Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sweetbreads, roasted garlic, aged balsamic

Today was an easy one, so decided to plate a dish. Simple as that. No crazy equipment used today, but tomorrow, I’ll be centrifuging some stock before reducing it.

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Beginning of an Idea: Melting “snow”

In one of my trips, I was having dinner with my boss where they served us cotton candy before our dessert was served. Small fist sized pillows served on a stick. While eating it I accidentally dropped it into my glass of water. I was astounded at how it instantly dissolved. That was the start of this idea. What if you could make a dish that melted right in front of you?

Few months later I had some extra meringue and decided to freeze dry it. It came out so light and brittle you could barely hold it. And I thought about the original idea. The meringue is light enough, and has enough surface area to be in contact with a little bit of water. I spoke to Cesar Vega about it and he advised me to add some maltodextrin to the meringue mixture to make it more stable during the freeze drying process. It worked. The meringue came out even lighter than my previous trials since it didn’t collapse inside the vacuum chamber. Though, the crazy expansion of the meringue caused quite a mess.

I just wanted to see if the technique would even work. Thankfully, it did! Obviously by no means is this a finished experiment or a complete dish. But I think it’s interesting nonetheless.

Some context for the idea. The goal was for a finished dish to simulate the transition from winter to spring. Ideally, I’ll have an edible soil and some cooked vegetables at the bottom, covered by the “snow”. The water will have aromas to it. So essentially, winter, then it rains, snow melts, and vegetation appears.

Video is shot in real time.


Freeze Dried Steak: What to do?

The last post I made a few weeks back compared items processed through the freeze dryer and a conventional dehydrator. Most of the fruits were consumed, they were crunch and sweet! On this post I took out the freeze dried steak and just wanted to see what would happen if.

 

 

So first off we slice the steak. It’s quite easy to slice. I was expecting it to be challenging thinking that it might be very brittle. It was brittle, but it seems the muscle fibres are able to hold a structure to keep it from simply crumbling apart. Pulling it apart, though, was quite easy and what you get are tiny tiny fibers of muscle that seem to just flake off, and the larger chunks.

 

Next up, I sliced the steak into thin strips. The idea of this was to make something that would be similar to bacon. The interesting part is when you fry it, the maillard reaction happens extremely quickly. Within a few seconds the entire piece has browned. Of course, thicker pieces need a few more seconds for the browning to occur deeper in the pieces. The oil is also quickly absorbed by the strips.

Here, you can see a before and after photo of the strips. It still shrinks quite significantly after cooking. The taste was not bad, but not delicious either. I tried frying it in both canola oil and butter. The meat really takes on the flavour of the fat being used. That being said, it still wasn’t really delicious with the butter. Also, if the piece was just a little too thick, the texture was like chewing on woodchips, at least what I imagine chewing on woodchips would be like.

 

Lastly, I wanted to try reconstituting moisture into the steak. This was not a pretty sight. It just looked unappetizing. Of course, this was expected, but it’s different when you get to see it yourself. It just looks like meat that’s been in and out of the freezer too many times. It was mushy, and when you applied light pressure on it, it would be like a sponge when water comes out to the surface.