Archive for April, 2014

iSi Celebrates 50 Years of Inspiration
with New Product Introductions at
The International Housewares Show
Chicago, 2014

by Guest Contributor, Chef Louisa Chu

iSi's Inspiring New Products for 2014 at the International Housewares Show in Chicago. Pictured: (left to right): iSi Culinary Inspirations Cookbook, iSi Sodamaker Classic, iSi Dessert Whip Mini, iSi Dessert Whip Plus


 iSi’s Inspiring New Products for 2014 at the International Housewares Show in Chicago. Pictured: (left to right): iSi Culinary Inspirations Cookbook, iSi Sodamaker Classic,iSi Dessert Whip Mini, iSi Dessert Whip Plus

2014 is an exciting year for iSi as they celebrate “50 Years of Inspiring Food” and the establishment of the iSi brand. The iSi story is an exciting one to tell, which was proudly expressed throughout yet another stunning Booth at the 2014 International Home & Housewares Show (IHHS) in Chicago.

Several “back by popular demand” products were introduced, reinforcing the history of iSi’s inspiration, experience, innovation and creativity in cuisine.

 

New Products Showcased (Available Fall, 2014)

The iSi Sodamaker Classic was the most awe-inspiring new product on display, captivating visitors at first glance with its Mad Men-esque antique/retro design. Although the iSi Sodamaker Classic looks like a mesh seltzer collectible on the outside, there’s new technology within, most notably a lightweight high-pressure resistant BPA-free PET bottle, and an advanced stainless-steel riser tube which produces a gentle, even flow of fresh soda water, every time.

Also on the new product podium:  iSi’s hip & redesigned lever-handled iSi Dessert Whip Plus and iSi Dessert Whip Mini. Both products feature fun & playful “zebra-patterned” black or white die-cut, removable silicone sleeve, providing the user with a more comfortable grip on the Whipper (and, adding a trendy-looking aesthetic!). This classic favorite has also been modified from its original aluminum bottle to a new dishwasher-safe stainless steel bottle. The clever & creative look of this product alone takes iSi to the next level, which I like to call “iSi 2.0”.

And to put iSi’s products to use, the new Culinary Inspirations cookbook provides a wealth of inspiring new recipes for the professional and home chef alike. Each day, I served a variety of food and beverage recipes from the book to let customers taste a bite of iSi inspiration for themselves!

 

Celebrity Chefs & Industry Leaders who visited our iSi Booth

Long-time pals: Celebrity Chef Chris Cosentino & WBEZ's Chef Louisa Chu catching up & enjoying iSi treats at our booth.


Long-time pals: Chef Chris Cosentino & Louisa Chu catching up on new iSi products & techniques at our booth.

 

Over the last few years, our iSi Booth has become exceedingly popular, considered as a “must visit” Booth at the IHHS Show. Our daily menu of innovative iSi food and drink recipes attracted several customers and friends, including Top Chef Masters winner and Celebrity Chef Chris Cosentino, PolyScience President (and inventor) Philip Preston, and Chef José Andrés.

El Bulli’s Ferran Adrià was in town all week, using iSi Whippers at Press events around Chicago, and as homage, our menu was crafted with a variety of simplified modern recipes that home chefs can make, too.

 

A Modernist Ménage: ContemPlate Founder Christhoph Milz, Chef Louisa Chu, iSi President & CEO Rick Agresta, and PolyScience President Phillip Preston

A Modernist Ménage:
ContemPlate Founder Christhoph Milz, Chef Louisa Chu, iSi North America, Inc. President & CEO Rick Agresta, and PolyScience President Phillip Preston

 

An Homage to iSi’s History

This was my fifth year as iSi’s show chef, and incidentally Adria’s twentieth anniversary in discovering the technique of making iSi espumas, but iSi’s 149th year. That’s right; the company was originally founded by Karl Fischer-Pochtler in 1865, a fact literally engraved at the top of the new iSi Sodamaker Classic – see below.

 iSi's rich historys spans back to 1865, when our Founder, Carol Pochtler began producing siphons. The company is in it's sixth generation, now in the hands of the innovative Mag. Christian C. Pochtler Chairman & CEO of the iSi Group


iSi’s Rich History Spans back to our Founder, Carol Pochtler, who began producing siphons in 1865. The company, now is in it’s sixth generation, is directed by
Chairman & CEO of the iSi Group, Mag. Christian C. Pochtler

 

The Most Popular Recipe of the Show: Flash-Frozen “Espresso” Ice Cream Sandwiches

 Inspiring food: Espresso Foam  dispensed from the iSi Gourmet Whip, flash-frozen on a PolyScience Anti-Griddle, then sandwiched between two halves of a donut hole. What's not to love?

Inspiring food: Espresso Foam dispensed from the iSi Gourmet Whip, flash-frozen on a PolyScience Anti-Griddle, then sandwiched between two halves of a donut hole. What’s not to love?

For my Edible Espresso 2014 Edition, I flash froze espresso cream (Kalona Super Natural whipping cream and Monin Espresso syrup) on a PolyScience Anti-Griddle, and sandwiched the frozen espresso bites between local Bridgeport Bakery doughnut holes. It was coffee and donuts in one bite – an adult afternoon snack!

 A Close-up of the iSi Gourmet Whip & PolyScience Anti-Griddle in action


A close-up of the iSi Gourmet Whip & PolyScience Anti-Griddle in action

 

Although the “Flash-Frozen Espresso Ice-Cream Sandwiches” were the most popular & talked about recipe of the IHA Show, we rotated a different menu of both food & drinks each day.

iSi Beverages: From Carbonation to Foams & Rapid Infusion

Jenna Murray and Star-Bartender Cristiana DeLucca of Chicago's Back Bar with their El Bulli-inspired Hot Frozen Ginger Fizz mocktails


Jenna Murray and Star-Bartender Cristiana DeLucca of Chicago’s Back Bar
with their El Bulli-inspired Hot Frozen Ginger Fizz mocktails.

 

Making her debut as an iSi mixologist, award-winning bartender Cristiana DeLucca of Chicago’s famed “Back Bar Project” (above right) served Hot Frozen Ginger Fizz, her take on a signature Ferran Adria/El Bulli cocktail. Cristiana’s interpretation: a warm lemon meringue foam over an iced fizzy ginger lemonade.

 

IHA fell over St Patty’s Day this year, so Cristiana made sure we had a fizzy green drink to celebrate!

IHA fell over St Patty’s Day this year, so Cristiana made us
fizzy green drinks to celebrate!

 

See You Next Year!

In what has become an IHA tradition, we take a group shot at the close of each year’s Show. This year, iSi North America’s President  & CEO, Rick Agresta, holds up the clear winner of this year’s show: the iSi Sodamaker Classic, available this fall.

iSi's Annual IHA Tradition: A Group Shot at the End of the Show.


iSi’s Annual IHA Tradition:
A Group Shot at the End of the Show

 

 

 

 

Dave Arnold’s

Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters

Dave Arnold's Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters, made with the iSi Gourmet Whip.

Dave Arnold’s Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters.
Made with the iSi Gourmet Whip.

What are Bitters, Anyway?

(as defined by dictionary.reference.com):

1)  bit·ters : [bit-erz] – noun ( used with a plural verb )
a liquid, often an alcoholic liquor, in which bitter herbs or roots have steeped, used as a flavoring, especially in mixed drinks, or as a tonic.

(as defined by the many bartenders we’ve talked to):

2)  bit·ters : [bit-erz] – an ingredient (used with brandy, gin or other liquor )
a liquid, always a super-high proof alcoholic liquor, infused to the max with strong concentrated flavors – an essential in classic drinks and “vintage” bartending styles, always used sparingly to add balance to certain mixed drinks, and never as a tonic. A required staple in any “real” bar.

So, why is Dave Arnold using the iSi Gourmet Whip to Infuse his own Bitters?

Over the years, we’ve often found ourselves “on the other side of the bar” – listening to the woes of our bartender friends across the country, and in these extraordinary conversations, we’ve learned a lot just by listening. But, we don’t always “talk shop” about iSi – we deliberate on the best glassware (and the worst), we’ve had dozens of debates on who makes the best ice (and how they do it) – but mostly we hear, “I wish my hair were as amazing and versatile as Don Lee” (owner of New York’s coveted Cocktail Kingdom & New York’s newest must-see shining star, The Golden Cadillac).

What can we say? True story. Research it for yourself: the cocktail industry is obsessed with Don Lee (and his hairstyles).

But… back to bitters. Many of today’s most inventive bartenders are revamping their own signature versions of old-school classic drinks in which bitters are an essential ingredient (Old Fashioned, anyone?). What’s so bittersweet about this evolving revolution is the absence of variety – there are only 5 “mainstream” readily available bitters – despite the fact that bitters have been around since the early 19th century. Growing in presence, availability and popularity, smaller-batch, artisanal bitters have started popping up in top-notch distribution channels and selling their products online, like Dashfire Bitters Co from St. Paul, MN.

Dave, being the experimental whiz-kid that he is, decided he wasn’t in love with with traditional bitters – he wasn’t even fully satisfied with the smaller artisanal brands. Only his own creations – a methodically calculated combination of unique flavors and sensations – made à la minute from the freshest, premium ingredients could placate his palate.

Constantly seeking precision, purity and evolution, Dave took one look at the iSi Gourmet Whip and he instinctively knew that iSi’s Culinary Systems are engineered to create much more than just whipped cream. He first identified the two major components available to him: an air-tight sealed vessel and a gas-powered charger that could be dispensed into it. This simple understanding was fascinating, and led him into a whirlwind of trial & error food-science experiments – you name it, and it’s likely that he’s tried it. Dave proved that the iSi Gourmet Whip + iSi cream chargers, when used together, could rapidly infuse ingredients under pressure. He has since shared his technical knowledge, recipes, and so much more with Chefs, bartenders, and aspiring culinary students around the world, and continues to experiment with “what else” the iSi Gourmet Whip can do.

Here, we share one of our favorite Dave Arnold recipes with you: Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters. We hope this recipe inspires you to see the world of flavor with new eyes, and unlock your potential for creating any type of bitters you’d like.

Just make sure to use iSi brand cream chargers, an iSi Gourmet Whip, and you’re on your way to inspiration-ville.

 

RECIPE: Dave Arnold’s Rapid-Infused Orange Bitters

Ingredients

350 ml · 11.8 fl. oz 40% abv neutral vodka

25 g · 0.9 oz fresh orange peel (no pith, orange only)

25 g · 0.9 oz dried orange peel (Sevilles preferable)

25 g · 0.9 oz dried lemon peel

25 g · 0.9 oz dried grapefruit peel

0.2 g · 0.01 oz whole cloves (3 cloves)

2.5 g · 0.1 oz green cardamom seeds removed from pod

2 g · 0.1 oz caraway seeds

2.5 g · 0.1 oz quassia bark

5 g · 0.2 oz dried gentian root

Preparation

1) Pulse all the dry ingredients (everything but the fresh peel and the vodka) in a spice grinder until everything is the size of whole peppercorns.

2) Put the dry mix, the vodka, and the fresh orange peel into a 0.5 L iSi Gourmet Whip.

3) Screw on 1 iSi cream charger and shake.

4) Put the iSi Whipper in simmering water (at. max. 75 °C/165 °F) for 20 minutes.

5) Cool the iSi Whipper in ice water for 5 minutes then vent by pressing the lever down fully.

6) Remove the head of the Whipper and pour the infused liquid through the iSi funnel & sieve into a container.

7) The peels will have absorbed almost all the liquid.

8) Put them in a press sack or superbag and squeeze the bitters out.

Yield*:

52% (185 ml · 6.2 fl. oz).

*Upping the yield makes a bitterer product with fewer aromas.

 

Dave Arnold’s revolutionary approach to making better-looking, better-tasting drinks:

For all  of our Dave Arnold Fans, you’ll be thrilled to know that his cocktail (science) book is coming out this fall, and it’s on pre-sale now at Amazon – get it while it’s  hot!

Questions?

Please share your comments, experiments and favorite flavor combinations with us – we always love to hear from you! Visit us on Facebook, chat with us on Twitter, or just send us an old-fashioned email: isinorthamerica@isi.com

 

 

Recipe: “iSi Rapid-Infused Ceviche”

In our last post, we talked about the versatility of the iSi Gourmet Whip and how to rapidly infuse, pickle or marinate virtually anything using the iSi Rapid Infusion technique.

We also promised you recipes! Here is a brilliantly creative recipe for “iSi Rapid-Infused Ceviche”, contributed by our friend Chef Jill Houk . This dish is an exceptionally inventive, yet simple, example of Rapid Infusion put to work. Enjoy this modern twist on a classic light dish, splendid for spring & summer!"iSi Rapid Infused Ceviche" using the iSi Gourmet Whip. Contributed by Chef Jill Houk.

“iSi Rapid-Infused Ceviche” using the iSi Gourmet Whip.
Contributed by Chef Jill Houk.

 

iSi Rapid-Infused Ceviche

Contributed by Chef Jill Houk*

Ceviche is a seafood dish that originated in Peru. It’s a combination of raw fish, citrus juice, peppers, and onions. The citrus juice de-natures the proteins in the fish, giving it the texture of cooked fish. Because the fish isn’t actually cooked, it’s essential to use ultra-fresh fish that is kept cold at all times. The iSi Gourmet Whip speeds up how quickly you can get your ceviche to the table. Traditionally, the fish would need to sit in citrus juice for 30 minutes to an hour. Now, you can eat ceviche in minutes, simply by using iSi’s Rapid Infusion method.

 

Serves 2-3

 

Equipment

0.5L (Pint) iSi Gourmet Whip

2 iSi cream chargers

 

Ingredients

1/2 pound firm white fish, such as sea bass, whitefish, tilapia, or mahi mahi

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (the juice of 4-5 limes)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice (the juice of 1/2 an orange)

1/4 cup water

1 small serrano pepper or 1/2 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced

1/4 cup thinly-sliced red onion

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

 

Garnishes

2-3 large leaves of lettuce

1 sweet potato, peeled, diced and cooked

 

Preparation

1)  Freeze fish 10-15 minutes to make it easier to cut.

2)  Remove from freezer. Remove skin (if necessary) and slice into 1/4-inch thin strips. Cut strips into bite-sized pieces.

3)  Place half of fish into iSi Gourmet Whip. Add lime juice, orange juice, water, serrano, and onion. Screw the head firmly onto iSi Gourmet Whip.

4)  Insert an iSi cream charger into charger holder and screw onto the iSi Gourmet Whip to release the gas into the Whipper.

5)  Remove the charger and discard (or, recycle!). Cover the decorator tip with a cup (to capture spray) and, in an upright position, press the lever of the iSi Gourmet Whip to release all of the pressurized gas inside, and remove the Whipper head.

6)  Strain fish mixture over a bowl through an iSi funnel & sieve or fine chinois. Set marinated fish aside.

7)  Return marinade to iSi Gourmet Whip. Add remaining fish. Screw the head onto Gourmet Whip.

8)  Insert an iSi cream charger into charger holder and screw onto the iSi Gourmet Whip to release the gas into the Whipper.

9)  Remove the charger and discard (or, recycle!). Cover the decorator tip with a cup (to capture spray) and, in an upright position, press the lever of the iSi Gourmet Whip to release all of the pressurized gas inside, and remove the Whipper head.

10) Transfer contents of the iSi Gourmet Whip into a bowl and add the fish which was set aside in step 5. Sprinkle with salt.

11) Line plate with lettuce. Top with marinated fish. Garnish with sweet potatoes and serve immediately.

 

*Chef Jill Houk is also the author of “The Complete Soda Making Book”, which features over 100 creative recipes to make your own artisanal sodas at home. Jill’s book mentions our iSi Soda Siphon as an option for creating bubbly beverages!

 

 

iSi Rapid Infusion: Performance Under Pressure

The "Dirt Nap" - a Rapid Infusion of Coffee & Vodka with a Hazelnut foam topping. <br> <br> Created for iSi  by San-Francisco based "Alcohol Oracle" John Pomeroy for our iSi: Culinary Journey Cookbook.

The “Dirt Nap” – a coffee-infused Vodka drink with a Hazelnut foam topping.
Created by San-Francisco based “Alcohol Oracle” John Pomeroy for our iSi: Culinary Journey Cookbook.

 

For many decades, Vodka-loving nations such as Russia and Poland have experimented with infusions – made at home, in bars & taverns. Their infusions were simple – similar to the “soaking” infusion method widely used by bars today: flavorful (often pungent or spicy) solid ingredients are combined with Vodka (or another neutral spirit) in a sealed container for several days until the flavors eventually transfer over time.

Our understanding of culinary science has come a long way, veering significantly off the beaten path, and further away from traditional techniques. We’re the next generation. We’re experimenting. We’re creating. We’re inspiring. We’re pushing the boundaries of creativity in the kitchen and developing new tools, technology, and techniques. We don’t settle for something “great”, we want more … something brilliant, fascinating, functional and alluring – all at once. Voilà – Rapid Infusion is all of this and so much more.

Infusing glorious flavors of fresh herbs, fruits & spices into the solids, oils or spirits of your preference has never been considered a quick or easy process – until now. iSi’s Rapid Infusion technique is a brilliant way to experiment with your own personal taste preferences and discover magnificent new flavor combinations. For instance, who knew that Jalapeño and Watermelon infused with Vodka could be so crisp, refreshing and tasty? Or, that strong flavors like fresh lemon slices or cinnamon sticks transfer flavor very quickly, while less pungent ingredients (for instance, an apple) takes more time for its subtle flavor to develop? We do, because we’ve tried it hundreds (actually, thousands) of times with the iSi Gourmet Whip, and now you can too!

 

It All Began with an Experiment…

The “Father” of Rapid Infusion (and renowned culinary prodigy)  Dave Arnold of Booker + Dax and MOFAD (Museum of Food & Drink) first discovered the Rapid Infusion technique by experimenting with his iSi Gourmet Whip in 2010 to see “what else it could do”, and posted the results of his experiment on his blog, Cooking Issues, calling it “Game Changing”. Since then, we’ve worked very closely with Dave Arnold, and some of the world’s best & brightest chefs and bartenders from Leo Robitschek to Don Lee and John Pomeroy – to perfect the Rapid Infusion technique using the iSi Gourmet Whip. After years of research, and an abundance of expert advice from our outstanding friends in the bar industry, we’ve gotten it just right  :-)

 

Dave Arnold: "The Father of Rapid Infusion" An excerpt from our upcoming iSi Rapid Infusion recipe booklet featuring recipes for both the bar & kitchen.

Dave Arnold: “The Father of Rapid Infusion”
An excerpt from our new iSi Rapid Infusion recipe booklet featuring recipes for the bar & kitchen.

 

Rapid Infusion, Simplified

Rapid Infusion makes it possible to infuse the flavors of solids and liquids with one another in the shortest possible amount of time by releasing the pressure contained in an iSi cream charger into a sealed vessel (the iSi Gourmet Whip).

Once under pressure, the flavors of the solids become infused (on a molecular level) into the liquid (ie: lemon-rosemary olive oil). Through this process, the flavors of the liquid also become infused into the solid. Vodka-infused cherries, anyone?

Rapid Infusion is like a limitless treasure trove of unique, interesting and undiscovered flavor combinations, right at your fingertips!

 

Benefits of Rapid Infusion vs Traditional Infusions

—   Experiment with infinite flavor combinations in less time – let’s say didn’t prefer the taste of your chocolate, bergamot and gin infusion? No problem, you can whip up another infusion with completely different ingredients in minutes!

—  Fresh ingredients = fresh taste. Fresh ingredients also mean that *you* choose where your ingredients come from (ie: farmer’s market, a specific local grower, etc) without having to rely on an artificial flavoring or syrup for flavor.

—  Less bitter taste – the slight “sweetness” of the N2O in an iSi cream charger balances the bitterness of ingredients like cacao nibs or coffee beans.

—  More hygienic than leaving unattended or uncovered ingredient mixtures out for days to infuse on their own.

—  Limitless possibilities: you can infuse liquids into solids, too – think marinades, fruits, or even ceviche! Create your own artisan flavored bitters in no time – a popular trend amongst many of our favorite bartenders. And last but not least … Pickle anything in just a few minutes!

 

I’m Ready! Where Do I Start?

With your iSi Gourmet Whip in hand, follow these basic instructions and start your culinary engine: Ready, Set, Go!

1) Place fresh, aromatic solid ingredients of your choice into the iSi Gourmet Whip

2) Fill the iSi Gourmet Whip with your liquid of choice to the maximum fill line marked on the bottle

3) Screw on the head of the Whipper – make sure it is screwed on securely

4) Charge the iSi Gourmet Whip with 1 iSi Cream Charger (or, 2 iSi Cream Chargers if you are using a Quart/Liter size Whipper)

5) Shave vigorously a few times, swirl it around a bit, and let the charged mixture sit for 5-10 minutes (depending on the potency of the ingredients, some will take a bit longer to infuse)

6) Place a cup over the decorator tip of the Whipper (There will be some “spray” when you first begin releasing the gas) and in an upright position, dispense the gas from the Whipper until it has been fully released. This ensures that there is no pressure in the Whipper, and it is now safe to unscrew the Whipper head.

7) Unscrew the head of the Whipper. Notice that there may be a bubbling or “fizzy” appearance to the mixture inside. This is infusion, happening right before your eyes!

8) Strain the solid and liquid ingredients through an iSi Sieve (or fine chinois) to separate.

9) Enjoy the flavors, aromas, and colors of your new creation!

 

Recommended Resources

Seattle-based ChefSteps has developed an online Whipping Siphon course using iSi products to demonstrate Rapid Infusion (and so much more), in 33 short, fun and inspiring videos. The cost for enrollment is just $39, and you participate in the course at your own pace, with the option to revisit any section at your leisure. ChefSteps also offers a fully engaged online community forum with home & professional chefs. Ask questions, exchange advice on equipment, ingredients and techniques.  If you are interested in learning the many techniques you can apply using your iSi Gourmet Whip, we give the ChefSteps course a triple thumbs-up.

isi chefsteps

ChefSteps.com recently developed a comprehensive, mind-blowing Whipping Siphons Class which features iSi equipment and offers 33 video courses of endless inspiration.
Three thumbs up – highly recommended!

 

iSi Rapid Infusion: Best Practices

—  Rapid Infusion works best when your liquid ingredients are at room temperature. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with infusing spicy flavors into hot chocolate!

—  Don’t use chilled/cold liquid for your infusion – the molecules in any cold liquid are bound more tightly, providing less room for the solid flavoring agent(s) to “share” its own flavor molecules.

—  The iSi Gourmet Whip’s professional-grade, sturdy construction makes it ideal for any type of infusion – hot or cold. For this reason, iSi only endorses the use of the Rapid Infusion technique with an iSi Gourmet Whip.

—  Stronger flavor profiles take less time to develop (5-10 minutes), so be patient with softer, more delicate flavors of peach, grape, etc. They may take longer to develop (20-30 minutes).

ALWAYS use iSi cream chargers with iSi equipment. They are made to work together as a system, extremely food-safe, made of the highest quality, guarantee a consistent level of pressure & filling volume (remember: an 8g cream charger is an “ingredient” in your recipe, too!) – plus, the use of any other brand of chargers in iSi equipment is neither recommended for optimal results nor covered by warranty.

The world is your iSi oyster! Experiment with an herb + fruit infusion, a marinade + protein infusion, quick-pickling, make your own bitters, infuse your own coffee, vodka-infused strawberries (and strawberry-infused vodka) – the possibilities are only limited by the borders of your own creativity!

Please share your comments, experiments and favorite flavor combinations with us – we always love to hear from you! Visit us on Facebook, chat with us on Twitter, or just send us an old-fashioned email: isinorthamerica@isi.com

We’ll share some Rapid Infusion Recipes in the next post, but in the meantime, grab your iSi Gourmet Whip, a bottle of olive oil or Vodka, and experiment with what’s in your pantry right now!