Enchanted Valentine: The Little Mermaid

She saw the bright sun, and all around her floated hundreds of transparent beautiful beings; she could see through them the white sails of the ship, and the red clouds in the sky; their speech was melodious, but too ethereal to be heard by mortal ears, as they were also unseen by mortal eyes. The little mermaid perceived that she had a body like theirs, and that she continues to rise higher and higher out of the foam.

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Continuing the tradition from last year, Joe from Measure and Stir and I wanted to make another set of cocktail and bites. This year we wanted to focus on fairy tales, and we selected a few of our favorite classics. We start of with The Little Mermaid by H.C. Andersen. More specific the Disney retelling of the story is what inspired this dish

In the Disney version there was a different ending, but for the cocktail we wanted to bring the original its glory. We wanted to show case both in this first course. On the plate we have Sebastian, Ariel, Ursula, and Eric. Both worlds are separated by the beach. The cocktail is a Sea Foam cocktail as all Mermaids end as sea foam. The little mermaid were gifted with a soul for all the humane suffering she endured for her love. You can read more about the cocktail here, Out of the Fathomless Deep.

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A World a Part

80g Wagyu Beef
50g Octopus
50g King Crab
40g Salmon
15g Sun Toasted Sand
5g Sea Foam

Sun Toasted Sand:

100g Toasted Rye Bread
100g Toasted Panko
50g Toasted Pine Nuts
30g Butter Snow
5g Dried and Toasted Wakame
5g Grated Palm Sugar
5g Sea Salt
5g Lemon Zest
2g MSG

Butter Snow:

30g Clarified Butter
10g Olive Oil
18g Tapioca Maltodextrin

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Sea Foam:

50g Kombu
50g Bonito Flakes
200g Water
5g Sucrose Ester

First start off by making your Butter Snow by mixing the butter, oil and Tapioca Maltodextrin. The mixture should remind you of light fluffy snow. Toast up your breads and Pine Nuts to get them extra crispy. Once they are toasted combine with the Wakame and Lemon zest, coarsely grind. Balance the sand with salt and sugar.

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For plating I cooked the Wagyu steak (Prince Eric) Sous Vide at 54c for an hour. As King Crab (Sebastian) is not in season we had to settle for frozen, which was steamed back to life, sprinkled with a little fresh chopped parsley. The Salmon (Ariel) were quickly brined in a concentrated brine. This is to firm up the flesh and make it more vibrant. The Octopus (Ursula) we got pre-cooked from Seattle’s Pike Place Market famous fish monger. They cooked the Octopus super tender, not chewy at all. Place on top of the sand and add your sea foam. Decorate with seaweed. Bring the Kombu, Bonito flakes, and water to a boil and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. Once cooled, strain and add the sucrose ester and whip with a as much air into as you can. This ester will create light fluffy bubbles similar to a sea foam. Skim the foam off the top and place on your plate.

See you next time. Hungry Eyes Full Heart, Can’t Lose!

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Restaurant Visit: Osteria Francescana

Earlier this summer I were invited to one of my best friends wedding parties in Italy. Home of the pizza and pasta. Making sure I planned ahead I made reservations for 4 to Osteria Francescana. Osteria Francescana were originally fully booked as there some changes in how to make reservations. But the host was able to magically make a new table appear. So got very lucky to get a reservation. Just days afterwards they were given the “Best Restaurant in the World” award. So expectations were high.

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Got a picture with the Man himself, Chef Massimo Bottura

These are my mobile pictures I took of the meal. The meal was as you could expect top notch. But in any meal there were some I liked better than others. Attention to detail, atmosphere, and the total experience were just fantastic.

 

From the outside you couldn’t really tell what was behind those doors. Looks very hidden, but the best things in life are those that you explore. So this just got me more excited.

Selecting wine is not something that should be taken lightly. We started the meal with a nice Barolo 2008 and then a nice Lambrusco 2013. We selected the Tuffo menu, which is composed of the dishes you see on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. They also have another set menu, which you can find on their website.

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The meal started off with a little crispy toast with Rabbit mousse

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Tuile with Parmesan

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Meringue shells filled with Foie Gras and Puff Pastry filled with Rabbit Pate

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Tribute to Normandy
Tartar of lamb with a seafood sauce

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Lentils are Better than Caviar
Lentals cooking in a briney broth to emulate the saltyness of Caviar. This was probably my favorite dish.

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‘Riso Levante’
Risotto with Saffron

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Mediterranean Sole
Sole served with dehydrated salt water that create a thin paper that melted away in your mouth.

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An Autumn Ceviche in Modena
Mushrooms and chestnut in a cream sauce

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Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in Different Textures and Tempratures
Who knew you could make Parmesan sing like this. Not just you addition to pasta.

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The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna
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At the Dinner of Trimalchione: Fowl in the Ancient Roman Style
Fowl with crispy skin with a dark and rich sauce made with the drippings

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Croccantino of Foie Gras
Foie Gras Popsicle covered with caramel chopped nuts. This was my favorite bite. But I do love my Foie Gras

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Caesar Salad in Bloom
Romain Lettuce with flowers and freeze dried raspberry powder

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Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart
Decontructed Lemon Tart, the small dots on the top of the plate were many different sauces and textures. Ranging from hot sauce and Capers, to different herbs.

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Chocolate Ganache with Freeze Dried Raspberry Powder

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Filled chocolate spheres with cherry liqueur, Chocolate Truffle, and Macaron with Black Truffle and Foie Gras

If you have a chance to dine at Osteria Francescana, it is something that is an adventure into the culinary marvels. The overall course and experience is something I will cherish for a very long time.

See you next time. Hungry Eyes Full Heart, Can’t Lose!

The Last Word Sundae

Hello, this is Joe from Measure and Stir, doing a guest post for johan on which we collaborated, which will also be cross-posted at my blog.

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This is not my first foray into the world of cocktail-inspired ice creams. My first was not up to snuff, and never made it to the web. My second was Mai Tai Soft Serve, which you may remember. Today, I am proud to share an ice cream Sundae inspired by one of my favorite classic cocktails, the Last Word. This drink is famous among cocktail enthusiasts, and as a Seattlite, it has a special place in my heart, since it was re-popularized in the modern cocktail renaissance by our very own Murray Stenson.

To make this ice cream sundae, we wanted to do something ambitious. It’s easy to get carried away when dealing with modernist techniques, and I think you will find that we did not exercise any restraint at all.

Just to review, the last word is a drink composed of equal parts:

The Last Word
3/4 oz London Dry Gin
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice

The green Chartreuse is really the key to this drink, as it is the source of its unique flavor. Even so, the combination and the balance are such that every element is a first class citizen. We went through several iterations before we settled upon this arrangement. What is the right way to marry an ingredient to a preparation? I confess I do not have any formal method for making these decisions.

The base of an ice cream sundae is the ice cream, and for that reason, it seemed fitting to use the base spirit of the drink, which in this case is London dry gin. As I have noted before, actual spirits do not come through strongly when added to an ice cream base. We can achieve much more flavorful results by using the root flavors of the spirit, rather than the spirit itself. To make a London dry gin ice cream, we used a hint of gin, but we steeped coriander, orange peel, and juniper berries into the cream. I don’t have the exact ratio, but this will get you pretty close. Note that we use the same base recipe as in Johan’s licorice ice cream.

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London Dry Gin Ice Cream
650g Whole Milk
225g Sugar
200g Egg Yolks
150g Heavy Cream
50ml London Dry Gin

Before combining the ingredients to make the ice cream, infuse the milk with gin botanicals. In a pan, toast up 2 tbsp of coriander seeds and 2 tbsp of juniper berries, until the oil starts to bloom on the juniper. When the berries are shiny, drop all of the spices into the milk, and gently heat on a stovetop for fifteen minutes along with one fat orange peel, trimmed of pith.

A good ice cream sundae should contain many layers and textures. Moreover, the last word, although quite spiritous, is a citrus-driven drink. It needs to the acidity and the punch of fresh sour lime juice. To achieve this end, we made a lime juice curd using this lemon curd recipe from chefsteps, subbing lemon for lime, and omitting the gelatin. I cannot stress this last point enough. In our first attempt, we used the optional gelatin suggested in the recipe, and wound up with a disgusting congealed mass.

For the maraschino, we made a zabaione, which Johan called by some incomprehensible Norwegian (eggedosis) name that he will probably edit in here.

Maraschino Zabaione
3 Large Egg Yolks
100 ml Heavy Cream
Sugar and Marschino to Taste
Integrate using a mixer (or a whisk, if you want to work on those arms), and load into an iSi whipping cannister. Charge it up and shake it.

For the green chartreuse, we made a fluid gel. Modernist techniques often feel like solutions in search of a problem, but in this case, a chartreuse gel was exactly the thing. We adapted this recipe from chefsteps as well, substituting fresh orange juice with green chartreuse, and omitting the citric acid. The texture and mouthfeel was unusual, but it felt very at home in a sundae, filling in the same space where one might otherwise find chocolate fudge sauce.

At this point, we had all of the elements, and a variety of soft viscosities, but a sundae also needs crunch, contrast, and texture. To this end, we repeated some of the flavors, and expanded on others. Ice cream wants some kind of cookie or crumble, and we opted to use two.

The first was a cinnamon shortbread, which we crumbled up and used as the bottom layer. I used this recipe from Serious Eats

Cinnamon Shortbread
9 ounces (about 1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus a little more for greasing the pan
3 1/2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
A healthy outpouring of ground cinnamon.

Don’t overmix the cinnamon in the shortbread, in order to create a marbled effect. I don’t know how much I used, but you’ll know it’s right when you see it. Cinnamon may seem like an odd addition to the dessert, but it complements and expands on the cinnamon flavor that is present in green chartreuse. It does not repeat perfectly, but it does rhyme.

The second cookie was a tuile, which also came from Serious Eats.

Tuile
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sifted cake flour
2 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

We integrated this, allowed it to cool, then spread it into a thin layer on a silpat using an offset spatula, and baked it at 175 C until it was just brown all over, about 12 minutes. For the final plating, we just shattered it into pieces.

In addition to cookie textures, we added a couple of soft and chewy elements. The first was dried sweetened pineapple, compressed with maraschino. To make this, we bought dried sweetened pineapple chunks in bulk from a supermarket, and compressed them in a chamber vac with a shot of Botanical Gin (Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin). The longer you leave them sealed in the bag, the softer they get. We let ours sit for about two hours before draining them. They kept in a jar for quite a while afterwards, and had the texture of soft gummy candy. We chose pineapple because it pairs wonderfully with lime, and green chartreuse, but in truth, any pineapple flavor was completely eclipsed by the strong botanical Gin.

Finally, we topped it with falooda seeds soaked in a mixture of London dry gin and water. These are popular in some asian and Indian desserts, and they have the amazing property that they will soak up any liquid in which they rest. They are sometimes colloquially called frogs eggs, but they have a similar texture to modernist caviar made with sodium alginate. Since they soaked up a little gin, they were the perfect vehicle to give a tiny boozy kick to the dessert, which was otherwise lacking.

The composition of the sundae was as follows, from bottom up, served in a Cocktail Glass:

  • Cinnamon Short Bread Crumbles
  • Lime Curd
  • London Dry Gin Ice Cream
  • Citrus Gin-Compressed Pineapple
  • Maraschino Zabaione
  • Green Chartreuse Fluid Gel
  • Tuile Shards
  • Gin-Soaked Falooda

This was a lot of work, but the result was something truly special.

See you next time. Hungry Eyes Full Heart, Can’t Lose!

Trio of Ice Cream

This summer have been a hot one, and to cool down I have been tinkering with some cold flavors. To make the ice cream I used Liquid Nitrogen (LN2), and the smallest container available for purchase at my local welder shop is 10 liters, so that creates about 3 batches of ice cream. Currently there is a trend to add Licorice to everything, so I wanted to make a ice cream with that. And to fill up the other flavors I made a Dark Chocolate ice cream. My friend, Joe from Measure and Stir, have been wanting to make a cocktail ice cream and made his take on a MaiTai. Ice cream is a dish that you can really taste great dairy, so worth the extra few dollars on the good stuff.

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Licorice Custard Ice Cream with LN2 Frozen Raspberry and Orange shards

Licorice

650g Whole Milk
225g Sugar
200g Egg Yolks
150g Heavy Cream
10g Licorice Powder (Fine)

3 about liters of Liquid Nitrogen

Mix all ingredients together in a Thermomix. Thermomix is a food processor with a heating element built in. Meaning you can set a temperature and have have it gently stir or chop. This processes helps making an ice cream base as you need to start with a custard. Put all the ingredients in the Thermomix except for the Licorice. Licorice is a pretty dominant flavor,so less is more. You should aim for where you can taste the Licorice, but not as intense as a Licorice candy. Stir the base at 70c for about 20-30 minutes, checking every so often to make sure you have a smooth thick custard base. Once you have your custard let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but if you can leave it over night even better. You want the custard to cool down and also settle the air structure inside the base. This step is not needed, but does help create a smooth texture ice cream. Using a stand mixer whip the base at medium speed while you pour in the liquid nitrogen slowly. Once semi frozen add to a contain and let firm up in the freezer. Served with Raspberries or strawberries. A great flavor combination is Fresh Strawberries with balsamic reduction with a scoop of Licorice ice cream.

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MaiTai Soft Serve Ice Cream with Fresh Mint and El Dorado 12yo

Mai Tai

You can read all about this cocktail ice cream over at Measure and Stir.

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Double Dark Chocolate Custard Ice Cream with Milk and White Chocolate shaved on top

Double Dark Chocolate

650g Whole Milk
225g Sugar
200g Egg Yolks
150g Heavy Cream
30g Chocolate Powder (Freshly roasted)
50g 66% Caraibe (Finely chopped)
50g 72% Araguani (Finely chopped)

3 about liters of Liquid Nitrogen

I followed the same process for Licorice ice cream base for this ice cream as well.I combined the 66% Caraibe into the custard base as it was mixing in the thermomix. This melted the chocolate to infuse the flavor. Caraibe chocolate have a nutty and fruity flavor and a gentle sweetness. I wanted this to play with the roasted rich chocolate powder. Once the base is semi frozen using the liquid nitrogen, incorporate the Araguani chocolate shavings. This will add small bits of crispy chocolate and bursts of flavor. The Araguani chocolate have a bitter flavor to really complement the two other chocolates.

See you next time. Hungry Eyes Full Heart, Can’t Lose!

Valentines Day Cocktail Hour: Cocoa Nib Macaron With Candied Orange And Orange Butter Cream

Hello, my name is Johan Moe, and welcome to the first entry to MOEdernKitchen.com. Here I will share creations from my kitchen and for you to try at home. You will find traditional and modern dishes with a touch of influence to take it to the next level.

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Blood Orange and Cocoa nib liqueur, with cocoa nib Macaron filled with Orange butter cream

The idea behind the cocktail hour was to create a romantic trio of cocktails, building on the foundation of love, affection, and companionship. Each drink to symbolize a different emotion. This was a collaboration with my good friend Joe. Joe enjoy creating craft cocktails of high caliber. The trio we created were as follows: Raspberry coulis and Calvados with a Rose air cocktail with candied berries, Blood Orange Juice and homemade Cocoa Nib liqueur Cocktail with a Cocoa Nib Macaron filled with candied Orange and a Orange butter cream, and lastly a Creme Brulee cocktail with toasted Brioche topped with a Miso caramel sauce.

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A flight of Pappy Van Winkle to get the creative juices flowing. With Joe (left) and me

The idea to this started Joe wanted to create a trio of cocktails for valentines day. It started off with something sweet, something red, and something good. Joe shared this idea with me on our trip to Vegas (You can read about the bar crawl here). The drinks were already pretty much locked down, but I was able to contribute with some theater and tasty bites. For full review of the cocktails head over to Measure and Stir.

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Cocoa Nib Macaron filled with Orange butter cream and candied Orange

For my main contribution to the trio, the French Macaron. These delicious delicate little cookies are so hard to perfect, but well worth the effort to learn. For a basic Macaron I highly recommend checking out this class on Chefsteps. They have made it really easy to follow and get a great result every time.

 

Cocoa Nib Macaron shells

150g Almond flour (extra fine)
150g Powdered sugar
110g Egg whites
1g Egg white powder
55g Water
165g Sugar
20g Cocoa powder

To create the shells for the Macarons, you will need to separate out egg whites and let them come up to room temperature. While you wait measure out the remaining ingredients. The Almond flour, Cocoa powder and powdered sugar will need to be sifted, as you do not want lumps in the batter. Mix in half of the egg whites to make an almond paste. Mix together the remaining egg whites with the egg white powder. Egg white powder helps add more stability to the cookies. Whip until soft peaks and keep in running on lowest setting. In a small sauce pan combine the sugar and water and bring it up to 118C / 244F. Once the Sugar have come to temp, put the mixer to high and slowly pour in the sugar in a gentle stream into the egg whites. Mix for another 5 minutes until you have firm peaks. Combine with the Almond paste gently, as we want the most amount of air in the cookies. Pipe out to a cookie tray with a silpat, and let the cookies try until they are no longer sticky. Sprinkle some Cocoa nibs on top of the cookies as they dry. Bake for 12-13 minutes in the oven at 165C / 330F. Baking the cookies require you to know your oven, so a few test batches are needed, but it is never a bad excuse to try again.

Orange German Butter Cream

10 Egg yolks
100g Sugar
120g Whole Milk
60g Marmalade
15g Clement Creole Shrub
3 dashes Orange bitters

German butter cream is traditionally a softer cream. I wanted something that would hold up a little bit more. So opted to cook the eggs Sous Vide (What is Sous Vide). The eggs were cooked for 30 minutes at 82C / 180F. This will create a solid egg mixture, and an added benefit of create an intense eggy flavor. This helped cut down the richness of all the sweet elements added and the cookies themselves. So to get the creamy constancy, combine the milk and eggs together in a high powered blender. In a mixer cream the butter and add sugar. Once combined add the milk/egg mixture, as well as Marmalade, Orange liqueur and the Orange bitters. Place in the fridge to set up a little before piping. Candy some Orange, and add it to the cream filling for an extra pop of flavors. Recommended to keep the cookies in the fridge and take them out 30-60 minutes before enjoying them, if you can manage to wait.

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Raspberry Coulis and Calvados cocktail with rose air, served with candied berries

The other bites were candied berries and a toasted brioche with Miso caramel sauce. The berries were candies using egg whites. Coat the berries in the egg white and then sanding sugar. Leave to dry overnight to create a hard crunching shell texture. To make the Miso caramel sauce bring sugar up to a soft ball (118C / 235F)  and carefully mix in some heavy cream and Miso paste. Leave to cool. Serve on toast or ice cream.

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Creme Brulee Cocktail with toasted briocheand Miso Caramel sauce

I hope you have enjoy it. Check back soon for more updates and tasty treats. Hungry Eyes Full Heart, Can’t Lose