Welcome to the crazy kitchen!
I love a good cooking class. And after a very successful dip into bread making last month, my friend Deb suggested we take a class on Molecular Gastronomy and I said yes without batting an eye. Molecular-say what?
The teacher was supposed to be Marcel Vigneron (remember him from Top Chef?) but he had to drop out at the last minute and was replaced by local chef, Whitney Werner. Chef Werner was definitely intense – that is to say that within five minutes of his demo, he threw swordfish at a student for asking if the fish should be served warm or room temp.
The class got good when the hands-on portion began and we started playing around with Liquid Nitrogen, Xantham Gum, Calcium Lactate Gluconate and other chemicals that are way out of my comfort zone.
The idea is to break food down and then reconstitute it in a different form. “Parmesan Air” is a perfect example. We combined water and parm, heated the mixture, strained it and let it stand for 30 minutes (above). A dash of Lecite, a trip to the freezer and a blast of liquid nitrogen later and voila! Parmesan Air! It’s quite pretty, no?
We also made Coffee Rubed Lamb Loin, served with Rocky Mountain Wildberry Spheres. The lamb was the delicious (the rub contained ground coffee beans, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, ground sage and cayenne and was literally bursting with flavor) and the spheres were….spherical.
I can’t even begin to explain how to make these suckers which is probably best. I don’t think I’ll be messing around with Calcium Lactate Gluconate or Xanthan Gum at home. It was quite satisfying transferring the frozen spheres to the liquid and watching them turn into little jelly balls. Oy vey! It’s fun, it’s weird but I think I’ll stick with Ina-style cooking and call it a day.