One of my favorite spring dishes is shortcakes with fresh fruits or berries. The other day I decided to take advantage of some great looking berries and made a variety of shortcakes. To make them more modern, and to work on some recipes for my upcoming book, I used some whipping siphon foams and agar agar fruit gels.
For my father-in-law's birthday we were going to be having mud pie for dessert so I decided to make a key lime whipped cream to go on it. I decided to use my iSi whipping siphon so I could show it off. The process of making traditional whip cream with it is very easy.
My wife's relatives in Florida love their Bloody Marys and this is her modernist take on them, focusing on the celery garnish and turning it into the serving vessel a la the traditional "ants on a log" children's snack.
One of the fun things about modernist cooking is changing the textures of common dishes while keeping the flavors the same. This creates almost a confusion in the palate when it's being eaten and the brain recognizes the flavors but not the textures. This recipe creates a solid Bloody Mary gel with agar agar that has applications in various dishes.
One of the most interesting things in molecular gastronomy is spherification. Spherification is basically a process that seals a liquid in a jelly like membrane. There are several ways to accomplish this but in this article we will focus on the method of reverse spherification using calcium lactate and sodium alginate. When the calcium and the sodium alginate come in contact they form a membrane, encapsulating anything inside of it.
One of the nice things about modernist cuisine is being able to thicken liquids without significantly diluting the flavor of them. There are several ingredients that can do this and here I use xanthan gum to make a balsamic vinegar syrup.
Within molecular gastronomy one of the easiest things to experiment with are foams. There are a lot of ingredients that can cause foams, and a lot of variety depending on what type of foam you are trying to make. For my preparation I wanted to make an "air", basically a really, really light foam, similar to the fizzy head you get when you pour soda or a light beer. For this type of foam soy lecithin is perfect.
An easy way to get started with molecular gastronomy or modernist cuisine is through the creation of tapioca maltodextrin powders. Tapioca maltodextrin is simply a extremely fine powder that acts as a thickener when mixed with fat. This modernist recipe focuses on making a sesame oil powder.
Gels are a very common technique in modernist cooking. This modernist recipe uses the gelling properties of agar agar to make papaya noodles. These agar agar noodles are a great addition to a several different dishes and are an easy way to add a touch of flair.
One of the easiest molecular gastronomy recipes to try is by creating "pearls". Most pearls are solid jelly balls that can be used to garnish dishes or as an amuse-bouche.
Here we use sweet-sour balsamic vinegar to make pearls that are a great way to add a hit of flavor to many different dishes. The process of making them is even pretty easy.
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