Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Modern Cuisine - working with seaweed

So my first day at the Modern Cuisine - Culinary Club was fun and successful.

We worked with a hydrocolloid called Carrageenan; which is derived from Red Seaweed found in the Atlantic Ocean. It's used to thicken different foods and drinks we use everyday. You boil the seaweed to extract the carrageenan; which is ironic because then you boil your liquids with carrageenan to thicken the product.

We created some pretty interesting gels, deserts, drinks, etc...

I worked on two different recipes; one was a pineapple gel which didn't turn out so well...I found out later that I should have put the pineapple juice in a blender. After I had the juice spinning in a vortex then I should have added the iota carrageenan. (two different forms of carrageenan; iota and kappa) Then I could have heated the juice and chilled as specified.

My next recipe was a Chocolate chantilly, foam, desert...it was a chocolate mousse/gel desert and then broken in too two other properties. The first was a mixture of water, sugar, heavy cream, melted chocolate, instant coffee and carrageenan. You heat all the ingredients to a minimum of 80 degrees Celsius (or 176 degrees Fahrenheit); then place in molds and chill. This first form is the desert portion...carrageenan causes the finished product to be silky smooth in a gel form. The second form was to but the gel into a blender and make a liquid gel...finally the final form was to place the liquid gel and charge it with nitrogen. You can then create the foam...the finished product is pictured below.

This was a lot of fun and brought me back to my scientific/lab days in middle & high school...

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