Andrew was over yesterday and we got out the sodium alginate and calcium chloride for another round of spherification experiments. Almost everything was a disaster — I tried to spherify this Jamaican scotch bonnet hot sauce but it disintegrated as soon as it hit the bath. Near the end of the session, we gelled some Michigan tap water with the sodium alginate and dropped it in the CaCl2 solution haphazardly. Andrew fished out this beautiful little seahorse that formed serendipitously and it made all the previous (failed) attempts worthwhile. I think it is so cute! The only thing was that it tasted like tap water and the cell walls of brown algae.
maraschino cherry raviolo
This is the maraschino cherry flavored raviolo we made.
Mix together 4 oz. maraschino cherry juice, 2 oz. water, and 2 teaspoons sodium alginate in a bowl.
Drop the liquid into a bath of 32 oz. cool water mixed with a teaspoon or two of calcium chloride. Remove the balls from the bath after they have gelled (10 seconds – 1 minute) and rinse with cool water before serving.
There were some other creatures swimming around in the bath with the seahorse!
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I got some sodium alginate and calcium chloride at lepicerie.com and was very happy with the results of my first experiments in molecular gastronomy. As a hypochondriac, I was really worried about opening the calcium chloride. There was a huge label on the package that warned about burns from hydrolysis and serum acidosis. Then I watched some YouTube videos of people splashing around in calcium chloride baths and got over my fear.
my very first cilantro caviar
I bought a special container to store the calcium chloride in because it is extremely hygroscopic, attracting water molecules from the surrounding environment. I scooped out a teaspoon of the CaCl2 and dissolved it in 32 oz. of water to prepare the small spherification bath. I sealed the rest back up very quickly.
I pulverized the cilantro with a mortar and pestle, adding water to help macerate the leaves and stems. Then I added about 6 oz. of water and strained it all into a separate bowl. 2 teaspoons of sodium alginate powder was blended into this green cilantro water.
The now semi-gelatinous cilantro goop was spooned into the CaCl2 bath, forming little balls. After about a minute I scooped the balls out and rinsed them in water. The cilantro flavor was very watered down and the sodium alginate imparted no discernable flavor. It was pretty boring, except for the texture. I made a second batch using veal baby food. This was so bland that I had to spruce it up with a little agave nectar and some sea salt. The resulting balls were nauseating — a complete catastrophe. I moved on to some Hediard rose petal jelly. I blended 2 tbsp. rose jelly, 6 oz. warm water, and 2 teaspoons of sodium alginate. Then I dropped this gel in the CaCl2 bath with a baby nasal aspirator (never before used). These pearls were really beautiful and were much more delicious than the first two flavors. I made four rose ravioli, seen below.
PS: I was recently shocked to find this Facebook group for people who hate cilantro!
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