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By Tuber magnatum
Having experienced the "Edible Balloon" dessert at Alinea, I have been on a quest to try this at home. Only recently was I able to find purportedly a recipe:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/raypajar1/these-edible-helium-balloons-are-dessert-from-the-future?utm_term=.ut6r3PnMk#.acGNVWmd6 the video of which is found below.
I tried this and probably no surprise, it failed. The bubble collapsed / popped with only a little distension. I wasn't sure if the problem was that a "secret" ingredient (e.g. some kind of surfactant to stabilise the bubble or using a different kind of sugar) was missing. Or maybe I didn't allow the mix to come to correct temperature etc. Elsewhere I thought I had read that the original recipe was in effect some kind of taffy. Has anyone else had success, or do any candy makers /modernist chefs, have suggestions they are willing to share?
I was making onion confit the other day. After slow-cooking the onions in duck fat and duck stock for 14 hr., I wanted to reduce the liquid before finishing the onions off in the oven. So I got out a bowl and a sieve and took the inner container out of the IP to make it easier to pour. Then I got distracted talking to my wife, not that I'm blaming her. The next thing I noticed was liquid all over the counter: I had put the sieve on the IP and strained the onions into it. (Fortunately, it was cool and unplugged). Now, the IP documentation warns against immersing the IP in liquid. "The housing has electronic components and should never be immerse [sic] in water.Doing so will damage Instant Pot permanently. The housing can only be wiped clean." (http://instantpot.com/portfolio-item/after-purchase/#toggle-id-20). I was therefore wary about just plugging the IP in again, but didn't want to just throw it away. So I had to investigate.
Removing the bottom plate was easy (one screw to undo), and inside it actually looked pretty good. The control board was clean and there were just a few splashes of grease here and there. The inner pot has two drainage holes; one is just visible at about 1:30 in this pic and the other is below the control board and not really visible in this pic. The back of the control board is protected by a plastic base.
But I wanted to check the back of the board, and to do that I had to remove a few screws and connectors:
Most of the connectors have little flanges that hold them in their sockets. Getting them to release required a lot of probing with a very small screw-driver, accompanied by a fair amount of swearing. Below is the multi-pin connector, which was the hardest to remove.
Once that was off, the control board could be removed without disconnecting any more wires (which had proved recalcitrant, in any case).
The back of the control board was clean, as was the inside of its plastic base, which I removed next. The back of it was coated in duck fat.
Finally, I removed the plastic ring around the base of the IP. It housed the socket for one end of the power cord, but this snapped out easily.
All the plastic pieces I had removed got a good wash in hot soapy water. I cleaned up the rest of the hardware as best I could with paper towels and cotton swabs.
Then I put it all back together (thanking myself for having taken that initial pic). I replaced the inner pot, added some water and ran the "sauté" function for a couple of minutes until the water started to steam. Then I turned it off, put on the lid and ran a "soup" function with pressure for 5 min. There was a bit of smoke that I attributed to residual duck fat (It smelled culinary.), and which only lasted 15 sec. or so.
Huge sigh of relief. Having gone through all this, I think it was probably not absolutely necessary, but there might have been a bit more smoke and smell. It was worth doing for the peace of mind, though.
And the onion confit turned out fine.
I've tried to make the spherical mussels recipe from the Modernist Cuisine books and it didn't work as I expected, so I would appreciate any advice that may help here.
The recipe calls for calcium gluconate which I couldn't get hold of, so I replaced it with calcium lactate gluconate that I had at home. I used the same ration (2.5%)
When I tried to create the spheres in the sodium alginate bath I encountered two main problems;
1. instead of spheres the mixture just stayed as uneven shape on the surface. The bath was 1Kg. water with 5gr. sodium alginate and I let it rest in the fridge for 24 hours before using it so I think the problem is not here. However, the mussels jus mixture (100gr. mussels jus, 0.5gr. xanthin gum and and 2.5gr. calcium lactate gluconate) had a lot of air bubbles in it. Can that be the issue?
2. In the book the spheres seem to be completely transparent whereas my mussels jus mixture was pretty white and opaque. Is it because I replaced calcium gluconate with calcium lactate gluconate? Or maybe it's because the jus itself should be clarified before it is used?
Thanks in advance for your support,
(1) I have a Miele Induction cooktop and a recently purchased Lodge Cast Iron 12 inch skillet. I have been poring over recipes from Cooks Illustrated and many of them recommend pre-heating the skillet in a 500F oven and then placing the skillet on a cooktop (no mention of glass cooktop or induction). Before I go ahead and try this, am I running the risk of damaging the cooktop by placing a pre-heated CI skillet on to the (Schott Ceran) surface?
(2) A related question is that, on admittedly little use of the Lodge CI so far, I have triggered the overheating feature of the induction cooktop resulting in the burner in use shutting off. I have not used the burner any higher than 7 out of 9 and even then and for about five minutes for pre-heating. This is frustrating to say the least. I have had the same problem with a new Matfer 12" carbon steel skillet while trying to season it.
I was cooking for a party last night at which a gluten free cake was served for dessert. I had a few bites and aside from the cake being dry and the frosting very sweet, there was that tell-tale grittiness that GF baked goods seem to have. This particular bakery uses a blend of millet, sorghum, tapioca and potato flours. I used some Bob's Red Mill GF flour to satisfy a customer request for GF shortbread and found the same grittiness - they use garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, whole grain white sorghum flour, tapioca flour and fava bean flour.
Obviously some sacrifices of flavor and texture are made when trying to replicate the magic of gluten, but why can't these flour blends be softer? Can't they be milled more finely? Or is it just the way the particular starches or proteins in those other flours are felt on the tongue?
It's like that chalky cold cooked rice texture, do you know what I mean? Why can't it be better? Almost every time I eat something made with substitute flours, it makes me sad and want to fix it.
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