Molecular Dinner for 20

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by thetincook, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    The caterer I'm working with wants to get in on this trend. So we're working on a package for a late august dinner party.

    I'm supposed to come up with 1) 1 Hors 2) Salad course 3) Plated app 4) Dessert 5) Chocolates. The boss is taking care of mains, soup, and rest of the hors.

    Soup will be some kind of agar/gelatin clarified consume. Mains will feature sous vide cooking. Beyond that, I don't know what's being planned yet.

    1) My Hors:  I'm thinking of making a brown butter pate a choux stuffed with something. I'd add extra milk solids to the butter so it's REALLY brown buttery. Beyond that, I'm not sure where to go on the stuffing. I was thinking of smoked trout or hot smoked salmon salad with some lemon 'cavier.' The flavors kind of play off classic fish dish.

    2) Salad: I was thinking of making a vegetable terrine. The veggies would be rough diced and bound with a gelee. The idea being that the slices would have a coarse granite look. Flavors would be ala greque. Plated with a little fluff of greens with lemon olive oil vinegrette.

    3) Plated app: I want to feature a 63 degree egg. Think soft boiled, but sous vide method. I was thinking in the shell would be a cool presentation using an egg topper. Looking at using some flavor combinations from Escoffier. The egg would be held in a donut shaped crouton that's been fried in butter. Some kind of tuile, frica, or cracker would stick out the top of the egg. Sauce would surround the egg. I'm considering either sauce Aurore or Chateubriand. Dunno if it would be worth the trouble of doing a bordelaise just for this dish.

    4) Dessert: Ironically, drawing a goose egg. Not sure what to do here that would be sufficiently "molecular." I've rejected frozen hollow spheres as too problematic. There is an entire genre of microwave cakes, but I dunno how I'd serve 20 at once.

    5) Chocolates: Selection of three truffles. Thinking 1 with chili, 1 with salty caramel, 1 with something smokey (bacon?). I was thinking of puffing some basmati rice to use in the coating of the caramel one.

    Thoughts?

    PS, Oh yeah, we're going to build our own sous vide cooker with a PID controller. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif
     
  2. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

    Messages:
    7,375
    Likes Received:
    67
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    August....hot.....really hot......heavy foods are not appetizing....

    handmade mozz balloons are fun, tomatoes are in full bloom then so maybe a fun take on caprese

    powdered, oiled, pearls.....

    or compressed watermelon/tomato salad

    63* egg....what about using it on a pasta, even a "pasta" dish....light....let the yolk add richness to the sauce. ouva ravioli like

    love the hodo you've got....

    dessert....well you've got choc covered so there's nut, citrus, fruit, butterscotch/caramel.....

    Tin, designing a menu means looking at the whole to evaluate balance in flavors/richness/textures/etc....you wouldn't have cheese 3-4 times in a meal, you'd not have viniagrettes everywhere, you'd not have richness in all courses.
     
  3. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Can you do good compressions with a food saver vac? We don't have the budget for a chamber sealer.

    hmm, mozz balloons? Did they do that on Quantum Kitchen? to hulu! Could do a mozz rolade no problem. Hmmm, I bet I could even make burrata, that could be something...

    Good suggestion about that pasta. I was blown away when I saw egg yolk ravioli for the first time. What kind of flavors? I can only think of carbonera. Same principle works with the that frisee bistro salad, yeah? I could make some of that bacon powder I've been reading about.

    Chocolates are party favor sort of things, but yah, can't do a chocolate dessert too.

    http://blogquat.blogspot.com/2010/10/recipe-carrot-spice-tower.html That presentation really hit my happy place. Have to tinker the flavors to make it a little more summer, then fall.

    Thanks for the hodo love! I tried it with some chicken salad today. It worked very well. The only thing I'm not happy about was that the 'caviar' was a little too pale, so there wasn't much contrast. I'm also going to try dressing them with a little olive oil to give them a little sheen and clinginess like real cavier. A wine and herb reduction ala bernaise added to the juice would pretty good too. Need to refine my sphere technique too.
    Sometimes I feel like I need a color wheel type of thing, but for food, lol. The art part of cooking is tough. I feel more like 2cnd violin then the conducter.
     
  4. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

    Messages:
    7,375
    Likes Received:
    67
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    compressed tomatoes & watermelon ala homecook

    http://www.feaststl.com/multimedia/videos/vmix_7865bd12-a007-11e0-b47c-0019bb30f31a.html

    labcoat mozzarella balloon video is a great how to, would not use Andy Snow's recipe though.....raw garlic barf, roasted garlic air in balloon not good, tomatoes sliced length way ?! 

    One of the chefs here makes tomato 6 or 7 ways.....beautiful presentation....powder, sorbet, leather, etc......

    Remember when you mess with molecular that in the end it's still gotta taste good and come together. 

    If I were designing a mozz balloon plate (molecular) it'd have some gelee tiny cubes, herloom tomato slice, maybe some basil powder/oil not pearls, balsamic syrup, great evo...

    There are a ton of recipes on line for uova ravioli.....you don't need truffle, frankly I prefer it without.....swiss chard works as well as spinach....the yolk helps make the sauce unctious.  This is a show stopper if done right.  Not really molecular but seriously great dish.  No bacon powder....do the bacon with choc truffle.

    It takes a whole lotta experience to find your food voice, and it's always a process of learning....when you quit learning you die.....so just keep thinking about balance.  There are some really incredible posts in the archives about menu writing.....so many gild the lily and destroy simple perfection.....sometimes less is actually better.  

    One thing to remember for your 20 dinner, plating is important, have some GREAT garnishes......make sure it's easy to replicate/assemble offsite.....

    I'm around if you wanna keep a dialog going.
     
  5. bazza

    bazza

    Messages:
    396
    Likes Received:
    14
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    If you are thinking carbonara how about some parmesan spaghetti with the sous vide egg and bacon powder?

    And for dessert and staying with the egg theme a mango panna cotta sunny side up.
     
  6. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Ordered some rennet for mozzerella.

    How long before service can you do those balloons? Lol at the garlic breath balloons. Maybe some kind of smoke? I keep thinking about house made buratta, but that's more artisinal then molecular.

    Friggin Dr Suess cooking, that's what it seems like sometimes...

    What are your guys thoughts on those way out there plates and utensils? Pipettes were mentioned. I think they could work with the balsamic syrup.
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    In 50 years I have seen a lot, This molecular thing will go he way of the Hula Hoop, Slinky, Rubiks cube etc. Good cooking is not a fad. This caterer simply wants to keep up or pass the Joneses
     
  8. lentil

    lentil

    Messages:
    992
    Likes Received:
    13
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Maybe I'm in the minority here, but the mozz balls are just creepy to me.  They look like something I'd find on the beach and would make me move my chair back up to the pool where it's safe.
     
  9. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    283
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Tin Cook,

       I just wanted to say, I am giving into Molecular a little. I still feel like Chefed though. I have a Chef friend who is taking the

    time to spend with some local students and myself investigating the Molecular concept. So I should be throwing in my

    2 cents shortly. So far I have not found things to difficult since a lot of the ingredients and chemicals have been around

    the science of baking for a while.

      Off molecular, I really like Shroomgirls idea for the Uova raviola. I was picturing it inside-out. A donut shape raviola, pressing the center together, not cutting the hole. Like a pillow.It

    will be easier to cook. Stuffed with a Maitake or earthy type mushroom duxelle. The egg sitting in the middle. Mayby a cage or small birds nest of some type of fried Asian noodle on top or over for texture. shoot, i just made myself hungry.

       Now, to hijack everything, the hor. I'm really not tasting savory with the brown butter. I don't know, I would be more excited to taste herbs, like a foccocia or dill puff. OK I'll stop

    pan
     
  10. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    lentil- heh, my first thought when I watched that video was 'jellyfish!'

    This whole thing is a surprisingly difficult conceptual enterprise. I'm thinking a safe guideline would be to take a preparation that would be solid under 'normal' cooking conditions, and include one or two molecular elements. Also avoid foods that mimic the appearance of other foods, i.e. savory preparations that look like sweet stuff. I think the clash between the visual and the taste is more nauseating then whimsical.

    Ok, so what options do we got so far?

    Mozzarella and Tomato Plate Molecular Options

    Mozzarella balloon filled w/ air, garlic gas, or smoke?

    Burratta (There is a molecular version where you mash up some fresh mozz with cream, add some extra calcium and set blobs of it in an alginate bath)

    Compressed tomato

    Tomato leather

    Tomato water gelee

    Tomato sorbet

    Tomato powder (source freeze dried?)

    Basil oil powder

    Olive oil powder or nuggets

    Balsamic redux in pipette

    Found a procedure by Achatz that fills the balloon with tomato water/gelatin foam.
     
  11. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

    Messages:
    7,375
    Likes Received:
    67
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    offsite, 20 plates, multicourse.......keep repeating that while designing the menu.
     
  12. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    That's a good mantra.

    Panini, please hijack away. Riffing is like 80% of the fun. It seems like the key to molecular is restraint. Fun stuff, but I think too much turns people off. Then again, I'm on of those that thinks cooking is a craft, and not art. I don't get how the dimpled uovo ravioli would work. Wouldn't the dimpling pop the yolk? Or you're putting the yolk in the dimple and it's on top?

    This whole thing makes me want to do an egg degustation.

    I'd like to use some of the Asian greens for the filling instead of chard or spinach. Chrysathimum has a knock out flavor.

    What kind of sauce goes with it? butter and sage, brodo? Also needs a molecular component. I refuse to use molecular pasta (the xanthum gum one). It's crud.

    I wish you guys could see the crazyness going on with the other stuff. They're gluing chicken skin to stuff.
     
  13. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Uovo ravioli are locked in on the menu. We're going to do it with some sage lecithin foam and some browned butter with some minced parsley.

    We tried some basil oil powder, Nobody really liked it. Got some basil gelee in the cooler.

    Had about a pound of extra dark chocolate ganache, so we played with it. Flavored some with a little bacon fat, not too bad. It worked kinda subtle so you had to think about what you're tasting. Not too happy with the chili flavors. Heat is ok, but it's the chili component. Tried it with siracha, california, and japonese peppers. Nothing real steller. I'm going to go get some cacabels, mulatos, and anchos. I have high hopes for the last two because they are used in mole that has chocolate in it.
     
  14. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

    Messages:
    7,375
    Likes Received:
    67
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    some chocolatiers I know infuse cream prior to making ganauche......may work better for you.  

    chipotle, cinnamon, vanilla, espresso make an outrageous truffle.....marshmallow.....whatever.....I love that profile

    some "hip" flavors: Earl Grey

    Rose hip

    Scotch

    kefir lime

    lemongrass

    Personally I'm weird about chocolate and flavors.....choc orange works for me,  choc & fruit, choc and nuts, choc and caramel.....but the other shtuff is a turn off.

    uovo ravioli has reduced  cream sauce....filling is mascarpone, ricotta, parm, chard or spinach....egg.....make sure the water temp is good....take extra with you, just in case.....
     
  15. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    283
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Tin,

    on the ravioli. I'm picturing a ravioli shaped like a large Krispy creme donut or bagel. The egg would lay in the middle. Capisce? You pipe the filling, donut shape on a pasta sheet.

    A sheet over the top. Now your going to crinp/push around the donut on the outside and the inside. Cut around the outside but leave the crimped center. Crap,

    I'm making some pasta manana I'll make one and take a pic. I really think this would be a winner.

    choco and ancho is a wonderful marrige. I'm made chocolate ancho ice cream and also tarts.

    are you familiar with Trablit?
     
  16. thetincook

    thetincook

    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    29
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    We'd have to order it special. Depends on the application, but it seems that this outfit usually uses Nescafe crystals... /img/vbsmilies/smilies/blushing.gif

    I must be a slow learner, because I keep thinking you'd have to poke the yolk and it would pop. Unless it's off center. Looking forward to your food pron.
     
  17. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    If I had a convention or banquet for pharmacist I would serve Molecular Cuisine.
     
  18. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    283
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    inside out cabron. The egg would sit on top.Outside the rav. Like when the drop the bowling ball on the sobacawa pillow on late night TV. It leaves a depression in the middle.

    That is where the egg is placed. easy service/img/vbsmilies/smilies/drinkbeer.gif
     
  19. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

    Messages:
    7,375
    Likes Received:
    67
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    Ed,

    molecular has a negative sounding name.....I was messing around with powders, oils, fruit leather, agar agar (macrobiotic cooking class) circa early 1980's.....it was a way to preserve bounty.  cryovac has been around France for forever too.....

    Just like anything happening with food, if it doesn't taste good (or better than minimal prep) WHY do it......it's just a wasted exercise.  But if it does give a sense of aha! that can be fun....doesn't have to be yucky....seriously think of all the overworked food from the 60's or some of the fruffy French food that's just a turn off to look at.

    I'll see if I can pull up the info on Atlantico mini bar dinner.....it's in the CT archives.
     
  20. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I worked with Cryovac and Visking back in the early 50s  we put a rib or steak in a plain plastic bag and then put the nozzle of a plain old shop vac

    in the bag and sucked out the air then heat sealed it. It let meat last about a week longer tnen normal. I believe the first cryovac and visking process( both similar) was developed by Union Carbide Co.

    I fool around with additives, infused oils and powders of all kinds. But when I eat I don't want foams, I want good solid food.