Happy May the Fourth, aka Star Wars Day! Since Star Wars is our Movie of the Month, today is the perfect day to start our new menu. Up until now, I’ve always done menus based off of classic books, but there are plenty of awesome classic movies out there too. And I think we can all agree that Star Wars is classic enough to make the cut (plus, there are loads of Star Wars books, so…loopholes!). 😉
In honor of May the Fourth, we’re starting our menu a bit early this month, so we can celebrate with some space age food! I got a molecular gastronomy kit from my mother-in-law for Christmas, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect chance to try it out. Basically, molecular gastronomy involves mixing additives like sodium alginate and soy lecithin with regular food items to create futuristic, science-y food dishes.What better way to honor Star Wars?
I broke out my kit and decided to make my own variation of raspberry raviolis and lemon clouds, two recipes that come with the kit. It was so fun to dabble in mad food science, and I think it speaks well for the kit that I was able to easily customize the recipes on my very first try without setting myself on fire or anything! 😉
Raspberry-Mango Planets and Lemon Clouds
The videos above are from a DVD that comes with the kit. They’re the property of Saveurs Molecule-R Inc.
- FOR THE RASPBERRY-MANGO PLANETS YOU’LL NEED…
- 2 cups water
- 1 packet sodium alginate
- The recipe calls for 1 2/3 cup raspberries. I just used 1 cup, which turned out to be fine.
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp calcium lactate, separated
- 1 mango
- FOR THE LEMON CLOUDS YOU’LL NEED…
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 packet soy lecithin
- I didn’t think of this until the next day, but adding a drop of yellow food coloring would probably go a long way towards making the lemon cloud look more like lemon and less like soap.
Makes approximately 20 “planets” with a large dollop of “cloud” for each
- With a hand mixer, mix the 2 cups water and sodium alginate in a medium-sized bowl until dissolved. Chill uncovered for 15 minutes.
- While you wait, blend your raspberries, sugar, and 1/2 tsp calcium lactate until smooth.
- It doesn’t say to do this in the recipe, but I passed the raspberry mix through a strainer, to take out the seeds. I think the smooth texture really improved the final product!
- Transfer your raspberry blend to a small bowl. After washing your blender pitcher and blade, chop up your mango and blend it with the remaining 1/2 tsp calcium lactate until smooth.
- Remove the sodium alginate bath from the fridge. Spread a stripe of mango across the top of the raspberry mix. Scoop out 1 tsp of the raspberry mix (making sure to get a bit of the mango stripe), and gently lower it into the sodium alginate bath. The lowering technique you use is pretty important: as you can see in the video above, the best technique is to let the lip of the teaspoon touch the water, then smoothly turn the spoon sideways, let the mix slip all the way into the water, then lift the spoon away. This will create smooth, round balls. Adding the raspberry-mango mix too quickly or roughly can result in odd shapes.
- Add 10-12 balls to the sodium alginate bath (depending on the size of your bowl), making sure none of the balls are touching. You’ll need to reapply a mango stripe to the raspberry mix 3-4 times, since you’ll get about 3 balls from each stripe. Let the balls sit in the bath for 3-5 minutes.
- Using the perforated spoon provided with the kit, gently move the balls (which will be set but delicate) to a medium-sized bowl of room temperature water. Slowly swirl the water with the spoon, being careful not to touch the balls. Allow the balls to soak while you make the lemon foam.
- This part’s really quick and easy: in a large bowl, combine your 2/3 cup water, 2/3 cup lemon juice, soy lecithin, and food coloring. Blend with a hand mixer on medium-high speed for about 1 minute or until a lot of foam begins to form on top. Tilting the bowl towards the beaters will help create maximum foam. I wouldn’t recommend adding sugar to the lemon mix, as it might effect the soy lecithin’s ability to make foam.
- With the perforated spoon, remove your raspberry-mango “planets” from the rinsing bath and place them on serving plates. Add a dollop of lemon foam to the top of each one (or you can place each ball in the middle of a mound of foam, depending on how much lemon flavor you want).
- Serve a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away! 🙂