52 Weeks of Cooking – Week 11

September 19 , 2014 by: Marga Munson 52 Weeks of Cooking, Brunch, Healthy, Side Dish

Week 11 of the 52 Weeks of Cooking challenge was probably my favorite so far. The theme was molecular. The idea being to use modern gastronomy to create a dish. Obviously, as a home cook I also needed to keep it cheap and simple. So after hours (literally) of research on different molecular techniques, I decided to make balsamic pearls.

This is actually a lot simpler than it sounds. Using a chemical called agar agar, I was able to transform liquid balsamic vinegar into gorgeous little pearls. You bring your liquid, in my case the vinegar to a simmer, then introduce the agar agar, cook it for several minutes, and then using a squeeze bottle, spray the balsamic into an olive oil bath, where they magically turn into little balls, or pearls. Really cool stuff.


Here are the directions that I worked off of from Modernist Cooking Made Easy. There is even a quick video that takes you through the process. I invited my parents over to watch the show and we were all really impressed with the results. It would definitely take a couple more rounds to get the size of the pearls consistent and perfect, but for a first try,  I was pretty pleased. And it was a really fun experiment.

By the way… If any of you are curious as to why I skipped week 10 of the challenge… It’s because I didn’t love the end result. The theme was Australian, and I made a super boring meat pie topped with puff pastry. Not my greatest culinary moment!



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