Culinary kit lets you make molecular magic

Posted May 15, 2012, at 5:13 p.m.

Uber-chefs Ferran Adria, Grant Achatz and Wylie Dufresne aren’t the only kitchen wizards on the planet, whipping up plates festooned with flavorful gels, foams and spheres. You can, too, with Cuisine R-EVOLUTION by MOLECULE-R Flavors. Think of it as a science kit for foodies geeked by molecular gastronomy and eager to make mint “caviar,” beet “foam,” “spherical” tzatziki and more.

Not on the same plate, of course, because you already know how to cook and pair flavors. But if you’re intrigued by the culinary magic created by some chefs, you’ll get a charge out of trying a few of their culinary techniques at home. And you won’t need Adria to coach you.

The kit lets you experiment with spherification (liquid trapped inside a thin gel; think caviar) and gelification (liquid to gel) to emulsification (liquid to foam) and effervescence, among others. It includes packets of common food additives (agar agar, xanthan gum, sodium alginate, calcium lactate, soy lecithin), tools (pipettes, silicone tubes, food-grade syringe, etc.) — plus a DVD with demonstrations for 50 recipes.

We were intrigued enough to order the cuisine kit (there’s also a cocktail version). When it arrived, we pulled out ingredients needed for balsamic vinegar pearls (vinegar, olive oil, agar agar) and arugula spaghetti (fresh arugula, water, agar agar). The ingredients, directions and tools all worked well once we got the hang of things. (OK, so the first “spaghetti” we forced through a tube ended up on our clothing.) Our dish? A salad of arugula spaghetti, sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and balsamic pearls. The kit is $58.95 at molecule-r.com.

©2012 the Chicago Tribune

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