PDX INNOVATORS:
Whipping Up Some
Excitement in Portland

For over 50 years, the spirit of innovation has been a part of the Culinary history and legacy at iSi. This fall, iSi has partnered with some talented food and drink visionaries in Portland, Oregon to create the PDX Innovators Club. Equipped with our Gourmet Whip, Professional Chargers, and the iSi Accessories they need, they are ready to whip up some excitement in this culinary hotspot known for its good coffee, good libations, and trend-setting food scene.

Allow us to introduce you to the Club. Some of these faces might be familiar from TV and magazines; others are newer to the scene but getting the attention of those in the know. All are using iSi equipment in their kitchens or at the bar to maximize flavors, create new textures, and improve efficiencies in their service.

In the next few months, we’ll be sharing a lot more from this group: new techniques, new ideas, and lots of real-world inspiration for your own kitchens and business.  In the meantime, follow them on social and see what’s inspiring them now in the city that Time magazine called “America’s new food Eden.”

 

CHEF NAOMI POMEROY

Beast, Expatriate, @naomipomeroy – Top Chef Master and James Beard Award winner

 

CHEFS JOHN PICKETT & DOUG WEILER

Willow Restaurant, @willowpdx – A pop-up turned successful brick and mortar

 

“Jose “Jose

CHEF JOSÉ CHESA

Ataula, Chesa, 180, @josechesa – James Beard Award finalist and Spanish food ambassador

 

PASTRY CHEF GEOVANNA SALAS

Castagna, @creme_fraiche – Desserts from one of Portland’s most creative kitchens

 

Aaron-Adams-K Aaron-Adams-Food

CHEF AARON ADAMS

Farm Spirit, @farmspirit – An award-winning vegan restaurant that you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy

 

BARTENDER MICHELLE RUOCCO

Tusk, Han Oak, @bigmixshake – Mixing up some of Portland’s best cocktails

 

CHEF GREGORY GOURDET

Departure Restaurant, @gg30000 – Top Chef finalist and James Beard Award finalist

 

BARISTA BECKY REEVES

Barista, @becks_reeves – Competitive barista with over eight years of specialty coffee experience

 


judiaannJudiaann Woo is the former VP of Culinary Development for iSi North America. During her time, with the company, she whipped, aerated, foamed and carbonated everything under the sun and had a whole lot of fun doing it. Today, she lives in Portland, Oregon and continues to share her passion for food with others willing to travel for the next great meal. See what she’s been eating recently 
@judiaann.

 

 

Trend Alert:
MATCHA MATCHA MADNESS

If Instagram posts are any indication of the latest food fads, matcha lattés are trending. Food-forward grammers are working hard to capture the perfect latté in shades of verdant green and it’s the coffee shops and tea salons that are offering drinks made with this whole leaf, green tea powder that are winning on social media and bringing in new customers. With more consumer awareness comes increased demand for this antioxidant-rich, caffeinated alternative to coffee.

16012 iSi Macha 0080
Photography: Gregor Halenda

 

Inspired by a trip to Japan, partners and co-owners Michelle and Ramon Puyane opened Chalait in 2015, a popular Manhattan café (now with two locations), focused on serving a variety of matcha beverages. While they also serve traditional espresso drinks, it’s their whipper-made matcha latté that has become their signature item. Using the iSi Thermo Whip has allowed them to consistently and efficiently execute high-quality matcha lattés at a New York City-pace. Matcha drinks now represent a solid sixty percent of their sales. While honoring the traditions of matcha, they understood the need to make it more accessible and appealing to Western customers.

Puyane, who was familiar with iSi whippers for whipped cream, first developed this technique when he thought about the pressure needed to extract a perfect shot of espresso. A well-executed shot is often characterized by the crema that forms on top. He wondered if he could create a similar effect using a pressurized whipper. After a little experimenting, Puyane discovered the significant benefits of using an iSi whipper, which include a “faster and more efficient execution of each matcha latté while still preserving the custom-made feel that customers want. The whipper creates an overall creamier mouth feel and allows for a better platform for latté art,” says Puyane. The creamier mouth feel is a significant plus for a drink with a tendency of being gritty when not mixed correctly.

 

16012 iSi Macha 0018Photography: Gregor Halenda

 

At Chalait, each matcha latté is made to order starting with a batch mixture of pure matcha powder suspended in water heated to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The base is charged with nitrous oxide gas under pressure in an iSi Thermo Whip that creates an emulsion faster than the traditional method of mixing each serving by hand using a small bamboo whisk. “The thermally insulated whipper also keeps the mixture at a consistent temperature for service,” notes Puyane. When dispensed into a serving cup, the whipper produces “a matcha micro foam” similar to the crema on a shot of espresso. The creamier emulsion makes for a better conduit for steamed milk or milk alternative, which can then be transformed into a photo-worthy rosette, heart, or tulip by the barista.

 

16012 iSi Macha 0024Photography: Gregor Halenda

 

With more matcha items showing up on menus around the country and more consumers wanting to try alternatives to coffee, the matcha trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Just check your Instagram feed and the #matcha hashtag for more matcha inspiration.

Technique: Matcha Latté

Makes 24, 8-ounce matcha lattés

Ingredients:
About 2 tablespoons matcha, adjust to taste
.5 liter water, heated to 175˚F
Steamed milk, or milk alternative

Pro Tip:
• The natural sweetness of almond milk is a nice compliment to the flavor of matcha. It also steams well for latté art.
• Use “everyday” grade matcha for milk-based drinks. Anything of lesser quality should be reserved for baking and other food preparations.

Equipment:
.5 liter iSi Thermo Whip or iSi Gourmet Whip
1 iSi Cream Charger

Procedure:
Combine hot water and matcha together and pour into iSi whipper. Charge with one cream charger and shake well. To serve, dispense matcha mixture into serving cup and top with steamed milk.

judiaannJudiaann Woo is the former VP of Culinary Development for iSi North America. During her time, with the company, she whipped, aerated, foamed and carbonated everything under the sun and had a whole lot of fun doing it. Today, she lives in Portland, Oregon and continues to share her passion for food with others willing to travel for the next great meal. See what she’s been eating recently @judiaann.

 

Experience Something NEW
from iSi at the NRA Show:
Booth 7164 in North Hall, and
Booth 11417 at the Bar 2016 Show.

Everybody knows an iSi Whipper can whip cream. But come on. It’s time to take off the training wheels and shoot for the moon. An estimated two million servings a day in the USA come out of an iSi whipper and many of those servings are not just whipped cream according to Jeanette Brick, Vice President of sales and marketing. “iSi goes beyond whipped cream with accessories that extend the use of the whipper into totally new territory,” she explains.

Watch Chef Aaron Lirette of GreenRiver in Chicago at the iSi NRA booth 7164 – North Hall, make imaginative light bites and mock-tails without using any cream at all. He will rely on egg whites and other ingredients to stabilize his recipes. Chefs are finding that it’s possible to use expensive ingredients in an economical way because flavors are concentrated, and portions are aerated.

“The creativity that is coming from chefs using the iSi whippers is so much more robust than the foams and flavored creams we saw a few years ago,” says iSi Culinary Ambassador and James Beard Award Winner, Chef Bradford Thompson. “It’s especially interesting to see the use of the whippers to make more menu items a-la-minute. The whippers allow you to maximize flavors and create a unique and consistent guest experience at all levels of dining.”

JALAPENOInfusions are a fascinating example of innovation. Mixologist, Al Klopper is creating iSi Rapid Infusions at the Bar 16 show (booth11417). The pressure in the canister allows for rapid infusion of aromatic solids and liquids so a mixologist can speedily concoct a jalapeno infused tequila; a chef can quickly infuse an olive oil with chili or rosemary. A process that once took days or weeks can be accomplished in just a few minutes. It was the U.S. mixologist David Arnold, author of Liquid Infusions, who found that iSi Whippers “make very good infusions because things are made fresher. A rapid infusion will give you more half notes and less bitter notes. I use it for cocoa nibs because it favors the chocolaty notes and not the bitterness. I also use it for coffee infusions that aren’t as bitter,” Arnold explains.

Chef Ashley Simone will be whipping up all kinds of uniquely flavored cream in the iSi Ice-cream and Coffee Bar at NRA booth 7164- North Hall.

Don’t miss the new iSi/Culinary App – free for Android and IOS devices-it gives chefs access to hundreds of recipes right at their fingertips.

Star chefs will be demonstrating their artistry with the new iSi Professional Chargers throughout the day. Expect Chef Aaron Lirette of GreenRiver, Chef Ashley Simone of Maison Cuisine, and Mixologist, Al Klopper, of FIG Catering to wow you with their imaginative creations.

 

Meet Keith and Brittany McNeal
Chefs and Farmers

 

Biography-PictureLiving a rural life in Rutland, Vermont has inspired Chefs Brittany and Keith McNeal to change their relationship with food. “I’ve always been interested in the farm-to-fork movement, which led us to move to rural Vermont in early 2015 to pursue a life as both chefs and farmers. Life in Vermont has completely changed our relationship with food. Almost everything that we put onto the table comes from within a 15 mile radius”, says Chef Keith. “Great food and great stories come from each meal we make together. We teach our children, Piper & Hudson, the tradition of cooking in the hope that it will create great memories for them too.”

Brittany, a pastry chef, graduated from Johnson &Wales and went on to work with  Chef Jean Georges in NYC. She is a Culinary Ambassador for iSi North America, and returns to her beloved Washington DC each year for the Adams Burch Great Ideas Show. Keith dedicated 8 years to the Air Force to achieve his culinary degree. Most recently, he has spent time at Green Mountain College designing a first of its kind sustainable culinary arts, agriculture and food systems program, and is now pursuing a graduate degree in sustainable foods. This summer, the family will relocate to Copenhagen, Denmark for Keith’s exciting internship at world renowned, Noma

“We hope that our blogs and recipes will offer a unique perspective on food through our eyes. All of the food in this Farm to Table series will highlight ingredients and techniques that we love, and local farm fresh food that we are lucky enough to eat regularly as a family.”

Vermont Maple Yogurt Foam Parfait

syrup-milkMaple Syrup is a big deal in our home.  And right now, the maple tree sap is running in our New England forests. As a Northeasterner, I use maple syrup on everything, but it seems recently, everyone in the house has adopted the practice. It is hard to argue with the impeccable quality of real Grade A Vermont maple syrup. Therefore, for all of our recipes that use maple syrup we recommend that you find the highest quality syrup possible, preferably from the Northeastern region of the US or Canada.

Another important ingredient that we use in our home is raw milk.  The product itself is always a subject of controversy with foodies and milk drinkers, and I have to admit for a long time I was strongly against drinking raw dairy due to concerns about drinking unpasteurized dairy product. Now that I’ve been exposed to high quality products and processes very close to our home; we’re hooked on the wholesome goodness, positive probiotics, and flora properties that high quality raw milk delivers. And, it’s just down right delicious. Our milk comes directly from a farm about ten minutes down the road. It travels from a cow to our refrigerator on the same day. In fact, it has become a tradition every Wednesday to visit our local dairy with the kids and let them run around to see the cows and everything that’s happening on the farm. Our special treat every Wednesday – is at the top of the Mason jar of fresh milk. This prized possession is reserved in our house for morning coffee.

Milk-solidsIf you decide to give raw milk a try, our recommendation is to get to know your farmer and take a walk around their property with them to look at their processes so you can feel assured you are bringing home a quality product for the family. For best results, always use the highest quality milk available, or substitute in your dairy product of choice as it fits in your daily lifestyle.  Raw milk and maple syrup are near and dear to our hearts up in Vermont, and we hope that with this tasty recipe, they will become a staple in your home as well.

Our family enjoys yogurt – and what better way to create a farm fresh experience, than to combine two of our local farm ingredients: Maple Syrup and Fresh Raw Milk. You will find the experience of making fresh yogurt from Raw Milk and Milk Kefir Grains easy and rewarding. Adding the Maple Syrup to this wholesome recipe is our favorite way to enjoy it. We’ve further enhanced the experience with our fresh home-made applesauce and the crunch of locally made granola.

Vermont Maple Yogurt Foam Parfait

yogurt-parfaitEquipment:
1 Pint iSi Gourmet Whip
1 iSi Cream Charger
1 iSi Funnel and Sieve

Ingredients:
1 Pint Raw Milk
2 Tbsp. Milk Kefir Grains (let the Kefir grains sit out at room temperature in your raw milk for full 24-48 hours in a mason jar covered tightly with cheese cloth)
4 oz. heavy cream
Vermont maple syrup
¼ tsp. Vanilla extract
Macerated Fresh Fruit (I used our homemade applesauce from our heritage apple trees)
Your favorite Granola
Cinnamon to taste

Method:
To make the yogurt, let the Kefir grains sit out at room temperature in your raw milk for a full 24-48 hours, in a mason jar covered tightly with cheese cloth. Once the kefir grains have attained the desired thickness (depending on the temperature of the room this could take 24-48 hours) remove the grains from the Mason jar. The liquid is your cultured yogurt base. Flavor the yogurt with high quality Vermont maple syrup, and a 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract. Pour flavored yogurt and 4 oz. of heavy cream through the iSi Funnel & Sieve, directly into pint sized Gourmet. Charge with 1 iSi cream charger. Shake vigorously – 6 times, and let it sit in the refrigerator for twenty minutes. Take the yogurt out of the refrigerator. Test consistency, and if needed, shake additional times to desired dispensing consistency. It should look creamy and fluffy upon dispensing

Layer the yogurt with desired fruit mixture and granola in parfait style. Top with cinnamon and granola to serve.

 

 

 

In Search of Easy,
Delicious, Perfection

by Chris Young, CEO of ChefSteps

Chris Young is the CEO and co-founder of ChefSteps, a James Beard award-winning company behind ChefSteps.com and its companion app, which inspire and teach home & professional cooks new techniques and recipes with high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources.

In my previous post I shared the story of a single meal at The Fat Duck that completely changed the trajectory of my career as a chef. It began with an elegant amuse-bouche called Nitro-Poached Green Tea Sour: a delicate balance of flavor, texture, and temperature yielding something wholly new and unexpected. This balance and creative expression were only made possible by marrying the right tool—like the iSi Gourmet Whip—and technique, with a deep understanding of science in the kitchen.

That delicious bite, along with a few others that evening, drew me to join Heston Blumenthal and his team at the Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen. For five years we challenged ourselves to create unexpected and memorable moments for diners (like the one I had), drawing the very most out of our techniques and tools, and often inventing brand new ones.

It was during my tenure that Heston partnered with the BBC to film the television show In Search of Perfection, where we were further challenged to apply our modernist approach to classic British dishes that could be prepared at home. For months, we went back to the drawing board on humble dishes like a simple roast chicken and bangers and mash, seeking to not only elevate them, but to make these reimagined versions accessible to the everyday cook. It was an amazing experience, and one that again changed the course of my career.

For the first time, I saw the potential for our work in the Experimental Kitchen to reach many more than the 42 diners served each night at The Fat Duck. I saw how the building blocks of a modernist tasting menu could also be used to make a Sunday family meal easier and more delicious. And that tools like an iSi Gourmet Whip belong as much in a home kitchen as in a Michelin-starred one.

This experience ultimately led me to found ChefSteps, where we seek to inspire creativity and confidence in the kitchen for cooks of every skill level. We develop easy-to-follow content ranging from bite-sized videos to comprehensive online courses that teach new tools, techniques, and kitchen hacks. For me, one of the most rewarding parts of our work is when we can use a few simple tricks, creative approaches, and some basic science to demystify a tool like the iSI Gourmet Whip—in fact we created a whole online course to do just that. We use iSI Whippers every day to experiment with new textures, create beautiful foam garnishes, and perfectly bubbly cocktails. But I most enjoy showing our community the unexpected ways that iSi Whippers can make a classic dish simpler and more delicious, like in these recipes we developed for In Search of Perfection:

Perfect Hollandaise

Our easy instant hollandaise recipe reimagines the breakfast staple. Hollandaise is a lovely, unctuous, and notoriously fickle mother sauce that traditionally demands such artistry and precision that it has been compared to a Bach Fugue. In our version we let sous vide cooking and an iSI Gourmet Whip take care of the exact temperatures and perfect emulsification needed, leading to a lighter (and healthier) hollandaise with hardly any of the guess work.

Fresh Fruit Soda

And of course no meal involving an iSI Whipper would be complete without the perfect bubbly drink pairing. Our fresh fruit soda, made with charges of CO2 rather than the usual N2O, might not be a classic pairing, but it sure tastes good. And most of the time, that’s all that really matters. Cheers.

Chris Young is the CEO and co-founder of ChefSteps, a James Beard award-winning company behind ChefSteps.com and its companion app, which inspire and teach home and professional cooks new techniques and recipes with high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources.

Chris Chris Young is the CEO and co-founder of ChefSteps, a James Beard award-winning company behind ChefSteps.com and its companion app, which inspire and teach home cooks new techniques and recipes with high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources. Prior to ChefSteps, Young was the principal co-author of the acclaimed and worldwide bestselling six-volume work Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. He was also the founding chef of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen, the secret culinary laboratory behind the innovative dishes served at one of the best restaurants in the world.

 

Meet John Pomeroy &
Whip Up Something Better!

john pomeroyJohn S. Pomeroy, Jr. is a beverage consultant and urban farmer based in Oakland, California. He holds a master’s in education from University of California, Santa Cruz and is a teacher and community activist. A deeply seated belief in the importance of a chemical-free agricultural system drives everything he does. He’s committed to working only with businesses practicing (or moving toward) holistic, sustainable systems. He has consulted with iSi since 2011. More at www.omnibibulous.com

In 1995, Montrio restaurant in Monterey, California was voted “Best New Restaurant of the Year” by Esquire magazine. I started working there as a server and banquet bartender in 1996. Executive Chef Tony Baker insisted on daily pre-shift meetings to learn about food and drink, and over the next three years, my passion for Food and Beverage was cemented. It was there that I first came into contact with the iSi Gourmet Whip, but like most people’s introduction, it was only being used to make whipped cream.

Fast forward to 2008- I moved to New York City to see if I could make it there as a professional bartender. I lived on West 88th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where a new restaurant, Bloomingdale Road, was being built on the corner of 88th and Broadway. I went in, pitched management on my cocktail consulting services, and Omnibibulous was born. I put together some of my favorite recipes in a seasonal cocktail menu, and the signature drink was my own riff on Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Angostura-Scorched Pisco Sour .  Using the iSi Gourmet Whip to make the egg white foam made it much easier to produce en-masse, but without Baker and Stamenov’s dedication to staff training, we were on Eater NY’s deathwatch soon after we opened. Six months later, it was closed and I moved on to Brooklyn.

Living just outside of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, I began working at a tiny livery stable converted to a secret bar, Hideout was every bartender’s dream come true: owned in part by a model/actor who knew bartending and only cared about the aesthetic. Within reason, I could do whatever I wanted. Molecular Mondays were born. One of the guest bartenders we hosted was the Liquid Chef himself, Junior Merino. Along with some liquid nitrogen, he unveiled an iSi Gourmet Whip from his bag of tricks, and for the first time in my professional bartender life, I saw it generating something other than whipped cream or merengue, and started imagining other applications. I am still humbled by Junior Merino’s creativity and panache, and when iSi’s recipe book, A Culinary Journey, was released, I was incredibly pleased to see my recipe for The Dirt Nap sharing space there with his. 

Dirt_Nap_John_Pomeroy_USA_510After Hideout, I focused on Omnibibulous, and got regular consulting gigs through my involvement with the United States Bartender’s Guild NY. I was later hired by Purity Vodka to assist with their NYC launch. One of my first assignments was to put together a unique bartender’s toolkit – so where do bartenders in NYC go for tools? They go straight to Don Lee and Cocktail Kingdom

Having long admired Don Lee and his work at New York City’s Please Don’t Tell (PDT) – I  had worked with him on various small projects, and even competed in (and won!) a competition where he was the judge. I really trusted his opinion, and when he suggested I pitch Purity Vodka on a process called “rapid infusion” I got right to it. I spent the next three years traveling around North America and Sweden teaching people how they could add any flavor they wanted to this beautiful and elegant Swedish vodka using the iSi Gourmet Whip and iSi Cream Chargers. Infusion-Party-Darien-May-19-2012

Since learning of David Arnold’s use of rapid infusion using the iSi Gourmet Whip, and spearheading Purity Vodka’s rapid infusion program, I have been privileged to participate as the process evolved into what it is today. This year, iSi introduced a Rapid Infusion Tool Kit for the ever-versatile Gourmet Whip, and I’m looking forward to more and more industry and consumer applications with this creative technology.rapid-infusion-kit-2

My newest business venture is very close to launch, and its mission: to foster a return to a holistic, pesticide-free lifestyle. As agricultural practices evolve from a “kill what you don’t want” to a “nurture what you do want” mentality, the availability of ingredients worthy of going into my Gourmet Whip will multiply.  If they don’t come from living soil, they don’t make the cut.  

 

 

Really?….Chicago Style Hot Dogs
in a Gourmet Whip? YES!

By Chef Louisa Chu

LouisaLouisa Chu is a food consultant, food journalist, and one one of the iSi Culinary Ambassadors. Louisa hosts Chewing the Fat, the WBEZ podcast on food. For contact information, go to louisachu.com.

Well, technically I call my dish Chicago Dog, and I created not one but two recipes for the May National Restaurant Association show in Chicago. The Hot Dog Espuma was inspired by Chef Rick Tramonto’s Foie Gras, substituting hot dogs for the goose liver. The Chicago Style Foam was inspired by Cucumber-Yogurt Espuma, but I substituted the toppings of a Chicago hot dog: neon green relish, yellow mustard, onion, tomato, kosher-style pickle, and hot sport peppers.

I served the savory pink Hot Dog espuma and acidic green Chicago Style foam on a crisp Jay’s potato chip with soft, torn poppy seed bun, finished with essential celery salt.

Both of the original recipes can be found in the iSi Recipe Database online. Plus on the iSi Recipe app, I’ve posted my recipe variations.

What do you pair with Hot Dog Espuma?

My mixologist colleague Cristiana DeLucca paired my Chicago Dog with her Strawberry Soda and Lemon Infused Whipped Cream. In my last post, I wrote that Cristiana prefers to pair drinks from finished food menus. But how?
“I start pairings by thinking about if I want a similar or contrasting experience,” says Cristiana, “But I’m always thinking about how flavors will taste together, and that includes textures and aroma.”

Why, but why, Hot Dog Espuma?

People really like hot dogs, even at the National Restaurant Association show. Despite food samples everywhere, visitors waited in long lines for hot dogs, from New York’s Nathan’s Famous and Chicago’s Vienna Beef.

Thanks to everyone who visited our booth. Below you’ll find our full menu. Next time I’ll  share details for your chance to win an iSi Culinary Ensemble.

iSi National Restaurant Association Show 2015 MenU

17733963281_4577464074_oDay 1: Food: “Deep Dish” (Tomato Hollandaise Espuma and Pizza Foam on olive oil toasted Tuscan bread, fresh mozzarella pearls, and micro arugula) Drink: Lemon Basil Soda with “Tomato as a Fruit” Foam
17594008179_6aa2a25180_oDay 2: Food: “Guac” (Guacamole Espuma and Taco Foam on tortilla chips, goat cheese, and micro radish) Drink: Watermelon Soda with Jalapeno Infused Whipped Cream

17799720916_78bbeef0ed_oDay 3: Food: “Rangoon” (Scallion Espuma and Duck Sauce Foam on lobster chips, chow mein, and Chinese American microgreens)
Drink: Cucumber Soda with Sriracha Foam

17865027731_80475286a4_oDay 4: Food: “Chicago Dog” (Hot Dog Espuma and Chicago Style Foam on Jays potato chips, poppy seed bun, and celery salt)
Drink: Strawberry Soda with Lemon Infused Whipped Cream

Hot Dog Espuma

Ingredients:
170 g hot dogs, fully cooked
110 ml milk
210 ml heavy cream
salt to taste

Preparation:
In a blender add hot dogs and milk, then purée until smooth. Please note, purée hot dogs with milk only, not cream. When smooth, stir in heavy cream. Season to taste. Pass the mixture through an iSi Funnel & Sieve directly into an 0.5 L (~17 fl. oz.) iSi Whipper. If using a Thermo Whip, chill empty whipper thoroughly first. Charge with one iSi cream charger then shake well. Test for desired consistency. Shake further if firmer texture preferred.

Serving Suggestion:
Dispense to warm buns. Customize with regional toppings to taste. Keep refrigerated.

Chicago Style Foam

Ingredients:
165 ml Chicago neon green relish
165 ml yellow mustard
dill pickle to taste
red tomato to taste
white onion to taste
sport pepper to taste

Please note that relish and mustard create a stable base to add remaining ingredients to taste. Final mixture can total 500 ml max for 0.5 L iSi Whipper.

Preparation:
In a blender add all ingredients, then purée until smooth. Pass the mixture through an iSi Funnel & Sieve directly into an 0.5 L (~17 fl. oz.) iSi Whipper. If using a Thermo Whip, chill empty whipper thoroughly first. Charge with one iSi cream charger then shake well. Test for desired consistency. Shake further if firmer texture preferred.

Serving Suggestion:
Dispense on Hot Dog Espuma and poppy seed bun. Finish with celery salt. Keep refrigerated.

 

 

The Meal that Changed the
Course of My Culinary Journey

by Chris Young, CEO of ChefSteps

Chris Young is the CEO and co-founder of ChefSteps, a James Beard award-winning company behind ChefSteps.com and its companion app, which inspire and teach home & professional cooks new techniques and recipes with high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources.

I never expected to become a chef. And I don’t think I would have become one if it weren’t for a meal that I had in early 2003 at a small, relatively unknown (at the time) restaurant west of London called The Fat Duck. My meal began with foam, the famous liquid nitrogen-poached Green Tea Sour.

For those unfamiliar with this dish, I’ll describe the experience: My server Didier rolled an opulent guéridon across the small and humble dining room, parking it beside my table of one. On top of the oak wood cart was a cauldron of steel and glass filled to the brim with liquid nitrogen simmering at -320 °F; beside it was a whipping siphon, a set of silver soup spoons nested within a linen napkin, a muslin satchel tied with a bow, and a set of chilled plates. Didier picked up the whipping siphon, deftly inverting it to dispense a bite-sized dollop of dense white foam onto the bowl of a shallow spoon, and then with a practiced motion plunged it into the nitrogen, which erupted to a boil as it cryo-poached my sour. He flipped and basted it with the spoon for exactly eight seconds, before lifting it from the liquid nitrogen, dusting the glossy white puff with the satchel of matcha, and then served it to me on a chilled plate with the request that I enjoy it as a single bite.

And when I bit into it, the glossy surface shattered crisply, giving way to a cool and luscious mousse racing with the acidity of lime juice and the slight astringency of green tea. But the best part was the rush of fog that streamed from my nose, making me look a bit like a puffing dragon. This dish is both literally and figuratively very cool. From this one bite it was clear to me that this meal was going to be very different from any other that I had ever eaten.

But the nitro-poached lime sour wasn’t just about theatrics—Heston Blumenthal had crafted it for the purpose of really cleansing the palate. If you’ve ever had a glass of orange juice after brushing your teeth, then you know how awful the alkaline residue of the toothpaste can make food taste. The acidic lime juice serves to neutralize this alkaline residue, while the green tea adds astringent polyphenols that help cleanse the mouth, and a very small amount of vodka provides just enough alcohol to disperse oils and fats.

Of course aerating and poaching it in liquefied nitrogen added textural surprise and an element of fun and whimsy that so often is missing from fine dining restaurants. By the end of my meal there was no question that I had to work at The Fat Duck, with Heston Blumenthal, and I was lucky enough to do so for the next five years. One of the many things I learned from working there was that a talented chef could accomplish extraordinary things when empowered by scientific knowledge.

Like all scientific progress, there was a lot of failure along the way. That light and delicate green tea sour foam would constantly collapse if not served immediately; the result of alcohol that tends to thin the bubble walls until they are simply too delicate to survive the pull of gravity. This was a real problem, because the foam itself kept the liquid nitrogen from freezing more than a paper-thin shell at the surface. If the foam collapsed while it was being cryo-poached, the experience for the guest was more like a tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole, which is not a great way to begin a meal. The solution for near-flawless foam every time was to use a whipping siphon, a unique tool that with the squeeze of the trigger created fresh foam on demand.

Transforming Modern Cuisine

Whipping siphons, like those from iSi, became a fixture at The Fat Duck, as well as every other modernist restaurant. That’s because these tools afforded chefs a better way to manipulate foams that in turn create texture. And manipulating texture is something chefs are always doing, whether they realize it or not. Whipped cream is perhaps the best-known example of texture being transformed by edible foam. It’s simple to make—you just create a lot of small bubbles in cold cream. The whisk is the basic tool for this job, and it does the work in two ways: First, as the wires are whipped through the air and then into the liquid, each wire leaves a trail of bubbles in its wake. Second, the wires stretch and pull existing bubbles until they split into smaller bubbles, which expands the whipped cream and helps make the foam stable. Doing this, however, does eventually wear out your arm. A whipping siphon makes the job easy, but also works in an entirely different way: It uses gas pressure to force soluble gas (nitrous oxide for whipped cream) to dissolve into the cream. When the trigger of the siphon is squeezed, the pressure pushes the cold, gas-laden cream through a valve stem, and as the cream emerges, the surrounding pressure suddenly drops, causing the gas to burst out of the solution as an uncountable number of tiny bubbles that whip the cream. The advantage, aside from avoiding a sore arm, is the ability to create as much or as little fresh whipped cream as you need.

ENJOY A SPECIAL OFFER ON
CHEFSTEPS WHIPPING SIPHON CLASSES

But these tools aren’t just for gourmet whipping cream, nor are they only useful for modernist chefs looking to push the boundaries of cuisine. At ChefSteps, a company I co-founded over two years ago to teach and inspire home chefs, we’ve got tons of amazing uses for whipping siphons (which I’ll tell you more about in my next post, along with a recipe or two), and in fact we offer a comprehensive online class for home cooks, all about the many diverse ways to use a siphon (iSi customers can get 50% off the Whipping Siphon class now through July 31st using this link to enroll). We get feedback every day from cooks who are learning and trying new things with this tool they’ve had sitting in the drawer for years. It’s validating feedback for an unintentional chef such as myself—people are having the same experience at home that I had at the Fat Duck all those years ago, and today at ChefSteps, tapping into the power of whipping siphons.

Chris Chris Young is the CEO and co-founder of ChefSteps, a James Beard award-winning company behind ChefSteps.com and its companion app, which inspire and teach home cooks new techniques and recipes with high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources. Prior to ChefSteps, Young was the principal co-author of the acclaimed and worldwide bestselling six-volume work Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. He was also the founding chef of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen, the secret culinary laboratory behind the innovative dishes served at one of the best restaurants in the world.

 

Deep Dish Espuma plus Pizza Foam?
Lemon Basil Soda with “Tomato as a Fruit” Foam?

By Chef Louisa Chu

Louisa Chu is a food consultant, food journalist, and one one of the iSi Culinary Ambassadors. Louisa hosts Chewing the Fat, the WBEZ podcast on food. For contact information, go to louisachu.com.

Trust us, we’re professionals. We being award-winning mixologist Cristiana DeLucca, Team iSi and me. We’ll serve this menu and more at the National Restaurant Association show, starting Saturday in Chicago.

We’re challenged with serving food and drink at a show, an industry event attended by some of the best chefs from around the world, including Top Chef Master Rick Bayless, but also the biggest brands in the food business. How do we demonstrate what we can do in one delicious bite and one delightful sip?

One of the iconic dishes of Chicago is our unique pizza. My favorite is made only at one restaurant: Burt’s Place. You may have seen Anthony Bourdain eat there, when I took him to visit my friend and pizza master Burt Katz.

Deep Dish, my take on our hometown’s divisive pizza, will be crunchy foccacia bits, torn mozzarella, onion microgreens, fruity olive oil, seasoned by smoked salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a fresh schpritz of lemon, then finished with the Tomato Hollandaise from the iSi cookbook, A Culinary Journey.

The Tomato Hollandaise was created by the Michelin starred German chef Andreas Schweiger. His variation of the classic sauce does use yolks and butter, but he adds tomato purée, lending intense flavor, preserved for any season.

The rich yolks, silky butter, and tangy tomato echo the Italian method of cracking an egg over a pizza right before it’s slipped into a wood-fired oven. Cooked until the crust bubbles and nearly blackens, while the white barely sets. It’s a very different pizza from deep dish, which some say isn’t pizza at all, yet both are correctly eaten with knife and fork. While devising the show’s menu I thought this would elevate a familiar favorite for finer dining.

But what about fast food? Espumas are one thing, but what about the weird? Here I was inspired not only by chefs but a bit of magic. Every year the restaurant show wraps just as what’s now called Sweets & Snacks Expo, aka the Candy Show, kicks off. The Jelly Belly booth always offers their Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor and Bamboozled beans, with everything from Sausage to Moldy Cheese jelly beans.

So while Deep Dish Espuma is lovely, the Pizza Foam may be something else. I take the cookbook’s Parmesan Cheese Fondant, by chef Darren Ong of Singapore, then spike it with Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pizzazz by my friends at The Spice House. It may be weird but practical too. One day for lunch I grabbed a slice, then the ubiquitous shakers of cheese, oregano, and crushed red peppers to shower them furiously. What if we could capture all that’s lost, and occasionally accidentally inhaled, in a fun pizza foam?

Our menu will change daily, all full of flavor, evocative and provocative, but above all, delicious and delightful, we hope.

Cristiana and I have worked together with iSi before. She prefers to pair from my food menu, but how does she do it? More on mixology next time.

 

Louisa Chu,
An iSi Culinary Ambassador

Louisa Louisa Chu is a food consultant, food journalist, and one one of the iSi Culinary Ambassadors. Louisa hosts Chewing the Fat, the WBEZ podcast on food. For contact information, go to louisachu.com.

MEET LOUISA CHU

I grew up in my family’s Chinese-American chop suey restaurants in Chicago. My first job, at the age of four, was folding pale jade green paper menus into long, clean thirds. Soon after, I started cooking, standing on a milk crate, watching over the deep fat fryer bubbling with lard, waiting for golden, crunchy egg rolls to surface. I rarely dipped into our house-made sweet-and-sour sauce, but understood how customers loved the cooling, tart contrast. I preferred the quietly fiery mustard, which we endangered ourselves to mix with Colman’s dry powder from the tin. Later I made my own family meals—fried rice a favorite—picking through our mise en place, cracking a fresh egg here, grabbing a handful of scallions there. From behind the bar, I’d pour ginger ale into hot tea, which drove my grandfather crazy. Working through weekends, holidays, and childhood, I swore to never work in restaurants again. I moved to Los Angeles, but never stopped cooking, especially since we had farmers’ markets all day, and endless, summery, southern California nights to entertain in our bungalow backyard. But after one LA evening out at a wine tasting, the food was so bad I told the shop owners I could do better, so I did. I paired French Champagne with classic gougeres and smoked salmon deviled eggs, plus retro rumaki and miniatures of our egg rolls. I started catering, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed cooking professionally again. Then I met Julia Child, while she was on book tour for the 40th anniversary edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Inspired, I attended her alma mater, Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. After graduation, and many calls and letters, I staged at Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athenee. In my wildest dreams I never imagined a restaurant kitchen or cooking could be like that. It was pristinely clean and air-conditioned, with caviar, foie gras, and white Alba truffles as plentiful as potatoes, carrots, and onions. Later that breathtaking year, I staged at El Bulli. I was amazed by not only my own rekindled wonder, but that of the cooks from around the world with whom I worked too. You must know by now that chef Ferran Adria opened the restaurant only six months per year, closing the other six months for what he called “the creativity.” But before it famously became the World’s Best Restaurant, they had no customers. Ferran and his brother Albert said they’d go days serving one table or two. So instead, they created. It was there that Ferran Adria himself discovered iSi.

LOUISA & ISI

iSi North America President and CEO Rick Agresta once told me that HQ was wondering why some unknown restaurant outside of a small Catalonian resort town was ordering so much product. So they went to see for themselves. In 1994, Ferran made his first espuma: “white bean foam with sea urchins: the first foam.” Ten years later when I apprenticed, it was space camp for cooks. We had liquid nitrogen, a centrifuge, and dozens of iSi whippers. Some had custom tip tubing to make the infamous “2 m of parmesan spaghetto,” a single, long translucent noodle of whey and agar. It was served plated with balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, and black pepper. I prepared this and another Parmigiano Reggiano dish with an Italian cook who worked for the Michelin three-starred chef Massimo Bottura in Modena. He always cursed what we did to his iconic, beloved hometown cheese. When I returned to Chicago, Lavazza introduced Ferran’s Èspesso Espresso at their downtown cafe, for the first time in the country. It is essentially espresso, cream, sugar, and gelatin, set and served in an iSi whipper.

LOUISA TODAY

Now as a food consultant and food journalist, my concerns consider not only the delicious but simplicity, sustainability, ethics, and nutrition too. I’ve since made Èspesso, adapting it to my own taste. So I choose ethically sourced cold brew coffee, pastured heavy cream, and real maple syrup, adding American breakfast flavor. Always recycling the chargers, of course. I may inject my American Èspesso into fluffy raised donut holes, occasionally with a shot of whiskey. While I hope to forever discover new child-like wonders, grown-up toys and tastes are sure fun too.

AMERICAN ÉSPESSO

Ferran Adria’s Èspesso for Lavazza uses espresso. I use cold brew coffee concentrate because I prefer the smooth, chocolaty flavor, plus it’s easier, much easier. If you don’t have a cold brew coffee ratio or recipe you like, try mixing one part finely ground coffee to four parts water, then steep for 12 hours minimum. You do not need a cold brew coffee maker. Remember, this recipe uses the concentrate, not the diluted coffee. I do use both weight and volume, because sometimes it’s easier to use one over the other. Try to eyeball the half pouch of gelatin, and if you’re half a gram over or under that’s fine. You can substitute the maple syrup with sugar, use more or to taste. This is a very forgiving recipe.

Ingredients:
330 g cold brew coffee concentrate
0.5 pouch (3.5 g) Knox unflavored gelatin
50 g maple syrup
119 g pastured heavy cream

Preparation: Pour 50 ml of cold coffee into an iSi Flex-it 1000-ml (4 cups) measuring cup. Sprinkle half a pouch of Knox unflavored gelatin over it. Let stand for one minute. Pour 50 ml of coffee into Flex-it 250-ml (1 cup) measuring cup. Microwave to boiling. Carefully pour boiling coffee into cold coffee and gelatin mixture. Use an iSi silicone spatula to stir until gelatin dissolves completely. Add remaining coffee, syrup, and cream, and then stir again. Pour mixture through an iSi Funnel & Sieve into a 0.5-L (~17 fl. oz.) iSi whipper. If using a Thermo Whip, chill empty whipper thoroughly first. Charge with one iSi cream charger then shake well. Chill one hour minimum to set. Test for desired consistency. Shake further if firmer texture preferred. Serve.

Serving Suggestion: Dispense to espresso cups, top with whipped cream, sprinkle with cocoa powder, then serve. Or fill yeast-raised donut holes using iSi short 5-mm injector tip, then serve. Optionally add a shot of whiskey or other spirit to whipper before charging. Take care to only fill whipper to maximum fill line. Keep refrigerated.

Stay Tuned! Louisa will be popping up on CreativeWhip.com periodically with updates and recipes to help you make the most of your iSi Whipper System, so stay tuned!