Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter Eats

The cold weather is starting to dissipate, the flowers protruding from the thawed ground - it's finally spring! Winter sucks, terribly. What I miss most is the nice summer breeze, the fresh tomatoes, herbs and other delights growing in the garden or at the local farmer's markets (Dufferin Grove is my fav). I miss the freshness of summer, when everything is frozen in the boring, not to mention cold winter months. 
This Easter, for our usually small easter lunch, my mom excluded me from making savoury food. So off I went to design a dessert. With blood oranges slowly dissipating from markets, I wanted to take advantage of their deliciousness and colour. A sorbet was what I decided on.

I zested and removed the pith on a couple of the blood oranges, halved them and squeezed out the vibrant acidic juice.

Roughly following the instructions from an Alinea recipe for orange sorbet, the 250g of orange juice (not much considering it took 6 frickin' blood oranges!) joined 25g of water, 75g of sugar and a splash of lemon juice to substitute for the required citric acid. I added to this recipe the zest and ginger to infuse into the sorbet. Finally agar-agar was added to thicken and stabilize the mixture, helping to make it less granular.

The sorbet churning in my ice cream maker.
The finished and cooled sorbet base.

 The second component for my dish was sesame oil powder, featuring the awesomeness of tapioca maltodextrin, the modified tapioca starch that can absorb any form of fat. It's pretty awesome, however to render the fat into a powder the purity of the fat can become lessened. The flavors diluted. Sesame oil being very strong was only slightly muted. One thing that is cool is that the flavor release is gradual, so that the powder must dissolve before the sesame flavor is released.

15g of sesame oil joined 6g of tapioca maltodextrin in my mini-food processor. The processor was mainly empty and was useless so I just mixed it together with a spoon. The best way to mix it though is by using dry hands and crumbling the mixture until the fat is absorbed. The powder was sweetened to taste with powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Finally the powder was pressed through a sieve to separate it into a powder.
The finished pressed sesame oil powder

My final component? A spherical orb of ginger tea. Again following an Alinea recipe (the book is awesome). 32g of ginger was sliced, peeled and steepedwith 150g of 37g of sugar, and 2g of calcium lactate. The mixture of frozen in an ice cube tray so the orbs would be identical.

Easter Sunday quickly arrived and the stuffed leg of lamb was roasting with the potatoes and bone marrow, that I bought to spread on bread instead of butter. The bones went in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes of until the marrow was jiggly, warm and cooked mostly through. The marrow was scooped out and spread on crusty, toasted bread and finished with maldon sea salt. Rich, warm, fatty and sinful. I don't want to think about the cholesterol in those bones...

My family finished the savoury foods and my palate-cleanser was plated. The ginger orbs were spherified in the sodium alginate water, but only two made it out of the water whole. Note to self: always use low calcium water, as tap water will gel when the sodium alginate is dissolved.

The sorbet was light and acidic. There was not much of it when I churned it, so I added some water which kinda diluted the flavors...The sesame oil powder was sweet and added a subtle nuttiness to the refreshing sorbet. The ginger orb was beautiful. It burst like a water-balloon releasing the piquant ginger flavoured tea. It was cleansing, but not totally successful in total as a dish. The ginger orbs would be awesome in an amuse-bouche or a small dessert meant to be eaten in one bite. The diner would have the orb explode in their mouth releasing a gush of liquid...

Next thing I'm making: PORK BELLY!

1 comment:

  1. The sorbet looks awesome! You should bring me some on Thursday!!!