Elements of Kojify the Dinner


Microbiologist Ben Wolfe gave a presentation and showed guests our koji
growing with his microscope. Yes, that's Cynthia Graber of Gastropod.

First Course

Kvass fermentation kick started with raw honey.

Schmaltz Richness + Stock Depth + Earthy Beet Kvass = Killer Borscht

Sweet Tart Beet Koji Pickles (Bettarazuke Spin)

Horseradish pickled in gherkin brine smoothed out the harshness.

Schmears of horseradish gherkin cream with beet bettarazuke waiting for borscht.

Second Course

Dried Ricotta Miso, The Next Parmesan

Miso Garlic Lacto-Fermented Sunchokes for a Tart Crunch

Nicco's Ricotta Miso Agnolotti Making Focus

Of course incorporating fresh and dried ricotta miso worked well.

Third Course

Jasmine Shio Koji Marinated Hake
Crazy delicious combination of caramelization, Maillard & umami.

Extra Crunchy & Chewy Fried Rice
Powered by "al dente" cooked rice inspired by the koji making process.

Thai green curry hollandaise over the hake made this dish sing.

We hope all the guests of Kojify the Dinner enjoyed their experience and now better understand the versatility and delicious power of koji. Maybe we inspired you to create new fermentation based flavors as we built and executed this menu. Please share them with us to keep the ideas bouncing.

The intent of this event was to kick start our initiative to teach cooking methods. If you're interested in signing up for a workshop, sharing ideas and/or collaborating, check out our brand new official website. Just a cover page with links, but it does the job for now.

Cippolini Soup Dumplings

I often wonder if whole roasted cippolini onions are worth the effort whenever I see them. Granted they are quite delicious caramelized, but when prepping I end up destroying the first thick layer of some. This time I made an effort to figure out a way to consistently remove just the paper.

After playing around with a couple ideas, I discovered that aggressively rolling the onions on their sides released the paper skin with ease. It crushes the outer cell structure, but what do you care? You were going to roast them anyway.

After roasting the onions with schmaltz, I noted that they looked very much like soup dumplings. In fact, there were more similarities than differences. The only disappointment was that there wasn't enough of a textural difference between the outer "wrap" and inner "filling".

I couldn't help but hold over a few to see if a second roasting the next day would give me the results I was looking for. The inside was hot, creamy and sweet with a touch of caramelization. The outside was nicely browned and had an interesting chewy texture. The "wrapper" needs a little work. Maybe an oven frying technique at the end will crisp it up nicely? Any suggestions?

Sometimes simple investigations lead to unintended discoveries worth pursuing. 

As always, please share your ideas to keep the ideas bouncing...

Cantaloupe Parsley Sorbet - Starting the Frozen Treat Inspiration Chain

Cantaloupe Parsley Stem IPA Vinegar Sorbet

I recently met up with @maxfalkowitz and @verysmallanna out in NYC. Armed with the understanding that we all love making ice cream, Max took us to two killer shops that were inspiring. This led to an idea. I proposed a frozen treat jam session.

Shaved Cantaloupe & Parsley Stems in Light Simple Syrup

The concept is to create a delicious frozen treat inspiration chain. The focus is to have fun with making unusual flavor and texture combinations that we all can experience and benefit from.

  1. Riff on a previously made frozen treat in any way.
  2. Use something in abundance for the base.
  3. Accent with a flavor that has developed over time.
  4. Bonus points for: 
    • using an ingredient that would normally be thrown out
    • using byproducts to make something else
    • creativity of course
  5. Upon completion, post a photo or link with a description of your creation on Twitter or Instagram using #FrozenTreatIdeas, tag @ourcookquest @verysmallanna @maxfalkowitz and hand the challenge off to a friend. 
Cantaloupe Parsley IPA Vinegar Soda

We look forward to seeing all the refreshing mash ups and relationships in between.

As always, please share your investigations to keep the ideas bouncing...

Miso Making Madness

Koji is a crazy enzyme packed medium that has the potential to convert almost anything into a delicious miso. We all know the wonders it does to soybeans. The focus here is to mix koji in with different bases that vary the ratio of protein to carbohydrate to fat and see what happens. I used nutrition facts tables as a rudimentary baseline for comparison. I'm on a mission to see if there are any limits to this process.

End of the First Batch of Plantain Miso
Plantain miso was my first adventure into a mash that wasn't a legume or grain. The high carbohydrate content was what I was most curious about. The nutrition ratio is similar to rice. After a year, the funky green banana scented miso was quite good.

Pepita Paste and Teff Koji

Pepita Miso Looking Like Mustard
Why not a seed? Pepitas seemed like a logical choice due to their use in moles. Somewhat close to the soybean ratio but the carbohydrate dominates instead of protein. Nutty soy sauce paste after 7 months.

Miso Method Hard Cheese
A hard miso cheese was the result of pressing and hanging ricotta inoculated with Jasmine rice koji. Primarily protein and fat. Amazing how similar it was to Parmesan cheese after a couple of months. Check out Miso Method Cheese Making for how the base was made.

Peanut Butter and Jasmine Koji
Ground peanuts were used to make a PB miso. The enzymes converted the high fat content into something ridiculously good after only a couple of months. A peanut butter umami bomb.

Cookie Dough and Teff Koji
Why not use a medium that's already delicious like cookie dough? Twice as much carbohydrates as fat with very little protein. Still waiting on this one...

Cookie Dough Miso Cookies?
Why not bake it off after a short fermentation period to use as breadcrumbs?

White Chocolate and Teff Koji
White chocolate miso had to happen. Interestingly enough, the ratio is very similar to cookie dough. Still too early to know if it'll be good.

Raw Egg and Jasmine Koji
Raw egg is pretty much all protein and fat. We'll see...

The koji enzyme monster has converted everything I've thrown at it into miso with unique characteristics of the base ingredient. Pretty much anything works. I don't have the palate to parse out the protein:carbohydrate:fat ratio conversion differences I was looking for. It has all tasted good so far so maybe it doesn't really matter.

I hope these miso making adventures will inspire you to push the limits of processes you already know and love. The key to discovery is understanding the fundamental method and applying it to your heart's desire.

As always, please share your investigations to keep the ideas bouncing.

Bay Leaf Snickerdoodles

Aromas and complimentary flavors are ties to comfort. Cinnamon has a way but the wonder is long gone. Vanilla is ubiquitous. No need to rest on those laurels any longer.

Broken Bay Leaf Snickerdoodle

The scent of bay leaves cooked with rice is quite nice. It adds a depth of flavor to savory dishes that we all have tasted but can't quite describe. Always a supporting cast member that allows the whole company to shine. What happens when it becomes the star in a cookie?

Pulverized Bay Leaf

Snickerdoodles are simple. Aside from butter and sugar, the driving flavors are cinnamon in the coating and vanilla extract in the base dough. Grinding dry bay leaves into a powder to do a swap was the easy part.

Bay Leaf Rum Extract

The bay extract required a little patience. 125ml of white rum and 12 dried bay leaves got a pressure infusion treatment in a cream whipper then sat for 2 months. The final flavor was quite medicinal, bay leaf bitters.

Ground Bay Leaf Sugar Coating

With the flavor agents sorted, one for one swaps were all that was necessary to execute the recipe.

Bay Leaf Snickerdoodle

The aroma immediately after baking was buttery with a clear floral note. The flavor of the cookie was well... indescribably good.

Sumac Snickerdoodle

Next time you bake think twice about reaching for cinnamon or vanilla. Use a spice that you enjoy in a completely different context. There's a whole world of flavors out there waiting to be rediscovered in your favorite comfort food. 

As always, please share your investigations to keep the ideas bouncing.

Leftover Chicken Stuffing Gougeres

Stale bread hanging around often becomes breadcrumbs. If a little ambition takes hold, stuffing or dressing isn't far from reach. Leftover stuffing breadcrumbs were inevitable...

Chicken Crackling Topped Stuffing Gougere

A flavorful breading makes all the sense in the world and you've already made that connection. Water is to stock as flour is to stuffing breadcrumbs. Why not treat them as a flavor concentrate to enhance a savory baked good? I couldn't help but test gougeres, AKA cheese puffs.

For the pate a choux, I replaced one third of the flour with processed pan dried leftover chicken stuffing. The use of stock instead of water also needed to happen. Cheese was cut in half in efforts to allow the chicken flavor to come through. 

Leftover Chicken Stuffing = Beautiful Breadcrumbs

Prior to baking off the cheese puffs, I wanted to add a crunch factor. Topping them with the breadcrumbs was my first thought, but I knew they would probably burn. I figured a little fat is all I needed to temper the heat. A tiny piece of leftover chicken skin over the middle of the crumbs was the answer. The crumbs were basted by the slow release of fat from the skin as it crisped up. In the end, a beautiful crackling was a perfect compliment to what I would describe as an amazing chicken pot pie gougere.

Cooking is all about getting the most out of the ingredients you have on hand. Leftovers are no exception. Phoenix food.

As always, please share your investigations to keep the ideas bouncing...

Crunchy Cornmeal Crust for Cookies

I recently caught @srealsimplefood's post on barley chocolate chip cookies. Knowing her history of wonderful ideas and well thought out recipes, I had no doubt they would be delicious. I also couldn't resist spinning my own version.

Barley Teff Chocolate Chip Cookies with Plantain Miso

One key to a great chocolate chip cookie is the combination of textures. Each of us has our own favorite balance between chewy and crispy. Aside from the main event, folks have added cornmeal for a micro crunch accent.

The recipe called for barley flour and I didn't have any on hand. Fortunately, I had a bag of barley and a food processor with a milling blade. If you've spun grains before, you very well know that you get to a point when there's a small portion of bits that aren't quite flour.

Barley Teff Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Miso

As I stared at the coarse barley meal sitting in the fine mesh strainer, I had a light bulb moment. This stuff was no different from the khao khua, toasted ground sticky rice, crunch I've enjoyed on larb gai before. It went right into the dry mix.

Coarse Ground Barley Bits Embedded Cookie Bottom

Of course, I couldn't wait until they were fully cooled. I broke one in half and looked inside. The evenly distributed specks of barley looked like the night sky. The balance of the external crispy shell and internal chewy core was delicious. The micro crunch of the grain bits was a nice accent.

Cookie Dough Ball Rolled in Cornmeal

I pulled that idea thread and started thinking about the crunch of a pizza crust. I couldn't help but roll cookie dough balls in cornmeal and bake them off. The bottom crust of the cookie developed a serious crunch that was an amazing compliment to the chewy core. I'm not sure I can go back to the standard now. This method definitely deserves further investigation.

Cornmeal Crusted Cookie Bottom

Next time you experience a texture that you enjoy, don't be afraid to inject it elsewhere. Even better if it ends up using a by-product that you would otherwise throw out.

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...

Chewy Caramel Popcorn Potential

Inspired by @maxfalkowitz's tweet a while back about buttered popcorn caramels, I investigated some possibilities.

Huge Chewy Caramel Popcorn Ball with Coffee Dust

We all know and love caramel popcorn. Aside from the obvious flavor charm, the butterfly and mushroom shaped puffs have awesome texture. The crispy crunchy thin candy coating over all the nooks and crannies is what makes us come back for more. So why mess with a good thing? Because that's what we do here.

Chewy Butterscotch Popcorn with Sumac

The first attempt was a chewy butterscotch coated popcorn. I took the final candy temperature to the soft-ball stage. It tasted fine, but the candy drowned out the delicate popcorn. The bite was too compliant so hard-ball stage needed to happen. Also enrobing was clearly not the way to go. Then I began to think about how to change the ratio.

Popcorn on a Thin Sheet of Caramel

The answer was simple. Create a thin layer of caramel for the popcorn to rest on. It only made sense to form a roulade. I was imagining a pinwheel slice lollipop or even squeezed onto a scoop coffee ice cream. I put it into the freezer to harden it up a bit to make it easier to cut.

Chewy Caramel Popcorn Roulade

The balance of caramel to popcorn worked nicely. The candy was still cold when I tasted it and the brittle to chewy transformation was a bonus. The only issue was the roulade not holding together when it was cut. Next time...

Sticky Caramel Popcorn Spirals

Sometimes experiments take a lot more iterations than you'd like. Fret not! There are always discoveries along the way that will be more interesting than what you originally intended and expected. That's the beauty of the creative process.

As always, please share your investigations to keep the ideas bouncing.

Furikake Peanut Brittle (AKA Dashi Candy)

Sweets deserve the fifth taste dimension of umami. It only made sense to continue my furikake kick inspired by @tavallai's peanut butter. I also got encouragement from the label on the container that read, "SPRINKLE ON ANYTHING". Who am I to argue?

Dashi Brittle on Popcorn

Furikake is a Japanese rice seasoning that typically consists of dried fish flakes, seaweed and sesame seeds. That simple description doesn't do it justice. It's a savory flavor bomb that's highly addictive. If you haven't tried it, go get some and thank me later.

As my first investigation, I happened to be whipping up a batch of Madeleines and decided to sprinkle some into the last bit of batter. A citrus seaweed scent hit the nose as I broke one open hot out of the oven. Dashi cake is the best description I can come up with. I was wishing for a bowl of tomato soup at that moment.

Split Furikake Madeleine

Inspired by spiced nuts and Chinese sesame seed candy, I gave peanut brittle a spin. I added furikake (10g per cup of peanuts) just before the final baking soda mix in. My intent was to see if I could maintain the aeration as with a honeycomb candy. Dashi peanut brittle was born. As you crunch away, the flavor starts as expected and finishes reminiscent of rice cracker mix.

Furikake Honeycomb Peanut Brittle

Adding furikake to sweets allows them to have an umami thread that can easily be tied to a driving savory component. I hope this inspires you to think more about how to blur the lines between sweet and savory because it's damn delicious.

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...

Fermenting Kumquat Hot Sauce

I was out in San Diego and couldn't help but indulge in all the citrus at the farmers' markets. At Imperial Beach, I came across the most delicious kumquats I have ever eaten. The popping sensation of the tart juice contrasting against the more sweet than bitter peel as you chew is unforgettable.

Kumquat Pasilla Hot Sauce

I brought some home with the intent of preserving them to remember that moment. I wanted to harness the essence of the kumquat without going sweet. Inspired by the salty air of the beach and vicinity to Mexico, I decided that fermenting with sea salt and dried pasilla chiles would be a great combination.

Pasilla Chile Ribbons on Kumquat Puree

I weighed one dry pint of kumquats and measured out 2% sea salt. I cut four large pasilla chiles into ribbons. Next I pureed the kumquats then added the pasilla and salt for a final spin until the chiles were well incorporated. Now I'll need to wait at least a few months to see if the preservation brings me back.

As always, feel free to share your flavor discoveries to keep the ideas bouncing.

Coffee Butter

After a recent success with using finely ground coffee in a streusel topping for crumb cake, it only made sense to make a compound butter.

Coffee Compound Butter

Everyone knows cinnamon butter and how delicious it can be. If you think of coffee as a spice, there isn't much of a stretch to make the swap. Straight up it tastes and smells like buttery coffee toast. The espresso dust gets immediately infused as you mix so there's no wait. Of course, beurres composes get better with time. We'll see if this one follows suit.

Coffee Butter on Teff Rye Sourdough Toast

It's simple to make. All you need is unsalted butter, finely ground coffee and salt. Cut up 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) of butter up into small chunks, add to a medium bowl and lightly dust the butter with coffee. Sprinkle over a bit of salt. Mash the ingredients until the coffee is combined. Taste as you go and add more coffee and/or salt to your liking.

Chai compound butter anyone?

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...

Coffee Spiced Crumb Cake

Inspired by a tweet from @akikamozawa about sipping coffee while smelling crumb cake bake, I decided to give coffee streusel a go.

Coffee Enhanced Ideas in Food Crumb Cake

Of course, the easiest option is adding espresso powder, a form of instant coffee. However, I figured fresh espresso ground coffee would be much better. We've all seen it before in spice rubs so why not in a pastry application?

Coffee Streusel Mix

I used the Ideas in Food crumb cake recipe as my starting point. For the streusel, I replaced half a teaspoon of the cinnamon with finely ground coffee. I also swapped out the brown sugar for smoked dulce de leche wetted granulated sugar for fun.

Coffee Crumb Cake Crust

The results were ridiculously delicious. The aroma alone was enough to make me want to eat it right out of the oven. The microbursts of coffee within the streusel were amazing. The kicker was the richness of the butter pleasantly pushing the bitterness into the background. Another fun bit was the dulce de leche that gave the streusel bits of brittle like qualities.

Espresso ground coffee is a spice well worth investigating further. 

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...

Spreading the Dulce de Leche Around

The complexity of dulce de leche is a versatile ingredient for enhancing sweet treats. It can be as simple as replacing honey, molasses, maple or etc. in baked goods. As you can see, I've only begun to scratch the surface of the potential...

Smoked Dulce de Leche "Cracker Jacks"

Pre-Bake Smoked Dulce de Leche "Key Lime" Pie

Smoked Dulce de Leche Corn Muffins

Smoked Dulce de Leche "Brown Sugar"

As always, please share your inspirations to keep the ideas bouncing...

Hasselback Celeriac

Hasselback potatoes are a wonderful spin on oven fries and baked potato all rolled into one. The method is driven by thinly slicing an unpeeled potato most of the way through so it's barely connected. This is followed by basting with butter and seasoning. As it bakes through, the flavorful fat coated slices accordion and become crispy delicious medallions.

Pepperoni Hasselback Celeriac Post Bake

I figured this application would work for root vegetables. I decided give celeriac a try. I cut wedges of the root then hasselback sliced them. I wanted to optimize flavor infusion without having to fan the slices with the risk of breaking the segment apart.

Pepperoni Hasselback Celeriac Pre-Bake

I inserted pieces of pepperoni into each cut. As the celeriac baked through, the salami oil squeezed out and basted each layer. This created crispy and chewy textures from both the celeriac and pepperoni that worked in concert. The earthy celery flavor stood up to the salty umami of the cured sausage. They were delicious and fun to eat.

Hasselback needs to be applied to all sorts of root vegetables. Consider a carrot and pea pesto. Maybe sunchokes layered with chicken skin. Let's not forget the possibility of dense and unripe fruits. There's all sorts of goodness to be had. I look forward to hearing about what worked for you.

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...

Smoked Dulce de Leche

I've been messing around with smoking sugar for a while. The best results have come from using liquid concentrates like honey and maple syrup because they capture the flavor better than solids. My absolute favorite is mesquite hot smoked molasses. The cooking process makes it so smooth you can't stop eating by the spoonful. With the experience of leveraging heat to yield a delicious transformation, I couldn't help but develop a dulce de leche.

Corn Cob Smoked Dulce de Leche

I started by hot smoking sweetened condensed milk (SCM) on a sheet pan. The thought was to gain caramelization depth as well as kick start the Maillard reaction. All it took was a couple hours and mixing every fifteen minutes to develop enough smoke and complimentary brown butter notes. I'm sure you can get to full dulce with time, but it would likely be too smoky and there's no need.

Corn Cob Smoked Sweetened Condensed Milk

For the dulce de leche, I opted for the no fuss crock pot method. The process is dead simple. All you have to do is take a can of sweetened condensed milk, put it in a crock pot filled with water set to low and wait for 24 hours. Of course the smoked SCM is now uncanned, but that is easily solved by putting it into a mason jar. The bonus is that it's contained so the smoke flavor loss is minimized.

Canned Smoked Dulce de Leche

Smoking added pleasing depth without overwhelming the base notes. It's freaking delicious and should be used sparingly as with any dulce or caramel sauce application. Go make some and drizzle away.

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...

Any Cookie Spread

I'm always looking to experiment with the not so pretty and broken bits of cookies that come with holiday baking. Recently, I was noodling nut butter ideas and a connection was made.

Pepperoni Salted Ginger Snap Peanut Butter

Why not make a cookie butter? It should have been obvious after having experienced Biscoff Spread. It's a delicious speculoos cookie spread. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend getting a jar to enjoy. Be careful not to eat the entire container in a sitting.

I spun up the food processor with ginger snaps until they were crumbs. Next I added peanut butter & continued spinning until it was thoroughly mixed. This was followed by drizzling oil until it became a spreadable consistency. I balanced the base flavor with pepperoni salt and a touch of honey. The result yielded a delicious so wrong so right moment. Once you try it, you'll understand.

The Needs
  • Food processor
  • Broken and ugly cookies
  • Nut/seed/dairy/other butter (optional but recommended)
  • Matching or neutral flavored oil
  • Any complementary salt in concentrate, powder or granule form
  • Sugar syrup like honey/maple/whatever makes sense

The Method
  • Process cookies to yield 2 cups of crumbs
  • Add 1/8 cup butter of your choosing & process until fully incorporated
  • Drizzle oil while processor is spinning until it reaches a spreadable consistency
  • Add salt to taste
  • Supplement with syrup as needed
No hard and fast rules when it comes to the method. Follow your taste buds as you spin the ingredients.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with to keep the ideas bouncing.  

Puzzle Pieces of Passion

Passion is commitment. You strive to understand every single detail of how to be better at that thing you do no matter how miniscule. You are willing to seek it out at costs that most can't fathom. You don't sleep much because that's time away from the pursuit. When you do sleep, your brain is post processing ideas that will eventually become the inspirations and breakthroughs to fuel the fire. The beast needs to be fed with study, practice, experiments and experiences. It's an addiction you will never shake.

Passion has no space for stuff. The only material objects you accumulate are tools, equipment, references and notebooks in the pursuit of excellence. Some pieces have exceptions due to fond memories of who handed it down to you, that feeling of accomplishment when you first picked up a new skillset, where you discovered it for the first time and the list goes on. You can live without things because it's the knowledge that fulfills. That's the stuff you're made of.

Passion overwhelms. You've experienced the glazed over look when you can't stop talking about a new discovery when someone asks. You have a religious schedule that cannot be broken by just about any occasion. People who know you well enough don't ask you to party. Your significant other has given up on asking you to come to bed if you have one at all. It's not for everyone.

Passion connects. Most everyone in this camp is open to different perspectives and has a willingness to share experiences. It's just about impossible and ridiculous to become proficient without guidance. All you have to do is show true interest and it will open some serious doors. They're all doing the work here and you won't be disappointed. It's the family you've been looking for.

Passion yields identity. All the hard work, perseverance and stress brings your biggest obstacle to the forefront, yourself. You gotta dig deep and deal with those demons. Discovering who you truly are is where this path is headed. You only have a limited time here so make it your own.

Cranberry Kimchi

I couldn't help but kimchi cranberries because I was a bit tired of the typical fruit sauce variations. Having done a lot of kraut and kimchi experiments with all sorts of vegetables, it only made sense to try a fruit.

Kimchi Seasoned Chopped Cranberries

I stripped out all of the savory components so it would be centered on the cranberry flavor and more versatile. Technically closer to a kraut or hot sauce ferment, but kimchi sounds better.

Mashed Cranberry Kimchi Mix

The Needs
  • 1 wide mouthed pint canning jar
  • 1 potato masher or rolling pin and gallon zip top bag
  • 300g fresh cranberries
  • 7.5g salt
  • 1T freshly grated ginger 
  • 1t gochugaru (Korean chili pepper powder)
  • Cranberry or orange juice as required

The following steps assume that you're familiar with this type of fermentation and understand how to maintain it. If you've never made sauerkraut or kimchi before, I strongly suggest trying Sandor Katz's recipe first.

The Process
  • Rough chop cranberries and add to a large bowl
  • Add salt, ginger and chili powder
  • Mash the cranberries until they're all compressed and juices are flowing
  • Compress the mash into a wide mouthed pint canning jar
  • Make sure the liquid covers the solids
  • If it doesn't, add a little juice, mix it with the mash and compress it back down until it does
  • Allow to ferment for at least one month or until you're happy with the flavor

I hope this inspires you to consider fermenting all sorts of fruits in the kimchi fashion. As always, please share your experiments to keep the ideas bouncing.

Flamed Satsuma Peel Marmalade

Marmalade is amazing because it utilizes the entire fruit to harness an array of flavors and textures. It only made sense to give Satsumas a go when they showed up this season.

Searzall Charred Satsuma
As with all of my investigations, there's a twist (pun intended). I couldn't help but wonder if using the cocktail method of flaming the orange peel would enhance the flavor. The key was figuring out a way to capture the aromatics so squeezing the peel to ignite the citrus oil was out. The Searzall sitting on my counter was the obvious answer. I lit it up and torched the Satsuma whole. It smelled pretty awesome and knew that I was onto something.

Plump and Warm Satsuma Post Peel Torching
Fresh Satsumas are addictive because they're easy to peel, crazy sweet and seedless. When I bought them for this project, I ate so many that my tongue went numb. The aromatic zest and scant amount of pith brings down the bitterness that you'd expect in a traditional orange marmalade. The membranes are so delicate there's no need to separate them in a muslin bag to extract the pectin.

Sliced Satsuma and Ribbons of Charred Peels
After I torched the mandarin, I peeled off the skin. Then I sliced the orange, did up a chiffonade on the peels and put them into a medium sauce pan. I cut the sugar down to 1/3 what's called for in a standard marmalade. The intent was to highlight the flavors instead of drowning them out with sweetness. You end up with a refrigerator jam that can't be put up but that's ok.

Flamed Satsuma Peel Marmalade
After it was cooked down and cooled, I tasted it. The Satsumas shined with a toned down bitterness. There were also smoky & burnt notes that came through from the charred peel. The ribbons of zest didn't hold together as much as a traditional, but it still had plenty of texture contrast. It was everything I hoped it would be.

Now go forth and make marmalade with any citrus you enjoy eating fresh. There's also something to be said for using the flavorful parts that would otherwise be tossed. It harnesses an indescribable complexity that by default matches the fruit. Also, don't forget to char all the citrus or any fruit for that matter prior to making a fruit preserve. So many possibilities...

The Method
  • Start off with a marmalade recipe of your choice (Here's AB's)
  • Scale the recipe down to make 1 pint or whatever amount you can use up in a couple weeks
  • Cut the sugar content down to a third
  • Simmer until most of the water is driven out before you kick up the heat to get to temperature
  • Once it's cool, refrigerate
  • It should last for at least a couple weeks in the fridge

As always, let us know how this inspires you to keep the ideas bouncing.

Carbonated Posset Pudding

I was intrigued by a posset dessert that @verysmallanna posted a while back. I had no idea what it was until I did some research. It sounded wonderful so I convinced her to share the recipe with me and started experimenting.

Carbonated Riesling Vinegar Posset

What is a posset? In this case, it's a simple pudding made with just three ingredients: cream, sugar and lemon juice. The thickening is driven by the acidity of the citrus curdling the milk.

Carbonated Posset Foam on Top

Of course, I couldn't just do it straight up. I happened to be experimenting with carbonation at the time and wanted try a dense liquid. The posset was the perfect candidate. The variation didn't stop there. I replaced the citrus juice with a killer Minus 8 vinegar based on a previous success with vinegar sherbet. I settled on Dehydr8, a Riesling raisin vinegar. It was sure to shine through the richness.
Creamy Carbonated Posset Underneath

After I prepared the posset, it went into the whipping canister hot. I allowed it to cool to the touch uncovered. Then I double charged it and refrigerated overnight. The next day I discharged and opened the canister to taste that the posset successfully carbonated. The flavor and texture are best described as a delicious grape creamsicle float pudding. The Dehydr8 vinegar gave it character and depth beyond what any citrus juice could do. As an added bonus, there were two distinct layers consisting of a foam layer on top and carbonated pudding underneath. I was amazed by how the straightforward carbonation process created such a wonderful texture combination. After tasting, I couldn't help but think about the potential for applying this technique to all sorts of puddings and custards. So it begins...

The Needs
  • 1 pint whipping canister
  • 2 CO2 charges 
The Ingredients*
  • 200g heavy cream (not ultra pasteurized)
  • 50g sugar
  • 3T high quality vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
The Steps*
  • Add the cream, sugar and salt to a small pot
  • Bring to a boil while constantly whisking
  • Remove from heat
  • Whisk in vinegar
  • Immediately pour into the whipping canister
  • Wait until the canister is cool to the touch
  • Charge the posset and carefully swirl so the liquid doesn't contact the top. It's pretty thick and you want to prevent a blockage.
  • Repeat with a second charge
  • Refrigerate overnight
  • Discharge the canister upright. The posset is too thick to pass through the nozzle. There should only be gas releasing from the top.
 * The ingredient ratios and steps for making the posset base are from @verysmallanna.

As always, please share your experiments to keep the ideas bouncing.