Archive for the ‘Transformations’ Category

Meat Glue – Lobster Hot Dog

November 24, 2012 2 comments

The other day I Experimented with meat glue, aka transglutaminase, an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of a covalent bond between a free amine group (e.g., protein- or peptide-bound lysine) and the gamma-carboxamide group of protein- or peptide-bound glutamine. In plain English: something that glues proteins so you can make Lobster Hot dog


Here’s a better look of the infamous lobster hot dog with Claw intact:

Notice the claw intact

The cool thing about making a lobster hot dog is the ease in cooking it! If only nature shelled out amazing perfect cylinder shaped proteins it would make our job much easier to achieve the perfect sear, evenly distributed heat to perfection.

For this experiment I purchased 3 live lobsters from the H-Mart at only $5.99/lb! This is for reals people! Go right now and look it up on google!

So I buy the lobsters and I use the best method to kill a live lobster: Become a Lobster Anesthesiologist! Check out the cooking issues primer on exactly how to do this by clicking on the lobster hot dog claw pic above

I decide I want to use meat glue to achieve a perfectly cylinder shaped lobster protein. My deiscion to do this stems from the fact that I have over 2 pounds of meat glue in my freezer! True story. If anyone of my readers wants a sample please feel free to email me directly at Ok, back to exactly how I did this.

Step 1: Place knocked out lobster in boiling salt water for about 4 min.
Step 2: Take lobster out and ice bath to stop cooking.
Step 3: Take meat out of shell.
Step 4: Prepare a meat glue slurry consisting of 1 part meat glue to 4 parts water.
Note: I use 4 teaspoons of lukewarm water to 1 teaspoon meat glue.
Step 5: Cut lobster meat
Step 6: Brush meat glue slurry all over lobster meat
Step 7: Get cling film (plastic wrap) and prepare to roll lobster meat/meat glue mixture into a hot dog shape.

Wrapping in Plastic Wrap:

Rolling foods in plastic wrap is an excellent preparation technique for low temperature cooking. Rolls cook evenly and are easy to portion. We often combine rolling with some meat glue. Properly rolled roulades in plastic wrap will not allow water to penetrate. Really good rolls are dense –they will sink. Remember –making good rolls isn’t as easy as it looks.

Step 8: Put rolled lobster into a vacuum bag and sous vide.
Step 9: Sous vide for 10min at 95C
Step 10: Remove from water bath and ice bath.
Step 11: Refrigerate overnight.
Step 12: Remove from vacuum bag and unroll the lobster hot dog.
Step 13: Serve whole or slice into small 1in cylinder shapes.
Step 14: Prepare a paprika chili butter mixture.
Step 15: Sear lobster in butter until warm

Serve with brioche bread that is toasted in duck fat and topped with brie cheese. Also serve with lobster consommé, fig jam, and maple bacon.

Here’s a picture of how it looks

Final lobster hot dog


Molecular gastronomy – oil and viscosity

January 21, 2011 6 comments

Hello everyone,

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted material here on molecular gastronomy. I’m happy to announce that my absence was based on my recent trip to visit Molecular Chefs Jose Andres and Masterchef Ferran Adria!!!

I learned way too much and can’t wait to share with you ALL!

Another great piece of news I’ve got is my new molecular kitchen device.

Here is my new Toy: The Thermomix

Now to bore you with the MAD food science I learned while away. FYI, there are some great recipes past the science if you want to just scroll down. Enjoy!

Oil and viscosity

Molecular viscosity : v = l x c

elasticity: E = kBT/l³


When talking about the elasticity you got to imagine a spring. Imagine how the spring stretches and you will obverse its elastic constant. What makes foods soft, squishy or flow easily is critical to all aspects cooking. It is for this reason that we must examine the properties of elasticity and viscosity when dealing with food.


Here is an example of the elasticity of a raw thaw steak:

Elastic constant of a steak

E = F ⁄ A L ⁄ ΔL

E= 8,000 Pa

The amazing formula is as follows:

E =kT ⁄ l³


Elasticity                                            /                           / (volume)

Before Cooking (RAW) 8×10³ Before 8.1 nm        Before 8.1 nm

After Cooking (Cooked) 5×10⁴ After   4.4 nm        After 6.8 nm

The stiffness of a material depends on the length between bonds .

Energy of bonds times their density

Stretching bonds to deform the solid

Units – Energy density



A material is a liquid if the molecules can move around each other

The fundamental quantity that governs this is the time that it takes for molecules to move around their neighbors.

If it takes a long time to move by each other, the material is very viscous.

If it takes a short time, the material is less viscous.

Example: Olive Oil

Olive oil and viscosity

















It takes longer for the molecules to move through olive oil than water because it has a higher viscosity.


Molecular viscosity

length²/time           v = l x c

where v = length

c = length ⁄ time

Very important Equations:

Molecular viscosity: v = l x c

elasticity: E = kBT ⁄ l³

Let’s look at the viscosity of hot oil

Hot oil flows faster than cold oil

Viscosity decreases with increasing temperature

Molecules move around each other more easily


Let’s look at how using a thickener helps make liquids thicker

Xanthan Gum makes liquids thicker

Xanthan Gum (E415): makes food thick and creamy; also stabilizes foods to help solids and liquids stay together

You could see Xanthan Gum is sauces, low fat or non-dairy, and dressings.

The reason thickeners works?

Thickener is a polymer

Polymer forms network in the water

This forms a solid gel

Note: The bonds in gels are not permanent

Molecules can move

Molecules must disentangle to move

This is important because it means if you form a gel you could easily manipulate it by shredding it in a thermomix or blender.

doing this will change the viscosity by either a small percentage or a large one.

Let’s get into some recipes with some molecular ingredients:

Soft Creamy Jelly

You will need:

100g of water, fruit juice, or wine.

2.5g iota

100g of olive oil (extra virgin)


You will need to bring water to boil and stir in iota, whisking constantly. Take the saucepan out of the warmer and slowly add the olive oil, stirring constantly.

Pour mixture into molds and allow to cool.

Once it has set you could slowly remove the olive oil jelly from the mold

Finally, serve on bread with tomato and jamon iberico.


For the next recipe you will make Olive oil gummie bears

You will need:

150 g extra virgin olive oil

7.5g xanthan gum

7.5g locust bean gum

310g glucose

160g sugar

10g water

For the procedure you will need to use your thermomix at speed 3, veroma 100 C for 5min. Mix all ingredients.

Once the mixture is complete transfer to piping bag and pipe little goblets over cornstarch.

Completely cover with a thin layer of cornstarch.






Molecular Gastronomy – Transformation walnut dust biscuits

January 15, 2010 4 comments

By Chef Tali Clavijo

so today I felt like making something sweet and powdery. I’m just fascinated by fine powders and what better powder than tapioca maltodextrin? The ability for ‘malto’ to transform oils into powders is like a super power that only heroes are granted access too. Maybe someday I too will be able to turn fat into a fine powder…until then I will be making food that is amazing.

So, for this recipe I needed about 60 g of ‘Malto’ (tapioca maltodextrin), 145 g of walnut oil, 2.3 g of salt, and about 40 g of walnuts (I smoked mine in sugar, but you could use raw walnuts for this too).

I started by pan steaming my walnuts with some sugar for about 10 min on medium. Then I placed them aside.

Pan steaming my walnuts with some sugar

Next, I measured out 60 g of ‘malto’ and added the walnut oil to the mix. I then added the salt to this mix and used a spatula to mix until the mass was even

Adding walnut oil to the 'malto'

Mixing the malto, walnut oil, and salt

Next, I combined the pan steamed walnuts (I did crush the walnuts to make them powdery) to the malto walnut oil and salt mixture.

Chopped walnuts with the malto mixture

I mixed until the mixture was even. Next, I spread the mixture to a thickness of 1 cm.

Spreading mixture to a thickness of 1 cm

this process requires you to get two even leveled surfaces (about 1cm in height). Next, I covered the mixture with parchment paper and used my rolling pin to smooth out the surface of the walnut dust biscuit.

using my rolling pin to even out mixture

Once I rolled it enough I got a beautiful walnut dust biscuit.

Walnut dust biscuit

Next, I cut with a circular pasta cutter

Circular walnut dust biscuit

You could also just use a knife to cut shapes on the biscuit.

Final presentation :

Walnut dust biscuit

Enjoy, and feel free to send me any questions, pictures, or other goodies to

Thanks again,

Chef Tali Clavijo

Transformation Tapioca Nutella Snow

January 3, 2010 1 comment

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 : Click on pic to see live video

Chef Goldfarb has a cool site where you could order all sorts of ‘molecular gastronomy’ powders. Check it out at 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.

Tapioca Maltodextrin from Le Sanctuaire

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).

Hazelnuts and blanched almonds

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.

sugar dissolving into water

Once the sugar is almost completely dissolved I added the nuts.

Nuts in the dissolved sugar

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.

golden nut caramel

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.

nut caramel cooling on parachment paper

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.

Praline caramel cooled and hard

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.

praline hard caramel getting processed

You should end up with a praline paste that looks something like this

praline paste

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.

Melting Chocolate

I also needed 100g of unsalted butter ready

unsalted butter

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.

Mixing the praline paste with butter

Next, add the melted chocolate

Adding melted chocolate to the mix

I mixed this until it was completely smooth. The final result is a home made nutella.

Smooth 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.

Combining the nutella with tapioca malto

The nutella snow 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.

Nutella Snow

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.