Toot toot! I am tooting my own culinary horn today.
On Saturday evening I made a slightly tardy Valentine's dinner using some of the molecular gastronomy techniques and ingredients I received at Christmas.
The lighting of my photos was horrific but trust me when I tell you, all was super delicious. My husband and I are the sort of foodie that is easily pleased but very hard to impress. The flavors of my main course were impressive, if I do say so myself. We were all very happy.
I will explain what I did but I have no formal recipes.
The first little bites were bacon, honeycrisp apple sliced thin and cut into heart shapes, topped with black tea and lavender honey "caviar".
The bacon and apple are self-explanatory. The little jelly balls or "caviar" are another story.
They are made by bringing 3/4 cup of liquid to a boil with 2 grams of agar-agar powder and dropping the hot liquid with a pipette into very cold oil.
In this case, the liquid was tea sweetened with lavender honey. Agar-agar can be found at Whole foods and online.
The next course went unphotographed but was delicious. The plan was Gruyere tuilles (imagine mini taco shells) with proscuitto and tawny port foam. The foam did not happen and since I had an eager family we just had the delectable cheese bits with proscuitto.
These were really easy.
I took about 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated gruyere and formed a flat circle in a non-stick pan over medium heat. The cheese melts and forms a pancake of sorts that you carefully flip and cook another minute. When you remove to a paper towel you must quickly bend the hot, crispy cheese over the edge of your spatula, forming a tiny taco- shell shape. The trick is not to over brown these or they are bitter.
Fill with rolled proscuitto.
The main course was Pan-seared salmon with carrot cardamom puree and blood orange/Meyer lemon gelee cubes.
I made the carrot puree early in the day and heated it before plating everything.
I used three carrots peeled and coarsely chopped. Cover with water and a pinch of salt, boil until soft.
When they were cool I put them in a blender with about 3 Tbl. of the cooking liquid, 1 tsp ground cardamom, and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and blend until smooth.
The gelee cubes used the same formula as the "caviar" but instead was poured into a glass dish (much easier) and cut into tiny cubes.
I juiced and zested 1 blood orange and 2 Meyer lemons to make 3/4 cup liquid and sweetened it with 2 Tbl. sugar. I brought it to a boil with 2 grams of agar-agar and poured it into a glass baking dish. It was set in 15 minutes I cubed it and set aside in the fridge but refrigeration is not necessary if you are just going to use it in a few hours.
I pan-seared the salmon at the last minute. This is really easy just use a non-stick pan on medium high heat with a few Tbl. of olive oil and make sure to salt and pepper both sides of the fish. The time will vary based on the thickness of the fish so an instant read cooking thermometer is handy. The fish should be between 130 and 135 F when you pull it.
Lastly, we popped the Moet and I grabbed the store bought macarons.
Maybe next time I will make those too.
I love a challenge in the kitchen so this was fun to me.
Tell me, do you enjoy gourmet food and cooking?