Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A Degree in Cell and Molecular Gastronomy?
Yes, I finally graduated from my BSc in a Specialization of Cell and Molecular BIOLOGY! But these days as I search for jobs and cook I find myself falling further into the culinary aspects of the molecular world as opposed to Genomics. This whole Molecular Gastronomy craze both annoys and intrigues me. I truly believe in a whole and healthy meal; you know those ones that have been prepared the same way for generations. On the other hand I am constantly interested in the 'what, why, and how can I mess with it to make it better' aspect of life.
In comes this month’s Daring Cooks challenge, a recipe from Alinea the leading edge cookbook on molecular gastronomy. Supposedly this is the easiest recipe in the book as it doesn’t call for any ingredients or instruments that would have to be checked out of the lab. The idea was to present five different powders made from simple dehydrated ingredients to accompany a lush burre monte poached Skate wing.
For this challenge I decided to powder Capers, Lemon, Red Onion, Cilantro, and Field Strawberries from last weekend’s Quinn Farms raid. Everything was going well until the last minute of dehydration. You see I was one of the participants that didn’t own a dehydrator and had to “wing it” with the microwave. Each ingredient that I painstakingly attended to tried eagerly to burn in mere seconds after almost 30 minutes on low. Luckily I caught them before they all burnt to a crisp and most were salvaged. Needless to say I spent most of Sunday making and ruining powders.
Despite the small setbacks everything turned out wonderfully. The burre monte poached skate was tender yet juicy and each powder added a burst of flavour to every succulent bite. I really only made the strawberry powder for aesthetic reasons, but in the end it was one of my favourites. The lemon and red onion powders were transformed into an intensely flavourful complement to the Skate that I wasn’t expecting.
After the two days of dehydration and prep that went into this dish I don’t think that I will be making it again anytime soon, but I'm so glad to have tried it. Thanks to Sketchy's Kitchen for picking such a wonderful challenge and you can find the recipe for this and other challenges at The Daring Kitchen.