Wednesday, January 9, 2008

... Beluga Bomb's Baltimore! ...

Iranian Beluga Bombs in Baltimore
photography by Wilbur M. Reeling

Beluga Caviar & White Godiva is a Beluga-Bomb

Ms. Elizabeth Large, Baltimore Sun Food Critic, made a list of trends for 2008.

By chance, I had just written about Baltimore's Hot Oyster Scene and Ryleigh's Oyster in Federal Hill, which she published with my permission. It was one of her trends.

My next "tale" was to be about "Molecular Gastronomy" but I'm doing this "Umami" thing instead because she also mentioned Umami in her trends. Her list also includes some of what I feel is bad info on UMAMI.

She speaks of MSG with Umami Bombs but I think a more accurate story is this ...Check out her earlier post.

UMAMI in very simple terms means a "5th quintessential flavor of deliciousness after sweet, bitter, sour and salt that triggers a sensation of craving" ... maybe your Mamma's fried chicken or Poppy's Christmas Cookie with those tiny little chocolate chips he always brought back memories of the Old Country.

So, is Umami the FAT and SUGAR ingredient, we crave it, it makes you salivate ... remember?

There's a good book I've had for several years, written by Anna Kasabian and David Kasabian on UMAMI [ümami is pronounced, oo-ma-me] and here's a link

I think David and Anna would both rather eat Plutonium from a rusty glowing tin can in Chernobyl, Russia than eat a Umami Bomb in NYC. --LOL--

What is happening, in my opinion, with this Umami Bomb is more "Molecular Gastronomy" than Umami.

Dr. Hervé This and Dr. Kurti get all the credit for "Molecular Gastronomy". They're the fathers.

Think more about that great Sunday Mom's fried chicken you miss (fat) than the $185. cup of Truffles and Parma cheese custard from NYC that you don't miss and never will.

All these new Umami chefs are doing is what was done ages ago by Chefs preceding them. Think Tailevent -- La Varenne -- Careme -- Escoffier or even Bocuse, who eliminated lots of fat in Nouvelle French Cuisine.

Almost anything tastes better with a little Guerande 'Fleur De Sel and freshly cracked Sarawak Lampong-Sumatran black pepper corn, so that must make salt and pepper Umami?

Gary Danko's Tomato Soup, shown on the Sun link, isn't so different than most great chef's soups but he adds Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, so does Umami take place?

If Baltimore's most-extraordinary-chef, Cindy Wolf, made a Umami-roasted-tomato-soup and put it through a French Chinois she would probably call it a bisque and substitute a better Parmigiano-Reggiano Vacche Rosse (from the original red-cows that are now very rare) add a dab of the best French butter, Jean-Yves Bordier French La Beurre and then shave some fresh French Perigord Black Winter Truffles on it and according to Danko it's now become Umami.

--NOT!-- and Chef Wolf's will taste better than Chef Danko's too ... and only cost us $109.00 with 6 courses from the tasting menu.

Another Bomb that I've made recently is a Beluga-Bomb. Dr. This combines flavors that ordinarily you would not combine to made a dish -- IE: fish eggs and chocolate.

It is a recipe paring from Dr. Hervé This, but I never got much 'Bang for my Buck'!

You can try this at home with high end white chocolate (I made it with Godiva) and Iranian Black Beluga ooo Caviar, I did it in my home so it was a bit cheaper but still pretty dear.

Trust me it's FAD not Umami either. It's "Molecular Gastronomy"
You won't go home saying to your self ... mmmmm, if I'd only stopped off for a box of $185. Parmigiano-Reggiano Rosse cheese custard with white truffles at Jean-Georges'.

You can try this "Molecular Gastronomy" cuisine locally in Washington D.C. at Jose Andrés Restaurant. Seems I paid $800.00 for elBulli Chef Ferran Adriá, trained in "Molecular Gastronomy" but I only got Amuse-Bouche -- SO NOT WORTH IT--

QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E©: ~~Jose Andrés MiniBar in Washington D.C.~~

"elBulli" in Roses, Spain is the current World's Best Michelin 3 star Restaurant. According to Michelin 3 star chef Chef Ferran Adriá, he's making "Molecular Gastronomy" ... not Umami.
I left a message for David Kasabian to comment and his partner Craig Purdy of Umami Cafe just did.
He also said Umami Cafe owner's Anna Kasabian and David Kasabian will do an interview on NBC's Today Show tomorrow morning, Thursday January 10th, to talk the talk about Umami.

Dear Wilbur,

According to Dr. Peter Cooper, Professor of organic chemistry at Cornell University's Medical School; Glutamic Acid, the organic basis of the “umami” taste, whether it comes from duck, foie gras, truffles, potato chips or caviar, is chemically identical to the crap they make by the shipload at Ajinimoto in Japan. Technically both are Monosodiumglutamate. It is unfortunate that the chemical name confuses both natural and fabricated flavorings. The difference is, that, at Umami Café, as well, I am certain, at Jean Georges, etc. we simply select natural food products known to have high levels of glutamic acid (umami) and use these foods to their best advantage. Neither Umami Café nor Jean Georges use food additives to create the umami flavor. Also, tomorrow, Thursday, January 10th, David and Linda Kasabian will both be appearing on the Today Show, NBC, to broadly discuss the topic. Although you could feed a party of 6 for less than $ 185 at Umami Café, I have no judgement about the ability, nor wisdom of Mr Vongerichten’s “umami bomb” at that price. Umami is “real”. It’s been a trade secret for years, that certain foods make you crave. We select those foods and try to incorporate at least 2 ingredients with high levels of “umami” to create that “gotta have some more” flavor experience.

Hope that’s helpful.

Craig Purdy Partner -
Umami Cafe
shizuokagourmet has left a comment on your post:
"... Beluga Bomb's Baltimore! ..."
Sweet and salted ... Why not?
I do love my caviar, too! I have this Russian music Professor friend, Alexander in Shizuoka City, who once brought back a present of 200 grm. just for me! My worse half hating it, I just gorged myself on it!
Have you heard or tasted French caviar from sturgeons raised in the Gironde Estuary?
Hi Robert-Gilles in Japan:
I was shocked whilst doing the research for the Beluga Bombs caviar post that only 100 Beluga Sturgeons are allowed to be caught (now) each year for the whole wide world, yummmmmmm, it seems we ate them all! There are still lots of others like the smaller fish, Osetra & Sevruga, that are not "ENDANGERED" SO, LET'S EAT THEM FROM NOW ON ... or that other Petrossian tasty treat, 'French Gironde Estuary'. fish-egg-stuff **lol**
Wilbur in Maryland, USA


Anonymous said...

Sweet and salted? Why not?
I do love my caviar, too!
I have this Russian music Professor friend, Alexander in Shizuoka City, who once brought back as a present 200g of it just for me!
My worse half hating it, I just gorged myself on it!
Have you heard or tasted French caviar from sturgeons raised in the Gironde Esturay?

Anonymous said...

Being this a place for pleasure, "Beluga Bombs" were the first name used for what's known today as "Cluster Bombs". I hope this ignorance of yours lands safely in your aid helping you find a more suitable name for that delicatessen.
Sincerely yours,