viernes, 30 de noviembre de 2007

TGRWT 8 - Roadblock

I'm a bit upset that I haven't found Caviar, the real deal, in this town... There's got to be a bit somewhere.

As for ideas, I had been thinking of making something like a white chocolate "beurre blanc". It's still on the drawing board...

martes, 27 de noviembre de 2007

In Memoriam: Sean Taylor

(Don Wright Photo)

Not having grown up in a place with an NFL franchise, I had usually been unstable in my support for teams. However I do tend to favor teams from cities I feel connections with or have lived in. And after a time in the DC Metro, it was very hard not to let the Skins grow on to me.

Today I was saddened to hear that young Sean Taylor passed away. He was one of the defensive leaders in the team and he was only on his 4th year in the NFL. It's sad to see him leave us, and it's even sadder when one thinks that he was only 24.

viernes, 23 de noviembre de 2007

That's DOCTOR Adrià for you

Universitat de Barcelona is naming Ferrán Adrià Doctor Honoris Causa. This notion was put forward by the School of Chemistry and seconded by pretty much all the rest. It's the first time a cook receives such a naming from the University.

Naming ceremony will be December the 17th.

From: Directo al Paladar

jueves, 22 de noviembre de 2007

Big Bake

Old school baking!

I got to admit, when I was making the mornay sauce for the gougeres I couldn't help thinking about setting it with xanthan gum instead of roux. I did end up with a texture somewhat similar to a xanthan thickened cream... I guess I'll have to scourge town for some gum.

miércoles, 21 de noviembre de 2007

The sound of Khymos

Food, the "improvisational electroacoustic jazz band" has released their fifth album called: Molecular Gastronomy. Amongst track names as "Heston", "texturas" and "spherification" there's a track named after Martin's website: Khymos.

Kudos to Martin for "making" it into fame, now in the world of music.

Volatile Compounds for TGRWT #8

M. pointed out that there's a third component in the TGRWT pairing: trimethyl amine. A quick google search showed that it's a compound associated with some utterly nasty smells:

"Trimethylamine is a product of decomposition of plants and animals. It is the substance mainly responsible for the fishy odor often associated with fouling fish, bacterial vagina infections, and bad breath." (From wikipedia)

According to our trusted Good Scents Company trimethyl amine occurs naturaly in cocoa and caviar. As do the previously mentioned substances. As for other ingredients that share the components, the list has been drastically reduced to five other foodstuffs: beer, cheese, fish, cofee and whiskey.

Just in case anyone was wondering about the previous list, it included: apple, arctic bramble, banana, beans, beef, beer, bilberry, brandy, bread, cabbage, carrot, caviar, cheeses, chicken, cider, clary sage, coffee, cranberry, currant, eucalyptus, fish, grape, guava, honey, hop oil, milk, peanut, peas, pecan, pork, potato, potato chip, soya bean, tea, tomato, turkey, whiskey and wine.

lunes, 19 de noviembre de 2007


Next round is up!

Chadzilla brings us the next challenge, and it is well... challenging (duh!). The ingredients for number 8 are caviar and white chocolate. It's been done before, notably by Marc Veyrat and Heston Blumenthal.

As for the train of thought that might go into the making of this, I think I'm taking a very complicated route. So far I started by applying Martin's technique for searching for common volatile aroma compounds in food. I got two components from the search: valeraldehyde and butyraldehyde. Curiously, I had already found these two components for another dessert idea.

Anyway, I took the list of natural occurrences for each compound and cross referenced it. In all, I have 39 matches for the compounds (caviar and chocolate included). While it does present an interesting challenge for a multi-ingredient dish, there's also the risk of overdoing it. So far two choices are my top ones:

1. White Chocolate, Caviar, fish (or not), potato, vanilla (from the Used in part of the search).
2. Simply white chocolate and caviar.

Again, more on this as I get hands on.

Update: Tokyo is Michelin Capital

Michelin keeps going at expanding it's comercial universe... At least that's the impression some people have been getting from the Guide's exhaustive attempts at covering big cities outside their usual market. First it was NY, now Tokyo.

However, it seems that the japanese weren't too thrilled at having a bunch of gaijin coming and rating their food. So how do you solve this? Throw a bunch of stars around. Tokyo is now the city with the city with the most stars in the world.

The breakdown:
8 Three-Star Restaurants:
Hamadaya, Classic Japanese
Joel Robuchon, French
Kanda, Japanese
Koju, Japanese
L'Osier, French
Quintessence, French
Sushi Mizutani, Sushi
Sukiyabashi Jiro, Sushi

25 Two-Star restaurants (RyuGin amongst them)

117 One-Star restaurants.

From: Directo al Paladar

domingo, 18 de noviembre de 2007

Interesting Gadgets

Directo al Paladar has presented two curious gadgets.

First is a wine decanter that's attached to the bottle. You fill a little sphere on one end then pour your glass. It's selling for 31 Euros, but the real value of it will have to be determined by each user so if anyone tries it, let us know!

The second cool gadget (and probably even better than the first) is a silicone spatula designed for chocolate work. Built into the spatula is a thermometer and drawn on it's sides it has temperature indicators for the adecuate range for each chocolate. This one can come in handy for the beginning chocolate worker... or those without a thermomix.

viernes, 16 de noviembre de 2007

Germany is #2

Michelin released today its Red Guide for Germany and it holds an interesting surprise. The number of German restaurants with 3 Michelin Stars are now 9. This puts it in second place after France as the countries with the most top rated restaurants.

This change might just be temporary though, as the guides for Spain, Italy and Portugal are still unreleased.

From: Directo al Paladar

miércoles, 14 de noviembre de 2007

MY truffles

Just as it was done in Italy a while back, a company in the UK with a oak plantation in Gascogne is putting trees up for adoption. All truffles harvested from the adopted tree will be property of the investor. The company then offers two choices: having them mailed to you or having the company sell them for you.

Finantial times called this: "Definitely risky, potentially fun".

See the website.

lunes, 12 de noviembre de 2007

TGRWT #7 Belated Posting

I finally have time to post what went on with the TGRWT #7 experiment. I have to confess that I am guilty of not devoting as much time and energy to this as I would have wanted. But other projects are gobbling up time.

So after the previously announced failure of the macaron, I decided to see what happened to the batter if I stuck it in the oven longer. Out came the silicone mini muffin mold. In went the batter and it turned out to be a sticky, sort of financier.

As for the cauliflower. I decided to roast it in the oven with a little Olive Oil. I did want a bit of brown on it, but I ended up covering it later to let it cook it it's own steam. I pureed this with some heavy cream and sweetened with condensed milk. The puree wasn't bad, but I feel that the cauliflower taste was lost in the sugar. My wife simply avoided tasting it on the basis of knowing it was cauliflower.

In the end, I just tried to take a semi-nice picture to feel the experiment wasn't such a failure.

I think I need to find a better balance for this combination of flavors. Cocoa was too overpowering and reduced to taste of cauliflower to simply feeling something sweet and creamy. I would like to keep this idea on the warmer also for a savory application.

miércoles, 7 de noviembre de 2007

Buy this book

Nope, no catchy title there...

If you're into food, and the internet, it's almost certain that you've run into Ideas in Food. The extremely interesting blog by chefs Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot. I'm not sure how many readers they have, but I am sure that there's many of us that avidly read their posts. It's kind of sad, but I actually prefer seeing that they posted than getting e-mail.

Anyway, Aki and Alex have contributed an essay to this book. So go out and get it. Read it, digest it, think about it and all...

martes, 6 de noviembre de 2007


I love bread. Baking is a truly amazing art and of those, I'd say brioche and puff pastry are amongst the best in the viennoiserie catalog (and the most challenging when in hot weather).

Today we made this Brioche in school using a sourdough method. the original recipe called for orange blossom water, but since we're going to use it for some canapés. I just skipped it.

I took a loaf home and gave my wife a taste. It was creamy and rich. It was her idea to make a couple sandwiches with it. A bit of mayo, tomato pesto, olives and parmesan with some turkey went into it and it was good.

I have to give a huge thank you to Christian Hackl who helped me rediscover bread and particularly, the sourdoughs.

lunes, 5 de noviembre de 2007

Wide right...

One of my favorite rock groups, Héroes del Silencio say in one of their songs (ca): "I've never rejected a lost cause, I'll never deny they're my favorites". I took this "approach" when tackling the dessert project for TGRWT #7. I went for the bolder, riskier option: Macarons.

I don't know if anyone has had this happened to them, but the one class where you missed something that was said or made, is the one thing that will come back to haunt you. I remember sometime in school we made macarons, but I'm totally oblivious to the way they were done.

The difficulty of macarons is almost of mythical proportions, it's the do or die test for pastry. A chef once told the that there are some fool-proof recipes for them but, alas, I didn't have them at hand. I ended up going for one very respected source: The Alain Ducasse book.

The batter I resulted with was dense as hell. So it's no surprise that I ended up with something that in no way resembles a macaron. Honestly, I don't really know if it resembles anything. It's kind of frustrating, but I'm not giving up.

sábado, 3 de noviembre de 2007

Electric Emulsions...

If you've read Food for Design, you might have stumbled upon this report. Research has shown that due to water's properties, it is possible to form stable emulsions of water and an oily medium just from electrostatics.

In the conclusions, the researchers state that "Their practical power for manipulating certain systems is not only of interest for (self-) assembly, but also for processes like emulsion production and encapsulation". So I'm guessing it won't be long before someone finds a way to put this into use in kitchens.

"Electrostatic" olive oil caramel, anyone?

Full Article here