As each New Year begins, I crave healthy food – especially healthy vegetables, how about you? And beets are about the healthiest thing you can put in your mouth – they are jam packed with nutrients.
Also part of my January rituals is trying exotic looking recipes from the new cookbooks that showed up in my Christmas stocking. One of my cookbook gifts this year was The Four Hour Chef. Author Timothy Ferriss is described as a cross between Julia Child and Jason Bourne. He promises to deliver “world class skills in record time.” His book is set up in a series of 4-hour lessons that promise to provide essential chef skills. His No-Holds-Barred style is so entertaining that I read the whole book cover to cover late one night.
I found myself fascinated with the molecular gastronomy section, and just HAD to try these Balsamic Vinegar Pearls. By using agar agar, a vegetarian gelatin, you can make beautiful little droplets of vinegar that turn solid when dropped into very cold olive oil. Ingenious!
This works beautifully- fun and guaranteed to impress. Try these drizzled over any cold salad or vegetable dish that works well with Balsamic vinaigrette, and your friends and family will be shocked and awed. Guaranteed.
BALSAMIC VINEGAR PEARLS
Makes about 1/3 cup of pearls
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of agar agar flakes (or one teaspoon of agar agar powder)
Pour oil into a tall container, such as a measuring cup that is taller than it is wide. Place in freezer for 30 to 60 minutes, or until cloudy and thickened.
In a small saucepan, bring to a simmer the vinegar and agar agar. Simmer and whisk until dissolved.
Put the vinegar mixture in a syringe if you have one. If you don’t, just put in a container that has a very small pouring spout.
Drop very small droplets of the vinegar mixture into the cold olive oil.
Strain and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.