Sunday, August 30, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Below is a short video showing these wonderful spheres pop and ooze. Please enjoy,
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I fantasized briefly about getting a rotary evaporator (http://www.buchi.com/rotary-evaporator_rotavapor.4695.0.html?utm_id=evso&gclid=CJfR--vmoZwCFQRM5QodNXn9lA) but my dreams were promptly shot down by a ludicrous price tag (about $10k). I also thought that, even if it is a great distiller (it's called an evaporator but what it essentially does is distill through evaporation... all distillers work through evaporation), how can I justify such a price tag? How much stuff can you distill before you make your money back?
Getting a massive clue after the price tag shock, I decided to aim much lower, and with the help of one of my sous, Sean Pera, we found this cheapo home distiller.
I distilled Earl Grey tea and it came out clear as water. It was off-putting to drink clear Earl Grey, but intriguing at the same time. And I can deal with a $100 machine that does what this one does.
I have also tried other teas and infusions and they have worked well. I am going to test using vodka instead of water as a distilling medium, since it appears that the evaporation process is much faster than with water, and this concentrates flavor better.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Ever since I first saw Heston Blumenthal's "The Big Fat Duck Cookbook", I have been unhealthily obsessing over one thing and one thing only: the standing quenelles. If you have not seen the book, then you have no idea what I am talking about so I will try to explain: when you spoon a quenelle onto a plate or a dessert component, whatever it may be, it lays flat or it is at a gentle incline, leaning on something to keep it in place. A standing quenelle, or upside-down quenelle, is quite a novel idea, at least to me. So, how the hell did they do it? I want to think that they didn't cheat and scoop the quenelle ahead of time, blast-froze it, then stood it on a plate. Maybe they did, and there's nothing wrong with that, after all, dealing with ice cream in photo shoots is a real pain that I know a thing or two about.
But what would you do if you had to spoon an upside-down quenelle during service? I looked at one of my treasured silver quenelle spoons and I found the answer: the spoon part would have to be upside down. I asked one of the maintenance guys on campus to cut the spoon off the handle, flip it around and weld it back onto the handle. They had it ready in less than an hour. I took it out for a test drive and it worked very well as you can see by the video above.