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Creams Sauces & Mousse

  For past edition of the Tip Of the Week visit my archive 


So last post I talked about marination, flavoring and rice. This week I want to finish this topic with creating smooth sauces, creams and mousses. Creams and mousses are some of people’s favorites in any culinary setting. Anything from a soft whipped cream to a firm flan or custard can be made ether sweet like mango cream or savory like black pepper gravy.  There are two factors to establishing these silky wonders and that is of course using the right tool and then there is the thickener that will give you the texture you want. The tool is probably the most important element in this mix because even if you have the right ingredients the wrong tool just won’t do it; and that is that. There is really only one tool of choice here and that is the blender. Oh but not just any blender will do. You can get away with using a simpler less expensive machine if you are working with say oh, avocado or rehydrated dried mango but to be able to turn some of the more tuff goodies into a cream you will need to pull out the big guns. I can name three machines that can take you down this road and that is:
My 1st choice, the Vita Mix blender, often mispronounced by the spectators in the industry as the “Vita Mixer”. Then second and third choices are a tie between the newer Jack LaLanne and the well established Blend Tech. Now why a tie? Here is the thing; the Jack LaLane doesn’t quite have the refined feel and function as a Vitamix or Blend Tech but does have the power, the incredibly valuable “variable speed” control and a price tag that won’t put you in the poor house. The Blend Tech has the power, the refined quality and experience but the speed control is executed by a



selection of per programmed cycles and you loose vital control over working your material. The price tag is also up there but worth every penny if you are serious about it. The Vitamix carries a hefty price tag as well but gives you everything you need and more. Just be sure you get the model with the variable speed control. Now why is this all so important you say” Because when working with really thick materials like a mouse or even pate, you need total control; control of how much speed, power, when you want it and for how long. One hand on the speed dial and the other with a spatula to work your material. Thick stuff always needs to be pushed from the sides of the blender into the center where it can then be pulled down into the blades. Check out my YouTube Video on making a cream.
Now lets talk food. There are several thickening agents when it comes to smooth finishes. The most common in raw foods is the reliable and tasty nut. All nuts have the qualities needed to be blended into a cream. A few can go a long way if a gravy, sauce or dressing is the goal Adding a few more nuts can produce a thick paste like cream cheese or chocolate fudge. If you blend 1 cup water and dash of lemon juice and a clove of garlic all that would be need to make a perfect garlic cream would be about a half cup of pine nuts and salt to taste. Easy and YUM! Garlic Custard may require another half cup or so of something a bit more solid like macadamia, almonds or Brazil nuts. This can be fun because each nut has its own flavor giving you many choices and variety.



On the lighter side would be one of my favorites, Avocado. Avocado can thicken dressings, smoothies, sauces and sweet creams. Try adding avocado to some of these types of recipes replacing the nuts and see what you get. Although green may not be the color choice for a Vanilla Cream it really works great. If you blend avocado with something dry like carob powder, dates and a pinch of salt, you can get a much thicker result and have Carob Mousse to top your strawberries with.  Dried fruits like dates, Apricots, Figs, Mango, Pineapple can all be used to thicken sauces and dressings. Another great thickener is Irish Moss. This is a bit difficult to work with but is truly the food of choice if you want something firm yet light. Irish Moss is a sea vegetable that when blended with just the right amount of water will produce a silky cream. If you let it set up after blending it can be slicked and sections like cutting up blocks of firm tofu. Adding flavors to this can make custard, flan or even a jelly. Adding Irish Moss to creams and gravies can thicken them just right without making them heavy the way nuts will do or sweet the way fruits will.
Then Last but not least is, believe it or not, veggies. Some have great qualities for this job and can have just the right flavor to compliment the overall dish. Rout veggies in particular can do the job as will Yellow Squash, Zucchini, hard squashes like Butternut, Acorn, Turban… and even greens. More fiber and oils will thicken your final product you just need the blender to do it.


Till Next Week
Raw Chef Dan

 

 



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