements.’ Until then enjoy, and check out my flickr photos on the bottom corner of my blog to see more photos.
Chef Tali Clavijo
By Chef Tali Clavijo
So today was my second time back to the meat market district in Chicago’s Fulton Market. I love this place because of all of the great restaurants and industrial vibe. Moreover, this is the place where I get my ‘texturas’ powders and other fine meats, cheeses, and everything else from Espana.
So, I arrive at May St and Lake under the el tracks and I see the place where I will eventually get all of my texturas powders, and other cool molecular gastronomy essentials.
As I prepare to go inside this tiny hole in the wall warehouse called JDY Meats, I notice a freight elevator and a walk in fridge that houses some of the rarest meats outside of Spain. I could not believe how many pounds of really exotic meats, such as ‘la pata negra, and jamon serrano, I saw in this tiny place.
I could not believe the amount of molecular gastronomy powders and other gadgets in this wharehouse, but they where all there. In fact, this is the only place in Chicago to carry the entire line of ‘Texturas’ products that are used by the best chefs in the world!!!
After I got on the freight elevator I was helped by Efren, an expert on fine artisan Spanish products. He showed me the molecular section and I was floored by all the powders right in front of me.
And there was more, much more. I couldn’t help but to resist getting a picture of myself in here.
It was at this moment that I decided to just get everything they had to offer me. I just love this type of happy ending.
For more info, please visit the http://www.jdymeat.com website to inquire more about obtaining your own texturas products. This place offers competitive prices and will ship anywhere.
Also, feel free to write to me with any questions at email@example.com
I made something really yummy yesterday night after being inspired by a video I saw of Chef Will Goldfarb demoing tapioca maltodextrin for gourmet magazine
Chef Goldfarb has a cool site where you could order all sorts of ‘molecular gastronomy’ powders. Check it out at http://www.willpowder.net. After watching that video where Chef Goldfarb transforms nutella in to a fine powder I couldn’t help but to try it myself.
The main molecular powder that I used for this one transformation is tapioca maltodextrin. This fine powder is a modified food starch. Instead of thickening water-based liquids, it thickens and dries up oils, turning them into powders. Truly transformational. It is just an incredibly light (and messy) powder, and you simply stir it into any fatty substance, like olive oil or peanut butter, until it is dry and then push it through a fine sieve…and Voilà, you have a fine powdered version of the most delicious foods.
What i set out to prove in this ‘molecular gastronomy’ experiment is to see if the tapioca would in fact soak up all the oil from the nutella and transform it into a fine powder.
What I had to do for this molecular experiment was to make some home made nutella. How you make this is rather simple yet time consuming. The first step was to make some praline paste. This paste is the backbone of any nutella recipe out there. All I needed for this one was equal parts hazelnuts to blanched almonds (4 oz of each), some sugar (250 g or 9oz), and water (3 tbsp).
What I did with the nuts was simply to warm them up in a non-stick pan on very low. This is simply to open the aromas of the nuts and to soften them up a little.
Once I got the nuts on very low heat roasting I combined the sugar and water in a 5.5 qt saucer pot. I turned the heat to medium and I did not stir. Note: It is important not to stir but let the sugar dissolve completely.
Once the sugar is almost completely dissolved I added the nuts.
Once the nuts were in the dissolved sugar solution I made sure to stir until a fine golden caramel formed. Note: it is very important that you do not overshot this one. If the caramel gets to dark you will have burned it too much.
As soon as the sugar is completely dissolved and is a golden caramel you should immediately transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a marble slab.
After transferring the praline caramel to the parchment paper you will want to spread it enough to allow it to cool and hardened for about an hour.
Once the praline caramel is cooled and hard you will want to transfer it to a food processor with an S-blade attachment. What I did was simply break off a couple of pieces and place them into the food processor until it forms a paste.
You should end up with a praline paste that looks something like this
Once I had my praline paste I placed it to a side and started melting the 60% bittersweet chocolate. For the nutella you will need 75g of chocolate.
I also needed 100g of unsalted butter ready
The next step is to make the nutella. This recipe called for 200g of my praline paste, 75g of melted chocolate, and 100g of unsalted butter. How I did this was first combine the praline paste and butter in a mixer with a paddle attachment on medium.
Next, add the melted chocolate
I mixed this until it was completely smooth. The final result is a home made nutella.
The next step was to transform the nutella into a powder, or ‘nutella snow’
For this, i needed to get measure out 75g of nutella and 25g of tapioca maltodextrin. Once I got my measurements down I combined the tapioca maltodextrin with nutella and whisked until I noticed a transformation.
After I achieved the nutella snow I had proven that tapioca maltodextrin does in fact transform oils into powders. This was a great conclusion because it clearly shows how ‘molecular gastronomy’ is alive an active in creating wonderful tasting foods. Before serving I recommend you run the powder through a finely meshed sieve.
The end result/serving suggestions.
The taste is unbelievably good. I could not resist eating this and enjoying the texture of the fine powder. It is very pleasing the moment it hits your tongue because of the radical transformation that takes place when the fine powder interacts with your saliva. Truly amazing and gourmet. Enjoy
Remember to check out more pics on my flickr section located on the side of this blog, and feel free to subscribe. Thanks and have fun.
For my first molecular gastronomy experiment I set off to test something rather simple yet effective. The main ingredient in this recipe is lecithin. The concept behind this molecular gastronomy test is to see if combining an emulsifier, such as lecithin, to a fatty watery liquid (the cashew nut milk) will yield the light air (foam) that is common with this type of emulsion, and be able to stand the test of being suspended in the air.
Lecithin is an emulsifier that allow fat and water to mix. [It has also been shown to support fat burning, healthy cholesterol, and triglycerides levels, cardiovascular health, liver function, nerve function, brain function and memory.] Together with the cashew milk I want to see if this combination will yield substantial air (foam) that will be combine the taste of the original mixture.
For this experiment I needed some fresh cashew nut milk, lecithin, and an immersion blender.
Let’s start with the Cashew Nut Milk:
For this recipe I soaked 1 cup of cashews.
Note: it is important that you use raw cashews and that you soak them to release the enzyme inhibitors. I usually soak my nuts in water for about 4-8 hours. You then, rinse and are ready to make the nut milk.
Once I got my cashews ready all I added was 3 cups of water, 1 tbsp of raw honey, and a pinch of pink sea salt. This is all you need to make the nut milk. You could also substitute dates for honey, but I wanted to use honey to see if I could still achieve the wonderful air (foam). I’ve heard from other chefs that using honey makes the air (foam) impossible to get. I set off to disprove this theory too.
What you want to do is get yourself a powerful blender. I highly recommend the vita-mix 5200 series simply because of the straightforward functions and power. This blender has the most power of any blender on the market. I personally believe in having the very best kitchen equipment is just as important ans obtaining the best ingredients.
After I got all of my ingredients together for my nut milk, all I did was put it all in my vita-mix and blend. You want to make sure you blend long enough (for about 2min) and at a steady speed (about level5-6) so you could really get the best nut milk.
Once I got my nut milk blended I sieved it through a superbag or some sort of other fine mesh cloth to remove the cashew pulp from the milk.
The beauty of the superbag is that you get better results due to its highly technological advanced structure. These bags are the best to use in the kitchen and could be used over and over.
Once I got the milk ready, I put it on the side and got ready for the combination of the lecithin powder. This process was very fun because it allowed me to get the gram scale out and get all scientific.
I measured approx 3 g of lecithin powder and put it on the side. The next step was to measure out approx 600 g of the cashew milk and put that to side in a bowl that would be big enough to use an immersion blender. Note: I found it very important to use a big enough bowl while doing this test. The reason behind this must have to do with the overall volume capacity of the bowl used during the immersion blender part. you need more free room for the particles to completely transform to air (foam).
Once I got the bowl ready, I lined it with plastic wrap so I wont get my kitchen all messy. I also added in the 3 g of lecithin and the 600 g of cashew milk in the bowl.
The step was the immersion of the blender and the chemical reaction of making air (foam). I got my trustee immersion blender and started to blend right at the surface of the mixture.
The beauty of blending this was that I instantly started to see the air foam up right in front of me. It was as if I turned the power button on and my cashew milk started to rise and do some interesting things with the texture. Imagine for a second a fluffly pillow made of air (foam), that is exactly the kind of feeling I got when I saw the cashew milk rise with the introduction of the immersion blender. It was really magic being produced right in from of me.
After a minute what I ended up with was a foamy cascade of beauty.
I must have blended the cashew milk for about 1 minute straight on level 4 on my immersion blender. I noticed that it would produce more air (foam) if I was blending along the surface of the cashew milk as opposed to the bottom of the mixture. The end result was something so spectacular that it made me want to shrink down and go for a swim in this stuff.
Once I got the air, it was ready to test and serve. Some questions that I wanted to test out were the following:
1) Will the air (foam) hold enough to be suspended in t
he air on an upside spoon?
2) Will using the honey effect my air in a negative way, and henceforth make the air to heavy to be suspended?
3) How will the overall taste come out? Will it melt in my mouth? Will it be crunchy? What texture is overall present?
In order to test my first question, I had to run the spoon test. The spoon test was set up to test to see if the air will hold while being suspended upside down.
For the upside down test I just inverted the spoon and observed.
The results were amazing! The air actually held up and did not fall off the spoon whilst inverted. This proved that the cashew milk air was officially a air (foam) worth serving. This result also shattered another myth that using honey with lecithin will cause the air (foam) to be too heavy and thus effect the overall air. This was not the case, in fact the air was stronger and lighter than I would have imagined.
There was one last thing to do, I had to taste test the air (foam).
Results: The air was delicious. The texture was so light yet crispy and melted on my tongue. The overall texture was very light, it really reminded me of eating snowflakes. These snowflakes were very tasty too. The taste came through in perfect time. It really tasted like cashew milk, except in an overall different texture that is both elegant and could stand the test of time.
One final conclusion to share is that the foam stayed foamy for a very long time (over an hour) while in the glass. This is good because it proves that the molecules are strong enough to hold its form for serving and other culinary adventures.
With that said, I do want to test freezing the foam and adapting it to other extremes to see how it could hold in different climates.
Enjoy, and remember to check out more pics in my flickr page on the bottom corner of my blog. Also, feel free to comment and ask questions, and please subscribe. Thanks.
Hey everyone! My name is Tali and this is the first installment of my molecular gastronomy blog.
About me: Tali Clavijo is a student of the culinary world, an author, and modern day alchemist. I’m from Chicago, IL “The capital of molecular gastronomy infused cuisine in America.” Now, I live in Los Angeles, California…and my goal is to bring my molecular knowledge to the world and infuse it with my new cuisine.
I’m going to school at my kitchen and look forward toward becoming a real Executive Chef someday. For now, this is my blog about the discipline of molecular gastronomy. You will get to learn, as I do, new and exciting ways to take the knowledge from molecular gastronomy and apply it to your own culinary masterpiece.
I just back from a visit to NoCal (that’s Northern California for all you non-California peeps) with a suitcase full of fine powders. It was very interesting coming through airport security with a 1pound bag of tapioca maltodextrin (the powder is white, much like cocaine). Anyway, there is much more to this madness. Let’s rewind some.
About three days ago I got the most interesting book ever from my favorite restaurant in Chicago, Alinea. I will be quite honest with you, this book has been on the Christmas wish list for me for sometime now. Luckily, I got an early Christmas gift while eating 12 month aged Sheep’s Milk Manchego, classic terrine Foie Gras, thin slices of the infamous ‘pata negra’, the finest olive oil, and some fresh french bread. Very amazing food indeed.
After having a really nice night filled with various textures and flavors I read the Alinea book from front to back. I took note at the way Chef Grant Achatz and his team pushed the boundaries with American cuisine. In that moment I decided to learn everything I can from Chef Achatz and his friends at Alinea.
While I read the Alinea book, I made sure to take notes in my new molecular gastronomy recipe book. Just like master chefs, I’m armed with a pen and paper. Why? Because I want to capture the exactness of every idea, every experiment, every ingredient, every creative thought, and everything else that might jump out at me from Nature.
Before reading Alinea, I did pick up Chef Ferran Adria’s ‘A Day at elBulli’ masterful book. I also discovered the only place in Chicago where you could get very cheap molecular gastronomy products at this place in the Fulton Meat market called JDY Meat. Moreover, I stumbled over a tiny hole in the wall ‘molecular gastronomy’ culinary shop called Le Sanctuaire located in San Francisco. Knowing I was going to be in San Fran very soon I was even more excited to venture out west.
The best part of this adventure (even thought I was still in Chicago) was that I ordered the el bulli ‘Texturas” dvd which came to my house the day before my trip out west. I was also surprised when I received a very special el bulli gift…I got the ‘el bulli 2003-2004 cd’ that came with the 2003-2004 el Bulli book (Note: this book has a $300 price tag on it, and represents a year of innovative cuisine at el Bulli). This was shaping up to be the best Christmas ever!
The moment I received my el bulli products I was hooked and amazed by the genius behind Chef Ferran Adria and his brother Albert Adria. The amount of knowledge in these dvds and cds are highly recommend and have helped shape my molecular gastronome scope of reality.
The best part of the Texturas dvd are the recipes and in depth look at exactly how Ferran does it in his own kitchen. This dvd is what every aspiring molecular gastronome inspired chef should see. The el bulli 2003-2004 cd is part of the bigger el Bulli book. This cd is jam packed with even more recipes and other ideas for creating your own innovative cuisine using the principles of molecular gastronomy. My favorite part is that each form of media is divided into subsections that are dedicated for a specific textura.
For example, there are over ten recipes in the dvd on spherification where Ferran takes you into the magical world of creating your own mango ravioli.
My trip was amazing because right after I stepped off the plane I had my own personal appointment at Le Sanctuaire in San Francisco. This little hole in the wall store had everything you would need to start making some amazing el bulli or Alinea inspired recipes. The show room itself was like walking through a Bentley showroom with some high end sous vide machines, liquid nitrogen tanks, and other weird culinary gadjets. This is where I stocked up on my molecular gastronomy powders. I made sure to grab everything outlined in the Alinea book.
With all my powders handy I set off to make culinary magic and history. Just like Chef Achatz and Chef Ferran Adria I seek to push the boundaries with contemporary cuisine with the latest in the discipline of molecular gastronomy. This is going to be very nice!