Monday, December 23, 2013

Molecular Gastronomy Cocktails

When I have time ...

... hahahahaha hoho heeehee hahaha

Ahem. Excuse me, I lost it for a second there. What I meant to say is that when I have a little extra time, I've been fiddling around with some molecular gastronomy recipes. Previously, I made chocolate wind, honey caviar, and olive oil snow.

I find this stuff really interesting. Not that I want to make a whole meal of manipulated food, but I like the idea of adding little surprises and garnishes.

When I first heard about molecular gastronomy, the ingredients were hard to find, or the quantities were ridiculous - no one needs a 10-pound vat of something you'll use by the teaspoon. Now, there are ingredient kits, and you can find a lot of the products online in reasonable quantities.

But once you have the products, you have to figure out what to do with them.

I was pretty happy to see that the folks from Molecule-R, who make molecular gastronomy kits and sell supplies, now have a cookbook. The new book,  Molecular Gastronomy by Molecule-R has 40 recipes and a whole lot of information that's written for normal folks.

It's not just a book of "mix this, do that," but it explains what the ingredients are, where they come from, how they work, and how they're used in other products we're familiar with.

When I first started seeing chefs using molecular gastronomy techniques on TV, one of the techniques that fascinated me was making of spheres of things that aren't normally spheres. Caviar-like balls of olive oil or vinegar or whatever. It looked so fun.

So when I got my first molecular gastronomy kit, it's one of the first things I tried. And I still like the technique, and the results. This time around, I made some dark-pink (almost red) balls made from water, sugar, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and a few drops of food coloring.

And then what?

I wanted them to sort of float around in a cocktail, and tried a carbonated water to see how they'd react, but they tended to all float to the surface. In plain water, they sunk. Either of those options would have been fine for serving, but not all that exciting for photos.

And I wanted something relatively clear.

I made a slushie with some ice, a bit of orange juice, and some Smirnoff Wild Honey vodka. I stirred the pink caviar in and liked the effect.

I think it would be fun to have a little bowl of these and let people stir them into their own drinks. I'm also thinking about mixing these into ice cream. I have no idea how they'd react to being frozen (we're just in the idea stage now) but I think they might stay soft because of the alcohol and sugar.

Or ... making rum cupcakes and using these as a garnish on top of the frosting.

The next thing I want to make from this book is the Reinvented Choco-Hazelnut which includes a hazelnut cake that's blended, then put into a nitrous whipper (like you'd use for whipped cream) and then cooked in a microwave. I have no idea if I'll like it, but it sounds intriguing.