Wednesday, November 5, 2014

DIATOMS - otherworldly beauty from microscopic organisms + ROSE MACARONS with EARL GREY TEA cream filling

Marine diatoms are one of the smallest creatures on Earth.
UK-based biologist Klaus Kemp and "filmographer" Matthew Killip teamed up
to showcase these minuscule organisms' diverse beauty.
are used to create
microscopic art

Otherworldly beauty can be found in microscopic organisms!
(Source:  Science Alert Magazine, author: Bec Crew & The Diatomist Magaizine, Author: Miss Cellania.)

Diatoms are single-celled organisms found in natural water all over the world. There are estimated to be 100,000 species of these micron-sized creatures in existence, and they play a crucial role as one of the main food sources for marine organisms, including fish, molluscs and tunicates, such as sea squirts.
Once you get them under the microscope, the diatoms will reveal the incredible glass shells that contain their tiny bodies. During the Victorian era - the second half of the 19th century - scientists would pop them under their microscopes and lay them out in complex and beautiful arrangements, and UK-based biologist Klaus Kemp is one of the last remaining scientists on Earth to keep the practice alive.
"Filmographer" Matthew Killip made a documentary about Kemp, as the master of diatom art, and these stunning images were the result. Killip explains how the film came to be over at Neatorama:
I was very curious to see if anyone still practiced diatom arrangement and also to find out how it was done. I managed to track down Klaus Kemp in the UK - he's really the only person doing this to a professional level (he's able to make a living from a small base of collectors) - and filmed with him for one afternoon in December 2013.
The Victorian diatomists took their secrets to the grave, so there was no accurate information on the practice when he first started at sixteen. It has taken him years to be able to create these stunning microscopic slides of arranged diatoms. This is Klaus' life's work.

The video below show Klaus explaining his microscopic masterpieces.

A link to making the diatom slides:

(Sources: All images / photographs are credited to Klaus Kemp, some text Wikipedia, jpgs -The Diatomist, video- vimeo, some text 

{ Background - Diatoms are a major group of algae, and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. Most diatoms are unicellular, although they can exist as colonies in the shape of filaments or ribbons (e.g. Fragilaria), fans (e.g. Meridion), zigzags (e.g. Tabellaria), or stars (e.g. Asterionella). Diatoms are producers within the food chain. A unique feature of diatom cells is that they are enclosed within a cell wall made of silica (hydrated silicon dioxide) called a frustule. These frustules show a wide diversity in form, but are usually almost bilaterally symmetrical, hence the group name. The symmetry is not perfect since one of the valves is slightly larger than the other allowing one valve to fit inside the edge of the other. Fossil evidence suggests that they originated during, or before, the early Jurassic Period. Only male gametes of centric diatoms are capable of movement by means of flagella. Diatom communities are a popular tool for monitoring environmental conditions, past and present, and are commonly used in studies of water quality.) Source: Wikipedia

French Macarons
cream filling 

{For ROSE MACARONS filled with EARL GREY TEA cream:
Add 1 teaspoon of Earl Grey tea finely ground and 3 drops rose-pink gel paste food coloring to the Basic Vanilla Macaron (below). 
Also add 1 teaspoon of rose water to the buttercream filling (below).}

EASY Recipe 
for Basic Vanilla 

- 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
- 3/4 cup fine ground almonds (almond flour)
- 3 egg whites
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- Sieve the confectioners sugar and the ground almonds together.
- Sieve the granulated sugar separately
- In a bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks
- Add the salt
- Then gradually fold in the granulated sugar until obtaining a thick meringue
- Add half of the confectioners sugar and ground almonds, stir gently with a spatula from the top to bottom.
- Finally add the vanilla and the remaining confectioners sugar and almonds -  continue stirring gently until blended.
- Pour the mix into a pastry bag with a large round tip
- Hold tip 1/2 inch above the mat and make 3/4" rounds on a silicone baking mat, finish by pulling off to one side. (The batter will expand some.) Space 1" apart on all 4 sides.
- Allow the macarons to rest between 30-35 minutes at room temperature.
- Cook in a preheated over at 300º F for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the batter. 
- Makes 30 macarons

- Fill these macarons with:1) bought icing, 2) French strawberry jam, 3) Orange Marmalade, 4) Hazelnut chocolate spread or 4) butter cream filling (recipe below).

Butter Cream Filling
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Combine the egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer.
- Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch (2 minutes).
- Transfer bowl to the electric mixer.
- Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed, until stiff, glassy peaks form (about 10 minutes).
- At low speed, add the butter, piece by piece, to the egg whites and beat until smooth. 
- Add the vanilla extract and continue mixing until incorporated.

Vanilla Bean Macaron
A more exacting measurement recipe:

- 2/3cup sliced blanched almonds
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 drop "copper" gel-paste food coloring

- Preheat oven to 350º F with rack in the lower third of oven
- Place almonds in a food processor and process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute.
- Add confectioners sugar to almonds and process until combined, about 1 minute
- Pass the almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer remaining solids in sieve back to food processor and regrind, again sift pressing down on the clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of the solids remain in the sieve.
- Beat egg whites on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) for 2 minutes, increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat for 2 minutes, finally beat on high (8) for 2 minutes more.
- The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add 1/2 of a vanilla bean's seeds plus 1 drop of copper gel-paste food coloring then beat on highest speed for 30 seconds more.
- Fold in almond/sugar mixture. (Add dry ingredients all at once.) With a spatula fold from the bottom of the bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through the middle of the mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava (35 to 40 complete strokes).
- Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8" round tip (Ateco #804) place inside a glass to hold upright while filling. Transfer the batter the the bag
- Secure top of bag then dab some of the left over batter onto the corners of two heavy baking sheets before lining with parchment.
- Hold pastry bag tip 1/2 inch above the parchment and make 3/4" rounds on the baking sheet, swirl off to one side to stop. (The batter will expand some.) Space macarons 1" apart on all 4 sides. Tap the baking sheets firmly against the counter 2 or 3 times to release any air bubbles
- Allow the macarons to rest between 30-35 minutes at room temperature before baking for the tops to set and smooth out.
- Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set (13 minutes). 
- Let cool.
- Pipe or spread your filling on the flat sides of half of the macarons, then top it with the remaining halves.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. (Best after 2 days of refrigeration.)

On Macaron Flavors
and Different Fillings

Substitute toasted skinned hazel nuts for almonds in macarons.

Filling: Heat 1/4 cup heavy cream in a saucepan until bubbles begin to form. Add 1 1/3onces of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, stir to combine. Sir in 3 tablespoons store-bought chocolate-hazelnut spread. Let cool until thick and spreadable.

Add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and 2 drops of leaf-green gel-paste food coloring to the macarons. After grate bittersweet chocolate over half of unbaked rounds.

Filling: Heat 1/4 cup heavy cream in a saucepan until bubbles begin to form. Add 1 1/2 ounces of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, stir to combine. Let cool until thick and spreadable.

Add 1/2 teaspoon instant-espresso powder to the macarons. After sift more powder over top of cookie.

For Mocha Macaron: Replace 1/3 cup of confectioners sugar with 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Filling: Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon instant-espresso powder in 1/4 teaspoon hot water, mix into 2/3 cup buttercream filling (above).

Alternate filling: Substitute 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese and 1/4 cup butter (for the 2 cups butter) add 1 tablespoon of amaretto liqueur and 1 teaspoon of powdered cocoa all in the buttercream filling (above).

Add 1/4 teaspoon rose water and 3 drops rose-pink gel paste food coloring to the macaron.

Filling: 1/2 cup raspberry jam.


Add 1 teaspoon of Wasabi and 2 drops of green food coloring to the macaron.

Filling: Add 1/4 cup of raw ground pistachios to the butter cream filling (above).

Add 1 teaspoon of Earl Grey tea finely chopped (ground) and 3 drops rose-pink gel paste food coloring to the macaron. 

Filling: Add 1 teaspoon rose water to the buttercream filling (above).

(Source for more exacting recipe and cream filling:

Until later,
ARTSnFOOD, is an online publication dedicated to "The Pursuit of Happiness through the Arts and Food." ™ All rights reserved for all content. Concept, Original Art, Original Text & "Original or Assigned Photography" are © Copyright 2014 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All photographs were taken and/or used with permission. Artworks © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

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