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


Molecular Gastronomy – Emulsions Shriek hemp butter

January 14, 2010 2 comments

By Chef Tali Clavijo

So today I decided I wanted to experiment with converting liquid oils into solids. How was I going to preform this experiment? Well, I decided to use the monoglyceride flakes from the ‘Texturas” line called Glice. These flakes are obtained from glycerin and fatty acids. Similar to oil, it must be broken down with a fatty element and then allowed to emulsify.

Hemp oil and glice - click to learn more or buy

The monoglyceride flakes look like this

Monoglyceride flakes - click to learn more

For this recipe I simply measured about 100ml of hemp oil and 6g of Glice

Hemp oil in lquid form - get it here

After I measure out my ingredients I simply combined them in a saucepan

Glice flakes into hemp oil - learn more buy clicking on pic

and warmed up the oil until the monoglyceride flakes completely dissolved into the oil. This happens at around 65ºC. Your new mixture should look like this

New hemp oil mixture

Next, I transferred my mixture to a different container and placed it in a bath with ice stirring constantly until the oil begins to take body.

Placing the new mixture into an ice bath

Once the oil began to take form, I stuck it in the fridge for about 12hours, or until it acquires a texture that can be worked with the spatula.

The final hemp butter could be used as a spread and tastes amazing!

hemp butter

look at how it spreads…totally transformational!

I cannot believe it's hemp butter

Feel free to ask me any questions at

Your friend,

Chef Tali Clavijo

Molecular Gastronomy – Suprises crispy honey

January 12, 2010 2 comments

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

After I got the honey mixture together it looks something like this:

Honey Crisp mixture - Learn more by clicking on pic

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.

Honey crisp mix in the oven - click pic to order now

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.

Crispy honey - click to buy online

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 in hand - click to learn more

Final presentation.

Honey crisp panna cotta house

Honey crisp panna cotta house - click to buy now

Molecular Gastronomy – Spherical mango yolk

By Chef Tali Clavijo

Hey there, I’m happy to let you know that this post is the first of three back to back basic spherification posts. These recipes and experiments are designed to help you learn and deconstruct the concept of spherification for yourself while having fun in your kitchen.

So, yesterday I decided to open up my sodium alginate and thus open the gateway for spherification and more advanced molecular gastronomy. Sodium alginate is derived from different types of brown algae which grow in cold water regions all over the planet! It gels in the presence of Calcium and is soluble in cold and warm liquids.

Sodium Alginate and sodium citrate - click to buy

What I set out to test for this experiment was to see if using the sodium alginate would in fact gel in presence of calcium ion. I also wanted to test to see if that gel would be strong enough to hold firm when combined with the mango puree.

For this experiment/recipe I needed a spherical mango base that consisted of sodium alginate (1.8g), sodium citrate (1.3g), water (250g), and mango pure (250g).

What I did first was to mix the sodium citrate in water in my vita-mix blender.

Blending the sodium citrate - click to buy sodium citrate

I added the sodium alginate and blended again.

Blending the sodium alginate and sodium citrate

Once the two ingredients where blended I transferred the solution to a saucepan until boiling stirring constantly.

Mixing the solution to a boil

After I reached a boil I allowed the mixture to cool down. Once the mixture cools down enough you could add the mango puree.

But first, let’s do the mango puree.

How I pureed my mangoes was quite easy. All I did was peel three mangoes and cut them into chunks.

Cutting up mangoes

After I cut up the mangoes I transferred them to the vita-mix for blending. I put the magoes in the blender until a puree formed (about level 6 for 2min).

mango puree

Next, I combined the mango pure with the sodium alginate and sodium citrate solution.

Mixing mango puree with solution

After I combine these ingredients I keep them in a hermetically sealed container and stick it in my refrigerator.

Mango puree and mix

Once I had the mango base ready I had to prepare the calcium bath. In this experiment I used the texturas line ‘Calcic’ molecular powder. This powder is composed of granulated calcium chloride, and has a high water solubility.

I prepared this bath by combining Calcic (6.5g) with water (1000g) and mixing it with my immersion blender.

Calcic a calcium chloride product - get it here

mixing with my immersion blender until completely dissolved. I also made sure to place the mixture in a container that allowed for a height of about 5 cm (2.5in).

Mixing the water with the Calcic

Once the water was mixed I prepared for the spherification process. For this procedure all I had to do was take my mango mixture and drop it in the Calci bath. How I did this was to simply use a hemispherical spoon.

Mango mixture and Calcic bath

Mango mixture on hemisphereical spoon

Dunking the mango mixture in the Calcic

Once the mango mixture is the Calcic bath you could gently use your finger to guide the mango sphere into the Calcic bath. Leave the spherical mango for 2 min in the bath.

poking my mango sphere into the Calcic

Leave the spherical mango ravioli for 2 min in the bath. Take out the mango sphere and clean them in cold water by dunking the sphere in a pool of clean cold water. Strain the water from the mango sphere and dry them on absorbent paper, trying not to break them.

Cleaning the mango sphere in cold water

mango sphere

The mango spheres have a tough enough texture on the outside yet a liquid explosive interior.

Knife test with mango ravioli

Liquid burst inside

Mango spheres

Spherical mangoes communicating

Mango sphere with lavender

The results were clear, the sodium alginate did in fact gel in the presence of calcium ions. The reaction happened instantly and it held throughout the experiment. The inside of the mango sphere was liquid and the outside was gelled tough but delicate texture. The taste was amazing and the process was exhilarating.

As you can see in the pictures above the mango spheres held their texture when exposed to the outside world. This leaves an endless amount of possibilities for further experimentation and recipes.

until next time.

Happy spherification

your friend,

Chef Tali Clavijo

Virgin olive oil foam

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!

iSi Gourmet Whip - Click link to order now

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.

Glice - click for more info

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.

For the virgin olive oil foam

Once I gathered all the necessary equipment, it was time to combine the virgin olive oil with Glice in a saucepan.

Heating the virgin olive oil with glice to 65°C

Next, I heated the oil and Glice mixture to 65 °C so that the Glice dissolves.

Glice dissolved in liquid oil

I mixed well and then transferred the new mixture to the gourmet whip siphon.

Transferring liquid oil to siphon

The next steps where to close the siphon and load with N2O

Loading the gourmet whip with N20 - Click on link to learn more

Once the gourmet whip is loaded with N2O it is time to dispense the virgin olive oil foam for presentation.

Click on link to see a video on the gourmet whip

Your final virgin olive oil foam should look like a creamy whipped cream. This was truly amazing!

Virgin olive oil foam

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.

Some virgin olive oil foam to plate

Sprinkling some chevril onto the olive oil foam

Final presentation

Virgin olive oil foam with 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.

Your friend,

Chef Tali Clavijo

Texturas field trip

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.

Meat market/fulton market district - Chicago, IL

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.

May and Lake, the molecular wharehouse

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.

JDY Meat, click above to visit site

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.

molecular gastronomy section - click to learn more

And there was more, much more. I couldn’t help but to resist getting a picture of myself in here.

Chef Tali Clavijo with Texturas Products

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 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

See through ravioli

By Chef Tali Clavijo

Yesterday I decided to test out one of the recipes from the Albert y Ferran Adria dvd. I set off to make the tomato and black olive ravioli using the two gelification agents: the agar agar and the gellan.

"the best for making gells in hot tempretures"

Click on image above to get it now

Click on image above to get it now

I set off to test if using these gelling agents in high temperatures will yield a strong enough gel to make ravioli, or dumplings with. I also set off to test various surfaces that would be best for the skimming part of the gellification process.

The beauty behind gellan is that it is a water-soluble polysaccharide produced by fermentation, which can be used alone or in combination with other products to produce a wide variety of interesting textures. In this experiment we will combine gellan with agar agar. Extremely effective at low use levels in forming gels, I used the LT100 high acyl gellan which forms soft, very elastic, non-brittle, and fluid gels.
What I needed for this experiment was water (500g), gellan (1.7g), and agar agar (4.3g).

The gelling agents

Once I got the measurements down I had to mix the ingredients together and whisk them before introducing the pot to the skillet. Note: it is important you don’t oversee this step because the gells need to be mixed in lukewarm water first.

Whisking it all together

Once you whisking the ingredients together you could place it on the stove top on medium constantly whisking until boiling.

Bringing the gelling agents to a boil

After you have dissolved all the agar agar flakes and the solution is boiling then you have to immediately transfer the gelatin onto a fate surface about 60cm x 40cm and spread to gelatin sheets .5 mm thick. you do this by skimming the gelatin off the top layer of your surface. Note: I tested various surface to do this step on and found that marble, aluminum, and granite surfaces work bests. I suggest you do not use a non-stick surface as the gel will slide and not firm up.

pouring the gel

The gel forming

I also tested pouring the gel on three other surface types.

Testing various surfaces

Once the gel is poured and skimmed off. I allowed it to cool at room temperature for about one hour. I also placed a skimmed sheet in the fridge for the same time.

After an hour had past I noticed that the get had formed a soft, very elastic, non-brittle, fluid gels.
The surface that was the strongest and most complete was on the aluminum surface (this was composed by a layer of aluminum foil. Once the gel was set I cut it into a circular shape.

Cutting with a pasta cutter

Circular gel

the circular gel

Transferring the gel to plate

Circular gel onto plate

Once I transferred the circular gel to the plate I prepared the tomato and fig infused mixture.

the circular gel on plate for prep

tomato and fig infused with lavender honey

Fig and tomato on gel

Once I got the fig and tomato on the gel, all I had to do was fold it.

Folding the gel

I made sure to bring the bottom end to the top end and make a nice pouch.

bringing the ends together

Fig and tomato ravioli

I garnished this dish with some nutella snow to produce a more well rounded texture and tasteful explosion.

garnishing with nutella snow

I also sprinkled some pink clay salt on top

Fig and tomato ravioli with nutella snow

The final presentation

fig and tomato ravioli with nutella snow

In conclusion the gellan did in fact produce a gel that was soft, very elastic, non-brittle, and fluid enough to make a ravioli. Also, the various surfaces tested proved that aluminum surfaces work best when using these particular gelling agents. Together the agar agar and gellan high-acyl produces amazing gels that can be moved around and molded to produces various shapes. When used on certain surfaces, such as aluminum, the gel forms at a faster and more stronger rate.

Feel free to send any questions to