okay, i'm sick of being afraid of agar. sick of it! what's agar-agar? for the omni set, it's a clear seaweed that makes stuff into jello. to some it's known as kosher gelatin, but you'll find it at your local health food store, co-op, or asian market listed as agar-agar. i took the plunge because i wanted to make the black bottom peanut butter silk pie from vegan with a vengeance in the worst way.
here are some tips to get over your fear of this silly little flake:
1) figure out which form the recipe calls for-powder or flake. in this recipe she doesn't specify, but it is flake.
2) soak the flake in water for about a half hour BEFORE BOILING it. it won't really look like it has changed much, but i read somewhere to do this prior to boiling it because it softens it.
3) as it cooks in the water-(and you'll want to get a nice slow boil going before simmering low) it will look like shredded soap flakes. keep a stirrin', even though you're not sure how it will turn out. have some faith.
4) here it is in all its boily glory. note: in this case it is possible to burn water, so watch yo' self! turn the heat down and keep stirring. you want your liquid to reduce to about a 1/3 of a cup-(mine was slightly more for the recipe). it will develop a bit of a skin on top, but don't freak out. keep stirring the mixture. once your time is up-(um, about 10 minutes give or take from the time you start cooking to finish) pour the mixture in the blender-(careful not to burn yourself) with the rest of the pre-blended pie filling ingredients and WATCH the thickening magic happen. it's pretty cool!
here's a shot of the final product. the pie cooled overnight in the fridge. it was awesome.
find a dish you've been wanting to make, and get over this silly fear!