Thursday, March 13, 2014

Second Sunday Supper - Mardi Gras Style: Gumbo, King Cake, etc.

I can't believe I haven't been documenting our Second Sunday Supper events! That all ends now...
Last year, Salt and I made a New Year's resolution to host a dinner party at least once a month.  We even went so far as to do what Saturday Night Live did and completely own a particular day...and Second Sunday Soup was born. We switched to Second Sunday Supper when the warm weather made soups a bit less appealing and that name stuck. year and a couple months later, we are still at it. This month was Mardi Gras/New Orleans themed. We had a smaller group this month, which was fine considering we were pretty worn out.

I made a pretty traditional Creole Gumbo with sausage, shrimp and smoked oysters. Salt made fresh biscuits and blondies with M&M's to represent Mardi Gras beads.
Robyn made a very delicious Bananas Foster cake - think pineapple upside down cake, but with bananas instead of pineapple.

Carmen made a King Cake, but with no plastic baby inside. 
Next month theme is still undecided, but we're hoping for something "springy".

Monday, February 24, 2014

Playing With Your Food - Molecular Gastronomy

Ok, so it's been a while since I've posted. But it is a goal of mine to start posting more regularly this year...and since we're already two months into this year, I'd better crack on.

My Introduction to Molecular Gastronomy
Last night I went to my first Meet Up with the Mid-Michigan Food Club.  I'd been getting the emails from the club for sometime now, but never took the plunge. However the topic of Molecular Gastronomy and the promise of getting to play with some unusual ingredients was too much for me to pass up.

We learned about emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners that can transform every day cooking, from perfectly smooth mac and cheese to a vinaigrette that will never break.  Here are the aforementioned special ingredients we played with:
  • Liquid Lecithin (used for emulsifying pH neutral ingredients) which we used to make Buffalo Style Wing Sauce;
  • Xanthan gum (used for emulsifying and thickening) which we used in an Italian dressing for salad;
  • Sodium citrate (used to prevent protein curdling in dairy) which was used in a very delicious Mac and Cheese with smoked Gouda and white cheddar cheeses;
  • Wondra flour (an instant thickener) used to thicken the Beef Stew; and 
  • Tapioca maltodextrin (used to create powders from high fat liquids) which we used with Nutella and served with caramelized bananas and vanilla ice cream.
I would have like to play around with the presentation of the food we made a little more, since I think part of the fun of Molecular Gastronomy is presenting your food in innovative and unusual ways.  So "El Bulli" it was not. Nonetheless it was fun to play around with new cooking methods and we got to take home some samples of the ingredients to continue our fun at home.

Here's a link to the guy who ran the demonstration and the recipes we tried out last night.