Monday, April 13, 2015

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls!

The wife says jump and I ask how high. I am such a noble and docile husband. If you are one of those lucky women that has such a guy like me as husband, let me tell you something: adore him and if you can, build him a pedestal so you can do the adoration the way it should be. Also keep in mind that if you adore him he will be not only noble, fantastic and all that... he, like me, becomes adorable!

I am adorable, what are you going to do. Adorable with capital A.

The current wife in her past life was a scientist, and a brilliant one I have to admit. She created life!... and in this life she has done it again. Reincarnation at its best. Her first creation (past life) was ... the creature...Frankenstein was the name of her creation who she lovely called it "my son".  In her current life she calls her creation "my son"...coincidences?, I don't think so.

In any event, she discovered something that would satisfy her interests and mine. A bonding activity if you will. She discovered Molecular Gastronomy which combine two of her passions: food -she loves to eat as you know- and science. A gift that worked as an excuse to celebrate my second birthday (my kidney transplant date is the day I was born again thanks to a generous soul to whom I am and will be grateful)

Molecular gastronomy is the fancy name for... cool looking food. I like both, presentation and flavor (the big head son of mine has the gift of presentation... but he knows he got that from me, even though he denies it).

This is my first attempt to do Molecular Gastronomy. I went for something easy and ... attractive. Balsamic vinegar pearls was the choice.

The whole key to this is a product called Agar-Agar, also known as China Grass. With that name in hand I went downtown -actually to China Town- and looked for China grass. Not easy to find at first and people were sending us from place to place. At the end, a guy had it. He went to the back of his store and came back with the cooking ingredient. Not cheap though.

Exited we got home and got ready all ingredients. The mysterious package from China Town looked like grass as the name indicate. The wife was static. She told me: I know this stuff and, faster than you can say kaboom, she was rolling the grass and started smoking it. She hid in the bathroom and refused to share. Somehow I guessed that it was the wrong grass. Back to shopping.

At the end I did more research and I discovered that Agar-Agar is a substitute gelatin made of algae and not from animal protein and it is used as a gelling ingredient for vegetarians and Asian dishes. It is a thickening and stabilizing ingredient. It is tasteless and odorless -like love- and it sets more firmly than gelatin.

So, here is my very first attempt to do Molecular Gastronomy!!!

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Preparation Time: 30 minutes           


1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

2 Cups Olive oil (will be reused so no worries)

2 g Agar-Agar

1 Glass room temperature water

Special Equipment

1 Cooking syringe or a cooking pipette

1 Piercing spoon (Tbsp size)


1. Put the olive oil in the freezer for 30 minutes

2. In a pan bring to a boil the mix of the vinegar and the agar and allow it to cool for 3 minutes

3. Pour the vinegar into the cooking syringe or pipette

4. Dribble the vinegar into the cold olive oil (if using the syringe make sure that the syringe is parallel to the working table)

5. Using a pierced spoon, collect the pearls that have formed and put them in a room temperature glass of water to rinse

6. Create a nice looking dish that requires balsamic vinegar and let your creative side go crazy !!

7. Enjoy!

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